{Maine Family Photographer}: 5 Years of Davins

I thought I would try something I haven’t done before — combine multiple years of the same family in one post (YAY for people who get family photos every year! & YAY 21 days of blogging!). It’s crazy to see all these photos of the same family all at once. And it’s also a little crazy that I somehow still think of Cole and Ty as they were the first time I met them and photographed them. Now when I see them I’m shocked by how tall they are and how their faces have shifted.

The first time we hung out with my cameras we met in Portland, by a park with a graffiti wall. Things got a little silly. I may have encouraged some of that…

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This is actually one of my favorite family group photos - I love the colors and the angle and how they are not perfectly lined up yet.

This is actually one of my favorite family group photos - I love the colors and the angle and how they are not perfectly lined up yet.

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haha! :D

haha! :D

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Our final attempt at a photo of the 4 of them. Worth it!

Our final attempt at a photo of the 4 of them. Worth it!

The next year we met at SMCC. I loved Cole’s red shorts on that really overcast day. And you will see things were also pretty windy that day…

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That wind :D

That wind :D

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The next year we met at their home and the dogs got to hang out with us, which was a great way to keep the boys smiling and not worried about the camera (pro tip).

Some years it’s more about the boys, and less about all four of them. Until the next time we can all be in the same place for photos again :)

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Then the next year we met at the Portland Museum of Art. Which is a great spot for photos, especially if it starts to drizzle a little.

This was the year I almost fell over when I saw Cole. I couldn’t believe what a difference a year made! And sweet Charlie made another appearance…

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And then another year in their yard… some quick shots with dad before had to leave. Then the majority of the time seemed to be all about Charlie.

Charlie is the dog, by the way. He’s a little star at their home and at Dava’s work.

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Haha! Charlie is trying to play with everyone, so Cole put his foot over the tennis ball which of course made me chuckle.

Haha! Charlie is trying to play with everyone, so Cole put his foot over the tennis ball which of course made me chuckle.

The star of the family :)

The star of the family :)

So, these were some of my favorites from each of our sessions through the years. It was fun to look at these all again! Photos are so amazing, and I am always honored by the people who come back year after year and value how important family photos are.

Thank you, Dava, Jim, Cole, and Ty! And, of course, Charlie!!

Walking to get photos in year 5. Maybe I’ll save those for another.post! But also, has me wondering if this year Mom will be the shortest in the family…

Walking to get photos in year 5. Maybe I’ll save those for another.post! But also, has me wondering if this year Mom will be the shortest in the family…

Maine Portrait Photographer: Head Shots, part 1

So, I photograph people. Over the last several years I started photographing a local real estate company’s head shots, in addition to actors, small business owners, and anyone in need of a head shot for promotional use. I don’t use a studio, and don’t travel with a big lighting set up. This way of working has its pros and cons, but it works for me. Plus, it allows me to carry what I need on any shoot and not draw any more attention to myself than carrying a camera already does.

So, now you know a little about how I work. I thought I would blog and share some info about where/what/how with some of these shoots, in order to help with ideas and so people can see what works and why.

As a a natural light photographer, I avoid mid-day/the harshest light. A sunny cloudless day is actually not my friend. 9am in Maine most of the year is already harsh, in the world of natural light. And Portland does not have high rise buildings, so finding shade and even light can be a challenge at times.

Michelle, Hair Stylist Extraordinaire. This image is my favorite from her session, but not the one she chose based on what she needed to use the image for.  Taken in January / roughly 3:30 pm / with snow on the ground. Yes, we are outside - in an entry way before entering a museum.

Michelle, Hair Stylist Extraordinaire. This image is my favorite from her session, but not the one she chose based on what she needed to use the image for.

Taken in January / roughly 3:30 pm / with snow on the ground. Yes, we are outside - in an entry way before entering a museum.

Different times of year will give different kinds of light, just like different times of the day will. The colors and light tend to vary in seasons, depending on what’s growing and what is happening in the sky (producer of the natural light). But more than just the sky giving you the light, there is also the factor of your surroundings. This photo above of Michelle is taken in an area with a lot of bright architectural details, so I wanted to use this to our advantage. Plus her hair and those walls!

Kristia, actress.  Downtown Portland, Maine / October /roughly 5:04 pm. I stopped her by this wall so we could capture some of that light happening & dancing around Free Street. I will likely show more of Kristia in other blog posts on this topic, as we photographed her until roughly 7pm, which in October in Maine means you are on borrowed time with the light, but can still make use of that time of day.

Kristia, actress.

Downtown Portland, Maine / October /roughly 5:04 pm. I stopped her by this wall so we could capture some of that light happening & dancing around Free Street. I will likely show more of Kristia in other blog posts on this topic, as we photographed her until roughly 7pm, which in October in Maine means you are on borrowed time with the light, but can still make use of that time of day.

Casey, actress.  Portland City Hall / also October / approx 7:20 pm. The bright architecture (again) helped us be able to keep photographing here at this time of day/year.

Casey, actress.

Portland City Hall / also October / approx 7:20 pm. The bright architecture (again) helped us be able to keep photographing here at this time of day/year.

Tom of Port Properties.  On a street in Portland / late October / 3:42 pm / weather: chilly and a little windy, sky: overcast.

Tom of Port Properties.

On a street in Portland / late October / 3:42 pm / weather: chilly and a little windy, sky: overcast.

With both Krisita and Casey there were a few locations and outfit changes, as is needed for people who want a few looks. For others, like Tom of PortProperty, we needed one spot and just a few minutes of his time. So as I walked to meet him and his employees I decided where I wanted to photograph them, then spent just a few minutes with each person - partly so they could get back to work, mostly because it was cold, but also because sometimes people are doing something they have to do rather than something they want to do. And I try to respect that.

Dava, owner Portside Real Estate.  In a warehouse / August / roughly 9:11 am. Confession: we got lucky this day as this door was open so we ducked inside to get out of the sun, which gave us this great background and nice light. I have not been able to repeat this moment in this spot ever since.

Dava, owner Portside Real Estate.

In a warehouse / August / roughly 9:11 am. Confession: we got lucky this day as this door was open so we ducked inside to get out of the sun, which gave us this great background and nice light. I have not been able to repeat this moment in this spot ever since.

Julia of Portside Real Estate Group.  In the same complex where I photographed Dava, but in winter and around the corner.  January /roughly 3:08 pm / Bright sun, but cold day - so we ducked into an alley.

Julia of Portside Real Estate Group.

In the same complex where I photographed Dava, but in winter and around the corner.

January /roughly 3:08 pm / Bright sun, but cold day - so we ducked into an alley.

Carrie, realtor.  South Portland / February (yes! it was cold) / roughly 4:07 pm.

Carrie, realtor.

South Portland / February (yes! it was cold) / roughly 4:07 pm.

So, as seen here photos can happen year round, even in cold Maine with no indoor studio. I will continue to share posts on this topic and some of my favorite times and places to go.

And of course, there’s always inside, in winter. This home was perfect for it, had great natural light, light walls, clean decor. I loved how her necklace matched the decor in this home that wasn’t even hers!

And of course, there’s always inside, in winter. This home was perfect for it, had great natural light, light walls, clean decor. I loved how her necklace matched the decor in this home that wasn’t even hers!

Want your head shots by the ocean? Great! We’ll plan it at certain times of the year (want those boats in the background? Then it needs to be after Memorial Day and possibly by Labor Day…) AND a certain time of day. So head home, eat dinner, and get your face ready for your close up because I only schedule those sessions in the evening. Or early morning.

Except of course, in the winter!

Personal: My {2018} 365 Photo Project

In 2018 I decided to take part in a 365 photo project with a few other photographers in my area. The challenge is to make a photo EVERY DAY for the entire year. In 2017 I had done a photo a week project, and loved how the project made me bring my camera out more often. It’s easy as photographers to silp into only bringing the gear out for paid shoots, and maybe the occasional family gathering. I needed a reminder of how much I love to photograph every day life.

So a photo a week turned into a photo a day. And now that the year is done and the images are edited and the slideshow has been made, I can see that this was no small task. A year stretching out on the horizon seems like an exciting oportunity and a daunting task at the same time. 365 chances to make a photo! But also holy cow 365 days of making photos!! I had to break it down for myself, so it would not feel overwhelming.

First, I had to develop the habit. I did a 21 day habit building exercise, where i wrote every day about this habit and then put the lesson to work. The mindset here is the belief that it takes 21 days for something to become a habit.

Second, I decided to take things one month at a time, but also one DAY at a time. I felt a sense of accomplishment when I was hitting the end of my first month, and then struggled with feeling like I ended the month with an image I wasn’t happy with. This happened a few times if I’m being honest — I would feel great about another month under my belt, but then finish with an image that wasn’t that strong.

{reality check: THAT’S OK}

SO, Third, I reminded myself that YES there are 365 opportunities but some days will be better than others. Some days we are just better at some things, some days we are making sure we get to the end of the day. Learning to be forgiving and let some days feel maybe mediocre, and remind myself that part of this project was about honesty and a splash of perseverance. And the less exciting/inspiring/focused days are like resting spots between the days where there is fun, food, conversation, love, and adventure. So, take them all.

At first I had a small struggle realizing the other photographers doing this had children and adorable fur babies. A constant plethora of photographic subjects. I work from home a lot, have no kids, no pets, and a better half who doesn’t like the attention of a camera. I loved the work I was seeing from others, partly because there was so much energy and honesty. They were capturing these amazing chunks of their everyday life, and the messier the better. I buckled in for a long winter of figuring out how to work around the lack of subject matter in my living space.

But I also knew my option was to work with what I had or go looking for something. As a winter hibernator, I was actually glad for this project and the times it made me bundle up and head out the door. Drive until you find something, head to the beach until your fingers hurt from holding the camera, go visit your family or meet your friends for nachos, even if you already ate. Chase light and life and see what happens. And on the days where that doesn’t happen, slow down and look at things around you and figure out how to photograph it.

I had many moments throughout the year where I was so glad I was doing this project. Glad to the point of feeling incredibly grateful. Grateful for the push, the support, the drive, and for the people in my life and the things we share. I brought my camera to a rally against gun violence. I saw friends and strangers stand together to have their voices heard. I watched people feel the emotion of this time and felt the weight of the moment as I witnessed some of it unfold through my viewfinder. When I loaded the images something looked strange in some of the frames, and I grew concerned I had done something to my gear. But I was in the middle of photographing life every day, so let’s keep going. The something became more of a problem and when I brought me camera to get cleaned I was told there was a hair sharing space in my camera. I looked back through my photo a day project and realized I brought my camera to the hair salon the day before the march. The price of bringing your camera everywhere!

Some days I took over 200 photos, some days 2. One day I looked at my phone will watching Saturday Night Live and saw a post from my photo pals, which made me jolt up in panic that it was 11:42 pm and I had yet to take a photo! I scrambled to get my camera and figure out what to photograph in my dark house. Behold, the refrigerator door! Because when you open it, there is light. Anddddd then I was wide awake for awhile.

I photographed my friends having as much Summer fun as we could in the short time we get it here in Maine. The laughter, the food, the floats, the drinks, the singing. I listened to my friends talk about their struggles with life and family and such, and had moments of wishing the relatives who criticize these friends could see what I see. Photos unfolding in front of me telling the stories of friendship. There are times when this project was humbling that way.

And, of course, the multiple times I got to be with my niece and nephew with the camera. I really like them (super obvious, I know) and actually want to hang out with them often, but we all have lives. This project had me making more efforts to visit and do things with them. Summer evenings in the unicorn castle, excuses to get ice cream, or just show up and play. I would get my photo (and sometimes end up with too many to edit) and would get to hang with them. Works for everyone! Plus, the amount of photos I had at the end of the year to give my family members… it was actually somewhat overwhelming. I printed off close to 300 prints to give to my family both to thank them for supporting my through this, but so they could see how a year in our lives looked. PLUS, the importance of printing your photos! That’s another topic for another blog post. Or several posts.

So, 2018 is a wrap. I’m so glad I got to capture as much of it as I did. Since I didn’t feel like stopping on 12/31/2018, I have continued on with a repeat project for 2019!

Thank you for following along!

Here’s to more real moments for all of us in 2019! xo ~ jb

Family Photos:: Winter Fun with Jan Fam

The holidays are over, and a new year has begun. I like this time of year as a chance to regroup, reassess, maybe reorganize, and get ready for the year ahead. In the world of family photos, this time of year tends to be very quiet for me. But the thing is, family photos in the snow are actually really fun!

I know. Sounds crazy. But trust me. The only catch is snow day photo shoots are not for everyone. They are, however, great for the fun, silly, outdoorsy, or adventurous ones. And after we are done having fun in the snow, it’s a great excuse to hang out and do something warm and cozy back inside. Hot chocolate, baking, pj’s for the rest of the day… or grab the sleds and keep keep the outdoor fun going.

Jan and her girls, always up for whatever.

Jan and her girls, always up for whatever.

This year I got to hang out with Jan and her girls again. Lucky us, because it snowed the night before their shoot. So what started with pj’s and a photo-bombing cat, moved outside to the yard with fun, jumping, and laughter. Plus a color palette that had this photog nerding out a bit.

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These colors!

These colors!

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I’m not sure if it was the snow that had us laughing almost the whole time, or just how hilarious they all are when they are together. Either way, my cameras and I were loving it. The light was great, the fun was plentiful, and even the parking lot made for a good back drop because that is the magic of a fresh pile of snow (and most of the cars moved out of their normal spots for plowing).

It would have been easy to decide we should reschedule (except not really, considering the time of year). But we knew this would give us photos we haven’t gotten at our other sessions. I’m so glad we both agreed it was game on because we would not have gotten these images and these colors had we rescheduled.

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So, I’m here to encourage you to schedule the photo shoot, not worry about the weather, and find a way to capture you and your people living and having fun together. Sounds like a great way to kick off 2019!

Sisters. xo

Sisters. xo