TEN of My Most Favorite Family Portraits

I was asked recently about the family photographs I’ve created over the years and whether I had any favorites… so I wanted to share some of them with you! I’ve created images of families comprised of couples, families with children, pets...all of it!

My family is made up of the people I am related to, friends, and fur babies. They’re all holding a big piece of my heart and help me experience the most out of life.  What stands out to me about family is that it’s a unit of love and connection– no matter whether you’re related by blood or not… or species for that matter!  It’s that love and connection I enjoy capturing with my camera and microphone. 

 This family was very focused on a construction project on their house when I created this family portrait for them. Mom wanted to create something special that included their construction filled life at the time and this was a fun solution. We really enjoyed ourselves and the kids had a blast as they were given special "jobs" for the portrait. I highly valued having this creative opportunity that was also personal to the family.

This family was very focused on a construction project on their house when I created this family portrait for them. Mom wanted to create something special that included their construction filled life at the time and this was a fun solution. We really enjoyed ourselves and the kids had a blast as they were given special "jobs" for the portrait. I highly valued having this creative opportunity that was also personal to the family.

 The focus in this image is the dog, no doubt. There is so much love focused right at Moose. This was the family's last photo session with Moose before he passed away from a heart condition. I love this peaceful moment and the sweet look on Moose's face.

The focus in this image is the dog, no doubt. There is so much love focused right at Moose. This was the family's last photo session with Moose before he passed away from a heart condition. I love this peaceful moment and the sweet look on Moose's face.

 In addition to swooning over the aesthetics of this couple's space, I love this moment. For me, it's a joyful slice of their family's dynamic. They obviously have fun together and their pets are their beloved family members. This photo makes me happy.

In addition to swooning over the aesthetics of this couple's space, I love this moment. For me, it's a joyful slice of their family's dynamic. They obviously have fun together and their pets are their beloved family members. This photo makes me happy.

 I love creating images of children with pets. Often with young children these pets are the first they've known– their fur siblings. I love having the ability to capture their relationships so they have the ability to look back on them fondly when the children are grown.

I love creating images of children with pets. Often with young children these pets are the first they've known– their fur siblings. I love having the ability to capture their relationships so they have the ability to look back on them fondly when the children are grown.

 This family wanted to do something special to honor their mother who had been diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. We created this portrait of the family having a dance party of love around her, and it is one of my most favorite family portraits ever. In addition to creating a beautiful image, I wanted to leave the family with the memory of surrounding their mother with love, joy, and smiles.

This family wanted to do something special to honor their mother who had been diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. We created this portrait of the family having a dance party of love around her, and it is one of my most favorite family portraits ever. In addition to creating a beautiful image, I wanted to leave the family with the memory of surrounding their mother with love, joy, and smiles.

 Besides the beautiful colors and people in this image, all I see is connection, wonder, and love. I can feel the adoration that these parents have for their baby in this image and I can truly get a sense of the baby's wonder as he gazes into his dad's eyes. Definitely one of my favorites.

Besides the beautiful colors and people in this image, all I see is connection, wonder, and love. I can feel the adoration that these parents have for their baby in this image and I can truly get a sense of the baby's wonder as he gazes into his dad's eyes. Definitely one of my favorites.

 This was one of those moments where I said "sure let's see what happens!" with regard to photographing cats, dogs, and children together. For me it's just plain fun and I especially enjoyed the little girl's hand pose, chosen by her. Maybe she is wishing for a kind hearted baby brother who will share all of his toys with her?

This was one of those moments where I said "sure let's see what happens!" with regard to photographing cats, dogs, and children together. For me it's just plain fun and I especially enjoyed the little girl's hand pose, chosen by her. Maybe she is wishing for a kind hearted baby brother who will share all of his toys with her?

 This photo isn't "perfect" but it feels like the moment is. It's a good representation of what I call "joyful chaos." Young children, especially toddler age, like to do their OWN THING and this little girl was no exception. I love the energy in this image and the sweet smiles on everyone's faces.

This photo isn't "perfect" but it feels like the moment is. It's a good representation of what I call "joyful chaos." Young children, especially toddler age, like to do their OWN THING and this little girl was no exception. I love the energy in this image and the sweet smiles on everyone's faces.

 Some of us have family members that shed a lot! I love this sweet couple's space and having the chance to capture their environment with their beloved fur babies in it. Photographing in my client's home environment is one of my favorite things to do.

Some of us have family members that shed a lot! I love this sweet couple's space and having the chance to capture their environment with their beloved fur babies in it. Photographing in my client's home environment is one of my favorite things to do.

 I created this family portrait as part of a project (The Better with You project) for an incredible animal welfare organization called Emancipet. I love the colors in this image and most of all the perfect expression on Carolyn's face. Learn more about Emancipet here:  https://emancipet.org /

I created this family portrait as part of a project (The Better with You project) for an incredible animal welfare organization called Emancipet. I love the colors in this image and most of all the perfect expression on Carolyn's face. Learn more about Emancipet here: https://emancipet.org/

Which one is your favorite?  Let me know!

When a Portrait is More Than A Bunch of Photographs – My Commitment

family photographer austin, texas My commitment is to make all of my portrait sessions about more than just the tangible photographs. Yes, my intention is to ultimately provide each of my clients with a variety of unique images from their session. However, I also want the images I provide to artistically convey multiple aspects of each family -- whether that family is a couple with a dog, an individual with a cat, or a family comprised of humans and fur children.

My portraits are more than simply a bunch of photographs.

The experience of creating the images is almost as important to me as an artist than the final artwork. I see tremendous value for my clients in the memories created during the session. When they enjoy the artwork years from now, I want them to remember how they felt that day as they held their loved ones close to them in front of my lens. Photography is powerful in that way. I’ve always loved the magic of photography and its ability to emotionally transport us to moments we cherish. Because experience is such an important part for me as an artist, I don’t rush my clients. I take my time and make sure they are comfortable and enjoying themselves during the process.

During this time of hyper technology, we take hundreds of photographs with our phones a week. It’s such an incredible tool. I’ll admit that I'm a little biased, but I am confident in the fact that the experience of being photographed by a professional and being included in the photographs is an entirely different experience than taking selfies or never being in your own family portraits.

Part of my commitment as I continue to grow as an artist is to further tap into the portrait experience for my clients. In the coming months, you’ll see some shifts in how I approach my work. My audio portraits are becoming a vital part of my portrait experiences for my clients, too, further adding to their experience. I am looking forward to sharing more of these with you very soon. I am so grateful for the clients who continue to value the experience of my portrait sessions and final artwork they receive as a result.

Including Your Pet in Family Portraits

If you’re anything like me, your pets are part of your family. You count on them for support, you’re there for them when they need you, and you’d do anything for them. Therefore, why wouldn’t you choose to include your pets in your professional family portrait sessions? I love when I receive an inquiry from a client who is interested in including their pets in their session -- over my nearly 15 years as a professional, I have received requests to include pets in various situations and for all occasions. Pets bring joy to any portrait session, and anyone I photograph with their pet is more relaxed in front of the camera. Here are some ideas for ways you can include pets in your next portrait session:

  • Maternity Sessions – I often hear from new and expecting parents that their pet is their first baby. Including your dog or cat in a maternity session can be a fun way to creatively document the expansion of your family. Not every image has to include your fur babies, but you’ll be thankful that you decided to have Max part of this momentous stage of your life.
  • Newborn Sessions – I love photographing lifestyle images of families welcoming their new precious babies into their lives and homes. This is a time where your home and dynamics are making huge shifts. Honoring this time with professional photographs -- your fur babies included! -- is something you won’t regret.
  • Your Very First Pet – All pets leave their mark on our hearts. Having said this, you will never have a second “first” pet as an adult. My dog, Ruckus, was my very first dog and the photographs I have of the two of us together couldn’t be more precious.
  • With Your Children – the children I often photograph have always considered their pet to be like a sibling to them. How sweet is it to include pictures of them together? Perhaps you could to have them photographed playing or cuddling together, or engaged in their favorite activity. These moments are fleeting and leave a mark on all of us.
  • Family vacation – taking a trip to Tahiti on your private jet with Fido? Take me and let me document the whole thing. You won’t regret it, I promise.

 

Including Pet in Family PortraitsIncluding Pets in Family PortraitsIncorporate Pets in Family PortraitsIncorporate Pets in Family Portraits What are your favorite ways to incorporate your pets into your family portraits? 

 

Norah Levine has been a professional portrait photographer for nearly 15 years. She is also an author, photo educator, fine artist, and pet mama living in Austin, Texas. Her book, “Pet Photography” can be purchased at AMAZON or Rocky Nook publishing She also has online courses via CreativeLive and Craftsy Her fine art can be viewed on Etsy Inquire directly for learning opportunities, fine art commissions/purchases, and portrait sessions.

Family and Maternity Photography Austin and Santa Fe

family |ˈfam(ə)lē| can be defined several ways. I think a perfect way to describe family is connection. The concept of connection is a recurring theme in my photography and this maternity and family portrait session is all about the connection I love to capture. This family is powerfully loving and genuine; meeting them has honestly touched my life and inspired me.  Jeannine and Rich are expecting their second child this August and requested a session with me to capture this special time in their lives; a time wherein they are reflecting on the last four years spent with their first child, Kai , and their two beloved dogs; a time wherein they excitedly await the arrival of their new baby and enter into a new path together.

When Jeannine and I talked about her dreams for her session she expressed a desire to have photographs that captured the strong and intimate connection of their family. And so I focused my session with this concept in mind: connection between husband and wife, parent and child, mother and baby-to-be. It was quite clear when I arrived to Santa Fe, NM from Austin, TX for this session that this family was incredible.

I wanted the images to feel as serene and sweet as this family. I looked for ways to convey these feelings both indoors and out–We took a quick drive to a nearby field area, worked under their porch with some nice, soft light and also right in their living room on their cozy couch. (Oh,we took a few snack breaks in between, of course!) I used a combination of natural and studio lighting for the imagery and wanted to make sure they all expressed a soft feeling with emotion being the focus.

Jeannine and Rich were up for anything during the session and really encouraged me to lead the session however I felt was right for them. We spent a few hours together and I honestly could have continued photographing this family for many more... I'm so glad I was invited into their lives to capture this time. Many thanks to this family for allowing me to share these images with you.

Norah Levine is an Austin children portrait photographer and pet photographer. She photographs in homes and on location. She also travels to Santa Fe, New Mexico frequently for sessions. Please view her website for more details www.norahlevinephotography.com

Texas sunshine equine portraits

It was a toasty Texas afternoon in a town nearby Austin, Texas, where I had the opportunity to photograph two horses- Rolex and Ezra with their owner, Elise. I have a tremendous respect and admiration for horses. They have an exquisite beauty and elegance different from any other animal and are of course, incredibly powerful. These horses were no exception. While I am not a rider or horse owner myself, I enjoy spending time with horses and absolutely appreciate their beauty and strength. I have a strong admiration for the connection between horse and rider and I love to create images that show this bond. As with dogs, cats and other pets, I am most interested in creating imagery of animals as pets, companions and friends, rather than focusing on the proper alignment and body positioning as is necessary when photographing show animals. I appreciate eventing imagery and show quality animals, but my interest is photographing animals as pets and family members...Show animals or otherwise.

The location for this session was gorgeous. I hauled my camera bag to an open field nearby the stables where the horses were boarding. The simplicity of the tall grasses, the story that the live oak trees seem to whisper, and the pastel blue sky above make for a perfect backdrop for these portraits.

I photographed Elise with both of her horses separately. I noticed the playful connection between Ezra and Elise and true bond between the two. Rolex seemed more regal and proud and I think this shows in the images. Both relationships were tender and genuine and I was glad to capture the uniqueness of both partnerships.

I photographed Elise and Rolex as silhouettes as the sun faded and marked the end of a very special afternoon.