Mother's Day Mini Sessions || A Reflection

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This is the second time I’ve offered family mini sessions: one outdoor in November, and one in my studio in May. I’ve learned a lot about how I want to move forward with family sessions, and I’m so excited to share these experiences with you!

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I want to redefine family portraits as necessities, not luxuries.


I collect antique portraits of families. They are not mine, they are now ghosts, and yet they still got together 100+ years ago to sit as a family and document their existence. Even back then, family portraits were expensive, not as expensive as having your portraits painted! The invention of the camera allowed for more families to document their lives.

Now we have amazing cameras on our phones, and documenting the family has become one parent’s job, with one parent always behind the camera. And if we do get in front of a camera with a professional, why do we only contact photographers one week before we plan to send out our holiday cards? (Every. Year.)
Why not have a photographer document the normal moments that become precious memories?

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JanLee bought the Mother’s Day Mini Session herself, saying “We’ve never had family photographs”. Her daughters are in their teens. I was absolutely thrilled she chose me to be the first family photographer. Her girls are finding their own personalities, but of course still rolling their eyes at how silly their parents are. I let the girls have their own time to hang out together before forcing them in between their wacky parents. They found ease quickly in the coziness of each other’s company.

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I wanna cry because it’s so dang cute.

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Maura’s family was totally different. Three little boys, two of them wild and untamable, with the third being the most chill and squishy bean I’ve ever seen.
This was also their first family portrait session. Which I can understand, because getting those kiddos to sit for longer than a millisecond was almost impossible. But oh, so worth it.

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I don’t believe in waiting to photograph until the “Right Moment”. I’m there getting it all because it’s all so good.
The littlest brother was so not in the mood to be in his older siblings, but oh my goodness I love his face so much. What if I waited to take a picture?

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Here’s the thing about being a photographer in a studio. We set up the space for the best light, so that our job can be easy. But is easy really where the best moments happen?
I had moved the couch in front of the windows to make space for the circled chair to be next to the windows: where the best light is. But the kiddos loved being anywhere but the spots I’d set up, and so I had to quickly go with the flow. The more you force kids the less they’ll cooperate, and that’s why I never force kids to smile or pretend to be adults. I love letting them be kids. This moment at the end of our session turned into a beautiful release of breath: a moment where mom got to relax, and the kids were melting from exhaustion, staring right at me. These Madonna and Child photographs are easily some of my favorites. It’s my job as a family photographer to not push false ease with cute setups and perfect light, but to catch these beautiful moments that fall into my hands.

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Here’s my news on family mini sessions: I’m no longer offering them.

Well, no longer offering mini sessions. I’ll still offer specific days for discounted family sessions, but they won’t be short time slots anymore. These sessions were all set to be 20 minutes, in and out. Easy. But I spent forty minutes with both of these families because frankly, I like my time with people. I like to allow kids to get comfortable with me, whether they’re teens or tiny. I won’t do 20 minute sessions anymore because they aren’t doing you, the clients, and the parents, any favors. Rushing in and out just isn’t my vibe. So let’s rebrand this experience together. Come hang out with me and we’ll let the kids get wacky, and then get tired. You don’t have to worry if someone is crying because it won’t take up the whole session anymore. But I want to capture it, tears and all. Because it’s your life, it’s your family, and it’s worth being documented.

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