Planning the Perfect Session | Stewartville MN Family Photography

Michelle and I have been friends since high school so I was thrilled when she contacted me about a family session for her and her boys.  We have spent a lot of time together on the sidelines of soccer and baseball games over the years…cheering on our boys, sharing stories and generally just talking up a storm.  It’s hard to believe how quickly our boys have grown up!  Michelle realized how important it was to get those family photos before the craziness of life were to get in the way.

Planning for the perfect family photo session does not need to be a stressful ordeal!  For us it was very simple!

1.  First, I sent Michelle a questionnaire to help me get an idea of what she was looking for in her custom family session.  I was able to get a little info on each person being photographed, their style and how she would like to use the images from her session.  Clearly she and her oldest son had fun with this because I could not stop laughing when I read it.

2.  Like many parents, Michelle wasn’t sure what her family should wear.  I sent her a link to my Pinterest site where I have clothing inspiration boards and suggestions on how to build a coordinating wardrobe.  I even gave her suggestions on what items don’t look good in photos.  She nailed this part 🙂

3.  She mentioned that her mom built a new house and we could probably do the pictures out on their land.  Perfect, I love a unique location!  After chatting on the phone, I quickly discovered that there would be lots of variety in our backgrounds because they had everything from old buildings, to fields, to machinery and more.  I love looking for texture in images and we had everything we needed in one location.

4.  Michelle is also a girl after my own heart.  She just moved into a new place and wanted to have images to hang on her walls 🙂  Yes, please!  There is nothing that can make you happier than coming home and seeing the faces of the people you love on your walls!!!!  After hearing what colors are in her home and her existing frames and decor, we were able to nail down all the details quite quickly for our shoot.

5.  When I arrived on the location, I didn’t start shooting right away.  I talked with Michelle so she and her boys could get warmed up to me and then we walked around the property to find the perfect spots to shoot.

6.  I took all of that information and the personalities of each family member into consideration when photographing our session.  I knew that Michelle and her boys were sassy, casual, funny and flexible 🙂  They were definitely willing to try anything I asked, which is a photographer’s dream.  They braved the crazy wind and chilly temps like champs.  Plus, she was even okay with me bribing her youngest with candy to get “just one more shot”…LOL!

Family photos should be fun!  After a little bit of planning, all you need to do is show up and enjoy yourself….and I promise to always bring the candy 🙂

The Boettchers | Stewartville MN Family Photographer

I am so lucky to have such gorgeous weather in November!  We definitely took advantage of it for my family session with the Boettchers.  They have land just outside of Stewartville which gave us great options for a completely unique session.  I love this great color palette that they coordinated for their session. It really speaks fall and they just pop off the neutral background.

Not only is it important to capture your family in images, but don’t forget about yourselves too parents!  I totally love this image of Scott and Amy together and the way they are each snuggling and hugging their boys just speaks volumes on how much they all love each other 🙂  I can’t wait to share more images of them.  I seriously could not stop smiling when I was going through their pictures.  They are such a cute family and the boys are so stinking adorable.  I have known them their whole lives so it’s fun to see how big they have grown!

In Honor and Memory | Mike Roeder

I have known the Roeder family since high school.  As a member of FFA, (yes, I was a city girl in FFA!) I spent several hours out on their grandfather’s farm over the years as part of our chapter’s general livestock judging team, preparing for contests and judging in the annual competition that the Roeder family hosted.  The farm life is hard work and you would always see the boys running around and helping out.  We lived in town, so it was always interesting to me that they all lived so close to one another.  I mean, my closest set of grandparents weren’t across the road, they were 45 minutes away.  Even today, the Roeder clan is all in close proximity.  In addition to meeting them through FFA, I was a wrestling cheerleader and have either been directly involved or have followed the team in some way since.  The Roeders have all been very involved with wrestling as well.  We’re from a small town and we run in small circles.  You would be hard pressed to not know of this family!

Mike was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma a year and a half ago.  After his diagnosis, the Stewartville Wrestling Boosters hosted a benefit for him.  I was more than happy to be able to donate a session and attend benefit with my family.  The place was completely packed!  It was wonderful seeing all the people band together to support him and his family.  That’s one of the things I love most about living in a small town.  By God’s grace, his family ended up with the session and it was truly my honor to be able to photograph them!  We did the session at their home.  They have just a beautiful piece of land, absolutely perfect for the session!

On the day of their session, I was a little nervous to see it raining, but God smiled down on us and things cleared off just in time and the sun even made an appearance 🙂

It was wonderful seeing how they all care so much for one another.  The boys would banter back and forth or tease one other and there were lots of smiles!  Mike was feeling pretty good that day and seemed to enjoy riding around their property on the gator with the boys, holding Kathy’s hand and watching his grandchildren run around.  Witnessing Mike and Kathy’s love story is what touched me the most.  I am so grateful to the families, like the Roeders, that let me into their homes and lives.  Photographing and creating artwork for them that they will look back on and hopefully love forever.

Mike lost his battle with this terrible illness on Monday.  My heart goes out to their family.  I pray that God gives them strength to get through this difficult time and fills them with the wonderful memories of their life with him.  I wish there was more I could do or give.  Please keep them in your prayers as well.