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My Style Of Photography for Weddings and Engagement Sessions - Alaska Wedding Photographer

Every photographer has a unique style. It takes years to develop. But when you place two photographers in the same location, it is amazing how unique and different their work can be. So, I like to believe my that style of photography has it’s own unique and creative edge to it. I love to combine commercial feel of images that would look amazing on a cover of an Alaska wedding magazine with an documentary feel of those images that capture the emotion and moments of the day. It’s the real moments shots that stop you in your tracks, and that really matter. I know how important images of you smiling at the camera can be, but at the end of the day I aim to capture more of the moments that how you connecting with the ones you love. Usually these images do not have you staring into the camera.

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In Home Newborn Photographer - Palmer, Wasilla Newborn Photographer

Once upon a time I wanted to a a photographer that photographed babies. Babies on a beanbag and perfectly posed. Then I realized I was not comfortable with that. What I was really drawn towards was images of the parents holding and snuggling their new baby and not looking at the camera. That’s really where they belong. So, I decided to change my approach. I now do lifestyle newborn sessions.

First, I guess I should explain what lifestyle means. A lifestyle session is really a storytelling session. The goal is to get a series of images that tell the story of what feels and looks like to care and love your newborn. During the sessions I usually wont ask you to look into the camera. I do give direction to get the best images possible, but I won’t put you in any stiff poses.

When it comes to being a newborn photographer in Palmer, Anchorage, and Wasilla, Alaska lighting is very important. Not all homes have amazing light, and during the winter months the light isn’t always ideal. So I do ask my clients to pay attention to the light in their homes, and when I arrive I will ask you to show me around so that we can use the best light possible. If additional light is needed, I am equipped to bring additional lighting equipment.

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Here are a couple of questions that I am often asked.

First, why are lifestyle sessions better than posed portrait sessions?

I’m not against a posed family portrait. The problem I have with that is when a client thinks that that one image is all they want or need. That might be the case, but if so, then I am not the photographer for them. I want images that show a variety of moments, emotions, and compositions. With one or two posed portraits you can’t really see how much they are loved by their parents, or capture their little features.

The second question is why don’t I offer mini sessions?

Again, I am all about telling the story of the newborn and the family. I can get a good posed portrait in a few minutes. Looking at the camera posed portraits is really about how they look and not how it feels. I cannot get a collection of images that show the special connection between family members, a variety of emotions, and moments within 10 minutes. It generally takes a while for clients to get comfortable and relax during the session. What is special about how I photograph is that I take my time, I work the scenes, and I let my clients be who they are. I have had clients come to me in the past because they had a mini session, they felt rushed, and didn’t love their images. I really don’t recommend mini sessions for photographers or clients.

Wasilla Newborn Photographer

In Home Lifestyle Photography - Anchorage, Palmer, Newborn Photographer

I loved photographing this family and their beautiful little daughters! An in home session is perfect for families with small children, they are more comfortable in their own surroundings. If they get hungry, there is food right there, and they never get bored. Next time you are considering a session, consider your home!

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Summer in Alaska - Palmer + Anchorage Family Photography

I live for summer in Alaska! Minus the mosquitoes! It’s warm, but not so warm that you don’t want to go outside. I love how temperamental the weather here in Palmer is. One minute it’s sunny and beautiful, the next you are having a rain shower. The clouds here have to be one of my favorite things ever. I wouldn’t change living here in the summer for anything, the winters are a different story!

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I Love My Job | Anchorage, Alaska Family Photography

Let me tell you a secret, this is my family. Every time look at it I hear the bubbly laughing that would float out from my little 3 year old as he would chase the chickens around trying to get them to eat bugs. I feel the tall weeds crunching beneath my feet, and feel the late evening sun on my back. To look at this image brings tears to my eyes.

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Why I Love This Day In The Life Image | Palmer, Alaska Family Photography

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You can just feel how close the Reindeer have come, can almost feel their breath on your face as they nuzzle close for food. For some people, this might be uncomfortable, but for this mother and daughter, this is magic.

Choose Your Own Adventure...Palmer, Anchorage, Alaska Family Photography

When you were a child did you ever read those “Choose your own Adventure” books? I did, and I loved them. I would even read the books a couple of times, just because I wanted to see what different endings, or stories I would get. I love to relate these books to my photography. I offer two types of sessions for families. Portrait sessions, and In The Life…Home Sweet Chaos Sessions. Let me break down the differences for you, so that you can choose your own adventure.

First off, let me be clear that I enjoy both types of sessions. I find them both equally important, but they both serve different purposes for families.

Portrait Sessions: are you and your family at your best. This is an opportunity to capture emotions you feel for your family. Such as joy, affection, connection. You are proud to show off your family, and the images. They are beautiful, and are often something you hang on your wall, have printed in an album, and send out as Christmas cards. During portrait sessions you are directed to the best light, and given direction on posing for the most beautiful images. If you have more questions about my portrait sessions visit my F.A.Q.

Jakeman Family During their Portrait Session

Jakeman Family During their Portrait Session

But that is really half of the picture. It’s a small slide of who you are as a family. That is why I also offer and recommend In The Life…Home Sweet Chaos Sessions.

In The Life…Home Sweet Chaos Sessions: show a wide range of emotions. Everything from happiness when your toddler runs through the sprinkler, tenderness when you touch your baby’s face. Sadness when your child is throwing a tantrum, humor and what your toddler is doing, and exhaustion from parenting all day. During these sessions I document rather than direct. I capture the activities that your family enjoys doing together. Little things such as making breakfast, washing the baby, going for a walk, spending the day at the fair. The little things that families do every day to grow closer together. 30 years down the road it is these images and moments that you will want to remember…because they are real, natural, organic, unposed moments. They are who you really are as a family. When you are a parent it is important to have images of you with your children. It’s impossible to photograph these moments yourself. Your job is to be in the moment. My job is to make sure you remember every breath. If you want to learn more about these sessions visit my F.A.Q.

Jakeman Family During their Home Sweet Chaos Session

Jakeman Family During their Home Sweet Chaos Session

I Love This Portrait Because...... Palmer, Anchorage, Family Photographer

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Her contagious smile, her hands that she excitedly waived up and down. She was looking at her parents, they were behind me talking to her, and making the silliest noises. It’s just a good reminder that our emotions are often contagious.

Why I Love This Storytelling Image | Palmer, Alaska Family Photographer

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Parenting can be exhausting. We can spend the whole day thinking we didn’t experience anything but mundane everyday activities. What you don’t see is that they are really beautiful twinkles of love that are sprinkled throughout your day.

What to do if your toddler wont co-operate for photos? Tips from a photographer who was that toddler!

       Early one morning my mother decided that she was going to take me to go get my photo done at the local JCPenny's. She had 6 kids at the time, and obviously wanted to show the world her youngest little beauty! I'm surprised that I can even remember this event seeing as I was so young, but I do. The photographer sat me up on the bench, stood behind the camera and told me to smile. Now just in case you don't know me well, sometimes right off the bat I don't like people. I did not like this photographer. Looking back on it, I felt like he was talking down to me. So, I did what every little sassy pants toddler does...I REFUSED to smile. He then proceeded to try everything he could do to make me smile, and nothing worked. Out of desperation my mother bribed me with an ice-cream shake if I would just give her one smile. I can still remember the desperation in her voice! At that point I knew I had won! I gave my mother what she wanted, this sassy little smile, and we were out the door to get that shake.  What is interesting is that this last Christmas this picture came up, and we didn't talk about how cute I was. We laughed about what a stinker I was that day! So, what can you do to have a stress free photo-shoot with your toddler....

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LET GO OF PERFECTION

There I said it! Just let it go. Perfect images are boring anyway. Are stale images of your kid looking at a camera really what you want? Or do you want images that tell a story, take you back in time, and make you feel something. 

I suggest a documentary family photo session. What does that mean? It means that the photographer hangs out with you for an entire day documenting your life. It might seem like a weird concept at first, but these types of sessions produce images that are so awesome. 

These sessions take all the stress off of your shoulders because you get to be you. No need to buy matching clothing, no need to clean your home, and dads love these sessions. 

LET ME TELL YOU ANOTHER STORY

I hired a mentor a couple of years ago to help me with my photography. I just wasn't happy with where I was going. I can produce beautiful perfect family portraits, and I was bored and frustrated out of my mind. Families would nit pick how they looked in each image trying to find the perfect image for their wall. It made me sad. These images where technically perfect in every way. So why wasn't I happy! Then my mentor told me a story about Picasso. She said he was a master at the human form. He could paint it perfectly, with perfect dimensions. But obviously at some point he became interested in finding his "style" what he loved to create. I have always loved documentary images, but was worried to let go of my other technically perfect work. It pays the bills, but it hasn't been where my heart is at. I love images of kids being kids. I love to see mom cry when she looks at her images because they made her feel emotion. I dare you to give documentary family photos a try and see what you think. I promise that at some point your toddler with throw a tantrum during the day, but you will cherish the images that come from it. 

What Is The Best Way To Have Your Family Photographed?

When people think of professional photography they often think of wedding photos. But, not long after weddings come children...and family photos are often neglected. If they are not neglected they are often thought of as portraits with everyone looking at the camera. While I still photograph families in that way, I much prefer what I call moment photography or documentary family sessions. In order to get wonderful, emotion filled images on a wedding day the photographer often spends anywhere from 4 hour to a whole day with the couple and their family. So, I like to take the same approach with families when possible. I like to spend anywhere from 4 hours to a day with you documenting the little moments that you don't take notice of. I photograph you in an artistic, unique way that will provide you with images like no other family has. I also offer a short portrait session with everyone looking at the camera for families that book storytelling sessions, if that is something you are interested in.  I suggest that if you haven't thought of family photography in this way, you really think about how you want to remember your family and the life you are living. Here are some images of two of my children to give you an idea of how I photograph families. Take a look! Contact me at info@christalhoughtelling.com to schedule a storytelling, vacation, or day in the life session. 

Activities for Natural Family Photos - Palmer, Anchorage, Alaska Family Photographer

Any time a family contacts me they ask for ideas of activities that would be good to do for natural family photos. As a documentary Anchorage family photographer I tell them that family photos should be a real representation of how your family likes to spend time together. My sessions are relaxed, and natural because I work hard to make good photos of you spending time with your family. Summer is upon us in Alaska and it is short! So here are some ideas of activities that would be great for you to do as a family for your photo session. 

  • Play at the Lake or on boat

  • Roasting hot dogs and marshmallows

  • Play in the sprinkler at home

  • Go to the icecream shop and get icecream

  • Fishing together

  • Bake something as a family

  • Play in your yard and your home together

  • Go to your favorite little town on "vacation"

  • Go to the reindeer farm

  • Visit a glacier or take a glacier helicopter tour

  • Visit a local farm and pick out produce or flowers

  • Go berry picking

  • Go on a short hike and have a picnic

  • If extended family or friends are in town this is the best time for a family session and take them around to all the local tourist spots and spend time together at home.

You don't have to limit yourself to this list! Whatever you want to do as a family I can tag along. My documentary sessions last anywhere from 4 hours to a whole day. When clients hear that I spend the day with them sometimes they are surprised.  But the fact is that I am not taking any of your time, you get to spend your time doing whatever you want and I am just along for the ride. If you have any questions or want to schedule your family session contact me at info@christalhoughtelling.com. 

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What is a Documentary Family Photo Session, and why should I have one?

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DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY IS A NATURAL WAY TO HAVE YOUR FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHED

The thing about documentary is that it is about capturing you and your life as it is. There is no staging, no posing, no directing.  Another genre that people often confuse with documentary is lifestyle. These two styles are completely different. Lifestyle is trying to make your life look perfect with clothing, location, facial expressions, ect. Documentary is photographing your life as it is, because you are perfect the way you are. The messy house, the mismatched clothing, the wild children. That is enough, and it is beautiful to capture. 

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YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT WHAT TO WEAR    

 One thing that clients often worry about is worry about is what to wear. For these sessions you don't need to go buy new clothing. Just wear what you would wear on any normal day. These sessions are supposed to be about photographing your family as you are! So let the stress fly out the window and just be you.

 

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AT SOME POINT YOUR CHILDREN WILL ACT OUT

Don't worry about it! I will photograph those moments where the kids are throwing tantrums, or fighting, or just being stinkers. But that is part of what family life is! It's a bundle of emotions all wrapped up in a day, and that is what makes my heart love documenting families. I have 4 kids of my own, so this is not new to me. 

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LOCATION MATTERS

Location matters in terms of what you love to do as a family, and what a normal day with you is like. If you have a couple of activities that are special that you do as a family we can photograph those. But don't try to stuff your day full of too many things. The whole family will be exhausted if you do. 

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DADS LOVE THESE SESSIONS

Lets be honest....not many men love photoshoots. Well, that is until they have a documentary session. These sessions are really just about photographing the family spending time together. 

THESE IMAGES WILL BE PRICELESS

Kids grow up fast, and life changes. I view photography as a visual inheritance that you leave for your family. It is so important to have photos done. It's the little things in life that tug at our heart. It's not the perfectly posed images. Pick up the phone and give me a call at  907-982-5409 or email me to schedule your session. 

5 Tips To Being a Support For Your Postpartum Partner

As a mom of 4 kids I can tell you that it is exhausting to give birth. I jokingly tell my husband that I have been sleep deprived since my oldest was born 13 years ago. It is emotionally and physically exhausting to raise children, but it's worth it! I always heard people tell me while I was pregnant to get sleep now because once the baby was born, I wouldn’t get any sleep. It didn’t really hit me that that was true until I was so sleep deprived that I couldn’t even think straight. So, here are some tips to be a support for your postpartum partner to help her get sleep, and feel great. 

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#1: Take time off work to be home.

New moms have just had their bodies work harder than ever, and go through changes that are really dramatic in a short amount of time. They need sleep, which is hard to get when you have a newborn that needs to eat every few hours, and poops just as often. She will need help. Stay home, take the baby so that she can rest, shower, and eat.

#2: Accept meals and help from friends and family.

These people know how hard it can be to add a new little baby to the family and they want to help. Graciously accept their meals, it’s one less thing that you will have to worry about doing. I’ve learned over time that having a community around you that will help is essential to raising children. Just don't forget to do the same when your friends have babies! 

#3: Hold the space for her.

What does that mean? Don’t assume that you know how she is feeling. Not everyone has the same emotional reactions to things, and while we might have a good idea of how she feels, you could be completely wrong. If she shares something with you, ask her how she is feeling about it. You might be surprised about what she says. We need to allow others to feel what they are feeling, and acknowledge it. I really believe that most women just want a listening ear. Instead of immediately giving advice, listen to her, and then ask if she wants advice or if she would just want you to listen to her. This is so important and something that I believe a lot of people struggle with.  

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#4: Surprise her!

Take the time to bring her something that you know she loves and enjoys. That could be anything from flowers, to a specific food, to a gift. She deserves to know that she is appreciated for all that she does. It's amazing how the little things in life can really affect how we feel. 

#5: Enjoy this time!

I know that everyone says to enjoy the time when your kids are little. But it is so true! They grown up so fast, and before you know it they are to big to hold in your arms. Enjoy this new little one and the wonder that they are. 

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