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Suckers + Mascots

I've noticed that when I post something on Facebook about Gerard, I get more comments than any other topic. So, I'm a sucker. A sucker for people to comment on my Facebook status, for example. But I'm also a big sucker for my husband. And when I have to opportunity to combine the two, I'll take it!

A few weekends ago, Gerard and I took a spontaneous mini-road-trip to the famous bridges of Madison County. They're really just 30 minutes away from us or less, so we ventured out in the cold and snow (really, the only snow Iowa has gotten all season) for a mini-photo-shoot.

Two things really prompted this: 1) Gerard has been asked to conduct several honor choirs in recent years and/or judge show choir contests. Sometimes those events request a bio and even a photo for the program. His desperately needed an update. and 2) I needed to take a break and get outside after staring at my computer screen all day watching a CreativeLive course on baby/toddler photography. As much as I LOVED the course, I needed some fresh air too.

Here's what could be considered a bio photo-at least, it was his bio photo for a musical he was in before I met him:
Not exactly appropriate for a professional-educator-holding-master's-graduate now is it?
That's better. :)
I'm so lucky to get to sit across from these eyes for the rest of our days.
Maybe Gerard should become Pitch Perfect Picture's mascot...maybe he's just my biggest cheerleader. Or comment generator. I think I like the description of husband best, though.


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Caden vs. Camden 2.0

Whilst trying to re-upload 2010 and 2011 photos to the blog and posting the family sessions we did, I neglected to highlight our nephew & niece and their flashy personas. They have most definitely stolen our hearts and Gerard & I couldn't be more eager to see them again. If only we lived closer...

So in the spirit of Show Choir season, we are doing a mash-up today. Call it the Battle of the Sexes, US v. Korea (Heaven forbid!), or War of the 'Dens' (both of their names are crazily similar...)I'm showing you the cutest kiddos in our lives right now and you can be the judge of who takes the prize.

We'll  compare and contrast these tykes in their natural habitats in similar situations so as to have as few variables in this contest as possible.

Eating at the table:

With family members:
I absolutely LOVE seeing my mom so happy!
(Caden wanted to take a bite out of Gerard's nose...but then wanted to cuddle and apologize...)
All out Cuteness:
So there you have it! Camden has the red-head thing going for her, but Caden has the sweet Asian-Baby-ness going for him. I'll leave it up to you to leave a comment below with your vote. Regardless of the outcome, I do believe their respective mamas will think their own child is the most adorable. :)

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Erin + Carl = Zach

Erin and Carl. Erin, Carl and Zach. Zach and Carl. Erin and Zach. . . Yes, this is a repeat appearance of Erin and Carl's lovely family of three, but we always try to make it different. Making his fourth modeling gig, but this time as an 18 month-old, Zach was all smiles and jibber-jabber as we met on the capitol's steps last week. He had to tell me all about his day and I felt special, then Erin told me he does that with Carl every day when he comes home from work. That just kicked me up to the next tier. An 18 month old has the same conversation with me as he does with his daddy-o?! Sweet.

Right now, Zachy is all about Thomas the train and even though it's "just a t-shirt", this is where Zachy is in life. And that's what I love to document. Family milestones and quirks that will make people laugh when these photos roll through the wedding slideshow someday. ;)

I LOVE our downtown Des Moines. In the middle of this smaller metro area, there are beautiful rolling grass parks that are host to Des Moines Symphony concerts on 4th of July and loads of other awesome events for this city. After seeing a few of these images, I'm proud to call this place home.
As we waited for Carl to arrive from work, Erin busted out a bunch of awesome baby books. Some of these, Zachy knows by heart. This kiddo knows his vegetables, fruits, animals and, while, our form of "tomato" may sound just like "potato", coming from him, I still think he's super smart!
Enter Daddy-o!

I always try to do something different on a shoot: new client, new pose, new location, new manual settings to try. This time, I tried a friend's 35mm as I'm debating on the purchase. It posed an interesting challenge and I'm intrigued to use it more often.
Zach started running between his parents and me, back and forth, back and forth. So, I had the 'rents kiss in the background and close up of Zach. I love his facial expressions change from "oooo what's this black thing you hold?" to "hey, what are they doing back there?!" At least that's how I interpreted it....
Now, this is probably the best way I've ever ended a session: with a hug from my Toddler Client. At first, I thought he'd mistaken me for Erin because we were both wearing jeans, but nope, he gave me two more hugs cementing our friendship. I am blessed!
Erin & Carl and my newest little friend, Zach-Thank you so much for having me yet again! I love watching Zach grow and learn. You guys are doing a great job and I can't wait to see what our next session will hold! :)
Many blessings,
PS You can view the rest of their session HERE.



Photographing a Newborn

I recently photographed a newborn of new parents. I've done this before but it was definitely a learning experience post session. I usually learn or implement something new every time I photograph a family, a wedding or a senior, but this one really made an impression.

It wasn't the first newborn session where the mom told me, "She isn't usually this fussy. I don't know what the deal is." A few days after my most recent shoot with a newborn, the new mom called me and educated me in a really understanding way after she had gotten some tips herself. Neither of us knew the following and I hope that other new or expecting parents will take these under consideration:

1. Before the photo session starts, have your newborn in a onesie to make any clothing changes have as minimal an impact on their skin's temperature as possible. A warm baby is a happy baby!

2. During your few clothing changes, keep them in that original onesie and layer-up!

3. Do the session early in the day. Less stress and less chance for things in the day to go awry...

4. Ensure baby arrives fed and at a time when you THINK they might be tired. With newborns, you probably haven't developed a schedule yet and that's ok too.

5. When moving the baby initially into a new location to pose on a prop of some kind, I will typically move them while they're in a blanket and allow them to settle into the new location before removing the blanket again.

6. I use sanitizer on my hands in front of the parents and then I tell them to sit back and relax while I work.

7. It may take awhile for the newborn to cooperate in the way we'd like them to-that's ok! I schedule that time in for you.

8. I learned that newborns can be overstimulated by having several guests over to the house at once, all the new smells and being passed from one set of arms to another. . . In an attempt to minimize the stimulation, try to limit guests and extra activity or travel in the 2 days or so leading up to the session. Being in the same place for long periods of time and smelling consistent smells is a fantastic thing.
9. Lastly, when you know your approximate due date, give me a call to get your session on my calender's radar. When baby arrives, we'll see how you guys are doing as a family and when the optimal time would be for our session-hopefully within the first week of age.

Here's a look into one family's moments before their little one has a photo shoot with me. Notice, the little one actually took a nap in the clothes she'd wear for the shoot-no need to change clothes a lot if you can help it. Yes, this little one is just over a year old, but it's still fun to see what other parents do. Prepare yourself for some awesome cute-ness: HERE (Thank you to Matt + Allie!)

I hope this helps!



Matt + Allie = Charlotte

So Little Miss Charlotte has some of the most musically talented parents I know. Both of them twinkle the ivories in different genres and have beautiful voices. Having gone to school with both of them, watching them get married and then find out they were going to be a family of three made me ecstatic.

But, what actually made me sad was when I received the news that the majority of their memories of this little one had been stolen from their home! While Allie took Charlotte for a walk one afternoon, their house was broken into and their electronics were taken-computers, hard drives....anything that had photos of sweet Charlotte included. Thank goodness for places like their blog and Facebook. Two days after this scary event, Matt & Allie had already planned to have Charlotte's 1 year birthday party. They marched on, not letting the thieves steal their true source of joy and I thought a gift of photos was in store for some deserving, awesome parents.

Charlotte has inherited her father's ability to make some pretty silly (and by silly, I mean fantastic) faces for the camera. As I looked through them all, I was able to come up with subtitles pretty easily. But, I'll let you make your own.;)
It's so fun to watch my friends be parents!
I also love photographing confident women in the role of M-O-M. Allie is a fantastic example; I love this pretty lady!
As I saw this series of photos unfold, I could just picture what these two gals will talk about together, sitting Indian-style, hugging pillows on her bed, and sitting face to face when Charlotte is a teenager some day. What a sweet relationship between this Mama and her girly! 
Ok, this photo? I have to give it a subtitle. Charlotte says, "Welcome! Meet my parents. They're just swell."
For whatever reason, in several of my shoots this year, Daddy-o gets a left hook to the chin...
But then, Charlotte made up for it by this sweet moment. She let out this big 'ol sigh, complete with a yawn, and rested her head on his chest. Sometimes I do that with my heavenly Father. For a moment, I totally related to a 14 month old.
After a brief respite, Allie presented the wall to Charlotte and she took it as an opportunity for her Marilyn Monroe moment.
Some might call this a Lion King moment, I call it a really cool reflection shot.

Matt & Allie (& Charlotte): You guys know I love you dearly and that I'm so thankful you took me up on my offer from Charlotte's birthday. I hope this shoot can be in a fresh folder on a fresh computer desktop. Then you can back them up on a CD and put them in a safe deposit box. ;) But seriously. Thank you for who you are and who you are letting God mold you into becoming.
PS You can view the rest of our session together HERE.