Okay. Not really my last day. It was just one of those days. You know, the ones where your years of experience are put to the test and you ask yourself, "Am I really cut out for this?"
This past Saturday I put together some studio time at my friend's photography studio so I could take some one year portraits of my son, along with a few of all of my kiddos. It was my first time shooting in the studio, but I had been in there several times and prepped ahead of time for the session. I invited my brother's family to come along, too, hoping to get some images of them and all of my mom's grandkids together.
Things did NOT go as planned.
My one year old wanted to be anywhere, but where I wanted him to be. And to be honest, can you blame him? His #1 job in life right now is to explore, learn -- Be on the go on his chubby (newly) walking legs. I wouldn't want to sit still on a chair and smile either. Not to mention, the excitement of a mommy-son game of chase. That is why we went to the studio, right?!
The older kids were a different story. My two boys wanted to do one thing. Play video games. The end. Any interruption to that resulted in "Buuuuut Moooooom! I'm tired of you taking my picture!" Yes, I take a lot of photos of my kids. It's hard for me to not document every little thing about them. After all, they ARE my greatest creations and I am fascinated with them. I'm sure I'm not the only photographer with this problem...?? ;)
My (only) daughter wanted to be in EVERY shot. Or at least her legs, an arm, a swish of hair -- did. Through out my attempts of capturing images of her little brother, she twirled, swirled, pranced and danced her way into my view finder. Normally I would eat up those free spirited moments with my camera, but not that day. I was on a narrow path of what I wanted out of our limited time there and my patience was wearing thin -- paper thin.
By the time my brother and his family showed up, I had reached my limit. I was over whelmed and feeling (very) defeated. Upon opening the door, I replied, "Hello. Welcome to my last day as a photographer." (His response - "Good!" He's not one for picture taking and I may or may not have been stalking him with a camera for the better part of his life. I'm still convinced he'll thank me one day... ;) )
Setting up shots for my niece and nephew went better than with my own kids, but by that point I was mentally drained -- completely thrown off of my creative game -- and hardly up for the challenge of enticing a 3 year old and 17 month old to look at the camera AND smile -- at the same time. A package of m&m's later, I called it good. (Side note: I owe you a mini pack of m&m's Lisa and my eternal gratitude that you have that stash of candy!! ;) ).
Having the opportunity to do something that I am so passionate about is amazing. It's more than amazing. Many go through life, never experiencing the happiness that comes from doing what you love. That being said, my art is very important to me and not seeing a vision through is frustrating.
To quote Peyton Sawyer, "...if I can't be great at it then I don't want to ruin it. It's too important to me." (Yes, I totally just threw in a One Tree Hill quote -- hahaha!)
So what can I take away from this experience?
1) All bets are off with your own kids. They will always challenge you -- and that's not a bad thing. Challenges create growth and growth gets us closer to our true potential.
2) There will always be 'off' days. If every day was an 'on' day, we wouldn't get anything out of it. In the two hours that I was at the studio, I gained some much needed knowledge for future studio sessions.
3) Perspective - It could have been worse - I could have been working with clients. I'd much rather be off my game with my own family (as far as picture taking goes), then with a paying client. After all, it's been my practice on them that has sharpened my skills within my profession. (Not to mention, in all fairness, it was my first time shooting in the studio. Clearly I needed the practice. )
4) When all else fails -- candy really can save the day, or at the very least, salvage it.
Here is a peak of some of my favorites - from my first studio shooting venture... (All props courtesy of Lisa Wise Photography Studio- Thank you Lisa!!).