Boomer Family | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

It’s really funny how things go, isn’t it? If I think back to six months ago, I had no idea this is where I would be today: growing in leaps and bounds as a photographer, diving into a business, booking weddings, second shooting weddings. It’s been crazy, exhilarating, and terrifying all at once. I’ve loved so much of it, and I’ve struggled through lack of confidence and fear.

How does this relate to a family session? Well, my incredible mentor, Elizabeth Henson, sent me a message in early August with information on a referral for this lovely family who needed a session over Labor Day weekend. I had met them while assisting Liz at a night of mini-sessions at their home in June, and I knew they were good friends of hers and had been long-time clients as well. So to say I was honored and terrified to book this session was an understatement. I wanted to do a great job for so many reasons!

After chatting with Reagan, I learned the session would include two families and their kiddos. Her sister would be in town, and they wanted photos that they could use for Christmas presents. And they needed updated individual family poses since both of their families have grown. At this point, I’ve done plenty of family sessions, and I’m feeling less and less nervous with each one, but this one would be different and would be a larger group. Luckily, I second shoot at this huge family session, and had a good idea of how to manage a larger group. See? Everything ties in lately! (Wait until you see the next HUGE synchronistic, fate-guided tie in. I cried. Details coming soon!)

This session was amazing. I was nervous at the start, like I always am, but we had so much fun! Even with one baby in a cast and one with a bad case of the sniffles!

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First Days | Personal

2014-09-15_0023Last week I sent a fifth and seventh grader off to school. Over the next two weeks they will turn eleven and thirteen. I look at myself in the mirror and wonder how it is that I’m suddenly the mom of a teenager.

2014-09-15_0021I remember anxiously worrying about these days when I was still pregnant with Pacey. I fretted that he would be one of those teenagers. The disrespectful, rude ones. One of those skaters who would intentionally block the street at the entrance to our neighborhood. Those teenage days, a bit hazy and still so far in the future, seemed like the end of all that could be good about motherhood.

2014-09-15_0022And now, teetering precariously on the cusp of those hazy days, so close that they are sharply in focus, I tenderly hold that scared soon-to-be girl-mom in my heart. The lanky, deep-voiced, almost thirteen year old that has taken the place of the round face and soft curls is no more frustrating or less lovable than he was at three. The circumstances have changed. The frustration points are much different. But underneath the lank and rasp, he’s still Pacey. He’s still curls and cheeks and snuggles. And I find that I expected a sudden disconnect because of an age humorous.

2014-09-15_0020So it’s first days around here. First days of seventh grade and fifth grade. First days of three year old preschool. First days of the teenage years. All at once they are the squinty-eyed newborns, the curly-haired and ornery toddlers, and the freshly minted teenagers. First days of seeing again and again that motherhood evolves and grows with our children, but is seamlessly and gently timeless.

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Rowan is clearly more interested in the camera than the boys are now!

Diana and Noah | Kiddo Photography

I know! I’m so behind on blogging. I think I promised this post on my Facebook page two weeks ago! School has started, which I thought would make things a little less hectic during the day, but as soon as school started, Rowan decided she didn’t need to nap anymore. So all of my cherished quiet writing time has vanished. I can’t figure out a good way to get it in anymore, which is frustrating.

And things have been busy! My business is picking up, which is fantastic, but I’m trying to figure out a way to balance that and life and training and everything else I want and need to do. I know it will come, and I am so grateful for a busy, full plate right now.

But back to the real reason for this post: Noah! Noah’s mom, Diana, is one of my closest friends. We worked together for a few years and have stayed in touch since I started staying home with Rowan. Diana is an excellent baker and made my wedding cake and more cupcakes for parties and events of mine than I can count. Need a cake? Give her a call. She’s amazing! I showed her a picture of a decorated coffee cup as an inspiration for my wedding cake, and she came up with this gorgeous cake (photo courtesy of Calma Photography):

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And speaking of gorgeous, she and her husband make one gorgeous, blue-eyed boy. I was so excited to give these images to them after all she has done for me over the years!

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Marissa, Shaston, and Josh | Family Photography

I’ve been wondering how I would write this post. Because these aren’t just pictures. This isn’t a typical client. There is so much history here, and really I don’t even know where to begin!

Marissa is my stepdaughter from my first marriage. I met her when she was four. And now she’s all grown up, and it’s so hard to believe she’s just about twenty-two with a life of her own. She’s just as vibrant and full of life as she’s always been, so I knew we would have so much fun when she asked me to take pictures of her, her boyfriend, and his son. And she also wanted some updated pictures with Pacey and Gage, or the original three, as I have dubbed them.

In many ways I feel like I grew up with her. Life was definitely different back then with its twists and turns and ups and downs. The boys came along, and Marissa adored them and was such an incredible big sister. She always wanted to help and in many ways seemed so much more grown than she really was. I’m not sure I always did things the best way, and I know I was often unhappy, and I’m sure that came across to everyone who knew me. I know I could have done so much differently, but I love that she has been and will continue to be a part of my life’s history. I love and adore her as much as the boys and Rowan, and I am so glad that we have continued to have a relationship despite the changes in what connected us.

Also. Let’s pretend I don’t look seventeen years older now. This was the summer of 1997.

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I remember each of these days like they were yesterday. It amazes me that they were about eleven years ago! September 2003 and January 2004.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And now on to the night we had! We started with a few shots of Marissa and Rowan (who Marissa claims as her baby sister, too!) at the house before we headed to the Chesapeake Arboretum.

2014-08-29_0012And then we headed out and had so much fun capturing these images. Shaston is so very nice and his son, Josh, is just the cutest. I loved seeing Marissa so happy!

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While my boys kept Josh busy running and playing, we were able to get some fun and sun-filled shots of just the two of them. I love photographing couples!

2014-08-29_0003 2014-08-29_0004 2014-08-29_0011 2014-08-29_0010 2014-08-28_0001Then things got really crazy. There’s something so real about these next images that it brings me to tears. There’s such an amazing connection between these three even though Marissa and her mom moved a few hours away several years ago, so we don’t get to see her as much as we used to. That connection is so very apparent here and it fills my heart with so much love for the three of them! As I’m writing this, I realize that a blended family has always been such a part of my history. Much of this blog has focused on finding peace and comfort in that current reality. But seeing these images and watching these three interact that night was all it took. I wouldn’t want life any other way than how it has unfolded.

Also. Pacey and Gage are definitely their father’s sons. Here’s why:

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And of course, we had to get at least one or two like this. I can’t wait to print these out. They make my heart so happy.2014-08-29_00022014-08-29_0001This is why photography is so important to me. I learned so much from watching and capturing these images last week. This is part of my why that I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately, and I’m sure I’ll write more about soon!

Ireland Family | Family Photography

Jeanne was the lucky winner of my 100 fan mini-session giveaway in July! I was really excited to see that the winner was someone that I didn’t know. Not that I didn’t want to treat one of my friends, but being able to make a new family happy with photography made my heart really happy! And what a beautiful and welcoming family Jeanne, Lee, and Grant are. I traveled to their neighborhood ready for some of the beautiful backdrops Jeanne had described, and I wasn’t disappointed. A pond, a fountain, flowers, a gazebo, a stone bridge, and an old barn were all there begging to be used. And we definitely did and even got a few shots with their sweet dog, Nevada!

This has to be my absolute favorite family photo I’ve taken yet! That amazing bokeh? That’s the 135 mm f/2 lens at work. Even at 3.2 aperture, this is what you get!

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Those eyes on little Grant! What a cutie. And he was such a great helper and suggested a few poses and shots himself!2014-08-26_0006

Runner up for most favorite family picture would have to be these ones. The sun? That barn? Perfection!2014-08-26_0008 2014-08-26_0009

These guys have been married for eleven years, and they are still so sweet together. Love it!2014-08-26_0010 2014-08-26_0007 2014-08-26_0011 2014-08-26_0012 2014-08-26_0013

This one was Grant’s idea! I had him sitting down, and he suggested standing up and stepping on a stick that happened to be on the sidewalk. :) It’s one of my favorites from the entire evening! Great thinking, Grant!2014-08-26_0001