Cake Smash with the Twins | St. Louis Family Photographer by Michael Henson

A First!

When I was given the opportunity to take photos for a cake smash session featuring one-year-old twin boys, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect! I knew that there would be cake and the smashing of said cake, but beyond that? I dunno! As with any of my photo sessions, I spent a good deal of time looking for inspiration and thinking about how I wanted to approach it.

I showed up a bit early to the session with a solid game plan and a lot of excitement. Once we got mom, dad, and the twins ready, we started off with a few shots in the backyard. I was able to track down a vintage Radio Flyer wagon, add a blanket and a couple Winnie the Pooh bears, the twins, and you have a great combination for some classic baby cuteness! When the boys weren’t focused on waving at every car that drove by (they’re a friendly crew!), we snagged a couple great photos and moved inside for the part that everyone had been waiting for.

Cake Smash

The cake smash area was set up in front of the perfect wall, on top of the perfect table (love the reflections!). While the twins were prepped, I got my trusty studio lighting ready to go, and then we let the smashing begin! After several moments of tentativeness, the boys got into it and got their hands dirty. A few short moments later and it was all over!

Now that it's over and I've had some time to reflect, I must say, I had a blast! I mean, babies are cute anyway but add some sugar and some icing and you have quite the combo! I’m certainly looking forward to my next one!

Contact me to schedule your session today!

Caleb | St. Louis Senior Photographer by Michael Henson

Fall Photos

Fall = gloom.

At least that’s the way that this fall seems to have worked. From mini-sessions to November’s [re]Fresh Model of the Month, the sun has remained conspicuously hidden. Fortunately, having the proper lighting equipment and knowledge can make everything better! It’s a good thing, too! The Saturday of Caleb’s senior photos promised rain but the showers held off long enough for us to sneak our session in.

Black Suit & a Bow tie

An open field, black suit, and a snazzy bow tie started off the morning followed up by a few shots in the beautiful Forest Park World’s Fair Pavilion. Caleb rocked and posed almost as though he were involved in theater or something at school. (Quick note: He is.) Everything was going so well that the next step was fairly obvious, introduce a sword to the mix! The resulting pictures are very cool and, again, Caleb made everything look great!

Getting Gladitorial

Since we’d already introduced weapons to the setting, we went ahead and had him suit up in his authentic Roman armor. That’s when things really got fun! From silly juxtapositions to frames that look like they are out of a movie, we had an absolute blast! I loved getting to spend some time with Caleb and we were able to create some phenomenal shots.

Take a look around and if you want to work with me to create some awesome-ness that is as much “you” we were able to create with Caleb, shoot me a message! I love trying new things! So, if you have a crazy vision that you would like to try, I’m your man!

Give me a call or shoot me an email and we’ll chat about how to create your vision!

Contact Me:

Phone: 314.703.4408


Instagrammer Meet-Up! @BRIPHILLIPS | St. Louis Photographer by Michael Henson

A project that I've been working on is to meet some of the inspirational people that I follow on Instagram to chat about creativity, life, and their work. I'll be sharing their stories, some pictures, and our time together here so keep checking back!

I had the chance to meet Brianna, @briphillips, in the Shaw Neighborhood a couple weeks back at Gelateria del Leone on Grand. From the nice weather, to the incredible environment, to the inspiring conversation, the evening was great! We talked music, school, design, and coffee for a while before stepping outside for a few photos. 

The part of the conversation that excited me most was getting to hear Brianna discuss Trifold Roasters, a collaboration that she's working on with a friend that will seek to provide locally sourced, locally roasted coffee to businesses and churches in the area. Started in someone's kitchen with a vision and some coffee beans - It's an inspiring story that reminds me (and hopefully reminds you) that, regardless of your vision, you have to "go for it" if you ever expect anything to come of it! Don't simply entertain daydreams of something that you would "like to do someday" and get out there and do it! 

Embrace the conflict you encounter along the way and live an incredible, daring story. Remember, if things get too hectic and you just need a break, you can always take a break and snag some gelato!

(As always comments and feedback are appreciated! If you have any questions you'd like me to ask the next Instagrammer, let me know!)

Gelateria del Leone
Bri Phillips Trifold Roasters St. Louis

The 3 Reasons People Hate Their Pictures (& How to Avoid Them) | St. Louis Photographer by Michael Henson

We've all been there. We're going through life minding our own business. Maybe we're munching on a snack that's messier than we expected or sweating in the blazing Midwest summer sun with enough humidity to stifle a small blaze if the sun were to start one. Maybe we're about to sneeze or have our eyes closed...then CLICK! The hated sound of a camera going off in your face. That incredibly un-photogenic expression is captured forever on a memory card or burned into film and there's really not much you can do about it!

Yes, there's a reason that most of us hate having to have photos taken. Valuable arguments for the preservation of memories aside, the thought of willingly putting yourself through that process is entirely unappealing and you'd rather just pass on the whole affair. I get it! There are three primary reasons people dislike having photos taken...but you don't have to be one of them! Keep reading and I'll help you out! 

One : They Hate How They Look

This is very understandable! Like the scenarios I described earlier, it's easy to judge your personal appearance based on bad experiences in the past. I get it! 

Two: They Don't Feel Comfortable

I've heard this countless times. Most of the time, people confuse their level of "photogenic-ness" with their comfort level in front of the camera. Other times, there's an irrational fear of the camera itself that's developed over years of comparisons to Photoshopped celebrities or the bad experiences from previous camera related events. The truth is, you can look amazing regardless of whether or not you feel amazing! Trust me! 

Three: They Don't Know What to Do With Their _____

Most of those stepping in front of the camera aren't sure what to do with their hands, legs, feet, head, arms, etc. Sometimes, this results in failed attempts to mimic their celebrity of choice and end up looking awkward and uncomfortable. This leads to reason #2 and eventually #1 as they review their pictures at a later date. It's quite the spiral!

How do you fix these common reasons for photo-hate?

There are steps that you can take to make yourself look more comfortable, confident, and "better" in all photos that I will discuss more in-depth in a later post, but the easiest way to ensure you look your absolute best is to find a photographer you like and trust. A photographer that is worth their session fee will be able to help you look good, help you feel comfortable throughout the session, and will coach you through what to do and how to position your hands, feet, etc.

What's that look like? For example, when I begin my sessions, I will provide a general idea of the direction I plan to go throughout the session. I'll give some pointers to the guy/gal/family that will help them understand how to place their hands, head, and feet to look their absolute best, and I'll find out which side the gals prefer I shoot from (most have a definite preference). I'll explain some of the terminology that I'll use throughout the session so they understand what I'm asking for when I say, "v-up," or, "open up." Finally, I'll take a few moments to show them the images that I've taken early in the session to show that things are looking great.

These simple steps help alleviate the fears and discomfort associated with getting photos taken. By following this process, my "peeps" understand how to look their best, they feel comfortable with my level of knowledge, and they get a chance to see that everything is going great early in the session so they can relax and actually enjoy it rather than feeling uptight and nervous about the results. The result is a happy client, couple, or family and photos that look stellar!

I'm not insinuating that my process is the "end all/be all" approach to photography. My purpose is to describe some examples of ways that photographers can work to make your experience enjoyable rather than frightening. So, do your research! Find a photographer who's style you like and who you feel comfortable with and confident in. Then, relax and enjoy the process! That's the formula for excellent photos that you'll be happy with for years to come.

Ryan & Larissa | St. Louis Engagement Photographer by Michael Henson

We had a blast and came away with some amazing, fun shots! We spent some time first at Conway Park in Creve Coeur, MO and made the mad dash from there to downtown St. Charles, MO before the sun ran out. We finished up with with a fun umbrella shot that looks great!