by liz degroff: revealing the beauty in the everyday

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revealing beauty: the irwin's story

i recently had the privilege of shooting my first true documentary session.  i love the family i shot it for for a lot of reasons, one of the big ones being that they've been willing to be my "first" twice now- i did my first ever session for people not related to me with them a little less than a year ago.  this was when i was even newer to photography than i am now, and before i really knew that documentary shooting was what i wanted to focus on.  we did a relaxed session with heavy lifestyle leanings then, but there was still a lot of posing and direction given.  it was a really great session considering i had never formally taken photos for someone before (and how terrible i am at posing people), and i think a lot of the reason it went so well is because of how great this family is.  so, when they reached out to me about doing photos for them again to celebrate their daughter's first birthday, i knew i couldn't turn them down- and that they were the perfect people to try out a real documentary session on.

when i first arrived to their house that morning, mom greeted me at the door with an apology because the little one had just fallen asleep for an unexpected morning nap.  i think my face probably lit up like a christmas tree, and i'm guessing my return greeting was a little more hasty than normal social etiquette calls for.  i don't really remember, but i probably asked permission to photograph the napper as i bolted my way past mom and up the stairs- i mean is there anything sweeter than a napping one year old?  (turns out the answer is yes- a napping one year old on a sofa with bare toes and a tushy in the air) :

and that set the tone for our morning together- quiet, relaxed, and completely natural.  shortly after i took these, mom and dad woke her up to help keep her on her schedule, and i just clicked away while she woke up.  normally i would have been a little bummed by how often she looked at the camera, because what i really wanted was to capture her interactions with mom and dad, but this girl has eyes you could swim in and cheeks you could eat with a spoon.  stare away, sweet girl.

and besides, once she woke up and got used to me being there, she gave me plenty of authentic moments with mom and dad.  although honestly, i would have had to try to not capture the connection these three have.  their love for one another is so sweet and genuine, it just flooded their whole home.

and then there were all the sweet moments of her just being a one year old.  i could have photographed her all day as she played and explored, happy and content in the comfort of her home and surrounded by all of her things and the people she loves most.

many thanks, irwin family, for inviting me into your home and being another one of my "firsts".  a very happy birthday to your beautiful daughter!