I arrived at the park (Mercer County Park in NJ that is) to find crowds of people, the sky being covered with clouds, and greeting my 7-month old client who’s sweet little face quickly turns to eyes filled with tears.
That is how today’s 7-month milestone session began.
But on the bright side we did luck out with a 70-degree day in March.
Let’s see how the session progresses.
Cloudy Skies – Friend or Foe?
Not Every Day is a Good Day and That’s Ok
This sweet boy, as sweet as he was, wasn’t having his best day. His big smiles quickly turned to tears as he just wanted the touch and comfort of mommy and daddy. What to do now. It’s actually ok, and even somewhat “normal” for this to happen in baby and kid sessions. It’s kind of part of kids being kids, it’s part of the process and how we sometimes get those rarely captured expressions.
I have never had a session where kids were perfectly behaved.
All we can do is adapt to the situation, take breaks, try to sooth them, and I assure you the majority of the time we still get the sweetest little in-between moments. And those in-between moments are just what we need.
For added peace of mind, what’s the worse-case scenario? We reschedule. But I’ll tell you so far that’s never happened! Although hopefully just knowing rescheduling is always an option in our back pocket takes the pressure off of thinking the kids have to be on their best behavior.
Sweet Peaches! Props or No Props?
I don’t normally like to use too many props, but when I do I like to keep them simple.
I shy away from too many trendy things going around on Pinterest as they might be “in” now but in 10+ years …they might just look a tad dated.
So we opted for a simple wooden toy, a stuffed elephant toy, wooden crates and fresh peaches!
Planning a “Little” is Good, But Not Too Much
I have a few favorite spots at this park, all fairly close to the parking lot to minimize the walking. I had about 5 spots pre-planned, 2 outfit changes and some props for a nice variety of images.
We managed to get some images with the lake in the background, incorporated a path, a bridge and also a wooden fence, which ended up perfectly matching the babies outfit. We even used a fluffy white blanket for a totally different look–you would never know we were outside.
Planning ahead is definitely a must but while still allowing room for some spontaneous moments to unfold naturally.
From Soulful to Silly
I absolutely adore images with more soulful expressions, those with a lot of background (as opposed to close ups) and ones that are more spontaneous and candid…I’m partial to these types of images for wall prints and photo books. But we still always manage to get ones with huge smiley grins and a few outtakes when kids inevitably have a meltdown. 🙂 Funny enough, the ones where kids cry often end up being some of the parent’s favorite ones.
Clothing Colors Matter
For every session, this one included, I had mom spend a little more time planning the babies outfit and it was so worth it as it coordinated nicely with the water, wooden fence and paths that were in many of the scenes. Generally, I find greys and blues work nicely in park settings since blues (in clothing) and greens (in nature) are complimentary colors on the color wheel.
Best Place for a Shoot?
Here in NJ there are so many parks making it seem like an easy option for a location choice. But I actually DON’T love them. The amount of green in the images can sometimes be overwhelming and a bit much when printed for the walls of your home. Knowing that, we can still opt for a park for ease but I’m always looking for lakes, paths, bridges, and fences or even incorporating the sky to break up all that green.
Last But Not Least – Ensuring Babies Safety
At 7 months, baby “L” wasn’t walking or crawling yet so I worked with his mobility level. We had a couple crates for him to sit in and next to and the blanket for him to lie down on. We originally thought he might be able to stand supporting himself with the fence but we quickly changed to a sitting pose to be safe. And mom and dad were behind-the-scenes right by his side at every moment for added safety as well.
Sweet As a Peach
All in all, myself, mom, dad and even grandma all agree that our favorite shot was what I refer to as the Sweet As A Peach image that we all absolutely adore. Mom is already planning to put this image in her kitchen. And with the soft neutral colors, this particular image would work well with many home interior color palettes from the blue kitchen cabinets shown here to traditional wood or even clean white.
We also were able to get a few other images – like the one earlier in this post with the baby and toy elephant looking at each other on the path – that would look so precious in baby’s nursery either as a series of images or in baby’s book.
Hey, check it out, just like that, we created some unique artwork for your home.