Every year, I take special pictures of Ella for her birthday. For her first birthday, I did pictures on her actual birthday and then I did a special extra photo session to commemorate our first year together.
This year, since I have gotten more into photography, I wanted to do a similar thing. Photos on her actual birthday and then a special photo session.
I had three considerations going into this project: I needed a theme, an outfit, and some kind of prop or element to help bring the theme to life.
The theme was easy- I wanted to do something that went along with her birthday party “enchanted forest” idea. That way I could get more use out of her party decor. I thought about going to Duke Gardens but when I take pictures of Ella, I like her to be comfortable and in her natural habitat. I want her to barely notice I’m taking pictures of her. I like getting pictures of her playing and that really capture her as she is. So I knew she’d be the most comfortable (and easy to manage!) at home.
When choosing clothes for Ella, I don’t always have an exact picture in my head. There’s really just a feeling or essence that I want to get. It can be hard because my vision is vague and specific at the same time. I knew I wanted something she could wear for her party as well so it couldn’t be too stiff or fancy. My go-to is Zara Kids because they normally have something whimsical and sweet and unique. The exact same way I’d describe Ella.
Her headpiece was the perfect final touch. It added more whimsy and more fully embodied the “enchanted forest” feeling.
The only prop for these photos were fresh flowers– I wanted to keep it as simple as possible since it was a more stylized look, and I wanted to have something Ella loves.
I’m really pleased with how the pictures turned out. I didn’t have a lot of time to take them (my son’s naps are getting much shorter and it was supposed to rain the rest of the week) but Ella had so much fun running around and playing with flowers that I was able to capture her natural sweetness. The point of these pictures, for me, is to create a time capsule for Ella’s life. To hold on to this time, as difficult as it can sometimes be, and make it more magical.