Over the last few years, I've had the unique pleasure of watching these two sweet girls grow! Not only are they repeat clients, our families have become good friends. K, the younger, was only 18 months old when I first met her - and last weekend I attended her 5th birthday party. Time sure does fly!
Another great thing about repeat clients is the variety of images they end up with over time. The first family portrait session they booked with me was at the West Florida Railroad Museum in Milton, FL. The next year we did fall pictures of the girls in Pace, FL. This spring we decided to mix things up and picked the Naval Live Oaks Nature Preserve in Gulf Breeze, FL for the variety it would offer us - beaches on Pensacola sound and scrubby forest.
I can't wait to see where we end up next!
The Bass family came to me looking for something a little different for their northwest Florida family portrait session. For one thing, baby number 6 had just been born and it had been a few years since they'd had family pictures taken.
Oh, did I forget to mention that all 6 kids were 8 and under?
We decided on a rustic, semi-secluded spot I know of just north of Cantonment, FL. Everything was a lush green set off perfectly by the early evening sunlight.
And seriously, these kids were great!
Besides the usual groupings - whole family, kids with mom, kids with dad, kids by themselves, there's one more picture I always try to get...
Mom and dad by themselves.
I think so often as parents we lose a bit of ourselves and who we were "before kids" once we become parents. And, not that we'd ever take it back, I feel this shot is as important as the rest!
Family vacations can be stressful enough without the added headache of capturing all those memories. But, since capturing those memories are a must, I thought I'd share a few thoughts to help you on your way to great, less-stressful, vacation photography.
Oh, and enjoy some of my various vacation photos from over the years. :)
Maybe a better title would be - "What You See vs What I See."
As a family and newborn photographer in the greater Pensacola, FL area, there's rarely a session that goes by where I don't say to my clients, "Trust me, it's going to look awesome." This is usually during a moment when I have them in what feels like an odd pose or using a prop in a way they weren't expecting. The great thing is, I have awesome clients, and they trust me. And they always love the finished product! This is never more true than during newborn portrait sessions. Often I'm set up in a corner of your home surrounded by baby accouterments, wraps, props, dust bunnies, and stressed out, exhausted parents.
So, I thought it might be kind of fun to show you some before editing, straight-out-of-camera pictures (Before) vs the final images provided to my clients (After). Enjoy!
The 2 examples above are of the same baby, taken mid afternoon in the client's living room in front of their sliding glass door. You may notice that the second picture isn't as well lit in the "Before" image as the first one. This is because some summer afternoon storms rolled in while I was working.
The next 2 pictures are also examples of being set up for natural light portraits while storms rolled in. This time I was set up in the client's daughter's play room. I had studio lights in my car that I could have used, but with the client's other children (ages 3 & 5) running around, I was hesitant to set up light stands.
As you can see from the "After" images, it all worked out fine!
Something else clients often worry about (moms especially) is their newborn's blotchy, flakey, pimply, red/yellow/purple/grey, etc skin. Any newborn photographer worth her salt can handle problem skin NO problem.
(And yes, the Before & After below are the same picture, I just performed a mirror image flip to provide my clients with more variety.)
All of the pictures I've shown so far have been taken without studio lights, using only the natural light coming into a client's home. But, some homes just get natural light, or don't have enough. This is why I always bring studio lights with me.
The image below was taken in a home with virtually NO natural light. So, i quickly set up my studio lights and we were good to go.
This picture is also a great example of when I shoot with a change to black and white photography in mind. The different textures of the fabric, the lines of the hardwood floor all immediately made me see that this picture in particular NEEDED to be in black and white!
As an on location photographer, I travel all over Escambia county and Santa Rosa county Florida as well as Baldwin county Alabama for photography sessions. this means that I need to be flexible and use what's available to me at any given shoot. The picture below is a great example of that.
I wanted a photo that highlighted this sweet, new military family in a clean, simple way, and I had to do it in such a way that their wide awake little man would remain happy and content. Mom and dad had a nice, large window in their bedroom and it made the perfect, simple background for their first professional family portrait.
These last two Before & After pictures I'm going to show are perfect examples of "What you See vs. What I See."
In the first image, we'd FINALLY gotten little man to sleep and there was no way I was going to move my entire backdrop stand for a simple background fix that I new I could take care of in 30 seconds of Photoshop. Mom trusted me, and they ended up with this beautiful image of little boy O wearing daddy's cover.
In the second image, I knew that I wanted to incorporate the neat, rosette texture of the pink blanket while still keeping baby girl all curled up and happy. Mommy was concerned that their bedroom carpet would show in the final image but trusted me when I assured her it would not.
I hope that you've enjoyed my Pensacola Newborn Portrait Session Before & After editing.
Newborn photography is pretty much my favorite thing in the world to do and I happily cover Gulf Shores, AL through Navarre, FL and north to Cantonment and Milton, FL.
How many of you have nice, semi-pro (or even professional) cameras but still feel like you have no idea what you're doing? Yep, I thought so.
This morning I thought I'd share my favorite photography books and magazines NOT specifically geared for the professional photographer. If you're ready to start unlocking your photography potential - then read on!
*Finding Beauty in the Ordinary photography receives nothing for promoting the following books and magazines. They are merely books I own and love and magazines I've subscribed to for years.*
We'll start with books.
If, like me, you find it hard to find the time to sit down with a book, I strongly recommend you look into photography magazines. There are many, many options out there. The ones that follow are my personal favorites.
I hope you this post helps you find something to unlock your creative, photography spirit.
Over the next few months, I'll be stepping away from my typical photography blog posts at times in order to highlight some of my favorite local, small businesses and their owners. As a small business owner myself, I feel it's very important to support other Pensacola area business owners.
First up is Amber Roman with Belly to Cradle, LLC.
Amber is a certified doula, childbirth educator, and placenta arts specialist, providing comprehensive birth care and support for families in Pensacola and the surrounding areas. Belly to Cradle, LLC was established in 2011 with the desire to support families through pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum. Since then, Amber has provided birth support at more than 120 births, and has walked with dozens more families through their pregnancy, breastfeeding, and early parenting journeys.
Amber describes herself as a pretty introverted person, but feels becoming a doula has allowed her to really break out of that shell allowing her to meet and bond with people that she never would have under any other circumstance. She says that she, "loves watching and helping new clients develop the bond between themselves and their new baby, as well as their community. Helping them reach out and find the 'village' that will be there for them in the timeframe after baby arrives is so important."
On an even more exciting note, this past week, Belly to Cradle expanded into a Collaborative/Agency-style doula practice with not one but FOUR doulas providing structured, collaborative care under the Belly to Cradle brand! With this addition, clients are now able to match themselves with a doula who is perfect for them based on their experience and fee - something completely new and unique in the Pensacola area!
Check out the Belly to Cradle, LLC Facebook page to read spotlights on Lauren, Lydia, and Christina.
Amber also owns Pensacola Placentas, an affiliate of Belly to Cradle, which offers options such as: placenta encapsulation, an umbilical cord keepsake, placenta tincture, and a placenta print.
I had the pleasure of photographing this little one's mommy's Maternity Portrait Session on Pensacola Beach this past November, and, on February 15th, at 11 days old, I had the pleasure of photographing baby H!
Other than receiving referrals from previous clients, there's nothing I like more than getting to follow a couple's journey from pregnancy/ maternity photographs through newborn portraits and beyond!
I started photographing newborns in mid-2014, and over that time, I've been blessed with a small handful of babies who slept through their entire session. (Knock on wood.) But never, in those 2 1/2 years have I had a baby fall asleep so easily and sleep so deeply than this little doll baby
My newborn portrait sessions include up to 3 hours of photography. And before this session, I'd never been at a client's home for under 3 hours. Between setting up and breaking down, extra feedings, set changes, and comforting babies, that's just how it goes.
But I could have wrapped up this beautiful little girl's newborn photography session in just over an hour if I'd wanted.
Within sixty minutes, I had more than enough images to fill a gallery that would make her parent's proud. I even commented to mom, who was in the room with me while I worked, that if she wanted, we could stop, but as long as she didn't' mind, I'd love to keep photographing. Of course she didn't mind! You have to realize, I'm not JUST capturing keepsake memories of a family's newest addition, I'm also providing new parents a little break while watching their baby look extra angelic.
Simple, organic poses with little added details are my most favorite, followed by super close-ups of your newborn's details - lashes, wrinkly toes and feed, pouty lips, all of it!
This past fall, a group of local photographers gathered (with their families in tow) in the spirit of community over competition to take professional family portraits of each other.
Each of us have thousands of professional pictures of our children. They're our on-hand models and test subjects. But, getting ourselves in the picture too - easier said than done.
You see, as photographers, we're some of the worlds worst at getting in front of the camera. It's not that we don't understand the importance of being IN the pictures with our children and/or significant others. But just like you, we have excuses. Some of us just plain don't like to be in pictures (see, it's not just you), many of us don't like to relinquish control of the session to another photographer, and most of us are just too busy photographing everyone else's families to remember that we need to be in some family portraits too.
So, to combat that problem, about 8 of us, all local, professional photographers, gathered together at Naval Live Oaks in Gulf Breeze, FL the Saturday after Thanksgiving to change all of that.
This is Rachael Phillips of Rachael Phillips Photography and her awesome family. If you check out her Facebook page, you'll see that she's much better at making sure she gets IN pictures with her family than I am. :)
This is Britney Barlow of Britney Barlow Photography and her sweet family. Just look at all those girls!
And this is Morgan O'Rear of A Thing of Beauty Photography with her lovely family. All Morgan asked is that we get a picture with her little girl smiling. LOL.
Photographing two - three year olds is hard!
And where are the pictures of my family you ask? Well, that's a long story.
Suffice to say there were lost keys and a dress that wouldn't zip - my family didn't make it.
But Britney and Rachael have got my back for pictures this spring!
A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of photographing 24 day old baby boy C. This little man refused to sleep for pretty much all of his session, but we still captured some great images for his mommy and daddy.
Black and white portraits - especially black and white newborn portraits - are one of my great loves! I ALWAYS include a few black and white pictures in each session. I shoot in color, so in order to provide my clients with a black and white image, I have to choose a picture that's lighting is right for a black and white. Usually when a client gets an image in black and white, I don't include the color file. As an artist, I feel it's my responsibility to provide each image in what I feel is it's best final form.
But, every now and then I come across a picture that I love so much that I deliver it in black and white AND in color. Like the images below. Which do you prefer?
Amanda is the prop buying, location scouting, ponytail sporting, flip flop wearing, owner/ operator/ and woman behind the camera for Finding Beauty in the Ordinary Photography.