I’m not a photographer (so I’m not pushing an agenda) and I’m the last person to feel at home in front of a camera. Yet I have to say, there’s so much value in having a family photo shoot. I recently scheduled a session with a professional photographer, Joni Pontillo Photography, and it couldn’t have gone more wonderfully. Here’s why I did it, why you should consider it, and a few end result photos that I’m so happy with.
To Celebrate & Commemorate
Often times our transition to Florida from Canada has been painful. Securing DC’s work VISA was literally the hardest thing we have ever done as a family. It was anything but a smooth process and challenged us immensely. Sometimes being in Florida has been emotionally painful to the point of almost physical pain – I’m talking homesickness. If you’ve ever been homesick you know what I mean. It aches. But somehow despite this homesickness we’ve managed to forge some pretty remarkable new friendships that will likely last a lifetime. We’ve also cemented memories that we’ll surely have for life. The kids may not remember much, and this is one of the main reasons we decided to have a family photo shoot. For Darren and I, it’s been a whirlwind adventure chock full of ups and downs. For the kids, it will probably end up being a blip on the map of their lives. This is truly bittersweet; it wasn’t easy getting here and I have to admit it won’t be easy leaving when the time comes. So with this shoot, we chose to celebrate our time here as well as commemorate beautiful days spent at the beach.
To Make a New Memory
I seriously wondered how it would go… We’ll dress up in our nicest outfits, haul the kids to the beach first thing in the morning and watch them roll around in the sand getting filthy, maybe someone will crap their pants, perhaps there will be a meltdown. It was seriously a gamble. But in the end it was a gamble worth taking – mainly because no one crapped their pants. We’ve spent so many days at the beach here and each one is a memory I’ve been storing away for those inevitable grey winter days when we move back up north to Canada. This opportunity to create a new memory was amazing. We laughed, we played, we got dirty and didn’t worry about it when a wave splashed us nearly up to our knees. Van wouldn’t leave T Rex in the car so there are pics of T Rex eating sand. Gunnar got in on the sand eating action too. Amidst the chaos my heart felt the fullest it ever has. Watching my kids play freely on the beach in their Sunday best – a somewhat unorthodox scene – I just felt overwhelmed with joy.
To Share with People You Love
One lesson I’ve learned, perhaps the biggest lesson, since being in Florida is this: raising children is 100% more enjoyable when you have friends and family around who love them. People who can witness milestones with you, laugh at life’s quirks with you, make fun of your kids with you, and cry with you when necessary. I can say this because I compare having Van and going through his first two years in Canada surrounded by my friends and family vs. having Gunnar in Florida (knowing no one at 7 months pregnant when we moved here), having no visitors in the hospital, and spending much of his first few months basically alone. There’s been a stark contrast and while I don’t want to take away from the incredible life Gunnar has had so far or the joy he brings us, there has been a very obvious difference between his first year and Van’s first year. So in having a family photo shoot, we’ve got documentation of this small piece of our lives to share with everyone we love back home.
The Final Product: By Joni Pontillo Photography
Love, love, love how they turned out. Joni captured great candids and fulfilled my dream of having a beach photo shoot. It couldn’t have been more perfect, kids’ chaos included.