When it comes to childhood sessions, there is something so special about throwing the shot list out the door and following the children's lead! In fact, in almost any session with a child, whether it's a family session, mom and me, dad and me or one just for the kiddos, the shot list usually gets thrown out the door immediately. And it's not because the children are bad or behaving poorly; it's because they don't care about the session the way that their parents do and they don't understand the importance of the session the way adults do. To them it's simple; they had to get all dressed up (and keep their clothes clean), go somewhere to meet some lady with a camera that they probably don't know or don't know that well, look at her and smile even if they don't feel like smiling. I think that because we (adults) have such an understanding of what a portrait session is and why we do them and have our kids do them that we forget that to them it's kind of a silly thing that doesn't feel very important. So, when they don't smile and instead glare me down or make a silly face, they are just trying to make some sense of it and have a little fun. I don't think that there has been one single time that I have told a child to stop being silly or to stop glaring at me. In fact, I encourage it. Thats the beauty of throwing the shot list out of the door. I get to step into their world for a minute where things are so simple. I get to live, for a little while, with their perspective and at the same time I get to capture it. And this childhood session at the Windsor Ballroom was no exception! If you think about it, we expect a lot out of our children when we bring them to a portrait session. It's just not something most kids like to do and why should they. We bring them to the beautiful outdoors but expect them not to run around and explore. We bring them to these new rooms with all of this new stuff they have never seen and expect them to sit still and smile on command. But that's just not the way their minds work and that is why I love taking their lead (maybe with a little guidance from me and mom and dad) and just capture them as they are. Because those photos turn out to be some of the most authentic and precious moments captured during a childhood portrait session. Those in-between moments where they are just exploring, thinking, getting frustrated, that's when I find my gold. 

I would never have been able to guide little miss Cami into that perfect twirl with the stuffy or that stomp. She had to fall into that on her own. Don't get me wrong, I have some tricks up my sleeve and know how to get those pictures that mom and dad want.

With these two beautiful sisters, it got easier with older age. Miss Addie was so camera aware and ready to do what I asked. It was almost the opposite in challenge; trying to catch her in the moment unposed and in her own world was harder than it was with Cami. 

But if you know me then you know I am always up for a challenge. And like I said, I have some tricks. Sometimes I need to use those tricks to get posed portraits and sometimes I need them to get candid ones. But either way, rest assured, that no matter if your kiddo is ready to slay their photo op or is not feeling it at all, I am trained to get the shots and have lots of experience with all different kinds of situations. And one of the most important pieces of advice I can give parents with young children or even older children that don't want to participate is that I am not judging you or them. I have seen it all. And one of the most detrimental things to your portrait session is if you get stressed. As long as your children are being safe and nice, I do not care how much they challenge me. It keeps me on my toes and I love the challenge. 

And if we need to tackle two challenges at once, I've got tricks for that too! 

Erica, thank you so much for letting me photograph your girls. They are so unique in so many ways but are both so beautiful and sweet. I have enjoyed every second that I have been able to spend with them getting to know them and capturing their youth and personalities. Miss Addie, you are so mature, patient, loving and fun! Miss Cami, you are a breath of fresh air, strong willed, the best challenge and so fun! Girls, I love how much you love each other. You are so lucky to have each other and I am so happy that you have these pictures to remind you of that when you get older. 

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