Three weeks ago I met up with an amazing family. There are so many reasons this photo shoot shouldn’t have happened when it did. Getting nine adults from one family together for a shoot often takes a lot of coordinating and figuring out. I had announced that I was full for the month of September, so Candace wasn’t even going to ask me. But we were hanging out one day and she just mentioned that she really wanted to do updated family photos for her mom’s birthday. She said to me – I know you’re all booked up, I can find someone else. But I know how much photos mean to people, so I pushed back the time of my family dinner and fit them in.
I have known this family for 12 years. I met Cam, their son, in high school math class. He fell asleep just about every class and then beat me on every exam. He pointed it out to me every time. And at least once a year since.
The day was warm, sunny, the leaves still beautiful and yellow. Cam drove up after we had to call him, ignoring my instructions on where to meet us. I asked him to grab some chairs from my car and carry them for me. Usually he would have chirped at me before doing it. But I shared some news with him that day – Gareth and I are expecting our second little one. Cam immediately became softer, gentler, more protective. He grabbed my keys, and his brother Cody, they grabbed the chairs and we were off.
I chose a path that was a good 10 minute walk away. Cam chirped a bit about how long the walk was, but Cody really gave it to me. I even think Calvin asked me if we were walking to Saskatchewan.
If I would have known that was the last walk I would take with Cam, you better believe we would have been walking a hell of a lot further.
We said good bye to Cam on Saturday. We’ve been trying to say good bye to him all week. He was tragically killed in a car accident on the QE2 highway. And let me tell you what I’ve been telling everyone all week – this is bullshit.
Cam, over 1500 people showed up to say good bye to you. The room was full of everyone you made an impact on. Everyone who loved you. Some couldn’t be there, but you can be damn sure they were sending all their love that day.
The service was perfect. Your brother and sister made us all laugh during the Eulogy, something I never, ever expected to do in that room.
This baby growing inside me was kicking like crazy during the service. More than it has before – Gareth even felt it for the first time. I’m going to choose to believe you were right there with my babe, keeping it safe.
Scott, Brett and Matt said a few words on behalf of all of your friends, and they summed it up perfectly – “Our wish for our children is they find a friend like Cam”. How I wish that for my kids. You never, ever wavered. Once you were my friend, there was no getting rid of you. The day I came home from Australia and you found out I was back, you drove straight from hockey practice to my house. You had told me when I left on that trip, 18 and scared as hell, that I wouldn’t last three months. Every time I got homesick and wanted to come home, I remembered that you had said that and it pushed me to prove you wrong. If you hadn’t pushed me, I might never have finished up that trip, followed through with my dream. Met my husband Gareth.
Thank you for accepting Gareth with open arms, right from the time he came to Canada. There was one point I hadn’t heard from you in months, and you called me up asking if Gareth wanted to go to an Oilers game. I gave you a hard time for not inviting me, but no way, Gareth was going with you. You even brought him a jersey to wear. It’s still the only Oilers game Gareth has ever been to.
Cam, you are so incredibly loved. So many of us who are angry for losing you, but we’re thankful you were our friend. Had such a big heart. Never gave up on us. You brought everyone together on thanksgiving weekend. I saw friends I haven’t seen in a long time, hugged people I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.
We’re all going to miss you every day. Every second. We’re all going to think of you. Laugh about you.
Life isn’t fair. We were reminded about that this week. But I will forever be grateful that I had the opportunity to know you.
I will forever be grateful we had the chance to do these photos. That I was behind the camera to capture you and your family just as you were in that moment. They will mean the world to me, and to your family, forever. And I will always be so grateful we took that last walk together.
You are forever loved. And you will be forever remembered.
I knew Lyndsey a long time ago. It doesn’t feel that way, but time really has flown by.
This job is so cool because I get to reconnect with people I probably wouldn’t have the opportunity to see from my past. Lyndsey is a really, really lovely girl, and meeting her husband AJ showed me he’s just as great!
I don’t think our evening could have gone any better. Perfect sunset. Parents-to-be excited and almost giddy about their upcoming arrival. And Lyndsey’s beautiful outfit choices were pretty perfect too.
We have since met their little man, Tucker, who was amazing for us during his newborn session!
Miss Kinley’s mom had a crazy amount of ideas for this shoot. She sent me ideas and outfits – and she even had Kinley’s Grandpa build the blue ladder for the shoot!
I really, really appreciate when parent’s make this much effort for a session. Outfits play a massive role in the feeling and outcome of your photos, so when great ones are chosen, amazing photos like this turn out!
Kinley is part way through our First Year package, you can see her newborn photos here. She is growing so fast, and she is one of the HAPPIEST babies I have ever met. She never stops smiling at me. Maybe she just thinks I’m funny looking?!
Thanks so much for joining me in the beautiful evening light. We had the perfect evening!
A couple of weeks ago we had our own family photos booked. I had picked our outfits with care, the photographer had chosen a great location, I had been thinking about them and so excited about them for days.
Fall is a crazy busy time to year for photographers, so the only time our schedules meshed with Nicole (my amazing friend from NC Photography) was in the morning. I was a bit worried about it being too cold, but I was confident it would work.
The morning came, I was up early, did my hair, we got all done up and we were off.
It was a disaster. A total. Complete. Disaster.
Callum was a sick, snotty, miserable mess. He was irritable, uncooperative, and the most devastating to me – he wanted nothing to do with me. I couldn’t hold him, he kept pushing me away, I promise you he was acting like I was a horrible mother. Thank goodness I knew our photographer because it was embarrassing!
In the end, we got maybe 3 photos. It just wasn’t working. I ended up calling it off, everyone was persevering but Callum was crying and cold and it just wasn’t worth it.
So when I tell you “I get it” – I do. Trust me. We’re a family too. We have a child with bad days, and moods, and now that he’s motoring around we can’t control his every move. So I’m not judging you. I don’t think you’re terrible when your child is too busy exploring to want to have their picture taken. And TRUST me, I understand that sometimes kids are just having a bad day.
Other than the fact that I want amazing photos of our family as we grow, this is the reason we get photos done every year. It is SO important for us to remember what it’s like to be on the other side of the camera. What it feels like when the photographer is telling you to make your child sit on your lap and it’s just not happening. I get it. I remember. And I will do absolutely everything possible to make your kids have fun and to capture some beautiful memories. We’ll work with them. If we have to play, we’ll play. If they need a snack, they can stop for a snack. It’s not a race.
We got home from our shoot, Callum stripped off his pants, and came downstairs to set up for a shoot I had in an hour. He plopped down in the middle of our studio and I snapped this while I was testing the light. They really don’t do what you want, when you want, do they?
p.s. Nicole tried again with us this morning and everything was wonderful. Callum is a busy boy but she jumped and danced around and made him laugh and caught his attention. Now I can’t wait to see them!
I just love this lovely little family. Elsie is a ball of energy and fun and she makes me smile every time I see her. And she loves her little brother so.
They booked our First Year package for their son, Dane, and added on family photos to his six month session. We had a beautiful evening capturing these last warm Edmonton evenings. We even snuck in a few photos of just mom and dad. That’s so important and is always so forgotten once little ones come around.