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First Birthday Portraits | Carlisle, MA

One of the big pleasures of this job (of which there are many) is that I get to watch babies grow into children, and families grow.  When I first met M & R, R was pregnant.  We decided to shoot their maternity session at Great Brook Dairy Farm — a spot not too far from their home where they liked to go watch the animals and eat ice cream, and they hoped it would become a favorite of their child’s as well.  When baby O was born, I photographed him in their home, and at his 6 month session we chose to go to their local library since it was too cold to be outdoors, and O loved the library.  For O’s first birthday session, M & R asked if we could go back to Great Brook Dairy Farm where it all began.  I loved the symbolism, and it turned out it would be O’s first trip there.  We had a lovely time going back to the spots we’d shot at last spring, and O was delighted to discover the rocks on one of the paths and made it known he had strong opinions on where those rocks should be placed (he amassed quite the collection on my wooden box prop).   It’s been such a joy to get to watch O grow from a tiny squish to a smiley, happy almost-toddling boy.   Here are a few of my favorites from the morning:


Baptism Portraits | Medford, MA

It was such a privilege to be asked to photograph such a special day for this family.  Baby L was baptized at St. Joseph Parish in Medford on Sunday afternoon.  Her grandfather is a deacon, and he performed the ceremony, which added an extra personal touch.  It was wonderful to see such a happy family gathered, with godparents coming from as far away as California for the occasion.  Here are a few highlights from the event and family portraits beforehand:


9 Month Milestone Portraits | Boston, MA

On a personal note, today started in a very difficult way with a funeral for a long-time friend of mine.  As many people commented on during the service, she was nothing if not silly.  It seemed fitting, therefore, to head to a 9 month milestone session afterwards — 9 month olds are, for sure some of the silliest of babies.  Baby C, who I’ve been photographing since he was a tiny newborn, was all about tables today — climbing under them, peeking through them and over all experimenting with gravity.  He’s also *well* into the cruising stage, which was a lot of fun to document!  After spending some times playing inside, we went out to enjoy the beautiful garden C’s mother works so hard on.  C had a good time feeling the tickle of the grass and tasting the clover.


Newborn Portraits | Brookline, MA

Newborn portrait sessions for first children are a whole different ballgame from newborn sessions with older siblings involved.   I love both, but one of my favorite parts of newborn sessions with siblings is getting to engage the older kids.  Big brother J was hoot — he gave me a great concert on his guitar which I loved, and he was incredibly sweet with his baby brother (something that is not at all guaranteed!)   Here is a little taste of their session:


Family Portraits | North End | Boston, MA

What a gorgeous evening we had, and what a treat to get to head up to the rooftop with this family!  These two little guys had fun running around and showing me all the fun they can have on the roof deck of their apartment building.  After a little while, the kids needed a change of scenery and we went down to street level where there were lovely streetscapes and lots of wonderful open shade.   Here are a few of my favorites:


6 Month Milestone Portrait | Middlesex Fells | Stoneham, MA

When a client contacts me looking to do a portrait session outdoors, I always explain that the most flattering light is generally found within two hours of sunrise or sunset.  Some times of year, this lends itself nice to reasonably-timed sessions.  June gets a little tough with such long days, but I find with babies, it can be a huge advantage since often babies get up super early anyway.  Baby J was ready to go for his 6am portrait session the other day, and we had a lovely time exploring the nearby Middlesex Fells.  His family has just moved to a lovely house a short walk from one of the trails, and his parents hope it will become a family favorite activity to hike there in the years to come.  Here’s a little taste from his portrait session:

 


Newborn Portraits | Arlington, MA

What  a delight to meet Baby T and his parents the other day.  T was bright eyed and curious about the world around him.  There’s something about babies — it’s hard to resist making things for them. As a knitter myself, I absolutely love seeing the wonderful items made with so much love for them: hats, blankets, quilts, sweaters, special toys and more. It’s so nice to be able to incorporate something so personal and made with so much love.  At this session, I was delighted to see an amazing alphabet quilt made by Baby T’s grandmother. What a privilege to get to document him with it at the very beginning.  Here are some of my favorites from this session:


MommyBites Mothers’ Day Party | Event Portraits Booth | Newton, MA

It’s always a pleasure to work with MommyBites for one of their events.  For their Mothers’ Day party this year, it was a real treat to get to take portraits of moms and their babies.  Even in a really busy room, it was obvious how much these little ones adore their mothers, and it was really a privilege to get to capture that.  One of my very favorite moments was when two moms came up and asked if I could take their picture together, without their children.  They are neighbors, and an important part of each other’s support system — how could I possibly say no to that?  Here are a few of my favorites from the day, along with some shots of the sample class Little Beats gave for all the attendees.


Family Portraits | Wayland, MA

One of my favorite parts about this job is getting to see new places.  Wayland, MA is not a town I’d spent much time in, but it was just gorgeous driving in through back roads enjoying the scenery.   This was a special session I was heading to — extended family in from near and far to celebrate a baptism.  It was obvious from the minute I walked in the door that this was a family that enjoyed spending each other’s company, and was excited to celebrate two of its youngest members.  We had such a fun time playing in their yard, and even their dogs came out to join the fun.  When the kids needed a change of scenery, we headed inside for some more groupings and some more relaxed play.   Here’s a little peek at their session:


Business Portraits | Arlington, MA

What a gorgeous day to be out in the sunshine.  I had such a nice time with Melanie as we explored the Town Gardens and the beautiful garden at her law office.  The flowers were out in full-force and even in the middle of the day we were able to find some lovely open shade.


Spring Tween Portraits | Arlington, MA

What a treat to get to spend an evening with this lovely young lady.  I love tween sessions — just grown up enough to not be a little kid anymore, but not quite an adult — it’s such a great, fun age!  And spring is such a fun time to be outdoors with the flowers and the warmer weather and just the feeling of freedom after a long winter.  When I do portrait sessions with teens and tweens I love hearing all about what they’re up to in school, what they do for fun with their friends, and what they’re really proud of.  This girl had recently bought herself some new shoes she loves (pictured below!), with her own money, and the pride she had in that was palpable.


Event Photography | Cambridge, MA | Greater Boston Interfaith Organization

It was my great pleasure to get to work with GBIO to photograph an event that is part of their latest endeavor “Out of Many, One” — a teach-in and solidarity event with the greater Boston Muslim community.  The event took place at First Church, Cambridge in Harvard Square and was very well-attended.  There were two panels of speakers who educated the attendees about how recent events have affected the Muslim community here in our city.  The speakers spoke movingly and passionately.   After the speakers, there was a time for attendees to talk in small groups with facilitators about what they heard and their reactions.  As I left the event I heard one attendee turn to another an comment that she hadn’t realized just how much recent events and policies were having a local effect, so she was glad she went to the event.

 


Business Portraits with Pepperlane | Lexington, MA

Last week it was my great pleasure to get to work with seven amazing businesswomen in conjunction with Pepperlane, a new website based out of Lexington, MA.  Pepperlane is “a community of mothers building businesses on our own terms.” and it seems to be taking off like wildfire — it seems every other week I’m hearing about them from someone new in a different part of my life.  I joined a few months ago, and was thrilled when they asked if I’d be interested in working with them to get fantastic business portraits of some of their members to enhance their profiles on the site.   Over the course of two half days, Pepperlane’s director of community outreach and I travelled around to business owners’ homes and places of business to capture them and get some images to really convey what they do.  It was a treat to get to meet such a wide range of people in such a short time!  They ranged from professional organizers to a writer, to an accountant, natural healer, personal stylist, and decorator and I loved hearing all about what they all do and what drives them.

Here are some of my favorites to give you a taste of what we got up to:


{Sneak Peek} Twin Newborn Portraits | Arlington, MA

After a busy week filled with business portraits (more on them in a separate post!) a newborn twin portrait session was a lovely change of pace.  These two boys, A&M were 14 days old, and could not possibly have been sweeter.    Their grandmother is visiting to help out, and I took an opportunity to bring her in for a quick portrait as well — she was holding baby A in a blanket she had made for him (one for baby M is in progress).    I love getting to include grandparents, and as a knitter myself, I can’t resist a beautiful handknit 🙂  Here are some of my favorite images from the session:


Preparing for Your Mini-Session | Spring 2017

With Spring mini-sessions just a week away, I wanted to make a few suggestions for how to prepare so things will go as smoothly as possible.  If you have a friend interested in signing up, there are very few slots left.  The signup is here.

Weather With our beautiful indoor space at Ready, Set, KIDS, sessions will take place rain or shine.  If it ends up raining, it can be helpful to make sure you have an umbrella so hair doesn’t get messed up on the way in.

Arrive on time.  Sessions are scheduled back to back.  Please plan to arrive 5-10 minutes early to get settled so we can get started right on time.

What should I wear?  I think the primary consideration for clothing for a photoshoot is that you should be comfortable and feel good about yourself in the clothes you’re wearing.   The guidelines below are for families, but the same basic principals apply for individuals and couples as well.

Beyond that, there are certainly some guidelines that can help if you are so inclined to seek out guidelines.   First of all, it can help to coordinate without matching among the members of your group — so maybe you’re all wearing similar colors, or the parents are wearing similar tones while the kids wear a complementary pattern.  Or the parents (or one parent) wears a nice pattern while the kids wear solids.  I do recommend avoiding graphics if at all possible, since they tend to both be distracting and not age as well as solids and patterns.  When you’re considering colors, it can be helpful to think about where you might display these photos — does your decor tend towards jewel tones, or neutrals?  For a really classic look, it can be helpful to stick with basics for most of your look, but add some pizazz with some flashier jewelry, or a jacket.

The space we’ll be in has a light blue wall color, so please keep that in mind when choosing your outfits.  (the images on this post are all from the space we’ll be in).

 

Most all, though, just remember — if it’s something you feel good in, you’ll be more comfortable and relaxed for your session and we’ll get more “real” smiles and emotion — so don’t sweat the wardrobe too much.

How can I prepare my kids?  Depending on the age(s) of your child(ren), it can be helpful to talk to them ahead of time about what’s going to happen, so
they’re aware and prepared.  Please make sure as much as possible that children (and adults!) are well-fed (hungry people are cranky people), and well-rested.  I strongly recommend *against* using electronics to keep kids happy during the session — I find it’s often hard to pull their attention away from the screen once its been given.  For a small child who might be nervous in front of the camera, it can be helpful to let me know ahead of time what sorts of things they like (really into Elmo?  Dinosaurs?  Outer space?  etc) and what sorts of tricks YOU find work well for them — you know your child best!  Once we’re in the middle of the session, it’s very helpful if the adults can keep the pose I’ve given while I take over the kid-wrangling so that when that perfect moment happens for the kids, everyone else is ready!  Most importantly, it helps if the adults in the room can remain relaxed!

Image Delivery.All sessions will be delivered by an online gallery.  The digital images are high resolution and you will also have a print release to print where you prefer.  The wonderful thing about the gallery is it’s also connected to my professional printing lab so that you can order prints through my lab if you prefer.   I will post a sneak peek on my Facebook page within a few days of the mini-session event.

 

As always, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions you may have!

 


{Sneak Peek} Birthday Celebration | Chelmsford, MA

What a treat to get to celebrate H. again this year — such a big girl now at six!   This year was a penguin theme, and apparently someone sent a message to the weather about it, because it was a chilly 17 degrees when I arrived.  The kids had a great time playing inside with cardboard “igloo” blocks, pin-the-nose-on-the-penguin, “feed the penguin” bean bag toss, and more.


{Announcement} Big Changes Coming to Mira Whiting Photography

You spoke, and I listened.  Big changes are coming to Mira Whiting Photography this spring.  I’m so excited to be announcing that going forward I will be working with a different pricing structure which I hope will serve you and your needs better. I will be switching to an all-inclusive model, where your session fee will include 20 fully-edited high-resolution images delivered digitally.  You will have an online gallery, making it easier to share with far-flung friends and family.

Those are some pretty big changes, but what ISN’T changing?  I will still:

  • Be available to you for pre-session consultations so we can discuss exactly what you’re looking for, as well as wardrobe and location options.
  • Be available to advise you on how to best print your images so you’ll be able to enjoy them for generations.
  • Provide professional printing options, which use archival materials and will best-present the work I do.
  • Always provide personalized service that fits YOUR family’s particular needs.

{Tips} Get organized! Organizing your digital photos

 

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We all know the feeling — your kid is doing something ridiculous or adorable (or both!) and you pull out your phone to snap a quick picture of it only to get an error message — no more space!  Or you carefully put everything on your computer, but then your hard-drive fails.   Or you need to use some pictures for a project and can’t find that picture you know would be just PERFECT because you don’t have a good filing system.  And while the problem of thousands and thousands of images to sift through is exacerbated by the ease of taking so many images with digital photography, most of the tips below would apply just as well to the shoebox of photos you’ve been meaning to sort through since your days taking pictures with film.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of teaching a photo organization class at Diaper Lab in Davis Square.  There were a bunch of people who were interested in the class, but weren’t able to make that particular time.  I’m hoping to do the class again in the future, but in the mean time, here are some tips to get you started on your organization journey.

Culling ~  A Vital First Step

Culling — a nice way of saying that you’re deleting the images you don’t need, is absolutely vital before you get started with any other aspect of organizing your photos.  It’s hard, but it’s really important to let go of the idea that every image is precious.  If too many images are cluttering up your digital space, you won’t be able to easily retrieve the ones that truly make your heart sing.  What should you get rid of?

  • Duplicates — with rapid-fire shutters, you can take a dozen images in a matter of seconds.  Pick the best of the series and chuck the rest (or if it’s a truly entertaining series, with your child making different expressions, for instance, pick at most three).
  • Blurry/out of focus images — keep only the images that you will want to look at and best show what you’re trying to remember.  If it’s too blurry, you won’t even remember what it’s a picture of in a few years!
  • “Postcard pictures” —  When I go on vacation, before I take a picture of the scene before me, I ask “is there something unique about this?  Could I buy a postcard of this exact same thing?  If the answer to that second question is yes, it’s not worth taking your own — just buy the postcard!   Focus your pictures on the things that you will want to remember about the trip — your loved ones in the location, doing things together, the people you meet (Ok, this is totally my bias a portrait photographer showing, but I still think it’s a valid point!).
  • Think — will I want to see this in 25 years?  If the answer is no, don’t hesitate to delete!

You can make exceptions — one of my all-time favorite pictures of my middle son is a bit out of focus and I kept it anyway since it was such a perfect capture of him at that age — but make them rare so you can really focus on organizing the images you really want to keep.

Filing — Where do you put it all?

Once you’ve culled, the question then becomes how to keep track of what you’ve kept.  Most people use a theme-based (“Our family vacation” “Jacob’s birthday party”) or chronological-based (“2017 pictures”) or some combination thereof  (“2017: January: Family Vacation”).  Figure out how your brain likes to retrieve information and go for it!  The important thing is to be consistent.

Start with your images going forward, and then spend 10-20 minutes a day or so working on filing your older images according to your new system — you don’t have to do it all in one go.

Printing — Why? What? How?

  • Why Print? Why not just keep everything as a digital file?  Digital files are fundamentally not archival — it’s incredibly easy to have files become corrupted, or for media to become obsolete.
    • I like to tell the story at this point of my own wedding photos — we got them on CD.   I recently purchased a new computer, and realized that none of the laptops I was looking at had an optical drive.  I was incredibly glad I’d made a printed album of our favorite wedding images so I can enjoy them for decades, and my grandchildren will be able to as well even without the ability to read that CD.
    • Hard drive failures are also fairly common.  If you’re very lucky your files may be recoverable, but as one of the families who attended the class found out recently, it can cost thousands of dollars to go through that process (and it’s often not possible at all).  The mom who was telling me this story was horrified that she could have lost all the pictures of her children’s early years to that hard drive failure.  You can back up, but nothing is as archival as acid-free paper.
    • Aside from the loss of your images entirely, there is also the issue of visibility.  You should be able to enjoy looking at your photos!  Just tucked away on your computer they aren’t visible the way they are on a wall or in an album.  If you have children, there have also been some studies about visible family photos helping to boost children’s self-esteem, and I know I’ve seen that in my own family:  my kids will often request a photo album as a nap or bedtime story — they love seeing themselves in the pictures and hearing our family’s story and their part in it.
  • What to print?  The two most common things to print are pictures for your wall or albums — which you pick will depend on which you prefer and how much space you have — there isn’t a right or wrong answer here!
  • How to print?  It’s so overwhelming!
    • For the wall:  Every month or two, go through your images (after you’ve culled!) to pick a few favorites.  Put those favorites in a folder, and go through them deciding what to print and  what sizes at the end of the year — you’ll only have a couple of dozen images to choose from rather than hundreds, so it’ll be a much quicker process.
    • Albums:  Similar in theory to the wall prints strategy — every month or two take 20-30 minutes and do that month’s pages in an album for the year (many online album makers allow you to save your work over time).  When you get to the end of the year, you’ll just have December pictures to put in, and then you’ll have your album for the year done.
    • For both of these the real trick is to do it a little bit at a time throughout the year so it feels less overwhelming.  Several of the attendees at the class last most mentioned that they felt overwhelmed going back and printing out their old pictures — start this way going forward and take 20 minutes a few times a week to start working backwards to the older pictures — you’ll get it done eventually if you chunk it into manageable pieces!

I hope this is helpful!  Please stay tuned for more tips, and news on when the class might run again!


{Sneak Peek} Sisters | Belmont, MA

One of my favorite parts of this job is getting to see kids grow up.  Two years ago, I had the pleasure of photographing T. as a newborn, and it was such a treat to get to spend some time with her yesterday and see how she’s grown into a such a sweet two year old!  I especially loved getting to see her as a big sister to baby I. — giving kisses, sharing a book.   Here’s a little peek at their session:

 


{Sneak Peek} Newborn Baby Girl | Winchester, MA

It was my great pleasure to get to photograph baby C and her parents today.  She was so alert most of the time, and I just loved watching her take everything in.  She was a good sport about being moved all around, though she definitely let her opinions be known!  She is such a sweet little baby, and I can’t wait to show her parents the rest of this set soon, but here’s a little peek to get started with:


{Sneak Peek} Cousins! |Arlington, MA

What grandparent doesn’t love pictures of their grandchildren, right?  Even more of a treat, especially for grandparents of far-flung grandchildren is a portrait of all of their grandchildren together.   Almost exactly six years ago, my own family did an extended family portrait session when we were all together for the first time since my sister-in-law’s wedding (and some of us hadn’t even been part of the family then, never mind all the kids!).   The images from that session are treasured by the entire family (my husband is one of five kids, so there are a lot of us).  Especially precious, given how far away we all are and how infrequently we manage to all get together is the shot of all of the grandchildren (up to that point — there have been quite a few additions since!).  It’s such a joy for me to help other families create treasure memories like that for their own families.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of helping a family create just such a gift, not for a grandmother, but a great-grandmother.  Ranging in age from two months to eight years, this was quite the crew of cousins!  Here’s a little peek, and I can’t wait to show more after their viewing session in January!


{Sneak Peek} Business Portrait | Arlington, MA

New England weather sure is a roller coaster — single digits on Friday, 6″ of snow and slush on Saturday, almost 60 on Sunday and back to 20 on Monday!  With all that, we opted for an indoor headshot session this morning.  For a nice headshot, it’s hard to beat a wood-panelled room with enormous windows and a cloudy sky for nice diffuse light!  Here’s a little peek — can’t wait to show the rest soon!


{Sneak Peek} Snowy Portraits | Newton, MA

What a beautiful snowy morning we had today!  On the way to this session I kept a mental tally in my head of which towns had cleared the roads the best — Brookline was by far the winner, with Boston coming in second and Arlington, Belmont , and Watertown distantly tied for third.  It’s funny how weather is all relative — with yesterday being largely in the single-digits, today’s 25 degree weather almost felt balmy!  Nevertheless, after taking some shots at the scenic Larz Anderson park in Brookline, we headed back to this family’s home to warm up and get some shots of them in their new home.  Here’s a little peek at their session, and I can’t wait to show some more soon!


{Specials} Snow Day Portraits this Winter!

Let it snow!  As I write this, the season’s first real snow fall is taking place outside my window.  I don’t know about you, but I *love* snow.  I like building snowmen, I like snowshoeing, and I even like shoveling (ok, I realize that last bit is a bit weird — but it’s good exercise and such a nice way to hang out with neighbors!).   One of the things I love most about the snow though is that it has a certain magical quality — sparkling as it falls from the sky, its effect on sound, and of course, its reflective qualities (I’m a photographer — I like light!).   Snow can be elegant; snow can really showcase some of the great joy in our lives.   So I’m going to be offering Snow Day Portraits this winter — perfect for almost any type of session you might have in mind, but because of the nature of the weather (and that we want beautiful pristine snow) scheduled by necessity at the last minute.

How will it work?

Step 1:  Sign up for the wait list by sending me an email here (link).

Step 2: When there’s snow in the forecast, I’ll email the waitlist to see who might be interested in a portrait session.  The location of the session will depend on the amount of snow we get.  As a default, sessions will take place at the Arlington Reservoir, where there is stunning scenery all year round, but especially beautiful in the snow.  Road conditions permitting, I may be able to travel to you.

Step 3:  In order to claim the snow day slot, you’ll need to complete a portrait session contract (link).   As a snow day special, your entire session fee will be applied to your purchase of any print or digital products you choose at your viewing & ordering session.  You may view complete product pricing in the Welcome Guide (link).

Step 4: We’ll have a great time in the snow, and get some gorgeous portraits you can enjoy for years to come!

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{Sneak Peek} Emily & Eric | Cozy Family Session | Cambridge, MA

Wow, how did it get to be December all ready?  The days are getting shorter, and much chillier.  Winter can be a fantastic time to do cozy family sessions in your home, and I had the pleasure this morning of working with Emily and Eric and their son — we managed to get the best of both worlds, spending some time outside at the beginning of our time together, and then heading indoors when little A started getting cold.  He cheered right up when he was cozy in his familiar space, and loved showing me all his toys!   Tower building, reading books, and playing around were all great opportunities to capture this family how they are at this moment in their lives.  Here’s a little peek at their session:

 


{Special Event} First Lights in Arlington Center | Family Portrait Opportunity

This time of year is dark.  A friend recently commented to me at 5:30pm “It feels like midnight!”  So let’s bring some light in.  Join me this Thursday, December 1 for the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s First Lights event in Whittemore Park (in front of the Jefferson Cutter House)  starting at 6pm.  The event will be co-hosted by the Chamber and the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum. The event will include the lighting of the trees, family portraits (by yours truly) with the lights, musical entertainment, activities at the museum, a live ice sculpture demonstration and community sing-a-long!  There will also be collection boxes for the Arlington Food Pantry and Toys for Tots will be placed in the Jefferson Cutter Gallery.

Even with tonight’s rain, the lights added some joy to the evening, for sure, and there will be even more on Thursday!  I’ll be taking family portraits at special event rates (link) — perfect for your holiday card!

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{Sneak Peek} Baby O ~ Six Months | Chelmsford, MA

There are lots of reasons I love doing “Baby’s First Year” milestone packages, but the best for me is getting to see babies go from tiny sleepy newborns to babies with big personalities all their own.  I last saw Baby O back in June for his newborn session, and I was delighted to get to spend some time with him (and his parents!) again today.  This little guy is full of energy and seems just so delighted to be able to sit up and chew on things (he’s a big fan of Sandra Boynton books already — he clearly has good taste!).   Here are some of my favorites:

 


{Sneak Peek} Boston City Singers Training Chorus | Cambridge, MA

This week has been a tough one.  There has been so much horrific divisiveness and lack of basic respect displayed all across our nation, and this evening’s shoot with Boston City Singers was a glorious antidote to all of that.  This is an organization that prides itself on its diversity (on many axes) and inclusiveness, as well as a social justice mission of bringing high-level  musical training to children who might not otherwise have access to that.  Listening to children singing about celebration and joy and freedom was a wonderful balm.

Here are some highlights from my time with them today:


{Sneak Peek} Foliage Visit | Boston, MA

What a treat today to meet this family who came all the way from Texas to experience autumn in New England!  We had a gorgeous day at the Arnold Arboretum, which ended up being fun even for the most reluctant in the family 🙂 Here’s a little peek, and I can’t wait to show them the full set soon!

 


{Sneak Peek} Baby E | Arlington, MA

What a treat to get to meet baby E yesterday afternoon!  He’s two weeks old, and slept like a dream, though we also had some great awake baby time as well — especially nice to see him making such good eye contact with big sister J — so sweet!  Here’s a peek at his session:


{Sneak Peek} A blustery day, a cozy indoor session | Somerville, MA

While yesterday turned into a gorgeous, sunny Fall day, the morning was pretty blustery, especially atop Prospect Hill in Somerville.  After a few outdoor shots at this family’s local park, we decamped to their house for a cozy finish to the session.  O., their three year old, told me all about space, and showed me one of his favorite books — a counting book with lots of marbles!  Baby L.  was super charming with his big eyes and bright smile.  Here’s a little peek at their session:

 


{Sneak Peek} Library Time! | Cambridge, MA

I will be totally honest with you — most photographers I know live in dread of rain on a Fall weekend — this is our busy season, and especially here in New England, nothing says “family photos” quite like the backdrop of stunning foliage, right?  One reason I don’t dread rainy day family sessions is that, again, if I’m honest, one of my very favorite spots is the Cambridge Public Library in Harvard Square.  This newly renovated space is just full of beautiful light and enormous windows (so even on really bad weather days you can get a taste of being outdoors), and the children’s room has lots of little nooks to explore and so many options for things to do and settings for photos.  Best of all, I’m pretty much guaranteed a happy kid — as far as kids are concerned, they’re just at the library to hang out, be read to, and play, and I just play at being a fly on the wall to capture their joy with their family.

Today’s rainy day session at the library was so much fun, with books about trains, building towers with blocks, and a child who spends so much time at the library that he was greeted by name by the librarians when we walked it (which I love — the photos I took today will truly preserve an important part of this family’s history).   Here are some of my favorites!

 


{Sneak Peek} Boston City Singers Kodály Singing Class | Cambridge, MA

It was my pleasure yesterday to get the chance to photograph the Cambridge Kodály singing classes run by Boston City Singers.  These classes, taught by Wendy Silverberg, who also directs the Cambridge Children’s Chorus (part of Boston City Singers), were full of energy, and enthusiasm, and it was just a joy to watch the children as they learned, and had fun doing it!

Here’s a small taste:


{Sneak Peek} Carla & Luis | Brookline, MA

What a gorgeous, perfect Fall morning we had yesterday!  The sun was shining, the air was crisp but warm, and the foliage at Larz Anderson park in Brookline was stunning.  What a perfect morning to spend with Carla and Luis and their two little boys, who kept us all on our toes and running!   Prior to their portrait session, Carla mentioned that one of the reasons they wanted to have portraits taken of their family was to document their closeness, and how they enjoy the outdoors together, and that was all abundantly clear throughout their session — there was just such joy for them in being together on a beautiful day.  Here are some of my favorites:


{Sneak Peek} Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast : Dedication of memorial quit

This afternoon, I had the privilege of photographing a very powerful, moving event at Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast (MMBNE) — the dedication of a new quilt, made by Milk Bank staffer Raechel Hackney, to honor the babies whose mothers have donated after a loss.   Many families attended the event, some from quite far away; others followed along with the Facebook Live feed, and sent their stories in to be read.   Several of the families in attendance shared their stories with the assembled group as well — all of these stories were an incredible testament to these babies, and how loved they were and still are, as well as the difference their milk has made for countless recipient families.

Amy Anderson was MMBNE’s first donor, donating 92 gallons after the loss of her son Bryson, and she has become and advocate for milk donation, and bereaved families, and is currently working to change the laws about pumping milk to include protections for mothers who wish to pump after the loss of their baby or babies — I was shocked to learn that currently the laws on the books only protect pumping for mothers of living babies — how cruel to not only lose your baby, but also to be told that you cannot pump when you return to work.  The milk these mothers send to non-profit milk banks all over the country makes such a difference in the lives of the recipient babies as well as being a way towards some modicum of healing for the mothers who donate — Amy’s website with more information can be found here.

The quilt itself was an incredible labor of love — Raechel said in her remarks that it took two seasons’ worth of Red Sox games (hey, you know you’re in New England when, right?) to complete, and it is truly a masterpiece, and a beautiful way to honor these babies and keep their memory alive.  Here are some highlights from the event:


{Sneak Peek} A Walk Through History | Cambridge, MA

We couldn’t have asked for more gorgeous Fall weather yesterday afternoon, and Harvard Square in the Fall is particularly stunning with all the brick and turning leaves.  What a treat to get to play fly-on-the-wall for a walking tour of Harvard women’s history with Professor of History at Stonehill College, Linzy Brekke-Aloise and her students.   Prof. Brekke-Aloise’s enthusiasm for her subject was contagious — I know I’m a bit biased because my undergrad degree is in history, but I found the tour fascinating, and I definitely learned a thing or two (which is always one of my favorite parts of business marketing image sessions)!  Here’s a quick peek of the tour, and I can’t wait to show her more soon!

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{Sneak Peek} BWI of Greater Boston Threads Marketplace

What a lovely day celebrating families and babywearing with the wonderful volunteers of Babywearing International of Greater Boston!  Their Threads Marketplace at the Somerville Armory was a great combination of music, active play opportunities for kids, and a marketplace of local vendors — my personal favorite was an artist who took it upon herself to sketch every single subway station in the MBTA system — did you know there are 120 of them?  I didn’t!   Knucklebones set  up in the balcony and had some fantastic ways for the kids at the event to play!  The ball pit was a particularly big hit it looked like!  Here are some highlights:


{Sneak Peek} Arlington Chamber of Commerce 100th Anniversary Gala & Citizen of the Year Award

What a fantastic evening celebrating Arlington’s history and businesses, and its first Citizen of the Year, DeAnne Dupont, of FoodLink.  Menotomy Grill provided delicious food, and local historian Richard Duffy gave an entertaining and fascinating talk about the history of the town’s businesses, and how the Chamber of Commerce came to be established.  Here are some highlights from the evening, along with a little behind-the-scenes shot snapped by Chamber member Kara Washburn!

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{Sneak Peek} Celebrating 80 | Birthday Photography

What a delightful way to ease back into work — a birthday celebration of a wonderful lady!  C turned 80, and had a celebration with her whole extended family to mark the occasion.  It was truly a family affair with the party taking place at the family’s restaurant in Branford, CT.  Old and young alike had a great time, and I’m pleased to get to share some highlights of the day with you!


Welcoming my new assistant, Ezra

A little bit on the late side, but I’d like to introduce my newest assistant, born on August 22 — he’ll be joining me on shoots this Fall cozied up in a wrap. Say hi to Ezra — he’s looking forward to meeting you when I’m back from maternity leave October 1!

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Maternity Leave

July-31

As those of you who subscribe to my monthly newsletter are aware, I will be taking a maternity leave from August 15 – October 1 to care for my third baby, due in late August.   I am excited to get to start shooting again in my very favorite season, Fall!

Please send me a message  if you’d like to put a session for your family or business on my calendar after my leave — now is a perfect time to book a Fall session!  Please be patient if you send a message while I’m on leave — it may take me a little longer than usual to respond.

I’m very much looking forward to hitting the ground running in October when I’m back, and have some exciting events planned — stay tuned for more information!


{Sneak Peek} Arlington Family Connection Fundraiser | Arlington, MA

One of the things I *love* about my job is being able to give back to the community.  Arlington Family Connection is a fantastic organization in my town which provides programming for families with children 0-6.   I’m very excited to be doing a fundraiser mini-session day for them in May 2017 at Ready, Set, Kids in Arlington Center, and today I had the treat of heading there to take some images to use for publicizing the fundraiser.

Here’s a small peek at our sessions with three families who volunteer their time to help AFC run smoothly — I can’t wait to share more soon!


{Sneak Peek} Cousins | Stow, MA

This heat wave we’ve been in has been pretty brutally hot and humid, but Sunday was a small break from at least the humidity — the evening was particularly lovely.  It was a huge treat to get to spend some time with this extended family.  After getting shots of all the formal groupings of the grandparents with everyone, and with individual families, we had time to just let loose and play, and it was so much fun watching these cousins have fun together and really enjoy each other’s company.   I loved having a chance to really capture the playful love in this family.

The session involved some impressive acrobatics, lots of silly faces, and a request by one of the younger contingent to be tossed onto the couch as a reward for cooperating for the more formal shots — definitely one of the most fun sessions I’ve ever had!

 


{Sneak Peek} Abigail | First Birthday Portraits | Hollis, NH

This morning I had the great pleasure to photograph little Abigail and her family.  Abigail’s mom was the winner of my Mothers’ Day contest and the timing was perfect, since Abigail celebrated her first birthday just a week ago.

On my way to New Hampshire for this session this morning, I will admit the weather was making me a little nervous!  My trusty weather app had been saying that the rain was supposed to be basically done by 6am, but as I drove through torrential downpours I was definitely skeptical!  Luckily, despite the early heavy rain, it did indeed stop right at 6am — just in time for this session.

Abigail was a good sport as we explored Beaver Brook Reservation — taking advantage of Maple Hill Farm’s beautiful gardens and paths.  Here’s a quick peek at her session:

 


Boston A-List — #5 for Best Portrait Photography

 

Thank you so much to everyone who showed their support and voted for me in the category of Best Portrait Photography for the Boston A-List!   I’m very honored and excited to share that I placed 5th, out of 24 entries in that category.  It’s always my pleasure to help families preserve their most precious memories for generations to come, and to help businesses present themselves visually in the best way possible.

A special thank you to the kind voters who commented on my work:

“Her subjects look so relaxed, not conscious of being photographed, just going about their daily lives. Her photos of children are especially beautiful.” — cskier

“Beautiful fractions of time that tell a much longer story of each person and family.” — Fletcher W.

“Great eye for children” — Dianne C.

“Mira is talented, thoughtful, and compassionate, you will love her and cherish her work forever.” — Desiree D.


{Sneak Peek} Baby Oliver | Billerica, MA

Back in April, I shot a maternity session with little Oliver’s parents, and it was such a treat to finally get to meet him yesterday!  Mom and Dad both have hobbies they’re passionate about, and it was a special treat to get to incorporate several of them into the session — from beautiful handknits, to plush board game pieces, to science and math books for babies, to a swaddling blanket with a pattern that served as a nod to the square dance club the family is a part of, this was a session brimming with personalized touches.

One thing I love about newborn sessions is the hunt for good light — in each house, there is a different spot that has the best, most flattering light, and it’s kind of fun to see where that spot is in each one.  In some, it’s the living room, some it’s the dining room or kitchen, for some it’s the nursery or the master bedroom.  In this house, there was a fantastic skylight over a staircase landing big enough to set up on!  Every house has its spot!

Here’s a taste of Oliver’s session!


{Sneak Peek} A Very Special Baby Shower | Boston, MA

Yesterday I had the privilege of photographing a beautiful baby shower for a beautiful mother-to-be.  Throughout the event were such lovely, personal touches, from the food to the gifts.

The food was a joint effort of the mother-to-be’s community — a salad made by one childhood friend, a pie made by another, cupcakes made by two close family friends, homemade rolls by one of the grandmothers-to-be — and that just scratches the surface.

When it came time for gift-opening, personal touches were again evident all around, from handknit sweaters for the baby, to two gifts that were particularly tied to childhood experiences of the father-to-be — a hobby horse he had played with as a child, and which had been passed around the extended family, and a very special stuffed rabbit of the same variety dad-to-be had loved when he was a boy.

Here’s a little peek at this very special celebration:


Nominated for the Boston A-List!

Hello, dear readers!  I am so excited to announce that I have been nominated for Best Portrait Photographer through the Boston A-List.   I’m incredibly honored that I was nominated, and I would love your support — voting is taking place here through June 12th.  Please help spread the word to your friends, as well, if you’re so inclined!

 


{Sneak Peek} Summer is here! | Arlington, MA

Yesterday was one of the hottest days I can remember in over thirty years of living in the Greater Boston area.   The heat and humidity were oppressive (and the weather forecast on thunderstorms in the middle of the scheduled session changed every half hour).   This fantastic family braved the heat and humidity (and it was “down” to a slightly cooler 92 degrees by the start of the session) for some fun family portraits.

I absolutely love when clients suggest a location that has some special meaning to them.  There are dozens of beautiful options for on-location shoots around Arlington and surrounding towns, and I have a long list I can suggest if a client is looking for ideas.  But there’s something really special about doing a portrait session where a family has spent significant amounts of time as a family — somewhere that is really special to them, and when they look at their portraits on the wall or in an album will remind them of more than just this one tiny sliver of time.

For this family, Menotomy Rocks Park is just such a special place.  “We practically lived here when the kids were little,” said mom, Shana.  And it was very clear that the children also had a strong affinity for this lovely park right in the heart of Arlington — looking for frogs in the pond, playing on the playground.   And the whole family’s connection was clear as they greeted friends throughout the shoot who were there with their own families enjoying the beautiful outdoors.  I know this history and community will help this family treasure these portraits even more, which makes my heart sing!  Here’s a quick taste from their session:

 


{Sneak Peek} High-Energy Family Session | Lexington, MA

After a week of rain, the forecast for yesterday evening was still a little iffy — the chance of rain was low, but it was definitely there.  It’s also gotten pretty hot all of a sudden (thanks, New England weather!) but last night there was a lovely breeze keeping us cool at Chiesa Farm in Lexington.   With just the right mix of sun and clouds for lovely even, flattering light, we had a fantastic family session with a family of four including two high-energy girls who had lots of fun ideas — the older sister wants to take photography classes, and I think she’d be great!

 

 


{Tripod Tuesday} Practicing What I Preach

I spend my working life helping other families understand the value of the printed image for their children, and those children’s children.  And I particularly spend a fair amount of time convincing reluctant parents, moms often in particular, to get in front of the camera either on their own or with their children.  I explain that these images will be treasured by those children.  I usually manage to convince them 🙂

You know what I’m not so great about?  Getting in front of the camera myself.  I have lots of gorgeous, funny, poignant, name-your-adjective images of my own children.  I have lots of pictures of them with my husband, their dad, and with their grandparents and other important people in their lives.  I make a point of it!  And I always get them printed, just like I encourage my clients to do.   But there are hardly any pictures of me, their mother, with them.  I think I could count on one hand the number that have been taken in the last year.

I’m currently expecting my third child, due in August, and I will say that in many ways, much as we are excited about this new baby coming into our lives, it can be a lot harder than it was when I was pregnant with the others to take the time and really focus on this baby, this pregnancy.

Sunday I had a maternity mini-session, and I decided that I would bring along my tripod in case there was still a little light left after I was all done with taking the clients’ images.  The light was fading quickly, but there was just enough to get this self-portrait — a moment in time where I am focusing on the baby, and my hopes and dreams for him.  Some time just for the two of us.

This image will be printed, and it will be something I treasure, and I hope he (and maybe his children) will treasure.  And I’m so glad I took the time to get in front of the camera for once — that was my Mothers’ Day gift to myself.

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Preparing for your Maternity Session

Baby Bump LovePregnancy is a time of enormous anticipation — excitement, yes, also sometimes accompanied by some worry about what life will be like after baby arrives.  Often, moms also may feel not only wonder at what their body is accomplishing in growing a new human being, but also may be a little uncomfortable with the changes in their appearance.  I love helping moms embrace the beauty in pregnancy, and to see themselves as truly beautiful.  This is a fleeting stage — soon (though I understand at times it might not seem soon enough!) you will be holding your baby outside your body and the next stage will have begun.

I especially love doing maternity mini-sessions as a complimentary part of my Bump & Baby package —  I find it helps to get to know each other a bit before the newborn session, if possible.  To help prepare for your maternity session, I’ve put together this guide — please let me know, of course, if you have any additional questions!

When in pregnancy should my maternity session be scheduled for?

Generally you want to aim for a maternity portrait session between 30-36 weeks of pregnancy.  That being said, you know your body the best, and if you are feeling like an earlier session might be more to your liking, we can absolutely do that.  Later than 36 weeks, the big concern is that portrait session may end up being pre-empted by delivery of the baby, but if you are late in your pregnancy and would like to try to squeeze maternity portraits in before you have your baby, I am very happy to work with you if I have space on my schedule and your baby is willing to accommodate!

Who should attend the maternity session?

Most moms find that they want their partner, and older children if they have them, to attend the portrait session — it can be a nice chance to capture your family as it is right now before adding a new member.  Many moms also choose, even if they do have older children, to do a session with just them and their partner, focusing on the two of them as a couple before a new baby is added to the mix.  There are also lots of moms who want the focus of the maternity session to just be on them, and they come on their own — I love those sessions too!  So, basically, what it comes down to is that it all depends on what you want out of these portraits.  If you are bringing children, I recommend you take a look at my Family Session Prep Guide for ideas to maximize the children’s cooperation and patience.

Where should our session take place?

All of my portrait sessions take place on location, whether that’s at your home, your favorite park, or another outdoor spot.  If you have a favorite spot, that’s always my go-to, since I think it helps personalize the session some and make it even more special for your family.  If you don’t, though, no worries!  I have a whole list of locations I love, and we can chat about what will work best for you!

What should I/we wear?

For maternity portraits, you will want to wear something that will show off your belly’s roundness.  There are lots of ways to do this, so pick something that fits you and your style!  Generally, an outfit with shape, but which doesn’t cling too tightly will give us the most options.  Dresses can be nice, as can a more casual look with pants and a shirt.  A cardigan, or a large button-down shirt can also be a fun way to showcase your new shape!   The most important thing is to wear something you feel confident in.

As for colors and coordinating outfits between family members, I will point you at the clothing portion of the Family Session Prep Guide.

What should we bring?

It’s up to you whether or not you’d like to include any
props or special mementos in your session.  Some families like to include an ultrasound printout, or a special stuffed animal, or a little pair of shoes if you already have one.  Many other families opt to not use props and that’s fine too — it’s entirely up to you!  If you’re thinking about bringing something, let me know, and I’ll try to find a way to incorporate it into your portraits!


{Sneak Peek} Maternity Mini | Carlisle, MA

What a gorgeous evening to be enjoying the great outdoors!  I had a fantastic time with Mike & Rebecca at Great Brook Dairy Farm this evening.   This gorgeous state park is a place this couple already loves to go for ice cream and to visit the animals, and I’m sure it will be a favorite spot for their child as well.

We had lovely golden hour light, and I can’t wait to show them the rest of their images!  Even more, I can’t wait to meet their little one in June!

 


{Sneak Peek} Twin Toddlers! | Family Portraits | Somerville, MA

What incredibly sweet little boys!  I have to admit, 1-year-old twins can be a challenge in to photograph — even more so in a shortened session situation like a mini-session.  I was both confident I could get images their parents would be happy with, and a little nervous about what it was going to take to get there.   This morning was chilly, and I know toddlers can be even harder to work with if they’re cold.  Imagine my surprise when they arrived cheery and ready to get going with basically no warm-up period!   These boys ROCKED this session, and were such a joy to work with.  They cheerfully went from one set up to the next, one parent to the next, and were adorably fascinated with the fan for the Diaper Lab building’s heating system.

Here’s a quick peek at their session!

 


{Sneak Peek} It’s All About The Jelly Beans! | Family Portraits | Somerville, MA

While it got warm in the middle of the day, by the last session a chill was creeping in again.  These adorable girls, though, definitely didn’t act like it — all smiles, and cooperation, especially surprising given that they were in (darling!) matching sleeveless dresses.  What was the secret of it all?  They have one smart mama — she brought a little bag of jelly beans for each of them, and they knew they’d get the treat when they were done — bribery doesn’t always work, but this evening it worked like a dream!

Here’s a little peek!


{Sneak Peek} Sister | Family Portraits | Somerville, MA

What a treat this morning to get to hang out with three little girls with a sense of fun.  It was quite chilly, but they warmed up with some running around in the bright sunshine (as L, age 4 said “When I run around in the sun, it helps me stay warm!”).  The girls also had a great time climbing on, over, and through all sorts of things — the wrought iron chairs, the wooden box, my folding stool, and, of course, the tunnel!  Mom got in on the action, and the girls all climbed on HER as she climbed through the tunnel!  So much fun!

Here’s a quick peek at their session!


Preparing for Your Headshot Session

MWP-4A good headshot (or business portrait, since many professionals choose a wider crop these days than the traditional headshot including only head-and-shoulders) can be a powerful asset for you in your professional life, whether you need it for a job search, for a presentation you’re giving, or your website.   Several of my clients have even used their business portraits for online dating!  No matter what your final goal, some preparation before your session can go a long way towards making the whole process smooth, and making sure you’re happy with the resulting images.

Think about your goals for your portraits

What do you want to convey in your images?  It’s ok to go for several different vibes, but if you’re able to think ahead of time of what you want to get across to your audience, it will be a lot easier to get there.  One client mostly wanted to convey a friendly-and-approachable, but still professional look, but she also works in what can be a very tough-going, aggressive profession, so we also got some images for her where she was exuding “bad ass” — it was a lot of fun, and was a huge confidence boost for her!  Another client was job-hunting (and had been for a while) — he really wanted more than anything for his portrait to say “hire me!  I’m easy to work with and competent,” so that was the look we went for.  A tutoring company wanted to make sure that all their employees looked knowledgeable to the parents, but easily relatable to the teens they work with.  What you’re looking for will depend greatly on your industry and your goals!

Clothing, Hair, and Makeup

Ah, the millions dollar question!  What should I wear?  This is something that will depend greatly on your answers to point #1 above — what are you trying to convey?  No matter what, it should be something you feel good in — something that helps you feel confident.  If you are in an industry where suits are standard, it would be a good idea to wear a suit, but if you work in a more casual field, don’t feel like you need to be dressed to the nines just because it’s a business portrait — these images need to represent you and your work.  The most important things to consider, no matter what your outfit, is that it is clean, ironed if necessary, and that it won’t distract the viewer from your gorgeous face.  Wait, how will you know if it meets that last criterion?  Generally you want a solid color, in a shade that’s flattering for you, without busy patterns or distracting graphics (the exception to this is that if you wear a uniform for work, the company logo is an asset rather than a liability).  Choosing something simple, and then accessorizing to provide some pizazz is a great choice since it gives us lots of options during your session — with and without your snazzy jacket or scarf, or statement necklace or earrings.  It helps give variety without having to change your entire outfit.

Once your outfit and accessories are settled, it’s time to think about your hair, and, for women, makeup should you choose to wear it.  These are, of course, all very personal decisions, which will ultimately reflect parts of who you are, and what you want to show the world.  If you are getting a haircut, it can be helpful to do so 1-2 weeks ahead of your session so it has time to settle in.  I don’t recommend trying a drastically new hairstyle the day of the shoot — aim for something tried and true which you are comfortable with and confident in.  Likewise on the makeup front — if you’re someone who never wears makeup, or only wears a minimum, that’s fine!  There’s no need to go all out if that’s not something you normally do.  If that IS something you normally do, go for it!  Get all dolled up and enjoy!

Location

All of my work is done on location.  For many professionals, outdoor business portraits are all the rage, and we have lots of excellent options for outdoor locations to convey a wide variety of moods — urban bMan Professional Outdoor Portraitrick, sophisticated limestone, lush green parks — there are a whole bunch of options!  If outdoor business portraits aren’t really your thing, I also am happy to come to your office space — this can be a great option to showcase your own work!  It’s really entirely up to you what you want to do in terms of location, and I am happy to offer specific guidance for your situation.

Relax and have fun!

Most important of all is this last point — the more you are able to relax and trust the process, the easier it will be.  I promise this doesn’t need to be scary (and let me know if there’s something you’re particularly concerned about so I can make sure to keep it in mind).  One of the nice thing about business portraits is that we get to know one another a bit, laugh, and have fun!  I understand many people believe they are “un-photogenic” but I believe there is no such thing — there is beauty in each person, and I take great joy in bringing that out in images you will love!


{Sneak Peek} Twin Birthday Party | Arlington, MA

What a fun afternoon celebrating with G, A, and their family and friends at the Gibbs Gym in Arlington!  Highlights of the party included playing with all the cozy coupe cars, balls galore, and more, and then sitting down for some delicious cake.  The birthday boys were particularly enthralled with the cake and enjoyed it to the fullest!   Here are some of my favorite shots from the party, including big sister L helping to hand out plates for cake.


{Sneak Peek} Beautiful Day for a Family Session | Somerville, MA

Yesterday I had the privilege of photographing a lovely extended family — we had been worried about the weather, but Mother Nature cooperated, and the sun peeked out from behind the clouds just in time for our session.  It was still a little on the chilly side, but everyone was a good sport about taking jackets off for portraits and quickly putting them back on in between shots 🙂

Here are a few of my favorites!

 


Preparing for Your Family Session

Meadow Family PortraitWorking with families, large and small, is one of my favorite parts of my job!  I love how each family has their own unique personality and way of interacting — no two sessions are ever the same, which helps keep things fun!  Your family session with me is all about capturing your family as you are in this moment and preserving this point in time for your memories decades and generations down the road.   As you prepare for your session, I am very happy to answer any questions as they come up.  Many times, I get similar questions about preparations from many different families, so I thought it might be helpful to put together a list of the frequently asked questions along with my answers — if there is anything you feel I’m missing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

When should I schedule my family session?

The short answer is, whenever you would like!  Spring, Summer, and Fall are all very popular times, but Winter can be just as nice — either outdoors for a snowy, “winter wonderland” type of vibe, or in your home all nice and cozy.  Whenever you decide to book, it can be very helpful to schedule your session 1-2 months ahead of time if you can to ensure you get your preferred date and time.  If you aren’t able to plan that far ahead, please get in touch anyway — I try to accommodate everyone I can!

Another question I get a lot is about time of day.  For outdoor sessions, the most flattering light is found within 2 hours of sunrise or sunset.  Obviously, the specific times will vary depending on the time of year (December sunset sessions are a lot earlier than June sunset sessions!).   For indoor sessions, you actually want to schedule in the middle of the day, if at all possible so we have as much light as possible to work with indoors.   So your session time will depend very much on what time of year it is, and the location.  Timing is also important for families with little kids — when at all possible, I always try to work around nap time and meal time to help ensure that kids are in the best mood possible.

Where should the session take place?

All of my family sessions take place on location, whether that’s at your home, your favorite park, or another outdoor spot.  If your family has a favorite spot, that’s always my go-to, since I think it helps personalize the session some and make it even more special for your family.  If you don’t, though, no worries!  I have a whole list of locations I love, and we can chat about what will work best for you!

Who should be at the session?

Whoever you are defining as family.  For some, that’s just two — a couple on their own.  For some, the family is parents and children.  For some, it includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and more!  Or maybe there are some family friends who are like chosen family they’re so close — I leave your definition of family entirely up to you 🙂

How can I prepare my kids for the session?

Depending on the age(s) of your child(ren), it can be helpful to talk to them ahead of time about what’s going to happen, and, if you’re comfortable with it, set up some sort of reward for cooperation (it could be something immediate, like a small pile of m&ms, which can be doled out throughout the session for cheerful cooperation, or for an older child, a slightly bigger treat to be given at the end like a cookie or a small toy).  I recommend *against* using electronics to keep kids happy during the session — I find it’s often hard to pull their attention away from the screen once its been given.  It can also be very helpful to bring some non-messy snacks, and plenty of water in case the kids get hungry or thirsty.

For a small child who might be nervous in front of the camera, it can be helpful to let me know ahead of time what sorts of things they like (really into Elmo?  Dinosaurs?  Outer space?  etc) and what sorts of tricks YOU find work well for them — you know your child best!  Once we’re in the middle of the session, it’s very helpful if the adults can keep the pose I’ve given while I take over the kid-wrangling so that when that perfect moment happens for the kids, everyone else is ready!  Most importantly, it helps if the adults in the room can remain relaxed 🙂

What should we wear?Outdoor Family Portrait

Ok, this is the big one!  I recently attended a talk on building a wardrobe by stylist Emma March, of Helena’s, a women’s boutique here in Arlington.  I loved the philosophy she espoused — that your clothes should fit who you are NOW, not 10lbs lighter or heavier, not 5 years from now, or 5 years ago, because you are you now, and not any of those other yous, and you need to be comfortable walking out the door today, and worry about five years from now then.  I feel like this really speaks to how I feel about dressing for a portrait session — these are memories of you now, and you should be comfortable and feel good about yourself in the clothes you’re wearing — this, I think should be the primary concern when deciding what to wear.

Beyond that, there are certainly some guidelines that can help if you are so inclined to seek out guidelines.  First of all, it can help to coordinate without matching among the members of your group — so maybe you’re all wearing similar colors, or the parents are wearing similar tones while the kids wear a complementary pattern.  Or the parents (or one parent) wears a nice pattern while the kids wear solids.  I do recommend avoiding graphics if at all possible, since they tend to both be distracting and not age as well as solids and patterns.  When you’re considering colors, it can be helpful to think about where you might display these photos — does your decor tend towards jewel tones, or neutrals?  For a really classic look, it can be helpful to stick with basics for most of your look, but add some pizazz with some flashier jewelry, or a jacket.

Most all, though, just remember — if it’s something you feel good in, you’ll be more comfortable and relaxed for your session and we’ll get more “real” smiles and emotion — so don’t sweat the wardrobe too much 🙂


Announcing: Mothers’ Day Mini-Sessions at Diaper Lab

 

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I am so pleased to be returning to Diaper Lab, one of my favorite local stores and parenting resources, for mini-sessions in celebration of Mothers’ Day.  These minis will be offered in Diaper Lab’s outdoor space, directly adjacent to the store.

These sessions will be 15-20 minutes long, and I am delighted to be offering a $125 session fee which includes a $75 art credit, which can be used on any of my products — whatever fits your family’s needs the best!

What kinds of times are available?  I understand that every family has their own unique schedule, so I’m offering both Early Bird (6:30-9am) and later afternoon/early evening slots.  As a bonus for Early Bird clients, you will have the option of scheduling your Viewing & Ordering session the same day as your portraits — near-instant gratification!  For both Early Birds and clients who schedule for the later sessions, additional Viewing & Ordering appointments will be available the following day.

There is limited space available, so please send me an email  or fill out the contact form linked in the menu at the top of the page for more details and to reserve your spot before they’re gone!

 


{Sneak Peek} Birthday Girl Portrait | Mira Whiting Photography

Hannah turned 5 yesterday, and I had the privilege of photographing her birthday party this afternoon.  Hannah’s mom, Shari, is an amazing party planner — everything was in theme (outer space!), from the snack names (rock candy was transformed into meteorites, veggies & dip became comet tails and moon sand, there was “galaxy cereal” and, of course, astronaut ice cream!).  The sparkly decorations around the edges of the living room were stars, there was “pin the fire on the rocket” and a space-themed photo booth where kids could pick between an astronaut mask or a rocket ship.  Everything was impeccably done!  Most of all, though, I enjoyed getting to witness the joy of the birthday girl and her friends as they celebrated what feels like a big milestone — 5 is half a decade, and it feels huge to kids that age!   Here is a quick peek from the afternoon — Hannah getting ready to blow out her birthday candles (on her rocket-shaped cake, of course!)

 


{Sneak Peek} Sweet Baby Boy | Lexington, MA | Mira Whiting Photography

Some newborn sessions are easier than others.  In the case of this little boy, he had a strong mind of his own, and wanted to cluster feed for most of the time we had allocated for the session.  We got some good images early on, but it was definitely a little rough going.  At the very end of the session, though, we got so incredibly lucky — he fell asleep for a good 30 minutes and let me move him multiple times — I think that was the fastest I’ve ever managed to get eight whole setups, and he was such a good sleeper for them, waking up just a teeny bit for the very last one.  His mom was also a good sport about me just going into overdrive to get her as much variety as I could, given that the session was just about over, and I’m afraid my props ended up strewn all over like a tornado had come through — luckily I was able to pack them all away nice and tidy at the end 🙂   Here’s a quick peek at this sweet little one, 12 days new.

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Preparing for your Newborn Portrait Session | Mira Whiting Photography

Newborn Baby Girl PortraitI absolutely love working with newborns and their families — there is something really magical about this period, which goes by all too fast!  Your newborn session with me is all about capturing the details of your tiny new baby and his or newness, as well as your newly re-configured family, whether that’s baby & parents or includes older siblings as well.  I generally budget about 3 hours of time for these sessions to ensure that we are never rushed or stressed — I know that as exciting as the newborn period is, it can also be stressful and exhausting, and I want your newborn session to be a bit of an oasis of relaxation.  I often get asked questions about how to prepare for a newborn session, so I thought it might be helpful to put together a quick guide.  You may find some of this more helpful than other parts, and that’s fine — each family has unique needs!

When should I schedule my newborn session?

When a baby is born, it seems like there are a million things to do, and very little energy and time to do them with.  Because of this, if possible, I recommend getting in touch while you’re pregnant to reserve space on my calendar — when you do this, I block off several times around your due date, and we don’t set a particular date and time until baby arrives because babies often have minds of their own about when they want to make their appearance!  Ideally, your newborn session will take place within the first 14 days or so of baby’s life — this is when baby is sleepiest and most amenable to posing and being moved around for different setups.  If you’re breastfeeding, it can help to schedule the session for after your milk comes in (generally by day 3 or so, but this varies).  If you’re having a boy and planning on circumcising him, it can be helpful to wait 5 days or so after the procedure to allow some time for healing to make sure baby is comfortable during the session.

Where will my newborn session take place?

I do all my newborn sessions on location, generally at the family’s home.  In the very height of summer, if it’s warm enough, we can try a few shots outside, but I generally find that both babies and parents are most comfortable in those early days in the familiar surroundings of their own home.

Who should be there?

The focus of the session will be on your new baby, but I also encourage parents, and grandparents if they are around to be involved as well.  Siblings are always welcome.  I generally like to do portraits with family members at the beginning of the session, especially when older siblings are involved — that way if they get wiggly, we’ll have what we need and they can go play.

How can I prepare siblings to take part in the session?

If older siblings are going to be involved, depending on their age(s), it can be helpful to talk to them ahead of time about what’s going to happen, and, if you’re comfortable with it, set up some sort of reward for cooperation (it could be something immediate, like a small pile of m&ms, which can be doled out throughout the session for cheerful cooperation, or for an older child, a slightly bigger treat to be given at the end like a cookie or a small toy).  I recommend *against* using electronics to keep kids happy during the session — I find it’s often hard to pull their attention away from the screen once its been given.  For a small child who might be nervous in front of the camera, it can be helpful to let me know ahead of time what sorts of things they like (really into Elmo?  Dinosaurs?  etc) and what sorts of tricks YOU find work well for them — you know your child best!  Once we’re in the middle of the session, it’s very helpful if the adults can keep the pose I’ve given while I take over the kid-wrangling so that when that perfect moment happens for the kids, everyone else is ready!  Most importantly, it helps if the adults in the room can remain relaxed 🙂

How should we dress the baby?

It’s helpful to dress the baby that day in loose clothing so there aren’t any marks on baby’s skin.  Beyond that, it’s really up to you!  I have a few little hats and outfits that I will bring, and if you have anything that has a lot of sentimental value, I’d love to work it into the session if I can!  It’s those personal touches that I think really help make the session truly yours.

What should we wear?

For parents and siblings, I generally recommend that you wear something that’s a solid color — it can help to have all the family members within the same color family, but you don’t have to match.  When thinking about colors to wear, think Football Newbornabout what your plans are for the images and where they might be displayed so you can wear something that will fit in well with your decor.  Other than that, you should wear something that you are comfortable in and feel good about yourself in.

How should we prepare our space?

This is a question I get a lot when going into the family’s home for the portrait session!  For the best newborn portraits, it can help to open up all the curtains to let lots of light in (I can adjust this when I get there if I need to!) and, most importantly, turn up the heat!   Ideally, it would be best to get the space to 70-75 degrees (I will also bring a space heater to get the immediate area we’re working in up to about 80) — this helps get baby nice and sleepy for those sweet newborn shots.

What about feeding?

It can be helpful to plan to feed the baby right before I arrive, but I know newborns are generally not in any kind of routine yet, so don’t worry if you don’t manage this!  One of the reasons I allocate so much time for the session is to allow plenty of time for feeding when the baby wants to eat (as well as the ensuing diaper changes).

 

Is there something I haven’t covered that you’re wondering about?  Please don’t hesitate to let me know!  I’m happy to answer any questions!  Most of all, I’m looking forward to working with you and your baby and giving you a nice relaxing experience which will yield images you’ll treasure forever!


{Sneak Peek} Business Portraits | Sarah | Arlington, MA | Mira Whiting Photography

This morning I had a great headshot session with Sarah in Arlington.  It was bright and sunny, but definitely on the chilly side, so it was a good day for an indoor session.

When I go to a client’s home for an indoor session, I like to make sure I’m fully prepared for all possibilities — unless the client happens to mention what the light is like in their home, I’m generally going in blind, so I bring all sorts of light modifiers as well as my flash, but I also hope for the best — some gorgeous natural light, which is my favorite.  In Sarah’s case this morning, I really hit the jackpot — I walked into her home and saw that it was full of absolutely gorgeous light.  Sarah was also a very good sport and temporarily took down a large print on her wall so we could take advantage of the very best spot, in her kitchen.  We got some great images, which I think Sarah will love.

One of the things I love most about my job is getting to connect with my clients.  In Sarah’s case, it turned out that even though we’d never met before, our kids are in the same year at the same school — talk about neat coincidence!  When I was a kid, my mother was always commenting about how wherever we went it seemed like we ran into people I knew, and I love that that trend seems to have continued in my adult life — it’s one of the many things I love about living and working in Arlington.

 


{Sneak Peek} Sunset Maternity Session | Kat | Waltham, MA | Mira Whiting Photography

Yesterday I had the pleasure of photographing Kat, who is 35 weeks pregnant with her third child.   She has a wonderful daughter and a son, and a great husband, but this session was all about celebrating her, and how gorgeous she is.

One of the tricky things with a late-March due date and wanting to do outdoor maternity portraits is, of course, the weather.  When we first started talking about Kat’s session, I had thought maybe there would be snow on the ground, which could be all sorts of fun to work with, and definitely lead the session in a particular way.  As this “winter” (in quotes because it’s been so crazy mild!) has gone on, though, I started to think maybe we could have a nice outdoor session without all the heavy coats and breaks to warm up.  Sure enough, as the date for the session approached, I was keeping a close eye on the weather forecast, and it was consistently predicting 45 degrees and sunny — perfect, I thought!  I am a hardy New Englander, Kat is originally from Colorado, and no stranger to cold weather, so this should be a great early spring session!  Even as I was getting ready to leave my house, 10 minutes away from our location, the forecast was reading the same.  When I got in my car, however, the thermometer read 35 degrees.  Uh oh, I thought.  Maybe I was just parked in the shade?  There were a lot of open spaces where we were going, so I held out hope it would be a little warmer.  No such luck — as I pulled into the parking lot, the thermometer on my car read 33 degrees.  Wrong direction!  Oh well, I figured we’d make the best of it — find warmer spots, take lots of breaks and warm up in the car if necessary, whatever it takes, right?

I was pretty early so I’d have time to scout out the location, since this one was new to me.   Since I wasn’t going to be IN the images, I bundled up, figuring I had almost an hour before Kat even arrived, so there was no use in getting cold yet, and off I went to explore.  I scouted out about 5 different options for where we could set up, all within about 20 minutes, but still, I was absolutely freezing by the time I got back to my car (which luckily had been baking in the sun, so was plenty warm!).  I was starting to get a little worried.

Before the session, Kat had proposed several clothing options — I helped her select what I thought would both be most flattering and most comfortable.  The dress we decided on was gorgeous on her — a perfect green to complement her eyes, with just enough embroidery detail to add some interest without being distracting.  The downside?  It had short sleeves.  Luckily, she had a lovely brown sweater and high brown boots which would help pull in the browns of the environment we would be in (who are we kidding — even “early spring” in New England is definitely still pretty brown!).  I had to hope it would be enough to keep Kat warm through the session.

As we went along the session, I tried to keep us moving as much as possible — instead of flowing evenly from one pose to another, there was a lot of back and forth so Kat wouldn’t get too cold staying in one spot the whole time.  We also moved around the space a lot — starting in one spot, heading across the parking lot and up a hill, heading back down the hill and across a field, and then heading all the way to the far corner of the area — Kat even climbed up onto a fence at one point!  She was amazing!  I kept checking in to see if she was getting cold and wanted a break, but she wanted to keep going, so we did.  The light was phenomenal, and Kat was a real natural at posing, despite her protestations otherwise.  Here is a quick sneak peek, and I can’t wait to show Kat and her family the rest of the images soon!

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{Project 52: Week 52} The Final Week!

Well, this year has been quite the adventure.  As 2015 comes to a close, I want to thank you for all coming on this journey with me.  Project 52 has been a fun way to anchor my year, and given me a fun personal project to work on and experiment with in between professional projects.  I think in 2016 I’m going to make the jump to Project365 (don’t worry — I’ll only post the highlights!).  I’m looking forward to an excellent new year, and hope to make new friends, meet new clients, and improve my craft.

And so, with that, I will leave you with this incredibly sweet portrait of my brother-equivalent with my two boys, enjoying a book.


{Project 52: Week 51} Magic of Reading | Mira Whiting Photography

For last week’s Project 52 portrait, I decided to go out on a limb and do something a little more creative — the boys have both been loving the Big Book of Space book we gave them for Chanukah, and I wanted to somehow capture the magic they seem to feel when reading  together.    Which would you choose?  With or without the magic sparkles?

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{Sneak Peek} Beth | Rainy Day Headshots | Arlington, MA | Mira Whiting Photography

The forecast kept going back and forth — rain, no rain, rain, no rain… so we ended up planning to be inside.  Beth has a dining room with a lovely large window, which gave plenty of light for the indoor portion, and the rain held off in the end, so we got to go outside as well — a gorgeous moss-covered wall served as a fantastic outdoor backdrop.

Just a quick peek — can’t wait to show Beth the rest of these next week!

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{Sneak Peek} McDonald Contracting | Arlington, MA Portraits | Mira Whiting Photography

We were so lucky with the weather yesterday afternoon — the rain held off just long enough to get some wonderful outdoor portraits of the team behind McDonald Contracting.    I will confess something — I’m a little scared of heights (ok, a lot scared of heights — I’m 5’1″ and I joke with my 6’2″ husband that I don’t think I could deal with being as tall as he is!).  So, when the McDonald Contracting team suggested doing some of the portraits in front of the sign on their garage, I was all for it, until I saw just how high up they would be — much higher than my normal step stool could accommodate.  Being resourceful guys, they quickly fashioned a platform for me out of two sawhorses and a plank of wood — perfect for getting the angle I needed for the photo, but a little precarious.  In the end, I decided to go for it — I knew that, logically, if I was careful, I was unlikely to fall, and it would improve the images immensely to get a higher angle.  Sure enough, all was well, and I got this gem of the team with the sign.  Can’t wait to show them the rest of their images soon!

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{Project 52: Week 50} So Proud | Arlington, MA Portraits | Mira Whiting Photography

On our long car trip over Thanksgiving, there was a lot of time to knit while my husband drove, and I was so glad to finish the boys’ sweaters for this year.  These boys were having a lot of fun hamming it up for the camera when I went to get a quick shot of the two of them in their coordinating sweaters.  Can’t resist these faces!  I also just love how Jacob is trying to imitate Jesse!

 


{Project 52: Week 48} Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, from my family to yours!  We had a lovely visit with our families, and hope you had a similarly enjoyable holiday!  Here is my cousin, with the boys, who absolutely adore him, as well as some peeks at the boys hanging out with other loved ones over the holiday.

 

 


{Project 52: Week 46} Teamwork | Arlington, MA | Mira Whiting Photography

My parents had a Korean spice bush in their yard — it was getting to be much too big for the spot it was in, and they didn’t have a better spot to move it to.  Luckily, my yard is still — how shall I say this charitably? — a blank slate.  So they brought it over last weekend and helped to dig it in.  My dad had some little helpers with the shovel (many thanks to my husband for serving as a human ladder and holding me up so I could get this shot over our next door neighbors’ fence!)

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{Project 52: Week 45} Silly Portraits | Arlington, MA | Mira Whiting Photography

Sorry for the belated post — it’s been a crazy week of portrait and viewing sessions!  Last week the boys spent a good 20 minutes one morning chasing each other around the house (which conveniently has a circular path they can take around the entryway, dining room, and kitchen).  They often chase each other around, but when I looked up from the breakfast dishes, I saw they had decked themselves out in train hats and goofy sunglasses, and had to pull out the camera.  Usually my kids suffer from “photographer’s kid” syndrome, and run from the camera more often than not.  This time, though?  Jesse grabbed Jacob, sat him on his lap, and gave him a big hug.  How could I resist capturing this?

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{Sneak Peek} Stacey, Drew, and baby Finley | Mira Whiting Photography

The streak of gorgeous weather continues!  We were so lucky Sunday afternoon to have another day of beautiful sunshine, and I got to spend time with Stacey, Drew, baby Finley, and Finley’s adoring grandparents.   We started out on the front steps of the family’s house, documenting Finley’s first home, and then took a walk along the gorgeous Alewife Brook Reservation — a favorite spot for this family to walk.  I love doing sessions in places that are so meaningful to my clients — it really lends a special character to the session, and makes it all the more memorable.  Still working on editing these, but here’s a quick sneak peek — can’t wait to show them the rest soon!

 


{Sneak Peek} Michelle & Matt | Arlington, MA | Mira Whiting Photography

A friend of mine is fond of saying “I know climate change is bad in the long term, but look at these gorgeous warm Fall days we’re getting!”  Aside from the issues of climate vs. weather, I have to say I must agree.  Despite dire forecasts of rain earlier in the week, we had gorgeous, gorgeous sunshine for Sunday afternoon’s session at Menotomy Rocks Park in Arlington, and it was about five degrees warmer than expected, too!  Here’s a little sneak peek at the session — can’t wait to show these off soon!

 


{Project 52: Week 44} Grandpa to the rescue | Franklin Park Zoo | Mira Whiting Photography

My dad retired this past April, and since then, he’s made it a tradition to hang out with me and the boys on Thursday mornings.  We go on all sorts of adventures, from Drumlin Farm to the playground down the street, but Jesse’s favorite (and one of my dad’s favorites, too) is the Franklin Park Zoo.  This past Thursday was the perfect day to go — the rain had stopped, the sun was shining, and it was over 70 degrees, which felt like a particular treat in late October!  The boys were both having a bit of an off morning, but rallied to watch the animals.  As we were leaving, though, it became clear that we had perhaps stayed just a little too long (other parents will know just what I’m talking about!).  The whining had come back, and both boys were insisting that my father carry them (note: we had a stroller that would have accommodated both of them, but that wasn’t what they wanted!).  Jesse is really too big for my dad to carry these days, and he was getting VERY upset that Jacob got to be carried and he didn’t.  So what did my dad do?  He worked his Grandpa magic, and I’m just so glad I got to capture it!

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{Sneak Peek} Sabrina | 8 Days New | Arlington, MA | Mira Whiting Photography

Today was a good day to be doing a session INside!  Rainy, cold, and just generally unpleasant.  What a treat it was to take a break from all that for a few hours to photograph baby Sabrina, 8 days old, at her home.   I loved seeing the cradle the family has, which Sabrina’s dad and older brothers all slept in as babies, as well as some adorable hand knits we were able to incorporate into the portraits — it’s those touches that I feel really make a session.  I also loved the combinations of basket, blanket, and wrap Sabrina’s mother picked — here is one of my favorites of that series.  I can’t wait to show them the rest of their images soon!

 


{Sneak Peek} Natasha & Zack | Cambridge, MA Portraits | Mira Whiting Photography

What a glorious afternoon we had yesterday!  The rain in the morning had me worried, but as I pulled out of my driveway I started to see the sun peeking out from behind the clouds — by the time I was parking near Natasha & Zack’s house I saw some lovely blue sky.  The light during this session was just phenomenal — especially this moment near the end, when the light hit the trees just right to showcase the true glory of October in New England.  This is my favorite from this session so far (I love putting Mom & Dad in front of the camera at the end of the session for some couple shots when the kids are ready for a break), and I’m having a lot of fun editing this set!

 


{Sneak Peek} Elias & William | Autumn in New England | Mira Whiting Photography

The weather today was not fantastic — unless, that is, you were out for  a photo shoot!  It was chilly, but the cloud cover gave us gorgeous light, and we got to soak up all the amazing Fall colors at Minuteman National Park.   As the mom of two boys myself, I loved how Elias, who was much more enthusiastic about the session helped get his younger brother on board — when working with small children, it’s usually a team effort, and I especially think it’s fantastic when older siblings help!  William helped in his own way, too, helping to push my wagon of gear.  We had a great time wandering around the park and climbing on tree stumps and rocks.   Here’s a quick sneak peek from the session, and I can’t wait to work on editing the rest of these!

 


{Project 52: Week 41} A day redeemed | Mira Whiting Photography | Boston, MA

 

 

A perfect outing, on a perfect Fall day!  Not!  What could go wrong with two kids, beautiful weather, and space to roam?  Well, the kids had other ideas and were pretty cranky for most of the morning.  Getting to the top of Bussey Hill at the Arboretum, though, cheered them both right up — Jesse had a blast pretending to be a bear, and Jacob had a blast eating his snack (and ignoring his brother’s roars).

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{Sneak Peek} Hannah & Ezra | Carlisle, MA | Mira Whiting Photography

This session did not get off to an auspicious start: about 1/4 of a mile from where we were meeting, on a narrow country road, I was forced off the road by a truck coming FAST the other way in the middle of the road.  Unfortunately, I hit a sharp rock and blew out a tire.  Luckily, I was close enough to hobble to where we were meeting, and the session was a good distraction from a scary experience.  These two little ones were so adorable and cheerful, and it was infectious!  We were also treated to some glorious fall foliage and beautiful evening light.  I can’t wait to show this family the rest of their images!