When mom Rachel came to my office to chat about their session, I learned pretty quickly that little Isabelle had a tendency to be shy around new people. As she cuddled close to mom on the couch, checking out her surroundings, Rachel informed me that they had never had family photos taken and they really wanted something that was casual and genuine. Right away, I was excited because I knew our styles meshed perfectly. She expressed interest in maybe a gallery wall in the living room or in a space over their bed to display the images. By the end of our meeting, I managed to squeeze out Isabelle's favorite color - pink - but resigned to break out that sweet and goofy personality her mom said she exudes at home during out shoot. 

If you were in Charlottesville in May, you know it pretty much rained the entire month. The day of our session, the forecast called for scattered rain on and off all day so we were on the fence about whether to go for it or reschedule. I am SO glad the Santiago's were willing to brave the looming clouds and meet as planned, because what resulted was a unique and cozy, nature filled session that left no one sweating profusely or drenched in rain. 

The Santiago's session is a perfect example of how a longer session time can benefit little ones. Often times, parents think 'oh, my kid will never last an hour of being photographed," but the thing is, they will last an hour of playing in a field with their mom and dad, which is more the feeling you get during a Firefly session -- not cooped up in a room with big lights and tiny backdrops. I would hate that, too. Especially for kids who are a little shy at first, like 2.5 year old Isabelle -- she was quiet, reserved, and clung close to mom and dad for the first 30 minutes of our time. But with a little space and some time to warm up, by the end of the shoot, she was skipping and running and twirling around the field like she owned the place. It was incredible! 

Rachel said at the end of our shoot,

"I'm so glad we did this! She just needed some time to warm up and to be fair, so did we!" 

And she's right! Adults can be just as awkward or uncomfortable in front of the camera as kids; It takes time to build trust with that person pointing and clicking at your face, + patience to let those feelings of nervousness pass, no matter what your age! 

Enjoy some of my favorites from this casual, cloudy day session with the Santiago family. 

When was the last time you had family photos?

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