Sigh. There’s just no way around it any longer. Change is happening here at Nikki Smith Photography. Actually, it’s been trying to happen for a while now and I’ve been trying my Olympic-level best to ignore it. I’ve been brushing off that persistent whisper in the back of my mind, thinking it would just go away if I didn’t pay attention to it……but, it hasn’t. Quite the opposite, actually.
Lately, it’s become very obvious to me that I might be something other than a photographer. Yeah, I have a camera and Photoshop. Yeah, I know my gear. Yeah, I love taking pictures. But, I’m actually not just taking pictures. I’m collecting memories. I’m telling the stories around me. I felt it when I wrote my blog about why I need to take pictures. I’ve felt it over the past several weeks, sifting through my late grandmother’s picture boxes, reminiscing over the stories I knew, wondering about the ones I didn’t, mending my shattered heart with the past. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the enormous privilege of documenting not one, but two military deployment homecomings. While capturing those moments and then editing those galleries, I really, really felt it. The pull I’d been resisting for longer than I care to acknowledge was stronger than it’d ever been before. My need to tell stories is a living, breathing part of me and I cannot ignore it any longer and I have to do something about it.
Which leads me to this change that I’m making. I believe SO strongly in this change, so strongly in how important it is to tell all the stories, that I’m going to do something crazy (it makes me get a little pit-sweaty when I say it out loud, truth be told). Ready? Here it is. Now that my 2016 session calendar has officially closed for bookings, I will no longer be offering posed family sessions. Holy crap, I said it. Well, wrote, it, but whatever. It’s official. Nikki Smith Photography is going in a new direction.
Don’t get me wrong. Posed family sessions are wonderful. I’m not knocking them at all. They are important and beautiful and have their place in the family album. But, can I tell you something? I have to force my own family to do them. There it is, the truth. Once a year, just in time for Christmas cards, family photos are forced in my house. There are families who LOVE posed photography. My family isn’t one of them. My kids drag their feet about it, my husband huffs and puffs and rolls his eyes and smiles (kind of) but, only after I threaten to nag him for all of eternity if he doesn’t. We collectively smile, through clenched teeth while telling each other to smile, for the camera, but no one really wants to be there (except for me, because I’m the mom who WANTS the pictures to be made). Sound familiar? Maybe just a little bit? If you’re sitting here reading this, nodding along because my family sounds like your family—you’re my people! We get one another. We want family photos. But getting them by way of threats is exhausting. Instead, we want them to reflect who we really are. We want the kind of photos that immediately spark a story that starts with, “Remember that time….” We want MEMORIES! It’s what I want for my family and it’s what I want for your family, too.
So, if I’m no longer offering posed family sessions, what exactly am I offering? Well, I’m so glad you asked. Starting in 2017, I’m beyond excited to introduce Family Story Sessions, where, together, we will tell the story of you. What is YOUR story? What do you love to do? What makes your family’s heart sing? Who is important to you? Where is your heart the happiest? Let’s go on an adventure or just hang out in your driveway for a family game of basketball. Grand or small, let’s capture the memories that, one day, will be your family legacy! Let’s tell your story.
Ahhhh, if only it were as easy as that, right? I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “I’ve got a camera on my phone. I already take my own photos of us doing that stuff when we go do it. Why do I need to hire someone?” True, but……can I ask you a question? How often are YOU in those photos with your family? Letting someone else take control of the camera means you’re free to have fun, too! And, wanna know a secret? That person with the camera (ME!!!) sees things you don’t. I can see the moments that make the memories while you’re busy making them.
For years I’ve only included posed photos for my own Christmas cards. Here is just a glimpse of the things we’ll be including this year, because this is who we are. We’re beach lovers who do family story-time, we love ice cream treats and jump on hotel beds, we learn to ride tricycles and play airplane-ballerina in the driveway on summer evenings and we’re the people who ride through Target in our Iron Man mask. We’re those people and these are the memories that tell our story.
Of course, with a new direction comes a re-branding. Introducing my new logo. Nikki Smith, photographer | storyteller. It just feels a little more…..me.
Brace yourselves, because there’s more (what?!). To celebrate my new Family Story Sessions, I will be hosting an open model call after the first of the year. ANYONE in my local area (St. Johns, St. Augustine, Greater Jacksonville) or, anyone who wants to travel to my local area, can apply. All you’ll need to do is tell me what YOUR family loves to do together! So, put your thinking caps on and keep an eye on my Facebook page (here) for the announcement.
If you’re sitting there thinking that THIS is the type of family session you’ve been waiting for but you aren’t quite sure what you’d like to go do, message me! I’m keeping a list of great memory-making activities that I’m updating almost daily. PS. While I will no longer be offering posed family sessions of any kind, sessions for children, toddlers and high-school seniors are still available for booking (just a little more relaxed now). But, couples??? Let’s go tell your story, too, in a Couples Story Session!