The Growing Family

Portland Family Photography, Courtney Z Photography

Some recent stories:

#1 - A few months ago, I randomly got the chance to have dinner with an aunt and uncle that live in Florida. If I’m lucky, I get to see them once every other year, so we had a good amount to talk about and catch-up on; life, career, family, upcoming changes and challenges, etc. Of course we got on the topic of photography and documenting life, real life. I mean have you never met/read me before? It's like all I talk about. …and you may hear more about this part of the conversation in the coming months.

Anyway, mid-conversation my uncle said something that stuck out to me like a pin prick. It was something like:

The thing I remember most about when Mitch was young was when he would fall asleep on his bedroom floor, wearing his superhero costume. 20 years later, I wish I had real documentation of that.

Portland Family Photography


#2 - I got an e-mail from one of my repeat clients from over the last year. Like a handful of my families, I've been around to document their son at different time points in his first year. It's one of my favorite parts about this job, to see how a family grows and changes over the years.

Her e-mail was in response to sending her a gallery of our latest session:

"I'm glad we did three sessions this year. It is so crazy to look back through the 6-month session and see how different he looked then! I almost didn't remember him like that!"


#3 – If you know me at all, you probably know that family is really important to me. …I feel kinda weird even writing that. I mean, isn’t family really important to almost everyone? It’s your backbone. Anyway, over the last two and half years, there has been one little lady that’s been particularly important to me and Nabil, our niece Myra.

Here’s the thing about kids. They grow like freakin’ weeds. In fact, I have a killer dandelion in my front walkway that grows slower than this girl. We see her as often as possible, but in reality, that translates to about twice a month. Sometimes more, sometimes less. You can imagine I take photos of her almost every time she comes over. Naptime in particular.

Can you believe how much she’s changed over the last six month? Each time I see her, she has grown, changed, learned...


Are you sensing a theme here? Throughout life there are key moment and phases, but those moments are just that, moments. They’re fleeting. They’re temporary.

One of the challenges about being a photographer is trying to convey the value of professional photography, especially this day in age when everyone has a decent camera in their pocket. But the thing is, real photography of real moments transcends time. It’s something that becomes more valuable as time passes because it freezes a moment that you won’t ever get back.

Having the opportunity to stay with families and see their kids at different stages in life is really something special. It's a unique opportunity to be able to get a somewhat intimate view of a family once a year. I get to see milestones, how they have their mom's eyes, and how that mischievous smile still hasn't gone away. You know the one that says, I know that you want me to walk towards you, but I'm about to run the other way. ...and then fall in the dirt and get my nice cloths dirty.

I can't tell you how often I hear something like "I miss seeing my kids at that age. At the time I just wanted that phase to be over, now I miss it". 

If you've read my blog before, you know that I preach this from the hillside. (If you haven't you can read more ramblings here and here). Documenting your life with intention gives you the opportunity to later look back at your life and remember all the best pieces that the present often clouds. It gives you the chance to lay to rest all the frustration and irritations time has a way of dissipating, and instead to celebrate what once was and what is now. I can't count how many times I've looked at an old picture of my sister or of my husband and I, and had that ache of nostalgia and the joy of growth all in one moment.

…so, I guess what I’m trying to say (again), is that making it a priority to intentionally and regularly document your life and your family will be something that you will value more and more with each passing year. It costs money, yes, but so does that patio furniture or that new phone, and only one of these things will be around in 20 years. Whether it’s with me, another photographer, or with your cell phone, make the time to remind your future self that you lived a pretty kick-a life.

Portland Family Photography

...and if you're interested in booking something soon, you can check out some info about upcoming holiday mini sessions here.