To be completely honest with you, sometimes I feel like I'm a bit of a weirdo when I share that some of my favorite images from a session are ones in which you can't necessarily see anyone's face.
I feel weird because I know that, for many people, the impetus to get family portraits is to show everyone what they look like - literally. They're for grandparents, far away friends and family, and you need to show how the kids have grown, how you've changed, what you look like now. Often, I've seen that as much as you may have wanted to document your family anyway, often the push that makes it come to 'shove' is a grandparent leaning in your ear (or outright buying a gift certificate, which is a great idea by the way, haha).
And this is completely legitimate, especially so when family lives out-of-state, especially so when little kids grow so fast, and especially so when traveling to and from Alaska is...well, it's its own blog post.
Nevertheless, though, I will continue to advocate for nontraditional portraits of your family, because in my personal experience I've found that it's those unexpected imaged that are the most treasured in the years to come. We'll get the photos of what you look like, sure. I always make sure we get "the Christmas card photo," as I call it, for your parents. And then, for you, we'll get photos of what you are.
I think I continue to write about this because I wish I'd had more of an understanding of it going into parenthood. (At the same time, it seems to be one of those things you have to learn firsthand, so don't ask me why I keep writing about it!) As much as we hear "it goes so fast" and "the years fly by" over and over again, no caution quite compares to the personal realization that time really has pulled a number on you. We go from being on the receiving end of "you got so big!," "How did you grow up so much?," "It seems like yesterday you were a baby!" one second, to being the one to run into a former toddler whom you used to nanny (who is now in college) the next, and hearing the same words come out of your own mouth.
Time pulls a number on you.
And with that I wanted to share a recent favorite from a family session. This is two-week-old Theodore and his mama, and even though you can't see their faces I see a whole world encapsulated in this photo. In just a few weeks he won't fit in the crook of her neck like that. In a few months he might not nuzzle to sleep that way any more. And in a year he'll be a whole different animal, a toddler in the throes of mini-adolescence.
But every time his mama looks at this photograph, she has the time machine back to what life was at this moment.