I'm an American expat, writer. photographer. and old-fashioned romantic in love with celebrating the simple joys of daily life. I appreciate timelessness, the natural world, and a slow life lived with simplicity and intention. When I'm not photographing families or  slowly traveling the world and writing about it in a little notebook, I'm happily grounding myself in nature and cozying up with my sweet husband.

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My Children of New York portrait series.

In April of 2016, I picked up my first camera. Exactly three years ago my life path took a turn for the best…exactly three years ago I photographed my first family in New York City’s Central Park. The cherry blossoms hadn’t bloomed yet, and I couldn’t figure out the best natural lighting or where the open shade was for the life of me. The first sprouting buds were appearing, and the harsh sun cast shadows all over my clients’ faces. I hadn’t learned how to gently pose families yet, or the funniest jokes that would get toddlers to laugh, but I felt like it was the beginning of something, a brand new chapter that held such joy, potential, and creative freedom. 

children's photographer starting out in New york city central park

My first family portrait session in Central Park NYC, April 2016

The Journey of a Photographer: 21 and Green

I was 21, and I had no clue what I was doing. I was brand new to this thing called “photography.” I just knew that…

  • I had a creative way of seeing things.
  • I was observant and perceptive enough to quickly document moments with my camera.
  • I loved being around people, specifically children and families.

Operate a camera in Manual mode? Forget about it. 

Self-employment tax? Say whaaat?

Photoshop? Oh boy, that would be hard to figure out…

But I believed I could do it.

I believed it was possible. That I would become skilled with practice. That with time, I would improve and learn how to run an actual business. That’s the most important part.

my first portrait with my first clients, April 2016

I started with what I knew, and I kept on going.

Day by day, improving little by little. Each new session brought me new lessons and growth. Each hour I spent Googling or looking up how to edit in Photoshop on Youtube brought me closer and closer to my desire to become a skilled photographer. I devoured every book and read the dslr camera cover to cover.

Starting Out as a Children’s Portrait Photographer

After so many free sessions, I started to get paid – actual money – to do what I loved. Holy cow! I’ll never forget walking away from my first session with money in my pocket. And then I started truly believing in myself, slowly becoming more and more confident and sure of my talents until I started charging what my services and time were actually worth. It took a solid year of building, learning and improving.

Next year, in 2020, after 3 years of building my boutique studio business and photographing 200 family and newborn sessions, I am scaling my business up a level. And while I am currently in the process of learning about framing and in-person consultations, designing custom products and the detail of quality craftsmanship….I am reminded of where I began, of how a simple thought of “I can do this” led to where I am now: traveling and making a nice living doing what I love. 

It starts with love. It starts with why. 

May 2016, one of my first early sessions starting out

The simple joys and wonders of childhood and family life are my greatest inspiration for creating artwork. As I describe in a previous post about finding your why, my greatest motivation, my greatest desire, and strength is to reflect light and inspire joy in the everyday.

Photographing families and children inspire me more than any other subject, and as I hit my three year anniversary this month, I dedicate this portrait series to the children of New York. To the ones who reflect joy, wonder, intuition, playfulness and honesty in every moment. Thank you for inspiring us grown-ups. 

Children of New York Portrait Series

Looking for a Photographer?

Are you expecting a baby and looking for a maternity and at home newborn photographer? I travel all over New York City, Connecticut and France for my clients. I recently returned from Portugal, Germany and San Diego and I am next off to Connecticut and New York in October and November! You can view at more detailed look at my travel schedule HERE. Please inquire for session details and more information on booking.

Sign up for our studio’s once a month newsletter to hear about calendar openings here!

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Kids of New York City Portrait Series

Celebrating Our 3 Year Studio Anniversary with the Children of New York Portrait Series

April 30, 2019

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I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical, emotionally honest family and children's portraiture. A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I photograph families across the world. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.

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Helena Woods is a destination newborn and family photographer based in France and New England and travels worldwide. She is known for her natural light, modern classic, and emotive photography style.

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