Since moving to Tennessee, I have tried to photograph my daughter each year on her birthday. I was successful for years 13 and 14 but came up short when she turned 15. It’s never easy to get her in front of the camera willingly (Who am I fooling? It isn’t easy to get me in front of the camera willingly!). Since she was developing a strong pursuit of photography herself, I thought that I was going to make a simple request and she would happily oblige. So naive, right?! (I hear the roaring laughter of mothers around the world who have raised teen daughters.) But halfway through her 15th year, I finally convinced her to step in front of the camera for me. Alright, if I am being honest, I didn’t really convince her. It was more like begging and bribery. What can I say? A mother’s gotta do what a mother’s gotta do.
I treated this session like any other. Her hair and makeup was done and the natural light studio was set up. I can’t say she was like most clients, though. I was given a 30 minute time frame to shoot. I made every minute count. As I released the shutter, I knew the photographs I was making were unlike any she had made before. What a joy it is to hear a teenage girl see herself in a new light – the way that other people see her – beautiful.
And now it is my turn in front of the camera. I have my headshots scheduled tomorrow. It’s time for me to bite the bullet and have professional portraits taken of me. It’s a little ironic. I feel like my clients do: nervous, excited, not sure what to expect, not sure what to wear, skeptical I will be able to see past the wrinkles and the gray hair. But I know I am in good hands. A dear friend and fellow contemporary portrait photographer, Judith Hill, will be my photographer. I know we will have a lot of laughs and a great time together. We always do.
So I leave you with a preview of my daughter’s session as I chug some more water (hoping for that glowing skin) and plan on an early bed time (bye bye dark circles).