So often as parents we say, "Stay here, I'll be back in a second," right? Maybe we need to run upstairs to grab something and don't want our toddler clunking up eight steps in the time it would have taken us to run up and down past her about 14, waving hello as we flew by. For me, this time is walking the dog - either in the freezing cold, the boiling heat or simply when my kids whine I DON'T WANT TO GO. So, there they are, left looking at me out the window. Taking a photo of your kid with you on one side of the window and them on the other is a great way to show just how much we really are in two different worlds. Maybe they're on the other side having tons of fun without you, or maybe, like this one, they wish they could grow up fast and be an adult just like you. If you try a photo like this, put it on Instagram and tag #lhp-throughthewindow - let me see what you've got!
Recently, I took a brilliant photography course all about lifestyle photography. It's funny, as I went through it, it hit home so deeply, and I found myself going, "YES! YES! THIS! SO MUCH THIS!"
I've always found it a little awkward to do more formal portrait-style posing, and I have DEFINITELY found that children like traditional portraits about as much as they like sitting still and quiet during church...or on airplanes (unless it's just my kids loudly demanding for more gummies and an iPhone??).
So, as I took this course and realized that lifestyle photography was very real and very legit (too legit to quit, perhaps), I was so excited. I have always resonated with a more relaxed shooting style - one that guides people naturally into connection. Even back when I was shooting film headshots in Los Angeles, I would give people scenarios to embody instead of things like, "Head up, chin to the left, chin down, chin up, up, more down, less up, shoulder back, don't blink, or move, more with the eyes...." (Not that my Nashville, TN business headshot clients don't get some of that, but STILL.)
ANYWAY, I was so moved and felt so like this was ME at my core, that I went out and did a model call for a few families to help me revamp my portfolio to reflect this new style. I had SO MANY AMAZING FAMILIES respond!! It was hard to narrow it down, so I really went with what *I* needed in my portfolio to give it a look of different families all just, well, being themselves, really!
My first official lifestyle shoot was with Nayoon and her adorable family. She sent me photos of these ready-for-Gap-ad kiddos and I was like YES. Haha!
And then she wrote to me and say her husband just got an old Cadillac and could we maybe use that in photos! HELLO!! Um...YES?!
So, based on their little questionnaire, I choose a location for them. And, I have to say, I pride myself on location picking. I try my best to match the scene to my families, and I have had every single one so far respond that they either love that place or that, unbeknownst to me, it has special meaning for them. It's so awesome!
One of the things I LOVE about this kind of photography is the ease and the go-with-the-flow-ness (real thing). So, you know, if your previously-presumed-camera-shy son suddenly discovers a complete fascination with the camera and turns into a ham, running away from the "everyone sit and snuggle" shot, it's fine! It's totally fine, mamas! Because LOOK at how cute...
He just kept running back and forth from me to his family, giving me all his glorious 2-year-old expressions! (And probably loving that no one was making him sit and smile!)
And then there was his beautiful sister, who is 5, and really, when you're a girl and you're 5, things are a little more serious, right? You want to look beautiful and twirl and talk grown up talk. (I know, I have a 6 year old girl.) And so she did.
It's so fun for me to see how siblings interact. Having two girls (who are a little nutty...or a lot nutty, depending on the time of day) and their love-you/get-out-of-my-face relationship, I love being a witness to other siblings and watching them (and capturing them) simply play together.
It's important to me to always get a few shots of mom and dad together. I mean, that's how it all started, right?! Just two people and then BOOM, a baby. And, just like in life, the focus goes so much on family that we can forget to the core connection of mom and dad.
And then it's time to melt your heart. Mommy with her kids and daddy with his kids. Being a parent, I understand every look of love and look of "stop it" that parents give. And I know every look of "Mommy, you're the best" and "Mommy, you're so annoying." And I understand how our hearts are now running around outside our bodies.
Something that I find very important, too, is to get some shots of mom all by herself. Man, moms hold down some FORTS, don't we? And rarely, RARELY, are we ever in our own photos, let alone get a shot of us as we are today, a wife, a mom a warrior (cheesy, maybe, but whatever). Kids should have photos of mom to look back at. And mom should have photos to look at say, "Yes. This is me. I feel good where I am."
Liza Hippler is a lifestyle photographer serving the Middle Tennessee area including Franklin, Brentwood, Nashville, Spring Hill, Thompson Station, Belle Meade and surrounding areas. She specializes in families, children, babies, newborns and maternity. She would love to hear from you and be your Nashville photographer for your next session.