On a recent Saturday evening as Glen and I drove from our house into town for pizza, we passed two separate portrait sessions taking place in the field of wildflowers near our house.
Wildflower fields seem to be the latest trend, as I am seeing a lot of that setting on FaceBook, just as the urban look was big a couple of years ago. The beach continues to be a classic mainstay.
Seeing all this photo activity made me remember four years ago when is was Mallory's turn to go through this coming of age ritual. We chose to go a different route though. Instead of spending lots of money on a professional photographer with a wardrobe consultation, we did them ourselves.
I knew just enough about what I was doing with a camera to feel some what confident. Looking back though as always there is that "I wish I knew then what I know now" feeling. I choose to take that as a good sign, it means I have continued to learn and grow in my skills. Back then I was still shooting in jpeg not RAW and I used iPhoto with the limited editing it offered, as opposed to Lightroom and the full gamut of editing possibilities.
Mallory had plenty of fashion sense, even if her favorite color at the time was gray. So the money spent on a wardrobe consultation could be used instead to buy a few new things.
We decided to take the money we would have spent on the whole professional experience and use it for a weekend get away location shoot. If you have read my blog for a while you probably can guess where we went...there is no where else but the Leelanau Peninsula.
We had a great girls weekend away, trying out different locations, even hiking a half mile with camera and tripod to an old historic farmstead that we had fallen in love with earlier in the spring. One of her favorite photos came from that session, although we couldn't use it for the yearbook photo since it was shot in landscape mode vs. portrait mode. It did make a lovely 8 X 10 for the wall and she used it for her open house invitations.
The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying our favorite places for a little shopping and great local food.
The memories from this experience far outweigh anything we could have gotten from a professional photographer. Even now as I look back on these photos I remember the goofy faces, the silly words to coax a genuine smile, the moments of pure delight.
Now four years later and my girl is on the cusp of her senior, and final year, of college and I wonder how have these four years passed so quickly. It seems like we were just crying our eyes out as we sat on the black rocks of Presque Isle Park on the shores of Lake Superior preparing to leave our girl all on her own, eight hours away from home, for the very first time.
In a few weeks we leave her again after the final move-in day. There will still be tears, that is never going to change, once a mother always a mother. But I know that she will be fine, she has built a good life for herself there at school, and I know she is ready to finish up and move on to new life adventures.
**One little disclaimer - I have nothing against professional senior portraits, I have a couple of good friends that do wonderful work and would highly recommend them. For us though it was more about quality time and the experience than having the perfect pictures.