Sarah Lake Photography: San Antonio, TX Custom Family Portrait Photographer

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!

Timeless (and FUN) family portraits…

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
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San Antonio Baby Photographer, San Antonio photography studio

The tradition of smashing cake!

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's birthday

First birthday cake smash session

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!!!

What’s included with your SLP cakesmash session? Check it out here!

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Baby Aaron- San Antonio Newborn Photography Studio

This sweet baby boy visited my studio recently with his adoring parents and siblings.  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 bowlnewborn baby with prayer shawlsmiling sleepy newbornnewborn holding teddy bearfamily with four siblings beautiful baby boy fine art photos

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How to have a FUN family photo shoot! San Antonio family photographer- Sarah Lake Photography

How to actually ENJOY a family photo shoot with young children!

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.  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 important tip 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 for parents wanting to have great family photos…

Don’t discipline 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!  Since your photographer is an adult that trust (just like teachers and coaches) kids will automatically be ready to follow their lead.

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!  Also, 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! Because really, any parent knows that their children can behave monstrously at home, but like obedient angels at school. Take advantage of this! And as a former teacher, I can attest to this as well!!  😉  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
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San Antonio Newborn Photographers, southern TX Newborn Photographers

I recently acquired some new props (though this is really an ongoing  habit and not just an occasional event!) and have been so excited to use them for a newborn session!  A friend just also happened to have the most gorgeous baby boy recently… 🙂  I love when I can ask moms if I can “borrow” their wee ones for some shots!

The thing I’ve been most excited to incorporate into my custom-designed newborn photo sessions is my Great-Grandmother’s antique butter bowl.  A wooden bowl that my mother actually remembers helping her make butter in as a child!  I asked her if I could foster the bowl for a while in my studio.  😉 It’s kinda cool that I’m able to put a little piece of my own family into these images that I absolutely love to create.

baby in wooden bowl

Sweet baby River was an absolute dream to photograph!  He snoozed the whole time and was totally content to curl up in these sweet poses for me.  Even through his little grimaces and scowls, he was perfectly adorable!  The little rolls, crinkled brow, pouty lips, peach fuzz… perfection.  Special thanks to his sweet momma for making this such a fun morning! sleeping baby making facesbeautiful sleeping baby

This session was all about soft, muted, earth tones.  Although I love incorporating color into sessions, there is something about these soft, beautiful images that seems so soothing and peaceful.  So excited to get to use these props and photograph this little guy.  What an absolute doll.  Enjoy!

newborn in bonnet and pants

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