fall family photos

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. 

This fall | Seattle Family Photographer

It happens every year. Fall comes, business ramps up, and I am completely overwhelmed by weekend photo shoots and late night editing marathons. 

Actually, shooting and editing are not really overwhelming, it's trying to get through my busy season in addition to being a stay-at-home-mom to three beautiful and crazy little girls that really sends me over the edge. 

My girls are now almost six, four, and eighteen months. Norah went to kindergarten this fall, Vivienne started at a new preschool, and Emory started running around town like she owns the place. 

They would drive me nuts all week long when I would try to squeeze in a few minutes of editing in between shuttling one to school, putting one down for a nap, making one a snack, and answering a million "why" questions from the three of them. And then I would miss them like crazy all weekend and I would constantly harass my husband (Superdad) to send me photos of everything they were doing while I was away shooting. 

I feel like it's a constant struggle to achieve a healthy work/life balance (does that even exist?!) and it feels impossible to work through my busy season while also loving my family well. I let the dishes sit in the sink and the laundry pile up, I ordered takeout too often and let the kids watch too many episodes of Wild Kratts, and sometimes I let them go to bed without saying goodnight because I didn't want to stop working long enough to climb two flights of stairs to deliver their hugs and kisses. 

Worst Mom Ever. 

But. We made it through. And I even remembered to block my calendar in the midst of the chaos for Vivienne's birthday so I could throw her a party. A unicorn volcano birthday party complete with a paper mache volcano science experiment and homemade exploding volcano cake. 

Does this earn me an upgrade to Best Mom Ever? 

So. The last three months have been a blur, but things are slowing down and now I am looking forward to going back through the shoots I did this fall and sharing some of my favorites. I'll start with this family - in the perfect late afternoon fall light, laughing and playing through the entire shoot. These beautiful moments and pictures are the reason why I do what I do. All of the crazy is worth it to me to deliver images and memories like these. 

Preparing kids for your family photo shoot | Seattle family photographer

The weather has turned, the leaves are changing, and it's officially fall! The season for family photos is in full swing, and I thought it would be helpful to share a few tips on how to prepare kids for your family photo shoot. Hopefully these suggestions will help everyone show up on shoot day excited, ready to participate and have a great time! 

Tell your kids what is going to happen and what you expect from them

A few days or week before your photo shoot, walk them through what is going to happen on the day and during the shoot. Tell them why these family photos are important to you and what kind of pictures you are hoping to get with them. Show them old family photos and ask them what they think about the pictures they see. Tell them what you're going to use the pictures for, and how their behavior or attitude will affect the photos. Repeat this every day until the shoot so they really understand what is expected of them and why! 

Let them choose their outfit (or part of it)

My daughter Vivienne (4) will not walk out of the house unless she feels beau-tee-ful in her clothes. If I make her wear something she is not into, she will walk around with a pout on her face and her head down for hours. So...if you have a strong-willed toddler like me, involve them in choosing their outfit. Or let them add a special accessory to an outfit you have chosen for them. If they love what they're wearing, this will translate into excitement for the shoot and smiling faces in the photos! 

Incorporate meaningful activities

If your kids aren't into sitting or following directions for more than a few minutes, choose a location that will allow for activities, or bring a few things to use in the shoot. Beaches are perfect for squirmy toddlers because there are a million things to do there. If your shoot is in a grassy field, bring your child's favorite book or activity. If you can't think of anything to bring, bubbles are always a hit! 

Plan a fun family activity following the shoot

Extend the special family day together after the shoot by going out for a treat, or doing something special. Sounds a lot like a bribe, but frame it in a way that encourages cooperation. "Let's listen to the photographer and finish up our photo shoot so we can get on with our day and go out for ice cream together!" Because who isn't motivated by ice cream?! 

Spoiler alert

Fall is always a crazy busy time for me, and it feels like every second I have in front of my computer lately has been spent editing, editing, editing, and editing some more. Well, editing and scouring the internet for the perfect not to short not too tall everyday fall bootie. Priorities, people! 

This session on the beach was a nice departure from the fall foliage I have been spending most of my time in lately. The sand and sea grass combined with gray skies made a lovely background for this beautiful family's photos. I'm only sharing a few family pics so I don't spoil any holiday card surprises, most of these are my favorites that aren't likely to make the holiday card cut. 

Also, if you have your own holiday cards in mind, I'm almost completely booked up for the year so don't hesitate to get in touch

2016 fall mini sessions!

I typically dread the beginning of September when it's time to snap out of summer mode and start thinking about and planning for fall. I prefer to live in denial; turning a blind eye to the darkness creeping in on my long summer days, and hoping that the carefree days full of beaches, picnics, bike rides, and ice cream can last forever.

Not this year. This year, f-a-l-l (which is, in my mind, usually the worst of all four-letter words) can't come soon enough. Having a baby at the beginning of summer has made things interesting, to say the least, and I am craving the stability that comes with my big girls heading to school and other activities several mornings a week. I am counting down the days until the first day of school, Sept. 12, (!!!) and white-knuckling it to the end. 

The arrival of fall also means the return of my annual mini sessions! These 20-minute sessions are a great way to get an updated family photo before the end of the year. Mini sessions will be held the mornings of Saturday, Oct. 1 and Sunday, Oct 23. They are $225 and include a 20-minute session at a set location, 10 hand-edited digital images, access to an online gallery with high-quality print options, and print release on the images. 

These sessions are always popular and space is limited, so get in touch right away to reserve your slot!