Why a Mommy and Me Photography Session is My Favorite
Maybe it's because I'm mommy myself, but I absolutely LOVE capturing the bond between a mother and her child through photography. It's a bond that begins before baby even leaves the womb and it continues to evolve from birth through adulthood. Every chapter of motherhood has its challenges, which makes the beautiful moments something we want to hang on to forever. There is no bond like motherhood and the unconditional love a mom feels for her child. This is something I want to capture for every mommy.
Lucky Des Moines Mommy
In May I hosted a giveaway with Des Moines Mom for a free 30 minute Motherhood Session for one of their lucky readers. Anna was the lucky winner and was thrilled to be able to capture the bond she has with her (almost) two-year-old son. I sent my client questionnaire prior to planning this "Mommy and Me" Motherhood Session for her and she told me that more than anything she wanted a good photo of herself and her son looking at the camera with genuine smiles. As a mother who has raised two toddlers myself, I knew how much it would mean to her to get this "not always easy to capture" shot. And I couldn't wait!
Planning Her Mommy and Me Photography Session
When planning an outdoor photo session that includes a toddler, I always consider his/her bedtime as it usually falls before sunset in the late Spring and Summer months. As much as I love sunset sessions, I will choose a happy toddler over golden hour light any day. (Because who wants photos of a fussy, overtired kiddo no matter how beautiful the setting and light is?) I chose a location with thick, tall trees knowing they would block out the evening sun that would still be high in the sky at the time of their session. And even though we ended up with overcast skies, this is still the location I would have chosen to keep too much overhead light from creating unflattering shadows.
As for wardrobe, I suggested light neutrals or pastels as I knew they would create a pleasing contrast against the natural green background. I also emphasized that mama should wear something that makes her feel beautiful and that she can easily move around in as she would be doing a lot of holding, sitting, squatting and chasing her sweet toddler. (The dress she chose was perfect - and I love the added detail of the tie in the back.)
This Is (Almost) Two
During every motherhood session I try to capture individual portraits as well as the "Mommy and Me" shots. Since Anna's son was on the verge of turning two in a couple of weeks, I wanted to document this special milestone and his (almost) two year old characteristics and personality. Anna had warned me that he may need a little time to warm up at first. So when they arrived, I took some time to casually engage with him (without my camera) so I could earn his trust. He warmed up immediately and loved running back and forth between Mommy, who was positioned in our photo setting, and Daddy (who was standing behind me and there to help elicit some genuine smiles out of him.)
When photographing toddlers, my primary goal is to keep them happy. About half of our time together was spent letting this little guy run around, look at the photos I just took on the back of my camera, show off his "monster walk" and take some water breaks. By letting him do what makes him happy, not only was I able to capture what he's really like at this age, it was also easier for Mommy to scoop him into her arms for a few of those "looking at the camera with genuine smiles" photos that she really wanted.
From One Mommy to Another
I am absolutely in love with the final photos in this Mommy and Me gallery and I'm thrilled that Anna felt the same way:
"WOW!!!! Jill, you captured us perfectly and R's inner-spirit animal (which is not easy to do!) Blake and I are AMAZED at how wonderful these turned out."
Besides capturing spontaneous moments, creating connected moments and curating a gallery that tells a story for my clients, it is equally important to me to create a relaxed experience during the session as I know how stressful it can be hoping your toddler cooperates in front of the camera. So when Anna sent me this message before she even saw her gallery, it made my day:
"Jill - I just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you for such a positive experience yesterday. You were so kind and patient with R, and you also made Blake and I feel very comfortable. By far, this was the best photo session we've had R involved in. Thank you again!" - Anna
A wonderful experience + photos you'll cherish for a lifetime - what more could a mommy want from a session? Let's start planning yours today!