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.
A post about why families with boys should invest in senior portraits for their sons.
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.
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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
In Austin Kleon's wonderful book, Steal Like An Artist, a key element of his manifesto is "Creativity is Subtraction". The more we narrow our options, and our focus, the more creative we are forced to become. Following in the footsteps of Michael Beirut's 100 Day Design Workshop, the 100 Days of Ten project focuses our attention on one task to repeat each day for 100 days. Let's expand our creativity during the quiet winter months. The concept is simple: pick a creative task that you can achieve in approximately 10 minutes. If you want extra time, try to limit yourself to 30 minutes each day - you want this to be really doable, even if you have a cold or are on vacation.
Give yourself permission to create, exercise, and DO your task each day for 100 days
Record your efforts
Share them on Instagram or Facebook
Support others who are also giving themselves 10 minutes a day
Hashtag your project #100daysof10 so we can keep our project separate from other similar projects out there.
Create a hashtag for your own project such as #10minutesof___________ or #100daysof____________
- Pick a color - 100 days of green, red, blue, black, pink, white
- Pick an object - your garden gnome, hair, doorknobs, leaves
- Pick an action - look up, down, through a window, through an aperture
- Pick a challenge - too dark, too light, inside, outside, left-handed, no hands
- Pick a subject - food, kids, animals, trees, jogging
- Pick a medium - drawing, painting, photography, cell phone, computer, writing
- Writing in a journal
- Creating a creative edit in Photoshop
- Hand-tinting black and white photos
- Creating photo quotes
- Hand lettering
- Cartoons of cats
- Shooting with off camera flash
- Challenge yourself with simplicity
Check out some past projects on Instagram:
Wrongest choice - this IGer took a photo each day using the "wrong" settings on her camera, applied the "wrong" filters, took a photo of the "wrong" subject
Painting Trees - this artist wound up selling her work and had a number of her paintings from this project in a national exhibition
Sad Animal Facts - This artist drew hilarious comics about sad animal facts and wound up going viral
Bad Fonts - A look at awful and often illegible fonts
Sunsets - Photographing the sunset each and every day
Black and White Photography - If you choose this topic, make sure your own hashtag is unique so you can separate your own work from others.
Disconstruction - My own project, if you're curious, working with photos of demolitions I had taken over 10 years.
Best Gifts for Photographers
It's time to start wondering what you'll give your favorite photographer for Christmas. We all know that photography isn’t just a vocation, for most of us it’s also an avocation, a hobby, a passion, even an obsession. Here is a comprehensive gift list, vetted by photographers from all over the world (true fact).
Whether the photographer in your life is a hobbyist, a pro, a dabbler, or a phone-photo fanatic, you’ll find great gift inspiration for every photo-personality.
Gifts For Fun
There are tons of great, impractical, camera and photo related doodads out there. Here are a few that have been photographer tested and approved:
There are a number of different versions of the lens mug out there, make sure you know your photographer’s camera brand so you can buy a mug that matches their gear. Prices range from $12-$50 depending how fancy you want to get.
The gift every photographer must have - a camera key chain decoration. There's the fun one with sound effects and an LED flash, or these colorful darlings
It's always handy to have a flash drive in your bag. It's even cooler if it looks like a tiny camera.
Gifts for the Gear Junkie
The gear junkie always wants the cool new gadgets and loves to try everything that will change it up, speed it up, or up-size what they already have.
Make it easy for your favorite photographer to edit personal projects with a WiFi SD card. Wirelessly transfers photos to computer or other WiFi enabled devices without having to remove the card from the camera.
Taking iPhone photography to the next level. Your photographer friend can showcase their amazing macro shots on the Insta Feed @weeklymobilemacro
For those who want to try some first-person, action photography at an entry-level price.
An inexpensive and convenient way to have professional quality light metering in an instant.
For the big spender, a gift needed by every gear-minded photographer: storage on wheels.
For the Throwback
Is the photographer in your life longing for the good old days? Consider one of these film camera options.
Old medium or large format cameras are an amazing gift any photographer. Even a photographer who doesn't miss the darkroom, old cameras are cool to collect, display, and enjoy.
Photographers who are passionate about printing will enjoy these gorgeous handmade photo albums sized especially for 4x6 or 5x5 prints.
So many cute camera cufflinks to be found on etsy. This pair is particularly smart.
There are a lot of great options for fun and fashionable camera straps - from straps that look like scarves, leather straps, handwoven, or even different sizes - hand straps and cross-body straps. One thing to consider when selecting a strap is safety of the camera. There are a few straps out there that have very insecure-looking fastening systems. Purchasing a camera strap is one case where function trumps fashion. Nobody wants to replace $4500 of camera equipment because of a $40 strap. Look out for flimsy clasps, anything with a loose buckle, or something easy to jar or bump causing it to dislodge or fray.
Here's a great strap with a solid-looking fold back buckle attachment that is standard on most cameras.
A gift certificate from Camera Straps Made With Love would probably be a big winner.
Camera purse or messenger bag
Camera bags - you know, the big black ugly things that are difficult to lug around and are so obviously carrying gear. When carrying a camera case, most people still need another bag to hold their personal belongings. What about giving your photographer a sweet-looking bag that's not just style-conscious, but totes camera, lenses, wallets, phones, and anything else we might need?
Most people would be surprised to discover that this is a camera bag. It's got tons of functional pockets for personal and professional items and comes in a bunch of modern colors.
Sexy and completely functional answer to the ordinary camera bag, the Ona bags, briefcases, and purses are durable and well-padded.
For the Propaholic
Gifts for that photographer friend who just can't resist buying the ugly vintage rocker on craigslist because it might be great in a photo someday. These dual-purpose gifts can be great props but also just great gifts for anyone.
These blankets are just begging to be photographed. And not only are you giving a beautiful gift, for every blanket sold, Sackloth & Ashes donates a blanket to a homeless shelter.
Nothing is more inspirational for food photographers than gorgeous wood surfaces. Everything looks beautiful on these artisan cutting and serving boards.
Yes, hats are considered props, largely because they're taken off and held in the hand. An excuse for this super-cute hat? Call it a business expense.
An amazing book of almost unbelievable natural and man-made wonders. And while you're at it, a subscription to National Geographic Magazine never goes wrong. Just $15 for a one year subscription to some of the most fascinating photojournalism in the world and includes membership to the National Geographic Society.
Photos from the 1955 Edward Steichen curated exhibition of photographic works from 273 photographers which Steichen described as "a mirror of the essential oneness of mankind throughout the world. Photographs made in all parts of the world, of the gamut of life from birth to death." A treasure.
Beautiful prose and a spellbinding visual story.
Many photographers put in very long hours, particularly around the holidays which is our busiest season. Often shooting and editing seven days a week, photographers suffer from neck and hand cramps, sleepless nights, eye strain and headaches. These are suggestions directly from professional photographers. Sometimes the greatest gift is just to forget about photography.
Work out the aches and pains of a sore neck from holding 7 pounds of gear around your neck for hours, sore wrists and arms from editing for days on end, sore legs and back from squatting and crouching for all those adorable little cherubs, and headaches from squinting. Massage can be therapeutic or simply for pleasure. Shout out to David Blatt of Evolution Wellness here in Denver, awesome acupuncturist and massage therapist.
Never have you seen or tasted chocolates more delicious or beautiful. So many charming designs and unique flavor combinations. Choose a seasonal special or purchase a 3 or 6 month Chocolate of the Month Membership.
The definitive curative and restorative for the busy photographer: wine. Pick up a delicious bottle at the local liquor store and match it with a funny personalized wine glass from ShatteringSentiments.
Want to learn more about photographers? Check out my Day in the Life of a Photographer Session.
I was very grateful that Jessica, one of my longest-term lifestyle clients, agreed to try a session of documentary family photography in Denver this summer. One of the biggest challenges I'm facing with transitioning my business into a more documentary style is that my existing clients aren't sure they want to go with me. Day in the Life photography is relatively new, largely unknown to the general public, and while I get a lot of excitement about the concept, when it comes to committing to a session, it's difficult for them to walk away from more traditional photos. One thing Jessica and I agreed upon was that we would take time to shoot a very short session of traditional posed where kids get dressed up and they get something more typical for their Christmas cards. I think that makes it an easier decision for her and I plan to offer that to all my clients.
I still feel strongly about my posed lifestyle photography but I am moving toward documentary work because it feels so much more emotional to me. I want my clients to be deeply moved when they see their photos, I want them to see sides of themselves, their partners, parents, or children that they don't see all the time. Documentary family photos are a window into life today that a cute posed photo by a Christmas tree in September will never give you.
A funny side note to this session: the cat doesn't belong to them. Both kids, separately, told me the cat was theirs and so I took a number of photographs of him. Later when I asked mom and dad when they got a cat they said "Cat? What cat?" Evidently the cat, Pickles, has been hanging around their house a lot since these photos were taken, so he's included as an honorary family member.
I spent the better part of a day with the awesome folks at the Rocky Mountain MS Center King Adult Day Enrichment Program (KADEP). The objective of the day was to show the fun and supportive programs offered by the center and their amazing staff. I made a couple new friends that day and gained a whole new level of awareness and respect for people living with multiple sclerosis and other acquired neurological disorders.
Day in the life of a non-profit photography has the benefit of providing tons of marketing images for the organization, it tells the story of the people who benefit from their efforts, and reveals detail and context to a story that is often untold to the general public.
KADEP has a program that involves different fun classes ranging from cooking, laughter yoga, crafts, boxing, gardening, even trips to go rafting or visiting casinos. They have an amazing machine called the LiteGate which allows people to stand without having to bear all their own weight. It literally helps people get back on their feet.
I've been told by a friend who is a professional in the non-profit world that there are statistics showing that people are more likely to donate after seeing a powerful image than a powerful video. I think that's because when you see a photo that moves you, you are making up the backstory in your own mind. You have the context of knowing the image is related to the non-profit in question, but you tell yourself the story that explains why someone looks tired or sad, why their eyes are closed or their fist is clenched. Creating the story in your own mind gives you more motivation to donate because you've told yourself the most moving story that would spur you to action.
Day in the Life photography for business is a way to tell the story of an organization that creates a personal story and connects with people on an emotional level.
If you would like to learn more about Day in the Life Photography for a Non-Profit, please Contact Me!
I worked with another Denver family photographer on this day in the life session. We're working together on a blog post about it which I will share on a later date. In the meantime, enjoy this short video slideshow!
Want to learn more about Day in the Life Photography? Check out my new Day in the Life website!
A common theme I hear about Day in the Life Photography is that people think themselves boring. "We just don't do anything that interesting", they say. "I can't imagine what we would do for all that time", when I explain a Day in the Life Session could run half the day. Until you've looked at a lot of DITL photos and understood the context in which they were taken, it's difficult to appreciate that the photos are beautiful because people are beautiful, not because they were doing the most perfect thing in the most perfect location. Day in the Life sessions are about the small spaces in your life, not just the big moments. We tend to remember our lives through our photographs, we share our family history with our friends and progeny by looking at photos. I wish I had photos of what my room looked like when I was seven and I had built a castle of cardboard boxes for my stuffed animals. I wish there were photos of when my mom decided to make marzipan and we spent an afternoon making little candy fruits and shapes. I wish there were photos of my mom's art studio when we lived on Washington Island. It's hard to share my childhood stories because there is no visual representation of any of those moments. Day in the Life Photography helps you capture the beauty of being alive, of being you.
Part of what I do differently with my senior photo sessions is I let kids have a voice in the decisions about what and how we shoot. Typically when young adults reach their senior year, they want to have a senior photo that feels real to them and represents who they feel like inside. I negotiate with kids and parents: a certain amount of time making pictures that the parents want, and time dedicated to photos that the senior wants. We could spend an hour doing glamour shots or spend time capturing your sport, music, art, best friend, or spending time with the family dog. I want seniors to feel like their senior photos are at the same time authentic and also hyper-real. We all want to see the best version of ourselves. I loved this photo session because Aidan and his mom, Cyndi, were in agreement that they wanted both kinds of photos. I was very excited to take the mountain biker senior photos because Aidan is an amazing competitive Enduro cyclist. Watching him practice made me cringe with fear but it was also incredibly exhilarating and I knew we could get some pretty cool shots.
A morning with Andrew Nagel, Cherry Creek ReMax agent and Congress Park Realtor A day in the life of a realtor is much like you might expect: paperwork, phone calls, driving, signs, phone calls, driving, phone calls. Andrew shares an office with his friend and business partner John Sullivan - they work together with their clients, both specialize in the Congress Park neighborhood where they've both lived and have long-standing connections. It was fun to go around putting up For Sale signs, and even more exciting, putting up SOLD signs. I got to see some neat properties in the area and met the nicest woman who is ready to downsize and move off to the next stage of her life. Moving is difficult and sometimes emotional stuff, I loved seeing how deftly Andrew and John handled that situation. We all drove separate cars and it was fumy how much faster they arrived at any destination than I did, they know all the best routes in the area.
Congress Park is a neighborhood with a sense of humor. There are little things, you see it in the signs of nearby restaurants and shops, you see it on a painted garage. When I think of Congress park, I think of your basic bungalow house. However there are plenty of charming timeless homes along 7th Avenue and of course the Denver Square. A neighborhood that is friendly to walkers, runners, and bikers, it also has the nearby Botanic Gardens and of course the Congress Park - the park, home to one of Denver's few outdoor public pools and massive soccer fields. I've always enjoyed the park's mulberry tress but due to a late frost, they sadly didn't bear fruit this year.
I spent an afternoon looking at Hilltop through a photographer's eyes. Hilltop and Crestmoor feel different than the surrounding areas. The lots are larger, the Crestmoor area is mostly a mixture of mid-century architecture and modern construction on lots where the old house was removed. Streets in the area are rarely straight through which means reduced speeds and kids playing in front yards or on the street. We see huge old trees and a couple of lovely parks. Further West, Hilltop is has more gothic style architecture, but the curved streets and lovely flowered parkways persist. The neighborhood has less embedded retail, more surrounded by pockets of cute places on Holly and 8th Avenue. There is a welcoming feel to all the little retail areas, an old-timey feel, even in the newer spaces.
In honor of this, World Snake Day (who knew?), I am sharing these Throwback Thursday photos of one of my lovely Carbondale families.One of the things you encounter as a family photographer is the family pet. I try to involve pets in my photos because pets feel like members of our family. While most people don't bring their cats to a family photo shoot, I always try to include a few pictures of pet cats if I have a chance to visit a client's home. I really love having the opportunity to photograph families with more unusual pets like chickens, horses, or goats. Certainly my most unusual family pet experience was with a family who loves snakes. In addition to their lovely tabby cat, they probably had more than ten different snakes in their home with an entire area dedicated to snake enclosures.
I was so excited about the snakes I had to take time to try some artistic photos with a very cooperative fellow (or lady perhaps, I have no idea.)
Willy Wilson is a family photographer serving the Denver metro area and Carbondale, CO. If you are ready to include your pets in your family photos, Contact Me!
My third installment of the series on Kim Baum A day in the life of a daughter: Kim's life is an incredible balance between business owner, veterinarian, ranch hand, wife, mother, friend, and daughter. One of the most important roles she plays is that of primary care-giver to her 85 year old mother. Kim's mom, Patsy, is a feisty gal who still lives a mostly independent life in a separate house on the Silver Buckle Ranch. But Patsy has health problems and a touch of dementia and honestly, living single on a ranch is pretty lonesome. So Kim spends a lot of time with her mom. Patsy comes over for dinner each night, Kim brings Patsy along on her errands as often as she can, and includes her as much as Patsy is able. Kim takes care of Patsy's bills, medical appointments, and all her shopping.
Day in the life photography captures your life as it really is right now. The photos are a record of the ordinary and extrordinary facts of who you are and all you contribute.
Ready to schedule a session? Contact Me!