Sandra Coan shares ideas for what kinds of props and toys to bring to your newborn session.Read More
I remember visiting my older brother in Seattle in January of 1995. What I remember when I think of that visit was how sunny it was. I was visiting from Pullman, WA (Go Cougs!) where we were still in the throws of a long hard winter. That was the year I thought it would never stop snowing.
And then I came to Seattle... and it was sunny!!!
That was when I decided to move. I came to Seattle in July of 1995 and haven't looked back!
So, here's the thing about January in Seattle. It seems like it's always sunny! November and December are DARK. But then, just when I think I can take it any more, January comes along, and the sun comes out.
This January was no exception. Yes, it was COLD!!! But the sun was out. It warmed me through the window and filled my studio beautiful natural light to work with.
Thanks January! See you next year!
I don't usually work with dogs. Like, hardly ever. But when this mom called up and explained how much her old lab love their new baby, I had to say yes. And I'm so glad I did!
I mean, how adorable are these two?!!! They just laid on my bed and snuggle for the majority of the session. SO sweet!!
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Like everything, family photography has a season. Things really pick up in the fall, and it stays very busy until about mid December.
I understand. Fall is a great time to refresh your family photos and turn those images into holiday gifts and cards. But your photos are about more than just a great Holiday card.
Here is the truth.
They are only little once.
No matter what age your kids are. Maybe they're a newborn. Maybe they're five. Maybe they're 15. No matter their age, this is the only time they will ever be that. So celebrate it!
Now is the perfect time for photos! No mater what now is.
You don't need a reason to capture them now, as they are. And believe me. You'll be so glad you did.
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This little cutie came into the studio just before the Christmas holiday. Her portrait session was to celebrate her fist birthday and her mom made her a beautiful flower crown in honor of the occasion. None of us were sure if she'd keep it on, but to our surprise she loved it! We were able to get many photos of her in the crown, and a few with out it as well. A very fun one year portrait session!
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A couple weeks ago I mentioned on Instagram that the birth of a newborn baby comes with the birth of a newborn mother. It's something that I think about all the time.
We all go into labor, just us... and come out of it mothers; our lives completely changed forever. The same is true of men. The transition to "father" is swift and powerful.
Honestly, this is one of my favorite things about being a newborn photographer. I LOVE babies! Like, crazy love. But I also LOVE watching and photographing new families... when the emotion in the room is palpable.
This time of year tends to make me sentimental. The music and the lights and all the Christmasy stuff... but I woke up this morning feeling so grateful for all the families who walk through my doors all year long and allow me to be part of their delicious newness. Not only do I get to see it and feel it, I get to capture in on film and save it for all time.
How amazing is that?
So thank you to all of my wonderful clients. I hope you all have the happiest of Holidays!
All images we shot on Fuji 400h film. Processed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab.
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Something you probably don't know about me is that I love holiday decorations. Like, LOVE them. And I'm not ashamed to say it!
I'm also kind of a pack rat. And I can not bring myself to throw away any of my holiday cards at the end of the year.
For years I stored them all in a big box in the basement. But I never looked at them. They just sat there. Collecting dust. Then one day, about 9 years ago, I decided to merge my two loves. I took all those old cards and turn them into a decoration, a beautiful holiday card paper chain.
Ever since then, the making of the holiday card paper chain has become one of my family's favorite traditions.
Every year when I take down the decorations in January, I store all of the old cards in a box, and then, the next year, when the decorations come out, my family and I get to work turning last year's cards into a colorful festive chain.
We add the new links onto the old chain, and so every year it grows. And it's so fun to be able to look up and see faces of friends and holiday wishes from years past.
This is how its done.
Step one: Cut your old cards into one inch(ish) strips.
Step two: Make a loop and staple it together. (In the beginning I used tape, but I have found that staples work best!) Then make your next loop and start building your chain.
Step three: Decorate and enjoy! Isn't it pretty!!
The moment this adorable family walked into my Seattle studio, I knew it was going to be a great photo shoot.
This little lady was so much fun to work with. And her parents could not have been any nicer!
It was all made better when, after sending out their gallery, I received this email: "Sandra. I am dying. Going to cry. I LOVE THEM ALL SO MUCH. You don't understand. I'm such a critical person and usually always lean towards hate vs. like for any and all photos and I love these. You are magic."
Documenting families, creating images that will stand the test of time, really is my life's work.
Showing love and connection.
That is why I became a photographer
Plus... can this baby be any cuter?!!! I really do love my job!
All images captured using Fuji 400h film with a Hasselblad H2.
Processed and scanned my Richard Photo Lab.
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You heard it here first: Santa is taking a small break from the North Pole to join us here in the studio on November 26th, so make sure the kids have their lists ready for him! So, you can dress your kids up in those cute holiday outfits you've been planning or come as is, Santa will be happy either way. Click here if you need some holiday outfit inspiration and you can also check out Santa's Seattle visit from last year!
This magical five-minute session with Santa is $95 for the sitting fee, online gallery, and digital files from your session or $65 for just the sitting fee and online gallery. You can find the sign-up page here!
I started my career back in 2000 as a maternity photographer. Maternity photography eventually led to newborn and family work, and I’ve been pretty much doing that ever since.
Over the years I’ve had the honor of photographing couples in their first pregnancy, with their first baby, then their second and sometimes third.
I’ve watched children grow up.
I’ve documented the changes and the milestones. I’ve been there for celebrations and sometimes even losses. I’m seeing my own boys change into pre-teens. And I’m noticing adult children turning into the caregivers of their own parents.
Life is an amazing thing. And I’m honored to be in a career that allows me to see it and document it for my clients, friends and family.
It is no secret that I love working with babies! I love capturing the connection and love of parents and their new son or daughter.
But as my own children grow and as I see the babies I once photographed walk through my studio doors as young adults, I find that the definition of what it means to be a family photographer has changed for me.
It’s not just about little babies. It’s not just about those first few years.
It’s about all the years.
It’s all beautiful.
It’s all important.
So please, drag your teenager in. Call up your mom or dad and make an appointment for just the two of you. Get a portrait made of your pre-teen, braces and all.
You’ll be so glad you did.
There is something so refreshing about updating the family portrait hanging in your house or the one folded up in your wallet. And fall seems to be the perfect time to do so.
The kids are starting a new school year, the weather's changing, the holidays are approaching. Maybe you've been putting off those holiday cards the grandparents have been asking about... It's all happening!
Let me help.
In November, I'll be hosting three (yes, three!) mini session days!
These mini sessions a perfect for families looking for photos for holiday cards, gifts, or just an updated family portrait. Best of all they are fast and fun! Just 15 minutes!
The session fee is $150.00 and I will have lots of great add-ons, like digital files, albums and print package (perfect for holiday gifts!)
Here's a list of the mini session days, you can click on each date to take you to the corresponding sign-up page:
We also have a Pinterest page you can check out for fall outfit ideas and holiday card inspiration!
See you in November!!!
Halloween is such a great holiday for kids and adults: they get to dress up while we get to see our little ones in some of the cutest outfits possible! I mean really, who doesn't love a baby in a Halloween costume?
That is why I've decided to have a little Halloween party here at the studio on October 29th! All morning, from 9:00 to 12:00 I'll be having five-minute mini sessions designed to highlight your kids in their best and cutest costumes! The 29th is also the date for the Greenwood neighborhood Trick or Treating event! So why not make a day of it?! Stop in for a photo, then hits the streets for some Trick or Treating fun!!
Click here to reserve your five-minute slot*.
You can also check out our Pinterest page for costume inspiration!
*The session fee is only $50 and includes digital files.
Photographing friends is always such an honor. Especially when they are amazingly smart and talented women, like my friend, Elena Blair.
Elena is a family photographer and photography educator, based here in Seattle, WA. When she asked me to take her portrait I was thrilled, but also a little nervous. I wanted to give her something that really showed her personality and was just as creative and artistic as she is.
To achieve this, I used my 1950's Rolleiflex camera, studio strobes and Iflord Delta 3200 film.
I just love how they turned out!
Luckily, so did Elena!
One thing that happens every summer is that I get WAY behind on my blogging! With my kids at home and summer activities (not to mention the beautiful weather) sitting down to my computer and writing is hard!
Now the kids are in school, the weather is yucky and I have TONS of photos to share! My goal is to blog at least once a week! Wish me luck!
This little one couldn't have been more fun to work with! Sleeping like an dream for the first have of the session, then bright eyed and happy for the second half. And so much personality for such a wee-one!
I love working with newborns. It always amazes me how different they all are. Each one coming into this world with their own way of doing things... their own little personality that you can see from the get go, even when they're asleep!
This little lady was no exception. She wiggled and stretched her way through our session, warm and cozy in my Seattle studio. Such a trooper! And SUCH a cutie!
Oh, and check out the STUNNING quilt made for her by her grandma. Incredible!
Watching families grow is one of my favorite things about being a newborn photographer. It brings me so much joy.
The Udodiks are one of my favorite Seattle families. We met the first time about four years ago when they came in with their first baby. Then I saw them again about two years later when they had their second daughter. And then again, just a few weeks ago with their third daughter.
This family is so sweet and so much fun to work with. It is clear that they are completely in love with their little family and it is a pleasure to witness and capture.
Last week I took a trip to a suburb of Toronto, Canada to attend the memorial service of my Aunt Lynn.
My Aunt and I had been very close. And while we had lost some part of her years ago to Alzheimer’s Disease, her physical passing was hard. She was an amazing woman with a loud laugh and a fierce way of loving those around her, especially her family.
I flew back east with my dad and stepmother. Once there, we met up with one of my brothers, my cousins and two of my uncles. All people I love but, because of distance, I rarely see.
In the days leading up to the memorial service we did what I think most families do during such times. We looked through photos, told stories, laughed and cried.
Going through all the old pictures was amazing. I saw photos of my family I’d never seen before. An image of my parents before they were married. My Dad as a young boy that could have easily been mistaken for my son Dexter. My Aunt’s old modeling photos that had been taken when she worked at the Washington Post in the late 1950’s (I’d never known that she modeled or had worked for the Washington Post).
As we were looking through all the old images, I was struck by a couple of things that I’ve been thinking about ever since.
The truth is, sometimes I feel like I have a silly job.
With all the craziness in the world, I often question if I should be doing something with my life that helps people. I take photos. Shouldn’t I be doing something more important?
Sitting with my family last week and going through all the old photos reminded me that I do do something important.
I was reminded that pictures matter. They connect us to our past. They inform future generations. They tell the story of who we were, how we lived, and who we loved.
My aunt lost her memories long before she died. But we still have her pictures. They saved some of those memories for us. What a gift.
So to you, my client, I just want to say thank you. Creating photos of you and your family means the world to me.
Thank you for allowing me into your life.
Thank you for trusting me with your memories.
I’m happy to be heading into the busy fall season with a renewed sense of what I do and why I do it. And I can’t wait to get started.
As a newborn and family photographer, one of my very favorite things to do is capture an older sibling with their new brother or sister.
These are the photos every mother and father want. These are the photos that will be printed, hung on the wall and sent to Grandma. I know it. And it is my goal to get as many good shots of this special bond as I possibly can. But, it's not always easy.
The truth is some toddlers are not super excited about the new baby in their lives. Behind the scenes of the precious older sibling with newborn baby photo is often fraught with emotion. It's one to the reasons why I keep a stash of lollipops and bubbles on hand at the studio. Ha!
This session however, was a total dream! The older brother could not get enough of his new baby. He was beaming and proud and so clearly over-the-moon that it brought a tear to my eye while I was shooting, and then again when my film came back. I'm pretty sure he'll be the best older brother there ever was!
And as for the lucky baby brother.... well I'll just let the photos speak for themselves!
These two stole my heart.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to photograph my eighty-seven year old mother-in-law Joan.
Joan has always been an out-going, life-of-the-party, kind of lady. And she still is. But she also has dementia, and some days are better than others.
The day of the shoot was not a great day for Joan. She was tired and really just wanted to sit on the couch under some blankets and relax. She wasn't over excited about being dragged up to the studio. But we decided to move forward anyway. We got her ready and sat her on a comfortable stool behind a desk (to give her something to lean on). I thought perhaps we'd get one or two frames and then let her go back to her comfortable spot on the couch in the lobby.
But as soon as we got her situated and in front of the camera, everything changed. She sat up straight, talked about her kids (all seven of them), sang songs.... she was herself in a way she hadn't been just minutes before. Something about the photos brought this out in her, and it was amazing to see and to capture.
Most of my time in the studio is spent photographing newborns and their families. I love those photos because they capture such a special moment in time. The newness of a relationship that is so unlike anything else. That sense of wonder and the indescribable love that we all feel for our children.
But what about the other side of that journey? When at some point the roles reverse and the child grows into becoming the care giver.
The love that is there on that end is a different kind of love. It's the love that has history. It has a lifetime of stories. And memories. And times together. It's about the love children feel for their parents as well as the love parents feel for their kids.
I think that that was what Joan was responding to the day of our shoot.
She was there with two of her kids. They got to sit, with their arms around each other, and talk and laugh and just be.
Moms and babies.
That is what I photograph. And as any mother will tell you, your baby is always your baby, no matter how old they are. And your mom is always your mom. She's always that person who loved and cared for you, even before she knew who you were. That relationship is unlike any other we will ever have. And I'm so honored to be able to capture it.
Happy Mother's Day.