Review and GIVEAWAY: J. Bell Photography

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.

AdvertisementJ., 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:

  1. Leave a comment here telling us why you would like to win a photography session with J. Bell.
  2. Like LiveMom on Facebook then come back here and tell us that you like us.
  3. 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.

Catherine Prystup
About Catherine Prystup 2157 Articles
Catherine Prystup founded out of a desire to build a better community for Austin-area moms. She has three children, ages seventeen, eight and three years old.

23 Comments on Review and GIVEAWAY: J. Bell Photography

  1. I would love to win a photography session with J. Bell. His pictures look amazing and I love that his pictures look are so natural. I am normally very camera shy too and would love to have a nice family photo of my son, husband, and me (and my pregnant tummy).

  2. Would love a chance to have our family documented professionally. The kids grow so quickly and change so fast, a nice set of pictures to remind me of what they were like when they were 1 and 4 would be awesome.

  3. Oooh man, since I’m the family photographer, I am rarely in the shot. I’d love for the kids to look back and see that I actually did exist. 😉

  4. I like both LiveMom and J. Bell Photography on Facebook. I would absolutely love to win this package, because I think J. does beautiful work, and despite my valient attempts to take THOUSANDS of pics of my son, I cannot make them look professional. Plus, I want beautiful family pictures. My family is the most important thing in my world… we are so blessed to have eachother! So, Jason, Mason, and myself would LOVE to win this!!!

  5. Love reading LiveMom! I would be thrilled to have professional pictures taken of my family.

  6. I would love to be able to not have to always have my hand sticking out in our family shots pointing our self timer remote at the camera! That would be awesome!

  7. I’d love to have the chance to have a family portrait done. They don’t stay young forever.


  8. I would love to win a session! As a single mama of 3, I’m always behind the camera, and not in front of it! I’d love to have some family portraits.

  9. I would love to have my son’s pictures taken by a professional photographer. My little preemie is about to turn 1 (in August) and I would love to have some great shots of him and our family. Thank you for offering this opportunity.

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