I realized quickly that Emma has a quiet sweetness about her that made me want to know what she was thinking.
That green sparkly dress is Emma's favorite. She calls it her Little Mermaid dress. What little girl doesn't love to twirl in a pretty dress?! I can still remember as a little girl, twirling in my favorite dress, and how it made feel pretty and lady-like, and that I was special.
About halfway through our session, Emma told me she was bored. I loved that she told me that. And, really, I couldn't blame her.. Taking pictures for an hour, after she'd been in school all day, should be boring for a 5 year old. So, it pushed me to be more playful with her, to see what she likes.
The sun was setting, and we were finishing up. Emma ran over to this sculpture and poked her head up through it. She looked at me and said, "Let's pretend that I am in middle school and my friends are mad at me." I could tell that she thought being that age was cool, and in her mind, that was the type of thing middle-schooler's dealt with.
I asked how that would make her feel, and she said, sad. And then she gave me this face.
I know these last two aren't really what I had in mind to capture for "fun headshots" but they are special to me. I remember being younger and day-dreaming about what it must be like to be a Junior-higher. The cute clothes, the cool kids.. the boys. How much more freedom I'd have, and what fights would look like. My time with Emma surprised me because I was not expecting to be able to relate to her. It's crazy what a hour alone with someone without distractions can do (i.e. my husband, my son, my phone..).
But, I did relate to her, and I think she sensed that, because as she skipped along-side her mom, on the way back to their car, I heard Emma ask her mom, "Can we play with her again soon, Mom?"
And then my heart beamed. And I remembered about all the times throughout our time together where I was a little uncomfortable, or questioned my ability.. was the light right? Would I be able to deliver pictures that mom had in mind or that she was used to getting with her regular photographer?
My confidence grew a little that day. But mostly, I was grateful that I even get to do this at all. I'm realizing that for me, its less about the pictures, and more about the connection. Well, the pictures obviously are important, but the comfort and ease that comes from a great connection makes for better pictures than I could have planned on. Sometimes it takes a little more work, but there's always some connection to be had, and seeing the pictures that come from it is more rewarding than I imagined.