Although I have ALWAYS loved photographing faces and am passionate about capturing children and families, I make no secret about the fact that my MOST favorite subjects are newborns!  Believe it or not, photographing newborns is really hard work.  And I’ve dedicated the last 3 years to refining my skills and perfecting my craft in newborn photography and continue to do so every day.  The fact that parents- many brand new- trust me to capture their brand new baby in a way that gives them beautiful memories and also ensures the safety and well-being of the most precious person in their lives is such a humbling honor for me.  I am so blessed to do what I love!!

This brand-new military family of 3 came to my studio with their ADORABLE little guy (who happens to share my nephew’s name- Vincent!)  He was perfection.  He slept like a champ for me (and no, not all babies sleep that way!) and was so much fun to photograph.  Adorable little grunts, precious big smiles!  Mom and Dad were awesome, too- game for just about anything!  Even Vincent’s doting Grandma came to have a portrait with Momma (her “baby girl”) as well.  This session turned out to be something really special.  I’ve seen Vincent a couple of times since his session, and he is getting huge!  It’s amazing to see how much a tiny person changes in just a handful of weeks.  It makes having heirlooms like these even more special and priceless.

Enjoy Baby Vincent’s debut!
baby boy wrapped in blue, baby in cap, 3 generations new parents with baby Army soldier holding smiling newborn baby holding baby skin to skin
smiling sleepy baby

I don’t think I’ve realized how much time has passed since I last shared a session…  I’ve had an incredibly busy last few months, and what a blessing it’s been!  But it’s also left me a few steps behind on the SLP blog!  So, I first want to share one of the funnest (and yes, I say it’s a word!) 😉 sessions I’ve had the pleasure to photograph!

This family.  –sigh–   They were an absolute joy to photograph!  They love being outdoors together, their adorable girls LOVE playing in water, Mom was incredibly sweet, Dad was hilariously funny… even their dog was amazing!  This is the kind of session that doesn’t feel like work at all.  Everything just fell into place, and their connection shone through so beautifully in all of these images.  I even shot a bit differently- using my 85mm portrait lens (that I typically use with my seniors)- and I absolutely loved it.

If you happen to know this sweet family, you’ll know how special they are!  I’m so honored I could capture them with their sweet girls at such a tender and amazing age!

family in nature family playing outside with dog daddy holding daughter little girls with mom and pet little girls and mom

 

I’ve sometimes wondered where and when “Cakesmash” sessions for children originated.  And then, of course, I realize… Every parent since the dawn of time– ok, since the invention of cameras, I suppose–  has taken pictures of their baby digging into their very first celebratory birthday cake!  The expression on their face when they first taste the life-changing combination that is butter and sugar…. It. Is. Priceless!  Babies certainly don’t understand why we make cake or what it’s for.  But that’s part of what makes it special– they inherently know that it’s something AMAZING.  🙂  Being able to capture this moment in a professional photography session is the perfect way to commemorate such a momentous day!

nautical theme baby

I LOVE these first birthday “cakesmash” sessions!  They are just. plain. FUN.  Sweet little Lochlan visited the studio with his mom, dad, and big brother Liam to celebrate turning a year old!  His Momma knew he would be all about that cake.  And she wasn’t kidding!  From diving face-first into his treat, (beautifully homemade by his talented mom!) to squishing it repeatedly in his chubby little hands- this boy knew something awesome was happening and he loved it!

messy baby eating cake baby smashing into birthday cake

This adorable little guy was an absolute delight, and his handsome and very serious big brother was the most wonderful yin to his yang!  Seeing how different these two were was fascinating!  I LOVED seeing Lochlan covered in messy frosting, while his big brother Liam carefully and meticulously used one finger to partake in the sweet stuff.

brothers that are complete opposites

We ended Lochlan’s sticky celebration with a bubble bath!  And this boy LOVED to splash!  I first shot this set-up after an idea suggested by another sweet one-year-old’s Momma… and it was perfection!  Sweet baby.  Bubbles.  What could be cuter?!  It’s seriously one of my favorite set-ups.

1 year old baby in a bubble bath bucket

Thank you to these awesome boys and their wonderful parents- what a fun time we had!!!

 

This sweet baby boy was the first little peanut to visit my new studio since we moved!  Baby Aaron was an absolute dream, and he even brought his big brother and two big sisters with him!  This is one amazing family- their deep faith and complete adoration of one another is so beautiful and admirable!  I LOVED creating these portraits for them!   mom and dad holding newborn newborn in wooden bowl newborn baby with prayer shawl smiling sleepy newborn newborn holding teddy bear family with four siblings beautiful baby boy fine art photos

One of the benefits of being a photographer with two small children myself is that I already know what most children are going to do during a photo session.  Making silly faces? Of course.  Staring off into space?  Yep!  Picking their nose?  Oh sure.  Breaking wind and then laughing hysterically?  You bet.  I think I’ve seen it all.  (No wait…..  No one has mooned me yet.  That’ll probably be my son that takes that honor.)

I also know what it’s like to be a parent who WANTS a beautiful family portrait with their children, yet knows that “beautiful family portrait” and “children” can sometimes seem mutually exclusive.  And even though it can be a lot of work to “wrangle” kids during a family session…

I still love it.

I love the way kids look at everything and see only what is good, and funny, and awesome.  I love how they can laugh at nearly everything.  (When was the last time you laughed hysterically because you burped, or because someone said the word “pickle”??  I wish I could laugh more often like that!)  I love how much they love their parents.  And how they look at their big brother or sister.  It makes my heart happy.

I was so excited to make some long-overdue portraits for this sweet, silly, loving family.  And getting to shoot in Bisbee was extra fun as well!  What’s so interesting to me is how we as parents approach something like a photo shoot with young children.  Trust me, It is SO different from how your photographer sees it.  Now that I’ve been on both sides of the camera, I can say that for sure.

sisters laughing and jumping

When I got these two adorable sisters in front of my lens, it was nothing but giggles. Can’t you tell?? And I absolutely LOVED it. But I have a feeling that mom and dad were a little worried that they were being TOO silly, and that their one chance for a great family picture would be lost if they didn’t settle down. Can you relate?  (I totally can!)  The funny thing is, though, that their silliness- which I think made mom and dad a bit nervous about getting good photos- was the very thing that LET me capture some beautiful moments.  I loved being able to tell their parents not to worry about the giggles and goofiness, because it was JUST what I wanted to capture!  And i think it worked.  🙂

This family and these girls were a total blast to photograph- it was SO MUCH FUN.  But it got me thinking of how often we as parents worry about our children “acting up” during family photos, and this this made me realize a super impotent little factoid that can ensure parents have a FUN photo session instead of a stressful one.

Ready for it?

Here it is.  My my super-secret tip to all of you parents wanting to have great family photos…

Don’t parent your children for that one hour of your session.  

That’s right!  Take an hour off of parenting and disciplining!  Let your photographer do it.  It’s part of their job, in a way!  As parents, let’s not worry about our children “acting up” or misbehaving during family photos- remember, if they can’t stop laughing and smiling, that means they are having fun!

So have fun with them. Be silly with them.  Enjoy them. And relish how sweet and loving and silly they are at this age.  What could be a better memory that that?!

(And I should clarify. I’ve never had ANY children misbehave during any of my sessions.  Act like goofballs, sure!  But misbehave? Nope. Not one! Maybe its because I’ve been lucky, but I have a feeling it’s because every family I’ve ever photographed has been a loving family with good, capable parents. If they weren’t, then I’d probably see kids that are screaming at me, hitting, cursing- who knows what! 😉  Remember, misbehavior during family photos is more of a parents’ FEAR than an actual reality.  Trust me, you parents rock.  🙂

Family posing for photo on brick wall

 

So, feel free to let your photographer be the “boss” and direct the kids– This should be your hour off from parenting and discipline! (And no, I don’t mean important parenting like teaching things like respect, manners, and kindness. I mean the typical child-wrangling that we do on a day-to-day basis.)  Your photographer can direct your kids where to stand, how to be still when needed, how to settle down, how to be silly, how to be quiet.  Let them worry about it and take a little breather for yourself!   Ask your photographer if you and your spouse/partner can stand off on the sidelines, so to speak, and let them work one-on-one with the kids for some great photos.  You don’t have to be far away- just going off 20 or 30 feet to have a conversation (or just pretend to) can be a game-changer with your children’s behavior!  If your children see that you’re not really paying attention to them, they won’t feel the need to “show off” in front of you, and will be more likely to focus on what the photographer is asking them to do.  Also, it conveys to them that Mom and Dad trust this person, and expect them to follow their directions.  (Just think of how well your children act for other trusted adults- like their teacher! And as a former teacher, I can attest to this as well!!  😉  So, let your photographer be the mom/dad/teacher/principal/coach/boss for that hour.  They can handle it.  Then sit back, relax and let the gorgeous images happen.

little girls with their dad, family

S i g n   U p !