Recently, I had the pleasure of photographing a beautiful family. Not only are they beautiful but they are friends of my family. Years ago before my husband and I had our son, my husband decided to volunteer for Big Brothers, Big Sisters. I guess it was like a trial run to see what it would be like to be a father. Yes, I know it isn’t the same experience but honestly, my husband really had no experience dealing with children. In all fairness, it gave him practice. At that time, little Dominic was eight years old.
Now he’s a grown man with a gorgeous family and a good job. It’s always wonderful to see the children grow up but I must admit, it makes me feel a little old. Anyway, my husband decided to gift them with a photography session. I think it was for Christmas but I can’t remember for sure. Since both Dominic and Ashlee are very busy, it was difficult for them to find time for the session. Eventually, they had some free time.
The day finally came and it was so wonderful to see them. I had met their daughter Bella a few months prior but she was asleep during the visit, so that doesn’t really count. Let me tell you, she definitely knows what she wants and doesn’t want and you definitely know when she’s dissatisfied. While I was setting up, I could hear her displeasure from my studio. From what her mother said, she just didn’t want to wear any shoes. It was sorted out and all was fine.
Bella was a little fussy coming down the stairs but somehow I convinced her that coming downstairs was a good idea and she agreed. One point for me. As I set up my strobe light, I could see that Bella didn’t want any part of it. In fact, she hid behind her mother the entire time I set it up. Even though we told her it was just a light and an umbrella but she remained scared. She was so scared that she wouldn’t even peek around her mom to look at it. With that said, I’m sure you’ve already guessed that she didn’t want to have her picture taken in front of said light either. If you have guessed that, then you would be correct. This is where teamwork comes into play.
To try to convince her to cooperate, I took a picture of Dominic and showed her the back of my camera. She laughed and said, “Daddy!” We asked if she wanted to take a picture with Daddy and she frowned her face up and said, “No.” Next was Mommy’s turn. Ashlee posed with Dominic and again I showed Bella the back of my camera. This time she smiled and exclaimed, “Mommy and Daddy!” Again they asked if she wanted to get in the picture with them. This time she folded her arms and said, “No” with a little bit of fear in her voice. I took a few more images with Dominic and Ashlee as Bella watched. She still wasn’t comfortable but Ashlee picked her up from the couch and brought her in front of the light. She was not happy about it at all but I captured an image, then showed her the back of the camera. She smiled a little bit. I took another one, showed her, and then told her that she did a great job and asked for a high five. That high five really did it because she was excited after that. I was able to get a few poses out of her then! Each time, we all praised her, and I got a high five. I was even able to get a pound from her. Now that’s progress. Here are a few images that show the progress from not really wanting to participate to happy participation.
I must say, I really had to work to get those images. She fussed a little in between switching out parents and kept wanting to run off but we were persistent and made it work. When it came time for me to try to get some by herself. That was a no. She held onto her dad so tightly we were wondering if she was going to choke him. So, we tried with mom. Ashlee danced with her to distract her and get her in a really fun mood. I was playing a children’s music station which did turn out to be a big hit with her, so two points for me. As Ashlee and Bella danced, Ashlee quickly moved out of my camera’s line of sight so I could get some images of Bella by herself. It was hilarious because Bella was having so much fun, she didn’t realize that her mother wasn’t behind her anymore. It didn’t last too long but at least I got what I needed.
This was a very fun and freewheeling session and in these types of sessions, you get what you can get! All in all, they came out great. My main goal is to please the parents. Capturing Bella’s personality was pivotal and a little tiring but definitely worth it. I was able to create some wall art for them, as well as make some new memories. I would definitely call that a win-win.
“Enjoy the little things in life…for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” ~ Robert Brault