Why am I a photographer? {Children and Pet Photographer, Austin, TX and Santa Fe, NM}

Being a photographer isn't much of a choice for me. Photography picked ME. (Kind of like all of my adopted dogs and cats did). I fell in love with photography for the magic of it–for the many possibilities to create and connect through my view finder. While the format of photography has changed dramatically from my days of rolling film onto reels, the magic hasn't changed a bit. Sure, owning a business has its challenges, but I can't really imagine not creating photographs. As a result of my profession I get to play and interact with incredible children and animals and meet amazing people–even make some new friends. Through that process I have the opportunity to create images that allow my clients to linger in the present moment just a little bit longer–as their new baby coos and drools, as they hold on extra tightly to one another and while their pets gaze longingly into their eyes... this is the magic. Time certainly doesn't stand still, but artful photographs can certainly help it pause just a little; help us to spend a moment or two reminiscing and feel warm and fuzzy. (For the record, I'm not ashamed of being a warm and fuzzy photographer.) As I work hard to photograph and produce the final artwork for all of my unique clients this holiday season I am most definitley thankful to be part of this magical art form. The photographs I am sharing today are from a recent portrait session with a dear family in Santa Fe. I loved spending time with them at a park nearby their home as well as capturing images of their beloved pets at their home.

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

Sibling Portrait Session {Children Photographer, Austin, TX and Santa Fe, NM}

On a recent family portrait session in Santa Fe I photographed Leah and her two very special daughters, Anna and Greta. It was a gorgeous fall afternoon; a perfect day to spend photographing two giggly sisters and their mom. I had photographed Anna and Greta twice before and I was really looking forward to spending the time with them. I have enjoyed watching them grow (through my viewfinder) into two little ladies with two absolutely distinct personalities. Artfully capturing these sisters as they interact brings me joy–and definitely gives me a case of the giggles. Anna and Greta's connection reminds me of the close bond between my sister and I. (Except for yesterday when she lovingly told me she was going to "mute me" while we were having a video conference call if I didn't stop talking). Having the ability to capture these images for not only mom and dad, but also for the children to enjoy as they grow into adulthood really makes me feel good about what I do as a professional photographer. Photographing Anna and Greta always involves playing. When I arrived to their home Anna was boinging away on her pogo stick and Greta tried to be shy for about a minute and a half before booting a soccer ball across the yard. Even Jack, their sweet dog has been warming up to me. After spending some time at their home both outdoors and also indoors, we headed to an area I had spotted on my ride to their house; a space nearby where the trees just oozed with fall color and the afternoon light was exquisite. I love the warm feeling of the late afternoon light and the way the girls seemed to fit perfectly into the scene with their contrasting purple dresses. I could spend days photographing Anna and Greta. I am incredibly thankful to be invited me back to their home again and again.

 

 

 

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

What truly matters: your loved ones (yes, even gerbils!)

My heart goes out to all those affected by the fires here in Texas–the people and the animals. At the bottom of this post I have included information provided by the local news station for many ways to donate to the victims of the fires. During times like these I think we'd all agree that our focus should be on what's truly important in our lives: our loved ones ....................................

I was recently commissioned by a client to photograph her daughter, Karen and grandson, Eli during a visit to her home in Santa Fe, NM. Karen was quite lovely and definitely a little shy about being photographed. My favorite images were taken when she and her son were side by side; forgetting about the camera and sharing a moment together. The two of them seemed to have an extremely close bond: one a mother and child share that is like no other. I photographed them in an outside area where the light seemed to make their skin glow. In addition to Karen's mom cherishing these images of her daughter and grandson together, I know that Karen and Eli will both be thankful to have these photographs for many reasons.

I also photographed Eli as he played with his grandmother's chocolate lab Nick, underneath this old adobe structure on the property. This boy adores this dog and I just loved this little grouping of images in sequence of the two of them.

As a portrait photographer who specializes in images of children and pets, I have met some amazing and unique children and animals. This was admittedly, my very first experience photographing a pet gerbil. This gerbil (named "Whitey") is probably one of the most well traveled gerbils in the world as he traveled by plane from New Orleans to Santa Fe. He was very sweet and even more special was the way Eli loved him and that he was ecstatic about being photographed with his special friend. I am certainly available to photograph most any pet and I was glad to have the experience of photographing the connection between Eli and his pet gerbil.

 

May you and your loved ones stay safe and enjoy the time you have with one another each day!

Warmest wishes.

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

The following information is being shared from kvue.com as it was posted on 9-5-11

http://www.kvue.com/news/Austin-area-wildfire-donations-129263013.html 

AUSTIN -- As wildfires continue to burn in Central Texas, there are several ways to help out the victims and donate.

  • The Thrift Shop at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection is accepting donations for victims. The shop at 2008 Justin Lane will take donations of clothing, house wares and toiletries, which will be taken to distribution centers.
  • To help the families affected by the Steiner Ranch fire, Austin Christian Fellowship is taking donations of bottled water, sports drinks, non-perishable snacks, toiletries, work gloves, heavy duty trash bags, flashlights, batteries and pet food. Donations can be taken to 6401 River Place Boulevard.
  • Collections are also being taken in the Liberty Hill area. You can call Chuck Licata at 512-466-7751 to help.
  • Anyone in Hays County hoping to volunteer or donate water and food for firefighters or evacuees can contact Volunteer Coordinator Lidia Contreras at 512-393-7302.
  • The OASIS on Lake Travis has announced it will be a drop off point for the Austin/Bastrop fire victims. The restaurant is accepting donations as well as water, work gloves, toiletries, non-perishable food items, clothing, trash bags, and flashlights with batteries. Boxes and donation jars will be in the lobby area starting Monday afternoon.
  • The Austin Disaster Relief Network is currently assisting victims of the fires. Organizers say donations of food and clothing can be taken to any local food bank or charity.
  • Cash donations should be made directly to the Red Cross of Central Texas.
  • Catholic Charities of Central Texas will accept donations for wildfire victims on Tuesday, Sept. 6. Donations can be brought to the Diocese of Austin Pastoral Center at 6225 Highway 290 East from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Donations will also be accepted from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Catholic Charities of Central Texas in Austin at 1817 East Sixth Street. Organizers are asking for donations of the following items:
  • Medical Supplies
• BP Cuff
• Nebulizer
• Thermometer
• Glucometer
• Pen lights
• Tongue Depressors
• Ibuprofen
• Gauze Wrap
• ACE Bandages
• Neosporin Cream 
• Bandages

Other Supplies:
• Sleeping Bags
• Blankets
• Pillows
• Towels
• Shampoo
• Body wash
• Toothpaste
• Paper Plates, Cups, Napkins, Plastic Utensils
• Deodorant Sprays for men and women
• Disposable Razors
• Shaving Cream
• Baby Wipes
• Size 4 Diapers
• Baby Shampoo
• Sanitizer

1 Year Old Portraits by Norah Levine in Austin and Santa Fe

When I receive an inquiry about creating 1 year old portraits I'm always excited... This is certainly a fun age to photograph, as little girls and boys are just starting to express their own personalities. I love their actions and reactions, their giggles and uninhibited exclamations of emotion. With this fresh, young energy there are also challenges with photographing 1 year olds. I'd say the single most difficult aspect is that they are usually incredibly mobile and never seem to hold still! This makes for a very active session for both myself and the parents. The session I'm sharing today was especially fun. The parents were such kind people and really wanted me to capture their daughter's beautiful personality in her 1 year portraits. We started indoors in her room and then moved the session outdoors for a more natural setting. I spent a lot of time in the crouched position for this session! This "little wonder" had a tremendous sense of curiosity. I just LOVE her big brown eyes and expression.

Sometimes I play more of an active participation in creating portraits, while at other times I play the role of observer. It is this change in perspective that allows me to present a variety of images to the parents. In some of the images from this session I wanted to show how tiny this little girl was in comparison to her parents. I enjoyed capturing images of this family walking hand in hand with their shadows extending before them- two long shadows and one short!  I am so glad they had me capture this special time in their lives as their little girl is growing so quickly!

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

"Back in Your Own Backyard" Austin Portrait Session Part 1

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.

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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...

 

 

Portraits with children-the benefits of handing your camera to a six year old

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.

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Photos with Kids... they've got the looks

Photographing Children in New Mexico: When I photograph children I have the opportunity to capture many expressions. It is important for me to document a child's individual personalty in a creative and fun way. During a session I am fortunate to see many sides of a little boy or girl's characteristics and my experience varies with each interaction.

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