I have finally wrapped up my biggest session yet that involved both the growth of a lovely family, as well as growth in terms of myself as a photographer, and I’d love to share.
What started with a grandmother-to-be of a friend asking me to take some candid baby shower photos, this ‘session’ turned into a several months-long photography journey for me, following the family from the baby shower through to photos of twin boys at a few months old. Basically a total of five separate sessions, which covered the shower, a maternity session, a couple’s session and two separate baby sessions of twin boys. And among all that I also took photos of their 4 cats and their dog!! The journey allowed me to explore my strengths as a photographer and presented me with new challenges and types of photography that I had hoped to explore. I also discovered the areas where I need to learn more and improve. Ultimately I feel so grateful to have had this opportunity, and I feel so proud to now have all the prints and products to turn over to the new parents.
When a photographer is invited in to take photos during times like this, it’s not just an experience for the client or family, it is also a journey for the photog. I’ve seen (and personally experienced) the joy and hope that comes with expecting a baby; it was enlightening to see it all from the outside, as I documented it all. I still regret not having my own maternity photos done when I was expecting (or a proper newborn session), so this story unfolding gave me much to reflect on, and it became very important to me to make sure I treated it with the same care and hope as if it were my own photos being done. When I went through my own pregnancy and labor/delivery, I also didn’t have the fortune of having family here, so I was also in awe of this loving, supportive family being a part of it all (and thank goodness, since it’s twin boys!).
A few things that I think are worth sharing:
- Having maternity photos done is an intimate experience, and one where you are asking the expectant mama to share herself with you and the camera, to capture a time in her life that may only happen one time. I found it to be more fulfilling than I expected, and I appreciated the openness of someone willing to let me in to experience that. It’s a time when you feel vulnerable but there is something so beautiful and amazing about it, it’s just hard for that beauty to not show through in the photos. Plus this was the part where all the animals ended up being models too!! Their intuition about the changes to come was pretty obvious!
- Taking photos of a loving happy couple about to have a baby (wait, two!!) brings an infectious enthusiasm for life and was a reminder to me of how precious that time is for a couple together before babies take over! The love they have for each other just shone through. Being that I have sadly few couple’s photos of my own (pre-baby and otherwise), I can’t think of a better time to capture that connection and excitement and love on camera.
- Taking photos of twins babies is quite the bigger challenge than taking them of one, but can be twice as cute. Quite predictably, when one baby was asleep, the other was wide awake, crying or feeding (and then repeat with other baby!). This also was partly why I scheduled two sessions to do baby photos (with one being about a month later) so as to get enough of each twin being a happy, quiet, sleeping baby as opposed to being crying and fussy. As you know, we do like to pretend that they are always quiet little angels and preserve our memories of them like that! The twins are fraternal, so this also means they look different and are quite feasibly running on separate clock, and they also conspired to have ‘baby acne’ at different times to make my editing work ‘interesting’. It made for long sessions and required a lot of patience, but hearing mama ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over the proofs has already made it worth it. Just wait until she sees her finished prints, wraps and large collage standouts for their walls! Patches (the dog) made sure he continued to be in the baby photos…as if they could possibly show him up, eh?!
- Extra notes: thank goodness the internet makes global communication easy these days. We were able to stay in constant contact about editing and ordering choices while I was overseas in England. Although the process may have gone quicker without a vacation, illness, indecision over which images are favorites, being busy with the twins now that they were born (that’s a lot of work!), but since hundreds of photos were taken over all these sessions, I think extra time made the anticipation greater, my work more thorough, and I think I feel more accomplished with the results.
So tomorrow I get to hand deliver prints, a gallery wrap, a flash drive of images, a couple of 10×20 triptych standouts, two 16×20 collage standouts, plus a few surprises, all in some fun hot pink wrapping and I am just so excited. I have learned so much from this, both personally and professionally (and photographically), and I am grateful. Many many thanks to the Piha/Amato family! I can’t wait to hopefully take more images of the beautiful family again.
xo ~ K
“Growth is the only evidence of life.” ~ John Henry Newman