Last weekend, I had the honor of photographing TWO beautiful birthdays back to back. Both girls were cousins and I was asked to photograph their parties by their 'grammy' (my auntie). Before I had both events on my calendar, I just had the baby naming because her mother asked me specifically what it would cost to have me do that for her. I'm tearing up just writing this because I was so honored that she looks at my work and wants to have it in her life.
Since I don't want to make myself cry with the mushiness of how my family loves each other, I thought I would share commentary on what was going on in my head, both as I was shooting and editing. The way I choose what to blog is based just as much on my emotional response as the technical aspects. While I have plenty of technically proficient shots, the ones that catch my eye and wow me the most are the ones that get saved in my 2011 folder and then I pick my favorites from those to blog. Just know that what you're seeing are my favorite moments and the ones that I want to see every time my screen saver kicks in.
Saturday night was a second birthday party at a pizza place. And what would a party be without balloon animals?
I was warned in advance that the birthday girl does not like to be photographed so I warmed her up by taking pictures of her friends. They were super cute and loved my camera (and me).
Eventually, she warmed up to my camera. But much of the night, people were trying to get her attention and kept distracting her so it was difficult to get good photos. Plus, the lighting was an awful color. So when I converted these photos to black and white, I had an "aha!" moment. This is the calm, happy girl who was hiding under the slightly overwhelmed one in front of me.
These shots were done this way on purpose. I've always loved the way some photographers focus on something in the foreground and allude to the person/people having a great time in the background. Plus, the Sesame Street cake was pretty cute.
Once we got her back to the house, away from the chaos, she became a completely different girl. She was completely calm and at ease, interested in both her presents and the people sitting with her. After going through all the awful ones in the restaurant, with the bad lighting and blurry arms of intruding family members, these were a relief. I was grinning nonstop and could not wait to share them.
Happy second birthday, lovely. I already have a glimpse of the butterfly you are becoming.
Sunday was a baby naming brunch at the Cheesecake Factory. I took many more pictures on Sunday than I did on Saturday but I'm more picky about what I share. These photos are all definitive moments where you can see the love in the frame or feel it radiating in from off-camera. At the risk of sounding mushy and making myself tear up again, we were there to watch the birthday girl be blessed and given a Hebrew name, but we were also there to witness how blessed we are to have such a great community. (Ok, so I'm tearing up.)
I also managed to get a few photographs of her cousin, now that she has learned to love my camera.
Just when I sat down to eat, I was requested to come over and photograph her eating a pancake. She was so happy to share her pancake with me and I love these photos. When I was editing and got to these, I let out a squee of joy. Not only are they super cute but her mom took my advice and sat her facing a window so the lighting is breathtaking and her eyes look unreal.
I was going to post the cupcake photo but they were nice enough to write her name on the plate and I'm trying to protect her privacy. You'll just have to imagine how she dug into her cupcake, everyone else enjoyed their cheesecake, and the party ended on a sweet note.