Most of my childhood was spent poring through family albums, studying faded Polaroids, trying to figure out how much I looked like my grandparents, what my relatives were like, and how they dressed in the early ’70s. I stared for hours at photos where my mom was posing with her mother and sisters, traced my fingers over the black & white fur pattern of my first dog, Misty, and studied my father’s persistent unibrow, delighted to find out that it had always been that way. I learned about my family through photos. They told me stories when the people in them no longer could.
This is why I believe photos are important. They preserve a story that your family wants to hear – where they came from, what life looked like, and who they were in those moments. I want to document your story so that future generations are connected to your family rituals and have an opportunity to admire your fashion choices.
My approach to family portraits is much like a National Geographic photographer in the wild. I don’t want to get in the way. I want to capture real expressions that show your true personalities and how you naturally interact with each other. That involves movement, play, and all the stuff you do together as a family on the regular. I want you to have images that help you remember life at its most honest. Families are like herds of gazelles – they don’t normally pose wearing khaki.
I think the best place to start your family session is where the real moments happen – in your home. The images will document exactly where you are at this moment in life, whether it’s making Sunday breakfast, playing basketball in your driveway, or tackling an ambitious Lego project together. I’ve found that kids loosen up more easily if we start at home than if we start somewhere less familiar. But if the home doesn’t seem like a good option to you, let’s brainstorm alternatives. What we’re looking for is a place or activity that everyone enjoys.
I can make time for a classic family portrait where everyone looks at the camera, but those aren’t the main focus of our time together, as it can tire out kids pretty fast. To keep the session positive and carefree, we let kids be their playful selves with as little restriction as possible. Instead of directing their behavior and asking them to force a smile, I think it’s the best for us to have fun together, doing all the things that make everyone laugh and smile naturally. As long as everyone is on the same page about this, we’re going to get some great photos and have an awesome time in the process.
The best time to do a pregnancy session is around 7 months when your ankles don’t feel like balloons quite yet.
Wear form-fitting clothing to show off that bump and bring snacks to keep you happy instead of hangry. We can work in the location of our choice. I recommend making it somewhere that you feel confident and comfortable. The best light for outdoor sessions is around sunset.
If you'd like to incorporate other children, please book a family session. You'll still receive a discount on your newborn session and we'll set time aside for photos of just you.
Newborn sessions are best scheduled within the first month of your little nugget coming home when they’re at their tiniest, and before the baby acne sets in, temporarily turning your tiny one into a teenager. Consider adding me to your New Baby text blast so that I can get you on the schedule ASAP.
It’s best if I come to you and work around your home and schedule, which means you don’t have to worry about making anything look better – that’s my job. Babies come when they please, and they’re not very considerate about giving you time to finish dishes or do the laundry.
Take care of the kiddo as you normally would. Don’t hold off on feeding, a changing, or a nap. A sleeping baby is as lovely to photograph as a waking one. I do photograph close-ups and details, but I am not a photographer who puts bows on their tiny heads, wraps them in wrapping paper or gauze, puts them in terracotta pots, or hangs them from tree branches. Your new addition is perfect as is, and I want to capture how you are naturally in awe of each other when tangled up in bed, sitting by a window looking at the world together for the first time, and how their teeny fingers wrap around yours during a feeding. That’s the real magic. No ribbons required.
Families have a ton of ways to gather, and most of them are perfect opportunities for photos. A birthday party? Your grandpa might be wearing a party hat you’ll want to remember. Family reunions? When’s the last time you saw your cousin Rebecca take a shot of tequila and start using cornbread as finger puppets? Adoption finalizations that welcome a new and adored person into the fold and that retirement party for your uncle to celebrate his transition into painting lawn gnomes full-time are all great opportunities to capture family memories.
• No matchy-matchy, please. I promise, if you wear something that makes you feel like your best self and can move around easily in, the photos will turn out much better than if you forced your family into identical itchy new whites and khakis. Avoid logos unless you’ve nabbed a lucrative sponsorship deal. Solid colored onesies and blankets are great to have on hand for a newborn session. Most importantly, dress for the weather and layer for warmth or you'll never hear the end of it from your kids or your partner.
• For a family session with kids, I recommend not making a big deal beforehand. The session goes much smoother if the kids feel like themselves, without a lot of pressure. They have messy hair? Who doesn’t? I’d rather see a big, genuine laugh than a perfectly straight part. If you want your child to smile then do something that you know will make them smile. Our number one goal is to keep the session positive and carefree. That’s really when everyone looks their best.
• A hungry kid is not a happy kid, as I’m sure you know. Make sure the kids have their bellies full before the session unless we are documenting a meal. If we are documenting eating, we’ll do it at the end of the session. That way, if (and when) an ice cream cone falls on someone’s lap, we can all laugh together about it instead of scrambling for the Tide pen.
• If we'll be outdoors, please leave your strollers and bags in the car. I'm always photographing, so whatever you're walking around with will make its way into your photos. I'm happy to stash some of your wipes, dipes, and keys in my camera bag at the start of the session.
• Hold off incentivizing for motivation unless it’s the very end of the session. When a treat or reward is offered in exchange for a behavior, it tends to put it in the kid’s mind that what we’re doing isn’t fun. And it is!
Yes, I would be happy to travel anywhere in the world to capture your family. Take me on vacation! I can create a custom quote for you based on your location. If I happen to be in your area for another assignment, it could be as easy as paying mileage for my drive to you or covering the cost of one night’s accommodation.
Travel sessions require a $200 non-refundable retainer in addition to any travel costs to reserve a specific date. Events require half of the pre-tax total as a non-refundable retainer. The rest of the payment is due before, or on the day of your session. Payment by either check or the payment app Venmo is preferred. My Venmo handle is @photojj. Credit card payments are accepted and subject to a 4% transaction fee. Sales tax is applicable to WA state residents.
I prefer to schedule when the light is best in our chosen location, when your kids are in their highest spirits, or when you normally do the family activity you’d like documented (bath time, story-telling, breakfast-making). If the session is going to be happening primarily outside, let's aim for early morning or a few hours before sunset.
You will receive downloadable, JPG image files via your online gallery that are 300 dpi (print resolution) and approximately 8”x12” in size. With your personal usage rights, you may make prints through the consumer printer of your choice but I can only vouch for the quality of prints and enlargements made through my professional lab, which is connected to your gallery. Turnaround time varies depending on the time of year but is typically 3-4 weeks. If you need the images earlier, I offer a one-week rush turnaround for an additional $150. You are guaranteed access to your gallery for at least 90 days. Requests to re-activate an archived gallery will be subject to an additional fee.
Please do not force a session if anyone is sick. I love capturing families as you truly are, but you may prefer to have me document your kids when their noses aren’t faucets. Sessions that are rescheduled a second time will require a retainer of $200 to book the third date, to be applied towards the full cost of the session.
I am! I stay up to date on all of my vaccinations, including influenza, Tdap, and COVID-19.
NEXT OPENINGS ARE IN 2024