26 Nov Giving Back Never Felt So Good!
One of my buddies, Pam Black, is the biggest Disney fan I know! She lights up at any mention of them. She has various Disney themed tattoos, a Mickey Mouse phone cover, and I am sure she owns many Disney PJs. She is also one of the sweetest people and gives back to a lot of charities. Her main is Dreams Take Flight, where she helps to organize fundraising events including their Gala. One day out of the blue I got a text message from her. She was at a shawarma place and saw my business card on one of their bulletin boards. I guess she was scouting businesses that may want to make a donation while she was picking up food for her family. She asked if I could donate my service for charity and of course I said yes. She took care of all the details – all I had to do was send her a gift certificate for my services. After the Gala, she texted me again to tell me that someone had bought my gift certificate. It made me happy to know the money was going to a good cause and I knew the people who bought it were going to be awesome.
Then the pandemic hit. Every once in a while I would wonder who bought the gift certificate but for most part it was out of mind. After all, keeping up with the new business regulations felt like a full time job! Then one morning I woke up to a message from Caroline, the lady who had bought the gift certificate. She was inquiring about setting up a family shoot. In the end, we decided to delay our shoot until was safe for us to do so.
This past Thanksgiving we were finally able to do our shoot outside. I met her and her super down-to-earth family at Ottawa’s Dominion Arboretum. Before we set off on our photoshoot adventure, we chatted while the family prepared for the shoot. There were ten people in total including a two month-old so there was a little prep work needed for the new parents. Everyone was in good spirits and was excited to be together for the Thanksgiving weekend. James, a young boy of 7, wiggled his loose front tooth for me. His parents promptly reminded him to not pull it out until after the shoot. His beautiful sister, Emily, who is 5, told me all about how her younger cousin loves dogs and calls them “woof woofs”. I loved all the cute details they were providing.
We started out to the park where I shoot all the time. I knew the route ahead of time and the locations where we would stop along the way. With family photography and especially large groups that have young children, planning is essential. Mary Anne, the grandmother and organizer of the shoot, wanted some photos with a gravel pathway and I knew exactly where to go. We took pictures along the way. The kids were happy to be outside and I was blown away by how amazing they did. They got to take some fun photos at the very end of our shoot where they got to throw leaves in the air. As soon as the shoot was over, they started rolling down the hills. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better family to photograph on such a lovely fall weekend.
After the shoot, I got a cute message from Mary-Anne, with a quote from James saying that “the pictures were a lot of fun today!” Children are usually a photographer’s toughest subject, with their short attention spans and they get bored easily after only a few minute of portraits. But not these kids! That really brought a smile to my face.
Rest assured, I will be donating my services to many more charities. The people you meet are often incredible and it feels good to help out charities that make the world a better place. This shoot was such a positive experience, and one of my highlights of 2021! Here are the portraits from our session.