I met this wonderful family out at Mepkin Abbey on Saint Patricks Day. I’d never been, so we brought my whole family out so they could explore the property while I worked.

My husband says they encountered a baby alligator on the path, and had to turn around and walk all the way around the long, meandering garden pond. I asked him why they didn’t just step around the gator and proceed, and I got The Look. What can I say-I’ve always had an unnatural, unwise lack of fear of all types of wildlife. (Except that giant erratically hopping grasshopper in our kitchen the other night that almost landed on my head. That unglued me.)

I love this family. They were lots of fun, and awesome sports.

It started sprinkling the moment we got there, but thankfully the rain was short-lived.

Family portrait under red and blue umbrella

This is one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken, ever ever.

50th anniversary photographs

family portrait under live oak white shirts and jeans

I always stress to clients how important timing is. Ideally, you want to shoot at sunrise, or about an hour before sunset. However, that’s not always feasible. This whole session took place in fairly harsh lighting, and I actually love the results. We just have to be a little more creative with angles and locations and posing, and wait for clouds to pass over the sun here and there.

older couple hugging in portrait mepkin abbey

Charleston family photographer big family portrait

Family portrait by the Cooper River Mepkin Abbey Moncks Corner SC photographer

Candid father in law and son in law

Portrait with St Patricks Day hat

Father and two grown children hugging photograph

Little girl with headband Summerville SC

Portrait of three sisters Charleston SC

Portrait of teenage brothers posing

Mepkin Abbey flowers garden butterfly

Teenager portrait posing idea

Grandfather and granddaughter on bench by the river

Family candid portrait Charleston SC photographer

Modern vintage photojournalism Charleston SC

This was after the session. I didn’t even see the family praying together. My husband did, and urged me to go snap a pic. I didn’t want to intrude, but I’m glad I caught this anyway.

family praying

man praying at statue of virgin mary mepkin abbey

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copyright 2014 Sally Watts