One of the most common things I hear from parents who inquire about photos is: My kids won’t sit still for photos.
And, I’m sitting behind my computer thinking, Great!
I don’t want your kids to sit still for photos, and I’ll never expect them to.
I’m inspired to tell an accurate, authentic story of family. With two toddlers, that means there is not much stillness. And so, perhaps, in your fast-paced reality, you’ve failed to notice the beauty in the chaos. That’s where lifestyle photography comes in.
The past few couple of senior portrait sessions, the parents have requested to bring the siblings, too. I love that because once a kid graduates and moves out, the family just isn’t the same.
I loved seeing the bond between these two brothers.
They were enamored by the Fort Worth Water Gardens and wondered if it might be a good location. I hadn’t photographed there in a while, which made it feel fresh. There was a time when all I ever did was shoot at golden hour with a single camera and a single lens. I think that’s how many photographers start out - learning about how to master a camera and utilize natural light.
I brought 3 cameras to this session and tried to consolidate with just 3 lenses. I had a flash just in case. But, all in all, I felt so “light.” As much as I love studio work, it’s fun to take a photo adventure every now and then.
I never quite know who’s story I’m supposed to tell on this blog - yours or mine? Perhaps this is one is ours; it belongs to all of us because we belong to each other and we’re all just walking each other home. Those are the words of Ram Dass, not my own.
Most of the work I do these days is commercial in a studio. I’m manipulating the light with diffusers and metering every few minutes or so. Hopefully, everyone’s been to hair and makeup that morning. I love curating images to help people in their careers.
I try to stay as grateful as humanly possible, even though - if I’m honest, and I try to be - making a living as a photographer in an industry many say is saturated isn’t always easy. Sometimes I wonder…when I factor in healthcare, taxes and expenses, and depreciation - of my spine, neck, shoulders, and equipment - as well as all the time spent answering emails, culling images and editing images, delivering galleries, and ordering prints…is what I do still worth it? Granted, I crunch numbers quarterly, if not monthly, to ensure my business is financially sustainable. So, I suppose what I’m really wondering is if my work has value? Is it important? Is it making a difference in my community?
I hope so. Because, I love what I do, and I understand how unique and fortunate I am to do so. This brings me full-circle back to gratitude -
For the clients who continue to hire me and forward my newsletters and share my posts and say “Oh, you have got to work with Amber.”
For the moments I get to witness with a camera - moments so poignant, I’m laughing or crying…both…behind my lens.
For my friends and family - for, I can remember when they were the only ones asking me to photograph them.
This isn’t the usual stuff I post. I want to share some images from this adoption ceremony - not because it’s my best work…it’s not…but because I feel it’s some of my most meaningful. I remain in awe of portraiture as a medium through which to tell a story. And, these images tell a story of love and lifetime friendships and adoption, grief and redemption.
I would suggest that anyone who’s feeling down and disenchanted go sit in the courthouse on the Friday of the month when they finalize adoptions. They’re much the same every time. Crowds of people with children await the judge to arrive. The air feels full of anticipation and anxiety. Like cattle, we file into the courtroom which is always standing room only. A family’s name is called. The attorney goes before the judge with you and your soon-to-be-forever child and a few (or 40) of your chosen family. People cheer and cry, then cry and cheer. You take home a stuffed animal, which is a small consolation compared to the child for whom you’ve prayed.
I’ve been to Tarrant County adoption finalization ceremonies on three occasions now. First for their first son about 3 years ago.
Then for my own son about a year and a half ago.
And now, for their second son.
I hope I go again.
Whether I go as a photographer standing behind the judge or a parent standing before him, I’ll leave the details up to Divine will.