Empty Places

This week on my podcast with Davina Fear, Davina talked about the photos she made at her grandmother’s funeral. I talked about how I felt about photos when my grandmother died in September.

I didn’t want to take many photos during the visitation, burial or memorial service. I wanted to just look and not put a camera to my eye.

Davina talked about photographers processing experiences by making photographs. I remembered some photos I took the day after Grandma died. I went to her house, which was not going to be her house anymore.

I wanted photos to help me remember her house. I wandered around and took photos of little things. Already, it wasn’t her house. I wasn’t satisfied until I took this photo of her empty chair at the dining room table.


I turned around and took a photo of her empty kitchen.


I collected photos of Grandma to display at her service. There were many, many photos of her holding babies.

This photo, from five years ago, was my favorite – the very familiar sight of Grandma doing dishes.


Twice A Year

Getting in the car. Grocery shopping. Making dinner. Many days are filled with routines. We did it today and we’ll do it again tomorrow. It’s easy to forget to take photos of routines because they are so familiar.

It’s also easy to forget routine events that come around just twice a year. That’s right. I’m talking about trips to the dentist. I love our dentists. Love them. And, the kids still would rather clean the kitchen floor and toilets than go get their teeth cleaned. (I’m the opposite.)



Want to hear more about photographing routines? Listen to my family photography podcast, TWiP Family.

Beyond the Camera Smile

For my new family photography podcast, TWiP Family, I interviewed Jesh De Rox.

He teaches photographers how to create spaces where the people they are photographing are feeling amazing. So, they look amazing in the photos.

Before the interview, I tried out some his simple ideas for helping people go beyond the camera smile into joyful moments.

Here are a few I talked about in the interview.

Five Hugs:


Jump Three Times:

After talking to Jesh, I tried what he calls, Same Time. I asked the people I was photographing to try to say the same color at the same time.

With this one, I asked Duncan to whisper something in his brother’s ear.

I’ve been surprised by how easy it is to get people to go past the camera smile… when I asked the right questions.

I hope you listen to the interview with Jesh De Rox. If you give any of his ideas a try, share your photos. I’d love to see if it works for you.

You can listen to the show on iTunes. Or on the This Week in Photo website.

Ride On!


March 16

The first really warm day and the bikes came out. I love the snow but was ready for this. You too?

A few years ago, I learned how to do this kind of motion photo – a pan. Now, it’s one of my favorite tricks.

(I moved the camera while taking the photo to show how Elsie is zooooooooooming.)

I’m going to be talking about this very thing on my upcoming podcast about photographing your nearest and dearest.

I’m looking for questions to answer on early shows. Do you have a question? It can be about anything related to photographing your family. (You don’t have to sound smart or like a photographer. Just yourself, a curious parent.)

Email me – jenny@familiarlight.com or find Familiar Light (a brand new page) on facebook. I’m also on Instagram @familiarlight.

A Few More Runs


February 18

sleddingday21814redo2-3Yesterday the temperatures rose into the double digits and there was fresh snow.

The kids asked to “bungle up” and go sledding. I would have been happy to stay inside – warm and dry.

But I love taking sledding photos. I grabbed my camera and put on my boots.



The Good Part


January 3

My little one got a big box of beads for Christmas. She sings while choosing and stringing the glittery beads.

A friend of mine takes her daughter’s bead necklaces apart and puts the beads back to use the next day.

I thought about this. Augusta works so earnestly on her necklaces!  But, after Augusta is done making her necklaces, she doesn’t pay any attention to them. I find them in my shoes (ouch!) and down the laundry chute.

I didn’t want to take apart Augusta’s little masterpieces and have her come looking for them. So, I asked her if it was okay to take the necklaces apart. She said, “Yes!” We cut the strings and put the beads back in the box.

She’s just doing the good part.

At Christmas this year, we got a plastic gingerbread house to decorate. I know. It sounds ridiculous. But, it was great. It didn’t smell good, but it also didn’t fall down. And, they got to decorate it a few times during December.

We just did the good part.


A New Year


January 1, 2015

I know that there is so much to be gained from taking on a creative project. Having tried a few projects over recent years, I know the fullest project for me is daily photography.

The first time I took on the challenge of a year of photos, I made it through the year. It was hard at times but I never really considered quitting. Then next last year I started a 365 project but I didn’t finish sharing the photos. I kept taking them but it didn’t feel complete to me. Choosing a photo from the day, editing it, reflecting on it and sharing it is what really makes the project for me.

I have cold feet about taking on a daily photo project. And, I know it will warm my soul.

All In

In May, I bought a cover for my camera. I wanted to be able to take it to the beach and in the pool.  I thought the photos would be amazing from first shot just because I was in and around water. Not so. 

Last month at the beach, I used the cover more than ever.  This was one of my favorites.