Senior Portraits At Henry Horton State Park

Drew is the nephew of one of my oldest and dearest friends from college, Mandy. I remember him as an energetic two-year-old at her wedding. I have only seen him a few times over the years, but I have gotten to hear fantastic stories from his doting aunt.

Drew is the third of four siblings, and Mandy has gifted each of them a Senior Portrait Session with me during their senior year. His oldest sister, Jesse, was actually the very first senior session that I photographed. Then, two years later, I had the joy of photographing his sister Caroline. Now, two years after that, it was Drew’s turn in front of the camera, and he did a fabulous job.

Portrait sessions make a great gift for lots of different occasions. You can even purchase a gift certificate to give to recipients and then they can book their own date at their convenience. Let me know if you have any questions.

If you are wanting Fall Portraits sessions for your family or senior, please book today. There are no October spots left but there are a couple of November spots still available. Book yours today.

I want to photograph things that are important to your family

I’m sometimes asked by potential clients about what props that I include in a session, or if there are any props that they should bring.  That’s kind of a complicated question and for me, depends on how you define “props.”

My gut response is that I don’t do props.  But to me, a prop is something fake or staged for a photo.  So what I mean when I say that I don’t include props in a session, is that I don’t show up with a wagon full of cutesy stuff to include in your family photos.  I don’t create an elaborate scene of decor or other items.  I prefer, generally, for people to be the main focus of a photo, and even for my studio type work (like Santa sessions) I prefer the backdrop to be simple and minimal.

However, I do love to include YOUR stuff in photos.  The end result may be the same to someone who just looks at the photos as an outsider, but to me, this is a very important distinction.

One question I ask clients when they book a family session with me, is for them to tell me about some things that are valuable to their family.  The reason I ask this is that I like to include MEANINGFUL objects in family session photos.  Nothing that I bring is going to be meaningful to you.  I could buy a bunch of brand new cute stuffed animals.  But I’d rather include your daughters well loved ones.  I love including books in photos, but only if they are books important to your family.  I do bring some quilts to each session to use if we need them, but if you have one that grandma made, I’d much rather use that.  

I fell in love with this family right away.  I mean, they had me at Harry Potter.  I do believe I could have just shot the entire session while these kids happily read their books.  And I loved that they lived right next to Henry Horton Park.  What an amazing back yard!! This is the place where they take lots of walks together as a family, so it means so much more to look at these photos of them together, because it captures their lives as they really are.  What about you? What are the things (or places) that are really important to your family? Have you ever thought about including them in photos, either your personal photos that you take or ones you’ve hired a professional to take?

The love of a family – extended family portrait session

“The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing.”

I’ve known this family for many, many years.  I became friends with Shelly in college and am fortunate enough to live in the same town with her now. I’ve always admired Shelly’s parents…they were always so welcoming to our large group of friends and I always really admired how close they were as a family. I’ve been photographing Shelly and her boys for several years now, but when Shelly told me that her entire family was interested in an extended family session, I knew that I really wanted to try to capture that bond between them.  

It was a gorgeous spring day and the weather could not have been better for a portrait session.  Though if I had one complaint, it would be that there are still not leaves on the trees, which I guess is to be expected this early in the spring season. But I do prefer shooting with full trees as a backdrop to let the beautiful light filter through the leaves.  But there was a gorgeous sky and a magical sunset and as I’ve often said, all I really want for a session is beautiful light. 

I don’t think I’ve seen Shelly’s brother Ryan in about 20 years, but it was so much fun to meet his wife and two kids.  They were just the absolute best kids to photograph…so full of personality and so completely adorable and sweet with each other. I enjoyed capturing the children interacting with their cousins and playing together.  I got a kick out of how little KD had this gentle way of keeping the boys on task.  I just couldn’t help smile while editing this session, and had a hard time picking my favorites for the blog preview.

In looking at these photos, I thought this might be a good time to talk about what exactly is “Lifestyle Photography.”  I think it is a good idea for clients to understand what that means coming into a session, and how I approached these images. I think that one of my favorite photographers, Lisa Tichane, explains in well in this article from Clickin Moms (one of my favorite photography resources).

She says “My own take on lifestyle photography is a mix of authentic and staged. What I am shooting could actually happen in real life (this is the core definition of “lifestyle” in my opinion), however I would never have captured such a variety of images in such a short amount of time if I had not interfered. During a session, I create a diversity of opportunities that will generate real-life type of images which might not have spontaneously happened at that specific moment if I hadn’t been there to jump-start them.”

What I wanted to point out about these images, is that it helps me to know a little about my subjects in order for me to guide the session into producing those real-life type images.  Yes, I had the advantage here because I’ve known Shelly’s boys all their lives, but I had never met their cousins KD and Judah before.  But what helped me immensely were the questions that Shelly answered for me before the session. I knew a little about their personalities while I was planning my session, and knew that they would be OK in being close and loving for some images.  That wouldn’t have worked for all siblings and knowing a little about their personalities before hand helps me to know how to guide them before I get to a session. 

Another thing that helps, especially for a session with this many people, is knowing what the client’s priorities are for a session.  Shelly especially wanted a photo of all the kids with their grandparents, so we mades sure to make that a priority. 

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.