Sometimes, I feel like we are the only family out there that has not had pictures done professionally. Every house I go in has beautiful portraits of families, babies, and children at milestone ages, lovingly displayed. While I think they look nice, I know that we are not photogenic people. Thinking about having pictures done professionally evokes images of my unhappy family, grimacing in some cheesy studio or outside, posed perfectly like the Cleavers with the only difference being two parents with horrible fake smiles and one squirmy, miserable kid. For a camera shy person, just thinking about having pictures done is painful. When we were offered a free session by J.Bell Photography, I didn’t hold out a whole lot of hope for the poor guy coming to take our pictures.
I contacted J. (which is legally his first name) to set up our appointment and was told that he preferred doing the session at the client’s home and/or a park of their choosing since children tend to be more comfortable surrounded in their home environment.
J. showed up with just the bare minimum equipment: his camera bag, some butcher paper for a background and his assistant, Hannah. He is a natural light photographer, which means no big studio lights or reflectors. He came in ready to go and did some light readings while making friends with my daughter. My little one loves a visitor and soon felt like J. and Hannah were there strictly to play with her. She read a book to them in her room and told them all about herself and her family. Hannah was invaluable at keeping her talking, interacting and looking where she should be without really directing her. She got to sit on the big butcher block paper and draw all over it, showing off her art skills. All the while, J. was taking amazing, candid pictures of her. I’m sure that if she had been posed or made to sit still in a bright studio, she would not have been nearly as cooperative. She really shined, hamming it up for the camera.
J. followed her lead and let her be herself. He worked with her instead of trying to get her to do what he wanted. This made her more comfortable, feeling more like it was playtime, rather than just a bunch of picture taking. After shooting at the house for about 20 minutes or so, we headed off to our favorite local park. Our time at the park went pretty much the same. J. let our daughter run around, dance, throw rocks while he snapped away.
While the session was predominantly about my daughter, J. took some great pictures of us as a family. We were so relaxed and just having a good time with our little hambone, that even we managed great smiles without noticing. Being pregnant with my second child, I did have a few specific requests, like the obligatory kissing the belly shot, and J. was happy to work it in as we went. When our time was up, my daughter was sad our new friends were not coming back to the house with us for dinner!
About a week later, we received a DVD with a beautiful slide show set to music. While I really like J., it was not cool to show that to an eight month pregnant lady in the middle of Whole Foods! I managed not to cry, but it was a monumental task! We also got a disc containing 50 plus digital photos in both b&w and color. He really exceeded my expectations with such incredible photos. While I was hesitant before, I am so glad that we got to have this experience. Now I have amazing photos of my daughter and our family that are irreplaceable.
J., a very laid back guy, has been doing professional photography for five years. He works primarily with children but shoots everything from weddings to corporate photos. Sessions range from 50-120 minutes, depending on if you are traveling to a park or staying in your home. Whether you are a photo-phobe like me, want great shots of your little performer or really for any occasion, I highly recommend him. These photos here are just a taste of the beautiful work he did for us.
Written by Katie Mastovich
GIVEAWAY: Would you like to win a free session with J. Bell Photography? The session, valued at $249, includes a one hour photo session with J. Bell shooting on location at your home or a park/ location of your choosing. The package includes a high resolution CD and keepsake DVD with 40+ shots that are yours to keep!
What do you have to do to win? You have a couple of different chances:
- Leave a comment here telling us why you would like to win a photography session with J. Bell.
- Like LiveMom on Facebook then come back here and tell us that you like us.
- Like J. Bell Photography on Facebook then come back here and leave a comment letting us know that you like them.
A random winner will be chosen on Friday, July 1, 2011 and midnight. The winner will be notified via email with 24 hours to respond. You must reside within the greater Austin area to win this giveaway. There is no cash value.
J. Bell is extending his special pricing for this outstanding package to all LiveMom Save On, Mom Discount Card holders! If you don’t have a card yet, sign up now to receive one for FREE!! Take advantage of the savings with J. Bell Photography through the month of July.