Last time I saw this family, Hayden was still an infant and Rylee was just getting used to being a big sister. When we met up for photos, Rylee was clearly an old pro, helping with her little sister and patient when she needed to wait for Hayden. We were celebrating Hayden’s first birthday and her newfound walking skills! After a quick wardrobe change because her shoes kept falling off, Hayden had no problem walking and keeping up. She gladly showed off her new mode of transportation with a little assist from mom, dad, and Rylee. Big sister Rylee was still full of spunk, just as I remember from the last time I took school portraits of her, but I was also able to get her more introspective side too.
We were lucky to have the BEST weather for this Edmonds Marina Waterfront Park session. Some sun, some clouds, but overall just a spectacular showing from the Pacific Northwest weather deities. September is a great time to do family photos in Seattle, the weather is still pretty consistent, and not too cold yet. The sun is also still very likely to be present to lend a golden glow to your photos. For morning sessions, you don’t have to wake up too early to catch the best light, and for evening sessions, most little ones can stay up late enough to get close to sunset.
Summer has barely started and yet I feel like it is almost done. Anyone else feel that way?
June was jam-packed with a weekend trip to celebrate my best friend’s 40th birthday, normal activities, extra end-of-year activities, a houseguest, and because I needed one more thing to do, I took a film-making course. The course was The Film Workshop by Emily Mitchell of Everyday Films. It was a 4 week, online, self-paced class that taught me to use my DSLR to shoot video and make a film. It started out pretty slow and I wanted to know more, but as our lives got busier, the course information and pace ramped up.
I found that a lot of the principles I am familiar with in photography carried over nicely into film. I also found that lots of what I’m comfortable with in still photography disappeared in film. Like auto-focus. I had to learn to manually focus. On an LCD in the bright sun. Definitely a challenge for someone who is used to looking through the viewfinder or using an LCD to review images in overcast skies. Instead of trying to steady myself and hold still to take an image, I had to learn to steady myself AND move to create visual interest while recording in this new-to-me media format. Throw in trying to record audio that adds to the story you’re creating, trying to expose and choose the proper white balance, and do all of this at the same time was very challenging! Not to mention trying to switch between video and stills because I still wanted some stills of the things we were doing. It was like juggling while riding a bike. Which I can’t do. Yet… but I’m pretty sure I’ll be a far better film-maker than a juggling bike rider. Haha!
We started the month out with a weekend away at a friend’s family lake house at Lake Roesiger. What a treat to stay here with friends! It was a beautiful lake, we had great weather, better company, and the house was fantastic too! I spent most of the weekend playing with video even though we hadn’t really even learned any techniques yet. I am lucky that I had some usable footage at all! It was a good thing we had a nice relaxing weekend because from there, we hopped right into warp speed. Field Day at school, Grandpa’s arrival, dance recital, Father’s Day, swim lessons, preschool graduation/moving up ceremony, my first time second-shooting a wedding and a family session the very next morning, and then the Last Day of School. Throw in a few playdates, a splash park visit, zoo visit, and lots of ice cream, and that was our June. Anyway, I don’t need to keep explaining, you can watch it here! And at the end of the post, a few bonus stills from the same time frame as the video.
It’s amazing how many people I’ve met through Cross Fit. Kim and Matt are two of those many people that I’ve met in the decade that I have been doing Cross Fit. I met them a number of years ago in class, and Kim’s gorgeous smile and sweet demeanor always come to mind when I think of her. We didn’t see each other for a few years as they moved cross-country for Matt to go to law school. When they moved back, I saw them again at a social event celebrating one of our former Cross Fit trainers. Miss Josephine was just an infant then, I think only about a month old. When I heard from Kim that Josephine was turning 1, it reinforced the age old saying “time flies…”. I was excited that she asked me to help them commemorate the 1st year milestone with photos.
Kim told me that Josephine was a “stoic” girl and that Matt would do best “unposed”. I told her not to worry, the candid stuff is my favorite part and the part that makes dads shine. They showed up to their session at Volunteer Park looking effortlessly styled and coordinated just the perfect amount. (I had no doubt they would look impeccable, Kim works at Nordstrom and is always fashionable!) When we got started, Josephine had her serious gaze going while she looked at me with my camera, and Matt was more comfortable wrangling Abby their dog than looking anywhere near my camera. But then we got to our perfect little pocket of color and light that I had found before they got there and settled in. Matt eased into adoring dad and loving husband and forgot all about me. With Kim and Matt as my assistants, even Josephine flashed us a few smiles and held on just long enough for us to take a few photos in her “one” outfit.
We had a lovely morning at Volunteer Park, and the spring colors were perfect!
In-home newborn sessions are becoming a favorite for me. They are relaxed, slow paced, and everyone is at ease because they are in comfortable surroundings. Snacks, lovies, and favorite toys are nearby when distractions or change of pace is needed. This session was the quintessential in-home photo shoot.
I met the Alex family in the fall of 2015. They were first time parents and Levi was not even a year old. I have since seen them right before their second was born for a maternity/holiday family session, and then again in their home for Jacob’s newborn photos. Minh-Hai and Ben are relaxed, calm people and Levi is clearly the product of very stable, consistent parenting. He is a little tentative at first, but warms into a fun-loving, expressive toddler. Maybe it was all the excitement but on the morning I spent with them, Levi was uncharacteristically tired. He had slept in later than normal and yet was still running low on energy. He was subdued and spent lots of time laying on the floor. After a little while he asked to take a nap.
We moved from the living room upstairs to Levi’s room. They played a little, read a storybook, and then he was off to la-la-land. After that, I got to spend some moments with Minh-Hai and Ben where they could savor the time with undivided attention on Jacob. I remember when my youngest was a newborn, it always seemed extra sweet when my oldest was at school or sleeping and I got to give my baby my full energy. I remember exchanging looks with my husband or just sitting and watching him sleep. I think with the second child, you learn to appreciate the smallest moments even more because you realize how fleeting they are. Also, you are constantly spreading energy in multiple places, so to just focus on one child is extra special.
And a bonus slideshow!
Summer is finally in full swing in Seattle. I swear we were the last ones in the country still in school! We have only had a week out of school, and all of us are enjoying the luxury of not having to wake up early and a less structured schedule (which means less running around for us, and less chauffeur services for me!)
I personally love summer and here are a few reasons why:
- I don’t have to layer (and I love tank tops, shorts & sandals).
- Berries are so, so sweet and yummy!
- I love sitting in the warm sun, basking in the warmth.
- We can eat dinner outside in the yard.
- We can go to the beach, and I can pretend I’m at the Pacific Ocean instead of Puget Sound. (And it almost works except for the rocky beaches and freezing cold water!)
- I can keep the kids up late with less guilt.
Summer also means I get busier with family photo sessions. I love summer sessions for so many reasons. Here are my top 3 reasons I love doing family photo sessions during the summer:
1) The weather is so much more predictable than the fall.
- It’s also much warmer, and my nose isn’t running because of the cold. It’s just stuffy from allergies, haha!
- In the fall, setting a date for a photo session is like Russian Roulette. It is so beautiful, but sometimes you don’t know whether or not photos will actually happen until a few hours before your scheduled time because of rain, hail or windstorms.
2) Relaxed vibe of Seattle in the summer.
- Seattle is at its best during the summer, and that ripple effect carries over to everyone.
- Seattleites seem to be happier and more relaxed. If my families are more relaxed, they have more fun and that comes across in photos.
3) Sunsets (and sunrises) are THE BEST in the Pacific Northwest!
- Their game is on-point during the summer!
- Yes, you have to get up early or stay up late to catch them, but I promise it is so worth it.
- Every sunset is unique, what will the one you keep the kids up late for look like? (You don’t have to worry about school the next day either!)