Every year about this time I get puzzled looks from kids who have just finished their junior year in high school, and their parents, when I remind them that now is the time to get their senior portraits made. Portraits just aren’t on their mind as the carefree (or busy with a job) days of summer approach.
Why get senior portraits made now, rather than toward the end of senior year? For most high school seniors in Whatcom County, it boils down to the yearbook deadline. All local schools require senior portraits to be submitted around early October. Most schools accept and encourage creative senior portraits from independent photographers (Ferndale is an exception). Continue reading →
There’s something very special about a first baby. After months of anticipation, a new life comes into your family. There’s no owner’s manual to tell you what to do, but somehow you figure it all out with the help of family and friends. All is future and hope and innocence.
Not long ago Jaina and Chris brought their new daughter, Winslow, to the studio for a portrait session. With little ones like this there are inevitable pauses to change a diaper or for mom to give a snack. The baby sets the schedule, not the photographer.
It’s easy to forget how small new human beings are when they come into the world. They fit on an arm, not much larger than a football. Tiny feet nestle in mom and dad’s hands. Will they someday carry her to the top of a mountain, to corporate stardom, to the White House?
One of Winslow’s grandmothers crocheted the dress Jaina and Chris chose for her portrait session. She won’t be able to wear it for many occasions before she outgrows it. I expect her parents will save it and share it with her when she’s old enough to appreciate it. Right now she doesn’t know anything about grandmothers or crocheting or the love that went into that dress.
My job during a portrait session like this is to make the studio comfortable, craft the lighting, and then know when to capture the magic that is a mother’s love for her new baby. Dad’s love, too.Check out these photos i did for thebestbabycribs.com.
Winslow’s other grandmother gave her the tutu. I posed her on a New Zealand sheepskin that my mother gave us when our boys were very small and used to play with nerf guns.
I don’t photograph a lot of new babies, but there’s something very special and almost reverent about the experience. Like anything involving infants, it requires a certain kind of patience. That’s something I seem to be pretty good at so please check out the photos i took for a baby competition.
Thank you, Jaina and Chris, for sharing Winslow with me.
Santa is returning to the Holiday Port Festival December 5-7 at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal. We’ll be there again this year to photograph your children’s visit with the jolly guy. Continue reading →
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of working with Josh, a Ferndale High School senior, to create his senior portraits. We met at Hovander Homestead Park, just outside Ferndale, for a couple of hours on a glorious April afternoon for his session.
The video slideshow shows my favorites from his session. He and his mom have since narrowed down the choices, picking favorite expressions and poses. Continue reading →
Santa loves talking with kids, hearing their wishes and asking whether their parents have been good, too.
Here’s a video slideshow of the kids who visited with Santa on Sunday, December 8 at Bellingham’s Holiday Port Festival in the Bellingham Cruise Terminal.
This is the fifth year I’ve had the privilege of photographing kids with Santa at the Holiday Port Festival. We see a lot familiar faces each year as kids come back again, a little more grown up each time.
Thank you, parents, for sharing your children with us and with Santa. The prints you ordered will be on their way to you soon, just as fast as we can get them into the envelopes, stamped, and in the mail.
Each year since 2009 I’ve spent the first weekend of December photographing kids as they visit with Santa at Bellingham’s Holiday Port Festival, at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal in Fairhaven. We see quite a few children come back year after year. It’s fun to watch them grow up, and to share their wishes with Santa.
This video slideshow is of the kids who visited Santa on Friday evening, December 6, 2013.
One of the things that sets professional photographers apart from snapshooters is that we’re always looking for the light, seeing how it plays across our subject. Modern cameras are very good at getting an acceptable exposure in almost any light, but we’ve all seen thousands of photos taken in very bad light. You can do better. Here’s one approach.
Natalie and I were visiting her mother, Betty, not too long ago. She lives just a mile from us so we’re there often. Her home has a wonderful sun room, with windows all along the south wall and a couple of skylights so the room is bathed in light. Betty spends a lot of time sitting by the window where she can watch the birds in her garden or reach a book on the shelves beside her chair. Continue reading →
People have been taking snapshots of friends, family, and the places they visit since George Eastman first popularized photography with the first Kodak camera in 1888. In the 125 years since then a nearly uncountable number of photographs have been made. The pace of picture taking has only increased since the invention of digital photography and digital cameras becoming affordable to nearly everyone.
People upload 300 million photos every day to Facebook alone, according to a July 2012 story in USA Today. Sites like Facebook, Flickr, and Pinterest have become today’s photo albums. But will they be around in 75 years? Will our children and grandchildren be able to look back at these glimpses into our lives?
My parents were both avid scrapbookers when they were in their twenties, the same age as our two boys are today. They both had cameras and they took pictures of their adventures. Continue reading →
What is the value of a professional portrait? Is it just the paper on which it’s printed? Or is it the memories enshrined on that paper or canvas that you enjoy each time you look at it? I would hazard a guess that memories win out every time.
Otto de Gruyter family portrait in Turner home
The first thing you’ll see when you enter our home is a framed portrait of my great grandparents, Otto de Gruyter and Rhoda Jane Hill, with their three children, my granddaddy Olen and his two sisters, Eunice and Iona wearing a pendant necklace with initial. The portrait was made around 1909. It’s a formal pose, perhaps a little stiff, which was characteristic of the period when film was slow and portrait subjects had to hold still for several seconds.
I remember this portrait sitting on an easel in Aunt Eunice and Iona’s home when we visited, the same house where they grew up. When they died in the 1970s my mother inherited the portrait. She had a copy negative made and gave copies to her six brothers and sisters and to their children. When she died in 2001 the portrait passed down to me. It took a while, but we eventually made room for it in our home.
This family portrait is much more than a mere piece of paper. The photographer’s name is long lost. What’s important is the connection made across five generations, from my great grandparents to my children. The portrait is one of the few physical objects that makes that connection, and that makes it real, more than bits of linen tucked away in a chest for safe keeping. Seeing this portrait triggers memories of stories I heard as a young man of my great-grandfather immigrating from Germany to central West Virginia with his brother, of his time as an itinerant clock and watch repairman going from house to house, and of establishing a storefront jewelry store that was operated by three generations.
Yes, this mere piece of paper, hanging on our wall in an old and somewhat battered frame, is a treasury of memories.
When you’re ready to have your family photographed, think of the memories you’ll be placing in your own frame, the stories you’ll tell your grandchildren, and the stories their children will pass down to their children when the time comes. You don’t want to wait too long to have that important portrait made.
And if you think you just want a digital file, remember how fast technology changes and how temporary and fragile digital files are. Will your grandchildren be able to enjoy that DVD?
Give me a call at 360-671-6851 to discuss the legacy you’ll leave in your heirloom family portrait. Do it now, and plan for a summer session.