In the Spirit of Things

Christmas kisses
Christmas kisses

I know, I know. Christmas is already everywhere. Every shop is breaking out their holiday wares. Gold, red, green, sparkles. I want to love it but I can’t! Not until after Thanksgiving at least. 🙂

However, photography and family pictures is one aspect of Christmas that rightfully rides the early wave of holiday cheer. I love the physical nature of printing and sending Christmas cards. For us, Christmas prints are kind of an obvious go to. But this year I really went all out and made a book with the beautiful printer Artifact Uprising. Easy to use and really really lovely. I can’t wait to get my hands on our copies and even made one to keep at home. Just a tip!

I am doing some Christmas oriented sessions but no holiday mini session this year. Next year for sure. However, to complete our book we had to bring some wintery holiday cheer in during the height of fall colors. Not an easy task! Luckily I spotted a row of evergreens near La Hulpe and on a clear, cold and dewy morning we packed up our sparkly gear, mini Christmas tree and close friends bribed to take our family shots (thanks Sarah and Simone!) for a little leap forward in time.

Now to add a little heartfelt Christmas love to your day. I present my very favorite presents of all.

Light the way
Light the way
Looking back
Looking back
My favorite presents of all
My favorite presents of all
Soft and sweet
Soft and sweet
Love from us!
Love from us!
Naughty or nice?
Naughty or nice?
Trimmings
Trimmings
Christmas angel
Christmas angel
Drops of dew
Drops of dew
Onward we go
Onward we go
Center of attention
Center of attention
My boys
My boys
The best kind of kisses
The best kind of kisses
All together now
All together now

10 more days of beautiful

19
Gentle – Remember when they just fit into the crook of your arm. I do

After a short (eh hem) hiatus, I am happy to bring you even more beautiful. A recap of days 11 – 20

did you feel that
Did you feel that? – It is so much fun waiting for your first baby to arrive. The wonder at the very fact that soon you too will have a little baby to call your very own. This sweet couple embodies everything about that moment. Thrilled, overwhelmed, having fun and in love.
12
My new favorite toy – This new big brother is a tiny bit into trains… Of course we had to include his new little sister in his favorite track. Here he gives her all the love he’s got until the train rounds the corner
face to face
Face to face – Another simple is beautiful post. Beautiful morning, amazing color and the sweetest smile.
waiting
Waiting – Now I share a beautiful mum to be from South Africa. Something about the softness of the light brings me back to those quiet moments of waiting and hoping for the days to speed by so you can meet your first baby
big brother
Across the gap – With a seven year age gap, this big brother has saved up alot of hugs, kisses and advice for his little princess. He just could not stop touching and kissing her! The sweetest boy and the sweetest little sister around.
peekaboo
Let’s play – This is the second time I got to work with these handsome brothers. Here featured in a winner takes all game of peekaboo
geisha
When worlds collide – A very special morning session with these beautiful Japanese girls decked out from head to toe in kimonos. It is a tradition in Japan to photograph your children at a shrine to bless their growth. Lacking shrines in Brussels, they decide to capture the combination of cultures that forms their life
just you
It’s you – Sometimes its just you. You are beautiful.
20
Flow – This photograph was taken towards the end of a really fun session in Parc Woluwe. It is actually based on another photo that the mother saw and loved. It took a bit of work on all sides to get the perfect shot of this lovely and wiggly one year old. Ta da!

Announcing our 2015 Fall mini sessions: A Walk Through Time and Sea of Leaves, part deux

Debut
Debut
Part deux
Part deux
The air is getting crisper, days shorter and the fall harvest in coming in. Welcome to Autumn! Autumn is my favorite season and Brussels sure knows how to put on a show. This fall I am proud to offer two special mini sessions in two very special locations:
A walk through time – October 24
My most recent favorite outdoor location for family sessions is the Rouge Cloitre which is a beautiful abbey located in the Sonian Forest just 10 minutes from the center of Brussels. Founded in 1367, it makes a very special backdrop for a fall session. Brilliant colors, large reflecting ponds and of course the abbey. You can check out a recent photo session at the Cloitre here.
The Sea of Leaves – November 7
We had such a good time last year that I decided to do it again! It doesn’t get more lush, lovely and fallish than rolling around in the enormous sea of leaves that carpets the iconic Parc du Cinquantinaire in early November. This setting is perfect to capture the changing season as well as showcasing one of the most beautiful parks in Brussels. You can check out some of my favorites from last year here.

We always hope for good weather but in case of rain, will reschedule for the adjacent weekend day or the following weekend. Space is limited and we tend to go to a waiting list quickly so please let me know very soon if you wish to reserve a place. Hope to see you there!

First look: A day of play at Rouge Cloitre

Run!
Run!

Two days in a row? That’s right!

I just wrapped up editing this super fun family session today and I could not wait to share. Sometimes I feel like once our children get older, we just get too busy to arrange a photo session. I also believe that some parents are afraid that their older children will feel self conscious or quickly lose interest in being photographed. Though it is more of a challenge than working with new babies and toddlers, I absolutely love working with kids. Using a series of games, including some solo exploration time and treating them with respect like the young ladies and gents they are, we have a recipe for beautiful and truthful moments.

This session embodied all of these elements. At six and four years old, these lovely ladies came ready for action. And with a strong “that’s for babies” radar, they kept me on my toes. It was a great 90 minutes and I am happy to share some of the good memories with you today.

T minus 5
T minus 5
Impact
Impact
The story teller
The story teller
Lift off
Lift off
Daddy's girls
Daddy’s girls
Kelly green
Kelly green
Cosmos
Cosmos
The bond
The bond
On the fence
On the fence

First look: A splendid harvest

A splendid harvest
A splendid harvest

Its been a tad busy around here but anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE to be busy (much to the Bear’s chagrin). However, we took a break from busy today in order to return to the PiPO apple orchard to see how things are coming along and just maybe, if it warranted a full circle trip for a fall mini session to follow up from our apple blossoms mini session in the spring.

It was a crisp fall morning. The kind where the light is a little soft and misty. We packed our sandwiches and some play clothes and away we went! As we pulled off the highway into apple country, I could not have been happier. All the lovely trees that were swathed in pink and white blossoms in the spring were now heavily laden with brilliant red and green apples. We pulled in to my secret, favorite corner of the orchard and realized that though the day was perfect, that soon the harvest would be over. At least I know for next year!

We played, snacked on fallen apples (abandoned as far as I could imagine) and I snapped away to my heart’s content. As I looked through the pictures after the session, I had a minor heart attack. My babies are growing up! I love them so much and I am proud to share them with you today. 🙂

Fall beauty
Fall beauty
Rabble rousers
Rabble rousers
Over to you baby brother
Over to you baby brother
A very thoughtful boy
A very thoughtful boy
Bounce
Bounce
My perfect team
My perfect team
Some for me and some for you
Some for me and some for you
Tickle!
Tickle!
Hand in hand
Hand in hand

Thirty days of beautiful

simple
Simple is beautiful: Beautiful baby, bright clean color and a super smile. Simple is beautiful.

Wow, a month since I last posted. That was a crazy month! Wonderful holidays in Sweden, return to a very busy few weeks with lots of new babies and sweet late summer sessions. Now bababoo restarts school and a collective breath is released across Belgium. Time to catch up. 🙂

I was recently challenged to post 30 pictures in 30 days to show some of my favorite photos. The most fun part in doing this has been thinking about the why. Why do some pictures just stand out as exceptionally beautiful. There is a small conflict in my own family about this very question. The bear tends to favor energetic and beautiful smiles that engage directly with the camera. While I love these as well, I also gravitate toward those that emphasize details or quiet moments where you get to see the other side of a child or relationship. At times the bear looks at one of these photos and says, “that’s a Nicole photo”. Guilty!

Though on my facebook page I am posting a photo each day (only missed two so far!), I plan on putting them together here every 10 days. I hope you enjoy them. The funny, the energetic, the sweet, big and small. To me, they are beautiful.

blueberry
Anticipation: This summer, the forest floor in Sweden was literally carpeted in heavily laden blueberry bushes. Many a morning were spend on long walks to collect the bounty and afternoons turning them in to treats, eating whole or making all the white in the bowl of vanilla ice cream disappear. Summer days.
deco
On adventure: This sweet couple from Texas contacted me to take their vacation photos to the next level. This beautiful grate covers a shop down by Grand Place. The owner started to lift it as we walked up but was nice enough to give us a couple of extra minutes to capture young love against this very Brussels backdrop. Love
i love
I loved you before we met – I love the softness in their expressions and of course how very much they look alike. Totally at peace.
love
Laugh riot: Just weeks before her little sister is due to join, Imogen’s family scheduled a photo session to catch them just as they are now and to celebrate her as she is. I love working with grandparents. Here they are in a major tickle attack. smile emoticon
on the day you were born
On the day you were born: One of my favorite books to read my little ones goes, “On the day your were born and I put you to bed, I noticed the crown on top of your head”. This sweet kiss from a new mom reminds me of this passage and all the overwhelming feelings and love in your heart when you first meet your baby.
peekaboo
Peekaboo!: This little red headed rascal playing in the bed. Nuf said!
quiet
Quiet: There is no doubt that I love big smiles and big laughs but sometimes the most beautiful pictures come when you don’t even know I am taking one.
sunset
Last rays of light: After cruising the backroads in Leksand, Sweden for a couple of days, I finally found this gorgeous wheat field for a special session with my little ones. We borrowed traditional Swedish clothes and waited for the perfect sunset. Here is one of the first of the series. A story about fireflies. More to come. Happy Monday!
suprise
Surprise attack!: I love this picture because not only is it of a beautiful family but it comes from playing one of my favorite games, surprise attack! Step one: position unsuspecting parents next to each other and rascally children about 10 meters behind. Step two: On the count of three the kids get to run up and give a surprise hug from behind. They love it and the smiles speak for themselves.

Things to do with a toddler or kid in Brussels: Splish splash in the fountains at Place Jean Rey

Splash
Splash

The same words are on the tip of the tongue of all us born or adapted Northern cold-blooders. Its hot! Real hot. Like can’t sleep in our unairconditioned flats hot. Ice cream melting faster than we can eat it hot. Only suitable for laying in a cold room covered in wet towels hot. So what to we do? Get totally drenched in the fountains at Place Jean Rey. 🙂

Situated next to Parc Leopold and in front of the Aloft hotel, this inconspicuous square is most often known as the parking lot for media vans during the all too common super meetings at the commission. But in the summer it comes alive with screams, whoops and splashes as the littles of the city come and cool off.

Being not too familiar with water play, I wondered if my little people would hold back or jump in and have some fun. It turned out to be decidedly the later. They had a blast!

Place Flagey boasts the same fountains but may be more busy than this tucked away spot. Hope you can make it out this weekend as the temperatures tremble. Have fun and get wet!

Get your feet wet
Get your feet wet
Cool down!
Cool down!
Soaked
Soaked
Sweet relief
Sweet relief
Summer in the city
Summer in the city
Place
Place
So lovely she grows
So lovely she grows

A look back: Among the bluebells mini session

Dancing in the sea
Dancing in the sea

Now in the fullness of summer, spring feels like a sweet memory when we looked eagerly for the first leaves in the trees and then delighted at the explosion of color and sweet smells. Yumm. This spring was also marked by one of my favorite and sure to be a perennial mini session in the sea of bluebells covering the Hallerbos Forrest. I hope you all had a chance to check it out this year.

One day of mini sessions quickly became two and in the end 15 gorgeous families joined me in the woods for this special event. I am happy to share some of the photos with you today. Enjoy the breath of fresh air. 🙂

Some time for us
Some time for us
Play!
Play!
Ring around the rosies
Ring around the rosies
Blossoms
Blossoms
Exalt
Exalt
On a stroll
On a stroll
Breezy
Breezy
Just the girls
Just the girls
Looking back
Looking back

First look: Ieva and Mathias got married

Time stands still
Time stands still

I can scarcely think of a greater honor that being asked to photograph someone’s wedding. Your big day, and unless you are Kim Kardashian, certainly one of your most photographed ones! Ieva and Mathias are one of those couple that embody all the beautiful things about being young and in love. Sweet, light-hearted and above all, incredibly devoted to one another. I had a great time getting to know them! While respecting the privacy of the ceremony, I am happy (and proud) to share some of their fun and moving portraits. Cheers to this wonderful couple. Cheers to love!

May I have this dance
May I have this dance
Twirl
Twirl
Merry and Bright
Merry and Bright
Timeless
Timeless
Get over here :)
Get over here 🙂
Hand in hand
Hand in hand
Handsome
Handsome
Now break it down!
Now break it down!
Veiled
Veiled
From this moment
From this moment
Sunshine
Sunshine
A classic
A classic
True love
True love
The fun lies ahead
The fun lies ahead
Enjoy the ride
Enjoy the ride