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In the trees- Warren County, NJ Family Photographer

Back before Thanksgiving, I made a trip back home to Arkansas.  While I was there, I took the opportunity to photograph some of my friends.  This family is the sister, et al, of one of my dearest friends.   She also had her third baby recently and was so excited to have photos done of their new family of five.

Due to scheduling conflicts, weather, and illnesses, we didn’t get together until right before I was leaving to return to New Jersey.    Unfortunately, this meant…weeknight.  The dad didn’t get off work until 4:30 and it’s about a half hour to the tree farm from his house, so we were pretty much looking at shooting in the dark.   But, not to fear, we forged ahead armed with a speedlight and high ISO settings and made beautiful memories for this beautiful family.

I absolutely love the amazing color and texture that the christmas trees add to these images.  Late fall/early winter can feel so drab and lifeless, but this was really a magical spot.   We can’t thank Motley’s Tree Farm enough for allowing us to do this quick dusk session as not only were they not even open for the season, but they were getting ready to head home!  So, special shout out and thanks to them.  If you live in the Central Arkansas area, be sure to check them out for their Christmas trees this year, and check out their pumpkin patch!    We used to get our trees and pumpkins from them when we lived in Arkansas and they have an amazing selection!

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Field of Love- Phillipsburg, NJ Family Photographer

This mama is a dear friend of mine.  She was one of the first women to reach out to me when we moved to Phillipsburg a couple of years ago and has been a saving grace for me too many times to count.  Whether it’s watching my kids so I can shoot a session, or coming over to have coffee and make sure I’m not losing my sanity, or accompanying me on photo shoots as my assistant…she’s definitely building up some good karma points.

We did her 4th and last baby’s newborn session a couple of years ago and decided it was time to update the family album and get the whole crew in front of my lens.   This was a gorgeous day… late October, warm afternoon, cool breeze.  And they all showed up looking like they belong on the cover of a magazine.

Her girls are not only beautiful, but such sweet helpers to each other, their mother, and others.  I had to tote along my little lady (she was about 2 months old at the time) and the big girls did such a wonderful job of entertaining her while I got all the individual shots.

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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.