The Charleston area has an abundance of beautiful locations and it can often be overwhelming to decide where to photograph a portrait session. No matter what style you are trying to achieve, Charleston has something for everyone: stunning natural scenery at parks and plantations, waterfront views, historic homes and buildings, and even some modern and industrial settings. The location for this particular family session has a little bit of all three.
Located on the former Charleston Naval Base, Riverfront Park was once a hidden gem, only known for larger events like the Annual 4th of July Festival. In recent years, however, many people in our community have discovered its charms. As a matter of fact, I saw at least 3 other photographers at the park while we were there. The great thing about Riverfront is that there is plenty of room and it never seems to feel crowded. There are historic homes that naval officers once called home. There are oak trees dripping in Spanish moss and places to sit and look out over the creek that runs past the park. You will also find a large, industrial performance pavilion and a sampling of modern art pieces throughout Riverfront Park.
The weather on this particular weekend was pretty cold and dreary for the most part, but we ended up with a beautiful, mild afternoon for this family photo session. We walked all around the park and took advantage of all it has to offer.
I must say this is an incredibly photogenic family, and those handsome boys kept me on my toes! Jackson, the older brother, was my little model. He loved to pose and would randomly tell me, "Hey! Take a picture of me like this by this tree!"
Little brother, Weston, mostly wanted to play, but he would occasionally stop to give me a big, heart-melting smile. I had to be quick with my camera though because he would only hold the smile for a few seconds before running off again.
This is just a small sample of this family's portrait session. I loved capturing their family dynamic, and I think the photos show their relationship perfectly.
When this family contacted me to take their annual family photos, I suggested a few beautiful locations for our session to take place. They recently moved back to the area and decided their first family photos in town should be in a quintessential Charleston location: the Battery. As their photographer, I was secretly hoping they would choose that particular spot. I've lived in Charleston my entire life, but I still love walking along the Battery and down the various side streets. It's an especially beautiful sight at sunrise. Our session was scheduled the day before Daylight Savings Time ended, so I knew it was my last opportunity to photograph in that gorgeous morning light while sunrise was still happening after 7 am.
I could not have asked for a more perfect morning. The weather was cool and mild, and this family was so much fun! I was thrilled when their adorable little girl warmed up to me almost immediately. After she asked about my dogs and I complimented her pretty red dress (my favorite color), we were ready to get started.
I really enjoyed spending time with this family. They were so relaxed and truly seemed to enjoy each other's company. I had a very hard time choosing which photos to share here in the blog. The entire gallery exuded happiness and love. Take a look and you'll see what I mean!
A few weeks ago, I introduced my new nephew by sharing his newborn session here on the blog. For his 3 month photos, I decided to go with a fairly simple set-up: just a plaid blanket and a couple of basic props. When your subject is this adorable, what else could a photographer need? I mean... does it get any better than a faux baby bowtie and suspenders? I think not...
It amazes me how quickly he has grown. Before I know it, we'll be planning for his 6 month session!
I've heard it said that October is to photographers as April is to accountants. It makes perfect sense. The cooler temperatures, beautiful fall colors, and stunning sunsets are a photographer's dream. Plus, it's the perfect time of year for new family portraits just in time for holiday cards to be printed!
I must say, however, that October is a little different for photographers here in Charleston, SC. The weather cools down some, but temperatures in the upper 80s to low 90s are still very common. Days at the beach are a regular occurrence and the leaves usually stay green.
I still love October though. I can feel the holidays coming, and I'm still a huge kid when it comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas. We also have plenty of great fall activities in Charleston, despite the fact that it still feels like summer most of the time. My family stayed busy all month, and instead of overwhelming my blog readers with tons of individual personal posts, I decided to combine them all into one highlight reel.
We started October with my little man's first haircut. Whenever I write about my children, I always refer to them by their nicknames, and my son bears the most quintessential southern boy nickname possible: Bubba. My sweet Bubba had the most beautiful blonde curls, but for some reason, everyone else seemed to think it was more mullet than precious baby curls. I finally agreed to allow my husband to take Bubba to the barber shop next time he had his own hair cut as long as he didn't complain when I showed up with camera in hand. I have absolutely no problem being that mom.
I have a love/hate relationship with this haircut. He looks like a little boy now without his little baby curls, but he's so stinking cute that it's hard not to love it.
Every October, we also make plans to visit the Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch with friends. On the weekends, the pumpkin patch has food and a petting zoo in addition to all of the other wonderful activities. However, I usually choose to go during the week. Aside from a few school field trips, the crowd is much smaller and less overwhelming for my small children. We still have a wonderful time with plenty of opportunities for play.
The biggest event for our family each October is Bug's birthday! Since she turned 5 this year, we decided to make it an extra special birthday. We had a party with friends and family at our house, but I have almost no pictures! I was in "hostess" mode the entire time. A few days after her party, I took Bug to the beach for a special birthday photo session. I always get pictures of my kids for their birthdays each year, either by hiring another professional photographer or doing them myself. This year I had something special in mind that I really wanted to photograph on my own.
I started with more traditional portraits in a white dress that were all for me, but then I switched to something all about her. Bug is obsessed with mermaids. She has a mermaid bookbag for school and requested that we make her room in our new house mermaid themed. I couldn't resist the opportunity to make her into a mermaid for her birthday. The joy in her face in these photos is so real. She giggled pretty much the entire time and asked if people walking by might think she was a real mermaid.
To top off a pretty awesome birthday week, my mom and I took Bug on a little road trip on her actual birthday. We headed to pick up my niece and then drove on to Charlotte, NC to visit the American Girl store. Again, I had planned to take pictures of the girls in the store, but I was a little overwhelmed in that place. Plus, I had to rein in the birthday girl who was making plans to buy every. single. thing. she saw.
After Bug spent every penny of her birthday money, we met up with some friends of mine who live in Charlotte for a birthday dinner at The Cheesecake Factory before heading back to our hotel. My mom found a hotel that partners with the American Girl store to provide a "pink package" to guests. All the bedding and towels had been switched to pink as well as the alarm clock and trash cans. Each of the girls also received a bag with a bed, robe, and slippers for their dolls to keep and a couple of giant chocolate chip cookies.
When we got home, it was time to get ready for Halloween. Bug decided she wanted to be Moana this year. That was easy enough because she already owns a Moana dress up costume. Since this will likely be my last year with full decision-making rights on Bubba's costume, I decided to dress him as Maui to go with his big sister. I found a cute Maui pajama set on Amazon and used my crafty skills to create a wig and fish hook. I was worried he wouldn't wear the wig, but he was perfect!
Now that October is over, I'm looking forward to the fall weather finally making its way here to Charleston. Plus, I'm allowed to talk about Christmas occasionally without constantly getting side-eye from friends and family.
What was your favorite part of October? Did you dress up for Halloween? Your kids? Tell me about it in the comments!