As a photographer you'd think I was super comfortable in front of the camera, welllll wrong, I'm the worst. With a one year old you worry so much about if they are acting right or if they have smiled once--- Alyssa and her sneaky self made me feel so comfortable and was super patient with my wild child.
Alyssa Hollis is amazing! I can't stop telling all of my friends to run and get their family pictures taken by her. Our family session felt like anything but a photo shoot. It felt like a family adventure up a gorgeous mountain at sunset that just happened to be documented by a wonderfully warm and talented photographer. Alyssa captured gorgeous, dynamic photos that show my family as we really are. When I am old and gray I will look at these photos lovingly not only because they were so beautifully captured, but because my heart was so full when they were taken. Thank you Alyssa for helping to make such beautiful memories for my family!
I want to tell you about how the “not so perfect” photos, became the ones that hit me hard and started the waterworks as I began to scroll through the sneak peeks of our family photos. I want to share with you about an experience I recently had despite the judgement that may be silently thrown my way.
It’s been four years since we have had “true” family photos done. A four year argument between the Mister and I disguised through random excuses, but all because I really was too embarrassed to admit my fears of how hard it would be to do them with our Everett. A child with special needs. Hard for him and me. Now pause. I get it. I get that some of you will instantly be bothered with that statement and maybe even some of you will sit there and think how ridiculous of a truth that is. Looking back now, I’d even agree with you to an extant. But I remember the feelings of looking at other’s family photos and thinking “how perfect”. How perfect are their photos where they are all looking at the camera, at each other all together present in the same moment, posed so perfectly, or naturally “in sync”. What beautiful memories they made to look back on when they see these photos. And I just knew that wouldn’t be our experience. But that thought, I couldn’t have been more wrong about. My main concern going into these family photos was simply Everett. I know how he functions in life, and I know how we as a family unit work. I didn’t want him or us to be stressed by not being so “on top of it” during our session and therefore us not be able to truly enjoy the experience or have photos that weren’t a true representation of the Mastersons and who we are. I think if you talk to any parent there is always some level of stress before, during, or after family photos. I expected that. But coming from the perspective of a mother with a child on the spectrum, I just want to share about how finding the right photographer was a game changer! For both my heart and our little Fox’s heart. Each photo I chose for you to scroll through tells a story.
The first tells a story about how a photographer waited patiently, without a sense of annoyance, for my son to enjoy watching the airplane above fly by until he could no longer see it in view. And captured the moment on top of that. The second tells a story about how a photographer communicated with me several times leading up to our session to get to know us as a family and each kid as an individual. As you all know, Everett has a love for dinosaurs. When she saw him frustrated at one point, she engaged in conversation with Everett about dinosaurs and encouraged him to take his Dino out to show her. (Transition object.) The third photo tells about how a photographer encouraged us to forget all family photo expectations and be who we truly are. Say, do, or even bring whatever makes each of us shine and show a side of us. In this photo, she captured the bond Everett has had with his Curious George for what seems like forever and made George being in our photos such a natural thing. (y’all, a true representation of a dynamic in our family as George travels everywhere with us.) The fourth photo tells a story of a photographer encouraging Everett to be goofy and not just expect him to smile shot after shot. And the last photo tells a story about how a photographer never once made us feel rushed or on a time crunch. That it was perfectly normal and okay for our kids to just be. Be with no expectations for a few minutes and rest. Take the time to just regroup. ALL these things may be normal (although not so sure about that) and may even seem so trivial to another, but these are the things that made me realize what a treasure and gift it was for everything to fall into place with Alyssa Hollis and her being the one to capture this season of our lives. I knew from the very moment I stepped foot out of our vehicle and we met her for the first time in person the day of our photoshoot, that when she walked right up to Everett and leaned down to give him a hug.... saying how excited she was to meet him and then took his hand to walk, she was an answer to prayer.
Absolutely love every image she got of our family! Life with 5 kids is nothing short of chaos and she did an amazing job capturing everyone perfectly. I have no idea how I'm going to choose which images to put on my walls. Thanks so much!