Family photos tell the story of what bonds a specific cluster of humans, and who they are together. We don't take family photos for today, we take them for the future. They will be passed on, and remembered, for years to come! Personally, I love looking at family photos from my childhood! They help me reminisce (or wish I could) on the places we've been, the people we were, and simple things... like what I loved as a kid. (My purple corduroy overalls and matching hat, if you were wondering.) So, it was a true joy for me to drive from Des Moines to Cedar Falls to take family pictures for our neighbor family earlier in July! 

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I first met the Reisetters when they moved in next door to my parents five or six years ago. They only had three kiddos at the time, and we quickly all became friends. Since I always wanted more little brothers or sisters, it was an easy fit. Plus, the girls loved coming over to play with our dogs! After my sister and I moved out of the house, the kids would come over and talk with my mom when she was out gardening or letting the dogs out. I tell people that it's great, these kids keep my parents from asking me to provide them with grandchildren! ;) 

Matt and Jen involve themselves in the Cedar Valley in a number of ways. Matt ran for public office a few years back, is heavily involved in leadership at their church, and just last year started one of the first local Fireworks stores! Jen homeschools the four kids, helps other homeschooling moms, and drives everyone to their activities (sports, horse riding lessons, youth group, you name it!). I love how they open up their home to a variety of people in the community... international students, their kids' friends, and me. When I come "home" to Cedar Falls, I try to drop in and am always welcomed with open arms, and ample entertainment from chatty children. :)  

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The following progression of photos cracks me up! The first one is just real... Mason's skeptical face and Judah's half smile. Haha, oh man. Kids just love the camera, don't they?! ;) What I had the kids do was lean in and tickle each other! Instead of them feeling stuck in a pose, and smiling their "cheese" grins, it resulted in real laughter and smiles! I love un-poses. :)

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The following is another set, similar to above! It was a spontaneous idea... I just told the kids to run towards me. Could work better if we'd had more then 3 feet of space, but it turned out ok!

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Haters gonna hate, but I think Iowa (and the midwest in general) makes the perfect backdrop for family photos. Or any photos. I love the simple beauty of central Iowa, and I adore the hills of eastern/western Iowa. You just can't go wrong! Being a family photographer in Des Moines will be great, but honestly, just give me a big backyard and a good sunset & I'm happy!

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Jillian was bound and determined to jump up on her (very tall!) dad's back. Haha-- I love it!

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I just love the next few family pictures we took. These are the ones I hope they pick to print (maybe even on a large canvas!) for their walls... they're just so genuine and beautiful! One of the girls' requests for her birthday was a family photo in a frame (it's been at least 4 years since they last had family photos taken). It's a little late, but I think she's going to get that birthday wish. :)

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When Jen and I talked about their family pictures, before the session, we talked about including things that share who their family is. Well, I didn't even think of it, but a huge part of this family is the animals on their land. Jillian rides horses (no, they don't own a horse or have it on their land!) but Jentry has chickens. They're her pride and joy, and OF COURSE we had to include them! Thank you, Iowa. You're too good to me.

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