Be Happy

I know this may sound like a lot of hot air, but I truly feel happy when I see former clients!

When I saw Maddie yesterday afternoon, I was so excited to see how much she had grown since her last shoot in November.  It had only been 6 months, but for kids under 3, that is a long time!  Her most noticeable physical change was her longer hair, which really showed off the red shimmer in her light brown hair!   You couldn’t really tell what her hair would look like during her first photoshoot.  And the coolest non-physical change was how much she could talk!  🙂

Shimmery Hair

Isn’t Maddie darling?

[Outdoor Portrait Tip: When you shoot from a higher position than your subject, your subject will angle their head upwards, which will catch light in their eyes — hence, the term “catchlight”!]


Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Love that song by Bobby McFerrin!  Click here to listen.

Maddie’s parents, Millo and Jeff, were taking her to an area to start shooting (we were in the parking lot), and Maddie was worried about me.  Maddie and I had just said our hello’s and she even high-fived me.  Then I stayed behind while they walked off because I wanted to shoot with my 70-200 lens.  Maddie kept looking back at me to see why I wasn’t coming.


Natural Attention

Maddie was so adorable that she attracted attention from strangers wherever we went.  Below is an image of a stranger giving her some flowers.


No, Don’t Go!

We were about to leave, but Maddie took a speedy turn before reaching her parents’ car and climbed on top of a bench.  The sun was nice and low… I love shooting at this time!


Stage Fright

Okay, it’s not exactly “fright”, but Maddie didn’t want to play on stage, even though I was in love with this wooden wall!

I do love how Maddie and Millo are looking at each other here, and they are really small among all the vertical lines.


Sock Puppets

At one point, Maddie removed her socks, and well… why not use them as sock puppets?!!  This is my favorite series from the day.

[Photography Tip: An image’s composition can vary greatly just by how you position your body.  Here, I shot with a 24-70 lens, so I could stand away from the action to give my subjects privacy.  To make the frames more interesting, I wanted one-third to one-half the frame to have pink cherry blossoms from the tree near me, so I zoomed out and stood tall to get the blossoms in the frame.  The blossoms not only add color to the images, but they also give the images more depth by having objects closer to the camera than the subjects.  Just remember, when shooting kids in their natural state, you don’t have much time to figure out your shot.  You have to think quick because you may only have a couple seconds or else you’ll miss the moment.]

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The Golden Light

This was shot at 5pm.  In the woods, this is considered The Golden Hour.

With true lifestyle photography of children, I may see a really cool backdrop or beautiful light, but the kids may not want to hang out there.  (All you parents and children’s photographers know what I’m talking about!  You can’t make a child, especially a toddler or preschooler, do something they don’t want.)  So I was dying to have Millo sit for me.  I mean, look at this light!  And Millo is one pretty mama, so I couldn’t resist.  🙂

Millo had to climb up onto a wall to reach the glowy golden light.  (I am also standing on a wall.)  I framed the image to have parts of a tree at the top and side to give the image more texture and context.


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  1. Ann Reilly

    Annie, I so love your sneak peeks. Not only are they inspirational but also educational. Your love of what you do shows in each preview. You can always make me smile!

  2. Oh Ann! You are too kind. I am glad I can make you smile! 🙂

  3. OMG! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!! Annie…you are the best! Millo, Jeff & Maddie…such natural supermodels <3!

  4. Millo

    Ah, I’m speechless. I’m so grateful to have you captured such precious moments between Maddie & Jeff! The wooden planks on stage were gorgeous. I can’t wait to see the rest.

  5. Emily

    Love your outdoor photos! It feels so warm and happy!

  6. Annie

    Thanks, Ria, Millo and Emily!!!

  7. Was flash used in the picture of No, Don’t Go? I like how the background sunlight was captured while the foreground was still bright enough.

  8. Hi Sam! There was no flash used for this photoshoot. I rarely use flash for outdoor shoots. For this shot, there was some reflected light from the white sidewalk on the left and right of the little girl (Maddie), as you can see from the sides of her cheeks being light. But you will also see that the back of the bench is in shadow. With flash, an entire side would be bright, making the opposite side in shadow. With natural light, I think there is more “depth” to the image. I had my aperture wide open to let in as much light as possible, and I also lightened it a bit in Photoshop. Voila!

    Thanks for reading my blog post, Sam!