I am so happy that we FINALLY got to shoot this beautiful family portrait session. This family is one of my favorite clients. It had been way too long since I’d seen them. We had originally scheduled this Spring Hill Family photo session for last fall. I don’t even remember why we had to reschedule. I think someone was sick. Take two was supposed to be in the Spring, but then COVID happened and everything was shut down. We decided to reschedule for this fall, which then turned to winter. But I think things turned out for the best because I am in love with the portrait session we finally ended up shooting.
Nana and Pop Pop’s backyard was a perfect spot for the photo session. I LOVE the pops of red in the clothing. It was so festive and colorful. And the sun set just behind their backyard, which was the perfect backdrop. To me, light is always the most important part of a photo location, and the light here was beautiful. But more than anything, I loved capturing the sweet interactions between family members. Aren’t these cousins just the cutest?
This was the perfect way to end the portrait season. I absolutely love my job, but I am honestly ready for a break, particularly from the constant editing that comes with the fall photographer busy season. This was the perfect family session to end that season.
For those of you who have been asking, I am sorry but I am all done with Santa Mini Sessions this year. I did love doing them outside, so I will be thinking about what to do next year. Also, I am ready to start booking 2021 photo sessions, so contact me if you are interested. If you are concerned about booking a winter session, please know that I’m quite flexible in the winter. So if were to book a session in January for example, and it turns out to be really cold and unbearable, I can usually reschedule. You know how the weather is in Tennessee – if you don’t like it, just wait a few days and it could change.
During my last holiday marathon mini portrait session at Country Cove Christmas Farms in Murfreesboro, I wrote about how to decide if Mini Sessions are right for your family photos. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to photograph four more beautiful families who were all a great fit for a shorter portrait session.
To be honest, I was a little less excited about this second Mini Session today because of the time of day I needed to book the farm. I am passionate about magic hour lighting for portrait sessions. That’s the hour before sunset. My last Christmas Tree farm session was in the evening around magic hour. But because I waited too long to book, I wasn’t able to find another evening session that worked. So this one was in the morning. But it actually turned out to be wonderful. The sunlight was just coming through the tall trees on the farm and led to lovely lighting. And the weather was gorgeous…though my clients may have argued they were quite hot in their winter clothing.
This was the last of my Mini-Sessions for this year, and my family sessions are pretty much all full. But I do have one more opportunity for photos to tell you about.
I did not plan on doing Santa sessions this year because of the pandemic. But Nashville Santa and I have both gotten a lot of requests from people to find some way to make it happen. So we have put together a Santa Mini Session for Friday, December 4. The kids are doing asynchronous learning that day, so they can take a quick break to do photos.
SAFETY IS OUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY. It will be a little different this year as kids will not be sitting on Santa’s lap. They will either stand next to Santa or sit on a stool next to Santa. I’ll be masked. You may choose whether you’d like Santa to be masked. The session is outdoors only so if there is rain we will make an attempt to reschedule but may have to cancel.
Sessions are 15 minutes long, so if you want to get a quick family shot in too, there should be time.
Teachers & First Responders: Please use coupon code “THANKS” for 20% off your Santa Session. (Please share a teacher or first responder who might be interested.)
As I told you last week, I am excited to be offering some Holiday Mini Sessions this year at Country Cove Farms in Murfreesboro. The sessions will be 25 minutes long and will include your choice of 30 full-size digital images from the session gallery, with the option to purchase more digital images and/or print products. The cost of the mini-session is $300.
The original spots I offered are all booked up, but because of a scheduling change, I was able to add a couple more spots on October 11.
I almost missed my chance to preview Country Cove Farms, like I have every year. I booked the promotional spot at the last minute. I was prepared to just do the promo shoot with the models I grew myself, but was very happy my friend Christy was able to bring her family as well, so I had some variety. But I am so happy that Kayla and Megan agreed to let me take their photos too because they are truly my favorite subjects, even though they are getting to be such young women.
I’m excited to be offering some Holiday Mini Sessions this year at Country Cove Farms in Murfreesboro. The sessions will be 25 minutes long and will include your choice of 30 full-size digital images from the session gallery, with the option to purchase more digital images and/or print products. The cost of the mini-session is $300.
I’ve had a lot of people ask about the status of the Holiday Marketplace event at Spring Station Middle School where I normally do Santa Photos. I’m just not sure at this point if that event will happen or not due to COVID. So these Holiday Mini-Sessions are a perfect way to make sure you still get beautiful holiday themed photos for your Christmas Cards.
This is the first time I’d ever been to Country Cove, and I’m so sad that I hadn’t taken the time to check it out before, because it is a beautiful location. Everything is fairly close together so there is not lots of walking. I had a 30 minute photographer’s promo session, and was able to get plenty of shots of my beautiful model family, shown here, along with some other shots of my own daughter’s, which I will blog in another post.
These mini-sessions are best for families of six or less and are ideal kids who are used to working with me, are older, or are generally pretty agreeable for photo sessions. If you have a larger group or feel that your children may need extra time to warm up to having their photo taken, then a full session might be a better choice for your family.
I’m offering two dates for the mini sessions, but one is almost sold out already so don’t wait to book your spot.
The rain dates for these sessions in case they are postponed for bad weather are October 30 for the first one, and November 14 for the second one. Your rain date time would be the same time slot as your originally scheduled session.
The hardest part about this extended family portrait session was deciding which pictures to share. For my large group session the day before, the weather was rainy and awful. We made do with a large covered balcony and some indoor shots, but I was very happy when the weather turned gorgeous for this session.
Sometimes clients are hesitant to book a winter session for fear of bad weather, but this session is a perfect example of how, in Middle Tennessee, any month can be wonderful for outdoor family photos. It was truly the perfect day.
To be honest, a lot of times large family portrait sessions aren’t my favorite. I enjoy them, and wholeheartedly believe they are important for capturing priceless memories. My only complaint is that often, because of the number of people being photographed, there isn’t a lot of time for candid, natural moments. You spend so much time getting all the required combinations of people, that there isn’t a lot of time left to run, jump & play with the kids.
But this session was absolutely perfect. The group shots went quickly and the family so fun and relaxed. We had plenty of time to explore and play. I loved the dynamic with this family, from the silly men to the sweet way that Kalei and Reed looked after their baby cousin, Alice.
I hope that they love this portrait session as much as I do and that the photos will be a cherished reminder of a happy Christmas for years to come.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas making memories.
Merry Christmas everyone! This beautiful family isn’t able to get together often since some of them live in different parts of the country. Since they were all in town for their Christmas celebration, they wanted to be able to capture those memories in photographs, and I am so glad they did. It was such an honor to be a part of such love and laughter. I felt so at home with them that I could have easily slipped in and pretended to be another sibling. It was so much fun.
We had hoped to be able to take at least some of the photos outside, but the weather didn’t cooperate. But with the help of a large covered deck and a gorgeous red umbrella, we made it work.
I hope that the photos mean something special to them and that they can be treasured for years to come.
And I hope all of you have a very wonderful holiday season filled with lots of magical moments, laughter and love.
The years pass quickly, and that’s one reason why Whitney wanted a home portrait session to capture her family’s Christmas traditions while Haley is still young. They wanted a session that captured things they do each year around Christmas time, like decorating the tree, making Gingerbread houses, and listening to the Christmas Story and the Night Before Christmas while drinking hot cocoa by the fire.
I mean, how can you not just feel all cozy and filled with the Christmas spirit by looking at these photos? I just love this so much. 🎄❤️
What about you? What kind of memories would you like to capture for your family?
Y’all, I think I survived the busy season. It was busy, but beautiful and I just absolutely love all the wonderful families I’ve met and photographed over the past few months, and throughout 2017. While there is no more opportunity for Christmas photos, I am still taking orders for custom photo books for past clients, that make great gifts for the holidays. I’m also booking January – June of next year on my online booking calendar.
Please don’t let winter scare you away from scheduling family portraits. Just look at this beautiful family I met yesterday in Chapel Hill at their family home. It was just a gorgeous piece of property with the sun shining just right through the trees on this chilly winter evening. I wanted to take these sweet boys home with me. Gillan was so much fun showing me around his land and playing hide and seek with me. I just adore the way three year olds are so in love with exploring the world around them. And he is obviously such an amazing big brother to little Tucker. And oh my gosh…baby Tucker! Just look at those adorable cheeks and that smile. What perfect little boys.
If I had to say what age group is the most challenging for photos, I’d have to say it is big kids / tweens. Most people with toddlers, assume their toddlers are the hardest. Some photographers might agree, but not for me. Toddlers are fast, and always do the unexpected, and will never ever stand in the spot you want them to stand in, but they are always, without fail, 100% authentic.
But by the time they become big kids, children have been conditioned to act in a certain (wrong) way for portrait sessions. They “behave” and stand wherever you ask them to, with this forced, uncomfortable smile on their faces, talking to me through clenched, smiling teeth when I ask them questions.
So I’ve had to find ways to overcome this.
Usually, this means playing and being silly.
Sometimes I think parents must think I’m nuts to have somehow turned their well-behaved children into giggling, energetic goof balls by the end of the session, but honestly I prefer that to stiff children I see at the beginning of a session. I am so thankful to the parents in this session because they stood back and let me guide the children in play and silliness instead of trying to force a certain pose or photo that they had in their heads.
My guidance varies depending on the family, but for this session we discussed what vegetables are gross, embarrassing moments (they preferred to tell me one of a friend’s moments instead of their own, but it still worked), and whether or not Daddy is a good dancer. We raced, played tag and roughhoused. It was perfection. These two twins were just so much fun to watch. I loved seeing them interact with each other and trying to capture the connection between them. And those Freckles!!! ❤️❤️❤️
I just love this session. The colors, the light, the giggles….and it reminded me of the connection between my own girls. I hope that my client loves them as much as I do. I try to capture the kind of images that I want for my own family…not just posed photos of everyone looking at the camera, but those moments between a family….a look, or a giggle, or they way they are naturally holding hands as we move on to our next spot. In one of the images below of the father and the older daughter…they thought that I was only shooting pics of mom and younger daughter, but I saw them hanging out together and just had to take a moment to capture them too when they weren’t looking. My absolute favorite images are at the very end of the session, when the girls were just playing with each other. That pure joy that you can see on their faces is just the kind of thing that truly inspires me. They are absolutely stunning.
Harlinsdale Farms had no less than 10 other sessions going on while I shot this one…probably more like 15. It was insane, but it was SUCH a gorgeous December day. The trick to shooting in such a busy place is to find where you want to shoot that is in the light you want to shoot and try to frame out any unwanted people or elements. That’s not always possible though, especially when you are trying to capture a real connection between active, moving children, so that is where photoshop comes in, to eliminate unwanted people in the frame when absolutely necessary.
I also want to take a moment to point out that these images were shot when Fall was completely gone. There is pretty much no more leaves left at Harlinsdale and everything is mostly dead. This is a winter session for sure, despite the warm weather, but I absolutely adore it. I point this out because so many people are dead set on shooting “Fall” portraits. Well sadly that really pretty season only lasts for a few weeks, but I 100% believe that beautiful images can be created any time of year.
Whenever you book a family portrait session with me through my online calendar, I ask that you answer a few questions to help me prepare for the photo session. The only question that is not optional is the names and ages of the people being photographed (because I study the names in advance). I understand that my clients are very busy, so if you don’t have time to give me a detailed description of little Sally’s likes and dislikes, that’s OK. It’s great for me to know that Johnny loves Dinosaurs or Ann’s favorite TV show is Paw Patrol. Those things help me to have conversation starters with the children, and sometimes help to get a genuine smile. But if you don’t have time to put that, it’s OK…I’ll wing it.
I really love knowing why the photo session is important to you. I remember one family who told me about the rough year they’d each had individually, but that they wanted this photo session to show how they were always there for each other in the rough times and the good. I don’t know why knowing these things helps me with a session, but somehow they do. I guess I feel more connected to the family. I’ve always loved the quote, “I don’t shoot what it looks like…I shoot how it feels.” The more I know going into a session, the easier it is to capture the feelings.
But again, I can get away with not knowing these things if you don’t have time to fill out a detailed survey. But there is one thing that I absolutely NEED to know before your family session.
If you have a child who is very shy, I absolutely need to know this in advance. The reason is that when I read that your child is shy, I automatically know I need to approach her differently. While her sister is chatting my head of about school, and vacations, and puppies, I approach her cautiously, quietly, trying not to overwhelm her. I’ll let her get use to me before I really approach her at all. Then I’ll maybe ask her a few quiet questions and feel her out. I might let her see my camera…or whatever it feels like it might take to help her feel more comfortable. I have all of this in my head before the session, because you’ve told me before hand what your little one needs. It didn’t take much to tell me this…just a few words, but it makes all the difference in the world because if I approach her the wrong way, she could get overwhelmed and shut down. And that’s definitely not what I want.
So take a look at the pictures below. Can you tell which one is the shy sister? No? Good.
And I just want to say that all three of these little girls were amazing. I had so much fun with them. They are totally my happy place. So much energy, and wonder and joy. They were just perfect.