We all know why we photograph - incessantly - newborns and babies. Survey says, the number one reason - because they grow so fast and change so much in such a terribly short period of time. They go from being one second old, squishy and new, to being a month old, getting used to sleeping a few hours every night. It's all so fleeting.
We all know why we take a million pictures of toddlers and little kids. It's the same philosophy as with the babies: those little ones grow so darn fast. They sit up, they crawl, they walk, they run.
They show off their new-found personalities in all the facial expressions, funny words and more. They are becoming little people. And we don't want to miss a single second of it.
We all know why we make such a big deal about photographing high school seniors. After they walk across that stage, diploma in hand, they are grown up. We cling to their presence for one final summer and then they run off to college, work or to the military (or maybe all three). They are not "kids" anymore and we want - so desperately - to capture the last fleeting moments of their youth, to hold on to forever.
So... did you notice anything? Something missing, perhaps?
The "kids" we are so fervently photographing leapt from five years old to high school graduates in a single bound... there's a GIANT GAP. a HUGE HOLE. For the math deficient, I did the calculations. It's approximately 12-13 years. GONE. MISSING. NOT ACCOUNTED FOR.
So what happened to all those years in between baby-hood and young-adulthood?
They didn't stop growing. They didn't stop changing. They didn't stop becoming more independent beings, more unique creatures, more individual in style, thinking and behaving. We have simply stopped photographing them. The crying shame of it is that between the ages of 10 and 14 in particular, those "Tween" years, our babies change as much - if not more - than when they were actual babies. WE NEED TO CAPTURE THE CHANGE RATHER THAN AVOID IT.
Let's take this lovely trio of sisters. I have been photographing this family for years. Looking back, I found these two nearly identical photos. One was from the first photoshoot I did with them, the second was the most recent. Two years apart. So much change.
And by the way, that second photo is already a year old. I have seen with my own eyes that this year's portrait will be entirely different with a now fourth grader, seventh grader and a high school freshman. Yep. See what I mean? Catch it, don't ignore it.
Tweens get a bad rap. I don't need to go into all the stereotypes we hear about the Tween Years. Surely we've all had our own personal experiences in middle school. Instead, what we need to do is nurture them, we need to push them up instead of keeping them down. These are the years we not only continue shaping them but also begin to point them in a certain, hopefully positive, direction. It's our job as parents and grownups and society at large to tell these kids that they are smart and beautiful and that they matter more than they even realize.
And yes, we must do this even if they push back. Even if they don't seem to appreciate it. They DO. They WILL. Why? Because this is the time they will remember for the rest of their lives. Not when they're two, but when they're 12. It's all documented in their mind's eye. A postive, uplifting experience when they're 12 will carry them through the halls of middle school, the corridors of high school and yes, even across the stage at their high school graduation. And beyond. WAY BEYOND.
Call me today to book a Tween Portrait. It's not just a picture. It's a boost in their self esteem and happiness. It's capturing youth. It's love.
Whether you want to surprise them with a session for their birthday, 5th or 8th grade graduation or just because....
Just do it... Quick, before they grow up.