The Top 5 Most Frequently Asked Family Photography Questions

September 24, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

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  1. What should we wear?

    Building the family wardrobe for a portrait session can become stressful, especially if you are an overthinker like me. The bigger the family, the more complicated it gets. 

    Don’t worry though, this is one thing we always talk about in a consultation before the session. I make myself available via text and email to send images of your selections back and forth.  Together, we make small tweaks until we have a cohesive, yet varied set of clothing for everyone that is visually appealing. 

    The first piece of advice I give is to start with one item that you know you want someone to wear, whether it’s for yourself or someone else, then build from there. If it’s a dress with blue, yellow and green, try to find something in all of those colors for everyone else. My second piece of advice is to mix patterns and solids. Too much solid is boring, but too many different patterns can get a little crazy.

  2. How much does it cost? 

    Consider your photography an investment - an investment that brings you and your family joy for years to come. With that in mind, I will tell you it’s priceless! If you lost a family member today, how much would you pay for just one more photo of them or the two of you together? Bouwhuis2019-9709Bouwhuis2019-9709

    Now, more practically, you can find family photography for everywhere from $50 to $50,000. When you hire a family portrait photographer, you are hiring an artist to make a personalized piece of artwork of your family, just for you. You are paying for years of experience, education, equipment, time, shooting and editing skills, prints and products and the service that they provide. While my session fee is $100 to get started and you only purchase what you love, most of my clients spend $750 and up. 

  3. Where should we go?  A professional photographer can make exceptional photographs in almost any setting. However, I do have a few recommendations when choosing a location.  StephensFamily2019-1171StephensFamily2019-1171

    I love to chat with my clients about places that are meaningful to them. The photographs will tell a better story if the background is something you can recognize and tie meaning to. Oftentimes, your backyard is a wonderful place to make family photographs. A few other things to consider when choosing a location are the lighting in the location (i.e. shade vs direct sunlight), will there be other people there, are there multiple areas to serve as different backgrounds, is there water, playgrounds or other things to distract the kids? We will discuss all of this in the pre-session consultation.

  4. How long does it take? 

    My session fee covers “one hour of shooting”. However, once I get going, I get really excited and sometimes we go a little longer. If the kids get tired after 30 minutes, we might have to wrap it up at 45 minutes. 

    The most important thing to know is that it takes the first 10-15 minutes for everyone to warm up. It might feel a bit awkward at the beginning, but we will all settle in and the best shots will come in the middle of the session. Everyone will start to get tired and we might push for just a few more, but there is always a definite moment when the session feels complete. I am always sure to ask if there is anything else you would like to do before we call it quits.

  5. How do I get my images? 

    Each photographer is different in how they deliver final images. Some just send you a flash drive with all the digital files. At Crackerjack Photography Studio, we schedule an ordering session about two weeks after your shoot to r 63688675-A26C-403F-B214-6ABD28CB18FA63688675-A26C-403F-B214-6ABD28CB18FA eview all of the images and select your favorites for purchase. This is a service that I provide to my clients to see the project through to the end. Selecting your favorite images can be exhausting and overwhelming on your own, but I am here with my professional expertise to guide you through the process. Those images will not rot in digital purgatory! Prints and products will be delivered to your home and digital file products can be downloaded from my website.So tell me, what other questions do you have? I would love to hear them in the comments below or send me an email at [email protected]


Portrait Play Dates

September 21, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

In August, my little assistant and I hosted "portrait play dates" in our home. These play dates are something I do for fun but also as a service to my clients and friends.  With a backdrop and lighting set up in our living room, we invite friends with little ones over to make a few portraits with us and then play.  I started this event last February after making a small setup for Valentine’s Day photos to photograph my daughter, Ellamae. When I realized how much work we had put into the setup for just a few photos, I invited friends over to make a portrait too.  I offer one free digital file for them to use however they want. At that time I suggested using the image to create personalized Valentine’s Day Cards. 


This August, with Ellamae home from Mother’s Day Out for the month, I struggled to balance time with her and time spent working on my photography business. To combine work and play I invited some friends with kiddos over to make photos again.  We had five photo sessions/play dates and they were a blast! We captured some fun images of the kids and then spent time playing and chatting.


The first date was with Micah. He is a busy little two year old, but we managed to catch a few good smiles. He really liked our tiny rocking chair! After photographing, we went outside and chased some bubbles. 

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Next we had the Castillo family over. It was the day of Jacob’s 8th birthday so we got to make fun birthday themed photos with him and his sister Jonah! Their mom took my suggestion to bring fun props along for the photos and had several different options to make fun and interesting portraits! They brought playdough and Ellamae got hers out. These two are a photographer’s dream and so great at making portraits! I would love to photograph them every day. Castillo Playdate-1Castillo Playdate-1 Castillo Playdate-2Castillo Playdate-2 Castillo Playdate-6Castillo Playdate-6 Castillo Playdate-13Castillo Playdate-13 Castillo Playdate-14Castillo Playdate-14 Castillo Playdate-18Castillo Playdate-18 Castillo Playdate-19Castillo Playdate-19 Castillo Playdate-24Castillo Playdate-24 Castillo Playdate-26Castillo Playdate-26


Miles and Levi are regular photography clients and a little older than our other play date guests but we had fun with them too! They brought Ellamae a fairy garden and after our photo session we went outside and planted flowers in it. I loved the way the boys showed Ellamae each step and helped her to complete the project.

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Edith brought her newborn, Julian, and seven year old, Nicole, over Thursday afternoon. Nicole immediately told me when she walked in the door that she did “not want to take pictures!” She had fallen asleep in the car on the way over and was less than happy when she arrived. However, after hanging out, chatting and seeing Ellamae for a bit she joined her mom and brother for a few sweet photos. I was honored to preserve a few precious moments during this delicate time that passes so quickly. Lonigro Playdate Final-5Lonigro Playdate Final-5 Lonigro Playdate Final-7Lonigro Playdate Final-7 Lonigro Playdate Final-11Lonigro Playdate Final-11 Lonigro Playdate Final-12Lonigro Playdate Final-12 Lonigro Playdate Final-15Lonigro Playdate Final-15


Last, we had Andrew come to visit. Andrew was nearing his first birthday so we tried out a few themed props that I had around the house. Then we got some shots with his favorite toys so his family could look back and remember this precious phase of his life. Always smiling, Andrew exudes joy and always keeps me grinning!

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Portrait Play Dates allow me to practice my trade, see some of my adult friends, and our kiddos get to play together. I can’t think of a better way to spend a week!  

If this sounds like fun to you and you might want to host portrait play dates at your house, please let me know. As a play date host, you will receive 10 digital portraits for free. This is a good excuse for your friends to get photos made of their little ones in a laid back atmosphere, play with friends and have some adult bonding time too.


Oh yeah....and a few portraits of my own kiddo....


Balloons, Bubbles and Tea at Kite Park

July 19, 2017  •  2 Comments

Symantha “dated” my brother at church camp, back when dating meant calling someone your boyfriend or girlfriend and sitting next to them at the campfire. Although we lived in towns almost three hours apart, somewhere in the next few years I discovered that she was the cousin of one of my closest high school friends. It always amazes me how people weave in and out of our lives, popping in and out with serendipitous timing. 

About a year ago, a Faceook message from my high school friend (and Symantha’s cousin) informed me that Symantha had moved to Edmond, OK and she suggested we meet up.  We both had little girls and might be able to reconnect. Knowing the isolation I felt as a newcomer to Oklahoma City, I was eager to reach out to Symantha. I also have a great appreciation for spending time with people who relate to my roots. There is an understanding between people from “home” that you can’t find in others. 

Symantha and I started meeting up for play dates and our daughters got along great. Even though Symantha’s daughter, Holly is almost two years younger than my daughter, Ellamae, they have a great time together.  We hold a lot of parallel views on parenting and I wholly enjoy our time together. Chats about Michigan and things only Northern Michiganders understand help ease the pain of living so far from our families.

After Symantha asked me to capture their family portraits, we got together to discuss ideas for their session. We met at Starbucks, but only after attending a pregnancy event together, because we both happen to be pregnant right now also!  I asked Symantha what she had in mind and what kinds of things Holly is into at this phase of toddlerhood.  What would she like to remember about this age and phase in the years to come?  Symantha mentioned baby dolls and a bubble machine! What fun! She also said that her husband Randy really likes willow trees. Pulling all of these things together, Symantha brought along the adorable tea set, blanket and bubble machine and we agreed on Kite Park in Nichols Hills. This park has a large, well kept willow tree and lush green landscaping, perfect for family portraits! AND….a wonderful playground for celebrating with family fun after the session, because FUN is always number one on my priority list for family photos!

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A Super Family Session in Automobile Alley

June 12, 2017  •  1 Comment

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I first photographed Jennifer and Charlie for an engagement session in 2010. Somehow I convinced them to let me photograph one of the most important days of their lives and captured their wedding day a month later.  They have made me a part of numerous important occasions in their lives over the last seven years.   We now schedule a date each spring to commemorate their son Kendall’s birthday.


This year, when I talked with Jennifer about current interests and loves, superheroes topped the list. Kendal’s mom tells me “Some days all he plays with are his superheroes!  Sometimes they even go into timeout for pushing and hitting their friends!” Moots Spring 2017-16Moots Spring 2017-16



I always say family photo sessions require planning, preparation and packing and this session involved all three.  Jennifer ordered some new superhero masks and capes and anxiously awaited their delivery – hoping they would arrive in time for the shoot.  On the session day we toted a bucket of superheroes and costumes around downtown Oklahoma City.  The extra luggage was totally worth it!  When we first arrived, a group of women making senior portraits expressed their jealousy of all our cool superhero gear.  They wanted to borrow it!


Even the best planning needs flexibility, so when I saw thunderstorms in the forecast for our scheduled session in Automobile Alley, I texted Jennifer asking if they wanted to try to head out earlier and avoid the storms. We were able to beat that weather without any worries, by just making a small change to our plan!


As Jennifer and I very carefully lined up Spiderman, Captain America and their buddies for one of the shots, Kendall shrieked, “Are they playing with my superheroes??” Of course we were! Everybody gets a chance to have fun making photographs with Crackerjack Photography!


A couple weeks after their session, Jennifer and I met up to review their final edited images and place a print order.  She stated that so many of the images showed Kendall’s personality and different parts of it.  This is one of the things I always strive for.  "I loved them! They brought tears to my eyes because you captured Kendall's personality perfectly," replied Jennifer in a follow up survey.


I can't wait to see how this family changes in the next year and I hope they continue to include me in capturing each new stage of their lives!

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One Night in Sulphur, Oklahoma

April 16, 2017  •  Leave a Comment


One Night in Sulphur, Oklahoma - March 2, 2017


“This is kind of exciting, huh? A mini getaway!” said my husband (who plans trips all over the world including adventure activities like ocean fishing, rainforest tours, whale watching, etc.) as we were driving to Sulphur, Oklahoma! Sometimes I’m just not sure how his mind works. After a 90 minute drive to the hotel, filled with planning of other trips including Disneyland, Los Angeles, Montana, Michigan and Austin, Texas, he was excited to be staying one night, in a hotel, in Sulphur, Oklahoma!  Don’t be mistaken, I was excited too.

We were planning a long weekend trip to Lake Tenkiller, but then noticed the weather wasn’t looking quite so awesome all weekend. With Ellamae asking to go swimming for the past week and a coupon for a free night’s stay at the Artesian Hotel, we decided to make a quick one night getaway to Sulphur to get our swim on, a massage for mama and some fishing for daddy.  I got the car all packed up on Thursday, picked Josh up from work at 5:00 and we were checked in and swimming by 7:15 pm! 

As we approached the hotel entrance, Ellamae observed “It smells like a stinky pool out here!”  She was so excited to go swimming. We had a family swim for the evening and then Josh slipped down to the casino to play some Blackjack.  Ellamae and I got ready for bed so we could do more swimming in the morning.

The beautiful pool at the Artesian has an indoor and outdoor section.  It was a little cold for swimming outdoors, but still fun to look out there and dream of coming summer.  There were a group of teenagers in the pool who were in town for a competition.  Two girls watched and giggled at every move my daughter made, making her dad and I feel ever so grateful for each smile, giggle and thrill of excitement over something as simple as “kick, kick, kick”- ing her legs in some chlorinated water.

Friday morning Josh got up early to go fishing on the Blue River.  I received the infamous texted photo of a “huge” trout at 10:40 am so I knew he would be satisfied with the trip. 

Ellamae watched cartoons while I did a little writing (this blog post J) and checked my email.  Then we wandered downstairs for breakfast at the hotel restaurant, Springs at the Artesian.  The food always impresses us here and this time Ellamae gave the approval saying “XXXXX’s (my personal favorite breakfast venue) pancakes were not tasting as well as these pancakes!”  She said her bacon had “too loud crunch” so she “ordered” (ate) mine.  The one plate was plenty to share between the two of us.  As 80’s disco music played in the background, the new Snapchat filter was so fitting! 

After breakfast, we headed to the pool for round two of swimming.  We visited the “Bath House” this time and it was lovely!  The “Bath House” (hot tub) at the Artesian serves as “a nod to the past” as the City of Sulphur was historically known for the area’s natural springs. Its generous size prohibits the standard awkwardness of sitting in a circle with a bunch of strangers playing footsy and the kiddos can move around in it without disturbing anyone.  This hotel feels serene and elegant, but at the same time maintains a family friendly atmosphere! 

Josh returned from fishing in time for me to shower and pack up before heading down to the Sole’renity Spa for a massage.  My therapist, Rhonda was great and explained some things about massage therapy that no one has ever taken the time to talk to me about.  I’ve decided I might need to start getting regular massages so that I can be more comfortable!  Rhonda talked about visiting her son in Hawaii and I shared about the time we vacationed in Hawaii and there was a Tsunami (more on that later). 

Even though, on this day, they were running behind and my appointment started about 20-30 minutes late, the staff has been very professional in both my visits to this spa.  I wanted to use the Eucalyptus steam sauna after my massage, but Josh and Ellamae were finished with lunch and heading to “play the piano” in the hotel lobby.  I’m not sure if that is allowed.  I wanted to stay at the spa longer, Josh wanted more time to fish and Ellamae would have loved to swim more. The important thing is that we all got to do something we enjoy.  No one was forced into too much of anything not their style and we all went home before we were too tired.  We spent the drive home dreaming about more adventures together and what’s next in life… but not without a walk in the park and ice cream first!



Welcome to the blog of Crackerjack Photography and photographer, Jamie Kirschner.  Here I share my life travels and photographic adventures through words and pictures hoping to inspire you to make a trip or a portrait!



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