Photographing families is hard. Photographing families with young children is even harder. With that being said, family photo shoots are also really FUN! Like the children themselves, they are unpredictable.
You may recognize Charlie, but more likely his mom and dad, from his newborn photo shoot. If you haven’t seen that session, click here (it’s one of my favorites). A few weeks ago, I traveled to Charlie’s house to do a family photo session. Unlike last time, he was not in the mood to have his picture taken.
I know what it’s like to have a little one with a mind of his own. Once a week, I take my son to baby story time at the library. He recently learned to walk, and now he WANTS TO WALK! No amount of singing, dancing, or egg shaking will keep this kid in one place. This week he spent the entire time collecting discarded flip flops while I spent the entire time returning them and apologizing to their owners. If I hold him down, he screams. If I let him loose, I worry that I’m letting him “get away with something”. I feel like my only other option is to leave, and I don’t want to leave. Story time is one of the few times a week he gets to interact with other kids. I feel like I’m in a lose, lose, lose, situation. I vented to family and friends hoping for advice and every response was, “He’s only a year old” or, “He’s exploring.” I guess the point of my story is this… Sometimes it’s easy to forget that they are still really young, that everything is new and exciting to them, that you can’t explore while sitting still, that they don’t know its gross to play with random shoes, and we want them to stay in one place and smile for photos. I’m learning as a new mom that these situations may not go exactly as planned and that’s OK. I’m learning as a photographer that it’s about capturing the moment no matter what that moment is.
The photo my family talks about most is one from when I was about six. I can still remember the poor woman behind the camera shaking a toy at me in an attempt to get me to smile. My mom was furious. No amount of begging, bribing, or threat of punishment would get me to do so. When my mom eventually gave up, my dad asked the photographer to take the photo anyway. That photo hangs in our house today, and the story behind it gets a lot of laughs. As a photographer, I’ve taken a few similar photos. Sometimes these are my favorite because I know they may not be photos you frame now, but they are photos that you will look at years from now and get the most enjoyment from.
Despite some early challenges, we were able to get some really great images! Charlie has a brother now, James! James is absolutely adorable. He seemed to enjoy hanging with momma and having his picture taken. Charlie and James’ cousins Payton, Caleb, and Sadie were part of this shoot as well. The older kids were a big help with the younger ones. Watching the kids interact together reminded me of time spent with my family. If you’ve seen Charlie’s newborn session, then you know his mom, Ashley, is my cousin. I have so many great memories from when Ashley and I were kids. My first sister wasn’t born until I was eleven, so I didn’t have any siblings close in age. It was always a treat when I was able to spend time with my cousins.
This next photo is one of “those” photos… I love James’ face!
Here it is…THE photo…
Ashley and I over the years…