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June 2020 Featured Client: The Anderson Family

by Rachel Gaetz

I've been trying to think of new ways, big and small, to show appreciation for my many rockstar clients who have been with me from the beginning when I was shyly portfolio building… those who believed in me before I really believed in myself!

One thing I'll be doing is featuring one of my longtime clients in a their own blog post each month.

The Andersons were one of the first families who came to mind when I initially arrived at this idea. I've known Kristina and Tony for FIFTEEN years, I first met Kristina in 2005 at the U of M when she encouraged me to try out for the Gopher Hockey cheer team. Being part of the team shaped my college years and my life!

​Years after college we still remained connected. When I first began portfolio building, she was one of the first people who reached out to me for photos and we've shot a huge variety of sessions together since then.

Even though we've known each other forever, I still asked Kristina to describe her family in her own words.

"We are a hardworking, silly, fun-loving family of 4 (6 if you include the pups). We are usually busy doing some sort of DIY/house project or outside working on the yard. We have a 1300 sq ft vegetable garden, so that takes up a good chunk of time too. We are a family focused on health and fitness (which also includes sporadic family dance parties - thanks to Alexa)." says Kristina

This first set of photos is from my most recent session with her family: Reece's First Bee Day celebration. It was smaller from previous parties I have attended at the Anderson house because of Covid, but still ever-so-sweet and thoughtfully planned with social distancing in mind but also plenty of charming bee décor and treats plus guests joining the party virtually.

It was a bee-utiful day and it warmed my heart to be part of something joyful "normal" this summer.

Now I'm going to throw it back to the good ol' days before all of the six feet apart business to when I first started portfolio building with the Andersons.

Addie was one of my very first baby and toddler models. She was so sweet and precious and still is.

(Addie's 3rd birthday party)
(And Addie's 5th birthday)

Over the years, I've been asked to attend and photograph Addie's (and most recently Reece's) birthdays! As you can see, Kristina is a party planning wizard and every celebration I've attended is such a pleasure to be a part of. It's like Pinterest, but way better since it's real. (My kids have even been able to attend some parties and they would whole-heartedly agree!). What's wonderful about these jobs is that it's such a win-win-win. This type of candid event documentation is probably my favorite type of photography plus if I'm taking care of the pictures, it frees up Kristina more to be present at the party.

"I'm always so busy running around hosting the event that I don't always get to SEE and enjoy everything that came together. You always do such an amazing job of capturing the day, the details that I spend so much time on, and the guests/friends/family. It allows me to go through the albums and EXPERIENCE the event as our friends and family did. I frequently go back to old birthday parties in my phone albums and just scroll through, looking at the party that took months to plan, looking at everyone's faces - it's so fun, I love it!" says Kristina.

The Andersons have also gotten in on the holiday mini sessions I began offering three years ago. It's at this point in the blog post that the question must be asked... What is her method of of styling everyone? How does one family manage to look so festive and incredibly put together?

​"I start like 2 months out because I don't want to spend an arm-and-a-leg, I look for good deals on Poshmark for Tony and myself, and for the kids, I usually buy from a handmade shop (on Instagram). To be honest, the whole family coordination is usually based on a dress that I first find for Addie - haha!
Once I find the token piece (whomever it ends up being for), I build the rest of the outfits around it/to compliment it." Kristina says.

Kristina has also been able to attend some of my Mother's Day mini sessions as well which I'm so glad about. We mamas are almost always taking photos but are hardly ever in them! Plus, it's just dang difficult during the hustle of every day life to hand off your phone to someone else to take a picture of you and your kids! Her littles do so well with pictures so I asked what her secret/bribe/strategy is.

"I try to make sure to pick a time of day when the kids aren't whining/cranky (aka nap time), and we usually make the photo shoot a "fun thing" for the day -- we all get ready together in the morning and we usually plan something fun afterwards, like going out for dinner. These days it would probably be picking up some ice cream and heading home for a nice treat as a family. That makes it an anticipated and fun thing for the kids and hubby too! " she explains.

One of the most special sessions I've ever shot in my life was Reece's Fresh 48 session in the summer of 2019. I suppose it could have been called a "Fresh 2" because he was only two hours old when Kristina and Tony had me come to the hospital. There is something so sacred and soul-soothing about being in the presence of a freshly born baby and his parents. I'll remember this session forever!

Just a couple months later I attended and photographed Reece's baptism which was a sweet and special day! It was also a little nerve-wracking being in front of an entire congregation taking pictures, but I figured it out!

Lastly, Kristina and I have done a few fitness photo shoots together and she was able to use the images for various marketing purposes.

​For as long as I've known Kristina, she has been incredibly passionate about health, fitness, and helping people. After many years of working as a coach for the U of M Spirit Squads, she's embarked on a new exciting path as a Beachbody coach! Give her Instagram a follow! She's warm, real, seriously knowledgeable, and very inspiring!

I guess the only thing she and I haven't done lately is get an updated picture of the two of us together! I told you we go way back! Let's make that happen next time we have a shoot.

Thank you again, Kristina for always asking me to document the big and little moments, for sharing my work, for motivating me, and referring friends and family to me. Thank you for being patient over the years as I developed my own shooting and editing style, learned how to pose people, and how to smoothly run a business. You are a dream client but also a wind-beneath-my-wings bud and your unwavering support and friendship is truly a gift.


ABOUT THE BLOGGER
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I’m Rachel Gaetz
I’m Rachel Gaetz and I am a creative portrait photographer in the Twin Cities. I am also a busy mom of four and can often be spotted with a coffee in hand, a big messy bun on my head, and a baby on my hip. My goal is to create images that YOU will be obsessed with -- pictures you will be eager to post today as well as cherish decades from now. My business BelleAmiss Photography strives to take the stress out of photo sessions while capturing life's beautiful imperfections. You will leave feeling great about YOU and your photo experience.
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