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.
This gorgeous family traveled from my hometown, Elizabethton TN, for their family portrait session, and I am so glad they did! Whitney is the best friend of my amazing sister-in-law, which kind of makes her like extended family. You might recognize sweet Zoe from photos I’ve taken at my niece’s birthday parties and other such events.
But this is the first time I’ve been able to do an actual family portrait session for them. They combined our session with a weekend family getaway to the Opryland hotel, which I thought was a fantastic idea. They were able to visit the ICE! at Gaylord Opryland and all the holiday fun at the hotel. Then, before returning to East Tennessee, they met me at Winstead Hill Park in Franklin for a fun fall family portrait session.
The weather was gorgeous, which was my one fear… I wasn’t sure how we would reschedule if the weather didn’t cooperate, considering the 5 1/2 hours they traveled to get here. But we couldn’t have asked for a better day, and they were so much fun to photograph. Zoe is a natural in front of the camera and so much fun to be around. As a side-note, I love the rose pink color of your outfit and think it worked perfectly for fall photos.
About 20 minutes into this outdoor family portrait session, my camera suddenly refused to take a photo. I looked down at my camera screen, and saw a warning that said I had a memory card error, and to remove the defective card. The card was somehow damaged, and could not be accessed at all. All of the photos I had taken of these beautiful girls so far, were not on the card.
That might have been a moment of panic. For an hour long session, 20 minutes of shooting is a significant number of photos. And the girls had done such an amazing job. We had sang and danced and giggled in the gorgeous light of the most beautiful yellow tree at Thompson Station Park.
But instead of panicking and mourning the loss of those pictures, I simply popped out that memory card and replaced it with another one. You see, I wasn’t worried about losing images, because my camera holds two memory cards. When I take photos, the images are copied to both cards, so that even during a session, I always have a backup. One card was damaged, but the other one was just fine, and had all the photos from the first part of the session. So I just continued shooting without issue, with a new card from my bag as a second backup.
In fact, I always have two copies of your portrait session images. Once I get home from a session, I immediately copy one of the memory cards onto my computer. The other memory card from the session is then stored in a case, not be erased until I have uploaded the session to my online gallery, at which point I’ll have a copy online and a copy on my hard drive.
And I am so glad there are, because I wouldn’t have wanted to miss one photo of these amazing girls. This is the third year now that I’ve been blessed to photograph this wonderful family. Last year, I wrote about how much I love to see repeat clients each year, and that’s still true today. Seeing how these young ladies grow and change each year is one of the best parts of my job. ❤️
The last time I blogged about this beautiful family for their Fall family portrait session, I left out some information. Mallory had told me before her session that she was in the early stages of pregnancy. I wasn’t sure if that was public knowledge or not, so I didn’t’ mention it in the blog post.
But here we are, not quite a year later, and this lovely family has an adorable new addition. I’d been following baby Mia and big sister Margot on Instagram, and was so excited to be able to finally meet her. (If you aren’t following me on Instagram, please do! I’d love to interact with you there.)
These girls were just the sweetest and did a great job at their photo session. We ran into a little trouble with my location being over-crowded but we moved around a little and made it work.
Last year, Margo had brought her baby doll and carried her for the entire session, which was perfectly fine with me. This year, she brought a different doll…Rapunzel to our session. For me, if a beloved toy helps a child to be more comfortable at a session, then I say let them bring it. My favorite part was when Margot broke into songs from Frozen. I’m also a big fan of Elsa. ❄️
If you haven’t booked your Fall family portrait session yet, please don’t wait. I have a couple of openings for November but they won’t last long. One fantastic spot just opened up because a client needed to reschedule for December. Book your session today!
A few years ago, my friend Stephanie from college hired me to do a portrait session for her oldest daughter Logan as she was about to start middle school. She wanted the session to focus on Logan as she made the transition from elementary to middle school, and I thought it was a great idea. We do milestones sessions all the time for babies, and then again when kids are seniors in high school, but those middle years often get left out. We need to document the lives of our tweens and younger teens too. I’d love to see more clients interested in photographing tweens
This year, Stephanie contacted me again, and this time it was a big year for both of her daughters. Logan is about to start high school, and her little sister Molly is about to start middle school. So she wanted a session for both of them to document this transitional time period in their lives, and I was super excited to get to hang out with both of them. They are really fantastic young women and we had the best time. They are both gorgeous and were so easy to photograph.
I couldn’t get over what fantastic weather we had for this late July session. I was a bit worried it would be insanely hot, like it typically is this time of year, but we got so lucky with a beautiful mild evening. Preservation park has definitely become one of my favorite places to photograph sessions. My only complaint is that it’s quite a bit of walking (and up a giant hill) to get to the spots I really like to shoot at.
Since we do’t often think of doing a special photo session for younger teens or tweens, so I wanted to outline a couple reasons why you might want to consider one.
Reasons for photographing tweens & Teens
They are changing so fast. We typically book lots of photo sessions for our babies and toddlers because “they are changing so fast” and we want to document all those seasons and changes. Well, that’s happening now too. It seems like you look a way for a moment, and when you look back, your baby is gone and somehow a young woman is standing in her place. #dontblink
Even if they don’t admit it, they enjoy the extra attention. I don’t actually know this for sure and it’s probably not true for every kid, but I think most of them welcome the opportunity to be made a fuss over just a little bit. Especially when they figure out that my sessions are pretty laid back and casual and we are just gonna hang out and chat.
They are really becoming amazing, unique human beings and a session is a chance to get to know them better. We joke a lot about how tough it is to parent teens, and believe me, it is. But also, it’s so freaking cool to be able to have these real, meaningful conversations with these amazing people that you MADE. A photo session is an opportunity to stand back, take a deep breath, and appreciate your beautiful creation.
Maybe the photos will help them to see what amazing humans they are, if they don’t already know it. As tough as it is to parent a teen, it’s probably even tougher to be one. Maybe the photos will help them see how beautifully made they are, if they don’t know it already.
Before you know it, it will be time for that Senior Portrait session. As my friend Michelle always says, “the days are long but the years are short.” Before you know it, this season will be over, and you’ll wish you had documented it.
So there you have it…5 reasons to either pick up the camera and get photos of your “big kids”, or hire a professional for either a family portrait session or a session of just your older kids. Did I miss any?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I’m going to be honest and say that I booked a lot of sessions this past week and have tons of editing to do, so instead of spending lots of time writing this post, I’m just going to let these gorgeous photos of Haley speak for themselves.
It’s always emotional for me to photograph special milestones for children I’ve known all their lives. But for Hannah, it felt especially so. I started this journey to becoming a professional photographer by photographing sessions for friends of mine who would ask. It just so happens that Hannah was the very first newborn I ever photographed. Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing and if I were able to shoot it over again today, I imagine the photos would look very different (and I hope much better). But most of all, I remember how it felt.
I remember a moment where Hannah’s dad was sitting on a bench and holding her on his lap and talking to her as I photographed. She looked up at him with such wide, loving eyes and it was the sweetest moment. Later, Brian said that he felt that was the moment he really bonded with her. And I was able to be there and capture it in photos. It was really a milestone in my journey to becoming a photographer because it was the first time that I really felt like I was a part of something special, and not just taking snapshots.
That was almost eight years ago, and now here she is looking like a young lady and celebrating her First Communion. I just can’t. Before I know it, I’ll be shooting her prom /graduation/wedding photos. How do we slow down time?
I first met this lovely Spring Hill family a little over two years ago at big sister Scarlett’s newborn session. I was excited when Mikaela contacted me to tell me that she was pregnant again and wanted to schedule a second newborn portrait session.
It is so much fun to get to come back to a family and again witness such a beautiful time in their lives. I loved seeing baby Scarlett, now 2 1/ 2, doting over her new baby brother. I was able to see what used to be her nursery, recently turned over to baby brother. And she showed me her new big girl room and all her toys.
It’s a different vibe to the house the second time around when I get to photograph repeat newborn sessions. Mom and dad are no longer newbies, but seasoned parents who know better what to expect from both parenthood, and the photo session. And then there is an energetic giggling big sibling there to liven things up…one of my favorite parts.
I feel fortunate to have a job that lets me be a small part of such special memories for a family. I know every time I leave a newborn session, I end up reminiscing about when my girls were that age, and what a magical time it was. I know it was tough too. I haven’t forgotten that completely, but it was also so special. I’m glad that I can create a little something to help them remember that time, which is so fleeting.
And as a bonus, I got to spend a morning hanging out with two pretty awesome little humans. ❤️