The Grandparents Day Photo Contest Results Are In!

Meet the winners of our Grandparents Day photo contest, and learn to preserve your own family’s legacy through photography and storytelling! (Featuring Rachel Lacour Niesen of SAVE FAMILY PHOTOS)


“A stronger sense of belonging is something we all crave. That’s why we value photographs of our loved ones. They help us remember to remember. Photographs remind us that our stories started before us.” – Rachel LaCour Niesen

Since 2014, Rachel LaCour Niesen has worked tirelessly to preserve family photographs – and the stories that go with them. A photographer herself, she deeply understands photography’s ability to connect us to our pasts. Her project, Save Family Photos, was born of that passion.

In honor of Grandparents Day, we invited Rachel to help us judge ShootProof’s Grandparents Day Photo Contest – and offer her tips for saving family photos for future generations.


Photo Contest Winner:

EMILY HARRIS

“I think about her every day.”

The Grandparents Day Photo Contest Results Are In!

EMILY HARRIS PHOTOGRAPHY “The bride, Krystin, delivered a gift to her grandma before the two embraced for this sweet moment . Krystin was raised by her grandma, and they share a very special bond. I, too, had a very special relationship with my grandma. She passed almost five years ago from breast cancer. I think about her every day and continue to miss her. This moment had me tearing up behind the lens.” 


Photo Contest Winner:

JESSICA THOMASON

“I figured I’d never see this place again.”

The Grandparents Day Photo Contest Results Are In!

JESSICA THOMASON PHOTOGRAPHY About a month before my Grandma’s birthday, I considered bringing her along to Disney World. My mom was pretty sure Grandma would be too tired and overwhelmed to go, but we asked her anyway. And do you know what she said? ‘I would LOVE to.’ When we got there, she looked at me and said, ‘I figured I’d never see this place again.’ She was very matter of fact. (It’s probably a realistic assumption to make at 91.) But it struck me. She only lives 30 minutes from Disney World, and we go all the time. We’ve been going for years. We assumed she was too old and weak and confused to be interested, but we were wrong. And I’m so, so glad we were. When Mickey Mouse shook her hand with his gloved paw, she was enamored; but when he sang Happy Birthday to her, she was completely floored.” 


Photo Contest Winners:

MARIE JANSSEN & SARAH WHITE

“…what an incredible blessing…”

The Grandparents Day Photo Contest Results Are In!

MARIE JANSSEN, BLINK OF AN EYE PHOTOGRAPHY (above left) “This is my Grandma Jane meeting and holding her namesake: her great granddaughter. Two Janes. It’s special to know your grandparents, but what an incredible blessing to also know your great grandparents! To document this special moment of the two connecting was an honor. This is what photography is truly all about for me: preserving legacies, memories, and the little moments [that are] often missed in the business of our lives.” 

SARAH WHITE, LELE & BEANE (above right) “This is my Aunt holding her newest granddaughter at a mere 1.5 weeks old. Years before this photo was taken, Aunt Birgitta lost her own son. When I stood behind the camera, I not only felt the joy of a grandmother holding her new granddaughter, but also of a mother seeing the full fruition of her life. I saw the heartache & the joy. The deep love & adoration. This is love in it purest form.” 


HOW TO: Preserve Your Own Family’s History

Rachel directed us to the Library of Congress, who has established a set of best practices for preserving and protecting your photographs. For ultimate archiving, they recommend backing up your images five ways!

  • Store one copy of your photographs on your personal computer.
  • Create two (Yes! TWO!) printed copies. Rachel suggests a combination of individual photographic prints and a series of photo albums.
  • Store a copy on a separate media, such as archival-quality discs, and store these off-site – somewhere far away from your computer!
  • Upload a copy to a cloud-based storage service, such as Sync.com, DropBox, Google Drive, iDrive, or pCloud.

Photo Contest Winner:

ALISON WINTERROTH

“…three generations in one place…”

The Grandparents Day Photo Contest Results Are In!

ALISON WINTERROTH “When a client asks if they can bring their parents along, I always ask if I can photograph them together. There is something completely priceless about an image with three generations in one place, and I adore how Grandma is gently touching the baby’s head. I gave her no direction; she just did that naturally. The body language here is my favorite.” 


Photo Contest Winner:

DEVIN ROBINSON

“…her grandfather had passed away…”

The Grandparents Day Photo Contest Results Are In!

DEVIN ROBINSON, ANCHOR & VEIL “The bride’s grandfather almost couldn’t make it to the wedding, so when he arrived, the whole wedding became emotional! The bride’s mother wheeled him out onto the dance floor, and there was this moment when he grabbed her hand for a dance and it was so sweet. A couple months later I posted this photo on Instagram. The bride commented that her grandfather had passed away shortly after the wedding, and that this photo means the world to them. We found every photo from that wedding with her grandfather in it, and shipped her 8x10s of all of them!” 


Photo Contest Winner:

SARA SHAIKH

“It is tradition to give blessings.”

The Grandparents Day Photo Contest Results Are In!

SARA SHAIKH, THIS MODERN LOVE PHOTOGRAPHY “In Indian culture, it is tradition to give blessings to the couple during each wedding event.  This photograph was taken during one of the pre-wedding events known as the Pithi ceremony.  The groom’s grandmother was performing the ceremony; it consists of feeding him sweets, putting a turmeric paste on his face, and reciting a very special prayer together. As I watched these moments unfold, I knew this would be something the groom would definitely want to look back on. I cropped the image so it would just be him and his grandmother, without all of the extra people and distractions around them. The colors and details were so vivid; you could feel the emotions simply by watching. I was​ never able to meet or connect with my grandparents, so these moments are always very special to me as a wedding photographer.”  


HOW TO: Honor Grandparents Day with Albums

There’s something inexplicably magical about holding printed photos in your hands, or passing an album around the table. They’re the perfect way to help families talk about their history. – Rachel Lacour Niesen

Legacy Books offers a revolutionary solution for preserving family history, using technology, storytelling, photographs, and beautiful binding. Professional photographers can draw inspiration from Legacy Books’ approach, and incorporate these multi-media methods to their own portrait sessions.


Photo Contest Winner:

LISA JANE

“I noticed their connection…”

The Grandparents Day Photo Contest Results Are In!

LISA JANE PHOTOGRAPHY “I spotted the groom’s grandparents as soon as I walked into the ceremony room, holding hands and chatting away. Throughout the course of the day, I noticed their connection, never far from each other, looking out for each other at all times. As humans, one of the most significant ways we communicate is through touch. When I see grandparents holding hands, it reminds me of the importance of love and having someone by your side. On a wedding day, that sentiment is even more powerful.”


Photo Contest Winner:

STEPHANIE SONJU

“Pennies from heaven!” 

The Grandparents Day Photo Contest Results Are In!

STEPHANIE SONJU, SONJU PHOTOGRAPHY “Laura, the bride, wanted to include the grandmothers in a special way on their wedding day. As these fabulous ladies walked down the aisle tossing petals from a basket, the young lady on the left shouted, ‘Pennies from heaven!’ and stole everyone’s hearts! Flower girls are arguably my favorite part of the wedding day (I LOVE children!), but these two are hard to beat! 


Photo Contest Winner:

DEVIN ROBINSON

“Moments. Freaking. MATTER.”

The Grandparents Day Photo Contest Results Are In!

DEVIN ROBINSON, ANCHOR & VEIL “We absolutely adore this moment! This is before the wedding, as everyone was getting ready in their robes, and the grandmother and the bride were outside on the deck. This moment happened right in front of our camera, and we love it because it grips your heart strings. This photo is the epitome of why we do what we do. It’s why we scream ‘MOMENTS FREAKING MATTER!’ Sure, awesome portraits on top of a mountain are cool, but this is legacy!” 


HOW TO: Archive Your Clients’ Photos

ShootProof’s Archiving feature makes it easy to backup your clients’ photos!

Through your ShootProof dashboard, visit Photos > Galleries > Default Settings

Edit your Studio Defaults, and enable “Automatically Archive This Gallery After Expiration.”

For only pennies a month, all your photographs will be automatically backed-up on ShootProof’s servers. Archived photos don’t count against your plan, and they can be un-archived at any time if you need to reactivate a gallery!


Photo Contest Winner:

ALY AGA

“No phones, no headphones, just walking and talking…”

The Grandparents Day Photo Contest Results Are In!

ALY AGA PHOTOGRAPHY “I was walking through my neighborhood when I saw Denise and her grandchildren coming toward me at the crosswalk, all holding hands. They way they were caught up in conversation with each other was striking. No one on a phone, no headphones, just walking and talking – connected. Being a photographer, I am always on the lookout for interesting subjects and inspiration, and these were people sharing a moment I definitely wanted to capture. I struck up a conversation with Denise, who shared her story with me. She has raised these two young girls since they were born. She spoke to me about sacrifice, love, and the immense amount of pride she has in her family. I was touched by her words, and grateful she allowed me to capture this image.” 


Photo Contest Winners:

AUTUMNE SHULTZ & ABBIE ROGERS

“These two are best friends.”

The Grandparents Day Photo Contest Results Are In!

AUTUMNE SHULTZ PHOTOGRAPHY (above left) “This is my Papaw with my 3 year old son, Kylan. We live very close to him and my Mamaw, and my boys want to go down there pretty much every day to see them. In this photo, we were leaving their house, and Kylan always goes to give them hugs and kisses before we leave. I didn’t pose them for this photo. I just took a real life moment and captured it. These two are best friends.” 

ABBIE ROGERS PHOTOGRAPHY (above right) “Taylor was just not feeling photos that day; and instead of forcing kids, I like to just let them be. Snuggles with Grandma was just what she needed, and it created something so perfect for the family to have forever. Grandparent images are always a favorite for me!” 


Photo Contest Winner:

DAWN LOPEZ

“I always wondered who I looked like.”

The Grandparents Day Photo Contest Results Are In!

DAWN LOPEZ PHOTOGRAPHY “While telling a family’s story through photographs, I love to create a moment highlighting the family members’ faces side by side. As a child, I always wondered who I looked like, and what was the same about me and my family. I hope to answer these childhood questions for the families I photograph. This papa’s whiskers were just too ticklish for a two-and-a-half year old to stay still, side by side, though! These kisses on the cheek will be treasured and looked back on forever, telling this little girl the story of how she was loved.” 


HOW TO: Promote Printed Photos

Many of our clients are so accustomed to receive only digital files, they don’t even think to purchase prints. But, if given the chance, we all love something tangible, a piece of history we can hold in our hands.

“Analog photos are priceless artifacts of our existence. They proclaim to future generations, ‘We were here! Remember us!'” – Rachel Lacour Niesen

In-Person Sales can help inspire print purchasing, as photo contest winner Alison Winterroth attests. Saving family photos is an art, and it begins with your guidance – as soon as the photo session is over.


Photo Contest Winner:

LAUREN CONROY

“…these natural, pensive moments…”

The Grandparents Day Photo Contest Results Are In!

LAUREN CONROY (above left) “Frances, [my friend’s mother], was visiting for a short time, and she decided we needed to take some photos of her while she was in town. I loved this shoot. I ended up capturing a mix between these natural pensive moments, and moments of joy, with her smiling and laughing. Why aren’t we taking more photos of our parents and grandparents? My grandma is really sick right now and about 3000 miles away. I wish I had photos of her like this.” 

LAUREN CONROY (above right) “This has to be one of my favorite photos. The flower girl’s dress needed some last-minute stitching, and of course her grandma was there with a needle and thread, ready to save the day. It feels so timeless, and of course I immediately saw it in black and white.” 


Photo Contest Winner:

ABBIE ROGERS

“I wish I had images like this with my Grandparents.”

The Grandparents Day Photo Contest Results Are In!

ABBIE ROGERS “[I photographed a one-year-old and his family] last fall; obviously 1-year-olds are always busy! Reid was no exception that morning, but I love to just play and let kids have fun. Grandpa scooped him up and I quickly realized it was timeless. I asked him to snuggle and give kisses, and the family loved the image. It will be something fun to always look back on. Being in my 20’s and losing Grandparents early, I wish I had images like this with my Grandparents.” 


Grand Prize Winner:

STEPHANIE SONJU

We invited Rachel to be the final judge of our photo contest finalists, and select the Grandparents Day Photo Contest Grand Prize winner. Without hesitation, she selected this image from Stephanie Sonju:

“Unconditional love, palpable affection, lifelong commitment, authentic chemistry – these words all seem to emerge from this photograph. So often, I see images from weddings and events that showcase young couples having the time of their lives. But what about an older generation that embodies the phrase, ‘time of your life?’ That’s why I appreciate images like this one; they remind us that love endures. Plus, this moment is just sincerely sweet! From his embrace to the way she’s pressing her head into his shoulder, this photo captures a moment that this couple (and their family) will always cherish.” – Rachel LaCour Niesen

“I love you. I got you.”

The Grandparents Day Photo Contest Results Are In!

STEPHANIE SONJU, SONJU PHOTOGRAPHY “This image is from Alyssa and Chris’ reception. In the weeks leading up to the wedding, Alyssa’s grandfather fell ill and spent days in the hospital following heart surgery. Alyssa and Chris chose their wedding date, October 10th, so they could share it with her grandparents, so Alyssa was heartbroken to hear that her grandfather might not make it to share in the celebration. Luckily, her grandfather was well enough to attend the wedding. It was the grandparents’ 56th wedding anniversary, and Alyssa dedicated one song to them during her reception. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Alyssa’s grandmother held him up and they danced the entire song together. I got close and shot a few frames, knowing I wanted the string lights in the back to frame them; then I backed off and let them enjoy the moment. But I lost it when I heard her say to him, ‘You ok? I got you, I love you, I got you.'”


Keep sharing your photos and stories with Save Family Photos using their hashtag, #savefamilyphotos – you might just get featured on Instagram or Facebook!


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