Two Fridays back, we were racing from one side of Melbourne to the other. It was 3.15pm when we got in the car which gave us an hour to get where we were going. As usual, we had not left enough time. Peak hour traffic was no help.
So it was that at 4.30pm we arrived at Braeside Park for our photo shoot with family photographer, Angie Baxter.
Angie and I had not met before. I was flustered and apologetic. She was serene and welcoming.
And the other important thing to know about Angie; she smells AWESOME.
Now, I don't know about you but I'm all about the senses. And if someone smells good to me, well, they're one step off being my new BFF. In fact, I once fell in love with a Jetstar air hostess who was wearing Coco Mademoiselle. I still blush when I think of her. True story.
So Angie Baxter smells amazing. Big tick!
But Angie had a harder task than just being fragrantly lovely. She had to photograph four people – two of whom were probably heading into the feral hours known as 'almost bedtime'.
It had been an overcast day and I had wondered whether choosing a late afternoon shoot to capture that gorgeous setting sunlight might have been in vain. Without the sun, we might just end up with two kids who were in no mood for looking adorable and two parents who were in no mood to look like they enjoyed being a family. Like, AT ALL.
But wouldn't you know it, when we stepped from the car, the sun broke from behind a cloud and bathed the open field in the most beautiful glow.
Angie has an incredibly warm way about her and the boys both loved her instantly. Zee practically jumped into her arms at first meeting. That was a great sign.
Being late afternoon and the fact that we were now half an hour behind, Angie was mindful of working with what light we had left. To that end, she quite expertly took us through a series of poses as efficiently as possible but without us ever feeling rushed or under pressure.
Hiding behind the trees that circled the field where we stood was an enormous and quite awesome playground. LD spotted it just minutes into the shoot. This was not good. He wasn't much interested in the photoshoot after that and it is a credit to Angie that we managed to get any shots with him in them at all. And open fields in general are an invitation to run so both B and I spent an inordinate amount of time chasing the boys.
When I look at the resulting shots, I have to say, I am amazed. The four people in those photos are NOT the four people I remember that day. We look relaxed, we look like it's all just breezy and fun, like there's nowhere else we'd rather be. Angie very clearly directed us and worked around the meltdowns and moments of which there were more than a few.
A family photographer needs technical know-how and an artistic eye in order to produce truly breath-taking photography. But a Fine Arts degree is good for nothing if the photographer has no people skills.
Angie's work is technically gorgeous. But it was her ability to adapt to the unique vibe of my little family that impressed me most.
By the time we wrapped up, it was well into dusk and getting cold. To her credit, Angie never once gave the impression of being in a hurry despite the fact that I know she had her own little family to get home to.
The whole experience was a joy from start to finish.
And the best bit? These incredible photos of my beautiful family.
Click photo to enlarge.
SPECIAL OFFER FOR READERS OF THE LITTLE MUMMA
Book a session with Angie before 31 May (can take place any time in 2011) and receive a free wall enlargement valued at $135. Just remember to mention The Little Mumma when you book.
Check out Angie's website here.
And her blog here.
And Angie's Facebook page here.
Oh and just one more photo…
No, it's not a gratuitous attempt to stun you with my incredible beauty (although am I not cute as a button?) but rather to illustrate a very important point. People, my skin was SHOCKING on this particular day. And I mean, SHOCKING. But I think you will agree with me when I say that my face looks to have been made out of porcelain in the above pic.
Angie, for this and so much more, THANK YOU! xoxo