Several weeks ago I spent the afternoon with some of my favorite ladies during a back-to-school photos mini-session. Tori and Damon, the leaders of this gorgeous gang, won a Washington D.C. photo shoot that I had donated to our children’s school auction last year. So, when September rolled around, Mia, 6, Zoe, 5, and Carli, 2, and Tori all joined me in my yard for some back-to-school photos & fun.
This photo shoot had originally been scheduled for the day before, but our beloved Washington D.C. weather decided to torture us with high humidity instead. As Tori and I stood together on the sidelines of our children’s soccer game, we mutually agreed to push back the shoot and wait for a break in the sticky, insufferable heat. And thank goodness we did. The next day brought with it a breath of fresh air. It was, in my opinion, the first true autumn day: a gloriously crisp breeze and bright blue sky.
My backyard had been “primped and pruned” (if not pulling weeds counts), and every leaf had perked up to greet this refreshing change in the seasons: the perfect backdrop for truly vibrant back-to-school photos. Now, not to disparage the commercial back-to-school photos that come home every year in tiny backpacks, but I can’t help but feel that they really don’t do our children justice. At best they capture a pretty smile and at their worst they are a collection of chronological mug shots – hardly child portraits capable of inducing warm, fuzzy feelings. I am committed to bringing the love back into school portraits, and mama Tori helped me do it.
With smiles across the board, the mother-daughter love present in this family is quite palpable. From time to time, Tori would wrap her arms around the two older girls and her embrace brought out some of the most memorable moments of the afternoon. Carli, of course, was bounding around the yard and couldn’t be slowed down even by mommy’s hugs. She did however, pause long enough for me to capture that incessant twinkle in her eyes – the one that seems to say: I’m tiny and gorgeous, and have the world to take on, so if you could please hurry this photo shoot along…
These photos – of sisterly smiles, movement, and kisses on the cheeks – are the portraits that help us celebrate the start of a new school year. They help me imagine little Carli, following in her sisters’ footsteps, and little Mia blazing the trail as the oldest of the three. And they help me wonder what next year will bring for the “R” family, I can only hope it brings good things and that I can be there, behind the camera, documenting all the back to school smiles that the future holds for this family!
About the Author:
Julie Kubal is a child and family portrait artist and photographer serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She is passionate about creating warm and meaningful artwork through modern portraits and lifestyle photography at a location of your choice!