Jill came in for portraits and we had the absolute best time in studio. She’s a bright, vibrant, kind and energetic person with a HUGE heart. I had so much fun creating portraits for her in studio and now I’d like to let her share the experience in her own words:
“My name is Jill and I’m a 35 year-old mom to the four best kids ever, all bunched up within 3.5 years of each other (yes, it’s insane; no, I don’t recommend it for everyone; yes, I love it!). I work part-time for a small marketing company, and am a lifelong fashion fanatic, wanna-be stylist/designer/gourmet chef, and aspiring children’s book writer.
Following my 35th birthday, as my youngest child was getting ready to start school, I made a promise to myself and to my kids to focus on one of my passions – and actually follow it through. I’d been turning an idea for a children’s book around in my head since my twins were toddlers, and over the course of this year, I finally worked it out fully into a book and started sending it out to literary agents and publishers. My boys’ love of “girly” colors inspired Art and Bart Love Pink (and Purple!), and I’m so excited for the day when they can see and read about how they’ve inspired me, and for when other kids can share in non-gender-normative interests along with them! Find me at JillLGWrites.com!
Over the last year or so, I’ve had a couple of good friends nominate me for session giveaways with Jennifer, which made me look at myself and wonder if I needed something like this to break me out of my bubble a bit? Could they see that need even when I didn’t?? Jennifer and I bonded over our shared tendency to hoard computer storage for photos…but the 54 THOUSAND images I have are vastly dominated by my kids and husband. Except for our annual family photos, I seldom make an appearance (and even for those, I spend most of my efforts styling and prepping the rest of my family so I end up a completely last-minute after-thought!). I’m virtually disappearing! While pursuing writing, the need for head shots became apparent but I haven’t been pleased by the cold and impersonal ones I’ve had taken in the past…Jennifer’s model call aligned perfectly with this need presenting itself, so I finally decided to go for it!
As the session approached, I started to get nervous: typically I’m in charge of everything from styling the setting, to picking outfits, to hair and makeup – for 6 people – when we have family photos taken…but this time, I was putting myself into Jennifer’s and the HMUA, Therea’s, skilled hands! I had a picture in my head of a bright and bubbly Kate Spade-with-with-an-edge-inspired shoot, but my husband lost his job between winning the session and the shoot itself, which put a damper on my tendency to over-shop. So instead of choosing new-new-new (and with the exception of THAT t-rex sweater!), I selected items from my own closet that I knew I loved and would feel good in. I sent several ideas to Jennifer beforehand, and her encouragement with my choices on the day of the shoot and how she designed the shoot around them, made me feel confident that she “got” me!
Jennifer and Theresa had such a cute rapport and were so open and easy-going with each other, that it was a breeze to jump right in, comfortably! Theresa asked about my hair and make-up preferences and was able to implement them well, while making me feel pampered, which was amaaaazing itself! I kept reminding myself that stepping out of my comfort zone was part of why I signed up for it, so the look ended up much more glam than I typically go, but it really brought my best features out! Jennifer replicated that eye for detail and for making me look (and feel!) my best in her posing and instruction. She kept fun but not overbearing music playing as we moved organically through the dynamic session. While some of the poses felt a little awkward at the time, Jennifer kept things light and easy, and I just knew they’d be worth it in the end!
Jennifer started the reveal with the sweetest film of our session, which included the prep time, all the images, and lots of laughs! Afterward, she unveiled a wall hung with matted prints of all the images, which was surreal and a little overwhelming. My husband, Paul, jokes that in his childhood home, as an only child, his parents have always had a “Paul Wall” full of his photos, and for the first time, I was looking at my own version of this!
Narrowing it down from the 26 edited shots that Jennifer showed me, which I didn’t expect to love as much as I did, was so difficult that I settled on 15 of them while I’d gone into the meeting, expecting to choose 6 (at most!)… All the different parts of me were right there in front of me: a fun mom in a tutu that my kids would LOVE to swish alongside; a warm and welcoming author, ready with stories full of color to spare; a wife who can still turn it out on occasion, ten years into marriage; and even just Jill, as glam as I’ve always been in my head, right before my own eyes!
When we have so many different roles to fill, hats to wear, it’s easy to feel like we’re always failing somewhere, but this all gave me a bit of perspective – that maybe the ones I love are getting the “me” that I hope to give, but don’t always feel like I can! I love the thought that in another 35, 45, 55+ years, my kids might look at these pictures and think, “That’s my mom, just as I remember her.”
I have to be honest, it was challenging to spend this time and money on myself…but the value is intangible, especially when I think about the heirloom aspect of it all ♥ My husband loves the photos so much that to him, “They were a well-deserved BARGAIN!” ~Jill