Family of Four Photo Session in Downtown Columbia

Downtown Columbia Photo Session with Crystal Freemon Photography

It was so good to see this family again, after our last family photo session four or five years ago. These twin sisters were so easy to photograph. The family wanted a more urban setting for their session, so we chose to meet in Downtown Columbia.

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 book a session from my online calendar. I would love it if you considered following me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

How to rock your family portrait session

Family of five Lifestyle portrait session in Spring Hill TN

Yesterday, I shared with you Emily’s First Communion Photos. We combined those photos with a family portrait session, just like we’ve done in previous years. That meant we had about an hour to do Emily’s pictures inside the church, change her, and do family photos outside the church.

I did not feel we needed extra time to do the session because I’ve been taking photos of these girls all their lives, and they are old enough to follow directions. But even still, after we finished the session, I felt like it was too easy. I wondered to myself, “Did I get enough photos?”

Well, it turns out that I have too many photos. So many that it’s hard to narrow them down to a reasonable level. A big part of why the session feels so effortless is that I’ve been taking photos of these kids literally since they were born, and they know what to expect.

So I thought I would list a few things that make them so easy to photograph in the hopes that it might help others better know what to expect from a family photo session.

  • Their wardrobe is perfection. The colors are gorgeous. They coordinate without being too matchy-matchy. Everyone seems comfortable in what they are wearing. I love the textures in the corduroy. The little details like Hannah’s belt and bracelet really add interest and bring it together. And Christy looks absolutely stunning in red.
  • They take direction from me but also understand that I’m not looking for super posed images. They know they are free to be silly. I love the photos below of the three girls hugging and falling to the ground. This is the kind of circumstance where parents who are less used to my style might have been fussing at the children to be serious and stand up straight. But Christy and Brian know my style, and they know that sometimes those photos where the kids are being silly are the best ones.
  • They weren’t in a hurry. Sometimes people (usually dad) have this idea that we will “get a few photos” and then be done. That mindset makes it really hard to capture candid, authentic images. Brian has been showing up for my family photo sessions for many years and absolutely does his part to be patient and fun.
  • They get that authenticity is the goal. Everyone was encouraged to be themselves, which shows through in the images.

Did I miss anything? What do you think is the key to a fantastic family portrait session?

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 book a session from my online calendar. I would love it if you considered following me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

A&E Farm Extended Family Photo Session

Extended Family Photo at A&E Farm

This beautiful family traveled from all over the country for a vacation together at A&E Farm in College Grove. I had never been to A&E Farm before. It’s such a beautiful place to book for a vacation or small event! I’m sure wonderful memories were made for all four generations visiting together. I am so thankful they asked me to capture some of those moments.

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.

Fall Family Photo Session in Franklin TN

Fall Family Photos in Franklin by Crystal Freemon Photography

On Tuesday, I shot a Senior Portrait Session at the Park at Harlinsdale Farms in Franklin. It was an absolutely perfect fall day. The autumn color was in full glory and all the trees were spectacular. On Sunday, I returned for a family photo session and almost all the leaves were gone.

I did, however, find this one perfect tree that had not lost it’s leave and was a gorgeous red orange color.

There were droves of photographers at the park that afternoon. It is one of the busiest portrait weekends of the year. I arrived early, as I always do, to stake out the location and look around at the light. These two sessions are a perfect example of why I do that. Even though I know this location well, and had been there just a few days before, it looked completely different.

When I found my tree, the light was coming through it in just the right way. I’m obsessed with light and this is one of my favorite kinds. I don’t normally shoot in that direction because there is an ugly parking lot behind the tree. But I figured it was far enough away to not be much of a problem. I knew I wanted to start the family photos at the tree because the light could move and not be at just the right spot if I waited. So I stopped roaming and just stood and staked out my spot like a dog hoping it didn’t get overrun with other photographers before my session started.

The funny thing is, I never saw another photographer go near the tree. It just goes to show that you can have 100 photographers photograph a subject, and everyone of them will see it differently and execute a different vision.

And isn’t this just the most beautiful family? Gah, those giggles are the best.

I would love it if you could follow me on Instagram. That’s a great place to keep up to date on future openings. Also, you can book a session directly from my online booking calendar, or contact me if you have questions.

What being a Lifestyle Photographer Means to Me

Family of Four LIfestyle Portrait Session in Spring Hill TN

One of the biggest lessons I learned early on when I became a professional photographer, was that I am not the right photographer for everyone. It’s my job to try to make sure that the right clients can find me, while those who are not a good fit for me, recognize that and find a photographer who is a better fit. So when I show up at a lifestyle family portrait session and feel like the clients are exactly right for me, I get really excited.

There are lots of things that go into a photographer’s style. But what I want to talk about today is what it really means to be a lifestyle photographer. “Lifestyle” has become a buzzword in photography world, but I’m not sure a lot of people truly understand what it means. And that meaning can vary a bit between photographers. To let you know how I see lifestyle photography, let’s first talk about what it is not.

What most of us grew up with was traditional portrait photography. This was typically done in a studio (raise your hand if you went to Sears!!) with studio lighting and a photographer who told you exactly where to stand, where to put your hands, how to hold your chin just so, etc. That is a perfectly lovely form of photography when done by a true artist (like, not Portrait Innovations). But it’s not me. My goal is that no one shows up at a portrait session with me expecting traditional portrait photography. Because if they do, then they will likely spend most of the session staring at my camera with a forced, fake smile waiting on me to tell them how to stand.

At the other end of the spectrum is Documentary photography. I think documentary photographers are super cool, and I do dabble in that occasionally, but that’s not what most of my family sessions are either. When shooting, a documentary photographer would not become part of the story at all. They would simply document what happens naturally, without controlling or guiding the story at all. My birth sessions are this way mostly. I’m like a fly on the wall, capturing events as they unfold.

But as a lifestyle photographer, my approach is between these two extremes. As a lifestyle photographer, I want to capture real life interactions between your family, but I’d prefer those interactions to happen in pretty light, and I’d like to get a variety of interactions to happen in a one hour span of time, so I offer some guidance. Instead of “hold your head like this”, I’m more apt to tell you to “snuggle up” or “have a tickle fight”. I’m looking for things that capture your family as they are, and this might mean different things for different families. You may catch me noticing an interaction between you, and it’s possible I might ask you to do it again, maybe while standing in the pretty light this time.

Side note, but after all these years, I’m not sure my husband understands the difference between lifestyle and documentary. Whenever I try to get a photo of him and my girls interacting in a certain way, he always complains “but I thought you didn’t like posed photos.” Dude, I’m not posing you, I’m GUIDING YOU. Also, just do what I said.

Anyway, in trying to find the right clients for me, I work hard on educating clients both before they hire me, and before the session so they know what to expect. Some of that comes from written blog posts like this one, or client emails, but I also do it in more subtle ways. If you follow me on Instagram, you may notice that in a great number of the photos I share there, the subjects are not looking at the camera. I always get photos of clients looking at the camera at a session because everyone wants at least a couple of those, but my favorites are almost always ones where the family is involved with each other and not looking at me. So I make a point of sharing what I love to shoot, in an attempt to attract the right clients.

Well, let’s just say I felt like I hit the jackpot with this family. They were so much fun to photograph and immediately took to my guidance and silly requests. There was so much dancing, and snuggling up and giggling and LOVE that it made my job so super easy. I just adore this family portrait session and hope they do too.

Also, the family is fairly new to Spring Hill. Please join me in welcoming them to town!

In case you missed it, check out one of the other fabulous families I photographed earlier this week.

Beautiful Light & Family at Henry Horton State Park Photo Session

Henry Horton State Park Family Portrait Session, Crystal Freemon Photography

When it comes to choosing locations for family photo sessions, the most important element to me is finding beautiful light. I arrived early Sunday at Henry Horton Park to scope out the light and decide where to shoot, as I always do before a portrait session. I was so pleased to find a lovely spot with the most gorgeous lighting. There is nothing elaborate or fancy about the location…it was just a wooded area with field of tall grass. But when the sun comes through in just the right spot, the photos can be absolutely magical.

January is one of the moms who encouraged me early in my photography journey. I took photos of these girls when they were itty bitty. Photos I took during that time always make me wish I could have a do-over because I was so early in my photography journey and I made so many mistakes. But also I am grateful to have been able to preserve those memories, no matter how imperfect. I’m so glad I had the chance to photograph them again at Henry Horton, because they are just as photogenic as they were years ago, and I feel like I was able to give her better quality images.

Are you following me on Instagram? That’s a great place to keep up to date on future openings. I have a couple spots left for my Holiday Family Mini Sessions. Or are you looking for a senior photographer? Either way, you can book a session directly from my online booking calendar, or contact me if you have questions.

The Models I made myself | Country Cove Christmas Tree Farms

As I told you last week, I am excited to be offering some Holiday Mini Sessions this year at Country Cove Farms in Murfreesboro. The sessions will be 25 minutes long and will include your choice of 30 full-size digital images from the session gallery, with the option to purchase more digital images and/or print products. The cost of the mini-session is $300.

The original spots I offered are all booked up, but because of a scheduling change, I was able to add a couple more spots on October 11.

I almost missed my chance to preview Country Cove Farms, like I have every year. I booked the promotional spot at the last minute. I was prepared to just do the promo shoot with the models I grew myself, but was very happy my friend Christy was able to bring her family as well, so I had some variety. But I am so happy that Kayla and Megan agreed to let me take their photos too because they are truly my favorite subjects, even though they are getting to be such young women.