{Final Grow with Me} Westfield, New Jersey Photographer

The final Grow with Me is somewhat bittersweet. I have been invited in to the family’s life, and it is sad to see the sessions come to an end! I know that I’m establishing life-long correspondence with many of them, which is evident when we meet that one last time.  “Hey Meg! How are you? It is so nice to see you again!” And it really is.  I love being able to catch up with them, and by session #4 everyone is *so* relaxed and knows the routine!

It was especially wonderful to have the last session at the beach.  We met up at Sandy Hook.  This beach is awesome in the summer, and magical in the off season!

I also have to say that this is the model family to have a session with.  One of the main reasons why I love getting together with them so much is that they allow their son to live in the present, they give him the freedom to explore, and he is able create beautiful spontaneous moments all on his own.  It is also so helpful that they are able to talk about me to their child leading up to the session.  “Do you remember Meg?  You are going to LOVE her! She is so much fun and she always has so many ideas of fun ways that we can play!”

His parents sat down together (with a little guidance by me from where to sit on the horizon and spacing), and then we encouraged him to interact with them.  I whispered in his ear, “can you sneak, quiet as a mouse, behind your mom and dad? I have an idea, after you are behind them, you could jump up and surprise them!”

The other thing that I love about this family is they always allow me to interact with my subject.  This may seem like a “no-brainer”, but it is not.  I always ask that my clients please do not call to their child while I am shooting, I ask that they please allow me to establish a relationship with the child.  When mom and dad call to the child, three things happen.  The first is that the child won’t look at me or my camera, they will always look off to the side, over my head, etc.  The second thing that happens is that a wall is put up between me and my subject.  So much energy is being put out by mom and dad that all focus is shifted to them and the child begins to ignore me and focus on them, even when they are not calling to them.  The third thing that happens is the child will get overwhelmed and tired quickly due to the increase in energy, and my window to shoot diminishes.

The images that I walk away with are much more sincere when the child looks into the camera on their own and feels comfortable interacting with me.  When the child smiles because they feel happy, not because they are told to smile.

This family may encourage their little boy to look in my direction every now and then, but never say “smile at the camera!” For example, in the image below, dad was looking out at the ocean with his little boy.  He quietly said, “Hm. Have you seen where Meg went?” which encouraged his son to look over at his should at me for a split second.  Then they went back to looking at the ocean.  The moment passed by in the blink of an eye, but it was the perfect way for me to catch this little look!

And of course the best part is that they all love to play, and are all for my crazy ideas.  And I can’t begin to tell you how happy it made me that I was able to capture their first time flying a kite together :)

And there really is nothing quite like running around with the wind at your back, splashing in the surf and feeling the sand in your toes!!

And just a little outtake.  Sorry, {R}, I couldn’t resist!!!

Thank you so much to the {C} Family for hiring me to capture these moments for them.  It really was a pleasure, and I am looking forward to working with you again!