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.