Caryn, Mike, and the WHOLE Gang!

You might not remember but just about a year ago I had the opportunity to photograph three of the cutest kids I know (next to my own of course).  Elizabeth, Sarah, and Joshua did a stupendous job rocking the camera at nearby Hubbard Park.  If you don’t remember the session then click here to go check them out.  Since that day, if you had asked me to describe the best family session I’d ever had was like, I would have described that session.  These three little ones were just joyful, cooperative, absolutely silly, and their parents just made it all that much easier!

Fast forward a year now and I have a new favorite family session ever!  The family has grown!  Yes indeed if I remember correctly I do believe Caryn was keeping a bit of secret on the day I photographed her kiddos.   They now have a sweet and handsome little Matthew.  I could NOT be happier for them!  Especially because they asked me to capture his first portraits.  And THEN I got to photograph the ENTIRE family!  I think Mike and Caryn were a little bit jealous of how much fun the kids had last year at their session.  They wanted in on the action too.  Who could blame them!

Let me start with Matthew!  I set aside a special session all for him.  I mean, how could I not?  Look at his roley-poley baby loveliness!

And his eyes!  My goodness!  When I created these photos Matthew was just about 3 months old.  3 month olds are so sweet!  They are happy, alert, and even full of smiles.  He had all of that going on!  But it was the beautiful blue eyes that just captured my heart!

A week or two later Caryn and Mike corralled the whole gang together and we met up once again at Hubbard Park so that we could capture everyone together!  This year, unlike last year, it was sunny and pleasant!  And the kids were just awesome, of course!  We decided to start the session with what is probably the most difficult photograph to capture…. the WHOLE FAMILY!  I admit, I get rather anxious and sweaty for these whole family shoots!  Four children and and two parents!  Yes that is a lot to manage!  But I think we pulled it off rather nicely!

Next on the list, some photos of all four children, together, smiling.  And hopefully not just that CHEESE smile but a real HAPPY smile!  That’s the tricky part.  These days we take so many photos of children that they put this funny fake smile on whenever a camera is near by.  It is my mission to try my best to get REAL smiles.  What does this entail?  Making an utter FOOL of myself!  I laugh, I cry, I fall over, I make bizarre noises!  You name it, I’ll try it.  Here were some of my favorites.

Once all of this was out of the way I was free to get down and have some fun with each cutie pie all by themselves!

And finally, near the end of the session we squeezed in a little time for Mike and Caryn together.  Can I tell you something about these two?  They are just the most in love couple I’ve met in quite some time. And that says a lot because I happen to be blessed enough to photograph a lot of engaged couples or couples on their wedding day.  I just love how these two love one another.  It is a great example for the rest of the world.

Until next year guys!  It was awesome and I am so thankful for the chance to do it!

To see more of Caryn, Mike, and the Whole Gang please click the slideshow below!  To see more of Matthew’s special session click on the slideshow below that!

 

Let Them Be Little! Mr. Matthew!

Would you just look at this little bundle of LOVE!  Is he not just the sweetest thing ever?  And I got to photograph him!  Yep! I’m certainly privileged!  And can I tell you something?  This little guy had to be one of the happiest babies I’ve ever had the honor to photograph.  I’m sure it helps that his parents Caryn and Mike are just some of the coolest people ever! His two big sisters and his big brother rock too! I am blessed to count them among my friends.

So today I am extra lucky as I get to kill 2 birds with one stone so to speak.  I am giving Caryn a little sneak peak of her handsome guy and since this photo absolutely screams out for the I Heart Faces photo challenge of the week (Let Them Be Little) I thought I would go ahead and enter it for that as well.

Happy Monday!  I hope every has a truly enjoyable week!  Thanks for looking and thank you even more for leaving a comment.

 

The Sherman Family!

You all just have to check out this absolutely adorable family that I recently had the absolute pleasure to photograph!  The Mom, Cari and I go way back.  I am rather lucky to count myself as one of her friends.  We enjoyed some good times back in the day, the high school days that is!  I recently got a invitation to our 15th high school reunion!  Cari, are you feeling old yet? I sure am!  I remember Cari as being a talented swimmer and diver.  Truth be told I was rather envious of her skills.  She was grace, I was flopping fish.  Those were the days! Our friendship is one of the Facebook stories.  We lost touch for quite a long time and Facebook brought us back together.  Turns out we both moved a whopping 5 or so miles to the next town over.  Who would have thunk it?

Cari is blessed with a very sweet husband and two precious sweet little girls.  Let me share our session with you!

Emma! Such a spunky gal! I loved her zest for life and her sense of adventure.  Like most kiddos her age she kept me on my toes.  She was fantastic working for the camera.

Sweet Emma was recently given a very important responsibility! Just a few months ago she became a BIG SISTER! I love the look on Emma’s face in this shot.  She looks so in love.

Sweet baby Kiera.  Can you believe it? At 3 months old she not only slept through a lot of her session but she even allowed me to pose her just a bit.  What a treat.  She was just the most precious baby.  Made me wistful for the days when my own baby girls was that small.

Cari it was a pleasure!  You guys rock!  I hope you enjoy your photos as much as I enjoyed creating them.

To see more of the Sherman Family please view the slideshow below.

 

 

Norah is 6 Months Old!

Can you believe Norah is 6 months old already!  What a cutie she is!  I recently had the opportunity to capture this precious time for her very sweet Mommy at a local park.  I was just mesmerized by the sweet, dark, and beautiful eyes.  And that spunky personality! She reminded me very much of my own baby girl.  I saw quite a few expressions that brought me straight to my own daughter in my mind.

She was just a RIOT!  She totally had her own agenda and we were completely interrupting her.  On Norah’s list of things to do… grab the tree branches, dig up the grass, and eat the blanket. 

Luckily she took me and my camera in stride.   My heart melted each time her gaze met my lens.  I secretly wondered if someone was already teaching her how to “work it” for the camera.  Or maybe she’s just already figured out that cuteness will get her very far in life!

 

So there you have it!  Another successful and absolutely fun shoot with the sweet little Norah.  With any luck she’ll grace my camera lens and my blog again around the time she turns 9 months old.  Let’s hope that doesn’t come too fast, for her Mommy’s sake.

 

To see more of Norah’s session please check out the slideshow below!  Thank you!

The Santos Family

I have a really really awesome job.  As a custom photographer I have the opportunity to take the time to really get to know the families I am privileged to photograph.  Unlike chain studios that have you in and out in 20 minutes, I have created a business that allows me to spend an hour or two and in the case of newborn babies even three or four hours capturing photographs for a family that I hope they will treasure forever.  Occasionally friends will request a shoot and I find this most humbling.  I think it takes a lot of trust to get in front of someone’s camera and it is touching when someone I care for chooses me to do it.

Let me introduce you to the Santos family.  We have Hank, his wife Nancy, and their two boys Eric and Kyle.  My husband and I have known this family now for 7 or 8 years.  We met at church.  Hank was the driving force behind the basketball league that is run by our church that my family is so passionate about.  I remember the very first year working side by side with Hank and witnessing his passion for basketball and reaching children.

Hank and Nancy have two very special boys.  Eric is a very intelligent and an extremely talented basketball player in his own right.  Under his father’s careful guidance there is no telling how far this kid can go.  Kyle is a sweet boy who despite developmental challenges has excelled and grown tremendously in the years since I have known him.  I am truly impressed with all that he is becoming as he grows.

This session was unique.  It took place at a local rehabilitation center.  Hank was recently diagnosed with aggressive cancer.  I was able to get to him and capture these photos just a few days before he began an aggressive chemotherapy regiment.  Only God knows exactly what lies ahead for this family.  No matter what way you look at it the days are going to be difficult.  Hank and his family are in a battle for his life.  All we can do is pray.  I believe in miracles and I believe God can move mountains.

 

I hope the family will forever cherish these photos.  This is where they were and who they were at a very important time in their lives.  A time none of them will ever forget no matter what direction the path they are on takes.  I always talk about what an honor and privilege it is to photograph precious family memories.  Those words do not do justice to how I feel about having the opportunity to create these photos.

Thank you Hank and Nancy for inviting me in and allowing me to be there with you at such a time in your lives.  I’ll be forever grateful.

 

 

Another Sneak Peak! The Santos Family! | CT Family Photographer

I am slammed! Weddings, family sessions, senior sessions… so much shooting, so much editing, and so little time!  I recently had the honor of photographing this outstanding family!  Nancy and her husband Hank are a special pair.  They have a very sweet story and I do intend to share.  But I want to be sure I deliver this session to them on time so a sneak peak will have to do for now.

Enjoy! And please, leave this family some love in the comments as I am sure they’d appreciate it.

To Cute For Words! Thomas Is On the Blog Today! | CT Children’s Photographer

Check out this little guy!  His name is Thomas and his personality is just as adorable as his smile!  Full of life, full of energy, and totally full of spunk I don’t think I’ve gotten quite the workout during a photo shoot as I did with this little guy!  He was all giggles and grins the entire time!  Well, until he declared it to be snack time.  But hey, a growing boy knows eating just has to be a priority!  I had so many fantastic shots I’m not sure which ones to include in the blog post.

 

Look at that KILLER SMILE!  He is going to be such a heart breaker!  He’ll be the sort of boy that has it all and is sweet enough not to really know it.

 

I was totally impressed with this little man.  So sweet, well behaved, and totally fun!  He rocked it for my camera!  What a cutie!

A great big thank you to his Mom Jody for all her help!  Fun moms always make for the best kids! To see more from this session please click on the slideshow below.

Miss N is 3 Months Old Already! Can you believe it? | CT Children’s Photographer

Guess what! I had the pleasure of photographing sweet little Miss N again!  How blessed am I?  And man has she grown from her fabulous fleeting newborn days!  Just in case you missed those photos the first time around please feel free to click here and to view them now.  Just be prepared for your heart to melt!

What a difference a few months makes.  Not only is baby N now awake, alert, and very engaged in her surroundings… all of which makes for some precious photography.  But it is now SPRING!  Last time there was literally 4 or 5 feet of snow blanketing the ground.  This time we were able to venture outside and take advantage of some warm weather and beautiful surroundings.


 

What a riot she was.  She has recently discovered her tongue.  So we had plenty of silly moments to capture.

 

 

And can we all just oh and ah over how GORGEOUS Annie looks?  This is NOT a Momma who just had a baby 3 months ago!  I was so glad she let me take a few of her as well.  She’s just too beautiful not to.

 

Thank you Annie for sharing your sweet baby girl with me again!  You guys are just awesome!  To see more of Miss N’s session please view the slideshow below.

 

 


It Was A Great Celebration! | CT Event Photographer

A couple of weeks ago I found myself standing at the post office counter with a stack of envelopes and a friendly postal working smiling back at me.  “What are you mailing off today?” he asked me.  “Invitations for my daughter’s first birthday party!” I proudly declared.  That was the start of a five minute conversation about first birthday parties.  This kindly gentleman reminisced about his child’s first birthday.  “I could hardly believe it, my wife went all out! Everyone we knew was there! I don’t know why.  It’s not like she’ll remember it.”  I chuckled and agreed.  I told him the party was probably more for the parents then anything else.

As I walked back to my car I thought a bit about why I do go to great lengths to celebrate my little one’s first birthdays.  We do invite pretty much everyone.  Our guest list has actually grown over the years as those we consider family has grown.  Our own circle of close friends is getting bigger all of the time as we grow closer to our church family.  Many of them have little children so it all just works well to bring everyone together.  I love it.  It is as much of an excuse to just hang with those I love as it is a celebration of my baby.

Mimi (my mother) was amazing of course!  My life is a bit… chaotic to say the least!  My husband is in a cast, we have karate, soccer, nature class, homeschool group, home group, church building committee, multimedia ministry, my business, my husband’s career, home repair contractors, and… well… much more that we are juggling all at once all of the time!

Oh and raising 3 little ones and trying to maintain a home and eat 3 decent meals a day.  Trying to fit in party planning just adds to the craziness.  So she gladly stepped up and lent a wonderful helping hand.  She designed the cupcake theme, made all of the invitations, created the banner, and bought many of the supplies and balloons.  Mimi also arrived early to help me set up and stayed late to help me clean up!

She lent a helping hand setting out munchies, handing out drinks, and doing all the STUFF you do during a party. She and step-sister made the delicious cupcakes.  Oh and least I forget, she made the birthday girls outfit!  Mimi ROCKS!

 

 

Joyanna was not exactly impressed with her cupcake cake.  Her daddy slaved over it.  She enjoyed smooshing it but the idea that she could EAT IT? I don’t think it crossed her mind!  Too funny!  I’m not sure any of my 3 ate their cakes.  Noah might have a bit.  What a crazy tradition!

 

She seemed almost amazed that Mommy would not only allow her to dive into her food like this… but to ENCOURAGE IT!  She just kept looking around like.. “really? I really get to do this?”


 

 

After a while she really got into the whole idea.  She even tossed the cake right off of the plate!

And then… just like that! She declared she was done!  She is the boss after all!

I loved the day! I loved all of the people that love us enough to come help us celebrate my beautiful baby girl.  I loved watching all of our children run and laugh and play on the playground.  I loved the messy cupcake faces.  It was a great day.  Who could ask for more!

Thank you to everyone that came out.  Thank you for the wonderful generation gifts.  Thank you for being a part of our lives.  So, until the fall when the boys turn 4 and (gulp) 6!  THANK YOU!

 

 

FAQ: How do I bring out the best in my child during a portrait shoot?

Photographing children is a labor of love!  They are quite the wiggly little things who are easily impacted by just about anything! They might be hungry, thirsty, tired, under the weather, or just plain uncooperative.  Honestly, during a child or family photo shoot I have to give the creative credit to the child themselves!  I merely follow their lead and capture what they give.

Little ones are so adorable and I highly advocate having your child’s portrait taken regularly.  They just change so fast!  Time goes by so quickly.  You don’t want to let the opportunity pass you by.  Before you know it they won’t be a baby or a toddler or a preschooler any more.  You can’t go back.  As a mommy who will be celebrating her baby’s fist birthday this week… it just feels all too raw and real right now.

So how can we get the best from our children and make the best photographs?  First I have to say that choosing custom photography is a really great choice.  Most custom photographers allow for quite a bit of time and flexibility in their shoots.  In my experience chain studios such as Walmart, Sears, Target, etc… give you a very short block of time and zero flexibility.  You just have to hope your child will shine in 20 minutes.  Custom photographers take the time to get to know children allowing them time to warm up and get comfortable before they pull out the camera.

As a custom children’s photographer I like to follow the child’s lead.  I like to play games!  I like to interact and have fun!  I want the child to be happy and comfortable!  You just won’t get great photos otherwise.  Often parents tell me that they can never get a smiling photo of their child.  The child either makes bizarre faces or refuses to cooperate.  I admit, I do occasionally run across a child who even I can’t get to smile.  But that is very very rare.  I do so by interacting the child on the child’s level.  My years as a teacher and a mommy have taught me well how to get along with little ones.

A good example of this is a recent shoot I had with 3 year old Thomas.  Thomas is an active high energy little boy (just like they all are).  I used his energy to create games that he enjoyed.  While he was enjoying himself I snapped away.  Mom was thrilled with the results.  In the photo below Thomas had discovered a wooden porch that wrapped clear around this little house at the park.  He DELIGHTED in running around and around and in his mind sneaking up on me.  During this game I was able to capture the photo below.  And since he enjoyed that game so much he was in high spirits and totally enthused to let me keep shooting him as we moved through the park.

That being said… Safety first! I want your family, especially your children, to remain safe at all times. You are responsible for keeping an eye on your child. My field of vision is limited by my camera. If you are concerned your child might fall, eat something they shouldn’t, or hurt themselves in anyway please feel free to jump in and help your child.

One thing I always tell parents is this… Please Do not try to FORCE cooperation. The more you WANT them to do it, the less THEY want to do it!  Silly but true!  Positively encourage your child!  Bribe them if need be.  I have to say, during our couple of hours together we are not trying to raise saintly children.  Let’s just have a great fun experience and create awesome photos.

I love capturing action! The best shots are those I take as the child (and family) is playing and having fun being themselves.

I encourage families to bring snacks & drinks (though no red juice that will stain clothes or faces). Napkins, wipes, and tissues are often handy as well.

Real smiles are the best! Please please PLEASE do NOT ask your child to say cheese!  I say that with a smile and a laugh.  Sometimes it happens and that is just fine.  But cheesy smiles are not what we are hoping for!

Some of the most beautiful photos are those where the child is not smiling.  It is worth wile to capture children in a wide variety of moods and facial expressions.  Smiling and looking at the camera is not always the end goal!  I strive to create all kinds of memories and photos.

In the end, a positive experience will create beautiful photos.  My most relaxed and fun loving clients typically end up with photos that I am most proud of.  We’ll take our time and do what it takes to get it right!

Here is to a fantastic and FUN photo shoot!