All day yesterday I found that I  was being pulled to hop on my computer and type this out. My heart was heavy with it in fact. Alas, being a Mama and doing the majority of the prep and cooking for Thanksgiving didn’t leave much time. As some of you may know, we are half way cross country from most family and friends so Holidays can feel like a sucker punch in the gut. I know our littles feel it too sometimes so I try to go the extra mile to make each Holiday that much more special for them. Even with that being said, the truth is–my “work” life and “real” life are one in the same. My “clients” aren’t clients–they are friends. Those that take time to comment on social media and leave little love notes and kindly bits of encouragement may not know how much it does mean, but it means so much more than can be summed up here in a blog post.

But still, I wanted to just come and say “Thank You.” Thanks to all of you that come and sprinkle kindness around, that leave warm comments, that take a moment even to just say hello. Or maybe you are a bit shy, but subscribe and “like” or maybe don’t. Your presence in this community matters. You are all in part what make it as special as it is. I feel blessed to be there along side you as your peer… as a fellow creative.

And if I had the honor of photographing your family… know my heart is swelling.  It is an honor.  I am not just making photographs you see, I am making memories with you. You have such an impact on me. Observing the way you love on your spouse–your children, it makes me a better human in turn. Thank you. Thank you for simply coming and being just who you are.

I typically do a year in review, which I will for sure do this New Years. I really wanted to share a few of the images I love because the people and places in them are so special to me. There are so many gorgeous moments and special families I got to put in front of my camera. This year held new adventures, new beautiful locations and fresh perspective. It also came with challenges as I embraced the fact that I will never find complete balance– and that’s okay. I don’t even know that true balance exists. There is something so beautiful in learning that we just don’t need to be perfect. Perfect is vanilla. Artists shouldn’t be vanilla. And still I know many artists are perfectionists. The irony in that is too great to ignore… but showing our bruises and scars in our work is what I believe make it so refreshing.

Sometimes I embrace those rose colored glasses and they remind me that I get to mother my children AND do what I love. I never want to lose grasp on reality because the truth is–I love my career. It’s okay to admit that. It is always hard to spend time away from my family. I obviously will always love them first and love them most, but I also need not be ashamed of the fact that the means of making a living has also become a pretty rad lifestyle.

And next year there will a whole lot of getting back to my own roots. I hope to make more images of my family and make more honest images at that. They are the reason I started. I am excited to really just be a bit more raw. We went and bought ourselves a 1972 vintage airstream so we can travel and continue to take photos… and love hard on these babies.

Heck, some days I think maybe just one more wouldn’t be so bad haha. I know those that really know our family are chuckling right now. They may have called it… no matter how adamantly i shook my head and stomped and hhmmpphed while I was pregnant with our sixth… our “last.”

Even though I could list so much more, here are just a few things that I am Thankful for.

My Family.

Motherhood is a gift. Marriage is a gift. It isn’t always easy but it is always worth it. There are too many things to list. Too many things to say– so I will just share my heart in images. Having six children, our life and hearts and well… hands are pretty full. Some days are longer than others– the years are still all together too short.

This year we grew by one family member. Daisy was our “game changer.” She has enriched our lives in ways I could not have imagined. We thought we had it all figured out and then she came and I learned just how little I really knew haha. She is our spitfire. I am so appreciative of the challenges having a baby with colic presented however because I learned to schedule time to recuperate and love on her and our other kids a bit more. I am the type that is programmed for busy. I have a limited attention span and thrive on being productive. Slowing down typically isn’t an option. I love to be home ironically but I embrace the editing and all that working from home as a Photographer entails. As she came out of the colic we had a very attached baby and while rearranging my workflow and even how I ran my sessions (I literally brought her to every session and wore her the majority of the time I shot up until she got old enough to go to my husband), I can say that when we are out of the “baby” stage– I didn’t waste a moment.  It isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. It really gave me a higher appreciation of trying to juggle it all though. Being a Mama (or father) and trying to manage it all is impossible. We just all do what we can.

I am thankful for perspective. I think ultimately that was what kept me sane.

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My Families.

Each and every single person I have had the honor of photographing. Each Mom and Dad and Baby and Child and Couple. Whether we danced in the rain, splashed in the river, sang songs, held hands, joked around or waited out a toddler tantrum… it was all good.  I am an unposed photographer, meaning I don’t pose.  It might seem like that takes all the “work” out of it, and really I guess it does haha, but it also pushes a healthy dose of intimacy. You are there in the thick of it suddenly with a family you are getting to know and your biggest goal is to really show how much they care about each other. I guess that’s the “easy” part, but you have to learn their code. Each family has one of their own. Learning how they tick is just one tiny bit of it. The fact that they are willing to open up and just find a way to be exactly who they are is such an honor. It is in turn what makes me tick as an artist. It is almost like they are adopting me for that evening. I love it. I love them.

I am thankful for their candidness and trust.

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Colorado Skies + Mountains + Foothills + Sunshine + All the Good things outdoors.

 

I am from Connecticut. We moved here five years ago this year actually. I am obsessed. We also travel a bit and I am equally thankful for all of those that embrace me in their homes and in their home states. Being able to capture families in the golden grasses and the mountainous back drops is surreal. Now, Connecticut was pretty amazing too. There were beaches and houses with old charm and character wherever you seemed to turn.

But Colorado. Colorado with all of it’s color and it’s beautiful fluffy cotton candy clouds and it’s dynamic light and it’s crisp clean air.  The clear streams and the wildlife and the dimension and the people.. oh, the friendliest people. This is home now and working here is like instilling just a bit more pride in each image. Being Coloradans is so special to our family. Being able to bring families here and watch their eyes grow and their mouths fall open, it’s pretty amazing.

SO yep, Colorado. I am so Thankful for Colorado.

c73wm51wk82wn67we36wAnd  of course so much more.

Jesus.

all of the tokens of love and friendship that came my way from the amazing families I have photographed.

the new friendships I have been blessed with from the photography community and on.

the opportunities to teach and share my love of photography with others.

coffee.coffee.coffee.

my husband being home full time.

the return of Gilmore Girls on Netflix.

our extended family we do miss so much back east.

each failure that has only brought me closer to the success that *really* matter.

the promise of so many adventures in 2017.

Coffee. (It needed another line.)

I could just go on and on.

The countless hours spent on the new brand and website and how selfless the designer has been in all of it. I can’t wait to share that. (SOON!)

I mean, this isn’t to say that life isn’t really hard sometimes. Guys! Being self employed is tricky business and not for the faint of hear. But learning to go with the flow and just be present and open minded.

I am thankful for that too.

 

Thank you so much sweet friends. Thank you for being part of this journey.

I have so much gratitude for each of you reading this at this very moment. My heart is just full.

 

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This lady is my spirit animal. There aren’t proper words for how much I adore her.

I got to photograph her family on her wedding anniversary. There pretty much isn’t a bigger compliment than having a family come and be willing to spend part of such a special day with me. I don’t take these things for granted. I admittedly had never photographed up in Boulder– and this sweet Mama being an amazing photographer herself was kind enough to make a good location suggestion. She sadly moved out of state but has assured me she will me buy her a cup of coffee when she is back in town. I have attachment issues, what can I say?! Her littlest Smith is also just a couple months younger than my Daisy, so there may have at one point been talk of an arranged marriage. Either way, I love her.

The golden light, the mountains in the back and the perfect imperfection make this for a highlight of my year, no doubt.

And that crying sibling photo at the end…. MY MOST FAVORITE.

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First a bit of transparency because a disclaimer is usually necessary when you mother six children and try to run a business. Many nights when I am getting ready to post or blog (or do anything that requires mental or creative energy), a child decides to melt down or that they need my undivided attention right in that space of time. While I am in the shower or doing something menial I have it all laid out in my mind– all of the things I want to say. The ways in which I want to proclaim my appreciation for the families I get to photograph.. but then there is the “Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mommmmmmmmmm times like infinity and any hope of not sounding completely insane is gone haha. If ever you begin to read a blog post and something suddenly makes no sense, that would be why. Sometimes being a mom boss comes with making the most of what little time you have and while it isn’t always the easiest in the way of focus, I just embrace the crazy and hope that things make sense a fraction of the time. My favorite quote is “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” -C.S. Lewis So when I am doing my best to hold it all together- I embrace it all. I love what I do but we all love our children the absolutely most.

And so leading into my next post. I am so excited to share this beautiful client turned friend.

I met this Mama a couple of years ago when she came to me for a Mama and Me Mini promotion I hosted. We had exchanged emails a few times prior because she was worried about hiking in the cold and being she was pretty ready to have a sweet babe, I wanted her to be as comfy as possible. It of course happened to snow right before our session date and the location I had them meet me at was blanketed in snow and pretty chilly (in May because Colorado) so we found a new spot within the area, and her photos to this day inspired me to host these same mini sessions every year now. She had the calmest demeanor and was so laid back with all of the crazy. To this day I admire her ability to just shrug it off and be fully in the moment.

She came back and modeled for me the same year for one of my in person mentoring sessions and I was besides myself when she booked a full family session for the following. She is coming back next year too now and just booked again. There isn’t a greater honor than to be able to literally watch a family and then their children grow.

This year we picked a new mountainous location. We played in the rain, collected bits of nature and had wonderful conversation and the next day I got a text that this Mama was still finding bits of moss in the back of her car haha. Creating memories with their family is so special to me.

And The photos just get better and better. The one thing I love about moment based imagery is each session is purely motivated by the connection we foster and create on the sessions. The images are always unique. It is almost like Christmas for me looking forward to love on a family I have become acquainted with each year. I get the good kind of butterflies.

Thank you sweet Jennifer for your friendship and your moments. I just love you and your tribe.

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Yay! It’s that time of year again my lovelies. The annual Early bird special savings is back and the 2017 Calendar is now open. But before we even get into that–

Can I just tell you what a special year 2016 was? I loved on some insanely special families families, we frolicked and danced and explored and hiked and made memories while photographing them. I also got to teach some pretty wonderful women  about photography AND did some more traveling. This time last year I was typing this special out heavy with our sixth child. This year I am preparing for this with her sleeping on my lap and reminiscing about all the sessions I photographed this year with her strapped to my body. If you had a session with me you likely met and loved on her too. I made many new friends. There were fresh and familiar faces alike… faces I hope to hug next year. There will be more change and exciting things on the horizon as I hope to grow and stretch every single year.

Soon there will also be a new brand and a website to match– and yes, I have been promising since like May but it’s really almost done now I promise haha. We have been working non stop to get it done, but it unfortunately will not be ready to open these bookings so you will just have to keep an eye on the fan page or web page here. It won’t be long now. I have been informed we are indeed in the home stretch.

All of that aside, this brand is so much more than a pretty logo. It is you– it is me. This is a family of it’s own. I have the privilege of watching both families and their children grow. It is about dedicating yourself as a whole to the people you get to photograph. Photographs are so much more than pretty images– but tangible proof of your legacy. It’s a very special honor.  don’t take it lightly.

So what does that all mean? It means I have some very special packages only being offered FOR this promotion including something new this coming year. Packages that will be priced at a VERY special price just for this Holiday season before I begin booking full 2017 rates. Those will come with the new year and the new website, so don’t wait long. These packages are a first come/first serve deal due to the discounted nature. As always I will be offering sessions to Families, Couples, Lifestyle Family, Lifestyle Newborn AND maternity. If you are trying to think of the PERFECT Holiday gift for a special family you know as well, this is it!

You can read below for full package options and to purchase and snag your spot before they are gone.  As always I am based out of the Fort Collins, CO area and service the immediate area. If you are hoping for mountains though I have a VERY special package for that too and will be traveling up to Estes Park, Colorado or Bellevue, CO for these. Also be sure to check the very bottom for a pretty slideshow of a few of our 2016 highlights!

 

How To BOOK: (And reserve the savings)

Choose your Package and then e-mail me at SayHello @ My Four hensphotography.com, message me on the fan page OR you can use the blog contact form here. Specify your package and share a good e-mail to send an invoice. You will need to put half down of your package OR purchase the mini session out right to reserve your date. This is non-refundable. You can then chooses your season if you are still planning or month. If you would like to choose a specific date now too, that is completely okay. Once your invoice is payed and the retainer is satisfied, you are officially on the calendar.

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Note: there are exactly 10 each of these packages to go around. Once that quota has been met-I will be closing this special. After that booking will be for full pricing/rates. Shoot me a Message via the contact form here, on the fan page OR via my e-mail address (SayHello @ My Four Hens Photography. Com) Remove spaces with the package of your preference and I will get your invoice set up and the time frame from there. I can NOT save your spot until your deposits have been made.

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 packageaPackage A. $750- (Usually close to  $1200- Value!!)

Traditional Early Bird Special-

FULL Family Session (My Most Popular Package.)

Pay Half  Down To Save Your Month and lock in this special rate.

An Hour  Long Session

Held in the foot hills of the Fort Collins, CO area.

Session will take place Mid May-October 2017

25 FULL resolution images in beautiful downloadable gallery.

Web sized images included for sharing on social media.

10% off next session booking on FULL package rates or locked into 2016 early bird rate for 2017 if returning the following year.

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This package is perfect for Family, Child, Maternity, Couple Sessions.

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Package B.
Colorado Mountain Sessions

FULL Family Session

Typically One-Two Hours.

Close to a $1400- value!

$895-

Can be paid in two Payments. Half due at booking the other half a week before the session.

Untimed but typically an hour or so in length.

Held in the mountains of Estes Park, Colorado or Bellevue, CO.

Session will take place Mid July-October 2017

35+ FULL resolution images in beautiful downloadable gallery.

Web sized images included for sharing on social media.

10% off next session booking on FULL package rates or locked into 2016 early bird rate for 2017 if returning the following year.

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Package C.

2017sessions

Colorado River Sessions OR Mama & Me Mini Sessions

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Mini Family/Child Session

40  Minutes of play!

$595-

Must be Paid in Full at time of booking.

Held in Fort Collins, CO Colorado area.

Session will take place Early August-September for a River Session or June-November for Mama & Me.

10 FULL resolution images in beautiful downloadable gallery.

Web sized images included for sharing on social media.

10% off next session booking on FULL package rates or locked into 2016 early bird rate for 2017 if returning the following year.

This package is perfect for Family, Child, Maternity, Couple Sessions if booking a river session OR Just Mama & her Littles for the Mama & Me.

Also offering in home Life Story Sessions and screening for weddings. Feel free to message if within 40 miles of Fort Collins, CO.

And a look at some of the amazing moments we captured this year:

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