It was because I dislike studio portraits.
It was an excuse to get a new portrait length prime lens.
It became a way to capture her as I see her.
Of course she’s been beautiful in studio pictures, but that was despite their sterility. Each time we struggled to find two or three shots from the 20 taken that gave any sense of her personality. See, toddlers don’t really want to spend too much time confined to a small space, particularly if it involved sitting still. That discontent tends to come through in the pictures.
The most striking thing about the woods was the birch trees, their white bark limned gold by the setting sun to match the woods’ warm fall palette. It had been years since I’d seen a birch, and here there were so many, so white, so beautiful. I recalled the sharp, sweet, phenolic taste of broken twigs snapped from branches and chewed in youth. Remembered the moment I connected the taste of those twigs to that of birch beer, realizing that someone had once discovered the same thing and made it into something you could drink. Simple, but to a child, profound. Maybe to an adult too.
On that backdrop, with the perfect golden light, we got incredible pictures of her. Her personality sang through the series in all its facets.
I doubt we’ll take studio photos again.