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3 tips to a more relaxed family photo session | lexington ky family photographer

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three tips for more relaxed family photos


I’ve seen it so many times. Mom is frazzled and wants everything to be perfect. Dad just wants it to be over with. Everyone is hungry. Naps were missed. And the kids are off kilter as a result. It’s not quite the perfect scenario for a love filled family session, but, most all the time, we can work around it. It’s one of the reasons I take SO many pictures. I’ll hear “how did you capture this…I can’t even tell insert kids name was going crazy”. Which makes me SO happy, but my deepest desire is for us to capture all that love AND for everyone to have an enjoyable experience. This year many clients have started receiving a lifestyle session guide to help everyone prepare for the most happy and relaxed session possible. If you are one of those clients, please do read it…you will be so thankful you did. If you aren’t, here are just a few ways you can help insure your next family photo session is as relaxed as possible.

  1. Make sure EVERYONE is fed and rested.

    Oh I can’t stress this enough. I know my child is a completely different kid when he’s hungry or tired. If I’m expecting him to be anything but crazy, I’m likely to be a bit disappointed. It’s like a snickers commercial. Truly. Our sessions are usually scheduled around sunset and sunrise, which can sometimes be tricky. Sometimes we choose to schedule them earlier and stick to inside the home to pick a time the kiddos are at their best. But, if you’re dreaming of that golden light sunset provides you can have an early dinner or big snack before the session and bring snacks and water with you. If your kiddos goes to bed early like mine, sunset time can be even more of a risk. Sometimes a late nap can do just the trick.

  2. Let it go. Smile. Breathe.

    Listen, there is probably going to be a little bit of chaos. That is okay. Let them be themselves. Let them be kids. It truly is okay. Look at it as a beautiful chaos that will soon be gone. Our goal is not perfectly still studio portraits. Our goal is to capture your love and your family just as they are now. Just take a deep breath and smile. No matter what. Smile. Kid crying…smile. Kid refusing to take off coat…smile. Kid not letting go of their favorite toy…smile. I’m going to say something that probably seems strange. Let me worry about their behavior. You worry about loving them just as they are. That’s it. And before the session…mommas…I’m talking to you…you’re gonna have to relax. If clothes are stressing you out, let everyone pick what they want to wear…I’m serious. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed everyone will be.

  3. Make it as easy of a day as possible…focus on the experience.

    I know this can be a tough one when you have kiddos in sports and all the things, but if you can have a day where things are easy and no one is worn out before the session even begins, you are going to have such a more relaxed session for yourselves. Get everything ready the day before so you’re not running around like crazy the day of the session. Don’t do playdates or a full day at the pool. Just take it easy as much as possible.

These images are a mix of sessions that were just relaxed because they decided before hand they were just going to go with it and sessions where it was less than relaxed. Beautiful images either way, but the experience can always be so much better for you when you get to relax and truly enjoy your family as they are.

So much love,

Cilla

PS…are you ready to just breathe and smile and get images like this in your next family session? I would love to photograph your sweet little family! Contact me and begin reserving your session HERE.

What is Lifestyle Photography and Why I am a Lifestyle Family Photographer | KY family photographer

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What is lifestyle photography?


I remember it so clearly. I was scrolling MySpace (yes…back in the day), in my little windowless office, on my lunch break at a job I was grateful for. I stopped scrolling when I saw an image I loved on a profile I didn’t recognize. She and I were friends with a lot of the same people, but I didn’t know her. Something drew me in. These were the days when I would drive up side roads on my drive home to practice my photography skills and learn as much as I could on my own. I knew I wanted to become a photographer. This is the place where the passion began. I looked at a few more of her images and loved how casual and happy they were. How they really captured her kiddos personalities. I worked up the courage to send her a message. I told her I loved photography and wanted to become a photographer and was hoping to purchase some studio equipment soon. She said something that changed the trajectory of my photography. “You don’t need studio equipment to be a photographer.” Now, that seems like a no brainer, but this was all the way back in the days of myspace people and I was knew to the world of photography. She told me about lifestyle photography, about her sister who is a photographer, and about flickr where so much beautiful lifestyle photographer and photographers lived. Y’all…I became obsessed…as I do with anything I’m newly interested in. I take in ALL the information. All of it. I want to master it…NOW. Now, that myspace stranger became one of my close friends, as did her sister. Amy photographed Steff’s birth and her sister, Stacey, photographs my family nearly every summer and I got to photographer hers this summer. Thank goodness for myspace. :)

Wikipedia does a good job of defining lifestyle photography...

“Lifestyle photography is a kind of photography that mainly aims to capture portrait/people in situations, real-life events or milestones in an artistic manner and the art of the everyday. The primary goal is to tell stories about people's lives or to inspire people in different times.”

Lifestyle photography blends portraits and documentary photography. It’s about connection and life. It’s about capturing how something feels and someones true personality and what they love. Not just what they look like. When someone said to me “you are a true lifestyle photographer” it was the greatest compliment. But, honestly, it’s just the way I shoot. Sometimes I wish I were even more documentary, but the way I shoot just happens to be lifestyle photography. I just connect with people and photograph them. That’s it. I pour over work I love and have learned from many of my favorite photographers. The work I love always ends up being lifestyle and/or documentary photography. Not only do I fall in love with this style of photography more and more every day, but I deeply and whole heartedly WANT it for my family and for yours. I want for you to see your life in your images. I want you to see your connections and the love you share with your family. I want you to see what life looks like today. Because, as I always say, it won’t look the same in ten years. Shoot, it won’t even look the same in one year. Life changes so quickly and I want, desperately, for us all to hold onto it, even as we let it pass us by.

I told myself I was going to share “just a few” of my favorite images that really show what lifestyle photography is. But, of course, I couldn’t do that. I love so many. So many more than this. Here are “a few” of my favorite images that I feel truly show what lifestyle photography is. The perfectly imperfect.

So much love,

Cilla

PS…do you feel a connection to these images? Would you love to have lifestyle photography for your family? It’s kinda like a little playdate and I promise to make it fun. There are still a few spots open in November. Click HERE to get started reserving your family session just in time for holiday gifts!

5 reasons we should all invest in family photos every year | family photographer in lexington ky

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why we should all invest in annual family photos


It happened. Last year was the first year our family skipped on family photos. Sure, I take lots of pictures, but not nearly as many as you would think. You know how I kinda go silent on here when things get crazy? It’s the same with my camera in our home and in our lives. I don’t pick the camera up nearly as much…not even the one on my phone. I thought it would be okay to skip just one year. It had been a bit of “a year”…you know the ones. Sure, I suppose it’s okay, but when I think about that year, I overwhelmingly feel the sadness. I have very little to look back at to remember the joy with. Now, I would think it was simply because of the kind of year it was. However, I remember how hard the first year of becoming a momma was, but when I look back at photos and see the things we did…the way we loved one another…and the way we were seen through our photographers eyes…I remember all the joy so so deeply. Now, I feel so passionately that I want it all captured. The good, the bad, and the beautiful. It doesn’t have to be a big full session every year. But, here are the reasons why I truly believe we should all invest in family photos every single year when at all possible…

1. Because your family’s love story…the way you love…won’t look the same in ten years…or next year.

Seriously…how many times do you say “it all goes by so fast”? I know I find myself saying it at least once a week. It actually drives me a little crazy. The thing is though, it DOES all go by so fast. We never know when it’s going to be the last time they ask for a snuggle or ask us to lay down with them or when that little gap in their teeth will be gone or when they’ll stop wearing crazy mix matched socks or when their hair will no longer be curly or…well…you get the picture. It doesn’t just change every three or four years. It changes every single year…right before our eyes…sometimes without us even realizing it.

2. The experience…taking time out of our day to day schedules to celebrate & love our family.

Let me first speak to you about the way a photo session can be. Imagine your family hasn’t had a rushed day. You have been calm and laid back about what everyone is going to wear. The kids know they are going to play with a dear friend that will also be taking their pictures. You’ve written little notes or just thought of what you love most about each of your family members. You’ve planned a little outing as a fun experience after the session. Your kiddos are rested and fed. You arrive to the session (or better yet…the photographer arrives to you) and you just take the time to enjoy your family…as they are. Calm…chaotic…wild…snuggly…and whatever else they may be. You tell each person in the family how they are loved. You snuggle with them as you normally would. You smile and laugh at the things you are anxious about. You just go with it. It’s a celebration of your family…as you are…on that day in time. Recently a friend was hiring me to do their photos for the first time and they said “well, I hope they behave better for you than they have our last photographer”. Honestly, that made me so sad for them and for our industry, but I know the feeling oh so well. Sometimes, the experience isn’t as great as you’d like, but what if that’s not the way it has to be. What if there’s another way? What if we could all take a deep breath and let them just be. Don’t stress over what to wear and run around hectic the day of the session.

3. Tangible proof of the joy & love of their childhood & the way they were always loved.

I’m going to admit something to you. I have photos all over my walls…of when Steff was a baby and toddler, but barely any of recently. Gosh…how life gets away from us. Even worse, I have an album full of my time pregnant and his first few months, but none of the years since. You know what he thinks? He thinks we were happier when he had curly hair because there aren’t pictures on the wall of all that joy from the years after! Geeze Louise, kid. Make a momma feel bad. The thing is, those years, the “curly hair years”, had just as many ups and downs as the years after. But he is surrounded by prints of him laughing with curly hair…us snuggled up with his curly hair. When we are right in the middle of the messes of today, it can be hard to remember how happy we really are. But if we surround ourselves with proof of that joy, it makes it just a little easier.

4. To see our family & ourselves through someone else’s eyes…to see the beauty in it all…especially when we have a hard time seeing it.

This can literally be life changing. To see ourselves as beautiful when we aren’t feeling so. To see our family as joyful when we are so surrounded by the chaos of every day. When we are covered in the muck of anxiety…depression…fear…comparison…goals of perfection…it can blind us to what’s really there. But when you can see yourself and your family through someone else’s eyes and see all that beauty…you are reminded that it is always all around you.

5. The one worthy investment to pass down for generations to remember our past, tell our story…hold on to our legacy.

I remember so clearly the days sitting at the foot of my Mommy’s bed and looking through her old trunk filled with pictures and other keepsakes from our family. I remember holding these old, wrinkled, black and white photos in my hand and seeing how happy they all were. They grew up in poverty, but they were happy. They were beautiful. I connected with the way my nose looked just like all of my aunts. My forehead, like my Grandpa Boone’s. There is not one thing you can pass down that can tell your love story, can hold your legacy, like photographs can. Not the car or the furniture or even the other keepsakes.

So much love my dear friend,

Cilla

PS…the key factor in all of this is finding a photographer that not only captures the way you look, but can also capture the feeling…the connection…the true love story. If you are still looking for a photographer for this year’s photos, I would love to be the one. There are just a handful of sessions opened before the holiday cutoff. I’d love to hear from you! You can begin reserving your session HERE.

How far in advance should you book your session? and Fall Schedule Update | Lexington KY family photographer

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central ky fall family photographer


Hi, there, my sweet friends! It’s been so long since I’ve regularly posted on this sweet little blog of mine. I miss it. I’ll be honest, when my mind gets overwhelmed, I narrow it all down to the bare essentials. Lots of things happen to be bare essentials in my mind, but blogging somehow gets booted out. Lots of things have been happening around here (including working with a business coach and being a part of a mastermind) and I know blogging is going back on the “essentials” list. Let’s have some fun on this blog again. Shall we? I’ll be posting some of my favorite sessions that haven’t been shared yet, along with some fun things to help you prepare for your family photos.

I get asked so often, especially here lately, “when do I need to book my session?” The answer is simple…

Book your family photo session as soon as you can.

Seriously. As soon as you think about it, you go ahead and contact your favorite photographer (eager little photographer typing raises her hand way in the air) and get on their schedule. Of course, all photographers are different. But, for me, booking early is best.

Why should you book your family photo session as soon as you can?

  • To get the best pick of dates and times (especially if your family is busy, this will help you get a date that works best with your schedule instead of having to bend your schedule to fit the session date).

  • To ensure you are able to get a session with the photographer you love. Many photographers, like myself, only take on a certain number of sessions each month. Sometimes that number isn’t as high as you would think because of all the work it takes on the back end. Each season has it’s own thing that may make a photographer book up quicker. Fall, for instance, is busy for most all photographers.

  • If money is on your mind, you are able to save, as well as, make payments along the way.

  • You have more time to prepare or dream up fun things your family can do during your session.

  • Christmas gifts. Seriously…I have clients in the summer who use their pictures for Christmas gifts. I use pictures from all throughout the year for gifts and on my Christmas cards (when I actually get them out). There are some photographers who do their holiday sessions closer to December, but most I know tend to do them in the fall. Doing a session in the fall (or sooner) that you want to use for holiday gifts gives you and your photographer plenty of time to edit the images, get them to you, get your order in, and process the order.

Wanna book your fall family session with me? Here’s a little schedule update…

SIGNATURE SESSIONS (what most have experienced throughout the year)

September…1 spot remaining

October…2 spots remaining

November…4 spots remaining

*holiday session deadline is November 16th

MINI SESSIONS

October 17th at Shaker Village…3 spots remaining

Will I get to see you in one of the 10 remaining spots before the holiday session deadline? Eek! It’s so exciting!

Love y’all so much!

Cilla

PS…Don’t forget, book your family photo session as soon as you can. Just get that checked off your list. Don’t let the beautiful chaos of your littles and the precious way they love in this season go by without capturing it for generations. xo