Okay, people- this is one of those out of the box newborn sessions that I hope will inspire you to think about your own family and what kind of images could reflect you and your family’s personality. A photography session with me is not just a plug-and-play routine; I really love to brainstorm how I can customize to make sure your images reflect a real picture of your unique family.
I’m about to launch into telling you about my thoughts of Halloween, but first, to those of you who have just stumbled in and know little about me, and why I write – I’m hoping this blog, these images, help you to think about what you love about your neighborhood. What memories do you want to collect? Can I help you collect them?
So, a mom-confessional time.
I have a love-hate relationship with Halloween. But my neighborhood is conspiring to pull me more towards the love side. Can I talk about what I hate first? Basically I’m a grumpy grinch who doesn’t feel like shelling out cash for my kids to have sparkly new Halloween outfits every year (in fact, I usually hit Target two days after Halloween, load up on 70% off Halloween clearance to give to the kids for their November birthdays and Christmas). I hate the mounds of candy and how it makes me anxious about obesity and wastefulness and what cavities. I hate having to basically designate an entire day to dealing with costume angst, begging, schlepping through a neighborhood, and sugar crashes.
But what is pulling me into the love side? When I step behind the lens and start looking and seeing the magic that we are creating. The memories. The year my 2nd kid made a Groot (Guardians of the Galaxy, people!) costume out of Amazon brown paper packaging. The year my oldest, in new teendom, won a costume contest by tying keys to his shoes and going as “low key.” The piling of candy into categories and massive candy swaps (with any trade having to be authorized and approved by an adult to keep the olders from scamming their younger sisters). The inventiveness, the cackling, the pride and sheer joy. Even the crashes seem so perfectly part of childhood when I stoop down to see things from their eyes.
Are you interested in a family documentary session but just not sure about when or what you could really capture that would tell the whole story? Your life is so full of different types of fun moments, and you’d love to capture more than just one day?
This lovely, South Jersey family has booked a family yearbook series with me – they get a handful of 30 minute mini-sessions with me through the year, to tell the story of their lives. Yearbook sessions started to take place in my mind after seeing families of newborns love the Watch Me Grow package concept (three sessions during baby’s first year!), and realizing that I wanted to offer this same concept not just to my family with babies. Don’t you love the idea of getting small slivers of your family life through the year?
Now if I were in your shoes, I would be kind of wondering – how much of a family can she really capture in just 30 minutes? Well, if you trust me – if you let go of the idea of “picture perfect smile and say cheese. . . ” If you embrace the idea that the most beautiful moments to capture are real and not posed? See for yourself!
I start many conversations with clients these days telling them that more and more, my style is moving farther away from posed, and more towards documentary. This family was one of my favorite examples of what I mean by that. A documentary, storytelling session starts off with a conversation between me and you, where I start helping you think through – what is it about my family, during this particular slice of life, that is so special that I want to wrap it up and make sure I remember it forever? I have a questionnaire that is almost less for me and more for you – so that you can pause the laundry and dishes and have a moment of reflection – what exactly is the the thing that might drive me crazy now, but that someday I’ll miss? (For me, at this very moment one answer is the pile of books that my 8 year old leaves in the bathroom, by the sink and ready to be splashed on by her younger sister).
This family embraced the spirit – welcomed me into their Philly row home, and Miss Sassy Middle Sister walked me through their house, stopping to snuggle with her dog, watch her older brother sulk a little with his game system (he was nursing a foot injury and not having the best day), and watch her younger brother tumble upside down on the couch. Brushing teeth? Putting on shoes? Dog licking food of the plates as mom puts them on the dishwasher? Yup – that’s what we do in the morning before hitting the city.
So a careful observer would note that I haven’t been blogging. For like a year.
This is not disconnected from an emotional space I was in last fall – I think a lot of us were there. I started this specific blog post in early fall. I wrote about how I loved the leaves, the fall, the inspirations of nature and sudden beauty. It was a plea to tell those of you who were inquiring about foliage and holiday card shots, to tell you that even though there is yes beauty in nature, that there is something more. I wrote:
Don’t get me wrong – I love love love the fall, the leaves, the inspirations of nature and the sudden beauty.
There is an internal conflict, because I know I can get you the smile and pose shot – I know you will look beautiful and will fit right into a Gap catalogue. But I also still genuinely believe – your every day is beautiful.
And then November elections hit. And really, man, I just still don’t have words to explain how yucky it feels to me, to be self promoting on Facebook when there are real people, hurting real feelings. Like, I can’t post photos of cute puppies and my happy family without feeling something inauthentic. Because I was sad. Sad about the election, sad about my youngest going to full day kindergarten (leaving me alone for such massively long stretches after 13 years of being a stay-at-home mom with a part time photo gig), a little melancholic about turning 40 and time passing. My business partner had her own crises, but those are not mine to tell! So anyhow, I stopped blogging.
I didn’t stop taking photos. I did reflect a little about whether June Day Photo was what I was supposed to be doing with my time. But what I came back to was yes. That yes, the core of this post is true. That even if the world around is yucky, and not everything in your life is perfect, there are still beautiful moments in your every day lives – and in mine – that drive the passion of my photography. That’s what I want to do with my life.
So here’s my family, one lazy Saturday. One year ago.
I woke up to the girls building a blanket fort right outside my bedroom door. It is super sweet to wake up to the chatter of happy voices (don’t get me wrong, that DOESN’T happen every day!). These photos are peekaboo outside the tent and then a few when I peaked under the blanket.
Before you hit play on the video below (and yes, in a sec I’m going to explain here why you really really should hit play) – take a look at the photo I’ve chosen as it’s cover. It’s one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken, and I feel really thankful to have had the chance to take it. Every single person in this brand new family of five is in relationship to someone else in the frame, in a beautiful, joyful, I can’t believe this is happening moment. He’s here. Little brother is here, and we are now complete! He is snuggled to mom, cozy and listening for the first time to the chatter and exuberance that will be his new everyday. Mom is looking at her oldest and thinking about how big he is, and how he was once so little. Mr. Middle Child and dad are just reveling in the fun and newness and excitement that they are getting to share together. It’s not posed – it was documented – and exactly the kind of documented moment my artist brain is constantly looking to capture.
It’s Thanksgiving week!
What are you thankful for? My oldest turns THIRTEEN this week, and I am thankful for thirteen years, and all the lessons that thirteen years teach you about parenting. About what you can control and what you can’t. About being kind of amazed and also a little sad/scared/excited that he’s survived to that teenage milestone, and a little curious about what the next thirteen years holds.
Some of you are just friends of the family I’m blogging about, or maybe someone who is pregnant and considering a photographer, and you are wondering where I’m going with this! Apologies for being a little bit stream-of-consciousness here. But I do try to let people understand the vision I am looking at when I pick up my camera, choose a lens, and bring your world into focus. I do bring, unapologetically, my love for my own children, my love for parenthood despite its struggles, authentic and unposed beauty, and a quest to preserve real moments and real emotion.
So awesome to see news that Expertise.com named June Day Photography as one of the Top 20 Maternity Photographers in Philadelphia! In the list are so many other photographers I follow and love, so it really is an honor. Thanks to all of you who have been helping me along and turning my passion for authentic, everyday beautiful captures into a career that I love.
And of course – if you are expecting a new little one into your life, or know someone who is – give me a holler and let’s chat about how I can tell your family’s story for you – From maternity on through the first year!
Fresh 48. I’m not sure who came up with that term, but boy, I’ve been spending time editing this sweet family’s session, working to create this video fusion slideshow, and fresh feels like the correct word. It’s a fresh new family – little one is only hours old, and glows with fresh, new, tiny sweetness.
One of the things that I love about the small community I live in, Collingswood, NJ – is that I’ve met a myriad of people who embrace their passions and proactively work to make our community better. Totally inspirational place to live. Two of those people, are Robb Sewell and Eric Wolff. This article in NJ Pen highlights it in more detail, but basically, Rob and Eric saw a need in our community, and then created a project to help raise money to make sure that need continued to be met. Love it! You see a need in your community – you not only work to help it in your own individual way (adopting a pet), but you actively work to build community efforts in joining forces for a cause (creating a pet photography calendar to help raise money for a shelter you know specifically needs more community support.).