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Updated: Sep 26, 2021

The trick to aging gracefully is to enjoy it.

Earlier in August, I was contacted about getting photos for a birthday party. This wasn't just any birthday party, it was supposed to be a surprise party for an amazing Great-Grandma. I love birthdays, I love parties, and I LOVE surprises! This was going to be so great.

I quickly set up a phone consultation and we got to planning just the shots they were looking for. They booked 2 hours which would allow plenty of time to get everything. There would be a lot of family at this party so we mapped out all the little family shots and group shots we wanted to get. Since it was going to be a surprise party, they wanted to make sure I captured the surprise when Grandma arrived. And since it was a party with lots of out of town family, they wanted to make sure I got some fun candid shots of everyone having fun. Check, check, check, and check!

When I first arrived, I talked with the party planner/mom and looked at the event area. Photographing in an unfamiliar place can be a challenge, but I work hard to make sure your pictures look the very best in every lighting situation. I found a nice little spot in the corner of the yard for the family and group shots, tested out a few angles and found one that would be just right. Space for everyone, nice lighting, and some "props" to make for some varied and interesting levels. Grandma wasn't due to arrive for about 30 minutes so I got right to work with the group shots. I was able to bust through most of the groups and families pretty quickly. Getting all those little darlings to smile is something that makes me smile. I have three of my own munchkins, which really helps when I have less than excited kids in front of my camera. I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve to get kids' attention and to at least get a smirk. (Spoiler... Fart jokes never fail HAHA!)

Finally they got the message that Grandma was pulling into the driveway. Places everyone! Shhhh! Grandma slowly opens the door to a collective "SURPRISE!!" All the planning, organizing and preparing came down to this moment and it was the biggest success. I was able to capture the moment she opened the door and the moments after of love and happiness, hugs and kisses and pure joy.

At the end of the event, I walked away having captured a fantastic family with both posed and candid pictures. And I hope I walked away having created pictures this family would be proud to hang on their walls.

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