Archive for November, 2009

Island Farm Sessions

November 28, 2009

Family portrait season is in full effect, and when I see families tickling each other in the grass, I am always reminded just how much I LOVE these sessions.

I like to think it isn’t too painful to come and do photos with me, even if no one really wants to put on fresh clothes and comb their hair, especially on a weekend.  But once the red sweaters and new kicky boots are on, all bets are off, and most of us are picking leaves out of our hair by the end of the session

Enjoy these recent favorites from a beautiful, sunny series of sessions at Stonington’s glorious Elihu Island.


P.S. Keep the Photo Fix Photos coming! I have indeed received more than five, but I love every single one, so you might just get me to work on all of them. Or I will call my neighbor, who is much better than I am at Photoshop, and see if he is in the holiday spirit to work on a few! Deadline is December 1.


I have three December portrait sessions dates left!

Email me for available dates (, and if you catch me at a weak moment, you MIGHT even get me to promise you’ll have them in time for holiday cards.


The Hank & Willie Annual Holiday Photo Fix

November 23, 2009

Photo and original card design courtesy of Card available at Cute dog not available, sadly.

Sigh. I take THOUSANDS of photos a year. Beautiful babies and blushing brides.  Captivating kids and their patient parents and pretty pets. Did I say THOUSANDS?

You’d think I could get ONE  keeper of my own offspring, but it happens pretty infrequently around here, unless you like superhero faces and bared teeth. (I do.)

So, as I do each year, I booked the date for my children’s annual portrait session with our favorite family photographer. I’m thrilled, because I get magical results without having to do the cajoling.

But all this reminds which reminds me that A) Christmas is a month away and B) it’s time for the annual Hank & Willie/Anna Sawin Photography photo fix. As my gift to you, I am happy to try a little Photoshop magic on your photo this year.

(See last year’s call for photos.  And the results.)

If you’ve got the photo you want to use, but it needs a little something extra before you create your card, send it my way. Head swapping is definitely not my speciality, but I’ll try one of those if the situation is dire enough, and am always happy to remove face crud, stray hairs, brighten and perk up, convert to black and white, etc.  If you send it to me no later than Dec. 1, I’ll be sure and get it back to you while you’re still looking for the four books of holiday stamps you bought last week.*

*Please tell me that doesn’t just happen to me?



The fine print

Send me your full-resolution photo at and make sure you put Anna Sawin Photography/Photo Help in the subject line. And, if you send me a photo, it is fair game to post the before and after on H&W, but I won’t use your name if you don’t want it published. If you have a blog, be sure to send me a link so I can share the love (and so I can see what else you are photographing these days!)

I don’t think I am going to get tons of photos, because many H & W readers are excellent photo editors already. However, if I get too many (like more than five) I will pick a few randomly to work on. I’ll send ’em back to you in time to make a card, and I’ll post ’em here to show everyone what I did! And hey–if you have a blog and Photoshop know how–why not post a photo fix of your own and post it in the comments? I love learning from other PS mavens, and I bet plenty of you have tricks to share.

Something as simple as breathing

November 17, 2009

Breathing—we do it all day and all night, and almost never think a thing about it, until we’re knocked out with a nuisance of a cold once or twice a year. And having giant healthy lungs, which most of us are blessed with, means that we never really give any thought to tiny premature baby lungs, the size of our thumbs, struggling to fill with air.

But then, this morning I read Julie’s post this morning and thought to myself, “Once again, she says it better than anyone.”  While we mothers of NICU warriors might have healthy children today, with just the faintest of scars to show for that time, we carry our own deep scars, etched on our hearts. Perhaps the only way to heal those is to do some small thing in hopes that another baby and another parent won’t have to live through the time we did.

And what seems crazy to me now is that I really didn’t know how sick he was.  It wasn’t until a doctor said, “This is really tough…but we think he’ll go home with you,” that I understood he still might not…

I breathed for Charlie that night, sitting by his bed, crying, eyeballs so swollen that it hurt to move them in my head, nostrils scrubbed raw by hospital paper towels.  Every gurgle of his CPAP happened, it seemed, because we willed it.  His breaths, when they resumed, were only because we worked for them when he couldn’t. Which isn’t true, of course.  The tickle of the feet and the rubbing of the belly helped, but it was the drip of caffeine, the caustic burst of antibiotic, and the transfusion that eventually brought him around.  It was the science: serendipity and inspiration tempered by years of research and refinement, the careful observation and adjustment, a dedication that awes me.  My deep gulps of air did nothing, practically speaking, for Charlie.  All they did was keep me upright, somehow, next to the isolette.

Like many preterm babies, when Charlie was born, his lungs were immature.  They lacked surfactant, a substance that keeps the lungs from closing and collapsing upon exhalation, and couldn’t stay open on their own.  The development of artificial surfactant therapy, funded by the March of Dimes in the 1980s, ushered in a tenfold decrease in the number of babies who die from RDS (respiratory distress syndrome).  Three doses of surfactant and five years later, Charlie’s not only alive but thriving, the only artifact of  his prematurity an occasional touch of asthma.

Julie, at A Little Pregnant

I could have written it, but she does it better, and I hope you’ll take a moment to read her entire post and take her up on her offer to donate for each story you share in the comments.

I can’t write it like Julie does, I but I join her today in her offer—in honor of our Henry, and Julie’s son Charlie and my beautiful niece and nephew Isabella and Andrew, born at 30 weeks, I will donate a dollar to the March of Dimes for every story you share about prematurity touching your life. One per reader, please.

And thank you to longtime Hank & Willie readers who have so kindly donated to the March of Dimes at my urging in the past.

And as I have said before,

if you’ve known a preemie,

if your child was a preemie,

if you were a preemie,

if you’re grateful that you didn’t have a preemie,

if you might someday have a preemie,

if you’d like to honor the medical professionals that cared for Henry or a preemie in your life,

or if you just think my Henry is a tough guy,

you even can make your own donation here.

I bet I can even find a few more embarrassing photos of myself to post if the March of Dimes gets some H & W donations this year!

Thank you.

Katryne + Kevin: Married in Rhode Island

November 13, 2009

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There is hardly anything better than a fall wedding in New England, unless it is a small, intimate fall wedding in New England.


Katryne and Kevin hosted the loveliest event on October 23, and every detail echoed them, from Katryne’s signature hot pink accents everywhere (even on the guests), the black and white rocks they’ve been gathering during their courtship, the hiliarious and irrevent family and friend photos used for seating arrangements,  the game tables, the decidedly understated cake (She’s not much for frosting and he’s not much for cake. I KNOW. I think we can still be friends.) and the elegant dinner party feel they chose for their wedding.

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I was so thrilled when they opted for a “first look” before the wedding—it always gives the day a more relaxed feel, and with the short days of fall, it allowed us some time for delicious photos before the ceremony. They started their day at the Providence Biltmore Hotel, a grand setting for their first look, and then the rest of the afternoon and evening was at the always stunning Roger Williams Park Casino.


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To hear what this creative, original pair chose for their first dance and to see more from their beautiful day, enjoy their slide show!

Happy love, K and K!

xo, Anna

Beautiful girls

November 9, 2009

Mothers of boys, have you SPENT any time with girls recently? I’ve been hanging out with a number of lovely girls of late, and I have to say, I had no idea they were like this. Despite a tired sub-two-year-old young lady, I think we had a winning shot about, oh, 20 seconds after we started. They are so calm and lovely and accommodating and they look you in the eye and they don’t really climb around, and they don’t run away from you. Thank you, ladies, it was a pleasure to have another date in the park with you.




Photographing boys? It’s all about strategy—your strategy vs. theirs, how fast can you run, how quickly can you focus and isn’t-that-a-great-shot-of-his-blurry-ear.


Got some blurry ears (my boys) coming up for you next–stay tuned for Halloween!


Wedding Row Open House TODAY

November 1, 2009

Brides, friends—I’ll be photographing this lovely event today at the Red Barn in Clinton, CT from 1-4 p.m. for some of the local wedding industry’s most creative minds and talents.  You are cordially invited to attend as well. Hope to see you there!