Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lemonade out of Lemons Photographer

Have you ever had a photo session with your child when nothing was going as planned and you thought, "Total waste of time!"? Bobby's one-year pictures at Sears Portraits was one of those memories. Crying, comfort, crying, snack, crying, walk around the store, crying...for an hour. When Devin and Brooke were ready to have their one-year pictures, I dreaded a repeat. But thankfully, not all photographers are created equally.

When Bobby was 2 1/2, I discovered a photographer with a gift for capturing real expressions and unguarded moments in a woman who just so happened to be my next door neighbor. Mitzi Bodie of Bodie Photo has subsequently taken the 3 month, 6 month, 9 month, and one year photographs for Devin and Brooke. She always says, "They're so easy," but I know it's HER easy demeanor that makes the difference.

Mitzi was presented with her greatest challenge recently for Brooke's one-year portraits. Though it was typically a good time of day for Brooke, she was particularly fussy that morning. Brooke greeted Mitzi--a face she knew well--with guarded skepticism. She played along with props of books and was intrigued by Dancing Elmo, but Brooke forfeited only one smile the entire session--which Mitzi managed to capture beautifully. See above.

Shortly after, I changed Brooke into a dress that I wore as a baby. I really wanted pictures of her in this special dress bought by my grandmother and carefully preserved all these years. Brooke began to wail. Only my arms would comfort her. Her whimpering face read, "I just want to nurse and nap; no more, mommy."

I started to apologize and cut our session short, but Mitzi encouraged me to stay. I nursed Brooke in private and she fell asleep in my arms. Mitzi quietly appeared with a pillow and asked if I could transfer her. As Brooke slept like an angel, Mitzi went to work. She probably snapped three times as many pictures of her asleep as awake. She captured what is quickly fleeting--that precious baby vulnerability, lying in total peace.

Mitzi allowed Brooke to sleep in her studio as long as we liked. There was no pressure of the next appointment, and even though Mitzi had other plans for her day, she showed great patience. Brooke's one-year pictures aren't what I had expected; they are far more special. And for that, I dub Mitzi Bodie the "Lemonade out of Lemons Photographer."

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