Photography Lessons from an 8 Year Old | Beauty Portraiture | Pittsburgh

Mother Daughter Photo Session Pittsburgh-0007 So what can you learn about photography from an 8 year old? Turns out quite a lot....

If you've looked through our photography you won't see many photos of families or kids/babies. We don't do much of that really because the beauty portraiture and weddings take up all the time we have (though I rock the mother daughter photography so remember that when birthdays and Mother's Day rolls around ladies). But of course, we have some pretty awesome photos of our daughter, Ella. John and I are coming up on our 10 year anniversary and even though John and I aren't much into the whole gift-giving thing, we decided that 10 years was pretty big (or, what I should say is that after I explained to John what a big deal 10 years is, we -- meaning me -- decided that gift giving would be a necessity on this one).

So what to do, what to do....John isn't really into gifts and he's not exactly easy to buy for because he just doesn't want or need anything. My immediate thought was to give him the gift of his E's. Neither John or I are into "stuff" so giving him some surprise photographs of his E Team seemed a good idea. I knew exactly what I wanted to do; I knew the exact poses I wanted and how I wanted everything photographed, but I didn't want to set the camera up to take auto photos so I enlisted the help of a good friend of mine, Stephanie Wells, to come into my studio, take my camera and click off a few for me. She did a great job. After a few clicks of the shutter of both Ella and myself, I decided to snap off a few of Ella by herself.

So what did I learn from my 8 year old here? Well, look into those eyes. The minute I raised the camera to my eye Ella snapped into it. I barely had to give her any direction and it was amazing how she connected with the lens instantly. You see, kids have no guard to put up, no walls to break down. They are not self-conscious or scared. They have no pretenses and aren't interested in impressing a lens. So they just are who they are. Ella wasn't embarrassed to be in front of the camera and didn't worry about every hair being in place or whether her face looked fat. She wasn't concerned with coming off sexy or desirable and she had no interest in mimicking a supermodel. And she also had no idea that what she was creating with me was a Legacy photo; a photo that will live on through our family forever and ever.

Kids are an open book and they are unafraid to be themselves. That's a beautiful lesson to be learned, isn't it? So take a lesson from an 8 year old: don't worry about what the lens thinks about you or what the person that will receive your photos will think about you. Just be your beautiful self and the receiver of your gift will cherish it instantly, because it is you. You in all your glory. The true you.

For reasons that I could not help, I ended up having to tell John about my plans but it turned out to be a good idea. John likes different styles of photos of Ella and me than I do so he was able to select the photos he wanted for his studio. I chose differently for my studio. But what stood true for both of us was that we had gorgeous photos of our daughter to enjoy forever.

You'll even notice that my skin is not super smooth, I have wrinkles and I'm quite imperfect. I edit the heck out of my Intimates photos but when I edit myself I leave in most of the imperfections (I do get rid of any temporary blemishes) because when someone looks at my photos, and even when I look at my photos, I want them and me to see me. I am imperfect and I am beautiful. There is absolutely never a day that goes by that John doesn't tell me I'm beautiful. So why edit my photos into a version of myself that is not true?

Now, that's not to say that you shouldn't want your photos edited by me when you're photographed by me. I'm just saying that instead of looking for imperfections when you see your photos, look for the beauty. Because that's all he'll see when he looks at your photos. He'll see his girl, his partner, his love and his life. This couldn't have been proven more after a workshop we taught recently. A former client of mine came in for the workshop all big in the belly with their first baby on the way. I photographed her for her wedding gift for her husband and she told us that when he saw the photos and realized how happy she was seeing herself that way and giving him this special gift he couldn't have been happier because now she could finally see herself the way he sees her: beautiful.

Drop your guard, knock down the walls, accept yourself and let it live on forever. What will your Legacy be?

John's favorites (we both agree our mostest favoritest is the first photo up top of Ella):

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My favorites:

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PS--want some lovely Mother Daughter photos of you and your mom or you and your daughter? Contact me...