A wise woman once said to me, “I want new portraits taken of me every birthday. Why? It’s simple. I will never look exactly the same tomorrow as I am today. I want to flip through the pages of my life, and see just how far I’ve come. I want my family to tangibly remember me when I’m gone.”
The Power of Love is unlike any other. It fuels our passion and drives our will to pursue it. It brings us together both now and forever, and makes us even more than we are. What I like about love, is that the more we share, the more we have. If you’ve been following my February series on love (exclusive to subscribers), then this is not news to you. Love is the universal language of positivity, strength, and harmony that the world desperately needs more of today. The three main points of love we focused on this month were Yourself, Your Space, and -this week- Your Family.
Why is your family one of the most important recipients of love in your life? Well that’s easy to answer:
“Family is arguably the most important thing we'll ever have in our lives. Whether extended or immediate, traditional or modern, large or small, biological or chosen - our family are the people we hold closest to our hearts.”
Most of our first memories are made with family. Maybe mom took you to swimming class, dad taught you how to ride a bike, or grandpa taught you how to hit a baseball. When you got older, you may have looked to your older brother, sister, or cousins for advice. These are the people you laugh and cry with. They are the first to celebrate your highs and lift you from your lows. The love you share with them deserves to be remembered for generations to come.
Whenever I go to a family shoot, I come prepared for whatever may happen, and I encourage my clients to do the same. Any ideas that come to mind, changes in weather, or unexpected challenges that surface bring life and identity to each individual shoot. The response of the subjects being photographed is what makes the moment worth the memory. One of my favorite memories was with a family of eight, where we decided to do a trust fall shot, and the baby boy essentially pushed them all down like dominoes. A truly meaningful image, featuring the symbolic power of trust and familial love.
Throughout the years, I have helped many clients come to fully appreciate the value of photography, and still, others may need additional encouragement. What I mean by clients who fully appreciate this value is that they understand that the beauty of their today is not the same as that of yesterday. As a professional photographer, it is my responsibility to capture the truth of the subject, and sometimes, I must help them embrace their current beauty in order to capture the perfect moment.
Mothers and fathers know to come prepared for a feature in their child’s portrait session with me. And it’s okay if they decide not to order the photo(s) this year, but a story that stays with me is one of the client who didn’t want to photograph in her son’s session because she didn’t feel “pretty enough.” I insisted that she was just perfect, and that this was a real opportunity to capture the moment of a lifetime. She soon passed away sadly, after an operation gone wrong. What really touches me is that the photo we took during her son’s shoot is the only professional photograph he will ever have with his mother, and thankfully so. We never know how much time we have left, so it is important for us to love ourselves and enjoy this life with the ones we love.
Your family photos are what you will have to look back on at the end of life - in reality we are all here for a short time. I hope that I encourage and inspire you to think twice about booking your yearly sessions even when you do not feel like you look your best! Time goes by and 3 years later you will look back and say, “Hmm I looked pretty good, didn’t I? Where was my head at?" The truth is that at the current moment in life we are all very critical of how we look - everyone of us, including myself. Celebrate life in all of its wonder. Love yourself, love your space, and love your family.