Family Pictures 2014 - The Norths at home

I was feeling like it was time to take some new family photos, so when my good friend and favorite photographer Emily said she was going to be in town for a few days, I leapt at the chance for a photo shoot. Emily has been documenting the growth of our family from our engagement and bridal photos in 2005 (nine years ago!), to maternity photos from my first pregnancy in 2009, so I felt really good about her working with her for our first official shoot as a family of four. Can I show you a few of my favorites?

On the couch in the sitting room. 

Because Emily lives in LA and therefore doesn't have a studio in Utah where we live, we had to find somewhere to shoot locally. Which coincided perfectly with the idea that had been rolling around in my brain ever since I decided to do family pictures: why not just take them at home? I feel like our home is such a big part of our family life anyway, so it was kind of a special thing to be able to document and record that. Looking at these photos, I love how very us they feel.

Gwen was pretty unsure about the whole process, but Espen tried his best to keep her happy.

 One thing I worked pretty hard at for this photo session, was to not stress out about it too much. I have a tendency to try to make everything absolutely perfect, which has a tendency to make people stressed out and unhappy, which is not perfect. So I reigned myself in quite a lot for this one. I cleaned the house, but only within reason, and I didn't let myself stage and style everything in sight. I planned our outfits to be pretty cohesive, but not matchy or too formal. And I didn't let myself buy anything just for the photos, which felt like a bit of an accomplishment!

Me and my mama's girl.

 When it came to the actual photo taking, I took a deep breath and a page out of the book of Frozen, and just let it go. It helped a lot that I trust Emily to the ends of the earth as a photographer, so I was able to just enjoy spending time with a dear friend that I don't get to see very often, as well as my cute family. And I think it shows in the photos that we were all pretty relaxed and enjoying ourselves.

On the porch steps.

 One nice thing about doing the photos at home was that we had everything we needed easily on hand. And when Gwen started falling apart because she didn't want to sit still and take photos, we could just let her roam until she was ready to come back again. And when Emily got a few shots of just me and Nick together, we just let the kids play in the playroom.

My boys. 

The flip side to that, of course, is that the kids were on their home turf, and used that to their full advantage. By the end of the shoot they were running absolutely rampant and definitely not cooperating for any family group shots! That's when it's handy to have a photographer worth her salt who can keep up with them and still get some great shots amid all the silliness.

Gwen in the playroom. 

Espen in his room with Woofy. 

Is it weird that my four year old is one of my very best friends?

And here is my very best friend. My goodness, I love him!

I feel like Emily did a really great job of capturing us and who we are as a family with these shots. There's a lack of formality to them that feels very right for a family with small children, and a sense of house and home that is very us. Plus I feel like you can see the fun and the love that we have for each other, which means a lot to me. I hope that in 10, 20, 30, 40 years our kids will pull out these photos and see that they came from a home where they were adored, and with parents who were absolutely besotted with each other.

All piled into mom and dad's bed. 


  1. I love this idea sooooo much!! Seriously!! I believe I will copy you and do our next family pictures (whenever that will be...) at our house. Such a great memory and yes, the kids would be so much more comfortable!!
    You got so many great ones! I love the ones of Espen kissing his sister. The one of you and Nick is adorable, you are totally besotted! ;)


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