I really don’t make a secret of the fact that I love my job. A lot. Running a business is not exactly a joyride in a convertible on a perfect fall day down a tree-lined parkway…but the good, heart-swelling moments FAR outweigh the stress of accounting and record keeping and time tracking and networking. Every photog has their favorite things to photograph; their favorite moments that keep their creativity aflame. For me, it’s these:
1. Watching a newborn get her hair washed for the first time
If this isn’t something you’ve had the pleasure of witnessing before, watch this. Typically in a hospital birth, the nurse will give the baby a bath around 30 minutes after she’s born. Last to be cleaned – the baby’s hair. And OMG they LOVE. IT. It’s the dearest thing to watch.
2. Kids being real
When I see pictures of kids that are posed perfectly with a polite smile pasted on their face, I gotta be honest, it makes me sad. Kids aren’t paper dolls, they’re pure bottled energy coiled up like a jack-in-the-box, bursting with creativity and mischief. And yes, in case you’re wondering, this drives me crazy about 78% of the time in my own kids. But watching other kids in other families expressing their uniqueness really keeps it fresh for me. It reminds me of the beauty of “normal” life.
3. Daddy bonding moments
Not to gender-stereotype, because I really hate that, but dads are typically a bit at loose ends during a photo session. In my experience, it’s usually harder for a dad to relax and enjoy the moments when there’s a camera/professional photographer in their home than it is for moms and kids. But when those moments happen, and a father and his child can enjoy each other with abandon, my heart swells like 3 sizes.
4. Honest family moments
Y’all know that my heart is families, and authentic interactions. I watch for those moments when my clients’ internal monologue goes from “smile and act natural, there’s a photographer watching” to “holy crap, my kid is ADORABLE right now” – and THAT is the money shot. That’s the moment I want to capture and make into a family heirloom for my clients.
5. Watching parents see their child for the very first time
Birth photography blows my mind. Every time. It doesn’t get old or rote, no matter how many (many!!) births I’ve photographed in the past 7 years. It’s other-worldly, mystical. Indescribable.
That’s what lights my heart on fire, friends. Those are the things I will continue to lean into hard for the rest of my journey as a photographer and family documenter. Because to me, those moments are everything.
Emily Lapish is a full-time photographer, wife, mom, and crazy person. She is tattooed, pierced, and also a responsible adult person with a full time job. Likes include long walks through Target while cradling a latte, and taking off on spontaneous adventures. She is fueled by passion for restoration, grace, and also by obscene amounts of coffee.