colorful winter photoshoot

shae // wild thing // Hockessin, DE

Who says you can't do an outdoor photoshoot in January? My sister and I. When Amy and I get an idea in our head, you can't stop us! My sister and I took advantage of a brief opening in our crazy holiday schedule this year while we were visiting our family in Delaware.

The sun was golden as it went down, the air was crisp and our toes were collllllld. The boys were GREAT sports about it. Sure we may have had some more photos had the weather been 60, 40.. even 10 degrees warmer. Sure the boys would have been a bit more relaxed and smiley, had their faces not felt frozen. Sure the trees would have been greener and the light would have been a little richer. But the landscape turned out incredible, because it was so golden and neutral (great for lighting and skin tones). And that barn popped out just a bit more against the barren landscape. And had I not done this session, I never would have captured my Godson, Shae "Willy" shining as bright as a sunbeam, completely unfazed by the 20 something degree weather. He was a free as a bird (we also call him Shae bird), with boundless energy. I could not get him to stop smiling, or running for that matter. I cannot believe how much this little man has grown up, right in front of my lens. I captured his first week on Earth, in the arms of his Mommy. And editing just now, I saw traces of peach fuzz where his manstache will grow in. Where does the time go? 

Shae's younger brothers, Luke and Ross(y) were not as thrilled to be outside, but they were such good sports. I was SO thankful that Luke let me take a few portraits of him. I'm seeing hints of the little man that he is becoming too. It is thrilling and terrifying all at once. This "old soul" has incredible blue/grey eyes that hide behind his deep set brow. But oh do they twinkle when they catch the light just right. Since I photographed him backlit (with the sun behind him), for that juicy golden light, his eyes did not catch that twinkle this time around. I'll get them next time Luker! Maybe on a nice, hot, sunny beach day (in shade or indirect light of course).

Kids are incredible. Sometimes, the weather does not faze them at all (to a fault at times). Really, children tend to be unfazed by so much. This crazy world is always throwing things at them, and they continue to shine brightly. Can't we all learn so much from them? 

To see how tough this family is in cold weather, check out my post from our winter shoot on Lake Erie a year and a half ago.

Things to think about when doing a winter session:
• Consider waiting until Spring (Joking! Ok seriously, re-consider if it is below freezing- 32 degrees).
• The sun is lower in the winter, so "Golden Hour" shooting can start two hours before sunset, rather than one.
• Look for bright colors that are typically man-made objects (bright barns for instance, or see my previous post of Finn near colorful kayaks). Wear bright clothing, or bits of color in your accessories.

• Jackets, hats and gloves can be adorable. Plan ahead!
• Have the kids run around! Get the blood flowing!
• Scout the location ahead of time so you can get done quickly.
• Keep the shoot to around 30-45 minutes.
• Always try to follow a natural flow in a session. This was a family session that obviously ended up focusing on Shae. These shots were unexpected, bonus shots.

Finn turns 2! // Alexandria, VA

When I was pregnant with Finn, we went to see Coldplay. When they played the song "Yellow", I felt very emotional (typical prego) and super connected to Finn in that moment. The song felt so powerful. After Finn was born, this continued to feel like "our song". Finn also loves the song.. but who knows if it is because he heard it live (slightly muffled), or if he just likes it. I'm not sure what the lyrics really mean, since Chris Martin doesn't seem to even be sure. Regardless, they have a powerful meaning to me.. or at least bring me back to the time when Finn was a tiny baby growing in my belly… and how much he has grown! Here are a couple of my favorite versus below. Full lyrics are here.

"Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah, they were all yellow.

Your skin,
Oh yeah your skin and bones,
Turn into
Something beautiful,
You know,
You know I love you so"

The first series seen below was taken at one of our favorite playgrounds, right near an overpass/bridge that we love to explore. The next two series below were taken at a marina near our neighborhood, along the Potomac River. This is just an example of how you can incorporate color into your outdoor photo sessions, even in the dead of winter. And you can still pull the effect of the warm, golden sunlight when you backlight the subject in that precious hour before sunset; "Golden Hour".