Kiwi, our 2-year-old, is currently in a phase where she covers her eyes and cries “No!” every time anyone tries to take her photo. So I was less than confident how our family photos would turn out when we met Becca from Becca Jean Photography on a recent fall afternoon. Becca and I met on an online group for mom-owned small businesses, and she offered to take our photos for free—an amazing and generous offer, especially considering her beautiful work. A bit later, I warned her about Kiwi’s camera shy phase.
Becca wasn’t too concerned. “I’ll joke around and you guys will play and the girls will naturally be smiling,” she assured me.
It turns out Becca was right, and I could not be more blown away by the family photos she took. If there is an award for getting kids who favor the stink eye to smile, Becca wins. Hands down.
I mean, look!
Family photography session in Oregon City
In addition to taking the photos, Portland family photographer Becca even suggested our shoot location. Her recommendation was a huge relief because I’ve been so busy lately with work and other commitments; I just didn’t have the time to research and scout outdoor locations that would be good for fall family photography.
We met a few hours before sunset at Clackamette Park in Oregon City, a place I’ve passed a million times on my way home from my coworking space in SE Portland but a place I’ve never stopped at. Becca clearly knows what she’s doing, though, because Clackamette Park had everything I’d want in an outdoor shoot location: fall leaves, dramatic backgrounds and a river perfect for throwing rocks.
(Ok, that last one was on my girls’ priority list, not mine, but still.)
I took Becca’s advice on introducing her to my kids: I said, “This is Mommy’s friend Becca. We’re going to hang out in the park, and she’s going to take some photos,” just like she recommended—and it was a terrific way to set the stage for a low-pressure afternoon of fun.
Let your family photographer lead the way
I’m a go-getter—providing my family’s main source of income as a freelancer means I have to be unafraid to go all-out for what I want and deserve—but it was so. nice. to let Becca take point on our family photography shoot.
She already had ideas of scenarios and locations, and she naturally suggested different set-ups so we’d have a variety in our family photos. Her well of ideas took off any pressure of me micromanaging the photo shoot—so I was free to relax, smile and have fun with my family.
Maybe my favorite in-the-moment tip: Becca told me, “The secret to lying down shots is to prop up your head with one hand.” Voila, no double chin!
Family photography captures the beauty of childhood
I’m a mom, so naturally I think my kids are the most beautiful people on the planet, inside and out. But seeing their beauty captured in our family photos made me lose it. #momtears
When Becca sent me our photos about a week after our outdoor photoshoot, I couldn’t get enough. I set work aside and clicked through our gallery a dozen times, then forced everyone nearby to do the same.
One of the things I like most about the photos of my girls is how natural they are. Becca didn’t pose them in awkward, adult ways—and good thing, too, because there’s no way Kiwi and Peeper would have put up with that. Becca simply captured them being their usual goofy, curious, brave selves—and now we will have a record of this time in their childhoods forever.
Getting a Christmas card photo with a fall photoshoot
We didn’t do a lot of fancy photos when I was a kid; pretty much the only portraits we have of us kids are school photos, plus a few sittings from JCPenney my godmother gifted us. When Eric and I started a family, I wanted to start a collection of beautiful photos of us together that showed the love between us.
One extra reason to invest in beautiful family photography: the annual Christmas card (or holiday card, or New Year’s card, however you roll!). I took my own advice from my post 5 Steps for the Best Holiday Family Photo, and I think it worked out beautifully! The problem: Now I’m not sure which picture we should use!
Hey, can you help us out? Which family photo would you choose for a Christmas card?
If it’s not clear, I couldn’t be happier with the family photos from Becca Jean Photography. She was so easy to work with, and she captured my family perfectly. And! Not a single shot of Kiwi covering her face! Seriously, Becca must be a miracle worker.
So please don’t forget to weigh in on which of the above photos you think is best for our family Christmas card! I could use the help!