Volunteering at the Girls on the Run 5K in Denver, CO.
The continuation ceremony for Skinner Middle School was held at North High School where many of the students will attend as a freshman next year. Miss S is moving on to high school with honors in music and attendance. She is an incredibly accomplished musician who wrote a mashup of a couple pop songs which a quintet played for families as they took their seats for the event. During the ceremony, Miss S was awarded music student of the year (no surprise) and received an award, along with 10 other students, for having 100% attendance. Later she told me she went to school with a 103 degree fever for two days because she was so determined to win that award. Crazy kids. It was heartwarming and sweet to see how so many of the kids broke up after the ceremony, openly crying in the hallway as they said goodbye to middle school, to each other, and in my own mind, to childhood. It was bittersweet to see all these young kids looking so grown up, so adult-like both in their outer appearance and also in their personal conduct. There was poignancy in seeing moments when they started acting like kids again, and then caught me watching them and reverted to their dispassionate teen personae.
Want to learn more about documentary event photography? Contact me.
This Mother's Day weekend, I volunteered at the Girls On the Run 5K event that had more than 1,000 girls participating. Girls on the Run is a community organization that helps girls from 3rd-8th grade with empowerment, self-esteem, and camaraderie by getting them involved in an after school running program. The Community Outreach Committee on which I serve for the Alliance of Professional Women in Denver has been supporting this organization since 2016. This year we sponsored a water stop along the race path and the Happy Hair booth. Happy hair volunteers sprayed temporary color into the hair of 400-500 kids on Saturday morning. The volunteers were dragging a bit because the event required us to be there and setup in our tent by 7:30AM. We had boxes of hair color, and bags and bags of clip in hair pieces ranging from metallic to neon. When the first few kids arrived, we had nine volunteers ready to pounce and help them get their hair decorated. Initially, volunteers outnumbered the kids coming to the booth by about three to one. And then suddenly the kids really started arriving. At one point I counted fifty kids in line waiting for their turn in the booth. It was a nonstop line for about a solid hour! We ran out of supplies at just about the time they started calling kids to lineup for the race.
One of the most heartwarming parts of working at the Happy Hair booth was kids coming up to the booth to ask how much ti cost to get their hair done. "It's free!" we would say and the girls would jump up and down with excitement. How nice to do something so simple for all these kids and just let them enjoy the day.
I have so many wonderful mothers in photos. I am very happy to share a few of them with you. Most of these photos are from 2016 with a few from this year. I was trying to pick a handful of favorites. Good luck with that.
Hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day.
Want to give your mom (or your wife or yourSELF) the best Mother's Day gift ever? Give her a something unique and unforgettable. As mothers, we make time for annual or semi-annual family portraits, we make time to plan milestone photos of our children, but women rarely make time to get portraits of ourselves with our kids, or with our own moms. When was the last time you had a portrait with YOUR mother or mother-in-law? Can you imagine someday how you will view portraits of generations of women and kids together?
These Mother's Day photo sessions are intended to be a gift. The beautiful gift certificate comes in a gorgeous box with some fun little surprises she can open on Mother's Day.The actual session is on Saturday, May 27th, two weeks after Mother's Day at our studio in Denver. That gives every mom time to pick out clothing and get her roots done.
The day of the session I will be serving mimosas for moms and orange bubble drink for the kids and have a fun playlist going in the studio. We will take photos and goof around for 20 minutes. This special event is going to be a fun experience for mom!
This is an exclusive, once-a-year event, for moms and their kids of all ages. Reservations are $275 and include the special gift box, a 20 minute studio portrait session for mom and her kids (of all ages), online access to a private gallery, three digital files, and a framed gift print.
Show mom how much she means to you.
A big part of my life over the last twelve years has been involvement with kids in our community. It started with being on the PTA at my kids’ schools. My involvement grew into running fundraisers and eventually as PTA president. That evolved into my involvement with Colorado Youth At Risk. Over the last couple years I have enjoyed working with the Alliance of Professional Women on the Community Outreach Committee. Our committee is focused on serving women and children within the community doing things like providing and serving meals for a local women’s shelter, supplying holiday gifts for women and children in need, and helping kids in the foster care system. Recently, my committee did a Senior Photo Extravaganza for students at New Legacy Charter School. The school provides high school education AND childcare for pregnant or parenting teens, most of whom live below the poverty level. This year the school has nearly 30 students graduating and I, with a group of six other photographers and a half dozen volunteers, created senior photos for about 16 of those soon-to-be-grads. It was a fun afternoon with a bunch of really wonderful people.
Now I realize lack of senior photos is a pretty first world problem to have. Please don’t misunderstand – APW does many other projects for kids and the community at large. We have helped with baby clothes and college buses for the school in the past. But the school’s director knew me as a photographer, and mentioned that the kids would really love to do senior photos. As a business owner, I first looked at this and wondered if I could do a special rate for the kids at the school. However I decided it was unfair to the people who pay full price for my work to offer something so drastically different to these students. But it continued to bother me that there was something these kids wanted, that I could provide, and it was so far out of their reach. And then I had the idea to offer it for free.
I approached the APW Outreach Committee and suggested we put on a senior photo shoot for these kids. Get photographers to volunteer to photograph, edit, and deliver digital files. Get volunteers to assist the photographers and coordinate all the people. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science donated tickets for all the students, photographers, volunteers, and some of the students' families, so we could use the museum as a photo backdrop in case the weather was bad. We had the beautiful grounds of City Park. And APW Outreach Committee would provide a printed photo of each student as a keepsake.
Having your senior portrait made is a pretty normal thing for most American kids to do, and kids who have children in their teens are not living a typical senior experience. They are dealing with the world as adults, ready or not. As photographers, there aren’t tons of ways that we can give back to the community through our actual services. However this little project, providing this fun, old-fashioned, youth-focused, all-about-you experience was something we could give these kids and provide our services in a way that we hope will give them joy and happy memories they can keep for a lifetime.
And a really terrific side benefit of this event was the reinforcement of my love of the photography community here in Denver. Six women, besides myself, volunteered to donate their time and talent to this event. What a joy to be part of a community that wants to give back and who are more focused on how we can help others than worrying about competition or compensation. Thank you so much to Lisa Turner Photography, Amy Wiles Photography,Jamie Kraus Photography, Highway 4 Photography, Keiko Matsuno Photography, and Cooper's Creek Photography for all your time and effort and flexibility around this project.
We had a great time with the students at NLCS, I may expand this project to other schools next year. Let me know if you are interested in participating or know of a school or organization that could use our support.
Want to see more photos? Check out some other senior photos here.
Have questions about senior photos? Contact me!
I’m a member of a number of photography groups and a frequent topic of conversation is about the best planners for photographers. There so many planners out there and some gorgeous examples you can even find at Target or Office Depot. Beyond that there are also the more expensive and more tailored options available online. There are planners specifically designed around goal setting, around business, around health and wellness, and some designed for photographers. Of course choosing a planner depends on your personality and your own objectives for using a planner. I’ve heard people say “I just use Google calendar and an Excel spreadsheet, why do I need a paper planner?” To which I say: you should probably stop reading here. This blog is for those of us who have the need to write things down. I, personally, use Google calendar to keep track of appointments, which I find much more reliable than writing appointments in a planner. However, I like putting my goals, and big plans and little tasks on paper. The physical act of writing helps me remember things, helps me become a bit more creative and thoughtful, and more connected to the ideas I commit to paper.
Why do you need a planner? Planners are great for list-makers. There are also those people for whom a planner is a diary of their life, a creative art project, or simply the most portable way for them to keep track of everything. Having a system, whatever it is, is the first step to feeling you have more control over your planning and goal setting. Some planners help you create the system, some just help you document what you’re already doing.
Here are some great planners to check out:
There are a lot of pretty cool planners available at stores like Target and Office Depot. Most of these have the basic functionality of monthly overview, and weekly or daily layouts. They’re great for keeping track of appointments, events, and making lists. There were at least two dozen different options at the Office Depot near my house.
Pros: Easy to find, purchase any time of year, typically less expensive.
Cons: Not customizable, less specific to ideas or industry, contents more of a basic calendar.
The LifePlanner is a daily planner but also has a cousin, the Monthly Planner. What’s great about the EC planners is that there are so many ways to personalize the covers and content, even the color of the coil binding. Dozens of cover options are available with or without pre-printed names or initials, all of which are interchangeable if you can’t commit to one design for a whole year. Choose the colorway of the pages inside, optional additional pages, optional inserts for meals, fitness, parties, and travel, the EC offer a great deal of charm. The downside to this planner is that you can spend a lot of money for all the bells and whistles, but will you really use all the washi tape, special pens, and fancy stickers? It also has an optional zip-up planner pouch where you can store and carry your planner and all the doodads.
Pros: Personalized, stylish, interchangeable. Lots of fun ways to customize and make it an art project.
Cons: Price – once you get all the bells and whistles, the price can come in at around $100. Lack of full-page days option and limited writing space keeps this from being a great overall option for someone who uses the planner for lists or a diary.
The Simplified Planner is exactly as described. The pages are simple with limited content and the planners have fewer options and offerings. This is a “Keep It Simple Stupid” type of planner. With just a few cover designs, you can order a daily or weekly version of the planner, and the pages are very simple in content. Half of the space on each day is allocated to a daily schedule and there’s a daily meal plan section at the bottom. You can purchase two sizes, either the 7x9 or 6x8. Each planner comes with a sturdy keepsake box.
Pros: Elegant and simple design with just enough little touches to make it better than store-bought. The thin pages make the planner fairly compact and portable.
Cons: The lines are narrow and space feels cramped for those with large handwriting.
Day Designer is a day planner with dinner, gratitude and top three To Do prompts on each page. This planner has three different versions: regular and “mini” hard cover version with coil binding, and a leather binder version more like the old school planners of yore. There are 11 very pretty hard covers and five leather folio options from which to choose. The benefit of the binder version is that optional add-on pages can be kept in the binder. Day Designer offers a number of free printable pages and a pdf version of their planner to try for free.
Pros: A lot of pretty and fun covers from which to choose. Pages are setup around schedule list and task list so lines are more widely spaced.
Cons: The optional add-on pages only go with the more expensive folio version.
Plum Paper could possibly be described as Erin Condren Light. The Plum Planner offers personalized interchangeable covers and a wide variety of designs. There are ten different versions of the planner ranging from student planners, fitness planners, hourly planners, horizontal hourly, week at a glance, plus notes. You can choose which month to start and buy up to 18 months at once. Further, you can add additional sections with budget, blog, even fitness planners and up to 70 additional pages for notes. The planner can be purchased in full-page 8.5x11 size or the smaller planner size of 7x9. Actually maybe Erin Condren should be described as Plum Paper Light.
Pros: Very reasonable price for the amount of customization, tons of options.
Cons: No metallic in any of the cover designs, thinner paper for more risk of bleed through.
The Inkwell Press planners are available online or in retail office supply stores like Office Depot. You can purchase a bound version or A5 pages that will fit into many folio-style ring planners. They come in vertical or horizontal weekly layouts. The Inkwell Press planners are some of the prettiest designs I’ve seen. They have a hard cover and thick pages inside. The fun, playful goal-setting pages, monthly planning, and habit trackers are beautiful and functional. They also have a set of quarterly planners with a soft cover and sewn binding. These planners break the year down quarterly so each quarter is lightweight and easily portable.
Pros: Beautiful design and lots of great goal trackers. Available in local stores.
Cons: No daily option. The coil binding is flimsy. Three out of four I saw in the store had bent coils.
The Passion Planner has the soft binding of an old-fashioned journal, with simple or engraved faux-leather covers. They come in dated or undated versions, in 8.5x11 size or 5.5”x8.5” in academic or classic calendars. Each contains a “passion plan” section for envisioning your future, month at a glance, and weekly vertical spreads with space at the bottom for lists. They’re bound journal style and have an attached page marker and elastic band closure.
Pros: Very reasonably priced, they’re pretty and lightweight with almost subversively simple designs.
Cons: Limited edition runs sell out quickly, only a few cover options, and no daily or horizontal layouts.
The Volt Planner is focused on the big picture and provides tools for tracking progress. It includes a section for creating a yearly theme, goals and achievements section, monthly overview, monthly goals, 30-day challenge (one for each month), weekly goals, and a weekly overview with large boxes for morning, noon, and night. The design is simple – pick your favorite shade of black – layflat with two attached page markers.
Pros: Great for tracking goals and habits, reminders to check in on goals, and weekly and monthly exercises to help maintain focus.
Cons: The weekly layout of vertical boxes seems constraining.
The Start Planner business planners come in hard cover (Hustle) or as folio binders (Fancy Pants). They are both 7.5” x 9”. They come in daily or weekly versions. Each planner contains business planning sections for finances, mileage, marketing, and social media. They also sell separate inserts for different professions, including teacher, realtor, direct sales, and photographer. The photography insert includes workflow checklists, goal setting, an order tracker, client gift list, and marketing/promotional sections with plans, costs, and due dates.
Pros: For those who run their business on paper, this would be a great help. The industry specific lists could be very helpful.
Cons: It seems overwhelming how much is crammed into this little planner. The add-on industry specific inserts only work in the folio binders.
The Hobonichi planner is a Japanese planner/journal. They come in two sizes – the Cousin A5 size, and the Original A6 size (approximately 4x6). The planner itself comes in plain paper binding and is intended to be inserted into a purchased cover. Each book comes with a month at a glance, week at a glance, and daily pages. All numerals, weekdays, and months are in English, the hourly sections are on a 24 hour clock. Pages are designed for maximum flexibility. All pages are covered in a very lightly printed grid, along one side is a column of very lightly printed hours of the day. There is an almost unnoticeable, but slightly darker line which could divide the page into two sections: one for a daily schedule, the other side for lists or notes. However all of these can easily be ignored and pages can be used for writing journals, lists, or making drawings. The pages are extremely thin so that a full year with a page per day, weekly layout, and monthly layout measures only about 1” thick and lays flat on every page. Hobonichi also sells adorable add-on stickers, tape, post-it notes, pens, and covers.
Pros: Extremely flexible planner that has weekly and daily pages all in one. Each planner comes with a fine point gel pen that writes black, blue, and red and is perfect for the thin paper and fine lines of the planner.
Cons: Shipping from Japan is expensive (it works best to consolidate your planner order with other people to spread shipping over multiple items). And if you like to use sharpie or watercolor on your pages, the thin paper may not be your friend.
Design Aglow has become the measure by which many photography templates are measured. In this case, their contribution is an elegant and classic studio planner which you can purchase as an online download to customize and print at home, or a 7.5 x 9” bound edition with fillable dates. Each planner comes with worksheets for big picture planning, goal setting, blog marketing tracker, social media tracker, workflow tracker, monthly task suggestions, month at a glance, week at a glance, and daily overview.
Pros: They’ve thought of everything so you don’t have to. If you buy the downloadable version, you can use it year after year.
Cons: The amount of information can be overwhelming and they’re not here to fill it in for you.
The National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP) has published it’s own downloadable marketing planner. Available online, this planner is here to do one job: help you create an annual marketing plan. The planner offers a few pages of personal, financial, and professional goal setting and then jumps right into the marketing plans. It includes informational pages about types of marketing techniques, the lifecycle of a marketing promotion, and an example promotion. Each month has a month overview with major US holidays already marked, a monthly marketing checklist, monthly social media tracker, blank marketing campaigns, client workflow, and monthly do-do list. The planner comes with an implementation and use guide to help you get going. As a fun add-on, the beginning of each month has a coloring page with a quote.
Pros: This is as simple and marketing-focused as it gets.
Cons: No bound edition.
Colorvale’s downloadable photographer planner includes a boatload of content. Year at a glance, session packing list, monthly goals and objectives tracking, workflow tracker, social media schedule, social media tracker, task list, customized To Do’s, monthly planner, weekly planner, and a number of other items. Colorvale also has a large number of add-on’s such as a location scouting form, daily responsibilities checklist, Pinterest checklist, print and product ordering forms, advertising tracker, social media schedule, session checklists, and more.
Pros: Tons of content which you can choose to print or not.
Cons: Tons of content can be overwhelming. They also seem to have discontinued the bound version, this is download only.
The Blank Notebook
When all your plans and schedules are online, maybe what you need is a place to simply make a list or take notes.
Pros: Inexpensive and easily accessible.
Cons: It’s not actually a planner.
What's your favorite planner?
Do you have a favorite that I missed? Please share in the comments.
What did I buy for 2017? I’m saving that for my next post.
I saw so many wonderful faces in 2016. I love to look back through my work for the previous year and pick my favorites. If I showed you all my favorites this video would be 20 minutes long! What joy I feel when I sort through all your faces. Each person I photograph owns a little piece of me, you are all so beautiful. It's hard to explain but even though I am capturing your photo, you are capturing me. Captivating me. Everything about you, your face, your trust in allowing me to photograph you, your willingness to try and see what we can make together - I'm so honored. This is a toast to you all, my people, my heart, my work, my life. Thank you for a beautiful year.
Are you ready to book your next session? Contact me!
My mom comes from a large family. She is one of seven kids and her father was one of eight. I remember her telling me that holidays were an absolute riot of fun with so many aunts and uncles and cousins together. I loved to hear her stories of things they did together, all the different kids and cousins, all the fun of growing up with so many people to love. The funny thing is, though, I have never seen any photos of those gatherings. I can’t count all the cousins or see the chaos that must have reigned. It gets me thinking about the importance of getting good photos when family and friends gather for the holidays. The stories are so important, but so is being able to show, not just tell, your loved ones about days gone by. We all change, homes, relationships, the color on the dining room wall, your favorite china, the pets in our lives. Photographing those times is a terrific way to preserve your memories, remember who was there and who felt like being a grouch that day.
The way I like to photograph large groups (also knows as extended family photography) is to see if we can get a little energy into the images. Obviously we do try to get as much of an “ordinary” group photo as possible, but I do think that eventually the photos we will really treasure are the ones that show a bit more personality.
Depending on the size of the group, I like to spend between 1-2 hours with the group. This allows me time to create the overall typical group portrait, get some more fun portraits of the group, and then break into smaller groups with grandparents alone, grandkids alone, grandparents and grandkids together, family units together, each generation together. In between, I try to capture moments that are unposed, so my clients have a bit of the overarching story to share as well.
If the family has the time, we can do a longer session that includes more lifestyle photos of their day, perhaps their meal, or a family activity. That gives context and a lot more fascinating story to share with future generations. Families can also schedule a Day in the Life Session with me for a true documentary experience. Learn more about Thanksgiving Documentary Family Photo Sessions here.
Interested in scheduling a large group family photo? Contact me.
This year we are doing something new and exciting: Christmas Card Studio Sessions in Denver!
These sessions are awesome winter-themed pictures on a white set with twinkle lights and a tinsel tree in the background. Bring kids in their Christmas finery or your favorite fun hats and scarves. These unique sessions are for your kids only (furry kids are welcome).
The session fee is $175 and includes three digital files that you can use to make your fabulous Christmas cards. Upgrades will be available if you would like to purchase custom Christmas cards or additional files.
If you only have furry (or feathery or scaly) children, you are welcome to do a photo with you and your pet! Children must be able to sit up on their own.
Please email me email@example.com to secure your time.
Want to see more photos from my Christmas set? Check out my Facebook Page where I will be sharing more photos from my Christmas Card session styling.
Still want your family photos? Please contact me directly to schedule a family photo session.
I had a really moving experience with a client this fall. They are a family with three sons, one of whom is 17 and was headed to college out of state, and two much younger boys. It was important to the parents to get senior family photos before their oldest flew the coop. I think we all understand that once a kid leaves for college, family photos will be few and far between. I have a personal understanding of where this family was coming from - my own oldest son flew the coop over a year ago. While you feel somewhat liberated by having one less person to feed or clean up after, the reality is that there is a hole in your home and it feels very strange when your child is absent. With this personal knowledge and comprehension of what this family was going through, I felt like I knew the type of story I wanted to tell with their photos. Of course we got the typical, and ordinary pretty Christmas card shot, but we also worked on showing their uniqueness as a family, and their beautiful relationships.
After starting our session with some traditional (by my standards) beautiful group photos, I then concentrated on trying to show the connections in the family. I asked mom and dad to talk to their oldest son and tell him how much they love him, tell him how wonderful he is and what he means to their family. I couldn't hear what was being said, but I could see the emotions on their faces. And then it happened. Mom cried. Oopsies. It was happy crying, sad looking-to-the-future-with-your-son-in-another-state crying, beautiful I love you so much crying. But crying nonetheless. Fortunately, the crying then led to everyone laughing and relaxing and remembering that this story is about so much more than what outfit someone was wearing or whether or not one of the boys felt like smiling for the camera.
Each person had their own story and their own journey that day. I think we made some remarkable photos together.
Follow my example and schedule a family portrait session during your child's senior year.
Playing around with some photos from my personal project 100 Days of Shooting Through (more on that later). I can't make up my mind about color or black and white on this photo. I like them both for different reasons. Which do you prefer?
There is something special about in-home newborn photos. The hospital photos, if that is where you choose to have your birth, are special because they are that moment when your life has changed, and when this baby looks most as he or she did in utero. But the in-home newborn photos capture more of what you and your child will really want to remember – what your home and your life was like in those first precious weeks and months. The new parents, outside the confines of hospital walls and the knowledge there is a nurse just feet away, show their newfound confidence in caring for their child and creating their own system and own way of childcare. Once home, parents become the experts on their child and lovingly adjust their lives around their new master (ha ha). Yet in all seriousness, once baby is home, so much of life is different, you suddenly have baby blankets and pacifiers and nursing pillows and bottles and swings and bouncers and and and and a whole universe of baby taking over the home. It’s fun to recognize the change and show your pride and commitment to a new way of life. I photographed this family in their home approximately a week after their son was born. Mom and dad had a chance to chill and relax into their roles as parents. They looked like absolute pros. It was also wonderful to see the Harry Potter themed room based on the books that both parents absolutely adore.
The world of senior photography seems to primarily celebrate girls and cliché versions of boys in letter jackets and fast cars. As the parent of two boys and the senior photographer of many more, I say that is such an unfair and imbalanced look at senior photography. What about the photos of the artistic, observant, intellectual, passionate, geeky, silly, pimpled, hirsute, ordinary, extraordinary young men who are deep and interesting and beautiful, if you’ll allow me that word for the young gentlemen? Their amazing faces and talents and souls deserve to be documented just as much as young women and jocks.
Here in Denver, and around Colorado, senior photos are a right of passage. It’s an important way we mark the passing from childhood to adulthood. Both young men and young women want the senior photo experience – it’s a time-honored tradition and a ritual of growing up. And be honest, most parents had some version of the senior photo experience themselves. Rather than suggesting that senior portraiture is a thing for girls, I want to celebrate that time when young men are almost at their finest, their strongest, before the physical and figurative lines and crevices of adulthood begin to remove the last traces of innocence on young faces.
We need to talk to our kids, our sons, about why senior photos are so important to us and to them. Be honest, share with them that we, as parents, want to hold onto their youth, their childhood, even as we support them in their transition to adulthood. Their senior photos mark the end of an era, the end of school pictures, the end of us documenting every last thing they do. Senior photos are the celebration of our kids’ youth but also of the end of childhood. Their senior photos will not be the ugly, blue background photos of elementary school or the school ID mugshot, they’re an artistic portrait of a Young Adult – a representation of a person and a personality.
When I hear parents wrestling with the idea of spending the money on their son’s senior photo experience, I am always surprised when they want just a quick photo for the yearbook. So many parents wouldn’t think twice about investing in a portrait experience for their daughters, yet with sons it’s often described as a matter of expediency and ease. A quick photo for the yearbook can be done easily, but a portrait session is about having all the attention on you, allowing your son enough time with his portrait artist to capture his essence, to tell his personal and unique story. Senior photography is when we honor a kid in a very individualized event, and celebrate him with portraits we will keep and share forever. I urge parents not to overlook this special moment for your sons, and this special gift for yourself that you will cherish forever.
I like to believe that one of the things that differentiates me from many of the other senior photographers in Denver, is that I am not focused mainly on photographing girls. I think there is a perception that girls are the only ones who care about senior photos. I say that's nonsense. The senior photo experience is something that boys and girls both want, it's a time-honored tradition and a ritual of growing up. And honestly, I've met just as many reluctant girls as boys. Being a teenager is a self-conscious experience, and almost everyone goes through a period of feeling uncomfortable in the spotlight. As the mother of two boys myself, I'm naturally not a big fan of the idea that boys don't need or want senior photography. I want photos of my sons just as much as any other parent wants photos of their daughters. I want to honor this time of transition and moving into adulthood as much as other parents. I want to hold onto my sons' youth and hang it on my walls just as much as any other parent. With a sample size of one family (mine), I believe that other parents of boys feel much as we do.
Senior photography is a way of celebrating and marking the end of childhood. We commemorate that transition with beautiful portraits before kids leave home for college or jobs or other adventures. I always talk to kids about this and why it's so important to us parents. I think it's special and important to kids, too. Even kids who grew up in a household of annual family portraits, having all the attention on your for this special hour is a unique experience. It's a time that we are honoring that kid in a very individualized event.
Sharing here one of a pair of twin senior boys I photographed in Denver. I'm separating their photos so each gets his own visual story.
I met this family when their middle child was a newborn! I love catching up with the kids for their fall family photos every year and seeing how everyone has grown. While I am primarily a Denver family photographer, I work up in Carbondale several times a year and look forward to connecting with new families in that area whenever I visit. We had fun on this photo shoot, the older two played while mom and dad finished getting ready and then we set off on a walk around their beautiful neighborhood. Just a block or two away we found a field of grass and grabbed fun group shots with the family and even a couple with the somewhat uncooperative dog. At one point we lost a family member to a severe case of needing a snack, and decided to just forge ahead because...well...kids.
These shots were taken the first week of October, and initially, we were concerned that date would be too late for fall foliage. As you can see, we were just on the cusp for some trees, too early for some,just in time for those gorgeous red leaves. We all agreed that they were having a late fall, who knows what will happen this year. I think the full bloom of summer or as the leaves yellow all look beautiful in family photos.
Interested in fall family photos? Sign up for my mailing list to get the full details!
What does the Cherry Creek neighborhood look like to someone who wants to live in that Denver community? It's a really mixed neighborhood with tiny older homes next door to large McMansions. Homes that have been scraped and rebuilt as a new and wondrous house, little boxy homes from the early 20th century, swaths of blocks razed and converted into modern condos and townhomes, old brick homes updated and brought into the 21st century. This is all bordered by ponderous retail in the Cherry Creek North shopping district and further south at the Cherry Creek Mall. All manner of coffee shops from local to national chains, adorable boutiques, furniture stores, and many fabulous places to nourish and satisfy the foodie. Cherry Creek North is home to Whole Foods and Safeway, and also during summer months, the Colorado Fresh Farmers Market. Neighborhood photography helps realtors tell the story of a neighborhood to prospective buyers who may not be familiar with what different neighborhoods in Denver may look like. It's a great way to share the character of an area in a visual story,
she was shaking off the cake's crumbs in front of your nose, as with dew does a rose, did she mean her importance? did she mean my age? did she mean I was nothing? a transparent creation of the evolution? she was rude- she doesn't know any better, but, if she does, she might have been very hungry: her bile needed some sugar to sweeten the sour she is generating.
- Ivan Petryshyn
In January I began a personal photography project as part of 100 Days of Ten where participants do some activity (typically creative) every day for 100 consecutive days. I chose for myself a project of creating a double exposure photograph each day for 100 days. This endeavor, one hopes, will lead us to some sort of personal growth, whether that growth manifests as new skills or a greater appreciation of the thesaurus. I'm fascinated by what you unearth in your psyche when repeating something day after day. As much as I've learned about the technical aspects of double exposure, the greater learning is internal. I am learning things about myself, and even about others, in watching the progression of this project. One learns about our ability to stick to things, our ability to rationalize "cheating", our desire to be part of a community, or a desire to forge a new path. I've found myself feeling like I should ask for permission to make some choice, I wonder if it's "against the rules" to do this or that. It's funny to bump into this wall where you become involved in something and suddenly start giving your creativity over to rules that don't exist, or a boss, whom, as it turns out, is your own mind.
Giving ourselves a narrow topic, like double exposure, and working on that topic each day for more than three months - you find all kinds of challenges. Boredom, illness, changing expectations, reordering of priorities, interruptions, shortage of inspiration, technical difficulties, forgetfulness. What motivates you to do this thing each day? What excuse do you make when you fail to execute? When you're posting your work in a public arena, do you show your failures - the days when you took a photo of your kitchen window just to get the damned thing done? Do the "rules" allow a do over? If you miss a day can you do two tomorrow? Or do you extend the project by a day?
This is actually my second project in the last year, and I'm learning new things this time. One thing I learned from my first project was to "cheat". I unofficially started my double exposure project several days before the official start date. I gave myself a bit of wiggle room to not have to shoot and edit on the same day. For me a big take-away is that I need to time step away from a shoot before working with images. That's a discovery that translates to my business. I know I don't want to shoot and edit on the same day, this is never going to be part of my business plan. I relate to my photographs differently when I have some distance and I have to give myself that space.
Here is an abridged first 50 days of double exposure:
If you would like to see my first project check out #100daysofdisconstruction on Instagram
My current project is on Instagram @lifeunstill or in the 100 Days of Double Exposure gallery
2015 was a year of big changes for me, both personally and professionally. The most significant change for me was adjusting my business to focus more on work that gives me the greatest inspiration: documentary style photography. I built a new website for my documentary work, began marketing my Day in the Life sessions both to families and businesses, and really refocused my efforts toward making art, not just taking pictures. My biggest accomplishment in 2015 was my Family Photography award from the National Association of Professional Child Photographers. What an honor to be recognized by a group that so firmly supports and represents the work done by family photographers. I also had a win in the Weekly Favorites competition and our local newspaper published one of my images. Yay!
On the personal side, my oldest son flew the coop. Of course, we knew this was coming; he’s nearly 20 years old. But it’s an adjustment and we miss him. I also have found myself trying to steal my friends’ children. “Wouldn’t you like me to babysit this weekend?”, I wheedle. Interestingly, nobody seems inclined to let me have their children, go figure. It’s a good thing I’m a family photographer, I get to spend a lot of time with kids and that helps soothe my desire to have more kids.
I also embarked on a personal art project where I worked with photos I’ve taken over the last 10 years of demolitions, and a 52 week project which I failed to finish but enjoyed nonetheless.
What’s coming for 2016? I’ll tell you in my next post!
Want to see more of my personal projects? Check out my Instagram @lifeunstill