During a typical documentary family photography session with young children, there's bound to be the occasional temper tantrum and tears. It's to be expected when I'm there to capture such a large portion of your day-- I expect to see the full range of emotions. And when those moments happen, I'll do something a little unusual:
I'll keep photographing.
Why? Well, it's not because I like to take pictures of little children crying. It's not because I'm mean. And it's not because I'm working on my own version of Greg Pembroke's hilarious book, Reasons My Kid Is Crying (although I'd encourage you to check it out if you want a chuckle and a reminder that you're not alone with those tantrums about the strangest things, mama.)
It's because these moments are a part of your reality as a parent right now. They're a very memorable piece of this stage of your child's life, and believe it or not, you'll want a few photos of it later on after this stage passes. These photos show you how hard you work as a parent on a daily basis, and what your child was really like at this age, rough edges and all.
It's because, sometimes, these moments can be funny. The reason for the meltdown might be completely ridiculous, and the theatrics might be over-the-top. We will never photograph your child if they're seriously hurt or if you or they have closed a door for privacy, but when your toddler throws themselves on the ground and sobs because their sister ate the last cinnamon stick or they don't want to take a bath, you can bet we'll photograph it. Right now, you can giggle at the photo and appreciate it, and when your children are older and have a handle on their emotions and are past the tantrum phase, they'll appreciate it and laugh at it, too.
It's because when you or your partner or another family member come swooping in to save the day, these moments can become beautiful and sweet. The tantrums turn into cuddles, hugs, kisses on boo-boos, wiping away tears. These photos show your unconditional love as a parent; when your child grows up and looks back at these photos, they'll remember how you were always there for them, to help them when they were down.
It's because being sad or upset is a normal, human emotion, and we're all about capturing emotion. We do not discriminate; you have seen your child's grumpy face, sad face, angry face, sassy face, excited face, silly face, happy face-- every emotion under the sun, and you love your child because of them or in spite of them. When those expressions occur naturally while we're there, we'll capture them for you. All of those emotions, and all of those expressions, make your child who they are.
And it's because sharing these photos helps remind other parents that they're not alone. We're so surrounded by ideas and pictures of perfect parenting through social media, parenting blogs and books, and other parents sharing only a highlight reel of when their child is acting "perfect" for one small moment in the day. What would happen if parents all started to share the perfectly imperfect moments, too?
We understand if these may not be the photos you want to hang on your wall (although they absolutely could be!), but these photos still have a place in your family album from a session. They're part of your story; let's embrace them!