Elm Grove Family Photography

Extended Family Reunion | Sibling Sneak Peek

When you think of an extended family portrait session - or a photo shoot for a family reunion - do you think it’s just a matter of getting “that one shot” of the whole big group?

Sure, it is. That’s the highlight of the event, no question.

However, my job is to give you much more than just “that one shot”.

Here’s a list of some of the must-gets at an extended family session:

  1. Entire family

  2. Grandparents

  3. Grandparents with grandchildren

  4. Grandparents with grown children

  5. Grown siblings

  6. Grown siblings and spouses

  7. Cousins

  8. Each family unit

  9. Couples

  10. Children by themselves

There are so many more — and my role is to suggest combinations that you may not have considered. The day can get away from you; concerns about clothes, kids behaving and grandma getting tired keep your mind busy. Leave the photography and shot list to me.

Looking to book an extended family session this fall? I’d love to help! Let’s talk!


This weekend I photographed the stunning extended Kandula family … reunited for the first time in years.

As a surprising bonus, the family dog escaped the house and ran into the garden at a serendipitous moment. It made for THE perfect sibling portrait! Can you say canvas over the mantle?

sibing-portrait-with-dog.jpg

Tonawanda Elementary learns photography | High Interest Day

Last week I spent the day back in elementary school.

No, I didn’t forget my A, B, C’s. I was teaching photography for high interest day. If you’re unfamiliar, High Interest Day is sorta-kinda like Career Day for little kids with some marshmallow rockets and relay races tossed in.

I showed the kids some neat tricks that made them ooh and aah. As grownups, you may not be overwhelmed with awe at seeing a BLUE kid, but let me tell you, they loved it!

First I shared what a simple reflector can do. They now know they don’t even need a real reflector - a white piece of paper can do the trick!

Next I showed the kids how to turn that reflector into a portable, non-electric fan. A little bit of fake breeze can really liven up a portrait. Check out the before and after:

All the girls with long hair wanted in on this. They felt (and looked!) like models.

This next trick one was their collective favorites. It’s truly every kid’s dream to look like a Smurf, isn’t it? I asked them two questions:

1. what is your favorite color?

2. what does that color make you feel?

Here are some of the results…

Lastly, since I was on a roll with the Wow Factor, I showed them how I can make a fully lit room look pitch black. Sure they were impressed. However, once I saw these shots appear on the screen, I knew what I had done. These are two of my favorite (non-Smurf) photos of the day.

These two photos were taken in a bright room, with lots of (gross) overhead fluorescent lights.

Thanks to Tonawanda Elementary School for inviting me in for the day. You guys were so much fun to hang out with!

The Kids Are Back in Town | Estock Family Sneak Peek

When is the best time for family portraits?

The fact is, there is no perfect answer. I tend to be much busier with families during the second half of the year - so if you want some extra TLC, you may want to consider a winter or spring session.

Also, if one of your goals is to get holiday cards from your family session, I’ve got you covered! I’ve had families as early as June ordering Christmas cards. (They come with a free reminder to send them out!)

Here are a few factors to consider when choosing the ideal time of year for your family portraits.

Is your family in town?

If your kids are older, winter break is an ideal time for family photos. They’re already home from college. Your session will take less than two hours and just like when they were little, you can bribe them with food.

Do you want to be indoors or outdoors?

If you are absolutely set on outdoor photos with warm fall foliage in the background, I think you’ve answered your own question. If you want snow photos and nothing else, we clearly know when and where you are destined to go.

Ed. Note: Tomorrow is your magic snow day. Call Abbie immediately and start getting the kids geared up first thing in the morning.

On the other hand, if you love outdoor photos but really don’t mind a nice, clean studio session either, then you’ve opened up a whole year of opportunity. I have a spacious studio in Elm Grove, Wisconsin that is just waiting for you and your family - from three to thirty - quantity is no concern. Bring them all!

What is your decorating style?

No, this isn’t some weird personality test. But knowing how you decorate your home does help me choose where to go for your outdoor session - and what type of setting we use for your indoor session.

Do you like long walks on the beach or roughing it in the woods? Those settings are self-explanatory. We might go to the beach or to the woods. (See? You’re so good at this!) Do you lean more modern and urban? Maybe we go downtown. Are you into the hottest barnwood trend? I know of places you would just adore!

The key to location choice truly is coordinating your family photos with your decorating style. Afterall, you will be decorating your home with a piece of portrait art - and we want it to pop off your wall in a beautifully natural way.

You don’t have to have all the answers.

I will guide you along the way with phone calls, emails, questionnaires and more. By the time your session rolls along, we will know where and when and why.


So, let’s talk about Tracy.

She knew her kids would be home for Christmas.

She bribed them with haircuts and lunch.

Since it was December, we smartly planned on a studio session. I worked with Tracy on selecting a set that would suit her style and clothing choices.

Here’s a Sneak Peek of Tracy and her sweet little family. Well, they’re not so “little” anymore, are they?

Estock-122218-02-web.jpg

Let’s talk about scheduling your family photos. You don’t have to know any of the answers, but let’s start the conversation.


Smith Siblings Sneak Peek

Imagine if your grown children got together behind your back.

But instead of whining about how hard their childhood was (or celebrating how great it was!), they were actually gathered for a surprise photoshoot for your Christmas gift.

That was this group. You’ll have to wait to see the entire group until after the holidays. However, there’s a story inside this story that I need to share…

It just so happened that this giggly married couple never had engagement or wedding photos.

Smith-proofs-08-web.jpg

Maybe she wasn’t wearing white lace and he didn’t have a tuxedo, I was honored to capture these two in their first professional portraits of their couplehood.

I had them stand face to face and they could barely hold it together! They were cracking themselves up! It was endearing to watch.

Is your clan due for some updated (or never had) family photos? I would love to help you out with that! And don’t think that the weather outside will keep us from a great session… I have a comfortable studio that can fit any size group. Seriously… I’ve had families of 30+ and networking groups of 70+.

Click below to learn more about my family portraits.


raise your hand if you love cake | happy birthday Sebastian!

Sebastian.

A charming, energetic little smiler.

Who likes cake.

Sebastian-Cake-Smash-raising-hand.jpg

This little boy came to me - well, he snagged a ride from his parents - for his one year portraits. We had quite the time… playing with blocks, pretending to sweep, climbing stairs, sitting on chairs and stools. And then… the big finale. The Cake Smash.

Sebastian is not shy around cake. He dove right in. And loved every second of it. (Ok, so did we!)

Afterwards mom and dad literally peeled his clothes off and put him into pajamas for a great, post-sugar-rush sleep.

Happy birthday, little one!