Lila 2010

Well, I think this is a pretty good post to kick off 2011 with. It’s one of those posts that I’ve known I’d have to write for quite a while, but even right now I have no clue how this is going to come out. I get nervous so I just don’t think about it, and go with my gut. I’m sorry in advance. This is going to be long. I talk a lot when I’m nervous. :)

First off, you need to know about Lila. If you read this blog a lot, follow me on Twitter or are my Facebook friend then you’ll know about her. I talk about her a lot. That’s because she’s pretty special to us. She’s our goddaughter, and for us that’s a mega big deal.

Confession time: I’m that person who whips out her cell phone to show off baby pictures. Even at the club. During a bachelorette party. True story. If there was a contest for most obnoxiously proud godparents, Rob and I would be the frontrunners. 

If you’ve met this little monkey you’ll know why. She’s incredible. Every moment with her is awesome, and we get lots. We’re spoiled. 

This past year we’ve really gotten to know her. We learned her language and what she loves to spend her time doing. We learned which toys are her favourites, and what she enjoys eating. Most of all, we learned that she is absolutely fascinating. And, quite simply, inspiring. 

We’ve photographed Lila from the first time we met her. She was just over 4 months old. Rob had just got his 5DMKII and took some video. He recorded her first laugh. 

Since then we’ve photographed her many times. At her birthday parties, in more structured portrait sessions, and in the simple moments of every day life. She motivates us to get our cameras out like nothing else. And when so much of our time is spent working for clients, we pay close attention to those things that energize us to keep shooting even in our off time. 

When people see our work of Lila they sometimes say “She’s lucky to have you guys there to photograph her”. I’m going on the record right now saying that it’s the complete opposite. We’re lucky to get to spend so much time with such an inspiring little person. We’re lucky to get to photograph her.

With that said, I am very very excited to share with you the latest work Rob and I created for her. Here’s the story.

Lila turned two in November. Soon thereafter we spent a Sunday morning with her and her parents. (Sidenote: her parents are the best people ever. Okay, moving on.)

During our time together Rob and I were quiet observers. We shot as they just went about life. Playing, eating, sharing time. I took stills. Rob took video. Here’s what we came up with.

First, my stills. They went straight into an album. No online galleries, no digital proofs. The first Lila and her parents saw of the photos was this.


It was unique for me. It was a style of photography I’ve never seriously done before, a style of processing I’ve never done before, and a style of album design I’ve never done before. I’ve never written words to my images before. I’ve also never created an album for a client without any of their input at all.

Did I mention that I was nervous for this shoot?

I was extremely nervous. I’m not usually, but this time was different. How should I prepare? Should I study? Brainstorm? Practice? It was on my mind for months. But when it came down to the wire, the night before the shoot, I figured it out. If I was simply *present* while shooting, it would work out. All I could shoot was what was happening in front of me, so there was no point preparing. My mindset was the most important part.

I don’t know if artists should have favourites, but if that’s allowed, these are mine. 

Click here to check out the entire album design:

Now, that was the morning through my eyes. At the same time Rob was doing his own thing. And it was so different from what I created, and so incredible. I’m very partial to my book, but I am obsessed with Rob’s video. I watch this regularly. 

Music: Agaetis Byrjun by Sigur Ros and Glimpse by Helios

My favourite thing about this video is that you can tell that Lila is crazy about Rob. She looks at him so much and so directly. She smiles at him throughout the video. There is so much interaction between them. It’s because they are buddies. If I show up to her house alone she immediately asks “Where’s Rob?”. They’ve been great friends since the first time they met, when he worked so hard to entertain her as I chatted with her mom. He adores her expressions, and smiles so big every time we watch this and he sees her fishy face.

So. That’s our session with Lila in 2010. But get this. The crazy thing about kids is that they change all the time. Which means that if we’re going to keep an accurate record of this awesome goddaughter of ours, and her wonderful family, we’re going to have to do this every year. I’m excited already for Lila 2011. 

I’ll end this with a note for the photographers, and the people who just love to take photos. If you have a camera, use it. Every day. Shoot your life. The more you look, the more you find those incredible moments that happen every day. They deserve to be captured. It truly doesn’t matter if you do this professionally or not. Shoot with love and you’ll take great shots. Promise.

And thus ends a truly epic, in the literal sense of the word, post. Happy New Year my friends! Thank you so very much for listening. :)

Cheers, and happy photographing.

Rob &Lauren

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