Third Time’s the Charm~ NJ Maternity Photographer

I have been photographing this family for a very long time.   K is one of my dearest friends and it is always such a good time when I get her and her sweet family in front of my camera.

Many many months ago, I received some exciting news from her.  She was expecting baby #3!   Of course, we were super thrilled and immediately began to plan her various photo shoots.    Back when the trees were still bare and the wind was still brisk, we did a quick shoot to announce that they were expecting their third baby boy.

Announcement

Then, once the she AND the rest of the world were in bloom, we got together to make this magic.  I just can’t get enough of her beautiful glow.  She is truly meant to grow these amazing little humans and always looks stunning when she does.

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Pretty in Pink~ NJ Newborn Photographer

One of the most important things to me in my business as a photographer is the trust of my clients.  I want them to know that I fully respect their privacy and their preferences regarding how and where I share their images.   My model release allows you to choose your comfort level from “Please don’t share my images anywhere” to “Print Samples only” to “Share far and wide!”

Sometimes, especially with my littlest subjects, the parents don’t wish to have their images shared.  Which is totally Ok!!   Does it make me sad to not be able to show off these sweet little cherubs?  Absolutely.  BUT… it would make me more sad to violate the trust of my client.

That said, nothing makes my heart SING like when a client revises their privacy agreement or signs the model release after a period of hesitation.   This is a huge honor to me because it shows that my clients have found comfort and trust in me.  Definitely not a detail that goes overlooked.

This little girl was one such client.   She is actually, literally, my littlest client, clocking in at less than 6lbs!    Even being the experienced newborn photographer and mom that I am, I was in awe at how itty bitty she was!   (For reference, my biggest client was DOUBLE her weight at around 11lbs by the time our session came to be)

But, she was an absolute JOY to photograph.  After a full belly and a good wrapping, she snuggled in and fell asleep soundly.   She definitely preferred her tummy sleeping position, so we got tons of that!  And for a brief moment, we caught those beautiful eyes wide open!    But first, we caught a few of her and her proud big brother having a special moment.   He was so sweet to her and you can tell right away that he is going to be not only a great brother, but a great friend.

Less Is More: Quality over Quantity- NJ Portrait Photographer

I have a confession to make.   I am a recovering  Quantity Over Quality shopper.   I was raised to always shop a bargain.  This isn’t a bad thing.  But, I was also taught to take full advantage of those bargains.   $5 t-shirts?   I’ll take one in every color.  Already have 10 grey tees at home?   Buy more because they’re only FIVE DOLLARS!!!    This has resulted in being extremely overwhelmed by bursting closets, drawers, and laundry baskets.   And, guess who can never find anything to wear?  *raises hand*   This gal.

I suffered the same fate when planning my wedding 8 years ago.   As I searched through photographers, I found that the photographers that I absolutely LOVED were not only expensive, but seemed to offer very few images for their price and had limited coverage time.    My natural instincts were to continue looking for the “best deal.”   So, my mom (always the bargain shopper!) found a friend who had a photographer sister who would do the job for super cheap.  All Day.  And provided all of the images on a disc.   SCORE!  Just our type of arrangement, right?

Not quite.  Let’s start off with the guilt factor here, okay?   First of all, that poor woman worked her TAIL off for 10 hours for peanuts. PEANUTS!!!    (And that’s just shooting time…never mind all the hours in post production!)

Secondly, my wedding photographs are beautiful…but not what I envisioned during my planning process.   I was drawn to light and airy images with a classic photo journalistic style.   My images were richer and moodier in the colors, and a little trendier in editing style.   Still wonderful memories to have, but not the ones that I was initially drawn to. (*disclaimer* I love my wedding photos.  She did an amazing job and was a talented photographer.  Unfortunately, she is no longer in business. This is intended to illustrate how shopping based on price alone may mean that your vision will have to change.)

Thirdly, and this is the big one, at the end of it all I had a disc with over 1200 photos on it.    And that overwhelmed me.   How on earth was I supposed to put together an album or choose what to print out of 1200 photos?!?!    Even uploading them to Facebook was super time consuming and tedious.  This was back when you could only do 200 photos in an album.  I never even got the reception photos loaded after the ceremony photos finally finished.    So, as I’ve mentioned previously, those memories have been confined to the disc. Locked away.  Waiting for me to find the time to narrow down my top 40 out of 1200 to fill an album.

This isn’t exclusive to the digital world, either.   When my sister married over 20 years ago, she received a box of hundreds of 4×6 proofs.   Every blink, blur, and duplicate included in that pile.   And, like me… she never did anything with those photos because it just became too daunting.

So, why am I telling you all this?   Because one of the most frequently asked questions that my colleagues and I get is “Can I have all of the photos that you took?”  and “Is this all I get?”      We understand,  it seems weird to hear so many clicks of the shutter during an hour long session and only get 10-15 final images.    Here is the answer:   during your session, we are doing real time adjustments in camera to compensate for lighting, posing, environmental elements, facial expressions, etc.     Sometimes, especially with my family sessions, I’m just snapping away as you are interacting with your family.   You may be telling a funny joke. I may get shot of you with your mouth open or with a weird expression but I’m trying to catch that moment when everyone bursts into a fit of giggles.   That organic interaction that cannot be duplicated or scripted.    That’s the image you want.  Not the one with your Kristen Wiig expression. Or, you know…this:

 

 

After your session, I carefully go through your images with a ruthless eye.  I delete anything that has eyes closed, weird expressions (unless they are just so much a part of your child’s personality.  Those are my favorites!), out of focus or light test images, and anything that is less than flattering.   After that, I discard any duplicate images or close to duplicates by choosing the very best of the 2.    So, what I’m presenting to you are the best of the best.   The images that showcase you at your very best.   Because my job is to make it as painless and easy for you as possible.   I want you to feel relaxed and beautiful or handsome and not worry about having to make decisions like “which photo do I like best” or “how am I going to narrow this down??”.  I’d much rather you be making decisions like “which album cover do I want and how many canvases?’

 

As I get older and as I’m preparing for our next addition, I find myself purging and simplifying and bringing things back to basics.  Because it makes me happy and it makes my life easier.  And, that’s my goal for you during your photo shoot and ordering sessions.

 

Lady in Red- NJ Maternity Photographer

One of the things that I’m most excited about in this new year of ABP is that I am now offering a client wardrobe to my maternity clients.   No longer do you have to worry about what to wear for your shoot, as I have you covered!    Currently, we have 2 dresses, a wrap, and a black floor length tutu and are always looking to add more to the wardrobe!  Don’t be afraid to ask for something special!  If we don’t have it, we can order it! 🙂

I received this dress and fell IN LOVE.  It’s a little bit of sweet lace, spiced up a LOT with a deep red.   When this lovely young lady answered a recent model call, I knew this was the dress for her session.   And, was it ever.  She looked absolutely stunning! 

Why You Should Print Your Photos- NJ Portrait Photographer

Disclaimer: This post contains images that were downloaded and uploaded again from Facebook and photographs of physical photographs. Quality may be slightly compromised in these images, but that actually is part of the point! 

Imagine that it is 60 years in the future.  Your grandchildren and great grandchildren are sitting around the kitchen table talking about you.  What your life was like. What you looked like when you were young.  If you’re still living…perhaps you’ll be able to describe yourself to them.  If you’ve since passed on…your image is left to their imagination.   Why?  Because you grew up in the digital age.  Every photo, every memory, even every piece of artwork was photographed and then uploaded on a branch of social media that has long since been defunct.  Every photo taken during your lifetime is in a hope chest, trapped on a USB stick or a CD that doesn’t play on any of today’s devices.

Does this sound unrealistic?  Stop for a second.  Have you tried to access photos posted on Myspace 10 years ago?  They’re not there anymore.  You can’t even Google them.  (I’ve tried!)    Do you guys remember floppy disks?  Even most cars today don’t come with a CD player.   And as we move to the age of tablets, we may be moving away from USB drives.

Now…let’s take a trip back 40 years…60 years.  Look in your parent’s closets.  On their walls.  In their photo albums.   You’ll probably find priceless gems like these:

My mom’s senior picture, circa 1972 or 1973

My maternal grandmother. Circa early to mid 1940s. She passed away in 1956, 2 years after my mom was born. She never knew her, as neither did I.

 

I got married almost 8 years ago.  Look at these beautiful images!!  All uploaded to Facebook.  If I tried to save and print any of these today, they would look tragic thanks to Facebook compression of images.  As you can see, these downloads aren’t as sharp as they should be.    Luckily, my images are still stored on a disc.  In a safe.  Not a single photo from my wedding is on my walls.   What if that disc was lost?  What if social media ceased?  This amazing day…the day I married my soul mate would be lost.

(all wedding images by Brandi Smith Photography)

This is why I strongly believe in preserving our memories in print.  I collaborate with a professional photo lab that guarantees their images for a lifetime at top notch quality.  I take the hassle out of resizing, uploading, ordering, and picking up your prints for you.   You have nothing stopping you, no excuses, from preserving your memories to stand the test of time.    Once you select your images, I prepare them for printing and order them for you.   They are delivered to me to be inspected for quality control.  Then, I personally deliver them safely to you, at your convenience.     I do understand the desire to share your photos on social media.  Many people have far reaching family and friends and this is how you communicate with them!   That’s why for every image you purchase, you also receive an accompanying low resolution, watermarked social media file for sharing.  Because, it’s hard to take pictures OF pictures.  But, there is absolutely no substitution for having those tangible moments right there in your hands.  To run your fingers across when they are old and wrinkled and to hand over to the next generation.

Who’s the Boss?- NJ Family Photographer

8 years ago, I was hired at a small insurance firm in Little Rock, AR.  During my interview, my soon-to-be boss and I discovered that we were both getting married on the same day!

Our families became friends and I worked for him until we moved to NJ 5 years ago.  The day I gave my notice was probably one of the saddest days of my life.  I was not only losing a great employer, but also great friends.

Fast forward to a couple of years ago, when we found out they were moving just a little over an hour away from us!!  We were THRILLED to have a little piece of back home so close!

I was even more excited when, just a few months after their move last year, they asked me to do some family photos for them.   This family, besides being super sweet and genuine, is absolutely STUNNING.  Seriously, the type of family you find featured in prominent society magazines.  They have excellent style and are naturals in front of the camera.   And their little guy is an absolute joy to photograph!   I am so excited to share these here and I hope to be honored to photograph this family many times over.

6 Months of Adorable- NJ Child Photographer

Remember that precious little songbird newborn from the other day?   Well, 6 months ago (if you’re doing your math, this means that she is now almost a YEAR old!) we got together for a fun little half birthday shoot.   It was so amazing to see just how much she had grown in half a year.  She was full of those fanTASTIC gummy smiles and laughs.

And, we were able to sneak in a shot of her and big brother, which we missed out on at her Newborn session.    One of the greatest things about this age is their obsession with their feet.   But, who could blame them, afterall?  Baby feet are THE best. Ever. Period. Infinity.

 

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