With so many awesome location possibilities (especially here in the Niagara Region!) how do you pick where to have your family photo session?
Thankfully, it’s actually not as tricky as you might think!
When I am working with you to decide where we should go to take your family photos, I will first off ask you if there’s a special or favourite place YOU have. Is there an outdoor spot that maybe your spouse proposed? A walking path that you go to frequently with your kids? Perhaps a beach where you have made some special memories? What kinds of activities do you and your family enjoy?
I have a short list of my favourite tried and tested spots where I love doing sessions, so if you don’t have a spot you’d like to go, I will have some great suggestions. I know these places well, and go back again and again. However, I love discovering new places too! The locations that I suggest are ones that I have chosen where the light is simply gorgeous at golden hour (my favourite time to shoot!).
There are a few considerations to take when thinking about where to shoot, the first of which is knowing yourself and your family. Do you have a small child who likes to run and play, and going to the beach or the streets where they might be able to run into danger makes you stressed out? I want you to feel relaxed and enjoy your session - so we are going to avoid those locations.
My favourite kinds of spots are:
1. Beach or Waterfront
2. Natural Field
4. Urban Streetscape
The locations that I love best are easy to access, have ample parking, don’t come at any cost, and are chosen based on their natural outdoor beauty. Some locations are more desirable in different seasons, such as a forest or a park in the fall.
Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions, or if you have a suggestion for a location maybe I’ve not considered! I can’t wait to photograph your family, in one of these gorgeous locations!
What to wear to a family photo session is one of the questions I’m asked the most.
I love this question! I know that you want your photo session to be easy and gorgeous, and you want to look and feel amazing in your photos.
Here are my top tips for how to plan what you and your family should wear:
1. Dress mom first.
Mama, you are gorgeous. I want you to feel like a million kazillion dollars. I know that you will usually plan what everyone else is going to wear and then you might be an afterthought - not today! Wear something you love, wear something that is really flattering and something that you feel GREAT in! If it’s an outfit that you’ve purchased just for this shoot and it doesn’t feel quite right, it’s going to show in the photos. From your outfit, we are going to choose the rest of the colour palette for everyone else in your family.
2. From mom’s outfit, choose a couple of main accent and complementary colours.
The rest of your colours should be neutrals like white, beige, black, or grey. You can choose a pattern piece from which the accents are drawn, such as your daughter’s floral dress or a plaid scarf for you.
3. Don’t choose anything that is too trendy.
You want your photos to be timeless and to look great years from now (do you remember puffy wedding dress sleeves? I do… ouch!), so try to stay away from outfits that you won’t love the look of in a year or two. Avoid clothing with neon colours (they don’t show up well in camera) or large logos.
4. Accessories matter!
Remember your footwear; unkempt shoes can detract from the rest of your beautiful and well put together outfit. A cute vest, a gorgeous scarf, headbands, earrings, layered shirts or sweaters give what you’re wearing interest and depth.
I’m always available for outfit consultations beforehand; these mamas sent me pictures of what everyone was going to be wearing before the photoshoots. Seeing those photos gets me that much more excited for a shoot!
Do you have any questions? Drop me an email and let me know if you need some help deciding what to wear to our next shoot!
You want to know what hurts my heart so much during this time of social distancing?
Not capturing your newborn babies.
This makes me so sad because I want to take photos that show off those tiny toes, that soft downy hair and the incredible love and bond you already have.
I’m so sad I can’t spend time documenting this special time with your new family.
But what I can do, is help you capture this time and these special moments on your own.
So here are my top tips for capturing your own newborn.
1. Use only natural window light
Turn off all the lights in the room you are in, and turn off the flash on your camera too. Try to choose a time of day when the sun isn’t beaming directly into the window you are using. Ideally you should use the biggest window in your home, or failing that, simply open a door and shoot there. Place your back to the window or door, photographing inwards towards the house.
2. Capture these key images, keeping in mind to follow baby’s lead. If she is sleeping, let her sleep. If baby is awake, enjoy it!
- Lay baby on her back, on a neutral surface (like the the bed) and take an image from directly above, from chest level up.
- Have a parent hold the baby on her back, belly up, their hands under her back and bum, and the other supporting the back of her head and neck. Photograph the swirl of her hair, capturing the parent looking at the perfect babe in their hands.
- Tuck baby’s legs up up, and place her and her head on a parent’s chest, while the parent is either standing or sitting.
3. Capture every pose from at least two or three angles.
For each of the above poses, try capturing baby from a different vantage point, or get a little closer to capture details of the image. For example, of the image of a parent holding baby, also photograph this from the side, ask them to kiss baby on the forehead and capture again. Get a little closer, and photograph mom’s hands. Maximize every pose!
4. Don’t photograph up baby’s nose.
This is a general “rule of thumb” when it comes to photographing babies (and people!). It’s not a particularly flattering vantage point, so… just don’t do it.
5. Use the self timer on your camera.
Get in the photo! It can be tricky, and will probably take a few tries, but it’s worth it.
I wish I could be with you, but I hope these tips will guide you through capturing this incredibly special and fleeting time in your baby’s life. I can’t wait to see you as soon as I can; the best part about shooting lifestyle images of newborns is that the images are gorgeous no matter how old baby is.
Have questions? Please reach out! I can’t wait to meet your new baby!
To say that these are weird and crazy times would be a bit of an understatement, right?
As we enter our 8th week of self-isolation, I wanted to share with you how we are doing as a family, what’s going on with my business and what I’m doing for YOU.
How’s my family doing?
I know how lucky I am to be self-isolating with my family right now. We are all healthy and safe. We have each other, and we have everything we need. We miss school, daycare, and little things like holding the door open for someone or stopping to talk with the mail delivery person. I’m not going to sugar coat it and say that it’s been a wonderful adventure, because personal struggles have been plenty; it’s been tough.
What’s going on with my Business?
I made the decision in January to follow my heart and focus solely on family and newborn photography. Don’t get me wrong, I love weddings, but documenting the beauty of parenthood and family has become a passion that I wanted to capitalize on. I’m really good at it, and it makes my heart truly sing. I have been showing up on social media regularly, reaching out to form new business and personal relationships that will support my work, and really working hard to build my business. My goal is to be able to transition to working full-time at photography, and not spread my work, focus and attention to the other work that I have to do to support my family.
And then COVID-19 came along.
All of the photoshoots I had hoped to book for the spring and summer? Didn’t materialize. The amazing mini-shoots I had planned? Cancelled. The last summer wedding I was to shoot this year? Cancelled. My business has been completely gutted.
And yet, I will continue to forge on because I love documenting families. I know that this time is temporary, and love has not been cancelled. With your support, my dream will come true. After all of this, we will still want family photos and babies will be born.
What I’m doing for YOU!
I can’t be with you right now to take your photos, and so I’m doing my best to show up to help you take photos of your kids and your family. On Instagram I’ve hosted a few challenges to help you develop your photography skills, and here on this blog I’ve been posting about taking great photos of your kids, and showing you how to create meaningful connection in your photos. Do you have a DSLR camera sitting in a drawer that you got as a mother’s day present and meant to read the manual for… and just didn’t get around to it? You still totally don’t have time to read it, so let me help you! I’m offering some free help if you want quick pointers on using your camera, and taking it off of Automatic to get great images. Send me a message with what model your camera is, what you normally set it to, and what you want to photograph, and I will hook you up with help, friend! We can either schedule a quick video tutorial, or I will email you with pointers.
For my clients who have had to cancel, I’ve offered full refunds on deposits, and for those who are rescheduling we are working together to rebook. When it’s safe for us to get together again for photographs, I plan to offer a variety of safe options for clients so that you can choose how and where we can work together.
So, how are you doing? What’s going on in your world? Are you struggling with home schooling and working from home simultaneously? Are you sick of looking at the inside of your house? Are you missing people? Tell me all about it, friend.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the beautiful and classic photos of everyone with perfect haircuts, unwrinkled shirts, with the Sears textured backdrop, all looking at the camera giving their best and hopefully least awkward smile. You know *exactly* what I’m talking about.
I love these photos… but these photos? They’re not my style, and they’re not the kind of photos you are going to get when we take photos together.
It’s taken me a long time to accept that I am far from perfect, and my photography isn’t perfect either. My photography, like me, is maybe not technically flawless, but it’s full of heart. I am a girl who tells awful cheesy jokes. I feel some things so hard, I cry easily, and my emotions read like a book on my face.
The photos I take are real, heartfelt and truly genuinely you. They are not Sears portraits.
These are the photos we want of the real moments of tender love, hilarious laughter and true smiles. These pictures are the ones you will look at next month on those wild, crazy days (which sometimes feel like they outnumber the not so crazy ones, am I right?) and be reminded of what it’s all about. These are the images that you will look back on, five, ten or twenty years from now and think, “how did I get so lucky?”
I believe that everyone should have photos of the cozy and perfectly imperfect, intimate moments in their family, whether I take these photos or not. My goal is to help guide you to take these photos.
Here are my three simple steps to taking photos of the real love and connection in your family. Ideally, you would use all three of these together at the same time, but try them out one at a time and see how it goes.
1. Give your kids something to do
You have been there in front of the camera, wondering… what do I do with my hands? Where should I be looking? Should I smile? Does my face look weird? Your kids might not feel quite as self conscious in front of the camera, but is it just me, or do your kids pull out the super-fake “cheese” face every time you bring a camera within 20 feet of them? Here’s my solution: give them something to DO. It can be as simple as directing them to hold hands and skip in a circle, blow bubbles, or dump all the ingredients for cookies into a bowl and stir. Whatever you do, don’t sit them down and tell them to “act natural” or “be yourself, just do what you normally do.”
2. Get your kids to touch
It might sound obvious, but if you want photos of real, connected moments, the best way to achieve that is to have your kids physically connect. It’s simply the easiest way to show it. This kind of coaching can take some practice, but don’t be shy telling your kids what to do (I know I’m not shy telling my kids what to do the rest of the time!). If they are sitting, make sure their bodies are touching. If they are standing, ask them to hold hands, or get an older sibling to “help” a younger one by going hand-over-hand or asking them to guide them through an action. “Can you help your little sister blow bubbles by holding the wand with her?” or “can you put your arm around his waist?” It can feel awkward to ask people to get closer, and it can feel weird. It’s ok to acknowledge this and to reassure them that it will look good.
3. Tell them what to think
Sometimes I wish I had magic powers to change how my kids think (no thank you, screaming at the top of your lungs inside isn’t hilarious). But no, this isn’t that. Whamp whamp. This is you evoking a genuine emotion, and then hopefully capturing it in a photo. Let’s do a little example together, and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Close your eyes…. No wait. You can’t read while doing that. Ok, forget that part. But just picture in your mind putting your nose against your newborn’s hair. You can feel how unimaginably soft and downy that little hair is. Picture yourself breathing their smell in. They are peacefully asleep, and you can hear their tiny breaths and feel their tiny body moving rhythmically in your arms. Now think about how you feel. When I think about this moment in my life, I have a small grateful smile, and I feel wistfully nostalgic. If you could see yourself, this sweet calm would be all over your face, and I’d take a photo of you. So, it depends on what kind of images you want to take to determine what you will tell people to think about: joyful and full of laughter or maybe calm and sweet.
With kids I will ask one kid to tell their best joke, to whisper a secret in their sibling’s ear, or to imagine snuggling up right before bed. With parents, I sometimes ask them the same things I would ask of their kids, or to close their eyes for a moment and just breathe in their baby-but-not-a-baby-anymore.
They say that the majority of communication is in our expression and body language, so I utilize this in taking photos all the time. My other bonus tip is not to forget about eye contact - eye contact with one another, and eye contact with you, the photographer. Tell your kids to look at one another, and not at you most of the time (you will have to remind them of this a lot, it’s ok).
Try these ideas out, and let me know how they work for you (or don’t!); I can’t wait to see the beautiful images you create!