Me: "Does she [the baby] prefer to be on her belly, or on her back?"
Dad: "I have no idea. We just got her, so we're still figuring her out."
Parents who crack jokes about their newborns right off the bat? My favorite. I have no talent for delivering jokes, but I love hearing them, even cheesy ones (for example, I laughed out loud at nearly all of these, though of course I did not LOLOLOL because, as Trevor Noah says, that is not even a thing).
I had the advantage here of having just worked with this family a few months ago--if you thought those darling blond curls look familiar, you were right--but a new baby's arrival can sometimes shift the dynamic of a family quite drastically, so there was still an element of the unexpected as I headed into the session. Then I walked in, and it turns out the most major thing that had changed was that Nora was now in a big girl room to let Blair have the nursery. Seriously, their smiles were as relaxed and bright as last time, and their shining faces conveyed not even a hint of stress or sleep deprivation. And you know, the joy and beauty in these images isn't just because they are all exceptionally good looking and impeccably dressed, or that their home is so tastefully finished (though all of those things are 110% true here, and I am still trying to unearth the secret to achieving that level of visual harmony as I send my kid out the door in Superman socks and a Star Wars shirt and hair sticking out in a thousand different directions).
No, this kind of loveliness can only come from just being you in the presence of the camera. With kids, that's easier to achieve; they're great about letting you know when they don't want to do something, and they will not hesitate to tell you what is up with zero filter. It's what I love most about working with small children. With adults, it can sometimes be trickier to persuade them into that zone; we sometimes just overthink it and fool ourselves into thinking we have more influence over our children than we actually do, or we actually just kind of forget how to be anything but our kids' keepers. But these, two, they never missed a beat. Whatever the girls were doing/wanting/crying about in any given moment, mom & dad just rolled with it. So,if you want to know the big secret to great family photos, there it is. Just roll with it. And cracking jokes to your photographer never hurts, either.