First I have to say that Wendy and Tyler are just the nicest people ever! I learned about them through Stephanie Nielson's blog, NieNie Dialogues, and had admired their work for years. Thankfully one night my friend Mel was over visiting and after discussing it over a bottle of wine she convinced me to contact them. Normally Blue Lily has multiple shoots back-to-back in the evening at the location of their choice, during their tours. The exact locations are "to be announced" but I was worried about mobility with Ainsley at an unknown location. They offered to setup a special time just for us and let us choose the place. I booked the Photo-motion shoot to give us more time since we aren't the easiest family to shoot. Plus I really love their videos anyway.
We picked Volunteer Park because we have a bit of a history there. When the kids were little I used to take them there to the playground, the wading pool, birthday parties, to climb on the trees. The kids attended school a few blocks away. I used to stop there after dropping them off to mentally regroup and organize my thought and plans for the day. I really miss that routine. In addition when I was in my twenties and found my birth parents I met my birth father there. Days when I had a nurse but just a short time to kill I would take Evie and Adrian there to climb on the trunks of their low lying ancient trees that are like none other. You'll see them in the photos. We also got pictures in front of the dahlia gardens which was nice. My grandmother was a prize winning flower arranger known for her HUGE dahlia garden. I think we made the right decision on the location.
Blue Lily's photos have a distinct style so I thought they must stylize their clients. Some of the props they've used were fantastic. And their work is so amazing. I imagined they fussed and had a ton of high tech gear, maybe an assistant and a van or bus full of equipment. They don't fuss. And I was quite surprised to see them show up with 2 cameras and some lenses. No props, flashes, reflectors nothing like that. Actually they travel with their two children, currently age 7 & 9. So they travel light by necessity. The fact that they do what they do, all while on the road homeschooling with 2 kids, is truly amazing. Geniuses that's what they are, living an amazing life. I could have hung out chatting with them all weekend. I'm sure they have stories to tell.
But we were there to get pictures so I tried to stay focused. They use a digital SLR to shoot the video so often we had no idea which of them was taking video or pictures or when. I was nervous about how it would all turn out. We had a few mishaps leading up to the shoot. Evie's dress unraveled the night before and the hem had to be re-cut. Evie and I used the hairdryers at the same time in 2 bathrooms and it blew a fuse the morning of and that made us a few minutes late (and my hair suffered for it). Steve forgot to brush Ainsley's teeth and I didn't notice until we got there and tried to pick them clean. Ugh. I didn't quite have time to fix the cowlick in her bangs. Partially through the shoot I noticed Evie's hair was coming through her headband, but it was a whirlwind and it didn't have a chance to properly fix it. Having a new dog didn't help our getting ready and was a bit distracting but I was glad she got to be in our family photos. You really wouldn't know we'd only had her a few days. Having Penny there was fun for the kids. I tried so hard to be prepared. All the clothes were pressed and laid out the night before. Ainsley was bathed. Everything was ready. Despite that there was still an element of chaos even though we got up at 7 to get there by 9:30.
In addition to trying to keep us all "in place" we had to avoid the early bird park goers and there was for some reason about 6 people using metal detectors around the park. They were EVERYWHERE. It was hilarious. In an irritating pain in the rear kind of way. I was a little stressed but I hope it doesn't come across. The whole thing took a lot of time and energy but I'm SO GLAD WE DID IT!!! A different kind of person could probably throw on clothes from their normal closet and go all rumpled and it would turn out fantastic. I am not that person. I know without a doubt that if it weren't for the fact that Blue Lily Photography is so unique and goes on tour, and thus is only available for a handful of days, that I would never get around to scheduling a family portrait session. This was the first time I ever hired a professional photographer. We haven't even gone to Sears. EVER. If you are like me I urge you to DO IT! I only regret I didn't do it sooner. I know some of my fellow special needs mom readers worry that their family portraits won't be "perfect" or about the extra effort it will require. DO IT ANYWAY! I am so glad I did. You won't regret it. Go here to see when Blue Lily will be in your area.
.....AND THE VIDEO.....