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Sunday was an incredible day. Not only were the leaves gorgeous as I drove around the Boston suburbs (Cochituate Road between Concord and Natick is not to be believed right now), but I had three photoshoots with three families I’ve been taking pictures of for years and then I ended up at Fenway Park for the last shoot of the day, my 1,000th ever.
My mind tends to wander as I listen to podcasts and drive around Boston from one shoot to another, and Sunday was no exception. I thought about how happy my job makes me, how New England leaves are incredible and make such a cool backdrop. I thought about the number 1,000, and how eight years can zip by in the blink of an eye. I thought about how I had been excitedly tweeting and blogging about the 1,000th session coming up, and one friend/client wrote me saying “that’s 1,000 lucky families!”. Such a sweet comment, but because I see so many of my clients over and over again, it’s not quite right… in fact, my fall shooting season is packed chock full of families I’ve known for years. (Punctuated, wonderfully, by a newborn every once in a while, beginning the journey again.)
I only rarely take the time to count back, to figure out how many times I’ve taken pictures for any given family. I’m having fun with numbers this week – looking back at these families over the years and thinking about when they met me.
The first family I worked with on Sunday wins the prize of working with me the longest out of the three. Their first shoot was in October 2006, my 252nd shoot ever. They’ve been faithful clients, coming back every year since then, as #443, #634, #809 and then Sunday #998. Five years, and such a fun family. Here’s a fun moment from Sunday’s shoot. (Guys, I’m scheduled to edit your full session early next week – you should see proofs by Tues or so.)
Then there was my 2nd family of the day, another family I met in the fall/winter of 2006. It’s been five shoots, five years for them as well – big almost 5 yr old E was just one when we met, in December 2006, my 289th shoot ever. Then over those years they were shoot #494, and #660, and #831, and Sunday they were #999 for me. And best of all? I got to meet E’s baby brother.
I had to grab this one to show you too, because look at that tree back there! OK, the munchkins are pretty fantastic too, but the colors this time of year around here are so incredible. A photographer friend asked me the other day if I’m exclusively a black & white photographer, and I told her of course not. I love black and white for indoor baby pictures, which is, after all, kind of what started my whole business… and I love the simplicity of a black and white image. But nowadays I always give my clients all their pictures in both b&w and color, even though I only blog the b&w’s – my first love. Another photographer friend tweeted a great line recently, related to this. He said “I dare you to take on B&W photography — stripping out the color forces one to be more articulate and to create stronger compositions.” I love that thought. I never could have said it as well as he did, but it’s a perfect sentiment for me. And it makes me feel cool, as someone who spends a lot of time thinking about and producing black and white imagery.
(And I’m scheduled to edit the rest of your pictures early next week as well, guys – you should see proofs by Weds latest.)
OK, but on to the main event. The last family I shot on Sunday was having their 8th photoshoot with me. (See what I mean about not necessarily having shot 1,000 clients?) The most incredible part for me was the location of the shoot. Last week as I thought about this milestone, I wondered what I could do to make it special. I wanted to celebrate, give the lucky family a free photobook to commemorate the session… but what could I do? Then I got the email – there was a chance they might be able to do their shoot in Fenway Park. They weren’t sure, but they were working on it. I did a little dance. Fingers hurt from crossing them… and it worked out! We did it at Fenway.
Alan, the dad of the family, offered to take some pictures of me doing my thang, since it’s not every day you shoot in Fenway. I handed him my phone and he got some great shots…
Thank you, Alan! Here’s me (do you believe we got on the field?)…
And without further ado…
Here’s a full blog post celebrating #1,000. Thank you guys so much for making it so special. Oh, but before I get into the pictures, I did your numbers too, because I know this part is just sooo fascinating for everyone. Your first shoot with me was in May 2007, my #348th shoot ever. Then over the years, we’ve had seven more sessions. You were my #404th, my 517th, my 592nd, my 654th, my 730th, my 791st, and now…. drumroll… MY 1,000th!! Woooeeee!
Wait up, guys!
In the bullpen :)
I have you guys scheduled to be fully edited by late next week, Thursday the 4th at the latest.
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In the spring of 2003 I was working full time as the Director of Project Management in the interactive division of a Boston marketing agency. I liked my job, but I didn’t love my job. I lived with my boyfriend, Evan, in a two family apartment in Cambridge. I went to school at night at BU – I was finishing my MBA program, hoping that a degree like that would help me get to the next place I wanted to be in life… Not so sure what that next place was. My shoulders hurt at night when I went to bed because I stayed up too late doing homework. Back then my job didn’t make me giggle much.
I was 27 years old.
On May 25, 2003, after writing my business plan and taking pictures of friends’ children here and there, I had my first paying photoshoot. It was a coworker’s son, and he was just six weeks old. The following weekend I shot a five month old. Then the next weekend I tried my hand at a two year old. Then a seven year old and her sister. And so on.
Now, fast-forward seven and a half years, and I work full time for myself, and I have an assistant and a bookkeeper who together help me run this crazy business called Boston Baby Photos. I live with my husband, Evan, in a four bedroom house in Milton. We have two girls, a five year old and a one and half year old, and now instead of going to school at night, I parent teach every month or so in my daugher’s co-op nursery school. Now instead of my shoulders hurting from stress and homework, my knees get sore from crawling around my clients’ living room floors. I have a waiting list of families who want me to take their picture before Christmas. And best of all, I giggle pretty much every day.
I’m 35 now.
And on October 24, 2010, this coming Sunday, I will have my one thousandth photoshoot. It’s been a long road, I’ve wiped a lot of noses, made a lot of fart noises, and done many a silly dance. And I wouldn’t change a moment of it.
Thank you to the hundreds of families who’ve helped me make it to this really cool milestone. One thousand seems like a really big number.
I raise my (I was going to say glass of wine, but let’s be honest) daughter’s unfinished sippy cup of milk (cut me some slack, the wine’s in the kitchen, this one’s right here next to me on the couch) in a toast.
To giggling. And to many thousands more.
I am so in love with all the editing I’m doing these days – I wish I had time to blog them and show you all these cuties. I am cramming to finish everything before my baby sister gets married this month, so no blog posts for me for a while, I’m sorry!
I am the worst at this! The last family shot was back in April — then May happened, and then June happened… and now it’s July. Here’s our fourth family picture from 2010. This twelve pictures of four people project may end up running a bit longer than 12 months, I’m thinking…
But here we are in Hull early in July – Nantasket Beach behind us.
I don’t usually break from the work pics, but I had to share bathtime pics of my two girls from tonight, because they’re making me smile.
Can I really post to my blog from my phone? We shall see.
Just got back from a wonderful week in SF visiting family. You know you love your family when it still constitutes a wonderful trip even though it included two trips to the emergency room (all is fine, my almost 1yr old’s scary fever is no longer scary) and a last minute (seriously, as we took the exit for “departures” at SFO) car barf…
But all that is neither here nor there. For now, here’s my third family pic in the annual (take one pic of the whole fam each month) project. Not sure how this one’ll look – had a friend snap it with my phone. I know, I know, I’m a consummate pro.
How are you guys doing with this? Anybody else making the attempt out there?
Forgive the ridiculousness of the bunny ear photos – I couldn’t resist. Happy Easter!
My big four and half year old bunny:
My little eleven month old bunny:
Had to grab a few more. They’re actually having fun with each other this month, it’s awesome.
And stairs are the best.
Thanks Auntie Kim Soo for the ears! :)
Now I started this personal project in February to get twelve photos of my family over the course of the year, so I’m two months in at this point, and we got these shots in under the wire on the last day of March (phewf) before we left my inlaws in Florida.
I was still a bit feverish in these photos (had just spent four days in bed with a fever on vacation while my poor amazing husband and inlaws handled the two kids themselves), so the smile’s a bit forced, but whatever. I love the first giggling one where the girls are both laughing, but even better, the second one where both kids are off doing their thing and Ev and I are still enjoying it. There’s something just so real about that moment.
And Ev will, doubtless, mention something to me about how many chins he has in these shots. I love ‘em.
Wow. I just realized that in April I’ll have my 900th photoshoot ever. It really feels like just a few years I’ve been doing this, but I guess it’s been a while. I can’t express how much I’ve loved doing this, and how wonderful it is to spend time with you all, my amazing clients. So excited to see what the next 900 shoots bring.
That also means I’ll have my 1,000th photoshoot later this year. I’m going to have to find a way to celebrate and find some special something to give away to the family who ends up with my 1,000th shoot. Not sure what yet, but stay tuned…
When my older daughter started nursery school last year, I heard from her school that they were interested in trying something different for the school photos. They asked me to go for it, and last year I did, and it was fantastic. Well, last year I was 8 1/2 months pregnant when I was shooting school photo day, so fantastic wasn’t the word I would have used back then, but the photos were adorable, and the achy back was short-lived ;)
This year, in Annie’s 2nd year in her nursery school, I did it again, and this year was even better (no belly to contend with on my end!). The kids were hilarious and adorable, and I can’t wait to do it again next year. I loved it so much I wanted to offer my services to other nursery schools, if they’re interested in trying something different this year. Here are a few cuties from this year (thanks to their moms and dads for letting me share their photos here!).
I encourage parents to bring siblings in for photos, too. ‘Cause nothing beats a siblings shot:
I try to get all the kids to make crazy faces, too, so I can make a “crazy face” collage for the school. Well, this one’s not so much crazy as jazz-hands-y ;)
Even baby sisters sometimes show up, and show off a smirk:
What are you gonna do?
The style, as you can kind of tell, is just a little different from standard school photos. Of course I get the standard sitting there, smiling shot for grandma’s wall, don’t worry. I just get a few others, too. Here are my two, doing what they do all over my house (and for once I’m not yelling – let GO of your SISTER!)
Each parent gets an individual link to their child’s photos for online ordering for 2 weeks after the shoot. Expressions are natural, and I think, pretty incredible. But that’s thanks to the gorgeous kids, not me.
I bring in lights and a white backdrop, just so we get super simple backgrounds and really focus on the kids’ expressions. It’s also nice because we don’t have to worry about rescheduling for weather. I don’t charge the school at all – the parents just order their prints on a one-off basis from me a few weeks after the shoot. Nursery school print prices are half the price of my standard prints. For more information about having me take pictures at your nursery school, send me an email to jess (at) bostonbabyphotos.com and I can send you some more information.
Yippeee! Not that I’m competitive or anything, but I was so excited to learn that Boston Baby Photos was the top fundraiser in BostonMamas.com’s Have a Heart for Haiti fundraiser earlier this month! (OK, maybe I’m a little competitive. But this is the best thing to be competitive about, isn’t it?) So exciting.
You guys helped me raise $341.30 for UNICEF, who is absorbing administrative costs so that 100% of donations go directly to children in Haiti.
Click on the adorable ducks below to see the post about Boston Baby Photos on BostonMamas.com.
Today’s the last day for 10% of your Boston Baby Photos purchase to go to UNICEF through the Have a Heart for Haiti campaign. So go online, place a print order, order JPGs, order your gift certificate for a shoot later in the year… anything ordered by midnight tonight qualifies. I’ll do the rest.
For more information about the campaign with bostonmamas.com, you can see my earlier post.
And thank you!
A photographer whose work I love came up with this great idea, and I’m taking it on as a personal project too. I’m going to really try to get one family photo each month this year. I’m thinking it’s a cool time to do it. Sadie’s 9 months old, Annie’s 4, and at this time next year they’re both going to be so much bigger. Doesn’t matter what we’re wearing, what we’re doing, I’m just going to try to get us all in the same frame. And I HATE getting my picture taken. That’s why I take pictures, so I don’t have to be in them. Ick. But here goes.
This month’s shot is in the room we’re adding in our basement, in the hopes that it’ll be fun to look back at this picture as the year progresses and our renovation project finishes up (please, oh please, can it finish up?)…
Here we are in all our glory. And DUDE, it’s hard to get everybody to look in the same direction when there’s nobody behind the camera (that’s my funky new remote shutter in my hand). Three outta four ain’t bad, I figure.
And you can see the room a bit more in this one:
Anybody want to join me for this project this year?
Starting tomorrow, February 1st, through February 15th, I’m running a donation campaign with Christine Koh of BostonMamas.com where I will donate 10% of all Boston Baby Photos sales to UNICEF for Haiti relief. So if you haven’t ordered pictures from an old (perhaps expired?) photoshoot, now’s your chance… I am happy to reopen the gallery for you for free for a few days. Or if you’ve been meaning to order a gift certificate, now’s the time! You don’t need to do anything special – just place an order by 2/15 and 10% of the order total will go to UNICEF.
What a lovely, lovely article by Cara Solomon at TheSmallStory.com about our Help Portrait event last Saturday.
Click here to read.