I loved this family…they were fun, relaxed and the conversation came easy. The kids were adorable and we had no problem getting them to laugh and play and even strike a dapper pose or two. The little guy was one and half, so when you put him down, he was on the go! And I followed – hey, it’s part of the job description. Then I finally smartened up and asked his brother to catch him, which made for some cute shots.
For this session, we visited the beautiful NJ Botanical Gardens, and this was before the freak snow storm wreaked havoc on many of it’s trees and plants. But our timing was good and the grounds were such a picturesque backdrop for this beautiful family…I just love the results.
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So many of my sessions involve soothing newborns or coaxing young kids that I forget how wonderful it is to shoot willing models. These two were not only willing but each had a beauty that was unique and truly exquisite. And sure that makes my job easier, but even still, I think what I liked most was the way they interacted with each other. There was obviously a lot of love between them, but also enough teasing and kidding to make the results natural and fun.
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I love watching children grow up. I first met this adorable boy as a newborn and he is already celebrating his 1st birthday! Wow – did that year fly by! I recently posted the “cake smash” portion of this session, but there were so many other great shots outside and in his room that I thought I’d share them too. He is clearly a natural in front of the camera, but also has one of the most pleasant dispositions ever! What a happy and delightful boy.
Outdoor winter session….hmmmm….I’m kind of a wimp about the cold, so I was a little worried. I think I wore about 15 layers just to be sure I’d survive. Well, the temperature was no problem for these dapper cousins. Some kids are just oblivious to the cold and these guys were too busy having fun to even notice that it was winter out. Granted, this was before the onslaught of snow, but still! Anyway, talk about great models! Look how handsome they are and I love their natural posing. The grounds at Ringwood Manor made braving the cold so worth it! I love the natural textures of wood, stone and ivy…what beautiful backdrops.
A huge thank you to their aunt…she not only arranged the session as a surprise to her sister and mother but she was AWESOME at getting them to giggle at just the right moments!!! Love that!
Last April, I ran a campaign called “Shine a Light on Autism” to help raise autism awareness in which I asked families experiencing autism to share their stories with us. During the campaign, many moms, dads, and family members wrote in and shared their unique experiences with us. Each heart felt story was more moving than the next. They touched me deeply. Thank you to all who participated, and if you haven’t read the stories you can do so here. Also a HUGE thank you to Autism New Jersey for their help in promoting and supporting me throughout this endeavor! The campaign ended when my brother Paul, who also has autism, reached his hand into a hat and randomly drew the name of the family who would win a portrait session with me. It was Andrew and his family…
After trying to coordinate busy schedules, we met with Andrew and his lovely family at Deep Cut Park in Monmouth County. The foliage was perfect and though it was a crisp day, the kids soon had their jackets off. Andrew was a handsome boy with a gentle demeanor and kind eyes. He was also quiet and seemed a bit unsure of why we were at the park. I led him to various places that I thought would make for picturesque backgrounds. His older brother, Brian, who stayed with us for most of the time, was encouraging and supportive. Seemingly wise beyond his years, Brian was also very interesting to talk to. He enjoys photography and wanted to know how I took pictures of moving subjects without them coming out blurry. He may have been referring to his little sister, Kaitlyn, blonde and beautiful with all the energy of a 3 year old. She would stop just long enough for a few shots and then run off to play. Andrew would also wander off after a couple of clicks. When I gently coaxed him back, he would agree and come with me to one of my strategic spots. One time he came towards me and didn’t stop. As he got closer and closer, I thought he was going to kiss me on the cheek, but he stopped just as his nose almost touched my face. He was smelling me; his brother said he liked to do that sometimes. Later when I told his mother, she said, “Oh, he must be very comfortable with you. That means he likes you.” I was so touched. Andrew said very little and so this gesture meant a lot to me.
For much of the session, Andrew held on to a doll – Jessie from Toy Story – much like a security blanket offering some kind of tactile reassurance. This made me think of my brother who very often has a small, soft football that he adeptly tosses up in the air from hand to hand without even looking. Every Christmas we get him another one to replace the worn out one that served him all year long. I tried to take Jessie from Andrew a couple of times and saw that he wasn’t comfortable with that, so we just decided to make the doll a part of documenting Andrew…as he is, with what he likes. Andrew is beautiful. His face has the innocence of a child, but with that innocence comes a special vulnerability. I know how difficult it is for someone with autism to understand and navigate through this complicated world in which we live.
After meeting his mom and dad, I can see that Andrew is very lucky to have such loving and devoted parents. They were nothing short of warm and comfortable to be with, and you could see how much they loved their children. My hope is that this session does “Shine a Light” on autism and is a small window into one of the many families that are affected by it.
If you haven’t read the story or seen the video that Andrew’s mom submitted, you definitely should. It’s beautiful. You can also hear what she has to say about the delicate balance of parenting three children, including a child with autism here on her blog.
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I’ve really been neglecting this blog…but have a bunch of sessions that I can’t wait to share…
This session was almost rained out, until mom came up with a fantastic location for us (which shall remain nameless) in West Orange. Not only were we able to shoot inside, but the rain held off as it often turns out, so we ventured outside as well. Cloudy days can make for some beautiful sessions as the clouds really soften and diffuse the sunlight. Never shy away from a cloudy day session! Anyway, I always love when we have a variety of cool backgrounds and this little model was just adorable in both looks and personality. Talk about easy-going! He just played happily the whole time…
These two were really sweet models and mom was quite the entertainer, I must say. I’d love to have her around for all my shoots to make kids smile, laugh and even dance! Combine two adorable kids, a silly mom and a scenic location at peak foliage and this is what can happen…
Ok…so it’s not always easy….
…but in the end, patience pays off!
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…and cute as a button. This little guy was soooo endearing and adorable, I really wanted to take him home with me. He was on the go for sure, playing tag with mom, chasing geese and looking for foxes. Oh yeah, and feeding leaves to my dinosaur! (That dinosaur makes the rounds!) You may remember the newborn session with his baby sister…she was the beautiful girl in the pink pettiskirt. Well, apparently, good looks run in the family, as you’ll see…
I love his expression in this first one.
C’mon…how cute is this face???
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