Because Dallas is where I live, my clients tend to be on the Dallas side of the DFW area. The Redding crew hails from Fort Worth, so their annual session typically takes me west. This year we opted to use the newly updated Sundance Square, exploring in and around downtown as we went. I loved the change of pace. We had plenty of friendly banter illustrative of love and fondness and kids-who-are-mostly-friends whose parents still flirt with each other. I love this collection. We worried that we'd get rained out that day, and I'm so glad we weren't, because this session makes me smile. I'm grateful that I've gotten to know this family through the years, because they are engaging and warm. It's always a blast to work with them.
When families show up the day after Halloween with wide-eyed wonder still left in the eyes of the elder child, I know we're going to have fun. Jack chirped away about trick-or-treating while he chomped on the endless supply of treats that he'd collected the night before. We explored the outdoor space we'd selected while watching him show off then calm and play with his sister. Claire, meanwhile, grinned and babbled and let me see her teeth peeking through (a favorite to see... why are baby teeth so cute?). I got to witness love and laughter and a few "Jack!! Stop! No!" moments when a precocious Jack took off in one direction or another. I love when sessions go this way. It's not that everything is perfect and posed and planned. It's that it's bright and beautiful and real. The photographs that resulted from this session are my favorite of this family, and we've been working together since Jack was born. Other sessions have produced some lovely images, but these photographs, I think, show love and tenderness and are just so them. I don't have the right words for that, but I know when I've seen it through my camera lens. I'm excited to blog these and look forward to seeing these littles as they continue to grow down the road.
Two can be a challenging age, so I try to approach sessions involving a two-year-old with humor and patience and lots of ideas for what to do. This little guy required no such planning. From the moment I arrived at the house he was ready to show me around and eager to make friends with Miss Erin. Don't you love his curls? And that little hand in his pocket? It kills me. I love meeting a family and seeing how their dynamic works, and these guys love well and allowed me to catch the best of them: parents loving their darling boy and said darling boy made us all smile. I can't wait til next time!
When Carrie reached out to me about an extended family session for her husband's family, trying to schedule two busy young ladies proved to be quite a challenge. The weekend of our session presented a rainy day and illness. Rather than rescheduling we opted to do a session with those who were well the next day. The end result were these photographs. I love seeing the way the boys obviously adore their cousins, and each individual family looked so alive and happy. It was the kind of morning that was fun, fast-paced and sweet, with lots of laughs and warm smiles. It is beautiful to get to see. As I worked my way through the session, I found myself looking forward to the extended family session we will do in the spring, because if this partial group so obviously fits, then I cannot wait to see what happens when we have everyone all together. I would love to have photos with my sisters like the photos of these lovely girls, and if I ever have sons, I would love to have photos like these of the boys as well. So. Much. Love.
This was our first meeting, and new families mean I get to hear and see their unique expression of what love looks like. These bright-eyed, beautiful little girls both gave me lots of smiles and laughs, and I got to watch their parents do that tag team thing that happens when a couple has a pair of busy girls. They did so with affection and ease, and while I'm sure there are days that aren't so quiet and simple, what stands out to me about this session is how peaceful it was. I am continually humbled by the goodness that occurs when I get to show up for a photo session and bear witness to a family who decides to fully show up for a session, bringing their best. That's what happened here, and while I love how wardrobe choices and warm light played into how these photographs look and feel, what stands out is the interactions illustrative of how a family goes together just so. So much joy to behold here...
This beautiful family and I met up for the third time this fall, and the triplets are now three, talkative and full of ideas. I let the kids take the lead, and the end result was a collection of photographs that are pure joy. Any time I work with a sibling group, I want to capture both their relationships and the individual personalities of each child, and I think this session allowed me to do just that. Family photos that are illustrative of real life preserve the story of children growing up that I like to think they will one day show their children and grandchildren. When I get to photograph families who relax and enjoy the process, what is beautiful about that family naturally emerges. These guys shine, and the way they love looks good on them. I can't wait to see how they grow and change when they turn four.
Not sure how it happened that my little friend Super G turned 4. When I was growing my business, Grant was my nanny charge during his first year. One incredible part about being a photographer is that a lot of the littles I nannied through the years have an annual appointment for photos, so even if I don't see a whole lot of them in-between, we minimally cross paths then. These guys are so low-key and fun, so shooting around Denton was a great fit. I loved hearing an update of the past year and hearing Grant's stories from the State Fair (he'd been there the day before). This little man is learning to live big. I think everyone's favorite part of the session was hitting up Hypnotic Donuts, where Grant managed to put away his doughnut in about thirty seconds flat. I love how Grant's parents are committed to each other and to loving Grant well, and I think it shows in these photos. They're an amazing family.
This session makes me smile for several reasons. First of all, I see personalities shining through on each child's face. Secondly, it was our second meeting, and it's remarkable how much the kids have changed in that year. Meaghan was more poised, more confident and easily conversed with me throughout the session. Max's communication and awareness grew in leaps and bounds in the last twelve months. And little Monty? He remains busy and a bit of a firecracker, but this year he had more to say and more to do. The third thing I enjoyed about this session was meeting Meaghan's horse Al Capony. His name wins, for one thing, but getting to observe a family supporting a child's passion and watching how that plays out meant I learned that love in this context looks showing up at the barn and watching her do her thing. It looks Dad going in one direction so that Mom can go in the other. I don't doubt that the increase in Meaghan's poise and confidence over the past year is directly correlated to her parents' involvement and interest in her life. And that's one way love expresses itself in this particular family.
It's been just over three years since this crew became a part of my life and over those three years, Christina and I have become friends and launched our wedding photography business together. Christina does (stunning) portrait work as well, so we planned the session primarily with family interactions in mind. Moms tend to be holding the camera when it's time to capture candid memories, and when Mom is also a photographer, that reality seems to increase. Alongside becoming friends, Christina and I have talked a lot about the value of family portraits. We believe kids having photos with their parents matters. We believe photography can allow families to see what is beautiful and true about their lives. We want to create tangible memories of what a family being who they are looks like at any given season of life. I think great photographs provide parents with reminders of all that is good on those tough days when nobody's minding and everybody's crying and nothing seems to be working. Those days happen. But they do not define a family.
What defines a family are walks to the nearby park, running up and down the hill, collapsing into tickle fights and all the things that add up to "I love you, I love you, I love you." I am so happy with how these photographs turned out, but I'm happier to call the Childress family friends. I'm honored to be a part of their story.
If any story can be redeemed, which I believe to be possible, then the car accident that led to the premature arrival of baby Claire (the youngest of this foursome) had an element of redemption in the way friends rallied around the family during that time. I was more of a friend-of-a-friend back then, with mutual relationships connecting us. I'd done their photos before, but Claire and her mama needed a little help, and I had a little time. So help I did. And now we are friends, a sliver of redemption perhaps. Maybe it's presumption to make this speculation, as I did not suffer through the pain and challenges caused by the accident. But I can't help but think that the way friendships form and thrive in the midst of hard things puts a stout solidity in their foundation. For this I am grateful. I'm also grateful for a beautiful day at the fair with my friends. We rode rides and weathered crowds. We ate funnel cake and fed animals. We made plans and re-planned based on better, more thrilling activities. And I think (I hope) I captured the blend of relationships that is siblings who are oftentimes also friends on a super fun day for a kid or four. The State Fair of Texas is an institution, and that we got to do this year's portraits there gives a little more fun to the photo session punch. I always love sharing photographs from a session, but when those photos are of friends, the sharing is that much richer. Just love these beautiful kids!
This was the first year I offered mini-sessions at the State Fair, and between the midway, Big Tex and yummy treats, we had plenty to explore. I love the bright color and warm light in this session, but more than that I love how low-key and fun our interactions were. The littles were excited to be at the fair, and their parents were happy to let the kids run the show. We explored and ate and played a bit and then they were on their way to do their own thing. I love that we caught a few minutes of their memory of the fair. We had such fun. This was our second year of photos, and I love the continuity of watching a family grow. It never gets old. So excited to share this collection. My other State Fair minis are coming right up.
On the rainiest Thursday, the proudest big brother of them all introduced me to his twin baby brothers with eager hands wanting to help. The twins, two-months-old at our shoot, kicked their feet and stared at my lens. They were not a hundred percent sure they thought photos were a great idea, but I am a hundred percent sure I love this session. Such love and sweetness to behold in this busy family-turned-boys club.
She was just shy of two-weeks-old when I met her, and Anya's grandparents had gathered in her parent's home to help welcome their granddaughter and care for big brother Bowen. In the space of time between his two-year photos and the arrival of baby Anya, Bowen grew in confidence and words, and he showed off his sister and beamed as he nuzzled her forehead and counted her toes. Anya, meanwhile slept, primarily, as she was passed among pairs of arms. Her contentment made the session interactive and warm. It was as if she knew she was safe and loved. Even with a busy two-year-old's clunky affection she seemed at ease. It's beautiful to see the way a newborn fits into a family just so, every time. It doesn't get old to witness the fullness of love that surrounds a brand new baby, and in Anya's world the fullness spilled over into a gorgeous collection of photographs. Anya's grandma brought bright fabrics and stuffed tigers, protectors in Chinese culture, with her from their homeland. These items brought elements of Anya's cultural inheritance to the session. This will go down as a favorite newborn session to date.
I cannot believe these sweet triplets (yes, triplets!) are five! From the start of the session, they brought energy and grins, playing with each other and making photo suggestions (How many jump photos can a session have? Well, lots.). Five is one of my favorite ages, because autonomy shows up in full force around this time, and with that comes a sense of who a child is becoming in a whole new way. I loved seeing that in each little personality at this shoot. Since they call Dallas home, using the Continental Bridge made sense, as it's a vast canvas of space to run and jump and go. Two laid back and ready-to-participate parents let me see how love continues to grow in this family. I've done their annual photos since the kids' first birthday, and I remain grateful for the opportunity to see who they are and what they're about.
Erika is a friend who happens to be an Austin-based photographer, and I photographed Augie's birth in December (and Beau's two years before that). Before she booked this session, we texted back and forth. "I know it's worth the money, but..." And I get that. Photography is a luxury and it's not inexpensive, and photographers know how to take beautiful photographs of their children. Erika's sister-in-law is also a client and encouraged Erika to book. Having the opportunity to be fully present with her husband and boys for their photo session, creating the potential for a variety of real-life photographs with Mom in them ultimately led to this session. And I'm so glad this session happened and that this shoemaker's children have some brand new shoes. This will go down as the session where the five-year-old mooned his parents on the University of Texas campus when I asked him to help me get Mom and Dad to smile for their couple's shot. We laughed our way into tears. This will also go down as a session where the whole family engaged and loved and laughed and played. I love the energy and expressions in these photos. Everything that matters shows up in the collection, and I am sharing a sampling today because they are so happy.
Four years ago tomorrow, I spent the day photographing Bela and Sean's wedding. Four weeks ago I spent the weekend photographing their twin girls with so many loved ones who have surrounded them to celebrate the joy of these two babies. I love that Bela prioritized getting photos of her girls with their grandparents, great grandparents and godparents. We did part of the session in Hartford, where the family lives, and the other part of the session in Ludlow, MA, where Bela grew up. Emma and Olivia are happy girls, and they are so loved. It was beautiful to see what makes each baby smile and how those smiles in turn light up the faces of every adult in their lives. They are treasured by all, and rightly so. I'm so excited to watch these two grow up! I love the continuity piece of telling the ongoing story of a family, so it seems fitting to post this blog on the eve of Bela and Sean's anniversary. I couldn't be happier for this family and am so grateful that they are clients-turned-friends.
This post isn't limited to a photo session, though the second half includes photographs from my dear friends' family session. Rather, these images were composed over a visit that spanned several days when I was in Massachusetts last month. Nannying for Sam and Lucy when they were tiny babies facilitated my growth as a photographer by providing constant subjects as well as supplemental income while I finished school, started a business and developed a new-found passion. The natural progression of life has led to a beautiful friendship with their whole family, and when I travel to the East Coast, I am welcomed into their home. These guys have been my friends on good and bad days, and I love the way they love each other. Getting to be a part of their lives is getting to be a part of something special: a family who thrives because they keep choosing each other. The kids wear the confidence of well-loved children, and the whole crew seems intent on mastering the art of being on each others' team. These photographs have so much joy, especially in Miss Lucy's toothless grin and Sam's non-stop motion. Every year I say the newest photos are my favorite collection, and I think that's maybe because the good keeps getting better. I'm so grateful I get to witness just how beautiful that looks.
Lynne and her boys have shared their lives with my camera lens for the past six years, and I've watched two little boys become teenagers. I'm not sure teenage boys are enthralled with the idea of family photos at this stage in their lives, but it's always fun to hear what's going on with them and what bands they're listening to and what they're reading. The real treasure, though, is in the in between moments when they let me see what is beautiful about their family. Laughs and looks and gestures and kindness... these things consistently show up. And someday these boys will have photographs to show their own children, and that thought makes me smile. I so admire the mom Lynne is. She has strength, grace and compassion, and she wears all three well.
It only took a few minutes in their backyard to see that unique mix of love and being determined to out-pester one another that close-in-age siblings seem to share. These two made each other laugh and came up with ideas for photographs. I got to see a quiet boy and easy-going girl do their brother-sister bond perfectly. Seeing how they looked at each other and their expressiveness in their individual photos made this session one I'd looked forward to editing from the moment I uploaded the cards. Excited to share a few selections today.