When I’m on sessions with children, we usually end up in play at some point. That is, it’s sort of expected and sometimes kind of demanded. Relationships with kids require trust, and part of building trust is giving back to them when you have asked much of them. In my case, asking children to participate in the making of beautiful and fun photos is a big ask. I’m requesting their patience, their time, and their energy, when they would prefer to do all the other things they like to do. I’m even requesting a break in their normal everyday life, and because that can throw them off, it’s best to give back.
In this case, Little Miss wanted to play in a car. (It’s all safe and good. Broken car, kept locked in general, and I was with her.) I … did not. I’ll chase you, I’ll color with you, and I’ll let you take my picture, but getting in a car to play? Not so much my thing given how much time I already spend in a car.
But she wanted it, and I protested and whined, as any good grown-up would.
“I don’t waaaaaaant to,” I said, refusing to give in to this four-year-old’s pressure.
“Come on!” she said back.
“No thank you, I don’t want to.”
She sighed, pushed her hair off her face, and pursed her lips at me.
“Angela-la, I’m not asking if you WANT to. I’m just asking if you WILL.”
Oh. She had me there. It was logic I couldn’t really argue with. Nope, didn’t really want to, but would I do it for her anyway? Dang it, of course. I love that girl. And her sound logic.
She’s a wee bit too smart for her age, I’ll tell you that right now! And that’s exactly the thought that crossed my mind as I climbed into the backseat and told my taxi driver where I needed to go.
These are the moments that live between the posed photos. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.
*In honor of my first writing credit in a very long time being in this week’s local newspaper, The Pikes Peak Courier, here are some related photos that I took last year for the Human Trafficking Task Force of Southern Colorado 6th Annual Symposium.
So, this face…amiright?
These are my best friend’s girls. I am including that tidbit so you understand the casual laid back way these photos were done, as well as why the girls show up so often. Also, we’re getting close to a certain young lady’s FIFTH birthday, and we’ll be doing another Grow Into the Dress series of shots in early May. So, it was time to share some from this relaxed morning of play and photos of them.
Ever so silly —
Sisters forever — but not always cooperative for together shots. Still, a few…
I adore a good baby profile!
Sometimes little girls get thinkerly while waiting for you to play Barbies (there might have been a little bribing: “Let’s take these shots, and then I’ll play with you!”)
Kids do what kids do —
Then they give you a smidge of what you want, and then they’re off to do better things.
A little focus on the baby, while Big Sister colors and such —
Those cheeks, they kill me —
And that tongue!
Sweet sweet babyness —
Rora dressed up for some outdoor pictures, and that girl has style, but we ended up getting blown away by the wind.
And let me just end here, with a picture Aurora took of ME. She’s not bad, eh?
This was one of my favorite kinds of photo sessions. Lots of play, talk, food, and love at home with time on our side. Ah yes, I do love this!
Last year, I held a “Share the Love” session giveaway. Stephanie entered and was one of the winners! When she entered, she told me that she had guest-blogged at MiddlePlaces.com, where I blog with a host of other beautiful women, and that she had been reading my personal blog for a while. I was drawn to her story because like my family, she and her family moved across the country to Colorado just because they wanted a new start.
Anyway, I was really slow at connecting the dots, but I realized that I had been reading her blog because another Middle Sister, Heather, had talked about how wonderful her friend Stephanie is, and on and on. So these two people named Stephanie morphed into one, and I was getting to photograph her and her family. Seriously, life is pretty cool like that, huh!
Oh, and by the time we had our session, Stephanie had joined the MiddlePlaces.com group of writers, and since our session, her writing career has been growing and growing, and she even wrote a beautiful series on the MOPS International blog, one of which was about me. (Read it here.) Like I said, life is pretty cool like that!
OK, so onward with the session. Suffice it to say, I get a little involved with most of my clients and we typically have a friendship in the works before our session ever happens, or definitely by the time the session ends. Because we have fun!
I love families. LOVE! But the start of most sessions can be chaotic as we figure out all the details on the spot, location, lighting, etc. Plus, it can take some or all of the family members a bit to warm up. But we get there, because I love what I do and impatience is not a word I understand.
Even the shots I consider THE ONE, the image where everyone is looking at me for the traditional family shot, there are little Easter eggs of imperfect delight. Can you find it?
Here’s a hint: look at the smallest of the bunch.
Ah yes, he’s missing a shoe. Where is it? Who knows. It eventually found its way back on his tiny foot, but when I took the photo, I didn’t notice that detail because I was so focused on all the wonderful faces looking at me AT THE SAME TIME!
That’s what I love about family sessions. Also, I love this about family sessions –
I typically get one or two shots like this every time. It’s my favorite! Because life? Isn’t still. It’s always on the move, especially family life.
It takes a village to raise children, or at least, I believe we should have a village to support us, and that’s just who the Gates have in their corner — one amazing woman!
And let’s just shine the spotlight on the amazing kiddos, because seriously, they are beautiful beautiful beautiful and oh so sweet and precious! They had me laughing…and they wore me out. Mom and Dad, my hat is off to you!
The oldest, a gentle soul who does the most amazing impersonations of super heroes and cops –
The second-born, who is all kinds of personality and spunk –
I said, “OK, now give me a serious face.” And this is what I got –
The only girl, Little Miss Sass and Joy, with a smile that could light the world. And those eyes, oh, those eyes –
And then there’s the baby, so sweet and calm and GORGEOUS!
Sibling photos are such an amazing thing. I love to watch brothers and sisters of all ages interact with each other. You can tell a lot by how close they get, how they squeeze in or stand apart, how they joke and smile, or grimace and scowl. I think you get a pretty clear picture here of love and closeness. Dad and Mom, when 10 years have gone by, recreate this moment. And then do it again and again!
Brothers…oh my heart –
And let us not forget Mom and Dad, who head up this amazing family with love and laughter and sometimes a lot of prayer, amiright?
Not having “done pictures” in forever, let’s just say they weren’t exactly relaxed as I tried to pose them. “Act like we like each other? I’m confused!”
Ah, too late: your laughter and ease with each other gives you away!
This…is called Kid Wrangling. Mom is a pro!
All for these awesome moments –
Finally, this is real family life, right? Fully of silly and laughter and chaos. And it’s worth it, every single second. (So hang in there, moms and dads and aunts and uncles and grandparents and god-parents!)
Oh, and one more picture because, well, it fills my heart with laughter. The joy is just in your face!
At the end, the boys wanted a picture with me. (Only one of the shots came out.) I was so honored! And I think that’s a good sign that things went well. No one was crying at the end, everyone still seemed to have their hair and wits, and the weather was beautiful. All in all, a wonderful day!
I often hold contests to win sessions throughout the year on my Facebook page. If you’d like to win a session like the Gates Family, join the page and keep an eye out!