Braden (1), left, and Brandt (2).

Two brothers, three years, thousands of portraits documenting their development from in utero to pre-school. 

It's quite a photographic journey to go on.

As I wrap up my final session for one-year-old Braden's first year milestone plan, I can't help feeling nostalgic. It doesn't seem like I've known his parents, Byron and Natalia, for nearly 15 years, but I have. It doesn't feel like I've been documenting Braden and his older brother Brandt for three years, but I have. It doesn't feel like I'm approaching middle age, but alas, here I am, wrinkles and all.

Spending as much time with the family as I have since 2015, you become like a part of the family; a distant relative who comes over every few months to spoil your children and wreck your house all in the name of art and fun.

Braden during his first birthday cake smash.

In the name of history too, of course. It may seem like the days are long now -- working demanding careers, raising two human beings, trying to find time to sleep -- but the years are far too short. Before you know it the kids are driving a car, rebelling against authority, and jetting off to college to conquer the world. 

And with age comes memory loss. The older we get, and the older the kids get, the less we remember about things like midnight feedings, catching vomit with your right hand while you hold your sick baby in your left arm, and first-time walker face-plants (like the one below).

Braden crashes after an attempt to keep up with his big brother, Brandt. 

That's where milestones portraiture comes in handy. Every three months I head down to the family home in Shady Side, set up my lights, and capture the milestones. From rolling over, to sitting up, to walking and running, my camera documents the important moments that are too invaluable to forget.

Is a milestones plan an investment? Sure. But considering the prints and albums are guaranteed to last a lifetime and beyond, it's a pretty small investment when spread out over decades.

Portrait photography is so much more than just snapping pictures; it's documenting the here and now in order to preserve those memories for the future. In the age of digital cameras on every phone, we take photos for granted. But in the end, what do we have to show for all those iPhone photos? Facebook memories that pop up on our timeline, but what happens when Facebook becomes obsolete? Don't think that could happen? Go ask Tom over on MySpace how he's doing.

The Culmination Of The First Year Milestones Plan 

The structure of my First Year Milestones Plan is simple: For five payments of $400 each, a family would be entitled to five, one hour portrait sessions including maternity, newborn, 4 months, 8 months, and 12 months. The payment also includes two 8x10 lustre prints and 10 Digital Files of your choosing from each session. That's a $3,500 value for $2,000. Then, at the end of the session, compile your favorite portraits from throughout the year into a beautiful heirloom album, starting at only $675.

If Pictures Are Worth A Thousand Words, Video Is Worth A Million

New to JLB, LLC in 2018 is video and slideshow services. When it comes to capturing milestones during baby's first year, it can be hard to convey things like walking, talking, and rolling over with still photography. But video can do all of that and then some. Take, for instance, the video below of Braden walking and eating cake. How fun will it be for Mom and Dad to watch this with him in 10 years when he's old enough to see the hilarity in it?  Priceless family bonding right there.

Video is also made for social media sharing, which makes it the perfect compliment to all of your printed heirloom products.

So don't wait. If you or your partner are pregnant or hope to start a family soon, get in touch about my First Year Baby Milestones Plan. You don't get second chances for once-in-a-lifetime moments.