Emily Ulmer Photography

We would love to say that we found Emily Ulmer, but we didn't. She found us and, boy, are we glad that she did! From the very first photo, we were taken. Her photography is gorgeous and timeless.

 We got a chance to chat with her via the email the other day and thought we would share our chat with you - along with many of her fabulous pictures!

You mentioned you have worked in both New York and LA. Is most of your work with families or do you mainly work for publications like small magazine?

At the moment I'm doing a mixture of the two. I lived in NYC for three years so it's great going back there to work. I love doing commissioned portraits for families as I get to form relationships that tend to last well after the shoots. The editorial work for magazines such as Small lets me come up with interesting story ideas and work with great children's clothing designers and shop owners.

How long have you been a photographer?
I've been taking pictures since my late teens but I didn't start to do it seriously until about 5 or 6 years ago. I was doing fine art portraiture--- mainly portraits of girls in their
early 20's. Photographing children happened organically and became my focus when I moved back to Los Angeles from NY at the end of 2009.

How long does a session usually take?
Of course with younger children, they can only last so long when you're photographing them. A session usually lasts from one to two hours, although I recently did a session
that lasted for over four hours. I shoot quickly so that helps a lot when some kids are over it in 20 minutes!

How do you get children to be comfortable being photographed?
I don't think I could do what I do without being able to make children comfortable in a very natural way. Some kids are at ease with me immediately--- some take a little longer.
It's really all about engaging the children and having them forget that there's a camera there. I start asking them about their weekend, favorite movies, and then take the shots
during the pauses in conversation.

What's been one of your favorite shoots?
My favorite shoot to date was the one I did for the fall issue of Small. I shot four friends in Bronson Canyon. Three of them were 5 years-old and that is an amazing age to capture.
I posed them for some shots but then I just let them roam free and followed them with my camera. After a while I don't think they even noticed that I was there, which can make for the best images. 

Do you have a favorite age to photograph? A favorite setting to have a session?
Five and six are great ages--- they're much calmer by that age and are generally excited about taking pictures. My favorite setting is in a child's home, as they are the most comfortable
there. A couch, a bed, their backyard--- those are my favorite places to shoot. The environment definitely plays a strong role in my pictures.

Do you help pick out wardrobe?
Like the setting, the wardrobe contributes a lot to my work. I like to have the kids where timeless pieces--- I steer clear of crazy prints and graphics. The styling is a lot of fun as most parents let me go into the child's closet and pick out whatever I want. And the kids always help, of course. A four year old girl I photographed pretty much styled our whole shoot once! 

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