Adorable Child Portrait Contest

It’s here again!  All children’s portrait sessions from January to May are eligible for this National contest.
So come see me soon!

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2 years old!~ child

I know! How did this little guy get to be so big!?! Even he can’t believe he’s no longer a baby!
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This precious little guy was given this blue rhinoceros when he was 6 months old.  He has slept with it since, and I find it so very amusing that he grabbed it and his truck as they walked out the door for a portrait session.  The little white truck is an exact replica of his Papa’s Ford F-150.  After noticing it in a store on his own and making the connection to his grandfather’s vehicle all on his own, it was a no-brainer he needed it, and it too has joined the nightly must-haves for bed time.
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CHILDREN

7 is Sassy ~ Child

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I think when you turn 7, Sassiness just starts to ooze…

In all honesty, this nature-loving little princess is far from Sassy.

I promised miss Anna we would get cupcakes after her pictures with the rainbow wall downtown. We were pleasantly surprised their address was #7!  That’s when the sassy popped out of nowhere!

blog_pbE_6901And lesson of the day: When you promise cupcakes after a morning appointment, be sure to make note of their hours before your arrival. If you arrive for the tasty treats at 10:15 only to find they are still closed… you might get this face.  Don’t worry… we found ways to kill 45minutes and she was enjoying her strawberry cupcake with strawberry milk before we knew it!

 

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Preschools and Patience

I have been photographing preschools for MANY years now.  They are actually one of my most favorite events to photograph.  Children in general {whether a family session or preschool} produce a wide array of emotions. Many children can give you 10 different emotions in 5 minute’s time…Sweet Girl here has been at this same Mother’s Day Out preschool for a couple of years now.  Which means I have seen her twice a year for 3 years now.  Now I know 6 times in your 4 years of age is pretty minuscule, but many students do remember me from the fall to spring portrait sessions.I did receive permission from her parents to share this story.   I don’t want to toot my own horn or brag by any means. I only share this to show you that I truly care about your child.  I will also share the fact that there have been several  children through the years that give me blank stares. *I am apparently not hilarious to these few*  And nothing I say or do can convince them otherwise.  But this little girl was different…. the potential for smiles was there.  I could tell. I had seen them in years past. I just had to find them.IMG_1904Sweet Ms Sophie came in with her class, just like all the other classes and each student was photographed individually as well as their class group picture.  Sophie was very shy in front of my camera and very reluctant to come over in the first place.I remembered that she didn’t smile for me at all the first year I had met her. She stared straight down at the floor, and only looked up at me when I asked if she had a pet at home and her teacher told me about her dog.  The second year, I remembered her giving me half a grin when I asked about the baby I saw her Mommy was going to have as I saw her get dropped off that morning.  (The following spring she smiled a little more when I asked how much she liked being a big sister)….So, I knew she was going to be harder than some of the other kids to give a genuine happy, un-cheese-ball smile.

This Spring, she shyly stood in her little spot and would only mumble responses to any of my happy questions.
I noticed after several minutes that her shyness had turned very timid.  Her class soon left to go back to their room and a new class came in and waited.  I set down my camera and went over to talk with her for a few more minutes to see if I could pinpoint her happy button and I noticed she almost had tears in her eyes.  I simply asked “Are you okay?”  Which prompted this conversation:
“I’m scared”
“oh, I am so sorry, Sophie. Are you scared of me or scared of my camera?”
“I’m scared of pictures.”

We talked a little more and I told her I wasn’t going to make her stand here and smile if she didn’t want to and she was welcome to go back to her class if she wanted to.  And she did.  The last thing I want is for a child to have an unhappy experience with any photographer. I find joy in documenting the joy in your life… not forcing grins that never really existed.

I finished the rest of the students in the preschool and before packing up my things made my rounds to each of the classes to double check we had photographed everyone.  I went in to her class and chatted with her teacher as the students finished their lunches and Sophie was laughing and giggling and talkative with all her classmates!  So I joined in and she and I laughed and talked for a few minutes together with her classmates.  I made the comment that her eyes were so sparkly when she smiled! Just like my sparkly backdrop where we did the pictures!271_2000  She didn’t remember the backdrop and wanted to see!  So she and I skipped down the hallway together to go see how her eyes sparkled on my backdrop!  (Yes! I really did skip with her as we held hands on our way to the other room!)
She stood in front of my set and I snapped a quick picture with her big smile and then showed her the back of my camera.  The catch-lights from the flash in the corner of her eyes gave a nice little sparkle which lit up her world and we took several more images.

Sophie needed two things 1) no audience… I really think that was her main concern in the beginning… everyone was watching her; and 2) compassion with patience.

I have been told by many mothers lately during newborn s273_2004essions that they are just in awe of how patient I am as I snuggle and speak softly to their fussy babies as I get them to sleep.
There really is not much difference between a baby,  toddler or preschooler when it comes to new things.  Sitting/standing in front of a camera and big lights is new.  Most kids under the age of 6 will not walk right up and smile unless they trust you (and how often do you trust a complete stranger in the first minute you’ve said hello?)

Patience and Compassion along with friendliness are the best combo for getting little ones to grin.  And lucky for me, these 3 things are my cup of tea.

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18 months for little Connor

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This curly top fella is pure joy.  Simply said.
His all-boy nature and curiosity kept his mama and I laughing the whole time!

He decided to take a quick break to dig in Mom’s purse only to produce her powder and brush. Connor proceeded to use the “brush” in her hair, his hair, and then chase me with it too!

Like most little boys lately, he stopped to check out my reflector as well, and frequently run back to stand it up if I laid it on the ground.
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Connor is 1!

IMG_0087I love it when little ones come to see me their first year!

Sweet Connor and I had 5 playdates before he turned one. Newborn, 6 month, 9 month, 12 month and another one in the middle for a quick mini session with some pumpkins.

This smart little guy is happy and full of energy! He definitely keeps his parents on their toes!

The newborn, 6 month and 12month series  is one of my favorites.  It just delights me to watch little ones grow and see their little personalities develop and recognize how much their mannerisms were in tact from the beginning.fbConnor_9488

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Why add more?

IMG_3050IMG_3052I have been asked several times on recent sessions “Why do you need a flash? It’s so bright outside {sunny} today.”

Well, simply put, my job, by definition, requires the best light to capture the best image.
And sometimes to have the “best light” you have to create it.

The image on the left is a decent image.  She’s cute, has a great expression on her face.  No doubt a sellable image- her parents would like it.  However, by adding the flash I get a little more light back in her face, detail in her cheek bones, sparkle in her eyes, etc.  The next image is much more flattering of her.  I could achieve more light in her eyes by turning her towards the setting sun, but 1) the old rustic tractor wasn’t moveable and this was the angle we wanted; and 2) By looking into the sun she gives us squinty eyes.

A reflector serves the same purpose.  I often use a stand like this one to hold my reflector, although outdoors I may solicit the help of a parent too.  It’s windy on most days here in Oklahoma, so we need to be certain it doesn’t blow over into the image (or onto our model).

I love images like this that simply show light. With a prominent light source like the window behind him and his face turned away, and it should have been in all shadows. But the reflector that he was so fascinated with is doing its job and giving us detail on his face and a sparkle in his eyes. You can even see a basic “shadow line” where the window light stops on the back of his head up to his ears, and where the reflected light stops just behind his eyes. Isn’t light wonderful?!
FB_reflectorRoPhotography is recording light. Without light, I can’t do my job, thus finding ways to make the best light greatly benefits and fascinates me!

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And Baby makes 5

blog_JLCamp0589blog_JLCamp0583This new sweet family of 5 has been blessed with a baby boy!

They are beyond excited to have 3 healthy children, and after 2 spunky little girls, sweet content little Judson is the perfect addition to this growing family.
His biggest sister is just in awe of her new little brother, and she is so sweet and compassionate with her little sister too. What a wonderful bond to have with siblings.
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We have been framing this bump for the past 4+ years, and honestly, I think it just gets cuter and cuter every time.Bumpx3

Children's Portrait

Kamryn is 5!

I think I would do just about anything for this family. Spunky, entertaining Kamryn has been joining me for annual portraits her whole life.  She has an energy which just overflows to the people around her.  I’m excited to spend many more years with her and her big sister!