St Augustine Family Portraits for the Smith-Bercellis

Stacey contacted me about a month ago to schedule St Augustine family portraits with her parents, siblings, their spouses and children- fifteen in all.  The family is literally spread across the US, based on each coast.  They were all coming together in April to visit their parents and to have a party for their Mom.  You see, just a few months ago Mom had been diagnosed with cancer.  Immediately my thoughts turned to my Dad who I lost to cancer.  I really wanted to do this session for them, yet at the same time it’s so hard.  I have photographed these types of sessions before and their importance is not lost on me.  The responsibility is huge, which can feel daunting.  Yet the honor of doing this is huge, too.  And I feel like this is my chance to really utilize photography for it’s greatest purpose.  Making a memory into a material thing that is able to be shared with those that couldn’t be there, or that were too young to remember, or to give us something to hold on to when we need it.

This family grew up in the North East, but now their parents lived in St. Augustine.  Their grown children had landed in FL, CT and CA- truly a bi-coastal family.  They had a lot of memories of vacations in the St. Augustine area and trips to Fort Matanzas, so we met there.  Stacey was the first to meet me and as soon as we started talking  I felt like I knew her.  It could be that she reminds me a lot of a friend I have that is a NY-raised-FL-transplant, too.  That combined with her warm and bright presence, and her 3 children that were sweet as sugar.  Bill’s family was next on the scene with their New England preppy style, gregarious kiddos and Seinfeld-smiling Dad.  Then Craig and family arrived from CA with a very mellow, casual, laid back, and organic nature about them.  I just loved how everyone had a different accent and a different feel.  Each family seemed to embody where they were from.  I found it fascinating.

Their parents, Barbara and Nick, were so kind to me.  Very warm and complimentary.  I loved how bright their eyes are, showing all the life and joy they have in them.  Big smiles and big hearts.  It’s easy to see where the rest of the family gets it from.

I truly enjoyed spending a couple of hours with all of them, hiking through Ft. Matanzas, listening to stories from their childhood, finding out about their lives.  And thinking about my Dad when I took a portrait of their Mom.  And thinking about my Dad when I took photos of those fathers with their daughters.  I shed some tears that day, but my heart was very full.

I hope these photos bring you all a lot of good memories.  Thank you for everything.

st augustine family portraits of large group, extended family, cancer patient


ChrissyH - Kristen, as always, your work is gorgeous. And what a beautiful family! I can feel their love through the computer monitor!

Jocelyn - Gorgeous photos Kristen! What a wonderful way to spend time with family, create lasting memories, and focus on family. Beautiful pictures and such a special time.

Jacksonville, FL Head Shots for 501st Legion Member

And now for something completely different…

One of the many things I love about my job is that it always something new.  Even so, this next session was something I had never done before.  John is a member of The 501st Legion.  If you aren’t familiar with them here is a quote from their site-

“…The Legion is an all-volunteer organization formed for the express purpose of bringing together costume enthusiasts under a collective identity within which to operate. The Legion seeks to promote interest in Star Wars through the building and wearing of quality costumes, and to facilitate the use of these costumes for Star Wars-related events as well as contributions to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work…”

John needed head shots for the Trading Cards that members create to hand out at events.  The members do a lot of charity work and fundraising, in addition to appearing in parades and events such as Star Wars weekends at Disney World.  Thanks a lot, John!

jacksonville, fl head shots of 501st legion member john bielmiller dressed as star wars characters stromtrooper and darth vader.

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