Since I will finally be meeting the latest addition to the family tomorrow, it seemed only fitting I finally blogged this wonderful maternity session. I couldn't be happier with how Danielle and Joe's maternity photos turned out. She wanted to do a nice mix of inside their home as well as outside on their property and we got super lucky with amazing spring weather on the day of their session.
I don't meet a ton of high school sweethearts, but these two are probably some of the sweetest. The way Joe would look at Danielle and didn't even complain about photos. They were so laid back and easy to photograph, and I know they are sure to be some seriously amazing parents. I had told Danielle after their session about how I had received some bad news earlier that day and had a seriously tough time getting ready for the session. I honestly wasn't sure if I would be able to focus on photographing them as I was totally distracted by a personal crisis. But having their session on this day completely turned it all around for me. No joke, within a few minutes I completely forgot about everything that was going on and was totally immersed in chatting with them and the photos.
It was a wonderful reminder about why I love what I do. It's the people and the personal connections. It's staying an hour after the session ended to chat about travel and share stories. It's making unlikely friends and being reminded of the amazinginly beauitful larger picture in life.
In an effort to keep my lifestyle and minimalistic style, but still offer a variety of options to families, I am happy to show you 'lifestyle studio newborn sessions'. While I am a firm believer that an amazing in-home newborn session can happen in EVERY home, I know some families are still more comfortable having their babies portraits taken in the studio. Our studio in Akron provides a cozy, in-home feel to those families who want to still capture natural images of their latest addition to the family. A bed and natural setting is provided. Babies can wear diapers or white onesies and Mom's will have access to the client closet if needed. Interested in more information about a studio newborn session with us? Hit the contact tab to get some more details now!
This ended up being one of my absolute favorite sessions of the summer of 2016. Funny, because I am just now sharing it on the blog in April, but oh well! I can't even remember now if it was July or August of last year, but one of my favorite spots of the summer, just random fields on a random road.
These girls are wild ones, if you can't tell, but it kept it interesting and fun. The colors, the movement, it was all perfect.
It was one of those super hot and humid sticky nights, so I was literally drenched in sweat by the time we were done taking photos (which was after the sun went down) but it all just kind of added to the feeling. I know most Dad's aren't a huge fan of getting in front of the camera, and I get it. But Mom knows all too well just how fast life goes and how precious it is. So while I have photographed her girls and her for years now, Dad works quite a bit and hadn't been able to really make it out to a session before. This time she gave him no option ;) She knew they needed family photos, and this was the summer she was getting it done.
The biggest piece of advice I can offer parents: Don't stress. The kids might have to pee and there might not be a bathroom so they have to go out in the grass. They might not listen. They might run away from me (and you) and scream their heads off and have a meltdown. But, don't stress. I know it's easier said than done, trust me (my son did not cooperate for family photos at ALL on the beach last year!) but the more you can stay calm, the better it will be. And the more likely it will be that I can get what I need.
Just go with the flow. Expect the unexpected. Take a deep breath and buckle up for the ride. It's only 60 minutes of your time, for photos that last forever. You can do it. ;)
2017 marks the year I realize I can no longer hold and/or pick up my own child. I mean, I can, if totally necessary (i.e. running from a psycho ax murderer or monsters) but for the most part, those dog days are over. You see, this almost 6 year old of mine is a tank. While I have expanded a bit since my younger days (mainly around and in the middle, you know, probably like you have also experienced) picking him up is really just not working. He's long and tall and I am pretty weak. Maybe if I did more Jillian Michaels arm work outs...maybe I could, but I suppose that is not the point here.
It sounds silly. To say, I realize now looking back at this image of him and I above from last summer, that we were in the last days I would be able to pick him up like that and hold him. It sounds like such a small thing. It wasn't honestly even a thing I had considered would be a 'milestone' for me. You have a baby, they are teeny tiny and you strap them to you to survive. As they grow, they start attaching themselves to you and hanging off of your limbs like the orangutans at the zoo. You find yourself scooping them up when they are on the run (or about to get into something they shouldn't) and it's all just a part of the game. For five years, it never occurred to me that one day, the game would change. I mean, I knew it. You realize that babies are actually tiny humans and people and they grow and they age, but for me at least it's more of a passing fleeting realization in the subconscious area. The conscious area of my brain has always been a bit more focused on the constant alarms going off "Stop touching that Maxwell!", "UGH SERIOUSLY, can't you just go to sleep?, "Why are you crying, AGAIN!". Imagine the inside of the parent's brains from the movie Inside Out. Just all bells and whistles and blaring alarms and overwhelm and stress and frustration. But...here we are...and suddenly...
It took sending my child to kindergarten last year and now not being able to pick him to realize some really important shit.
I'm getting older.
And so is he.
Realizing we aren't immortal, that time is precious and life is really just a bunch of moments stuck together haphazardly can be hard. Thinking about our own mortality and our aging children as we pluck out gray hairs (or possibly new hairs from totally new places on our face...is no one else getting whiskers, though? Seriously?!) is freaking hard. It sucks and it's scary and so we shove it all down or risk bursting into tears somewhere in the frozen aisle at the grocery store next to the Ore-Ida potatoes (again...is this just me?) while people, including your own child, stare at you like your one of those awful looking stuffed animal characters from that stupid Five Nights at Freddy's game.
But what I am realizing in all of my realizations is that I keep telling myself I will do this thing or that thing or whatever when I 'get there'. You know, when 'I get older' or when 'it's time'. It's been a bit of a slap in the face to realize, oh yeah. You are already there.
I make excuses constantly about all of the things I am going to do when it's time, all of the life changes I am going to make and time I am going to spend and pictures I will take...
I have been planning for a life that is already well into its existence. And I'm missing it.
Considering I am somewhat close to the age range of many of you (speaking directly to my clientele and families here now) I can only imagine some of you are experiencing very similar moments.
Which brings me to how I always come back to this time of year and these sessions and why they mean so much to me. I have done Mother's Day sessions for a few years now, and more than ever, this year, I am realizing again why they mean so much to me. Why they are one of my favorite things I do in business each year and how meaningful they are to me. And, I hope to you...
Mom's rarely get in the frame. We take all (okay at least most, come on!) the photos. We do a lot of dirty work and most of us don't take care of ourselves the way we should. We don't enjoy a lot of moments because we can't live in the moment. We struggle to stay present because we are exhausted and either tearing our hair out due to stress or grays. And so this is your chance. To take a moment. To treat yourself and leave something behind.
As we have already addressed, we aren't going to be around forever. Which is why I am calling these Legacy Sessions this year. Because...it's not just about us. But about what we will leave behind for our children.
Same goes for the Grandparents. When was the lat time you met a Grandma who wanted to be in a photo? What do you have with your own Mother and your children? What does she have? Hell do you have a nice photograph of your Mother alone or with you, her daughter? I never had the chance to get a photograph of my son with my Grandmother who passed while I was still pregnant. And to be honest, while we were not the closest, I don't have a lot of photographs of her and I either. I realize now, of course, how sad that really is.
And so this year I am going to do it a little different. I have tried it before but I think I have it down this year. I encourage my Mom's to bring their Mom's and Grandmas to their sessions. Also, there have been some requests for Father's day photos. Don't worry, I am giving Mom's a lot of credit, but the Dad's deserve some major credit out there too! So, this 'Legacy Event' will be open to Mother's Day or Father's Day photos, and Grandparents. Some rules and conditions apply though!
Yes, I realize I am still doing this for an income and as a job and this is still an advertisement of sorts, but I am also being 100% truthful when I say I feel this event is something special that I love to do every year. A way to give back to those clients I know and love and can't wait to see again.
I hope to see you there.
One of my favorite senior sessions from 2016! This girl style is right up my alley. We started out in downtown Akron for a few unique looks, went up on top of a parking garage and ended with a more natural and soft look in the fields. The perfect blend and variety of any senior session!
There are really no great words I can provide to explain this family. I have had the pleasure of working with them twice now, and hope to work with them more for years to come. I mean honestly, I should just let the photographs and images speak for themselves, but I will try and add a bit here.
When Maureen reached out to me, she told me her story. How excited their family was to be expecting this baby. I admit, I was a bit nervous. Coming from a blended family, having my own...I know that blended families can be a challenge to photograph. It isn't always easy. Kids and adults alike are already a bit awkward and unsure in front of the camera. Add in kids who were not small toddlers or children that would fall for my silly jokes...and there was a bit of anxiety on my end. How was I going to get everyone to relax and be close and show love and emotion?
We headed out to a field in Akron before sunset (golden hour really is such a special time of day! nothing compares you guys!) and got to work. It was one of the easiest sessions I have ever shot. I have to compliment the parents here. They have worked so hard at creating a loving and nurturing environment and this family needed no direction. Sure, I think maybe they felt a bit awkward (even I still feel awkward in front of the camera! We aren't models!) but honestly I felt they needed hardly any direction. You could honestly see how much they all loved and appreciated each other. How strong their bonds were. How close they had all become.
What is my point, other than to try and to describe how amazing this session was and how incredibly special these individuals are? It doesn't matter if the kids are older. It doesn't matter if they aren't toddlers or babies. If they are teenagers or adults, they still deserve to have photographs of them with their family. It doesn't matter if your family is blended or imperfect or messy. You still deserve to have images and memories of that messiness and imperfection. Trust me, even if your children don't thank you now...even if its more for you in the immediate years, as they grow, they will be so grateful to have images that many never will.
These are the sessions photographers dream of getting. Easy going, laid back clients with a sense of humor and a perfect sunset. Couldn't have asked for more. - Lauren
Part 2 of my awesome, midday full soon shoot out with Meaghan!
If you missed part 1, go back and check them out on the blog to see some of the amazing floral spring bloom style photos we took! As I said in Part 1, the last blog post, I am not big into shooting during the day with harsh sun light. But it was fun to try something new and challenge myself.
We wanted to do something fun, so we took to the fields and then found a random, rundown appliance shop and some cool colored walls in my neighborhood to create some artistic and neat portraits! Inspired by Free People and a more film look, I am super happy with how this session came out for us!
**wardrobe provided by the studio**
This past spring (yep, way behind on sharing!) I really wanted to do a fun Free People inspired shoot with some beautiful blooming trees. Meaghan was the perfect model for me, so comfortable posing!
We had an absolute blast creating some amazing images. And while I am pretty strict on shooting at sunrise and sunset only, we shot this session in FULL SUN! Different for me, but so fun to play around with the harsh lighting and shadows to create some unique images!
This is just the FIRST part of the killer session we did, stay tuned for part two with our other locations and outfits!
**Hat and dress provided by the studio.**
This will certainly not be all you see from this session.
This blog post is showcasing really only the last 20 minutes or so of the two hours we spent wading and exploring through a small river outside of Akron, Ohio.
I can't tell you how excited I was that Ashley was willing to indulge my idea about doing this session this way, and get into the water with me despite her dislike of how the bottom of a murky creek feels.
I was honestly so engrossed into shooting at this point, that I hadn't even realized the sun had set and we were shooting in the dark until I looked up and her husband said something about our dark walk back to the cars. Lucky for everyone, I was pretty confident I had captured what I needed.
Feel free to ignore me now and roll your eyes (it won't hurt my feelings, I can't see you) at my explanation of what this session represents to me. The rushing waters and ever changing rivers that take no form, really resonated with me and reminded of pregnancy and birth. An ever changing body, just like the water in the river, moving along, strong, always going forward no matter what rock, or stone or branch lies in their way. Even though water, all on it's own, has no strength, it pushes past objects of greater mass and density with no problem. Following nature, the laws of science or nature or all the things I can't explain and understand because quite frankly I hate science and never listened in school, it proceeds.
Just like a Mother, and just like a body that is growing a son or daughter. Tired, changing, evolving, but moving forward with so much tenacity and without question.
Pregnancy and water, it's so delicate, yet so secure. Ashley, thank you for trusting me during this sacred time. At 36 weeks, you are radiating with calm and and tenacious will about your upcoming birth.
Enjoy & be on the look out for more.
If you are interested in wandering out into the wild with me, and creating some of your own, artistic maternity portraits, hit the contact button above. I would love to hear from you. -- Lauren
So excited to share these beautiful, boudoir styled maternity photos from Taylor. Just shortly before expecting her second little boy, I went to her home to capture a few intimate memories for her documenting her second pregnancy.
I love the natural element to photographing expecting Mama's in the home!
Hope you enjoy them!
When I first met Sam (big sister) she was a teeny tiny little newborn baby. Now, fast forward and here we are, with her and her baby sister Alex.
I won't lie, getting Sam in the frame with baby sister proved to be a pretty big challenge, but somehow we managed to capture a ton of love, happiness and realness. We tried all the locations and activities, but you know toddlers, they do what they want! ;)
I can't say enough how much I love these natural, in home sessions. Capturing families as they are, in the own environment.