Confession: I have a favorite kind of photo session. I probably shouldn’t admit to this — is it like choosing a favorite child? But my child-led sessions are absolutely my favorite, and this adventure out to pick pumpkins in the Catskills is a perfect example of why!
So let me set the scene really quickly. Trees of the Woods in Callicoon Center is a fabulous little spot for pumpkin picking whether you’re a full-time resident of the Sullivan County Catskills or just dropping in for a few days for a Catskills vacation. Located high on the mountain, the Christmas tree farm has sweeping views of the surrounding countryside to enjoy the fall foliage that makes living in upstate New York absolutely magical.
Trees of the Woods offers pumpkin picking on weekends in the fall, with families venturing into the pumpkin patch to pick their own — so you can choose one, two, or a ton of gourds that are just right for your porch or dining room table.
This is where we ventured for my recent child-led session, following 3-year-old Emilia and her family around the pumpkin patch.
This is your big question, right? I’ve been telling clients these are new sessions, and in a way they are as I’ve made some changes. But at their heart, I’ve offered these sessions in and around Sullivan County, New York for years.
I used to call these Child Wonder sessions because they are a chance to see things through your child’s eyes — literally see the wonder of the world. But I realized that child-led made more sense to me as I’m literally led around by your child, allowing them to take me (and my camera!) on an adventure.
I’m a photographer who got her start in photojournalism, and my child-led sessions offer you a chance to have photos of your child that are taken with a focus on documenting the most authentic moments as they happen.
Child-led sessions are focused on an activity. It can be an activity with a capital A like pumpkin picking, or it can be lowercase a like going to your local park. As part of the consultation, I walk you through the options for activities (or Activities) that will offer the best photos. A big part of that is me getting to know you and your child’s likes and dislikes, so I can hear what it is they’re interested in.
As a photographer, I tag along and capture the moments as they happen. There is no posing, and I typically do not bring along a lighting assistant (although that may be necessary for some indoor locations) as I want to be as inconspicuous as possible.
I also don’t redirect your child to the activity at hand. Emilia’s pumpkin picking session turned out to be more about a caterpillar she found in the pumpkin patch than picking pumpkins, but that allowed me to capture her curiosity and joy over this tiny creature!
Child-led sessions may include you, or they may not. You may opt to hang back, or maybe your child will want you to be a part of them. Both are OK.
I’ve taken photos at these sessions of moms blowing bubbles or baking cookies, and I’ve also taken photos of children running wild and free (with a responsible adult nearby, of course!). You may also have multiple children in your session — picking pumpkins requires someone to cut the stem, and of course a wagon full of pumpkins is quite heavy. This session involved little Emilia’s entire family, and they appear in various ways in the complete gallery, although she remains the focus.
Every session is different because every child is different!
I like to say these photos offer you a moment in time that you can hold onto forever because you’re seeing your child as they were, unfiltered, real, and in their element.
Each gallery will be filled with photos that capture the way they interact with their environment, rather than that pained smile that all-too-often comes when toddlers are forced to pose for a camera (hey, you know that one!).
Looking to go pumpkin picking or take an adventure through your child’s eyes? I book child-led sessions throughout the year, including the winter months.