Now you seriously didn't think I was going to have a Top Captures list and this photo WASN'T going to be in there, did you? When I announced that I would again be having the Top Captures this year, I asked everyone for a little feedback on which ones they wanted to see make the list. Of course people chimed in with their own biases, but there were good number of folks that mentioned the Neelys who didn't even know the family except from my photo. That was telling me I must have done something right.
I have known James dating all the way back to my days at The Principal Financial Group. Back in the days when the company had went on a mission to up their minority presence and was hiring minorities in droves. I had never seen so many Black folks migrated from the south for one company in such a short amount of time. Now how many of them are still working there is another story altogether. You just don't go from no real winter weather to horrible constant cold for three months straight and think everything will be be peachy. Man, I got sidetracked on that one quick.
What I meant to say was James and I initially connected on the basketball court. There were a group of us from work that would come in on Saturdays to play on the court that the company had in one of their buildings. That eventually evolved into playing one night a week at a local church that hosted pick-up games in their gym. Then that eventually evolved to the same group of guys getting together a team to compete in a weekly Urbandale league. That was years ago and I only keep in touch with a couple of guys from those days. Erik being one and James being the other.
Honestly, I probably would have lost touch with James also had it not been for his interest in Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Everytime we would have events, he would be in attendance showing his support. He would later take that to the next level by pledging the grad chapter....ooops...I mean by participating in the intake process to become a member. Which brings us up to date with how I ended up doing his family photos.
This was once again an instance where I knew both the parents of a family but none of their children. I do recall seeing a couple of the boys at one or two of our past Black and Gold Scholarship Balls. I just couldn't remember their names. And honestly, I barely remember their faces. Is it just me or do kids seem to grow rather fast at their age? They can look entirely different from one year to the next. But it didn't matter that I didn't know them as well as their folks. They certainly had the welcoming personalities of both Bridget and James which made them easy to work with as well.
As for the dog? Well this would be only the second time I had done a shoot with family pet. When James asked me if it was okay if they bring Prince, I insisted on it. Primarily because I had always wanted the opportunity to do another shoot with a family pet. Also because I wanted to see what a dog named after my favorite R&B artist looked like. Not surprisingly, Prince was very well behaved. He even took direction well as you can see here.
I really could have chosen any number of poses from this session as a contender. These folks were creating classics with every click. One of the poses of the boys looked like it was the promo for an upcoming sitcom. One of the poses of James and Bridget looked like it belonged on a Hallmark greeting card. But this one just always stood out to me. It's easily because of Prince stealing the show. All I did was call his name and he gave me that look you see. Fortunately, everyone else was ready to go at the same time and the rest is history.