We only have two seasons here in Charleston, SC. We have the summer, which actually takes up 3/4 of the year and is always very hot and very humid. The other 1/4 of the year, we have an unpredictable collection of the other three seasons.
Just a few short weeks ago, we had more snow accumulation than we had seen here in Charleston in decades. This week, we had beautiful, mild days with temperatures in the upper 60s.
I take advantage of these days as much as possible because you never know when the temperature will drop and the cold weather will return.
This week, my kids spent some time on our back patio drawing with sidewalk chalk. I took my camera out with me just in case some photography inspiration hit.
As I sat watching my kids, I found myself fascinated by Bug's hands. You see, Bug was a CHUNKY baby. She had rolls inside of her rolls. You'd never know it now though. She's tall for her age and lean. There's not a single chubby roll left on her. There's something about her hands though. They aren't chubby, but they still seem so small - a reminder of how little she is still. Covered in stamps from dance class earlier that day and adorned with two snap bracelets left over from her little brother's birthday party, she was the perfect picture of my quirky little fairy.
Then, of course, Bubba came running through barefoot, jeans covered in a rainbow of chalk dust. He was every bit my wild, messy boy.
I couldn't just pick one, so I submitted both photos to the project this week. I've really enjoyed this challenge so far. It's been fun forcing myself to look outside of traditional portrait opportunities. I'm looking forward to what next week has in store - both from my camera and the weather.
See more posts from the Life in 52 challenge here.
Photographers will often tell you that their most difficult subjects are their own children. I am no exception. My daughter loves having her photo taken; however, she doesn't want to listen to my directions and posing suggestions. She has her own ideas that don't always photograph well.
My son is difficult in a different way altogether. His 2nd birthday was this week, and I wanted to have a little photo session with him as I do with my children every year. Toddlers can be challenging to photograph anyway, but at least with clients, they are curious about the silly lady with the black box in front of her face. Getting them to look at me and my camera isn't too difficult. My own son is so accustomed to my camera being out that he probably views it as an extension of my arm. He doesn't care to look at the camera because he's just not that curious about it.
I knew I needed to go with a more lifestyle photography type of session. There's no way I was going to get him to sit still for more traditional portraits. He absolutely loves tractors and trucks and anything with wheels, so I really wanted to find a place in Charleston, SC that fit that theme. I originally planned to take him to where my husband works for his family's business because they have tractors and a backhoe. The timing and weather just never worked out for that though. I then remembered that the company where my husband's work buys their tractors is only minutes from my house. I asked my husband if he thought they would let me take our son's portraits there. He was confident they would and recommended a few employees to seek out when I got there.
The next day, after dropping my daughter off at school, we headed over to see the tractors. Not only did this wonderful company allow me to take Bubba's portraits there, but they also gifted him with a little toy tractor. He was in HEAVEN. He made this face and said, "WOW!" more times than I can count.
We wandered around for quite a while just letting him explore to his heart's content. I occasionally posed him a little or said something silly to get his attention and make him laugh. For the most part though, I just followed him around and captured his adventures.
These photos also worked out perfectly for Week 3 in the Life in 52 challenge. I edited this photo in both black and white and color but couldn't decide which I liked more. I posted both on my Facebook page and asked for opinions. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of COLOR.
See more of my photos from the Life in 52 challenge here.
If you read my last blog post about our big snow day here in Charleston, SC, then you know I've decided to participate in a weekly lifestyle photography challenge. I wanted to take on this challenge as a way to document more of these every day beautiful moments with my family, but also because this kind of photography really hones many of the skills I need as a birth photographer.
Birth photographers often have to work with little light or unusual light settings, which can be tricky. We also have to work around other people - finding the right angle and the right light without getting in the way. Finally, we have to find and capture the beauty in those hours and minutes without intentionally posing or creating it.
We're only in week 2 of the lifestyle photography challenge, but I am already finding myself on the struggle bus. Why? Well., there are two main reasons:
1) This week has been chaos. We are finally getting back into our regular schedule after a MONTH off. Winter break was extended due to all the snow and ice. This week, my daughter headed back to school and dance, and I have been trying to clean and reorganize everything from the holidays and the snow days.
2) I have a toddler in my house. While Bubba (my soon-to-be 2-year-old) provides ample opportunity for adorable photos, he also happens to be pretty destructive. I would love to leave my camera somewhere accessible, so I can grab it quickly to capture a moment before it passes. However, toddlers and expensive camera equipment do not mix. I thought I might leave my camera bag out, so my camera is still somewhat available, but apparently the toddler mastered the use of zippers this week. It seems my camera bag has to stay up and out of reach for the time being.
This week's photo actually came from Bubba's rummages in my camera bag. I was sitting on the couch with my laptop, editing an ADORABLE 6-month milestone session (seriously can't wait to share them with all of you), and I had my camera bag next to me. Bubba repeatedly tried to grab my camera from the bag. I was beginning to get frustrated with constantly having to pull him out of my bag when I remembered I keep one of my old point and shoot cameras in the bottom. I pulled it out and told him if he sat on the couch next to me, he could hold it very carefully. He's a pretty rough and wild little boy, so I fully expected to have to take it from him pretty quickly. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how carefully he held it and how gently he touched each of the buttons. It wasn't long before he lifted it up to his eye and tried to take a picture with it.
Thankfully, this photographer was ready with her own camera.
As an artist, I think it's important to take on personal projects. I absolutely LOVE working with my clients and photographing their families, but I sometimes get caught up in everyone else's moments that I neglect the beauty in my own everyday life.
This year I decided to participate in the Life in 52 project. One photo (or photo series) a week for a year. No themes or rules or requirements. It just has to be LIFE. This project is perfect for me because I love lifestyle photography. I've said it many times before, but while I love the most posed portraits I take for my clients, my absolute favorites always come from natural interactions and play time at the end of my sessions. Of course, it's also why birth photography is my specialty. Life doesn't get any more real than a birth story.
Now in my first week of this project, Mother Nature has given me the perfect surprise: SNOW! Here in Charleston, SC, we have snow accumulation about once every decade. The last time we had snow that actually stuck was in 2010 and it was only an inch or two. This year, on January 3rd, we got 5 inches of snow! Just to give you an idea of how rare that is around here - the last time we got that much snow was in 1989!
My daughter, Bug, has been very curious about snow recently and was so excited when I told her we might get to see it. I had to warn her not to get her hopes up because it's not uncommon for meteorologists to predict snow that never comes here. This year was the opposite. We were only predicted to get 1, possibly 2, inches. We were all stunned when the snow just kept falling well past the 2 inch mark.
When you're a photographer and you get an opportunity that only comes once every 10 years, you get out the big camera!
Without further ado, here's my official Week 1 photo for the Life in 52 project: Bug seeing snow for the first time in her life.
Of course, I can't just share one picture and be done. So enjoy a few more photos of my little family's experience with Charleston's big snow day!