The Allen Family
Peterson Park | Lakeland, FL
December 9, 2016
The morning of this session I spent over an hour at my computer looking up articles entitled things like, “What to expect at your first photo shoot with a toddler.” The blogs that came up all described sessions with toddlers as whirlwinds, possible disasters, and difficult and disappointing. Or, it was described as an experience that sounded like I should prepare to act like an idiot, jump around, make faces, and sing weird melodies. (I only sang a funny tune one time, thank you very much!)
This session with the Allen family was anything but a disaster, difficult, or disappointing. Not only are all three of these precious people ridiculously photogenic, they have beautiful relationships with each other that shine through each and every one of these photographs.
Beforehand, I decided the goal of this session would be to simply have fun. My plan was to get family portraits first and then spend the rest of the time focused on this sweet little boy. I wanted him to just have fun and figured I would follow him around and do my best to capture the moments of laughter and play.
Well, you know what happens with “plans” and toddlers! We ended up walking around Peterson Park and following his lead, as well as the fading light.
Following his lead meant playing with leaves, swinging down the boardwalk with mom and dad, tickle fights, sweet kisses, and lots of running!
I’ve never met a two-year-old who follows directions so well! At one point, I showed him the back of my camera and said, “Look, it’s you!” He absolutely loved that! Every time I wanted to capture his smile, looking at the camera, I would say, “Cheese!” and he would respond with, “theese” and look directly at me with a precious, sideways grin.
When Hannah suggested meeting at Peterson Park, I knew we would take some photos of them sitting on a blanket in the grass. But at this point in the session, Hannah said she had seen some photos of families wrapped up in a blanket together. This bridge was amazing and the light from the setting sun was falling in the perfect spot, so I suggested getting the “blanket shot” here. The water was on one side of the bridge with the trees behind them and to the left of them–probably my favorite backdrop from the shoot.
As a photographer, it made me so happy for Hannah to describe to me exactly what she wanted from this shoot! Before we left the bridge, she asked me to take a photo of Fin with just their legs showing. I was actually about to do just that when she spoke up, but it was so encouraging for her to not be afraid to say something!
My goal from a session is for the client to leave completely satisfied and excited to see the finished product. If there is something specific they desire, the easiest way to make sure they’re satisfied with the experience, is not only for them to speak up and tell me what they want, but for me to be considerate and ask them what they’re looking for!
These moments are irreplaceable. Fin looks at each of his parents with such awe, they look at Fin with the utmost adoration, and they still look at each other with more love than one can ever imagine. It was such a privilege to capture this stage in their lives.