I've been wanting to write a blog for a while. No better time to start than after I had one of the very most special sessions in my 8 years of photography.
Some of you reading this may know, the D'Spains are one tough family. We all lived in the same small town, years ago, and I vaguely remember someone mentioning once that they were a homeschooling family (which I became) and one of their kids had become very sick.
Fast-forward a few years and this sweet mom is loving everything on my instagram and so excited to have me come out to capture her family's photos before Christmas.
The night I went to reveal their images, as they fell in love with the photos, the mom mentioned her excitement that in Summer of 2019, Taggert would finish Chemotherapy and FINALLY after YEARS of hardship, this family was getting released from cancer's ball and chain. They would be going to the beach.
Without a hesitation, I shared my love for the beach and volunteered to join them 9 months later.
The months rolled by, as projected, Taggert was declared "CANCER-FREE." With hurdles along the way, they planned their trip to Port Aransas, Texas.
As we planned the session, we scratched anything that would cause stress.
NO wardrobe plans. NO posing. NO time constraints. NO worries!!!
As the day came, I learned that it was not only the 1st trip this family would take in 3+ years, it was not only a celebration of Taggert being CANCER-FREE, but it was also Taggert and his twin sister, Betty's 6th birthdays. Again, this was no ordinary session and I filled my heart with all the ideas to make it incredible, meaningful, joyful and most of all memorable in captured images that they will enjoy and reflect on the rest of their lives.
I spent Saturday morning and afternoon enjoying the beach with my own family. We flew kites, snacked, swam and had the most beautiful sunny summer sitting out by the jetties.
Finally, in the late afternoon, mom and dad texted me that it was BEACH TIME, I was full of emotions. My own family has been so blessed and lucky to visit the beach more often than the average person.
We travel minimally, we budget carefully and we make the most of the 2 hour drive to the Texas Coast, but this family was doing something that cancer had kept them from. Cancer had stolen moments, celebrations, quality of life and smiles from them, but that wasn't important because they are so strong and they were ready to make up for lost time.
Did I mention their big brothers are seriously some of the cutest high school guys - ever?
I arrive on the beach to find out that their most recent TIK-TOC video has just gone viral. Their mom was just giggling to tell me about how they've started to be recognized randomly in public! They are now "THE Wiley and Trevor D'Spain from Tik-Tok."
"Oh my! That means we need to do something extra," I thought.
So, I've been in a few international photographers groups on Facebook and have seen these awesome wedding photos where they have the whole bridal party running from a T-Rex or something outrageous. I knew that I had to get these 2 fun-loving handsome guys to play and we did the "Shark Attack Shot." They did so well with their imaginary attack! I was laughing so hard as I captured them running from the "shark."
Candid, sandy and RAW was the only plan of the day.
Obviously the first thing that I couldn't wait to do was to get ahold of these twin babies that were celebrating their 6th birthday! I was just ecstatic to see their smiling faces and sandy feet! They did not disappoint with giving me all the moments I'd hoped for and wanted to capture perfectly!
As I took these images, I remembered mom saying once that in 3 years of Leukemia, Taggert had cried one time. I sat photographing this 6 year old baby and thinking that he was one of the most incredible kids I'd ever met.
From races on the shore to burring sister in the sand, from boogie boarding on the waves to making sand castles, in the 2 hours I was with the family on the beach, they just lived-life like it was the BEST DAY EVER. They gave this photographer all the little moments that any family could dream up for photos to go down in the books.
At last, we wrapped up the evening and as sunset and dinnertime rolled around, this family finally got me.
Stephanie said "One more picture!' (like every mom always does...) and she grabs Taggert.
She walks her little boy out into the waves and the world just stopped. I clicked my camera shutter and I could feel the tears swimming their way up.
Again, the wave of emotions came like the high tide and I could only imagine how rough this journey had been for her. I was also in awe of how gracefully she had seemed to come through it and was seeing this bright light at the end of a tunnel.
My mama heart just ached and bursted for her, ash she squeezed her son, like she couldn't hug him tight enough, while he's on his way to good health!!!
As a product-based heirloom photographer, I specialize in professionally printing each of the families photos that I work with.
I will not allow my images to die on a social media platform or on a drive in the desk drawer.
I go to my client's homes, I reveal their images and I carefully help them to select the most precious ways to have their photos kept so that they can spend year after year looking back at them.
This was the final piece that the family decided to have created into wall art (along with a full album)
This is the capture that will go up on the walls as Metal Art for the family to remember as the trip to mark their end of the road with cancer, their babies turning 6, their freedom to travel given back to them, their opportunities, hopes and dreams opened again and the day that all 5 of their healthy children were in their own happy place, boogie-boarding on the beach!