I met up in Abergavenny recently with a fellow photographer friend last week. And he asked me a very simple question, “are you still taking photos for yourself?”
My answer was a straightforward no.
Yes I snap all the time with my iphone but that’s absolutely not the same thing! I used to carry my dslr with me absolutely everywhere! Always in my hand and forever taking photos.
Nowadays my camera comes out exclusively for my work, I’m capturing maternity, newborn and family portraits for clients. Helping other entrepreneurs create branding images to help their businesses grow. But what about in my own life?
Clearly I’ve forgotten what drove my passion for photography in the first place! To document the world around me, celebrate the people in my life and capture the memories that I never want to forget.
So one afternoon after I woke Jasper from his nap, we lounged around in his bedroom, playing games, sharing stories and reading his favourite books. He grabbed one book off the shelf then told me to lay in his ‘big boy bed’ as he climbed onto the rocking chair to read to me. He’s two, so he told me the story though the pictures he could see. As he told me about an orange octopus in his book, I thought how sweet a moment this was, how much he’s grown, how much I’m enjoying his cheeky character. Just how deeply in love I am with him. And then I heard my friends question bouncing around in my head.
“Are you still taking photos for yourself?”
I grabbed my camera and snapped away. I’m so pleased I did!
I got him in all his happy little glory. With his Paul Weller hair that grows at an alarming rate. He’s going for another chop this week but right now his hair is in that funny in between phase, which honestly it forever seems to be in! Whenever it gets to this length there’s perpetually a bit of hair near his ears that pokes out like Dali's moustache! Those are the funny little things that are surprisingly easy to forget about. Now I have these photos I’ll always remember that stubborn bit of hair. And yes that seems like a bit of nothing to be excited to document but it isn’t to me, it’s something that makes me smile therefore it’s worth capturing.
Now as a photography is not only my passion but my business I had to fight myself from treating this moment as one if I was shooting for a client. If this was a clients session I would’ve suggested trying to swap this loud, visually distracting book with its plastic noise making buttons, to something more simple and aesthetically pleasing. However I wanted to remember how he loved pressing these buttons and copying the noises, shaking his head along to them, how he pointed out the jelly fish then wobbled his arms and head to show me how they move.
I’ve always been a complete bibliophile, forever with my head in a book. So it’s a big priority to foster that love of books in Jasper too. Jasper has a huge selection of picture books and board books that he loves to read every day and night. Then high up on his book shelf out of the reach of curious toddler hands, is a shelf full of special books. From the moment I found out I was pregnant I started collecting beautiful editions of classic childrens literature. There’s his Winnie the Pooh book which I used to announce our pregnancy to my parents, inside it’s front cover I inscribed, “please read this to me when I am born, love from your future grandchild.” Then every Christmas and birthday I have collected a book, written a message to Jasper from me and my husband along with a quote from the book.
“Are you still taking pictures for yourself?”
Why yes, yes I am! Now I can say that I’m taking pictures of the little moments in my life which make me feel all fuzzy and warm inside. I’m creating portraits that hold so much meaning and sentimentality to me! I’m documenting the details of the people around me who I love with all my heart.
I’m reminding myself why I love doing what I do and why I started in the first place!
If you want a way to slow time down and fully embrace the moment then send me an e-mail to discuss your very own bespoke family portrait session. I’ll use my understanding as a Mother to capture the details that mean the world to you. Together we will create beautiful images that fill you to the brim with love.
P.S You can also arrange a free no-obligation call with me if you have any questions about a session. https://calendly.com/sarahhailephoto/consultation-call