I have this theory that if someone uses the word “chaos” in my portrait client questionnaire, then I’m going to adore them and love photographing their family. First of all, you’d be surprised how often that happens. And secondly, I’ve been completely correct so far. (See also “wild” and “hot mess”.)
One of my survey questions asks how you want to remember your family at this stage. This mom wrote, “How precious these years are as we watch all 3 kids’ unique personalities unfold. I want to remember how we all love each other deeply, even if it’s chaos sometimes!”
Yes, please! You have no idea how much I’d prefer to read something like that, rather than a list of specific poses or Pinteresty backdrops you’d like included. My number one goal as a photographer is to capture those unique personalities, oftentimes with a little touch of chaos.
And really it’s not really chaos at all that these families bring, but a sense of fun, adventure, and embracing the moment. And for me as a family photographer, that’s everything.
Bonus points if they mention “beautiful light” as their main desire for a portrait location. Because I tend to also prefer simpler backgrounds with beautiful light that make the people in the portraits the main focus. This is the second time I’ve shot at Yanhali Park in Columbia, and I’m definitely adding it to my favorites list.
One of the biggest compliments for me to hear, is that a family had fun at their portrait session with me. I feel strongly that good memories need to be associated with the pretty pictures. I want kids to be themselves, and that means running, jumping, playing and exploring their surroundings.
It’s not just that I feel like I HAVE to let them do those things to get through the session. It’s that I believe doing those things actually makes the session better. Capturing a big genuine smile on a child’s face as he races down the slide, means more to me than a formal posed image.
I love photographing Hadley and Harper so much. They are so active and FULL of personality. I first met them at Harper’s newborn session, and love seeing them each year. How can you not smile when you look at those faces?
They also come to see me when I take Santa photos each year, and seeing Harper talk to Santa was one of my favorite moments from last year. If you haven’t signed up yet, spots are going quickly for my Santa photos at the Spring Station Middle School Holiday Marketplace on December 7. All the ticket sales from the Santa Pictures go directly to support the Spring Station Middle School Band. Book your slot today!
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!
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?