Photo shoots are always fun but never easy. They take time, thought and vision to create an environment that will produce a meaningful photo. As I have continued this journey into non-hobbyist photography, I have realized that the perfectly posed photo isn’t always the best photo. This realization brought me back taking photos of my students, the parents wanted to see genuine happiness and joy, not just a smile. Keeping this in mind has helped me to work with families to create a snapshot of a memory in time. A great example of how this plays out is when working with toddlers. Toddlers are their own special breed of fun. Their moods change from moment to moment and what was once a fun activity can quickly turn into a hated activity. This was the case during a photo shoot with the adorable M!
Renee and I had a drive by meeting that turned into a quick friendship. We bonded over taking a break from our careers to enjoy our babies, laughing over the smallest victories like taking a shower, and our husbands’ travel for work. Her son, M, is six months younger than #theadventuresofsj and it has been fun to see phases (the good and the bad) that we have been through and that he is going through. As Renee and I talked about taking family photos in downtown Durham, we were stuck when it came to the time of day. First off, it was June in North Carolina, so any time of day was going to be HOT! (For those who have never been through a North Carolina June, it’s that kind of hot that you start sweating before you go outside, and your hair is always frizzy from the humidity.) Then, no matter how early or late we started, we were going to run into a non-toddler friendly time. Through much discussion, we went for the early morning time. This meant that mom and dad would need to get organized super early, but hey, you move mountains to get a good family photo right?! We started right at 8:00 am at the American Tobacco Campus with large smiles. M was doing great! He was giggling, engaging and actually having fun despite t-shirt adjustments and hair fixes. We went from the steps, to the water way, to the awesome staircase by Burts Bees (check out the amazing light in the photo below!). Just as we were ready to head to our next location, it happened. The “I’M DONE” face with all of the toddler goodness that goes along with it. And that was that, as quickly as we were snapping away with happy smiles, we were then packing up and heading home for a nice long nap.
You would never know it from how handsome he is in the photos, but M had the most pitiful “I’M DONE” there is. The “I’M DONE” is one of the finest toddlerisms there is. It can occur at any time, any place without any warning. It is a force to be reckoned with on any caregiver’s hands. It’s a force that most dread but a trait that we all have. As an adult, you learn to deal with this emotion; but toddlers just let it happen. Share your favorite toddler “I’M DONE” story in the comment below!