As a mom of a 10 year old and a 6 year old, once a foster mom, and for awhile- a babysitter, I have dealt with my share of tantrums from kiddos! I have been there in Walmart and had to leave my cart behind and make a trip to the bathroom to quiet a squealing child. I meet moms for sessions all the time who are going through the same things I did, so I want to share some advice in hope that it helps. Some of the items are obvious, but we'll cover them in an all-inclusive Melt-Down Prevention Plan. Haha!
- Planning for photos starts a week before. Seriously, if naps are off schedule throughout the week, kids are less likely to be themselves. They need to have that consistency to keep them on course all the way up until the day of your session.
- Shots. I have photographed more than 10 kids who just came from getting shots. Don't do it. Just don't do it. I know you already have the day off to go to the doctor, but if you have to schedule them on the same day, get a late doctor appointment and do photos first. Feverish babies and toddlers who have had needles stuck in them HATE photo sessions afterwards.
- Don't expect them to sit in one spot and smile. The best kinds of sessions are unscripted where you follow the child around a park and watch them enjoy life. If your photographer is skilled, they can shoot with crazy fast shutter speeds that can catch anything. Don't worry about blur. IF they HAVE TO sit still for your photographer, you're going to the wrong one.
- Rather than saying, SMILE, SMILE!! Over and over, say things that naturally make them smile.
- Bring a well fed kiddo to the shoot who has had plenty of fluids. You'll want to start them with a full tank! Snacks are great, but only in moderation, you don't want half chewed skittles showing in those pics! Save the snacks for the end if possible. Don't make threats during the sessions (you're not going to get that snack if you don't smile), but rather- make PROMISES that you intend to keep (We'll be stopping at Grandma's and having cookies, doesn't that sound great?) <<Insert likely toddler smile there!
- Begin the session by playing first, don't dive right into pictures right off the bat. If your photographer is a stranger, they'll need time to acclimate to the new person. Trust has to be built. Meet at a local park for photos so the drive isn't long, and the kids can enjoy playing during the shoot.
- Keep outfit changes simple, and minimal. Most children fall apart at the idea of having to change their shirt.
- Don't expect things from them that they have never done before. Kids are creatures of habit, they do best with consistency.
- Practice at home. If the kids have never seen a camera and think only an iphone is a camera, things can be a bit more complicated at the session. Practice smiling in the mirror. Make up different names for different faces like: This is our cheesy face, This is our happy face, this is our goofy face. Then later rather than saying smile, you can ask them to show you those faces.
- Explain to them what they'll be doing and how FUN it will be! Share the photographer's name with the child so they know who to expect.
- If it's frigid, insanely humid, a sick day, or all of the above (scary!) Don't be afraid to reschedule. Your photographer likely has kids and will understand!
I first met Bambrah and Matt at a wedding. When they asked if I'd be interested in shooting their Jamaica wedding - well, let's just say I was over-the-moon excited. It seemed like something straight out of a dream. That was the most memorable trip(!!!), and it led to a cherished friendship that I am so grateful for. When they asked if I wanted to photograph their precious baby's arrival in the world... Again, over-the-moon excitement! I love relationships with clients. I love really knowing their families, seeing their babies grow and building friendships. So thankful. God has blessed me through this job in ways I never would have expected.
We are so pleased to have met her family and become friends.
Photography is funny like that. It can bind you together and bring about awesome friendships that bless your life. It's things like this that make me love my job.
She loved these puff balls
When a toddler is getting pictures, you just sit back and let them entertain you.
I have days like this, where I throw up my hands and laugh out loud.
She's so precious. Terrible Twos? Not for her. She's sweet as pie.
Let's face it, these days everything seems expensive and complicated.. Weddings are no exception. After working with 55+ brides, we decided to create a list of tips to help achieve your dream wedding.
- Have a theme. No, not like an over-the-top excessively crazy theme.. But have a delicate theme woven throughout your event. Think simple and classic. Take elements of what makes you who you are and throw that into the mix. You can weave it in from the details of the dress to the decor at the reception. Love anything vintage or retro? Add some lace, pearls, candles and antiques to your reception decor. Find a dress with lace embellishments versus the standard strapless ballgown. Love riding horses and wearing boots, add that western flair to your day. Think outside the box! Search pinterest for decor you can make yourself. You'll be amazed when you search out centerpieces. You can make them from just about anything.. Tin cans, mason jars, vases (check out goodwill for those!), pitchers... The list just goes on. Trend spot: try searching out organic and boho weddings for some serious pinspiration! (That's a word!) You'll likely be inspired by the whimsy you'll find.
- Think OUTSIDE. Obviously the month in which you marry really matters here. But seriously, folks, get married and party outside!! With $50-100 worth of white Christmas or patio lights you can create gorgeous reception decor, especially after the sun goes down. Purchase these after the holidays are over for deep discounts in the seasonal clearance. BE SURE you have a photographer who shoots manually, not on automatic so you are guaranteed to have amazing photos after dark.
- While we're on the topic of photos.. Hire a photographer you enjoy talking to. This is someone you will be spending your big day with, someone who is entrusted with your most precious memories. Make sure you mesh well and that their skills are ones you are going to be pleased with (do not let people experiment or learn their photography skills on your wedding day- we've seen this go South a time or two). Ask to see work samples, make sure that they have more than one camera!! Ask about second shooters. You're spending so much time, money and energy on making this day special, you want to capture every bit of it. Make a pinterest list of must-have shots so your photographer can get a feel for your style and preferences. Be sure not to pin beach wedding photos if you're getting married inside a church in January. (This drives us nuts. Kidding, but seriously- pin photos that relate to your day and the style you've decided to go with.) Creativity and flexibility is HUGE the day of the wedding. Everyone loves the amazing photos they see online, but not everyone is willing to do what it takes to make the shots happen. Awesome shots take time, ability to move in the dress, and willingness to try new things.
- Plan! But not too much! There is nothing worse than being followed by a bridesmaid with a three page list broken down into five minute increments. (Not kidding here. Not kidding at all.) Your day needs a timeline, a rough idea so all of your professionals know what you expect. Communicate with your caterer, DJ, photographer and florist in advance to be sure the day will come together. Remember that no day is flawless, roll with that, embrace the changes and resist stressing out over minute details that don't matter. The day will be over so fast, enjoy every minute. Pick a dear friend you know you can count on to keep things on track, you have more important things to do! (Just remind her to do this job with sweetness!)
- THE DJ... Will make or break your reception. This needs to be someone who can talk to a crowd and do it well, without insulting anyone. Someone who won't get drunk and yell at your guests or make unwanted toasts. (We have seen it all..... NOT KIDDING.) Find someone that your friends have used, someone that comes with recommendations. DJ's don't have to be expensive to be good. Ask us, we know about six we can recommend! The same goes for any professional you hire, be sure their reviews are consistently good.
- Fresh flowers are gorgeous, but don't break the bank for something that lasts one day. There are plenty of faux florals at Hobby Lobby and Michael's that mimic the real deal quite nicely. Keep your arrangements simple to keep from over powering the dresses and accessories in your photos. Look to balance your details.
- Cakes can be budget killers. We've seen cakes that cost $350 and up. And unfortunately, some of those cakes don't taste so great (unless you have a passion for eating loads of fondant). Some of the most gorgeous cakes we've seen are simple. Think homemade cakes, layered and adorned with live flowers, removed after the cake cutting. Don't forget - your cake can be small, and you CAN serve cupcakes to your guests. People LOVE cupcakes, and they can be inexpensive.
- Feed your people. Hungry people are crabby people, AND sadly we've been to a few weddings where people literally passed out. Serve a simple lunch to your wedding party while you're getting ready, make sure everyone gets something in their stomachs. You don't want to stop the wedding to care for ill attendants, or worse yet, pass out while saying your vows. (Photographers, videographers and DJ's love to be fed dinner too when working a long day- just had to throw that in there. Some contracts require it, so be sure to read those!)
- Last tip for today: take time to capture sunset shots. Escape from your reception for just a few moments to bask in that gorgeous golden light. It's a nice chance to hold onto your new spouse and stare into their eyes. Soak in the moment. The reception with all the people can wait 10-15 minutes! This is a chance to capture amazing memories you won't want to miss.
I have had so many clients ask me this year how to have an awe-inspiring, whimsical maternity session. Here are just a few tips that I have for ladies preparing for this..
- Maternity sessions aren't just for first pregnancies. You obviously love each one of your children, why not document this special time with each one!
- These sessions aren't just for mommy! If baby has older siblings, be sure to include them in the photos. It's a great time to snag some amazing family shots while celebrating this special new life.
- Laugh your way through the session. There is nothing more beautiful than happy faces! Let your family know in advance that the goal is to have a great time and make happy memories.
- Wear simple or plain clothing with elaborate details that are delicate. Don't overwhelm with bold stripes. Bold colors are great, stripes can be harsh and widen the look of your figure. Floor length maxi dresses are incredibly comfortable, and photograph beautifully.
- Make sure you schedule your photos at the right time of day. The golden hour before sunset is ideal, but early weekend mornings are lovely also.
- Location, location, location. Choose a spot that suits your style. Love the city? Take photos at your favorite spots (bakery, cafe, alley ways, corner stores.) Love the country? (barns, corn cribs, fields, mountain streams, river beds). Find spots that resonate with your personal passions and style.
- Bring props with meaning. Tiny shoes that baby will wear, heirloom pieces, hand-me-downs from a special family member... Bring things that reflect how special this baby is to your family. Including potential baby names is also a fun way to document the name you have chosen for your sweetie.
- And above all else, JUST HAVE FUN. If you are having fun, it will show. Photos shouldn't be stressful!