Wedding of Craig and Jasmine, Kasson, Minnesota ~ Wedding Photographer

As a child, I loved looking through my parents’ wedding album and imagining what their wedding was like. For Craig and Jasmine’s children, they will not only have beautiful photos to look back on, but they will also be able to remember being there to celebrate with their parents.

Before the ceremony, their daughter, little Livia found a caterpillar just outside the house. She delicately picked up the caterpillar and proudly showed me what she had discovered. Livia was overjoyed with her discovery and wanted to share it with everyone she saw. She knew what she was special so she protected as she walked around to share the caterpillar.

A New Life

A caterpillar is often seen as a symbol of pure potential or a new life. Could there be a more perfect coincidence? Craig and Jasmine were about to commit their lives to each other as husband and wife. The newlyweds were filled with such happiness it could be felt by all their friends and family in attendance. Even though it was quite a chilly day, the guests left with a warm feeling in their heart after seeing Craig and Jasmine exchange their vows. It is without a doubt, a day their children will look back on and treasure.

Looking for photos to show the connections in your family? Be sure to check out my family portrait sessions to see more of my work.

Miller Family, Owatonna, MN ~Family Photography

Bubbles, leaves, laughter, and even a game of “Ring Around the Rosie” made the Miller extended family photo session a night to remember. I was lucky enough to have Rita has a co-worker back during my teaching days. From my time spent teaching in Waseca, I knew that Rita is a special person, but meeting her family proved this even more. They made me feel like a member of the group as we joked around.  Never once did they question one of my crazy photo ideas.

If the Session Was Fun, the Reveal Will be a Blast!

Even with all the fun we had at the session, the best part was when Rita and Joe came over to view their final images. They sat down in the dark room to watch their video and they quickly started talking about each picture as it came on the screen. Listening to their reactions was priceless. Rita kept saying “Ooh I like this one!” and “Just look at us!” Whenever little Ava came on the screen, Joe would so proudly say “That’s my girl!” It was obvious that he was one proud grandpa! When the video was done, we covered all the purchasing options. Then Rita said something that still makes me smile when I think about it, “Can we watch it again?” This is what I love. Creating images that you need to look at again and again because they make you feel happy is something that I just love.

Enjoy this small sample from the Miller’s family photo session. Want your own gallery of images? Now is the perfect time to get a great deal on a family session for 2019! Check out https://nickijoachimphotography.bigcartel.com/ for my #cyberMonday sale.

Ordal Family, Owatonna, MN ~Family Photographer

It’s no secret that I spend a lot of time photographing families in and around Owatonna, MN, especially during the fall. During the planning phase of a family photo session, I  ask what your main goal is for your session. When I asked Whitney what her goal was, she said she wanted to capture this fun time in their daughter’s life. She realized how quickly their daughter was changing and wanted some good photos to document it all. This spoke to my soul, there’s nothing better than being given the freedom to just capture people how they are.

Telling the Whole Story

Sometimes family photographers stop shooting when a child stops smiling, but then we are only showing part of the story. Whitney’s comment about capturing this age, made me feel free to keep shooting even when things weren’t “picture perfect.” The end result is something that I just love! It tells a story of our time together, a story that is completely unique to them. It has what every good story has…the time spent getting to know the characters, the problem that needs to be overcome (HUNGER!!!), and of course the heartfelt ending. If I had stopped shooting during the less than happy moments, then the Ordal family would have an incomplete story. The teary-eyed moments help us appreciate the smiles and enjoy them that much more. Thank you for letting me be a part of your family’s story.

Joachim Family, Owatonna, MN ~Family Photographer

It’s that time of the year where your newsfeed is filling up with family photos from your friends’ photography sessions. It’s no surprise that everyone wants a perfect photo for their Christmas card

This year I dropped the ball and didn’t schedule a family session so I decided we would just save some money and take our own photos. Lesson learned. #photosareworththemoney #saveyoursanity

Taking a cue from David Letterman, here’s the

Top 10 Reason NOT to Take Your Own Family Photos:

10. Half of your photos show you pointing the remote at the camera because you forget to put it down and act natural with your family.

9. Prompts fail -Normally telling a family to look at the person who is the messiest elicits laughter and pointing. When done with your own family, it leads your messy child to begin to cry and shout “Mom! Why are you picking on me?” Sorry Jake, just clean your room please!

8. Things like remotes always seem to get up and walk away leaving you to spend hours searching for them. Finding it in your camera bag where it belongs is the icing on the cake.

missing dress7. There’s no one there to tell you, you how funny you look. Sometimes an extra pair of eyes is all you need to avoid the ultimate embarrassment of looking naked in your family photos.

 

 

formal family take two_funny6. Good is never good enough, causing you to “schedule” another family photo session and another until your family swears they are done with photos for the rest of the year.

 

 

Horns

5. Kids have this magical ability to act like angels when they are around new people and demons around their own family. Having a photographer there raises the chances the kiddos will wear the halos instead of the horns. Horns were out and they were ready for a brawl.

4. Running from a pose to check the back of the camera and then back to a pose repeatedly is great for getting steps in, not so great for capturing family memories.

3. Telling your kids to find the fairy in the lens only works once or twice so there’s no one there grabbing their attention.

2. Editing your own family photos means there’s no deadline. It also means they may never be edited.

missing Jordy1. You are so pre-occupied getting the camera, tripod, remote, and blanket into the car that you forget a family member at home. Sorry Jody, we love you I swear!

 

 

So, take it from me, even if you have a “nice camera” or you’re a professional photographer like I am, take the time to find a photographer that fits your style and book them early every year! After reading this you are reconsidering taking your own photos, I would love to help you out.

Shay, Owatonna, Minnesota ~Senior Photographer

Seniors have the world at their fingertips.

High school seniors are not something I photograph very often, but after spending the evening with Shay, that may be changing!! My time spent hanging out with Shay took me back to high school, literally. One of our locations was at Owatonna Senior High School where I attended (longer ago than I’d like to admit). Talk about a trip down memory lane! I couldn’t help but think about myself as a senior and how certain I was about my future and how wrong I ended up being. So here are a few tips for seniors:

1. Don’t be too realistic with your career ambition.

Settling for the college major that has a clear-cut path can also lead you to the narrowest employment field. What happens if things change and that specific job is no longer needed or even worse that you don’t like your job? Don’t limit yourself! In the words of Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

 

2. College isn’t always the path you need to follow.

Now don’t get me wrong, college is needed for many professions and I’m glad my doctors are highly educated, but you can achieve amazing things without sitting in a classroom. Entrepreneurs need creative ideas (which can’t be taught) to build a successful business. Yes, college coursework would help with aspects of running a business, but without the idea there’s nothing to run. Ideas for occupations that don’t require you to go into debt for years to obtain.

 

3. Travel.

Go out and see the world. You are at the age where climbing hundreds of stairs doesn’t make your lungs feel like they’re on fire. Your sense of being invisible will disappear the first time you hear your baby’s heartbeat. Use this to your advantage to take risks and enjoy life without limits. It doesn’t hurt to expand your worldview.  You are bound to learn from your experience. Here are some ways to save when you travel.

 

4. Give and give often.

Don’t worry, I know you’re broke so you don’t have money to give. You have gifts greater than money, those God-given talents are priceless. Share them and share them often. The more you use your talents, the stronger they will become. They are your advantage in every challenge that comes your way. Don’t worry if you’re anything like me you might not know what your gifts are yet, they will show up when you need them.

 

5. Surround yourself with people you want to be like.

When you’re with your friends/family it’s easy to get pulled into doing things you might usually do. You will unknowingly become like the people you spend the most time with. If all of your friends enjoy volunteering as a Big Brother/Big Sister, chances are you may see the appeal and try it out for yourself. Feel free to sever ties with those toxic relationships.

 

This list could be longer, but these were some of the big ideas that I wish I would have embraced at an earlier age. What would you add to the list?