Come with me on my Blogging Journey!

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Thank you for joining me on my adventure to BLOG!  I am Valerie, the owner and photographer of Images by Valerie, specializing in maternity, family, children, newborn and high school senior portraits here in Santa Barbara county.  I plan to reach out to you ever week with updates, tips and insights on me and Images by Valerie’s adventures (but I need a little support as I figure this out at the beginning). Thank you to all the families that have invited me into their lives up to this point and shared a moment in time with me to capture it for them.  Going through my portfolio makes me smile as I remember the fun, quirks, humor and personalities and of course the challenges that just make each session and family unique, making my job great!

This is my first blog so I felt I should write a bit about family photo sessions.  Summer is unfortunately ending, kids young and not so youngish are returning or starting school.  Fall is beginning and with that, (here in Santa Barbara) some of the trees are starting to change – if you know which blocks or parks have those trees.  This past January we pulled out our lawn to save water, took down an ill pine tree and now have two Japanese maple trees that the city told us “had to be capable of achieving 30 feet,” so now we have some of those coveted season trees!

Now that it is fall, this is the time to take stock in your family, the changes that have occurred and pal your Christmas cards! (Did I really just hear groans?)  We scheduled ours, since I’m not silly enough to attempt myself.  Last year we went through the Daddy must hold my daughter stage (until we had our daughter, we didn’t know kids go through days, weeks, months of these back and forth stages- good to know not to take it personally).  Because of this, I am in very few images with her that year unless it is a quick cell phone image.  Our Christmas card was just of our daughter, but we did have a family session done before we left Oregon.  Our daughter was not a happy camper that morning, and her smiling wasn’t occurring when I was near them…I snuck in for one quick attempt.  We ended the session and on the way home a smoothie spilled all over her dress in the car.  Despite our adventure that morning, we got a family photo for the year to remember our lives in Oregon.

And here is another tip- only have water on the way to a session and bring backup clothes for the just incase moments.

www.bethstaffordphotography.com  Mount Angel, Oregon
www.bethstaffordphotography.com Mount Angel, Oregon

We also have a very important bear in our family.  She (I think Teddy is a she now) and my daughter have been inseparable since the Ikea bunny in a carrot car plush rattle ran its course around 9 months.  She is in most of our photos and all our memories, so the fact that she can’t stay in the car has been fine with us.  Our photos wouldn’t be complete without her in there somewhere!  I think this year might be our first but if she comes, we are good either way.

I always prep my families that the parents need to be “on” all the time.  Pay attention to me and not the kids while I’m shooting because when I get to surprise their children and get the smile or cute expression- it is usually the case that the parents are talking and/or looking somewhere else.   Being a photographer and planning our photo session this September, I need to remember this myself.

Be present in the moment, relax, play and be yourselves.  If your child or children aren’t being the little angels you hoped for the picture, roll with it!  Let the photographer do their job.  Also, if the parents are happy and relaxed, enjoying the experience, so will their kids…it’s also those moments between the “planned” shots that in my opinion end up being the families favorite memories of the day and year.

Thank you for coming with me on this journey.  I am grateful for my past clients (Oregon and California) who have welcomed me into their family and inturn, become part of mine.  And to those whom I look forward to the privilege of spending time with you, capturing these moments, memories and character you are blessed to call your family.  Happy Fall!

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