Oh, where do I start? At the beginning? The end? Midway? Alright, midway it is! I was home on lunch break when my phone suddenly started buzzing. The name “Donna” flooded the screen. Intrigued, I gulped down the bite I’d been chewing and answered.
“Sooo, do you still have the birthday party on Sunday morning? Any chance you’ll be able to start a little later than you thought at first with them?” she asked, after the initial pleasantries.
I confirmed what she hoped wouldn’t be the case — the party was still on and I’d actually been asked to start earlier there.
“So, I was thinking rather than starting your session at 8.30, maybe we could start at 7am to give your family enough time before I need to go the party?” I offered.
An early start like I suggested wasn’t entirely what I wanted as I’d have to get up several hours earlier yet to arrive on time. But I willing to do anything I could to make things work out.
Donna’s next words summed up the why and made my heart sink.
“Christella, we can’t do photos that early. It’d be unrealistic for me to say yes. And to tell you the truth, I’m not even excited about our photos anymore. The amount of times we’ve had to reschedule — has it been four or five times? The baby got sick. Then were the weeks of lockdown. There was that horse event. Then the rain. I’m just wondering…” and then there was long pause.
“You want to cancel outright?” I wanted to ask, but didn’t. The suspense was tortuous.
“I was wondering what your dates for January might be?”
Relieved I told her. She would get back to me via text whether she wanted the date I offered or not.
A few hours later I received a text. “We will stick to this Sunday – can we lock in 11?”
Midday lighting? Oh, please! What would I do? I mean, of course I know how to manage any lighting conditions, but I somehow feared this a little. Not the usual golden hour situation which I know so well.
Then there was the question of where to meet. Working full time during the week allows me limited opportunities to location scout. Donna suggested we just shoot at the local botanical gardens. I’d been there not long previous. The grass was scarce, the foliage wilted. I knew it was the last place I wanted to shoot.
On Saturday evening I was discussing the problem with my mum. I still didn’t have the “where” to offer in answer to Donna. She told me about the website of a lavender farm that she’d chanced across recently. I gently chided her for not telling me sooner and attempted to call the owner immediately. Amazingly, someone picked up and patiently listened to my eager and desperate request. She’d get back to me. It sounded hopeful! I told Donna my proposal. She became excited too until I told her the time I had suggested. Four in the afternoon.
“Oh no, that won’t work, Christella! We have a family Christmas party in the afternoon.”
Back to the drawing board. I told Donna I’d keep an eye out for any nice places I saw on the way to the party. She agreed to wait for my final word regarding location.
And on the way, I stumbled across a ten-house hamlet. Found a little dirt road carpeted with purple wildflowers. A shady patch under some white cedars. This was it – I knew.
When the Solomons arrived I was delighted to see the way Donna had coordinated them all so well in soft neutrals and classic styles. But more enchanting yet was her infectious laughter, Aaron’s tender love for her and his babies, the quiet sweetness of Sophia and the adorable little ways of Boston.
At one point they told me about how much they loved old machinery, architecture and the urban vibe, suggesting we take photos with the silo. I heartily concurred (all the while secretly wondering how on earth I would get anything lovely out of a grain depot as a backdrop?!)
And, would you believe it? The silo was lots of fun. The sun played fair. I left feeling like it was one of the most magical photo session I’ve participated in and the Solomons have images they’ve told me they’ll cherish forever. Answered prayers and dreams come true. Oh, happiness!