I have two strong willed, direction defying, energetic girls. A morning where both of them eat enough, brush their teeth, AND put their clothes on without major negotiations before we madhouse out the door is as common as a lunar eclipse! If I wasn’t an experienced lifestyle photographer and someone who didn’t learn some massive lessons after our first family session, I would have resigned myself to taking pics of them on my own without any of me in them!
When my baby was about 6 months and my oldest was 3, we booked our first session. I remember being racked with anxiety thinking about how I was going to get my girls into their dresses, what to do if one of them had tantrums during the shoot…fear…oh no…what if…etc. etc. Once we started, I had one too many moments where I got caught in trying to get my 3 year old to actually look at the camera and stay within 10 feet of me (she’s a runner in any non-contained space). My efforts to get my girls to “cooperate” didn't exactly ruin the experience, but made it less enjoyable. Even when we got our gallery (which had many great shots), it was layered with memories of stress from that day.
For my second session a year later, I went into it with a completely different attitude and one I know to be vital in making sessions a success when I’m behind the camera. I simply LET GO. I didn’t stress about what they were going to wear, even giving in when my toddler wanted to wear dirty pink crocs…a picture of her screaming when we tried to take them off continues to be a favorite! I focused on playing, following my kids leads, and just tickling my 4 year old (she loves touch and to be tickled), all of which led to not only a stunning gallery of smiles and laughs, but fonder memories when I see the pics on my fridge. The overall set of images also felt more like "us" as we were never in positions we wouldn't normally be in when playing inside our house. This experience fueled my own desire to set my families up for success (mentally and logistically), which you can read about in an upcoming post!