As a first time mom, I have made it a point since my sons birth to capture through photographs every single head movement, blink, and smile that I can. In his first 3 months of life, I was so obsessed that I took over 600 pictures. It slowly died down as my baby boy grew; life got busier and a lot more hectic. I soon forgot to capture all the messy faced grins after each bite of a new food or after he stood for the first time without any help. So, when his first birthday came around, I decided to call for an expert to capture one of the most important moments in my life. As a single mom going to school full-time, I certainly did not have mounds of money to spend, but I already knew I was not going to resort to taking him to one of those photo centers for a few head shots. I have many friends who are amateur photographers, people my age who took a few classes back in high school then declared themselves as experts. I looked through their photos, but something was off. In my opinion, I did not want to pay $300 for a bunch of photos that look like they come straight off a Pinterest board. I wanted something as unique and special as my boy, after all, he is my only child, and he is one of my most prized accomplishments. I then came across Shana Grossnickle. I have known her since 2011, as we worked together in the past, but as our lives got busier, we drifted apart and I hadnt seen her in a long time. I looked through her Facebook page, Shana Grossnickle Photography, and I was astounded. Who knew my friend had such an amazing eye for detail! I then knew that I wanted her to take pictures of my son. I contacted her and she got back to me within the day, which was great for me because I am a typical Type A and love to have everything scheduled. We set up a time, and she allowed me to bring 2-3 outfits so we could switch it up after a couple shots and get in a few different looks. I was so excited!
The day came to meet her for the photo shoot, and I had just picked my son up from a prior engagement. Little did I know how grumpy he would be! Shana had so many different sets and accessories to choose from, which was perfect because I had no clue what to expect from a professional photo shoot. My son had only met Shana once when he was about 2 months old, so he was definitely apprehensive. He does not do too well when it comes to strangers and new situations, and this definitely showed. Every time I sat him down, he would get into a fit of hysterics and would crawl as fast as he could to cling to me for dear life. I was frustrated, because when I see professional photos of babies they always look so angelic and cooperative, and my son was definitely a challenge. Thankfully, Shana overcame my sons nerves.
She was always smiling and approached him softly speaking in a calm tone whenever she would take a photo. She even packed bubbles and would use them to keep his attention throughout the shoot. She allowed him to hold his sippy cup for comfort, and even gave him some snacks! Shana also took breaks whenever he seemed to get upset. She moved with him, and captured pictures as he crawled to me. She was only able to capture a few, as he got tired and overwhelmed quickly. Shana was so sweet that she even scheduled another shoot to capture more pictures, because she felt that she didnt quite get as many as she would have hoped. She even made it a point to set up another date before his first birthday, so I would have them sooner. The second shoot was definitely better than the first, and he was more comfortable with Shana. She took note of the suns direction and worked with the lighting and the surroundings to make sure she was able to capture the perfect shot.
I received my finished photos in an extremely timely manner. She gave me full access to the website, and even the PIN code so I had the ability to download to take them to the printer. I was actually quite nervous to see how they were going to turn out, because of the first shoot being such a disaster on my end. I looked at the pictures and I cried. I never knew that someone who had only met my son three times (two being within the weeks for the photo shoots) was able to capture everything I love about him. I loved that the photos do not look staged, fake, or cliché, which was why I chose Shana Grossnickle in the first place. She was able to create amazing, breathtaking images that truly showed what a happy, playful, typical one year old boy would look like. The photographs definitely showed how dedicated she was at trying to work with my son. She did a beautiful job editing the photos, playing with different lighting and even enhancing my sons eyes to show their true blue color. I was so grateful for Shanas willingness to put in additional work to take more photos so I had more variety for my sons special day. Shana's patience, professionalism, skill, and artistic eye were all deeply appreciated. Everyone who has seen the album loves the photos. I have already had two people ask for her information so they can have pictures of their children taken. The quality of her work is truly astounding for only just beginning the craft. While although not fully established as an expert, Shana Grossnickle Photography is highly recommended and I would certainly hire her again.