I always enjoy shooting seniors, kids, brides, babies and even pets. Pets are really fun! But, as I may have mentioned a time or two, families are my favorite.
People are always telling me (and maybe you hear it to) to appreciate the time right now because I’ll miss it some day. But there are many times when I am in the bathtub trying to relax and I hear what sounds like construction workers pulling the walls down and elephants stomping through the house and it is impossible to not feel like jumping out and screaming at them. There are those times in the grocery store when someone decides to have a meltdown. There are times when I just feel bad and all I want to do is lie down in a quiet room and rest, but the screaming and running and fighting continues all around me. And I honestly don’t believe I’ll miss any of that. I think those people who say I will are flat out wrong. I doubt they ever find themselves home alone in the bathtub and wish one of their kids was still little and would scream loud enough to make them jump out and run dripping through the house to see find the emergency.
But I could be wrong.
Today I woke up in love with my daughter. I woke up before her (the three year old) and that may have been part of the reason. She was so excited when I told her it was her sister’s birthday. She ran to her room with her gift clutched to her chest and she couldn’t stop herself from yelling, “Happy Birthday. Open your gift. It’s LIPSTICK!” And my heart squeezed up with the love I felt for her right then. Her three year old voice, her excitement, her delight in giving a gift, and even her complete inability to keep a secret.
Watching them together, I wanted to wrap up that moment and seal it in my memory. That’s one I will miss. (The bathtub one, not so much.)
When I have the honor of being invited into someone’s family, when someone hires me to capture their love, their familyness right at this moment, I get excited. I start wondering what kind of family are they? What kind of interaction will I capture? What moments can I help create that will show who this family really is?
And so I ask a lot of questions up front about what they want to see, what they love about their family right now? What do they want to lock in the vault and never forget? (Psst: no one ever says hearing their kids screaming at each other when they are in the shower.)
Then the day of their session arrives and we spend some time talking and I get to know the kids a little bit, get a sense of whether they are shy or I can tease and joke with them. Once they relax with me a little, I can watch how they interact and, most of all, I can catch those moments between them.
And I’m not going to lie, sometimes I find myself sitting at my computer after the session and tearing up at what I see.
Shooting your family makes me appreciate my own even more. It makes the little moment stand out. It helps me to see what I don’t want to forget.