I love being the honorary photographer for my family. Especially now that so many little babies are being born and growing before my eyes! I love being an auntie. Seriously, it is so great. I can love on these little boogers and then hand them back when they get too sassy for me! Ahh. Bliss.
There is nothing that makes me happier than when my family comes to visit my home. I go through a lot of emotional days where I feel disconnected and left out of the goings-on back in Virginia. I love my life, but I love it even more when I get to share it with the people who know and support me best.
My sister and brother-in-law came to visit with their sweet chunk and asked if I could bless them with a session (also known as a birthday present for my sister). I happily obliged because my youngest niece is SO ADORABLE. She is at the stage where she smiles at everything...except when the camera comes out of course. Luckily we were able to get a few giggles before she reached her limit.
I love watching my sister adjust to motherhood. She now gets to experience how much different a family session is from a couple's session! Although family sessions can be a load of fun, they can also come with extra limits that just did not exist when you only had two adults to handle. I have seen parents cry during portrait sessions...not kidding.
So without hurting any feelings, my advice to new parents (or even seasoned parents) is to take it all with stride. It is more important to capture these moments with your family then not at all. Therefore, if your child does not smile the way you want them to, it is going to be alright. I promise. We will laugh about this later. And do not take this as, "we will never get smiles so suck it up now". Nope. We will do everything (without pushing anyone) to get natural and beautiful smiles! But sometimes, the stars are not in alignment, there's a full moon coming, they are hungry, tired, or just hate getting pictures done. Every child is different, so please do not look at Pinterest and say, "But this child is smiling perfectly!". Remember, that is not your child. Isn't that the point of pictures? To capture your unique and beautiful family? Even when they aren't looking/acting so perfect?
So, just like my sister is beginning to learn, you have to enjoy the session like it was a walk in the park. Just be yourselves, laugh together, love on one another, throw your baby up in the air if you need to. That is what creates beautiful portraits. Even letting your baby nibble on your face is more memorable and adorable than a red-eyed and frustrated parent or child. Take a breath and enjoy the fact that you get to sit with your family, taking pictures together. It is a blessing that a lot of people take for granted.
Thanks, sis, for always encouraging my craft and supporting me from the very beginning. I love you and your amazing family. You know I will be there to capture your little bug's life through and through.