There’s no doubt I post a good amount of photos of my kid on my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Anyone who follows me knows that. That’s the reality of my life now, and it’s a wonderful, amazing, crazy change. Before, it was my daily outings, little photo adventures where I had all the time in the world, and my animals. My, my how things have changed.
While I do still get to have little photo adventures, still subject my poor dog to impromptu photoshoots, and have plenty of daily outings, I do have a little man with me for all of those things now. He has become the focus of my stories and everything involves him.
It’s a natural change and evolution in someone’s life when they bring a child into it. There is something to be said about just how much changes in your life, in your business, in the way you utilize the time and space you have. It’s not easy, but it’s certainly not impossible. There are ups and downs and there are days where as much as you want to get business “stuff” done, you just can’t. I will be honest here, that was the hardest part for me. Knowing that I couldn’t just do what I wanted to as long as I wanted anymore, and there were times when I was struggling with myself and felt extremely guilty. I was being pulled two ways, but mostly it was just an internal struggle. My clients completely understood and were patient and caring but I wanted to make sure I was still giving them what they deserved and in a timely manner, too. My child wasn’t going to be what suffered because I couldn’t get my priorities in check- He came first, obviously. It took a good 7 or 8 months to get a rhythm going with daily chores, business, errands, tending to him, and doing everything I did before, just a bit differently.
Learning all of this changed the way I photographed. It changed the way I saw. When I photographed weddings and watched that mother dancing with her son, I knew that God willing, I would be doing that with my new son at his own wedding in the future. There’s nothing like pure waterworks during a mother/son dance by the photographer, let me tell you, it’s an interesting sight.
When I photograph families and I watch a boy play chase with his daddy, I revert back to a spring Saturday where my husband is tossing my son in the fresh, crisp air and he giggles in only a way he does with his daddy. My heart is so full, and I understand that love with the families I photograph on a deeper, more intimate level.
I appreciate photography in a whole new way because of the full heart I have as a mother. I understand when a family session goes over by 30 minutes because a baby is hungry or just needs mommy’s hugs. I know that when a little girl is feeling shy and her daddy tickles her and she blossoms right in front of me, that it isn’t because shes feeling unloved, it’s because she’s just shy at first. I can feel the pure excitement, love, and joy that a mom-to-be has at a maternity session. So proud and glowing, she is carrying her future; a little person that will look to her for guidance, and love, and nurturing. There is something beyond words in those moments waiting to be a mother. A proud and slightly overwhelming feeling, but it’s at the top of the pack of emotions.
I know these because I have these. I am there. I am a mother and I know on the deepest levels how to connect as a photographer photographing these life-changing events. I know how important capturing these times are- and this isn’t a sales pitch on why I need to be your photographer. This isn’t even me talking as a photographer. This is me talking as a mother. I don’t know what I would do tomorrow if an unfortunate event were to happen and my photos of my family were destroyed. I honestly am not sure how I would be able to function. This is why I keep them both in print form and digitally. They are saved on hard drives and flash drives and in a fire proof safe- it’s time consuming and can be tiresome, but to me, this is my history and my child’s history and I want to always be able to see them. I print them out to see them now, and back them up digitally to see them later.
So you see, as a mother I’ve realized even more, the importance of photography. For myself, for my clients, for my family. There is nothing like having something to hold- which is why I print (and you should, too) and keep them in frames or on the wall. I offer this option for my clients as well now because not everything is about ‘having those digital files’ if you are not going to print from them. If you are going to pay for that option-PRINT THEM- put them in an ‘old school’ album. This isn’t for you- this is for your future. If you have kids, or are planning too- and even if you’re not- just print them, hold them, look at them-and not in front of a computer screen where most of our lives takes place these days.
As a photographer before I became a mom- I was invested in who my clients were as people and what they liked to do, but now, as a photographer who is also a mom I see things in a new light. I want to know how they interact as a family, what they like doing as a family, what makes them laugh, what their child’s favorite toy or activity is. These are new ways I connect with my clients and their children because I know the important things to them are not what new sales are happening at Pottery Barn, but what their kids like to do in the mornings and what their favorite cartoons are-these are their (more important) happy things now. As photographers we need to stay connected with our clients by not just finding out who they are, but what they are. They are moms, and friends, and sisters, and uncles. They are the person that can only know the right thing to say when their child is having a bad day, or that person who comes home to hold you after you’ve had a tough day at work. They are not just people who pay you take their photos because their walls are empty- they are people who allow you into their lives and their memories. Their sacred memories. As a mom, I know even more how fleeting time really is and how important documenting every moment is- even the hard ones-even the embarrassing ones (yes, Luke, I will have photos of you doing your thing on the toilet, the first time to pee-pee on the potty and yes, your future spouse will see them). A photograph is a still of your life, a frozen moment in time, a moment that way be repeated in a way at some point but never duplicated exactly. There is only one first time. As a mom, I now truly understand this importance and I will live on as a mom photographing my moments and as a photographer who has a deeper and better understanding of my clients’ moments. If we can’t have more time, then let’s at least have more photographs.