In mid February we had our first family photo session in 3 years. Shawna Yarbrough of Studio 7 Photography took us to downtown Chandler at sunset. I know what an artist she is (our pictures 3 years ago were phenomenal) so I wasn't worried at all about the location - she knows what she is doing. But I never in a million years would have picked that spot. If I had just driven by I wouldn't have even looked twice. There was nothing about it to me that shouted "take pictures here!". The first location looked a little like a worn down warehouse. We laughed as Shawna kicked litter out of the way of her shot. Contrary to my type A personality I just went with the flow. Let the kids sit in the dirt and posed however they suggested. We were silly and took some very candid shots in addition to the ones that Shawna orchestrated but made look totally natural. As the 2 or so hours went on we moved through three amazing locations - the warehouse, a restored historic brick building with the most amazing door and an old rickety fence with peeling white paint. By the time we got to the fence my patience for the silliness, especially Gracie's waning desire to follow directions, was wearing thin. Shawna pulled out all the stops and used her "Chucky" voice which had us rolling and helped the kids finish out the session. By the time we were done we all were thankful to head to Smashburger and recharge.
2 weeks later the pictures were ready for viewing and I couldn't contain my joy. We spent hours pouring over the almost 300 shots, deciding each new one we looked at was our favorite. I am sure at this point Shawna is probably getting sick of hearing how amazing she is but what I hope she knows is that not only did she give us this invaluable gift of capturing, so, so beautifully, this moment in time of our family but also the memory of that evening. The fun, the bonding and the silliness that will be a family memory for our 6 and 9 year olds, hopefully into their old age.