I recently wrote about balancing out necessary consumption, when it comes to babies, with overconsumption. In short, there are material things that one really needs to raise a baby, while others are either personal preference or luxury. I also noted some of the things that I already owned before having a baby that proved to be a lifesaver.
Pictures are, of course, an integral part of modern-day life, what with the widespread use of smartphones. I can attest to the fact that my baby is the most photographed member of our family—husband, my parents, his parents, all our siblings, and I included.
I have heard some say that it is vain to hire a photographer to capture you and yours at your best. I, however, not only love professional portraits, I also find that it’s quite an experience to see special pictures of you and yours, pictures that have been taken and edited to look better than usual, polished, and, at times, almost magical.
When it comes to family photography, I always felt that it’s nice to have family portraits done. In a way, seeing the polished version of the family up on a wall is a daily inspiration to many. One of my friends had a family photoshoot in their own home when she was a teenager. They had cleaned up the home in a way it hadn’t been cleaned before and dressed up in their best yet still semi-casual looking clothes. She shared with me that those pictures always made her sit a little taller, even when in her PJs chilling in the family room, and that they seem to have inspired all four members of her family to be much tidier than they had ever been before.
Our Experience: Working with Toni Grant
Recently, my husband and I asked a talented local photographer, Toni Grant, to help us capture moments with our little one. During the course of this photoshoot, as two like-minded individuals tend to do, we yakked away about everything and anything—but mostly, of course, about the topic of maternity, newborn, and family photography.
Indeed, there is also something powerful about seeing yourself captured by the lens of a professional photographer, which tends to make you look really good as well as capture the emotion behind the moment. One story Toni shared that really resonated with me was how a pregnant woman, who felt terrible physically, finally was able to see how beautiful she was carrying a new life. Before, all she has been aware of were the aches, pains, and discomforts of a difficult pregnancy; now, she also saw the beauty and joy emanating from her. As you can probably imagine, it was a relief to those around her, who saw first and foremost the latter rather than the former.
This is not an exception, but rather, the rule; Toni mentioned to me how moms generally approach her for a photoshoot when they are feeling physically terrible, when they are very insecure (as they have never seen themselves so large), and when they think they are unattractive because of the weight they’ve put on. In fact, they are so focused on how terrible they feel (which of course is warranted!), but they don’t see how lush and full their hair is, the magnetism of their glow, and how beautiful they are, carrying a child.
The Experiences of Other Moms In my Neighborhood
Being plugged into the #MomLife in my neighborhood, I asked moms I would run into if they had done a photoshoot and, if the answer was yes, if their perception of their family was different afterwards. Some mothers were adamant that it hadn’t changed anything. A handful had noticed that they viewed their family as more than what it was; as one mom put it: “We are not just the mess that I clean every night, we are a handsome bunch of people!”
As for the rest of moms, they all thought about it and although their perception of their family hasn’t changed too much, they definitely could see the potential for it to happen. “You’ve planted the idea in my head!” one mom laughed.
As for us, my husband, baby, and I had a fantastic time with Toni. Our baby completely fell in love with her and we laughed our way through the photoshoot. And while we have a lot of pictures—and those of you readers who are parents know just how many…—none of them quite compare to the ones Toni took (to catch a glimpse, check out the family photography page on her website.)
And while such a photoshoot is definitely not a necessity when raising a child, for those of us who are able to set aside the budget for it, it’s a lovely reminder of the most beautiful version of ourselves. On some of baby’s most difficult days—when a mental leap is particularly confusing, when teeth are coming out, when a fever is burning—the beautiful, polished pictures that Toni took are a reminder that these moments will pass and the same beauty, a little eclipsed at the moment with normal setbacks, will shine through unabated yet again.
This is only the first in a series of posts inspired by, in collaboration, and by the lovely Toni Grant, whose photography skills are only a small part of the package deal that she is: loving wife, amazing mother, and someone who is becoming a friend. We anticipate the series to continue our discussion on the relationship between photographer, photography, and the growth of a family, as well as a number of other topics we are bound to touch upon. If you have any questions you would like us to share our thoughts on, feel free to either share them below, or email them in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you ever been part of a family photoshoot? Did your perception of your family change after the photoshoot?