Girl climbs a tree in the woods.

WALK IN THE WOODS

Over the summer, we followed this family of five as they spent a day at the shore. While we managed to squeeze in a lot of fun during the first hour of their session, windy and rainy weather forced us to cut things short. So we asked them, “What is another place that is special to your family?” and settled on documenting one of their fave Saturday activities: an afternoon spent exploring in the forest.

Sometimes we only think of capturing those early days with a precious newborn baby, or an adorable chubby-fingered toddler, but there is something oh-so-beautiful about those sweet moments spent with your tweens and teens, too. In real everyday life, you may be distracted by devices or forever on-the-go, but those times when you all come together for a beach day or a hike in the woods? Those are times that you’ll want to remember.

So we met up on a gorgeous fall day at Saddler’s Woods, an urban forest located in Haddon Township, New Jersey. Despite the disappointment of watching the Philadelphia Eagles lose earlier in the day, everyone was still in good spirits. Mom, who truly loves the earth and outdoors, was in her element and took time to do a warrior pose. While the kiddos protested that they weren’t into hugging trees, they found no shortage of creeks to cross, rocks to climb, and logs to balance on. Even the family pup was able to tag along for the excursion.

Where would we find your family on a Saturday afternoon? We’d love to chat about all the ways we could document how you spend your time together, so why not get in touch? We’ll send you our session guide, which is full of inspiration guaranteed to get you thinking about your own family documentary photography session.

Girl holding newborn baby.

BABY MAKES FIVE: STORY OF A GROWING FAMILY

Baby doll time!! Okay – big brother and sister here were just too stinking fabulous in this Old City Philadelphia family session. I can’t get over the image of baby sister looking up at her big sister, of Mr. Middle counting baby toes. This family wanted to make sure we were telling the whole story of their family, not just baby – and my answer was, OF COURSE! A newborn photography session when there are siblings is not just about the latest squishy-newborn-amazing-I-can’t-believe-we-did-it-again. It’s a story of a whole family– that has now grown and expanded and how somehow love overflows. It is about how Mr. Middle still needs some extra attention from mom, and how big older sister is a pro at both holding baby on her own, as well as exploring her block on her bike. It’s about the quiet space of mom nursing while dad runs interference with the older kids.

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Welcome Mat with Heart

YOUR EVERYDAY LOVE STORY

It’s about to hit – the season of flowers and chocolates and super gushy sweet love notes. 

There’s part of me that still loves that. . . . but when I stop to reflect, love has become something much more.

When you share a life with someone, life is a little messy.  But it’s still beautiful.

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CAPTURING THE MAGIC OF CHILDHOOD

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.

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LET’S PLAY! (YOUR STORY IN A 30-MINUTE SESSION)

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!

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EVERYDAY LIFE

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.

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BO MEETS HIS BROTHERS

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.

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MEET YOUR BABY BROTHER

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.  

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ALMOST HOME SHELTER/RESCUE CALENDAR

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.).

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FIRST HOUSES AND FIRST BABES

This mom came to me knowing that her nursing days were probably coming to a close, and she wanted to capture the moment.  She was also prepping her house to be on the market (the first house that she and her her husband bought!  Where they brought home their first baby!).  As I processed her photos, and thought about these momentous moments – first houses being on the market, end of the season of breastfeeding your firstborn – Whoosh – waves of nostalgia for me.  Also – a reaffirmation about my passion for what I call “Nourish” sessions – there is just something magical when someone lets me into this private, quiet moment and lets me capture it for them.  And it’s fleeting!  It really needs to be captured before it’s just a memory.

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