Two cousins eat ice cream in front of an ice cream shop, the dad is walking through the shot

if you were to look at my calendar

you'd think autumn is the best season for taking family photos. It's the most popular, for sure. Its the last stop on the good weather train before pulling into the winter and holiday card season, at least here in the mid-Atlantic.

When I review my own family photos, my favorites are taken in summer. Its true that I might be too busy with OPP (other people's pictures) during the fall to take our own pics but I think there's something else. Maybe it will prompt you to choose summer too.

There is something free and light and joyful about summer. Summer is where we break from our regular schedules and conventional operations as a family. We get a little extra time together: a few more hours of daylight, more time outdoors and opportunities to stay up late. So many of our own childhood memories are tied to summer, giving us lots to share with our kids. We still love the things we loved back then.

I've been thinking a lot about delight as it relates to the photos I like to make, show and give. Delight, for me, is a great photographic pursuit because it connects to the joy of being alive. Delight is a spark we feel inside of us, a giggle we share with God. And to capture it on film (or 0's and 1's) is to make a portal we can plug back into. Its remembering, "ahhhhh, now this is living." Delight is really special form of beauty.

a small boy runs across the water of a beach, his hair going straight up in wind
a boy "dabs" in joy as he begins eating a dinner of summer foods on the back porch
a boy is reading a book in a hammock but all you can see is his feet and the book hanging out
a mom and her son feed seagulls who fly all around them

Smiling for a camera is supposed to signify "happy" but happy, as a constant state of being, is a lie. There's no such thing as being happy and therefore no such thing as a happy family. There are only families who commit to experiencing as many happy moments together as they can amidst the responsibilities of life and the challenges of growing up and raising children. Happiness is a momentary choice made over and over again.

And delight is when happiness choses us back.

Sometimes I think that our favorite photos happen on vacation simply because vacations give us permission to experience delight. Permission to stop working and sit in a floaty. Permission to explore a new and exciting place, permission to try a new food or to eat a known favorite (like an ice cream with sprinkles). Delight is often associated with our own childhood memories, we still like the things we liked then and are more likely to connect with our children here.

I truly hope that summer becomes my busiest season. I hope we can lean into delight in more ways, expand our understanding of where we find it and what more it can be. I want to take your picture together as you

pick strawberries, catch fireflies, run for the ice cream truck, wear water wings, walk through fields of sunflowers, visit a farmers market, grill out, shuck crabs, run through the grass barefoot, make eyeglasses out of glow sticks, create sidewalk chalk masterpieces, look for rainbows, splash in puddles, hold an heirloom tomato the size of your face, light sparklers and jump in pools

What is your favorite summer delight? What might a family photo session designed around it look like for you?

Yes, I'm going full cheese here but the word "light" is in "delight", isn't it??? I really think I'm onto something here. 🧀📸✨

three young boys, two in diapers, climb on a swing set