Tree Farm Mini-Sessions Day 1 – PNW Family Photographer

This was my third year doing tree farm mini-sessions and for the third year in a row, we had beautiful weather. It was cold, but the sun was shining and everyone was great spirits! (The hot cocoa and cider helped warm them up a bit.) This year we were at the Glenwood Tree Farm in Tacoma, a wedding venue during summer and tree farm for Christmas. The family that owns the farm is so sweet and gracious for letting a bunch of photographers and our clients use their land! 

I had so much fun seeing returning families and meeting new ones. I can’t wait to do this again next year. I do hope to see everyone again. It’s always great to see how much the children have grown!

So to start off this photo blog of Tree Farm Mini-Sessions Day 1, I am sharing my BFF Jessi and her boyfriend Andy in their matching onesie pajamas and their puppers Isla. Don’t they look amazing?!

Thank you to everyone that joined me in the trees this year! YOU are amazing! Happy Holidays!

 

 

Would you be interested in doing Mom & Child Spring Minis in the flowers? E-mail me!

Brady Wendlandt – Tacoma Senior Portrait Photographer

Most seniors get their senior photos taken for their moms, which I totally appreciate. Senior sessions document who they are right now as they head into their last year of school. It may not be important for the senior, but it definitely is for their parents. They’re not kids anymore! They’re officially adults. *cue tears*

Brady, his mom, and I met on Broadway in Tacoma in front of where he works, LeRoy Jewelers. (LOVE IT. My husband bought my vintage engagement ring at LeRoy!) It’s a far cry from most high school seniors’ first jobs (like mine, summer camp kitchen cleanup… ugh), but still gives the experience and responsibility of working in the real world. I’m glad he chose to start at this spot. Broadway offers so many interested photo opportunities – like two dudes doing parkour on the fountain. I thought it might be cool to ask them to jump through my shot while Brady stood as still as he could in the middle of the fountain. Everyone was totally down and the shot came out awesome! See for yourself below!

 

 

The best time to get senior photos taken is the summer or fall before graduation so if you’re hesitating, DON’T! It’s almost October which is one of my favorite months to shoot. Have your pics ready to hand to the yearbook staff and graduation announcements printed and ready to send out! E-mail me at hello@foxandwagon.com or send me message using my Contact page.

Want free graduation announcements? Refer your friends! For every friend who also books a session, you get 10 graduation announcement cards.*

*Terms: May not be combined with any other discount or offer. Does not apply to contracts already in process. A contract must be signed and a 25% deposit made. To qualify for free graduation announcements, your referral(s) must also sign a contract and make a 25% deposit within the 2018-2019 school year and no later than April 2019. Each referral you make qualifies you to receive ten (10) graduation announcements, a $25 value, designed by Fox & Wagon Photography as 5×7 FLAT CARDS. Upgrades or additional designs are extra.

A Session Guide for Dads – PNW Family Photographer

I’ve been photographing families for 15 years and the common feeling or theme is that Dads only do this for their partners. Other photographers can agree that 98% of their sessions are booked by the woman. It’s a fact that Dads don’t actively value photography as much as Moms. (How many Moms do you follow on Instagram versus Dads who post regularly?) I’m not saying they DON’T value their family photos, but Dads don’t think about updating family portraits as often as their counterparts.

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When Mom books the family session and the time comes, sometimes Dads don’t know what to do or how to act. And that’s okay! So I’ve put together a few things to keep in mind to help Dad loosen up, let it go, and look natural.

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1.) I’m on your side. We’re a team. You and I both want the same thing: to make sure your partner looks and feels good. And my goal is to help you look good. During our session, I’ll coach you through natural poses that don’t feel stiff or uncomfortable. If you’re not feeling it, tell me and we’ll do something else. Teams work best when they communicate.

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2.) Act as if we were hanging out at your home in your living room. Look at your partner’s face. Talk with your kids about silly things. Ask your family questions like: Honey, how many days have you gone without washing your hair? What do you think about the weather? Do you remember the first time you farted in front of me? Kids, don’t you love this pink shirt that Mom made me wear? Who would win in a fight: Superman or Thor? Did the photographer just ask us who has the stinkiest feet? I bet she does.

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3.) Move. If you feel stiff and uncomfortable, you won’t look like you’re having fun and your photos will be stiff and uncomfortable. Is your wife wearing a long dress? Twirl her around. Are your kids losing it? Toss them in the air or tickle them. Feeling like you’ve lost control? (You haven’t, trust me. I’ve got it.)

If you need, take a moment to adjust your kid’s shirt and give them a quiet talk. No need to scold or bribe them. Kids WILL be kids. We’re here to have fun, not be perfect. We’re not recreating the Royal Family’s portrait!

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4.) My only expectation of you is to show your family love. Stay connected in some way. Hold hands. Hug. Kiss your kid’s head. Nuzzle your wife’s neck. Grab your partner’s butt. YES. DO. IT. Pull them close, hold them closer. A little PDA won’t hurt either.

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5.) Don’t look at me for every snap. I may ask for everyone to look at the camera a few times, but not the whole time. Our session won’t be what you’ve had in the past. So stop thinking of how photo shoots used to be, and start thinking of how you want them to be.

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I want you to leave our session feeling relieved that we didn’t just sit around forcing smiles, holding posture, and sucking it in. I want you to be more in love with your family and so glad that your partner scheduled an enjoyable photo session with me.

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Relax, Dad. You got this.

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These tips apply to grandpas too!

Picking a location – PNW Photographer

Locations can be a part of your portrait story, not just a pretty backdrop. I like to give you the option to choose where we have your portrait session for a few reasons:

  • You’re comfortable where you are and it shows in your photographs.
  • You recall and create meaningful memories with each person in your family in a space that you’ve been to before.
  • You know where things are, how to get there and what to do!

But if you don’t have a preference on a location and you’d rather I decide or if you’re from out of town, I’ve complied a brief list of locations around Tacoma with photos and descriptions to help you decide where you want to tell your story. Keep in mind that we are not limited to these locations! I’m willing and able to shoot almost anywhere! The only thing that may limit us is admission, fees or photography permits such as conservatories or private gardens.

Point Defiance Park, Tacoma

Perfect in any season. The changing colors of autumn leaves by the pond make a beautiful backdrop. So many Tacoma families have fond memories of watching the ducks and walking the paths of Point Defiance Park. In the spring and summertime, the blooming roses and arches give an intimate feel. Even in the wintertime, the bare, twisty branches in the rose garden can offer a dark and mysterious vibe.

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Discovery Park, Seattle

While quite a trek from Tacoma, Discovery Park in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle is one of my favorite locations to shoot. It faces the west, giving us the much desired golden and blue hour dreamy feel. This park has it all: forest, beach, tall grass, buildings painted butter yellow, and even a lighthouse with a trail access. If you don’t mind walking, this is 534 acre park is a gorgeous choice.

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Chambers Bay Park & Beach, University Place

One of the most interesting parks near Tacoma is Chambers Bay. Formerly a sand and gravel quarry, the park’s large skeletal concrete structures separate the park from the golf course and line a trail leading to the bridge and a beach below.

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Swan Creek Park, Tacoma

Hidden where Pioneer Way and Waller Road meet in Tacoma, Swan Creek Park is a quiet little swimming hole surrounded by trees. You might want to bring a towel because shoes are bound to come off. There are trails and little bridges to explore as well.

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Wright Park, Tacoma

Like Point Defiance, Wright Park is gorgeous in all seasons. The yellow leaves of the ginkgo tree brighten up the park even on the darkest days. While photographing inside the Conservatory is a no-go without a permit, there are no restrictions for hanging outside in the gazebo. The 27-acre arboretum has lots of beautiful spots to sit and enjoy being with your family.

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Downtown Tacoma/Urban/City

(Opera Alley, steps of UW, glass bridge & museum, former “Graffiti Garages”)

Tacoma’s downtown area is so unique and interesting. Urban sessions aren’t just for individuals. Documentary sessions or even Lifestyle sessions can take place in the city. If nature is not your thing, let’s explore the town!

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Home & Neighborhood

There’s no place like home. You know your family best and where they would feel most comfortable. I love just sitting on your front porch or hanging out in bed.

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Wild Hearts Farm (+fee)

A local family designed their property specifically for photographers and clients. With options like tire swings and wooden swings, an old truck, a vintage trailer, gardens with ever changing flowers and a natural light, rain free dome, they’ve made endless possibilities.

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Restaurants, Coffee Shops, Stores, Libraries

Do you have a favorite restaurant? Have you ever wanted to document your every day life shopping at Target or Costco? It takes a little more planning and permission from the manager, but these sessions are often so much more relaxed and personal.

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Want to go on an adventure? There are places I’ve always wanted to take my sessions. Do you have ideas?

Ferries

Mountain Trails

Waterfalls

Carnivals/Fairs

Orchards

Central Washington/Columbia River/Vantage

Cox Family – Tacoma Family Photographer

With each session, I realize more and more why I love what I do. I mean, I already knew  that photography is a way for me to be creative and to capture life’s fleeting moments. That’s cliché, of course. Important, but nearly every photographer’s slogan. But now that I’ve stepped back from the ultra-posed, Photoshopped, “put your hand here, move your chin there, smile REALLY big”, I’ve started to feel more comfortable in my work. Letting things happen naturally (for the most part) makes everyone look good and gets even dad to loosen up. Sometimes being in front of the camera, we tense up and go for the “cheese.” So to combat that, I offer some poses and minor suggestions, like “push your family off the bench” which gets photos like the featured one above. One of my favorites!

You may recognize a few of these faces from my post last year with the McClain Family. Corissa wanted to make sure she had some photos with her oldest daughter. Another redhead? Absolutely! In the rain? Let’s do it! We took to Tacoma’s Chinese Reconciliation Park on Ruston Way hoping for some nice weather, but May didn’t bring us anything but grey clouds and rain. No problem for this Seahawks loving family. We’re all used to it and the kids didn’t mind getting a little rained on. We even got to cuddle on the beach before the clouds opened up.

 

Preschool Fine Art Portraits – Tacoma School Photographer

I’m going to be honest with you. At the beginning of this year, I nearly lost my path. I had a few shoots lined up and a wedding in the summer, but after that there was nothing. I knew that if I didn’t do something soon that it would take another few years to reach my dream.

Just as I was about to go out and buy some equipment and go down a completely different road, a photographer whom I had taken a class from at a Clickin’ Moms conference in Seattle advertised a new course.

I didn’t hesitate.

I purchased it.

This has to be it. It has to.

The course was for Fine Art School Portraits taught online by a Seattle photographer named Elena S. Blair. During the course, I joined a community of other amazing photographers all around the world who were also in the same rut in their own business or just needed some more income for their company. This course not only gave inspiration to all who took it, but motivation to keep our passion and businesses alive.

I thought it was going to take a few more years for me to gain momentum, but since then, I’ve booked three schools and have one more in negotiation. My dream is becoming realized and I’m so excited to share it.

Here’s some images from one school I recently finished. The comments from the parents and school director alone make me so glad to be doing this.

“I am so impressed with the pictures! I hope we continue to use this photographer in the future!”

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“The pictures are gorgeous!!! My husband and I were out of town when they were taken and their grandma took [my son] to his appointment. I was so surprised to see that [my daughter] had a folder too! Thank you! The pictures are gorgeous!”

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“Thanks for the adorable pictures!”

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Hurley Family – Tacoma Family Photographer

You’ve probably met someone and instantly thought “I want to be their friend!” Right? That’s how I felt when I first met Mike Hurley. Then I met his family.
“Now I totally have to be friends with all of them and I really hope our kids can be friends, too!” I said to my husband. It’s a good thing my girls get along with their kids and that they like homemade tacos. 😉

For our session, the kids and their dads braved the rain and cold last October for a shoot under the trees at Point Defiance Park. Once we were nearly frozen to the bone, we moved up the street to grab some hot cocoa at the Antique Sandwich Company. That place has pockets of beautiful light. We squeezed and scrunched and balanced on the stairwell not caring about the people watching. It was as if it were only me and the five of them in the whole place. Then we climbed the tall stairs to the only private window in the building for some sweet moments of Mike and Tony together, then of the twins. I had an image in my head of the little brother and sister and I was actually able to create it! These are my happy moments.

I have never met more loving, kind, funny, REAL and happy people. All of them. I truly mean it and I hope it shows in my photos of the Hurleys. There’s so much more I’d love to tell you about this little family because they have so much heart and so much history…but theirs is not my story to tell. You’ll just have to see as much as you can in our session.