A couple posts ago, we shared with you about a project we are super excited about, a film, Sydney, Arizona. I've discovered there is not much difference between making a movie and taking a picture.
"So, what's the story?"
In the past, I told you about a photographer who embraces story, but now I want to tell you about a client who has allowed us to tell her family's story for several years. We love and appreciate everyone who has trusted us with taking their pictures, but this client is a huge part of my story. I just want to take a moment to say "I appreciate you!"
I have known Jessica Ramirez since she was in high school. I worked with her aunt, and she had come into the studio for my manager to do her senior portraits. She had an interest in photography, and since she was basically legacy, she had a job with us when she turned 18. I helped train her and we grew close.
*From this point on, I'll be calling her J, since that what we all called her. It feels weird calling her Jessica.
Anyway, about that time, I started working my way up through management and J became a kick-ass photographer. I like to pretend that I had an influence on that, but she just had an eye. She was awesome with babies and groups and she had amazing customer service. We grew close and next to Chris, she's the one that I worked with the longest. She eventually left and went to school, but we still stayed close. With a few rare occasions, I have always photographed J's family. She and her sisters were always willing to try new things.
J came back one year for Christmas help and that is how Chris met her. She was pregnant with her second child and worked her a$$ off. For some reason that year, we had a LOT of employees that complained and she completely endeared herself to Chris when she said that she was gonna show these people what's up and just keep going until she NEEDED to sit. And she did show them. J always made it a point to tell people that she appreciated them, even if it was for ridiculous stuff. It became an inside joke, but now I always do try to tell people that I appreciate something they did. It means a lot to be recognized.
J had her baby about the same time that Chris and I started fully pursuing the film and C & M. She was one of our first official clients. Her oldest kiddo, Jayce, was a little over 2 and super quiet but sweet. We used Jayce for some early marketing material and he and Chris bonded over Spiderman, and became best friends. The baby's name was Elle and she was so tiny. We did the first family portraits and Jayce did awesome and Elle was adorable. J and her guy, Doug, were patient and let us work.
From that moment, we've gotten to take several family sessions. J's mom, and sisters, and nephew as well as her crew of 4. Jayce is now 5 and is a good big brother. Still a stoic guy, but he can get silly. Elle is almost 3 and she is a pistol. She has a "who's gonna make me?" look and it drives J nuts, but it will serve her well in life later. There is so much personality in that bunch, but from knowing them as long as I have, I know that it's going to be a good time and we will get great pictures.
Having been a photographer, J knows how to put together outfits and how things should look. She loves taking pictures, to create memories of when the kids were little. But J knows that her kids will be kids and she just lets them. If they don't cooperate in the picture, well, than that's just how their picture is that year. She tells us if she has an idea, but then she just lets us go for it. I am always so excited to show J her pictures. She loves pictures that capture emotion and personality.
Another thing I appreciate about J is she actually prints and displays pictures. Very often, once we deliver the images, I don't know what happens to them. I might see a few on Facebook, but thats it. Not that that's a bad thing. I have pictures from Christmas that I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do with them. But J makes it a point to print and give out and frame her pictures. I think it might come from working at a studio, where we had actual prints to deliver. Having a tangible copy of my grandparents pictures, now that they aren't here, makes me feel like I have a piece of them. And J gets that. It's just another piece of storytelling.
I could go on and on about J. She and her family have been pivotal parts of my life and allow us to be a part of theirs by giving us the privilege of documenting their story. We truly appreciate her and each and every person that comes to us. It's not just a picture to post for social media, it's something that will become a part of your family's history. We thank you for that! -m