Back to School Photo Session

Wauwatosa Photographer's Kids Go Back to School | Quick Before They Grow Up.

Happy First Day of School!

I have a lot of friends and family out of state and they have been back to school for several weeks already, but hey, it's our turn now.

This time of year is confusing to my heart and my brain.

My brain is all, "Get those kids back in school! They have some learning to do! And I have a TON of work to catch up on! Go! Go! Get back to school!"

And my heart? Oh, my HEART! My heart is going, "Hey, hold on there. Hang on one hot minute! We didn't have nearly enough fun this summer! I wanted to do so much more with those kids of mine! And oh my, they're growing up so fast! I can't believe she's in ___ grade! And how did he get to be in __ grade already? Oh, my breaking, crying heart!"

And so.... if you've ever wondered where I got my tagline, QUICK BEFORE THEY GROW UP, well, now you know. My babies... who aren't babies anymore.... who are in 5th grade (David) and 8th grade (Sam, Sammie, Samantha, or whatever she calls herself now). 

Cue the tears. 

And then there was yesterday...

This is why you should not wait to have your kids' portraits taken, your family photos shot or your student's senior pictures done. They grow and change so fast.

Blink and you'll miss it.

Quick, before they grow up.

How old are they? | No two tweens look alike.

These three girls were my first models for #MKEkids. I did not know them ahead of time, so there was no planning for what I would discover...

Honestly, when I laid my eyes on the adorableness of Emily, Erika and Megan, I did a double take. And then I asked probably three different times what grade they were in. 

See, these three different girls are the same age and the same grade in school. Yet their appearances are completely unique and totally different. 

This is why I need to photograph tweens. They are ever-changing, you never know what you're going to get - and it's all so fleeting!

So... did you guess their age yet?

They are ELEVEN. They are all going into 6th grade next week.

Crazy, isn't it?

Don't forget your own tweens as they head off to school next week! Book a Back-to-School session now and an End-of-School session in the spring. You will be amazed at the changes and thankful that they were captured.

Quick, before they grow up. 

Back to School, Back to Routine | Stories Framed Photography | Wauwatosa Family & Child Photographer

Yesterday, a great and powerful SIGH was heard from all the mothers of the land.

Some mothers sighed with grief. How could their babies possibly be old enough to leave their side? How did they grow so fast? How on earth did time go so quickly? These are usually moms of wee-little ones - ones headed to their very first day of preschool.

Other mothers sigh with relief. These moms don't love their babies any less, but they have also learned to love routine. And when the first bell of the school year rings, it's the moment they get their routines back. These are also the moms who look around at their work and their house and gasp with horror, "Oh. My. GAWD. Everything in sight is a complete and absolute disaster!" (I'm just guessing, he he.)

Every day I am blown away by something my kids do or say, proving once again how incredibly quickly time goes by and how amazingly fast my babies have grown. My daughter is in middle school. My son is in third grade. There is baby gear that has been invented that I've never even heard of. How did this happen???

Once upon a time, I was the mom who cried all the way home after dropping off my oldest at her first day of preschool.

I was the mom who sobbed on the street corner as her kindergartner got on the school bus for the first time.

(I was also the mom who, six months later, sobbed upon learning that there are no buses in our current school district.)

I was the mom who returned to an empty house when her youngest went to his first day of preschool. And then, while sitting at the dining room table with a bowl of cereal, I completely lost it. I mean, really LOST IT.

Now I'm the mom who wishes summer could last forever... until about August 1. Then, I can't hardly wait for all of us to get our routines back in gear. C'mon school bell! But I still get sniffy watching my (big!) kids walk off through the thresholds of their schools.


Time goes fast, people. So fast, indeed. Make sure you capture every moment you can - whether in a camera, in words or simply in your mind. That's what we have to do... Quick, before they grow up.

Let me help you capture some of those memories. Click HERE to schedule your back-to-school photo session or fall family session. I am also now booking holiday sessions. 

Monday Musing: Another Reason I Photograph

This is an actual quote from a friend on Facebook:

"We took the girls to ______ today for their pics. Not a very good experience to say the least. It was hard to get even one good shot. Oh well! We'll try again later!"

Then there's the time that a friend chose to go with a discount photo studio because she would "only have to spend $19.95" thanks to a coupon. After the fact, she told me she had made the mistake of not reading the fine print and ended up spending as much as she would have spent with me. And she didn't like her pictures nearly as much as she wished she would.

And finally, there was the time that I - yes, your very own photographer - went to _____ for pictures. David was less than a year old at the time and was instantly terrified inside the tiny room where the pictures would be taken. I had to hold him the entire time. The camera operator PROMISED me that I would not be in the pictures, that she would work around me. That girl should have her eyes checked; I was not only IN the pictures, I took up more than half the frame in most of the images. I never went back.

These stories outline why I am a photographer.

Goofing around can certainly make things go smoothly during a photo shoot . I love it even more when the family joins in. Who was behind me making faces?

Goofing around can certainly make things go smoothly during a photo shoot . I love it even more when the family joins in. Who was behind me making faces?

As your photographer, I believe...

... that the experience should be better than the one I had.

... that kids should be happy - not scared! - when taking pictures.

... that the cost, high or low, should not be illusive.

... that customer service should be extraordinary. 

... that you deserve beautiful, unforgettable photographs.

When you hire me to take your children's pictures, it will take ONE sitting to get it right. I know this because they will be comfortable with me. They will feel relaxed with me. They will not feel the pressure and intensity that comes from being shoved in a closet and told to smile upon the carpeted platform. They will have FUN with me. And when you see the final images, you will see your children's personalities in their eyes, rather than a look of terror. (When showing photographs, that always tends to be a good selling point!)

These two were the ultimate in silly fun. It was actually quite easy to make them laugh. Which in turn, made me giggle, too.

These two were the ultimate in silly fun. It was actually quite easy to make them laugh. Which in turn, made me giggle, too.

As your photographer, my goal is to capture genuine smiles, laughter, and even some serious looks. I want to tell them all my dumb jokes (ok, sorry, my ONE dumb joke) and see them roll their eyes at me. Or bust up in hysterics. It doesn't matter, because they feel comfortable enough to do either one. There is no pressure, no worries. 

In between conversations about school and pastimes, I actually did tell Aidan one of my little kid jokes. This may be a courtesy laugh, or I may just be a funny, funny photog. We will never know...

In between conversations about school and pastimes, I actually did tell Aidan one of my little kid jokes. This may be a courtesy laugh, or I may just be a funny, funny photog. We will never know...

And as for you, parents, I aim to please. I want you to have a comfortable experience as well, even if you are not in front of the camera. You will know what the price ranges are. If you want to know more, I have no secrets, no hidden surprises. Ultimately, my goal is to make you happy with your experience, make you feel at ease and keep things simple, relaxed and fun. In the end, I want you to have the beautiful family portraits you've always dreamed of.

Want to see just how much fun we can have at a photo shoot? I dare you to bring your kids and your game face! Book a session right now. Contact me today for a session this spring or summer. See my calendar for available dates. 

A Peek Behind the Curtain | week 1

When I was little, I held tightly to the belief that my school teachers were just teachers. They spent their days teaching us kids, they didn't have families or friends or hobbies and they slept on cots in secret rooms somewhere in the school.

Well, clearly, I learned that was the furthest thing from the truth. I now know that my grade school teachers were real people who had husbands and wives, children and grandchildren, joys and sorrows and beliefs and desires. They had homes. I now know my children's teachers are real people - friends, even.  (I also know that some of these teachers were/are so dedicated to their jobs that they scarcely saw their homes. But that's another subject…)

Oh, and the irony is not lost on me that when I "grew up", I became a teacher. With a life. Now I've grown up some more and become a photographer.

So why do I tell you these inner-most thoughts of my child-self?

Because there is more to me than meets your eye. Especially if you only know me as the chic with curly hair from Stories Framed Photography. On the other side of the curtain, among other things, I spend time documenting my family's life in photos. Not photos I would sell, but photos just the same. Some are beautiful. Some are just proof. I take a picture EVERY day of the year. This, 2014, will be my fourth year participating in Project 365. 

I plan to start sharing some of these pictures with you so you can see there is more to me than work. I want to offer you a peek behind the curtain, so to speak. Although, the truth is, if you know me at all, you know there is truly no curtain to peek behind. :)


week 1


This project, taking a photo each and every day, has become habit. It's rote. Even if it's an iPhone picture of my feet or my cat or my steaming coffee. I can always shoot SOMEthing to show that today... happened.

This year I want to challenge myself. I want to step outside my comfort zone. I want to put a little more effort in. I want to try new things.

Today's photo is my first effort in going above and beyond (and hey, it IS the first day of the year. I have 364 more days to slack off). I had a cute picture of the kids engrossed in some game. I had a nice wide angle shot of my husband in the kitchen - with visible evidence of our messy, real kitchen. I even had a fascinating shot of a snowflake stuck to our kitchen window. But this is the image I dreamed up. It was just a matter of DOING IT.

So I did. The (minimal) effort was worth it.