Killer geese and second chances

Each time I go out on a photo shoot, I challenge myself to learn one new thing. Maybe I try a new lighting setup I think I’ll like better, or I get more adventurous with posing. (My friends Rebecca and Jill can attest to that!)

Sometimes lessons come not by design but by accident. For example, when I forget a piece of my mobile studio, I learn how to improvise.

And when I shot the Geary family in the fall, I learned this: Make sure your very first shot is posed exactly the way you want, because it might be the only shot you get. After all, you never know when the playground will beckon, when toddler snacks will run out, or when a giant goose will emerge from the pond with wings outstretched to stalk and terrify the children.

When I got back to my office without a single salvageable photo from our time together, I was mortified. As in cry-and-wish-I-could-climb-into-a-hole mortified. Not that there weren’t any sweet photos, but there weren’t any that were worthy to hang over the fireplace. And for this shoot, that had been the goal.

Finally I swallowed hard and summoned up the courage to ask for a second chance. Thankfully my friends Melanie and Todd were gracious enough to indulge me. And, happily, the second time around was a charm: Magical light, giggling children, cuter cowboy boots, and — best of all — no squawking geese to intimidate us.

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