A few months ago when we were in the process of moving to Florida, I had a lovely blog reader contact me.  She was a photographer in the Orlando area and offered to do a photo session for our family when we finally got here.  Last night, we met up with Jenn Hopkins and her sweet mother for our first ever family photo shoot.

I had stalked Jenn’s photography website and spent days staring at her photos of engaged couples, brides, weddings, expectant mothers, newborn babies (my favorites!), families, and even pets!  She had just the style of photography that fit our family – casual and laid back, but still put together.

Yesterday, we were meeting at 6:00 pm when the light was best and so that left me all day to figure out what we were going to wear.  Chris insisted that we didn’t match, which immediately negated my original jeans and white shirts idea.  So, I flipped through some of Jenn’s previous family photos and saw that a lot of people dressed their child/children in bright colors and patterns and then the parents dressed to match the kid.  I found Bean’s cutest pair of brightly colored overalls, matched gray and white shirts for Chris and I and called it a day.

At 3:00, I started getting ready.  I had to shower, straighten my hair, then CURL my hair, get Bean bathed and dressed, make sure Chris shaved, packed the diaper bag, and find directions to where we were going.  By the time 6:00 rolled around, I was already exhausted.  But there we were.  Clean (mostly), dressed, and ready for our close ups.

Jenn found this beautiful historic home in Winter Park for us.  Its called Casa Feliz and it sits right on the Winter Park golf course.  The house itself is Spanish style with a beautiful blue trim that matched what we were wearing (way to plan, Katie!).

And the grounds were gorgeous, too.  We chose to stick closer to the house for our pictures, but I bet for bridal or wedding portraits they would have been gorgeous.

Of course, none of this matters if YOUR CHILD REFUSES TO SMILE FOR ANY PICTURE.

That’s right.  Bean Man, who normally is all giggles and sunshine, decided for whatever reason that on THIS DAY – this day when we have an ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPHER with us – that he just didn’t feel like smiling.  That meant that Chris, me, and Jenn’s mother were dancing around this gorgeous, elegant, quiet historical home in the downtown area of a very posh town like circus freaks trying to get Bean to smile.  We sang songs and we danced and we bounced and we clapped and we promised all kinds of inappropriate things to Bean if only he would smile for just ONE picture.

We got nothin’.

By the time Bean’s portion of the photo session was over, I was a hot, sweaty mess.  Which is just when Jenn wanted to take some couples pictures of Chris and I.  So, I took my hot, sweaty self and smashed up against Chris and tried to cuddle “naturally” in public.  Poor Jenn.  She kept saying to me, “Katie, just be natural.  Just hang out with Chris.”

You would have thought that I was being asked to do a porn scene with a complete stranger.

She kept having to tell me to get closer to him.  Like I was afraid to touch him.  It was awful and I’m pretty sure I’m the WORST person for staged “natural” photos ever.

And then came my personal head shots for blog and publicity stuff.  It was just me.

And a giant camera.

You would think I would be used to it by now.  I mean, we take pictures in our house all the time.  But something about the phrase “head shot” made me turn into this plastic smiling creature from space.  Chris kept saying, “What kind of smile are you doing?” and “Why are you smiling like that?”  And let me tell you how relaxed THAT made me feel.

But you know what?  When Jenn showed me some of the pictures on her camera, they actually looked pretty darn good!  We looked normal.  And even happy.  Which, I am sure is the work of a good photographer because only mad skills could turn a hot, sweaty, non-smiling, non-touching family into a pretty picture of normalcy.

The pictures will be ready in about two weeks.  Until then, I will be standing in my bathroom, practicing my smile in front of the mirror.  You know, in case paparazzi decide to stalk me tomorrow.


Jenn Hopkins is a professional photographer in the Jacksonville/Central Florida area.  For information on Jenn Hopkins Photography, please contact her at  Check out her professional website, her photography blog, or follow her on Twitter.

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15 Thoughts to “Paparazzi”

  1. Are you going to let us see the photos once you get prints? And you all look great by the way because you are like one of the best looking families I know!

  2. Judging by how you look in that photo I’m sure you all turned out beyond adorable. And I love when families do outside photo shoots, it’s just a perfect capture of a memory.

  3. hahahahaha, laughing so hard!!! But we DID get pics of the Bean Man smiling!!!! It was my honor to photograph yall, I absolutley loved how you all seemed to just “fit” with each other. I promise we got lots of gorgeous pics!! Cant wait to post them!!

  4. Yay! I can’t wait to see them.

  5. That’s a great looking Casa. I hope the pictures look good hanging around the house.

  6. Heather in ND

    Bahahaha, porn with a complete stranger, that’s great!!
    I’m sure the pictures turned out wonderfully, can’t wait to see them! 🙂

  7. Katie, I am SO excited for you all that Jenn had a chance to shoot your family. She takes all of our pictures. Every single time I get a set of them I think “this is my favorite picture ever” and then the next session I am wrong and say, “No, THIS is my favorite picture ever”. We have quite a few favorite pictures ever all over our house from the last 16 months now! Amazing and talented don’t even begin to describe her work and I love when she gets to work with such great families! Can’t wait for you all to get the pictures!!

  8. I can’t wait to see them, too…my sister-in-law may have seen you doing your crazy dances! 😉 It sounds like it was a little stressful, but I bet you had some fun, too. I have a GREAT deal of respect for photographers…just trying to get pics of my own kids makes me want to sleep for six years afterward.

  9. Can’t wait to see the pics! I absolutely love that house! It is one of my favorite places… my Grandpa is buried in the cemetery right by there and I love to think that is he is so close to something so pretty and in such a pretty area of town.

  10. Jess

    This made me laugh because I’m the same way!

  11. Well that picture with all of you and Jenn (right?) is adorable, so I’m sure her’s will make you all look fantastic! That’s a gorgeous house too — if I’m ever back down in that part of FL I’ll have to check it out!

    Looking forward to seeing some of the pictures when they’re ready 😉

  12. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Simon Peters, jennhopkins. jennhopkins said: Check out my AWESOME client @marriageconfess blog about their big photo shoot!!! […]

  13. Amy

    You look fantastic in that first shot! So relaxed and just plain happy. I bet they are going to turn out great.

  14. Gale

    Not bad considering your hair is “always frizzy” and Bean didn’t smile at all… I just got done looking at the full session and I want a do-over with my kids. Except they’re all too big to sit on my lap now. If I lived in Florida I’d totally be booking some pictures!

  15. […] moved to Florida, I got an email from a photographer friend of my sister’s who offered to do family portraits for our little family of three.  Jenn Hopkins was a sorority sister of my sister’s and she now has her own photography […]

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