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Bloom Photography Retreat in Waco, Texas: Part I

Part I: Family Session Led by Emily Anne Photography

In March 2022, I spent a weekend with seven fellow photographers at the inaugural Bloom Photography Retreat hosted by Anna Kay Photography and Emily Anne Photography. The first day focused on introduction, education, and a family session led by Emily.

Before leaving our Airbnb, Emily went over her session flow so we knew what to expect. It was interesting to see the similarities between how she runs a session and how I carry out my own. But there were some tips and tricks that I learned from her and look forward to implementing those into my own family sessions.

Taking photos of a family during a workshop is pretty different from a session led my myself for a client. It was definitely an odd experience to roll up to a photo session with a family I knew very little about and had zero communication with before photographing them. I'm sure its also little intimidating to volunteer to be photographed by a handful of different photographers. But Emily did a great job selecting a fun, easy-going family. It didn't take very long for the whole family to relax and warm up to all of us.

One of the reasons photographers stress booking a full session, typically around one hour, is because it can take time for kids to warm up. The first 15 minutes can be a little awkward, and that's okay. It's normal. Having professional photos taken isn't a regular occurrence for most people, and it can take a few minutes to get used to being in front of the camera. Those first few minutes are all about getting to know one another and getting comfortable.

After that, that's when the magic happens. The next part of your session is all about getting those beautiful, natural images of you interacting with your family. By this point you can forget that the photographer is even there. You can focus on your kids laugh, their hand in yours, your partners' hand on the small of your back.

A photographer can capture a lot in the first half of your session so the end is really all about having fun (for you and the photographer). By this point, you have the frame-worthy, holiday card photo(s). This time is all about capturing sweet little moments that happen all the time, but now there's someone to freeze that moment in time for you so that it can live outside of your memories. Kids are encouraged to run around and be themselves. They can explore on their own or play with parents or siblings. Parents get a chance to spend a little alone time for pics of themselves as their kids play in the background.

If your session is in the evening, whether your session continues into Blue Hour is dependent on how awake your kids are at this point in the session. If they're tired or hungry and ready to be done, then your session can end on here while everyone's still enjoying themselves. But if they're still active and up for it, you can continue enjoying the last stretch of sunset.

We were able to spend a lot of time with this family, nearly making it to true blue hour. We began with entire family, moved into mom and kids then dad and kids, and ending in another spot in the park for magical sunset photos.

Some of my favorite moments are when the boys would make goofy faces for the camera, when baby girl was getting cold and used her mom's dress for warmth, and when the boys snuggled up in the blanket. Those are the moments I live for the most.


Ever wondered what it is like to participate in a Photography Workshop? Or are you curious about being the model family for a session at one of these workshops? Check out this blog post featuring some Behind the Scenes from this session and I'll walk you through my experience at this intimate retreat.

Location: Waco, Texas

Host: @Bloomphotographyretreats

Lead at Session: @emilyannephotography

Assist at Session:

Photos by Oh, Tannenbaum Photography


Are you ready to book your next family photo session? Visit my services page here.

If you're interested in being a Model Call family for Oh, Tannenbaum Photography the next time I want to try out a new location, theme, or idea, let me know by emailing me at to get on my list of interested persons.


Laura Tannenbaum is a San Antonio family and portrait photographer. She loves capturing real life, loving moments between loved ones and showcasing personalities.

To learn more about Laura visit her About Page.

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