I love photographing toddlers

 

Toddler: tod-ler (noun)

Someone who can’t hear their name being called repeatedly but can hear a bag of chips being opened through three walls and a thunderstorm.

I know toddlers…
  • toddlers don’t sit still
  • toddlers want to be the center of attention
  • toddlers don’t like pretty clothes (because generally pretty/trendy clothes aren’t comfortable…which irritates them)
  • posing goes out the window…even when I tell the parents to relax and let me get the toddler’s attention…the parents still look at the child, or at something else…desperately trying to get their toddler to sit still while trying to mask their frustration (where is that EASY button!? It’s gotta be here SOMEWHERE!)
  • toddlers don’t connect with the camera…let alone smile on command. Swoop in fast and furious because those grins are a gift that comes and goes without warning


Photographing toddlers is not for the faint of heart. They make me WORK ya’ll! 90% of the time a toddler session unfolds as described in the following: Family arrives at session location. Toddler needs time to scope out the area to make sure the scene is safe and to their liking. The next item on their check list is ME, the photographer:
“Is she fun?”
“Do my parents like her?”
“Am I ok with her interest in me?”
“What is that amazing looking THING in her hands with the million buttons my fingers are now itching to push?”
“Is that thing terrifyingly scary?”

“Should I scream? Cry? Walk away? Maybe I should just fart…”

Next on their list is reassessing Mom and Dad:
“Are they stressed? Tired? Bored? Excited? Happy? Frustrated?”
“I think they just need to both fart and feel better…it makes me feel better….”

How they interpret and perceive Mom and Dad’s demeanor really determines how the toddler behaves during the portrait session. Because what small child can’t read their parents like a book and know EXACTLY what buttons to push to make Mom and Dad’s patience plummet into the negatives? 🙂 

At this point, it’s time to get down to business. I will set the scene while your toddler is put into their outfit. They are now the center of attention and this is when I really get to see how the show is going to unfold: 

Some cry. 
Some get angry.

Some run away. Repeatedly.
Some need a snack. NOW.
Some pout.
Some glare.
Some fart.
Parents’ patience…is starting to descend…and quickly!

If your toddler is completely uninterested in what we are trying to achieve here, and toddler thinks I’m a pretty cool chick, I will have the parents take a step back and breathe. Let me watch your child and play with them for a bit. Removing the parents relieves some of the stress the child is feeling. Facial expressions will display differently (and sometimes more often!) when the parents are not actively involved.

If your toddler is convinced my camera is scary, I will let them check it out. Toddlers are incredibly curious with a never ending thirst for knowledge. So let’s go on an adventure! I love to document a child as they are. Their curious face, their giggles…how they walk, sit or stand. Their favorite silly faces. They want to have fun and I encourage that. They want to explore and touch everything, and I encourage that too as long as no harm will be done. Because that’s how I get the genuine expression in my images. Following them around as they check out their new environment.

I will talk to your child like they are an adult; I will politely ask them to sit here or there and suggest a trip (or 4!) down the slide. I’ve had kiddos as young as one sit for me simply by just asking instead of forcing. Sometimes, that’s all the difference in a successful portrait session. Besides being incredibly curious and investigative, Toddlers have such an inhibition about them. And everything is cute: their hair (or lack of it), their rolls, their bumps and bruises. And yes, that string of drool and the bubble booger. Or even that fart 😛 Hey, it happens! They are unapologetically authentic in their entire being and that vibe is contagious. It’s a beauty and adventure to be given the opportunity to photograph such innocence and wonder.

I love photographing toddlers. <3
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Dream vision statement

 

It’s really hard to believe that I’ve been peddling as an entrepreneur since 2008. Doing my thang. Pushing my creations out into the world. At first it was easy and exciting to put my art out there. The level of excitement created a sort of euphoria that gave you the courage to hit “post” over and over again. As I started to dig a little deeper and a little deeper into photography education, I began to see where I didn’t quite measure up. This slowed down the train but it kept chugging.

Fast forward a few years later, when I had a better handle on what I was trying to accomplish and create, someone local then used my idea, pretty much verbatim. It was a constant flip between flattered and pissed. Flattered that one found my images so inspiring they had to recreate it their self. Pissed that they were unable to infuse THEIR essence and put a spin on what my image inspired in them. Any one can copy. It takes someone super creative to take inspiration from another and make it their own.

So I stopped posting my work. I didn’t want to be copied. I believe all artists go through this sort of growing pain cycle. I am sitting on thousands of images that no one has ever seen. I honestly don’t know if they ever will. I’ve accepted that. And in this process, I am finding out who *I* am. What I like, what I don’t like. In every area of my life. Instead of taking a back seat and letting others tell me what they “think” I should be, do, create…I am standing in my power and exercising my voice.

My life is vastly different from a year ago: I am a certified Buti Yoga instructor. I am no longer in an office slaving over excel docs and proof reading contracts, I am waking up early (4:30am!!) to teach 5-12 year olds in Beijing how to read and speak English. This lets me work from home. I can do this work while my children are home. And they honestly do not miss me until about 7:30am when they start waking up. I have a better handle on the state of my home (re: level of clean/put together) and I actually KNOW what my daughter is learning/struggling with in her schooling.

Unfortunately, it is taking a toll on my husband, trying to navigate and get settled in the new routine of things. If anything, it should be much easier. I am officially Taxi Mom about 98% of the time. I am able to shoulder more house work and I’ve even picked up the man tools to fix shit around the house. Short of taking over paying bills, I am unsure what else I can do to alleviate the pressure he is feeling. I think a lot of his stress comes from pressure he puts on himself; to fix everything and do it NOW. There’s a level of pride you can only achieve when doing the work alone. Make note: doing the work alone is not always worth your sanity in the process. Been there, done that. So. I don’t ask to help, I pick up a hammer or move the things.

Today’s journaling prompt is: What do you really desire for your life? Write a dean vision statement in detail. Get specific.

I want my husband to come home with a huge ass smile on his face, happy to see his cheerful wife. Because I was NOT always cheerful. I was down right miserable to the Nth degree. I want him to want to hug me, kiss me, snuggle me…without groaning that physically loving me is a CHORE. I want him to open his heart and share the stresses, the concerns, the victories, the progresses…beyond skimming the surface. I want the DIRT. All of it. Soul level connection. I feel MOST loved when he connects with me on a soul deep emotional level. That opens my heart and turns me on.

I want my daughter to love school and love learning. To stop struggling in her school work. To stop crying everyday in school. She has a huge move this summer, as her elementary school is closing and her class is getting moved to a new elementary school. Bigger. More kids. Growing pains. I want to see her THRIVE. Without my husband or I turning into the homework Tyrant, breathing down her neck, trying to get her to “hurry up and finish” because life (Facebook, youtube) calls. I want her to fall in love with yoga, as a means to calm her anxiety and work through the growing pains she is going through mentally, emotionally, physically. I want a DEEP connection with my daughter; I do not feel like I have that currently. I feel like I play second fiddle to Grammy. While I truly appreciate the bond she and Lily share, it also stings my heart a little. Because I don’t feel like we have a good bond. Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe it is not. Maybe we are too alike, or I am too impatient with her overly emotional crying jags. She relied on SOLELY me until I was pregnant with Malcolm and being so so sick and miserable I had no choice but to shoulder her off onto Dad…who was usually watching TV in another room.

I want my son to figure out pooping in the toilet is AWESOME and diapers totally suck. I’ve tried stickers. M&Ms. Tootsie Rolls. A prize box with everything from: stickers, match box cars, shop kins, Tsum Tsums, play doh, bubbles…. seems no amount of praise and bribery is working. Even when his butt and balls are on fire (why one shouldn’t eat ALLLL the pepperoni, ah-HEM)…I still can’t get him to use the potty. Maybe 2.5 is too young? I’ve heard boys are harder to potty train. I also want to move beyond this “I can’t” stage, as it’s seriously emotionally exhausting. His “I can’t!!!” statement quickly turns into full blown tantrums: anger, crying, rage, feet kicks, arms folded, running away, bedroom door slamming. Little boys harbor a lot of rage…as do their grown up counter parts.

From a business stand point? So many things are rattling around that it’s hard to tack one down. So let’s break it up a bit and see what we find.

Yoga – I will finish my RYT 200 hour (Registered Yoga Teacher training) in mid July. This opens the door to teach a Hatha-Vinyasa style yoga on top of Buti Yoga, Buti Flow, and Hot Buti Yoga. I already have an early morning “Yoga on the hill” on schedule; a bride and groom will be starting their day off with a yoga flow watching the sun rise before they get into the hustle and bustle of their wedding day! I am SO honored to create and share such a beautiful space for them. I’d love to do more private yoga classes and special events; whether it’s for traditional yoga or Buti. I have my eye on Advanced Buti training and DEEP training; Advanced Buti is for an invite into the master trainer program where I can then host trainings and DEEP is a restorative flow that focuses solely on the core. It’s AMAZING. All around. And is perfect for those who need to connect their brain to the muscles and heal diastasis recti/ab separation. Studio space is still on my plate. I like our current space, but it doesn’t give those yoga vibes as much as I’d like. And my ultimate goal is to GROW MY TRIBE. My attendee numbers wax and wane with the seasons, I want a HUGE tribe. There is nothing like the energy of a big class and I know the thought frightens people out of coming, but I SWEAR to you…it’s AMAZING! You will come out BLISSED AF.

Photography – I have morphed so much here. I am choosing to focus on boudoir/glamour, maternity and newborn. I’m really honing in on my style and with that the prop closet is slowly getting cleaned out. I am not booking full weddings, I have one left on my calendar for this year and besides a Justice of the Peace ceremony with coverage up to 3 hours. Buh-bye weddings. What was one my first love, I now no longer enjoy. And it’s very difficult to find a sitter for 8+ hours if my husband has something planned. Family first. I am also making it a point to share more of my work as the days move forward.

Coaching – I want to start a small accountability/massive action coaching circle. We will jump on a call and discuss what we are working on, where we are stuck, what action to take. If you are interested in joining, please DM: hello [at] gabrielleorcutt.com. I am currently working through a program that I hope to add to my list of services. It’s BOMB, and will completely change your life. We shall know more in September.

My day to day goal? Live life to the fullest with a bucket of compassion. Life is hard, DAMN hard, and it’s even harder when you fuel the stress and fatigue with being on an opposite team from your husband. Compassion bridges the divide; with your spouse, with your children.

 

Day 3 of the “Write it out” Challenge #WIOC with The Journal Deck (instagram)! Join us on Facebook!

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Ungrateful? Why it’s ok to shout out the shit!

Ungrateful? Why it’s ok to shout out the shit!

Let’s get real here: not everything is unicorns, rainbows and mermaids. Life is REALLY hard sometimes. While there’s always a lesson to be learned from every experience in our journey, being an attentive, focused player is extremely difficult. Especially when it is a very unpleasant situation. Call out the shit show for what it is: a giant pain in ass! Crystal clear clarity can be yours when you uncovered the turds and label them appropriately. The next question is: Do I need this in my life? Can I remove it? Did I learn the lesson? How do I change my perspective on this situation/thing?

I am really ungrateful for my inability to make a decision. It drives my husband bananas: “What do you want for dinner?” it 90% of the time responded with “IDK, what do YOU want?” After a few years, yes years!, of asking me…he finally figured it out: I will make what I want to eat/feel like making. Because I will find something to eat if I do not like/don’t want what he is serving up. For a long time, me not eating what he put on the table was an insult to him…and not intentionally done by me. Food is not the way to my heart (unless it’s chocolate + peanut butter!). My husband loves me by doing acts of service, which I appreciate and does not go unnoticed. This has also manifested into my entrepreneur side. I am working on this DAILY and while I feel it is improving, there’s still a ways to go. There are certain tasks that are met with great hesitation and groaning…then procrastination sets in.

Lily’s homework. Kindergarten was ROUGH with an onslaught of homework. Thankfully, first grade has not been any where near the intensity. But. Lily has an extremely hard time focusing on the work at home and constantly has emotional break downs because of FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. On what, you ask? Watching TV, picking on Malcolm until he cries, and literally ANYTHING that does not involve homework. There has been improvement in this area as well, but super nice days outside cause the emotions to creep back in. Once she has her self worked up to red blotchy face, she has an even harder time getting away from the edge and focus.

The “I can’t!” stage. Let me tell you how miserable this stage of growing up is. 2.5-3 years old is when the “I CAN’T!” starts to creep in and it takes every ounce of your adulting to keep yourself in check and not blow the lid off the pot. He wants a drink. He has a cup laying some where, literally JUST HAD IT. Please go find your cup. “I can’t.” You just had it a minute ago, where did you leave it laying? Go look. “I can’t!” Malcolm, it’s HERE. Please go look. LOOK. “I CAN’T!! WAAAAH!!” Meanwhile, 6.5 year old says it’s behind the chair I am sitting in (out of my eye sight) and Malcolm is in FULL FREAKING VIEW of it! Even worse is telling him to grab the small gatorade bottle off the counter and he’s a half inch away from it with arm length to spare and he goes “UGGG I CAN’T!!” Yes, child, Mama literally CAN’T with this stage right now!

PS. Malcolm is extremely ungrateful for ALL Disney Characters…Princess Jasmine included!

Day 2 of the “Write it out” Challenge #WIOC with The Journal Deck (instagram)! Join us on Facebook!

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Grateful for

What are you grateful for?

 

This hairy guy; for supporting my dreams, for helping me see the successes when I all I see are crumbling pieces, for being the coach to pick me up and keep going, for picking up slack when I am stumbling, for seeing life from a different perspective. Life would be different without you, more than you could ever imagine.

 

This beautiful flower child; for helping me see life through the eyes of a child, for teaching me to love unconditionally, for the amazing amount of empathy you have for others who are hurting, for showing me that being a social butterfly is not scary, for my love of everything baby + pregnancy I passed to you and that you simply adore. You force me to see the parts of myself I try to hide and push me to be a better mom.

 

This bundle of silly mayhem; for finding joy in the chaos, for always giving us something to laugh at when times are tough, for keeping us on our toes with all your shenanigans, for showing me that the bond of a son + mom is much different than a daughter + mom. You stretch my emotional limits from one extreme to the other and force me to learn the names of all the construction equipment.

 

Look what we made.

 

Day 1 of the “Write it out” Challenge #WIOC with The Journal Deck (instagram)! Join us on Facebook!

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Boy Band Buti Class

Boy Band Buti Class

….YASSS! It is coming at you April 27th, 7:00 PM @ Rockton Fire Department! >>PRE-PAY your ticket in!!<<

Pull out those well worn t-shirts from your tween-age fantasies…we are doing it Boy Band style as a final farewell to April because….

Girrrrrl, that know that’s on the plat list for sure!!! 😉

I am very sad to report, that I no longer have any of my boy band t-shirts (it’s a SIN, I tell you!! Why didn’t I save those??) but I have compiled a list of t-shirts you can snag in time for Thursday’s event.

N*sync
Backstreet Boys
Hanson
Savage Garden
98 Degress
New Kids On The Block
The Beatles
Jonas Brothers
5 seconds of summer

SUPER STOKED to sweat it out with all you ladies!!!

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