In December I wrapped up my first full Year in the Life Project with a truly amazing family. While I can’t speak for them, I can say that for me, working with them over the past year was an incredibly rich and meaningful experience.

It’s certainly true that during my regular sessions I get to know families pretty well and this is especially true for families who I photograph year after year. But photographing a family over the course of an entire year made the trust, comfort and familiarity that make a photo session truly authentic and honest so much deeper and richer. And that trust and greater comfort with another is evident in the photos we made together over the past year.



Bearing witness via my camera to the growth and change of this family over the year was remarkable. And pressing pause on life to document activities, rituals and celebrations throughout an entire year is an incredible gift to be able to hold on to as life marches ever forward. I know that choosing to do this project is not an easy decision and that, on the surface, there are certainly a number of reasons why opting to do a whole year of photos might seem like just too much. But, just stick with me for a bit and hopefully I can convince you that your concerns about signing up for this year-long journey are not as important as the gift it would be to your family. Let’s document your magical year as a legacy for your family.



Why would I need all those photos?

For every session I deliver a proofing gallery of approximately 75-100 photos which feels like a lot of photos. So, I can understand why you might think that six sessions in a year might seem like too many photos. But I promise you, it isn’t.

Your online year-in-the-life gallery is arranged by month and includes one slideshow and one gallery for each session. It’s easy to navigate, easy to share and easy to choose favorite images. And best of all it will always be available as your gallery does not expire. Each session tells its own unique story–painting a picture of life in that moment and in that season. Just imagine how beautiful it would be to be able to revisit a whole year in your family’s life over and again as the years pass.

And if you choose just the right time in your family’s life for this project, the changes and growth in your life, your family and of your children are truly remarkable to see across the span of 12 months. The first year in your child’s life, the year that your child grows from a toddler into a little kid or they grow from child into budding teenager: these are all momentous years where so much in life shifts. And that is worth remembering in full.

The thought of planning all those sessions feels so overwhelming!

I know that planning one photo session in a year can feel daunting. And so the thought of doing that six times could seem really overwhelming. But I promise it is not six times as hard or stressful! When you only have one photo session each year we definitely put pressure on ourselves to get everything right for those few hours in front of the camera.

Imagine, now, that you have six opportunities for photos in that same time frame. You no longer need to choose just the right kind of session at just the right time. You can explore different types of sessions: quiet mornings at home in your pj’s, annual seasonal traditions like a trip to the pumpkin patch, outdoor adventures full of action, more formal sessions with matching clothes and some posed portraits. You can have it all and do it all and feel like you haven’t chosen one option at the expense of another.

And it goes without saying that part of what’s included in this service is a thorough planning meeting with me during which we’ll talk about what’s important to you in life, what your family loves to do and how to turn those values into practical plans for six beautiful photo sessions.



This feels like a really big financial investment.

It’s true that investing in a year of photos isn’t cheap, but I really think it’s worth it. Like a really special vacation, this is not the kind of purchase you make every year. It’s a gift that you can give your family maybe once or twice, but what an amazing gift it is. To have your family photographed together for a whole year, to see how life changes and shifts during that time and to preserve that as a legacy to pass on to your children is something truly special.

On a more practical note, pound for pound (or photo for photo) this project is less expensive than my signature sessions. Initial and ongoing planning throughout our year together, six full galleries and six custom slideshows for download, a gallery that never expires and a custom designed luxury album of your favorite photos from the year are all included in this project. Simple automated payments and the peace of mind of an all-inclusive service eliminate the need to make any purchase decisions along the way, too. I would venture to guess that at the end of our year together, you’ll agree that this was truly an investment was well worth making.

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Catherine Hilcove Photography: Family Photography, Madison WI