Our precious little newborns

A baby boy or girl filled your heart with pride,
What a joy you feel inside.
With tiny little hands and tiny little feet,
Every time you look him or her the heart skips a beat.
I can say this without any doubt at all,
You will always be there to catch him or her from the fall.
And another wish I make to you from me,
Mummy’s little angel he or she will always be.
When a baby feels a hand rest upon a Mum,
And hears the sound of a low deep hum,
I hope he knows, and to himself  or herself thinks gladly,
This touch and voice is of his or her loving Mummy or Daddy.

I loved this little poem when I read it. I have been meaning to get caught up with some of my blogging but with shooting each day, weddings and my trip to Italy, there just never seemed to be enough time in any day. I am thankful for my new office assistant Mary who has helped me considerably in the last month. I can finally take a bit of time to get some of my favorite images posted from the last month or so. I wanted to feature a newborn blog since I absolutely adore working with all the little babies. It really doesn’t seem so long ago that mine were this small. I am so excited to report that this part of my business keeps growing & growing. That thought just makes me feel all warm and tingly and humbled in so many ways. I am thankful for everyone’s vote of confidence in my ability to capture their precious little bundles throughout the first year with my Grow with me Baby Plan.

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Grow with Me Baby Plan

I haven’t done a baby blog in quite some time so thought it only appropriate to post a few images from the last year to highlight my baby plan.  I am having such a ball with the little ones.  I love when they come to me as a tiny little newborn and progress to the one year old and toddler stages.  It is so exciting to see the growth and charming little personalities evolve over this time. I know I have mentioned before the three images I  have posted of my children when they were quite young.  They aren’t  perfectly posed pictures; they are the pictures that show the personalities of each of my children at that particular point in time.  When I stop to look and actually reflect on those images, it’s funny, they still to this day have those same personality traits that I captured so long ago in those images.

Babies are such an amazing gift and becoming a parent regardless of whether it’s for the first or sixth time, is one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences of one’s life. Although it isn’t quite possible to sum up the joy of a baby in several words, many of these images do a great job in summarizing some of the personalities I aspire to capture of your little ones.

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Mr B :: Six month Baby Plan Session :: Half way to ONE year

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I really have to admit, that what started out as a filler for my photography, has turned into an amazing segment of my business.  I absolutely adore working with babies and children. I love the sparkle in their eyes, the many facial expressions, the quirky little personalities and the intrigue I get to witness as they grow into toddlers.  What a fabulous career I have! Mr B was full of charm and smiles at his six month session.  He is a beautiful baby boy, and I might add, the winner of the 2014 Beautiful Baby Contest that I host every year! Enjoy the images of Mr B’s bubble bath and other darling set ups! Please feel free to smile along with him and chuckle as you witness his cute little expressions as we photograph his six month session.

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Photography Education 101

I promised myself that in 2014 I would have some new goals for my business.  My goals for 2014 would be to educate people on the benefits of professional photography and to work on different styles of lighting to create dramatic effects for my images.  I had started working on each of these goals in 2013 but really wanted to  bump it up a notch.

Now for education, I think I want to head in a different direction than most blogs do about why to hire a professional photographer.  We have heard countless times about the cost of running our business, the expensive equipment, the editing time, blah, blah, blah.  I have already written those articles myself too.  Yup, got my dander up too just like everyone else in the business. My sister told me after I wrote the last “why to” blog that no one cared about all that stuff.  And, to tell you the truth, many don’t.  Everyone has their reasons for the choices they make regarding their photography.  Whether it be style, price, quality or another reason all together. You all make decisions that you can only hope are the right ones for you. I respect everyone’s decision to hire whom they choose yet I want to address, yes, this is the education part I was talking about, a few points to consider. Today’s education has to do with wedding photography since that has always been a large area of my business. I have been fortunate enough to  have couples supply information when I am not the photographer they choose. This gives me a foundation to work with and information to keep helping my business move forward in today’s economy.

When you hire your photographer whether it is a friend, someone right out of school, someone that does it on the weekends, someone that does it full time, whoever you hire….Please make sure to notice the quality of the work they are showing you.  Now, this is another issue.  Some people just can’t identify quality or are willing to accept sub par images because they just plain old don’t know the difference. This may help. Ask to see multiple weddings and a progression of images from one particular wedding.  Make sure you aren’t being shown only a handful of the best images taken for the one wedding they shot. Are they creative?  Are they well lit? Is the exposure correct? Are they composed well?  Every photographer has a different style and artistic vision. There is a wide range of pricing depending on the level of experience and commitment to excellence that you will receive. When a newer photographer enters the market it only makes sense to offer their services for a nominal fee while they are creating a portfolio.  I did it myself back in the day. That way, when I made all my mistakes, the client knew I was newer to the industry and was willing to sacrifice on some level.  It was either that or they just really liked me:) Make sure to ask yourself, “What am I willing to sacrifice”? For a wedding, honestly, I don’t think I would be to willing to sacrifice my memories with a newer photographer.  But, that’s’ just me.  I know what it takes emotionally and physically to shoot a wedding. Many newer photographers haven’t had the years of experience dealing with venue bloopers, DJ issues, nervous brides, late florists and yes, sorry if I offend anyone because I know you have a job too, the makeup and hair specialists who tend to run late! What to do in those situations comes with experience.  It is hard just to wing it when you haven’t dealt with the situation before. So back to quality! I have learned to go with the flow when a client tells me they have hired a friend or Uncle so and so is going to shoot their wedding.  I totally understand and respect the fact that we all have budgets.  I do too just like everyone else.  Just be aware when making your photography choices that it is the images you will have after the party is over.  One can only hope that your wedding will last forever.  There is no “do over”. You get what you get.  The feelings and emotions cannot be recaptured after the most special day of your life is over. Do your homework and really think about what you want to walk away with and what you are willing to sacrifice to make a budget.  I have done my homework.  Guess I am just a good student.  Most Wedding Photographers in the Western Ma area that have had years of experience and are dedicated to excellence range in price from $1600 to $3000 for full wedding coverage.  Make your choices wisely.  If you are being offered an extremely low price, there is usually a reason.  Unfortunately you may not realize that reason until it is too late.  It is funny, when I get quotes for various services that I need, I almost NEVER take the lowest quote and sometimes take the highest. It’s all about the quality and workmanship to me.  But then again, that’s just me here too.  Do what you are comfortable with but make good solid choices and be armed with lots of information.

Okay, now on to the lightning part because I just LOVE this!! I have been experimenting with many different types of lighting.  They all create different looks and moods depending on the artistic vision you are trying to create.  (This is also something you should notice when viewing a photographers work for your wedding.) It was mentioned recently by a friend that I have really changed my style of photography in the last year and the images have been stunning.  I don’t know if I have “changed”, but I have tried many different ways to shoot in the last year.  I have been fortunate to be able to purchase new equipment which allows me the ability to create the stunning images I capture.  I used to say it is the person behind the lens ( and to a degree of course it is) but it is also the equipment I use.  I look back at some of the cropped sensor images I took in the past and now the full frame images I take and honestly I can say they are all good but the vibrancy and quality is just so much better with a full frame camera and spectacular lenses I now use. For lighting there are so many different options I work with.  I now use daylight balanced soft boxes which replicate window light for my babies. I really like it better than my flash units because it appears softer and there is not the constant flash to disrupt the baby.  I can also meter differently for the look I want to achieve. For high school seniors I worked with reflectors all last year and started with off camera flash (Thank you Nick for being my reflector assistant) With the reflectors you can create really dramatic lighting depending on which reflector you use and how you spread the light. I really enjoyed learning and experimenting with my reflectors. Off camera flash or should I say flashes because I will be using three for weddings, has been a ball practicing with.  I have totally had my bloopers there as well but think I finally have it down pat.  I Have to mention this as it flows back to what I said about weddings.  I never “practiced” my craft with paying clients.  I have always experimented with clients who I did not charge.  I think it is important to continue learning but not at the expense of the paying consumer.  Anyways, back to off camera flash.  I have had so much fun with my friend Mike and his mannequins Stella & Manny practicing with all our setups. I Have to say the mannequins work fabulously because It saves me from annoying my children trying to get them to help. Lighting will continue to be my focus for 2014.  I will post a few images with the settings and style of lighting to show the differences.

IMG_7472CThis image is shot at 6400 ISO 1/30 sec at 2.8 with available light from the bare bulb in the room.  Loved the cool grungy feeling.

IMG_0656CThis was shot with off camera flash to the left of the model.  Notice how one side of her face is lit and the background still retains all its beautiful color. Image shot 400 ISO 125 sec at F22

IMG_0346This was also shot with off camera flash.  flash held high on a mono pod to couples left. This image was shot at dusk.  Notice the nice lighting around the couple. 1250 ISO 1/80 sec at F1.8

IMG_0018This image is lit with a reflector.  Light is being filled in from the left with the silver side of the reflector. 400 ISO 1/2500 sec at F2.8

IMG_8208BThis is my softbox lights balanced for daylight.  Nice soft light for babies. 800 ISO 1/125 sec at F2.8

IMG_8449CThis is natural light overexposed intentionally for the dreamy look (+1) shot near dusk  1250ISO 1/60 sec at F2.8

IMG_9479This is window light diffused through a curtain.  No flash. 200 ISO 1/60 sec F4.5

As you can see, there are various forms of lighting a subject.  All of them create a different mood and a different feeling.  I find that in the last year I now ask clients how they would like me to shoot.  I find that I LOVE all styles and can usually create a vision with any form.

In closing, if we go back to the quality issue, many photographers may not be interested in different forms of lighting.  In order to do so it requires additional equipment and expertise.  The decision is yours as a consumer who you hire.  Being in the business I obviously know what to look for.  Educate yourself and make good choices when hiring your professional.  You will find that you will be much happier in the end.

Themed Children’s Photo Shoot

I am chuckling to myself as I begin this post, yes, I am smiling too! I have been involved in the photography world for many, many years. I never really focused on children and babies because honestly, it was just too much work.  It was tiring, emotionally exhausting and just not a lot of fun! Constantly trying to get a child to smile or a baby to stop crying isn’t what I would call an enjoyable day.  I was trained as a portrait photographer.  I was trained to pose, light properly and pay attention to composition.  Don’t forget the “rule of thirds” too. Photography has come a long way since the days of the “perfect” children’s image. I now view things a bit differently when it comes to children and babies, actually, quite a bit of my photography is viewed differently these days.  I still allow my brain to focus on all the details of good composition and lighting but I also now pay attention to the particular nuances of each child who I photograph. Their smile, inner charm, quirky tendencies, yes, even the little tempers that can obviously evolve during a session.  All those special little qualities are part of the personality that is YOU! The YOU that I want remembered at a certain age through my photography.  Forget the perfect picture…remember the perfect PERSONALITY! That is what makes photographing children and babies priceless. Themed photo shoots are a way to get a child to relax in their environment.  It gives them something other than that big black thing in the ladies hand to pay attention too.  The particular session I will be posting had so many fun items I worked with.  Balloons, wands, gumballs, lolly pops, butterfly’s, a pretty blue seat and some really great shoes.  Little Miss A who I have been photographing since she was a newborn was involved and had so much fun. She felt and acted like a princess. “so pretty” was the phrase of the day. I can honestly say I look forward to my children’s sessions these days.  I get excited by the visions that form in my mind as I plan these session and then lo and behold, I get caught up in the excitement and wonder of being a child. So much fun! ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

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 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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