Stroller Strides Family Day

Every season there is that one shoot where I’m a little out of my comfort zone and I obsess about it for weeks.  When I agreed to do Family Day photos for Stroller Strides as their vendor of the month, I was very nervous about the 15 minute time frame I would have to photograph each family.  I know there are zillions of photographers out there who can pose a family of 8 with everyone smiling at the camera and perfect lighting in 5 minutes flat, lickity split.  Its a very valuable skill, and one I can admit I don’t have.  Up until now I have prided myself in my own “ease in” method of shooting, allowing me to spend a few hours with a family chatting, playing with the kids – heck, I’ll even change a diaper if you need some help- whatever it takes to relax and get comfortable since the vast majority of us don’t have supermodel experience.  I was pretty worried about the cattle call method and my ability to make magic happen in such a brief window without the opportunity to earn some trust.

What I wasn’t counting on was how awesome the families would be on the other side of my lens.    It was a crazy 4 hours packed with 10 incredible families who came with their game faces, armed with toys, props, costumes, picnic blankets and dressed for outdoor fall fun.  The unexpected gift of a hay maze left from a festival the day before at Crump Park lay plop in the middle of the Meadow’s Farm field, creating a great fall backdrop and play stage.  While I still don’t think 15 minutes is enough for me to work my best magic, we definitely made the most of the time we had.  The best part is how different each group of photos turned out despite the fact they were all taken in the exact same location and on the same day, pleasing the photojournalist in my greatly.  So here’s what I got…

The gals at Stroller Strides like to say that Austin is future Fiver and its true that they look a lot alike.  They also share a curious spirit, kind soul and partly Polish heritage.  So you bet your dupa I’m sweet on Austin, Kelly and Bartek…

drewnowski

curiousgeorge

austinrocks

dinoleap

cornhusk

austinruns

I loved the Shaffer family’s take on color and pattern and particularly appreciate that Isabel kept her unique sense of fashion… reigned in a little perhaps but still very Isabel with her navy tutu and hot pink kicks.

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cornhead

kernalplay

cornshoes

babylegs

alexander

Dana and Adam didn’t want to be in the photos with Baby Stella at first but I am glad they gave in and allowed me a few family shots.  We know how precious images of our babies will be to us years down the line but often forget how precious images of us will be to those babies when they are all grown up.

stellacolor

stellabw

stellakisses

I love this picture of Will.  Its the same expression on all little boys who don’t want to get their picture taken but know there is a lolly pop in it for them if they just humor the photographer for a short while.  I find it highly endearing on such a handsome guy.  He’s wasn’t alone, the whole Hampton family was looking mighty handsome in fall colors…

willfav

courtneyfambw

hamptonfam

sillyhay

Poor Trey.  A truck parked in the middle of the field drove away and it was very unfair.  While I know that tantrums are the LAST thing any parent wants photographed professionally, my friend Shannon and I were just talking about how cute crying pictures and video are later… much later, when your blood pressure has gone down.  Its the same with our son, it always begins with “the face”… the corners of the mouth go down and tears well up in the corners of sad eyes looking up at you.  Then the chin wiggles, the face goes red and then comes the loud part…

theface

treytrum

Humor me here and picture it, Prom night 2023, as Trey’s date arrives early as Ellen and Tim bust out the ol’ photo album.  Or imagine them in the slideshow at his rehearsal dinner.  See, priceless!  But just so you know, we got some really nice non-tantrum photos too of a much happier Trey!

treycolor

treybw

mallette

DUH-nuh.  DUH-nuh.  Da daah da daah da daah DUh dah dah dah DUh da da da.  I know, the theme song from Jaws doesn’t translate well into the blogosphere but were all humming it as Bobby transformed into Bobby the SHARK.  I had no idea sharks had such an affinity for corn but you learn something new every day.

sittingshark

cornshark

bobbycorn2

cornshark2

runningshark

magnus

Enter Cooper, who loves balls and sports of all kinds but if you ask me, this kid might be destined for professional football.  Or at least to be a professional football fan, he already knows how to do “we’re #1” as he demonstrated in his stroller.

number1

quarterback2

quarterback

dinasfamily

coopersfam

cooperanddina

Sweet Lila.  The more we tried to coax her to smile, the more we got this:

lilablueeyes

I found myself humming that line from Loudon Wainwright’s Daughter, “I lost every time I fought her, I lost every time.”  Babies always win.  Well sort of… because despite her sweet pout, she couldn’t help but  be cute!

lilaseated

lilalashes

lilabw

lilahatbw

sarahkiss

Isn’t Baby Ridgely an adorable little tree nymph?  The whole family was looking good by the tree, in fact!  You know what they say about apples not falling far from the tree…(bad joke)

ridgelybw

ridgelytree

shomo

Keeping up with Jack will keep you on your toes, no wonder Stroller Strides instructor Alyssa is so fit!  His gingham shirt, jeans and shoeless feet transformed him into a farm boy for a day, running through the hay.  The action shots with the corn kernels were definitely my personal favs, it makes him look like a corn wizard!

haybale

jackhay

jack

cornwizard

ticklingjack

alyssafam

alyssadress

I made this slideshow for no other reason than, well, I could.    The first time I heard “Days Go By” by Keith Urban I was at a wedding and watched a family pull each other onto the dance floor one by one and stomp together like it was their anthem, that memory definitely played into the music choice.  While I admit that I am not actually a fan of country music, I am always struck by how the lyrics ring true and its amazing how much faster the days fly by you once you start raising kids.  Thanks to all the families who took the time out to celebrate themselves on such a beautiful fall day, I hope you had as much fun as I did!  And a really big thanks to my partner-in-all-ways extraordinaire, Sam, who helped me shoot as well as a big thanks to my mother in law Diane who kept things running and can always promote me better than I can promote myself.  Family rocks, where would we be without them?

Oh ya, click here to enter the online gallery…

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