Moms & Their Babies: Loving your laugh lines

“I just found out I don’t look thirty anymore.”  I was flabbergasted the first time a mom said this to me while I presented her with my absolutely favorite image of her and her baby from their session.  The image showed two people completely connected, joyful, and in-the-moment, but all she can see are laugh lines.  And this happened often as my clientele slid toward and over 40.

I need to be honest–I had to work at not taking it personally or judging, trying instead to understand and feel empathy. Standing in front of the mirror with perfect light, making the lightest face possible, we could trick ourselves into sometimes believing we aren’t changing.  But seeing yourself in a true guffaw, mouth open in pure joy, crows feet and laugh lines reaching into your jowls, can be jolting. If that is all you are looking at.  But there is so much more to see.

I  wanted to ask “Why in the world did you ask me to do your pictures?  There are 20 standard portrait photographers within a 10 mile radius.”  But I have learned the answer.  They chose my photography for a reason.  It is what they saw in my images.  It is connection.  I’ve come to understand it’s just sometimes hard to see it on yourself.

So I stick to my formula.  I know these moms will come to love the connection they see in the photos as the years pass and they and their children change.  They will love the gooey sloppy kiss or the laugh lines and crinkles in their nose from a good giggle, because it is certainly what their children love to see when they look at them.

I think Allison Tate summed it up beautifully here.

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