Hi everyone! It's snowy and I'm stuck in the house (like many of you, I'm sure), so I dreamed up a Favorite Image of 2009 contest. I am not very good at picking favorites, or "best" images - and I'm always afraid of hurting someone's feelings for being left out. But ... I did it! Here are some of my own favorite images of 2009 - and why I love them.
Please vote for your favorite image (or, who are we kidding - vote for your friend's/co-worker's/family member's family or kids!). Let's keep it fun - please don't stay up until 2 a.m. clicking VOTE, VOTE, VOTE. The poll is located at right, and will close automatically at some point Jan. 21. (I'm not sure why the numbers on the poll are so light, but I've found that you can use your cursor to highlight them and then they are more readable).
The prize? In 2009 I added an item to my product menu that went over BIG with all of you - the gallery prints! The winner will receive a gallery print with the winning image on it! (Choice of 8x10 or 8x12).
With the acknowledgement that I'm leaving out many memorable images and wonderful families, I present the following 15 images for your consideration.
1. Amber's Rock and Roll Maternity. This image has always stood out to me for many reasons. One, because Amber was such a memorable subject and now one of my favorite clients ever; but also because it's the first time I turned my fan on for a maternity session. The results were magic and the look has quickly become a hallmark of my maternity style. I always tell Amber that in my head I've always called this her "Rock and Roll Maternity" image. You can see more maternity images on Center Stage Baby.
5. Little Miss A's Grassy Toes - I have photographed this darling little redhead many times. The most memorable was at her grandparents' farm this past summer. The farm made for an awesome background, and her mom, grandmother and even grandfather participated in the session (when we stopped his huge John Deere tractor and climbed aboard!), which made it extra special. There's nothing like summer sunset light for portraits and so even though the session was filled with amazing images, I chose this one because of the sunlight behind the trees, and the sweet moment captured as A. leaned over to clean the grass off her toes.
7. Little Miss Sunshine - This little girl is just like sunshine to me - warm and bright and beautiful. This image so perfectly matches the little girl in every way!
8. Southern Charm - With the smocked dress and the charming look on her soft little face, I've always been partial to this image of Elizabeth's baby girl. Isn't she a doll? I so enjoy photographing babies, especially when they can't yet walk. But my favorite part of my business is meeting my clients and getting to know about them and their lives - and my talks with Elizabeth have been enjoyable. So this portrait reminds me of why I love my job.
9. Ashlynn's Farm Session - I so enjoy photographing seniors. And when the subject is someone as gorgeous and sweet as Ashlynn, it's even better. We went on a road trip to a beautiful farm outside of Lawrence (getting lost along the way!) which was great fun, and then at the end of the session, as the sun was sliding towards the horizon, the farm owner's daughter suggested a pasture with yellow flowers as our final portrait destination. The result was stunning!
11. Sherry's Blond Beauties - In October was my annual ballerina portrait event at my Shawnee studio. In all, 52 little girls came in front of my backdrop. All were sweet and pretty and the parents were all wonderful to work with. This image stands out in my mind. The session was late on a Friday evening, the little girls still had a lot of energy, and for a while I thought it would be impossible to get all three of them to sit still and look at the camera long enough to get a great portrait. With the help of a relaxed mother and a few dance moms serving as assistants, we did manage to get a gallery full of beautiful images of Sherry's little girls. This one is my favorite of them.
12. Funky Tween Avoids Tutus - This 11-year-old (maybe 12 now?) dancer avoids tutus when at all possible, instead going for hip-hop wear. So when her mom signed her up for a "ballerina" session at the fall mini-session event, there was no mistaking that there would not be any tutu images. She is an expert poser, and gave me some memorable images. I photographed several tweens this year in "fashion" sessions with cute outfits and blowing hair - those girls are proof that parents should not stop getting custom portraits once their kids turn 6 (like so many people seem to do).
13. The Center of Their World - this great couple dotes on their darling little girl, who I was first lucky enough to photograph last February in a pink tutu and leotard. This session, which we did on mom Lisa's birthday on a beautiful October afternoon, took place at the photographer's favorite - Loose Park. Again, the golden evening light just enhances this warm image that so perfectly shows the parents' love for their child.
14. Amazing Family, Amazing Hair! - Oh how I love this image of this wonderful family that graced my studio in November. Michelle has been a dream to work with and her devotion to her family is inspiring to me. I love to do these poses in the studio when I can get faces very close. This family rocked that pose, and their amazing variation in hair color makes the portrait even more memorable.
15. Mr. Bright Eyes -- One of my last images of the year. I love this little man's mom because she loves modern images, and along with that, she loves more contemporary cropping. I'm with her!