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.
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.
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.
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!
I know.. summer doesn't actually end until late September. But to me, Labor Day is the end of unstructured, carefree family time and vacations. Capturing this family's last day of their beach vacation in Cape May New Jersey was the perfect end to my summer season. One thing I love about Cape May is how you can capture that beautiful sunset light over the water, unlike most east-coast beaches. I also just love the character of the town! Victorian houses, a pedestrian mall filled with cute shops and eateries, and my favorite find on this trip- the very best ice cream sandwiches at Peace Pie!
For this lifestyle session we started in town walking the pedestrian mall together. We stopped into the cutest candy shop and the girls picked out their goodies. (When mom told me later that the kids said she had picked a really fun photographer I chuckled- Sure! The one who suggested we go to the candy store and take pictures with lollipops!)
I love playing with the deep shadows and harsh light of the early evening- to me that is part of the fun of summer light, especially to capture the whimsical fun of a walk around town. And the bond between these sisters so close in age is just the sweetest.
After our romp around town, we headed over to the Cove beach in Cape May. It is a beautiful spot that gets a perfect view of the lighthouse and sunset. This family was so playful and affectionate- I just love the connections we captured during our time together. It was the perfect way to end the summer!
If you love my work and would like your family vacation to be documented, I love to travel for sessions! Please inquire if you'd like to book a destination portrait session with me!
You might see me posting a lot about these "Life Story" sessions lately. I'm going to explain a bit about how a Life Story documentary session is different than my traditional lifestyle sessions as we prepare to enter into the fall busy season and people are choosing what kind of portrait experience is best for them. If you are interested in booking a fall family portrait session, either lifestyle or documentary in Montgomery County, PA or the surrounding area, please reach out soon as my calendar is almost booked! There are only so many fall sunsets available so grab a spot now!
What is a "Lifestyle" session?
Most families have had some sort of "lifestyle" photography session done over the years. A "lifestyle" session is more modern than traditional posed portraits with props, and more traditional than a documentary session. It's kind of a comfortable middle ground. In a lifestyle session, I will gently pose your family and lead you into opportunities to connect with each other through touch or movement, in the most beautiful light available to us at an outdoor location- usually a park or a field. You can see a beautiful lifestyle motherhood session on the blog. I help coordinate your clothing and choose a beautiful location. We will do a few poses of everyone looking at me, and then use the rest of our time to connect with your family. These sessions are really beautiful and show connection, emotion and light without the use of any props.
How is a Life Story Documentary Session different from a lifestyle session?
A Life Story session is different than a lifestyle session because it is photojournalistic in nature. Your story, my lens. The session will take place at your home usually, or another location that is essential to the family story. We spend a few hours together and your family goes about the normal routine while I document your family life via my artistic voice. The kids are going to go about their regular play, potty training, bathtime, snacks, etc. Our goal is to give you an artistic representation of your daily life. We are shooting for an album, to create a picture-story of this little slice of your daily world.
What kind of session is right for you?
When this sweet Montgomery County PA family contacted me about booking an end-of-summer session, at first mom had planned on doing a traditional lifestyle session at home. But as we talked more about what she wanted on her walls, and about the family dynamics and children's personalities, she decided that a Life Story documentary session would be more fun for the kids and would capture the authentic, beautiful chaos of life with 3 small children. I was super excited to tell their story.
We spent a little over 2 hours together than evening as the family wrapped up dinner and moved outside to spend quality time together playing water balloons, picking tomatoes, weeding the garden, and eating ice cream. When it was time for bath, I followed everyone in and concluded our story with that bedtime routine.
Thank you so much, D Family, for inviting me into your beautiful family life. It's been such a joy to capture these moments for you.
When I asked mom why they wanted to tell their story with a Life Story session, she responded, "The kids are growing up and Tessa is likely the last baby. I'd like to capture what it is really like having such a young family and how much fun and chaos it can be so I have fond memories to look back on and remember."
What story do you want to tell this fall?
If you are interested in a Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Bucks County or Lehigh Valley Lifestyle or Life Story Documentary family session this fall, please book now. My October calendar is 99% full. September and November have limited availability.
Introducing Life Stories Sessions.
Often times my clients comment that they love they way I capture my family's everyday chaos, the tiny moments throughout our day. How do I make such simple things look so magical?
I want to create more client work that mirrors my personal work.
My heart is truly devoted to capturing your authentic life stories. As much as I love lifestyle sessions that take are gently posed in parks and in the most beautiful sunset light, I love at-home storytelling sessions because children are in their element and the stories feel most authentic.
What are Life Stories Sessions?
Think of them as photo-journalistic short stories of your daily life. A snippet of your family together at home.
Unposed. Real. Candid.
I spent the most amazing summer evening with this sweet family the other night. I love their reflections about our session to complete their photo story. I can't wait to see these images in a coffee-table album for the kids to look back on!
What kind of life story would you like us to tell during our session?
Daily life after daddy gets home. Trying to squeeze in those extra daylight hours and soak up summer. Dinner, dessert, playtime and garden chores.
Why is it important to you to document this particular life story? What do these images of your everyday family life mean to you?
Documenting the real life "raw-ness" is important because we live it every day. It is really never reflected in picture format because we are almost always behind the lens.
Imagine you are looking at a picture album of your Life Story Session years from now. What types of moments do you hope to see in it? What do you hope to remember about this time in your family's life when you look back in 10 years?
LOVE! And chaos of course. Chaos is par for the course at this stage in our lives. Life with small children is magical for them and often for us as well, but in between those moments, moments of chaos exist. Those moments, although hard at times while in the thick of it, are the moments I know I will yearn for as they grow older. Most importantly I want to know that my children felt loved and a genuine connection between us as a family.
Where does this story take place? Why is that place important to you?
Home... because as cliche as it sounds ... that is where the heart is and always has been in our family. We love our home and spend a lot of time here.
In this home a baby was born, a first breath into the new world.
Our dog also took his last breaths here.
Really, our home is a sanctuary for us. A safe place to just be who we are.
Most importantly I want to know that my children felt loved and a genuine connection between us as a family.
If you would love an everyday family life story photographed with my vision of the magic of childhood and simple beauty, please contact me to book a session! My heart bursts in photographing client stories as I do my own family's. Best of all, these sessions don't require loads of outfit planning and effort. We just plan out what part of your daily life you'd like to remember most, and you guys get to hang out at home while I create a beautiful record of your life.
Somehow I often manage to attract clients that are so like-minded and we just just click instantly. I maintain close relationships with so many of my clients, and I truly love being a part of their lives. I love when I am familiar to the children for their next session and it's like reuniting with old friends. This was my first time working with this sweet family but we just clicked right away. While we walked the beautiful grounds of The Manor House at Prophecy Creek, we chatted about parenting, homeschooling, healthy eating, and their restored barn-turned-home. we had such a relaxed session together and by the end, their shy 3-year old was all smiles and very playful. I want all children to leave a session feeling like they had a great outing with their family- no stress on the child to perform or pose. This casual approach allows me space to capture the little in-between moments and your children's true personalities. This little guy was really interested in how things work, and loved searching the grounds for old screws and bolts.
Before our session his mama wrote, "I hope that when my son is grown and looks back at these photos he sees how much his dad and I adore him." There was so much love surrounding this little guy, I hope you can feel it through these images.
Grandparents are a legacy. My Legacy Sessions capture the unique bond between grandparents and grandchildren. My Legacy Sessions can also be booked to honor an aging or ill family member and document a piece of their life story.
When my client contacted me soon after her Spring family session to book a Legacy Session for her girls and her parents, I was ecstatic. Grandparents play such an important role in our children's lives but if you are like me, there are very few pictures documenting that special bond. What better way to honor their care and connection with your children than a fun and relaxed portrait session documenting the kids snuggling, swinging, and playing with their grandparents.
If you'd like to book a Legacy Session for a family member, please get in touch! I'd love to talk with you about how we can honor your family.
I was so honored to have been invited to be the featured artist over on the Snap Love Grow Photography blog last week. Have a peek over at their blog to learn more about me and my work!
We took a little road trip today and had some fun hiking and exploring. Gathering treasures of tiny shells, fossils, driftwood, and just climbing around nature's jungle gym made for the perfect homeschooling morning after our bookwork was finished. I can't wait to get back here for a sunset family session!
I am currently booking Spring and Summer Child and Family sessions. Please contact me if you would love for me to capture your children at play and are interested in getting on my calendar.
We are all feeling a little cooped up with the winter right about now, so even though I am longing to shoot outdoors and in beautiful dreamy backlit fields, this season forces me to turn inward, shoot in less-than-perfect locations and light, accept some grain and high ISOs, and find new nooks of light in my home. We're hanging in there!
If you love my work and would like your family story documented as art, please contact me to schedule an in-home storytelling session. I'd love to find the light and capture the love in your home.
We've made it a week into this year's 365 project! It's that time of year for lots of shadows and isolated indoor light. I'm hoping we get some more snow soon so we can really get out and play! This week I challenged myself to get IN the frame and start practicing self-portraits. It is HARD. Harder than I ever imagined. Now I know how all my mom clients feel when they see themselves in pictures. Even the most beautiful mamas are critical of themselves. It is so hard to see ourselves despite the million selfies people take daily. Anyways, I'll be playing around more with self-portraiture in our daily life here and there. Here are a few peeks a our week. It's kind of a fun change (and challenge!) to return to documenting my family life after such a busy fall season of client work.
Impossible to narrow it to just 16 favorites, so I will likely share more with time, but here are some of my favorite moments captured for my clients in 2016. In fact, these are only pulling from outdoor work this fall! So many beautiful families, light, and lots of love. Thank you all so much for inviting me into your lives for just a small little window and letting me capture your love.
This beautiful testimony about her session was written by my client: such a sweet mama. Balancing a LOT- her family, her own successful business, children's activities... you know it all too well. Big plans, lots of mishaps for this shoot, but we ended up with MAGIC. Did they see it at the time? Nope. stressed we didn't get any good shots. You can't even imagine the beautiful gallery we created from this session. Just goes to show, your family is so beautiful even amidst the chaos. Relax and trust me to capture that for you :)
If only you could have been a fly on the wall (er, in the air) these past 24 hours. Our family photo shoot that I mentioned was happening this week? Did you see the gorgeous sunset God gifted the world last night for a beautiful family photo session? You didn't? Well guess what, NEITHER DID WE! This Mama had it in the family's calendar this entire. time. for the WRONG DATE. And here I thought I was so on top of my game having our clothes finalized and laid out days before. 🙈 Come to find out it was supposed to be LAST night. Not tonight. Sooooo in the wee morning hours today my clan made our way to a last minute sunrise session. As in, 7:45AM. And naturally we were running late. I had BIG plans in my head of how this year's photoshoot was going to pan out. Kids frolicking through the meadow while my husband and I toasted with our Moscow mule copper mugs of warm cocoa. 😂 Kids were tired and cold and as soon as our youngest started warming up, our oldest fell of his dad's shoulders and smacked his head on the ground. My gorgeous lace Lucy kept getting caught in the meadow's thorns. Ladies, it was one thing after another like out of a movie. The one consistent thing throughout it all? Our amazing photographer AnneMarie Hamant who was SO patient, gracious and beyond accommodating to this crazy, scattered-brained mom who botched the whole thing up in the first place. Here is a quick picture I snapped when we got home from all of the chaos. It is my precious Hadley donning remnants of her morning's outfit that included a pair of cozy LuLaRoe leggings, a pair of mismatched socks her Daddy dressed her in for the session and stayed on the entire time (Men!) AND you may note the new, shorter 'do which is the result of an impromptu hair cutting date she and her sweet cousin decided to have last weekend. Sigh. I share all this and show this sweet picture that makes me smile, because it is a reminder to me of the sweetness and beauty amongst chaos. Oh how far from perfect things panned out. And our Christmas Card will likely show a child with exhausted tears in her eyes and a dirty "Lovie" clutched in her paw, chocolate chunks in the teeth of another (from the doughnuts we were using as "rewards"), a son with a pounding headache, a husband stressed that he is beyond late for work, and a mom who is frazzled and desperate for ONE GOOD SHOT. Praise God for grace. Perfection is so boring, isn't it? It's all about making the best of these crazy moments. And striving to do so with a little bit of style and grace.
I love being invited to document the family as a big sibling welcomes a new baby home. So many sweet moments and brother's eyes just tell it all. Best friends for life :)
Can we just talk for a minute about sunrise light? Oh my goodness it took my breath away. This is one of my amazing repeat families (I've gotten to see them every 3 months for a year!!!! How awesome is that?!) that was truly hardcore enough to meet me for a 7:45am session on a slightly frigid morning on a farm. Sunrise is truly underrated. The quality of light is just as stunning as sunset and our location made for some really warm and cozy fall portraits, as well as fun playtime with the farm animals! The goats were getting a little frisky with us, but my little buddy Grant didn't seem to mind one bit :)
When my client contacted me a few months ago to inquire about an extended family session and mentioned that they wanted to do some formals at a park and then move back to Grandpa's house for a campfire and smores, I knew we were going to be the perfect match :)
I just loved how playful this family was and the bond between sweet Paige and her G-Pa was just too beautiful for words. I don't have many pictures of me with my grandparents (maybe one from my high school graduation?!), so I am very drawn to capturing these expressions of play and affection. Thank you so much D Family for inviting me to document your adorable family's campfire, and for sharing the delicious smores :)
If you are interested in having me document a fun family gathering or just tell the story of your family engaged in a holiday tradition, please contact me know to get on my calendar for November and December.
I adore this family and this location. We had so much fun together last weekend on a warm fall evening at Lake Nockamixon. There's something about rocks and water that makes every child happy. Thank you O Family for the opportunity to capture your family again!
This little slice of heaven is practically in my backyard, and I've loved bringing clients to this park to frolic and play and pick wildflowers. The children just love it's wide paths to run and climb the boulders, explore what's around the bend, and just BE themselves in nature.
This family was totally adorable and was amazing enough to make the drive from Macungie to Saucon Valley for an early morning session. They totally rocked the playtime component of our session and we captured some beautiful candid moments along with their more traditional portraits. They even braved the swarms of gnats. I won't be sad when those buggers are done for the season!
Thank you L family for this beautiful fall frolic together! I love the colors and the emotions of your session so much! And these sisters... so genuine and so tender with one another.