The importance of being photographed

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A New Jersey Family Photographer talks about the importance of being photographed.

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I know first hand how it feels to photographed.  I understand the mix of emotions our client’s experience.   Some clients say its nerve wrecking and exciting at the same time to be photographed by Cate and I.  Some feel liberated, but shy initially…  Some feel empowered and say it was life changing.  I understand all of these emotions.

How you might ask?

In January, I had the honor of being photographed by world-renowned photographers David Edmonson and his son Luke Edmonson from Texas.  Yes Texas… but our photo shoot took place in Connecticut while we were away for a little retreat.

As a photographer, I want to be in photos too. When I say how precious life is to clients, friends and openly online… how time passes in the blink of an eye, I mean it.   I don’t only take photos of my children; my entire family is photographed and I’m so grateful to have so many memories captured over the years.

Our clients… especially the moms say they take pictures year round of their children, but the only time they’re actually in photos is when they hire us for a family shoot.   I’m so grateful they do hire us but they may not realize how much it’ll mean until their kids are grown, in college… or married.  Think about how much we cherish photos of our grandparents.  Or a favorite aunt or sibling.  Life is terribly short.  Even when its long, the time we have with those we love is never enough.

I love having my photo taken. I’m a ham – I’ll admit it. For my fifth anniversary I planned a shoot with my husband and the photos taken by Bambi Cantrell are some of our absolute favorites of us.  We have a huge portrait displayed in our home.   Two years ago, I had Chuck Arlund take intimate photos as a Valentine’s gift.  That album is something my husband cherishes.  He keeps it well hidden though.   Late last year, my brother married his partner in NYC.  The one and only Bambi Cantrell photographed his wedding.  I don’t mess around! And I love Bambi.  The photos from his wedding bring tears to our eyes each time we see them.  But even on his wedding day, we were nervous. We wanted to be on time for the photographer, dressed, hair and makeup just right.  I wanted to look younger and thinner… I mean who doesn’t right?  I was a client that day.  Ow the pressure!

For all of these special shoots over the years, I was excited, nervous, filled with all the insecurities you may feel as well.   But in the end, grateful for all the memories.

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I wanted to share an inside look behind the scenes of my maternity session with David and Luke in January.  YES!!! Maternity session.  Baby # 3 is due in a few weeks.  Ahh!!

Preparation:

I had a pre-consultation with David Edmonson to create the maternity session of my dreams. His work moves me.  I’ve admired portraits of women taken by David and Luke and hoped one day to be in front of their camera myself.  I couldn’t believe that dream was coming true. I told him what I liked and the planning began just four weeks ago.  David shared his ideas with me and when I saw him last week, he told me about all the props, lace, lights and backdrops he brought for our shoot.  He joked that he had more luggage than most of the woman on his plane. He brought a 1760’s antique mandolin and a violin.  He also collects antique Victorian hand held mirrors, which he brought as well.  My heart skipped a beat when I realized all the preparations he made.  I felt so special!!! hehe

On the morning of the session:

Like many of our clients, I was excited, packed, reviewed everything I wanted to bring.  I was manicured, had my hair cut… purchased gorgeous clothes, brought shoes and packed as though it was a 3 day photo shoot with enough jewelry for 20 woman.   I had my hair and makeup done beautifully and somehow I woke up a nervous wreck and much too early. I had eggs benedict, hash browns, coffee and juice.  I was nervously eating until my 10:00am session started.  Yes, I’m human! Ha ha!  I was a little uptight… you can ask Cate and my friend Peggy for their take on that.  They helped me prepare  …or suffered through helping me? I don’t remember!

I arrived with an expression on my face.  Everyone offered very nice compliments, but all I could think was that “I’m pregnant and I look like I’m due any day yet I have a few months to go.”  Ow the insecurities were flowing!

During the session:

I started off trying to think happy thoughts and David was amazingly reassuring.  He made me feel at ease.  What can you say to a pregnant woman to reassure her?  Tell her she looks THIN or not pregnant at all.    I swear… it made me smile when David said that.  Crazy I know.  David directed me in this soft voice.  I was happy, I felt more and more comfortable as the minutes rolled on.  At one point, Luke directed my hand positioning and it was so funny and feminine that I was hysterical laughing.  You’d have to see David’s son Luke to understand.  At 6’ 3’’, he’s handsome as all hell and masculine.  I’ll be sure to show everyone a photo of the hand positioning.  This father and son team work together harmoniously and with such fluidity.  We planned the photo shoot in a beautiful suite at the hotel.  This man is like Macguiver… he had clamps and backgrounds, lace everywhere.   He transformed the suite into a lux renaissance studio.

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Reflecting back:

This is my third baby…and it may be my last.  I never did a maternity session with my two daughters.  I’m so grateful I captured portraits of my pregnancy with this little one.  I’m glad I was bold and brave.  It was nerve-wrecking, but the anticipation of seeing these photos is overwhelmingly exciting. I promise to share a few with everyone!

I love photographing maternity photos in our New Jersey studio and some of my portraits are ones I cherish as a photographer and artist.  So why not I treat myself? So I did and boy am I excited to see.  I’m at the edge of my seat.  What a gift, what an honor to be photographed by these two men that I love and respect.

And in ten years… or twenty years, I will continue reflect fondly on these beautiful portraits and remember the day I bravely planned a maternity session.  We know after 3 pregnancies elasticity and all those great genetics go down the tubes hahaha.

It’s so important to be photographed.  We’re always behind the lens taking photos of those we love, but people love us too.  So be brave, treat yourself… it’ll be so much fun and you and your family will cherish them for many lifetimes.

~Natalie

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