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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Our Anniversary Family Photoshoot – 2019 – the Seine in Paris

We share many of the same photography experiences: graduation photos, newborn and maternity portraits, engagement and, of course, wedding photographs – but what about family portraits? What about documenting the everyday moments, the years of your family as you grow older?

Isn’t another year being with our family worth celebrating?

Isn’t that alone worth being invested in?

Pont Neuf Sunrise Romantic Couples Session in Paris France

I think that people don’t believe that their daily lives are worthy in being documented. 

I see it every year:

Once a child grows up to be 10 years old, suddenly mom and dad don’t want to have their family photographed anymore. Suddenly holiday and new year cards just aren’t worth investing the time and effort into. Couples who are happily in love and married stop taking portraits after their wedding day. Unless a new baby comes into the picture, the couple will never book an actual photo session with a photographer. 

For Alex and I, we get in front of a camera every year. To be honest, we are terrible at taking photos of both of us together. While I always carry along with my vintage Polaroid camera and DSLR on vacations, getting a candid, real and honest photograph of us – that is of high quality – just never happens. Candid selfies are not our thing. But here’s the thing:

We are worthy of being documented. 

We spend the money, we get dressed up, and we we allow our stories to be told in front of a photographer’s lens, because as we grow older over the years, I want this time documented. I want our faces and loving glances and closeness and increased connection to be part of us – throughout our lives, not just on our wedding day. 

Our stories may not change much in just one year, but I still want our stories told. 

Let me guess: you often think to yourself, “When I lose this weight, we’ll consider booking a photo shoot..” “when we start a family and have kids we’ll take photos…” and while all of those things may certainly happen, what if they don’t? What about our present lives?

We watch time fly by, we always wait and we procrastinate looking into booking a photographer. 

Pont Neuf Sunrise Romantic Couples Session in Paris France

Are these years that we are living unworthy? 

I want to remember the way our noses crinkle up when we laugh together. I want to remember the way Alex held me when we slow danced in the kitchen. I want to remember the way we looked out at Paris and the Seine during our photo shoot that day, the hopeful and exciting way we looked out at our futures.
 
Our marriage, our family deserves to be celebrated. Just as our marriage deserved to be celebrated on our wedding day, the monotonous days, the passing years, are worth remembering and are worth being documented.

Someone, today and someday far off in the future, is looking at you in the same way they look now at their grandparents, their children, and their parents. 

Go celebrate your life and your year and have your family portraits taken. It may not seem important now, but it will be someday. 

woman kissing husband along Pont Neuf bridge Paris

Our Annual Family Portraits in Paris

Alex and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary this month! Along with celebrating with our new wedding anniversary traditions and going on a romantic weekend getaway to the countryside of France, we also love to celebrate our years together with a yearly portrait session of our (current) family of two. We started this little tradition of having our life together documented in Washinton D.C. back in 2016 – which can see here – and aside from having our engagement photos done, this was our first session since getting married!

This year we decided to document our first year living in France with a photoshoot along the Seine in Paris. 

Sunrise Photoshoot along the Seine in Paris – Pont Neuf

We arose at five in the morning, the early summer sun streaming light through our hotel’s sunroof window in Montmartre. Despite being a total night owl, I was so excited for our family photos that I happily hopped out of bed the minute my alarm went off! I kept my makeup and hair simple with a touch of bright red 1950s lipstick  – wanting to accurately reflect who I am in my present chapter at 25 – and slipped on the pretty white dress that I bought myself for my birthday at Printemps. 

The streets of Paris were empty and quiet. The sunrise created this pastel cotton-candy glow among the clouds, and as the minutes passed, those rich, golden hour tones streamed and filtered through the leaves creating this silky, warm gloss along the Seine river. I mean, how beautiful were those reflections?!

Waking up at sunrise for a photo session along the Seine and Pont Neuf was well worth it!

Becca (@beccagerbino on Instagram) was an absolute dream at documenting the sweet, playful moments of Alex and my relationship. Not only did we have such a fun time with her, being candidly ourself and getting these precious memories of our year together, but we received such a variety of timeless images in our gallery! It was tricky picking which of my favorites to share in this blog post! 

We plan to get one of these printed big for our future Connecticut home someday, but in the meantime, while we’re traveling around Europe, I’ll be making a family album to document this season for us. 

Photographs by Becca Gerbino

Why We Hire a Photographer Every Year

June 24, 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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