Photo Session of our Daughter in my Wedding Dress

I’ve dreamed of putting Kendall in my wedding dress for years.I’ve dreamed of putting Kendall in my wedding dress for years. Through the years, I’ve seen dozens of photos of daughters in their mom’s wedding dress giving their best princess bride smile to the camera. This day was unplanned and totally spontaneous. At dawn, I had an incredible photo session in a sunflower patch. The bride from that session picked the wildflower bouquet you’re about to see in this session. When I got home, I was already in wedding mode and thought it was the perfect opportunity. Being 2.5 years old this summer, I knew Kendall would still be swimming in my dress, but at least she was finally old enough to listen and sit still for me.

What I should have photographed was the “get ready” side. This could have been a photo session in itself. The magic in her eyes when I pulled out my dress and asked, “would you like to put my dress on?” is something I will never forget. That dress captivated her.

 

A Wedding Dress Photo Session

My wedding dress was so big on her that I had to tie the strings that hold the dress on a hanger together just to make it stay on her. When she was ready, we went out to my back yard on a late morning in August. I had to carry her as the dress was far too long.

In my head, I envisioned taking a photo to represent both solitude and strength all in one. Certainly not a photo of her looking at me and smiling. I wanted some oomph being them – connection and emotion. Kendall is independent and strong as a wildfire. It was important for me to try to bring this out and retain her littleness too. I wanted to go in the direction of photos you see from big name photographers where the girl is on the edge of a mountain with the force of the wind telling its own story through the blowing dress. I love photos that make you feel their fierceness, but couldn’t tell you the first step in creating them.

In any normal scenario for me, my mind would have went blank when I started. I do not know the first thing about posing and directing. But on this day, when I placed her on the ground and the breeze picked up her hair, everything I envisioned went to hell. I kept my mouth shut and I just started shooting. I shot exactly what I felt. This is so hard to put into words, but with years of observation practice, you can literally feel your inspiration. It takes over you. Pure magic.

She inspired me. Her smile and body language were radiating her happiness. My wedding dress which is far beyond her years made her sweet, childhood innocent very apparent.  Of course, there’s all of the little details that only a mom can understand when you look at your own child – the way her hair fell in the middle of her back when it seemed like only a couple of short months ago it was barely below her shoulders. The way those little fingers wrapped around the bouquet of flowers.

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A Small Surprise

Her standing there alone was far from the end of it. My husband came waltzing out of our home dressed in his dress pants, shirt, and vest just for her… just to walk over and tell her that her beauty is beyond. His presence swept her off her feet as she was about to burst with excitement to show off that she was in momma’s dress.
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Need more inspiration? Get lost in these posts:

10 Tips to Master Your 365 Project

Documenting Reality: Nightlife of a Parent

A Photographer’s Perspective: 30 Days of Gratitude

Session Pricing, Traveling, and Client Vision

Author: MarieMasse

I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.


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