Daniela and Sonja
My dear friend, Sonja, sent me an email asking for family portraits. She re-married recently, with 2 teenage boys living at home, her parents living on a family farm, a Mother-in-law, and a sister living in Sao Paolo. She wanted to capture this moment in time, before the boys spread their wings and leave the nest.However, her boys could not see the importance of the idea and did not want to sit for formal portraits. I have a teenage boy of my own and knew what we were up against.

Sonja and I met to discuss the best options over coffee and cake. To ask them to pose, was not going to happen. We would end up with silly faces and photos that did not represent the love this family has. We needed to distract them, keep them busy and hopefully not notice that I am taking their portraits. Sonja also realised that asking them to wear coordinated clothes was going to be a no-go. Instead, she decided to ask her family to wear their favourites, hopefully helping them to relax. 

We made a plan to meet at the family farm, just outside of Sao Jose dos Campos, and enjoy an afternoon tea to celebrate Sonja’s birthday.

At first, they were conscious of me with the camera. As the family sat around the dining room table, telling their stories and enjoying a lovely lemon meringue pie,  I quietly walked around the dining room taking photos. I used my zoom lens to get close, without the camera being in their face.  Eventually the shoulders relaxed and they chatted freely amongst themselves as if I were a bird on the windowsill.

After the cake and coffee, now full of sugar and caffeine, we went outside to take the group portraits. Now feeling truly relaxed, I was able to capture the fun side of this family. It was such a pleasure to see the joy and love they share.

Setting the table
Lovely Lemon Meringue Pie
The birthday girl
Time for the family and to share the cake


Marcos and Sonja
Sonja with her two boys
Lillian with her two daughters, Daniela and Sonja

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