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Monthly Archives: August 2015

Nine photoshoots in as many years

This is #19 in my series of Family Retrospective Videos – for more information about this project or to sign up to be added to the list of families who wants one, click this link and scroll down the page through the previous posts back to the first or second one (where I describe it in more detail).

I met these guys in 2006 when they had me come for photos of their then 2 1/2 year old cutie Will, and the following fall their sweet Charlotte had joined their family too. I’ve loved visiting every fall since then!

And without further ado, here’s a 5 minute video of Will and Charlotte’s family with photos from nine photoshoots over the last nine years:

(Hint: Start playing the video, and then click on the little gear thing that takes you to “Settings” in the bottom right corner of the video. Choose 720p to make the slideshow play in high-definition. You can also choose “Full Screen” down there in that corner of the video too.)

Twelve years of making aht, guys

It’s been 12 years now, peeps. Time makes you think about things, and this year I thought I’d regale you with some tasty tidbits about BBP in general and me specifically. Doing one thing nonstop for twelve years makes for some weirdness. So I thought I’d share some of it, because it’s fun.

Let’s call this…


Eight Unexpectedly Weird Things About Me and My Job

Blackout1) I am strangely well-acquainted with the different styles and (more importantly) functions of window shades. It’s just one of the things I always do – in every room I walk into in every house where I take pictures I open the shades. That’s maybe an average of two to three rooms where we take pictures in every house, maybe an average of two shades in every room, 150-ish photoshoots a year… that’s like 600-900 windowshades/year, over the last twelve years… a conservative estimate of 7,000+ window shades. Ha! Wild. You wonder why I obsessed about getting the perfect ones when we put shades in all our upstairs rooms a few years ago. (Thanks for asking. We got Smith & Noble ones that are gauzey white on the top and opaque white on the bottom, and you can slide the thing all the way down to make them gauzey white over the whole window or slide it all the way to the top to make them opaque blackout shades. I love them.)
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2) An addendum to item #1 is that I should also be strangely well-acquainted with baby gates (the same way I am with window shades) because I come into contact with just so many of them in my work. So you’d think I would learn how to open all of them, be a whiz with the different latches, etc., never get stuck behind one, waiting for the parent to come up behind me and step on it or turn some handle… but I’m too tall. I step over them. I’ve never bothered to learn any of them. Well, more accurately, I’ve given up thinking that I’ll ever learn all of them. There are too many different ones, so I just step over them. So that’s a boring one. But side note, as I was thinking about this – do you guys hire child proofers to come into your house for like a couple of hours and do it for you? Because eight years ago when we needed to baby proof, hiring a service like this one was amazing.

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3) My knees hurt a surprising amount. Turns out a large part of what I do is best done on my knees, so I crawl around on the floor with a lot of children. Inside, outside, everywhere – and basically, I love rugs. Hardwood and stone floors hurt. But that’s life, and that’s my aht, dahlings. Beauty is painful, my mother used to say (as she pulled my french braids tight). The most questionable business expense my tax guy may (or may not?) have noticed in my books was the wrestler’s knee pads I ordered one year. I was sure they’d be the answer to my prayers. End of that story? Nope. They made my jeans way too tight (have to wear them under, not over the jeans – wouldn’t you think I were weird if I showed up at your front door wearing knee pads OVER my jeans?) and so actually the back of my knee hurt more than the front ever did. Side note, anybody need some knee pads?

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4) An addendum to item #3 that just occurred to me? I go through a shocking quantity of jeans each season. Jeans are just one part of my uniform… (I’ll save the full uniform for a future post – pretty much every bit of what I wear to my shoots has been road tested for success – everything I’m wearing is on my body for a reason, and if you’re curious enough, ask me about it when you see me. I’m not sure it’s that interesting to the entire internet to understand which shoes make the most sense for my work and why, but if you’re curious, I’d love to tell you all about it. But I digress.) Suffice it to say all the kneeling referenced in item #3 means I rip through the knees of more than one pair of jeans each season. So posts like this one really help me out (the Old Navy pair she references – the non-skinny version? Amazing). It’s also important to have a backup pair of jeans in the car. Some people tend to eat more during their busy season, and perhaps jeans that are tight and kneeled-in-a-lot might get worn, and more prone to rips… sometimes even in places (like the butt!) that aren’t fun for rips. Or you just kneel outdoors in a wet part of the grass in your first shoot of the day, but then you head to a second shoot of the day to a family’s home where you’re going to be kneeling (on your same dirty, wet knees? no!) on their white bedroom rug. See where I’m headed? Spare pair, people.

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5) This is a gross one. If you don’t like discussion of canine bodily fluids, skip this one. But here’s the funny thing. I step in dog poop WAY more than most people. See we like to go outside for pictures, often at the end of a photoshoot, often into a yard that might be used by Fido or Rover more often than it’s used by anyone else. And please, if you have a young child at home, who has time to pooper-scoop? Or maybe you just missed one, no big deal – truly. I don’t judge, I just wear plastic shoes. (See item 4 above – every item I’m wearing I’m wearing for a reason.) The shoes are plastic so I can step in the poop at the end of the shoot and then not really notice it (I always take my shoes off when I go into people’s homes, though, so don’t worry that I’d track it inside after coming back inside from outside. What do you think, this is my first rodeo, people?) and then get in my car to head to my next shoot and notice a smell. That, my friends, is what fast food restaurant bathrooms are for. Too much information? Are you grossed out yet? Sorry. Maybe I should cut this one out. Hmmm. Maybe.

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6) I am really good at figuring out complicated doorbell/apartment entry system things. Because guess where a lot of families with their first baby live? In amazing cool old brownstone buildings in downtown Boston with funky weird doorbell systems that require you to scroll through every apartment listing in the entire building using an up or down arrow, until you come upon a listing that looks familiar… and then you have to enter that number somewhere on the keypad… but quickly, or you’ll have to start over… This is hard to explain. And different in every apartment. My biggest success in this area was at an apartment in Southie where I was almost completely stymied… but I persevered… and finally the building intercom thingy started ringing, and after a few rings this dad answered and sounded super confused. I introduced myself and he let me in… but when I got up to the apartment they admitted no one had ever figured out their doorbell before. They always just got cellphone calls when any guests arrived. I’ll admit I felt pretty cool there.

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7) Here we are back at bodily fluids. Sorry. But I find in a general sense it’s easier to remove boogers in Photoshop than it is to remove them from an actual child. (And sorry, I’m not getting you a picture of that. Even I have my limits.) So often I see a mom or a dad coming in with a dry* kleenex and I say, no, don’t worry about it – because I can see where a nose wipe can lead. And often that place is not a good place. And rubbing noses can make them red, which is harder to Photoshop than a little booger.

*This theory goes out the window when we wet the Kleenex. I love a wet kleenex. It can fix most things, and if there’s one nearby I say go for it. Wipe away! That won’t make anyone in a bad mood, it won’t hurt their little dry nose, and it’ll clean up the offending booger nicely. No red noses afterward, all is good. But you know what’s not worth it? Waiting for the wet Kleenex. Because then the moment has passed and we missed the great photo. So I circle back and say it’s easier to remove a booger in Photoshop than it is to remove them from an actual child.

8) Twelve years in this job has given me a weird relationship with interior lighting choices. I only learned this when we did renovations to my house last year and the electrician started asking me what kind of lights I wanted in the kitchen. He suggested recessed lights and my knee-jerk reaction was to say NO! Definitely not! Why? Because they give people circles under their eyes, man. Doesn’t he know that lighting from directly above is super harsh? Yes, he explains to me… but see, it doesn’t really matter how you look when you’re cooking. It matters that you can see what you’re cooking. (Yes, thanks for asking, we did end up with recessed lights in the kitchen.)images-1I’m also acutely aware of the kind of warmth that comes from different light bulbs and how that impacts the colors and light in any given room. It’s possible Home Depot has never had one person return so many used light bulbs as this gal. (Did you know you can do that? Take a bulb home, see if you like the tone of the light it makes in any particular room, and then bring it back for a full refund (or an exchange) if you don’t like it? Even after you opened it? I mean, that’s good stuff. So yes, doing what I do has made me weird about light in my own home. Some might say obsessed. But that’s unkind. Let’s say weird. ;)


OK, that’s all I can come up with off the top of my head. My job has made me a little quirky. But they’re all quirks that come with the territory, and it’s quirkyness I can live with. For at least another couple dozen years.

Thanks for sticking this post out to the end. You rock for reading it all! Off topic, want a fall photoshoot? My calendar is available at this link, and my minishoot (which auto-correct is suddenly insisting should be called a manicotti) on Oct 4th has open times at this link.
Cilla - August 3, 2015 - 5:14 pm

Chuckled all the way through this. Loved it and wish I lived in the Boston area so my family and I could do a shoot with you in October!