Ta-da! Here it is, as promised a full year of photos of my beautiful girls, Mila and Marlowe. The original promise occurred in June, when I posted A (Half) Year of Mila and Marlowe. So, to recap, starting in January of this year, I committed to taking a monthly photo-shoot of my girls. At that time Mila was three and a half and Marlowe was one and a half. For each shoot I dressed them in complimentary outfits, with a slight nod to the celebrations of that month. It was an opportunity for them to dress up at a time when we might not have an event or any reason to wear anything special. Just like me, my girls love to dress up.Our photoshoots are a special time just between the three of us, and as we progressed through the year, the girls became as invested in the results as I was. This was a good and bad thing, since having two little mini-me’s weighing in on every detail can be a little annoying at times. When I photograph them, my goal is to capture their individual personalities as well as their amazing bond as sisters. I love it when they are looking at each-other, giggling, sharing an inside joke and also when they are intently looking at me or gazing away at something fascinating in the room. No matter what, their unique beauty always takes my breath away.
Some of the months were more successful than others, depending on the girls’ moods and all the other factors involved in taking good photos (see Photographing Toddlers ). But, regardless, the highlight of every month was when I got to look through the photos late at night and pick out my favourites to share with family and friends.
I usually shot in at least three different locations in and around our home and I used a Canon Rebel camera. Here is what our year looked like:
DecemberMy favourite month to shoot was October ( see Mila and Marlowe in Autumn), and I even did a bonus photoshoot that month for Halloween, dressing the girls up in their collection of Disney Princess dresses (see Halloween at the House).This year symbolized a lot of growth for us as a family, we spent the majority of the year being the Three Musketeers, since I stayed at home with the girls. We spent our days playing, exploring and cuddling. In September, I returned to my day job, Mila started Kindergarten and Marlowe started daycare, so suddenly time together became a novelty. But, somehow, we still managed to make time for doing the things we love together, which includes photo-shoots. This series of photos shows more than just physical growth, but really the emotional growth of my girls and how strong they have bonded as sisters over the last year.
What surprised me the most about this project, was how much I found myself improving as a photographer. I had renewed my love for photography. Since becoming a mother, my passion for creating art has been placed on the back burner, since it requires so much time and patience, which have been monopolized by my daughters. But photography provides you with an immediate gratification that other art forms don’t. Really, it’s a perfect match for a newish mom with a set of photogenic dolls to play with. To be fair, I did manage to paint a little this year and actually sold over 15 of my paintings (toot-toot…sound of my own horn).
In addition to printing and framing many of my favourite images for display around my house, here are some of the things I did with these photos:Naturally, I had to make a calendar. Hey, I had twelve months of content. The calendar served as a perfect gift to the girls’ grand-parents and was printed through Photos by Apple. Also, since I had a years worth of beautiful photos of my girls to choose from for our holiday card, I used as many as I could fit in the card. I may have overdid it a little with this one, but dammit, only a total Grinch would not smile back at all these pictures of my gorgeous girls. Next, I placed some of my favourite photos in plastic photo snow globes and gifted them to the girls for Christmas. They, of course, love to shake themselves around and make it snow. Finally, many of the photos served as crucial additions to the girls’ personalized editions of I Love You Through and Through and their birthday photo-books (see Celebrating Mila and Marlowe). These are printed through Photos by Apple.The question I have received the most these past few weeks from friends and family is will I continue with my monthly photo-shoots in the new year? And for now the answer is yes. As long as my models are willing, and the conditions are right, I see no reason to stop. I will however set some new goals creatively, in order to challenge myself and grow as an artist and photographer. I have already experimented with photographing other babies and kids, and I think this is something I will delve further into next year. As the year comes to an end, I have a feeling 2016 will be even more lovely than 2015.