Little Mr P I’ve been Photographing since before he was born, beginning with his parent’s maternity session at Tyler State Park a little more than a year ago. He is one of my Baby planners and I’ve had the pleasure of watching him grow this fist year. Recently I photographed his first birthday portraits and cake smash in my Bucks County portrait studio. He was absolutely wonderful, giving me a full range of different expressions and smashing his cake like a pro. Here are a few of my favorite images from Mr. P’s first birthday portraits.
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I Photographed these two sessions in my Bucks County PA Studio. Their first session was a maternity session where mom and dad brought their Wentzylvania shirts and I had them pose with the same football and bow we would eventually pose their little lady with for her newborn session. Which she was an absolute angel for!
Baby D was such a little sweetheart for his session, he didn't give me any trouble at all. We even got a chance to grab some outdoor shots while he was at my Holland Studio. Outdoor Newborn portraits are really becoming a favorite of mine, with this new green space right out my back door, these shots are even more convenient than ever.
I've been Photographing little Miss C since she was 9 months old. It's always amazing to me how quickly these little folks grow up, it's exciting that every time I get to see them they are always bigger and more mature. When we scheduled this session for her third birthday portraits, in the back of my mind I was hoping that my favorite field of wild flowers would be in bloom. These Virginia Blue Bells only bloom for around one week in the spring, with the crazy warm weather we had a few week earlier I couldn't be sure I would be able to promise the wild flowers ahead of time. We really got lucky and the whole field was in full bloom! I had such fun photographing this session and I'm really happy with the results!
Generally after the big Christmas rush of November and December I don't often get to photograph sessions for New Years, this year was a little different. I've photographed this couple and their fur-baby Addie for their Christmas card photo for years now. This year we opted for a New Years card with a wonderful and exciting message inside. We decided that their New Years card would be the perfect opportunity to announce their BIG New Years resolutions, both Addie & Mom and Dad. 2016 is going to welcome a new bundle on joy into their lives and I couldn't be happier for them. I can't wait to meet their little Price or Princess (AKA Addie's New little Human) Happy New Year Everyone!
The 2016 New Years Resolutions:
Don't Forget the Studio is Moving to Holland PA 18940 this January Serving Newtown Richboro Upper Southampton Northampton langhorne Churchville warminster warrington doylestown feasterville Morrisville Wrightstown Ivyland Furlong Washington Crossing and New Hope PA Pennsylvania
Christmas is almost here! Yay! I've closed my Calendar for 2015 already, what a year it's been! I've already started booking Sessions for 2016, including newborns and cake smashes. This year I thought I would do something special for my Winter Newborn sessions. All Newborn sessions will include a free set of 25 custom designed 5x7 Linen or pearl finish birth announcements with an ala' carte or Create your own collection purchase. With Christmas right around the corner it's easy to forget that newborn sessions need to be booked in advance so here is a great reminder and opportunity to save a little on these precious memories! Fill out my Contact form HERE and I will help you get the ball rolling on booking your session!
Before I took my annual vacation this year I got to meet this little lady at my studio in Feasterville for her newborn session. She did wonderfully, it was the perfect last session before a vacation week. Miss A was a perfect little angel, loved to snuggle, and slept so well. I couldn't get over her beautiful red hair, and chunky cheeks. Here are a few of my Favorite images from her session.
July and August have been two busy months for Maternity and newborn sessions. I hung out with mom and dad in July for their Maternity session, August brought my chance to hang out with this little lady at the studio for a few hours. The theme of her nursery is Owls so mom brought along an owl hat to grab some shots in for hanging in her bedroom and we got a ton. Mom and dad also brought something else along, now I have posed newborns in and on a number of crazy things in my years as a photographer, but this was a first. When mom told me about the "slab", as we started referring to it, I didn't exactly understand what she was talking about. Well, as it turns out, I had it all wrong in my head, the "slab" was just that, a Slab of wood cut from a tree and used as the cake stand at their wedding. Once I saw it I totally got what she was saying, and really wasn't aware of a term for a flat piece of wood cut from a tree, so slab fit perfectly. I love the idea that it was used as their cake stand and now their little baby girl was napping on it. I've encouraged mom to bring it back for little Ms. R's 6 month milestone session this winter, I think it would be a great piece to show how much she grows.
This happy little lady visited me at my Feasterville - Trevose Studio for her first birthday portraits. She was a funny little lady, and so very happy and expressive. Her expressions run the gamut but I would say that the most variety was in the number of different smiles I got from her. We captured everything from, small sweet smiles to big laughing grins, it was fantastic, such a smiley little one. Check out all of her happy faces!
Years ago I photographed these two for their engagement portraits, a few weeks ago we met up to photograph their Maternity session. I was so excited to hear they were pregnant and was really excited to photograph this session. It was something a little different for me, normally my clients want a woodsy nature session, but these two wanted to roam New Hope for more of an urban style. I've done walk about sessions before with a friend of mine last year when she was expecting her son. I really enjoy being able to think on my feet and use the environment and natural light to create some really beautiful shots. Since the light and environment is always changing you always get something different so no two walk about sessions are alike. A shop owner may decide to change the color of a wall or add a few potted plants outside his shop, so the next time you go by it's a totally different feeling as a location and background. It's a great challenge to shoot this style of session and a challenge I greatly Enjoy!
Funny story... I actually photographed this little guy's cousin last year for her first birthday, the same time I was working with Mr. J's mom to set up a first year plan for him. I did think it was interesting that I had two clients with the same last name, but didn't think of it much further than that. Turned out they were in fact related and didn't even realize they were both using Wonderland Portrait Boutique. How's that for a coincidence?
Over the past year I've photographed this little guy from before birth all the way to this session that we photographed his first birthday portraits and cake smash. His big brother tagged along to this session so we popped him in for one or two shots as well. During the whole session, big brother knew that there was a cake waiting for the end and did not miss a chance to remind his mom and I how much he wanted some of that cake! The cake was absolutely gorgeous as well, it was custom made by the Birthday Boy's aunt. I was really impressed by the quality and the work put into it, because making beautiful cakes is not her full time profession (I know, can you believe that?)!
Mr. J did fantastic for his formal shots, not missing a chance to show off how well he is walking now either. It never seizes to amaze me how quickly they go from a newborn to a walking little person full of smiles and energy. It really feels like yesterday that we were photographing his newborn portraits. He was not shy when it came to the cake either, these boys are definitely fans of eating cake. Mr. J did stop and look at his mom with the expression of "Really? I can play with this and get messy? Are you sure Mom?", but as soon as she encouraged him to go ahead he dove right in and thoroughly enjoyed his birthday cake. Check out and enjoy the adorable-ness that is Baby J.
Seriously how stinkin' adorable is this cake?!?
One last image to leave you with, that will hopefully make you chuckle as much as it made me. This is big brother's hand reaching for a little left over cake once baby J was done with it. He's one funny kid.
Some sessions I am reminded of the endless amount of energy kids possess, this was one of those sessions. Mr. E is fast, like a speeding bullet, and has an amazing superhero narrative in his head. Just like a superhero he was ready to help me at a seconds notice, and get into "disguise" to fight evil doers. I met him and his family at Tyler State Park in Newtown PA and at first he was really shy, but it did not take him too long to open up and start having a great time. I knew that mom was bringing along his favorite set of capes that his grandmom had sew for him and that he loved to wear them. We started off with some formal family photos and then let him have some fun with his costumes. He showed off some of his flying skills and his best Batman and Captain America Poses for me, then we were off to the field. I had brought along my favorite little red radio flyer tricycle that was just his size, and he loved it.
This has to be one of the favorite sessions I've photographed lately, I really love this age. While they can be crazy fast and change directions often, I love that they are so uninhibited. I love that a three year old will just show you who they are and be them self. He loved pretending that he was super when he put that cape on, and had no qualms about it.
There is no "perfect" picture when you are photographing children, but there is an honest picture. A picture that shows them, and who they are at this age, they may not be perfectly posed and that's ok. I mean really how often are two and three year olds actually sitting still in one spot? It's honestly a rarity that I get more than five minutes of being able to instruct them on what to do. Mr. E did great with my suggestions on which game we should play next and that really let his personality shine. Through our interaction I was able to capture amazing action and personality.
Check out the great time he had during our Super Session at the Park.
I recently posed a question to my Facebook followers.
"What’s the most overwhelming thing about having your photo taken?"
Majority of them stated, getting their children to cooperate. One of my long term clients wrote this: "Mine use to be child behavior, but now that you do my pictures it's so easy. Sometimes it's better just to walk away and let you do you thing. They always come out better that way!"
Now honestly I didn't pay her to write that (even though it sounds that way), but I am going to share the advice that I gave her many moons ago. This is one of my biggest tips, even though I have a ton, but I'm leading with the biggie.
Children are very sensitive beings, which I'm sure you know. If you're happy, they get happy. If you're sad, they get sad. If you're excited, they get excited. If your stressed , they get stressed. Let me repeat that last one again, for effect. If you're stressed, THEY GET STRESSED.
So lets touch on this one a little bit further. Mom's train of thought :: Oh My Goodness Bobby better sit still in one spot and listen to this photographer. He better smile. He better not embarrass me. What if he is rude? What if he just ignores her? I'm going to take away his iPad time if he's not good, I swear:: Or, well, something along those lines at least. So the day of your session arrives and now these thoughts have been rolling around in your head for a while, the scary fuzzy purple monster, known as stress, is growing. You can feel the anxiety expanding. You hit my studio doorway or our meeting place at the park and it's oozing from your pours. I can feel it and so can your child.
Let's first address what "good" means for a portrait session with Wonderland Portrait Boutique. For me, I want your child to be him or herself. Every kid has their own unique personality, and I want to see it. All normal rules go out the window during a session. For example a few weeks ago I told a child put their feet on my couch with shoes on! Eek! She looked at her mom for approval as I said "I'm sure this is a no no at home, but that is why I bought a faux Leather couch, I can wipe it down." Mom nodded at her with approval, she happily popped her feet up. The only times I will really expect parents to correct a child is if they are doing something dangerous. If your two year old wiggles out of the pose I put him in, you don't need to correct them and threaten to take away their post session treat. That is just how a two year old is, and I know that I will have to continually put them back into a pose. When a kid is having a good time at a session they get silly and wiggly, it comes with the territory. On the opposite end are shy children. Shy kiddos generally just need a little bit of time to open up and get comfortable. With these children I find that I just need to speak softer to and play some silly games to gain their trust. All children go through stages, they just hit them at different times. I try to always be adaptable to each child's personality.
So now let's talk about that scary purple monster mom (or dad) has been carrying around for the last two weeks. When it comes to children's photography you can't have any lofty expectations of Gap Ads. All the children on my website and facebook page are normal kids, I never work with professional models. All these children are showing off their own authentic personalities. I've learned that asking a bright bubbly child to pose with a serious face doesn't always work out. Same thing with a shy child, they aren't going to be comfortable being photographed in a very populated location. You know your child better than anyone. Who are they? Do they love books? Would they like to show off their action figure collection? What is it about Bobby that make him who he is?
Once my long term client (mentioned above), realized her son is just a little funny man she was ok with the silly banter between he and I. He is allowed talk back to me during a session. Obviously, all parents want their kids to be respectful to adults, and he is, when we aren't shooting a session. When he's in front of my camera, he knows it's ok to call me a poopie head and he loves it, of course taking full advantage. Honestly, he makes me laugh so hard during sessions now, the things he comes up with are hilarious. That is him, that is his personality.
I am by no means a child psychologist, I've just seen a lot of kids in the last 12 years, and I've picked up on the trends. I've seen parents loose their cool way too often and I've found most of the problem is the parent's expectation. Most folks are on Pinterest now and see these amazing fun poses and images. The thing that non photographers have to remember is you can't compare your everyday to someone else's highlight reel. That is exactly what Pinterest is, a Highlight reel, it's the best of the best. I'm not saying that Pinterest worthy sessions aren't a possibility, what I'm saying is that expecting to duplicate an exact pose and expression isn't always a realistic goal. Letting your kids be themselves is going to yield your best result.
Parents striving for a "perfect" portrait often stress themselves out, which the child feels and acts appropriately to something they feel is now scary. They want to grab mom or dad's leg or be held. Every one of those parents says to me "I don't know why he is acting this way, he's never done this before". It's that common, I honestly hear it often. I don't want to come a across as I'm telling people how to parent their kids. I want my clients to have the best possible portraits. I know what it takes to have a successful session and I realize that parents want this information.
A successful session starts with getting your child involved and excited. Since this post is already pretty long, I've decided to make this advice the subject of my next newsletter. I'm going to send my top tips for a successful session directly to you. Click here to sign up for my Newsletter to ensure you will receive all these tips.
So I have to admit I've had a huge FAIL Happen recently. I became a victim of letting life happen to me and quickly loosing track of time. Almost weekly parents tell me how they didn't believe that the first year of their child's life goes by too fast until it's gone and they are now planning a Cake smash with me. I woke up the other day and realized it's APRIL!
Yeah I know my phone tells me daily, conveniently on the screen I unlock about a million times a day, but really how many of us actually pay attention to that. The last few months I've just been floating through life and letting it happen instead of making things happen and celebrating the everyday. I've fallen behind in all aspects of my life. I've lost touch with friends, in fact I still have Christmas presents hanging around I never shipped out (guess I should get on that). I've had to scramble to get projects done because all the sudden the deadline is on my door step faster then I thought two weeks could ever go by. I've seen home projects fall by the wayside. Oh and forget about that scrapbook I started on New Years Day, that just sits. There are also a few crochet projects that are sitting on the shelf gathering dust too.
Yet in the midst of all this, I'm always on the go. I always have something to do. Are they always the things that are most important to me? Eh. Probably not, but that's life. That is how it works. We become all consumed with the trivial little things, like trips to the mechanic's, or adding up the year's receipts and we miss out.
We miss out on all the great things in life.
Mainly I'm writing this post because I realized that my sweet niece is now 2 Months old. At the same time I'm realizing I never shared more than a few of her newborn portraits and I've already taken more portraits of her for Easter. So here is a giant Post of Alyssa and a Promise to myself to take life by the horns and direct it where I want to go, instead of waiting for things to happen to me.
Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.- Dr. Suess
So those Easter pictures... Yeah. See the days that I always choose for picture day also seem to coincide with Alyssa's Diva days. Her first Newborn session was, well to put it nicely, a challenge. They brought her back a week later JUST to do the tire poses and she was a perfect angel. I got a ton of shots of her. The Day that I chose for her Easter session, just happened to be the day she was laughing in the face of the sandman and missed her morning nap. I don't know if it was that she was tired or really hated the dress I picked up for her but she gave me some interesting expressions. I've never had a little one be so uninterested in the funny noises and faces I'm making at them. Normally these would not be photos that I would even share but her tiny little faces are pretty funny when looked at all together. My Favorite dress image has to be the close up face in the center of the next collage, she looks really unimpressed with me. (I think I may print and frame that one just to keep me grounded day to day.) We Finally coaxed a few grins out of her once we put her in her "casual" outfit. Also Please note that I feel the final image in this post should be captioned "Really guys? Bunny ears?"
I've had a lot of babies and birthdays in the studio recently. I've had six month baby milestone sessions, newborns, and this little guy for his birthday. He was super funny and was a fantastic little model. He sat and posed for a good long while, then he realized he could get up and go, at that point the chase was on. One is a very busy age, when everything needs to be discovered, so this was no surprise. The surprise came when we sat him down in front of his cake he sat there enthralled with his cake. He attempted to stuffed handful after handful of that blue icing right in his mouth, but much to our delight missed the mark a few times, getting it all over his face. Dad helped him dive past the icing into the actual cake and oh boy did little man love that. At that point he was grabbing handfuls of cake, totally in the cake eating zone, it was as if nothing could break his focus. Normally, I have babies who play in and eat the cake for a little while and then get bored of it, Mom had to practically tear him away when it was time to clean up. This little guys really cracked me up with his laser focus on the cake. Check out his awesome model shots followed by some cake destruction.
In the past year I've had a few of my regular clients move away because work was transferring them. This family is one of those families, they are moving over seas to Europe in the next few weeks. Mom contacted me early for her little one's first birthday session because of this. I've known mom and dad for years and photographed them before their little girl arrived last year and in previous years for holiday cards. (See last years Maternity Session Here) I'm excited for them as they begin a new adventure but I'm also a little sad because I know I will only get to see their family grow from a distance, through Facebook and what not. I was so happy to be able to photograph Little Miss G's first birthday before they took their big trip across the pond to their next adventure. She did fantastic. She wasn't in the least bit worried about getting messy and loved the cake. That being said it was a bit of a challenge for mom to get all the cakes off as she kept some clutched in her hand, Maybe a snack for later I suppose? I had one Wonderland Family move across the country this past Fall. While I love seeing the fun pictures they post from their new home in California, it's also kind of sad for me. I know that I missed out on their youngest's first birthday, and sadly I don't know anyone in their area so I was unable to refer them any photographers. I know another Wonderland Family who will be moving south in the next month or two. They will be too far to visit my studio for regular sessions but we've decided maybe we can get together when I'm on my annual vacation in North Carolina, as that will be just a short drive for them.
All of my Wonderland Families are special to me, I like to think of every single one as a friend, and I truly miss them. I wish all of them luck in the next chapters of their lives and I plea to them, keep posting updates to Facebook and Instagram. I can't wait to see who your little people grow up to be.
When mom and dad arrived at my Feasterville - Trevose Photo studio it was actually flurrying, the perfect greeting for a Winter Newborn. This pretty little lady did a great job for her first photo session, she was super sleepy and so easy going. Born at the end of November we did a few "regular" newborn setups, but of course had to do some Christmas shots to commemorate her First Christmas. I'm super excited to share this beautiful little lady with all of you. Enjoy!
As often as I complain about being cold (which is often and I'm sorry) I do love the look of freshly fallen snow, in fact I purchased snow pants JUST so I could comfortably photograph sessions in the snow. I was very excited when Beth and Gary approached me to photograph their maternity and newborn sessions. When a Client says this to you: "I know I don't want to do all normal Maternity pictures I like to be different and creative... I want originality and I know that's you to a "T" and I'm so happy I have you as my photographer." That is every creative person's dream. I adore when clients trust me to create something wonderful for them. My head is filled with ideas that I don't always get to implement because well they sound a little crazy at first. Kind of like " I want to put you in a snowy field bare shouldered wrapped in red fabric", sometimes that scares folks, but not Beth she was all for it and I was thrilled. I'm equally thrilled with how everything came out. I've had this idea tucked in the back of my mind for quite some time now. We've all seen images of Cardinals sitting on a branch of a snowy tree and that is kind of where I found the inspiration to go with red, I considered purple but I really wanted Beth to stand out and be the main focus. Beth and Gary were expecting a baby girl this April, I've known them both for a long time and have photographed them numerous times already. I was thrilled to hear that they were pregnant. For the baby's nursery they have a jungle/safari/camo theme, so they painted this great letter "G" to hang in the baby's room, it was awesome to utilize that throughout the session, making it even more personal. It is certainly a good thing we photographed this session when we did, Miss Gwendolyn arrived just 5 days after. She was 6 weeks early, but from what I've heard from Mom and Dad she was just ready for the world. Everyone is doing great and I can't wait to meet the aptly named Gwendolyn Snow for her newborn session in a few weeks.
January has been bustling with babies this year. Many of my wonderland families have new additions arriving in 2014, and I'm so excited to meet them all. This is one of those families who has just welcomed their third child, a little lady. I also photographed their younger son, and now middle child, when I was first starting out on my own. I'm so thankful that these families keep coming back to me with all of their milestones. I always say that one of the best parts of being a children's photographer is seeing the kids as they grow. I'm not with them everyday so I'm always a surprised by all the new talents they have to show off every time they come to have portraits taken. As I said she is the third child and her two big brothers are just bonkers over her already. After her 2 year old brother woke from his nap he hung out and watch the session patiently till it was his turn too. He was so excited when he got to sit with "baby Gracie" and take a picture. I just love how he said her name it was adorable.
Check out all of Miss Grace's fab accessories, at just 9 days old she was already all decked out in some of the cutest little things. The Scarves Grace is wrapped in came all the way from the Netherlands just to be used for this session. One of her fabulous aunts lives there and brought them back when she came home to Philly to meet little miss. Mom had brought along quite the assortment of headbands and hair bows already so it was no problem finding something that matched each one of the new scarves.
Wonderland Portrait Boutique prefers to photographs newborn babies with in the first 10 days. Philadelphia newborn photographer serving the bucks county and Philadelphia areas. Children and Family photographer Dana Cook.
As many of you know I'm generally a studio or outdoor photographer, well that is about to change. This fall I am adding Lifestyle photography to my offerings. What is lifestyle you may ask? Well Lifestyle sessions are photographed in your home, they are very relaxed, guided sessions that use your home as the backdrop to your story. There is never too much posing or forcing of smiles, everyone can stay nice and comfortable because they are at home. Lifestyle sessions are a great opportunity to show off your family's personalities and style. Not only will I be offering these sessions for families but I will also add them for babies and newborns. A newborn lifestyle session will differ from a traditional newborn session in a few ways. For one I will not bring any of my props or blankets with me, everything used would be personal items from your home. Two, your home is the backdrop making these photos much more personal, and reflective of your everyday life. Three, they are relaxed sessions, so there is no need to get too gussied up with the kids in itchy sweaters.
This is a style of photography that I have long admired and adored. For the longest time I just didn't think it was something I was capable of, but thanks to a few friends who encouraged me to just go for it I gave it a try, and I love it. The Images you will find below are reflective of what a Lifestyle baby session would look like.
For More information on Lifestyle sessions please email me at WonderlandPB@gmail.com.