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. 

 

AnneMarie Hamant
How to display your pictures | Lehigh Valley PA Photographer

Custom designed albums tell your family story. Fine art museum archival prints make a statement in your home. 

After all of my sessions clients have the option of me helping them to select fine art products to complete their digital portrait package. I believe in the power of the printed image and I believe in a finished job for my clients. Most of us are so busy we just never get around to designing that gallery wall that Pinterest makes us think is soooooo easy. Few of us take the time to design a storybook album with our beautiful images, because honestly, it can take forever and be overwhelming to decide which images to include and how to lay them all out. 

I work with clients to find out how they want to display their images, and then I design it for them! I can show you what a gallery wall would look like and what arrangement fits best in your space. I can even deliver your prints matted and framed so you don't have to do a thing to get them off the hard drive and onto the walls. 

 I recently started offering these beautiful torn-edge and matted prints that are printed by a boutique lab on museum cotton paper. They are THICK and they are unique. They make such a bold statement whether just framed and displayed on a side table, or framed large for the wall. Either way you choose, they are going to be a conversation piece and draw people right in. A beautiful linen-covered coffee table album is another beautiful way to highlight the whole session, and assure that you actually get to revisit and enjoy all of the amazing images in your gallery, rather than forgetting about them except for the few that make it onto the Christmas card. 

Of course my clients are not forced to purchase products from me, but I sure love it when they do because I offer options you cannot get elsewhere, and it means you don't have to worry about what to do with your images after the session. I love receiving these finished products in the mail to review before re-packaging and sending them off to my beloved client families. It makes me happy that our session fulfilled a bigger purpose than just a few shared images on social media. 

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"We recently invited AnneMarie to photograph our growing family as we welcomed our second son into our home. She was not only professional but more importantly she was such a personable and friendly woman who made our session fun. I love how she was attentive to our two year old son who was not always the most cooperative, but she managed to put him at ease long enough to capture many beautiful moments. It was also a fabulous decision to have her assistance with selecting photos. I loved physically sorting through the photos rather than just simply viewing them online. I also loved how she was able to show us different gallery arrangements for our wall spaces. Our experience was wonderful and we highly recommend her services." - Kristen A. 

Featured Work | Lehigh Valley Family Photographer

I've been honored to see my work featured this week on a few different pages. Looks Like Film is an amazing, and huge community that recently featured two of my sessions. Snap Love Grow is another beautiful community of photographers and I am truly thankful to be considered amongst so many talented artists. 

Fall sunset family session in the meadow | Lehigh Valley PA Family Photographer

Do you do mini sessions?

It's that time of year where I get a lot of inquiries from families looking for "just a Christmas card picture." I understand that need and desire, I really do! But shooting for the one or two posed images doesn't fulfill my visual voice and doesn't allow me to express all that I see in a family in the way I so very much long to. So at the moment I am not offering fall mini sessions. I find them stressful on me, stressful on the families. We miss out on the candid, in-between moments that mark my work. I need time with a family for everyone feel at ease and when we are all relaxed we make the most beautiful images. I may change my mind in the future, but for this busy fall season I am choosing to spend more time with each family that comes to me so I can provide them each my best work and service. Thank you for understanding and valuing me!


This gallery gives a glimpse of why I don't prefer mini sessions. There is so much variety and so many sweet expressions of love and personality that we wouldn't have had time for in 15 minutes. This was my first fall Lehigh Valley family portrait session of the 2017 season and it was just beautiful!

I have worked with this adorable family for a few years now, and I just love watching the girls grow. We just had a session in the spring, and it's amazing how much they have changed since May. Jillian is now in 4th grade, and is turning into a little lady. She is just as beautiful as her mama and I swear in some of the walking pictures it's easy to confuse her with mom! Little Lily is the same age as my daughter and I loved her growing independence. She wanted to run circles in the fields which was just fine with me!

Isn't this location beautiful? Goldenrod is my favorite early sign of fall- it comes on in such splendor in mid-September and fades right around the first week in October. I am so glad we were able to catch such beautiful light in the meadow the other night (despite the ever=annoying battle with GNATS!- WHY do they have to come out just in time for fall sessions?!). 

I still have 2 openings for full family sessions at this Lehigh Valley PA location this week before the flowers fade to October's beige (just in time for the trees to take a turn with color!). You can view my pricing and get in touch if you'd like to book a session! Perfect timing before it gets too cold!

A documentary family session | Lehigh Valley PA Family Photographer

When this family first contacted me a few weeks ago about doing a Lehigh Valley documentary session with their three-year old and 4 month-old boys, I was beyond excited. They are moving this week to the midwest for work and wanted a candid way to remember their Coopersburg home where their boys have grown up. 

I think documentary sessions are the perfect way to keep that story of early childhood alive. A keepsake album of pictures from your home, their toys and favorite books tell such a rich story that traditional portraits leave out. My boys moved from Maryland to Lehigh Valley Pa when they were just 4 and 2, and their memories are already fading from that house where they grew up and the surrounding neighborhood. But they still talk about their favorite park and remember certain features of it. I wish I had though to make an album of our daily life there before we moved. 

If you are interested in a documentary photography session in Lehigh Valley PA or surrounding areas, please reach out! This is a fabulous way to bring to life childhood milestones and all the upcoming holiday traditions. 

Are you interested in my pricing for a documentary session? Please have a look at what I offer and let me know if you have any questions!

Apple Picking in Lehigh Valley PA | Lehigh Valley + Bucks County Child Photographer

September.. the month where summer and autumn collide. People always want to book sessions in October but I have to say September is just as lovely a month for portraits. The air is sweet and warm.. it's crisp and fresh in the morning, warm in the afternoon... and most importantly the gnats aren't out in full force quite yet LOL. 

We enjoyed the last weekend before the fall busy season of me being home, present to the kids, and after church we went to the orchard to pick our favorite Honeycrisp apples before they are done for the year. We usually go apple picking 2-3 times each fall and make loads of homemade applesauce to freeze for the winter. 

I love creating family and child portraits in the apple orchard and have one late-September date left during apple-picking season. If you'd love a Lehigh Valley PA or Bucks County PA apple-orchard portrait session please get in touch!

3 reasons to book a sunset session | Bucks County PA Family Photographer

Do you worry that a sunset session would be past your child's normal bedtime?

It's normal to worry about your children's normal routine when planning a portrait session. After all, who wants a cranky toddler for picture day? I appreciate the investment, time, and effort involved in planning for family portraits so I wouldn't ever suggest something that would be uncomfortable for one of my family's. BUT- 

There are a few reasons I suggest booking a sunset session, and in my experience both as a photographer and as a parent, I find that most little ones do just fine! Let me explain why I always prefer to shoot as close to sunset as possible :)  

1. Sunset timing allows me to work in the most flattering light. You might think that 10am on a Saturday is the best time for your family to have pictures taken (post-coffee, breakfast, time for the family to get dressed at a leisurely pace- I get it!!), but I assure you we wouldn't get the quality of work that I am known for if we shot at that time. We can choose to shoot in a fully shaded spot during the hours of high sun, but that type of light is not as interesting or beautiful to me. It is also rather limiting to have to encourage children to stay in the shade instead of running out into the bright sun. 

2. Squinty eyes and raccoon shadows in full sun. Need I say more??

3. Not only is sunset light more flattering, it adds depth to the images and creates a mood we just can't replicate during full sun.  (Of course I love shooting in full sun in certain situations- it can be fun to play with deep shadows and colors pop in a whole different way- but to me it's not as pleasing for portrait work.)

So what do you think? If I've convinced you about the quality of light, what about the bedtime routine??

What I've found after many years photographing families is that when little ones are outside enjoying the fresh air, getting all those extra snuggles and attention from their family, they usually are so content they don't even notice it's close to their normal bedtime. In fact, older toddlers and children feel excited like they are doing something special to be out a little later. 

I still have a few more dates open for sunset sessions. With all the colors of autumn it will be splendid!

 

I just love the light and the peace at Lake Nockamixon. This sweet family from Buck's County PA wanted a relaxed family portrait session to celebrate their baby boy's first birthday. Most children just love being close to the water, and are so happy to be outside on a warm night splashing in the lake, skipping rocks (or trying to put them in their mouths as with this sweet one-year-old boy!) If you'd like to book a session at the lake please contact me to get on my calendar!