This session is one of my very favorite mother-daughter sessions ever. Why? It’s free-spirited. Free of expectations. Imperfectly perfect. I love it so much! My daughter is a senior in high school now and if I could go back and change anything about the photos I took of her growing up, it would be to tell myself to relax. Every image doesn’t have to be a perfect portrait, even though back then that’s what I thought. Now that her baby, toddler and little girl phases have passed and memories are even more sweet since she’s about to leave our nest, I’m gathering photographs for her graduation slideshow and realizing in this process that the images I treasure the most are the in-between and everyday moments I captured… the candid and authentic. Even if I captured them while photographing her yearly portrait session, I’m so glad I have the silly, unposed, imperfect images of her too. Those are so HER…who she was then and who she still is today. Don’t get me wrong, I love a beautiful formal heirloom portrait, but images where the soul of the person shine through are the true treasures. And this is exactly what I am required to find when I am shooting an editorial project. The one that gets published may not necessarily be the perfectly executed portrait, but the one that gives you a peek inside the subject’s soul and what matter’s most to them. I hope this post speaks to my brides who are mothers-to-be and those of you who are already young moms. Let your kids be free of your expectations at their portrait sessions. Free from the stand-still-and-smile-at-the-camera the whole time mentality. Freedom to roam and explore. Be intentional to let them be little. If you do this, I promise I will capture your child for exactly who they are and you will absolutely love the images.
I have photographed Colleen several times on her own for her work in the entertainment industry and she and her daughter together the last two years. What stands out the most to me is that Colleen lets Avry be Avry. She let her carry around the little stuffed animal and didn’t ask her once to let it go, because it made her feel secure and happy. She let her be shy in the beginning, just like last year’s session, until we warmed her up to the camera. She always warms up, but her mom never rushes it out of frustration wanting the perfect image. I love this session so much because of the story it tells about Avry’s personality, the story it tells about the love of a mother for her daughter and their sweet relationship. As I watched these images unfold through my lens I was reminded how quickly the little moments pass and that being intentional with our children and loving them for exactly who they are, not who we want them to be is the golden thread that weaves the moments together in their minds and ours.
[Note that this was not a mini session. It was a full two hour session which gave us plenty of time for Avry’s personality to shine through in the images and capture their sweet connection as we wandered on the farm.]