Family of 3 Summer Photo Session | Spring Hill Baby Photographer

โ€œDoes she realize she looks like a sunflower, ready to rain sunlight on all who look down upon her?โ€

Simone Elkeles

Yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet one-year-old Ada and her family. I was a gorgeous day for a summer family portrait session, and the heat was totally reasonable. Kayla decided to have the photo session at their Spring Hill home, and I’m so glad she did. They have a beautiful backyard that was just right for a family portrait session. And it allowed the family’s sweet pets to get in on the action.

Summer is almost over and now is the time to book your Fall family portrait session. I have recently added fall dates to my calendar. Unlike last year, I’m going to spread the sessions out more and let clients decide on a location (though I will happily help you choose a good fit for your family). You can see open dates and book one now on my online booking calendar. Don’t wait to book yours. These session will sell out.

Family of 5 portrait session at Harlinsdale Farms in Franklin TN

When Jennifer first started discussing her family portrait session with me, she told me that her girls were all “super energetic & goofy.” I said that was great because that’s my favorite type of family to photograph!

Kylie (8), Alexie (6.5) and Bailey (3) were so much fun and I just adored working with them. Photographing young sisters always makes me nostalgic for when my own girls were younger. (Side note: I just registered my oldest for high school. How in the world did that happen already?) Also, Trev & Jennifer are the most adorable couple. There is so much love and laughter in this sweet family, and it shows.

The family moved to Middle Tennessee from California, and in the process, left their beloved family photographer and friend. This was the first time they had pictures made since the move, and wanted a country feel to the location. They also wanted to include their sweet, 13 year old golden retriever. Since it’s still winter and there isn’t a lot of green on the trees, I though Harlinsdale Farms in Franklin would be a good spot. I always love the textures and colors on the barns and buildings there, and it’s a great place for a dog.

I was a little worried about ti being super cold, but it ended up being a really beautiful day, though still a bit chilly if you weren’t bundled up. As a bonus, the girls found the first dandelion of the year! You guys know I love a good dandelion wishes photo, and this year Kylie got to be the first. I hope they enjoyed their first Tennessee photo session as much as I did.

Christmas Eve-Eve Extended family Portrait 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.

Learning new things – Indoor Portrait Session in spring hill

I am so glad this family chose to have an indoor portrait session this year, as it allowed me to test out new skills I’ve been working on learning. For most of my photography career, I’ve considered myself a natural light photographer. Most of my family portrait sessions are outdoors, but I also love shooting indoor portrait sessions for families and newborns. I’m obsessed with light and love exploring all the ways I can incorporate natural light into my photography.

But sometimes, natural light doesn’t give me what I want. I love using natural light at indoor portrait sessions, given that there are enough windows (and daylight) to allow enough light to enter the rooms. But sometimes, I find that light lacking. I can generally make do with the light available, but sometimes it’s just not the prettiest, and I wish I had more control over the light.

My journey to flash photography

So I set a goal to become more comfortable using a flash, when necessary. It started last summer when I somehow let one of my best friends talk me into photographing her sister’s wedding. (I don’t shoot weddings). I knew that shooting a dark reception would require flash, so I started working on getting better at using one. It was a learning experience and got me more comfortable shooting other dark indoor events, like this Quinceanera.

But at this point, I was only using flash when I had no other choice. I decided it was time to start creating my own light when maybe the natural light was passable, but not the prettiest, like sometimes at indoor sessions. So I’ve been taking an online class on off-camera flash and playing around with using a flash in more circumstances.

An indoor portrait session – the perfect time to use what I’ve learned

This family indoor portrait session was the perfect chance to use some of the things I’d learned. I met this family at their outdoor winter session two years ago, that ended up being one of my favorites of the season. I loved being able to photograph this beautiful family again – this time in their own home. It’s so much fun to have the kids show me their rooms, and get to know another side of them just by exploring their environments.

The living room was a bit dark, so I used off-camera flash for the photos we took in there. Abigail’s room had beautiful window light, so I just used the natural light in her room. But Eliot’s room faced another direction was a bit darker, so I did use the flash in her room. The flash was a great option that allowed me to get some fun action shots of her jumping on her bed. The movement might have been blurry without the flash in the darker room.

A chance to get creative

I was happy to be able to increase the available light in the house when I wanted to, but the most fun came when we went outside! I was always jealous of wedding photographers who post the fun rain shots with flash because most of my clients postpone their sessions when it rains. (It’s easier to defer family photos than your wedding day). But since this was mostly an indoor session, I was kind of hoping for rain so I could give it a try. The girls were kind enough to go out in the rain with me to get the shot. I wish it had been raining harder, but even the sprinkling gave a fun look to our umbrella shots.

I wanted to get a photo of Eliot riding her bike because that is something she does a lot at home, and I wanted to capture that time for her family. Since it stopped sprinkling, she grabbed the bike for a few shots. Usually, it would have been getting too dark outside for me to get a good picture, particularly of a moving child on a bike. But adding the flash allowed me to not only capture her movement with plenty of light, but it also allowed me to balance the cool, moody clouds in the background.

So I think I will begin to consider flash more as an option, not only for indoor sessions but for fill light or fun effects at outdoor sessions as well. You can still expect most of my shots at outdoor photoshoots to be with natural light, but don’t be surprised if I pull out the flash once in a while.

Time is running out to book your 2019 family portrait session

Speaking of sessions, if you haven’t booked yours for this year but intend to, please don’t wait. There are only a few spots left, and I don’t want you to miss out! I hate turning people away in the fall, but editing a session takes a lot of time, and there are just only so many I can do. You can choose a traditional outdoor photo session, or schedule an indoor portrait session like this one. Book yours today.

Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.

Anthony J. D’Angelo

What to wear to a family portrait session

Confession time – I’m not very good at picking clothing for family photos.  I’ve never felt like I was very good at fashion, but I know what I like and what I don’t like to see in family portrait sessions.  And I know that several of my friends are REALLY good at picking family session clothing.  One of those friends is Christy – I am always so impressed with her wardrobe choices for her family photos, so I asked her how she goes about choosing photos for a session for herself, her husband, and their three adorable little girls.  She had some great advice to share:

“I typically start with one outfit I love.  One year I loved this purple sweater that Hannah had, it looked great on her.  That year purple was our color and everyone else’s outfit was picked to match.  Last year I had a floral dress I loved, so I pulled colors out of the dress for each of the girls to wear.  I try not to pick more than one or two patterns, or any pattern that is too small or busy.  Most of the time we have what we need in our closets already.  I usually only buy one or two outfits for a shoot.  Old Navy is a great place to get coordinated outfits. They sell lots of solids which always look great in photos!  Little touches like matching bows or denim jackets helps tie everything together.”

Here are a few more do’s and don’ts I have for choosing clothing for your family photos:

DO:

  • Do pick 2-3 colors & find outfits for those colors. 
  • Do shop your own closet first.  What do you love to wear that is your signature style?  
  • Do be yourself.  If you are a blue jeans kind of mom, then wear blue jeans.  Don’t feel like you have to be fancy.  Be you.
  • Do make sure everyone feels comfortable in what they are wearing.  
  • Do make sure everything fits appropriately….this is not the time for squeezing into something, or for buying clothes big so the kids can grow into them. 
  • Do consider scarves, jackets, accessories and other things that add texture & interest to the outfits.
  • Do avoid graphics and distracting logos.  That “Big Brother” shirt is cute, but unless he’s standing perfectly still, you won’t be able to read it well in photos. 
  • Do expect you child to run, jump and play at the session.

DON’T

  • Don’t force your kids (or husband) to wear something they hate.  We want them to be comfortable at the session. 
  • Don’t wear florescent colors.  They can reflect onto skin tones. (My favorite colors for sessions are jewel tones…blue, plum, teal, burgandy, mustard yellow, etc)
  • Don’t use giant bows…it distracts from your daughter’s beautiful face.  Smaller ones are great, BUT only if she wants to wear it. Let’s not spend the entire session trying to force her to put her bow back on.
  • Don’t be afraid to incorporate patterns, just don’t go overboard.
  • Don’t try to be too matched.  Coordinated (but not matched) looks best. 
  • Don’t wear a shirt that wrinkles super easily (I see this a lot on men’s dress shirts…it’s pretty impossible to photo shop out.)
  • Don’t forget about your nails. (I often see chipped nail polish on little girls.)
  • Don’t forget about shoes…especially for the little ones.  If the weather is appropriate, barefoot is a good option for the kids.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask me if you are unsure about something. 

And didn’t Christy do a fabulous job?  They look like they belong on the cover of a magazine. 

Bonus before and after editing shot below. Can you find it?  I kinda love the before.  ๐Ÿ˜‚

Have you booked your family portrait session yet?  There are only a few spots left for spring, so don’t wait to book your session.

Laurel’s Lifestyle Newborn Session

Gah, I don’t want to leave this baby.  Can she just come home and live with me?  (Her mommy says no.) 

I’m so glad I was able to spend Thanksgiving with her though.  We have so much to be thankful for this year.  My brother and his amazing wife are just wonderful parents to this sweet girl, and she has her big canine sister Barley looking out for her.  My girls are just head over heels for their new cousin, and I couldn’t help including a few pictures of them with her at the end of this post. 

I could take photos of her all day long. Also, I just love her nursery. Deb did such an awesome job decorating it.