Jo Sun Luksun

Today, for the first time in a very, very long time, I had an actual desire to blog. The sudden motivation and excitement to sit down and work on a post took me by surprise. All thanks to the precious little boy pictured above and an idea that took me back to the roots of my journey as a photographer.

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that she was interested in having lifestyle portraits taken of her family. Her post spurred a lively discussion on what exactly that entailed. “Lifestyle” is one of the many adjectives that have become trite in the realm of portrait photography – these days, people use it to describe just about any photo taken outside of a formal studio. I’ve seen photographers share lifestyle photos of both clients and their own families, ranging from perfectly staged to beautifully raw; I love it all, but have never pursued it as a possible service to offer my own clients.

When I’m shooting for a client, I need a plan. My approach to shooting weddings is all about structure, and even my portrait photography relies on tried-and-true formulas and poses. Showing up to a session without any directions to give? I wouldn’t know what to do with myself, aside from fighting an oncoming anxiety attack. But the type of session she described in her post involved little to no direction at all. It was simply a day in the life – dirty diapers and clutter included.

Real. Candid. Photojournalistic. 

Exactly the type of photos I used to take when I first fell in love with photography, 8 years ago.

Thanks to that Facebook friend, I had a spur of the moment idea this morning – why not try taking some lifestyle photos while visiting my friends Stephen and Sou-Wah?

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I imagine this is a glimpse of what life might look like… with a child of my own.

Jo Sun in Cantonese means “good morning” – it’s one of the simple phrases I’ve picked up while hanging out with this sweet family. I woke up to the pitter patter of Luksun’s footsteps this morning as he ran around the house looking for me. “Jo sun Luksun!” I whispered sleepily as he sidled over to see if I was awake. By the time I had wandered into the living room, playtime had already begun.

First it was a game of getting tangled in his pei pei (blanket), then he prepared to set sail on his quilt. Of course, the voyage required a supply of pre-cut fruit!

Luksun mischievously ate the remaining “chocolate jobies” he located in the pantry – chocolate rolled wafers from Trader Joe’s, called “jobies” after the logs of wood in the tv series Thomas and Friends.

Next he had the idea to hide tou tou, a tiny bunny, underneath the sofa and coffee table. “You’ll never find tou tou!” he shrieked with laughter.

There was a lot of slurping and sipping, both imaginary and real…

“Cheers baba!”

I found myself making mental notes of the funny little things Luksun would say while playing, only to forget them all by the end of the day! We had such a lovely, relaxing morning before heading out to the park. Sou-Wah and Stephen, I had the best time playing and chatting and hanging out with you this week! Luksun, I love being your Aunty.

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I’d like to dedicate this post to Kim, one of the coolest and most creative moms I know; and Hana, whose lifestyle photos of her three children inspire me daily.

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