Only 4 days old!

This is definitely the tiniest baby I’ve ever photographed. The parents called me from the hospital. I asked “when was your baby born?” and Kristi replied, “last night”! She took my advice when I told her newborn babies should be photographed within 2 weeks of being born. At one month, their hands and feet are already twice as big! So, this session was photographed when their new baby Emma was only 4 days old!

It is always a joyous phone call when one of my past wedding couples calls me to announce that they are expecting a baby and they either want to schedule a maternity or a newborn session.

I have fond memories of Kristi and Todd’s April wedding: they were thinking of a SPRING wedding, but it ended up being a WINTER wedding, with a fresh snowfall the day before. Kristi quickly found a beautiful white fur cape, which made for fabulous outdoor photos at the Van Dusen mansion….. in the snow!

First Comes Love…

As the old saying goes, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes… puppies? If you’re not ready for that baby carriage, as our recent wedding couple Kristin and Tim weren’t quite yet, the next step in their lives was the addition of a new puppy.

Oddly enough, Kristin and Tim live on the same street as my husband and I, something I found out when we were shooting their wedding. We quickly bonded over dogs, as the couple has an older dog, Sparky, that they knew they’d eventually have to breed as per an agreement with their breeder. Last fall, we learned the good news that Sparky was pregnant and shortly thereafter, she gave birth to six bundles of fur.

Kristin and Tim had the pleasure of raising the puppies during their first few weeks of life before sending five back to the breeder and keeping the female pup, Beckett, as the newest addition to their family. They wanted to remember the whirlwind few weeks that they had seven dogs in their home, so Joe and I spent one evening photographing the six wriggling, non-stop puppies and one tired mom. Let me tell you we needed all four adults to try to wrangle those dogs! Puppy photos definitely fall into the category my mom calls “sweaty photography.” Boy, were they a challenge!

While we may not have gotten a photo where all six puppies were looking at the camera, we got pretty darn close–and snapped some funny shots trying. We also grabbed a couple of pictures with Kristin, Tim and the puppies. We wanted to stick Sparky in, but anytime those puppies went near their mama, they immediately tried to feed. So puppies only it was! I also took some candid shots in their pen. It figures that as soon as the big photo shoot was over, they all fell asleep. Timing is everything!

A 50th Anniversary Celebration

Caroline and Richard recently celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary! Caroline’s gift request to her four children was to have an updated family photograph taken. When I asked them how they chose me, they told me that I was one of the only photographers in the area who could accomodate a large group indoors. Well, good!

I must say, they were one of the most perfectly color-coordinated large groups I’ve had the pleasure to photograph.  Everyone was instructed to wear a shade of brown, beige, or ivory, which was the ideal clothing choice for my large brown-toned backdrop. As they looked around the studio at wall portrait displays, many of them indicated that they liked the sepia (brown-toned) photos.  I told them that the dark brown backdrop is ideal for sepia photos. (The white or black background is better for black and white photos).

I took a few variations of the large group, then Caroline and Richard with their four children, their grandchildren,  individual family portraits and, of course, a nice portrait of Caroline and Richard. Through a Facebook album posting, the out of town family members were immediately able to see all of the photos and make their selections that way.

This is one special time in a couple’s life that really needs to be commemorated with a family portrait. I’m so glad my studio was big enough to accomodate their large, lovely family.

Caroline told me that she wanted a formally posed group photo for her wall portrait
Now for a totally different look!

Happy 50th Caroline and Richard!

Images of the Year

We thought it’d be fun to put together a little slideshow of some of our favorite, funniest and most memorable images from the past year. While it was darn near impossible to narrow down our top 70 photos, we managed to get just about all of them in there. (Though when I came to work today, I still had to cut the slideshow by 27 images!) We hope you enjoy a look back at 2010 through the lenses of the Jan Kentala Photography staff.

Click here to watch the video on YouTube.

Photos by Jan Kentala and Molly Kentala Broman
Music by Neon Trees

Savannah and Cosette

Savannah and Cosette returned to the studio to be photographed in their Christmas dresses. If you have a good memory, you will remember an earlier story about the ‘Perils of Cosette’. Somehow, Cosette likes to have her photo taken about as much as you and I enjoy a root canal! She will be three in the spring and we were all hopeful that “this time it would be different”.
Dad suggested that we start with the family photo, as last time, this didn’t happen – Cosette had posed for two or three photos with her sister and then would have none of the family grouping.
Smart smart dad! THIS time, she was perfectly happy for the first two family arrangements. When I bought Sammy the Squirrel puppet at the Arboretum this summer with Molly, I was actually thinking about children like Cosette who need extra happiness in the studio for a smile to sneak out 🙂
Sammy was a hit! I got THREE pictures of her smiling with delight and glee.
Well, after all; she is three. ……I remembered belatedly that a two to three year old is usually only good for about 5 minutes of smiling in the studio. Alas, the 5 minutes was up when we tried to take photos of the two girls together. It didn’t help matters when the two girls fell over backwards after an extra vigorous hug from big sister, either.
But, Cosette’s mom and dad left feeling confident that there were a few good images of the two sisters. With the help of Photoshop and head swapping, I was able to patch together a few sister shots. I also like the collage of the sisters interacting.
We are all looking forward with optimism to their summer garden photos when Cosette will be THREE AND A HALF!   🙂

Sammy the Squirrel puppet has captured Cosette's attention!

Cosette has begun to tire of the game

A Father’s Day Surprise

Aidan and Evan came with their mom back in late April for a photo session. It was to be a surprise for their dad for Father’s Day. I have been waiting to post these darling photos since then, but had to wait just in case dad happened to look at my website.

This is actually the third time I’ve photographed Aidan – the first being a maternity session with his mom when she was almost 9 months pregnant with him! Lucy was one of those beautiful pregnant women who just had a small basketball tummy – no fair, no fair! I remember telling her to arch her back so she would actually look more pregnant!

Lucy was not very optimistic that 4 year old Aidan could keep a secret from dad for 2 months – but he did!

Session notes: Aidan loves his 15 month old brother dearly, but he is a rough and tumble boy who is anxious for his little brother to be more of a playmate. There were several too-tight bear hugs, some pushes, tumbles and falls during the session. We had to wait a few times for Evan’s tears to dry. Once, after Aidan “accidentally” shoved his brother off the box they were sitting on, he went and sat anxiously IN the box they were sitting on while mom settled baby brother. It is one of my best photos – he knew he was in a bit of trouble so was very quiet and…. cooperative!  Then, Aidan insisted that I photograph he and his brother sitting inside the box tipped upside down. Wow – what a great idea: a natural “playpen” that held them captive for a few more precious minutes!

Lucy told me that she left the session wondering if there would be even ONE good photo from the shoot. She was delighted with the results!  Here are a few of the good shots from that session.

The Allen Family

The Allen’s three youngest children attend Greenleaf Elementary School. Their parents bid on my services at a recent Silent Auction fundraiser. I had a very positive experience photographing them; all of the children, even the 5 year old, were SO cooperative. They wanted something fun and informal. Here are some of the cute shots from that session.

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Mom and dad hadn't had a portrait of themselves, so we had to include this in the session
Mom and dad hadn't had a portrait of themselves, so we had to include this in the session
This is my favorite!
This is my favorite!

Lance’s Big 5-0

Jean called me about two months ago. She was planning a surprise 50th birthday party for her boyfriend, Lance, at the Horse and Hunt Club in Prior Lake. She wanted a photographer to record the surprise and then to be on hand for some casual, fun shots of the event. Lance was truly surprised as Jean led him into the beautifully decorated room where friends and family waited. Jean planned an amazing event which included a fabulous buffet and a fun DJ. And presents, of course!

The festively decorated room. Note all the stuffed animal heads on the walls!
The festively decorated room. Note all the stuffed animal heads on the walls!
Liquor parfaits in lieu of cake (yum!)
Liquor parfaits in lieu of cake (yum!)


Jean and Lance
Jean and Lance


Lance and all the women
Lance and all the women
Lance's high school friends
Lance's high school friends
He seemed to like this gift :)
He seemed to like this gift 🙂

Paige and Chase – First and Last

Chase’s mom called and inquired about sessions for her 1-year-old son AND her high school senior daughter. I had to laugh because when I was a senior in high school, my baby brother Ken was just a few months old (yes–same parents!). Ken recently married Jen, who is the same age as my daughter, so I can appreciate these family dynamics!

Here are some pics of darling baby Chase and his gorgeous big sis, Paige.