You might recognize this dad if you spend any time at Taco Mac in Peachtree City. Andres has taken care of my friends and I every time we walk through those doors. I was excited to finally get to meet his family. We had a fun (and still quite warm) shoot at Line Creek to celebrate his birthday! His daughter Courtney met up with us after work to join. I took a few pre-senior pics to prep her for next year and then mom jumped in for a couple shots. We got a few extra smiles out of Sebastian after they told him about Daddy’s birthday cake they were cutting after pictures were done!
First family sessions carry a little more weight for me as the years have gone on… In the hustle and bustle of the fall seasons my focus has been on the families and sunlight of course, also the fly-away hairs, drool, laughter, making sure I have treats in my back pocket and a playlist ready on Spotify. Yet in the last few years my focus has shifted slightly. Most of my clients have been inviting me into their family for five, six, seven and eight years… That’s a long, and also quick, time in the life of children. So, I might have captured a fun shot or two that they add to a holiday card or a print to send off to grandma each year, but really I’VE been given quite a special and unique gift from the parents.
It’s not a small thing to let a photographer into your family… well, not small to me anyway. The phrase “Family Portrait Session” often carries a stormy-stress cloud along with it. I have really tried to bring the sun and light into family sessions, giving everyone a new experience. But I can’t do that alone.
Capturing a feeling or emotion vs. the newest pinterst-pose requires some vulnerability – a certain rawness and openness from the client. Kids definitely have a way of keeping it real – laughter, meltdowns, boredom, snack requirements, tickle wars, grass stains, time outs, full diapers – and that is always helpful, but not always comfortable. As parents have been willing to be vulnerable with me AND in front of the camera, it’s granted me a certain closeness with them and their children. It’s a bit of magic – I can’t explain it, it just happens.
Camryn wasn’t walking in this session of course, but as I took some shots, I thought of the times she will be walking. I thought of the laughs that will come when she plays in the dirt in her white tights and hearing her voice as she tells mom and dad to chase her down the path. Or the times she won’t be quite as willing to wear the headband that matches mom and dad’s outfits. Our kids are such a gift…to SO many different people. Somehow I ended up being a recipient of many, many gifts.
I find myself feeling pretty grateful for my profession and the friendships a camera has created. I might not always get to shoot family sessions over the course of time with the same family – but if it’s one session or ten, I do appreciate the vulnerability all of you have been willing to have with me for an hour in the middle of some field or park. It isn’t a small thing to me. I am so thankful…