When was the last time you stepped out from behind the camera and had pictures taken of you with your kiddo? I am guessing it has been awhile. Well, for us, it has been 2 years since we did a proper family photo shoot and this time, instead of being stiff in a studio, we opted to have photos taken right in the comfort of our own new home.
My good friend Mandy, who you all know from Pregnant in Cape Town, contacted me about an exciting new partnership with Kids Emporium. If you’re a new, expecting or even the mom to a threenager, chances are you’ve heard of Kid’s Emporium. If you haven’t, stop what you’re doing and head to your nearest branch where your ovaries will ache with the cuteness that their stores hold. I mean, I have lost hours to their incredible and exclusive range!
Kids Emporium Port Elizabeth recently ran an incredible campaign called Making Memories, where they teamed up with local photographers to give back to their customers and I was lucky enough to be selected to work with Nina Claasen Photography by the Kids Emporium team.
Nina is a lifestyle photographer with two of her own children. She is very easy going just like her photo style, which focuses on being caught in the moment. In the past, I have only ever worked with photographers who are friends of my family, so it was something new having to put my trust into someone new, but Nina was reassuring from the word go, she let us pick the location, the style and best of all, she knew who the real boss is… Axl.
There’s an entire story to our day. Firstly, I had completely forgotten all about the photoshoot, which was probably best as I had just noticed some weight gain, my skin was bad and I feel horrible about myself, following a tough month. I really and truly wasn’t up for “picture day” but when I commit to something, I follow through no matter what. The day was lost to me and before I knew it, it was afternoon and we needed to get ready. Someone threw my “photo-shoot” jeans in the wash, so I had to improvise and went with gray skinnies. While I was busy doing my makeup, my toddler who never takes an afternoon nap decided to fall asleep 15 minutes before Nina was due at our house. If that wasn’t enough, the skies had turned gray and the wind had picked up – was it even possible to capture a good image?
Despite the challenges of a sleepy toddler (who’s cruel mommy woke him up), Nina worked alongside us to cheer up Axl and went over and beyond to get him to smile and become more comfortable with her taking photos of us. Even while we were trying to comfort him, she was snapping away and what came from those small moments was a reminder…
My son, who I love wholeheartedly, won’t remember me for my thick thighs, rounded tummy or bad skin. He will only remember that his parents were present, that we played in the garden, blew bubbles and cuddled when he wasn’t at his happiest. I hope that this is a memory that stays with him for years to come – no matter what, we are here. We may not drive the fanciest cars, or go on international holidays but we are always here, always present.
Typically, I take all the photos in our family and it is very easy to get caught up in trying to get the memory on camera, that I forget to live in that moment and enjoy it for the beauty that it is. Nina gave me that opportunity tobe with my family, to enjoy the company, the laughs and to just be… while she captured it. There was even a time where I had forgotten that Nina was there, where I forgot to suck in my tummy and not laugh “too big,” trying to hide my gums and all.
This photoshoot brought up all sorts of emotions, which I shared on Instagram:
“It’s amazing to look at Axl’s features and to see just how much he is the perfect combination of both Darren and me. I never knew my heart could feel the incredible love that it does for this little boy! My kiddo, you bring so much joy and love into our lives each day with absolute no effort. We just adore your hunger for small thrills like hiding behind the curtain because mom said it is time to bath, or how you’ll jump just because dad said so! You live without limits, without fear of the big, crazy world… You just live! Never expecting anything from the next person, never failing to amaze me with your sense of wonder. You look to dad and I hoping to learn from us, but really it is you that’s always teaching us to live boldly, love fully and imagine always.”
A huge thank you to Nina who was a complete pleasure to work with. I was very impressed that it wasn’t even an hour after our photoshoot, when she started sending me sneak previews and within a week, I had all my photos. Also a great thanks to the Kids Emporium team and Mandy-Lee for your help in setting up this incredible photoshoot. I am beyond thankful for these memories captured!