This wasn’t what I intended to share here today, I was all ready to write some informative post about fall shooting and then I realized, that maybe what we need more than another post with “how to’s” is a reminder of our “why.” Why? Because what you do matters, especially in busy season.
I recently shot some moments that rocked me to my core, it was a slap in the face reminder of why we do what we do. A reminder of why being present and making time for sessions is important and why tangible prints are necessary. You see, we only get one chance at this life and while I know the gravity of that can be suffocating it can be comforting to remind ourselves that we have control over what you do with it.
This will be long, sorry, and the family has given me permission to share this. Here is the thing I know you are in the thick of “busy” right now. I know you are tired and frustrated and trying hard to remind yourself that YOU did this to yourself because duh, we are our own bosses. I am here looking you right in the face and screaming as loud as I can that WHAT YOU DO MATTERS. Our work is more important than any of us will ever know!
Let me preface with I DON’T shoot weddings and I never have so I walked into this nervous as all get out… but that didn’t even matter and it won’t ever matter to this family. I had a client call me back in May and say her husband had just been diagnosed with a brain tumor that was a very aggressive cancer. We cried together, we prayed together and she assured me that they were in the fight!
As I listened and she continued and said that she was sad that life had gotten in the way after all of these years and we hadn’t had a session since her girls were 8 and 10 (I think they are 16 and 18 now). I immediately went into action and cleared my schedule for us to shoot the very next day because treatment was starting right away and I wanted to ensure her husband felt up to a session. Done! We did it! It was amazing!
Fast-forward to a few weeks ago, in the midst of traveling from Australia to Austin and shooting like crazy, I got another phone call. This one was worse, things had taken a terrible turn and as they made plans as a family, her daughters asked for a special shoot with their dad ASAP. They wanted him to see them in wedding dresses, they wanted to share a daddy-daughter dance, it needed to happen as soon as possible and they wanted me (this NON-WEDDING photog) to capture these fragile moments for them.
You know me, I have two daughters myself and one is the biggest daddy’s girl you will ever meet, of course, I was doing this. Two incredible clients moved their sessions in order for me to be available for this special session. It was the hardest and most amazing thing I’ve ever photographed! And I have photographed sessions for almost every non-profit organization in our industry so that’s saying a lot. The mom said something that struck me as I delivered the gallery she said “now my daughters will have pictures of themselves in wedding dresses with their daddy to put on their own home someday…”
I am not telling you this for pats on the back or “yay you’s” … I am telling you this because I know you are tired, I know you don’t want to shoot another Friday or Saturday or spend an all-nighter in Photoshop editing but I believe in you! You can do this, friend! And hear me when I say it again, WHAT WE DO MATTERS! This industry has taken a lot of flack and the importance of what we do has been watered down over the last 10 years but remember we are freezing moments for families and you never know when those families will only have those moments.
I am also telling you this because if you do not have your own family photographed regularly I beg you to reconsider. Despite the extra weight, the double chin or the old dress I can promise you none of that will matter when you are gone. I can promise you the ones looking at those images, the ones thankful to have those images will be your babies and they will not see anything but the beauty of motherhood and the reflection of your love for them in your eyes. So get a session, or heck, set up a tripod and take the photographs yourself! But TAKE THE PICS and print them… please! Your story deserves to be told as well.
Shalonda Chaddock is the face and camera behind chubby cheek photography. She is a nationally published child photographer, based out of Houston, Texas where she is drowning in glitter and princess dresses with her two daughters, affectionately referred to as the cheeks girls, and the love of her life, daddy cheeks. Her shooting style focuses on the magic of childhood and finding the unique sparkle that each child shines with. She allows REAL life to inspire her and shape her journey as a photographer, always recognizing that the little moments do mean the most, even when it means stepping on a Barbie shoe before she has had her coffee. Shalonda recently had a viral post & session that made her really take a step back and look at the WHY of photography. Thanks for sharing today with us, Shalonda, we’ll see you at Reset 2020.