So I have been meaning to write this post for awhile. I first had the idea after working with several families and during their sessions, their kids just weren’t feeling like having their photos taken. The parents get stressed and apologize repeatedly, reassuring me their children are usually well-behaved and all smiles. I assure them that it is ok, that theirs are not the first kids I have worked with that have off days. They all do, mine included. I then gained this experience first hand and therein comes the personal side of this post.
I know I have written before about the wonderful network of photographers that I am a part of through Amanda Hedgepeth. I decided this past Fall that I wanted to take the plunge and have our family photos professionally done. I know, its what I do, so I should value it, and I do. I really do!! But, like many of you think, it is an expense and one that sadly doesn’t always make the priority list. Well, I decided we needed to make it happen.
So I started thinking of who I wanted to have take our pictures. My cousin had taken ours several times, and she did a fantastic job, but I wanted someone I knew in the profession. I contacted Debbie with Debbie Laughlin Photography. I had talked with Debbie online through our network, and she was so kind and helpful. Besides, I loved her work. So I contacted her and we set a date. I started dreaming of our perfect session. Laughing and smiling and all the beautiful photos we would have.
Well, fast-forward and our session date, the day after Steven’s birthday, the weather was 34 degrees and windy. I was still set on us doing our session though. So I dragged my husband and our son out to Fort Story and the Cape Henry Lighthouse. We were sitting in the car letting Steven eat his snack before the session and Mike asked me “Do you hear that sound?”. I listened and asked if it was a jet? He said “No, it is the wind!”. Yikes! I should have called it off. But, I had my heart set that we were going to have our photos taken and we had no other time available for the rest of the year! So Debbie and her sweet husband showed up all bundled up ready to brave the cold and wind.
It was a disaster. Not on Debbie’s part by any means. She was awesome! We were just so cold and the wind was blowing and making it worse. I wanted us to look nice, so in a complete moment of mommy failure, I didn’t put a jacket on Steven. He was freezing. He got so upset and cold that he couldn’t recover. He was crying and tears were streaming down his face. We tried everything to get him to smile. We even all bundled up, but it wasn’t happening. Debbie was so patient and kind to us. She reassured us that it was ok and that she didn’t mind. She hung in there with us and tried her best, but Steven just wasn’t having it. So she kindly told us that she would give us what she had and that we could reschedule to finish out the session. We didn’t even last 30 minutes out there!
So, this is a lot longer than I anticipated it being, but what I want to get at is that it is ok if your kids are having an off day. Like Debbie, I love what I do and I love working with families and kids. It isn’t for everyone. Not every photographer does family and children sessions. I do and I love it. I love capturing the special moments and meeting all the little people. If I didn’t like working with families and children, I wouldn’t do it.
So parents, it is ok if your kiddos are off. I will do my best to work with them and try to get them to relax and be their usual charming selves. I am patient and understanding. I won’t get upset and its ok. WE all have our off days. But, if they get to the point where they just aren’t having it, that is ok to. We can always reschedule. Your session is supposed to be fun and enjoyable and a great memory. Besides that is what we are doing. Creating and capturing memories. They should be pleasant and happy ones. Being a parent comes first and your children’s well-being comes first. We can always reschedule for another day!
I want to give a big thank you to Debbie for being such a patient and kind person and photographer. She is definitely a role model for me as a family and children’s photographer. I am so grateful for the beautiful photos she did capture for us. And, we will always be able to look back at our session as a learning lesson in parenting. Sometimes you really do have to put your kids above your wants and dreams.
This is probably one of my favorite photos of us ever! I love that you can tell he is smiling at Mike!
All photos taken by Debbie Laughlin Photography.