As some of you may know, I have my studio in Potrero Hill, San Francisco but I live in Petaluma, Sonoma County. We have a wonderful life mixed with exciting urban outings and mud slinging farm excursions! (Check out animal music at Windrush Farms for a fun music+farm animal experience.)
I laughed out loud when I read this post from the Wine Country Moms Blog as I had just made plans to take my 3.5 and almost 2-year-old out for a photo shoot in the beautiful yellow mustard fields. If you haven’t made the drive out to Sonoma County lately, do it. Do it now after all of this delicious rain. I know that many photographers have captured amazing photographs in the mustard fields – this is not a new idea – but I wanted to try it with my cherubs in all of their toddler glory!
But despite all this anticipation, things didn’t turn out exactly as planned.
Here’s how I failed at taking amazing photos of my kids in the mustard fields:
Bad Timing. Due to nap times, current weather conditions and impending rain, I scheduled our session for the horrifying hour of 10:30 am. If you look outside during the winter at this time, the sun is pretty high in the sky. Not a very good time to do photographs without any shade or covering of any kind. My dream photo is of my two girls at sunset running and holding each other’s hands in a field of mustard with rolling hills behind them. Yeah. That wasn’t going to happen. Maybe next year!
Bad Location. What I should have done, and what you should do, is scout your location first. Duh! My increasingly cranky toddlers were not interested in driving around to find “the best light” or a “cute bridge” or the whatever I was looking for. Instead, we ended up on the side of a busy road with loud trucks and honking cars. The good thing was that I had an assistant with us, so at least my kids weren’t in danger. (Also, we weren’t trespassing, so that was a plus.)
Failure to read the signs. I mean, I knew when my daughter woke up with a runny nose that I should postpone the shoot. But, the kids were already excited to wear their dresses and so, of course, we had to do it! Unfortunately, our session was the precursor to a 102-degree fever. Ugh. (You try and smile for the camera when you have a fever!) As a result, she’s scowling in the majority of the photos. Gotta love it!
Setbacks aside, there are a few things I did right. I went for it. I took the shots. We did it. I didn’t let this moment pass by without taking advantage of it – mustard is only here for a short while in spring. So, I feel good about that.
Second, I took an assistant and a great friend who encouraged my kids and me. She was great and I am forever thankful for her support.
Third, the photos are sweet and they are a great memory of my girls at this age.
Fourth, it was a learning experience and I’m eager to get back out there (maybe with my children… maybe not) and try again!
We got a very sweet image of the two sisters displaying their roles perfectly. Here are the photographs that I loved from our 12 minute Sonoma County mustard field photography session: