After considering ways to discover just what my work means to my clients, today’s blog has been written by a client , highlighting the true meaning of capturing all those milestones, not only in your baby’s life but as parents too. Alex is no stranger to the studio having had the pleasure to see him grow over the years, right from his newborn shoot to his latest portrait session just before he starts school.
Bump, Baby, Boy…Why Milestone Photography Means So Much
With baby milestones comes those major moments in our parenthood where we reflect on the memories that passed us by with a blink of an eye. As I reach another milestone in my own parenthood and I feel like I am just about hanging on to the last few months of my baby as my son is about to experience his own major milestone into childhood.
As I look across to the canvas, which for over 4 years has taken prime position in the house, hanging so proudly and filling me with love every time I see the tiny perfect creation held closely to my chest, those tired new mummy eyes masked ever so strategically, and the smitten smile on my face says it all. My whole life had just changed, how could my body have grown something so prefect, those tiny features, perfect ears, teeny weeny fingers and toes…. Now those teeny-weeny toes will be slipping into not so teeny-weeny school shoes come September. I often find myself wondering where did my baby go?
My baby didn’t go anywhere…he’s simply making the step into the milestone in his life. As with everything we do these days picking up an iPhone and taking a few snaps just doesn’t cut it. Is there such thing as an ‘End of babyhood’ shoot? or ‘Look how I’ve grown?’ it seems there is.
Photography Milestone 1: The Newborn Shoot
Rob first captured Alex at just 11 days old in his local home studio perched right between Barnsley and Doncaster. Seeing my pride and joy laid so comfortably snuggled up in cute props and blankets in front of the beautiful roaring fire while Rob snapped away was lovely. It’s funny how you value moments like that once they have gone. The newborn session is a distant memory now, I couldn’t really tell you what happened on the day, other than it was a cold day, I instantly felt welcomed and comfortable therefore so did Alex. There is one thing I remember like it was yesterday, and that is exactly how I felt at the viewing. It was an exciting time, having waited in anticipation to see what wonderful photographs I could treasure forever. I was totally in awe at how perfect and content my baby looked on every single one. It was impossible to choose just one or two out of the amazing gallery of images I was presented with, because every one of them meant something to me. I’m so glad I had that chance to capture those early days before it was too late. Every piece of wall art I purchased was priceless and still hangs on my walls filling me with love, and for just a few seconds evokes a sense of happiness and the stirs the emotions of being a new mum once again.
What seemed like only a few weeks later I was fast approaching the celebration of my son’s first birthday! Wow, where did that go? Again, it didn’t go anywhere, those days in between were just spent busily teaching that dependant, innocent bundle what the world looks like, how it smells, tastes and feels.
Photography Milestone 2: The Cake Smash
There he is, sat in his cargo shorts at the inquisitive age of one….looking at the animals and curiously considering what had been placed in front of him, leaning down for a smell of the green sugared icing and taking a nibble before diving in head first into the double tier of sweet sticky sponge cake, within seconds it was in his hair, ears, toes and even his bellybutton! Oh, it sure got messy that day but Alex enjoyed himself to say the least. The clean-up operation must have been a challenge. I have good memories of the day, watching his little eyes light up and his face beaming looking across at me for consent to dive in. Again, these memories are only so vivid because of the framed prints I have on my ‘Memories’ wall. At that moment when he turns around and tells me he doesn’t like broccoli anymore because its green and looks like a tree, I glance at the photograph and think it wasn’t always that way. Ok it was an icing palm tree…. but still you get the idea. That is where it started; the independence. Then suddenly, I’m sat painstakingly trawling through Ofsted reports of local schools and nervously awaiting the confirmation of the school my son will begin his next milestone.
As I accept my duties of parenthood have changed over the past 4 and half years, one thing will always remain true…. he is still my baby. I still creep into his room and kiss him good night and whisper ‘I love you baby boy’ and maybe I always will. But I do feel part of me needs to accept his new found independence, his understanding of the world and let him grow. The newborn and first birthday milestones mean so much more to me now that I first anticipated.
It was hard to pass upon the opportunity to have my ‘baby’ boy captured one last time at the transitioning age from babyhood to childhood. This age is so funny, he sure has developed his own personality, with all the cute poses and silly faces that are enough to make a mother’s heart melt but fill him with fear of re appearing on his 18th birthday. Maybe then he’s too old for a cake smash? Good job we got that one when we did then.
Knowing on my own experience the value of those milestone shoots I know in 7 years’ time when he’s leaving primary school for ‘big’ school I will look back on his portrait photographs taken just before he started primary school, with the same emotions as I do his newborn and cake smash ones. Those of a busy mum, who has pretty much winged it a parenthood but not actually done a bad job of it and one who is not quite sure where the time has gone. Yet, I feel so blessed to have the moments that matter in print, that tug on the heartstrings and revive those memories over and over again as we both continue to reach new milestones in our lives.
These ‘transition’ shots, in a way mean more to me, as they capture him as his own little person who has grown into his own character right from those early days, those quirks and unique expressions that make me smile every day. As I look at the portrait photographs I can almost hear what saying when I look at them, his giggle and the way he likes to pose. There is one however, that really means the most to me ….my little boy sat on the suitcase he once laid in so tiny in his newborn session. In that one image, not only I can see visually just how much he’s grown but the suitcase resembles his own journey into childhood and mine into parenthood.
Photography Milestone: Maternity Shoot- The one I regrettably missed.
The one thing I look back on with regrets in never having a maternity shoot, I vaguely remember my bump, and I don’t have any pictures from my own ‘transition’ milestone. Looking back this was almost like the milestone Alex is making now. Stepping into the unknown, with no way of going back, where the only way is to grow and develop as a person into the next phase of my life. I took the camera snaps of my bare bump, but never had any photographs which captured the way I felt to be pregnant.
With so many milestones ahead for both me as a parent and Alex into his childhood I can truly appreciate just how fast we all grow as people. And in the next blink he will have lost his first tooth, be leaving school, starting university or whatever else he wants to do in life. The biggest thing I have learned to accept is that my baby hasn’t gone anywhere, he’s simply just growing up. I have evidence of that in every piece of wall art and framed print that fills my walls and heart with happiness and memories and truly appreciate the priceless value of photography and wall art.
All my memories are courtesy of Rob Mank Photography. A welcoming home studio based in South Yorkshire. To book any Newborn, Cake Smash, Maternity or Family Portrait session please contact Rob Mank on 07738053465 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For observant ones out there; here is a special offer just for you. 50% off your session fee for any Maternity, Newborn, Cake Smash or Family Portrait session booked in July and August. PLUS this can also be combined with the summer offer of £100 wall art credit when purchasing digital images to use towards any wall art product. Quote MILESTONE when making an enquiry/ booking.