Okay, I was inspired to write this blog post because over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to pin-point what it is that makes my work different. I know that it is because ya’ll keep booking me and it’s not because I’m cheap. So I’ve been really trying to figure out what it is and I think I have… However, a portrait session is a collaboration between myself and your family – so one part me and whatever my secret-sauce is, and one part you and your correct expectations and attitude. I’m going to walk you through this session real fast first so you can get an idea of what in the world I’m talking about and then I’ll bring it all together at the end.
These first two images all happen within the first 35-40 SECONDS of the session when your children are still in that “I’m in a new environment with a new person, so I’m going to proceed with caution and try to contain my free spirit for a moment” stage. I act fast on this, because you’d better believe a posed family shot isn’t happening once free-spirit overcomes them. And when I say “posed” I really mean something more like “directed”. “Posed” is one of those words that is in the same file as “Cheese” and it makes me cringe a little. So I don’t pose anyone, I direct them
Oh, to get her attention I was running up to her and tickling her and then lunging backwards to get the whole family in frame and then take the shot. (And then my husband asks me to go to the gym with him, really?) And lucky me, little brother thought it was pretty funny too.
Okay, 35-40 seconds are over and free-spirit has taken over her wiggly, slippery, unnaturally strong, toddler-shaped body. In this moment, an exclamation point forms over my head and I have to act fast – I grab an apple (off the ground, we don’t pick them off the trees) and I start throwing it really high into the air and catching it (I’m sure making some pretty cool sound effects) – the whole display amuses them and we’ve stretched our 40 second directed family shot window to 70 seconds before free-spirit realizes it’s been tricked into sitting still.
More throwing apples and tickling after I noticed she sat herself in a chair. A rare and fleeting phenomenon among toddlers.
This face. Oh my heart. All I have to do is look at this kid and he laughs. I’m fairly certain he just thinks my faux-hawk is funny looking. Whatever works.
And I just threw this in because Mom is so incredibly beautiful. Love just radiates from her whole face.
For this image, she was running FULL SPEED through the orchard rows. Nope, I need to clarify further – this beautiful, girl/cheetah hybrid was sprinting FULL SPEED through the bumpy terrain of the orchard rows. Glamorously, I might add. I, however, was sweating bullets in my attempt to get ahead of her for the shot.
I then had to sheep-dog-herd her towards the rest of her family for this next shot. Luckily, Super-Dad caught her and proceeded to throw her in the air (occupy her) while I’m saying “Okay, now face more to the right -errr eh, right there, now back up KEEP THROWING HER, okay perfect!”
Then, a moment of stillness occurred, which is what happens after a bout of cheetah-sprinting and being thrown into the air, and she flashed me this face. And I just about died. She.is.precious. And never fear, she was back to cheetah-sprinting after this .003432 second of stillness.
And back to Mr Handsome laughing at my hair.
But let me stop you for one minute and let you notice THE LIGHT. This light occurs just a few minutes before sunset. We call it “Golden Hour”. I’m extremely flexible and easy-going for everything, EXCEPT the light. This is the light that is the icing on the magic cake. YOU NEED IT. And that’s why I schedule your outdoor sessions for in the evening.
All of this to say, your family is magical. Your children are magical. Let them be, and just be together. You undoubtedly chose me as your child and family photographer because you saw something different in my work, and it is this: I believe in the beauty and magic of ordinary moments, I know where to find the magic and coax it out of you and your children, and I know how to set the stage for magic to happen all on it’s own.
Here’s your part: realize that your young children do not want to sit still and pose for the duration of your session. Making them do so against their will, will inevitably squash any magic they would have radiated on their own in that moment and it will absolutely stress you out. The more stressed you are, the more your children will resist, and that is a terrible picture day friends. Even if you have older children who can take direction, my focus is to capture real moments of your family interacting. Pretty faces all lined up makes a nice picture, but without emotion behind it, that’s all it is. We want real memories. <–this is the expectations part. And here is the attitude part: literally all you have to do is enjoy your family. Snuggle your babies, love on your spouse, play together. And I’ll be there to capture everything.
xoxo – Lindsay