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Wishing for the unexpected

One lesson I learned early on, and quickly explain to my clients is this: when you have a little one at the shoot, the little one runs the show. Its their comfort level, their happiness.

Especially when they are the main subject, it is so important to make this a fun, happy experience. Not only do you, as a photographer, set the tone for future photoshoots (at the very least the next one), but you cannot hide their displeasure with photoshop. Now I am a sucker for a moody face, and big emotions being captured. But we want the baseline at happy.

My style has always been a mix of posed and prompts. My favorite images start as a plan, a vision in my head, and then I let the little one just be in it. Sometimes they naturally do exactly what I had envisioned. Sometimes they want nothing to do with it. Most of the times they surprise me with an amazing expression, action, or moment to capture in time.

The surprised look at hearing a distant train horn. Or the concentration on tracking the elusive butterfly. The need for true comfort from mom or dad. Or the simple art of looking beautiful as they view the world before them, hiding their face from the camera.

With this session, Miss Z initially wanted nothing to do with picking Wish Puffs and being on her own. She cuddled up to mom who hadn't planned on being in photos, but these moments were too beautiful to miss - and are honestly my favorite ones of the set. The surprise in capturing a precious moment in time never gets old.

If you ask my why I do this, I'll usually give a practiced response about capturing memories - and that is true, but what it really is, is capturing those moments. The ones that when she is grown you will look at and the sounds of quiet evening traffic, train horn in the distance, and birds chirping their evening song. The smell of the shampoo in her hair and the dry grass. The feeling of tiny arms around your neck, holding you with more strength then they look to own. And that heart busting love we often forget to just stop and bask in.

Its those moments that when she's grown and showing her kids what she looked like back then, that she will stop and put a hand over her heart. Remembering feeling that secure. Having no care in the world, and such a distant memory it can barely be drawn out. But she'll remember how you made her feel happy, loved, listened to, and safe. She'll look at those kids of hers and see how you taught her to love, because she holds them just the same way.

Photographer located in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada.

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