Happy Father’s Day!

“It’s only when you grow up, and step back from him, or leave him for your own career and your own home — it’s only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it. Pride reinforces love.”
-Margaret Truman


With Father’s Day weekend upon us, I would love to share a story that personally touched my heart like no other.  This weekend while you enjoy your dinners, lakes and barbecues with the ones you love, don’t forget to take your camera.  And (for the love of cheese!) let someone else hold it for a while so you can be seen too!
Honor your fathers, dead or alive, biological or not…because those men have sacrificed more than you will ever know for your love and security.  All too often we take for granted that the ones we love will always be there for us, and it’s easy to forget that life goes by way too fast.

“Capture life. As it is. And embrace it.

-Stephanie Riley


Recently I was approached by a fellow photographer about a family session like no other.  Her father has been battling cancer for the last 5 years, and the doctors had just told them he is terminal.  Sometimes real gifts can come disguised in cruel packages.  This gave her an opportunity that I wish I had with my father before he passed and, like me, most of her photos had her behind the camera…so it was time to get some unforgettable family photos taken.
NO pressure here!!!

Enough of my words, I asked Stephanie if she would mind writing her own story for this blog, so here it goes, in the words of Stephanie Riley…

“My dad was diagnosed with cancer about 5 years ago. During my Dad’s illness, I have tried to convince myself that everything was fine and we would easily get through the crisis. We have always known in the back of our minds that this day was coming but praying that it wouldn’t. A little over a month ago the doctors informed us that there wasn’t anything more that they could do for him. For those of you that know me, know that I have always been a Daddy’s Girl and always will be. As you can imagine this hit us like a ton of bricks.
One evening I started pulling out all of my old photo albums and taking out photographs of my Dad and quickly realized that I didn’t have very many. I have photographs of us when I was little, a few from my wedding day, and lots of pictures of my Dad and my daughter, but very few of us. I could probably count on two hands how many pictures that I have of me and my Dad.”

“One evening we were talking and I mentioned that I would like to take family pictures with him. Like a lot of people, my Dad never liked to be photographed so I was planning on him saying “no”, but to my surprise, he agreed. I was shocked to say the least. Now I was on a mission to coordinate clothes for all four of us. I shopped around for weeks trying to find the “perfect” outfits for everyone. I was coming up blank. I mean, these were the most important pictures in the world to me and I wanted everything to be perfect. I wanted perfect clothes, hair, attitudes, and weather. Being from Oklahoma and wishing for perfect weather is just comical. So one evening while out shopping, I told my husband that we weren’t going home until we had clothes for this pictures. As you can imagine, my husband was thrilled with more shopping; however, we got it done. In my mind, I wanted perfect pictures. In reality, I just wanted pictures. The clothes weren’t important. I wasn’t going to look back at these portraits and wish that I would have wore a different top or shoes. I just wanted portrait of my Dad. After lots of planning and rescheduling with Jessica, we finally had our date set. With Dad’s condition we never knew how he would be feeling from one minute to the next. The big day came and Dad wasn’t feeling very well but nothing was going to stop us from taking these pictures. He knew how important they were to me and he pushed through. Sweet Jessica only had about 5 minutes of shooting time with him and then he was ready to go back home. We couldn’t be happier that we went ahead with portrait because we never know what tomorrow holds.”

“Photography puts emotions into tangible form. They are constant reminders of our families, friends, the ones we love, the things we do, who we are. They remind us of our baby’s first smiles, first steps, our first kiss as a married couple, first day of school. They are such a wonderful wonderful way of capturing life as it happens. A gift.

I hear all the time people say,
“Oh, I want to wait until I lose these last 15 pounds of baby weight.”
“Oh, I want to wait until the baby is old enough to smile.”
“Oh, I want to wait until my husband gets his hair cut, finally cuts his beard, he wants to lose some weight.”
“I want to wait until spring/summer/fall/winter.”
“I want to wait until a Saturday.”

I want to wait…I want to wait…I want to wait.

Please…Don’t wait.

Don’t wait, because you never know when life throws us a curveball, and our path is forever changed.

Please, embrace the extra 15 pounds, the baby that isn’t quite smiling on demand, the husband who has an annoying beard he won’t shave, the kiddo with a bad haircut, the “wrong” day/time/season.

Life is happening. This second. Don’t wait. Live every day as it’s your last. Because we never know when life on this earth is over. It can be over in an instant, a second, a nanosecond.

Tell those you love that you love them. Take pictures, write things down, hug, laugh often, don’t go to bed angry. Smile. Hope. Pray. Every day.

Don’t wait to take pictures of your family, and use silly little reasons that don’t matter in the end as an excuse.”

<3 <3 <3

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