When your family lives in different states and you get together for Thanksgiving it is the perfect opportunity to capture family photos.
The weather this year in Oregon has been extra special allowing us to truly enjoy the beauty of fall. Typically Oregon has so much rain that the leaves fall off the trees before the color can appear. This year we have had a long fall with trees changing color starting in September and here in the end of November we still have lots of yellow. The mom is one of my all time dearest friends, one of those people you meet and you instantly know you will be life long friends. We have been talking about doing a photo session but between the rain, kids being sick, and getting dark so early it was hard too coordinate a time. So when she text me last week asking if I could take photos I jumped at the chance because this family is just so incredibly nice and also so adorable! You might remember this gorgeous family from their session last year, this year we went to a new nature park that opened this year in Hillsboro. Instead of black Friday shopping we decided to head to the park for a morning family session. The weather was perfect and the kids had a great time playing and being silly during the session. I absolutely love their images and hope you do too!
When a family contacts me for a fun summer family session and they don’t have a location in mind I try to think of a place where the kids can have the most fun. Well this nature park in town has the craziest and coolest handmade face sculptures (made out of branches) that you can play in along with a nature playground complete with sand and water and I knew it would be the perfect location! If you read my blog or look through my portfolio you will recognize this family, though the kids have grown so much. Well this was one very fun evening at the park!
I love when families contact me about doing family sessions in Central Oregon. It is a gorgeous backdrop and bonus I get to travel down and visit my parents and my sister and her family who live there. The cove is a must see location if you are ever in Madras Oregon and home to many of my childhood memories. These sweet families I have known since I was just a little girl in elementary school and I love that we have remained in contact. Isn’t Facebook the best for staying in touch? Well we decided to take the two sisters family photos and then also include their parents for a big family reunion photo session.
Downtown Portland on the waterfront there is the most gorgeous row of cherry blossom trees that bloom once a year and the entire park is a sea of pink. This mama was determined to capture her family within the beautiful pink background. We headed downtown and even though there were dozens of other families with photographers who had the same thought we captured these gorgeous images their family. This images melt my heart, so much love!
As mothers we spend most of our days taking care of our kids, running errands, preparing meals, cleaning the house, doing dishes, washing laundry, working, and then when we stop and grab the camera we tend to focus on capturing our kids. Let’s face it, those little being are always cute even with bed head hair or food smeared on their faces, adults not so much. I can’t tell you how many days I don’t even shower until dinner time because we haven’t left the house in days and I am busy cleaning and playing with kids so the last thing I want to do is jump in front of the camera.
Well when I started to look back at photos of our family I realized that I was missing from our story. I would capture all these beautiful everyday moments and routine as well as major milestones of the kids but I was always behind the camera. As hard as it may be to be in the image (we all have our own reasons- don’t like the way we look that day, want to lose weight, too busy, etc.) we have to remember that we were there too. When our kids look back through photos of their childhood it’s so important for them to see mom and dad and to remember how we looked and that we were there at all those special moments too.
This past year I have really tried to get into the frame too. I am not talking about using my cell phone and stretching my arms out to take a selfie (those have their place) but to really be in the story. Those of you who follow my work know that I don’t tend to stop the moment to have my subjects face me and smile (though sometimes the moment calls for those I know) but I prefer to capture the moment as they happens. Think about how you remember moments of life, are the kids standing there posed looking at you or at the memories of playing and engaged in activities? Try to capture those moments just as you remember them.
I know you are thinking, well how can I take these if I am just one person at home with these little people? I personally do not tend to hand my camera over to someone else to take images of me very often because most of the time the photos they take are very different than the story I want to tell (even while looking at the same subject and in the same environment). While I have a fancy tripod and a remote for my camera I pretty much never use it. I dial in my exposure (you can always use auto too if that works best for you), set the camera to the timer mode (I have mine set to interval so it take one photo every 4 seconds for a series of 9 images in a row), and prop my camera up on whatever happens to be nearby. I will use a bench, the stroller, a dresser, a bucket, dashboard, etc. As long as it’s at the height I need and is sturdy enough for my camera to not get knocked over I will use it. I don’t plan these self portraits, they are moments that while happening I think would be nice to capture so I quickly grab my camera and snap a few images. I love using the timer mode because I can set it and then let the camera capture whatever moment happens.
For those of you who might feel awkward in front of the camera let me say I totally get it! My best tip is be sure you have something else to focus on instead of just you and the camera. You can see from my photos below I am not smiling looking at the camera but have a connection with someone in the photo, generally laughing. This not only helps the subjects feel more relaxed but tells a much better story since you are capturing connection and emotion.
I encourage you to be in the frame, not only for yourself but for your little ones. Whether you set the camera up with a timer, use your phone, have someone else take it for you the point is to be present and in the photo. Have fun, document your life, and remember we were there too!
In January PDX Parent magazine contacted me about doing the photography for their sports issue and asked if I would be available to take photos of little kids playing soccer on a very cold February day in Portland. You know I said yes because I love working with PDX Parent! Even though it was crazy cold the kids all had a blast running around playing soccer. I didn’t know which image they used on the cover or in the which images would accompany the article so the anticipation waiting for the article to hit stands was driving me crazy. Last week while out interviewing preschools we saw it on display in the lobby. I still can hardly believe I have been so lucky to have my images in this magazine.
You can read this issue online here.
I am so excited to say that one of my images was selected to appear on the cover of PDX Parent magazine! They magazine had originally scheduled a different image but last minute decided it didn’t convey the message they wanted to send for the issue and contacted me about using one of my images from the volunteer event I had photographed at. Of course I said YES! I didn’t know which image they would use so was so surprised when it was a photo of my son. When he saw it for the first time he said he couldn’t believe he was on the cover and asked me to frame it and hang it up in his room. He has loved seeing this magazine with his photo all around town. So far we’ve seen it at school, pump it up jr, the library, local toy stores, out of this world pizza, and their doctors office.
If you want to check out this issue you can read the entire issue here!