These are three of my favorite photos from my childhood. The first photo is of my brother and me on my first trip to the beach. In the middle photo, I had fallen asleep at my grandparents’ house on Christmas day with my favorite gift. That last photo? That photo is one of my most precious. I was crying because I wanted to go home with my grandparents, but I couldn’t for some reason or another. My own tears made my grandfather feel so terrible that he began to cry too.
Do you notice what’s missing? My family had its share of family portraits taken. They are great photos of all of us together. But they are not my favorites, which is why you don’t see any of them here. They don’t show the love my grandfather had for me (and vice versa), the amusement I gave my big brother when I felt sand between my toes, or the pure exhaustion that all the excitement of Christmas caused my three-year-old self. Instead, they show a smiling mom, smiling dad, and three smiling children. They don’t show the three pacifiers I usually had on hand at all times, the crazy way my oldest brother always held his fork, or the way I twirled in circles whenever I put on a new dress.
When I started getting serious about studying photography, I started seeing the term “lifestyle photography” mentioned a few times in the tutorials and books that I read. I wasn’t sure exactly what the term meant, and I have since found that there are really no set requirements that qualify photos as part of that style. However, as I started taking photos and learning more about lifestyle photography, I started to see that my own personal style tends to lean in that direction. My favorite photos from a shoot are always the ones that weren’t posed. They are usually the photos that were taken when no one knew I was snapping away.
Photos like this one, which I took while a wardrobe change was taking place.
Or this one, taken while we moved to a new location.
Or this one, taken while we were just plain old playing.
So, why is this post titled “My Heart?” I have been trying to describe the intense passion I feel for this style of photography to my husband lately, and I have found myself at a loss for words. I love taking photos more than I can explain. I love recording priceless moments in my own life. I love creating images that other families will cherish forever. But when I try to explain how I feel about lifestyle photography, the only thing that ever comes to mind is that lifestyle photography is, plainly put, deeply etched into my heart.
I will tell you why. But I also want to show you.
There are certain things about my life that I hope that neither my husband, our children, or I ever forget.
I never want to forget the way Gavin sucks his thumb while he sleeps, or the fact that he usually crawls into our bed in the early hours of the morning.
I never want to forget that he blows on his hands when he finger paints because he doesn’t like the way the wet paint feels….
…Or the intensity with which he studies his work.
I never want to forget Finley’s quirky little habit of folding his hands together, a habit I never noticed that I have myself…
…Or the way he looks when he first wakes up in the morning.
I never want to forget the worn out spots on the back pocket of all my husband’s jeans where he keeps his wallet…
Or the way our dog, Ollie, tries to get in the middle of every hug.
I want more than grainy iPhone photos that I may never print to show what my life was really like, and I want to be IN more photos like this myself. I want my boys to remember my terrible habit of biting my nails and my favorite pair of pink pajama pants. I want them to remember that I STILL twirl in circles when I get a new dress. And if they don’t remember, I at least want them to know that those things were part of our reality as a family. My photos will show a messy house, cluttered counters, and outdated cabinets. But they will show our life exactly as it exists. I don’t want to create perfect memories for my boys. I just want to preserve the real ones.
One of my primary photography goals for this year is to become more specialized in lifestyle photography. In order to do that, I need more than just my own family to practice on. The photos featured in this post were taken in a single morning while I just walked around my house with my camera in my hand. I want more than that to strengthen my skills. That’s why you will see a new pricing package here on the blog in the future with details on lifestyle packages, but if you are interested in letting me refine my skills on your family prior to that, please let me know. For a limited time, I will be offering a discounted rate on lifestyle sessions for portfolio building purposes. I would love to follow your family around with a camera for a while, if you will allow me. I know that sounds creepy. There really is no better way to put it….
Except maybe this way…
I would be honored if you would allow me to preserve the REAL moments in your own lives.