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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.

Mother’s Day In-Home Session

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I love in-home sessions because there is personality and memories in the space all around. Lizzy’s living room glowed with late evening light. Her father (who happened to be visiting) helped me balance my reflector and illuminate this quiet tableau:

Lizzy’s daughter just turned 1 and likes to run around. It required some sweet temptations to get her to sit down. But now she will remember that “Dear Zoo” was her favorite book.

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I asked, “What’s your daughter’s favorite thing to do with you?” Lizzy said, “Squeeze my nose.” And sure enough…

I asked, “What’s your son’s favorite thing to do with you?” Lizzy said, “Put his feet in my face.” Ahhh, boys.

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Lizzy’s house looks like one from a magazine. I thought she maybe arranged it or cleaned up just for me. Apparently, this is how it always looks!

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This sweet moment happened when we were trying to get the whole family to stand together. Their little girl took off, and instead of trying to corral her, Rick and Lizzy stood back and watched. I’m glad they took time to appreciate things while in the moment.

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I love it when kids stand funny or do their own thing – let their personality shine through.

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Rick and Lizzy have this beautiful magnolia tree in their front yard. I’m thinking, there will be many memories under that tree.

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This beautiful girl is 1 and very sweet! She’s asking to be picked up here, and we’re just talking excitedly and clapping our hands. I think she forgave us.

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It isn’t often they get to see Grandma and Grandpa. Glad we got to capture some of these quick moments before the day was done.

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Again, I love in-home sessions for the intimacy and meaning they inherently have. If I could do it again, I would highlight different parts of the house with small family moments, framed with doorways and light. Some exciting things to try in the future!

Backyard Confetti – Family Photo Session

I was excited when Jen decided to have her photoshoot in her backyard. My thinking was that it was a good intimate space that has connections to other family memories. It’s a place of meaning.

Her thinking was that it was a familiar place that would keep the kids contained and calm. Well…it turned out to be a high-energy, bouncing around session, but we rolled with it and got a lot of action shots.  Half the time, as I was editing these pictures, I would burst out laughing. Their family’s craziness reminds me of my own.

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Jen’s son is so sweet. I love his expression when he hugs his mom.

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This whole family is gorgeous.

The confetti shots were tricky because we only had so much confetti and so many chances, and it had to be thrown up high to give us plenty of falling time – this was a task for an adult.

Here are some of our failed tries.

Hands and arms tended to block faces, but after several tries we got it!

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After we got the confetti to look good, I helped coach the family’s reactions, because it’s actually not human nature to look up into the sky and let things fall on your face and eyes with glee. But the whole family proved to be such good sports to doing it over and over.

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At the end of the photoshoot, this kids wanted to throw confetti themselves, so we had some unscripted play on their trampoline. These candid moments are my favorite of the shoot.

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The kids are laughing because I had them lay on top of each other. Why did I had them lay on top of each other? Because I was shooting with a prime and couldn’t fit the whole family in the frame. It’s as good a reason as any to snuggle close.

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In the end, it wasn’t just a fun photoshoot, but a fun memory.

We’re Expecting Photoshoot – Losco Park

Laura is very creative and decided to surprise her family with the big news by 1. taking an announcement picture, 2. placing the picture in an envelope and mailing it to her family with instructions to open it only at a certain date and time. If I had received that letter, I would have been too curious to comply, but what a memorable way to find out about a new family member.

This was taken on an amber-lit evening at Losco Park. And to match, Laura and Chris were glowing with excitement. Just another 6 months, and they’ll have their little one in their arms.

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One-on-One Portraits – Mother’s Day 2018

One day, as I was photographing a mother and child, I was amazed at how the intimate setting of one-on-one brought out different expressions and revelations of personality. It’s something raw and precious that I decided to pursue and capture.

Here are the results:

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My little girl is very floppy and silly when she is around me, but when I kiss her, she seems to achieve inner peace.

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I love my boy’s default expression: indignant. He is my sweet child. It’s like I’m hugging a bag of sugar.

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Heather and I took turns taking pictures of each other and each other’s children, and it looks like we were happy little models, but there was actually a lot of bargaining and bribing that was involved – also, some blackened Oreo teeth.

Her daughter was jostling about and a lot of the photos was Heather trying to contain her, but I love the feeling of movement and life in these pictures.

Also, with the aid of a teddy bear, we have this quiet moment:

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I love that you can see the bedroom window reflected in their eyes. This is where they sit sometimes to look outside together.

Ashley has three children who are so different from one another. Each child brings out a different side of her.

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Her son is full of energy, but also so very sweet. The expression on Ashley’s face as he kisses her melts my heart.

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Her youngest son spends a lot of time cuddling just like this with his mom. It’s like he never left the womb.

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One thing about her and her daughter is they share the same kind heart.

This year, for Mother’s day, I’m offering one-on-one portrait sessions to capture the relationship you share with your loved one. If you choose the package that includes a print, here is the end result:

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Barnwood Collage Frame with (3) 4×6 prints.

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The best part about these sessions are they are in-home, so your child can feel more relaxed.

Mother’s Day is May 13th, so I’m scheduling these sessions for the month of April to give us plenty of time to prepare. Let me know when is convenient for you!

Package A: $65 ($55 for return clients)

Includes: 15-20 minute in-home photo session, 6-8 edited digital photos.

Package B: $85 ($75 for return clients)

Includes: 15-20 minute in-home photo session, 6-8 edited digital photos, 1 barnwood collage frame, and (3) 4×6 prints.

Get Giddy at the Carousel – Spring Mini Sessions 2018

I’m all about capturing experiences and memories rather than taking pictures for pictures’ sake. So while searching for a new location for Spring Mini Sessions, I felt drawn to this antique carousel in St. Augustine, FL. The bright colors, the nostalgic atmosphere, even small-town charm of the carousel operators gave me inspiration. And there is nothing like capturing child-like wonder, no matter what age you are.

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Looking at this picture, I feel so happy. One day, maybe brother and sister will move away far from home and only see each other every now and then, but for now they are stuck with each other. This is the brightest part of their childhood.

Who: Children, couples, or families (6 people or less – an extra charge for more).

When: Monday, March 12th, 2018. 4 slots available: 6:00, 6:20, 6:40, 7:00 p.m.

Where: J&S Carousel. 180 San Marco Avenue, St. Augustine, FL, 32084

The experience: Bring some cotton candy, make it part of your family night, play on the playground beside the carousel, and ride the carousel 2x on me.

What you get: 20 minute photo session, 5 hi-res edited digital files, 1 8×11 framed/matted print.

Investment: $85 due at time of session.

So come and meet me at twilight at the carousel! I’m excited to see you there.

Child Modeling Session – Walter Jones Historical Park

You know the dreams that you have where you are trying to get somewhere, and the more you walk, the further away from your goal you get? That’s how I felt trying to get to this location, because unfortunately, on the day of the shoot there was a huge marathon running on the road right in front of the park. Not to be daunted, I took a 45 minute detour/park/walk-far-away to get there because I would not be defeated by healthy people.

I’m glad Dana was able to get there too. We had a full-on modeling session with props and wardrobe changes. She’s the perfect age where she can be directed easily, she has lots of focus, but she’s not self conscious. Here is a sample of our day:

 

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We took extra time to set up the headshot. Dana’s mom became expert in using the reflector board to light up Dana’s eyes. My favorite part about Dana is her dimples, visible even when she only smiles softly.

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For the next series, I told Dana to walk down the ramp like a Disney princess. She knew exactly what I meant.

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We did at least 5 minutes of pure spinning, but the flying hair shot was 100% necessary.

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Trying to capture someone mid-jump can only bring joy. We laughed a lot over this shot. In the end, 45 minute detour or not, we had a lot of fun.

Love,

Enge

Alpine Groves Park – Family Photo Session

It was a chilly 8:00 a.m, but the sun pierced through tree and fog to highlight this beautiful family. We walked through a rustic flower garden, climbed up and about the porch of an old, white farmhouse, and ran through grassy fields – the kids getting more and more relaxed as time went on.

My favorite part was when I asked Tammy to pose in front of a fence and I had Brent stand behind me with the instruction to get her to smile. Within moments, she  suppressed laughter and said, “he’s spanking himself.”

Later, when I was doing individual pictures of parent and child, I was touched at how their expressions softened and changed when they were close together. I was happy to capture not only their personality, but their relationship. Enjoy these sweet moments!

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Green Pier on Atlantic Beach – Family Photo Session

Heather, having lived in Florida for awhile, said to me she wanted the obligatory Florida beach photos – because everybody has them. I laughed, but then set out to make her photos different from everyone else’s.

First, I wanted a cool pier or structure to break up the horizon. Atlantic Beach has a perfect green pier that doesn’t quite reach the water. It is old and faded, but I when I first laid eyes on it, I loved it!

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This picture is my favorite. The way their little girl is twisting out of their arms, Heather’s hair is whipping in front of her face, and Greg is looking up for just a split-second – it’s just a moment full of motion and spontaneity. You wouldn’t have even guessed their daughter was squirming and screaming because I was threatening to tickle her. I think she’s looking at my tickling left hand while my right hand is struggling to balance the camera.

As the sun went down, we witnessed amazing colors in the sky.

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I love their daughter’s one eye poking out.
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Heather looks like a model. It’s like a fan is blowing her hair.

Second, we took a step back from taking pictures and did some free-form candids – which is risky because it’s just me dashing around trying to get a good angle of while them play. I’m gave them little direction, and didn’t know how it would turn out. But the ocean is too great a temptation to ask anyone, let alone a toddler, to sit still for long. So I relaxed a little and followed them as they played. We ended up collecting a lot of seashells, but it made the moments feel fresh and alive!

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3. I like to bring props to mix things up. At the end of the photo session, I pulled out a surprise! I feel with little kids, you can’t ask them to act or pretend – their feelings of joy or surprise must be real. So I bought some yellow balloons and because I’m a dork, I hid them in a large black garbage bag and hauled that on the beach.

When their little girl saw the balloons, it was like she had a sugar spike.

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She’s not letting anyone touch the balloons.

At the end of day, when the light was almost gone, I told them to let go of the balloons and watch them fly away. Their daughter was very concerned. The balloons flew higher and higher…gone. Afterward, she kept on saying, “Balloons, go home.” It was so cute.

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This was the last shot of the day. I asked Heather and Greg to kiss their daughter on the cheek, but she was still so concerned about the balloons that she didn’t want to be bothered with a kiss. This is why compositing photos is such an important part of what I do. If any moment is missed, I can merge the best part of two photos.

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Final edited image. It has the best of expression from both pictures.

In the end, I’m glad we took the obligatory beach pictures. But by finding a great structure, taking part in free-form candids, and having a surprise prop, these pictures become so much more!