Alec Mills Photography Experience
Seattle Newborn + Family Photographer
Written by Renate in Long Beach, CA
September, 20th 2018
This blog post is a little special, in that it is not written by me. This is a client's account of what it was like to book and work with me over the course of our relationship thus far. Giving a little bit of an inside look at what their expectations looked like, their worries and anxieties about hiring a professional photographer.
I want to be clear, that the client who has written this piece is a true friend at this point in our relationship. Over 4 sessions, countless texts, emails and phone calls, I count this woman as one of my people and have asked her to write about her experience working with me...starting from the very beginning... When I was an un-known stranger with a camera and she was pregnant with twins investing in someone she had never met.
Here is Renate in her own words...
"Before working with Alec, my experience with professional photographers was extremely limited. So much so, that the extent of my interactions with photographers included: the JC Penny studio photographer I used for photos with my highschool boyfriend; my friend shooting me in front of a sheet in his apartment (in an attempt to boost his portfolio as a fashion photographer); and the photographer on the day of my wedding.
I became familiar with Alec’s work through a friend’s pregnancy announcement that went viral. After seeing the photos she took of my friend’s daughter, I gushed over her work in a facebook comment, and wished she could be the one to take my maternity and newborn photos. As luck would have it, she was already set to come down to Southern California in the near future, and we jumped on booking her for both our maternity and newborn photos.
Before that first maternity session, I was super nervous. We hadn’t done engagement photos, so I had no frame of reference (outside of JC Penny) of what to expect during a photoshoot with my husband. Alec was great at soothing my jitters. I remember being pleasantly surprised by a “what to expect” email that told us a little bit of how our day would go, and also gave tips on what to wear, and how to get the most out of our session. I was already so impressed with the professionalism and level of detail that went into her work, and we hadn’t even met in person.
Although I felt better about choosing outfits and preparing for the session, I was still nervous about how the photos would turn out. Sure, my friend’s photos turned out great; but they are two of the most beautiful human’s on the Earth, with an equally cute little baby; and I was enormously pregnant with twins. I was only 28 weeks or so at our first shoot, but I was swollen, uncomfortable, clumsy, and grimy. I had to get my legs waxed, because by the time I was 19 weeks pregnant, I couldn’t even bend over far enough to reach them properly. I had zero expectations of looking like a model, but just hoped I wouldn’t look as uncomfortable as I felt. After the amount of work it took us to get pregnant, I wanted to make sure this special time was documented, even if I ended up looking like crap in the pictures.
The day of the first session came, and it was incredible. Alec was SO FUN! We started the day early (she brought donuts, my pregnancy craving) and we shot some photos around the house first. Then we headed to a couple of our favorite locations around town, including the beach we eloped on before our big ceremony. Not once did I feel awkwardly posed, or like I was forcing a smile. The entire time we laughed, goofed around, and had great conversation that spanned so many different topics. In fact, after we got home from the shoot my husband said, “I hope some of those came out, because I feel like I was mid sentence in most of them.” We talked so much, it felt like we were hanging out with an old friend, not someone we had just met.
And just a few short weeks later, the pictures were delivered. We were blown away! Not one picture looked like we were talking. She somehow managed to make us look like supermodels, yet exactly like ourselves at the same time. At that point, she nailed us down as clients for life. We loved every single photo, and several from that first session are currently hanging up in our home.
Since we’d booked our maternity and newborn shoots as a package, we were even more excited for her to meet our bundles of joy and see what she’d capture with them. When the day came for our newborn session, again, I did not feel like I wanted to be in photos. I was recovering from a c-section, I had newborn twins, and I was sleeping a grand total of 2 hours a night (and usually it was in 15 minute chunks.) My husband and I literally dreaded the sun going down each day; because it meant the start of another sleepless night on our already fragile, sleep deprived brains. The babies were born slightly premature too (as most twins are) so we had a strict schedule, and were advised to take them around the general public as little as possible. We did that entire session at home, and 90% of it with me breastfeeding. The babies were cluster feeding, so anytime I took them off the boob, they made their displeasure known. I was exacerbated, thinking that I wished I could get those cute posed newborn photos. But at this point, I trusted that Alec would still give me something I’d love.
And she did! The photos still make me tear up. They somehow simultaneously capture the beauty and immense difficulty of life with newborn twins. She didn’t sugar coat or paint a euphoric picture, she just found the beauty within our chaos and brought it out. And honestly, that’s been our experience with her talent ever since.
Since the newborn photos, we’ve had two more shoots with her. The next one being when the twins were about a year old, on the same day I walked across the stage to collect my Diploma for my Bachelors Degree (also shot at the Beach we eloped at). And again recently, now that the twins are two and my parents have moved into town.
With each session, she seems to get another piece of the crazy puzzle that makes up the Boronowsy Family. Before each session, I still have a moment of panic. Thinking that the house is a mess, or my kids are going to be nuts, or that she’s somehow going to catch my anxious crazy side in a picture. But whenever the photos are delivered, I’m reminded that the mess doesn’t matter. That my kids crazy personalities are what I love about them. And that even in my most anxious moment (like the moment I realized that dinner wouldn’t be ready till 2am on the day of our last session)... At the end of the day, my kids still love me, and they don’t care about my anxiety or having leftovers for dinner again, because I’m their mama who loves them.
Alec feels like part of the family. She feels like she’s our biographer, who sees us in this amazing light, and is here to tell the world the beautiful story of our family. I can’t wait to see what she captures next."
Renate is a baker and mother to twins, Dot + Kit. Follow along her story on her instagram @renatebakes
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