How to choose your family photographer | Seattle family photographer

October! Fall is in full swing and so is the frantic rush to find your photographer for updated family photos. A friend once told me that Seattle photographers are like gas stations, there is one on every corner. And it's true! So how do you choose the right one for your family photos? As a photographer and also as a person who recently hired a photographer for my own family photos, I'm happy to share a few tips.  

First, consider your goals. What are you going to do with these photos? What do you want them to capture? Are you looking for an updated picture of your entire family to include in your holiday cards? Or are you wanting to stop time for a minute and document your family's connections and unique dynamic? 

If your goal is something quick and easy for a handful of updated photos, a mini session is likely a good fit. If you're hoping for something a bit more comprehensive, with lots of time for candid pictures of your family's intimate connection, then you'll probably want to book an hour-long session. 

Next, consider the feeling. Do you like pictures of everyone perfectly posed, smiling at the camera, or would you prefer movement, light, and laughter? Is your focus on really epic scenery, moody editing, or intimate connections? Think about your family and the things that you want to highlight in these photos, and then start cruising websites to find a photographer that fits your vision for your shoot. 

Once you start to dial in the feeling you want in your photos, then consider the kind of person you'd like to be working with. Are you a natural in front of the camera, or do you need a little coaching? Look for information on what the client experience might be like and find someone that you'll be comfortable with. If you're uncomfortable in front of the camera (you're in good company!) then look for someone who will direct you and your family every step of the way, making it an enjoyable experience rather than something awkward to endure.

Last, consider the investment. Everyone knows that you get what you pay for, so when you hire a photographer, think about the talent, experience, and expertise that you get for the fee and consider why one photographer may charge hundreds more or hundreds less than others. Also, think about what kind of packages make sense for what you're going to do with the photos - do you want all inclusive with printing rights to the digital files, or are you okay paying a session fee and then choosing a print package later? 

I know, this decision is a lot more complex than it looks on the surface, but if you put the time into finding a photographer that aligns with your goals and vision for the shoot, then you'll likely have a great experience and enjoy the outcome. And of course, I hope that after reading this, you'll find that I'm a great fit for your family's photos this year! Shoot me an email to get on my calendar for Oct. or early Nov. 

Caden is one! | Seattle family photographer

Caden is one! | Seattle family photographer

The first year is a time full of growth, change, ups, downs, and in-betweens for everyone in the family. Relationships formed, stretched, re-knit into something more meaningful and stronger than before. The new love you have for your partner after surviving the first year of chaos together. What a beautiful thing to document. 

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Rigg Hillard Family | Seattle Family Photographer

Can I be honest for a second? It is hard, hard, HARD to be a stay-at-home momma with a side hustle. I have a shirt that says "surviving not thriving" (thanks Clea and Joanna) and it seems appropriate to wear it every day (except that I accidentally ordered it too small and it makes me look absolutely tragic - the ultimate surviving not thriving)! 

Regardless, that is the mantra running through my head most days as I divide my attention between the tasks at hand while daydreaming about my goals for the future of my business and trying not to forget to pick up a kid, or that I was supposed to bring dinner to someone or something. 

Anyway, all of that to say, I took these pictures six months ago and have been meaning to share them ever since. This family radiates love and joy, and they made it easy to capture their essence. If you think these pictures are beautiful, that should give you an idea of who Dustin and Julianna (and their kids!) are, one of the kindest and most loving families around. I am lucky to call them friends.

Beignets and ugly crying - my trip to NOLA for The Family Narrative

Almost a year ago, late at night and enjoying the quiet stillness of the house while cruising the Internet (like ya do) I stumbled across an ad for a family photography workshop that caught my attention. I applied immediately and then refreshed my email every ten minutes until I got notice I was accepted. I mean, it was going to be in New Orleans, and they had me at beignet.

The workshop, called The Family Narrative, had an all-star lineup of teachers from around the country and would be focused on education, demonstration, and the creation of a vibrant and supportive community of family photographers around the globe.  As someone in a competitive industry who often struggles with doubts around my ability to run my business well, balance work and being a stay-at-home momma to my three little girls, and feelings of isolation as I manage the pressure of constant editing deadlines, this workshop sounded like a perfect fit. 

A couple of weeks ago, with the fridge stocked, babysitters secured, and the pediatrician’s cell number taped to the refrigerator; it was time to say goodbye to the kids, good luck to my husband, and hop on the plane headed to NOLA.

I have taken my time to reflect on and process my time in New Orleans, and now, two weeks later, I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that I got off of the plane back in Seattle a changed person.

The time that I spent there exploring the city, eating delicious food, learning from amazing creatives, and getting to know the other attendees was incredible. It was amazing and valuable, challenging and affirming. I remember at the meet and greet on the first day, one of the attendees from 2017 she told me she was in tears almost the entire time last year. I laughed and asked her why?! And then proceeded to be on the verge of tears for the next four days, even ugly crying in public several times.

Why?

Because I was in a room full of strangers who knew parts of my HEART without me saying a word. They reminded me that the work I do as a family photographer is SO IMPORTANT. Taking pictures of families, highlighting their connections, showing them the beauty in their everyday lives, these are things that REALLY MATTER.  

How many times have you heard someone say that if their house is on fire the one thing they’ll grab on their way out is their photo album? I mean, hello This Is Us fans (spoiler alert!), remember how Jack died?

As a photographer, I stop time for my clients, recording a second for them to look back on forever.  The way they look at their partner with that crinkle-nosed smile, the way their infant son fits into their arms, the way their kids chase each other around the house, or the way their daughter stands on her tippy toes to look out the second-floor window. 

When the season is over and the time has passed, they will rely on these split-second captures to help them remember. To help them retell their family’s stories for generations.

And now I’m crying all over again.

All of this to say, I am changed, I am inspired, I have a ton of work to do, and I am so excited to continue making beautiful memories for your families. If it has been a while since you took family photos, don’t hesitate to get in touch and schedule a session. Write yourself back into your family’s history. It really is SO important.

After you send me an email to book your family session (hello@kelseymoll.com), you can come back to enjoy these pics from the colorful streets of NOLA. 

Baby Emma | Seattle newborn photographer

On one of the last sunny mornings of our beautiful fall, I met with the Bethards family to document one of their last days as a family of three. Days of excitement, anticipation, joy, and perhaps a little anxiousness about the big changes to come. Katrina was positively radiant, clearly; and Audrey was full of the big emotions of a 21-month-old that were forgotten after a quick Snapchat interlude. 

A few weeks later, little Emma arrived, and their beautiful family was complete.