WHEN TOMORROW ISN’T PROMISED…{Naples Florida Family Photographer}

WHEN TOMORROW ISN'T PROMISED... {Naples Florida Family Photographer}

If there was ever a day that the value of photography was confirmed for me…that day is today.

As a professional photographer, I know with my whole heart how important photography is. But today…today it’s running through my veins like never before.

Some of you will recognize the above family session from me having shared their sneak peek images on my social media accounts last month. And many of you will recognize that beautiful blonde senior who is 2nd from the left – next to her dad – as my client and ASP’s senior cover girl model for 2016, Alexis. When I met Alexis, I instantly fell in love with her after scouring her social media accounts. I fell in love with her love for her family. In all of the images on her instagram account, there were more than the norm for a teenager of her family. Her Dad, her brother, mom and sister were strewn throughout her account like a teen would share their best friends. In several of the captions, I saw where she had listed her dad, her mom, or her brother as indeed…her “best friend.” Her openly professed and extreme love for her family members is one of the reasons why I chose her as the senior cover girl model for this year. I’m a huge Daddy’s girl myself so her love for her dad especially resonated deeply with me.

Since making her our cover girl, I’ve shot with her several times.

COVER GIRL {NAPLES FLORIDA SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER}

Naples senior photographer

In the process of those shoots…I’ve fallen more in love with her and her whole¬†family as well. One of our most recent times together was last month when her Mom, Kimberly, hired me to shoot their family images. She worked tirelessly to assure that all of their three children would be in town so that they could make this shoot happen. It was important to her that they had their whole family here for the session. It was during that session that I got to meet her husband and Alexis’ Dad, Tim.

Talk about a nice guy. He was talkative. He asked about my work. He conversed with me about general life stuff, the area (they just moved to Naples a few months ago from South Carolina), he laughed with his family, and overall…he was just a really stand up, very genuine, guy. You could tell it. I remember coming home and telling my own husband that same night what a “nice man” Tim was. In some ways, he reminded me of my own father. Likable. Loved his family like nobodies business. Smiled a lot. In my line of work I encounter a lot of men who detest photography sessions with their family. It’s written all over their face. Sometimes they can even be downright rude about it unfortunately. Not Tim. I might also mention that he was in extreme pain that day. He was having a back/hip issue and no doctors here in Florida would see him. They instructed him to fly back to SC and see his own doctors instead. We discussed how “stupid” that was and we couldn’t believe the doctors wouldn’t see him.

WHEN TOMORROW ISN'T PROMISED... {Naples Florida Family Photographer}

A couple of days later…just after their family session…Tim ended up in the ER here in Naples. Kim took him because he was in such severe pain. He finally received the care he needed and underwent surgery to fix the issue. Unfortunately, Tim spent most of the past month recovering in the hospital. Kimberly actually traveled home over Christmas to South Carolina in order to retrieve and move their final belongings from their old home to their new home here in Florida. Alexis actually stayed with her Dad over the holidays and helped him recoup following the surgery.

WHEN TOMORROW ISN'T PROMISED... {Naples Florida Family Photographer}

Fast forward to last night. Tim had just recently come home from the hospital.

My firstborn, our oldest son, who happens to also be a good friend of Alexis’ at school…told me that Alexis’ father had passed away unexpectedly earlier in the evening.

Truthfully, I didn’t even have the words to formulate a sentence at that moment. My husband and I both jumped out of bed and began to drill Brennen on what had happened. He had no idea. We just knew that Tim was gone.

WHEN TOMORROW ISN'T PROMISED... {Naples Florida Family Photographer}

Here is this family that I’ve come to adore so very much. They’re closer than any family I think I’ve ever known. They’re new in town. No family here. Barely any time to even establish any relationships in regard to friends. They’re alone. Their oldest daughter is hundreds of miles away back at Clemson University. And their Dad…Kim’s husband…is gone. Just like that. In the blink of an eye.

WHEN TOMORROW ISN'T PROMISED... {Naples Florida Family Photographer}

These three beautiful ladies and their brother/son have lost their most prized possession in life. Their best friend. Their life. Their Dad. Her husband.

I’ve spent the last 12 hours in a fog. I’ve walked around in a daze trying to put myself in their shoes. I cannot even begin to fathom what they’re enduring right now. I’ve had multiple conversations with Alexis this morning and her words broke my heart in two. She’s devastated. Rightfully so. Her Mom called me this morning and neither of us could formulate the words through the tears. We were barely able to convey what we were trying to say to one another through the crying.

One of her sentences that I was able to make out clearly throughout my call with her though was…

“Pictures. Can you please send me some of our pictures for his service?”

In that moment, my life purpose was completely validated. My passion was no longer just a passion…it carried a purpose. Photography is such a powerful and valuable tool. It’s a gift that many of us take for granted until it’s too late. So many times I hear people say…”Oh we should have family pictures taken but I need to loose 10 pounds first.” Or…”We would love to have family pictures taken but we just can’t afford it right now.” There have been times in my own life when I’ve been guilty myself of stalling or pushing off the idea of scheduling professional photography sessions for my family.

Time is a thief. Tomorrow is not promised.

If you’ve been on the fence about having images taken of your family for whatever reason…Stop! Pick up the phone right now and call a photographer. A cheap one, an expensive one…none of that matters. Just schedule the session with someone and show up. Don’t cancel or reschedule. Make it happen. If you’re feeling a nudge or a pull on your heart strings as you read this because deep down you know these words are speaking to you in particular…quit with the excuses. Make family imagery a priority.

WHEN TOMORROW ISN'T PROMISED... {Naples Florida Family Photographer}

The image above was taken as we were getting ready to exit the beach that night. Just a few weeks back. As we finished with their session Alexis asked me to grab one more shot – of just her with both her mom and Dad. It was a candid moment…totally not posed. It was meant to be a quick capture but one that she wanted.

Little did any of us know at that moment that this image above would be the last professional picture they would have of their Dad/husband.

Photographers…you matter! A lot!

Your job is priceless.

There is no way to put a price on what you do.

Your talent is worth much more than just the “clicking of a button.” Remember that when you’re feeling run down, discounted, or not worthy. You and your talent are really freaking important!

Your imagery will be treasured for years to come by many different generations. Always remember that!

Kids…call your parents. Now. Like right now! Tell them you love them. If they live near you, give them a hug and tell them in person. I cried to my Dad on the phone today and told him how much I loved him. I tell him a lot but I wanted him to know just how much I love him today. Like really know. I then called my Mom next. She was away and I got her voicemail where I proceeded to leave a pitiful and sobbing “I love you – like REALLY love you” message for God knows how many minutes on her phone. Those two are my everything! Truly. They’re the reason why I exist and the reason why I am who I am.

Families…if anything…do this for your kids. Schedule a family session for their future memories. Photography is an investment you’ll never regret. I promise!

Kim, Alexis, Zachary, and Chantel…no words will take away your pain so I won’t even try. I’ve already told you this but I’ll say it again and again until I’m blue in the face…we’re here if you need us. Anything at all. Thank you for the privilege of being able to capture your families memories. Meeting your Dad and your family in general has been such a gift to me. I’m so very honored to be your photographer.

XOXO, Angie