We have a lifeguard?

“We have a lifeguard? Is this dangerous?” That was my introduction to the Dad at this Teen Family Photo Session.

What he didn’t know is that I always have a safety swimmer present at sessions. And if my clients are wearing clothing or using props in the water that typically includes an assistant in the water and a lifeguard on deck.

What *I* didn’t know is that Dad and both young teens are certified PADI Divers and that Mom is a Masters Swimmer…

So. The Lifeguard AND Assistant, alongside the Underwater Photographer, may have been a little overkill for this particular Family Underwater Session.

And I am pretty sure this guy wins Dad of the Year award! I mean, seriously!! How much fun are these shots!!

Family Fun

Here was a family who hadn’t had a Family Photo Session in years. I think mom said the kids were around 2nd grade for their last one? What a way to jump back in!

This is a family who loves the water – maybe as much as I do! And they found a way to express that joy and connection with an Underwater Family Session.

They jumped off our big rock, did cannon balls off the diving rock, raced down the slide, raced against each other across the pool and did flips. The kids played an old family favorite game called “bumper butts” and even dug into my box off crazy kids goggles and got the entire family involved with playing with around with those.

Can you imagine a family session more fitting for this family of PADI Certified Divers and Masters Swimmers!?!?

Teen Family Photos

I loved watching their young teenagers forget they were at a Family Photography Session. I watched them relax and laugh. And have FUN with their parents. {GASP!}

I know that Teen family photo sessions can be tough. Teens are hard on themselves in most aspects of lives. We have all been there!

As parents we sometimes see kids who are hiding behind screens, moody, and fighting family involvement. But often what is really going on is kids who are not sure what is going on with their bodies, where they fit in between childhood and adulthood, and a struggle to be accepted (and to accept for themselves!) who they are and who they are becoming.

I loved how silly and FUN these tween siblings got with my collection of Bling2o goggles and masks!

So what does that have to do with Underwater Photography?

A lot actually.

Many of the families who come to me have raised their kids around water. These teens have grown up swimming and playing in a swimming pool. Their own, a neighborhood or club pool, while vacationing in the summer – or all of the above!

The water is naturally associated with times of fun and play for them. It is a piece of their childhood.

When they get in the water, they leave their screens, closed bedroom doors, and moody hormones behind. And they have FUN with the family!

A Crystal Ball?

The kids from this Teen Family Photo Session are just a few years older than my two oldest boys. I will admit, I could see a tiny bit of our own future there.

They are clearly fantastic kids, and I love that they were willing to step out and give this “crazy idea” a try for Mom!! I hope they are one day able to look back on these images as fondly as their parents did at our Gallery Reveal Appointment!!

Giving Back

Now, how did Mom come up with this idea? Well. A good friend of mine competed for the LLS Woman of the Year with the Charlotte Chapter of LLS. This is an amazing annual fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and an incredible undertaking for any individual who joins the campaign!

The local team did so well in 2019 that both of the National Winners were from Charlotte!! Rob Hope and Nancy Hamlin were named Man and Woman of the Year here in Charlotte, and then named National Man and Woman of the Year! The pair raised a combined total of over $1.5 million! Wow!!

In addition to the individual awards, LLS also named Charlotte the #1 market in the country in 2019, raising $3 million in only 10 weeks! Way to go Team Charlotte!!

Why the Man and Woman of the Year Campaigns Matter

Funds raised from Man & Woman of the Year help find cures and ensure access to treatments for all blood cancer patients.

  • LLS funds research to advance breakthrough therapies for blood cancer patients.
  • LLS is the leading source of free blood cancer information, education and patient support.
  • And LLS is the voice for blood cancer patients and survivors today.

I am so proud of Jennifer for participating in this amazing fundraising event, and thankful that she reached out to me and allowed Renee Stengel Photography to be a small part of it.

I am also proud to announce that another friend has taken the reigns in Jennifer’s steps and Renee Stengel Photography will again be a part of the LLS Woman of the Year Challenge for 2020.

Make the Leap

I know it is hard advice to take from me, a family photographer, because, well, of course I would tell you to book the family photography session!

But I truly say this from my Mama heart – book that family session! Whether with me or with another one of the amazing local Charlotte Family Photographers, just book it.

Stop and think about where your family is comfortable. Where will they be able to relax and have fun. Then find a photographer who can work with you to make it a truly enjoyable experience ~ and get some family art on those walls while the kids are still home to enjoy it!!

Said with much love!

Renee Stengel Photography | Charlotte Underwater Photographer
This young woman was absolutely stunning! I loved that she chose this yellow tulle skirt from RCB Fashion from my Studio Closet!



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