I have always hated having my photo taken. Sitting in front of a camera I feel awkward and ill at ease. Over the years I’ve taken a few that would be worthy of contributing to the Awkward Family Photos website if I ever unearth them. (But do I really want those pictures of me floating around in cyberspace for the rest of time?) I have learned to just accept that at times pictures must be taken and if I really don’t like them I can choose not to look at them or share them much.
Now that we have a child there is more reason to get family photos taken with greater frequency. Last year we went to a department store studio. The pictures with me in them felt plenty cringe-worthy, so we chose one of just the photogenic Eli for the Christmas card.
This year my husband felt we should really use a family photo for the Christmas card, as it is no longer Eli’s first Christmas. So back we went to a department store studio. Eli has changed a lot since last year though. He is much more active, and quite wary of strangers. Not a good combination for a studio session. The stuffed bunny used by the photographer to elicit a smile brought forth tears and fright instead, and it all went downhill from there. We left without any photos to show for our efforts.
An acquaintance at church Mary Hurlbut, is a photographer so I spoke with her about our dilemma. We made an appointment for a photo session with her using the church courtyard and alleyways in that neighborhood as a setting for the photos.
The first thing Mary did before we began was to say a simple prayer asking God to help her capture images of our family that will show us the way He sees us. What a wonderful thing to pray! I felt myself immediately relax.
We began with a few shots of me so I’d have a profile shot for this blog and for my Etsy shop.
Then we moved on to the family shots. Instead of trying to get Eli to sit nicely (which he NEVER does, even in the best of circumstances) for a carefully posed shot. She followed him around as he explored the things that caught his interest, instructing us how to jump into the frame and arrange ourselves around him.
He is constantly on the move and she had her work cut out to keep up with him. Much of the time she was a bit out of breath! Instead of seeming annoyed that he can be a bit of a challenge to capture on film, she seemed to really enjoy him. What parent doesn’t like to see another person appreciating the little things about they so adore about their little one?
The end result is a profile photo that does not feel like a necessary evil (I actually think they are some of the best photos ever taken of me), a fun photo for our Christmas card, and many other pictures that wonderfully capture our family at this stage in our son’s life. I would not hesitate to recommend Mary to anyone else in need of a photographer. She is a joy to work with, and she takes photographs that will be treasured for a lifetime.
Mary also has a blog where her most current post features some seriously breathtaking nature photography.
All photos in this post are by Mary Hurlbut Photography, unless otherwise attributed.