Your Children’s Portraits – What You Need To Know To Get The Best In Children’s Photography


Dear Loving Parent,

If Your Child Is The Most Important Thing In The World To You… If You Want A Portrait You Will Cherish Forever…If You Realize How Quickly Things Can Change…

This Webpage Will Be Priceless To You.

Your children enjoy life so much. One day they are just starting to talk with a few words and in no time they are singing and dancing around the room (and expecting your applause).

Can you relate to this at all? Have you noticed that, the older you and your children get, the faster time seems to fly?

Child Photogrpahy

“I loved how James captured the relationship between me and my son.” – Ashley p.

There’s Nothing Like Being A Parent. You’ll Do Anything For Your Child. And When Your Child Smiles, It’s The Most Wonderful Sight In The World…

Imagine this: Having a great professional photograph taken of your son or daughter. One that captures his or her spirit like no other. One so full of emotion you would never want to lose it.

Imagine a portrait capturing an entire moment in your son’s or daughter’s life. A real, tender, innocent smile, and it’s completely HIM or HER. A photograph that captures that childish spirit that will always make you smile. It’s not really a “photograph” at all – it’s Your Child, as they really are, at that moment in time. As they will never be again.

What would a photograph like that of your child mean to you in 20 or 25 years? There’s still time, but every day, your child’s smile changes a little.

These Kinds Of Photographs Are Not Accidents. They Are Not Snapshots. And Yet They’re Not “Posed” Or Unnatural In Any Way.

You know your child better than anyone else in the world. You know his or her “real” smile, and you know his or her “fake” smile. But, you know what? Other people can tell the difference too. We all can. You’ve seen photographs where you could tell the photographer just posed the child and said “say cheese!” The lighting may have been good. The background might have been nice. But that fake expression that happens when a child is PROMPTED to smile – that just makes the photograph look like a snapshot instead of a special captured moment in your child’s life. Actually, worse than a snapshot.

Children's Photography

James found out what my son enjoyed and made the portrait fun for him. He was able to capture the true personality of my son. – Sarah T.

Imagine How Wonderful Your Child’s Expression Will Be When The Photographer Has Become Your Child’s FRIEND.

Children are very smart. They don’t just blindly trust anyone. And they NEVER show their true expressions to someone they don’t know and trust. In addition to my over 20 years as a professional photographer, I also have over 20 years of experience as a child psychologist in a way.

That’s What Makes All The Difference! The Perfect Portrait of Your Child Is Priceless – And It’s ONLY Possible If The Photographer Understands How To Work With Your Child To Bring Out Those Natural Expressions.

Many photographers fear working with children. There’s a good chance that photographer at the mall won’t be the same photographer next time. Working with other people’s children can be very intimidating. Especially if no time is taken to meet with the child or family before the photography. For most photographers, they don’t even meet your child until it’s time to create the photographs. They don’t have time to do it.

So, your child is just sitting there (or so it’s hoped), under all these bright lights, in a strange place, in front of some strange person he or she has never met before. How scary is that? And now days, it might be even a good thing if your child stays away from a stranger. It’s no wonder most photographers have to resort to telling children to “say cheese” and end up with that “frozen” smile.

But That’s Not Good Enough. Your Child Is Only Going To Be This Age RIGHT NOW – You Deserve The Perfect Portrait To Capture This Moment In Time Forever.

When you find the right photographer, a photographer who doesn’t merely understand photography, but also understands how to capture your child’s best expressions, you have found a new friend you will value for the rest of you life. This photographer is going to do something for you that no one else in the world can ever do —- This photographer will STOP TIME, and hold that moment for you to cherish and relive as they change and grow.

Nothing means more to me than family memories. That’s one of the reasons I became a professional photographer – I want to help other parents hold on to their family memories forever, and never regret not having a special photograph of their child created.

Question: “Just Suppose Someone Were To Create The Perfect Portrait of Your Child – One Where Your Child Looked Better Than Ever, Happier Than Ever – A Portrait That Meant The World To You – What Would That Be Worth?”

My wife and I understand the importance of childhood and family photography.

My wife is a naturalized citizen. Her childhood was in a time and place where cameras were rare and professional portraits were even more rare. She has often told me how lucky people who have the opportunity to have their children’s portraits created really are. I’ll never forget the look on her face when she told me how much she wished she had some of herself.

The memories of your child growing up and of your family together are priceless. It’s true that it’s the things that money can’t buy that are the real measure of wealth. It’s just a question of whether you believe a portrait of your children could really mean that much to you.

If you were choosing your child’s doctor, you wouldn’t start by finding the cheapest doctor. You would want the best you could find. You would want a doctor you could trust. Choosing a photographer is very much the same. Let’s face it, you don’t want to show a bad portrait to anyone. No matter how cheap it was.

When you choose a photographer make sure that photographer isn’t just interested in making a quick “shot” and just making a buck.

It’s important that the photographer you choose work to make your child comfortable with getting their portrait created. I try to become a friend of every child I photograph. You see, I didn’t get into photography to get rich. Believe me, there are better (and easier) ways to make a living. I actually went to college to become an computer administrator. I could be making a WHOLE lot of money if I’d stayed in that line of work.

But I CHOSE to become a professional photographer the specializes in family and child portraiture.  Why did I make that career choice? Because I finally realized that all the money in the world meant nothing to me if I didn’t feel like I was making a difference.

I Realized That Childhood Memories Were Priceless – That There Was No More Noble Or Wonderful Profession Than To Become A “Memory Giver.”

I didn’t become a photographer because I liked to take photographs. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the “art” of photography, but that’s NOT the reason I first decided to create portraits.

Time is the one thing that none of us have enough of. It’s the one thing that money can’t buy. It’s the one thing that we all would give just about anything for. It’s also something we never know how much we have. Through photography, we can hold on to the moments in our lives that we wish could last forever. And, if it’s done correctly, these same moments of time can become works of art that remind us of the wonderful emotions those moments brought us. Art we can display in our homes for everyone to see and share.

Don’t Make The Decision As To Who Will Photograph Your Child Until You Chat With Me. There Are Things You’ll Want To Ask The Photographers…

There’s no cost, and no obligation to just chat with me, and it will make the whole difference as to how great your portraits will look.

Just click here to contact me.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to try to “sell you” on working with me. I’m already very busy, and I don’t need to pressure anyone to work with me as a photographer. We’ll just talk about your portraits, and help you discover what your photographs could be like.

If you decide to have me create your portraits – great. If not, no problem.

Throughout This Webpage, You’ll See And Hear From Parents In Southeast Wisconsin Who Have Had Their Lives Forever Enriched By the Lasting Memories Of Children’s Portraits —

— But There Were Things Even They Didn’t Know When They Started Looking For A Photographer…

I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to photograph many children. It’s hard to express the wonderful feeling when someone tells me how much a portrait I created means to them and how wonderful it turned out. You’ll see some of those portraits on this site.

If you’re like most parents, when you first thought of having a portrait created of your child, you probably pictured in your mind a tiny studio, with a painted background, some bright lights, with your child sitting cross-legged on a stool looking nervous. Maybe you even thought of a family member or friend of yours who fancies himself or herself as a “bit of a photography buff.” Maybe you thought of having this person do a quick photograph of your child, and you’d call that good enough. You’re not alone. Most parents think this way at first….

…but then, just like so many of the other portraits I’ve created, something made you decide to check out my website. You probably saw some of the children’s photography I’ve created and said to yourself “that’s what I want.” Maybe you realized that this portrait of your child is so important, you’re not going to trust it to just anyone. Believe me, you’ve made the right choice.

The 6 VITAL Things To Look For In Your Child’s Photographer – The Secrets 99% Of All People In The World Don’t Know:

By reading this far, you must at least be considering having a portrait of your child created. Well, that’s great – there are few decision like this that bring as much lasting joy. However, there are some things you NEED to know before your son or daughter steps in front of any camera. By the time you finish reading this webpage, you will know everything you need to know about how to have the perfect portrait of your child created – the one you will cherish forever!

There are 6 VITAL things you must look for in a photographer! If your photographer is missing any one of these things, your child’s photographs will be much less than they should be. Demand that your photographer does each and every one of these things!

You may feel like having a children’s portrait done is going to be a lot of work on your part. It may be some work, but if you know the information here, it’s going to be a lot easier and the results are going to be amazing.

…So, let’s jump right in!

#1 Thing Your Photographer MUST DO:

Demand That Your Photographer GUARANTEE You Will Love Your Child’s Portraits. Most photographers WILL NOT DO THIS! Just suppose you had a portrait created, and your son or daughter didn’t look natural in it. The photograph was “ok,” but it didn’t turn out spectacular. Frankly, you could have had Uncle George do it and you wouldn’t notice the difference. Should you have to pay for it? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I believe strongly that no one should ever have to pay for a photograph that isn’t PERFECT. That’s why you won’t see a guarantee like mine from very many photographers.

Here it is – A Guarantee Unlike Any You’ve Ever Heard:

If Your Child Doesn’t Look The Happiest & Best He Or She Has Ever Looked In These Photographs – If You Don’t Cry (tears of joy) When You Look At Them – You Don’t Pay Me For Them.

That’s my guarantee and personal promise to you. As far as I know, there’s no other photographer around that will make you a guarantee like this. These photographs will be completely meaningless to you unless they convey the real emotions and personality of your child. That’s the only real reason to have a children’s portrait created.

So, if FOR ANY REASON you feel that the photographs I create for you are anything less than perfect – if you don’t actually cry when I show them to you for the first time, you don’t pay me for them. It’s that simple.

Obviously, I’m totally confident that the portraits I create for you will be well beyond anything you imagine. I believe completely that these photographs will become your most prized possessions – that, if your house were on fire, you would grab them on the way out of your burning home (after your family of course). This is not arrogance. I’m simply going to put more work into creating portraits for you than anyone else and I have a belief in my abilities to capture natural, real emotions from your child in photographs unlike anyone else. That’s what I’ve devoted my life to, and that’s why I can’t wait to photograph your child for you.

So, To Restate, Here’s My Fantastic DOUBLE GUARANTEE:

If you are not THRILLED with your photographs – if you are dissatisfied for ANY reason at all, I will do two things for you:

1st – At NO CHARGE, I will photograph your child again, and make sure that anything that wasn’t perfect is fixed, without you paying another cent.

2nd – If I am absolutely unable to thrill you – if I’m unable to create a photograph that you feel you will cherish forever, I will refund EVERY PENNY you invested in them. You don’t pay for your photographs unless you love them beyond expression!

If I don’t end up being your photographer, make ABSOLUTELY SURE your photographer offers this strong of a guarantee. If they are professional and really good at what they do, they should back up their work by taking all the risk off of you. There’s no reason to have bad portraits created and have to pay for them. Bad portraits are worse than worthless.

#2 Thing Your Photographer MUST DO:

Meet Your Child, And Become His Or Her Friend – Ahead Of Time – BEFORE The Session.

No child is going to look natural and vibrant in a photograph if they don’t know and trust the photographer. That is just a plain FACT. Plus, besides making the photographs turn out so much better, think of how much more fun your child is going to have during the session if the photographer has become his or her friend! There’s absolutely NO REASON why your child shouldn’t enjoy having these portraits created. In fact, if your child is NOT having fun, the photographs will not turn out well at all.

You see, long ago, I made a decision. I decided then and there that I would NEVER do a photographic session without meeting my subject ahead of time. That single decision has made more of a difference to my clients than any other decision I’ve ever made.

THERE’S NO COST FOR THIS PRE-SESSION MEETING, and it will only take about 15 minutes, but by the time those fifteen minutes are up, you and your child will be so comfortable with me that when I do the actual session, the expressions will be perfect, natural, and priceless every time.

In fact, I feel this “pre-session” is so important, I’ve turned down potential clients who didn’t feel the need to meet with me first. It’s simple not possible to accurately portray someone in a portrait that you haven’t gotten a chance to know.

If I don’t end up being your photographer, make ABSOLUTELY SURE your photographer will meet with you and your child ahead of time, and AT NO CHARGE.  I can’t stress enough what a difference this will make!

#3 Thing Your Child Photographer MUST DO:

AT NO EXTRA CHARGE, Your Photographer Should Create The Images ON LOCATION Instead Of In A Boring Studio.

This is such an important point – for so many reasons! First of all, as I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest challenges for a photographer is making your child feel totally comfortable, thereby getting totally natural and fun expressions on film. Well, in addition to meeting the photographer ahead of time, one of the best things for your child is to create the photographs in a location that is familiar or fun for the child.

Where’s the place most children are the most comfortable? IN OR AROUND THEIR HOME or in a place they like to go. Imagine being a child, and instead of going to some “scary” studio somewhere, the photographer comes to your home, and creates fantastic photographs right there in the home or in your own backyard! How great would that be? Think of how comfortable and “at home” you would feel as a child.

Or, suppose going out to a park somewhere, or to the beach, or playing in a pile of leaves – and having the photographer take your photographs there. Again, not the photographers favorite park, but your child’s favorite park. Not only will your son or daughter have more fun being photographed this way, but it will also be a much more personal and unique setting. There’s nothing personal or exciting about a photograph taken in a studio. The setting will look just like the settings of hundreds of other child photographs.

Yes, I can create images with background if that is want you really prefer. But we’ll still create those portraits in your home where your child will be most comfortable.

Location photography takes a lot more work for a photographer. It takes a lot more time which means a photographer handle as many clients. Many photographers prefer to have their clients come to them so they handle more customers in the same time and make more money.

Other photographers go to a different extreme. They don’t take location work serious and don’t do the extra work to make sure everything is as perfect as it would be in the studio. No planning. No preparation. Just the bare minimum to get it done as fast as possible.

It’s a real shame because I’ve found that having the portrait created somewhere special to your child or special to you makes the portrait a lot more personal. Your child has more fun and feels free to be himself or herself. It’s also true that the environment also shows your child’s personality when it is their environment they are in and not some dark studio.

I will come to your home, or go with you and your child to a location that is important to you and your child. You see, not only do I not mind doing location photography, which takes more work on my part – it’s now the only way I create portraits. After over 15 years of photographing children, I know that location photographs tend to be the photographs that parents like you like the most.

So if I don’t end up being your photographer, make ABSOLUTELY SURE your photographer will create images on location a take the time to do it right AT NO CHARGE.

#4 Thing Your Portrait Photographer MUST DO:

The photographer must be able to help make your child completely comfortable so your child will look great.

I was very fortunate to work with my mother for much of my photography career (ok, I didn’t feel that way all the time). She worked with young children ( I don’t mean just my sister, brother, and I) all her life and she is still absolutely fantastic with children. She is even better at reading stories to toddlers than Captain Kangaroo (I guess not too many kids get to hear him nowadays).

Of course, I couldn’t always have Mom along (she’s still doing great) anymore. So I’ve developed my own way of working with children over the years.

I have some rules for working with kids that I’ll go through with you when we prepare for your child’s portrait. Those rules aren’t for the kids, they are FOR US ADULTS!

Working with kids is always a challenge. If you have more than one child, you know how different they can be one from the other. Every child is different and will react to having their photograph created differently.

Sometimes, it works best if I just “play along” with them. Other children are so very timid of strangers it’s best if I work at a bit of a distance interacting through mom or dad till your child warms up to me. Unlike most photographers, I’m not in any hurry to get back to a busy schedule. I’ll take all the time needed to make sure your child is comfortable. There’s no rush and no pressure.

Of course, I also approach the portrait as something that is fun for your child. Not something they ‘have” to do. Something they will want to do (my secret rules work to encourage this).

If your child is not comfortable with the photographer, they won’t look happy in the portrait. Make sure that whatever photographer you have photograph your child, they take the time to make sure your child is completely comfortable and having a good time.

URGENT: MAJOR Myth, Mistake Or Misconception About Your Child’s Photography:

“There’s No Rush To Have A Portrait Of Your Child Created Right Now.”

Before we go any further with the 6 THINGS YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER MUST DO, let’s talk about this for a moment. So many people think they have all the time in the world to have a portrait of their child created.

But, you know how things are. If you don’t pick up the phone right now, and at least call me to chat about your child’s portrait, you’re probably going to get swamped with other things, and forget all about it for a while. Then, before you know it, one year – then two years – then five years have gone by. By then, your child will be very different from the way they look and act now. You’ll have missed your chance to preserve what you adore so much now.

Time stops for no man or woman – or child.

First, Your Child Takes His or Her First Step. Next, Learns To Ride A Bike. Later, Gets A Driver’s License. Graduates From High School.  Gets Married. Starts A Family Of His or Her Own.

The time you have now is precious, while things will change, you don’t need to let this moment slip from your fingers.

This is something you don’t want to put off. We all know how life is. You put something off and before you know it, it’s all different. You probably get the same feeling of frustration I do looking back year after year of all the things you want to do and never quite get done. Getting that portrait of your child created – as they are right now- is something you deserve and something you’ll appreciate more and more as time goes by.

Plus, You Will Save 50% By Acting Right Now!

What if you call my studio and chat with me? What if you decide you would like me to be your child’s photographer? If you are one of the first 20 people to call me (just for your FREE chat), I will deduct 50% off the creation of your child’s portraits – Even if you need to wait for a while to have them created!

That means you don’t have to have the portrait created right away – just call and chat. If you decide to have me photograph your child then I’ll take 50% off the creation of the portrait – even if it’s not for a few months away.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO RIGHT THIS SECOND? (and why should you do it?)

Pick up the phone, and call my studio. CLICK HERE for the number.

Don’t worry what time it is. If it’s late, I’ve got voice mail that is just waiting to cheerfully take your message, and I’ll personally call you back so we can chat. Just let me know when is a good time to call you back. Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to “pressure” you at all into working with me. Plus, there’s no cost at all for us just to chat.

When we talk, we’ll chat a bit about the things you need to know. I’ll tell you a bit about me. I’ll answer all your questions about how to prepare for your child’s portrait – including things I don’t have time to put in this letter. It won’t be a long call, but it will be one of the most important calls you make.

OK, back the the list of things your child’s photographer much do.

#5 Thing Your Photographer MUST DO:

The Photographer MUST Allow At Least ONE HOUR Time To Photograph Your Child!

This is a real make or break point in children’s photography. Most photographers are trying to crank so many sessions through in a day, they can only devote a short time to each portrait. With the average child photographer spending only twelve and a half minutes on a child for a portrait you can see how easy it is to miss getting your child at hers or his best.

It’s more than just not giving your child enough time to be at their best. Not planning enough time puts a lot of pressure on the photographer to “just get the shot” as soon as possible. Even the best meaning photographer is going to pass a bit of that pressure onto your child. No wonder so many kids start to cry when they get to a photography studio even later in life. Perhaps you, yourself have the feeling that you can’t look “natural” in a portrait from the experiences you had as a child.

Extremely early in my career, I realized that getting the best portrait from a child took more than a just a few minutes. Very early on, I insisted that we start to schedule more time. Time to take a break if the child just wasn’t ready yet. By ready, I don’t mean dress and hair brushed. I mean comfortable and ready to look their best. For years, I planned left an hour or more between sessions. Parents often were ready to give up long before some of my best portraits were created. I had time to let the child become ready and I could wait till then.

The time scheduled for your child’s portrait can really affect how great the portrait can be.

That’s why I don’t even have a time limit for portraits any more.

The portrait “session” is done when the best portrait possible is created and not before. Sometimes, that can even happen with the first few exposures. In that case, we have plenty of time to spend a few minutes more having fun trying some things that we might not have planned or thought would work out.

Occasionally, that best portrait might even need to be created be on another day. Some days, your child just won’t be at their best. A coming cold, a bad nights rest, there are lots of things, especially with kids that can make getting them at their best something to be tried on a different day. Also, if I feel that your child is done for the day (which is different from just needing a break) we’ll stop. No portrait is worth traumatizing your child by pushing them. While technique and skill will often overcome the effects of a bad day, if I don’t like the results I see, your going to get a call from me that we need try again. Yet, you’ll be surprised at what can be created many times even on an “off” day due to the relaxed atmosphere we will have for your child.

If I am not your child’s photographer, make sure the photographer you hire is not so worried about finishing in time for his next session that he can’t give your child the attention she or he needs.

#6 Thing Your Photographer MUST DO!

Make your child feel totally comfortable by using your child’s favorite toy, pet, or other unique item.

This is where things get really fun and I love how this makes your child’s portrait extra special. Children love things that are familiar. Having an object that is familiar to them can really calm them down. It makes your child more comfortable and adds another level of uniqueness to the portrait.

My sister had a blue blanket. Actually, she had several blue blankets that I remember (I’m not sure she knew there was more than one at the time). I think mom even patched them together as they wore out. Whenever we went somewhere, the blanket had to go along, just in case. I think it’s why I always liked Linus from the Charlie Brown cartoons. Both Linus and my sister always seemed pretty smart.

However, none of the portraits my mom had taken of my sister had that blanket in them. I can’t help but think how much more special a portrait with that blanket would have been. In fact, none of the portraits we had as children really have anything in the portrait that tell anything about us. I think that is a shame.

Imagine a portrait of your child with a favorite pet. Years from now, when your child is older and the pet is no longer around, imagine the happy memories that portrait will bring back.

Or perhaps your child has a favorite toy. You know, that special toy that they always choose to take along. Perhaps a car, a doll, or maybe a first bike. Imagine a artistic portrait of your son or daughter lost in their own world playing with that favorite toy. Imagine how much more fun they will have playing and how natural they will look with that toy than trying to sit still and “look natural” in some strange place.

When your child is engaged in something they know, they are going to be much more comfortable. They may even forget they are getting a portrait and become lost in their own world playing with their favorite toy. These are the moments that make children’s so special. The moments when a portrait really stops a moment of time in your child’s life.

If you choose another photographer, make sure that photographer is going to use something that your child loves in the photograph.

Why your child’s photograph will become more valuable to you than anything else in your home.

What if you had a portrait of your son or daughter that really captured their personality and expression? Not just a snapshot taken on an outing on the Fourth of July, but something really special. A portrait where the lighting was just perfect to capture the sparkle on their eye. One where they were comfortable and having a great time, doing something they enjoyed.

If your like me, a wonderful portrait that captures all of that and more, is something you would treasure very highly. Something you would be proud to hang on the wall for everyone to see. Something that would be the first thing you would save if your house were on fire (after you knew everyone was safe).

This moment of time in your child’s life can be stopped and held for you to share with family and friends for the rest of your life. It’s not too late.

You don’t have to choose the photographer right now. You don’t need to decide that right now is the time for your child’s portrait. You don’t have to make the big decision right now. Just take one small step to holding on to one of the precious times in your child’s life right now and call me.

Just call my studio and we’ll chat. If you decide you want me to create your child’s portrait, you’ll save 50% off it’s creation just for calling me now to chat about it.

You’ll save 50% even if you decide to wait a bit more before you have it created. Call any time, if I don’t answer, just leave your name and number and a convenient time for me to call you back. If you are thinking of making this portrait as a gift, let me know so I only ask for you and don’t ruin the surprise.

Just click here to call or contact me.

Make the call now. You’ll be glad you called even if you choose a different photographer.


James E. Thoenes

Portrait Artist