because she said yes! | 5 tips for a successful proposal photo session | Mobile AL engagement photographer

So obviously I'm not a guy and have never had the experience (or stress) of planning the perfect proposal. But let me just tell you that this groom-to-be thought of everything, including the fact that his girlfriend would love having the moments documented by a photographer.

If hiring a photographer for your perfect proposal is something you've considered, you'll find the following tips helpful for how we pulled off this session so flawlessly! Or if you're a girl WAITING on that perfect proposal, maybe you can drop a hint or two about how amazing it would be to have a professional photographer capture the amazing moments!

Here are my tips:

1) Plan ahead on a different day

Michael planned the date specifically as one that would surprise Charlotte (and it's pretty obvious from the photos that he was successful there!) But we met at the location the week before at the SAME TIME the proposal would occur to scope it out and clarify our game plan.

As the photographer, meeting at the time it would happen was vital. Your photographer will want to see how the light hits the location and should be able to help guide to an ideal spot where the actual proposal should take place based on that light.

We also had an optional spot we decided to use in case the weather was bad, so I highly recommend this if rescheduling is not an option (which is was not in our case.)

2) Be specific in how it will all go down

We decided the priority was to see her face at go time. So we actually had Michael go during our pre-planning meeting and kneel down in the exact spot where we agreed on so he could get a feel for it. (I won't include that photo here of him proposing to the fence, haha!)

Being specific helped ensure we got the just right angle we were looking for when it was time!

He also told me what they would be doing the moments before the proposal. This helped me immensely in knowing when to be in position. He also had my phone number and texted me what she was wearing and when they were heading outside.

3) Figure out how to keep your photographer secretive

Our first thought during our planning session was that I'd sort of hide behind some bushes so Charlotte wouldn't suspect anything. But as we were walking around our location, we actually met up with an employee who assured us photographers are around all the time, and that I could be out in the open without anything looking suspicious.

That employee ended up being totally right. The night of the proposal, there was actually a wedding rehearsal going on at the same time with another photographer. So I didn't feel the need to hide. After asking Charlotte later, she said she assumed I was with that group and thought nothing of it!

Obviously this won't always be the case with every situation. So you'll have to think through how to keep the photographer either out of sight or at the very least, not suspicious looking. 

4) Think through things that will make the girl happier for photos

Since ideally she is going to be totally in shock and not expecting to be photographed during that time, you'll want to think about what she might wish she had with her. Does she keep lip gloss in her purse? Extra mascara in case she wants to reapply after the tears? If not, you may have to be sneaky to have these things on hand for her. A mom or one of her girlfriends can help out with this!

5) Plan on going ahead and having more photos taken after the "yes" occurs

I can say I don't know if I've ever photographed happier people than after a proposal. It's such a joy to capture more moments of the couple being together so incredibly happy about this amazing life-changing event. 

This could happen in so many ways. Some couples like to include family in these after photos. Some couples just want the time to themselves for more photos just of them. Either way, take advantage of the joy and plan for more photos!

Now on to this sweetest couple's images. It was a total joy to be invited into this precious space of their lives! I am so happy they have these memories in print to share for years and years to come.

man proposing on one knee | Mobile AL proposal photographer
boy proposing near water | Mobile AL proposal photographer
girl surprised at engagement | Mobile AL proposal photographer
couple kissing after engagement | Mobile AL proposal photographer
couple hugging after engagement | Mobile Al proposal photography
couple looking at ring after engagement | Mobile AL proposal photographer
couple embracing after engagement | Mobile AL proposal photographer
couple laughing together during engagement photo session | Mobile AL proposal photographer

because you can feel the difference | a comparison of traditional and lifestyle portraits | Mobile AL family photographer

In my last post, I talked about what lifestyle photography is. You can click here to read that post if you missed it! 

Now I want to show some comparisons from a family photo session so you can see the differences for yourself!

First off, I do know that families would like a photo of everyone looking at the camera, and we do get that shot. I actually try to go ahead and shoot that first off because once we start the "active" stuff, everyone's having too much fun to worry about looking at the camera!

So let's start with this photo. This was actually one of the very first shots of this session. I mean, it's a sweet shot. Everyone's looking and has a happy look on their face. But you'll see in later shots, that especially for a certain adorable little boy, this is not his real smile. We get real smiles later!

family of four photo | Mobile AL lifestyle photographer

The following 3 photos are examples of shots later in the session with the whole family. Now you see real smiles, you see how they look at each other and their interaction. Now I can FEEL something about them! This is what lifestyle photography brings out!

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family of four | Mobile lifestyle photographer
mom and dad with 2 kids | Mobile AL family photographer

At this point in the session I was getting shots with Dad and his son. This first one is a sweet, more traditional type portrait. 

dad and 3-year-old son smiling at camera | Mobile AL family photographer

Then I had them begin to play. Compare the smiles and connection in these next photos to the one above. 

3-year-old boy running with dad in field | Mobile AL family photographer

Pure love and joy!

dad kissing son | Mobile AL family photographer

I mean, a shot like this one just melts me. Those little hands around his dad's neck. This is why I continue to shoot, because moments like these happen as families interact and play.

dad holding 3-year-old son | Mobile AL family photographer

So here's a good before and after comparison. The shot on the left was before we started playing. This was a "look here and smile" type image. The one on the right shows you the connection between a boy and his dad. This happened just a few minutes into playing together. Which image lets you FEEL their connection beyond just a pretty picture?

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Here's another comparison with photos of mom and dad. {I always get some shots of just mom and dad at my family sessions!} So the first one is a nice image with some cooperative adults, haha!

couple sitting together in grass | Mobile AL lifestyle family photographer

The next one though, now I FEEL something. I don't just see what they look like; I see how they love each other. Which one speaks more to you as a viewer?

couple embracing in field | Mobile AL lifestyle family photographer

Here are some shots of mom with the kids where you can see their connection through play. 

mom twirling with little boy | Mobile AL family photographer
mom and one-year-old daughter | Mobile AL family photographer
mom and son laughing | Mobile AL family lifestyle photographer
mom dancing with kids in field | Mobile AL family photographer

And just in case you need a LITTLE more proof of the power of real smiles and connection, these images of dad and his girl are so priceless!

dad throwing daughter into the air | Mobile AL family lifestyle photographer
dad and daughter | Mobile AL family photographer

So, you can see that a lifestyle family photo session is anything but stiff and boring! And hopefully you can see the difference in not just what you SEE in the images but more what you FEEL. 

When you're selecting a photographer, think about what you want out of your final images. Some people are more drawn to traditional type photos, and that's just fine! There's thankfully a photographer out there for everyone! 

If this lifestyle type session seems like a good fit for your vision, I'd love to photograph your family playing and connecting together! You can contact me to begin working on your session, where we'll capture in photos your family's imperfectly perfect love story!

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contact me to book your session!

because lifestyle photography brings love to the surface | Mobile AL family photographer

What is "lifestyle photography?" You may have heard the term and wondered! I suppose it can have varying definitions, but in my family photo sessions, it means that instead of stiffly posing everyone juuuuuust right and waiting for everyone to look perfectly at the camera, I'm going to guide you in great light and help you play and connect with each other. And to me, THAT'S when the magic happens.

I rarely ask everyone to look at the camera, and here's why. Years down the road, when you're looking at your photos, I want your images not just to be a documentation of what everyone LOOKED like on that day. That's actually an easy thing for you to capture on your own.

I want your photos to be a documentation of what it FELT like to be your family on that day. I want you to see how you looked at each other. What everyone's "real" smiles looked like. The size of small hands and big hands. How you all looked close up with each other. What kinds of things made you laugh. And that's where I come in!

The way you GET to what it felt like is in the connecting with each other, movement, and closeness. You may be thinking, "I wouldn't know what to do!" No worries! Lifestyle photography does NOT mean I just throw you in a pretty location and leave you on your own. My job is to guide you along the way with age-appropriate activities to help everyone have a great time together.


Lifestyle photography is documentation of what it FELT like to be your family on that day.


We can start with my ideas, but YOU know your people best. The great thing about lifestyle photography is that there's no set agenda. You're not going to ruin my plan because my plan is incredibly flexible! I'm aiming to get varying combinations of your family members together as well as individual shots. But these happen in so many ways.

Some of the images from this particular session were a result of my prompts, and some came about organically as they just played together, and I LOVE that. I'm constantly observing, constantly shooting, so I don't miss an unfolding moment. So you can always feel free to play during our time together. It's what we're there for!

So lifestyle photography is obviously not what you may be used to as your "typical" photo session. But hopefully, it's so much more. We'll use play and connection to bring the love of your family to the surface. Then I capture it and give it back to you in photos you can treasure for year and years.

I'd love to capture your family in this way. You bring the love and laughter--I'll bring the camera! Click here to book your family's fall session!

family of four in a field | Laurie Hatfield Photography | Mobile photographer
mom twirling with son | Mobile AL family lifestyle photographer
mom with 3-year-old boy | Mobile AL family photographer
dad carrying son on his shoulders | Mobile AL family photographer
mom and baby boy | Mobile AL family photographer
mom and little boy in field | Mobile AL family lifestyle photographer
family of four | Mobile AL lifestyle photographer
dad spinning little boy | Mobile AL family lifestyle photographer
dad swinging little boy around in a field | Mobile AL family photographer
family of four seated | Mobile AL photographer
3 year old boy lying on stomach | Mobile AL child photographer
6-month-old baby boy in mom's arms | Mobile AL family lifestyle photographer
couple laughing and embracing | Mobile AL family photographer
dad and son blowing dandelions in a field | Mobile AL lifestyle photographer
dad blowing dandelions with 3-year-old son | Mobile AL family photographer
mom and baby boy | Mobile AL family photographer
3-year-old boy laughing in grass | Mobile AL lifestyle family photographer
little boy hugging mom | Mobile AL family lifestyle photographer
brothers on parents' shoulders | Saraland AL family photographer
family of four walking through field | Mobile AL lifestyle photographer
family of four walking through field | Mobile AL lifestyle photography

CONTACT ME to book your session!

because love is passed down in so many ways | A sailboat session | Mobile AL family photographer

Family photo sessions are priceless for so many reasons, but this session was special because we captured 3 generations sharing a mutual love of boats and water. What a treasure for this littlest guy to have a dad and grandfather showing him the ropes (literally!) of an activity that will bring them together to share time, laughter, and conversations (or just peaceful quiet).

When you book a family photo session with me, I come prepared to help you connect, get close, play, and laugh. BUT, if your family has something you already love to do together, let's do all the playing in that way!  This family now has an album of the images from this session, to help them remember how love was passed down from one generation to another. Their hobby was on the water, but all families have their "thing," and I love capturing it for you. I love for families to have a unique idea of what they want to remember!

On that note, don't forget to schedule your family's photos for the fall! I'm offering these limited edition Keep Sessions that you can check out here. These are kind of in between a mini session and a full session because I like to have enough time to catch that "Christmas card photo" and still have minutes to play!

Here are some of my favorites from this amazing session! <3

dad helping son put on life jacket | Mobile AL family photographer
dad and grandfather helping boy onto boat | Mobile AL extended family photo session
3 generations on sailboat | Mobile Al family photographer
little boy on boat with dad and grandfather | Mobile AL lifestyle family photographer
family on sailboat at sunset | Mobile AL photographer
family on sailboat | Mobile AL photographer
3 generations on a sailboat | Mobile AL family photographer
grandfather and grandson on sailboat | Mobile AL family photographer
dad and 3-year-old son walking on rocks | Mobile AL family photographer
dad and son playing on pier | Mobile AL family photographer
dad and son walking on pier | Mobile AL family photographer
3-year-old little boy playing on pier | Mobile AL family photographer
3-year-old little boy | Mobile AL family photographer
sailboat at sunset | Mobile AL photographer
sailboat at sunset | Mobile AL family photographer
grandfather, dad, and son on sailboat | Mobile AL extended family photo session
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3-year-old boy on sailboat | Mobile AL family photographer
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sailboat at sunset | Mobile AL family photographer