When photographer Chaz Cruz and event designer/stylist Hannah Shih submitted this adorable shoot, I immediately accepted it for publication. From the creativity behind the set design to the bubbles to the sea-like lighting effects of the photographs, everything about it is fun and unique, and I just had to share it with you guys.
Hannah told me a little bit about the project and the inspiration behind it. “Chaz and I wanted to do a different take on family portraits,” she said. “Instead of shooting the family in the comfort of their own home or at the park, we wanted to create a setting that was just inspired by the kids themselves.” To get a better feel for how to style the shoot, she even met with one of the subjects in advance – a two year old girl named Mae. “She was just a ball of personality. A Brooklyn-born gal who just loved anything and everything ocean and sea creatures. I crafted and built out a set of various vignettes that included fun paper details from a swimming octopus to a fishing boat with surrounding sharks. Lu, Mae’s little sister, tagged along for the sea voyage and their expressions were priceless. Mae was absolutely ecstatic and in love with everything, she couldn’t stop smiling!”
Hannah said that she and Chaz ended up having a wonderful time with the whole experience. “We had so much fun on set with The Jones,” she said. Chaz was really able to capture the kids in their element and we love how Lu and Mae can look back at these photos and be reminded of their interests when they were young. Who knows, Mae might be obsessed with dinosaurs next!
Lu and Mae’s mom, Amanda, also explained her feelings about the shoot and the motivation behind doing something different. “Family and child photography has become ubiquitous and, honestly, pretty boring,” she said. ”The pictures shared on social media after a family portrait session are typically beautiful and technically perfect, however many times they lack personality. So that’s why we were excited when Hannah and Chaz approached us with a different idea. Mae is obsessed with the ocean and sea creatures, so Hannah came to visit and we talked about what Mae was into, as well as discussed her quirky personality. Mae is sweet, but definitely has a way of getting what she wants and sneakily finds ways to be naughty. She’s a lovable trouble maker and we joke she is the pirate of the family. And my eight-month-old daughter, Lucy? She’s easy. She’s obsessed with everything Mae.”
Like Hannah and Chaz, Amanda and her family had a great time too. “The shoot was fantastic. Hannah and Chaz instantly made the girls feel comfortable. The set was so fun that Mae was engaged the whole time. And, even though Lucy was teething and fussy, Hannah and Chaz were able to make her smile. It was a wonderful experience for our family and the pictures turned out amazing!”
Thank you Hannah, Chaz, and the Jones family for sharing your sweet mock sea voyage with us! You guys can find more of Hannah’s work on her website as well as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. You can find Chaz on his website as well as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.