What to expect … Family Photography in South Windsor, Connecticut

Some thoughts on making the most of your family photography session.

Dress it up.  DSC_3181

I send tips on dressing and Pinterest links to help you, but choosing clothing helps determine the kind of images you will have. Soft and elegant?  Chose neutral colors with soft, flowing fabrics…. think creams, very soft pastels, oatmeals, light browns, tans, grays, and slate blues.

Fun?  Choose coordinating bold colors like hues of gray with yellow or bright red accents.  Add scarves, headbands, hats, or a prop like a flag. Some families have their hair and makeup professionally done.  Whatever makes you feel most put together and true. sarahcruzphotography

Rest up.

The best lighting is the two hours before sunset and after sunrise, but I am able to shoot at any time of day. Many families come to a photo session and schedule dinner after.

If this is your plan, be sure to give everyone a healthy snack before the photo shoot. I encourage drinks to be brought especially during the summer when we are meeting outside. Blankets and mittens if it’s the winter.

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Participation.

Most teens dread the family photo session and some dads too, but I work fast and keep things moving. Most are pleasantly surprised. I’ve yet to be overwhelmed by a toddler DSC_8437either. I chat and interact  with your children to get natural, gorgeous smiles.  It really is painless and worth any anxiety for the time together and amazing photographs.  If you are engaged as a family and loving on each other your smile will be natural. Knowing this will be shared with your grandchildren, you will be so glad that you gave this time to your family.

Have fun with your family.

Don’t be afraid to pick up your children and toss them in the air.  Kiss your spouse on the cheek or whisper how much you love them  Have fun. Laugh. Snuggle. Play.  This captures emotion and relationship –  your love through my lens.DSC_3190

Incorporating an activity that the family loves to do together is an easy way to do this. When we meet at a park and the kids run or play that’s one aspect, but making something like a campfire is another. Its’ something to do with your hands, engages everyone, and brings an authentic smile to your face.  Do you cook together? Let’s make something. Do you love to read together?  Bring some books.  Love to play board games or cards?  Plan to play a round of cards during your family photo session.  Other ideas include: bike riding, hiking, picnics – families that are engaged will have authentic photographs that reflect who they are. This will make the most of the photography session and celebrate your family to create images you love.

 

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What it feels like to hire a professional family photographer – CT Family Photography

For most, a family photo means a stranger’s snap in front of a vacation spot or the waiter when you realize everyone is together at an event table.

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Hiring someone for something you can do for yourself seems odd and yet we go to a restaurant or buy a pie at the farmer’s market for the experience and self reward.

I reached out to some of my recent clients to get their feedback and included some more details on what the experience is like when we work together.

“I am SO happy that we had the photos done. As you know, the kids grow up exponentially fast! Photos are such a perfect memento of capturing that point in time that you want to be able to remember forever. Our living room wall is covered with those pictures and I love looking at them. Just the other night I was looking at one of the pictures of my middle child and he ALREADY looks different, older, and it wasn’t really that long ago. For instance that front tooth that was loose in the picture is now gone, but we still have this adorable picture of him and that front loose tooth that I won’t forget 🙂 “- Cara

“I absolutely love love all the pics you took. Especially the spaghetti ones. I have some displayed in frames in the kitchen and the others in a photo book! People are always commenting on the pics! ” – Tina

“We gifted my in-laws the huge canvas and they love it!” – Dayna  

“We hesitated to have photos taken not realizing how valuable they are now that the time is gone. I’m really glad we made the time. ” – Diane

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No Place Like Home. Great Indoor Family Photos.

Tag your family is it – as you play and I capture images. Running through the grass or snow, outside family images are energetic and fun.

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Indoor images can be just as spontaneous even though the movement is limited.They require a more controlled approach, but home is where the heart is. Your family is already comfortable there and it adds meaning to images.

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If being in the snow isn’t your thing, consider shooting in your home. A location doesn’t need to be magazine ready or even straightened up, just a few windows and we’re good to go. dsc_0719

My wedding experience gives me the flexibility to roll with what is available. I have been known to move a stack of magazines or a bright colored throw from the background. I’ve also in some situations, like this one, had to freak out about the amazing expanse of windows and warm afternoon light we had.

All my typical fooling still comes out even though it’s a little less that I’m about to back into a random bush and instead leaning toward you from behind a chair.

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The cool part is that the consistent set up for the images make a nice display.

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Fall Family Photos Broad Brook, CT 06016

In between all the awesome Halloween images, I had the pleasure of capturing a family. Always happy to meet at one of the local parks, but coming to your home is an added joy. It keeps me on my toes and like when I was wedding shooting, you never know what the setting will be like. So image my delight when I rolled up to this thrilling space! dsc_8374

The tree was drooping with beautiful yellow leaves which matched their home and there was a lush covering on the ground. Better still was their willingness to play. They loved the tree as well and showed me an image from a few years before that we recreated. So charming! Then we walked to the backyard. Such lovely light.

How adorable are these two? Love that they were quick to smile and had such easy attitude with each other. I sent them off to grab something they want to be photographed with and had to capture mom and dad, who looked so stunning against this amazing backdrop.

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Made it clear where their kids’ ease came from. Love when a family session results in a great image for the parents.

Kids swung back with their prized items. Then we made images of each kid with mom and dad individually.

We hit the front yard for an epic leaf battle which had lots of outtakes and a few keepers.

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Before we wrapped, we had a special request for an image “where I’m picking the leaves”. I adore when kids have ideas. How could we top that?

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Best time for Family Photos in Connecticut. 3 boys 4 seasons

You know you gotta do it.

Take the time to call a college pal, bake, or write a note, or paint the hall finally but the intended is held off cause your just “waiting until you have the time”.

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Urgent wins but unfortunately isn’t what you’ll wish you  had done in five years.

DSC_0373Urgent puts off everything else for later.  Important
things may wait, while urgent doesn’t.

Well the best time to get your photographs is now because they are just getting bigger and there are always other landmarks to hit. In winter, in spring, summer and in fall.

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Take the time, and you’ll find that it takes less time than you thought.  Schedule it in, and refuse to let anything crowd it out.

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Give yourself the chance to have photos of yourself and your crew created that you love.  Not photos that are ‘fine’ or escape being deleted on your phone– but that you’re thrilled to look at and share with others.  It will change perspective and make you feel accomplished especially if they are printed and framed or come ready to hang! 

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Don’t wait.  Believe me, you DON’T don’t need to wait for season to change, to lose weight, get a hair cut, be not pregnant, dress better,  or wait.

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Nothing needs to change – except maybe the way you feel what’s urgent. Schedule some time. Most days after 4pm or 1st thing on the weekend days. I’m in. Just email cruzsarah@yahoo.com.sarahcruzphotography15 (4 of 1)

Cause next thing is that it’s the winter again, a whole new year of urgent.

 

 

BFF, High School Senior Yearbook Portraits

Walking in to preschool, going to a dance, experiencing High School, everything is better with a friend. The same is true for getting your pictures made!

dsc_5978Sessions with me are laid back. I have an easy approach and encourage movement or play, dsc_5792but evendsc_5830 I have to acknowledge that nobody except a Kardashian is instantly comfortable in front of a camera.

I coach how you stand and pay attention to how the light is hitting you to avoid shadows and contour you correctly.

Conversation however, is what brings the twinkle into your eye.

dsc_5813Nervous about being photographed? Roping in your best friend and sharing the session will ease you and bring on more ideas.dsc_5779

Not to mention how your buddy can make you laugh and be natural.dsc_6028

 

More importantly, being photographed with the one person that has your back in high school creates souvenirs to cherish when your Facebook time hops or your Instagram scrolls.

And these Best Friend sessions aren’t just for teens and high school seniors.  They aren’t often considered, but just like families that want to mark the day together, having a buddy along brings out the true you.

Images are a reminder of how much you’ve been through together and how lucky you are that they are in your life.  Who doesn’t need that?

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So aside from images together, you’ll see images that match your buddy’s and individual unique shots too.

Class of 2017, it’s not too late to make the yearbook if you were putting it off. Class of 2018, it’s not too early to start booking.

Had so much fun with these gals. Was delighted to receive their image of me taking this one. : )

Visiting Family – South Windsor CT Family Photographer

Family visiting from out of town? A perfect excuse to have images made!
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Fleeting nature of a family reunion gives just one chance to capture these important moments before the party is over and everyone goes back to growing up. With an extended family session, you now have an online gallery to share and reconnect over before a single thing is printed.

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Photography adds value to the memory bringing alive the story of your family. Family sessions come with an online gallery to share with each other.

So even if you live in Iowa, California or Canada, you will get to see your images and prints can be made.

Typically, there is one family organizer who coordinates a meet time and location. A family member’s home or local park works just great. I’ll send suggestions for clothing and images so everyone is on the same page. Typically, the family contact makes sure I have all the email addresses.

Images are made of the family all together, cousins, siblings, then the individual families.

If someone isn’t into it, we go to another family and come back. I’ll take couples alone if they like and insist on one of the grandparents. This all happens in about an hour. I’m wedding trained. Posing and playing happens fast.

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Typically within a week, I’ll have a link ready to share the gallery of images online for those who have traveled. If you are local, I swing by as my time is included. From there
depending on package there is a discussion about favorites. Each family can pick their own images and products. I have helped a family create a matching wall gallery for each of their individual houses.

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We coordinate how the images will be used.

Some people would like to see a beautiful image of their family on the wall, others prefer the privacy of an album.

It’s also possible to have digital negatives so you can post your extended family to your social media. Or make a mug for Grandma. 

Celebrating Adoption with Photography.

Delighted to receive a call from Together We Rise a foster care support group that a localDSC_5251 family was completing their adoption. Gifting a family session to mark the occasion, I was excited to get these charmers in front of my camera. Then delighted to find them in walking distance to my home!

Other than how we met it was a typical family photo session.

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These sisters have been together almost their whole lives while mom and dad worked through the process, so they were very easy with each other.

A sweltering day in August, we met at their house and though they have a picture perfect yard, the heat won. So we got a few indoor and outdoor shots. DSC_5305

DSC_5300The kids wandered into the air conditioning after a few captures in the gazebo. Per usual, kids are encouraged to play, the bubbles come out, books are read, running, jumping, craziness ensues, then a change of scenery. We headed back outside to gather some shots with the adorable boards that mom created in her own handwriting!

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There was some insistence from the littles over who held each letter, but no matter how you spell it, they are still family.

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DSC_5262With over 100,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted, happily there are now two less.

A California based non-profit, Together We Rise peaked my interest when I saw an image of a small child with a garbage bag and learned that’s typically how kids travel from house to house. Their goal is to change the way kids experience the foster care system.

Consider donating your skills or funds because 1,200 kids are effected each day. togetherwerise.org/helplocally

 

South Windsor Food Alliance Farmers’ Market

Every Saturday between 10 – 1 something special is happening rainDSC_6670 or shine on the lawn of the recreation center in South Windsor, Connecticut.

As a favor, I typically capture images to share on their social media. Made sense to share here too particularly because the season is in full swing and rumor has it last year’s pie contest will be on repeat.

Run by the South Windsor FOOD Alliance a sub-committee of the South Windsor Park & Recreation Commission. It’s amazing what is Connecticut Grown!DSC_6681 The SW FOOD Alliance’s purpose is to increase awareness regarding the health benefits of eating locally grown foods and to make the connection between where our food comes from and the local farms that have been an important link in the history of the town.

Even in the rain, late June to mid October, you can just drive up to the free parking manned by volunteers to direct you. DSC_4966
Bring your own bag, more cash then you’d think (some merchants take credit cards) and an appetite. We go almost ever week for fresh Thai Food from Ban Chaing, Chet’s Italian Ice, Granny’s Pie Factory, fresh produce, Root beer floats from Burke Ridge Farm and pastry. Oh, and there are things other than food like jewelry, handmade soaps, plants, flowers and services.

You can get your knives sharpened or visit with the animals. You are welcome toDSC_4781 bring kids of all ages and fur babies too.

We have seen all sizes of dogs on leashes.

During the winter months, the market moves indoors. Last year it was at St. Margaret Mary Church at 80 Haynes Road. Most of the vendors made the move with food being cooked outside. Check the site to confirm where the Winter Market can be found for the 2016-27 winter.

If you don’t come to buy, come for entertainment. Each week there are new offerings such as pony rides, musicians, a drum circle, bike safety checks… Check the market on FB at  www.facebook.com/SouthWindsorFarmersMarket

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Atmosphere is fun and conversational. Tents are set with chairs and tables for relaxing. With the playground a few feet away, it’s a wonderful place for families. The people watching is fantastic and conversation with strangers encouraged. You will be surprised who you see at the South Windsor Farmers Market.

We tend to swing through before the beach in the summer or after soccer practice in the fall. Its a fun place to run into friends, neighbors and sometimes teachers (yup they don’t live at the school!).  I did mention the food right?

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Check out this Connecticut Grown pepper from River View Farm

When you are there tag yourself on Instagram too.  SouthWindsorFood@gmail.com 860-FRESH-03

 

Summer Family Reunion Photos

After the water balloons have been tossed and corn-on-the-cob has been eaten, photos remain to document growth and change. A Family Reunion is a summer staple for many families, a great chance to see relatives and reconnect. Not to mention how happy Grandma becomes.DSC_3222

The fleeting nature of a family reunion gives just one chance to capture these important moments; then they are gone, perhaps forever. After I’ve entered the scene that’s changed because you now have an online gallery to share and reconnect over before a single thing is printed.

Photographing a visit and meeting of new family members adds value to the memory. It brings alive the story of your family and extends the memory as an extended family session comes with an online gallery to share with each other.

Plus it gives something for the cousins to bond over. Who does this lady think she is making us run, blow bubbles, play,  jump and climb trees?DSC_3190

How does it all work?

Typically, there is one family organizer who coordinates a meet time and location. A family member’s home or local park works just great. I’ll send suggestions for clothing and images so everyone is on the same page. Typically, the family contact makes sure I have all the email addresses.

On picture day, they a cooler of drinks or popsicles is suggested because getting your photos done can be sweaty, especially in the summer. Water is best!

I take images of the family all together, cousins, siblings, then the individual families. If someone isn’t into it, we go to another family and come back. I’ll take couples alone if they like and insist on one of the grandparents. This all happens in about an hour. I’m wedding trained. Posing and playing happens fast. DSC_3178Typically within a week, I’ll have a link ready to share the gallery of images online for those who have traveled. If you are local, I swing by as my time is included. From there DSC_3108depending on package there is a discussion about
favorites. Each family can pick their own images and products. I have helped a family create a matching wall gallery for each of their house.

We can than coordinate how the images will be used. Some people would like to see a beautiful image of their family on the wall, others prefer the privacy of an album. It’s also possible to have digital negatives so you canDSC_3038 post your extended family to your social media. Or make a mug for Grandma. 

What if you had images of your extended family that were done in the most beautiful way?