children's photography

Clara + Mom & Dad + Dinosaurs // City Gardens // Downtown St. Louis, MO

I love when children surprise me. I did a recent session with this young beauty, Clara, and her sweet parents. It turns out that Clara is pretty obsessed with dinosaurs. It seems like boys and girls are pretty stereotypical— which absolutely surprised me after becoming a Mom. My son, Finn is obsessed with all things wheels (cars, trucks, buses, trains). I hear from other parents of boys that they are the same way. And that girls love all things typical girl (dolls, crafts, animals, etc.). It does seem like there are more rough and tumble (I like to play with trucks too!) girls, then boys that want to play with dolls. But I've heard it all. ANYWAYS, I loved that Clara was really into dinosaurs instead of dolls (at least at the moment). Finn doesn't even have an interest in them at the moment.

We had such a nice time shooting at City Garden in downtown St. Louis, MO. They have a great splash area, surrounded with sculptures and gardens. I love taking Finn there since it is so versatile. It also has an amazing view of the arch! 

Enjoy!

the strange family // northern va

I love this family's last name—Strange! Isn't that awesome? As much as they are probably tired of the joke, I had to make that my punchline header ;) Meanwhile, they are anything but strange. They are super laid back, loving and smiley.

What an incredible last photo session to have in NOVA before my big move to St. Louis. I had one of those "Oh Sh%t" moments, waking up in the middle of the night and yelling "DANIELLE!", just like the Mom from Home Alone yells "KEVIN!". I was three weeks away from moving and remembered this adorable family that I had on my agenda to photograph. We just hadn't put it in the calendar yet. Thankfully, even though it was nearly March, there was still some pretty white snow on the ground—and they were not only willing to go outside, but they seemed to be energized by it (it was 30 something degrees out). What a true rural/country/farm, animal loving family. They have a pony (Little Legs- a.k.a: googly eyes), two dogs (Bert and Mikey), and a cat (Minnow). This is on top of having a toddler girl (Isabel) and young baby boy (Charlie). Hands full much? 

I approached this session more like a journalistic, story-telling event. I wanted to just be with the family for the majority of the day. To capture their everyday moments, inside and outside. To just sit back and be a fly on the wall (or the horses ear). I had such a blast, and got to know this amazing little family—that one of my good friends holds very dear to her heart. My friend also has the same exact voice as Danielle, the Mom… even though they aren't related. I kept thinking my friend Jessie was there, which made me feel even more at home. These two long-time friends are kindred sisters… and have known each other since 2nd grade (I think?)!

There are a LOT of photographs of Isabel, who has such a big, beaming personality. She is a rough and tumble girl, who also loves to dance (Taylor Swift), do her Mom's hair, and harass snowmen. Charlie has these dreamy, other-wordly blue eyes. He seems to have a lot of wisdom for a 6 month old. I wanted to ask him the meaning of life. Too bad he can't talk.

Aly turns 1 // Old Town Alexandria, VA

I did a photoshoot of this little beauty six months ago. I cannot believe how much she has grown! Yet she is still a tiny little peanut to me, especially compared to Finn. This little one has a big personality, regardless of her size. She doesn't hesitate to speak her mind and "shout" out to the world around her. Yet even her shouting is sweet and adorable. And you should see her pouty face– she would get away with anything in my house! One thing that I love about little Aly are her eyes. She has such incredibly beautiful eyes– that are also probably quite rare. Her eyes are some kind of hazel/green, but her left eye has a splash of blue in it. As someone who is totally obsessed with all things colorful, I couldn't get enough of these multi-colored eyes. You feel like you are looking into another universe when you look into them. Ok, deep thoughts by Ann ;)

She is smitten over Daddy, as beautiful as her Mommy and Babushka (Russian for Grandma) and best buds with Patton (her dog). How I love watching my little clients grow up!

Sweet baby Nolan

There was another very special baby that was born right before Christmas. Finn's younger cousin, Nolan. We were so glad that our rotation of holiday visits landed on this side of the family for this past Christmas, which fell two weeks after Nolan was born. The timing couldn't have been more perfect! He came into this world calmly and is just about one of the most laid back babies that I have ever met. He is also incredibly sweet and snuggly. Finn is always SO excited to follow his big cousin Trevor around, trying desperately to keep up. One day Finn, one day. It will be fun to see the three of them following each other around next year!

Here are some tips for any Mommy photographers or Moms that are just trying to take photographs of their newborn: Stay calm, patient, turn up the heat, have a blow-dryer handy, burp the baby, rock the baby and photograph near a window. See more below...

We had the heat set to 80 degrees, went through 5 diaper changes2 feedings and ran the hair-dryer before little Nolan happily fell asleep on his parent's bed. Also, his Mommy's relaxed and soothing attitude (see her hand on him below) helped him fall asleep with not a care in the world. Having the Mom stay close usually helps keep the little one relaxed. If they are hungry though, they will smell her and wail. So keep them well fed! Some babies do get distracted by Mommy's sent regardless, so if they don't calm down, send her away to get some R&R. Using the parents bed is a great way to have a lot of space around the baby to work with. Just make sure you shoot in the room of choice when the lighting is best. Don't get frustrated if the baby is awake, those can be beautiful photographs as well. When they sleep though, they tend to have a more relaxed face, with no "Benjamin Button" wrinkles, haha. A hair-dryer, white noise machine (a ton of apps for your smart phone) or a vacuum cleaner also tend to stop the crying if it gets really bad. Remember to burp the baby after the feedings as well, and don't rush! A last ditch method is to either you or the Mommy hold the baby on their back with the head in your hands and feet pressed into your belly and sway him/her left to right (back and forth), keeping their feet in the same place. This motion creates some kind of effect that is similar to being in the womb. Remember to be patient, and give yourself 2-4 hours if needed. Babies are like sharks and pick up on fear, hahaha! G'luck!

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Nothing beats family time

Here are some more photos from my visit to my sister's place somewhere between here and the West Coast, right near Lake Erie to be more specific ;) There is nothing more important than family, so I soaked up every second I could. I took a lot of photos of my nephew Ross, aka "Rossy Boss". He just turned two a few days ago, happy birthday bud! The angel faced, deep thinker.. who has few things to say (but he seems to choose his words carefully, like his Daddy). He likes to call Finn by his middle name, Jude... which actually sounds like "Dude".

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squatch hunting

Happy Halloween! I took the little man out to the wetlands & woods nearby to do a little Sasquatch hunting (or cute winter yeti hunting- that looks like a scary chicken). If I haven't said it lately, I'm so grateful to have such a happy baby (he must take after his Dad, who is ridiculously happy all the time). He was so happy to get out and crawl all over the boardwalk (and I had to chase him away from the edges every 5 shots). Num num num... leaves taste yummy.

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