Mini Sessions...I am definitely not a fan. They stress me out. Being a mom of 5, I cannot imagine the stress of prepaying or agreeing to pay up front for a session, getting a crew of kiddos ready, and then praying that they perform perfectly for 15 to 20 minutes. For those photographers that thrive off of this type thing and can get a family to perform, props to you, we all have our strengths :) I am not that girl...I prefer engaging in the lives of the people I am photographing for about an hour. I want to photograph the character of my clients. I want them as relaxed as possible for photos (no session fee or payment up front). And not just spend any hour, but a perfectly timed hour with the sunlight. I'm also a landscape photographer, which means outside...not a studio girl either. I shoot natural light...I find the light...and I love being outside. Problematic when it's 20 degrees outside, yes I know this, but if you plan for it and know business will die in January and February except for a few brave souls, it's all good. Thank goodness I'm a birth photographer too :) Those take place inside, and again, I love capturing the story of the moment with those too.
With all that being said, two years ago I offered my first set of mini sessions. They were offered to friends who really wanted sessions at the Christmas tree farm. As I said earlier, I love to engage in the lives of those I photograph. That is so easy with friends. The best of friends at that and a 20 minute session with the purpose of tree farm photos is fine with people you know. It was a stressful busy time of year, it rained, we took photos in the drizzle and breaks in the drizzle. I only had one day to get them in and we didn't have a choice. We still had a great time and the photos were still a success. The unimaginable took place shortly after however. My dear friend's little boy was diagnosed with a brain tumor and passed away a few months later. The tree farm mini sessions are the last family photos of them all together. Needless to say as a friend I took it hard, as a photographer I took it hard as well. I should have photographed more moments, more expressions, more smiles as this family interacted with each other. When approached by a few to do tree farm sessions the following year I said no. There was just no way. I went to Shell's with my family, but no way could I go and take photos for others.
Fast forward another year later to this year. Again approached to do tree farm sessions and this time I said yes. Again for a group of friends and people I know. I cannot express how thankful I am that we took these. I LOVE them. Loved them enough to offer a second date, and time has run out for a 3rd but next year I will plan better. There is just something about the season, the tree farm, being outside, and families interacting together that makes my heart smile, especially with lessons learned from two years ago. Yes these are quick, not my style because I'd love to spend an hour with everyone, but the lighting or timing doesn't allow it. I shoot the light. Each of these sessions has a slightly different look based on the sun. I like to shoot in the "golden hour" and the only way to do that or get close to it, is to stack sessions back to back and limit them to 15 minutes so everyone gets a piece of that time frame....the Mini Session :) :) :)
So my favorites this week come from the tree farm (minus one family who is using tree farm photos as a gift) followed by a few from the first tree farm mini sessions in honor of Cooper...I picture him just like he is in some of these...running around enjoying life in heaven. I'll post next week from the other sessions I did this week (loved those as well, and the families I was able to interact with). Included in next week however, taken this week though, photos announcing the pregnancy of my sweet friend (Cooper's mom). This baby has been handpicked by his or her big brother in heaven :) We also say God sometimes lets Cooper paint the sky...and take a look at the sunset the last night I was at the tree farm :) Love it!!! The emotions of this week...this week has been such a blessing to my soul. This week I am so thankful for the blessings seen behind the lens of my camera. I truly love being a photographer and love the families I photograph.
Cooper and his family :)