I put a high priority on my own personal family photos. When I'm old and these days have long passed, the only things I'll have from this time in our lives are our memories and our photographs. My children are young and their memories of this age will be fuzzy. Having something concrete will be more meaningful to them as they grow up. I know that intellectually, people know this. However, I see more and more women delay doing it. They get caught up in not knowing what to wear, or not liking themselves in photos, or wanting to first lose ten pounds, or cringing at the thought of getting their families to cooperate. The truth is: none of those things really matter. Family photos aren't about looking like some fantasy version of perfect. They are supposed to be exactly who you are today. Your best version of who you really are. To do this, we help orchestrate it for you. We help you feel great about your clothes, we help you prepare the kids so they are excited about the session (seriously, it works, and it doesn't usually include bribery) and we lead our clients through the photos so that they always have something to do and are creating real moments.
I recently worked with a great family at Yorktown Beach. They had the right attitude and the result was photos that were exactly what the mom wanted. Take a look, and at the end I'll tell you the keys to success.
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“I feel like I’m supposed to love this, but I don’t.”
Do you ever say that about a photo? Recently, a local business owner showed me the family portrait on her desk and said that. “I feel like I’m supposed to love this, but I don’t.” As soon as I saw the picture, I knew why.
It was an image of her, her husband and their three children. It was a photograph of those she loved, but not a photograph she loved. They were dressed nicely. It had the proper settings, good light, proper positioning, etc., but there was no LIFE in the image. No personality, nothing to remember, or fall in love with. Their eyes seemed glassed over and their smiles forced. It was more of a mug shot than an image of a loving family.
Art vs. Technical
Photographers have to balance doing enough of the things we are SUPPOSED to do with enough of the things we SHOULD do. We have to do both art and technical.
Experience, skill and personal style determine how much is art and how much is technical. Sometimes we focus on one too much over the other. In the example above, the photo was too technical. The family wasn’t engaged in the moment. It lacked real emotion. It was technically right, but felt rushed.
On the other hand, these days, digital technology has put quality cameras in the hands of the public. Inexperienced, yet passionate, people take up photography. Artistic taste drives their work, even at the expense of technical proficiency. They get genuine smiles and emotions, but they can lack the benefits of good lighting (natural or artificial), good color in the skin and focus. The decent shots they get are lucky, and they aren't able to duplicate them for other clients.
When you choose someone to photograph your family, you need to decide for yourself what is important to you. Are you concerned about your weight or complexion? Do you want to highlight your best features? Then go with the technical photographer who understands how lighting, posing and choice of lens can help. Do you want to remember sweet moments and laughter? Do you want to smile every time you see the photo? The artistic photographer is the way to go.
But why not have it all? Carefully choosing a skilled and experienced photographer who carefully balances both technical and art is the best choice of all. Someone who understands both will be able to create photos from the client's list of needs and desires. Technical expertise is almost always needed to execute an artistic vision.
Take a look at your most recent family photo. Does it show what you look like or who you really are? Can you actually see the color of your eyes? Is your skin the right tone? Is your smile natural? Are your kids comfortable? Do you all look like yourselves? Do you love it? If not, it’s time to find a new photographer.
It's been a little while since I've posted a session, so today I'm going to share a sweet little newborn. Newborn photography has become extremely popular over the past several years. It used to be that 'newborn baby picture' meant the one you got at the hospital. Now you can choose anything from dressing up your baby like a mermaid to having professional photos of the birth itself. I prefer to keep things simple and sweet -- some wonderful individual images of baby, usually color-coordinated with mom's preferences or to match the nursery, and then some with the parents, both posed and candid. Depending on the family's preference, I'll take even more of a photojournalist approach and document the details of their new daily life. I personally love tasteful breastfeeding photos, but I understand they aren't for everybody.
This family kept things simple for their little girl to make sure the images are about her and their family at this point in their lives. These pictures are timeless.
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My Valentine baby, almost four years later.
Ahhhh, the pressure of coming up with something meaningful to give on Valentine's Day. My husband and I decided years ago not to celebrate. It's only a week after my birthday, so it seemed silly. Turns out, my son ended up being born on Feb 14 so that sealed the deal! Before he was born, I did sort of secretly wish my husband would do something sweet for me. It didn't need to be anything elaborate, just something he knew I would like. One of my favorite gifts from him was completely unexpected -- he bought me a leather-bound journal with my name on the front because he knew my current one was almost full. I never even asked him. It was classy and thoughtful and perfect.
As the years go on, we often forget to surprise and delight the people we care about most. It doesn't have to just be our spouses. Meaningful acts and words can have dramatic effects on anybody -- significant others, our children of ANY age, sisters, brothers, parents, close friends and neighbors. I have one good friend who is amazing at this. Every so often, I'll get a small gift in the mail with a note that says "I saw this, and thought of you." It's the sweetest thing!
This year, consider Valentine's Day gifts for anyone... or everyone! We could all use a reminder that we are loved and appreciated. I'll probably bring some baked goods to a neighbor, send a card to my sister, and take my kids to Great Wolf Lodge for my son's birthday (wait... does that still count?) Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't remind you of the emotional impact of a photograph. Whether you give to your mother that family photo she has been begging for, or you surprise your wife by splurging on newborn photos for the baby you'll soon have together, or you reward your best friend for all of the hard work she's put into her weight loss with a session just for the two of you. Women LOVE photos. The gift of photography lasts forever. (Which is far longer than overpriced roses, by the way.)
Happy Valentine's Day to you all! <3 Timorah
"Tell me the story of your family," I asked. A simple question, but one that I knew the answer to which would make my heart smile. This dual military couple met early in their careers, traveled together, went to school together, even deployed together, and they desperately wanted a baby together. The call came in September. A birth mother in Utah chose them for a baby boy due just before Christmas. Unexpectedly, this sweet soul couldn't wait to meet his parents and instead arrived in November. They frantically dropped everything to fly out there and meet their son, stayed with him for a few days in the NICU, and then took their first family, trip by train, 55 hours back to Virginia. Mama got a lot of comments from strangers about how good she looked for having a newborn!
Years ago, her mother made this blanket for a friend's baby. Her mother has since passed away, and upon the news of this miracle baby, the friend gave her the blanket. Such a special gift!
He wouldn't let her put him down. He is so content in her arms.
He knows who his mama is. So perfect together, making silly faces at each other.
Proud daddy is so gentle and sweet.
The best Christmas gift ever. Congratulations to the three of you!
Recently, a friend gave me a hard time for not updating my website. She's right. I probably should. So here it is :) This is a sweet family and local small business owner of Soaring Pride Designs. The parents pour so much love into their family and my guess is that is why this kid is so dang cute and full of personality. (The good kind of personality.) Like me, they are new to the area but plan on making it their permanent home. So what better place for their first family photos here than the center of their new hometown? I love shooting at the Yorktown battlefields and will also occasionally make my way down to the waterfront. So much variety, yet close to home so I have a lot of opportunities to explore some of the hidden locations. Enjoy the photos!
Like what you see? See these family photos HERE.
I first started working with this family in August when they were somewhat newly pregnant with triplets. We spoke often throughout the past seven months. It was so wonderful to be able to share in the journey with these clients as they experienced the challenges and rewards of a multiple pregnancy, premature birth, time in the NICU and now having three beautiful and healthy little girls at home. So even though they weren't really 'newborns' in the technical sense, they are still small and sweet and somewhat sleepy. This was a challenge, but really a lot of fun. (YES, I can tell them all apart quite easily.) There are just a few here so mom and dad can be the first ones to share them :)
Getting three babies to sleep at the same time takes a lot of patience... I love this shot from when mom was calming the girls.
I can't help it. It's nowhere near perfect, but I HAD to share this one. Funniest.outtake.ever!!!
Oh, my poor neglected blog! This is the busiest time of year for photographers who do family sessions because everybody just loves the weather and the fall colors. We are also all getting ready for the holidays, including cards and gifts to grandparents. I promise my clients that I won't publish any photos that are meant to be a surprise so I have a whole lot of them I'm just hanging onto WAITING until the first of the year when I can share them. In the meantime, here is a share from a recent session. Enjoy!
I love relationships. I love to listen to people talk about them, I like to watch them bloom and of course, it is at the heart of my photography. Every single one of my newborn sessions has a mother and baby image. Sometimes, the new mom is hesitant -- she hasn't slept, or she thinks she is still too 'fat' or is somehow otherwise not looking good enough to be photographed herself. I disagree. I think this is one of the most beautiful times in her life. The first few days of a lifelong relationship go by so quickly, but no matter what type of relationship -- mother/child, boyfriend/girlfriend, best friends -- we often think back to how it all began. The emotions and the excitement can still be felt when we think about it. Imagine what you would feel if you could see an image of those days.
This is my sister with her 8-day-old daughter. I love how beautiful she looks. I'm always trying to get her to wear a little makeup, she always refuses. She clearly doesn't need it here. I love how you can see how tiny the baby is in proportion to my not-very-big sister. THIS is why I love my work.
I met up with this military family to capture some Virginia memories just before heading off to their next duty assignment.
Do you want to look fabulous in any photo? Find out here.