18 Month Old Photoshoot; Balis Park, San Marco Area

Balis Park is a little oasis in a quaint yet hopping part of San Marco area in Jacksonville. As I met up with Lizzy’s little girl, I saw her peeking out from behind her mom’s legs. At 18 months, kids are full of movement and personality, but they also are beginning to get more nervous around people. Cue the dog statue! Cue the fascinating water fountain! Cue many rounds of peek-a-boo! Cue tickling. After a tag-team effort between Lizzy and I, we saw many gap-toothed smiles and mischievous looks.  It was such a loosely-structured, carefree session, I thought, “I wish I could do this all the time!”

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Phillip and Shantelle, Amelia Island Wedding

I was lucky to photograph and video this intimate ceremony for Phillip and Shantelle. Our day started in a seaside hotel room, with those nervous but happy moments of getting ready. We got delayed when the zipper on Shantelle’s dress broke off! Shantelle was totally calm, and her easy going attitude set the mood for the whole day.

We walked out of the room to see clear blue skies and a sparkling beach. I can see why people love to get married by the ocean. Then every time they go to the beach, they can associate it with the most beautiful day of their life.

From the moment that Phillip first sees Shantelle in her dress to the moment their family cheers for them when they are officially married, this day is full of stunning moments. Watch the video (below) for the full experience!

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Christmas Mini Sessions 2018

Imagine an Asian lady, balancing on top a wobbly apple crate, trying to cast lines of pom pom yarn over a tall branch while sweating profusely. It was a good idea in theory, but in reality, a lot of work!

I’ve been thinking all year of a new Christmas Mini Session set-up, and I kept coming to the idea of hanging things off of trees. When I came across photographs utilizing yarn-ball garlands, I thought I could put a Christmas spin on it and bring a little snow to sunny Florida.

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So come and play under the trees! Christmas Mini Sessions are just around the corner…

Date: Saturday, November 3rd, 2018

Place: Losco Park – Jacksonville, Florida

Times: 4-6 p.m.

What: 20 minute mini-photo session (perfect for kiddos, quick family pictures, and Christmas cards).

Investment: $75

You get: 10 edited digital files.

You can set up a time through here. You can also check out last year’s Christmas Minis here. See you there!

 

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Mother and Daughters: Bird Island Park

Sunset, at the the boardwalks of Bird Island Park, illuminated the water, the trees, and the beautiful faces of this close-knit family. The way they laugh when they are together is something I could never recreate if they were alone. So I’m glad the sisters joked together, the daughters teased their mom, and they came together in a way that reminds me of my mom and I.

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I love the way their hands are interlocked in the shot above. It’s so symbolic. Did I tell them to do that? I don’t remember. Let’s just say, yes.

I’m standing on an apple box, leaning over them, trying not to spit as I talk. Luckily, we pulled off this creative angle to highlight the family eyes.

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I told Sarah and Hannah to hold hands. Sarah says, “Then we might look like a couple,” but they held hands anyway and pretended to dance and cracked each other up.

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This dog was so sweet and so in love with everyone, especially his mom. His tongue never retracted, but still managed to look classy.

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The light was fading fast here, but it manages to cast one last glimmer on Hannah’s beautiful hair.

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Could this be symbolic too?

All in all, great evening with a mother and her daughters.

Playtime in the Trees: Losco Park

Losco park has a beautiful stretch of old, old trees. There is something about the crawling branches, the close blanket of leaves, and the dotted light that makes me think: fairytale. If anyone is thinking of coming here for a photo session, they would be hard pressed to not be completely charmed.

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P.S. This is the first day in two weeks that Simon has agreed to wear a shirt that doesn’t have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I thought it was a moment to commemorate.

Conrad: Newborn Photo Session

Sometimes newborn photo session make me nervous because they are unpredictable. So when I arrived at Conrad’s parents house, I was relieved to hear that he had cried the whole morning so now he was tired and ready to be photographed. Parents out there, any way to plan for this for your next newborn photo session?

Those eyes…

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Conrad’s mom said she wanted a minimalist life-style shoot. In the past, I’ve depended heavily on props or unique locations to engage children or make interesting pictures. So this was a stretching moment for me, but in the end, I liked it! There is nothing to distract from family interactions and the sweet moments they shared.

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We shifted him to different positions, held him, passed him around, and he still stayed asleep 90% of the time.

This next picture with baby and big sister was tricky. Big sister didn’t want to cuddle Conrad, and when I loomed over her with the camera, I became scary. So with the help of Mom and Dad, we laid her on the bed and held a laptop playing her favorite movie above her so she could watch while lying down. Then slowly we shifted Conrad closer to her, and like a sneaky hunter in the wild, I moved in – watching and waiting for the perfect moment. That’s what I call a parent-photographer team.

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Some daddy-son moments:

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Some mommy-son moments:

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Mom has a beautiful, contemplative smile.

Some behind-the-scenes of what daddy-daughter were doing in the meantime. Even though it doesn’t seem like anything big, I can imagine this being a cool thing to remember: “Remember how “Sing” was your favorite movie? See! You made me watch it everyday!”

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Mom was so good with engaging her daughter with Conrad. “Where are his feet?” she’d say. “Where is his nose?” Asking the parents on the best way to involve their children is something that I want to work on better in future shoots. The parents know best.

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The love and closeness in their family is very apparent in their home.

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The last few photos of the session, I tried to use some of the props I had brought because I have a secret love of photos where babies are lying in layers and layers of texture rich fabric. Don’t tell my daughter that I cut off the bow-tie from her favorite teddy bear to use in this photoshoot.

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Then, I tried to turn Conrad over and balance his chin in his two hands (I’d seen infants posed like that on other blogs), but that was too ambitious. He got shag fluff in his mouth and he started to cry – the sort of cry that I could tell it was all over. I felt so bad! Lessons, lessons.

Lollipops in Mandarin Park – Family Photo Session

We met bright and early on a Saturday morning. No chance of rain, but 100% humidity. Danielle said the kids were already restless, and taking pictures next to a playground was a lot of temptation for a little boy. I was armed with props, bubbles and lollipops, but would it be enough?

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Kids are so honest – that’s why I love their son’s side-grimace as his parents kiss. Their daughter is the perfect age for pictures – good with eye contact and always happy.

After the first set-up, we decided to utilize the big open field to expend some energy.  Sometimes I like to just sit back and let the unexpected happen.

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Interaction with his dad brought the most genuine smiles from their sweet boy.

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Next came some props! I prepared a huge jar of bubble solution, but didn’t really have good bubble wands, so the bubbles were not as prolific as I had envisioned. But they were good sports.

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The lollipops had a calming effect on everyone. Little sister is eyeing the lollipop. She’s going for it!

And then, she gets her own. Still wrapped, of course…

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I like to tell my families to do family hugs. Sometime it turns into a gaggle of heads and arms, but they got it down perfect.

At this point, I asked Danielle if she wanted any other set-ups. She mentioned she liked the wooden deck/ramp beside the playground. I’m glad she said something because they turned out to be my favorite family pictures of the shoot. At this point, their little boy was tired (and wanted his lollipop back), so I had to be a little creative to get him to smile. I tried to shake around the branches and leaves above me (like a maniac), but that wasn’t fruitful. Then, I balanced a lollipop flat on top of my head. It worked! He has the cutest smile, he just made me work for it.

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Throughout the whole shoot, their little girl was perfect – always looking at the camera, smiling and laughing. You would think she would be the first one to run out of stamina, but she surprised us all.

At the very end, we took some pictures of her in her blessing dress. It has very special meaning, because it was made by Danielle’s grandmother. The blue background fabric is also special because it was used at their wedding reception. I was glad to capture this moment for them.

In the end, I’m really glad to have worked with such stellar parents. As a photographer, I feel like I partner with the parents to make this fun for their kids, get true smiles, and do things that are meaningful/unique for their family.