Psst.. I'm spilling my best secret to photographing kids..

All of my beach photography sessions lately have got me thinking and pushing my own boundaries.  It occurred to me that I have a legit secret to photographing kids that might help you take pictures of your own kids that will make you swoon.

Here it is, my secret to photographing children, especially on the beach or in the backyard in the summertime or playing in their bedroom any day of the week. 

It’s pretty simple:  Don’t try. 

Say what?!  I know, to all of the overachievers out there (myself included) that sounds like absolute blasphemy.  But I swear to you, when I am not trying to make it all perfect, when I can let go and let my gut lead the way, when I am not preoccupied with capturing the perfect photograph, that’s when the magic happens.

So, this is my one-stop advice column for photographing your kids this summer.

Don’t try so hard.

Observe them.  What are they doing right now that you wish you could bottle right up?  Let them do that.  Try to refrain from interfering.   Be a fly on the wall.  Be patient.  Blend into the background and anticipate those quirky, thoughtful, lovable moments.

And just let it happen.  Let go of perfection: the perfect light, the perfect composition, the perfect smile, the perfect Pinterest boards.  Just shoot pictures from the heart and I promise you, in 15 years, you’ll be so happy you have these photos of your kids being exactly who they are today.

Here's a few favorite photographs from 2 beach sessions this month.  Many break the rules with composition and lighting, but sometimes the moment and the expressions are all that matter.  

Stony Lake / Lake Michigan:

kids bike photograph
lake michigan kids photography
lake michigan kids photography
lake michigan kids photography

Malibu, California:

malibu kids beach photography
malibu kids beach photography
malibu kids beach photography
malibu beach dance photograph

Oh, and the best part is that when kids are in their happy place, sometimes they’ll just look up at you with the best smile or glance and you might still get those perfect beach portraits...

Without even trying.

malibu children's portrait
malibu beach portrait

3 Reasons to Hire a Vacation / Beach Photographer & Happy Spring!

Spring is here!  Technically speaking, that is.  Somewhere beneath the last few inches of snow (here in the North, anyway) I promise you, Spring is near :) 

By mid-March, my summer dreamin' officially begins, and by dreaming, I also mean planning: up north weekends, beach days, camping under the stars.  Northern Michigan books up quick and you only need to learn that lesson once.  

What are you most looking forward to this spring / summer?   

lake michigan family photographer

3 Reasons to Plan Vacation / Beach Photography Sessions

1)  It's Worry-Free:  You can finally relax at the beach or pool without worrying about capturing your kids having the time of their lives or whether your camera is ingesting water and sand. (Guilty of the latter.) 

2)  YOU (the most important reason):  If YOU are typically your family's everyday photographer and collector of memories, you will actually be in the photographs.  You will not have to explain to your kids in 10 years, as you are looking back at your vacation photographs, that you actually were there.  They will see you with them, living it up, together.

3)  The Digital Aftermath:  Following your beach/pool/hiking/fill in the blank adventures, sitting at the computer, editing hundreds of photos, and creating a tangible masterpiece might sound daunting, or outright dreadful.  Handing the job off to a skilled photographer to create a thoughtfully designed, archival, story-telling keepsake, while you revel in the memories in your lazy-boy, might just sound fabulous.  
 

grand rapids family photographer
lake michigan lifestyle photographer
lake michigan vacation photography

Just think:  Some of your most carefree and happy moments on this earth will not just be documented, but an artful story will be curated and preserved for years to come.  You just have to show up.  Deal?

lake michigan beach photography
lake michigan beach portraits
lake michigan lifestyle family photography

If you are hoping to plan a relaxed, documentary photography session this summer, please contact me soon.  I'm also down with 'day in the life' sessions or capturing your family's 'vacation days,' from Michigan to California and beyond.  

If it's feeling too early, we can even pencil in a time-frame - leave the details for later.  Just don't miss out - summer will be here before we know it, and my schedule books up quick with photo sessions... and my own lazy beach days.  ;)  

(Things might also be a-changing around here at Teri Genovese Photography and session availability is limited.)

lake michigan beach portraits-2
lake michigan beach portraits -3

Sifting back through photographs from last summer, I realized one year olds at the beach make a pretty spectacular combination.  Hope these made you smile and look forward to the much greener, sunnier days ahead!  

lake michigan's light | family photography

sometimes it rains unexpectedly.  and you realize, you remember, that it's only with the rain and clouds that such magnificent light can emerge.  

Lake Michigan Family Photography
Lake Michigan Family Photography
Lake Michigan Family Photography
Lake Michigan Family Photography
Lake Michigan Family Photography
Lake Michigan Family Photography
Lake Michigan Family Photography
Lake Michigan Family Photography
Lake Michigan Family Photography
Lake Michigan Family Photography
Lake Michigan Family Photography
Lake Michigan Family Photography
Lake Michigan Family Photography
Lake Michigan Family Photography
Lake Michigan Family Photography
Lake Michigan Family Photography
Lake Michigan Family Photography
Lake Michigan Family Photography

A special thank you to this sweet, gorgeous family for braving the drizzles and allowing me to witness and document a glimpse of their life and love.  It was a beautiful and memorable evening on Lake Michigan, for sure!

hilton head island // family beach vacation photography

hilton head island, south carolina

mid-august

10 adults, 11 kids (ages 1.5 - 17)

one big beach house

and the atlantic ocean

beach. pool. beach. pool. bbq.

repeat.

need i say more?

Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography

when one of my dearest long-time California clients invited me to document their extended family beach vacation in south carolina ("a day in the life" style), it was an instant 'yes.' to be a fly on the wall photographer in such a relaxed setting is when i am most at home with my camera. lift the pressure and expectation from both parties (the subjects and the photographer) and that's when the best moments are captured and the quirky coolness comes out.. that's when the magic happens. this working vacation to hilton head island proved to be such a treasured highlight of my year - thanks again y'all!

if you would like me to photograph "a day in the life" of your family's next vacation, whether along the shores of Lake Michigan, in Southern California, or anyplace you can possibly dream up, call me. seriously. i love this. :)

where the platte river meets lake michigan..

As I sit here basking in the first warm breezes of the season, I am daydreaming of the long summer days to come. Last year was our first summer in west Michigan after living in Los Angeles for nearly 5 years. To say that my first long winter back tested my patience is an understatement. Of course, I could have refrained from checking LA’s daily weather report (as if it was still relevant) and imagining how I would have spent all of those warm, sunny January days… a hike at Runyon Canyon, gelato with friends on Sunset Blvd, a nap by the pool. Ahh.. my memories of California are sweet, but life soon became sweeter.

My daydreams were interrupted at once when summer arrived and I was swept off my feet! I have to say, it was the best summer of our lives. Nearly every weekend was spent on Lake Michigan, from lazy rivers at Ludington State Park to care-free drives around the Leelanau Peninsula to afternoon hikes and beach days at Saugatuck Dunes State Park. I can assure you, we did not allow one second of summer to slip away.

On a particularly beautiful September day, as we drove back to Grand Rapids from Sleeping Bear Dunes, we spontaneously took a turn and followed signs to the Platte River. With my camera in hand, my jaw dropped at this incredible view of blue upon blue. Are we really in Michigan? I gazed along the pristine coastal dunes and dreamed upon the delicate sliver of sand where the Platte River meets Lake Michigan. I imagined that next time we’ll be much more prepared, like this family, with stand up paddleboards and a picnic for the quiet sandy shores.

And then it hit me. I was in love with the state I grew up in. This place I left behind 10 years ago is speckled with hidden gems to explore. And now I know for sure that the summertime is oh, so much sweeter when you have those few chilly winter days to endure.

Platte River Lake Michigan Photography
Platte River Lake Michigan Photography
Platte River Lake Michigan Photography
Platte River Lake Michigan Photography

by the way, if you'd like to schedule a fine art family photography session at this beautiful beach this summer, where the Platte River meets Lake Michigan, the travel fee is waived! picture your family having an incredibly relaxing beach day.. i'll just happen to be there documenting the moments!