Last week, I had the opportunity to hang a family portrait on the wall of someone very special to me. As you might expect, I’ve photographed my older sister’s family almost as much as my own. She has four beautiful daughters that are full of spirit and energy. And while I have many beautiful images of them, this one has become one of my all-time favorite photographs. They are a family that is always on the go, and always having fun together, and this image just captures who they are as a family.
Archive: July, 2011
My little girl will soon be one year older, and we are starting to plan her 6th birthday party, which will take place just a few days before she begins first grade. Earlier this year in her Kindergarten class, her teacher read the book “The Wizard of Oz” to the class, and my little munchkin (which has been my nickname for her for years) absolutely loved the story. Although she is still too timid to watch the movie, she loves the story of Dorothy.
So, she picked “The Wizard of Oz” as the theme for her birthday party. For the last few years we have included her birthday portraits on her invitations, because I love being able to look back each year to see how much she has grown. This year we decided to include the theme of her party as part of a very special portrait session for her.
Believe me, being a photographer does not make it easier to take my own children’s portraits. It’s sometimes harder, because I’m not a new or interesting person to them and they already know all my secret, special tricks for making children giggle and smile.
But this year, I made her birthday portraits a full day event complete with costume, hair appointment, red sparkly shoes and a stuffed animal puppy in a basket. We talked about this special session for two full weeks, and I blocked off my calendar to create a special day for just the two of us.
My little girl was completely swept up in the magic of this day from the moment she woke up that morning, and came rushing into my room with eager anticipation. We started early at Anthony Michael Hair Salon in Westfield, where the wonderful Pam Sestito created the braids that would start my little girl’s transformation. We then journeyed about 45 minutes away to Historic Richmondtown in Staten Island to give our session a complete period look with historic homes, barns, fences, and gardens.
Of course, twenty minutes into the actual portrait session, the heat of the day and the itchiness of her costume was causing her to pout, so that’s when I used my bribery plan and explained that if she cooperated for the remainder of the session, then we would get ice cream afterwards. I’ll let you guess which image below shows her reaction to that announcement.
Sometimes portrait sessions might seem stressful and frustrating, because we are trying to get our children to cooperate and do something for us. But, I’ve learned that by turning a portrait session into a fun day that is all about the children, and becomes something they WANT to do, then it becomes much easier to get their cooperation during the session. And if you choose to use bribery, don’t tell them about the rewards until you really need to use it. The pictures are worth it!
My daughter and I had a wonderful day complete with ice cream for lunch (something I would never do on a regular day), and we have these beautiful images of our little girl growing up. I love my job and I love being a Mom to this wonderful child. Thanks to my little munchkin for all her cooperation, and her beautiful smile.
(Now I have to brainstorm a special day with my little boy!)
Last week, I had an opportunity to spend a few hours with this lovely, young woman. It was my first Senior Session for the Class of 2012, and we had a beautiful day and a great time walking around Staten Island. We found a bunch of great spots to shoot right in her town and at a nearby park, and I enjoyed talking with her about applying to colleges and her close friends.
What could be better than spending a morning with a happy family? For me, the only thing better is sending that same family beautiful images of our time together that they will cherish for years to come. Childhood is filled with so many sweet moments, and it was a pleasure to capture those moments with these adorable little girls.