“These still life images serve as a daily reminder that my days are awash in chaos, whimsy, laughter and laundry (sometimes all at once). They capture toys and spills and puddles and piles. Sentimental, solitary moments of childhood ephemera. A gentle prodding to live in the now and stop looking toward the “then.” And though sometimes I pray for clean and quiet and still, I know all too well it will come. And I will yearn for tiny shrieks of laughter in my bedroom. For toys and loveys strewn about. For signs of a daily life well lived. For traces of my babies who once were. For reminders that Kids Were Here–and they were life and light and love.”
– Stephanie Beaty
- our relationship: years from now, when you look back at these photos, what i want you to remember is this special time in your life – not that you hired a photographer to take your “family photos” where everyone smiles at the camera and says “cheese.” i’ve learned that saying “cheese” actually changes a person’s smile from what might be a natural smile to a very unnatural, forced expression. so, you will certainly not hear me exclaim, “say cheese!” during our session. and, i hope, even if i give instructions here and there during our time together, you spend most of your time interacting with each another – not me and not my camera. a photo of you sharing a moment, smiling into the face of your child, is going to have much more of an impact and tug on your heartstrings than a photo of you grinning, saying cheese, and staring into my lens.
- activities: you’ll want to have a couple of things for your children to do so that they will be occupied and won’t be as aware of me snapping away. some ideas for “things to do” that are very, very simple are: baking cookies/brownies/etc., drawing on the sidewalk with chalk, playing in a sprinkler, swinging on the swing, blowing bubbles, taking a bath, doing a craft, playing in their room, even just reading a book!, etc. the idea is to have things planned but have them be things that you would be doing anyway – i want to be documenting what a couple of hours of your life would look like on any given day.
- living space: it’s a lot harder for us, as adults, to relax when someone comes into our home than it is for the kids. please don’t feel the need to clean or make your home look different than it usually does. i realize how hard that is to do but really embrace your life and know that i’m coming in to take pictures that capture your living space as it is – not how it looks 10% of the time (i’m not implying that your house is usually dirty…i just know mine is and as insane as that makes me, i cope by telling myself it’s dirty because i have children and that i’m present with them rather than spending my days cleaning. my dirty house is part of my now. if you usually have a clean house, you are my hero. and your clean house is what i will record)
- portraits: at the end of the session (expect it to be about 2 hours long – maximum – of me just being a fly on the wall as best I can), I will take a couple of portraits of all of you together so that you can have at least a couple of those to do with them what you will. Think about where you’d like these to be in/outside of your home that might not be super conventional. For example, if your bedroom is well lit, a fun spot would be to pile on your bed as a family. We can also get you all sitting together out of the front porch as well as the less-conventional spot – wherever that may be.
- lighting: finally, I will be using natural light so we need to stay away from really dark areas of the house that need artificial light. If there are rooms where light streams in, that’s where we’ll want to be, if possible. once we decide on a time, take note of where the light is during that time of day.