A fire station proved to be a really fun location for this children's portrait session in Austin, Texas!Read More
When I tell people I am a portrait photographer who specializes in imagery of children and pets I usually get a crossed-eyed response from the inquirer who says, "Wow, you picked the two most difficult subjects!" As I've stated before, I don't feel like I've chosen any of this; it just seemed to fall into place. Don't get me wrong–there are many challenges that come along with this subject matter, but the rewards are indisputable. I have been photographing these two children, Derya and Arda, since they were born and I have an especially close bond with both of them. They are both such characters. I love how children's expressions are so incredibly varied and authentic; their reactions unfiltered. These children are no exception.
While it may sound cliché, I sometimes forget to breathe when I'm photographing children. This is true in part because I know these little tikes have a limited attention span and I need to act fast. It is also because I get deeply absorbed in their unique beauty–just one of the characteristics that I can only hope emanates in the photographs I am creating.
Norah Levine is an Austin based 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 Images rights must be obtained in writing for any use.
There is something tremendously endearing for me about photographing two sisters together. I just love it. I have photographed these two girls together for two years and enjoy every minute of my sessions with them. They remind me of my sister and I many years ago–especially the freckles; my sister is speckled with them. I love the special bond these two share– the giggles exchanged; the silliness and play between them. The connection of sisterhood is like no other and I value the chance to capture this loving bond in my photography. These two are unique in character like you can't imagine but certainly shine together brightly. I hope that many years from now they look at these photographs and reminisce about their childhood together and perhaps giggle a bit over a glass of wine.
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
It is valuable for me to know as little about who I am photographing before I meet them. I want to know as much as I can about interests, loves and personalities before I photograph anyone. While it isn’t a recipe for guaranteed success in a session, it certainly helps to establish an initial connection. This connection is imperative to creating any portrait-whether this portrait is of a 6-year-old girl, a 10-year-old poodle, or a 78-year-old man. I’d love to share a little more from my session with the three siblings here in Austin, Texas. The mother from my previous posting, “Back in Your Own Backyard Part 1” wanted photographs that had a casual, playful feel. She wanted something that told the story of her children at this special time in their lives. She expressed that her daughter had recently lost her two front teeth and that she wanted to capture her adorable smile and lively character. She talked about her sweet boys and that her middle child didn’t like to be photographed very much, but that he was just such a darling child with tremendous personality. I asked about oldest and Sandra painted a lovely picture of a helpful and adoring boy who I was very excited to meet.
When I am choosing a time to photograph children it most often revolves around when the children are the happiest and have the most energy. Of course, lighting is a vital part to creating strong imagery, but it doesn’t matter how gorgeous the light is if you’ve got a miserable child in front of your lens. Sandra and I decided to schedule the session for the morning hours after the children had rested and been fed their breakfast. The light in the backyard was dappled-meaning that spots of light were coming in through the trees. This can be difficult light to work with, but not impossible. With three children, I had to find ways to keep them from having large spots of light on their faces and bodies especially while photographing them together as Sandra had wanted. One of the ways to work in this light was that Sandra cheerfully stepped in as my assistant and held a light diffuser to help with the spotty light.
When I had walked around the backyard with Sandra a week earlier I visualized some areas where I had wanted to photograph the children together. I thought the hammock would be really fun but on the day of the session realized it was difficult to get the children to stay focused as they tipped and turned in the hammock. I tried sitting on it with two of the kids and agreed with them that it was hard! They had a good laugh at me then. The ground below the hammock was muddy and their feet were quickly a nice shade of dark brown. After one round of unsuccessfully cleaning I thought, “let’s just embrace this mud,” and I asked the children to lift up their legs in the hammock as I clicked my shutter.
During most of my sessions I start with a vision or a few ideas. That vision and those ideas change and morph organically during the actual session. This happens for several reasons. Sometimes there are aspects of a location I couldn’t have anticipated, the light changes, the weather changes, or a child or pet isn’t in the mood for being photographed a certain way or in a specific location. Although I sometimes think it would be fantastic if all of my plans and visions were easily realized (why not?), I’m most often thankful for the need to be adaptable because other opportunities and visions arise.
Hopefully these images remind you of the warmth, inhibition and play of childhood. Perhaps it reminds you of your own “backyard” and of the unique memories that were created there by you and your family.
I’m happy to share some of the images that arose from this unique trio of children as they expressed their distinctive personalities, in their own backyard.
The lyrics to Billie Holiday’s song, “Back in Your Own Backyard” have been inspiration to me…That bird with feathers of blue Is waiting for you Back in your own backyard You’ll see your castles in Spain Through your window pane Back in your own backyard Oh you can go to the East Go to the West Someday you’ll come Weary at heart Back where you started from You’ll find your happiness lies Right under your eyes Back in your own backyard…
I have fond memories of playing in my own backyard with my siblings… Making forts out of junk in the woods, running through cornfields, cart wheeling, tire swinging, “treasure” hunting and cherry picking. I tell people I grew up on a farm. It was a farm to me. There were gardens, pigs, a barn with barn cats and mice, hay bails and fields of corn nearby. My mom tells me now that it wasn’t really a farm, but just a rented farmhouse. Okay, fine. This is MY memory though and I’m stickin’ to it. I love this photo of me with my gramma in our backyard.
I recently photographed three children here in Austin, Texas and I’d love to share a little of my experience with you. Their parents have asked me to respect their privacy and not use any of their names and so I won't be using their names. Mom (we’ll call her Sandra) contacted me after seeing an advertisement in the Austin Kid’s Directory, a great resource for children services in the Austin area. Sandra and her family had recently moved to Austin and was looking for a professional photographer to create unique portraits of her three children. I gladly met with Sandra at her home and discussed my ideas and her dreams about portraits of her children during a pre-consult appointment. One aspect of concern for Sandra was the location for the portraits. She expressed that the house was a rental for the family and that she wasn’t sure if this would be a good location. Sometimes clients are unsure if their home and surroundings are suitable for photographing and I am always glad to take a look during our pre-consult and provide my suggestions. After seeing the backyard and talking with her about what it was she wanted in her photographs I felt confident that this location would work and that the portraits created there would be meaningful to her and her family.
Consider that the portraits that are going to be the most valuable to you are the ones that are created in a space that is personal to you at the time. There’s no need to wait until you’re settled in your dream home or have the yard and house perfect. I am always going to help create images that are beautiful and meaningful to you. So your child just gave himself a snazzy new hair cut… that could be the PERFECT time to create portraits, in my opinion, because you’ll never forget this time in his life! Okay, maybe you should wait a week or so, but my point is that these images are for you and your loved-ones and they are a creative document of who you, your children and your pets are right at that moment in your lives. When you look back at these images years later when your children are grown or your beloved pet has perhaps passed on, you have these images to put you right back in that moment. This is something I absolutely love and cherish about photography. I have images of pets that have passed and when I look at images of them I can almost feel their fur between my fingers and hear their bark or purr. I’m thankful for the ability of photographs to trigger these sensations and memories of my loved-ones.
This backyard turned out to be a perfect location for creating portraits of Sandra’s three amazing children. These images will trigger the memories of these children playing with one another in the dappled sunlight with blades of grass tickling their toes...
There's a collaboration between photographer and subject that has to exist, in my opinion, in order to create meaningful portraits and positive memories of time spent together. No matter where I'm photographing–Santa Fe, Austin, or somewhere else–the collaboration between a child and the photographer is especially crucial.Read More
Norah Levine Austin and Santa Fe Children and Pet Photographer Girl with PoodleRead More
8 month old baby portraits are extra fun to create because babies can usually sit up on their own and they have loads of yummy baby folds!Read More
I'd like to share with you, an invitation to the Opening Reception of Santa Fe's First Permanent Heart Gallery Exhibit. This event celebrates the unveiling of the 2010 Heart Gallery of New Mexico in a space donated by CHRISTUS St. Vincent's Regional Medical Center.Read More
Family Portraits in colorful Santa Fe, New Mexico by Norah Levine Photography. In this post, samples from my session on location with a family at their home.Read More