Tag Archives: cleveland family photographer

Baby Viviana – An Olmsted Falls Family Session

Being a mom has changed me, you guys! I’m going to be honest for a second. Family sessions haven’t always been my jam. It’s not because I don’t love children. It’s because I didn’t know anything about them. I didn’t know what age kids started to walk, or how breakable they are. I didn’t know when they talk or how long they can sit still for.

But now I do.

And I love Family Sessions now.

I can make your babies giggle. I’ll make animal noises and play Prince or Paw Patrol on my phone all day. and I love it.

You may remember Tianna + Vaughn from their maternity and newborn photos last year with their daughter Viera. I was so excited to learn she was going to be a big sister and that I was going to get to photograph new baby Viviana.

Can I just say that outdoor newborn photos are my new favorite thing? My baby girl Freya LOVES being outside. We’re spending all our time in parks and on trails these days, and it was so much fun to share one of my favorites with this new family of 4.

If you’re looking for family photos for your walls or your Christmas cards, I’d love to chat with you! I’m about to open my calendar for the rest of the year so let’s get it in the books.

Now please enjoy.

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The Bowen Family | A Berea Family Photo Session at Coe Lake

I’ve known Lauren for about 13 years now. We went to the same high school, and most of our time together was probably spent in the dark room. Over the years, we’ve kept in touch and I’m so glad we have. I’ve loved watching her sweet family grow (one perfect little one at a time), and navigating some of the tough stuff life throws our way together.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Photographing friends is my favorite.

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Shilpi + Nanak – A Cleveland Museum of Art Maternity Session

When I started taking photos so very long ago, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to spend my time, but maternity + newborn photos weren’t even on my radar.

Years later, and countless new families under my belt, I’m just really glad things worked out the way they have, because I get to meet people like Shilpi + Nanak during some of the most special times of their lives.

I can’t wait to meet another little one.

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Making The Most of Your Family Photos

I bet if you think real hard about your life, you could tell me a weird story about an experience getting your photo taken. It might even involve some Old Navy flag tees. Family Photos can be strange and wonderful things. But my hope is to make them a little more wonderful and a whole lot less strange. If you’ve ever had a question about family photos, I hope it gets answered here. If not, you know where to find me.

What to Wear

So you all want to look nice together, but you’re also trying to avoid Justin + Britney circa 2001. I got you.
I get asked about wardrobe more than just about anything else when it comes to family photos. So I’m here to help.

There’s quite a bit to consider when it comes to finding the right clothes for your session.


I’ve taken photos of families in everything from pajamas to tuxes and gowns – and I love it ALL. If you want photos in your home, let me come early and spend the morning photographing what breakfast looks like in your house. If you’re looking for something a little fancy, get all dressed up and we’ll go to the art museum. What does your family love to do together? Every family’s different, so your photos should be, too.


I want everyone to have some fun while we take photos together. If your clothes are restraining, your photos will show it. My goal is to make this experience the best it can be, and the clothes you choose can play a huge role in whether or not that’s true. Sweaters aren’t a good idea in the summer, and if you’re going to need to adjust your dress the whole time, you should probably pick something else to wear. If you can keep them in good condition, I would suggest wearing the clothes you have planned for your session out of the house for a few hours to see how they feel. That way, there won’t be any surprises.


The key to a good family photo wardrobe is to choose clothes that look nice together without “matching.” Sometimes choosing a color “family” to base everyone’s clothes around can really help. Jewel tones are great for fall. Neutrals with a pop of color can be the perfect spring choice. If you need help getting started, I’ve created a few resources to help. Here are some color palettes that I love, and a little more practically, here are some family photo outfits that I think work really well. If you’re not sure how your clothes will all work together in a photo, my advice is to lay everything (shoes, socks, jewelry, everything) out together on the floor or on your bed so you can see it all as it will be in a photo. This is an easy way to see what may need changed. A few things to avoid are logos or words of any kind on your clothing, small patterns (they generally don’t photograph well), and most hats because they can generally be distracting.


Don’t forget the details! We may see your socks at some point, and we’ll definitely see your shoes. Make sure you’re happy with the way you look from head to toe. Moms – this is a great excuse to go get your hair and makeup done by a professional.

Preparing for your session.

The younger your kids are, the more important preparation is. Because we need to work around the sun to create the photos you’re looking for, it can often affect bed time. Make sure you come to your session well rested, and well fed! Sometimes it takes a little bribery to get what we need, so make sure to pack some snacks and water for the kids! Bringing a blanket with you to sit on is also super helpful!

Come with no expectations.

Family photos never feel the way you’re expecting. Your kids will behave better or worse than you expect. The weather won’t be what you think it will be. These expectations can make the process a whole lot harder for everyone involved. Just come to have fun, and we’ll get some great photos in the process, I promise.

My Process

Sessions with me are super laid back. This time in your life is short, and I want to capture things just the way they are – missing teeth and all. ; ) Once we arrive at the location we’ve chosen, we’ll spend most of our time wandering around and playing together. I like to keep things moving because that keeps kids engaged. We’ll generally spend between 90 minutes and two hours together (depending on how your kids are doing.) One of the most important things is to allow time for your photos. I suggest setting aside the evening so you don’t feel rushed because like all good things, photos take time. 3-4 weeks after our session, you’ll receive your full gallery of images.

What to do (& what not to do)

Be a willing participant.

Your experience with family photos in the past may be in a stuffy studio, or with crying babies and you might not look back on these times very fondly. Well all that’s about to change. I’m not going to ask you to put your left hand over your right. You can even put your hands in your pockets! You can (and are encouraged) to run around with your kids and to lift them in the air. This is your one family and these kids are your legacy. Let’s spend two hours of uninterrupted time together, and make some memories in the process.

Have some dang fun.

It might surprise you that kids are often much better at family photos than parents. Over the years, I’ve noticed that parents can be more focused on making sure their kids are doing what they’re supposed to be doing than having fun themselves. Your kids are going to be kids. They’re going to run around. They’re going to talk when you don’t want them to. They’re going to be more interested in everything else than the camera. But that’s okay.

If you hear one thing from me, let it be this.

Please relax and let your kids be kids. Don’t ask them to smile big – do something that makes them smile. Play with them. Run around with them. Have fun with them. Fun photographs well.

Your photos are what you make of them and I want to help you make them the best they can be.

I’ll leave you with one last thought.

Family photos might seem like a small thing, but they can play an important role in the way your children see themselves. I’d encourage you to take just a few minutes to read this article. You’re not just gaining a new profile photo, you’re making an impact in the lives of your sweet little ones.

If I’ve missed anything, or if you’d like to book a session for your family, please send me an email. I’d love to chat.

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The Wengerd Family – A Cleveland Portrait Session

A couple weeks ago, my dad gathered some of the most important people in my mom’s life into one balloon filled room and surprised her. It wasn’t her birthday. It wasn’t their anniversary. It was a party just to celebrate how wonderful my mom is every day of the year. (#goals, am I right?) Her friends came from all over the state. There were people who are in her life now, and people who meant so much to her many years ago. But I think she’d agree that the most special guests at the party were the four people in these photos. (ya know, because she gets to see me all the time.) : )

This is my brother and his sweet family. Although we’re not super close in age, we’re so much alike it scares me sometimes. Matthew moved away to Florida seventeen years ago. Since then, he has married his high school sweetheart and had two (as you’ll see) adorable kids who call us Aunt Allison & Uncle Stephen. (or sometimes Aunt Raspberry & Uncle Milk) They drove all the way from Florida to surprise my mom and I’ll never forget her face when she saw them.

They spent about 10 days with us, and every day was packed with all things Cleveland. (If you follow me on instagram, you may have seen a little of our Zoo trip.) We watched fireworks, and toured downtown. We went swimming and shopped a little too much. We had sleepovers and listened to “bacon pancakes” about 40 times too many. But we loved every moment of it.

Visits are always farther apart than we’d like, and they never seem long enough. But I’m so glad for the memories that were made last week.
Here is the Wengerd family.

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The Solyntjes Family in the Avon Sunflower Field

When planning sessions, especially family sessions, I always recommend that clients choose outfits that “go together” without necessarily “matching” each other. And often times, I get asked to see examples. I’m not sure why because I’m always so great at explaining things. (sarcasm) From now on, when a clients wants to know what they should wear, I just going to send them straight to this blog post because this family has got it going on. (do people still say that?)

Stephen and I have been friends with Chris & Bethany for a while now. If you know their family, then you love their family. And do kids get any cuter than this? Let me know, because I’m leaning towards no.

We spent one of the last 90 degree evenings together, walking through rows and rows of sunflowers. (Don’t worry, you haven’t seen the last of this field yet.) ; ) The kids ran around and I happily followed. And when the snow’s so high I won’t want to leave my house, I’ll think back to our session in the sunflower field and remember what a great summer I had.


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Baby Caleb – A Cleveland Newborn Session

“Sing to me the song of the stars.
Of Your galaxy dancing and laughing & laughing again.
When it feels like my dreams are so far,
Sing to me of the plans that You have for me over again.”

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