Christmas Minis 2019

Every year, I choose a different location and experiment with different lighting for my Christmas Minis. Usually I do it outside, where the lush green of Florida winter does nothing to add to the Christmas/wintery feeling. This time, I did most of the mini sessions indoors against the bright bay window of my dining room. With enough decorations and overexposure of the window, you can just imagine cuddling by the sparkling tree on a cold, snowy day. However, the gem of each picture turned out to be the Christmas spirit brought by the families photographed. Their smiles were especially merry and bright this year!

And I did one mini-session outside this year. I love this tree at Treaty Oak Park in downtown Jacksonville. The branches seem to be a metaphor for this beautiful family and the closeness they share.

Thank you to everyone who made these sessions fun and meaningful. This is my favorite time of the year because it helps you remember what is important.

See you next year!

Pumpkin Newborn Session

Fall and babies! This one is my own baby, so whether he likes it or not, he will now be my photography model. I bought some mini pumpkins with visions that he would hold it or lean against one but he thought them strange and cold. So here he is, dreaming among them.

My oldest two love their baby brother so much, it’s all I can do to keep them from smashing him. As they were holding him, he made bubbly butt music, which of course elicited the best smiles.

Don’t grow up too fast, little one.

Fanaaj: Newborn Session

The first time I handled a newborn session, I was hesitant to touch or position the baby. Even after handling two babies of my own, other people’s babies seem so fragile, they could break. This session was so great for me, because the mother – and my good friend – trusted me completely and gave me full creative control. I did a lot of rocking and soothing and swaddling (quite messily I might add), but it all paid off in the end because this newborn’s perfection was able to shine through.

My friend has a bright loft in her house that was perfect for a quick family portrait.

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.