Elk River Family Photography

Star News Reader Choice Awards 2018 | Best Photographer in Elk River, Minnesota

WOW

I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted!  What? Has it really been since the end of August? I had such an incredible summer/fall season with photo sessions! I just finally finished up my senior and family editing about a week ago. I had a couple of model shoots in November, and will be finishing up those this week. After the holidays, I will be getting back into writing/blogging so I can share all of the amazing sessions I had with you!

In the mean time, I wanted to share with you some exciting news I received last night.  Every year our local newspaper, the Elk River Star Newsasks its readers to vote on their favorite service/business for the year, i.e., janitorial services, boutique, dance studio, etc. I am super excited to say that I was voted Best Photographer in Elk River by the readers!  I can't even believe it!   The support I have received from my family, friends, clients and community has been nothing short of incredible and I wish to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart.

What am I working on during the "off season"? Right now I am working on a blog post telling you exactly what that may be!  My goal is to continue to give great customer service and quality to my clients, so that I can actually live up to the hype! HA!

Again, thanks so much for all of your support! I'll write more soon, but in the mean time I will leave you with this beauty I took a couple of weeks ago. It's available to purchase in my new store!  Make sure you stop by to check it out! 

Where the Elk River and Mississippi River meet, Elk River, Minnesota (available for purchase) 

Where the Elk River and Mississippi River meet, Elk River, Minnesota (available for purchase) 

{Bergerson Family} Amazingly Fun Family Session | Minneapolis Family Pictures

Hi again, everyone!

I know I have said this before, but I will say it again!  I am seriously the luckiest photographer around. My clients are always so fabulous  to work with. That's true of my session with the Bergerson Family as well!

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The Bergerson's consist of Mark, Breanne and adorable Connor, who just turned ONE!  Mark and Breanne are also officially expecting a little lady to join their young family at the end of August.  Yes! Connor is going to be a big brother! They are counting down the days until the cute little bundle is welcomed into our world!  

Breanne contacted me looking for a combination Family/Maternity/1-year session.  She had some concerns, as the last time she had her maternity and newborn photos done, she was less than impressed.  After she filled out her family questionnaire, we talked about what she liked and what she didn't like about her last session. We chatted up to the session date about her expecations, as I wanted to make sure they were happy with their end results!  

I met up with them late afternoon at Henry's Woods Park in Rogers, and the weather was perfect for photo-taking. Breanne liked the the park because it had two distinct features that give a feeling of where they both came from.  The dense woods are reminiscent of Mark's upbringing in the North Woods and the red barn is reminiscent of Breanne's in Illinois's farm country. 

It was a little humid (not to mention the mosquitos) but they were troopers! It was the family that made this shoot such a blast!  My daughter, Baylee, came along to assist as she sometimes does. She was a big help!  

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I did a few family photos, then we went on to do a couple of Connor alone to celebrate his first birthday!  Breanne brought a "Where the Wild Things Are" book for him to share with us!  He is such a flirt, and made my job easy! So full of smiles and laughter!

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Breanne wanted to get a few photos of just her and Mark, so Baylee entertained Connor for a while. He enjoyed hanging out with her while I took some couple portraits, and a few of Breanne alone. 

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Breanne's words of wisdom for other families preparing for a family session?  "Communication is key.  Let the photographer know exactly what you want.  Get your partner in on the decision making.  Not only can your partner provide great ideas, but being involved helps them know what to expect, from poses to props."  For more tips on how to prepare for YOUR family session stress-free, check out my blog post about it here.

Both Baylee and I had so much fun with this family!  I asked Breanne to relate her favorite parts of the session, and why she enjoyed it.  Her response, "Sheila and her lovely assistant were easy going and friendly, making them a joy to work with.  I loved that Sheila showed us some of the shots she had taken as we went along, and gave great direction during posing. And Baylee was amazing with Connor!" 

Aww..Thanks, Breanne and Mark, your beautiful young family was a joy to work with, and I can't wait to work with you again! (It's going to be sooner than you think, but it's a secret - stay tuned!)

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7 Tips to Take the Stress Out of Picture Day | Elk River, MN | Family Photographer

When it comes to family picture day, a lot of stress is typically associated with days leading up to the session. I'm here to help you relax and be prepared all at the same time. Here are some tips: 

  1. If you are having problems figuring out what to wear, check out my Pinterest style board here! (And my other Pinterest boards on lifestyle photography, posing, etc., if you are inclined to do so!)Find the outfits you want everyone to wear a month in advance and set them aside somewhere safe. Then try them on a week ahead of time to ensure everything still fits comfortably and that you didn’t miss any stains or holes that you couldn’t see until they were being worn.
  2. As soon as your family changes out of their photo attire, make sure it is clean and pressed to be ready for the big day. Set the clothes together (sorted by person) and place them somewhere free from harm and dirt. Be sure to tell everyone that these are picture clothes and not to be worn until picture day. This will help to be sure that no articles of clothing go missing. Don’t forget about shoes, jewelry, belts, and other accessories.
  3. About three to four days prior to the session, start talking with your husband and kids about the session and what will happen and how they should behave. If you plan to use a bribe, now is a good time to set that in place. Continue to talk to your children daily to prepare them for the session.  
  4. Two days prior to the session, pack a bag of everything you will need on picture day – snacks, props, bribery, etc. and put it somewhere you can grab it and go. Be sure to include wipes in case things get messy, an extra hairbrush, and other “emergency” items, such as bobby pins and a backup lipstick.
  5. On the day of the session, make sure everyone is well fed, but not overfed. We don’t want sick little tummies from overeating, but we don’t want anyone getting “hangry” (angry because they are so hungry) either. Do not get your family dressed in their photo clothes until after they have eaten and brushed their teeth. This will prevent spills and other messy accidents.
  6. If you have young children, avoid any colored drinks the day of the session until after we are finished. Also, get them to wear a bib or drop cloth if they drink anything on the way to the session to save their shirts from wet spots or stains.
  7. Once you get to the session, try to relax. If you have set a bribe, please let me know so I can use that throughout the session if the children get restless. Trust your photographer - know that I will take care of things and will deliver amazing photos of your family.

Try to follow these simple steps and see if it doesn't make a difference the next time you have schedule a family session!  

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{Levesque Family} | Minneapolis Family Portraits

Good afternoon everyone, and happy Friday!

Oh how I just adore the family I'm blogging about today. I'm lucky enough to say I've had the opportunity to photograph this family before, which was so much fun! I truly can't believe how much the children have grown and changed since I first met them back in 2015. 

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This beautiful family consists of Mom (Kay), Dad (Sean), Conner, Renae and Caden.

Caden is 8 and full of energy and charisma! He has a tender heart for Jesus and prays like a warrior!  Renae is 11 and is an awesome combination of spunk and princess. She is creative and crafty, and is always coming up with fun ideas. Conner is 13 and is a teenage boy. Therefore, he loves anything technology related! He is athletic and currently enjoys basketball and soccer.

And, it goes without saying, that Kay and Sean are amazing people as well. Kay is a former Miss North Dakota and has traveled throughout the Midwest speaking and singing to a variety of groups. She is a former high school teacher and a home school mom. Sean is an outgoing and eternal optimist. Shawn has spent his career motivating and inspiring others through his roles as a teacher, personal coach, trainer, instructor and presenter. 

I was so excited when Kay called me to take their photos again. I don't think I could have scheduled them fast enough! I was so excited for our session! 

What's so amazing about this family you ask? Well, everything! But what makes this family extra special is that they are on a mission. A mission against the horrors of modern-day slavery. Human trafficking. A mission to raise awareness about social injustice and mobilize individuals and communities to bring hope to their neighbors in tangible ways. This summer they will be hitting the road and traveling the country in an RV to do just that.  They will be headed to roughly 20 cities, and spending 5-6 weeks per city. Can you imagine such a selfless act? Me neither!

As for the day of the shoot, we had so much fun! You wouldn't know it was only 12 degrees and FREEZING!  I chose Downtown Anoka for something different. I bring my seniors down there all the time, but the Levesque's were my first family at this location. Kay was looking for a more urban look which aligned more with where they will be doing much of their ministry.

They chose to wear their ministry t-shirts and ministry colors. Kay found almost everything at second hand stores. Shopping second hand is one way they choose to approach not directly supporting labor trafficking. 

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Kay says the favorite part of their session was "telling my kids about how models have to work in uncomfortable weather conditions and can't let it show--so it was our turn. Sheila can edit out red noses and red cheeks - but not bad attitudes. The kids were rock stars. We loved the creative places and poses Sheila could find."

Words of wisdom for other families preparing for a family session? "Have fun! Let Sheila pick where to go - she has good ideas. Laugh together, and enjoy the moment!"

I wish the Levesque's much success, and my prayers are with them every step of the way!  For more information about their mission, and how you can  help, please visit their website at www.love2hope.com.