I SEE you. I HEAR you. And I totally FEEL you.
You spend hours planning for your family’s session with me. Planning the perfect outfits, making sure the kids had great naps and have full bellies (maybe even your hubby, too!). All in hopes for those perfect memories and moments that will grace the walls of your home and your memories for years to come. It’s stressful, I know this. And I appreciate every ounce of effort you put into this moment. I want you to love your images and our time together. I want you to feel completely at ease and comfortable. But most of all I want you to see how beautiful you are, exactly the way I see you.
But when you say things like:
“You can photoshop (my belly, my arms, my chin), right?”
“Just put the kids in front of me to hide my ___”
“I’d rather not be in the photos this time”
It truly breaks my heart. And this is what you need to hear. GET IN THE PICTURES.
I said it! Just get in the pictures already! You are you, embrace it! I understand that you are your own worst critic. That you see all your flaws. But your kids (and your husband) love you just the way you are! Your kids WANT you to be in the pictures WITH THEM! They don’t care about the extra weight you’re carrying from your last baby or the holidays. They don’t see the “bad angle” that shows a little double chin. They don’t see the few extra wrinkles you’ve earned since last year. They don’t see any of that when they look back at photos of their childhood. They see their Mom, who means more to them than anyone else in the world, playing with them, loving on them, tickling them, playing with them- creating memories with them that will last their lifetime.
But I see a different you. And I think you are breathtakingly beautiful. Seriously! Not because you have the perfect body, perfect clothes, or perfect hair and makeup. There is a tremendous amount of beauty in motherhood. I will never get over it. I love the way you so fiercely love your kids. They way you look at them, the way they look at you. The way they snuggle into you when they get a bit camera shy. The way they cling to your legs when a big wave comes and scares them. The way they need your comfort and love. These are the exact moments I am studying and waiting for. The REAL connections, bonds and love.
I promise you, in 10 years, 20 years and beyond you will not look back on these photos and wish you had been a few pounds lighter. Or wish that you had a few less wrinkles. You will miss these moments, the way your babies felt in your arms, the way they snuggled you and needed you.
In 20 years your babies will be grown and they will cherish these pictures, I promise. They will be so thankful you took the time to capture their childhood. And made an effort to be a part of it. They won’t care about your weight or clothes, they will be proud of you and remember how great of a mother you were.
They will share these images with their children, your grandchildren. The grandkids will marvel over how beautiful Grandma was when she was younger. Because she was! Look how much fun she was having, playing tag, jumping waves, swinging babies and laughing. So carefree, so full of love and so beautiful. They will be so thankful for the legacy you chose to be a part of and leave behind.
And this is when the true beauty and importance of a single photo will be realized.
I will admit this has been a personal struggle for me over the years. But I promised to make an effort, not only for my kids, but for myself. And my children deserve to have pictures of them with me in them. I hope you will do the same friends <3
Laura Jennings Photography LLC, now in its 7th year, is a full time, full service natural light photography business. The artist, Laura Jennings, is a well-known destination wedding and portrait photographer and serves the Northwest Florida Panhandle as well as points unknown around the world! Laura specializes in beach weddings and family sunset photography and in her free time is a volunteer photographer for the Magic Hour Organization offering free photography services to terminal cancer patients and their families.
Laura was a 1st place winner in The 2016 Shoot & Share photography contest with over 225,000 entries from 120 countries and over 30 million votes. Locally, she is an extremely busy wedding and family photographer and was voted Best of Bay for 2016. Laura is periodically a guest blogger for The Perfect Pose and has been published in numerous newspapers and magazines such as Florida Today and The Circuit. She has even collaborated with a major television network on a new reality show concept! Laura is a member of PPA, APA, her local Chamber, and sits on the board of Magnitude Photography – A monthly fee based photographer referral service that matches quality photographers with clients nationwide.