Long Island Mom Finds Beauty in the Small Moments

Long Island mom Lauren Grinman shares how her Portraits that Move experience changed the way she looks at everyday moments with her children.

We love working with Lauren’s beautiful, energetic, adorable family and are so glad she is sharing her Signature Portrait story with us today.

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What were your expectations for the Portraits that Move film shoot? How did the experience compare to your expectations?

I couldn't wait to see how this type of video would be created. In watching a few of them previous to doing ours, I was intrigued by how relaxed and natural all of the families were in their videos.

The experience of making it was just that. The way they filmed us and interviewed the kids was so comfortable. Susannah and her team also have very warm and charismatic personalities which immediately put us and our children at ease. We all truly enjoyed the process so much.

After watching the video, what struck you the most?

I was awed by how beautifully edited the video was. They had gotten a lot of footage I am sure, but they were so able to pick up the most beautiful actions and words of our children.

Like our son taking steps after he had just started walking, or his expression while spinning a helicopter… they truly captured the essence of our children at each of their special ages.

Did anything surprise you?

The way they also captured our sons playing, not just the interviews, was so beautiful to watch. Seeing the joy on their faces as they jumped on the bed together, or ran through the hallway, simple things that you don't always get to slow down and appreciate their expressions.

Has the experience of filming and watching your Portraits that Move video affected how you look at everyday moments or how you think about celebrating or honoring the passage of time?

It has affected me, a room with toys scattered on the floor, or a thousand crayons on the floor as they draw. I have tried to slow down and watch them almost imagining it was part of one of the videos.

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It has helped me appreciate the moment more, rather than thinking about cleaning up, and moving onto the next part of our day. I am enjoying each stage they are at more.

What is your favorite part of your Portraits that Move film?

How beautifully they captured the true essence of our family. Each personality of our children truly shined bright in the films we have created. These films are such gems to us now. Preserving the voices, smiles, and sweetness of each age of our children.

Learn more about the Signature Portrait from Portraits that Move.

Portraits that Move: A Review from a Philadelphia Mom

A few weeks ago we got to make a Signature Portrait Film for a Philadelphia family. After she received her video, we connected with mom Elisa to talk about what the Portraits that Move filmmaking process was like and what she thought about her video - including what surprised her most.

family video creators review portraits that move.jpg

What were your expectations for the Portraits that Move film shoot? How did the experience compare to your expectations?

I knew, based on the extraordinary qualifications of the filmmakers, that the shoot would be smooth and the final product beautiful. But I didn't realize how fun the process would be for our family.

My son loved answering the interview questions and we learned some things about him that we never knew. They allowed him to play and show them the activities he loves, so he got to lead the way in many respects, which was empowering for him.

The team was respectful, easy to work with and made the whole day a pleasant experience.

After watching the video, what struck you the most?

I was struck by just how, even in the few weeks since shooting, my son had grown and changed, which made it all the more valuable to have this document of him that goes much deeper than an impromptu phone movie.

Parenting is a state of constant change and you often wish you could stop time—Portraits that Move allows you to do that.

Did anything in the video/any reaction you had to watching the video surprise you?

It was like watching our home and family from our son's perspective which was very moving and sweet.

Has the experience of filming and watching your Portraits that Move video affected how you look at everyday moments?

Yes—I think most families would be thrilled to have a video like this, which captures the personality of your child and the aspects that make your family unique.

What is your favorite part of your Portraits that Move film?

All of it!

Music and Your Memories

Have you ever noticed that when you think back on moments of your life, there always seems to be a soundtrack? While driving in your car, a song will play and you are instantly transported to your freshman year of college, your parents' living room, or your favorite childhood vacation spot...

The connection between music and memory is powerful, both in recalling memories and in cementing them.  Music is also deeply connected to emotion.  So often there are feelings that we can't express in words, but images and music help us to capture those feelings and hold onto them.

That's why we take our time in choosing the right music for our Portraits that Move videos, the soundtracks for the moments of your lives that our films help to cement and celebrate.  When we choose your music during our production process, we do so with the images and emotions of your film shoot fresh in our minds and our hearts.  We select unique music that helps to tell your story in a way that is all your own.

Yes, it costs more to get licensing for the music we use, but we know that it is absolutely worth it, for a few reasons.  First, as artists, we support artists.  Composers truly make something out of nothing - they create songs out of silence - and they most certainly need to be compensated when their work is used.  Second, your unique films deserve their own unique scores.  This is your family, your joy, and it is our job to help bring it to the screen in all its glory, complete with the soundtrack of this moment in your life.

If you have more questions about the music in our films, or the production process, pop them into the comments below, or reach out on Facebook.  We love to talk about what we do and to share it with you!

Overcoming Shyness: Tips for Working with Kids on Camera

People often ask me what happens if their child is shy or does not want to participate on the day we arrive to film their Portraits that Move video. I always respond with complete sincerity that this is not a problem at all.

Our main goal for the film shoot is to create an open, loving space for the child to be who they are. If they feel pressured, pushed or coerced in any way, it will not work.  We want your kids to know that we love them exactly as they are.

working with kids on camera tips

We recently did a holiday shoot for two girls, Savannah and Derby. For the second year in a row, we documented the sisters for their family's Holiday Video Card. We had spent time with them last year, we cherished them and the entire family loved their first video.

Still, when we arrived to shoot the video the next year, one of the girls, Derby, was not into us being there. Initially, she refused to talk to me. She did not want to do anything we asked of her and, at one point, she even hid from us.

tips to overcome shyness on camera filmmaking tips from kids director

I showed Derby love at every turn, letting her know that her feelings were normal.  I assured her and made her feel comfortable with the filming process in the following ways:

  • I let her know that she could show us and tell us what SHE wanted. All of her answers were up to her.
  • We loved her and smiled at her even through her protest. It is a weird situation to have a camera there - we acknowledged that, and we acknowledged her feelings.
  • We encouraged anything that would bring her comfort. You will see a purple stuffed snake throughout the video. She wanted it close to her, and we agreed.
  • When she said it was over for her, we wrapped it up. There is no reason to push a child beyond the point they are willing to go. Safety and comfort are most important.  Children need and deserve to feel in control of their own experience. After all, how can our kids show us their best selves if they feel uncomfortable?

Ultimately, the film captures Derby’s spirit beautifully. She is sparkly and loving and filled with fun. I loved spending the afternoon with her. I hope she felt the same. 

Resolution vs. Intention: Choosing Joy and Gratitude

There is an energy to this time of year, when we sit down and list what we want to do and how we want to be. We welcome the changes that a new year brings.  We write down our goals, we make plans to achieve them, we may even resolve to be more present, to savor the moment.

This year, at Portraits that Move, we are taking a slightly different approach to the coming year.  Rather than list out resolutions, ways we want to be different, things we want to change about ourselves or our circumstances, we are choosing to focus on intention.  All of us at Portraits that Move are committing to living and working and observing with intention.  Rather than a resolution to be more, to do more, to change this or that in a quest for a goal, this year, we are listening to that voice that reminds us to stop, to look at our life, at our work and at our goals and to determine how they align with our intention to find joy and to be grateful.

filmmaking family

We are lucky because doing so is exactly how we live out the Portraits that Move mission through the work we do as filmmakers every day.  We get to find and celebrate joy and gratitude every time we document the lives of families, and we have the unique privilege of being able to reflect that joy and gratitude back to them when we deliver their Portrait Films. 

This year, our team will work with all kinds of families.  For each of them, the coming days and months will take twists and turns.  In what seems like a moment, their children will grow, change, discover and surprise them.  In those moments - the unexpected, the everyday and the in between - they will discover joy and gratitude, and we will help them to witness it, and to preserve it. 

new years resolution vs intention

To you, the families we have grown with, and the new families we will meet this year, as you set your goals and state your resolutions, try to remember the peace and togetherness you found in the holiday season, or the peace and togetherness that you may have found at more unexpected, unplanned moments throughout the last year.  Like all of us, you are busy, every day, building your lives and your memories.

Our wish for you, our intention for, and our promise to you in the new year, is that you choose joy and that you choose gratitude through all of the beautiful, messy, ordinary and chaotic days this new year has in store.

The Joy of Watching Our Children Grow

This year we have had the great blessing of working with some of our Portraits that Move families for the third year in a row. It is an incredible experience and all that I hoped it would be when I started Portraits That Move.

It is fantastic to talk to our children about what moves them, inspires them and motivates them. I love hearing about all of their feelings and observing how their interests and passions change from year to year. I am able to see the incremental change in a way that you as their parent may not always recognize. I think it is also fun for the kids. They are excited to tell me things - to show me how they have grown.

I am a person that has a heightened sense of the passage of time. As a result of the health challenges that I have had, I have always had an intense awareness of the fragility of life and the quick passage of time.  I want to preserve moments in time for you, for your family and for your children’s children.

The families that work with us year after year love having a personal catalog of our work. They enjoy both the process and the final family videos. I feel grateful for the trust they extend to me to listen to and connect with their children. I am grateful to parents for inviting me to capture the passage of time, to give the gift of time back to them, and to their children.  

The work we do, creating custom documentary quality videos of families, is a gift to each of us as Portraits that Move filmmakers. As we enter into the holiday season, I look forward to giving that gift to all of you. 

Portraits that Move Reviews: Parents Share Surprise and Joy

When we connect with parents for a pre-filming consultation, we talk about what to expect at a Portraits that Move film shoot.  We talk about how to prepare the children (hint: just let them know we are coming, but don't rehearse or plan for specific conversations... what naturally and organically unfolds is what is truly beautiful).  We address their questions about how long the shoot will take (about 3-4 hours for a full length signature Portrait Video) and how we help kids who are feeling a bit shy when filming day comes.

portraits that move review

Parents remark that they always feel well prepared for their Portraits that Move video film shoot.  What surprises them is their reaction when they see the Portrait Video for the first time.  Even though they have been part of this process, even though they have seen our other videos, read the blog, and stay in touch with us on Facebook and Instagram, there is something about that moment when parents see their children, hear their voices, experience their own Portraits that Move video.

 

We've rounded up some of the reviews from parents about the filming process and about that first moment they see their video, and what it means to them.

"We gave the video to my husband as a Valentine from the girls. He was so surprised and moved that he actually cried when he watched for the first time!" - Libby Mayward

"I knew Susannah’s extraordinary film work and knew that it would be special, but I didn’t expect it to have this level of kvell." Elena Berger 

"The final product was amazing and had our kids sharing things about themselves and their inner thoughts that we rarely, if ever, hear from them." - Jason Kunreuther

"We must have watched the portrait of our boys, Nikko and Louis, a million times! Gregg was able to bring out the best in their personalities by capturing the smallest of details... A timeless memento for any parent!" - Rhodalea Le

Contact us to discuss how we can create a Portrait Video for your family.

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What the Huffington Post #TalkToMe Series Teaches about the Power of Conversation on Film

We have been closely following the Huffington Post #TalkToMe Series in which luminaries and entrepreneurs are interviewed by their grown children.

Interviewees include Melinda Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Laura Bush and many more.  For us at Portraits that Move, we are captivated by the ways in which these individuals, all of whom have been interviewed countless times before by the best in the business, open up when they are speaking with their children.

Image via Huffington Post

Image via Huffington Post

With this seies, we are witnessing, again, the beauty of conversation between parents and children and the power of film to bring those conversations to life.  The children in these cases are adults who are accomplished in their own right.  As part of the Portraits that Move filmmaking process, we interview children when they are young and just beginning to discover their dreams - and their voices.  But we see, and we know that you all do, too, that the same bond we develop with our children when they are babies grows and develops just as they do.

The bonds we create with our children through the conversations we have with them - time spent listening as much as speaking - help to empower them to be leaders, just like the subjects of these wonderful interviews. 

What conversations are you having with your kids?  Try some of our conversation starter ideas today.

See Portraits that Move in the Huffington Post.

Peek at Our Filmmaking Process

We talked with Max and Julian about video games, superpowers and what they love about mom.  We talked about how it feels to have a brother and to be one.

Throughout the Portraits that Move filming process, we asked Max and Julian questions independently and together.  We gave them space and time to really talk to us, to do more than introduce themselves and some of their favorite books and keepsakes (Harry Potter, a panda photo). 

Our questions and the environment we create during a Portraits that Move film shoot, allowed these adorable, imaginative boys, ages seven and nine, to tell us about some of their aspirations and their concerns. And as always, we got some priceless responses.

"growing up makes me scared because I have to pay taxes and make money"

"I appreciate my family because they're nice to me and they care about me.  I love them."

Like all of our portrait length and snapshot films, we as filmmakers and the family who received the final product, developed a new insight into children's lives.  And what a gift that is!

Discover your own Portraits that Move Portrait or Snapshot.

Like Most Parents, I Want to Bottle Up My Kids' Youth and Vitality: Notes from Mom, Kim Goldin

Before I say anything else, I first want to disclose that Susannah Ludwig, owner and creator of Portraits That Move, is one of my closest and longest-standing friends in the world.  You may think this provides me an organic bias, which perhaps it does, but on the flip-side it has allowed me access to the initial concept and works to date from the start; I have had more time to invest than most in falling in love with the service, dreaming about what a video of my children might look like.

Like most parents, I want to capture my kids' youth and vitality, and put it in a bottle for me to access at any given point in time.  They are growing far too fast, and with always being behind the camera, I often lose out on many moments as a result of trying to capture their spontaneous antics.  The irony of course, is that you cannot both adequately document and experience a moment at the same time.  Enter Portraits That Move.

Also like most parents, we don’t have unlimited funds to spend on anything deemed “extra” but had seen enough of these videos to know that the joy one would provide our family would be long-term.  We saw it as an investment we would cherish, like a piece of fine art.  Having decided to move our family to the UK for a three-year adventure this past summer, we felt that capturing our daughters’ thoughts and fears and excitement about this move would be an excellent platform for a Part I of II video, highlighting who they were before we went, with the plan for the second video to document how they have changed while abroad when we return.    

custom video portraits that move review

I cannot stress enough how pleased we were with the end product of our first video!!  Between the amazing interview questions and tactics to put our girls at ease, the outstanding videography that captured the intimate side of our children when they didn’t know anyone was watching, and the brilliant story they painted via expert editing, we have a masterpiece like no other, that brings us joy each time we watch it—which we continue to do many months later.  

I cannot recommend Portraits That Move enough—a video of your children is a gift-to-self like no other.

Kim Goldin

Happy and satisfied cheerleader for Portraits That Move

Dreaming of Growing Up

One of the things that I most love to ask kids is what they want to be when they grow up. I find the answers they provide exciting, compelling and quite astute.  Kids are able to dream, they do not let limitations inhibit them. They are tapped into their strengths, their interests and what brings them joy. The world is open to them and it is incredible.

I get really excited about the idea of following our kids, as they get older to see if they hold onto the same dreams or if they change them in the some way.  I want to reflect their beauty, power and greatness to them. I want them to know that I believe in their biggest dreams.

As I child I dreamed of being an actress, a gymnast or a teacher. Although I started making video at fourteen years old, I never imagined my work would bring me to this path, this place, this moment. It is more fun, and more fulfilling that I ever thought it could be.  I wish the same for all of our kids.

Here’s to them and to the dreams ahead.

Take a Break - Enjoying and Planning Vacation Time with Kids

It's vacation week for many families here in New York City.  Some of us are staying local and the kids are heading to playdates and activities, others are visiting family and flying to warmer climates.  Any time we escape our typical routines the days can have a special magic. Especially, when we take a little extra time to listen, to share our stories and to enjoy what makes each one of our children - and our families - so unique.

restful vacation staycation memories

At Portraits that Move, we encourage families to take vacations together, with grandparents and siblings, and to remember, whether traveling or trying out a staycation, to disconnect from stress and to connect with our kids.  Any time away from the daily grind, whether a week or a day, is time to create memories large and small, and to give our kids the space they need to talk, to listen, to share, and to love.

vacation package custom family vacation films

This is also the time of year for summer vacation planning.  At Portraits that Move we are thrilled to offer our Vacation Video Package again this year.  This is perfect for families who want to document the beauty of their vacations. From the destination itself to the experiences they inspire, we are able to come along and document it all for you to come back to and enjoy for years to come, during the busy times when we need to remember the joy we find together.

Behind the Scenes: How I Prepare for a Documentary Portrait Shoot

Once people see our family documentary portrait work and decide that they would like our team to create a video for them, the first step is to set up a call to talk about the process.  

We Learn About You, From You

On that initial call our team gathers  basic information about the family and their interests. How many children are in the family? What Portraits that Move product is the best fit right now (a full Portrait, a Snapshot, a Vacation Experience Package)?  

family documentary kids personality

Is the family asking us to create their documentary to honor a special occasion or event? Will the video be used as part of a celebration or treasured at home together? Once we know these details, we talk about scheduling a date to shoot the documentary with the family.

About a week before the shoot, I, or someone from the team calls the family to learn a bit more about the children and to plan and customize the shoot for them. We ask about the children’s personalities and preferences. What do they like to do?  What is a typical day like for them? Do siblings typically do things together or independently? Are there things the parents would like highlighted or not?

Planning a Family Documentary Shoot with Your Comfort in Mind

Also, during this second call we discuss a plan for the shoot day. We talk about arrival times, length of the shoot and general order of the day so everyone is comfortable and well prepared. Like any film shoot day, we go in with a plan and we are prepared to make changes as appropriate.

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I love our documentary planning calls. They are a fun way to get to know my clients, to create a comfort level for them about the process and to create a plan to best document their children. It is important to me that our clients feel our love and acceptance at every step of the process, in the initial conversations, while we are shooting and revealed in the final product.

We have great gratitude to be able to do this work - everything we can do to make the filming process easy and positive is incredibly important.

Contact us to schedule a call to discuss the documentary filming process for your family.

A Curious Mind - Lessons from a Filmmaker, Inspiration for Parents

I recently read a new book, written by the extraordinary producer, Brian Grazer, entitled A CURIOUS MIND, THE SECRET TO A BIGGER LIFE.  Brian is an incredibly successful producer and the force behind such projects as Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, and most recently, the hit television show, Empire. He owns his company, Imagine Entertainment with director Ron Howard.

Brian Grazer Photo: IMDB

Brian Grazer Photo: IMDB

I have followed Brian’s career for a long time because, as a film producer I am always fascinated by what makes another producer successful. What propels him or her forward?  How do they work best? How do they identify projects and decide to create them or not?  Brian is known in the industry to be hard working, affable and extremely fun to work with.

And now, after reading his book, I understand why.

Photo: Amazon

Photo: Amazon

In A Curious Mind, Brian makes the point that it is the trait of curiosity that creates more success, bigger wins and closer relationships. He offers that the act of asking questions at every juncture brings us closer to our own truths and to those that we are close to.  I couldn’t agree more.

In fact, I think I was drawn to this book because I innately understood that curiosity is the thing that keeps us young - and relatable to our children. Curiosity opens doors in our communication with our kids. When our children are asking us why a million times (while it can sometimes be annoying) it is an opportunity to get to the bottom of what they are trying to understand. And to, in turn, understand them. 

What are they curious about? What moves them? How does their line of thinking work?

It is clear that asking questions of others sets the stage for more truths. It shows that we are interested, engaged and present; all things that our children need us to be.  In honor of Brian Grazer and his book, I offer up a challenge to you. Can you come up with 5 things that you are curious about your children?

Ask them, go deeper, get closer.  And tell us about it!

Here are a few curiosities of mine, conversation starters that we use at Portraits that Move when filming documentaries for families.  Use these as jumping off points, and keep your kids talking.  You - and they - will benefit from it greatly. 

How does it feel for you when you sing?
Do you like the beach or the forest better and why?

What is your favorite summer frozen treat? What do you like about it?
What is your deepest wish?

Curiosity is a core value at Portraits That Move. One that keeps us working hard to meet more kids, to understand them, who they are and all the reasons we celebrate them. 

How My Role as Film Producer Trained Me for Motherhood

I was 36 years old when I had my son. I always knew I wanted children, ideally, lots of them. I babysat at a young age, taught at camps and felt energetic and excited whenever I had the chance to be in the presence of children.

I spent my twenties and thirties building my career. I love my work and I always have. I am driven and passionate about being a filmmaker. I have been lucky enough to have worked on incredible projects, with talented, inspiring people.

By the time I was 36 I had been on the team of four narrative, theatrical films and I had produced documentaries for PBS, MSNBC, Ovation TV, Court TV, IFC and other networks. I had won a producing fellowship at Sundance, had produced countless corporate videos and commercials and had several big projects in development.

I was so invested in my work that I took on the production of a documentary, Close-Up Photographers at Work, 8 weeks before my son was due and it aired 4 days before his due date. I loved that project and thankfully, my son was patient.  He arrived two days late, so I had a couple days of downtime before he arrived. I think he and I were always in sync - even then.

newborn baby lessons motherhood and family documentary filmmaking

As all parents know, once my son was born, my world got turned upside-down. I fell madly, deeply in love with him and at the same time, I felt incredibly panicked about how out of control my life seemed.

I wanted to be with him all the time, yet I felt pulled back to my work. Ultimately, I found an amazing balance and it worked out beautifully for both of us.

And as both my son and I grew, I realized that being a producer is excellent training for becoming a parent. As a producer you need to do the following things, all of which prepare you for the challenges and responsibilities of parenting:

You plan everything   

A well thought out schedule is the backbone of any good production. As a parent, planning and structure are important. Children thrive when there is a rhythm and a familiarity to their lives.

You expect change and are able to roll with it when it happens

Things change in production all the time. People change their involvement with the project. Things get started and then halted. Even weather can change a shoot unexpectedly. 

It is the same with children; they have their own ideas, needs and intentions. And sometimes, as parents, we have to be ok with throwing our plans to the wind.

You encourage them to be their best selves

Producing is about collaboration. Once you have hired the best team possible, you have to do everything you can to support them in bringing all they are to the work they do.

The role of mother is exactly the same. You learn what your child needs, what makes them tick and how to encourage the most authentic manifestation of who they are.

You listen

Whether I am in conversation with a director, client, crew member or my son, I listen with my full attention.  I want them to be heard and to know their voices and opinions are important. 

Lilah tells us at she loves out her mom as we kick off our Mother's Day celebration.

It is in collecting thoughts and creating an environment of trust that the best films and the best parenting happens.

You trust that they will have the life meant for them

Films and children have their own paths. It is not my job to define what that path is, but to gently support and suggest things along the way. It is not up to me, entirely, when a film gets released or what my son’s interests are.

I can listen to what the film tells me and heed the cues my son gives me.

You create space with love

With films it is the director’s responsibility to dig deep and tell the truest story possible. With parenting, our responsibility is to accept and love our children exactly as they are. In both cases, it is critical that a platform is created for this acceptance and love. 

I work hard to do this every day with my son and with Portraits That Move.

Since having my son, I have made some of my best work, On Mediation, Kings Point, Boomtown and many more.  Now, with the work we do here at Portraits that Move, creating documentaries for families, I am so thankful to get to do this every day, to get to be a mother to my son and to have both of these worlds so intertwined, informed and strengthened by each other.

Planning vs. Staying in the Present - A Multitasking Mom's Daily Struggle

Staying present is hard. I am a planner, a list maker, a person who loves structure and organization. It is hard to be a planner and also to be a person who lives in the moment. The planner part of myself takes over.  It keeps the list close, has an ongoing LOUD voice that reminds me of all I have do to do every day.

I feel good when I listen to that voice, when I accomplish and check things off.

 

The deeper, quieter, more soulful part of myself is more knowing. She knows that we have this one moment, this one breath, that it can be taken quickly and over before we know it. She knows from experience how short life is and she whispers to the planner, “slow down, enjoy, be in this moment, savor it… you have this time, this now, this moment, this chance.”

 

The planner usually wins out over the voice that reminds me to stay in the present.  But it is a battle every day, every hour.  I think most moms feel this way.

 

The strength it requires to listen to the voice that keeps us in the present and still feel relaxed when the house is a mess, dinner is not made, work is not done… is some powerful strength.

 

But it is right. This voice, she is wise and soulful and I want to listen to her more.

 

I once heard that what a person teaches is what they most need to learn. I think that applies here. With Portraits That Move, we attempt every day to listen to the voice that keeps us in the present. We want to give you that, because once you see and feel and experience a moment of calm presence, a moment of that simple joy, you want more.

 

Our team, made of professional filmmakers committed to this idea, documents for you the feeling of the present so you can watch the videos and laugh and cry with your children and remember the choice we have every day, every hour, every now.  

 

Please enjoy the gift we are so pleased to share with all of our clients every day.  Now, I am going to go snuggle with my seven year old, while I still can.

Be a Leader and a Follower - Advice from Grandma Rose

  

My grandmother, Rose Ludwig, was an extremely wise woman. She lived to be almost 93 years old and had a great deal to teach all of us about life, love, and relationships. She studied psychology and was interested in what makes people tick - especially when it came to matters of the heart. She was happily married for 45 years, so I guess, she knew what she was talking about.

leaders and followers avice from documentary filmmakers.png

We were very close. One day she said to me, “In every relationship one person is a leader and the other is a follower and it is important that these roles should be able to shift and each person is able to switch places.”  The other day it occurred to me that this is an important theory in regards to how we do our work.

When we show up at someone’s home to shoot a portrait or a snapshot, we have a plan. We have spoken with your family ahead of time and have a structure in mind. We have a system, one that we have carefully created. However, when we get there if the kids want us to know something other than what we have planned, we follow their lead. We let them guide us- we let their truths be the path. We listen carefully to the child, to their needs and to the needs of all of those involved.

family documentary

The listening can become almost meditative. It is about openness, feeling, sensing and then following. Listening is an empowering act. And ultimately one from which you can derive tremendous knowledge and power. If you listen carefully enough you will know the answers to make the best decisions. One has to be able to follow in order to lead well.

This is important in parenting as well. We are our best selves when we listen, when we take in and absorb what our children need. In listening, we are empowered to be the best parents we can be.

I remember when my grandmother gave me her advice about being a leader and a follower.  I thought, who would want to ever be a follower? She was right though, and I have come to understand that sometimes following is the clearest path to leadership and to our truth.