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Incorporating Family Heirlooms Into Portraits

I love it when families incorporate heirlooms into portraits! It makes the finished photographic artwork that much more special and meaningful. This little four month old that I photographed this morning is such a great example of doing just that as she is wearing her mom’s baby dress, which her big sister also wore for her own baby portraits. Such a beautiful item of clothing passed down through the generations.

Four month baby milestone using family heirloom dress in Athens, GA.

Choose simple sentimental items that make sense for the type of portraits you hare having done.

Keep it simple! Most of my clients choose to dress their children and/or babies in clothing that was passed down through the family. Don’t worry if there are tiny holes or a few minor stains. Most of the time these areas don’t even show up in camera and can usually be photoshopped if needed. If you are unsure, just ask me and I am more than happy to give you my honest feedback. The most important thing is that it is something that fits your child. Sentimental value always trumps tiny flaws in a garment in my opinion. The mom from this morning’s baby milestone photo session mentioned that there was some yellowing on this special dress and she expressed her concern. It honestly was not an issue at all. The camera never picked it up.

I photographed my daughter in my dad’s christening bonnet. My grandmother had made it for him and I wanted to use it for my daughter’s own christening. The bonnet had yellowed a tad with time, which I thought added to it’s history and story. The ribbons were frayed and falling apart, so I simply replaced those. Easy fix and completely worth the trouble. It is a part of my family’s history and my daughter’s middle name is named after my grandma who made the bonnet, so it meant the world to me to have my daughter to wear it and for me to have photos of her in that family heirloom. Similar stories have been shared with me from clients who dress their little ones in their own family heirlooms.

Heirloom items appropriate for a baby’s session include…

Sentimental outfits, rattles, books, blankets, cribs, bassinets or a special lovey are all great ideas. I have incorporated all of these items into photo sessions for my clients and they are always some of my favorite images. I just adore the meaning and story behind heirlooms.

A few examples for family sessions.

Some things that clients have used for their family sessions include a lot of the same items mentioned above, but there are other special items family’s have incorporated that worked out beautifully as well. I had a dad who passed down his old baseball bat to his son and during their portrait session, we got some images of the young man with his dad’s bat as well as some fun timeless shots of father and son playing ball together. I have had families have tea parties child tea sets that were passed down through the generations and that mom played with when she was a child herself. There was a family who loved taking picnics together and they brought the picnic basket that was used when the father proposed to mom years ago. Another mom, who happens to be a vet, used a rocking horse in her baby’s portraits. The rocking horse happened to be made with love by her dad and was hers as a little girl. After some sprucing up, it was ready for her little girl to enjoy and she wanted portraits taken with such a wonderful keepsake.

You don’t HAVE to incorporate family heirlooms to make meaningful portraits, but if you have something that means a lot to you and you would like it captured, feel free to use it during your photo session. You won’t regret it! It doesn’t even have to be something that has been passed down yet, but perhaps something that you know you would like to keep as a memento of this time in your child’s life. These items help tell your family’s story!

If you would like to book a session incorporating family heirlooms, contact me today for details and to get on the calendar. Currently booking Winter and Spring sessions! I look forward to hearing from you and telling your family’s story through my camera. Click HERE to drop me a line or email I can also be reached on the phone at 706.713.0676.



Athens, Georgia |