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Lessons From My Personal Family Photo Session | Seattle Family Photographer

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Lessons From My Personal Family Photo Session | Seattle Family Photographer

Every year I take time out to have another photographer take my own family’s photos. To me it is just as important for me to get in front of the lens. I want to exist in photos with my family and I know another photographer can capture our family dynamics better than just placing my camera on a tripod. 

It also serves as a great reminder for myself as what it is like being on the other side of the lens. It helps me be a better photographer to experience first hand what the families I photograph experience.

But it’s confession time. This past fall I had a big dose of reality and learned a few priceless lessons. Today I’m sharing in hopes that you can learn from my mistakes.

I scheduled my family session too late in the year.

Fall is a busy time of year, and it got away from me. I kept putting off my own family photos and ended up feeling rushed to get them done in time for Christmas cards and gifts. Just feeling rushed added to my stress, which I know my family felt.

Lesson learned:

This year I will put my family photo session as a priority and schedule earlier in the year.

Image by Megann Robinson.

Image by Megann Robinson.

I stressed too much about the details.

Hoping to replace a wall of canvases in my home, I wanted everything to be “perfect.” I had chosen different outfits for my kids several times, and left picking out my own clothes to right before picture day. As I mentioned above letting my worry over wearing the perfect outfit was felt by my family and upped everyone’s anxiety.

Lesson Learned:

Listening to my own advice of keeping to outfits that I not only feel comfortable in but are true to our style will help me as I plan ahead next year for what we will wear.

Image by Megann Robinson

Image by Megann Robinson

I did not have enough layers to keep my kids warm.

The day of our session came and it was beautiful, but freezing cold and really windy. Although I had warm layers for my kids, they were not enough. My daughter was so cold she kept crying and hiding her face. I admit that even I was freezing.

Lesson Learned:

Be over prepared for the weather. Hats, gloves, mittens don’t hurt to have. If you don’t use them no big deal, but they can be a life saver.

Image by Megann Robinson.

Image by Megann Robinson.

I did not trust in my photographer.

This was my biggest mistake right here. My session felt chaotic (which should be expected. I have FOUR young children) and I left feeling defeated. All I could think was how I had spent all this time stressing for nothing.  I could not imagine how Megann, our photographer, captured anything at all. I even started planning how I would have to do another family session.

Lucky for me, shortly after our session she texted me a couple sneak peeks of the back of her camera. She knew how I must have felt and assured me it was okay. And when I got my gallery I was blown away. She captured us, she captured my beautiful family chaos despite the cold, wind, and tears.

Lesson Learned: Trust in your photographer. 

You hire a photographer not just as someone to push a button, but to actually SEE your family. It may feel chaotic, in fact it WILL feel chaotic, but that’s real life. The images captured will be truly treasured. This year I will come to my session much more relaxed and trusting in my photographer.

Despite my craziness and stressing out it all turned out. The images captured are ones I truly treasure. I not only had one family photo to hang on the wall, but I created a wall display of SEVEN canvases. 

Image by Megann Robinson

Image by Megann Robinson

I learned a lot from last year’s family photo session. This year I will be following  the advice I give mom’s who book a session with me - just embrace the chaos and love on your family and leave the rest to me. 

Ready to embrace your chaos? Let’s chat about how you can learn from my mistakes and have an awesome family session with me.

All images of my family here were taken by the talented Megann Robinson.

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Why You Should Have Family Photos Taken in Spring | Seattle Family Photographer

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Why You Should Have Family Photos Taken in Spring | Seattle Family Photographer

In case you missed it, I’m working through a four part series that goes over the pros and cons of each season for family photos. My hope is to help you decide when is the best time for your family to have their photos taken, or maybe help you decide to switch up the seasons each year like some of the families I photograph do! The first in this series was Why You Should Have Family Photos Taken in Winter. Now, let’s look at all there is to love about family photos in the spring.

Spring means beautiful blossoms.

After a long winter, the sight of blossoms all around is enough to excite anyone. Those blossoms can also serve as a beautiful backdrop for family photos, not to mention a fun activity of picking flowers for mom.

Neyssa Lee Photography, Family Photos in Spring, University of Washington Cherry Blossoms, Dad Holding Son Up to Pick Flower

Your family will be ready for an adventure come spring time.

If your kids are like mine, winter brings cabin fever with my kids itching to get outside (or me itching to get them outside!). With the warmer and drier days of spring, your family will be more than ready for a fun adventure. I have numerous locations that not only photograph beautifully in the springtime, but offer plenty of opportunities for your family to have fun together while having your family photos taken.

Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer, Family Photos in Spring,  Brothers playing in the woods with beautiful light

The light on spring sunny evenings makes a beautiful addition to your family photos.

I am a lover of backlight, as I’m sure you’ve noticed if you’ve peeked around my website a little bit. Although the days are getting longer in spring, sunset is still early enough that you do not have to keep the kids up super late to take advantage of an evening family photo session. (Family sessions in spring typically start around 4:30-6pm, while in summer, by comparison they start more towards 7-8pm).

Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer, Family Photos in Spring, Family laughing together as they sit on the rocks by the river

Rain boots, light layers, and spring florals are a few of my favorite things.

When the weather has been rainy, pull on those rain boots and let’s splash in some puddles. Kids will love that mom is actually telling them to hop into puddles! You can also feel lighter with t-shirts, or cardigans and tank tops all in those beautiful, soft, spring colors and florals. Fall and winter may call for heavy sweaters and mittens, but spring weather can allow for lighter clothing.

Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer, Family Photos in Spring, Family snuggled together with spring blossoms

There are things to consider about spring family photo sessions.

Each season has so many great reasons why to have family photos done. However, they also have things to consider that might make another season better for your family. Although there are many beautiful, warm spring days, there are also plenty of grey and/or rainy days, too. Of course, we can create beautiful portraits on grey days (here’s where those spring colors and florals really shine!), and I have some great locations that work well in the rain (Cedar River Water Shed is beautiful, fun, and covered!). However, if you’re hoping for more of a guarantee for sunshine, summer might be the best option for your family. Or you can fly me to Maui with you, I’m always up for that! (wink, wink).

It’s good to consider the seasons with all their positives and negatives - but if you want photos now, don’t wait. Your family right now can make any season the best season.

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Why You Should Have Family Photos Taken in Winter | Snoqualmie Family Photographer

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Why You Should Have Family Photos Taken in Winter | Snoqualmie Family Photographer

I was talking with a family I photograph regularly when the mom mentioned that next year she wants to do a summer family photo session. Last year she did fall, and the year before that we did winter. It got me thinking. Each season in the Pacific Northwest has so much to offer. So in a four part series, I will share the benefits (and things to consider) of having your family photos taken each season. Let’s start with winter.

Winter Sunsets are truly gorgeous (and they are early!)

When you have little ones who go to bed early, the benefit of early sunsets during the winter makes this a great time for family photos. Take advantage of those gorgeous winter evenings without keeping the kids up to 9pm (like you would have to in summertime). Of course, sunshine isn’t a guarantee as frequently as summer, but it is worth the wait if you’re able to be flexible with your session date.

Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie family photographer, family photos in winter, best time for family photos, boys running at sunset

Snow makes a beautiful backdrop and fun activity.

Who doesn’t love playing in the snow. With the mountains just a 20-30 minute drive you can have your family photos taken in a winter wonderland! Plus, the snow also offers a fun activity of snowball fights! What kid wouldn’t be up for family photos when it means getting to throw snowballs at dad during the session?

Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer, Best time for family photos winter, family photos in the snow,  family snowball fight

The slower pace of winter makes for a less stress.

Fall is a busy season for everyone. From school activities to preparing for the holidays, it can feel stressful trying to fit in a family photo session (don’t get me wrong, it is always worth making time for family photos). January and February are typically quieter months meaning more free time and less stress for you.

Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer, Best time for family photos winter, family photos in the snow,  couple snuggled together in the snow

Winter family photos are not for everyone.

Now while I may love the beauty that a snowy backdrop offers, winter photos are not for everyone. If you have a child (like I do) who gets cold very easily, this might not be the best option. Also, if you’re not a fan of rosy cheeks, hats, gloves, and scarves in your pictures, I suggest sticking with a warmer season. Getting to the pass also may require snow tires or chains, and planning a trip to the pass may mean going off the beaten path since weekends the pass is full of skiers, snowboarders, and tubers!

Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer, Best time for family photos winter, family photos in the snow,  family on Alpental Bridge

It’s good to consider the seasons with all their positives and negatives - but if you want photos now, don’t wait. Your family right now can make any season the best season.

Does a winter session sound like a fun adventure for your family?

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Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle | Snoqualmie Family Photographer

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Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle | Snoqualmie Family Photographer

Fall in the Pacific Northwest is perfect for family photos. The colors of fall, the mild weather, not to mention the need for updated photos for holiday cards makes it a favorite time of year for so many families. 

When I'm scouting for locations, I keep several factors in mind. I want a location that shows off the beauty of the area, has beautiful light, and allows for something fun for the family to do (like skip rocks, explore a trail, dance in a field, etc.). How busy a location is at a given time is also important. We don't want to have to be avoiding people or worrying about distractions in our background. With all of those things in mind, I have come up with my top favorite locations for fall family photos!

Lincoln Park - Seattle

Honestly, Lincoln Park is about an hour drive for me to get to. However, it is so worth it. This park has so much to offer and works so well with the flow of my sessions. We start in the upper part of the park taking advantage of the gorgeous trees, and end right at the water's edge, watching the ferry's and tossing rocks into Puget Sound.

Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle, Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer,  Lincoln Park Seattle, Gorgeous Light
Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle, Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer,  Photos on the Water, Lincoln Park Seattle

Tolt McDonald Park - Carnation

Although this park doesn't quite allow for that amazing, low sunlight we all love (the park is tucked behind a hillside), the fall colors and variety more than make up for it. Tolt McDonald Park is not only on the river, but has a suspension bridge that serves as a favorite spot for families.

Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle, Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer,  Tolt McDonald Park, Leaves
Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle, Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer, Bridge in Photo

Rattlesnake Lake - North Bend

You might recognize Rattlesnake Lake from my Favorite Summer Spots post. However, it is still a fall favorite. From pretty leaves on the trail to the gorgeous lake, there is so much to love here.

Tanner Landing Park - North Bend

This is my secret park (okay it's not so secret anymore), and probably my favorite spot in the Snoqualmie Valley. It can be tricky to find (not on Google Maps) but it is so worth the visit. Tanner Landing Park not only has a big open field with a mountain view, it has stunning trails and runs along the river, giving plenty of variety for one session. 

Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle, Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer, Beautiful light photos
Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle, Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer,  Fall Color, Leaves

Gold Creek Pond - Snoqualmie Pass

A family introduced me to this gem during their maternity photo session. It was love at first sight. While you cannot actually get into the pond to splash around, the trail, serene water, and mountain views make it an ideal family photo spot. 

Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle, Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer,  Gold Creek Pond

Fall City Community Park - Fall City

This is one of those parks that you have to just trust me that it's a gorgeous family photo spot. If you were to drive by or pull up, you may not see it. But it is so beautiful here, especially in the fall. There is plenty of room for kids to run, beautiful fall color, and access to the river. We can also drive 2 minutes for a second spot right on the river. 

Favorite Locations for Fall Family Photos around Seattle, Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer,  Fall City Community Park

Those are just six of my favorite locations for fall family photos around Seattle.  Does one speak to you for your family photos this fall? Contact me to get started planning your family photo session.

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