Thursday, March 12, 2009

Say Cheese

Let me tell you about the first time we took our daughter in to have portraits taken.  Perhaps the story will sound familiar to you.  I called JC Penney and made the appointment, and on the day of the session we bathed Abigail, picked out two of her cutest outfits, and packed her off to the mall across town for her first professional portraits.  Of course I figured it would be a bit challenging, trying to take a picture of a tiny squirmy six-week-old baby, but after all, we only needed one good shot.  A single picture for posterity.  How hard could it be, I asked my husband.  

Oh, how naive I was.

Abigail had her own ideas about how the session should go. Well, to be exact, what she had were two poopy diapers in quick succession, followed by a full-scale freakout thanks to the pushy photographer, the bright lights, and the camera that was approximately the size of a compact car.  The photographer kept trying to "position" her, and really, what strong-willed baby likes being handled?  Abby made her displeasure known, of course.  There was no consoling her, and the pictures were all terrible, generic and impersonal, utterly lacking in spark or creativity.  So much for my grand portrait scheme.

One day not long after that, I came across a flyer for Nan Friedman with PS Studio.  I didn't know if Abigail would do better with another photographer, outside the dark, overheated, slightly claustrophobic JC Penney studio setting, but I figured it was worth a shot.  

Nan, who has been photographing children for over fifteen years, was great with Abby, warm and friendly and patient.  She just let her be herself, and as a result, the pictures actually looked like our three-month-old daughter, not some vague expressionless cyborg baby.  After just half an hour or so, we ended up with literally dozens of wonderful shots to choose from, Abby's personality shining through in every picture.  

We've been back to see Nan for Abby's six-month, nine-month, and one-year portraits, and have been absolutely thrilled every time.  As your typical photo-happy mom, it's so nice to know that when I make an appointment with Nan, dress Abigail up, and drive all the way there for the appointment, it's pretty much a sure thing.  I can't recommend her highly enough - and it's safe to say that we will never go back to JC Penney again.  3340887557_bc00c8e4c5

Nan's prices are very reasonable, and she works out of a brand-new, beautiful studio in Chapel Hill (on Stancell Drive, parallel to Highway 54 - also very convenient for Durham dwellers).  Next time portrait time rolls around, give her a call and tell her Abigail sent you.

P.S.  Expecting mamas, her maternity portraits are stunning, too!

Nikki is a crappy photographer and slightly better writer who also blogs at A Small Song.

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