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.
Viewing entries in
How did we get here? This past weekend my little boy turned two. It’s almost unbelievable to me that my son is two years old already. It’s been a very, very fast two years, its gone by in a flash and frankly I don’t like it. (hahaha) He’s a wild, snugly, car loving little crazy one and I wouldn’t want him any other way. I’m so glad i’m his mama and I really can’t wait to see who he grows up to be, but just slow down little man.
4 Big Reasons You Need to Schedule a Family Portrait Session Now! | Bucks County Family Photographer
WHY ARE FAMILY PORTRAITS SO IMPORTANT??
Tell Your Story!
I recently surveyed my friends and clients about their experiences and opinions on photography. One of the questions in the survey asked if they had taken a photo with their child/family. I was pleasantly surprised to see that majority of those who completed the survey had in fact answered Yes to this question. My heart swelled at this information. You'll often hear me preach about the importance of photography, but I'm a photographer so DUH Of course I feel it's important! Through the survey though I found that so many of you also see this importance.
Now on the Flip-side I was also rather disappointed in some of the answers, one in particular hit home for me, the question was " As a woman I would invest in photos of myself to pass down to my Children. True or False". The result was about an even split ( actually 45% Yes and 55% No). Many have heard the story of why I set out at a young age to be a photographer. When I was about 11 years old a Family member lost her mother to Cancer, she only had one photo of her mother. In the Photo her mother was hiding behind someone else trying to avoid the camera, because "she hated to have her picture taken". Even at the age of 11 I felt this family member's sadness at the fact this was all she had left.
I make sure my husband and I have our Portraits Made at least Bi-annually. No we don't have kids yet, but I want to make sure they know the love that they came from when they finally do arrive. Once we have a child I will make our Family Portraits an annual occurrence. I know that might be a pipe dream right now, I know that life with kids gets crazy and busy. I know that money will be tight in those first few years, but I also know that the money spent on portraits will be an afterthought when I'm sending my son or daughter off to college. I know that I will miss the tiny baby curls after their first haircut, and the missing front teeth once the big kid teeth come in. I know I'll miss all these things about my kids when they have far surpassed these life stages, but what will my kids miss of me if I'm not in any of those pictures with them? Will they miss that time I had that really weird haircut when they were 3 years old? Will they miss the way that their chubby little baby legs wrap my waist as I hold them at a Year old? Will they know how important their father is to me now, before they were even here? No. They aren't going to remember these things, because they will be too young to remember these things. A photograph can remind them. A photograph can help them see. They'll be able to see who we are before, during and after them.
Your Children LOVE YOU!
Do you know the biggest reason moms give me for booking a family portrait session?
"I'm never in any of the pictures, it's always the baby/kids and my husband."
"I'm never in any of the pictures"
Just let that sink in a moment. I applaud these Mamas for realizing that they were missing and for doing something about it. I know I will be that mom. This may surprise some of you, knowing my husband is an amazing artist, but he refuses to learn how to use my SLR. Already the ratio of pictures of him is way higher than pictures of me. Now in all fairness he's more worried he will break it than actually refusing the knowledge, but still. So ladies I feel you, my scrapbooks are uneven too. Having someone else take the picture is the best way I can figure to show up in pictures in those first few years.
In the last year I've seen this article pop up in my Facebook timeline more than a few times. If you have never read it, it's basically about how much your child loves you in spite of the flaws mothers see physically in themselves. ( I warn you now you might cry reading it).
After moms tell me they are never in the pictures I tell them how a family session with Wonderland Portrait Boutique works. I always start off with the family shots then move on to each parent with the kids, the kids together and individually and then mom and dad together. 'Mom and Dad together' is probably the biggest objection I get for small family sessions "Oh we don't need that" "I'd rather the rest just be the kids". I don't know if people feel silly or what, but the Parents together is always a favorite shot during my extended family sessions. During these sessions generally Mom and Dad are now grandparents with older kids, it's the older "kids" (who are now parents themselves) that encourage their parents (grandmom and grandpop at this point) to get a photo together. So obviously it's important to the children that they have a nice photo of their parents. So when you say to me "we" don't need that, don't be surprised if I tell you, It's not for you, it's for the kids when they are older.
It's Good for your Kids!
The reasons to schedule an annual family portrait far out weigh capturing this moment in time.
There is also the fact that displaying family photos in your home improves your child's self esteem and gives them a sense of place and purpose. This past February Design Aglow posted an article to their blog on this very subject. Here are a few quotes:
“I think it is really important to show a family as a family unit. It is so helpful for children to see themselves as a valued and important part of that family unit."
“Displaying photos prominently in the home sends the message that our family and those in it are important to one another, and we honor the memories we have experienced,“
“It says we love you and care about you. You’re important.” '
A LOT Changes in a Year!
The photos below are from two sessions, almost a full year apart. The Family session with the pink outfits is from May 2014 and the mommy and me session in teal is from this past June (2015). I looked at these together for the first time today, and this is a perfect example of how much changes in a year. Although dad isn't in the second session, because it was a special for mother's day, he came to the session, so I can tell you he looks pretty much the same, as does mom. Their Daughter though almost looks like a totally different kid. Look at the little sass and attitude she has now and THAT HAIR!! Seriously the cutest little personality, and so funny! Last year at around 1 she wasn't as responsive to me, which I'm not ashamed to admit, that is just how it goes some days. One year olds sometimes just don't care that I am there and on a mission to photograph them. This year though she was my best pal, and posed. In just a year, actually 11 months, her personality has blossomed and really started to show to the point I was able to capture it in Photographs. Now lets not count out that first session. It really shows how she loved to interact with her parent at that age, which will be huge to her when she is going off to college.
Get in the Picture, Your children will thank you for it!
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.
Today I am back from a Week of Vacation (Mini Blog post to follow), while I was away I scheduled a few picture posts on my Facebook page. They were Rather Popular posts so here are a few more of my little buddy. You may recognize this guy from my blog post about how I find some of my best locations. We looked all over Bucks County for the perfect location for this 3rd Birthday Session but, this awesome little spot was actually in his own back yard, which made him super comfortable during the entire session. Mom and Dad jumped in on the fun as well for a few quick family shots. I really Love this session, to me, it screams what it's like to be a 3 year old boy. Splashing in puddles, trying to catch creepy crawly things in Jars, playing with Cars in the driveway, and just generally goofing around with Dad.
Well It seems that birthday season is in full swing at the studio lately, I've had a ton of first and second birthday boys and girls in for their portraits. It's very exciting to see how big each of these kiddos are getting, some of them I've even photographed as Newborns which is even more exciting for me. This little love bug and I got the pleasure of meeting this past Christmas, so she may look familiar from my Facebook page. Miss M is now celebrating her second birthday. Her theme this year is Commotion in the Ocean,to go along with her favorite book (like really how cute is that?!). I love "different" themes, they always challenge me creatively. I had a little trouble at first with the ocean theme, I've seen mermaids and fish done before, but this was just different. Mom sent me the invitation to work from and the ideas started flowing. I pulled the entire background design out of my noggin and set out to find items to help bring to life what I saw in my head. I knew I wanted to make this special for her, we were attempting a second birthday cake smash, which isn't often done, so it had to be special. So a little paint and paper and about an hour or two and we had an under the sea set.
This little one always cracks me up when I see her, she's a pip. As I set up for the first shots she followed me around the studio not wanting to miss a trick, and kept asking mom "Where's Dana?" when I left the room. Of course she is two now so she is always on the move, which made for a very quick formal session. We really got some great shots that day, and I think everyone had a good time, I know I did.
As I stare out my office window at the frozen Tundra that is my backyard, I dream of the warmer weather that is just months away. I love Christmas and all the other holidays thrown in with it, but that's about it when it comes to the winter for me. I'd rather be on the warm beach reading a book than trekking through a snow cover forest( though it is really pretty and fun to photograph the novelty wear quickly with me). Thankfully during the summer and early fall I had some great shoots, and I saved them. I knew there would come a day over this winter that I would be "over it". So, I squirreled away a few images to remind myself and others of the warmth that is on it's way back even if it doesn't seem like it while the snow rages outside of my window. Today I have a little guy that I have been photographing since day one. Many of you know him as "tire baby" because I actually used a dragster slick in his newborn session. Which I would like to point out was photographed in my small apartment kitchen my first year in business, I was also the second floor apartment. His father carried this thing all the way up stairs and then polished the rim for the session. I have never doubted these parents in their dedication to having great portraits, they are a pleasure to work with because they truly enjoy the experience and contribute some great things. Well this year was Mr."T"'s second birthday and right now he loves all things construction, he was also going through that super shy toddler phase and didn't know what to make of me.
We had quite a time finding an appropriate location for a construction session, short of trespassing on an active work site we were stumped. Finally in the 11th hour mom & dad found a friend who had some equipment parked and said it would be fine for us to shoot in his yard. Score!! After we got "T" comfortable he was climbing all over that thing and running all about like a crazy little two year old should, though his is a very deep thinker at the same time and often paused to see what I was doing.
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.
It's that time of year! The time when little boys and girls are preparing to make their First Holy Communion. The stores are packed with beautiful white dresses and handsome suits, hair appointments being made and parties being planned. I still remember my First Holy Communion, it was such an exciting day and I loved wearing that fluffy white dress. My mother still has the portrait hanging on the wall.
So you've got the outfit, booked the party, and invited the family, what else is there left to do? To schedule your portraits of course! I'm currently booking April and May for both studio and on location Communion portraits. Heirloom Communion portraits will hang on your walls for years to come, they should be a beautiful representation of this important moment in your child's life. What would be lovelier then a crisp white suit or dress in a lovely garden setting? I'm so excited for this time of year and I can't wait to meet you and your little lady or fella.
This is the studio sample of my Boutique Books, and I absolutely adore it! To begin with the quality is just out of this world. It has super thick pages that are printed on actual photo paper and not on press paper like other books. There are also no gutters in the centers of the pages, so nothing goes missing, which is great for all those fun wide images I like to spread across two pages. The pages of this book are standard surface but you can also have them printed on Metallic paper as well. To change things up a bit I had the cover of this book done in Canvas, which has a really great texture. The Boutique Books come in 8x8, 10x10, and 12x12, with either a leather or custom cover.
Custom Albums are a great family heirloom to flip through on family nights and pass along for generations to come. Many people love the fact that they get so many of their images without having to put them all up on the walls and can conveniently store them on a shelf for till they want to reminisce.
I'd like to share with you a fun personalized mini theme session I photographed for one of my Favorite little gal pals. This is Giuliana, Her parents own a Restaurant and Pizzeria in the area. They had done photos of their older son in a pizza box when he was this age and it prominently hangs in the Restaurant for all to see. Mom wanted to do something a little different for her princess and went with a homemade pasta theme. Giuliana had a great time munching on the spaghetti, but wasn't much of a fan of sitting inside the pot, but I still love that little face.