Mullins Family Session – Sand Key Park FL.

February 2015

Over the Winter holidays every year our studio always gets bookings to schedule family portrait sessions. A majority of these families are on vacation from the North East or Midwest part of the country and are visiting family or doing a holiday vacation in the Tampa Bay Area. It’s always great to make new connections with these families as we try to not only deliver top quality portraits of their families but also develop a lasting relationship that will have them contact us again the following year if they make the journey down again. Often when meeting with these families we speak and learn of siblings who are getting married and/or starting new families of their own. So this of course leads to making new work down the road when they have these events happen.

This past December I had the privilege to me the Mullins family. They originally hail from the northern tip of the United States in the beautiful state of Maine. Dennis (the husband) originally contacted me via my website and asked about the different services our studio offers with Family Portrait Sessions. I discussed with him the different packages we offer and set out to lock down a few possible dates to photograph him and his family.

I recommended as I do with all my beach sessions to meet the family at Sand Key Park just south of Clearwater Beach. The beach is a bit more secluded from the tourists visiting over the Winter holidays and there is a nice jetty of rocks that stream out to the Gulf of Mexico on the Northern tip of the beach. We decided on a mid-afternoon session to give us ample time to meet and walk out the shore line for the session. Generally for family portrait sessions I like to give at least 90 minutes to the family from the time we convene to carefully photograph them and get a nice rounded set images to choose from.

On a sunny and surprisingly warm afternoon we all met at the park and I was introduced to Dennis’s family which included his parents and sister’s family. Everyone was dressed very nice and the energy level was great as we all walked out on the wooden boardwalk towards the Sand Dunes. Our first set of images were of the entire family and then we paired everyone up into smaller groupings against the dunes. I generally have a method to how I photograph family portraits and try to adhere to it when working in a session.

After we captured a good amount of portraits of different pairings we walked over the shoreline area and began to photograph the second stage of the session which generally is more candid portraits of the families in relaxed and less posed situations. The kids had a great time running up and down the shore line as the tide washed upon the beach. And the grandparents had a wonderful time playing with their grand kids as photographed into the setting sun.

We often lose track of time but as I noticed the sun inching it’s way down on the shoreline we decided to do a few final sets of staged photographs on the shore and finally against the North end of the beach where the rocks are perfectly placed for the family to all sit down on for one last group photograph.

At the end of the session we all thanked each other and I wished Dennis and his family a wonderful holiday and vacation. After returning to the studio I set out to work on developing a gallery of images for his family to look over and make selections on. And a few weeks later I received word back with the file numbers they selected. After editing for a few days we mailed a custom thumb drive up to snowy Maine to hopefully bring some sunshine back to the family whom we just met a short time before.

All together it was another wonderful experience for everyone and I believe we all were very happy with what we took away from this session. If you or a family you know wishes to inquire about family portrait sessions please feel free to drop us a line with any questions you have. We work around the year in many locations with all types of families.


Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy the photographs!

Jon C.















Thank you and enjoy reading!

-Jon Cancelino


















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