A Wonderful Family Tradition - Copying Album Covers

Over the last six years I have been part of an amazing family tradition and it's not even my family! The Robinson clan hire me ever so often to recreate album covers with their kids as band members. I have posted a few of these albums before but today I am going to post all of them in reverse chronological order starting with the one we just did last week.

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5 Wedding Photography Styles

When picking a wedding photographer, it is important to consider what type of style you want for your photos. Below are 5 of the most popular wedding photography styles. 

1. Traditional

Traditional wedding photography styles often feature a modern take on the classic look of your grandparents wedding photographs. They are more formal and focus on style and grace. The style also captures the details, décor, and people most important to you. Your photographer can implement modern poses and you can provide a shot list. Photographers will adjust poses, attire, equipment, and the background to create the perfect shot. 

2. Documentary

This style is more informal and allows the photographer to capture scenes and events as they unfold as opposed to using formal poses. The photographer doesn’t work with a shot list and aims to capture natural moments and must be willing to blend in to the crowd. The style lets you see events that you missed during the wedding and captures raw emotions. Since the photographs aren’t planned, the style results in more dynamic and unique photographs. 

3. Artistic

A more modern, creative approach to wedding photographs is using an artistic style. The style allows couples to have fun and take an original approach to make their images are one of a kind. Photographs feature unique angles, compositions, and lighting. Artistic style photos are often planned and use extensive post production.

4. High-Fashion

This style focuses on clothing, attire, and fashion. It features striking poses and expressions, dramatic backgrounds, and formal shot lists. Studio lights are used to help create a glamorous look, and the style is reminiscent of photographs in high fashion magazines. 

5. Natural Light

Natural light wedding photographs use ambient light instead of artificial light. It creates a soft and glowing look and feel. It can be used in both black and white and color photographs and works especially well with outdoor backgrounds such as gardens and farms. Natural light photographs also produce a warm, approachable style which is great for more reserved and laid-back couples. 


How to Include Children in Your Wedding Ceremony

Including your children in your wedding ceremony is a great way to unify your new family. It’s important to consider the best ways to let your child (or children!) participate in your special day. 


Depending on your child’s age, there are quite a few ways they can play an active role in your ceremony. Be sure to consider your child’s personality and interests beforehand. Some children are shy, and may want a more behind the scenes role. 


There are several ways your child can participate in your ceremony. Your child can be a bridesmaid or groomsmen, which is best for kids that are at least 10 years old. You can also have your child serve as the ring bearer, and children can also walk you down the aisles. For young children, consider letting them be a flower girl. 

You can also have your child serve as an usher and help guests to their seats, or hand out wedding programs. Children can also read a passage during the ceremony, or lead the wedding procession. If both parents have children, you may want to consider a family unity candle ceremony. Another idea is to have your children and spouse’s children exchange tokens to represent family unification.

Definitely talk with your children and ask if they would like to be a part of the ceremony, and if so, what they would be interested in doing.  


Make sure your children are prepared for their role. Include them in the rehearsal. On your wedding day, come prepared. Make sure your children have a snack and are comfortable. Bring an extra change of clothes just in case, and consider assigning your child a helper for the day. It is a good idea to make sure your kids know where you will be during the ceremony, so they know where to find you.


Including your children in your wedding ceremony is a great way to unify your new family. It’s important to consider the best ways to let your child (or children!) participate in your special day. 


Documentary Family Session: Shanghai

When I went to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Shanghai, China one of the things I most wanted to do was to photograph a documentary session so I could show how different Chinese life looked from life here in the U.S.  Well, it just goes to show how silly my preconceived notions of China were, because visually life in a middle class neighborhood in Shanghai is very similar to life in a middle class neighborhood in any large U.S. city.  The family lived in a spacious apartment, their were lovely parks nearby and even an indoor playground that could have been in any American shopping mall.  

The family was so lovely though.  James is a Canadian product designer and his beautiful wife Zoe is Chinese.  Their energetic toddler Dylan is just a joy.  He speaks both Chinese and English interchangeably and to him life is just one giant adventure.  I hope you enjoy viewing these photos as much as I did taking them. 

Family Engagement Shoot

Jon, Lauren and Tucker have already been a family for a while.  So for their engagement session we decided that it would be fun to do a documentary session of a typical weekend morning just so we could get to know each other before their big day.   Tucker took a little while to warm up to me but soon we were all having a great time playing peek-a-boo, reading books and having a tickle.  It was such a pleasure to spend time with such a loving family.  I can't wait to document their big day.

Sledding with the neighbors!

Minnesota can be beautiful when it behaves.  Last night we received a foot of snow.  Today school was cancelled the temperature was in the 20's and the sun was out.  A perfect day for sledding.  Here are my photos from our afternoon on the hill. 

A Day In The Life of the Brunner Family

This is a repost of a review written by Nicki Brunner of Minnemama Adventures.  Thanks so much Nicki!

"A Day in the Life" Captures the Reality of Parenting

Parenting. It's easily the most thankless job in the world. It's also a job we can't quit, we never get an annual review, and we never, ever receive a raise. Our compensation comes in the form of sibling squabbles, legos in our air vents, red kool-aid on the carpet, post-sleepover whining, 40-pound purses, grey hair, sleepless nights, financial worries and wine. And do you want to know something? I'm willing to bet it's the best job you've ever had!


Because parenting also comes with hand-holding, proud smiles, milestones, dance parties, incredible imaginations, tiny toes, goodnight kisses, goofy compliments, unsurmountable amounts of laughter, cuddles, Disney movies, tooth fairies, hugs that almost throw out your back and full, full, FULL hearts.


Here's the truth: Sometimes we all need a reminder that a full heart actually does outweigh the sleep-deprivation. We want to see that the moments you spend so much time dealing with are worth it – that the life you've built for yourself is properly shaping these little people who depend on you daily. And this is why I'm so ridiculously happy with my "Day in the Life" photo series that was captured by Mike Levad with Twin Birch Studios.


Mike reached out to me awhile back and asked if he could do a "documentary series" on my family – basically follow us around for 12 hours and report back with a bunch of pictures. While I'm a huge fan of lifestyle photography, and totally thought it'd make me feel like a Kardashian-type baller with my own personal paparazzi, the idea was sort of off-putting. A man I've never met is going to come over to my house as we are all waking up and spend the day with us...in the car, in the kitchen, capturing the good and the bad, with no Kardashian contouring or lighting. Did I really want to expose him (and all of you) to the most stressful realities of my life? The moments only Nate and I see from the privacy of our own home? If we did this, it couldn't be staged. Documentarians are REAL life – no matching outfits, no done-up hair, no posey-poseyness. Did I have it in me? I decided I did.


I emailed him and agreed to the day. He showed up on my doorstep at 7:30am, camera in hand with a smile on his face while I covered my unbrushed mouth with my hand donning my "fancy" sweatpants (hey, I have some pride) and slippers with a toddler attached to my leg. You guys, it was the beginning of a beautiful day!

"A Day in the Life" photos are a super unique and exciting way to capture, well, a day in the life of your family. Mike was more than happy to take a 45-minute road trip with us to pick out our Christmas tree, stop at Subway for lunch, and just be in our life for the day without being in our way for the day.


Can I tell you a little about him? Mike has been shooting professionally for 7 years – starting shortly after his daughter was born. He was kind, flexible, responsive, so great with kids, ambitious and down for anything. He was also one of those people you try to make laugh really hard because the result is contagious and genuine. He's a family man with a masters degree in science ed + a legit passion for photography. And the photos speak to his talent. I mean, the moments he captured – I didn't even see half of them happening! 


By the end of our day, he admitted to being tired. 12 hours of climbing on the ground to get shots of my toddler crawling under the table, running far in the distance to get the perfectly-framed-family-tree-farm shot, standing on chairs to get just the right angle...yeah, I'd be tired too. But he said it was mental exhaustion. Three kids running in all different directions and having to decide how to snap the best moments with the right artistic look had to have been mind-warping. I'm so glad he was up for the challenge. Because when I look at these photos, I get teary-eyed.


He captured my entire family. Just the way we are. No frills. No lies. No sugar coating. The picture of my son and I having a tough conversation in his bedroom about attitude is right there in front of my face, black and white and framed perfectly. In that moment, I was mad. I was just being a mom trying to straighten out her 8-year old boy. But when I look at it now, I see a mom doing her job the best way she saw fit – teaching her son, amidst his tears, a lesson that had to be learned. And that is the photo that made me cry and realize this whole "Day in the Life" thing was SO very worth it.


After I posted the photos from our day to social media, I had a friend ask me, "But why does he do it?" I think he answered that question wonderfully in an email he sent to me: "I would like to show that parenting is hard. Everyday life is beautiful if you look carefully.  Kids are weird, I mean this in the best possible way.  They just do funny things that adults don't." The first line of this was what resonated with me.

Parenting is hard. It is thankless. And it is ever so beautiful.