So much love to capture! So little time!

My workspace at Help Portrait on Saturday! Great times!
My workspace at Help Portrait on Saturday! Great times!

Often, I have said to my clients, my wife, my mom and my cat, when I have a camera in my hand, you might have to stop me or your photo session will go on all day. This is an interesting side effect to an old adage which begins something like “If you love what you do…”. Add to this the wonderful, uplifting atmosphere of Help Portrait and, for me, it was almost painful to put the camera away.

First, I will preface that I.Had.A.Blast! as one of four Help Portrait photographers in Murray on Saturday! There is a link attached to the name above, however, in short, and in their own words, “Help Portrait is about GIVING the pictures, not taking them. These portraits aren’t for a portfolio, website, or sale. It’s about giving people who otherwise couldn’t afford photography, a chance to capture a moment, a memory…and a whole lot more.”

This, along with “family portraits” in general, fits nicely into our ongoing blog theme of “love” for February! When I was behind the camera on Saturday, not only was I loving every minute of it myself, but I could tell everyone there was loving it too! And that creates a loving atmosphere like none other! I was enjoying the smiles on the everyone’s faces. From the hair and makeup artists, organizers and volunteers to the families, couples and the little kids, there was no shortage of love in that building!

Next was the portrait reveal where the proofs elicited all kinds of positivity including “so cute!”, “I just love that one!” and “awww”.  Just seeing people’s faces light up when they saw their proofs is priceless! And this is something I don’t often get to see, as today’ technology allows at-home, private gallery viewership instead. It even touches upon last week’s blog (Your portraits are great!…And don’t forget to kiss the photographer!) a little, if you think about it.

Then came the 11 o’clock hour. The time when my two hours was up and it was time to turn over the reins to another photographer for the remaining two hours. This was the hardest part of the day for me. The two hours went too fast and I wanted to do more! Once again…If you love what you do…

Normally, when we shoot a family session, one to two hours flies by quick enough and I always feel like I could go another one to two hours (even though the family is usually getting tired of smiling by then). But the possibilities are so endless that it is seemingly impossible to fit every great moment into one or two short hours. This is especially true when you have a loving family who is smiling and laughing with kids running around playing. The truth is: You could photograph them for a day and still have endless portrait possibilities the next! That is part of having a family get together for portraits. There are simply too many portraits to take!

Talking with Help Portrait Organizer Kyser Lough during a Break on Saturday
Talking with Help Portrait Organizer Kyser Lough during a break on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Terry Little

Saturday was like this times 10! You had the beautiful, classic banquet hall in the Robert O. Miller Conference Center filled with happy families and kids. And with so many waiting in the wings, you could not spend two hours with one family, but rather just a few minutes. But in those few minutes I got to capture as many smiles and loving embraces as I could, making sure to restrain myself so my tech guy would not want to wring my neck for taking too many portraits afterward.

It was hard to say “that’ll do it” for each individual family and, like I said, it was really hard to relinquish the set to the next photographer. When I got home, I was buzzing and didn’t want to sit still. Part of that might have been Saturday’s early spring-like weather, but I know most of it was my love for photographing happiness coming from the many wonderful families and kids. It was just a positive experience all the way around for everyone and I can’t wait to volunteer again next year!

If you love what you do…



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