quirks and all

I love capturing beautifully imperfect pictures, especially of children. Kids all seem to have so many little quirks... facial expressions and gestures that are so unique to them. And while I can appreciate the beauty of a traditionally posed photograph, I appreciate seeing their real life beauty much, much more. I love the personality that shines through. Exhibit A: my nieces and nephew.

I hadn't taken pictures of them in a while, and decided to "borrow" them for an impromptu shoot. Their hair was a mess, and they weren't dressed to impress, but that was okay. I captured them as they really were at the moment.

I put them in charge of finding the "cool" places to take pictures in front of, and so we wandered through the neighborhood, playing tag along the way. And this was what I saw...

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I love being able to capture beautiful pictures of them in their "natural habitat." I love that we PLAY along the way, so that they can relax enough for me to have the chance to capture their natural smiles, not the forced ones you so often see when the camera comes out.

And then there are the true "quirks." These aren't necessarily the photos that will be hanging on the wall of your home, but these are the ones that you can look back on with a sense of nostalgia, and see the kids as they REALLY were at that age.

Here are my favorite QUIRKS from the shoot:

She makes this face a lot when she is pondering something. It's her "whaaaaaat?" face.Kiddos--007

She makes this face a lot, too. (ugh.) She thinks that it's hysterical.

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He likes to show off his muscles. Kiddos--044

And here, I think he is a bull. Or maybe it was a monster. Whatever it was, it was L-O-U-D!

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Ah, yes... the attitude of a "tween." It's coming out more and more lately. Gotta love it, right? RIGHT?! Kiddos--010

She started to get frustrated. Ah, yes... the first signs of meltdown. But I'm a PRO in deactivating those types of bombs. The solution for the moment was to give her even more control of the situation. How? By handing over my camera.

I gave her a quick lesson and let her take a few shots...  and they turned out to be A-MAZ-ING! What can I say? The girl's got a great eye.  (I think I might have to HIRE her in the near future!) Here are the faves, as captured by my 10-year old niece:

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(p.s.: must give thanks to my husband for helping to wrangle the kids along the way; no one is as magical to them as their "Tio.")

Okay, my turn with the camera again. Some favorite family shots. I love to see the connections between the 3 of them.

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And when you play, and just let the kids be KIDS... that's when the magic happens.

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I'll leave you with my absolute FAVORITE of the day...Kiddos--059