where stories are told
Day in the Life sessions make my heart sing. This family of 4 in Chesapeake, Virginia hired me for 8 whole hours to document their daily life and their weekend routine.
This particular weekend, they had prepared to camp at a local state park. As fate would have it, a few weeks before their session they had to cancel the reservation. They shifted perspective a bit and decided to camp in the backyard and asked if I would be okay with the switch...um, yes- a resounding yes! Weekend routine and backyard camping sounded absolutely dreamy to me.
We headed to the local garden center to pick up a few more pumpkins (I mean, honestly, is there such a thing as too many pumpkins? I think not. Especially where heirloom varieties are concerned!). And, we also had a very special mission- we were on the search for the elusive Wither Rose.
Because I'm old, and not cool, I had no idea what a Wither Rose was, but the littlest guy kindly informed me that they were black roses in Minecraft. And because his parents are awesome and supportive, they were proudly planting black pansies (aka, Wither Roses) in the front garden bed.
The afternoons for most families have a bit of downtime. Watching some TV, reading a book, catching up on some homework, maybe even a nap. Not to worry, this is all normal and there's still a lot to be said and shot during this time. One of my favorite pictures from this session is this one below, of mom and dad talking through a little window in the kitchen. It's such a statement of parenting and sneaking in these quick, quiet. little conversations whenever you can.
By late afternoon, we were carving pumpkins and setting up for dinner and camping. Just because they had to cancel their camping plans at the campground and do it at home, doesn't mean you get a free pass to use the kitchen, right? They cooked their dinner over the fire and roasted hot dogs. It all made for the most delicious, most nostalgic aroma ever. And of course, as the night began to fall, they made s'mores.
I know that this family will cherish their record of this experience and over time, their children will be ever so grateful for it too. It's such an honor to have been included in their family for the day and to witness their love. Your day doesn't have to be perfect, it just needs to be you.
To schedule your Day in the Life Session or to learn more, click here or on the Contact tab above. I'm happy to send you a digital information packet straight to your email with all the good and juicy details on what I offer and how it all works.
10/29/2020 0 Comments
Printing and storing your photos may seem like a daunting task...and trust me, I get it. I am not organized, like at all. But I do have a few tips for storing photos and a few things you may not know about photo storage.
As a photographer, I believe that photos are some of the most priceless tangible items that we can possess. It's a bit like magic- a photo takes a single second in time and freezes it forever. It allows us to relive a moment and it sparks something within us. To me, that's pure magic. Our memories can often fail us and I always use the example of how I forgot about an entire vacation I took with both my maternal and paternal grandmothers (you can read about it here). The only way I remembered was because on a rainy day, I decided to pull out a Rubbermaid tote full of old pictures. It makes sense to protect our memories and to care for them carefully. Your memories deserve to exist out side of a hard drive.
I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty details of photo storage and life spans of external hard drives (you guys, they are short. Like, 5-7 years short, so please don't let that be your only method!), but what I am going to do is tell you how I store and display my personal photos and why you should print your pictures. I posted about a print order I had just gotten in over on my Instagram and I got a huge response!
"What do you do with them?"
"Those are so gorgeous!"
"I'm so in love!"
"Where do you put them all?"
"How often do you do it?"
Just to recite a few.
Your memories deserve to exist outside of a hard drive.
I believe in printing your pictures. I believe in being able to hold an actual, tangible memory in your hand. Years ago, I was caught up in digital everything. I mean, let's face it, we all kind of are. Our whole world revolves around digital technology. Why print out a picture when I can look at it on my phone or pull it up on my computer whenever I want to? And that's fine and of course I still do that. BUT, you absolutely, 100% cannot replace the feeling that you get by holding a real, beautifully printed memory in your hand. Holding it in your hand makes it real. You feel it. It's there. Every. Single. Time. that I get a print order in (I only print out my absolute favorites), I have a visceral reaction to seeing them in my hand. Every time. I usually even put it in my Insta stories or Facetime my mom or call my husband over to say, "Hey! Look at these prints! Aren't they amazing!?" And they always agree. Why? Because they are having the same reaction. They are so much more beautiful and so much more meaningful when printed and held in hand.
So, what do I do with them all?
I do a few things. I love loose prints. Nothing compares to shuffling through a stack of old prints. Sitting huddled around together, passing them around, finding one that speaks so deeply to you that you hang it up on the refrigerator to see it multiple times a day. For these prints, I store them in a photo box. What makes this different than other boxes is because it has been treated and is acid free, so as not to destroy the paper and ink of the photographs held inside. This is especially true if you are printing at a commercial lab like Walmart, Shutterfly, Walgreens, etc. as they do not use quality paper or ink. Prints from these labs are going to need special consideration to make them last, this is not the same as the paper and ink our grandparents photos were developed on.
Every year, I take my favorite prints, assemble them together, and order a beautiful photo album for a Family Yearbook. I absolutely love this and my children do too. They love to look through the books and see all of their favorite memories of the year at a glance. It's a compact, beautiful, and easy way to print hundreds of photos.
I also display photos throughout my home in a more traditional way. I have them in frames throughout the home and some printed on canvas. However, I do have a few less traditional ways I display them. I thrifted a few flat baskets (I don't know what to call them?) and had the idea to hang them on the wall and attach the pictures with little wooden clothespins. I can easily change them out whenever I want and it's a fun way to display seasonal pictures.
One more quick note about the importance of printing pictures and not allowing them to exist solely on your hard drive- there has been a study done that shows that kids self esteem is impacted by seeing themselves in photographs that are displayed. It allows them to see their role within the family and see their importance. You can read the article here. I think about it often and I strive to not only display pictures, but show them what I'm working on and editing on the computer too. I've also taken to making family films and they love watching them! Actually, my daughter CRIED when I showed her the first film I made of our family. How precious is that?
But I can also attest to the children reacting to see themselves in print because our littlest didn't have many pictures hanging in our home there for a while. We'd gotten busy, it was on the back burner, etc etc. (to clarify, I had the pictures, they just were not displayed.) and when I finally hung them up, he took notice immediately. He went around pointing and shouting, "That's me mama! That's Baby! That's ME!"
If you're ready to start capturing some memories and getting some meaningful images to hang around your home, send me a message and let's chat. I'm happy to answer any questions you may have and I'm so excited to create something amazing with your family.
It's been 365 days since she took her first breath. She's been loved by her family every single second of every single one of those 365 days and she will continue to be all the days of her life.
I tend to get really sentimental with returning clients, especially those I photographed as newborns. I came to photograph her when she was less than a week old, in the comfort and quiet peace of her own home.
This session was a little different because there was the hum of excitement in the air and the intimate gathering of loved ones who wanted nothing more than to spend the afternoon celebrating her life and reflecting on what she has brought to their family.
As a mama myself, when birthdays roll around, I find myself doing the same thing. I feel that each baby teaches us something new, a little more than before. I never knew how much one little, precious being could teach me- they teach us the most important lessons in life. Selfless giving, unconditional love, and patience.
When I photograph a birthday celebration and milestone events, I always take the opportunity to observe familial connections. Stolen moments away with cousins or grandparents, adoring aunts and uncles- each wanting a special moment with the birthday girl. As much as I love seeing a baby eat cake (who doesn't?!) and the excitement surrounding the mess she is going to make, I live for these quieter moments and I'm always seeking them out. They are tender, heartfelt, and so precious.
Hiring a photographer to document these events allows the family to relax and to let go. It allows them to focus on what is important- celebrating and spending time and energy on the ones they love. You don't have to worry about taking pictures yourself or hastily passing off the camera to someone else so that you can actually be in the picture for once. You don't have to hope that they get a slightly flattering picture or that their finger isn't in it, or that it's not blurry. It's all taken care of and you will get a gallery of beautifully documented images to treasure for a lifetime.
It also needs pointing out that I look for humor everywhere! Outright humor, understated humor, sarcastic humor...all of it! And this had me cracking up! I hope little Hazel will laugh at it one day.
Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.
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