When a friend approached me asking if I'd be interested in doing a photo shoot for their just-turned 1 year old, I told them I'd love to. Before we got started, I asked two simple question that helped me better understand how to approach the gig: why? why were you doing this and why me?
The first may seem like an obvious question - families get portraits all the time. And, as I mentioned here, finding a way to grab that fleeting moment as children age is a common desire. But each family has their own spin on the 'why', and when my friend and his wife explained theirs, I was on board.
But they 'why me' surprised me a bit and hints at the notion that sometimes you need other people to help see who you are. They said they loved how close and revealing my portraits felt of others - from strangers to clients - and wanted to really show off the personality of their one year old who was just beginning to show off her own stripes. I admit that's not how I would have thought about the session beforehand and the answer helped me better understand how my approach could work in family photography.
As we went outside on a cold day, it was trickier to get those up close shots with more layers on, but more important to capture the family as a whole and how they live in their neighborhood.
And I'll never get tired of getting close when their eyes glow like that.