Those of you that know and/or follow me, will know how much I’m a photography obsessive and feel really passionate about capturing moments in life. I’ve always carried my camera around with me, or snap things on my phone and have invested in a decent lens for my DSLR that I love to use, so take my personal photography to the next level. I’ve also for a few years now, loved to work with photographers and have made some serious friendships along the way too. One of those being with the insanely talented Anna Hardy (who I fan-girled for ages, before making her my friend…lucky her!).
I became aware of Anna’s work as a wedding photographer as she offered that “alternative” and reportage style we both liked and was good friend’s with our wedding photographers Emma Case and Pete. When I realised she lived ‘tup North too, I knew it was inevitable that we’d meet…
Capturing the everyday moments
When we had Flo, I quickly realised that the only photos I had of me and her, or the three of us as a family, were poorly taken, dodgy-angled selfies. Most of which were unflattering and unrepresentative of the moments we were sharing.
The one frustrating thing about being “the photographer” or your friends and family, is that you’re often not in the shot. So there were loads of lovely photos of Flo and daddy, and Flo with my friends and family that I’d taken, but only a handful that had been captured of me and her. I realised that she was growing very quickly and I didn’t want to forget some of the special moments we were sharing.
When I say special, I don’t mean huge milestones, I mean things like the way she snuggled on my chest, or smiled when we spoke to her, or even the bond we were sharing whilst I breastfed her. So I decided that the only way we could truly capture this special time and these memories that we were making, was to employ a professional.
Now, I’m going to be super honest here, and say that the style of photography I love is documentary/reportage/relaxed/natural. Although I can pose with the best of them when I’m in the mood, I don’t like staged or studio shoots generally, as I never really feel comfortable. The hubby certainly doesn’t! So I knew we had a bit of a search on our hands, when it came to finding someone who would fit that style.
But guess what?! Anna Hardy, who I’d been fan-girling (*cough* instagram-stalking *cough*), was also a Mum herself and had begun to photograph families. Woop woop! So I instantly thought of her and knew her style would totally be what we were after. We booked her immefiately.
A family photoshoot
Our first shoot with Anna, was just a couple of hours, in our home with our then 6-month old baby. It was super relaxed, informal and we got some lovely shots of us all. It was a mixture of reportage shots, with a bit of direction from Anna, to make sure we got some key moments with our daughter. To read more about that shoot and to see the photos, have a look here. I was so pleased to look and feel good in the photos and to capture some seriously special times.
(She looks so tiny!)
But what about the everyday?
I was obviously hooked and vowed that we’d make it an annual occasion, to ensure we captured our little family growing-up together.
Then Anna started offering a family photoshoot with a difference…a Day In The Life…capturing the everyday, ordinary moments of a family. You know, things like sitting round having breakfast together, cuddles on the couch or bath and bedtime. At first, you may not think these seem photo-worthy, but when you see how Anna captures these moments, you’ll realise they so are. In fact, they’re some of the most beautiful moments shared between a family. Just being, just smiling, just loving.
The idea behind the shoot, was that Anna would spend an entire day with your family, waking up with you (not in the same bed!), hanging out with you and then leaving you after the kids’ bedtime. It would be slightly different to the shorter family photoshoot we’d experienced already, in that it would be totally documentary and not at all directed or staged. ie. she’d hang out, have a chat, and just snap away at us getting on with our everyday life.
And bizarrely, you totally don’t realise you’re being photographed and it’s just good fun.
So what was the photo-shoot actually like?
Jump ahead to an autumnal Tuesday morning, when, like every night, Flo inevitably had ended up in our bed and we all woke up together. That’s the loveliest time as Flo is always full of smiles and eager to start chatting and getting on with the day. Cue Anna, who had crept in (not in a creepy way) and captured that 5-10 minutes where we were all waking-up together as a family.
From thereon, we all just hung-out together and lived an average day – breakfast in front of the telly, games and a bit of baking, lunch at our favourite local cafe, afternoon playing in the park, cooking dinner, then bath and bed routine. Nothing “special” or out of the ordinary, in fact, everything entirely ordinary.
Anna doesn’t snap away continually, just capturing bits here and there, that you don’t even realise and having a chat and a laugh and generally just blending into your family life that day.
And what about the results?
Well I think they speak for themselves! I mean we had over 350 photos back from our Day In The Life shoot and we were sent them to us as a gallery, with a slideshow of the highlights put to music…and I cried! They literally were so perfect and so real and captured all those things that I know happen, but don’t actually get to look on. Those fleeting moments of love between us as a family and those expressions as we share a joke or as Flo cheekily dances around. Us hugging, or kissing, or holding hands.
We both just smiled and drank the images in, laughing and reminiscing over these everyday, beautiful moments that Anna had so perfectly captured.
We couldn’t wait to show Flo, who loved them as much as we did and I know will appreciate having them to look back on when she’s older.
Photography: Anna Hardy (copyrighted)
So is it worth it?
Yes, hiring a professional to photograph your family involves some investment and YES, it is so worth it. Those captured moments are worth every penny. You wouldn’t think twice about investing in a holiday for memories would you? So why not capture the memories you’re making every day? These will last a lifetime and beyond. Your kids will look at them and so will their kids. There’s no real price-tag for that in my book.
We already have some printed and framed and we have some in an album and we have lots on our phones to make us smile every day. So that’s worth every penny to me!
Other parents will relate to this, but it all flies by so bloody quickly. I already feel like I forget those moments shared with Flo as a baby, or the faces she used to pull, or even exactly how she looked. So having these photos to look back on, that are genuine and honest, never fail to make me smile (and cry). I am so glad we’ve had two shoots and plan to have more (probably an annual thing in fact)…sorry Anna, you’re stuck with us for a while yet!
Would you consider a Day In The Life shoot like this?