This week I got to return for baby #2. It is such a joy and a privilege to be able to capture a newborn session and then to be able to return a couple years later and see that newborn growing into the BEST big sister. Congratulations to this new family of four.
When I photograph large family photo sessions, I can’t help but get a little jealous of all the fun that big families seem to have. It’s like a party anytime they get together. I adored this family before I had even met them, thanks to the beautiful things that their dad and grandpa said about them in my client questionnaire.
One of my favorite things is reading what my clients write about their families in that questionnaire. The simple question of “Tell me a little about each of you” can reveal so much. It’s an oddly personal job to capture someone’s portrait, and in a way I can’t quite explain, I like to know something about them before I begin. For example, I knew that the older granddaughter was very serious about taking care of her baby doll. So I definitely wanted to include the doll in photos. And when I saw her squeezing the doll and her cousin at the same time, giving them both all her love, I had to capture that.
The only challenge with such a large group is balancing getting all the different combinations of shots you need and still trying to capture a little of that personality simultaneously. I often leave wishing I could have gotten to know them even better.
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?
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.)
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.
Wow, what a week. I hope that you are all finding some peace, love and toilet paper in this time of coronavirus, and above all, staying safe and healthy.
I know you have already received emails from every business you’ve ever associated with on how they are handling things during this time of quarantine, so I’m going to refrain from sending emails on my thoughts. But I will outline them here in case you have a session coming up and are wondering what will happen.
For my portrait sessions, these are generally done in outdoor parks or in clients home where close contact with other people is minimum. I do plan to take extra care in changing the way I do sessions temporarily in that I will rely on my words to guide you into position rather than touching you or your children to move you into the position I would like. This goes for newborn photo sessions as well.
But, if for any reason you are uncomfortable proceeding with a session at this time, please know that I will allow you to reschedule for any date in the future. Please just shoot me an email and let me know and we can postpone your family portrait session until things have settled down.
I was happen to get out into the sunshine and photograph this beautiful family of four at the Park at Harlinsdale Farms in Franklin this week. Little Chase just turned two, which is my favorite age of children to photograph. Look at that adorable smile!
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.