April & Ryan let their bellies hang out.

When I started taking pictures, one thing I never even thought about was how deep it would take me into people’s lives!  There are only so many “jobs” (if you can call the fun we have work!) that allow you to watch families begin, bond, and grow… and we’re lucky enough to have one of those jobs!

It’s so fun to meet a couple before their married and start taking pictures of them all the way from their engagement, to their marriage, into their pregnancy, and the birth of their babies… as well as everything after that!  That’s the track we’re on with April & Ryan and family!  We met them after they were already married so we missed the first part, but we’ve been along for the ride since before their first child was born and now we’re on to their second child!

We first took photos for April & Ryan when they were preparing to have their first baby.

The next time was when they wanted to show off their newborn, Emily, to the world!

We then visited Emily again when she was 6 months old…

… and again at her first birthday party!

Now April & Ryan have their second child, Callie and… yep, you guessed it… we took pictures of baby Callie as well!

I call this little series “The many faces of Callie”…

Of course not to be out done by her little sister, Emily has many faces as well!

But these I think this is by far my favorite face…

The ” meltdown recovery” faces are pretty good too though!

These crying pics were actually inspired by a lady I used to babysit for who had GIANT, super close up pics of all 3 of her kids crying when they were little, all framed in a row on her wall.  I thought it was pretty fun and definitely unique!  As much as you hate those faces while they’re actually happening, I’m assuming that there’s some sense of nostalgia when you see a photo of it once the kids are older.  Ever heard that cheesy country song “You’re Gonna Miss This“?  That stupid song makes me cry every time, despite my stubborn refusal to cave to country sappiness!  Anyways, I’m not a parent, but I’m assuming it’s kind of like that.  If I really wanted to mess with your heads I would tell you to start over in this blog and listen to that song while you look at the rest of these photos… by the 3rd photo you’d be crying that ugly, gross, snotty kind of cry!  Ha ha!

Are you all done crying now?  Mascara wiped up?  OK good, now we’ll move onto some fun pictures so you have a chance to recover before going back to your own life again!

My recent photo inspirations lately have all had to do with allowing “imperfection”.  I’ve noticed more and more public, professional photos that are out of focus, showing people’s wrinkles, are grainy, etc., etc.  And I LOVE them!  I think it makes you think “wow, that picture has mistakes… there must be something really special about what it’s capturing for them to allow that one in”. So I’ve been trying to work my way towards accepting that it’s OK for people to know I make mistakes and focusing more on capturing emotion than on being a perfect, technical photographer.

(They make lens hoods that are designed to prevent sun flares from sneaking in, but I think the trend towards allowing them in now shows people’s desire for pictures to actually represent reality again!)

(People have stopped being impressed by how perfect you can make a photoshopped picture look.  Now they want things that look REAL!  I think that’s why the trend has moved towards old and worn looking photos where you actually add in grain and imperfections!)

I believe that truth and beauty go hand in hand and I REALLY value honesty, so I’m holding my breathe and including the photo on the left!  I totally missed focus (unless you count the 3 bubbles that are actually in focus!) but I am in love with what the picture is communicating.  So it’s a keeper, and now you all know that I’m not perfect. I’m flawed and I’m not a magic photographer… just a normal one who makes mistakes.

(I’ll admit right now that all the cool coloring in this photo only happened because the original coloring was pretty bad.  It was definitely a flawed picture that I chose to make look great even though it wasn’t. Sorry Scottie, I hope you’re OK that I’ve decided to tell the world that you’re not perfect either since this is your shot!).

It’s like when Lauryn Hill talks about how we all need to exhale and let our bellies hang out so we can walk around looking at one another and say “oh you have one too!?” and feel free! By the way if you haven’t heard this, listen to it NOW (I’ll wait to continue until you get back) it’s super freeing and inspirational (she rambles a lot but keep listening, there’s good stuff in it)!  The entire CD is the same way actually… just pure genuine, reality which is a big deal coming from Ms. Diva and she took a lot of crap for saying this stuff… so go buy it and support people who are done being slaves to their perfect image!  I know you guys can handle her rambling because you sure do a great job following mine!  Ha ha!  Now back to the topic at hand!

(Random topic transition photo!)

I love the idea of talking about genuineness (wow, spell check says that’s a real word!) in a blog about family.  In our culture, “family picture day” typically means wearing clothes you never wear in real life, making sure the only emotion you capture is happiness, and working your butt off to get your kids to behave in a way that will enhance the perfect image you’re going for in these pictures.  It’s ridiculous!  The definition for family should (in my opinion) always include intimacy and intimacy means emotion, whether it’s messy or clean emotion.

(I’m not sure what emotion this is, but I think it falls in the messy category).

(And I’d say this is one of the clean ones).

Intimacy also means going through a variety of experiences together.

And sitting and smiling in front of a camera shows such a small sliver of what life is really like for a family.

We want to communicate who a family really is… which for every family means imperfection.

(Sometimes being a family means getting bubbles in your eyes).

And that’s why we’re so thankful to April & Ryan for letting us take pictures of their child crying!  Thank you for being humble enough to allow us to tell the true story of your family.

I know our blog readers and facebook fans appreciate it too!  No one connects with fake families, that’s why everyone throws away the pictures that come in frames when you buy them!  People love seeing families that look like their own and remind them of what’s really important in life.

So thank you April & Ryan for taking us with you through all the major events in your life and allowing us to share these special moments in your world with all the friends of Radiant who value human emotion and real life.  You’ve blessed us all immensely by letting us observe your beautiful family changing and growing together! Click to see the rest of the photos from this family photo session!

March 23, 2010 - 5:47 pm

megan stanley johnson - this blog and it’s pics are amazing!!

March 23, 2010 - 7:34 pm

emily vande krol - What a beautiful family! These are pictures that they will cherish forever….can’t wait for you to travel with our family too!

March 23, 2010 - 7:34 pm

chelsea hudson - beautiful, beautiful post, breanna! seriously. you articulated much of what i try to communicate to clients… be real. be you. the best pictures are the REAL ones. shop in your closet, not the mall. meet me at the playground you go to most, not the manicured park on the other side of town. let the kids go and go and have fun with them! let me capture THAT and we’ll all be happy!

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