When mother and friend Melissa asked me to shoot a family session featuring her and her youngest son Jayden I was excited. When she requested that her session be in an urban location because it fit more their style and personalities I was beyond psyched. Don’t get me wrong….I love the look of golden hour sunsets in landscape of weeds and glowing trees…but you get dirty, you get eaten alive by insects…and then you contend with snakes, fire ants, tics, etc. What I also loved is their sense of style and careful thought they put into their session and wardrobe. This is one session you won’t want to miss, trust me! I used to work with Melissa at Disney years ago. We were both stage performers in the former Tarzan Rocks show at Disney’s animal kingdom. Melissa is an amazing dancer, one of the most positive people you’d ever want to meet, and an amazing mother as I realized throughout our shoot. Not that I didn’t think that before….but it was quite apparent half way through the session….so much so I had to stop shooting and compliment her on just what a great parent she is. For our shoot we decided for an early Sunday morning session in downtown Orlando before the streets became too crowded. I very rarely go downtown and I’m honestly not too familiar with it. I’ve been to the Church Street are a handful of times. I know this area has been shot by many of portrait photographers….so I did my best to think out of the box and produce something different that I had not seen before in the area. I’m proud to say I think we accomplished that. There is a story half way through the session, so be sure to continue reading.So Melissa asks in a shy little voice… Melissa: “I have this outfit that I’d like to get pictures with….it’s kind of sassy….do you think you could change into that and get a few shots.” Me: “Of course you can change into anything you want…..it’s your photo shoot.” son Jayden: “Mom it’s not that bad!” Melissa: “This is the last time I’ll wear it….and I’ll probably burn it after this shoot”. And then this happened…After that little sexy number there was a wardrobe change and we headed into downtown to continue our session.Melissa mentioned that she had these books that she wanted to incorporate into her shoot. As we were one block into walking I remembered her mentioning the books and noticed they weren’t in hand. After reminding her about them she ran back to her car to go get them….and while Jayden and I waited I took a few shots with just him to fill our time and one of those “while we wait shots” happens to be one of my favorites. So here are the books. They were significant to be involved in the shoot for some reason….so I asked what the story was behind them. Melissa and Jayden went to the local library. (gosh I hope I’m remembering this right) As they entered they split ways. Melissa was in search of a certain book and Jayden decided to split up and just go browse while mom found what she was looking for. When they both met again, both with books in hand, it was ironic that they both had the same book, Jayden had the teen version of the same book….and he had no clue what mom was intending to get that day. If you look at the title of the book it says a lot about who they both are. At this point I put the camera down, looked Melissa in the eye and said “I just want to stop and tell you what an amazing job you have done as a parent to raise such a fine young, positive, and polite man”. As a step parent of a teenager and a parent of a 6 year old….”I get it” and I just needed to commend Melissa on a job well done.OK….on with the rest of the shoot.Here’s to good parenting and fun times with your family. Cheers!