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2016 Winter and Spring Photography Session Dates

I have had many people inquiring about (and booking!!) late winter and spring portraits.  Currently I am able to accommodate last minute requests, but as the weather gets warmer I will be booking 2-3 months in advance. So, before my calendar completely fills up I thought it would be easiest just to put those portrait session dates out there so if you are interested in in booking a session you can hopefully find one that works for your schedule.  Please contact me as soon as you know when you would like to schedule by clicking here.  Please keep in mind (especially my teaching friends), weekday sessions are more easily scheduled so I didn’t include them in the list below.

Looking for pricing?  Check here!

Looking for more samples of my work?  Check here!

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The following dates are currently available for weekend sessions:

March: 12, 13
April: 10, 23, 24
May 7, 22
June: 11, 12, 26
July: 30, 31

Weeknight sessions (Two sessions per evening)
April: 12, 14, 19, 21
May: 3,5,10,12,17,24
June: 7,9,14,16,28
July: 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, 28
***Late summer/fall schedule will be released in the late Spring***
Please let me know if you would like to be put on the calendar for one of these dates by clicking here.

Time Flies When You Love What You Do!!

As most of you are aware I have 3 children of my own.  As they are getting older I am finding the work/life balance is getting harder and harder to achieve, especially as my business grows.  So, I do put some limits on my calendar….block off specific dates for family fun.  I never want to miss out on making my own memories because I am capturing somebody else’s, you know?

 

Photo Credit: Dale Folk Photography
Photo Credit: Dale Folk Photography

So, today I decided to lay out my calendar for the rest of the year.  I wanted to make sure I was aware of exactly how many sessions I could fit into my fall schedule without making myself miserable.  Well, here I sit shocked at how limited my weekend session availability is.  I HATE the thought of turning people away.  I love what I do and I want to say yes to everyone who requests my services.  Unfortunately, it is looking like that is going to be nearly impossible to do.

As a result of this revelation I am letting you all know exactly what weekend days I will be booking sessions on for the rest of the year.  None of these dates are completely free of appointments, but each of them has some time available for additional bookings.
So, PLEASE, if you are interested in a session at some point in 2015, contact me now.  All current available dates are listed below.  In parenthesis I am listing where I will be for those sessions.  This is just a general location.  I will still travel to surrounding areas.  If you would like to be included on my list of clients who want to be notified first for the mini sessions, please send me a quick message and I will add you to the list 🙂
Note: This does NOT apply to newborn sessions as they are typically done during the week.  
September:
13th (Marietta…1:00 only)
October:
4th (Marietta…10 am only)
31st (Marietta Halloween Studio Minis)
November:
1st (Marietta Outdoor Family Christmas Minis)
15th (Marietta Studio Christmas Minis with Santa)
29th (Milton Christmas Minis – Tentative)
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Avalon :: Marietta Child Photography

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Avalon turned 5 and her momma asked me to take her birthday portraits.  I was really looking forward to the session because I knew exactly how spunky and out-going Avalon was.  This was Avalon’s first solo shoot with me because the last time I photographed her it was during her baby sister, Haven’s newborn photography session.  Child photography can be SO much fun especially if you have a child with the right personality and Avalon is the epitome of that.  We had to reschedule because the poor kiddo had the stomach bug the day we were originally supposed to meet.  But it all worked out perfectly because we had the most beautiful morning to play.

We met at one of my favorite Lancaster county locations.  When I asked Avalon’s mom, Jess, where she would like to go for the portraits she replied “You choose!  You are the one who needs to be inspired!”  I love that!!  I also love that Jess shares my belief that portraits should capture a child’s true personality for the age that they are at.  She, again, like me, allowed her 5 year old to help choose her portrait day outfits.  I allow my own children to choose their ensembles for the individual sessions I do with them each year and then mom picks for the annual family portraits 🙂  Jess said she had originally chosen some white dresses for the portrait session, but then quickly realized that white dresses were truly not “Avalon”.  So, after some discussion they compromised on the outfits you see in the images below….my favorite being the floral dress, mardi gras beads, cheetah print leggings and hot pink boots.  She rocked the outfit and the entire portrait session.

I love when a client trusts me so much that they just have a seat and send me off with their child to do my thing.  I find that in most situations that it works best for the child and I to work together without mom or dad’s watchful eye.  It gives me a chance to get to know the child instead of chatting with the parents and it gives the child the opportunity to express who they are without correction or direction from mom and dad.   Avalon opened up and told me elaborate stories about the location we were at.  She has quite an imagination.  I am really looking forward to watching her grow….it’s sure going to be entertaining <3

 

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My Journey as a Newborn Photographer

I am a Newborn Photographer……finally.

Here is a photo from the very first newborn I ever photographed for payment in 2011.  I called myself a newborn photographer and he wasn’t even a newborn. (UGH!)  He was two months old.  I didn’t know any better.  I hadn’t done my research.  I labeled myself a newborn photographer and that was that.  I had a nice camera and a history as a nanny and preschool teacher.  I have had 3 newborns of my own!  It had been a few years, but I could certainly handle photographing a 2 month old….you know, because I called myself a newborn photographer.  It couldn’t be too hard, right? WRONG!!!

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I was clearly NOT a newborn photographer yet.  But, I didn’t get discouraged.  Well, honestly, I probably didn’t think I was THAT bad at the time.  So, I kept on going.  And I added props.  That is what a newborn photographer does, right??  This one was certainly better than my first attempt though I can tell you now that he did not have the orange complexion that is displayed below.  And he truly WAS a newborn….less than a week old.  I was TECHNICALLY a newborn photographer, right?  I mean I was PHOTOGRAPHING a NEWBORN…..just not very well.  Thankfully he was sleepy and mom and dad were patient….well, and he was adorable too <3

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Then I started to get the hang of things.  I bought a Canon 50mm/1.4….the preferred lens of all the big time newborn photographers that I followed.  This HAD to be the missing element!  This session would be THE ONE that sealed the deal…this would be the one that would make me a newborn photographer!!  I had even done a little research on what it takes to be a newborn photographer….and this little guy was extra cooperative so that was a bonus.  He was 12 days old.  I really thought I had nailed it.  One good session and I finally declared myself a good newborn photographer.   I can now tell you looking back  that this session was 100% luck because at this point I still had no skills.  By this time I still wasn’t doing any editing beyond cropping and I wasn’t even shooting in manual mode. (UGH!)  So, yes, this newborn session was pure luck.  (Look at those LIPS!)

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Fast forward to 2012 and I had learned (read: taught myself) to use Lightroom so I was able to do basic editing on my images.  That was a huge step in the right direction though I still knew nothing about color correction 🙂  By this time I had fully mastered using manual mode when shooting so that made a big difference in what came out of my camera.  Posing was getting easier and my babysitting and motherhood skills from all those years ago DID come in handy.  I always tell all my customers that newborn photography is the makeup of 99% patience and 1% luck.  That, of course, is a huge exaggeration, but it makes my point.  In some sessions I spend as much time rocking and shushing a baby as I do taking pictures (note: I do not mind!  This is the best part of being a newborn photographer)  The other big step I made in 2012 was to open my own business.  FamilyTales Photography was born.  Up until this point I had been running my family and newborn stuff through a friend’s wedding photography business.  It was time.  I struggled to think of a name….I polled everyone I knew.  I didn’t want to use my own name because no one EVER spells Jaime correctly (thanks, Mom and Dad)….finally I settled upon telling tales of the family 🙂

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In 2013 I really got frustrated.  I decided newborn photography was not for me.  I was done.  I actually said the words “I don’t want to shoot newborn sessions anymore. I am no newborn photographer.”  So, in my world that means one thing….I get flooded with newborn photography inquiries.  I loved photography and I loved babies, but they just didn’t mix well for me and my images didn’t look like all the other newborn photographer’s that I was seeing.  I was discouraged.  But, I had just purchased a Canon 7D and Canon 24-70/2.8 from a photographer friend and I wanted to use it, so I accepted every newborn session that came through my door.  And then it happened….somewhere along the way I realized I was starting to improve….newborn photography was getting a bit easier for me.  Maybe I WAS cut out to be a newborn photographer after all…..maybe.

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In 2014 I found the gift that is YouTube.  You can truly learn anything on YouTube and that is exactly what I did.  I was still working at another job so I spent lunch hours watching YouTube videos on editing and posing.  I upgraded my camera to a brand new Canon 6D (full frame!!)  It was about this time that I started to see some consistency in my work.  I still would not have said I specialized in newborns by any means, but I was certainly booking more and more of them.  My biggest complaint at that point was that newborns required so much GEAR and I was going to clients’ houses because I had no place else to work.  My posing bag alone filled up the back of my car…..and I drive a Honda Pilot!  Posing bags, backdrops, props, buckets, baskets, basket fillers, wraps, lights and, of course, cameras.  So.  Much.  Stuff.  Pack it in and pack it back out….every single time.

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And finally, here I am in 2015.  I am a newborn photographer.  I quit my “other job” last June.  I upgraded my camera (again)  to a Canon 5D Mark iii (who ever thought I would own one of THOSE??) and bought new lenses.  And yesterday I bought 4 Alien Bee lights (they are pink and purple!!) along with lots of gels and other accessories.  I have taken webinar after webinar and purchased more photography and editing tutorials than I ever thought possible.  I signed on with an amazing photographer in Harrisburg who taught me advanced Photoshop techniques and studio lighting.  And, the biggest change I have made is that I opened a studio….and I loaded it with newborn props!  I have booked more newborn sessions this year so far than I have done in all my years of photography.   I am getting more creative with my set-ups and I am truly enjoying being a newborn photographer the way that I really thought I was going to way back in 2011.  Now I know….newborn photography is a science.

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Along the way I have learned a few things about newborn photography:

– I will never know it all.  Learning photography in general, but especially newborn photography, is a never ending process.

– I am not perfect.  Not every picture is perfect.  Not every set-up works.  Not every baby sleeps.  And that is all just fine.

– It is ok if my images don’t look like everyone else’s….why would I want them to?

– Success is in the details.  Straightening out those little tiny fingers 13 times before they stay that way may seem like insanity to my client’s parents, but to me it is the difference between a good photograph and a great photograph.

– It’s all about patience.  Building a business takes more patience than I ever thought I had and so does newborn photography.  But truthfully, I wouldn’t change a thing about either

– I am newborn photographer.  Not because I declared myself so, but because I worked hard.  Because I did research.  Because I practiced.  Because I didn’t give up.  And because I have the portfolio to prove it 🙂
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My Marietta Photography Studio

FamilyTales Photography : A Marietta Photography Studio

When I started my photography journey I was newly divorced and living in a townhouse with my three children.  I had always been good at photography, but I was most definitely a hobbyist.  Then I realized I needed to make a living.  I needed to support my children, but I also didn’t want to give up the privilege of staying home with my young children.  So, I started shadowing Stephanie Byers of Digital Party Pros when she photographed weddings.  I really never thought I would EVER find people who would want me to photography their big day and I SURELY didn’t think they would pay me money to do so.  But, as the years went by I got more and more confident and more comfortable in my new role as a DPP wedding photographer.   We worked a lot in the Williamsport area because that is where DPP was based.  But it wasn’t long before we started booking weddings in Lancaster, PA.

It wasn’t long before I decided to try my hand at some family photography.  After all, I photographed my children’s every move so it seemed like a natural transition to adding family photography to my resume.  And I LOVED working with families.  I still do.  There is just something about capturing the interactions between mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters.  It is all so intimate.  And no two families look the same.

All of my work was on location because, as I said, I was living in a townhouse and I had no space in my home for a studio nor did I have the money in my budget to rent one.  A studio for me has always been nothing more than a dream.

In 2012 I purchased a home for my children in Marietta, PA.  That in itself was an amazing thing.  I went from a stay-at-home-mom with no credit and no job to a self-employed photographer who owned a home!  I truly couldn’t believe it for months afterward.  I kept thinking someone was going to realize they made a mistake and take back my home.

In this new home was a large sunroom.  I had a vision for this beautiful space.  It was going to be a…..well, a sunroom.  A place to relax.  An electronics-free zone.  And for two years it was a storage room.  Anything I didn’t have a home for got plopped in the sunroom.  I couldn’t make a decision on furniture for the space so I ignored it.  What a waste.  (The picture below was taken before the previous owners moved out….THEY were decisive about furniture!)

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In 2012 I also went into business for myself.  As much consideration I decided to open my own photography business.  FamilyTales Photography was born.  In 2014 I started seeing a business mentor named Jerry.  And soon after I started visiting with him HE found a use for my sunroom…..as a studio.  The goal was to have it completely set-up and ready to go by September of 2014.  Instead of setting up a studio I hung a new ceiling throughout my home.  Then I painted my house…..the WHOLE house.  Then I ran out of things to paint or fix.  And Jerry kept pushing me.  So, on March 1st, 2015 I opened a Marietta photography studio in my home.  The sunroom was the perfect location for my studio.  I can work without leaving my home.  It has a private entrance and SO much natural light.  It is MY photography studio.  It isn’t perfect.  There is a lot of organization that needs to happen, but it is mine.  Mine.  I own a home!  And in that home is MY Marietta photography studio!!  How crazy is that?  Pretty crazy.  But everything in my life seems to be falling into place….it’s funny how that happens <3

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Sean and Jenna :: Marietta Photographer , Maternity

Sean is my 14 year old daughter’s social studies teacher.  She has spoken very highly of him since the very first day of school back in August.  He is young and interactive and, judging from the way his students talk about him, clearly very good at his job.  When I heard he and his wife were expecting a baby this Spring (picture the delivery of this news from a 14 year old baby-loving ginger) I, of course, offered my services as a Marietta photographer.  They accepted.  We settled on one of my favorite places in Marietta as the location for their shoot.  Once again, Mother Nature played with me the week before I was supposed to photograph this session, but by Saturday, the day of the session, the outdoor world was a beautiful place again, albeit a bit chilly.  As soon as I met Jenna, also a teacher….but for the little folks, I adored her.  She was sweet and kind.  And Sean was just as smily and friendly as I remembered him from our school interactions.  These two are the perfect match.  High school sweethearts.  And, seriously, just so comfortable with each other.  My job photographing them was one of the easier jobs I have ever done.  Ordinarily I get a little nervous before a maternity session because sometimes clients just aren’t comfortable showing affection in front of the camera.  Sometimes things look staged.  I can tell you now that not one moment of this couple’s interaction was staged.  When I instructed “Just act natural….snuggle in like you would if I wasn’t here”….they did.  And it is all captured in the images below.  I love an image you can FEEL.  I loved the images when I told them to look at the camera and Jenna looked, but Sean chose to stare at his wife instead.  I could go on and on about this sessions, but I will just say that this baby (gender unknown) is already one lucky child <3

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Alexa :: Lancaster Newborn Photographer

Winter has always been my slow season in the Pennsylvania photography world because so many people prefer outdoor portraits.  I did have a decent customer base as a Lancaster Newborn Photographer, but it was still always my slowest time for business because family photography fills up a good bit of my schedule as well.  So, in my slower times I always try to learn something new.  This year I went crazy with the education part of my business.   You can never possess too much knowledge, right?  To start, I decided to start taking some studio lighting classes in preparation for opening my own photography studio.  I also decided to buy some webinars on newborn photography.  And, if that wasn’t enough, I met with a mentor to learn advanced Photoshop skills one to two times a week.  So, I was busy and I was learning a LOT.  I also decided it was time to increase my prop collection for new humans.  I was tired of my old stuff.  So, in addition to learning, I was spending!!  And, oddly enough, this was my busiest winter ever.  I booked a dozen newborn sessions, but unfortunately, none of the expected babies were making their entrance into the world until Spring.  So, I put out a model call…a heavily discounted session for someone who would let me practice my newly discovered knowledge and skills on their 5-12 day old baby.  Enter Alexis…her mother emailed me and said we had the same hair stylist at Blades Salon and she saw on Facebook that I needed a model.  She was due the following day and would be induced the following Monday which meant I could have my hands on a new human within 10 days.  Done.  Alexis came into the world three days later weighing in at 9 lbs, 8 ounces and looking just beautiful….the perfect model.  I had a wonderful time practicing with her.  Her parents were patient and chatty and the entire experience was truly exactly what I had been hoping for.  I sincerely hope that I am able to work with Miss Alexa and her parents in the future <3
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Dipti & Amit :: Harrisburg Maternity Photography

Dipti contacted me to inquire about maternity portraits.  She was due in April and wanted outdoor portraits in February.  I thought it an odd request, but I am usually game for anything.  When I offered her my Maternity and Newborn Session discount she kindly informed me that she lived in New York City and  and would be visiting her family for that weekend only so newborn photography was not an option, but she was up for some Harrisburg maternity photography.  (Yay for Google search for pointing her in my direction!)  I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to photograph her baby, but I was still really looking forward to her maternity session.  She wanted to wear her traditional Indian clothes for part of the session and then change into another outfit for the rest of the session.  I was a bit nervous as I watched the weather that week in February because Mother Nature seemed determined to ruin my fun.  But, as session day approached Dipti assured me that she and her husband were determined to get these portraits taken.   And, let me tell you, they were serious.  When they arrived I was a bit taken aback by how gorgeous they were!  (Man, I wish I could have been their newborn photographer!)  She was dressed in bright orange and it was actively snowing.  What AMAZING luck I have!!  We managed to do the shoot and warm up in the car thing pretty successfully.  At the end of their session they told me if I came to New York they would happily hire me for their newborn photography.  Oh how I wish I could have.  Newborn photography is just too unpredictable and requires far too much gear for me to be able to take it all to NYC on a moment’s notice.  But they assured me that I have not seen the last of them.  I certainly hope that I haven’t <3
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FamilyTales Photography is located in Lancaster County, PA. Specializing in premiere in-studio maternity, newborn, family and wedding portraiture. Serving Lancaster, York, Hershey, Harrisburg and surrounding areas in Central PA.  All images and design © FamilyTales Photography. All rights reserved.

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Kylie :: York Newborn Photography

This little bundle’s middle name is Sunshine <3 Her parents contacted me for a maternity shoot.  We got to know each other during the maternity session in a beautiful York park.   I was very happy when Mom and Dad  decided to ask me to photograph their little angel when she arrived.    I have been trying to venture over the river into the world of York newborn photography considering most of my business has been as a Lancaster newborn photographer.  This was my chance to cross the river!!  Kylie arrived into the world a little early, but she was absolutely PERFECT in every way.  She was snuggly and sweet and she smelled so good…..and those cheeks!  How adorable are those cheeks??  I had the nicest time getting to know her mommy a bit better as she watched me work.  I love this new family of three and really hope to get to work with them again.
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FamilyTales Photography is located in Lancaster County, PA. Specializing in premiere in-studio maternity, newborn, family and wedding portraiture. Serving Lancaster, York, Hershey, Harrisburg and surrounding areas in Central PA.  All images and design © FamilyTales Photography. All rights reserved.