I love milestone portrait sessions. It's so fun to photograph these little ones as they grow. Out of the different milestone options, I think 6 month sessions are my favorite. Babies this age are often starting to sit up on their own and their little personalities really start to shine through. Plus, they make the BEST faces!
If you remember this little guy's 3 month milestone session, you'll see that his parents decided to keep the baby suspenders theme going. I was certainly not disappointed. I adore baby suspenders and I'm sure you can see why!
Photographers will often tell you that their most difficult subjects are their own children. I am no exception. My daughter loves having her photo taken; however, she doesn't want to listen to my directions and posing suggestions. She has her own ideas that don't always photograph well.
My son is difficult in a different way altogether. His 2nd birthday was this week, and I wanted to have a little photo session with him as I do with my children every year. Toddlers can be challenging to photograph anyway, but at least with clients, they are curious about the silly lady with the black box in front of her face. Getting them to look at me and my camera isn't too difficult. My own son is so accustomed to my camera being out that he probably views it as an extension of my arm. He doesn't care to look at the camera because he's just not that curious about it.
I knew I needed to go with a more lifestyle photography type of session. There's no way I was going to get him to sit still for more traditional portraits. He absolutely loves tractors and trucks and anything with wheels, so I really wanted to find a place in Charleston, SC that fit that theme. I originally planned to take him to where my husband works for his family's business because they have tractors and a backhoe. The timing and weather just never worked out for that though. I then remembered that the company where my husband's work buys their tractors is only minutes from my house. I asked my husband if he thought they would let me take our son's portraits there. He was confident they would and recommended a few employees to seek out when I got there.
The next day, after dropping my daughter off at school, we headed over to see the tractors. Not only did this wonderful company allow me to take Bubba's portraits there, but they also gifted him with a little toy tractor. He was in HEAVEN. He made this face and said, "WOW!" more times than I can count.
We wandered around for quite a while just letting him explore to his heart's content. I occasionally posed him a little or said something silly to get his attention and make him laugh. For the most part though, I just followed him around and captured his adventures.
These photos also worked out perfectly for Week 3 in the Life in 52 challenge. I edited this photo in both black and white and color but couldn't decide which I liked more. I posted both on my Facebook page and asked for opinions. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of COLOR.
See more of my photos from the Life in 52 challenge here.
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!
Although I chose to specialize in birth and fresh 48 photography, I really enjoy portrait photography as well. My favorite portraits are those that come from ongoing relationships with my clients - taking maternity portraits and then being present when the baby growing in that sweet bump is born or seeing a baby from a fresh 48 session grow throughout their first year. I love capturing families as they grow and change over the months and years.
I have two options for portrait sessions: the Mini and the Full. They are both great options for all types of portraits; the difference really boils down to the length of your session and the variety of options presented in the gallery at the end.
A mini session is 30-minutes on location. These sessions are ideal for seasonal/holiday photos, baby milestones, children's birthdays, pregnancy announcements and gender reveals. Minis are also available for family or maternity portraits, but photo options are more limited by the time available.
Full sessions are one hour on location. These sessions are perfect for any client looking for more variety from their portraits. Because we have more time, we are able to include an outfit change if desired and possibly a change in location if another option is close.
I sometimes have clients ask which type of session is best for families with young children, and my answer honestly depends on the family. Some children are excited to take photos and are very cooperative at the beginning, but by the end of the session they're tired and ready to be done. In those cases, I think a mini session would be appropriate. On the other hand, some children take time to warm up to me and a longer session gives them time to get comfortable and pose well for photos. You know your family best, and I am happy to talk it through with you to decide which option might be best.
Once a client has chosen the type of session they want and paid the retainer fee to secure their date/time, I send an email with an overview of what time to arrive and some suggestions for choosing outfit(s). Sometime in the week before the session, I will consult with clients by email, phone, or text - whichever is easiest for them - to go over any final details and answer any questions. I am also available if they need help choosing what to wear! It's not uncommon for clients to text a photo of some options and ask for my help and opinions. I want them to love their photos, so I am always willing to help choose a location and clothing that will make the portraits look their absolute best.
The day of the session has arrived. Everyone is dressed and ready. Now what?
I usually plan to arrive early to walk around, even if it's a location I have used before, just to make sure there are no surprises waiting. I also prefer to be unpacked and set up, so clients don't have to wait on me when they arrive. If children are involved in the session, I usually take a few minutes to introduce myself and talk to them to help them feel more comfortable with me.
The flow of the session depends on each client and their family dynamics and what they want from their portraits. However, I usually include the same four prompts within each session.
Posed Group Portraits
These are what most people think of when they hear the word "portraits." Everyone placed in a specific spot, looking at the camera, and smiling.
These are more active photos. I encourage clients to walk together, tickle, dance, or move in some way. These portraits usually show more geniune smiles and the relationships between family members.
These are similar to traditional posed portraits, but instead of the whole family/group being included, these are individual photos of each person or smaller combinations of family members.
No matter what form a portrait session takes, I always end my sessions the same way: PLAY!
These are often my favorite photos from a session. This is when personalities really shine. I take whatever time is left at the end of a session, and I encourage clients to just let loose! If we are at the beach, go splash in the water. At a park, clients will chase each other or pick flowers or whatever comes most naturally to them.
Once the session is over, I try to post a couple of sneak peeks on my Facebook and Instagram accounts as I edit over the next few days, and the gallery is delivered within 2 weeks.
Contact me today to plan your next portrait session. I would love to work with you!
Have you ever had a portrait session? What were your favorite photos? Posed or Playful? Leave a comment below and let me know!