Monday, October 8
It was Sunday morning. In a flash of brilliance, I assembled a church outfit for Lucy that was so ridiculously cute that I could barely look at her without shielding my eyes from the DARLINGNESS of it. I mean, her church clothes are always pretty cute, but this.... this SURPASSED "cute" and went into "this needs to be copyrighted, it's so cute" levels. And somehow, my mom-mojo rocked on and I accidentally dressed Noah in something that kind of remotely matched. There were stripes in the collective unconscious, I swear it. In fact, when Noah saw Lucy in her outfit, he hollered that she looked just like her doll, Poppy-- and she DID. Even Poppy was in on it.
So it followed that I needed to get this momentous, matching, cute-overload duo captured in photos. It's the natural conclusion when you're a photographer, right?? So, knowing I was going to make us late for church, I grabbed my camera bag, my kids, and Poppy the doll, and we detoured to a little old church two blocks from my house to get THE CUTEST PHOTOS EVER.
Easy. They were already dressed and ready, the stone steps were in shade, and I was ahead of schedule anyway.
Except. Has anyone heard of PCS? Photographer's Child Syndrome?
This is a very real condition afflicting children of photographers everywhere. Caused from an overexposure to a giant SLR camera shoved in their general direction since birth, the symptoms include:
* inability to look directly at the camera.
* unless they are wearing a completely unusable expression.
* especially if there is more than one child. (Only one at a time will look at the camera.
Probably with an unusable expression.)
* temporary deafness.
* extreme wiggles.
* sudden fits of crying.
* general wicked/naughty/terrible behavior.
Oh, laugh if you want to... But this is VERY REAL. Sure, I have managed to get some winners of my own children over the years. But I never tell you HOW MANY SHOTS it has taken to get the good ones. I am not kidding when I tell you it is usually at least twice (usually more) the amount I'd have to take of a client's child who is unrelated to me. SO MANY FAILED PHOTOS to get to one keeper. It's the worst. I won't even get into the other side of the PCS coin-- Photographer Parent Rage. It's ugly, I tell you. Swift, irrational, and ugly.
Back to the story. This one Sunday morning. Cute, cute kids in church clothes. An easy detour to some old stone steps and just a few cute shots to capture it all. Easy.
I took 30 photos. I really didn't have time for more than that anyway, and by photo 15, it was clear this was a lost cause. I present to you all 30. You tell me PCS isn't a real phenomenon.
[We start with just Lucy. She's the primary reason for this detour. Give her Poppy. Sit her on a step. Instant whining, crying. Before shooting even one shot, it takes a few crazy attempts at distraction before I can even get her to stop crying and look at me. But of course, she is reaching for the things I am using to distract her:]
[Try another tactic: "Lucy! Fold your arms!" She does. But the PCS Face is in full force. I am now just trying to get her to look at me AND look cute, so I don't notice myself cropping off her feet. Nice.]
[Fine. Ugh. Let's just switch gears and try Noah in here. Maybe I can get a few of them both before total meltdowns occur.]
[Surely the nearly-5-year-old will be my easy one. He listens, understands bribes, etc. Right? Hahahahahaha. He's always been worse than Lucy. Look, Lucy! Yay, Lucy! Noah? Noah?]
[Note: This church I am shooting at has NEVER showed any signs of life. EVER. In the middle of my own private circus/hell, a pastorly looking older dude comes out from the side of the building and stands from afar, kind of watching/sternly glaring in our direction. No words. Just standing. The heck? I've never seen ANYONE here. Of course, it makes me sweat/stress/get/more frustrated. And it keeps Noah's attention away from me. Awesome. I ignore the dude and quietly hiss at Noah to "Look over HERE!!"]
[He looks at the camera, finally. Nice.]
[Ugh. Fine. Lucy seems in a better mood. I'll zoom over to her and get some tight shots with just her.]
[Okay. We're getting closer to one I might actually KEEP. Too bad brother's arm is in the shot. And I am still cropping her cute shoes accidentally. Blah. I'll take what I can get.]
[Okay. OKAY! Lucy is looking! Sitting still! Almost smiling, even! Noah! NOAH!!!!!! Come on, look this way! Now now now!! And SMILE, dammit!]
[With your FINGER IN YOUR EAR. Nice. *eyeroll*]
[Well, we've lost focus again.]
[Try putting your arm around her. ??]
30 photos. THIRTY. 1 and 5/7ths of them are keepers.
Except I am going to keep them all. And laugh (so I don't cry). And show the world that when it comes to photographing my own kids, spectacular failures are more common than people realize. And that's okay. Hey- I tried.
And even with wonky expressions and tears and grimaces, these are the days, and the moments, and I want to remember them all.
(Incidentally, the cure for PCS is simple: Just stop taking their photos and get someone else to do it. But since I love catching them in the day-to-day as much as in the more "formal" sessions, I'm afraid I'm not open to implementing the cure. Poor them. Poor me. Guess I'll keep taking 1,654,398 photos to get a handful worth keeping.
Posted by Emily S. at 3:55 PM