lifestyle photography

Capturing Lifestyle Images with Kids - 5 Tips for Better Images

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I sometimes get asked what ‘lifestyle’ photography really is. To me, lifestyle photography is a perfect blend of documentary photography - or capturing life as it really is - and loose posing.

For example: the image above is 100% documentary. Pantless, winter hat in the scorching heat, and a lollipop. That’s exactly how I found him and happened to grab my camera fast enough to capture this phase of toddler hood.

jessalyn prins photography family and lifestyle photographer

However this image is more lifestyle: this is an everyday childhood moment that I wanted to portray. I found a perfect patch of light, set out an egg carton and some markers and invited him to come color. I stood out of the way and captured what I saw.

I love capturing and documenting their childhood both ways! But honestly, I don’t always have my camera in arms reach so I like to recreate parts of their childhood.

Here are my 5 tips to capturing lifestyle images:

  1. The vision: simply decide what you want to capture. Does it make you crack up every time your baby dumps oatmeal on his head? Or maybe it is the little lullabies your daughter sings to her dolls. Or the way they sit and race their dinky cars over the hardwood floors. Take a few minutes to think through what piece of their childhood you want to capture.
     

  2. Set the stage: find a nice spot in your home with even lighting. Pick up and move anything that might distract from what you are wanting to capture. Set up the props.
    Have your camera ready! Make sure there is room to take photos, adjust any settings, and have it ready to go.
     

  3. Invite your subject: invite your child into the little set up you have made. Don’t bribe them, or try and convince them they need to go over there, just nonchalantly invite them as if it isn’t a big deal, and it might just be a grand old time.
     

  4. Sit back, don’t say anything and capture what you see. This is where you really get those sweet emotions, the realness of the moment, and what I believe is the magic. Just let them be and when they are done, thank them for coming over and playing in that space.
    Remember to move around (as subtley as possible) and get several different angles - on their level, above them, off to the side. It makes a wonderful series of images.

Creating with Light

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I love to create. It’s something born in me; something I can’t escape. I love trying out new things, new textures, new ideas.

If I couldn’t create a part of me would just shrivel up.

I love creating with photography.

There is just so much to it. Mastering photography (a dream of mine) is mastering light.

I love playing with the light, seeing how it interacts with its environment; seeing how it reflects and bounces; seeing how different light can tell a story.

You can do so much with light; you evoke emotion with light - bright and airy creates a feel of summer and laughter and joy; dark and moody can make for tender images, cozy stories. Little patches of light can highlight the pieces of the image that you want to draw the viewer's attention to, where you want them to linger.

My littles are growing so fast; I love that through photography I can capture the authentic stories of their childhood. I can create images to hang on our walls, albums they can flip through and remember - and when they are too little to remember, I can tell them the stories that go with the images. Already, with my eldest being two we cuddle on the couch and look through images and talk about four-wheeler rides, swimming in the pond, and kicking a soccer ball (rather haphazardly) around with daddy.

I can’t wait to share even more of the adventure with them; capturing it through the play of light, allowing my creativity to be a part of their story.

North Beach Family Photography Session

It's summer! and I don't know about you but I have one thing on my mind - the beach! Sunshine, sand, and waves. That'd make me a happy girl - and an even happier photographer! Add to the mix a crazy beautiful family with just about the cutest toddler. Okay, did you see his perfect little hair do? This family photography session doubled as a maternity session; pretty sure the new little one is going to enjoy being soaked in sunshine. 

Let me tell you a little secret - beaches are amazing (you already knew that!) but finding a location that has heart and meaning for you makes an incredible difference in your photography session. It is like sweet memories is incorporated into all your images. For this family it brought back memories of childhood adventures on the beach, seashell collections, and jumping waves; it also brought back memories of falling in love and dreaming of a family together. 

Alright, alright, I will stop talking about meaningful places for your photography session and let you enjoy this beautiful gallery! 

My Approach to Family Photography

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“What is your approach to family photography?”

 

This is a really good question to ask any photographer that you are looking to book for your next family session. Knowing their approach and philosophy behind their work can actually save you a lot of stress. You might wonder whether or not you’ll all be posed into perfect positions and asked to smile or say cheese and hope to goodness your toddler listens. Or you might be worried that your temperamental five year old might not last more than 10 minutes into the session and what are you going to do then? Or you worry that the hour long photo shoot is going to end with everyone exhausted, with aching cheeks from fake smiles, and that slightly unsure feeling that the an image you will fall in love with was captured.

 

Let me share with you my philosophy.

 

  1. Laidback: No Stressing Allowed. That’s right mom. Tonight, you’re off the hook. You get to relax, sit back and enjoy your family. I’m on duty; and guess what? I love it and (bonus!) I have lots of experience. I have worked with children of pretty much all personalities, temperaments and exceptionabilites. You don’t need to worry about everyone showing those pearly whites - just enjoy being mom. Let me direct, be the tough one if need be, and guide the session into something your going to absolutely love.
     

  2. Meaningful: Perfect posing has its place; but not during my family photography sessions. I know some extremely talented photographers who are masters at getting everyone posed, each detail to perfect, and getting everyone looking, smiling, and feeling real (all at the same time!). But for me, I want to capture you. I want to capture what makes your family really your family; because in all honesty it’s the little details. You know them. The back of his curly toddler head, the sweet way they offer a brotherly hug followed by a noogie, the tender way he cups your elbow. All of those precious pieces of you is what I am there to capture, to bring to life in a fun, meaningful and laidback way.
     

  3. Fun: Real smiles, real laughter, real joy. That is my aim! You are going to have so much fun connecting as family during your session. Get this even the dads have fun. I will have you cuddled in a family squeeze, laughing, dancing, walking together, and enjoying tender moments with each family member.
     

Trust me. We are going to have a great time together. Your going to have images you adore, have beautiful new memories, and have had a time you thoroughly enjoyed. Can’t get much better than that right?

 

Have any questions? I would love to chat about creating your perfect family photography session.

Five Favorite Locations for Family Photos

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Ontario is incredible - rich with diversity and beauty. There are so many places that I have come to know and love - and countless more for me to explore! I am sure that you have your own nuggets of Ontario that have special meaning to you and your family; ones that carry dear memories, where you can almost hear the giggles, and you think of escaping to when life feels a bit overwhelming. Here are some of my favorites. I would love to hear what yours are!

  1. North Beach Provincial Park: this is a little gem tucked away in Prince Edward not too far from Belleville. Some people refer to it as the little sister of Sandbanks. It’s so beautiful with it’s paved walking trail, long sandy beaches and space to run and play. The little ones are always addicted to the waves coming in and tickling their feet, the seashells they find, and the rocks to toss into the water. 
     

  2. Grills Apple Orchard - Belleville: While this is seasonal (those sweet little blossoms! And later those fresh crunchy apples I’m craving!) it has to be one of the best places to do a family session. The long rows lend such beautiful symmetry to your images, and kids love racing each other down the paths and peeking through the trees giggling at each other. During apple picking season it’s always nice to end the session with a healthy treat picked straight off the tree. Another little bonus is the playground they have on-site; can’t get much better for the little ones!
     

  3.  O’ Hara Mills Homestead and Conservation Area - Madoc: This one is a bit of a drive but so worth it. It offers almost everything one could dream of! Gorgeous old buildings, a waterfall, a covered bridge, open fields, and well-maintained walking paths winding through the forested area. Often clients decide to hang out after their session, go on a hike, or just enjoy the beauty of the scenery.

     
  4. Your Home: Seriously, a lot of magic can happen with the walls of your own home and your backyard. There is something very special about capturing your family where you have built and grown your family and experienced so much love and laughter together. Those images are rich with added memories of walls and furniture your children recognize and love.

     
  5. Riverside Park - Belleville: I love this park! It has really gorgeous paved walking trails, little forested areas, some pretty floral displays and open fields. Lots of variety for your images. It also boasts a picnic area, splash pad and park for the kids to unwind after their session (or incorporate into their session!).

I love photographing families in Belleville - well just about anywhere! I am always up for an adventure, to see new places, and to hear about the wonderful memories you have created. I also can't wait to introduce you to new places and watch you discover areas you can fall in love with.