Okay y’all. One of the requests I received for blogging topics was talking about my photography moments. Instantly three came to mind. First, lets go with probably my biggest photography FAIL. Yep, that’s right. This is a full blown professional photographer, mom fail, life fail all in one. Brace yourselves…
As some of you know I am often in Texas for work- sometimes every month! Last fall was one of those times that I was there quite often. It was a huge growing time for me and for that I feel so blessed! This particular trip I had the opportunity to participate in a styled shoot at The Lumen Room in Dallas. If you don’t know about the Lumen room and need a space for a session, CHECK IT OUT! I LOVE the white room but they have a brick room too that is super cool. Okay, moving on!
Often times my family will travel with me to the town or city where I am shooting in and explore while I am working. This particular night there was a new movie in the theater my kids had been wanting to see and my husband is ALWAYS up for a movie date. But, at this point we had an almost 3-year-old, one-and-a-half-year-old, and a 4-month-old. Not sure if you’ve ever been in a movie theater with a baby who is crying but that totally would have been us. So, since this shoot happened to have a model family with a baby almost the same age my sweet little guy, Taggart got to come to work with mom and make a new friend!
Now, if you’ve never been to a group styled shoot it is an interesting thing. Everything is perfect. Everyone has a job and it is executed to perfection. But, after set up is complete, vendors can either stay or leave. Few actually need to be there or have working parts during the shoot. So, they are just kind of there. Doing nothing… Or something little here or there and then nothing again… For hours… Yikes. Walking into the room with a little baby who is so chill and happy (except in movie theaters, of course) was like a bug drawn to a light! From the moment I walked in people wanted to hold the little man and guess what, as a working mom with little kids, I was more than willing to let someone help so I had the opportunity to capture some incredible talent and skill. Yes, Tag would have just sat or laid on the floor basically the whole time anyways but people wanted to hold him so why not. Trust me, I didn’t used to be so willing to let others help me but hey, we live and we learn, and then we get over ourselves and ask or accept help and allow ourselves the opportunity to grow. Also, don’t worry, the vendors all stayed in the studio and my son was supervised/I could see him at all times.
Another interesting things about styled shoots is that there is an opportunity to stop and take a break. One wedding days I rarely have a break and am often times eating dinner tucked back and away for just a few minutes and then it is back to the busy! So, it was break time during the shoot and what did I want to do during my break? Yes, hold my own baby because hey, that is something I love to do! Besides, Tag had just started fussing a bit so I figured a momma love was just what he needed. I knew he was tired so this break came at the perfect time! I took of my equipment quickly and ran to have a few minutes with Tag. As I turned him around to smile and comfort him he burped. A baby burping really isn’t that big of a deal. But, the STREAM of vomit that came out of that baby post-burp, showering mom and projecting 4 feet across the floor, well, that was not normal for this little baby. He had probably only spit up 2 times in his whole life!
So, there I stood, covered in baby puke, and all I can do is quickly make sure I was the only one caught in the crossfire and then start laughing. I was mortified! I couldn’t believe what had just happened but there was NOTHING I could do about it at that moment besides laugh or cry and I was NOT going to cry. I gave myself a few second to recoup, then I set to work. First I stripped down the baby to his diaper and laid him down on his perfectly clean blanket. All I could think was. “Well, at least that survived.” You should have seen the smile he gave me!!! Hahaha! No wonder he was fussy and no wonder he was now smiling. Next, I grabbed the baby wipes. Y’all, I cannot tell you the thousands of different ways you can use baby wipes. I can’t imagine life without them. I tried cleaning myself up a bit first but honestly, it was hopeless. I was soaked clear through with no extra clothes and no way to contact my husband to come rescue me. At least I could wipe the puke of my knee-high boots. I couldn’t rescue myself more though. So what did I do next? I started to clean up the projected vomit. Yikes, I know. And yes, gross.
One of the other vendors had run to the bathroom and gotten me paper towels. I was so eternally grateful when she handed me half the stack, and then laughing, got down and started helping me clean up while she shared some of her favorite baby puking stories. Guys, I could have been in tears from how embarrassed I was but here was a woman who had no need to clean up my child’s puke but was there offering me comfort through stories that she was at first traumatized from. If that’s not mom support, I don’t know what is. She took a few moments to genuine care for a mom who just needed a second; for a mom who just needed a few words of encouragement to keep her going. For that, I am forever grateful!
After a few minutes the mess was clean and the only remnants of what had just happened was, you guessed it, my ruined outfit. And yes, it was very ruined. I gave Tag his binki, tried calming down my nerves with a quick drink of water and then got back to work.
I had another 90 minutes left to shoot, guys, and you bet I took full advantage of those minutes. By this point, besides the coordinator who was taking pictures, I was the only photographer left. The two models I was working with just happened to both be moms. One was the mother of the other little baby one set, her first and only child. The other, a mother of 5 who didn’t worry a single bit about the me, the 3rd time mommy, trying so hard to put in the hours and build my portfolio, covered in puke and dreading my 3 hour drive back to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It didn’t even phase them! Yes, you might say “that was lucky” and the truth is, your right. I may have been lucky to be working with other moms but at the same time, I was working with incredible people. People with a heart of encouragement, love, and devotion to their craft. They understood the moments of tears I hid, the lost hours of sleep I craved, and the hard work it took as a mother to fulfill a dream and help provide for yourself and your family.
When Jared picked me up that night you should have seen his face. First was concern and then once the recognition of what was covering his very emotionally and physically exhausted wife set in, you bet he was cracking up! “Gee, I can’t wait to sit in the car with you for three hours, Babe!” Insert exaggerated wife eye roll her. Not an emotionally supportive husband you might think? Nah, Jared is the half of me that is logical. So when your baby pukes all over you and there are only two choices: cry and be mad or laugh and get over it, you best believe he chose the second because by this point if he had been sympathetic instead, I probably would have gotten mad and cried. Yes, he is learning ladies and getting much better at learning how to handle these types of situations! Ha! Laughing with him made me feel like even though the night was quite literally a mess, it was also a huge success. As we picked up Chick-fil-A for dinner and started out long was home I told him this whole story. It is still a joke in our house and will continue to be for many, many years to come!
As for many of the women I met that day, they have turned into friends who I get to see create some incredible work! This shoot stretched me to my limits and even with the puke I can look back on it with gratitude of what I learned. Of course I hope to never be showered by baby puke in public again but the chance are it is going to happen again. And when it does, I will probably, for the hundredth time as a mom, laugh it off, be sad one of my few mom shirts was ruined (because puke does ruin things), and then I will go on with life as a mom and a photographer. I can’t image this life without my mom adventures and the fact that sometimes they get to over link with my photography adventures just makes them that much more special to me. And yes, this is a special memory as gross and ridiculous as it was.
P.S. Scroll to the very end for the visual of this puke adventure. Yes, the picture is blurry but at least the whole experience is documented, blurry or not!
Coordinator: Shawna Faith
Photographer: Beth Hanson Photography
Venue: The Lumen Room Dallas
Florals: The Floral Bar
Hair and Makeup: Baleigh Kerr