A few months ago when we were in the process of moving to Florida, I had a lovely blog reader contact me. She was a photographer in the Orlando area and offered to do a photo session for our family when we finally got here. Last night, we met up with Jenn Hopkins and her sweet mother for our first ever family photo shoot.
I had stalked Jenn’s photography website and spent days staring at her photos of engaged couples, brides, weddings, expectant mothers, newborn babies (my favorites!), families, and even pets! She had just the style of photography that fit our family – casual and laid back, but still put together.
Yesterday, we were meeting at 6:00 pm when the light was best and so that left me all day to figure out what we were going to wear. Chris insisted that we didn’t match, which immediately negated my original jeans and white shirts idea. So, I flipped through some of Jenn’s previous family photos and saw that a lot of people dressed their child/children in bright colors and patterns and then the parents dressed to match the kid. I found Bean’s cutest pair of brightly colored overalls, matched gray and white shirts for Chris and I and called it a day.
At 3:00, I started getting ready. I had to shower, straighten my hair, then CURL my hair, get Bean bathed and dressed, make sure Chris shaved, packed the diaper bag, and find directions to where we were going. By the time 6:00 rolled around, I was already exhausted. But there we were. Clean (mostly), dressed, and ready for our close ups.
Jenn found this beautiful historic home in Winter Park for us. Its called Casa Feliz and it sits right on the Winter Park golf course. The house itself is Spanish style with a beautiful blue trim that matched what we were wearing (way to plan, Katie!).
And the grounds were gorgeous, too. We chose to stick closer to the house for our pictures, but I bet for bridal or wedding portraits they would have been gorgeous.
Of course, none of this matters if YOUR CHILD REFUSES TO SMILE FOR ANY PICTURE.
That’s right. Bean Man, who normally is all giggles and sunshine, decided for whatever reason that on THIS DAY – this day when we have an ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPHER with us – that he just didn’t feel like smiling. That meant that Chris, me, and Jenn’s mother were dancing around this gorgeous, elegant, quiet historical home in the downtown area of a very posh town like circus freaks trying to get Bean to smile. We sang songs and we danced and we bounced and we clapped and we promised all kinds of inappropriate things to Bean if only he would smile for just ONE picture.
We got nothin’.
By the time Bean’s portion of the photo session was over, I was a hot, sweaty mess. Which is just when Jenn wanted to take some couples pictures of Chris and I. So, I took my hot, sweaty self and smashed up against Chris and tried to cuddle “naturally” in public. Poor Jenn. She kept saying to me, “Katie, just be natural. Just hang out with Chris.”
You would have thought that I was being asked to do a porn scene with a complete stranger.
She kept having to tell me to get closer to him. Like I was afraid to touch him. It was awful and I’m pretty sure I’m the WORST person for staged “natural” photos ever.
And then came my personal head shots for blog and publicity stuff. It was just me.
And a giant camera.
You would think I would be used to it by now. I mean, we take pictures in our house all the time. But something about the phrase “head shot” made me turn into this plastic smiling creature from space. Chris kept saying, “What kind of smile are you doing?” and “Why are you smiling like that?” And let me tell you how relaxed THAT made me feel.
But you know what? When Jenn showed me some of the pictures on her camera, they actually looked pretty darn good! We looked normal. And even happy. Which, I am sure is the work of a good photographer because only mad skills could turn a hot, sweaty, non-smiling, non-touching family into a pretty picture of normalcy.
The pictures will be ready in about two weeks. Until then, I will be standing in my bathroom, practicing my smile in front of the mirror. You know, in case paparazzi decide to stalk me tomorrow.
Jenn Hopkins is a professional photographer in the Jacksonville/Central Florida area. For information on Jenn Hopkins Photography, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out her professional website, her photography blog, or follow her on Twitter.