Hobbs Photography > Stony Plain Natural Light Photographer » lifestyle family and wedding photography

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kid friendly sessions+The long awaited day – family photos are here!  You’re excited!  And a little anxious if we’re being honest.  You have a vision of how your want your session to go, but of course, you also have children and children can be unpredictable little creatures.  We have photographed A LOT of families in Edmonton and the surrounding area and we also happen to have kids ourselves, so here are our top five tips to prep your kids for family photos and to (hopefully) avoid going into beast mode.

1.   Pick the Right Photographer

There is an endless of list of photographers and photography styles out there.  When you’re choosing a photographer, take the time to look through their portfolio and make sure their style of photography really appeals to you.  The artwork they’re creating is something you will have forever and you should love it.  So, if you know you want the posed smile and say cheese photo where each member of the family is dressed and positioned just so and then photoshopped to perfection, don’t pick a photographer whose portfolio is full of movement and interaction or an incredible wedding photographer whose portfolio is void of children.  So, think about what you want….the beautiful everyday moments of a Day In The Life Session to capture your family as it now before all the little things change, an adventurous and free-spirited Lifestyle Family Session playing in your home, throwing stones in the river, or running through a golden meadow, or a series of classic portraits.

2.  Know Your Kids

Kids…they’re all different, aren’t they.  Of course, what you, the parent, wants is important, but you know your kids and need to think about their personalities and what photographic style is going to work for them.  Both of us have kids that are wild little humans and for our family, the perfectly posed studio session is the stuff that tears and disappointment are made of.  If your kids are happiest and the most themselves at home entrenched in your daily routine in their usual clothes (or favourite superhero outfit or princess dress), then that might be the best bet for an enjoyable experience for everyone.  The same thing goes for if they’re little posers by nature or love to go running wild.  If you consider what’s going to suit them best, family photos can be a tradition they look forward to each year.

3.  HALT

I learned this term at a parenting workshop I attended last year and it applies not only to all children, but, really to all humans and if these four things are out of whack, the tempers and tears are going to be on the loose.

HUNGRY – ANGRY – LONELY -TIRED

So, regardless of the type of photo session you’ve decided on, make sure everyone is well fed, has gotten a good sleep the night before and naps for the little ones have been fit in.  Things that seem trivial to an adult can be a huge deal to a child…if they desperately want to bring their favourite stuffy along, it’s no big deal and not worth the potential meltdown over it being left behind (in fact we LOVE when special things come along).  Meltdown land…nobody likes meltdown land.  Minimizing the risk of an epic crash also ties back to session planning.  The most beautiful “golden hour” light happens in the hour and a half before sunset (or after sunrise, but we rarely get any takers on that end).  In our area, that means in the summer months that gorgeous light is happening anywhere from 8:30 – 10:00pm.  If your kids religiously go to bed at 7:30, their little internal night light is going to come on and the meltdown is likely to begin.  Happy kids are waaaay better than perfect light and there are other options to do photos during the daytime to keep the angries at bay.  That said, if you desperately want that golden light, then think more toward winter, spring, or fall when sunset is earlier in the day or if you have early risers, the morning hours are always an option, too.

4.  Parents – It’s not just the kids

Kids are incredibly sensitive and are great barometers of their parents’ mood.  Trying to get everyone ready and to any kind of appointment on time should be some kind of Olympic sport and stress levels are prone to climb.  Try to plan ahead to avoid the panicked rush out the door, keep calm and carry on.  Generally, photo sessions with us result in a certain amount of dirtiness and freedom as it’s such an inherent part of fun, but if you’re going with a different style and immaculate outfits are important to you, bring a spare – Barking at kids over a snack stain on their shirt isn’t going to help the situation.  During the session, of course, if they’re hurting their siblings or whatever, parent as usual, but if they’re doing something that seems a little chaotic or not perfectly following direction, that’s okay.   Any experienced family photographer is more than equipped to cope and often direction (for our style of photography) is meant as a suggestion anyway.

5.  No Big Thing

Don’t build your family photos up to be a huge deal.  When kids feel pressure mounting to ‘be good’ and ‘listen to the photographer’ and ‘don’t yet your nice outfit dirty’ it’s a recipe for disaster.  For my own family photos a couple weeks ago, I didn’t even tell the kids a photographer was coming for family photos.  I just said my friend was coming over to practice taking some pictures for the day and to carry on as usual.  They knew someone was coming, presumably with a camera to hang out, but it was no big thing.

6.  Throw Your Expectations Out the Window

Just relax and be in the moment loving your kids and enjoying the experience with your family.  If the plan was photos in the meadow but your kids have discovered an irresistible puddle and are happily throwing stones, let them.  If you desperately want your two-year old to wear a headband/hat/bowtie/heck I’ll even throw shoes in there, you’ve been practicing, and on photo day they’ve developed a sudden and absolute aversion to this particular item – take a breath, mourn the loss of the imagined photograph with said headband/hat/bowtie/etc and just let it go.

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Okay, so that was six, but hopefully you find that helpful to prep your whole family for a fantastic family photo experience.   Kids are kids, they’re going to freak out now and again, that’s part of who they are…it will change before you know it.  If you think a Day in the Life or beautiful Lifestyle Family session with us would be the perfect fit for your family, we’d love to hear from you!

xx Aimee & Jenna

little boy brings his favourite blankie to family photos+

Lifestyle Session

little boys run wild+

Lifestyle Session

kids play in their element+

Day in the Life

comfy in bed+

Day in the Life

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Day in the Life

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Lifestyle Session

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Lifestyle Session

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Lifestyle session

 

bda

I haven’t shared a birth story of any of my previous births, however, I felt compelled to write this one out and share. So here it is. The photos were a collection of effort of myself, Travis and Halle.

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I started the day, July 20th, a Thursday, feeling a little… off, tired, different. Feeling like I could not manage my four kids on the hour drive to the city, up a flight of stairs, to see our midwife that day at 3pm. The noise, the travel, just the energy it takes to move a seven, four and two two year olds from point A to point B. I wasn’t sure, but my body was telling me it was too much, and I shouldn’t go.

I decided to lay down at our “quiet time”, I put that lightly because it’s never really that quiet around here. I was able to rest for an hour but still felt I needed to stay home, so I cancelled our appointment to see the midwife. Contractions slowly started at 2pm, 15 minutes apart.

At 3pm, when our scheduled appointment was suppose to be, the kids climbed into our bed with a movie on Netflix, I knew would please all ages. I told Halle, who is seven that I was in labour and everyone being quiet and watching the movie was the best thing for me at that time. By 3:15pm contractions were 3-6 minutes apart and mild. I did instruct Travis, my husband to come home from work, and to bring supper, because I didn’t think I’d be cooking this evening.

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Labouring over my bathroom sink, and in and out of the bath, I’d walk into the bedroom and look at them all sitting on my bed, with the heaping bowls of animal crackers they helped themselves to, fully taking advantage of no food in mom and dad’s bed rule, and I remember thinking, this is how a mom of soon to be five labours. With her children. At home. Managing. It seemed fine. It seemed right.

As right as it seemed however, I didn’t expect this. We assumed I would labour in the night, like most moms of many do. I was certain at this time, although contractions were 3-6 minutes, I would give birth tonight, when the house was quiet. I just had some hours of labouring ahead of me and I didn’t like the idea of that. Our midwife knew I was labouring but I didn’t want her to come and spend time waiting around for me to have this baby. We decided if things changed, if contractions got longer, they were about 20 seconds at this time she’d start the 45 minute to 1 hour drive to our house. I think at some point, my words told her, even though I wasn’t sure of it, that this baby was coming and she started the drive out.

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Travis, my husband, came home as the movie ended and the kids attention turned to bed jumping and climbing on me. He took the three little ones to do the evening chores while Halle stayed with me. I instructed him to be back in at 5pm to check on how things were progressing. At ten after five, seeing him out the window feeding goats and the pig, I sent a text telling him to get the kids to grandmas, thankfully a one minute drive away, and get in here. This was a change. I knew at this point, the way the contractions felt, I needed to run a bath to deliver my baby. I ran the tub as I watched the farm truck speed down the driveway. Come back and speed down the driveway again. He had forgotten the pizza he had gotten the kids for supper.

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Halle, who is seven had planned at being at the birth for months, and she did exactly as we had discussed. She told me how good I was doing. She reminded me to open my throat and make low noises when I wasn’t. She rubbed my back and placed towels on the edge of the tub for my comfort, without even being asked. Travis rushed in, calmly, ready to labour and have this baby. I could tell my his demeanour he didn’t know this baby was coming, now.

After getting off the phone with the midwife he told me I could lay in bed, to slow things down. I knew that wasn’t actually possible at this point. I do believe I answered him with a disbelieving, “yeah, f-ing right”. I leaned over the edge of the tub and felt the head crowning. Something I could feel but also envision because of the many births I have witnessed and photographed. I feel the ‘crowning phase’ was over almost as fast as it started and I reacted by attempting those low noises that we talked about and Halle reminded me to do, but struggled to do so. My eyes tightly closed, I could hear encouragement from Halle and Travis telling me to relax, to breathe. I said repeatedly, with what energy I could put towards speaking, “the baby is coming”, knowing they weren’t getting what I was saying.

As we learned confirmed, they didn’t realize the urgency of these statements and in fact “the baby is coming” meant, now, not soon. The next contraction, my whole body pushed without consciously pushing. Just trying to survive the moments, and I delivered his head unbeknown to my onlookers. Because of how I leaned over the tub and the attention turning to Halle who was worried about her mom, Travis held her hand reassuring her that everything was okay. I let them know “the head is out”, again with as much energy as I could use to speak, but then focused my attention now on the baby. I had a moment where I felt and rubbed it’s head, able to relax. I felt joy. I could breathe. Anticipate. I told Travis “you have to catch the baby”. I’m not sure again, whether he knew the urgency and assumed yes he might just have to, later, when the baby came.

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He did tell me his attention was out the window, focused on our long lane, praying the midwife would arrive. Well that didn’t happen quite soon enough and he may then have realized, when I said “baby was coming”, it meant baby was coming, NOW, because with the next contraction he was delivered into the bath and with much surprise Travis reached down in the tub and pulled out his baby, who instantly let out his first cry at 5:40pm. Passing him to me, I will never forget that moment, we both held him. The shock on his face and the joy on mine. Halle right next to us, I’m sure feeling a bit of relief.

We sat a few minutes and recalled what just happened and waited for the midwife. Adrenaline and joy and a little bit of disbelief. The midwives arrived shortly after giving us, especially Travis, assurance that everything is okay and going to be fine. The midwife retrieved the IUD buried deep in the placenta that lived in-utero with the baby the entire pregnancy, proof that this little soul was meant to be here in my arms.

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A couple hours later the little ones came back, ungracefully crawling over the bed, big grins on everyone’s faces, to meet the newest member of the family – Monty Mitchell Hobbs.

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This pregnancy, this birth, this baby has forced me to grow in so many ways. In learning that we may have the reigns and we can guide in the direction we hope to go, but sometimes things happen, and it’s how we handle what life gives us that really matters. This experience, becoming pregnant with an IUD (six in one thousand chance) and the reality of adding a fifth to our tribe. Learning that it can not simply be taken out (much smaller percentage). Deciding to keep the IUD in and have a pregnancy where there was a day to day worry about miscarriage or preterm labour. And a birth finally at home, in my bathtub, with Halle and Travis at my side, all seems almost, unbelievable, now that he is here. The support during the pregnancy and now since this little soul has blessed us, I wonder somedays if I am worthy of such love. Whether this was all meant to be, or this is just how life is… either way, I am truly grateful for this experience, this life and this new addition to our family.

 

I am so grateful for the midwifery care in Alberta and the care I received from Mia, Heather and Jenna from Beginnings Midwifery Care. Thank you. xx

 

bda

model call image+

Hi all!

I am looking for families starting now and into the upcoming months for model sessions to build my stock photography portfolio.

I’m looking for a minimum of two children (toddler and up). Selected families receive three high-res images of their choice from their session.

Email hobbsphotography@live.ca if you’re interested…Thanks!

xx Aimee

bda