where stories are told
This past Sunday, I had the absolute pleasure of attending the 2019 Clickin' Walk which is a photo walk orchestrated by Clickin' Moms and hosted in cities by local photographers. It's a chance for photographers of all skill levels to get together, take in the sights of your city, meet new people, get some great shots, and have a lot of fun! In our little group of about 10-15 we had every skill level represented from beginner to pro.
Our hosts (shout out to Chelsea and Camille!) chose for us to venture to the Oceanfront to explore the Vibe District of Virginia Beach. Being a local to Hampton Roads and having lived in both Virginia Beach and Chesapeake- plus driving all over and everywhere in between- I feel pretty comfortable with the 7 cities. I'm navigationally challenged (seriously), but I feel like I know our area pretty well. I've driven through the vibe district and I know the local businesses there. However, walking through with my camera in hand and zero other distractions allowed me to really see the district. I could take in the intricate details of the art murals on the walls, I could see the craftsmanship and the unique touches of the shops and cafes we passed. I could stop and admire how even the crosswalks were painted in joyful, bright works of art.
And beyond all that, do you know what's even more awesome? The group of women there were absolutely amazing. They were kind, supportive, funny, beautiful, and inspiring. We were there as a community, not to compete. And the end result was just amazing.
I have to say this though: Do you remember that blog I wrote a few weeks back on things that I wish I did more often? (if not, you can read it here!) I worked on my #1 Thing I Wish I Did More Often really hard at the walk! Spoiler alert: #1 is " I Wish I Took Pictures of Strangers More Often". I mentioned that I had a soul-crushing anxiety of walking up to complete strangers and asking to take their pictures. Well, ya girl did it. Several times in fact. Granted, I didn't get up close and in their face with it (baby steps...) but I still did it and I'm incredibly proud of myself. Growth, this is me- growing. I think a lot of my confidence in this area came from the fact that I was surrounded by a bunch of super sweet and talented women, but still- growth.
I invited two of my friends to come along with me that are hobbyist photographers. One enjoys shooting people, the other enjoys shooting scenes and details. I'm super awkward in front of the camera, but the walk gave me an opportunity to jump in and have my picture taken (for the sake of learning, of course) and you know what? It wasn't so bad. I kind of had fun (barefoot, naturally-what's a hippie like me supposed to do? Wear shoes?). Actually, my daughter was so excited to see pictures of me, she asked me to print them out for her! Excuse me while I go cry over her sweet heart.
Okay, real talk. The first like, 20 pictures of me were awkward and I wanted to crawl into my skin, but after that it wasn't bad at all. And the best part about it is, I'm so glad I did it. Truly.
Below are a few of my favorites from our walk. Comment which is your favorite or feel free to share your thoughts!
9/13/2019 0 Comments
Why should you schedule your next family session in your home? We touched on it a bit here in this article (and this one too) and talked about why your memories matter. But in this blog, we'll talk about why you shouldn't pressure yourself to go anywhere for your session. I certainly don't mind going on an adventure with you, I love it! But I don't want you to feel like you have to. I want you to know that your home is just fine and we can hang out there too.
I'm a mom of 3. We have sports. We have activities. We have grocery shopping. We have fun things to do. We have not-so-fun things to do. But sessions in (and around) the home, with the real life stuff, you don't need to worry about anything or getting everyone cleaned up and on time to an undisclosed field at sunset. When you schedule an in home session, everyone is more relaxed and we will get authentic emotion in every way- not forced smiles or forced interactions. And those candid, organic moments are the best kind, aren't they?
When you schedule your photo shoot to happen at home, a few things fall into place that inevitably lead to better images of your life. One being, when you are at home, you are likely more relaxed when it comes to your children. You aren't afraid that they are going to touch this or break that. You aren't afraid that they will break away and run (mom's of "runners" know exactly what I am referring to and the heart-stopping panic that leads to). You are likely more lax in your rules and your guard is down. You are in your safe zone. You are CHILL. And when you feel comfortable and safe, your kids do too. And by nature, when kids feel safe, they will explore and play. They will simply be themselves. And we can certainly appreciate that, can't we? Yeah, I think we can totally work with that.
I think a wonderful part of storytelling photography is documenting your daily life and uncovering the stories that are being told through an unspoken language. A simple touch, a glance over your shoulder, the weight of a baby nestled onto your chest, the tiny hand being held, the arms that hug your knees so tightly. This is what your life looks like right now. This isn't a picture of an idea- this is a tangible expression of your life. This is where you are. And your story (where ever you are in that story) is worth telling. We are documenting and preserving the now. The story right in front of us. These will become your most treasured memories and I promise to show them in a beautiful way.
Lastly, and I think most importantly, is that taking pictures in your home will one day remind your children of what home felt like. There is an intimate familiarity in your home, you can't just recreate that in other locations. Looking at a picture can evoke senses and feelings, they'll remember what it smelled like, what it felt like to walk through the door. They will remember the hum of the refrigerator and background music that made up the soundtrack of your lives there in that space. It will stir feelings of what it is to be loved and of the home they spent their days within. And do you know what's even better? These pictures are going to want to make them tell STORIES about their childhood. Looking at just one picture can spark an almost forgotten memory and breathe life back into it.
"See this blanket here? Mom always kept lots of quilts. She loved them. But we used to drag you all around through the house on a "magic carpet ride" and the dog would chase us all over! You loved it and would cry when we stopped You must've been around 2 years old or so!"
"Did I ever fall off?"
"Of course you did! That's what made it fun! You were the baby- you were just along for the ride!"
And to me, that's priceless.
If you'd like to discuss your next photo shoot or get one scheduled for your family, click here or on the contact tab above.
I offered these sweet sessions last year and loved them. To be a mother is one of life's greatest joys, but so often there's no proof of mom other than a few awkward selfies or slightly blurry cell phone shots because you are always behind the scene. You're kissing boo boos, nursing the baby, folding laundry, you're the one taking the photos, making sure their memories are documented in some fashion. It's so important for your kids to see their mama loving them in pictures.
So, this one is just for you mama.
These one of a kind sessions are tailored to fit your needs, to tell your story on your terms. A story filled with emotion, connection, and love. A portrait of motherhood, unique to you. What story is it you want to tell? Quietly nursing the baby or a stroll to the cafe down the street? Brunch at your favorite restaurant? A walk in the park or a morning visit to the library? Or would you like a studio session with a boho chic feel? The choice is up to you and I have put together some pretty sweet options for you.
Mornings with Mom On Location: A one hour storytelling session with a small gallery of images to download (10-15) at the location of your choice. A keepsake mini accordion album (3x3) is included or an elegant professionally matted 5X7 print of your choice (final size 8x10). These storytelling sessions are priced at $225.
Mornings with Mom In Studio: Up to 1.5 hours in a boho chic studio located in Suffolk, Virginia with a small gallery of (15-20) images to download. A keepsake mini accordion album (3x3) is included or an elegant professionally matted 5x7 image of your choice (final size 8x10). These in -studio sessions are priced at $350.
These sessions are only available during the calendar school year (9/3/19- 6/5/19) and only during the weekdays between the hours of 8:30am and 1:00pm. A retainer fee is required to book and will apply to the overall cost of your session.
To book your session, click here or simply click on the contact tab above.
Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.
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