I feel like family pictures really get a bad wrap... or at least the process of getting them taken does! There really isn't any reason to dread your session, or put off getting them because I PROMISE YOU, it CAN be done in a way that's bearable or possibly even (gasp) fun!! You wouldn't believe the number of family sessions I've done that I've been complimented on by the kids, the moms and YES, EVEN THE DADS!! And honestly, a common occurrence is a conversation with mom before hand telling me about how the kids never cooperate for any family pictures they've done in the past, prematurely apologizing for their behavior and a full disclosure of how much her husband has complained about this since the moment she told him she booked the session with me. I'm not lying... this happens ALL of the time!
Hopefully sharing these few things with you about what to expect from a session with me will put you a little more at ease and maybe even convince you to just go for it and book that family session already!
1. Right out of the gate, let me tell you something that should completely set your mind at ease; My ultimate goal is NEVER a "perfect" picture. Never. I mean, I'm not saying I won't get *that* shot, you know, the one where everyone is posed perfectly and looking directly into the camera with million dollar smiles plastered on their faces. I just might get it... but if I don't, I want you to know that I'm perfectly ok with that and won't lose any sleep over it because never, ever will I promise to deliver THAT picture for you. Some photographers can deliver those all day long. And kudos to them, that's their jam and that's awesome! Some will spend HOURS in front of their computer piecing a dozen different pictures together to create that perfect shot of your family. But, you see... it's a composite, it's literally pieces of 12 different images that have been put together to create one moment that never truly happened! I won't spend so much time on one picture that I could've driven from Terre Haute to Indianapolis and back twice before it was completed. It's not "me" to deliver to you a memory that wasn't real, but it's also not fair to MY family to spend that much time away from them. Now, I'm not saying that I don't do the occasional head swap in Photoshop, because I do, but if I'm going to be required to do editing that is something that's brain surgery level (this is a joke and a bad one, I know) I'm just not doing it. My heart and passion lies in what I call "emotive photography" and so in order to be true to me, I have to focus on my passion. When I'm able to focus on the things that speak to my soul during a session, those are the sessions of mine that you see that make you think "whoa!" when you look at them and really showcase not only my talent but more importantly the love and dynamic of the family that I was lucky enough to have in front of my lens!
2. My guess is you're nervous before your session... guess what? I AM TOO!! I get butterflies in my stomach before every. single. session. I put a lot of pressure on myself with each session. I want to consistently do better than the time before. I want to live up to your expectations and I want to live up to my expectations too! I want so much from a session. Beautiful pictures, connection, love, laughter, happiness, authenticity and if I'm being completely transparent, I want your time with me to be SO GOOD that you don't second guess using me again and that you're pretty much shouting from the rooftops how awesome I am and you're with me for life! Aside from the crazy pressure I put on myself from all of the previously mentioned, I'm an introvert and not much of a conversationalist... so that makes me incredibly awkward when I try to conversate with people. I'm well aware of this character flaw and always worry about coming off as a weirdo!! And I do all of this while looking like a hot mess... I apologize, but I don't dress up for sessions. I used to. But then I realized that I'm that type of photographer who is going to wade through water, climb a fence, get on my belly in a mudpuddle... whatever crazy thing I need to do to get the shot I want. It's just what I do. After a few ruined outfits I finally decided that as long as you and your pictures look good, there's absolutely no need for me to put on nice clothes and makeup or even wash my hair for a session.
3. I'm not judging you based upon how your kids (or husband, haha!) are acting! They're fine, I swear. I'm a mom. I have a son and a daughter so I'm pretty well versed with how both act. I'm also a preschool teacher! I'm good with kids, I love them, I love their honesty, their spunk, their raw emotion and their ability to so clearly convey the thoughts we're all thinking! One thing the good Lord blessed me with was a fierce love, understanding and patience with kids. So really, your kids are NOT bothering me. I NEVER expect any kid to act perfect. I'm a realist and like I said, I'm a mom... so I get it! Been there, done that! Take this time to just play and be silly with them. Enjoy these moments of their childhood. We get so wrapped up in living life, that it's not often we're told to just get down on our kids' level and forget all of our adult responsibilities for a while. But that's just what I want you to do! Give me 45 minutes and I'll get the good shots of giggles, grins, hugs and happiness as they come naturally. You'll see through my images what loving your family makes you feel!
4. I'm probably going to talk about butts, poop and farts if you have little boys. It is what it is. It's typically what makes them laugh and what you have told them NOT to talk about when they're out in public or around new people, so I apologize if I'm breaking your rule but I'm here to have fun with your kids and get some shots of them when they're genuinely happy. I've cracked many a tough nut with some good old potty humor! None of the old school "say cheese" for me... so please, please, please don't expect that to come out of my mouth and I'd really prefer if you didn't force it either! Girls on the other hand tend to be a little more refined... and often with girls, we can talk about lovely things like princesses and dancing and makeup. But that's not to say that I won't use the potty humor on them too, because sometimes that's what they need. I'm telling you... it's gold.
5. I'll do my very best to explain everything to you at the beginning of your session and continue to as we go. I do this because I want you to feel comfortable and I want you to trust what I'm doing. I have a method to my sessions that I'll share with you so you know what's going on. Sometimes we will try something and it won't work. I don't want you to be nervous or upset about this. Certain things work for certain people. If it works for you, great but if it doesn't I promise you, you're not the only one and there are so many other things we can and will try. Just relax and be yourself and that's when the magic happens!
A special thank you to all of the beautiful families I have showcased in this blog for being incredibly awesome during their sessions with me. You all hold a special place in my heart and are what I consider to be my ideal clients. I love you all so very much and cherish my moments with you!