Fun Family Photo Session in Downtown Columbia

Sweet portrait of brother and sister at family photo session in Downtown Columbia TN

I’m so in love with this family portrait session in downtown Columbia, and it makes me feel like I’ve made a horrible mistake. You see, I love taking pictures around the square in Columbia. It’s never crowded and it has some of the best old abandoned buildings that have beautiful texture and great light.

But I’ve only ever recommended it for Senior sessions. I’ve hesitated to use a downtown setting for my littlest clients because of the streets and traffic. I love to capture children running and playing. So I usually suggest the parks for them so that they have more space to run free.

But when I was chatting with this client about choosing a location, she said that “outdoorsy” settings didn’t feel like a great fit for their family. And above everything else, I want a client’s session to feel authentic to who they are and reflect their personalities. She also said the kids were likely to want to stay pretty close to mom and dad at a session. So I suggested we give downtown Columbia a try.

And I am SOOOOOO glad. I love them, and I hope she does too. These two sweet kids were FANTASTIC. The family was the kind that I immediately felt connected to and loved photographing.

When dad asked if I would take photographs of them getting ice cream at Hattie Jane’s Creamery at the end of the photo session, I thought that was a fantastic idea! Who doesn’t love photos of adorable kids eating delicious ice cream?

Looking for a photographer in Spring Hill, Franklin, and Columbia in Middle Tennessee? I photograph families at all stages, from newborns to seniors. See my website for more information or to book a session from my online calendar. I would love it if you would consider following me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

Family Portrait Session at Montgomery Bell State Park

Crystal Freemon Photography Family Portrait Session at Montgomery Bell State Park

Family Portrait sessions like this one at Montgomery Bell State Park are my happy place. I love it when the babies are old enough to walk and talk and giggle and explore their surroundings. But also they are young enough to be their true authentic selves without worrying about what the look like in photos. This is why toddlers and preschoolers will always be my favorite age to photograph. (Though it’s also still fun to photograph Seniors, who allow for a different kind of creativity since they will do exactly what I tell them to do.)

Looking for a photographer in Spring Hill, Franklin, and Columbia in Middle Tennessee? I photograph families at all stages, from newborns to seniors. See my website for more information or to book a session from my online calendar. I would love it if you would consider following me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

Let them Be Wild – Nashville Family Photographer

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!

And the Award for Best Dressed at a Family Portrait Session Goes to…

I can’t even with the cuteness in these photos. The girls were just everything. ❤️

In online photography forums, you can read a lot about finding your ideal family portrait clients. I don’t know precisely how to put into words what defines a perfect client for me, but I know it and get excited when I see it.

Isla (3 years old) and Evie (1 1/2 years old) are at my absolute favorite ages of children to photograph. They brought their special Panda lovies to the session. I adore capturing young children with their special objects. The girls were so much fun to be around – wild and free and full of wonder about their world, which is everything I love about photographing kids this age.

Mom and Dad were more interested in capturing authentic, emotional images than in Pinterest perfect posed shots, which is the best kind of client for me. We danced and played and had a fabulous time.

This is a family who thought about the constraints of studio portraits with very young children and realized what a nightmare that could be. One thing that is extremely important to me is that family portrait sessions not be a stressful experience for families. I want to make it fun for the children, and for happy memories to be associated with the photographs. What good is a beautifully posed image if the memory associated with it was of a horrible experience?

I want to point out, though, that creating an enjoyable experience does not mean that everyone is happy for every minute of a session. It’s important to note this because I don’t want parents to become stressed out if there is a tiny bump in the road. Toddlers and preschoolers, by nature, have SO MANY EMOTIONS and not enough words to express them. I do not expect, nor need them to be happy and joyful every minute of a session.

First of all, that’s not real life. Second, the pouty moments are beautiful too. And third, and most importantly, toddler moods are like Middle Tennessee weather…if you don’t like it, wait a few minutes and it will change. As long as no one over reacts to momentary grumpiness, they will typically forget the mood in a manner of minutes…especially if we move on to a new activity…which I will generally do if they become impatient with what we were doing.

Can we talk about these outfits for a minute? These girls (mama too) look fabulous!! The color combinations are gorgeous! The cheetah print and floral prints are so fun and coordinate beautifully together. I talk about adding texture to clothing choices in my online “What to Wear Guide.” The girls’ vests accomplish this perfectly and are so adorable. The sisters were coordinating but not wearing the exact same outfits, which I prefer. But most of all, the girls seemed happy and comfortable.

Don’t be surprised when these images end up in my guide, once I have time to slow down and stop editing. LOL

What it’s really like photographing preschool children – Spring Hill TN Family Photographer

Photographing young children is something that I do regularly. If I had to choose one genre or age group of photographs to take, it would be families with pre-school age children for sure. It’s where I am most comfortable. It’s the age group that I am most passionate about shooting (though I still love taking pictures of people of all ages).

I have to remind myself that my clients do not do this regularly. This might be the first time they’ve been to a photo session like mine, and at the very least, it’s the first time they’ve done family photos with a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old (or whatever the case may be.)

Because of that, I try to reassure my clients throughout a session that this is normal. I swear. Listen, photo sessions with multiple pre-school age children is by nature, a little bit of organized chaos. One client I had once called it a beautiful mess, and I love that term. Your kids are doing great. Really, they are.  

I think one thing that makes parents nervous is when I start asking small children to do things, and maybe (probably) they don’t do what I ask. Please believe me when I tell you that I have NEVER met a two-year-old who did everything I asked. Never. Expecting them to follow all my instructions is not age-appropriate or realistic. Also, it doesn’t bother me one bit if they aren’t interested in something I suggest. 

There are three main reasons it doesn’t bother me:

  1.  I have LOTS of tricks up my sleeve. Some kids like racing, some like flying, or Ring around the Roses. Some want to talk. Quite a few like to talk about farts (though I let them initiate that in case mom and dad don’t approve). Others want to interact only with mommy and daddy. That’s all OK.  
  2. I take a LOT of photos. I will delete tons, particularly at a session with small children. But I’m always left with plenty of keepers. 
  3. The only thing I want from your kids is for them to be authentic. Two-year-olds don’t know any other way to be, so whatever happens, we are winning. 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes an image doesn’t tell the whole story. Today I want to talk through what happens at pretty much every session with small children ever, using photos from a family portrait session. So you can read what was happening in real life, and see the resulting image. I’m hoping this will prevent any future anxiety when you think “my kids aren’t cooperating.” I promise you; they are doing exactly what I want them to do.  

Me: “You wanna sit on this crate together?” *Baby sister sits down for 2 milliseconds then jumps up to play*. Result: I got it. It only takes a millisecond.