Monday: Desperate for a nearby spot, I felt inclined to trespass into the woods behind our neighborhood where I found some beautiful landscapes. I spent the morning taking pictures of my kids back there as the vision of my first photo shoot began to unfold. My hopes were high; spirits were good.
Tuesday: While my girl was at preschool, I peeked in at Goodwill in hopes of finding something--anything--to give my pictures some extra flare. The furniture was half off and I scoured for a chair of some sort to haul back into the woods. I've seen some great outdoor shots with kids propped on velvety chairs out in nature... the best I could find was an old (OLD) mustardy orange couch-potato chair that I somehow transfigured in my optimistic imagination to be the perfect chair. I also found this old, foul-smelling treasure chest-looking shrunk filled with spooky crosses that I thought would also be adorable for my three little models to prop themselves atop. And then with a little more detective work I found an old-school red suitcase that I envisioned the boys holding. It totaled to be a $30 purchase.
But for my marriage's sake, I gave Magnet a ring before I purchased it all and asked him if he'd mind swinging by Goodwill that night to pick up my oversized soon-to-be purchases. I assured him that everything was returnable and that these little (big) gadgets were needed photo flare. He said, "Sure, I can probably do that." He was even a little excited/interested as I dressed up the descriptions of my findings:
"I found this old chair, and it's a prettyish yellowish orange color that will match the fall colors that are out. I've seen a lot of photographers do something like this. I think it'll be great!" (I failed to mention the stinky suitcase and shrunk.)
That night he went to Goodwill and when he saw "the junk," he said he thought I was "challenged." "I could not believe what I was looking at!" he emphatically told me when he returned home. "And when I smelled the stuff and loaded it in the car, I almost took it back right then."
"I knew you were going to think that," I quickly responded. "But you won't even notice its dinginess in the pictures once I have these cute kids around it out in beautiful fall nature. Let me show you some examples of what I'm talking about." I pulled up the professional pictures I was trying to mime only to find beautiful old Victorian-looking chairs that were attractive in color and made of beautiful wood. We laughed hysterically together at the difference between those chairs and the one stinking up his trunk, me laughing almost to tears.
Wednesday: I went on another trip to the forest behind our neighborhood and talked Magnet into hauling the chair out there to do a test run. I really felt like I was a loony trespasser as there was a construction worker who eyed us suspiciously as we transported ourselves and our junk into this off-limits area. I figured if it was really so off-limits, he would say something. There was no comment, just lots of blushing on my part.
I took hundreds of pictures of the chair out in nature, and at the end of the day it was unanimous that that chair had no business being in any picture.
I came home and continued to prepare for the next-day shoot. I wrote a detailed pose lineup--everything looking brilliant in my mind. I also wrote out a list of too funny jokes to elicit genuine laughter from the little guys. I had so many ideas. I didn't know how I would have time to do it all, and I didn't have time to do it all. :(
Thursday/Picture Day: After a fitful night's rest I woke up and finished getting ready. My heart raced with excitement. We got out to the woods and I remembered shamefully that I was sneaking my little subjects "across the border" sort of speak. Oops. I took them to the first spot, a fallen tree trunk and asked them to climb on up, but none of these sweeties wanted to get dirty! I told them my jokes and the joyous giggles I had envisioned were nada. The little nerd candies I had their mom hand out were quite the hit, though a bit distracting. And keeping them all in the same frame? Next to impossible! My vision was crumbling before my eyes. Still, I had a great time! And managed to get some good ones. Thanks again, friends, for being my first little models. I learned a ton and had some fun, too!
PS. We're all resting better, the junk has been returned to Goodwill! And I have an all-new respect for people who take great group shots of kids, and now realize why I have few if any good pictures of my two little monkeys in a picture together. It's hard work!