I could go on and on about how purely magical this shoot was… but I think I will just let you see for yourself.
As far as wardrobe goes, I generally believe comfort is key. If you are tugging and adjusting your outfit our whole session, or wearing something you are super uncomfortable in, it will reflect in your face. But every now and then, I agree it’s fun to fancy it up a bit… esp for holiday cards. Of course, it ended up being a pretty cold evening so the girls were freezing, but the wind played perfectly into the images. And you’ll notice I really fell in love with the black and whites for this session, such a classic feel with their outfits. Happy 2nd Birthday, Charlee!
I get asked this question often, and because I aim to please, I have thought about it truly and deeply… but my conclusion is always the same. I don’t shoot mini sessions, and I want to take a moment to explain why.
The short answer is, I just don’t work that way. I don’t like to rush. So much in life is rushed. And, rushing kids just doesn’t work. It’s really that simple.
Will we get some really great shots in 30 minutes? Yes, of course.
Will we get all the amazing candids and authentic relaxed/playful/curious/loving moments that I set out for at every session? No, I can tell you, we won’t.
But what it really boils down to, is time. The time we spend together is essential for so many reasons.
First, if everyone has time to relax a bit and let me do what I do, we will always achieve the magic. Even if your kid is grumpy that day, or YOU are grumpy that day, or it was chaos getting out the door and everyone is grumpy that day. A full session allows time for everyone to chill out and refocus on the fun. Or, maybe everyone is in a great mood, but it’s taking a minute to warm up and get comfortable with the camera. There are a million scenarios I could share from my experience, blowout diapers – snack breaks – meltdowns – the usual toddler dilly dallying that happens on a daily basis in my house, but all of them just point to how necessary our time is together.
Second, my creative juices have really JUST started flowing about 30 minutes in! The last thing I want to do is say goodbye, reset my brain and start all over with another family. If I’m meeting you for the first time, I want time to get to know everyone and figure out what puts the sparkle in your eye. If you are a repeat client, I want that time to reconnect with your kids, so we really get the authentic smiles and moments we are all hoping for.
My favorite is, “…but we only need a couple good shots” …
My first thought when I hear that is… do you know what it takes to get those good shots? I will say, 95% of the time it takes more than 30min. With kids, things can take time, and that’s okay! Plus, I don’t know about you, but I’m a mom of two and I run a business full time – it’s all a labor of love, but I’m tired! If only for this couple hours we spend together every year, let’s slow down and relish in all that love we have for our children, and our spouse, and what makes us so awesome. If we relax, our children will too, and the images will just be that much better.
And guess what, I don’t want to only give you a couple good shots… I want you to have ALL the good ones! Even if you don’t think you care about them now.
Generally, I just don’t think I am the photographer you should hire if you only want “a couple good shots”. I don’t want you to “say cheese” in front of a Christmas tree, that is so boring and not why I do what I do. Each image is like a work of art to me. I want to document your life and your love. I want to capture those beautiful parenting moments that might feel a bit cloudy right now, but 10 or 20 years from now, you will miss so much your heart aches. I want the REAL emotions, the good and the bad. And, I want the quiet moments toward the end of our session when everyone let’s their shoulders relax and finally kind of forgets I’m there. That’s my favorite part, it happens every time.
I think you get the gist. I could go on, I’m obviously very passionate about this subject, but I will leave it at that. And for all those sensitive types, I am in no way trying to come down on the photogs that offer mini sessions. I understand why they do them and who knows, maybe some day I’ll change my mind. Never say never… But probably not any time soon.
Alas, here is an awesome example of a truly relaxed morning stroll I took with some of my favorite clients around Abbot Kinney. Now, it was hot and humid as hell at 8am, and we were all sweating like dogs… and, I was a couple months pregnant with Atlas and super nauseas the whole time. So yeah, not the perfect circumstances for any of us, but you would never know it because we took our time. Enjoy!
I often think about how these are the days. Right now, this is it. These are the days we will look back on as parents and reminisce about how it seems like just yesterday our babies were so little, and now they are off to high school or college, or running a business or about to get married. Every single person with grown kids will tell you, enjoy every minute – it goes by so fast. Not something we all enjoy hearing ALL THE TIME. I mean, when you are sleep deprived and covered in spit up half the day, the last thing we want to hear is “enjoy every minute”… In reality, it can be hard to enjoy every single minute, but I can see what they are saying.
From the outside looking in, it is much easier for me to see the beauty of this time in your current life – no matter what haze or chaos you might be functioning in with all that is going on in your life. And, this is my favorite part of what I do, documenting the moments I know you will look back on someday and say “wow, those were the days”. Even if you had come from a crappy day at work, or it was chaos getting everyone ready and out the door for our session. None of those things will actually matter in the grand scheme of things. You will only remember the beauty that we captured and the love that was there that day, and the rest will fall to the way side. Or at least that’s the hope.
Not only was this yet another very special time for another very special family, near and dear to my heart… but the weather was incredible, the location was perfect and the light, OH THE LIGHT… the light was pure magic. You’ll see. It all seemed like a dream to me and I couldn’t believe it was their first family photo shoot ever!! Such naturals these guys were. There are a million. I’m not even going to apologize… Enjoy!
I have several gorgeous locations to recommend, but some times it’s nice just to shoot in a place that has sentimental meaning to you. That way, in 30 years you can look back on your images and have truly special memories that arise, in addition to your littles were little, of course. This family loves doing picnics at Barnsdall Art Park. If you are an LAist, you have probably heard of their summer events. Super fun. So, we galavanted around a bit and then settled for a cozy picnic with their super cutie six month old, Milo.