If this mama's lovely face looks familiar, it's because she is the talented photographer behind Origin Photography. As is the case with most photographers, she spends most of her time behind the camera, not in front of it. But every parent should get in the frame with their babies now and then, especially when you've just welcomed a brand new one into your life; documenting your presence in their lives is as much a treasure for them as it is for you. Regina, thank you so much for choosing me to capture a little slice of your life in honor of Bryce's arrival--it was such a treat to spend time with you and your delightful family.
The thing I will remember most about this session is the abundance of happiness between Josie and her parents. The little lady was sound asleep when I arrived (giving us a chance to shoot Mom & Dad on their own for a bit, which was great), so I was fully prepared for her to freak out and melt down when she saw a stranger in her home upon awakening. I mean, wouldn't you? But nope; she was literally all smiles. The kind of smiles that radiated so beautifully from her sweet face, you just couldn't help but smile back. And the love and affection between Josie and her parents was equally palpable; this girl is so dearly adored by her amazing parents, and you can see that love sprinkled throughout the details of their home, like the living room painting of the Philadelphia Art Museum, where Dad proposed to Mom. I couldn't make up sweetness like that if I wanted to. Josie, you are one lucky + lovely girl!!
Me: "Does she [the baby] prefer to be on her belly, or on her back?"
Dad: "I have no idea. We just got her, so we're still figuring her out."
Parents who crack jokes about their newborns right off the bat? My favorite. I have no talent for delivering jokes, but I love hearing them, even cheesy ones (for example, I laughed out loud at nearly all of these, though of course I did not LOLOLOL because, as Trevor Noah says, that is not even a thing).
I had the advantage here of having just worked with this family a few months ago--if you thought those darling blond curls look familiar, you were right--but a new baby's arrival can sometimes shift the dynamic of a family quite drastically, so there was still an element of the unexpected as I headed into the session. Then I walked in, and it turns out the most major thing that had changed was that Nora was now in a big girl room to let Blair have the nursery. Seriously, their smiles were as relaxed and bright as last time, and their shining faces conveyed not even a hint of stress or sleep deprivation. And you know, the joy and beauty in these images isn't just because they are all exceptionally good looking and impeccably dressed, or that their home is so tastefully finished (though all of those things are 110% true here, and I am still trying to unearth the secret to achieving that level of visual harmony as I send my kid out the door in Superman socks and a Star Wars shirt and hair sticking out in a thousand different directions).
No, this kind of loveliness can only come from just being you in the presence of the camera. With kids, that's easier to achieve; they're great about letting you know when they don't want to do something, and they will not hesitate to tell you what is up with zero filter. It's what I love most about working with small children. With adults, it can sometimes be trickier to persuade them into that zone; we sometimes just overthink it and fool ourselves into thinking we have more influence over our children than we actually do, or we actually just kind of forget how to be anything but our kids' keepers. But these, two, they never missed a beat. Whatever the girls were doing/wanting/crying about in any given moment, mom & dad just rolled with it. So,if you want to know the big secret to great family photos, there it is. Just roll with it. And cracking jokes to your photographer never hurts, either.
"If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams". - Roald Dahl
The Brophys recently found me through my Mother's Day mini sessions to benefit Every Mother Counts* - Dad surprised Mom with this as a gift (the sweetest, right?). If you live around Chester County, you'll know that the weather forecast has 99% unreliable for the past few weeks, the heat sweltering and the rain sudden and fierce. After some hemming, hawing and a little nail-biting on my part as to whether the weather would cooperate at all, we settled on an evening that ended up giving us the most perfect light--as if that's what was meant to be all along. Cheesy as it may sound, love and happiness literally radiated out of all three of them, a collective family unit of shining sunbeams. And the ice cream! Little Mackenzie went after that cone like a champ, and I love that her parents were not one bit fussed about what might happen to her dress. As her mom said to me, life is short--I can't think of a better reason to enjoy every moment as much as humanly possible.
*If you missed this round, I occasionally offer limited mini session specials over on Instagram - make sure to connect with me there so you can stay in the loop!
Connie Chang Chinchio and I crossed paths eons ago through our respective (now retired) knitting blogs - that was back when the internet was still small, blogging was new and knitting had only *just* started to shed its old-lady stigma. Even after we each traded crafting for motherhood, we stayed in touch now & then and she graciously invited me up to Jersey City to photograph her growing family. At the end of that session we commented on how we should try to get together again soon, especially so our kids could meet, but as life often does, those plans fell by the wayside and a couple of years quickly lapsed. So I couldn't have been more excited to receive a message from her a few months ago, telling me they were expecting their third child, and asking if I could take their family photos again--of course I said yes! The catch was that this would be a bittersweet session, as they were also in the middle of packing & prepping to move cross-country to California. I couldn't help but wish we'd tried harder to meet up with our families after all.
Connie and her husband were the perfect picture of calm & collected; not just for parents of a newborn, but for parents of three children who also happened to be packing up their lives and preparing to uproot the entire family for a new coast. And the kids were delightful - full of boundless energy, yes, but also so sweet and kind with each other, especially with their brand-new little brother. The Chinchio children are incredibly lucky to be so dearly loved. Their New Jersey home was so full of life and warmth, and I'm sure they will take all that with them to make as happy a home in California, though the East Coast will certainly miss them.