Tracie Howe Photography – Seattle Wedding Photographer | Seattle elopement photographer | Destination wedding and elopement photographer | Pacific Northwest wedding and elopement photographer | Family and lifestyle photographer | Travel photographer based in Seattle. » Seattle destination wedding and travel photographer. Specializing in documentary and candid photography for adventurous souls wanting a destination wedding or elopement. I love working with mountain-climbing, sea-loving, travel-wanderlusting free-spirits, and I hope you will contact me for your next adventure!

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Pavek Christmas photos and the tradition of Rook

The Paveks had me over right after my photo shoot with Reese and his family. I was all pumped and ready to go; photo taking juices flowing and all.

They have a warm and cozy house, as houses should be during the holidays, so I wanted the photos to feel that way too. We started out with some more traditional Christmas photos. You know, everybody standing in front of the tree, cuz it’s Christmas and there’s a huge decorated tree in the house! You just have to do it! Anyway, we got a few “safe” shots, then they grabbed the cat for a few more candid family shots.


Then the real fun began! Diana has a tradition in her family of playing Rook. Everybody plays Rook, including her husband and kids, and now me! I decided that it would be fun to set up a fake game of Rook and capture the action.

I set them all up at the dining room table, where they normally play. I struggled with how to arrange the four of them around the table, because I was too concerned with positioning them so that they looked like they were playing a real game. I didn’t want it to look like there was a giant gap where no one was sitting (and where I would be shooting from), but in the end I tried that and preferred it. For anyone interested, one light was placed behind and above me, another was just behind the far left corner, and I had a reflector set up to my right.

Anyway, since it was a fake game, we were able to make up different scenarios, like who was winning or losing. Typically (even in a real game) Diana would have the Rook, so she often looked devious! I had them exaggerate their expressions to add more character to each scene and each scenario. They all played their roles extremely well, and I got a few great shots out of this family character portrait, as I like to call it. I was very impressed with their acting!


Who knows, maybe they’ll use one of the Rook photos as their Christmas card! It might not make sense to anybody else though. They were playing by the family rules, and the expressions didn’t always match up with each other. But who cares if it makes sense, as long as it’s funny! I definitely think the mis-match of expressions made the photos even funnier!

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