REMEMBER THIS WAS BEAUTIFUL

Negotiations and Love Songs | Bronxville Family at Home

Hello, friends.  It’s been a bit quiet around here, but I’m back and I’m ready to show you some highlights from some of the awesome sessions I’ve had in 2019 so far.  First up for this blog streak is this Bronxville family at home.

Little kids are a trip, aren’t they?  They’re so them.  And the most them they are is when they’re at home, in their own element, with their own stuff, doing their own thing. You can still plop them in pretty spaces and take portrait-y type photos (oh my, the rooms in this house, and that patio!), but you also catch all the in-between stuff …  from snippets of favorite types of play to power struggles over blue lollipops.  I think that’s why photographing families at home is my favorite.  No, actually – I know that’s why.Bronxville Family at Home.

And any family photo sessions that wraps up with a kitchen dance party is A-OK by me.

I had a great time with this Bronxville family.  I had first met them at last year’s annual Christmas Card Micro Mini Session event after they were referred by a few of my wonderful repeat Bronxville families.   I’m tickled pink that they’ve now joined the ranks of my repeat client posse – they’re in the books for spring 2020.  I hope you enjoyed seeing these few highlights.

Thanks for looking,

~Jaye

Remember this was beautiful.

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Sticky: Summer Status | I’m a Little Chrysalis

“We may lose, and we may win. But we will never be here again.”

Where have I been? What have I been doing? Maybe you’ve been wondering. Maybe you haven’t. Anyway, I’ll tell you — I’m taking it easy for the summer.

Summer status for me means jumping off the prep-shoot-cull-edit-share-ogle-design hamster wheel and taking a big, deep breath.  Any photos I take are personal ones. I’ll be tap-tap-tapping away at my laptop in my little beach bungalow making things happen behind the scenes, but the magical family session cycle has been put on pause. I’ll be catching up, recharging the batteries, working on the business side of things, and spending good quality time with my family and friends. I’m meeting one sweet newborn family later this month, and after that I’ll be back in late August, ready to hit the ground running for a crazy fall.

You can still keep up with me here on the blog (just keep scrolling to see the latest), where I’ll be getting back to sharing about a gajillion spring sessions, and possibly penning an occasional thought on life and photos and whatnot now and again.

So, what’s new to look forward to when this little caterpillar emerges from the chrysalis as a beautiful butterfly?  A whole new look and name for this little venture formally known as LYYP.  That’s right, folks.  I’ll always be motivated to capture “the life in your years”, but from here on in I’ll be doing it as little old me.  Jaye McLaughlin.  As Jaye McLaughlin Photography. (Cute metaphors aside, this won’t happen as a grand reveal, but rather as a more of a gradual fixer-upper type process.  Please excuse any construction mess in the meantime).

Can’t get enough of my LYYP ramblings and this summer pace just isn’t doing it for you? Well, if you’ve got travel plans, you’ll definitely want to have a look at this article I wrote for the National Association of Professional Child Photographers about how to take photos on your trip that you’ll treasure forever. I shared some thoughts recently about what family travel means to me now — as a mother of ‘big kids’ — that you might enjoy.  And you should also check out the free dowlnoadable guide I wrote for taking better photos of your kids, “Freeze Ray Basics.”   If that whets your whistle for some more in-depth photography instruction, check out the workshops I offer during the winter months and get on the list for info when dates are announced.  If organizing and printing your personal photos is on your to-do list for the lazy days of summer, you might enjoy my  “Cobbler Series” on the blog.  And whether you’re traveling or staying home, take a second for a refresher on my favorite crazy-time-of-year advice — It’s become a bit of an LYYP tradition for me to share this twice a year at Christmastime and every summer. So many people have told me they’ve enjoyed it and taken it to heart, I’m continuing the tradition. (You know you’re curious. Go ahead, click on over. You won’t regret it. Promise).

That’s all for now, friends.  If you’d like to book or to chat about anything at all, be sure to use the “contact” button above or shoot me an email.  I may be a bit slower to reply, but I promise I’ll get back to you.  Any updates are always shared in my monthly-at-most  newsletter —  sign up for that here.  My annual LYYP Christmas Card Micro Mini Session event will be back this year, and clients who have already booked a date for 2020 will get first dibs on those slots when they’re announced in  September.  And one more thing! My personal photo-diary of sorts lives on Instagram — come on over and follow me there for a behind the scenes peek at what McLaughlin summertime looks like in 2019.  Exciting stuff, I tell you.

Thanks for stopping by!

~Jaye

 

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Travel |Vienna and Prague

I’m headed out for a big trip today to celebrate a big birthday. As I plan out my summer after that, I’m forced to face the reality that I have completely derailed my normal “Moments of the Month” routine because I never shared photos from the last big trip we took as a family — in DECEMBER. (I’ve read somewhere that you should never start a blog post apologizing for how long it’s been since you’ve blogged, but whatever.  I am who I am and I need to get that off my chest before I move on).

It’s not a dearth of photos that has kept me from sharing about this trip; it’s that I had some big thoughts about what family travel means to me that I knew would take some time to find the right words for. Here are a few of the photos (and scroll to the end to read the words I found):

As for the words…

I read a book by Maggie O’Farrel right around the time of this trip called “I Am, I Am, I Am.”  It’s a collection of short autobiographical stories/essays.  In one, she talks about her fascination with travel and the feeling she gets when she travels, both alone and with her kids. I took photos of some of the pages that I found most interesting on this subject, and they’ve been on my mind a lot.  A few excerpts:

“After he had sailed around the Mediterranean in 1869, Mark Twain said that travel was ‘fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.’ ”

“Neuroscientists have been trying for years to pin down what it is about travel that alters us, how it effects mental change. Neural pathways become ingrained, automatic, if they only operate out of habit.  They are highly attuned to alterations, to novelty.  New sights, sounds, languages, tastes and smells stimulate different synapses in the brain, different message routes, different webs of connection, increasing our neuroplasticity.”

“Professor Adam Galinsky, an American social psychologist who has studied the connection between creativity and international travel, says that “Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms.’ (Brent Crane, ‘For a more creative brain, travel,” The Atlantic, March 31 2015.

“It’s the only thing, besides writing, that can meet and relieve my ever simmering, ever-present restlessness.  If I have been too long at home, stuck in the routine of school runs, packed lunches, swimming lessons, laundry, tidying, I begin to pace the house in the evenings. …”

“I wanted to bring up my children to be travelers, to be curious about the world to experience other cultures, other places, other sights.”

All of this makes a lot of sense to me, and I was thrilled to find that someone had spent so much time thinking about WHY travel is so exciting for some people.  What IS wanderlust, anyway?  Turns out it’s like many other hobbies and interests shared by other people – the search for endorphins, for change that ignites new pathways.

We’ve been traveling with our kids since many would say they were too young to appreciate it. “They won’t remember,” people would sometimes say, “don’t you want to wait until they’re older and can get more out of it?” The quick response was always that I wanted to travel and that taking the kids made traveling possible when it otherwise wouldn’t be. If I had more time and felt that my listener was receptive, though, I’d explain that it’s always been more than that. I’ve always felt that experiencing different people, places and cultures showed our children how much there was outside of their little day-to-day bubble. Even if they weren’t consciously aware, they were seeing that the world was a bigger place than they could possibly appreciate within the confines of their normal routines. That’s a big thing, I think.

In the last few years, I’ve started to recognize another benefit that, in this stage of our life as a family, has begun to to trump all the others (for me, anyway). We’re a family of six, and most of the time we live in the same house. We’re not the same giant indivisible and self-contained unit, though, that we used to be. Each of us has a job or school and friends and responsibilities, interests and pursuits that take up a big part of our brain space and have little to do with our identity as a family. Beyond the ‘real’ things that take up our time and energy, there are the constant distractions of the online world that are always tugging our attention away from the here and now. We do make an effort to connect regularly as a family in day to day life, and every once in a while there’s a family dinner or outing that’s unmarred by a sibling squabble or logistical realities and distractions and time crunches. Those feel like a harkening back to a past time.  They feel like  tiny little nostalgic successes.

But.  When we travel ….

It’s just us.

All looking from the same new and exciting angle at a view we’ve never experienced before. Taking it in, figuring it out, learning.  The kids have the bug now, too. They’re receptive to the lessons Matt always has at the ready from decades of reading about a place or a historical time. They’re much more tolerant of my ever-present camera. We’re a unit again. Isolated into our own little family bubble again, kept together by language barriers and shared wonder at everything that’s new and different around us and without distractions. Navigating the unknown together.

On New Year’s Eve 2018, the six of us shuffled, conga-style, through swarms of people in Old Town Square in Prague. I don’t know how many people were in that little square, but it felt like millions to me. During a pause in our movement, I shared the thoughts I was having with Kate, my oldest. It’s crazy, I said, that even in the midst of this enormous crowd, it felt like the six of us were alone. And with that alone-ness came a sense of togetherness. It was just the six of us again, each if us with a hand on the shoulder of the person in front of us. Taking in all the chaos and excitement while making sure our little conga line remained unbroken and no one split off into the crowd. An extreme example, maybe, but a great analogy of the biggest value that travel with my family brings now.

“Mom,” Kate said, “You should write a blog post about that.”

Thanks for looking,

~Jaye

PS  Vienna and Prague were awesome, by the way. I saved lots of fun little iPhone photos and videos in an Instagram Story Highlight if you’d like to see more (@jayemcl)  They still have me chuckling when I visit them myself.  I’d go back in a heartbeat (to either city, but especially Prague), if there wasn’t so much more of the world I still needed to see.

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In-Home Family Lifestyle Photography in NYC,

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