When I post portrait sessions on my blog, all you see are smiling faces. Kids laughing in delight on Dad’s lap; kids wrapping their arms around Mom’s neck in a big snuggle; everyone hugging. You might think that you could never pull this off in a portrait session because your children aren’t like that. They don’t want to follow directions and sit in this particular spot so they can get tickled. Your kids might be loud. Or awkward. Or march to the beat of their own drum.
Well, what I blog is kind of a lie. And maybe I am going to stop presenting each session in this picture perfect way, tied up neatly with a bow. It gives the illusion that all these families are perfect and how can you ever pull this off? And let’s be honest- loud, awkward, and independent should be celebrated. Your kids are perfect just the way they are.
A photograph is a mere millisecond window. A single point in time that doesn’t show the entire stream of events.
No single family has the “perfect” portrait session. Perfection isn’t attainable! You can, however, show the idyllic portraits afterward and forget the messy that surrounds the magic. The two second smile that briefly flickers across a toddler’s face after a bout of tears- the smile that only happened because Dad sweated his butt off making monkey noises and burning 350 calories jumping up and down in a desperate plea for a laugh.
But the messy is beautiful, too. The dedication Dad has in making his children happy. The toddler who was crying because she didn’t want to sit in a chair in a strange field- all she wanted was to be held by her mother. Her favorite person in the entire world. That kind of deep love is beauty beyond words.
Outdoor portraits capture the idyllic side of family. The beautiful moments that may be fleeting, the magic in your unconditional love, those rare times when everyone at least looks like they are getting along (though it may be costing you 3 ice cream sundaes in bribes).
When I am up to my eyeballs in frustrations, when I have nothing left to give, when I am completely DONE and counting the minutes until bedtime so I can get a break- I like to look at these same idyllic portraits I have of my own family. A visual record of the strong love we have for each other. The moment of peace and beauty in a life of chaos. I can look at these portraits and smile. And breathe. And know that it’s all worth it.