Why I Love Family Photography

Ok, confession time.  When I first started photographing families, I would actually get excited when the parents said they didn’t want to be in the pictures.  I know, horrible.  Let’s face it – kids are just easier to photograph.  They are fun, they are care free.  They have no egos and don’t worry about how they look.  They are pure and everything they do (well, within reason, lol) is beautiful.

Families are a different story.  Moms worry about what they look like.  Dads sometimes would rather be anywhere else.  Parents worry about how their kids are acting and get sad or worried this investment they just made was for nothing.  Initially, that was why I would dread doing family sessions.

Time passed.  It took a lot of work, and a lot of mistakes and a lot of happy accidents to figure out how the heck to get real family images.  I had to get creative to get the right reactions from adults to make photographs that made them realize just how perfect their family was.  Through time I learned is that imperfect is perfect.  I learned that, to me, giggles and hugs make better pictures than everyone standing perfectly side by side.  That realness is beautiful and THAT is where a great family photo begins.  That’s what I wanted to photograph.

So, below a little sampling of what you might get from me in a family session.  If you are looking for that perfect posed images – yes, I take them too.  However, nine times out of ten they are not the ones that end up as artwork on walls.  I promise you that.

I wanted to write this to tell new clients what to expect.  If you are looking for just a shot of your family where everyone is perfectly posed and looking into the camera – I am not the photographer for you.  There are a million family photographers in Westchester and Greenwich.  There is something, literally, for everyone.

However, if you want a loving, fun, happy image that shows your family as they are everyday?  Being silly and laughing?  I’m your girl.

At our session, expect to cuddle.  Expect to hug and kiss and wrestle and love on each other like no one is watching.  Expect to laugh, to be silly and to maybe do things you didn’t think you would do.  (Heck, I’ve had a mom moon her daughter and it was one of my favorite moments EVER.) Expect me to make you all hold each other and to say, “Get closer, even closer, even closer!” until you are laughing at how weird/awesome/great it feels.  Expect to leave saying, hey, that was kind of fun!   Yes, even dads.

THAT is why I do what I do and that is what is different about my work.  It’s why family sessions are my favorite to do.  It’s not work.  It’s play.

I can’t wait to play with you.

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30 Day Real-Life Photography Challenge – Westchester Moms, are you in?


So winter won’t leave Westchester.  Family photos get pushed aside for a little bit.  Besides the family vacation, your camera is probably in a drawer somewhere until a first tooth falls out or a birthday party rolls around.  It’s cold and we’re stuck inside with snowy, dreary days at home.   Yuck.

Well, in my house – it’s when I start using my camera more.  I know, strange, right?  I pull it out when we are in our pajamas, playing board games.  It’s not the pretty, sunny pictures of the summer, for sure.  It’s our real life in New York, though! 

I love these little images so much I make a small album every season to get them off my phone and on my coffee table.  Everyone that comes over loves looking at them and it gave me an idea for a challenge for all the moms out there.  30 days. A picture a day.  Life as you see it.


So I’m offering a challenge.  Here are the rules!

– Make sure to take one picture a day for the whole month.

– Keep your camera near you at all times.  On the kitchen counter or in your purse.

– IPhone pictures are allowed, but try to use your ‘real’ camera too.

– Try to not do a posed image or a “CHEESE!” photo.

– Take the in-the-moment photo.  Your everyday.  Those little moments that make you melt a little inside.

– No cleaning up your house for the images.  I don’t want this to be work!  Look at my example below, you’ll see food on the countertops, etc.  That’s life, right?


Some photography tips:

-Get down to different angles then normal. Try some creative shots – in a mirror, through a doorway or window to make them even more interesting.

-Get kids being silly.  That’s who they are.  Perfection is NOT allowed.

-Also look for those quiet moments, i.e., looking out the window, daydreaming with warm sunlight around them, reading a book in bed, etc.

-If an image is a little dark, Instagram is great as the filters tend to lighten the center of the images for you.  It’s your own personal Photoshop.

– For the older kids, have them join along.  Make it a family project!

– Plan to make an album at the end.  I guarantee it will be one of the favorite albums you have.  Arifact Uprising sells my favorites for my mini albums!

– Selfies with kids are totally allowed. Moms are not in the picture enough and we need to be!  There is a great new app called CamMe.   You prop up your camera and hold up your hand and it takes a photo without you holding it.


So, are you in?  30 days, a picture a day. Of your REAL life.  Yes, they might not be professional photographer sort of images.  It doesn’t matter.  They are yours and that makes them perfect.  I promise you will love them all and appreciate those snowed in family days even more.

If you are instagram, use #cocophoto30 as a hashtag and we can do it together!  Follow me here @cristinacocophoto or hit the instagram tab on the left side of the blog.  If you want to comment below with your Instagram name I’ll make sure to follow you!


I only showed Instagram picture here as a reminder:  you do NOT have to be a photographer.  No fancy camera took these shots.  Just think a little bit outside the box and get in some photos, will ya?



This is the picture that gave me the idea.  Moms need to be in more photographs.  Taken on vacation last week, a second after a selfie where we were both looking at the camera.  I hit it again by accident and it caught us looking at each other.  I love it so much.  If you get one shot that makes you as happy as this image makes me it will be so worth it!


I cannot wait to see what you do!

much love,










Make lemonade out of lemons…

I am the worst blogger.  THE WORST.  I have a lot of catching up to do, so I think I’ll work from the summer.  ‘Cause let’s face it, we could all use a little warm weather right now.

So I’ll make a little lemonade out of my awful blogging lemons and share a really fun stylized shoot we did up in Cape Cod in August.  This mom and I had a great time planning this out and it was shot in literally 30 minutes.  Setting up took longer!  I loved how the kids had fun modeling with our lemonade stand and it came out just perfectly!  Was so happy to be a part of it.

So enjoy.  Hope it warms you up a bit…

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By the Pool : Old Greenwich Family Photographer

This session was a gift from a client of mine to a friend.  I do a lot of gift certificates these days, but this was extra special.  This family was kind enough to open their home when my client lost her house because of flooding after Hurricane Sandy.  As a thank you, a couple months ago my client called me and told me how sweet her friend was and that she wanted to give her a thank you gift she would have forever.  What a thoughtful present, and I was more than happy to meet these guys – I knew they had to be amazing.

Their beautiful home is on the water – and if you read my site, well, you just know how much I love the water…

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We did a ton of family portraits that I loved, but I really wanted to post these pool images.  I had SUCH a great time shooting these.  I am dying to get underwater casing for my camera – it’s on my gear list and I think I’m moving it to the very top.  I would love to get in the water with my clients.  Swimming makes everything natural – it’s almost impossible to pose.  You connect so quickly.

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This one…  I could photograph her everyday.  She didn’t smile for each photo, which made me happy.  (don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of smiling ones I adore, but her relaxed face was just stunning)

Her eyes said everything to me in each image I took of her.  I love when I find an old soul.


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Happy Summer everyone!

A Day Out East…

I know it’s been a while.  Once in a while my blog comes up when I re-boot my computer and I’m shocked at how slow I’ve been at updating it.  I think it’s mostly because I’m getting a new blog and website in July/August.  It’s almost like I’ve been holding out – and that stinks, so I’m sorry!  But I am REALLY excited about the new site.  It’s going to be a blog and website in one and I can’t wait.  Many thanks to Ryan at Second Street Creative for working with me, I am beyond happy to get started!

So to make it up to you – a session I’ve been holding onto.  I haven’t shared it – and I honestly don’t know why.  Maybe because it was so close to me.  I felt I had to because a potential client called and said she saw the image of the girls and their mom on my Facebook timeline photo and asked me if I took it because she couldn’t find it on my blog.  Let me be SO clear – any image posted on my blog, website or Facebook is mine.

I have to say, this was one of my favorite sessions ever – I connected with this client so instantly and she was happy to spend a whole afternoon together and have me travel to their Hamptons home to do so.  Spending all that time allowed for a very natural, un-posed, lifestyle kind of session.  It’s my favorite kind of work, but it takes a lot of hang out time and not everyone wants to do that.   I hope that these images will give you an idea about why I tell my moms to relax and go with the flow.  This is what happens!  As Martha says, it’s a good thing.

We had two locations – the beach in front of their beautiful home, and the stables nearby where they ride.   A photographer’s dream.

I’m not going to write a lot in this session like I normally do.  I think the images do the talking…  I hope you like them.

Also, for Pinners – if you would like to pin, no problem!  Please just include my name in your pin comment.  The first image can be pinned via your pin it toolbar, and the second via the Pin button on the bottom of the post.  I know, it’s confusing.  See why I need a new webpage?  ANNOYING!  ;)  xo, c


after the beach, we moved on to the stables…