odds & ends

location, location, location: pt. 2, at home by Ashley Brown

At home sessions are the pinnacle of a custom portraiture experience. No other location that will be as personal and meaningful for your family... and along with it comes authenticity and the assurance that your images will never be like anyone elses'! For clients who are looking for images that aren't duplicated a hundred times over and are truly custom to their family and lifestyle, home is where its at.

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Over the course of my career I've worked in hundreds of homes... everything from apartments, to near windowless condos, to sprawling, light filled estates. The most common question I get from clients when talking about location is whether their home will photograph well. You do not... in any way, shape, or form!... need to live in a showcase model home. I have never met a house or apartment I couldn't work with. Nooks and crannies with beautiful lighting almost always exist. Sometimes we have to move a few pieces of furniture, or use some unorthodox spots in the house. If I have access to most of the spaces in the home, chances are overwhelmingly in our favor that we'll find some perfect spots.

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We have the choice with at home sessions to either keep the focus on the child/family with more close up type images, or to incorporate decor and architecture. It totally depends on your home and the feel you're going for. Using various spots like staircases, foyers, chairs, and windows draws lends itself to more traditional portraits, while wide angles shots incorporating your child's bedroom or nursery bring in more of a colorful, editorial feel. The great thing about at home sessions is you can always mix the two, which is the most common route clients take... some traditional images mixed in with some lifestyle images, like your child reading a book on their room, playing cars on the wood floor, or snugging on mom & dad's bed. If you really love the lifestyle, magazine vibe, you can go entirely in that direction with an activity... like making pancakes, taking a bath, or playing a board game. There really are so many options!

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The unique, custom angle of at home sessions aside, one of the biggest perks is comfort. When working with small children, more often than not, I find these little subjects are most comfortable in their own surroundings. This especially holds true for kids who are naturally more shy or take longer to warm up. You are much more apt to achieve those natural, relaxed images on their turf, and where we can really take some time to play and chat on their terms. For babies and young toddlers, location sessions can sometimes be too overwhelming with all of the sights and sounds, leading to quicker meltdowns and less smiles. Staying at home keeps them more attentive and gives us more variety when it comes to posing and those classic infant shots.

Check out the images below to see a sampling of at home sessions!

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2013 in review by Ashley Brown

Another year in the books! Our 6th year was a wonderful one, and we had the pleasure of working with so many sweet faces... some that have been with us for years, and others who we met for the first time. Kristen and I are really looking forward to 2014 and all that it will bring with it... including some great changes and new offerings (stay tuned for details!). In the meantime, this is my favorite post of the year. A chance to recap and reflect on the past 12 months, and thank each and every family who gave us the privilege of coming into your homes and lives. We are so appreciative of the opportunity to document your children as they grow. 195 regular sessions, 2 special events, 5 school fundraisers, and 2 school portrait days later, here are some highlights of our year!

January and the new year kicked off with the newborn session of Ella, born on Christmas Day. We worked quite a bit in studio with an adorable bunch of toddlers (one of whom, Maddox, was soon to be a big brother!).

In February we hosted our second annual lovey sessions, which have become one of my favorite events and one that we can't wait to have again this winter. I met and photographed brand new Finn and Emersyn, and some "old" faces too!

March brought with it one of my favorite maternity sessions to date, as well as a cozy at home session with Liam (or "Yemmy", as his brother calls him) and his family, Anthony's first birthday session, and lots of beautiful faces.

Spring was slow to come this year, but by the end of April, some warmth and spring color arrived just in time for our first fundraiser of the year at the Albany School of Humanities. Fitting in with the "all things new" theme was Annabel & Evie!

May is always a favorite of mine, as the flowers and new green have exploded by this point and make for some truly gorgeous images. It also means our annual mamahood sessions (another favorite) and our Loudonville Elementary fundraiser. May also marked the start of quite the baby boom, with Katie, Luke and Abigayle making their grand entrances.

other highlights

kenley

the f. family

the t. family

June started off HOT! The newborns kept coming with baby Sloane, Mason and Blake. Kristen photographed some really fun Father's Day sessions at the Joe Bruno baseball stadium, and we met lots of new faces at our Eagle Elementary fundraiser. One of my favorite sessions of the summer took place in June... Riley & Colin at the Aqueduct Rowing Club.

other highlights

sean & evan

isabella

July saw another favorite session of mine, the M. family at the backstretch of the track. So fun to shoot there. I traveled to Gloucester, Mass. for a (very unseasonably chilly) beach session, and we enjoyed the peak of the season with so many wonderful sessions. An added bonus... spending my birthday photographing brand new baby Nico, and sweet Matthew on his family farm.

other highlights

eliza

the m. family

michael

carter & cooper

August started off with our annual lake sessions, which truly could not take place at a more stunning location. I had some more lakeside sessions with Conrad & Frankie and Beckett. Kristen and I took full advantage of the warm, golden August evenings, two of my first year plan babies turned one, and Sage & Emily arrived. It was hands down our busiest August to date!

The baby boom continued strong in September with Owen, Connor, Alexander, Emma and Avery. Kristen shot some mini sessions at our favorite local farm, and we were thrilled to work with Shaker Road Elementary again for their second annual portrait fundraiser.

other highlights

isabelle & claire

bryce

owen

October is always a hectic month to say the least, and when the weather is as incredible as it was this year, it is a blessing to say the least. Kristen and I photographed many families, both old and new, at some really fantastic locations. We saw all of our summer clients again for our fall follow up sessions, and photographed nearly 200 little faces for school portrait days at St. George's and the Childrens' Academy of Malta. Last but not least, I had the pleasure of capturing the fleeting newborn stage for Katherine and Nolan.

other highlights

zachary

the k. family

chloe & john

November brings to a close our outdoor sessions, and we ended on a high note with some stunning fall foliage. Its also the perfect month to take advantage of the beautiful local architecture and Christmas tree farms! Our last fundraiser of the year took place at St. Pius X, and we hosted two jam packed days of holiday mini sessions... one at the historic Groom's Tavern, and one at the natural light loft studio we'll be shooting at this winter.

other highlights

max, elise & finn

olive

luke

ava

chloe & gwen

aidan

ella & brayden

The year ended on such a high note with our last day of holiday mini sessions (and rave reviews from clients about the loft space!) and some last minute Christmas card shots. And since we started the year off with a sweet newborn, its only fitting that our last session of the year was with baby Grant.

other highlights

the h. family

liam

holly, kate & matthew

Happy New Year... see you in 2014!

Ashley & Kristen

fall availability reminder by Ashley Brown

Just a friendly availability reminder for fall! For signature sessions, weekends are at a bare minimum, and a few weekday dates remain. For our weekend simply childhood (mini) sessions, spots are filling quickly. These can also be booked on weekdays. If you are looking to have a session done anytime before the end of the year, do not wait to book. This was our busiest summer on record and we expect fall to follow suit! For more information or to reserve your session, please shoot us an email at info@ashleybrownphotography.com.

location, location, location: pt. 1, in your own backyard by Ashley Brown

Location is easily the subject we discuss the most before and after a client books a session, and for good reason. The venue for a portrait session sets the tone and feel for the entire session and all of the images that are created. We talk in depth with each client to determine the best spot, based on their likes and dislikes, visions for their session and places that are special to their family. Most of the time, the client just wants a beautiful backdrop for their images... and this is where a very common misconception comes in. Its all about the light... not the location itself.

Yes, there are many locations we love for their gorgeous architecture or other elements, but a vast majority of the time, we are shooting in spots that are unassuming and may not even look like much to the naked eye. Its all about how the location photographs, how the light falls, and how conducive it is to an easy, stress-free portrait session.

I'll be posting a three part series on the blog covering the "categories" of locations, and it makes sense to start with one of our very favorites... the home. More specifically, and because we still have (hopefully!) several more months of working outside, sessions in your own backyard.

Shooting at home comes with many benefits. First, the location is unique and special to your family. Your images won't look like anyone else's, and they will carry with them meaning. When your children are all grown up, being able to look back at images taken at their childhood home is priceless. Secondly, working at home is quiet, comfortable, and easy. No worries about overstimulating toddlers, post-car ride crankiness, crowds or distractions. Shy children are quicker to warm up in their own environment, and wardrobe changes are a breeze.

Here's where the hesitation occasionally comes in. You do not, by any stretch of the imagination, need to live on several manicured, park like acres. The best way to prove this point is to see it with your own eyes. All of the images below were taken in our client's backyards. Normal, everyday backyards with fences, swing sets, wood piles and neighbors.... in new subdivisions, in old, established neighborhoods, in the country, and even condos downtown. Want to incorporate your home or porch? Absolutely. But if you don't want to, no worries at all. I've worked in literally hundreds of homes and have mastered the art of avoiding distracting elements, and instead focusing in beautiful pockets of light and color. Your own backyard is definitely worth a second look!

now booking session for fall 2013 by Ashley Brown

Summer seemed to fly by in record time, and now fall is just around the corner. We are looking forward to yet another busy season and taking advantage of the cool weather, layered clothing and foliage, as well as shooting at beautiful locations both old and new. As always, September through November is our most sought after time of year, so we recommend booking your fall session far in advance. Prime dates, such as weekends, school holidays and travel sessions, tend to be solidly booked well before of the end of August.

For information about Ashley's signature sessions, please click here. For simply childhood (mini) session information and dates, please click here.

For booking inquiries, please email info@ashleybrownphotography.com. Inquiries are returned within 48 hours, so please call 518-396-9387 if you do not receive a timely reply.

See you this fall!

mother's day gift ideas by Ashley Brown

By far, the time of year in which we sell the most gift certificates is Mother's Day. I'm always surprised at the number of thoughtful dads who come to us seeking a creative, unique gift that mom (and kids) will cherish for years to come. A gift certificate for a portrait session allows mom to be involved in the planning and execution of the session, but still gives her a surprise to open on Mother's Day. These certificates are available in any denomination over $95 (or, we can simply note that it is redeemable for a simply childhood or signature portrait session), and never expire.

We are excited to offer another option, new this year, for mom. Our photography workshops... available in both one-on-one and small group formats... are a perfect gift for the mom who has a new DSLR and the desire to learn some skills, tips and tricks for photographing her little ones on a daily basis. It is truly an invaluable gift to be able to capture all of those not-so-little every day moments in which you can't have a photographer present for.

Gift certificates for sessions and for our photography workshops are customized with your names and message, and are presented as a mounted 5x7 card, packaged in a silver envelope with a ribbon. We can always do last minute emailed gift certificates, but in order to ensure timely pre-Mother's Day delivery of a printed certificate, please be sure to contact us by Monday, 5/6. Send an email to info@ashleybrownphotography.com and we'll be happy to answer any questions and help you in selecting the perfect gift for mom!

spring scheduling update by Ashley Brown

Just a quick scheduling update now that we are into April! Weekend availability through mid June (for signature sessions) is extremely limited, and we have now opened the calendar for July. If you are looking to book a spring or summer session, please don't hesitate to be in touch... these dates book very quickly! We will be hosting a date of simply childhood sessions at a spring location on Saturday, May 4. Seasonal greenery and flowers should be in full bloom, so please send us an email for more information or to reserve your session: info@ashleybrownphotography.com.

See you this spring!