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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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.

 

 

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

 

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?

 

 

 

Punch your brother – memories for a lifetime.

So we get the shots of everyone looking at the camera. But then I’m directing their play. I WANT the kids to interact and act up. For these too, I know the boundary is a little more aggressive, because we’re related. SO I may have encouraged a bit of a smack down. Photos remind us of whDSC_2342o we are to each other and what our family history is.  My style is about capturing the little, natural moments that document each person’s personality in the truest way possible. To me, the experience of having a fun, relaxed photo shoot (especially with kids!) is just as important as the resulting photographs.  But the point is that I’m not looking for perfect. And that’s not how you will remember your life either. If we can play we can get to the REAL yummy and before you know it, the shoot is done. These two were set in under 15 minutes. Being a mom is what made me a photographer. Kids are why I love it so much. So don’t hesitate because you’re worried about ‘behaviors’ or judgement from me on you’re kids mood. There is nothing your troops can throw at me I can’t work with.

Let’s make a playdate. Delight in your family. Be photographed in a fun & charming way.

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Dzen Tree Farm – picking out a Christmas Tree, South Windsor CT Family Photographer

 

With a warmer than average day, we decided to trek up to Dzen Tree Farm in South Windsor to gather a tree and hike the hills a bit. With the addition of their resident baby reindeer, Dzen is the farm that has embraced the reindeer on all their signage. You really can’t miss it..

We drove up to the checkpoint and took the offer for a saw though we had brought our own. We were directed to the top of the farm for the vantage point and greenhouse which was bustling with holiday treat offerings like hot chocolate. There was also freshly popped corn from Podunk Popcorn which is also managed on property and grown in South Windsor, CT. Wreaths, cuttings and cut trees were available and the opportunity to snap images of the visiting reindeer. The two residents are below near the private section of the farm.

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All the trees are set at the same price, so you can really take some time to pick out your favorite.  There are people in vest available to help and they kindly pointed out to the area we should look to for our tree type.

Everyone had ideas on the best tree. We had decided on a blue spruce going in but couldn’t decide on the size. Flagging our favorites by putting a random stick at the top, the kids began to play.

Tip: The first trees to get picked over tend to be the ones near the parking lot, so the farther reaches of a farm might offer a better selection.

A few family shots were taken and not wanting to be left out, I handed over the camera too…My husband’s head was totally lobbed off but they got in the trees like I asked!!

Then it was time to get down to business. After all three boys practiced on a stump with both saws, they got to work on our tree. We had brought a set a work gloves which was very effective against the sharp spiky needles of the blue spruce.

As a last minute thought we had thrown a tarp into the minivan. When we had a tree down, we rolled it onto the tarp and dragged it to the parking area. The youngest’s face is my favorite.

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Once we brought it to the greenhouse the staff took over. They slid it through the hoop for netting. We then put the tarp on the car and tied the tree to the top.

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We exited down the hill, returned the saw and paid for our tree. At home we set up the stand, recut the bottom of our tree and removed the lowest branches. Once it was set inside and locked into place, we tasked the kids with watering.

A fun tradition and switch from a fake tree. The house smells lovely with the addition.

Think you’d like a tag along to gather your Christmas Tree? Let me know, I’m happy to venture with your family to this beautiful south windsor Ct family spot.

Reindeer at Dzen Tree Farm South Windsor Connecticut


Music plays, lights twinkle, smile and gear up its holiday time! Shopping for Christmas lights while your yard is decorated as a Halloween graveyard littered with chewed up pumpkins is stressful. Need a boost and thechildlike looking-forward feeling? Spring a surprise on your family, the anticipation of which can maybe encourage your heart to grow a size, give you happiness & energy and also – of course – result in something fun.

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Through special arrangements, extra magic can be captured with Sarah Cruz Photography this winter. An unique experience awaits to draw them from their devices and create a classic memory. South Windsor welcomes two new permanent residents at Dzen Tree Farm. Join me in an up-close visit with adorable Reindeer Max and Jack.

DzentreesWith a bit of Christmas magic and effort from owner John Dzen Jr, the 3 foot tall creatures which had been banned from Connecticut are now welcome only in our town! Adorable, docile and familiar with kids, the reindeer are “…like playing with a puppy. They are soft and have nice eyes” said my son Grant – age 6.

A Dad himself, Mr. Dzen carefully guides visitors into the fenced reindeer barn and yard. He coaches the kids to pet, feed, lead and play with the reindeer. “For us, it’s all about the experience.” he told me.  Focus on the moment, your loved ones reactions and let me capture it for you.

We caSzentrees3n do posed images where everyone is looking at the camera, but cannot guarantee the reindeers’ cooperation. Your final images will reflect the memory, however we are lucky that Jack and Max are pleased to be photographed and curious enough to give glances my way. Because of my wedding and toddler image expertise, you are sure to have great documentary highlights that you could not possibly manage from your cellphone. I would love to tell you that the value is the in the images, but truly, as Mr. Dzen said, it is the experience.

If this is something you would like to share with your family, please email me as it is by appointment only. $275 includes insurance, fee to the farm, Mr. Dzen’s visit management and a $30 print credit (covers print & mailing of an 8×10, 2 5×7’s or full resolution digital download image negative*).

Dzentree4Just like a typical family session, you will see your images online and can order prints or additional downloads directly from SarahCruzPhotography.com.

Of course you are welcome to drive over the hill and pick out a gorgeous tree after you’ve visited Max and Jack. (Perhaps I’ll tag along…)

Dzen Tree Farm is located at 215 Barber Hill Road in South Windsor. www.dzentreefarm.com. There is more than one Dzen Farm, but only one has reindeer. Email me at cruzsarah@yahoo.com to make your reindeer reservation. Special CT Family Photography adoring our CT Farms.

*Image share sent electronically within 2 days if not sooner of session. Unlike typical sessions, prepayment required. 6.35 sales tax additional

Celebrate your family! CT Family Photography

Capturing your family in photos is a fantastic way to celebrate them! During family sessions, invite your mom, your sister, and the horsey next door to illustrate how special your crew actual is.

DSC_4301-EditImages of the two of you because parenting can be hard on marriage and it’s so important for your little people to see you together, in print.

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We get the image where everyone is looking at the camera with a smile, but goofing off with some directed play has fun results.

This time, aunt ramped everyone up and loving grandparents added to the energy too.

When we made use of the lush serene park aka Grandma’s, we looked for some more adventure…

Sarah Cruz Photography
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