Jubilee Family Photography » Located in Gilbert, AZ

Tag Archives: Family Portraits

The first two weeks after the birth of a baby can be the most exhausting/exhilarating days of your life.  Your world gets turned completely upside down, but it’s cool because you are now living with an adorable new citizen.  Yay!  I am not a “Let’s put the baby in a bucket!” kind of newborn photographer.  I like to capture your newborn in their natural environment so your pictures will always feel timeless.  An in home newborn lifestyle session means you don’t have to get everyone ready and then load up all your belongings in a diaper bag and head to a studio for an appointment time you can’t possibly keep because your life is now being ruled by a tiny, adorable dictator.  If you are interested in capturing the first few days of your newborn’s life with an in home lifestyle session, I have some tips for you.  Listen up!

Newborn photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.1.Book your session BEFORE the baby is born.

I know.  I know.  Due dates are just guesses and most people don’t have any idea when their baby will actually arrive.  Doesn’t matter.  Here’s the thing: It’s recommended that newborn portraits be taken within 10 days of birth because that is when babies are at their most sleepy and cute.  The problem is, you will also be at your most sleepy but feel like you are the least cute you have ever been.  I promise you that you will regret it if you don’t capture this moment in time, even if you feel gross.  SO . . . if you have booked a session way in advance of feeling tired and gross, you are more likely to stick to your plan and get your newborn photos and be super happy you went through with it.  I suggest booking a newborn session within 10 days of the baby’s due date and adjusting as necessary.

Newborn photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.

2.Watch the light.

If you have dreams of everyone snuggling up in the bedroom, make sure you choose a time for your session when the natural light in the room is at its peak.

Newborn photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.

3. Babies are bossy.  Be flexible.

Did you see the movie “Boss Baby”?  Well, I didn’t, but I’m assuming it’s about a newborn baby who doesn’t care about any appointment times its parents make.  Newborn babies are the bossiest humans on the planet.  They don’t care what plans you have, so it’s important to be flexible.  I usually give my clients a window of time for their session so we can be flexible with feedings, diaper changes, and naps.

Newborn photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.

 

4. Feed the baby right before the photo session.

Your baby will be sleepy and happy and easy to work with after he or she has been fed.  So will you.  So will I.Newborn photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.

5. De-clutter the portrait space.

Don’t feel like you have to deep clean your whole house before your portrait session, but it’s a good idea to de-clutter the actual portrait space.  These portraits should be all about the baby and his or her new family, so stash the knick knacks somewhere else for a couple of hours.

Newborn photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.

6. Have special blankets, swaddlers, and toys on hand.

I think it’s so sweet when babies receive family heirloom blankets or special toys from family and friends.  Have them on hand so they can be included in your session!

Newborn photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.

7. Get in the picture!

I have had three babies.  After each one I felt like I had been run over by a truck and I would never sleep or wear jeans again.  I know you don’t feel like getting your picture taken when you just had a baby.  Please benefit from my age and wisdom and trust me when I say that you will want to document the sweet relationship you have with your new baby.

Newborn photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.

8. Keep it simple.

As you can see from these portraits, simple white blankets and clothing creates a clean look and keeps the focus on the people.

family photographed by Arizona newborn photographer Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.

9. Turn your portraits into a keepsake album.

As your child grows up (way too quickly) you will be so happy to be able to turn the pages of an album filled with his or her first moments.  My kids love looking through their baby books and seeing how thin I was and how much hair their dad had.  Ah, memories!

Family photographed by Arizona newborn photographer Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.

For more newborn portrait session tips and inspiration, visit my Pinterest board!

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One of my favorite family sessions this past fall was at a family farm in Mesa.  What I loved most about it was that half of the pictures were taken out by an old shed, but they look lovely because the light is perfect.  I wish someone had been there to capture a behind the scenes shot because it’s proof that all you need for a great portrait is great light. . . and adorable children. . . and good looking parents. . . and a white picket fence and a swing set and a red tractor.  That’s all.  That’s it.  That’s everything you need.

Family photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Children photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Gilbert, AZ.Family photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family PHotography in Gilbert, AZ.Family photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Child photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Children photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Family photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Child photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Child photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Child photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Couple photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.

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One of my very favorite places to shoot in Gilbert is the Farm at Agritopia behind Joe’s Farm Grill.  This location offers so much versatility and beauty!  I remember the first time I ate at Joe’s Farm Grill, sitting at a picnic table under a giant tree, looking back at the beautiful farm and hoping all those suckers up north were enjoying their snow.

I had the best time, ever, with this fun crew!  They were so silly and happy and made my job easy.  Then when it was all over, I got myself a milkshake.  It was pretty much a dream session.

Photographed by Jubilee Family Photography.Photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Young woman photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in giblert, AZ.Photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Young girl photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ>Family photographed at the Farm at Agritopia in Gilbert, AZ.Couple photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Family photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Oh how I love this!  They all decided it would be fun to dab for a picture.  Well . . . MOST of them thought it would be fun.  I love a non-conformist!

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I’ve had the opportunity to photograph many families before and after their children leave for LDS missions.  I call them “last chance” photo shoots because that’s how the mother’s always put it when they call. (“It’s our last chance to get a family picture before they leave!”)  It’s often a very tender time for these families and I’m so honored that they would let me be a part of it.  I recently had the pleasure of photographing this beautiful family before their oldest son left to serve the church for two years in Seattle, Washington.  His mom said she’s always the photographer, so what she really wanted was pictures of her with her kids.  I can absolutely relate!  There are exactly 4 pictures of me in the world that I actually like.  I was happy to make that happen for her.

One of the many reasons I do in person sales at my home office is so that I can be sure my clients really and truly love their portraits.  There have been a few instances where I have just sent off galleries (because of time or distance) and it feels like I am sending them off into the wind.  I never know for sure if those clients liked their portraits, or if they wished I could make some edits.  I also find that the ordering process is much smoother when conducted in person.  Most people need a bit of guidance about which portraits will look best together on a wall and what sizes will work best for certain portraits.  I’m here to help!  I love when my clients get a chance to see their portraits for the first time.  When the mother of this beautiful family saw her portraits for the first time, she wept so much I had to restock my tissues.  It was incredibly sweet and I hope that she feels that way as the years go by and she remembers this special time in her family’s life.

Family photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Queen Creek.Family photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Queen Creek.Mother and son photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography.Teen Siblings photographed by Jubilee Family Photography.Mother and children photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography.Couple photographed in Queen Creek by Jubilee Family Photography.Parents and children photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Queen Creek.Family photographed by Jubilee Family Photography.Teen siblings photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography.Mother and children photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography.Couple photographed in Queen Creek by Melissa Maxwell of jubilee Family Photography.Mother and children photographed in Queen Creek by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography.Family photographed in Queen Creek by Jubilee Family Photography.Family photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography.

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The great philosopher Ree Drummond (AKA The Pioneer Woman) once gave me a great piece of advice that I will now pass on to you.  Back in the days before her cooking show and her magazine and her hair product line (that last one I may have made up), she was a woman with a blog that included photography tips.  Coming from the world of film photography, I was grateful to have someone take me by the virtual hand and lead me into the land of DSLR’s.  The best advice she shared on her blog was to buy the camera body that suits your needs and the lens you want separately.  In other words, don’t buy the camera kit that comes with the kit lens.  So many of my friends express frustration at having purchased an expensive DSLR, but not seen the results that they expected.  Usually those friends are using a kit lens and have their DSLR permanently on Auto mode.  And that expensive DSLR usually sits at home in a closet while these friends take better photos with their phones.  The other piece of advice that PW shared was to wait until you have completely mastered your current camera before upgrading to a new one.  If you use an expensive camera on Auto, buying a more expensive camera and using it on Auto will not yield different results.

So I took the woman’s advice and bought the camera body I wanted and have been adding lenses to my lens family over the years.  If you’re looking to upgrade or wondering how certain looks are achieved in my portraits, read on!  Starting from widest to tightest, here are my lenses and when I use them:

The Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 is a wide angle lens.  I purchased it because there were many times when I wished I could include more of the background in a shot.  I don’t use it for portraits very often because sometimes a slight lens distortion occurs on the edges of the image, but it’s great for landscape photography.

Sigma 10-20mm lens

1/400 sec., f/5.0, ISO 200

This is the Sigma lens at 10mm.  As you can see, you can get the entire Hundred Acre Wood gang, a field of corn, and some silos all in the same shot.

Sigma 10-20mm lens

1/1600 sec., f/ 5.6, ISO 200

Here is the Sigma at 20mm.  The whole gang is here, and the background, too.

Photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.I used the Sigma lens for this cute girl’s baptism photos because I wanted to get the entire Gilbert Temple in the photo.  I paired it with a portrait lens for close-up shots.
Photographed by Jubilee Family Photography

A wide-angle lens is essential when your husband is falling off a cliff at the Grand Canyon.  Silly old bear.

I purchased the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 because I needed a good all-around lens and there weren’t enough pennies in my piggy bank for the NIKKOR 24-70mm lens.  It’s much better than a kit lens, but still not quite as shiny as the 24-70mm.  If I’m going on vacation and I can only take one lens, I bring this one because it offers the most flexibility of all my lenses.

Tamron 28-75mm lens

1/1000 sec., f/5.0, ISO 200

Here’s the Tamron lens at 28mm.

Tamron 28-75mm lens

1/1000 sec., f/5.0 ISO 200

Tamron lens at 48mm.

Tamron 28-75mm lens

1/1000 sec., f/5.0, ISO 200

Tamron lens at 75mm.

Photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.

This is the lens I go to when I want to include the whole setting in a family portrait, such as this shot from the Farm at Agritopia.

Nakalele Blowhole in Maui, HI

I took the Tamron lens to Maui earlier this year and was happy to get a shot of the Nakalele Blowhole without having to get as close as that jabroni on the cliff.  Didn’t he watch the safety video on the hotel T.V. channel?  Danger, dude!

When I finally purchased my first DSLR, the NIkon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm 1.8 was my first lens.  (Ahhh.  Memories . . .)  This lens is often called the “Nifty Fifty”.  For a pretty great price (as far as lenses go) you can achieve that beautiful blurry background known as bokeh.  The aperture is super wide and lets in all the light, making photos look light and airy and pretty pretty pretty.  This is what’s known as a prime lens.  That means it has a fixed focal length, so you can’t zoom in or out.  This is my go-to lens for indoor shots and group shots.

Nikon 50mm lens

1/1000 sec., f/5.0, ISO 200

As you can see, you can get a nice shot of the group, but not much of the background.

Photographed bu Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.

Usually I can get just enough of the background with my 50mm to make it interesting.

I saved the best for last!  The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm 1.8 is my absolute favorite lens for portraits.  It’s also a prime lens and the bokeh is even better than with the 50mm.  It’s my go-to lens for all of my portrait sessions.  I find it’s a little too tight for photographing people indoors, though.

Nikon Nikkor 85mm lens

1/400 sec., f/5.0, ISO 200

As you can see, the 85mm is so tight, only a few of the Hundred Acre Wood friends can fit in the photo.  Which is fine if Rabbit is being annoying (always).

Photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.

The key to getting handsome photos of this young man in downtown Gilbert was my magical 85mm.  Also, it was 115 degrees outside, so the streets were empty.  What am I doing in Arizona in the summer?

For more photography basics, check out my Pinterest board Photography 101!

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