Dear parents of small children,
As your photographer, we need you to understand something. During your session, we are likely going to see your child break down. Those tantrums you were hoping wouldn't happen? They are all but guaranteed.
Please don't be embarrassed. Don't get angry.
We, too, are parents, and We've been right where you are. Their behavior doesn't reflect your parenting skills or lack thereof. It only indicates what we already know; they're children and rarely capable of maintaining their composure for long periods.
It is, in part, because you planned this photography session that your child is unable to be on their best behavior. When you think about what goes into preparing for your session, you'll get a better understanding of why this is.
From the kids' point of view, it's an exciting event, but excitement also means stress. You are in a tizzy, not only trying to get everything just right but also usually doing everything under a time constraint. There's immense pressure on the child to meet your high expectations, which they don't fully understand.
Then, after the quick meals, getting dressed, and rigorous attention to detail, there's also a road trip that is possibly more extended than usual. Factor all that in, and then the pressure to smile when, perhaps, your child is overwhelmed with everything going on; and you have a recipe for supposed disaster.
Here's what we want you to know, though: it's okay. Those meltdowns; they're a part of the process, and, as stressful as they are, they're what make the other moments so magical. It's a delight when the clouds break, and your child finds their inner harmony again.
As your photographer, it's our job to know when the camera needs to come out and when to help your child find themselves again. More often than not, they need a little love from their mom or dad, or they want the ability to run and play.
It's in these moments that the camera comes back out. Yes, these photographs might not be the formal setting you were thinking of when you scheduled your session, but they're often the ones that elicit the warm and loving memories you'll remember years later, because, when your child gets a chance to just be themselves, that's when their life, and yours, are in alignment. It's when they're getting what they need, and, by proxy, so are you.
So dear parent, when your child starts to break down, remember; you asked a lot of them just to get to this moment. If you let them, they'll tell you exactly what they need so they can give you the marvelous photographs you were hoping for. They may not say it with their words, but their behavior will tell you everything you need to know.
When the time is right, We'll have the camera ready. We'll document those beautiful moments in between all the hard work, and, along the way, We'll show you're kids that it's okay to be who they are because, at the end of the day, that's what you wanted; to capture the essence of your family.
When your kids feel loved and can play, the photographs that come out of that will be some of the best you've ever had. We promise.
Nathan and Hilary