The Newborn Portrait: our precious little ones.

“Footprints”

Someday I’ll jump in puddles, take a stroll or race
Someday I’ll walk across the street or maybe walk in space
Someday I’ll scale a mountain to watch the eagles soar
Someday I’ll walk a tight rope or explore the ocean floor
Someday these feet will do some things that only Heaven knows
But for today they are happy just to wiggle all their toes.

 Author: Unknown

I have had such a ball growing the newborn & children area of my business.  I began as a family photographer then added weddings to the mix.  Over the past ten years I was so busy with weddings I had little time to breathe. Now with the fluctuations in the market, I have had the opportunity to expand the precious little ones area.  Oh my, this is another area of photography that has changed considerably over the years.  But, I have to say, many things remain the same.  The love that is evident on a new parents face is priceless. I love seeing the tiny little toes, the precious scrunched up faces when they really don’t like the buff pictures, the beautiful tiny eyelashes, the sleepy little yawns, and of course the many smiles, giggles & laughter that I so humbly get to enjoy in each child’s first year images.  What a fabulous job I have.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Please enjoy a small sampling of the many joys I have had the opportunity to photograph over the past year.

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The “NEW” senior portrait

The “new” senior portrait is a topic I feel so excited to write about. I have spent countless hours scouring the internet and other senior portrait photographers to get ideas about what high school seniors are looking for these days. When I first began shooting senior portraits it was much like one would expect in the days of film.  You would shoot a roll of Kodak Portra film, in studio only, and then sort through 36 images and pick the best images to showcase to your clients in a folio.  WOW, so much has changed in the last ten and even last two years.  Maybe five years ago I added environmental portraits to the mix.  We would still shoot in studio, funny, one background color only,  but also go to a location outside and shoot some natural light portraits.  This worked for many years for my high school seniors but then the market started changing again. Now the new must have is a stylized shoot.  Yikes, what the heck!  I have three children.  Two of whom have stayed very active vocally with my photography business. I have heard from the most vocal of the three, “Mom, the kids want something different .”  Of course I didn’t quite get what the “different” was.  My son kept  trying to explain this new vision with his words and actually picked up my camera, shot a few images and tried to explain.  Yup, I still didn’t  get what he was talking about. I spent my winter months rebuilding my website and redefining my marketing.  Winter became spring with an abundance of green and the wonderful New England colors.  I started  trying to shoot  this new style of photography.  Minimal studio work! The kids just aren’t looking for the posed images anymore.  They want something fresh, something unique which defines their style and personality. I start thinking, this could be fun!  No more perfectly posed images with perfect lighting ratios, blah, blah, blah.  Just go with it I tell myself.  So I give it a go and try to shoot the way  I view everyone else online  shooting.  It so totally goes against everything I have ever learned in regards to photography.  OK, so I don’t shoot “exactly” like the rest of the industry is doing.  I still don’t get the high ISO. We were taught to shoot on 100 ISO with a minimum aperture of F8.0 for a portrait, but I have tried it and I have to admit, it has its purposes. At least the newer digital DSLR cameras have come a long way in efforts to make higher ISO shooting a much better quality image.  I won’t go into all the camera settings, the crazy expensive fast lenses, the $3000 camera bodies with full frame sensors….I will just post some images which show the different styles of shooting.  I do like it.  It’s different, it’s fun, it’s fresh and it pushes me to think differently. I guess if you can’t keep learning and trying new things, you will never keep moving forward.  Enjoy the series of images.  I had a blast creating them and thank you to my high school seniors displayed who never complained when I asked you to do some crazy things and tell you to just, “go with it”

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The Value of a Printed Image

Today digital media is the rage. Maybe not a rage I am totally confident with but a hot topic none the less. Because of this deviation in the photographic mind set I felt it important to make a statement as a photographer about the benefits of a printed image.  To say I am very passionate about printing images would be an understatement. It is a topic I speak about often when interviewing wedding clients as well as something I address when photographing a family, baby or an individual portrait. I began my photographic journey experimenting with countless rolls of film and massive amounts of  slide film.  I have printed 4×6 images from all those rolls and books upon books of mounted slides. I saw the image posted below on my facebook page and absolutely loved it.  it was the inspiration for this blog.

print itI am an advocate for printed images.  I swap out images of my children as I update them often. Printed images in frames are placed around my home in locations where they can be easily viewed.  It makes me happy when I walk into a particular room and see a picture of one of my children on a table or wall. I reflect upon when the image was taken and how my child’s personality was at that moment in time. It also makes me reflect upon how they have evolved into the young adults they are today.  I am actually sitting here smiling as I write thinking about those images. It is not to say I also do not have countless files of digital images in addition to what I have printed.  I do.  However, my favorites are printed and displayed so  myself and others can enjoy the beauty of “the Print”.  It is such a shame many people rely on “the disk” for their memories. I still have wallet prints in my purse.  Call me old fashioned but I have to say, when I want to show someone a picture of my kids or another important image I have it at my fingertips. When your phone, Ipad, Ipod or whatever device you use to display your images is “out of juice” it is impossible to be displayed.  It was also mentioned in conversation recently, and of course my ears perked up, that when a computer crashes or disks are lost, poof…there goes your memories. Lost forever. A print can be restored.   A digital file? Not so sure.  Prints can last a lifetime and be viewed forever with our eyes.  Wouldn’t you say this is priceless?

The Life cycle of photography, building relationships.

It has been a very busy few months growing the children & babies area of my photography business. I have truly enjoyed every smile, giggle, temper tantrum and tear from each of my littlest clients. I began my photography business focusing primarily on weddings and portraits in the early 2000.  Since that time I have photographed hundreds of weddings and have had the privilege of watching those brides and grooms become moms and dads. What an incredible honor to be included in the documenting of those family milestones. It humbles me on so many levels.  Selecting the images for this blog made me reflect upon the many years I have been working with this one particular family.  I got to relive the wedding, pregnancies, births and growth of this  family whom has become very special to me over the years.  I remember the first time this particular bride asked me to do maternity and newborn pictures for her firstborn son.  I hadn’t had a lot of exposure with this type of photography in the past.  I made that clear to my client that it would be a new venture for me but I told her I would be more than happy to give it a try. She showed up with pictures, ideas, props and lots of patience. Today this bride has three beautiful children, a loving husband and father and a family photographer who has had the pleasure of photographing them at all their precious moments. Enjoy the images I have selected.  They bring so many happy memories for me not only as their photographer but now as a family friend as well.

It all started with a simple, “I DO”

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And then a special arrival of Baby number one in July of 2009.  They had a beautiful baby boy who lit up their world.

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In 2011 what a surprise!  One became three with the arrival of twins.  A precious baby girl and another beautiful boy to add to their loving family.

2013-02-19_005so many memories, so much love!  It took only ONE + ONE and a simple “I DO” to create TWO + THREE which made the fabulous FIVE.  A beautiful family I can’t thank enough for allowing me to share in all the wonder and joy of their growing family.

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Photographing Children

I can still remember my first experience having professional pictures taken for my oldest son. I was exhausted.  Exhausted from trying to make him smile and act like, what?  Not a child? I can look back now and smile knowing I was no different than any new parent wanting lovely, perfect pictures of my child. I still to this day have an image of each of my children from when they were a child hanging in my hallway.  Are they perfect pictures?  They are absolutely not perfect. But they are perfect of each child.  Individually they capture the nature and quirks of each one of them when they were the tiny little people I remember. Sean with his I dare you look, Colin with his dirty little feet and constant pout and Caitlin, with the twinkle in her eye knowing she was up to something. Those images captured the children that they once were.  My children now 21, 18 & 16 have evolved into unique individuals with those same…tiny little traits…that were first snapped on film so many moons ago. When planning to photograph your child, don’t be so concerned with what you consider perfect.  Perfect lighting, clothing, location, perfect everything. Try and concern yourself with the photographer being able to capture the unique and special qualities of each of your children and the relationships they have with their siblings and parents.  Now these images are what you may treasure more when your children are older rather than the forced smiles that say…My mom is going to give me a treat if I smile for this person with the camera.  I’ve done the same.  I understand the motives.  I am just giving you some thought in what can make an experience more pleasurable for both you and your children. Your child may or may not react well on the scheduled day of your portraits.  It is best to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. And of course, with a little luck, as shown in the images above capture the beauty and simplicity of an affectionate kiss, playing with mom and dad and a really cool fence to hang onto and look through.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

This poem has always been one of my favorites.  I remember reciting it for public declaration at Boston Latin.  Yes, we actually called it public declaration.  This poem really reminds me of the choices I have made in the course of my career.  I received a Hospitality Degree from The University of Massachusetts in Amherst and used that degree wisely to support my family for over twenty years.  But, the path less traveled for me was taken in 2004 when I chose to pursue a career I loved and had a great passion for. My photography has always been a source of joy and an outlet for my artistic creativity.  I find a perfect balance between my business sense and natural creativity. I love being able to capture so many different perspectives behind the lens of a camera. So often I hear the dreaded statement…” That camera takes good pictures”.  It’s not the camera that takes the pictures but the individual behind the lens with the insight and ability to record a feeling or moment in time.  Not everyone has the ability “to see”  when looking at a particular subject. Take a moment when looking at others images and see if they make you “feel”. That is my objective with my photography.  I want you to feel the connection.  Whether that connection is part of nature or through the unity in relationships, I want it captured.  It exists. The road less traveled? I traveled that road in 2004 when I took my business full time.  And THAT, has made all the difference. Choose wisely.  We all have a destined path to walk. I have been fortunate I have found and continue to walk the proverbial path with mine.

Family Fun

Family Sessions can be so much fun.  I always let my clients know that the style and feel of their images will come from the personality of the group. Clothing should be worn that best enhances the personality and style of the individual.  If you never wear dress clothes, why dress that way for a portrait? Your family should be viewed as they are in normal everyday living. The Allen Family was relaxed, agreed to all the shots their mom wanted, including replications of shots done when they were children, which made the session quick and easy.  The images showed the personality of the siblings and their interactions with each other.  Isn’t that how you would want your images captured? I have to admit, having been taught by a traditionalist, I still include posed shots. I consider my style of photography the best of all the worlds. You get the posed, but also creative and fun.  As a client you are offered numerous choices in style and composition. With so many choices it tickles me to constantly hear…” It’s so tough to decide.  I love them all.”