Cousins Beach Session | Dana Point CA {Utah Family Photographer}

I had a chance to do some family sessions while I was in California for a photography conference. This beach session with 5 cousins was the stuff of dreams. I decided to do this session hybrid, so I did some with my digital camera and some with Ektar 100, which is perfect for beach tones. I shot the majority of this session documentary-style with very little guiding or posing. I loved capturing these natural playful moments between these cousins on this beautiful beach.

Families on Film | Utah Family Photographer {Tibble Fork American Fork Canyon}

If you’ve been following me on Instagram or reading anything I’ve written for the last few months, you know I’m completely taken with film! I feel like it makes me a better photographer, and makes my clients look even more beautiful and natural. The more I do clients on film, the more I love it!

My amazing photographer friend let me use her family for my first family session completely on film, and traveled quite a distance and got her littles up for sunrise to do it! It was completely worth it—Tibble Fork had gorgeous mist all over the resevoir and was it was so quiet and beautiful. The film captured the color and the beauty so amazingly well, and the sunrise and this family couldn’t have been more beautiful.

Here are a few of my favorites from the session, and check out the little video I made of the session as well.

American Fork Senior Session | Utah County Family Photographer

I am already booking Fall senior sessions, so I thought I'd better post another Spring senior session! Seniors are so fun, because we get to try lots of extra fun tricks, and I like trying to get them to loosen up and be themselves during a shoot. It's sometimes hard for them to act natural in front of the lens, but we always get their natural personalities to shine through. We had a lot of fun during this shoot, and even got her mom in on the action, which is always the best. Whenever we are close to my neighborhood, of course I always get those girls up on my favorite hill at some point! 

Outdoor Family Session | Using Your Own Backyard {Lehi UT Lifestyle Photographer}

Family sessions don't have to be in a pretty field or mountain location. This family wanted the comfort of an in-home session but all the fun and nature of an outdoor session, so we used their beautiful backyard! We had such a fun time, playing on the trampoline and the hammock, using the soccer goal, picking and eating fruit they had never tried before from their own trees! Although our session was cut short due to a CRAZY storm that popped up out of nowhere, and the light was dark and dismal, we still created some magic. And we even ended with the traditional "Porchrait!" Doesn't hurt when your families look like models! 

My Very First Film Session

I have come across a few people posting photos they’ve taken with film over the last several months, and though mildly impressed, I was a little confused as to WHY. Leave it to photographer Stephanie Bryan, who explained why she chose film during a Q&A at Insta Inspire Retreat, to convert the entire room in 5 minutes. I went home and bought a used Canon Rebel 2000 film camera on Amazon for $35 and some random rolls of film, and I was off! Little did I know there’s so much to learn about film stock, metering, rating, exposure, labs and how to choose one and communicate with them, etc! I was fairly certain my first two rolls I sent in were going to be either all white OR all black, and I wasn’t sure which! 

But the experience I had while TAKING this very first roll was worth it. I'll explain about that in a minute. 

When I finally got my scans back from Indie Film Lab, I might have shed a little tear. They were beautiful, despite my Fuji Superia 800 film 2 stops overexposed, my guessing without a light meter, and my not quite being sure how to focus my camera. I had just spent hours editing a session from a month before, and then these arrived and they were done. A couple needed straightening. I may have tried to get that 800 ISO grain under control a bit. But otherwise, no culling, no editing, no fretting. They were just...finished. 

I even find I LOVE photos I probably would have thrown away. There are some that might never have seen the light of day if I’d take 5 other almost identical shots, but I love them for their authenticity. 

Ok, so let's talk about that very first shoot. 

With digital, it’s not unusual for me to take hundreds of shots in just a few minutes, constantly looking at the back of the camera, trying to get the kids to do something again or something different. Then I am anxious to get inside, go through those hundreds of shots and find keepers. I’ll spend an hour or two editing and finally have 20-30 shots I love and will never do anything with besides post a few. In the meantime, I’ve missed my kids actually having fun and being kids. I do my best to just capture the moment and be there, but sometimes it’s just more about photography and that’s that.

So when Stephanie Bryan described this exact scenario and said it made her put down her camera for a long time, I think every mom in the room could relate. Then she explained how film fixed all of that.

I was skeptical, but I thought it would be a good challenge, so I jumped on board. Then one day when I was all set, and the light was beautiful and it was warm and summery, I threw some dresses on my girls and pulled their hair into messy ponytails and asked if they’d like to go to a meadow with me. We even decided to bring the dog.

What happened next was pure magic. When I saw something beautiful happening, I took a shot. One. I asked them to sit down for a bit and then just let them kind of talk and play and took a couple more. The dog ran around having the most fun and made them laugh. They hid in the long grass and enjoyed the summer air and being sisters. 

Then the roll (24 shots) was done. I didn’t have another camera—not even my phone. I couldn’t look at them or edit when i got home so there was no need to rush. So I sat, and they played, and I watched and played too. Magic, people. 

I sent in my film and waited (patience?!). When the scans arrived, they were beautiful. I didn’t wish there were more or that they were different. They were just “perfect.” Just like that. 

If that doesn’t make you want to try film, I don’t know what will. I’m not done with digital, but people, I’m pretty sold. Magic!!!

Extended Family Mountain Session {Utah Lifestyle Photography}

Families choose to have outdoor family sessions for several reasons. For some it's a yearly documentary session, or a way to remember this fun moment in their lives. For others, it's an effort to record a certain time before big changes. This wonderful family was getting ready to say goodbye to some who were moving away, saying hello to some new ones about to be born, and wanted to shoot at their wonderful family cabin where they had so many good memories together. It was a dream and so much fun to capture their families in this time of transition up in the beautiful Utah mountains!

Lifestyle Sunset Family Session {American Fork UT photographer}

Sometimes you meet a family you instantly love, and then even if you don't see them for the better part of 10 years, you feel like no time has passed at all when you finally see them again. I knew this darling family when we lived in Maryland, and then we moved here to Utah, and they moved away to Korea, and we thought never the twain should meet again! But here they are! Living just minutes from my house. So we had to take advantage of our amazingly warm winter weather once again and get a sunset session. We were able to stay long enough to let the sun set and get an amazing view of snow-covered Mount Timpanogos behind them!

Sometimes I tell families they just have to pretend to like each other while we are taking pictures. HA! But this family did not have to pretend. I hardly had to direct them at all, and I usually got distracted from taking pictures of one group of happily cuddling people, because other people were happily cuddling or playing in gorgeous light directly behind me, just because that's what they do. It was a dreamy session, and if I could do one just like it every day, I'd be a happy lady. 

My goal is usually to get the dad to say, "Well, that wasn't so bad!" But this time, my happy moment was when the mom texted me to say her 3-year-old got in the car after an hour-long photo session and said, "That was fun!" I mean, right?!

Also, they kept calling me Auntie. 

"Run to Auntie, Miles!" :) :) :)

Find me on Instagram @bluehillimages and Facebook @bluehillimages

Sibling lifestyle sunset session ~ {Utah County family photographer}

It has been a super strange January. We've had beautiful golden hours at a balmy 45 degrees! (Listen, in mid-winter, that seems like summertime.) So we took advantage of the beautiful light and perhaps a LITTLE bit chilly weather and did a fun sunset session with part of this family. Brady was turning 8 and needed some baptism pictures, so we also decided to do some sibling shots, and some snuggle shots with mom. Eight or not, he's the baby of the family, and I'm pretty sure they'll all think of him that way forever. I also got to really take my new lenses out for a spin, and have some fun. And that's never a bad thing! Hooray for sun haze and sun rays!! 

Find me on Instagram @bluehillimages and Facebook @bluehillimages

Fall golden hour ~ family session {Utah County lifestyle photographer}

So, I've been using the same old locations for YEARS and years. Then my photographer friend tells me about this weird little field off the road like 3 minutes from my house and I decide to try it out. Welp . . . I'm totally obsessed. I've done a kajillion sessions there since (ok, like 5), and every time I love it. I'm sure I'll still use other locations, but this one makes me so happy in so many ways for sunset sessions. I also tried a prop or two, and while I actually do love the tee-pee, I don't think I'll bring it along again. But YES to lovies for all the days! So fun. 

Find me on Instagram @bluehillimages and Facebook @bluehillimages

Mountain lifestyle portraits ~ American Fork canyon {Utah family photographer}

While I'm catching up here on the blog, I might as well take it all the way back to fall. We had some AMAZING colors up in the mountains! I thought I might as well take advantage and capture it all in a super quick family session with my sister. It was freezing and the light was quickly fading by the time we finally beat the traffic up there, so we had a 15-minute super mini session! She is also a talented photographer, and took pics of my family while we were up there too. I think I've done every kind of session for the Ribieras now (in-home, hours-old, this location session, and they are often used in my personal photography), and they'll probably all be blogged eventually, so get ready to see plenty of man bun on this blog! HA! Also, they are a pretty quirky fam, so be ready for some surprises here at the end of this blog . . . 

Find me on Instagram @bluehillimages and Facebook @bluehillimages