Royal Oak Couple Caren & Dave: Baby’s First Year

I met Caren and Dave for a newborn session. Shortly after talking with them, they decided to do the Baby’s First Year portrait session package, which I call The Bouncing Baby. The package covers sessions throughout the milestones of the baby’s first year: newborn, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 1 year. I knew right away I was going to LOVE working with this couple. They live in Royal Oak, and as RO goes, are neighbors. Not only in the greater sense, but literally, they live in a neighborhood right across woodward from me.

Like most parents to a newborn, they want the boutique baby portrait experience. Lots of beautiful photos of the baby resting perfectly and peacefully in a number of poses. When patience, planning, knowledge and expertise of working of with newborns comes together, you really can create art. I do have my baby whisperer moments.

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What I really loved about Caren and Dave was their reaction to my not only putting their kid in a basket on the dining room table…but the uncontrollable laughter we all had when Cate decided to ham it up during these shots…
We were all laughing so hard at the “turtle” that Cate was apparently known for doing.

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I was able to get just one shot of the boutique look I was hoping for….but I almost prefer the turtle shots!
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I knew right then and there I was going to love photographing this little person for her first year. I remember saying to Caren that I can get beautiful any time but comedy is much harder to capture and most times my preference…

When you shoot a baby’s first year, as a photographer, I like to plan for some consistency or even a theme that will carry through to each shoot. It tells a story with cohesiveness. After Cate’s turtle pose, I knew it was going to be an opportunity to work with her humorous expressions.

What I LOVE about Caren and Dave is how open they were to any suggestions I had. Me: Can I put your baby in a cabinet? Caren: Sure, which one? Oh I like that! I might just keep the cabinet there now! The greatest gift as a photographer is having clients that just trust you. Caren and Dave were so open to the creative process.

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Every session, in my opinion, needs to have a few pieces of classic elements worked in. Some of my favorites are the crib, because they move on to big kid beds before too long….or even those hand made gifts that might get passed down to future generations. The shots I get sometimes in between setting up or staging can often times be great little additions to a session.

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But Cate was quickly showing me she was going to be a good sport and make me laugh. She is quite possibly the most expressive little person I have worked with.

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One thing to keep in mind about the Bouncing Baby experience (baby’s first year) is that all kids are different. Period. Each one grows and develops at different stages. There are milestones to capture, yes, like sitting, crawling, walking, and most importantly the little personalities that develop. Sitting, I would say is the one that seems to be the most reliable at about the 6 month mark.

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Caren and Dave again proved to be pretty amazing…the cabinet idea carried over and Dave emptied one for me just for these shots. Cate was also my cabinet baby.

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Another really great thing about Caren and Dave – they are dog people! Love it. So what’s better then dogs and babies in photos?

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Much like kids, dogs need to be bribed, coaxed and even tricked into doing things for photos. These are a couple of ‘out take’ images from this part of the session. What is the bribe you ask? We actually put peanut butter on the back of Cate’s shoulder to get the dog in the shot for ‘kissing’ Cate….well we didn’t quite get the kissing shot, but we get some pretty hilarious stoic portraits of them together…and out takes, kinda my favorite. Pretty impressive as parents if you ask me, the willingness to put peanut butter on their kid to get the shot! Awesome. Dave’s response: Well she needs a bath tonight anyway.

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At this point in the year, I’m getting to see what an amazing family they are. How much Cate has grown and how much of her little personality is coming out. Mom and Dad? Uber Parents. Caren and Dave are pretty much progressing into champs. Meaning you would think they have 10 kids, they handle everything with ease and as a team.

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Of course I couldn’t help myself….they didn’t know I was taking this shot. But it’s pretty cute, them looking down at their awesome little person.

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One of the great things about a year timeline, is getting to experience the seasons. Summer hits, it’s warm, we can move the session outdoors and get some great shots. Some kids love their first experience in grass and some are well….on the fence about it.

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But all kids in my experience, do love most things about being outdoors. Cate was certainly no exception. She does not disappoint and gave a pretty fantastic display, showcasing her entire working range of facial expressions. I can get carried away sometimes during a shoot, kids are awesome to work with and if they are happy I go with it!

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So we gave the grass another shot. Wouldn’t you know it, Cate started to pose!

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Caren and Dave are pretty lucky to have such an amazingly bright little girl.

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The year session is always a bit bitter sweet. In this case, Caren and Dave are moving! Sadly, they will no longer be my neighbors. So it was a great way to capture their last milestone in the home where their family started and Cate turned 1.

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One of quite possibly my favorite things about Cate was her lamp. Every session it was the toy in the back ground, either I or Mom or Dad would push buttons on to get Cate to smile. I love lamp.

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Again, each kid truly is unique. Do you have a butt scoot crawler? You’re not alone. Cate was a butt crawler.

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First birthdays are pretty great. It’s the time that babies stop being babies and become little toddlers. I know some would probably argue that statement with me…it’s up to 2 years that kids are referenced in age my months right? Not really sure why that is, but it is. Regardless, in my mind they are closer to being little people then babies.

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A Radio flyer, a kid and a dog. What’s more amazing than that?

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A one year old that poses like this:

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Caren, Dave (and Cate), you were truly a pleasure to work with. I’ve enjoyed getting to watch your little one grow over the last year and get to know you guys as well. Sadly, we are no longer going to be neighbors, but we’ll always have: I LOVE LAMP! Whatever you guys do, don’t get rid of that toy!

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