Isn’t it funny when you go into something expecting one thing and then the complete opposite happens?

That was my situation back in April during my family portrait session in Lutherville, Maryland.

I’ve known the family since its inception when my dear friends, Erica and Justin, began dating when the three of us were going to Mount St. Mary’s College University in Emmitsburg.

Leading up to the shoot, Erica had cautioned me that her sweeter-than-candy four-year-old son, Nolan, doesn’t really like getting his picture being taken.

“He always runs away from the camera,” she advised.

Knowing that Nolan and my daughter are good buddies, I decided to ask Julia to come along to help.

“I’ll talk with him before you take pictures, mom, and I’ll tell him, ‘Nolan, my mom is taking pictures and you should smile.'”

Excellent advice, Jules.

I knew from past experience that Justin isn’t a huge fan of being in front of the camera either and has the best Chandler Bing-like fake smile this side of Matthew Perry.

Add on to that the unknown abyss that is photographing one-year-old twins and I started to get a bit nervous.

I usually put a large amount of pressure on myself to do a great job anyway, but when I photograph someone I know and love, the stress can be overwhelming.

Well, imagine my relief when I realized I was a complete idiot and should’ve known better.

The scene was gorgeous – the front yard of the house in which Justin grew up – and the people were even more so.

I got a few glimpses of Chandler from Justin, and little Tess is so focused on life it’s hard for her to stop and smile once in a while, but I could not be more excited to show off these family portraits.

Erica is as stunning as ever; Nolan could not be more of a ham; Leo and Tess are so beautifully expressive, and Justin actually flashed me a genuine smile or two, which is quite lovely once you get past all the cheese-ball.

I even had the pleasure of photographing Adele, Justin’s mom, who absolutely glows when she’s surrounded by her grandkids.

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