As a result of the efforts, a few months later my husband and the other officer were given Awards of Merit in recognition for their heroism and quick thinking that night. Going to the ceremony and listening to the story being retold, I felt tears again. And when my husband walked up to receive his, no one smiled bigger or clapped louder than me. Well, except maybe his mom!
The snowfall last night created a big headache for everyone in the Twin Cities metro who had to be out on the roads today.
But for one little boy, waking up to that soft white blanket covering our yard and street was nothing short of a dream come true for him.
His bus was over an hour late. So while we waited for it to arrive, he played in the snow and I snapped a few frames so that I could always remember how intensely happy he was this morning.
He’s the boy who made me a mama almost seven years ago. And today? Today we played. He crawled around the yard on all fours, roaring like a polar bear. He made snowballs and lobbed them at me while grinning away. He picked up handfuls of (clean!) snow and ate it, leaving a white goatee on his chin.
And in a moment of unscripted and pure glee, he dropped to the ground on his back and flapped his arms and legs and made the most perfect snow angel I have ever seen.
When he closed his eyes and tried to catch snowflakes with his tongue, I laughed out loud with him and clicked away. I alternated between watching him through my lens and just simply watching him. Trying to take it all in and tattoo this moment on my heart forever.
I’ll never forget how special this morning was to me. While some people may be irritated at how awful the commute was or how inconvenient a late bus was, I sit here thinking about how lucky I was to be home today and experience this. I hope that he always remembers that fun morning the first time it snowed in December 2017. And if he doesn’t, I’ll show him these photos of himself and tell him all about it. Having these photos is my insurance that I won’t forget the details when we talk about it.
While my mama heart is feeling all the feels about the emotions of the morning’s memory making mini adventure, my photographer heart heart is doing a happy little jig over the beautiful morning light.
All the photos were taken within 20 minutes of each other within a 10 foot circle. They look so different depending on what direction I was facing. As I watched him, I thought about different ways to capture both what I was seeing and trying to see it through his eyes too. I’m so glad that I took the time to step back and consider both the scene and be intentional about what I was capturing.
Someday, long after I’m gone, I hope he looks at these photos of himself and knows without a doubt how very much I love him.
I love him for who he is now and who he will become in the future. I love him for how he sees the world, even if I don’t yet understand it. I love him for how he’s changed me for the better. I love him for his big feelings. I love him for him.
I love him infinity…
As a photographer and as a client, I have a few years of experience in selecting a wardrobe for a photo session. I’ve learned from my mistakes as a client – like waiting until the last minute and then feeling self conscious because my jean jacket didn’t fit right. Or picking one of the kid’s outfits first and then having a devil of a time finding something even remotely coordinating for me.
Because if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Or something like that.
Now that I know better, I start thinking about it a month in advance and I start with my own outfit first. Last year’s wardrobe (featured above) came together with no tears and I was really happy with it. I still get so many complements on our photos by Melissa Soto Photography!
So, before you sprint off to the mall or hit up your favorite online shopping hangout, please ask yourself a few questions:
-What feel do I want my photos to have?
-Where will my photos be taken?
-Where will I display and use these photos?
-What do I already own that I love to wear?
-What do I know I want to buy for myself?
-Is our photo session going to have a theme? (i.e. Mommy and Me, beach session, tree farm session)
Let your answers to these questions guide your approach to picking out your clothes, accessories and makeup. I include a presession consultation for all my full sessions. Use that time to ask me for suggestions or share whatever plans you’ve made so far. I also encourage my clients to text me photos of their choices if they are unsure or want some feedback. Most take me up on that and share that they are happy that they took a few minutes to do that. And of all the times clients have done that, they have been right on with their choices.
So, that said here are my favorite 7 quick tips to picking a great wardrobe for your next family photo session.
DO – Start with Mama’s outfit first. If Mama feels beautiful and confident, she will be more relaxed and allow her inner beauty to shine through in the photos. Kids are usually the easiest, so that’s why I say to save picking their outfits for last. Pick things that are your style that you would usually wear. Don’t be afraid to pick a dress – something with a swishy skirt always photographs well. Pull together some light layers and you can have a couple different looks by adding/removing a layer.
DO – Shop your closets at home. There’s usually no need to buy brand new outfits for every family member. Start with some basics or accessories you already have and love. Then make a quick trip to your favorite store to round out what you don’t already have or to buy a piece of clothing you love.
DO – Coordinate your color palette, but DON’T be too matchy-matchy. Think neutrals as a base with a bright accent color. For our family photos 2 years ago, I went with blues and oranges. Last year, my family went with red, white and blue with solids for me and mixed plaids for my husband and sons. Also, avoid clothes that are too trendy. Opting for classic pieces will make your photos timeless. Add a statement necklace or earrings or scarf for a little pop.
DO – Take a little time with hair and makeup. Style it how you like it and be sure to wear a little lipstick to give your lips some definition. I like to go a little bit heavier on eye makeup myself to make them pop, but that’s just me. Since family photos are not an everyday occurrence and are a luxury item, give yourself permission to splurge on your hair and makeup.
DON’T – Wear any large logos. Again, you want to strive for timeless. Logos are a very distracting element in photos and it’s best to select clothes without them. Unless you want to give John Deere or Nike free advertising in your heirloom photos. Or you want to add extra retouching fees to your budget.
DON’T – Be afraid to mix patterns. Florals and plaids marry well when they include the same colors and scale. Just be careful that the pattern isn’t overpowering.
DON’T – Be afraid to go barefoot. After all, it’s summer in MN! Going barefoot adds a casual and natural vibe to your photos. Just be careful where you are. You don’t want to step on glass.
Whatever you select for yourself and your family, make sure that you feel great and are comfortable wearing your picks. If something doesn’t feel quite right, swap it out! You want to be able to look at your photos years from now and still love them and be happy you made the investment in them.
To you, it may look like a gross bucket of worms.
To me, it’s something completely different.
To me, it’s a precious gift from a sweet, blue eyed four year old boy who calls me mama.
I never want to forget his ever present curiosity.
His innate tenderness towards tiny creatures.
His love of playing in the dirt for hours on end.
His big imagination casting him as the hero saving the day.
When I look at this photo years from now, I want to remember the spring of 2017 with a smile.
All those days and early evenings playing in the backyard together.
The excited little voice giving a play by play of each new find.
The inch think layer of mud in the bathtub afterwards.
And yes, even the muddy footprints on the wood floors.
So look further. See past the tangle of earthworms.
The best gifts don’t come in big packages. Sometimes they aren’t even wrapped. They sing to our souls and lighten our hearts.
Julie Scanlon! Please join me in congratulating Julie on being the winner of the 2017 Rince na Chroi / Jamie Cramble Photography photo session giveaway! Julie was in the audience the night of the From the Stage to Your Heart performance and saw the contest QR code in the program.
Congratulations, Julie! I’m looking forward to planning your photo session!
Spectrum Inspired is a project from the heart that sets out to capture the incredible spirit of children with autism.
It is a community of professional photographers with passion and heart for serving others. Spectrum Inspired is doing amazing things to make photography accessible to families with children on the spectrum. The vision is to shine a light on children who deserve to be celebrated, accepted and understood. Since April is Autism Awareness Month, the time is right!
I’m so very happy to share that my application to join this project was approved! I am serving as the representative in Minnesota. To be accepted to serve in this capacity is indeed an honor and I am so humbled to be part of this incredible collaboration. But even more than that, it makes my heart so incredibly happy to be able to work with families who might not otherwise have access to or feel comfortable booking a professional session. Continue reading Spectrum Inspired – capturing the spirit of children with autism
One thing I do to continue to keep learning and growing as a photographer is a Project 52. It’s also a way for me to document my family, see my environment in a new way and try new techniques before client sessions. The premise is simple – a moderator selects a prompt for the week and members of our group post their best photos from the week. At the end of the week, the moderator selects the best of the best for feature in a blog post. One of the things I love most about the project is seeing how others interpret and execute the theme. Each week I continue to be blown away and inspired by the artistry and creativity that is shared. Continue reading Life in 52 – Project 52 – Week 14 – Grow
Since I got knocked out of commission by the flu this week, I’m extending the Mama & Me Flash Sale another week. I’ve already booked a couple of sessions, but I do have room for 3-4 more at the max. A $100 retainer locks in your package and you have all of the rest of 2016 to schedule your session.
Custom gift certificates are available and would be a PERFECT Mother’s Day gift. Too often mamas are behind the camera documenting family moments. Here’s your chance to gift her a session to get her IN those family moments.
Here’s a little peek at the necklace that’s included with all the sessions in the flash sale running now until April 8, 2016.
It’s a wooden scrabble tile with a clear finish and beads to match the photo on a silver ball chain. I also include a keychain adapter so you can choose between wearing it close to your heart or dangling it from your favorite purse/clutch.