The old-time suit just adds to this stylized toddler portrait.  The suitcase prop adds interest and a bit of fun to this family photo.

So, I had a vision for a stylized photo session involving a suitcase and a dressy outfit from the early 20th century.  While talking with a family member, we started on the topic of her youngest child, Bentley, who is just shy of one year old.  I thought to myself, this could make for a great opportunity to put my vision into play.  Mom agreed and so we set out to make it happen!

We started by finding the perfect outfit, it was styled in a mid-century theme, complete with amazing little suspenders and a bow tie to match.  I knew right away, as soon as I saw it, that is would be the centerpiece of the photos.  I also knew this little toddler and was sure it would suite him perfectly.  Next I pulled out a suitcase prop that I had in the closet, as this was the  perfect compliment to the outfit, and definitely completed the mid 1900's dapper theme.

Once Mom and Benny showed up, we started into the photo session.  First and foremost, I made sure Mom understood that she shouldn't feel rushed or embarrassed if her child wasn't completely co operational. Kids will be kids, and there's absolutely no reason to push them or be upset if they aren't so keen on sitting still for the camera!  The photographer must follow the lead of the child, after all, it should be a fun thing to have photos made of your children!

Another fund family photo.  The background was modified to add a texture, adding interest.  The suitcase and stuffed animals add whimsical fun to this toddler photo.

After working with Benny, taking a couple breaks and trying many different poses and lighting scenarios, we were done with the session.  I felt like I had taken at least enough pictures to be able to have 4-6 shots worth keeping.  We wrapped up with a treat for Benny and called it a wrap.

Awww....such an innocent little face.  The cheeks are so full of rosy goodness!  Doing family portraits in the studio with toddlers and newborns are so much fun!

An example of fine family portraiture.  This is an image that will stand out far and above the thousands of cell phone photos that are lost somewhere on a hard drive.

Dapper toddler in a suit and suspenders.

If you're interested in having your family portraits taken, I encourage you to send me an email or give me a call.  I highly recommend families to take the initiative and have family photos taken once a year.  If your family is anything like mine, you know how time flies!  Once your kids are grown, you'll look back and wish you had taken a few hours to have professional photos taken!  These days, with everybody having a cell phone camera or possibly a DSLR, it seems as if you'd have so many pictures of your family, that you wouldn't need the services of a photographer.  But, in reality, the opposite seems to be true.  While you may have tens of thousands of "snapshots" of you family, do you really have them organized and accessible to you?  If I asked you right now to show me a stunning, well lit, handsomely posed, high quality photo with everyone dressed in clothing that's coordinating, would you be able to find one?  The problem with the thousands of "snapshots" you have is that none of them can be printed and showcased in your home or office.  A professional family portrait photographer will give you a showpiece that you can be proud of.  The difference between seeing your family on the computer screen and seeing them on a beautiful large format, framed print is stunning.  After all, don't the most important people in your lives deserve to be shown off?

BEFORE - I'm not sure you can get a more adorable toddler than this guy!  This is the RAW camera file, before any editing or post-processing has been done.

So anyway, enough of my rant on the merits of professional family portraits!  After the photo session, I started on the task of post-production (ie. retouching, skin smoothing, cropping, etc..).  This is where much of the magic of portraiture happens!  There was one particular shot that I instantly thought was fantastic and which I felt could be turned into a magical, sort of day dreamy image with Bentley staring up at a dragonfly or maybe a butterfly.  When I shot this, I had asked Mom to see if she could get Bentley to look up into the studio strobe light.  I knew the lighting pattern would look great, but I hadn't thought of turning it into this image.  Below you will see the before and after images - side by side - so you can understand where the frame started and the end product.  This type of artistry and photo manipulation is what family photography is all about, in my view anyhow.  You'll be hard pressed to find this image coming from cell phone camera!

AFTER a couple hours in Photoshop, I was able to transform a bland, normal portrait into something unique and fun.  This is a photo that should be enlarged to 20"x30" and showcased on a wall in the home.

So, thanks again to little dapper guy, Bentley Randal, for his good looks and photogenic style!