Turtle Necks and Behind the Scenes of a Shoot With a Toddler
First, I have to say that I have never loved turtlenecks. I think my distaste for them started when I was a kid. My mom must have had a wool turtleneck she made me wear because I just remember how itchy it felt! I decided it was time to get over my turtleneck aversion and give this top from StyleWe a try. I am so glad I did. It is the opposite of itchy and I love that the sleeves have cut out thumb holes for added coziness. It’s just an overall great staple for your fall/winter wardrobe and I love pairing it with a really feminine lacy skirt and heeled booties. I think the black with cream combo photographs beautifully and is also the perfect date night combo. Now, for the big question. “Who is behind the camera?”
People are always asking me who takes my photos and what I do with Ayla when I am shooting an outfit. I don’t have one simple answer as it really varies day to day. My husband takes the majority of my photos (and he is a professional photographer on the side) but we try really hard to guard our weekends together. Breaking out a camera on every family trip feels a bit like work to him so I try really hard to honor him in having “media free” time together. That doesn’t always happen, and I am thankful he is gracious and willing to take some photos at times, but limiting the time we take pictures on the weekends means I need to find other options.
I also have a wonderful friend (Gina Johnson) who has shot for me a few times and has done an incredible job. If your local you should definitely check her out! The truth is I could not do what I do without a huge base of supportive friends. I have been unspeakably blessed with friends who have been so willing to help me with my blog. If you could see how many times I throw my Nikon into the hands of one of my BFF’s to snap a few pictures while we are at the park on a play date you would just laugh.
Allow me to play out a typical beach play date scenario for you. “Hey would you mind taking a few pictures of me in this outfit while we are here?” “Of Course! How do I use the camera?” “I don’t know, you just hold down the button half way to focus and then take the picture.” “uhh, ok. Not sure if any of these will be any good. I don’t know what I am doing.” “Wait, hold on a sec, Ayla is eating something she found on the ground!” (Que me running to redirect my toddler toward the beach toys.) “Ok, hurry and take a few because she will probably start eating more seashells soon. Oh sorry, hold on. I think she just took that toy from your daughter.” Yep. It’s real life friends. I wish I had a video outtake from behind the scenes of every shoot to share with you all so you could laugh at the craziness too. I am so lucky I have friends that not only put up with me but are so happy to support me in any way they can.
This particular day I met up with one of my best friends from college and we walked around the adorable town of Greenwich CT. We talked, we laughed, we lost the ipad Ayla tossed out of the stroller, we found the ipad Ayla tossed out of the stroller, I changed in the back seat of my Honda Civic a few times and we shot some fun photos together. Ayla was really wonderful and hung out for a bit eating snacks, we broke out the ipad for a short period of time when she got wrestles and we took lots of breaks to let her run around and play. She was super interested in the ivy that covered the wall where we were shooting and she had to get down and explore. She picked up sticks, smelled flowers, climbed some steps and I did my best to run after her in my heels. The truth is I love having her around on shoots. She is usually very content and so much fun to hang out with. She’s my little buddy and makes the day more fun with her tiny comments and beautiful curiosity.
Having a toddler definitely means shoots take longer because I am singing songs, stopping to get snacks, or taking time out to run and play. It also means letting go of perfectionistic standards to make sure we got the right shot. When the whining starts you just wrap it up and go with what you’ve got. I want to make sure these times are fun for Ayla and that she feels like she is a part of these moments. I never want to just stick her in her stroller with a show for long stretches of time while I take photos. That wouldn’t be fair to her and it wouldn’t be as fun for me.
I have had to be ok with doing what I can do with the time and resources I have. I am ok with things not always looking perfect. I am not in season of life where perfection is an option and to me that’s beautiful. I wouldn’t trade any of it. I would rather have a community of friends who pour into me and have fun with my daughter than have the perfect blog. When I look at my blog or Instagram feed I just think of how many people it took to get it where it is. I think of all the love, support and memories I have with my friends and family that flow out of these times and I am just so thankful. It’s true that the times I shoot with a professional photographer and I am baby free, the photos are stunning and quality is amazing but I honestly wouldn’t trade it in this season even if I could. I love inviting the people who matter most into this area of my life. What I create is all the more meaningful because of their willingness to step into my crazy little blogging world. Every post is a collaboration with the people who mean the most to me, and to me that’s better than the perfect shot.