I’m not sure there is anything more magical than the first few weeks at home with your newborn baby.
This is a family that I photograph pretty regularly, and I feel like they keep getting bad luck when it comes to session weather. I’ve shot a session for them in the rain. They had a session last year that was super hot, and then another where it was bitterly cold. They’ve been troopers through every single session and handled it beautifully each time. But it stinks because I generally feel like the weather cooperates for almost all my sessions – even late winter ones, but this one family keeps taking all the hits.
So of course, yesterday, when I arrived at the Park at Harlinsdale Farms where we were supposed to shoot, it felt WAYYY colder than the 54 degrees my phone said that it was. Then five minutes later my phone read 48 degrees. That’s still generally reasonable for a winter photo session, but the wind was so bitingly cold. I was worried that it would be way too uncomfortable to have fun and enjoy the session.
So when Kate showed up and asked if we could try to move the session to the Factory at Franklin, I completely agreed. I wasn’t sure we’d be able to, as the Factory charges a permit fee and I’d always booked it in advance. But the man at the front desk was nice enough to let us get the permit immediately so we were able to move the portrait session indoors, which was so much better than dealing with the bitter wind.
We were also able to slip outside for brief periods before coming back inside to get warm, and there is this nice corridor that was mostly protected from the wind. So all in all, it worked out well. But I still hope that next time they get a nice pleasant, mild day….it’s their turn.
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
I know not everyone agrees with me, but I’ve always enjoyed throwing birthday parties for my children. They’ve run the gamut between elaborately themed parties that I’ve worked on for months, and more simple ones, and I’ve enjoyed them all. This 10th birthday party of Kayla’s was one of the simple ones. We rented a room at Above All in Franklin. Kayla actually wanted a S’mores Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory as her birthday cake. The mommy’s at the party thought her selection was perfect, but as expected, not all the children agreed. Good thing we also bought a cookie cake for her friends. Photographing your child’s birthday party can be intimidating so today, I want to give you a few tips.
Whether it’s a simple party or an elaborate one, it’s important to capture those memories in photographs so we can enjoy them for years to come. Here are 10 tips for photographing your own child’s birthday party.
- Consider hiring a professional photographer to capture the event. This will allow you to enjoy the party without having to worry about capturing pictures. Plus an experienced photographer will be able to capture moments that you will treasure for a lifetime. If you don’t have the budget for a professional, consider designating a close friend or family member as the event photographer so you can focus on your guests.
- If it’s a surprise party, be sure to have guests in location ahead of time so that you can capture some photos of them waiting on the guest of honor. Make sure you know when and where the birthday child will enter the party location so you can capture that first moment of surprise. If there is a performer or entertainer, be sure to be in a position to capture the children’s reactions when they arrive or perform.
- Remember to capture little details of the party decor and food. It’s likely you spent lots of time and Pinterest research on all of these little detail so don’t forget to capture them. Some of this can be done before the party begins. (I didn’t spend any time researching this Cheesecake, but I’m glad I have a photo of it anyway. LOL)
- Don’t photograph little kids from your grown-up height…get down to their eye level for better images. This isn’t too hard when you are short like me.
- But also, think of unique perspectives that will allow for interesting ways to photograph the party. Getting up high or down low can make some fun images.
- Make a rule that no one gets cupcakes or cake until you get a group photograph. This is a great way to encourage everyone’s prompt participation. You will love having a picture of all your child’s guests in one shot.
- Put some thought into where the birthday child will sit for special moments like blowing out the candles. Think about which seat has the best lighting (light coming in through a window is beautiful). Also, think about where the person taking the pictures will sit or stand so as to be able to get pictures of the birthday girl without being blocked by other photo guests.
- If you have a numbered candle, make sure it is facing the photographer and not the child. This may seem picky, but it’s great to have the number readable in the image – especially years from now when the grown child may not remember how old he/she was in the photographs. We didn’t have any numbered candles for Kayla’s S’mores cake, so that wasn’t a concern at this party, but all my friends know I want the number facing me. I’ve taught them well. LOL
- Be sure to get a few family pictures. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the party and forget, but you will appreciate having these milestone pictures of your family each year. If the party is not a surprise, its a good idea to get these family pictures a few minutes before guests start to arrive. Apparently, I didn’t follow my own rule here, so big photographer fail. For some reason, I find that harder to remember to do when we are at a place for the party with a scheduled time, and not at home. So I will have to work on that for next time.
- Get into the middle of the action and keep your eyes open for authentic moments. The focus is obviously the guest of honor, but don’t forget to capture reactions from party guests and family members as well.
So that’s it…a few simple tips and you are ready to photograph your child’s birthday party. But if you’d rather leave the photos to a professional, contact me today to schedule an event session for your party.
Every client is unique, and it’s important to me to capture that uniqueness in my portrait sessions.
If you’ve ever booked a session with me, and you’re the type of person who actually does read a contract before you signed it, you may have noticed this paragraph in my client agreement:
Each session is as different and unique as the beautiful families being photographed and I do not aim to copy or recreate Pinterest images. Before booking a session with me, I want to make sure that you are familiar with my style, and that my style is what you are wanting for your images.
This statement isn’t just arbitrarily in my contract. It’s there because I want you to understand that our goal with a session is not to recreate some scene that you saw on Pinterest, or even to copy a photo you saw on my website that I took. Our goal is to create images that are as unique and beautiful as your family.
Finding what makes families special and unique is especially fun when I get to photograph clients in their home. Details like a baby’s nursery, knick-knacks or books displayed throughout the house, cherished toys, and a family’s pets are all items that can be photographed that tell part of a family’s story. I look for those types of things as I am photographing. For example, both of Evie’s parents are Chemistry professors at Vanderbilt. So when I saw a set of Science Board Books sitting on the nursery table, I knew I wanted to include one in the photos. Mom and Dad said “Quantum Physics for Babies” was their family favorite, so I asked them to read to baby Evie for a few shots.
Other things I made sure to include in photos were the cat and dog (who Lauren had said were a huge part of the family), a blanket made by Grandma, & the stuffed Bunny Evie got for her first Easter.
And I’m convinced that in 20 years when families look back on these photos, they will be glad to have those details captured instead of someone else’s idea of a pretty Pinterest scene. 😍
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. ❤️
My longtime client & friend Nicole throws the most magical kids birthday parties. Her attention to detail is superb, and she has a special talent for making everything look amazing.
It’s so exciting to see how much fun Scarlett has at these parties and to see her grow each year. I always look forward to her events.
When I noticed that Nicole had re-used the tables and teacups from Scarlett’s second birthday party, I knew I had to recreate this photo from three years ago. Are they just adorable?
There were several extraordinary guests at Scarlett’s birthday party, including the Beast (played by Scarlett’s daddy) and Belle. Belle came from Nashville Kid’s Parties (formerly Copy Cats Nashville Kid’s Parties, the same company Nicole hired Strawberry Shortcake from two years ago.) Belle did a wonderful job entertaining the children and and played her part perfectly.
Nicole’s sister made the cake pops, cake, and tea pot and tea cup cookies. Her mom made all the food and flower arrangements. Nicole created the rest of the decor herself, as well as making the chocolate rose lollipops. The hand mirrors came from the Dollar Tree and were Nicole decorated them after seeing inspiration on Pinterest. They were a huge hit as party favors and I personally loved them as a photo prop. The Chiavari chairs were rented from Southern Party Rentals.
I have to say that my favorite part was watching sweet Charlotte play hostess to her friends. She was so sweet in serving them tea, handing out party favors and making sure all her guest had a good time.