Just a normal afternoon on the farm | Lancaster County Documentary Session

Lancaster County

Picture this…

I pull into a farm in Lancaster County at 3:00 in the afternoon and walk into the kitchen. Two kids are trying to pet their parakeets {said parakeets are trying to avoid the hands and fly out of the cage} while mom is trying to comb the perfect little blonde curls of her youngest kiddo, who is crying because, well, who has the time to sit and let someone comb their hair?!. There are grumbles and moans when Mom introduces me, because none of the kids want to do photos. (I mean, mom is a photographer too, so yeah, they already are ‘over it’.)


I try to hide my giggling and explain to them that today isn’t going to be quite what they think it is. I am there simply watch them have fun.

*cue the eyerolls*

{please note: I was not phased by 3 pairs of eyes that very likely rolled the entire way around their eye sockets.}

I explain to them that I am not here to make them stand pretty and say “cheese”. I am there to follow them around, have some fun and get some photos along the way. skepticism turned to smiles and soon they were excited to show me what a normal afternoon looked like on their farm.

The Chickens


First we headed out to feed and take care of the chickens. Now I am not a farm girl by any means, but I did grow up around enough farms to at least be comfortable around a chicken pen. Around, not in. Before long I found myself inside the coop, nervously trying not to step on any animals, camera in hand, capturing these amazing moments of the kids feeding and caring for their chickens.

The kids were so quick to introduce me to their favorite chickens, and tell me all their names and about their personalities. Yes, chickens have personalities! I was amazed at the ease of which each kid could remember their names, the breed, their ages… I am lucky if I only have to run back into the house 1 time to retrieve something I forgot before I can leave most days. Just about the time I got completely comfortable and started to remember some of my newly learned chicken facts, the chore was done and it was onto the next.


The Cows & Horses

From the chickens, we loaded up the wagon with some feed and two kids. Mom pulled the wagon to the barn, {talk about muscle power!} and we headed in to take care of the cows and horses. From behind my camera, I watched as all three of the kids pitched in to help without mom having to ask, even once. Like, for real, what kind of sorcery is this?!

The Vegetables

After all the animals were taken care of, we headed over to check the corn, {Yeah, thanks to mother nature giving Pennsylvania our year’s worth of rain in 4 months, it’s not exactly the best year for corn.} and tomatoes. I was introduced to a peculiar “pet” the kids let live in the tomato patch.

Not only was this thing practically the size of my palm…

..the kids had fun leaving him things on his web to eat as well. The spider phobic part of me cringes, but the nerdy science part of me really wants to watch this guy wrap up and eat his prey.

Warning: Spider photo ahead. Proceed at your own risk


Anyway, for those of you still with me here, after our work at the farm was done, and Dad could get pulled away from his office, we headed out to the horse stables.

The Stable


Up until this moment, I had totally forgotten my love of horses. I forgot how emotional and loving these creatures are. I would stop petting one to take some photos and find myself getting nudged to keep scratching. Having this time to photograph a family, as-is, around animals I grew up admiring and loving was a breathtaking experience.


With the horses groomed and ready to go, I watched through my camera as the oldest began riding. She was working on overcoming her fear of getting her horse to trot while riding BAREBACK. I mean, honestly, what a dream setting. I had this unique vantage point of getting to capture her willingness {some might call it stubbornness} to succeed, while also being able to photograph Mom, Dad and even Grandma’s joy in watching their girl find her courage to face something head on.

My Takeaway

I remember driving home from this session with so much admiration in my heart. Seeing all the work it takes to run a farm, have a family, manage other businesses and execute other household chores as well, made me realize just how important family really is. This family would not be able to function day-to-day if only Mom & Dad put in the effort. Their family is a team, and it shows that they all believe that.

The kids not only believe it but live it, and because of that they have this amazing sense of responsibility at their ages. Even with their understanding of the hard work it takes to keep things running, the kids still get to be kids. Mom and Dad have nailed it on making sure the kids not only value hard work, but value play as well.

I love seeing different types of families interacting in different ways from one another. My favorite place to be is in that moment- the moment when all the stereotypes melt away, right in front of my camera. I get to see these families- all so different in beliefs and structure- just interacting with one another, loving one another and doing their best to get through each day in the best manner possible. At the root of it, we are all the same.

We are raising the next generation to be kinder, smarter and more loving than the one before it.


To see more of this awesome session with the Harnish Family, click here.

Oh and, one more thing:

Let’s have a discussion:

What is a stereotype you think people have about your parenting style, and why isn’t it true? Be honest and let me know in the comments. You can only get rid of the stereotypes by exposing them and their unfounded “truths”.

Erin BerryComment