When my kids were really little, I was obsessed with taking photos of them. I've got books and books (and books!) of photos I took of milestones, everyday moments, and cool outings and experiences that probably would not have even happened but for the obvious photo opportunities involved for me (you're welcome, kids!)

You all know the story of how that obsession snowballed and became this -- my photography business -- my fifth child.

Through it all, though, I've been a bit of a slacker when it comes to making sure there are photos of all of us. I mean, specifically, with me.

I know, I know. With all my talk about getting in the photos ... having photos of yourself as they see you rather than in your "smile at the camera" mode ... it's disappointing that I didn't follow my own advice more often. The honest truth is that by the time I came around to doing this for myself - for my family - my kids were kinda big. And also (the real reason, if I'm honest), I found it really scary.

But. Finally, I did it. I told you about it, remember? My session with Tara Whitney. It kinda changed everything about how I feel about family photos (of myself, I mean). It's about trust. Now I know.

Which is why it was soooo much easier for me this past summer when my friend Erin came to take our family photos at our summer place in Breezy Point. I trust Erin and have always admired her work above every local photographer I know. Erin's got a style that's similar to mine, and more importantly she's got similar values when it comes to why we take family photos. Oh, and just like Tara's photos, Erin's photos speak for themselves:

Everything I said about trusting your photographer is true, and there's another lesson that hit home this time around.

At the end of the summer, before all the big kids scattered off to their faraway big-kid lives, we sat around and talked about our favorite moments of summer 2021. And more than one of them named that night. Of all of us, making time together to do what we do together in a place that we love.

What I'm saying is that in addition to the photos that Erin took for us, we all have that experience to remember. We made it important and we planned it to include all the things that we love about right now - this chapter of our lives. And the photos mean that we have a real, tangible memory of that experience. To keep. Forever. Those beautiful photos are, really, the icing on the cake.

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