I received a message from my neighbor Rachael last week asking if I would photograph her daughter for her 3rd birthday. I've told you that photographing children always makes me a little nervous but I knew I wouldn't be nervous with this little girl.
First of all, she feels like family to me. When I moved to my house 20 years ago, my neighbors across the street were an older couple, Mr. and Mrs. Allen. Mr. Allen was always outside his garage, working on something. He was so friendly, had a huge smile and ready to help if asked. I didn't get to know Mrs. Allen at first, she was inside most of the time, but everyone in the neighborhood loved Mr. Allen. And then suddenly, Mr. Allen became sick and unexpectedly died. We were all so sad. After the funeral, I went across the street to take food to Mrs. Allen. She invited me in and I realized for the first time that she was one of the sweetest women I had ever met. She and I became fast friends and I looked forward to our visits. I always made sure that I had at least an hour of free time when I visited her because she was so interesting to listen to. Everytime I visited her, she gave me a chapter of her life. I loved listening to her stories of the "old days". Her favorite stories however were of her son and two grandsons. She would light up when she spoke of her son. She admitted they spoiled him but said "that's what you have them for - to spoil them." I loved Ms. Allen. Over the years, she too became ill and eventually passed away. I miss her to this day.
After she passed away, we wondered what would happen to their house. We were thrilled that her grandson BJ moved in. I immediately introduced myself to BJ and told him that I loved his grandparents and Timmy and I would always be here if he needed us. BJ was young and full of life. He frequently had bar-b-ques and shrimp boils for his friends. We got to know many of his friends and they were all great young guys as well.
Then BJ met Rachael. What a small world. Ok - follow this - Rachael is the granddaughter of my cousin's husband Rudy. Got that? So although she is not related to me by blood, she is by marriage. How cool is that? They quickly fell in love and were married. Today they have two beautiful daughters.
So you see, this sweet little girl is like family to me. That makes me comfortable with my photo shoot.
She was so excited - all dressed up - with her hair curled, pretty jewelry and boots. I started the photo shoot and her idea of smiling was to squinch up her face and eyes tight. It was hilarious. We told her to open her eyes and she would open her eyes and mouth wide. She was trying so hard to please us.
I started asking her questions and she is a little story teller - just like her great grandmother - Mrs. Allen. Although I don't have a whole bunch of perfect photos of her smiling a the camera, I do have a lot of photos that capture her personality and beauty. I was very pleased with the photos. This tiny little girl gave me a sweet hug when we were done. I received a text from Rachael when they got home. She told her daddy "I did my very best. I'm so pretty."
That makes this photo shoot completely successful. I love it when my client leaves me feeling pretty.