Fun at Hästens, Greenwich

One of the things I try to do a few times a year is partner with another local business and organize something fun for our collective clients. This past month, I had the distinct pleasure of setting up fun little photo sessions at the Hästens Greenwich showroom. Hästens is a high-end Swedish bed retailer (established in 1852) which shares my standards for quality and longevity of their products, so really, it's was the perfect fit for us to work together!

And who wouldn't absolutely LOVE jumping on a luxury Hästens bed? Kids, especially those who might not be allowed to do this at home, had a total blast testing out a high-end mattress and being captured on camera doing so. The showroom itself is an absolutely gorgeous space.. definitely worth checking out if you haven't yet (they're at 23 E. Putnam Ave, right above Greenwich Ave downtown).. and it was such a lovely experience for everyone who came out. I'm sure you can see just how much fun we had in the images below. ;)

And if you want a chance to join in next time I have a special event going on, be sure to subscribe to my email list, because very often I announce these limited-edition sessions only to my subscribers.

Mothers and Children

I am so excited to finally share some of our Mother's Day portrait event images! There were so many beautiful Moms and kids who enjoyed my mini studio setup right inside the Ella and Henry children's clothing boutique in New Canaan, CT. This event is so special because Moms are rarely in photos and it's been my most important intention to get them in front of the camera more.

But most of all, I am so honored to be able to give these growing children something that will become one of their most treasured possessions: a gorgeous fine art printed photograph of the most important person in their lives. They already know that their Mom is the most beautiful woman in the world, and now they'll have proof of that, forever.

Maggie & Evie

I have a feeling that when people think of Studio photography, they think that kids need to sit still and be perfectly behaved in order for us to capture any images worth keeping. Well, I am here to tell you that when kids run around, don't listen, and generally act a little crazypants, we get some of the best photographs. It's true. And it's also 100% accurate to say that expecting kids to sit still at this very young age is both unrealistic and a little crazy to begin with, which is why I certainly don't do it.

So in my Studio, kids are allowed to run around. They can be silly. And they don't have to listen. The only thing I insist on is that everyone is safe (having my lovely assistant around helps with that as well). And that's kind of how I parent as well.

I have two very strong-willed and independent boys (they are currently almost 7 and 3). I have no interest in having a power struggle with them every time they want to do something. I encourage them to explore the world on their own terms and learn from their mistakes. And I realized very early on that their will is always stronger than mine. Now, that doesn't mean I let them do whatever they want, but it does mean that I try to look at everything from their point of view. A straw that's a specific color might seem like a frivolous request from a parental stand point, but from a child's point of view it's a world of a difference.

And it's the same during a photoshoot. If a child wants to wear a specific outfit that isn't necessarily what I selected for her to wear, I let her make that decision. Because for her, that is the most important thing right now. It's not about me asserting my dominance or being the person in charge. It's about working together to create an environment of mutual respect and trust. Most of all, I want kids to feel happy. To feel safe. To be able to be themselves, even if it drives the parents a little nuts, because that will honestly give us the best photos in the end.

So if you have a child that never sits in one spot, doesn't listen, and doesn't look at the camera and smile on command.. bring him to me! Tell your little girl that she can wear what she wants and can dance around if that's how she's feeling. Let your spouse know that no matter what, we will get beautiful family photographs in the end, even if it seems like utter chaos during the process. And most of all, cut yourself some slack. Parenting is really hard! Like, seriously the hardest thing I've had to do in my life.. and because of that, I understand.

Sasha & Benjy

As kids grow into teenagers parents tend to forego the whole annual family photoshoot thing. It doesn't seem as critical to document these years because the children don't seem to be changing as much. There aren't as many milestones. And there are plenty of soccer games and weekend activities to keep everyone very, very busy.

But there was one thing that Sasha's Mom said to me, when she saw her family's photographs, that really stuck.

"I think Sasha really needs to see how beautiful she is."

And I completely agree.

Not only is she incredibly beautiful (not to mention smart and caring and all those other things that make us beautiful on the inside), but she's also a typical teenage girl.. where she doubts herself and doesn't quite see what her Mom and I obviously did. Having images that show her true beauty is incredibly important, and these photographs go a step beyond being just pretty pictures. They become a way for us to know ourselves and to be proud of who we are.

And that notion that teens don't change is totally wrong too. They have new interests every year. Benjy is learning to play guitar and enjoys riding on his longboard. He's a bit more laid back now and more serious than he was last year. Sasha really loves photography and asked that we document her passion in these images. Interests change, or they become lifelong passions, and in both cases it's important to have photographs that remind us of that.

And there's one more thing that I really loved about this photoshoot. Mom's portrait. As women get older, they acquire this amazing glow. They have this inner conviction and confidence that comes from raising kids into self-sufficient human beings.. from having the experience of taking care of a family, no matter what.. and from always being there for the people who need them. Moms also tend to put themselves last. (I know this because I am one.) So to be able to give a Mom a beautiful portrait of herself, is simply the best thing in this world.

Maren

When parents book a newborn photoshoot with me, they obviously don't know a few things. Like, when exactly the baby will be born (even with scheduled C-sections, babies can arrive early), how long it will take for Mom to recover, and if any special considerations will need to be made for the baby.

After Maren was born, her parents found out that she has hip dysplasia. Maren has to wear a special hip brace, basically 24/7 so her hips can grow into their proper position. This isn't something we planned for, obviously, and Maren was given permission to go without the brace for exactly one hour for the photo session.

And she was wonderful.

Because I don't pose babies, something like hip dysplasia isn't an issue. I don't try to get newborns to sleep before I photograph them, so having just an hour is no problem as well. And my flexible scheduling essentially allows Mom to pick whatever date she likes after giving birth, based on how she's feeling at the time.

Everything I do is for the family in front of my camera. We celebrate their new child together. We admire her as she kicks her legs and explores her world. We talk about her personality and her preferences. We make her comfortable and arrange for her to spend most of the time in her parents' arms.. because that's where she's the happiest.

I don't pose babies, because they don't need posing. They need a space where they can be themselves. Where they can be with their parents. And where I can capture that little piece of their childhood that will become so incredibly important many years from now. But not only that. The photographs, printed on the most incredible fine art photo paper and nestled in a gallery white mat (for easy handling), are crafted to last generations. Most parents don't think that far. They don't consider the need to preserve these images that far ahead.. but I do.

Maren will have an incredible record of the first few weeks of her life, and that is everything.

Emma & Jacob

Let's be real, professional photographs are a luxury. When my clients hire me to take photos of their family, I want them to have something that ins't available at a retail store. It also means providing an experience that matches the price.

"Experience", really, is such a vague term. Most people assume that a good experience means a fun photoshoot. And yes, absolutely. But that's only a starting point. Providing a good experience during the photoshoot is the basic foundation of any professional photography.. but, it's only a small part of what makes my sessions different.

I only book one photoshoot client each day.

I dedicate the entire day to the family I photograph because photography is such a mentally (and sometimes physically) demanding effort. So if timing needs to shift a bit, or a newborn needs to nurse for 3 hours straight, it's not an issue. I am there for my clients, as much as they need me, and it's not a stretch to say that my time revolves around them that day.

And the success of which depends largely on preparation.

I make sure to be available any time before the session in case parents have any questions or need help with anything. I hand-select what everyone is wearing, so parents (or let's face it, it's Moms doing most of this) just need to bring a whole bunch of options to the Studio. But even then, knowing what to bring cuts down on second-guessing, so I provide a Style Guide that goes over the types of clothes that photograph well, and those that don't. I also send out emails with tips on how to prepare and all the information for the session (and then again for the ordering appointment). I never leave my clients guessing, and it's a very intentional and well-crafted process based on my experience as a professional photographer.

And most of all, I try to make it easy because I know how busy parents are. I try to take care of as many things as possible (including hair styling for Mom) so families can just show up, spend some time hanging out together, and take home some amazing photographs in the end. Photographs (as in, actual prints) that are ready for display and even come with a photo stand that makes putting them on a mantle or console table super easy.

And that, is all part of the "experience" I provide.

Mother's Day

I love partnering with local businesses to bring a special events to our clients.. which is why Ella & Henry children's clothing store in New Canaan and I are doing a Mother's Day photo session event at the store, on Sunday May 14th. 

Now, I will be the first to admit the shortfalls of mini sessions (this, by the way, is the only time I'm doing them this year). Any parent that had the mini photo session experience in the past probably knows that they tend to be a bit stressful. But that's why the way I'm managing this event is different than how other photographers do them.

First of all, the session is fully refundable. I have a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee for all my sessions, and this is no different.

So if a child gets sick unexpectedly, or hey, even if plans just change completely, you don't have to worry about losing the session fee payment. Because really, you shouldn't pay for something you're not actually doing, right? And if for any reason you don't absolutely love at least one photo from your session (one is included in the session fee), I am also happy to give a full refund. That's in case your kids have an off day, aren't happy for some reason, or everything just goes wrong. That helps with stress during the session. If things don't work out, it's no big deal!

I will be providing a Style Guide to help with getting everyone dressed and ready. The 20-minute session length provides plenty of time for us to capture beautiful portraits for the final selection of 10 images. Because it's indoors at the lovely Ella & Henry store location, we don't have to worry about weather or kids being too hot or too cold. It's the ultimate convenience for Moms and Grandmas who are already going out to Brunch and can stop by to have beautiful portraits done before or after. It's an amazing way to celebrate being a Mom with something that will last much longer than a nice meal or pretty flowers.

Most of all, these sessions are just like what I do for my regular clients in the Studio, which means there's full retouching on all images, and yes, final photographs are presented as physical prints (with the high resolution digital included in the purchase). There are differences of course, but for anyone who wants to experience the high quality of my work without committing to a full family session, this is an incredible opportunity to do that.

I try and provide the best experience with everything I do, and that includes making mini sessions as stress-free and enjoyable as possible!

The Mother's Day webpage will be live until May 14th and you can see what time slots are available in real time and reserve your session right there. All the information you need to make your decision is there as well, but if you have specific questions, or just want to chat before you book, you can email me at info@nlalorphotography.com. And most of all, I look forward to meeting new clients, seeing quite a few repeat ones, and celebrating Mother's Day, together!