So I went from celebrating Lincoln’s 5th birthday with photos on Thursday, to Haley’s 11th birthday yesterday. Isn’t she just gorgeous? I love, love, love the red shirt on her. It’s perfect with her eyes. I enjoy photographing this pre-teen age group. I think it’s an often over-looked age group when it comes to professional photos. We always photograph our babies and little kids, and then again when they are Seniors in high school, but often the middle years are less documented.
A few weeks ago, I went to a photography conference in Atlanta. One of the workshops I took was specifically on capturing tweens and teens. The photographer who taught the class, Neely Ker-fox, had a specific package in her business that focused on photographing this age group at home, focusing on the connection with their parents. I thought it was beautiful and very inspiring.
Another class I took at the Click Away conference was called “Your Voice, Your Vision” with Caroline Jenson. For that class, we had to submit 3 of our favorite photos to the instructor before the class. During the workshop we reviewed each others photos and talked about how the photos we picked gave some clues as to our photographic vision…things that we were drawn to in photography, whether we realized it or not.
Some of the things that the instructor and my classmates said about my images were that I was drawn to bold, colorful images and strong black and white edits. That was no surprise to me. But one thing that the instructor said that stood out to me is that all the photos I chose had at least two people in them. I guess I kind of new that, but it was interesting to have it pointed out. I do very much prefer photos that show a connection between two or more people.
I thought about that as I edited these photos I took for Haley’s birthday. Even though I love the photos of just Haley, who is gorgeous, all of my favorite photos were of Haley and Christy together. This is true for me even when you can’t see a lot of Christy in the photo, but she’s there…I love the way Haley is looking at her mom instead of at the camera. You can just see the love there.
As I sit here on the super cold morning, I miss the perfect Fall day we had just two days ago. I wanted to take the chance to talk about when to book a family portrait session if including fall colors on the trees is important to you. I wrote about this last year, and none of that information has changed, but if bears repeating. I still have many clients who assume October is the best choice for Fall color.
First of all, I want to say that any time of year is perfect for a family portrait session. The important thing is to get them done, and to do it regularly, preferably at least once a year as our littles ones grow so fast and are constantly changing. Beautiful memories can be captured any time of year. I’m now booking January photo sessions, and those can be absolutely beautiful (you just need to dress warmly!)
With that being said, lots of my clients really want that gorgeous fall color, and ask me when they should schedule family portrait sessions to get that color. I always hesitate to answer because mother nature is unpredictable and I cannot promise you we will get beautiful fall color at all. Sometimes, an early freeze or drought conditions or other things can put a damper on that beautiful autumn color.
But I can tell you, after some experience and actual forecasts, when to schedule your session to get the best chance of gorgeous color, and that is the first or second weekend of November (the last weekend in October is a good second choice). That’s when our fall colors peak here in Middle Tennessee. I find a lot of clients who assume it happens a lot earlier than that, and that’s probably because it does up north. Our friends in Michigan saw their autumn peak several weeks ago (and now they are getting snow!).
I said all of that same information last year, and here, as further proof, is one of my sessions from Sunday, November 10. I adore this family and loved getting to hang out with them again. I’m thrilled they were able to book this session and indeed did get gorgeous fall color.
Lisa said something in her questionnaire when she booked me that really struck a cord with me.
“I have almost no pictures of myself with my children that aren’t selfies since I am always the one behind the camera. That’s usually how it works though, right?”
Yes, that is how it usually works, and it sucks. I’m so glad that we were able to get Lisa on the other side of the camera with her beautiful family. It’s hard, and as moms we have SOOOO many reasons why we don’t have enough photos of ourselves, but it is so important to our children that we get in the pictures too. In the years to come, the photos we give to our children are such a gift, but they don’t just want to see photos of themselves…they want to see mom (and dad!) in the pictures too.
I just love taking photos of mothers with their babies, and this session was no exception. This group was such a joy to capture and made my job so easy.
And can we just talk about the clothing choices for a minute? I love the color tones so much. The burgundy and the blues against the backdrop of the green trees was just perfection.
So moms, what’s keeping you from getting in front of the camera?
I wish that I could say that this was a lovely, easy experience, but that would be a lie.
Last weekend, I was quite surprised when my husband suggested that we do a family photo session of our own. It seems like every year I forget to Schedule time for our photos and end up scrambling to get them done. But he is usually the last one who wants his picture talken, so I was pleasantly surprised when he reminded me. So I set off to find outfits for everyone that two tweenage girls wouldn’t whine about.
I was lucky and found things that everyone was happy with, except my husband who complained that it was still too hot for long sleeves. Oh well … you can’t please everyone.
So I was all set, and then it rained.
And rained some more.
And finally, yesterday, the sun came out. So we all got dressed and drove out to the new park that I had never been to but wanted the check out. And as soon as we got there, my oldest started complaining that her head hurt. Because I knew that meant she’d never cooperate, we went home. Of course as soon as we got home, she felt better.
But that is how it goes. So no problem, because guess what??? There are TWO magic hours inthe day! So we got up bright and early this morning and headed out.
The bad part was that it was super wet from the dew and the kids didnt want to walk too far in it to explore the farm. And I got soaked from kneeling in it. And we got there later than I I wanted and the sun was brighter than I would have liked causing horid grass colors.
But the dew in the grass and all the spider webs were absolutely stunning. And it wasn’t hot at all. We also finished in time to go to a pancake breakfast for a friend’s gymnastics team, so score!
When Jessica contacted me about doing this family portrait session, she told me that she was going through a divorce, and wanted a way to document a new beginning for she and her daughter, Kaila. She wanted the photos to show a strong, united pair.
I think that documenting new beginnings is a perfect reason to schedule a portrait session. I thought Jessica’s words in her survey to me were beautiful.
She said ” I want to show Kaila that we are still a family even though we’re divided now and that we will be stronger and better from everything. I want her to see how much love there is for her and how much fun we can have together.”
I love it when clients really put their thoughts and feelings in my client survey. It really helps me to have an emotional connection with them, and to understand truly what the photos mean to them. I can’t even explain why this matters. The closest I’ve come to verbalizing why it matters to me is the quote by David Alan Harvey that says “Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.”
Maybe it’s all in my imagination, but I somehow think I do a better job with the photos when I feel that connection to the clients story.
I know it felt super easy to capture a strong, united pair when I was photographing Jessica and Kaila. Photographing mothers with their babies (no matter how old!) is always one of my favorite things and I just loved watching these two interact with each other. It’s so obvious just by the look in Jessica’s eyes that there is so, so much love for this beautiful little girl.