I just need to start off by saying how much this session holds a special place in my heart. Kari is not only an amazing wife and mother, but she's an inspirational woman all around, a phenomenal art teacher and photographer as well. We have known each other since college, and her daughter, Isabella, was one of the very first newborns I ever photographed. Since that day, I have had the pleasure of photographing Kari, Adam, and Isabella on several different occasions for their family portraits. But it's been a little while since I saw them last, and when I walked into their home with Isabella greeting me at the door with the biggest hug, I could have cried buckets of tears.
Where has the time gone, I thought? Since the day she was a newborn and even since the last time I saw them, it feels like it's only been a year at most. Yet someone now Isabella is this little person with a wild imagination of her own, a beautiful singing voice, and has a heart filled with so much compassion it pours out of her. These personality traits of a child are not always things I am able to see on a traditional family portrait shoot and that is why I love, love, love and firmly believe in Real Life documentary family sessions. Instead of being out at a park taking portraits for 60ish minutes, Real Life sessions give me the opportunity to spend time with families, photographing them in their home, doing what they love and do together all the time. For this session, it meant documenting Kari and Isabella baking cupcakes and playing dress up; Adam and Isabella putting together Legos; and time together with Isabella reading to her parents, all the while naturally interacting, enjoying the comfort of their own home. These are the memories I long to preserve in photographs.
But do you want to know something else I loved about this session? At one point not long after I arrived to their house last Friday, Kari said to me how excited she was to have photos around the house with HER actually in them, and how she always has these amazing photos of Isabella and Adam, or beautiful photos of everyone else with Isabella, but that she really doesn't have a lot of photos with her in them, especially photos of the everyday moments like this. It was sort of interesting that she said that, because she's not the first mom to tell me that. Two other moms have mentioned that to me in the last few months alone, and just a few days ago, another mom I know made a post on facebook sharing this link to an article about this very same topic. I could go on about this, but I'm just going to leave it at this (with a little shameless plug): taking photos of parents with their kids (mom especially) is a primary focus during all of my sessions, and there is no better way to capture the genuine real life moments than through a session like this.
So if you're still trying to think of the perfect Mother's Day gift, consider a gift certificate for a Real Life family session (I will have several available for purchase during the next 2 weeks)! Because having photographs of moments like this to look back on in 10, 20, 30+ years from now will mean the world not only to mom, but to everyone in the family.