Apple Orchard Family Session | Lehigh Valley Family Photographer

I have so many favorite sessions from last fall that I never got around to sharing during the hectic busy season!

We had so much fun creating these gorgeous fall family photos in an apple orchard near Hellertown, PA. I love the pops of color from the trees in early October when the fall foliage hasn’t quite turned yet. Love their color palette and pops of color with maroon and mustard.

Would you like to book a fall family session in the apple orchard? It’s such a fun place for the kids I still have a few fall dates on the calendar available. September and early October are the best for orchard sessions while the apples are still on the trees.



Fall Family Photos in Wind Gap, PA | Lehigh Valley PA Family Photographer

I just loved the rich colors from this session that we shot last November in Wind Gap, PA. I’ve worked with this family for the past few years and it is always such a joy for me to have returning families year and year.

I love this location in Wind Gap PA for fall family pictures because of the wide open meadows, winding trail, and beautiful treeline. Even on a cloudy day we can capture the richness of the colors.

I personally love the neutral colors they used in selecting their outfits for fall family pictures. Solids with a few subtle patterns, layers like sweaters and down vests to add interest. A pop of color with the yellow to stand out.

wardrobe styling

All of my clients receive access to an online professional styling assistant this year! When you book your session you will receive a link to private access that helps you select clothes within your style and budget so you can save time from running around to a million stores!

Interested in booking a fall session? I still have a few openings and please don’t be afraid of November!!

Fall Family Photos | Lehigh Valley PA Family Photographer

I’m revisiting some of my favorite family sessions from last fall that I never got around to sharing as we prepare for the new busy season ahead. This was an early November family session in Hellertown PA. The leaves were at their peak and we captured the most beautiful colors in one of my favorite spots in town. I just love how playful this family is together. I choose to offer clients sessions in locations with lots of wide open space so that children feel comfortable playing and moving around. Everyone is more at ease in a wide open field and we can capture the most wonderful candid connections.

The first weekend in November still has session slots available for booking! You can check out my pricing and online calendar HERE!

family portrait session Lake Tahoe | Sand Harbor Family Photographer

I had one day in Tahoe last month to photograph the beautiful connection of an extended family enjoying a summer day together on the lake. One of their favorite activities together when they are all together at the lake is to head out on Grandpa's boat. We started our day with a documentary session to create a visual memoir for the grandchildren of one of their favorite ways of spending time with their grandparents. We took off from the marina near Incline Village, NV and enjoyed a full tour of the Lake Tahoe for the morning. The scenery was beautiful with snow capped mountains in the distance, but the best part of our family documentary vacation session was just capturing the relaxed energy of grandparents in their happy place with their children and grandkids.

That evening we shot a second session together, this time a lifestyle family session at Sand Harbor in Incline Village Lake Tahoe. We climbed over the boulders to watch the sunset over the Lake, the kids played in the water and sand, exploring the park together. Sand Harbor is a truly iconic location for family pictures if you are on vacation in Tahoe. The large, rounded rocks that face the western sky make for the perfect backdrop. The sunset was the perfect end to an amazing day of family photography in Tahoe.

If your family is headed on vacation and you'd love your family story captured get in touch! I love to travel for family sessions and capturing light and connection in new places.

AnneMarie Hamant
A week in Cuba: Part 1- Havana Vieja and Vedado

In February I had the opportunity to fulfill a long-time dream of visiting Cuba and getting to know more about the people and the culture. A lot of you probably don't know this but in my former life I was a Spanish teacher for 12 years and have a Master's in Latin American Studies. Travel and photography have always been my two passions outside of my family life. Before kids I used to travel internationally regularly, but that's pretty much stopped since we've grown our family. We did take a trip to Costa Rica when we just had 2 little ones, but it has been over 5 years since our last trip abroad! This opportunity came up to travel with the amazing globetrotter Allison Irby and I'm beyond grateful to my husband who supports me, takes on life alone with the kids, homeschool and a full-time job so I can dedicate some time to my passions. This was an incredible week of spending time with locals to learn about the economic and political situation as well as strengthening my street photography skills. I thought I'd share more about my experience and answer some questions I know I stressed over as I prepared for my trip.

Are Americans still allowed to visit Cuba legally?

While the travel rules have changed under the Trump administration, it is still legal to travel to Cuba under 12 different categories. I travelled in support of the Cuban people, which was a really interesting way to travel. It means that we are conscious in our spending to be putting money directly into the hands of Cuban people and you’re not spending your days on a state-owned beach resort. When traveling under this category you need to stay at private Airbnb homes and keep track of your spending while you are there for your records.

Do you need a visa to get into Cuba?

Yes, you will need to purchase a tourist vida card for entrance into Cuba. I was able to purchase mine right at the United ticket counter in Newark. Not all airports offer this service so you may have to order in advance online from a third party. I paid $75 from United.

Is the Cuban airport scary going through customs and immigration?

Not at all! They took a picture of each traveller, and then collected the forms we filled out on the airplane. Grabbed my luggage and continued outside to find the money exchange (la cadeca).

About money: The first thing to know is you need to bring more than enough cash with you than you might possibly need since once you are in Cuba you cannot withdraw money from an ATM. Worst case scenario you could have funds sent through Western Union but just be prepared and bring enough $$$.

What about exchanging currency?

The CUC is the currency used for tourists and it is pegged to the US dollar. I read various blogs that suggested changing your USD to CAN or EUR before leaving the states since you will be hit with a 13% fee to change US dollars at the Cuban cadecas. But, I wasn't convinced it would be worth the effort to save a couple dollars dong a double exchange. I am glad I followed my gut. I exchanged a few hundred dollars at the airport into CUC (the Cuban denomination for tourists) at the 87 to 100 exchange rate that is the standard. Beware of the ladies in the airport office next to the cadeca trying to call you over for a private exchange claiming to save you some money. I didn’t trust that so stuck with the official counter. Later on in my trip as we met AirBnB hosts and got more comfortable, I saved money by doing private exchanges at a much better rate usually around 92: 100)

I will address a few more common questions in Part II but for now, some images of our first days in Havana.


Day 1:

I arrived in Havana in the afternoon on a direct flight from Newark and it took a while to get through immigration and exchange money at the cadeca in the airport. Next I found the taxi driver I had pre-arranged to pick me up and it took us about a half an hour to get to Havana Vieja to the Airbnb. Expect to pay around $25 CUC for a taxi into town.

Our Airbnb in Plaza Vieja was so beautiful and we loved this location most to be really in the center of everything you need in Havana. Yummy fresh breakfast included in our unit. I checked in to our place and then was picked up for a vintage car tour of Havana. I chose the 1955 Chevy BelAir and was not disappointed! I had an amazing guide who taught me so much about the history and the current situation. It was a great start to my week!

Later that night I wandered the narrow streets surrounding la Plaza Vieja and followed the sounds of the traditional salsa and sol that was being played outside many restaurants. I ended up sitting down next to these brothers who were all listening to one of their other brother'‘s playing in a band outside of Cafe Paris. I asked to share the bench and we sat and ended up chatting about life, revolution, culture for THREE HOURS. They all had fascinating stories to tell of being music historians and their brother’s (pictured below) tour with Buena Vista Social Club. I loved how they all shared a bottle of rum out of their backpack and when that ran out someone ran to a market for a juice-box of rum to share. I politely declined the offer to take a few swigs and they bought me a mojito instead despite my insistence on paying. People are good and kind, and I felt very safe at all times as a female traveller.

I head back to the Airbnb before my friend starts to worry about me and snap one last picture for the night. I love the mural of the people peeping in on the barbershop. It's been a great first day in Havana and I need to catch some sleep.

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Day 2: Havana Vieja and Vedado Neighborhoods

The next morning I got up and walked around the Plaza Vieja neighborhood before we had breakfast at our Airbnb. Bread is included in the cuban’s rations every day so you’ll notice the busy bakery in the early morning. What I love most about Havana is just how many people are in the street, walking about, hanging out, socializing. You just see so much movement where as here a quick drive through our neighborhood and you’ll find only an occasional dog walker or kids at the playground. We are just so used to being in our own cars and homes that we don’t get the same kind of human interaction that you will find in Cuba.

School children have gym class right in the Plaza Vieja which made mornings perfect for people watching and learning about everyday life.

Vedado Neighborhood

Next we moved Airbnbs to another neighborhood in Havana for a few nights to have a different experience. While this Airbnb was beautiful with lots of light and space, we felt pretty isolated in Vedado from the bustle of Havana Vieja. If we go back we’d spend more time in Havana Vieja and maybe just a few hours wandering Vedado. The architecture is a bit different- you see beautiful larger mansions that are decaying and many divided up into apartments as well as some Soviet-period inspired buildings. It is not a touristy neighborhood so we definitely got some strange looks as we explored this new area. We walked around to see some vintage theaters, the famous Coppelia ice cream shop with it’s huge line wrapping around the building of locals waiting for their spot at the counter, checked out the arts and crafts market at La Rampa, and finished the day walking El Malecon at sunset. While we still preferred Havana Vieja for the ease of restaurants and activities, we still soaked up the authenticity of this quiet city neighborhood.


An early autumn evening at home together | Bucks County Family Photographer

This storytelling session has long been on my heart. I first met Diana a few years ago when we visited her Bucks county in-home Waldorf school one September day. I fell in love with their lovely land, their quaint, cozy home, and the beautiful simplicity and intentionality of their family life. I was delighted to return earlier this October to capture a small snippet of their life at home together. We spent from afternoon into evening together and I observed as they went about their activities: watercolor painting, kneading dough together for the pizza, gathering goldenrod to make homemade fabric dye, feeding their fluffy bunny, playing in their forest, picnicking pizza by a campfire and dying fabric, and playing guitar together before heading in for bedtime rituals. What a joy to tell their story of family life.

A short storytelling session in Bethel, PA

Family photojournalism is so incredibly important to me as an artist. I long to create meaningful portraits of the family in motion, in their own space- the place the children will grow up remembering as their childhood home. They will look back on summer evenings in their yard, playing music with dad, creating art together as a family in their studio space, setting the dinner table and sharing the family meal together every night. Here's what they won't remember and won't care about: what you feel are imperfections in your decor, clutter organization, or renovations that you hope to get to but haven't yet.   

Jenel being a phenomenal artist herself was interested in a family storytelling session to have an unique portrait of their family life. She also wanted to have a few more posed images of their family in their yard for the wall. So we did both! If you are interested in family photojournalism but don't want to sacrifice a more traditional family portrait I am happy to make time for that during our time together. 

Some clients are sure if everyone in the family would be on board with this different type of photography. Thoughts might hold them back from a storytelling session like, Will our life be boring? Will our house be nice enough? Will my kids "last" for 2+ hours? Will it be awkward?

The truth of the matter is that these sessions are so so easy on the whole family because the kids love just getting to show me around their home and doing all the fun activities they would normally be doing on an afternoon. Grown-ups enjoy these sessions because the kids are relaxed and they don't have to "do" anything special. Just hang out as a family, go about your routine, and relax! I find beauty in every family I meet. I want to create timeless images of you as a mother, father, sibling that will become family heirlooms. 

Thank you S family for allowing me into your space and filling up my artistic cup. Your family life truly is inspiring. 

Now Booking Cape Cod Beach Sessions
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I have limited dates available for family photography in Cape Cod, MA this summer. I love beach family sessions. Everyone is relaxed, playful, the light is beautiful. We capture a few posed images of your family, and then you get to enjoy a relaxed session with plenty of time to just connect as a family. Beach sessions capture childhood wonder, discovery, mommy snuggles, racing daddy to the waves on the shore. Your gallery will be full of gorgeous, artful images of your family life. Session pricing is a straightforward and easy all-inclusive rate for a family of up to 5 at $650. Your session images will be presented in a beautiful online gallery from which you may download your images and purchase any additional wall art or albums you may want for your home. 

Want to have a look at some of my other beach sessions? Have a look at this recent beach session with older children and a favorite Cape May NJ session

Are you interested in booking a session with me while you vacation in Cape Cod this June29-July 5th? Please get in touch! I'd love to hear more about your family and your session goals!

AnneMarie Hamant is an award-winning family and child photographer who travels for sessions across the East Coast. You can learn more about her here!

Firstborn son | Lehigh Valley PA Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

Do you remember those first few days at home with your firstborn baby? It all kind of feels like a blur, while at the same time becomes forever ingrained in your memory of parenthood. I will always remember what it felt like to come home from the hospital and walk into our Maryland condo with our oldest, setting him down in the carseat in the living room, and looking at each other like "Now what?" In my memory we were so young. 29 and 31 years old. Looking back on the pictures of us from those first days, we were so tired, but delighted. Now that baby is eight and a half years old, and almost as tall as I am. To say that these days go by fast is an understatement.

I loved capturing the S family at home where they are most comfortable, admiring with wonder their firstborn son. It was such a joy to be present with them for this stage in their parenthood journey. 

Amidst the tulip blooms | New Jersey Child Photographer

Whenever my children say something like, "Wouldn't it be amazing if every season were warm and sunny?" I always remind them that we would never appreciate the beauty of that time of year if we didn't have to experience the depth of the winter cold and darkness. Through the seasons we experience longing and patience, and witness the beauty of creation in all it's many forms. Coming out of what felt like the coldest, longest winter of our lives, the colors of spring feel like a true miracle. God's gift to us all.

When I saw that the tulips were blooming at the largest tulip farm on the East Coast, we decided to take a little daytrip and soak up some sun and all the brilliant colors. Josephine LOVES flowers, so this was pretty much heaven on earth for her. 

Spring is finally here and I have a few openings for sessions this May and June. Fields of yellow wildflowers will soon be in bloom, as well as the cherry blossoms. If you'd like to book a session to celebrate the beauty of this season, I'd love to talk with you. 

Fine Art Product Offerings | Lehigh Valley Photographer

I am going to be honest with you- we have 8 years of pictures stored on my hard drives, and for many years I was not great about making albums and printing prints for the kids to have when my hard drives have long since crashed and something happens to my cloud storage. I honestly don't even know where the pictures are stored from when my oldest was a baby. From family photo sessions, all I really have are the few prints from each session. And you know what has held me back all this time? It takes time, a lot of time, to create albums and think about wall galleries. Before you know it they've grown and we're on to the next best stage, and all the while I still never made that album from our trip to Disney 2 years ago. Maybe you have this problem too.  

As much as I love digital files to share with friends online, I feel my art is truly purposeful when printed. I can tell you that when I have prints around the house, or DO make a photo album of a vacation or a special time in their lives, the kids feel famous. They love showing the albums to everyone who comes to visit, and retelling the memories triggered by the prints on my giant bulletin board in my office.   

Because I feel like most of us loose track of time and have enough other projects on our never-ending to-do lists, I'm really passionate about every client leaving our session with SOMETHING tangible. Something that is done for you, and done quickly after your session before the images are forgotten on a USB drive. I want you to have at least some printed products from a lab that my work is calibrated with, whose products are of such high quality that you can't just order for yourself from any online retailer.  I've spent all winter ordering new products, testing out various fine art papers and finishes, and comparing labs. Did you know the color reproduction varies significantly between even PRO labs? I've spent hours selecting new products to offer my clients that feel truly special. I will no longer be offering traditional lustre prints as I always have. At this time I am only offering fine art papers in my product offerings because I want you to have something unique and luxurious to display in your home. 

If we create a beautiful gallery of images, and they never make it past your hard drive, why did we even bother?

Have a look below at some of the sample products that are now in the shop. Bordered matte prints, mounted fine art prints, torn edge prints, and gorgeous leather or linen albums. Which would you love to see in your home?

Sunrise Beach Family Session | Destination Travel Family Photographer

Back in February when I attended the Click Away conference with Clickin' Moms in Amelia Island, FL, I had the pleasure of shooting a session for another talented photographer and her family while they vacationed at the Omni Resort.

They were brave enough to get their three kids up and ready for a sunrise session and we had so much fun capturing their beautiful love for each other on the beach and in the forest.  

Since we created these images to be enjoyed in print for years to come, I want to take some time to show you one of my new product offerings for 2018. I am IN LOVE with my new album which is handcrafted here in the USA and printed on a thick velvet fine art paper with layflat pages. There are plenty of cover options to suit different tastes, from distressed leathers (as shown) to linens. 

Check out my Product Guide for details. This is such a beautiful heirloom keepsake from our session. 

beach photographer AnneMarie Hamant

The fine art album

Because we created these images for a greater purpose than to be simply shared on social media. 

Enjoy some of my favorite moments from our sunrise beach session. If you are planning a summer trip to the beach, I'd love to capture your family connections. Beach sessions are so relaxed and playful. I am available for travel to the Eastern shore. 

Party of 5 | Lehigh Valley Newborn Photographer

This documentary newborn session with one of my favorite Hellertown PA families was all about capturing life at home with three children 4 and under. Parenting at this stage is busy, tiring, silly, colorful and full of laughter. I love how this family embraced a truly documentary approach and dressed as they usually would for a Sunday morning at home. We did do a few simple newborn portraits as well like we did with their second child, and a few family bed snuggles because it's nice to be all be in the frame together. It's been such a joy watching the E family grow since their oldest was about a year old! I'm grateful they've trusted me with yet another milestone in their family life. 

Did you miss their birth photography session? Go back and have a look at this incredible mama's birth story. 

Are you expecting and considering newborn photography? I'd love to talk with you about a relaxed in-home session to capture your family's story! 

Final Hours | Lehigh Valley Family Photographer

I am honored to have been published in two major media hubs for my story on my sister's last few hours with us before she passed from cancer back in November. 

This story is a reminder of why simple moments are worth documenting, and the true power of a photograph. 

If you or a family member is going through a battle with cancer, and would like to be photographed as a legacy to your family, please reach out to me. I have a big heart for family documentary work and would like to offer this gift to select local families. 

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sunday morning extended family session | Lehigh Valley PA family photographer

When most people think of extended family sessions, they think of white shirts and denim and lots of stress to organize rows of family members and attempts to get all 12 people to say cheese. Maybe that's why families only do these like once in their lives ever?! 

Documentary family photography means everyone can just BE themselves, come as they are, hang out, wear whatever they usually wear, and you come away with a collection of images that tell the story of your family in this season of life. Part crazy, chaotic, part quiet and connected. We have time to capture the children in their rooms, surrounded by their beloved stuffies or pile of Legos, along with the meaningful relationships between extended family members. 

The Garcia family is a fabulous bunch that starts with 5 brothers who all are grown and have their own families and mostly live local. About monthly they get together for family brunch. They mix up some pancakes and eggs, brew some coffee, and hangout. They share a meal, light saber fight, tickles, play music and games together, draw or color with the kids. I was so touched by the loving way this family connected. The kids are so lucky to have all these aunts and uncles in their lives. I hope you love this story of a Sunday morning with the Garcia crew as much as I do!

a birth story | Lehigh Valley Birth Photographer

Birth is the beginning of a powerful love story. I truly believe there is nothing more incredibly authentic than the emotion of a birth story. The process of birthing, the sacrifice and effort to bring forth this new little person. The adrenaline rush that overpowers you during pushing and after birth. The emotional high after delivery. The love at first sight. That first connection to mother's breast.

Sadly, birth photography is often undervalued in our area. Many people don't understand why someone would want that raw, messy, unpredictable story told through photos. I was thrilled when my fellow photographer friend wanted her third birth story remembered through photos. Her labor and baby boy's birth was truly amazing to witness, and is such a beautiful story to share as the children grow older. The story of where it all began... As a mother, I know that the details of my own birth experiences have become blurry; foggier with time. So focused on labor, many details get lost in the rush. 

I have reserved the most intimate of images for this family to enjoy privately,  but I am so happy this mother has those photographs to remember her baby as he emerged from the womb. 

This mama labored in near total silence, even through transition, and her labor was only about two hours from the point of arriving at the hospital to holding her baby.  I was amazed at her grounded sense of calm as she brought a 10 pound, 2 ounce baby boy into the world that night. 

If you'd be interested in talking with me about capturing your birth story, please contact me so we can talk about your vision!

 

 

A Sunday morning Life Story session | Lehigh Valley Photographer
 

What do you want to remember about your weekend mornings while the kids are still little?  

I walk into this family's Sunday morning to find their oldest son making pour-over coffee, dad busy in the kitchen cooking up homemade waffles, the kids wrestling on the family room floor and reading stories with mommy. After this family of five gathers together to enjoy breakfast, they spend time doing "Family Church." Listening to worship music together, learning about Scripture, and praying together. After Family Church time, they play board games and daddy puts the youngest up for his nap. What a beautiful winter Sunday morning, cozied up at home sharing a meal, prayer and activity time focused on each other.

I adored every minute of this documentary session and long to tell more of your family routines. These days pass too quickly, and as wonderful as beautiful formal portraits are, there is something so meaningful in preserving the everyday. 

I went back to reveal the gallery slideshow with the family a week later when it was ready. It was SO much fun to see the expressions on the children's faces as they recalled real moments from their day. "Look at S making the coffee all on his own!" "Remember how high M jumped off the couch?" "That was my best game of Yahtzee ever!"

Documentary sessions connect with us because they are memories of childhood, parenting, and celebrate the beauty in your everyday. Sometimes it's really hard to find joy in the daily grind of parenting. But I promise you, these sessions reveal a love and connection in your home that you may not be able to see yourself on those difficult days of "just getting through it."

What does the after-school routine look like in your home? | Lehigh Valley Documentary Photographer

Is the after-school routine a part of your family's daily routine that you'd like to remember as your children grow older?

Katie and Scott are both graduates of the school their children attend. They are now both teachers in the same school district. They also decided to buy a house just blocks from the school. A lot of their life is centered around school and family.  Every day, one of them picks their daughter up from the elementary school and they walk them home together, while the other parent picks up their son at preschool. When they get home, it's time for snack, homework and spending some quality time as a family! They choose this part of their daily routine as the context for their Life Story documentary session. 

The 20-degree-below-zero windchill didn't stop them from walking home from school the day of our session! They got home, enjoyed some hot cocoa, did their homework, made slime, played legos, and had create-your-own pizza night. It was a great afternoon together!

If you are interested in me capturing a part of your daily routine, please contact me at info@annemariehamant.com to book a Life Story documentary session. I would love to preserve more of your real life, everyday moments this season.