Whenever clients book me for outdoor sessions at the beach in the middle of winter, I have to admit I am crossing my fingers and checking the weather for weeks leading up to it. The weather is just very unpredictable in Connecticut in January...and though I think winter is a gorgeous time for outdoor photos, I do not enjoy subjecting pregnant mamas to extreme temperatures or weather! I try to set expectations of that unpredictability of this time of year and usually set it up so it's half at home, half at an outdoor location in case we need to adjust. Well, on January 21st we we're particularly lucky with the extreme temperatures in Fairfield County...it was nearly 50 degrees! We met at Steve & Becca's home and then headed to the beach. Big bro Ringo (the black lab) was particularly happy with the location and the weather!
Elizabeth contacted me about doing a motherhood session in January - she explained that she was coming back to her home town from California and wanted photos with her new baby in her childhood home before her parent's move out of the house later this year. I always love photographing "older" babies and sweet Theo was a perfectly chunky three months. We had so much and realized that we actually went to the same high school, one year apart, and had a lot of mutual friends...but didn't know each other! Such a small world, and I'm just so happy that this job let's me connect with so many moms and get to know their stories...one thing I can say about Elizabeth is that these images are such a perfect reflection of her absolute joy & love for her sweet son. Enjoy!
My word of the year, which I shared recently on my instagram, is "intention" and for that reason I've found myself thinking a lot lately about how I spend my days and why I do the things I do. I want to live a life of intention in which the things I do day in and day out are connected to my overall purpose. I no longer want to feel like I'm running around doing "all the things" but rather doing the things that matter to me; Being present for my children and setting an example about what it means to live life with purpose, helping mothers document their family memories through my passion for photography, and leaving the world a more beautiful and loving place.
I was thinking about all of this when we recently went on vacation, and grappling with wanting to take pictures while also wanting to be present in the moment. As mom photographers, we so badly want to capture beautiful images and memories of our kids, but how often do we forget to be in the memories with them? This week, I was listening to The Family Photographer Podcast (one of my favorites!) and host Jenny Stein was talking about this very thing and she said "Do you want your kids only memory of their mom to be of you with a camera in front of your face?"
I am by no means perfect, and still guilty of spending too much time with the camera in front of my face (as I'm sure my husband will tell you!), but this year I'm making a conscious effort to be intentional about my photography and my time with my kids. In the moment, if there's an image I want then I will spend a few minutes trying to get the image and then put. the. camera. away. Because when I look back on my life, I know I'll be so happy to have beautiful images of beach vacations from when my kids were little, but I'll be even more grateful for the time I spent actually digging in the sand with them.
I would love to hear how all you moms handle photographing your littles! Do you feel you always have to have a camera in hand, or do you find it easy to put it down and get in the moment with them?
Some images from our vacation, in which I did not take very many photos but enough to be satisfied that I captured some great memories...
We're well into 2018, but I'm still reminiscing about last year and all of the wonderful families I got to work with. Nothing makes me happier then giving families the gift of memories, and I thought it would be fun to revisit my favorites!
While I stare out the window at a winter blizzard, I am dreaming of warmer days and thought I'd share a session from a lovely and hot afternoon this past October. I had so much fun with this couple and their adorable pup Dilly (named after their home city of Delhi!) at beautiful Waveny Park in New Canaan. Can't wait for this snow to melt, and it hasn't even finished falling yet!
Some go to the Danbury Railway Museum and see a sleepy, some what dated little museum missing any of the modern day bells and whistles that most children's museums have. But when I go, I see a charming, old-school place full of character, neat old trains, and fun photo ops. I took the boys there on a cold December afternoon and we had the whole place - and the beautiful late afternoon light - to ourselves. There are at least 20 old trains outside in the rail yard, and of course, it was a little boys dream to be able to explore. What a blast they had!
Each year when Christmas rolls around, I find myself craving simplicity and minimalism. Yes, we buy our kids presents, but every year we are moving more and more away from an abundance of plastic toys, and towards gifts that have meaning. In fact, this year my husband and I have a rule that each present must be meaningful & quality. So it has to be something that our kids are truly passionate about and it has to be made with quality and care (e.g. wood toys over plastic). On our list for them: a canvas teepee tent, a light up globe, a box of craft materials, a wooden double decker bus, books related to the things they love (choo choos, fire trucks, learning to read, and more), and a pin board for Oliver to hang up his art work which he is very passionate about ("I'm an artist, Mommy" he tells me).
I know all too well that it can be hard to shop for the adults in your life, so here are some ideas for them:
1. An experience to remember - there are so many great things to do around Fairfield County, but a few of my favorites for gifting are the Ridgefield Playhouse which has amazing concerts, plays, comedy shows and more, spa packages (I love Noelle Spa in Stamford, Susi Laura Massage in Ridgefield, and Dream Spa in Westport and Greenwich), or splurge on a night away at the Delamar in Southport with dinner at Artisan Restaurant (a favorite of ours!)...for those who are not local, think restaurants, shows, pampering and nights away.
2. A beautiful photo gift - Artifact Uprising is my favorite place for lovely photo products such as calendars, hanging prints, and albums. I bought my husband this calendar last year, and he loved it! You have until Thursday at midnight to place orders for Christmas!
3. An LBP Gift Card - I can't think of any mom, dad or grandparent who wouldn't want beautiful memories recorded with their children each year. When you book a photography session as a gift, I will create a custom printable gift certificate for you. Choose between a range of packages including sessions for families, couples, newborns, and my latest package "A Day in the Life" Documentary sessions. Contact me for my full welcome guide with pricing & packages.
And 3 that cost little to no money:
5. A coupon book - this is a favorite of ours. My husband and I make coupon books for each other on Valentine's day (think little acts of love) and for our son's advent calendar we made coupons like "coffee date with mommy," "hot chocolate with marshmallows" and "pancakes for dinner." Here are some printable coupons I found on Pinterest.
6. Write a poem and frame it - whether a love poem for your spouse or a sweet poem for your child, this is a special gift. The most romantic gift I ever received from my husband was a love poem he wrote and framed for me - I keep it in my office now and am always reminded even through the grind of everyday life how lucky I am to have him. Now that I think of it, I think any child would love a poem written about them from their parents.
So there you have it...give meaning this holiday season!
I met this sweet family on a chilly and overcast day just before Thanksgiving. The leaves had fallen and the green faded, and to be honest, I didn't mind one bit. There's something so beautiful and natural about the muted tones of late fall, and how the golden light falls on everything. Mix in rich colors and warm knits, and it was a perfect holiday session. Little Ricky was on the go the entire time, and though a little challenging from a photography perspective, I always love working with spirited little ones...they bring so much life and joy to the images! And it didn't hurt that he is absolutely adorable...future heartbreaker in the making!
Being a mom of boys means whenever I get to photograph little girls, I get a little giddy. There's just something about sweet, feminine details such as twirly dresses and long curly hair that are so darn fun to photograph. So, when sweet little Mia showed up to our session in Newtown, CT, I was immediately drawn to her adorable pigtails. I mean, could she be any cuter?
Such a fun session we had!
A while back, I wrote a post about why you shouldnt feel pressured to do your newborn photographs in the first week. It really depends on what type of newborn photography you want - if you're looking for posed in-studio portraits of your baby sleeping, then yes, it would probably be smart to get them done quickly. However, if you want something more natural, more true to life at home then I promise you the exact age of your baby doesn't matter. A few weeks ago, I did a beautiful session with sweet two month old Harrison and it quickly became one of my favorites! Not only was he smiley and easy going, but mom and dad seemed to really have the hang of it and I guarantee they we're getting more sleep than they had been at one week!
Last week, my husband and I went on vacation alone together for the first time in FOUR YEARS. I know this is a norm for many parents, and many probably never get a chance to really get away, so I feel very blessed that we were even able to. But at the same time, four years is a long time to not have more than one day alone with your spouse! We chose Switzerland because we love Europe and my husband (who is British) lived for a time in Zurich and loved it. We also have very close friends from Switzerland (hi Marco & Denise!), and seeing their beautiful trips home made me want experience it for myself. So, when our 5th anniversary came and went last month, we realized it was definitely time!
It was a fantastic trip and now that I am finally over my jet lag, I present you with my photos and a list of my 5 favorite things about Switzerland...
1. It's so clean and efficient - you know how the Swiss make clocks? Well there love of time goes beyond wrist watches, they are insanely timely. Like, trains actually leave at the scheduled time and arrive when they say they will. And everything just generally runs really smoothly, unlike some of the transportation systems I am used to in this country (eh hem, Metro North, lookin' at you).
2. Zurich is beautiful - it reminded me a little of Paris and London with it's beautiful cobblestone streets, gorgeous European architecture and those old streets you can wander through for hours and get lost in. Even in November and with some rain, it was so nice to wander.
3. Fondue - in case you don't know what fondue is, it's a Swiss specialty. They melt a variety of delicious cheeses in a pot, and give you a stick and some bread and sausage and other yummy treats to dip into the cheese. If you're lucky, they will also present you with an alcohol (called Kirsh?) that you dip the bread into before dipping it in the cheese. YUM.
4. Bier - don't get me wrong, I love American craft beers, but European beer just tastes better!
5. The Swiss Alps are a fairytale! - We went up to the Jungfrau region, Mount Eiger being one of the highest mountains in Europe, and were blown away by how beautiful it was. Not only is the scenery just so picturesque, but it felt a little like stepping back in time. The towns were just a speckling of swiss chalet style homes and there were so few commercial chains. Literally did not see one single McDonalds or Starbucks outside of Zurich at all. SO refreshing.
This past Tuesday was Election Day, which meant my oldest son's school was closed. The school had also shut on Monday for staff development day (gotta love that!), so it was the end of a long four day weekend. Oliver had been asking for a long time to take a ride on "the real train" and having had our share of the local playgrounds and indoor play areas, I thought it was the perfect day to do it. On Monday night as I was drifting off to sleep, I had a thought - I should document the entire day from wake up to bed time. "A day in the life" of sorts, and I'll do one every year and make a book out of our day.
Not only did I have such a blast documenting our whole day, but I am just so happy that my boys will have this to look back on someday. I realized that other parents would love to have this, too! So I've decided to add "A Day in the Life" documentary photography to my offerings for the winter. I'll be taking bookings from December through April, and I have half and full day packages which include an album. Contact me for more information!
November 8, 2017: Our Day in the Life
Where do I even begin with the things I loved about this session?
Beautiful family (check)
Twin toddlers (check)
Pregnant mama (check)
Amazing decor (check)
Light filled rooms (check)
Lots of cuddles & giggles (check)
This session was truly a treat, and I'm so grateful I got to capture this sweet time in their lives!
Last year, I was asked to participate in a fundraiser for Oliver's preschool in which I took black & white portraits of each child for their parents to purchase at the annual gala. I also donated a family lifestyle session to the auction as a way to give back to his wonderful school - a mom in his class told me she had won the auction for my session and said they we're so impressed I was able to get a smile out of their daughter in the portrait. That meant a lot to me because getting real emotions out of people is what I always strive for. Fast-forward 6 months to their family session, and I'd say there was no shortage of smiles at all! It's all about letting a family relax and be themselves, and helping them to forget the camera is even there. Have I mentioned I love my job?
I met Gabby over 4 years ago when she was in nursing school and I hired her to be a mother's helper for my tiny newborn baby. We loved having her help with our son over the course of about a year, but eventually she needed to move on to her nursing career. She offered that her mother was available to take her place, and as Oliver grew up he quickly became quite attached to Helena. These days we're all in different phases of life, but our families remain close. Gabby got married and had the most beautiful baby girl, and she and her husband moved to Ecuador where their families are from. This summer, while they were visiting, I told her I had to do a session for them. I just love how the images came out, not because they were dressed so stylishly (great job, Gabby!), but because there love for each other is so palpable and their bond so strong. This family truly embodies the phrase "family is everything" and I'm so happy I was able to give them this gift to treasure, even when separated by thousands of miles.
Those early days with your newborn baby. Time slows down, life gets quieter, and priorities become crystal clear in the form of snuggles, feedings and diaper changes. There's a reason new parents always say "all I want to do is stare all day"...because it is so true.
Enjoy this dreamy session from September...
Sometimes life just puts you in the path of the right people at the right time, if you're open to them. Last year, I was planning a women's retreat for our non-profit organization, Anchors For Hope, and I knew I was missing a really inspirational workshop leader. Through the magic of social media, I one day stumbled upon Lindsay Gibson's instragram account and thought, "Wow, she could be an amazing fit!" To my surprise, she lives about 20 minutes from my house, and within a few weeks we had connected, met for coffee, and begun planning the retreat workshop together. Fast forward to today, we hosted the first Hope & Healing Retreat together and she has become a good friend, and a such an inspiration to me.
Lindsay has faced many hardships in her life, including being a victim of rape as a teenager and more recently losing her child, Joseph, to stillbirth. Even in the face of so much tragedy, she has learned to reclaim her joy and focus on what truly matters - love. And as you can see from the beautiful photos, there is no shortage of that in her family.
Thank you, Lindsay, for owning your story and sharing it so openly with the world. You are an inspiration!
Last month, I was absolutely giddy with joy to get a coveted spot in Illuminated Classes "The Magic of Light Workshop," an online photography course created and taught by the incredibly talented Summer Murdock. She has been a source of inspiration for me for a while and I knew I had to take this course, although getting in is not easy. The class sold out in about 4 minutes flat this year. Thanks to high speed internet, my trusty iMac, dexterous fingers, and a little stroke of luck, I got in!
So, I'm not going to give away anything that is taught in the class, but I wanted to share my work from it and some reflections!
1. Beautiful light doesn't just appear in front of you - you have to look for it and sometimes even chase it. One of the best things about the class (aside from all the amazing technical lessons taught) was just that it simply heightened my awareness about light and I found I was constantly looking for it. So, when I was playing out in the garden with Theo, I was immediately captivated by the beads of morning dew on these plants we have, and the light flickering off of them. I ran inside and grabbed both of my cameras - the freelensed one below turned out to be my favorite. Equally, I was at this old wooden playground with the boys, and looking for light. I thought, "hmmm I wonder how it looks inside of that treehouse" and BAM. My favorite photo of the month - never would have thought to do that before!
2. ...but ALL light can be interesting - as a mom of two young boys, its really hard to get out during the golden hour when its dinner, tubby and bed time. This course helped me see all of the different ways to use light and all of the different kinds of light I could utilize because there's way more to light than the golden hour.
3. A "good" photograph is not about technical excellence or perfect people/places - those things help you make nice photos, but a truly "good" photograph is one that has the power to move the viewer. It's about the emotion that the photographer feels and how they capture the essence of that in the frame.
4. Photographer's FOMO is real - I have a serious case of FOMO when it comes to photography. Like, sometimes, I CAN NOT STOP for fear of missing something. This was never more true than during "the magic of light" - any twinkle, ray, or beam of light would have me running for my camera! I love being that excited about something, but constantly have to remind myself that there will always be more light! That's the beauty.
5. Tapping into your creative juices is essential - this course made me feel ALIVE. I love my job and I adore photographing babies and families, but stretching myself and my creativity was life giving. Even if you think you're not creative, you are. Follow your curiousity and explore it, you won't be disappointed!
In conclusion, this class rocks!!! It's a lot of information and an intense 3 weeks, but it was SOOOO worth every single penny. Thanks, Summer!!!
When my sister asked me to do their family photos during our vacation in Maine, I knew they were going to be something special - Acadia National Park is such a stunning place. Being that we are sisters, we were pretty casual about the scheduling process and didn't pick an exact date and time for our session. There were a few days we were going to do it, but I didn't have a great feeling about the sunset, so we waited until the end of the week and seriously ended up lucking out. The skies were gorgeous and it was a perfect evening...and that moon!!!
The morning of, my sister still hadn't decided on outfits though. Luckily she had me there to help, and I gave her a few tips I give all of my clients in the Style & Planning Guide they receive upon booking. If you're having trouble deciding on a look, here's some good starting point tips:
1. Start with a base outfit. Usually this will be the woman's outfit, or a little girls outfit. The one that you know you want in the pictures and that may have pattern or color that stands out a bit (such as florals, stripes or a bold color).
2. Then add other mostly neutral outfits around that, pulling out colors from the base outfit. So if you are starting with a floral dress that's say yellow, pinks and blues, then you may have the other outfits include jeans, khakis, chambray, white cotton, and pops of pink or yellow.
3. You want to coordinate, not match. Similar tones are always good, but you don't want everyone to be wearing the exact same outfits or the exact same colors.
4. Dress your man last. Keep it simple, comfortable, and give him some choice so he feels good in what he's wearing, too. For example, either tan pants and chambray top, or jeans and a gingham button down. Both are neutral and will work with the other outfits, but give him some choice in the matter.
5. Avoid loud prints, logos, and really bright/loud colors that will distract from the most important thing - your connection!
For today's blog post, I thought I would try something different. Instead of just showing a recent session and saying "look at this beautiful family!" (because that is a given), I thought I would provide helpful information about photography instead. So, today I thought I'd talk about things you don't need to worry about when it comes to an in-home session...
The day of your photography session can feel quite stressful for moms - I've been there! You've invested good money hoping everything will turn out beautifully, and more importantly, you want everyone to look and feel their best. Suddenly, you have just a few hours to go before your photographer shows up and you feel like it's going to be a disaster!
I'm here to say, take a deep breath, mama. I've got this.
I've seen it all, and promise it's still going to be beautiful. So, take that deep breath, and let these worries go...
1. Figuring out where the best light is - you know the session is going to utilize natural light, but you have no idea what's going to work in your house. Don't worry about it! The first thing I do when I arrive is greet you and ask to take a tour of the home. That's when I'll assess the light and show you the areas with the best light and best picture potential.
2. Moving all the clutter - you cleaned yesterday, but now - once again - the house is a disaster. Seriously, NO worries. After I've seen the light and we've picked some spots, I'm going to move anything that would be distracting (with your permission). We'll just bulldoze those toys into one corner that won't be seen and no one will even know it was there! But also, remember that your things are what make it your home, and help tell YOUR story. So a little bit of clutter is not a bad thing in pictures either.
3. Making the house look perfect - you wanted to put crisp, new sheets on every bed, fluff all the pillows, and rearrange that bookcase like you've been thinking about doing forever. You have big plans for your home, but it's just not there yet. I'm here to say, don't worry about it! I have an eye for design and composition, and I'll pick the best places in your home to showcase what's most important...you.
4. Moody kids - it's pretty much guarenteed that your kids will be difficult at some point during picture day. I always try to get down to kids levels so they can get comfortable with me, and 9 times out of 10 they turn their mood around pretty fast. And when they don't...it's still pretty darn cute!
5. Shy husbands - last thing you need is an uncooperative husband, but trust me, it happens. Most men are not super excited about having their picture taken. I'll try my best to get on their good side by letting them know how relaxed the session is, and that I'm not going to make them do anything uncomfortable. The best thing you can do is not put too much pressure on him before the photos...and maybe even give him a beer!