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Help-Portrait Boston, Year 3

For the third year in a row, yesterday I participated in an inspirational day.  The brainchild of celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart, Help-Portrait is “a community of photographers, coming together across the world, to use their photography skills to give back to their local community. On or around December 10th, photographers around the world will be grabbing their cameras, finding people in need, and taking their picture. When the prints are ready, the photographs get delivered. Yep. It really is that easy.”

I volunteered with our local group (find yours by clicking around on the community site here) and met some wonderful people, both in front of and behind cameras.  The Hyde Square Task Force hosted the event at their facility, and we (25+ photographers and volunteers) provided over 100 families who live or have roots within a mile of Jackson Square with portraits over the course of the day.

Attendees were welcomed…

Primped, by volunteers from Empire Beauty Schools:

And then they got to show off their pearly whites… here are just a few of the fantastic people I met:

Then they came downstairs to the spot where another group of fabulous volunteers were printing them an 8×10 and two 4×6’s, as well as burning them a CD of all their pictures to take home.  It was so well organized!  So many team members made it happen, but the most visible on our end were Howard and Jessica – thank you guys for doing TONS of legwork before the event (and I’m sure, late into the night!).  All our team members, send me your websites and I’ll link to you! :)

And our wall of love got bigger and bigger throughout the day.  This picture shows only about half of the families we saw.  Go team! Wonderful to work with you all, so fun to get to see all these smiles.

P.S. This was the first year we got releases from the subjects to show their beautiful faces on our websites – to help get the word out about this event so it can spread to more than the fifty countries it already spread to.  Of course, if any of my gorgeous subjects would prefer I not post their picture here – send me an email and of course I’ll take it down.

P.P.S. For historical perspective, I do have a blog post from the first event I took part in here (I slacked and didn’t do one last year, sorry).

brandy - December 11, 2011 - 10:51 am

SO psyched that you got to show the portraits! I remember your post from a few years ago, and back then I thought — this is so powerful, I wish I could see the results!

A few more shoot times available

Thanks to my fabulous husband’s automated process that’s been helping me batch a few portions of my editing process, I’m staying really on top of my editing this season! (Yes, it only took me nine years to get into a really good groove.)

Things are so under control around here that I feel like opening up a few more slots this season.

Check out my most up-to-date shooting schedule here.

Halloween at Music Together

Music class is always awesome, and when Halloween coincided with our weekly Monday music class at Old Colony Music Together, I knew it made sense to bring the camera.

Hilarious.  (Mine’s the kitty with her back to us here.)

They’re free to participate however they like.  Either with instruments:

Or in a more relaxed way… (this cracks me up)

This princess wins the prize for best expression of the day:

My kitty, tongue (literally) in cheek:

Great fun, every week, but especially so when they’re costumed ;)

My girls for Halloween

In a few hours I’ll be back to your regularly scheduled programming – cute clients all the time – but this morning I took a few minutes with my own little halloween goblins outside (in the SNOW).  In past years I’ve invited the whole neighborhood over, but with the weather the way it was this weekend, it was too hard to organize the timing of that, so I just forced my own children to don their costumes one day early and get wet and cold for a few minutes.  C’mon guys, it’s for ART!!  For posterity!  You’ll thank me later… right? Right??

Eventually they warmed up a bit and showed off the Wonder Woman-i-tude:

And the Kitty style: (But don’t ask how many bribes I had to go through to get her into this cat costume.  I kid you not – 30 minutes of begging, lollipops, everything.  She is sooooo two.)

Brrrrr is it time to go inside yet??

sara sun - October 30, 2011 - 2:32 pm

Aww LOVE these!!! They are totally rocking them! Love the Wonder woman costume. I used to have wonder woman underoos…oh man I loved them so :-) Have fun tomorrow.

Lantern Walk 2011

I had such grand visions of tonight’s elementary school candlelit “Lantern Walk” around our local pond, from a photographer’s perspective.  Turns out it was pitch black and I didn’t have any luck taking pictures on the walk around the pond.

Annie, on the other hand, got to walk home afterwards hand-in-hand with my sister (the person she thinks hung the moon).  So it was a success, after all.

Lauren - October 23, 2011 - 7:21 pm

Lovely photo!

2 year old Sadie got “gwasses”

Every once in a while I post personal stuff up here on the blog, because I just can’t contain myself. You guys, my clients, have become such friends over the years that I feel like I need to share momentous family news with you as it happens. So this week we had a huge change – our little Sadie, now 2 years 4 months old, got her new glasses this past Tuesday. She’s had them for three days now, and it’s really pretty amazing all the changes we’re seeing.

First of all, I can happily report they haven’t impacted the cuteness level one bit:

And she did a day at her daycare yesterday where Christine told us she had a fantastic day.  Tons less whining (so sad to imagine she’s been super whiny the last few months because she’s been having eyesight-related headaches), talking a lot, running around, just really enjoying herself.  As I sat here editing some pictures she sat on my lap for a minute and called out, “Mum! There’s a bug!” She pointed to the cursor on the screen.  How many times has she sat in my lap and looked at this screen – but been unable to see the cursor?  Careful, I’m going to start crying soon.

Friends have asked how we figured out she needed them, but it was nothing epic – her eye seemed to turn in a smidge when she was tired, so I called Children’s Hospital and got an appointment with a pediatric opthamologist there (by the way – what an AMAZING specialty — they are such experts at getting a two year old to talk about what she can and can’t see on cards across the room… they’ve just thought of everything (obviously, I guess) – but so impressive).

She’s having such fun discovering her world again.  The details on the side of the pencil she’s using…

Hugging and kissing on her favorite babies…


Amazed by the beautiful pictures she can draw…

She takes them off once in a while and puts them down, but I’ve been wearing mine more and talking about how they help me to see, and so it’s pretty easy to put them back on her a few minutes later. She really doesn’t seem to mind them.

And haven’t slowed her down a bit.

Next week I’ll tell you the other reason I’m emotional, though – Annie heads off to kindergarten this coming Tuesday. Eek.

David McDaniel - September 2, 2011 - 12:19 pm

You’re right! No cuteness impact at all! Actually, maybe even cuter!

Maybe next time, she’ll not think I’m some scary/blurry over-sized daddy….

Shirley - September 2, 2011 - 12:41 pm

I think the only cuteness impact is that she’s even cuter – who could think that would be possible? just illegal cute now! Yummo. Thanks for sharing these.

Erica - September 2, 2011 - 1:55 pm

Oh my gosh! So adorable!! As a small kid who got glasses, it is so fun to see how much joy she’s taking in it. Thanks for sharing it!

Donna McDaniel - September 2, 2011 - 2:16 pm

Who knew a kid could look even cuter with glasses? And, oh, how much she’s looking like Annie these days (the one without glasses)!

Adelaide - September 2, 2011 - 3:56 pm

Sadie looks SO adorable that glasses seem just a fashion accessory. And—wow!—amazing parental insight to notice something awry with a child’s eyesight.

Kimsoo - September 3, 2011 - 9:34 pm

Thanks for sharing Jess. I’m touched by the process and the whole new world she will discover. Awesome! Love, Kimsoo

There’s just something about two

I made a collage of Annie pictures when she was two – and I look at it framed over my desk almost every day.  I adore two years old.  There’s something magical, hilarious, brilliant, squishy and so lovable about two.

My big girl Annie was a beauty back then (she’s five and a half now) – here’s her collage from 2007:

And now for my Sadie girl’s 2 year old collage. I love you, my sweet.  Thank you for making me laugh every day.

Funniest picture from the Royal Wedding

I had a wonderful (very early) morning with my 5 1/2 year old cuddled in PJs on our couch watching a real live princess get married to a real live prince.  I watched the wedding in 1981 on the floor of our playroom with my mom in our PJs when I was almost six, and in 1952 my mum was six when she watched the Coronation with her mother.  Fun to wonder what will happen with our beloved royals in thirty years that our kids will enjoy.

And I had to share — Matt Dunham filed this photo with the AP this morning, and it’s just the best.  I’m a sucker for kids “ruining” pictures.

Click on the picture to see it bigger on NPR’s website.

Kudos, Matt – LOVE this!


With 76 comments, we have our winner: hungry, happy Colt, enjoying his mushed carrots.

What a great (virtual) turnout for this contest – thank you so much to everyone who took the time to vote for your favorites and also for promoting the contest to your friends.  It was a lot of fun for me to see so many comments come flowing in over the past few weeks.

Here are the final results – the number of comments appears on the far right of this image in a little comment bubble (see orange arrows):

Colt’s family will receive a custom, hardcover photobook as their prize for winning the Photo/Story contest.  Thanks again, everybody!

Share this on Facebook.


Welcome to the March 2011 Photo/Story Contest!

Thanks for visiting the Photo/Story Contest. Have fun reading the stories and vote for your favorite ones by clicking on the “comments” link here on the blog below the post and entering a quick comment. The photo/story with the most comments posted by 10pm on Thursday, March 31th wins! The winning family will receive a free custom photobook from Boston Baby Photos.

Keep checking back – I’ll be posting submissions as they’re sent to me, so lots more photo/stories to come! Scroll down this page for new entries, I’m posting them below here.

Official Photo/Story Contest Rules for Submissions (entries will be accepted until Monday, March 14th at midnight):

1) The photo you submit has to have been taken by me, Jessica McDaniel
2) The photo you submit has to have been taken at an in-home photoshoot or Public Garden mini-shoot.  This means studio-style photos Jess does for some nursery schools aren’t eligible, I’m sorry.
3) The photo you submit has to be black and white

Official Photo/Story Contest Rules for Voting (votes will be accepted until 10pm on Thursday, March 31st):

1) Please be honest and only vote (comment) one time for each photo/story that you like.  Feel free to vote for more than one if you’d like to.
2) You are welcome to vote for your own post. Just once, though :)
3) I will be moderating the comments/votes that come through, so there may be a delay before your vote appears on the blog. I realize it will be possible for one person to “stuff the ballot box” by commenting many times on one post, but don’t do that — we’re all friends here. Let’s be fair, OK?
and last…
4) Have fun!


Contest submission #1: Katelyn & Tyler

I love the pics that Jess took for us and the twins (ed. note – they were just about four weeks old then), because it captures their personality even though they were so little. Everyone including me loves that Katelyn is biting Tyler’s cheek. They were so tiny back then, but still showed lots of facial expression/their feelings, and interaction with us and each other.

Catherine - March 14, 2011 - 11:26 am

They are so adorable ! Love the photo.

Sang Kim - March 14, 2011 - 9:03 pm

What angels here. So adorable and beautiful.

Amber Servi - March 22, 2011 - 7:19 pm

Great picture!

Contest submission #2: Jack

Our family has been through so much in Jack’s four years. I love this picture so much because it inspires me to believe that anything is possible, and makes me proud to be the parent of such a special child. There were times that we were told Jack may not make it through the night or to his next birthday, but we never gave up hope. This picture to me symbolizes how far we’ve come and that we have to remember that life is a journey that you take one step at a time.


Clinton - March 14, 2011 - 1:50 pm

Great Family, Great Parents, Great Child, Great Picture!

Paul R. - March 14, 2011 - 3:50 pm

I would title this photo “Family, walking into the future”.

Mary C. - March 15, 2011 - 10:44 pm

This is a beautiful picture. A true family…together through it all.

Rose - March 19, 2011 - 2:09 pm

This picture captures a strong family bond.

Contest submission #3: Braden, Riley and Kieran

The series of pictures that Jess took in this chair stood out to me more than any of the others – because of the chair. You see, this chair is about 25-30 years old, and it is covered in crazy bright turquoise and purple flowers – it’s not a subtle chair. The chair is a hand me down that I got from my grandmother’s house, when I was 22, and trying to furnish my first apartment after college on as little money as possible. There actually were 2 chairs at one point, 2 twins that demanded attention in any kind of decor, and did not fit with the subtle Pottery Barn looks that are trendy today – true relics from the bright, flower child days of the early 70’s. I have no idea where chair number 2 was lost along the journey of the last 17 years of my life. Chair number 1 is now in our playroom, a comfy place for mom or dad to hang out while the boys play with legos and trucks and use action figures to wage imaginary battles.

The thing is, the chair has never made it into any family pictures we have because it’s, well, really really loud. Untili now. Jess used the black and white medium to take a wonderful series of shots in this chair. I love them, because the chair reminds me of my grandmother so much. The brightness and cheeriness of the perfectly sewn slipcovers she made – that covered up its original sensible beige with turquoise and purple (purple was her favorite color).

The thing is my grandmother never got to meet her 3 wonderful great-grandsons. But when I look at this picture, I see traces of her in each of their faces, especially the baby in his wide, deep, eyes. And somehow, in this picture, her chair seems to envelop them, wrapping its arms around them, snuggling them in tight as they sit on its lap. The picture represents a wonderful image to me – my grandmother giving each one of the boys she never met a big, warm, bright, cheery, hug. Because I know she’d love them with all her heart.


Debbie OConnel - March 24, 2011 - 11:18 pm

The picture is great – the story behind the picture….warms my heart.

Sharyn Morris - March 25, 2011 - 9:25 am

Beautiful picture that really captures the boys’ personalities. And I love the story behind the setting!

Hannah Pentz - March 25, 2011 - 12:12 pm

The photos she took are so beautiful and down to earth – but now I know the story behind the chair and it almost made me cry! Grandmothers are so special, even if they can’t be with us in person they are always in our hearts. Great shot for a great family!

Meredith Lepper - March 25, 2011 - 1:44 pm

Love it! And to think that chair has withstood 3 boys (and will continue to do so)…

Contest submission #4: Joli, Jada and Evan

This photo was taken just six weeks before my bilateral mastectomy, a surgery to free me from the worries of a high risk of cancer. This is one of my favorite photos of our family because it captures all of us in a rare moment of shared joy! We get so caught up in our busy 24/7 lives that we don’t often, as a family, make time to just enjoy the simple things: a sunny day, an afternoon together in the park, and a beautiful person (Jess) to capture these moments. This photo, when I see it now, reminds to me take hold of life’s little laughter, spirit, and friendship. And, it reminds me of the steps we’ve taken as a family to live a longer, healthier, happier life together.


Jenny - March 23, 2011 - 2:50 pm


Sally - March 23, 2011 - 2:55 pm

love this photo! love this family! hugs to you all!

Ana - March 23, 2011 - 3:13 pm

keep smiling!

Olivia - March 23, 2011 - 3:17 pm

I am voting for this amazing pic and amazing fam!

Kate - March 23, 2011 - 3:32 pm

You’ve got my vote!

Maya Klauber - March 23, 2011 - 4:20 pm

You’ve got my vote! Such a beautiful family, inside & out

Ryan Eschauzier - March 23, 2011 - 5:11 pm

This one is the best!

Angela - March 23, 2011 - 5:32 pm

I vote for Joli, Jada, and Evan! :)

Anne - March 23, 2011 - 5:35 pm

Yes, for Joil, Jada & Evan!

cheryl - March 23, 2011 - 8:00 pm

Beautiful photo of a beautiful family.

Kristin Eschauzier - March 24, 2011 - 7:46 am

The great state of Maine casts one vote for Joli, Jada and Evan!

Lisa - March 24, 2011 - 4:16 pm

What a great photo and a symbol of what will be a long, happy life together…it definitely has my vote..xo

Marissa - March 24, 2011 - 6:54 pm

Go Joli, Jada, and Evan!