Women who rock

When I’m not nudging my camera into the personal lives of my clients, coaxing smiles and laughter out of them, I delve into commercial photography and video. It’s very different work from when I’m with my families and it’s uniquely enjoyable.

Recently I was documenting a number of professional workshops offered through the UNC Kenan-Flagler Executive Development Program. Professors from the Business School offer hands-on, intensive training to professionals from across the nation.

As I work these events, I’m a fly on the wall, absorbing what the faculty say, gauging participants’ reaction and interaction as I discreetly capture the workshopping as it happens. There is no posing, no adjustments. My goal is to be invisible while seeking out the best possible angles in a classroom setting. It’s challenging work in the sense that you use the lighting available, the context presented (no props, etc), with the subjects available.

Lucky for me, the subjects are wonderful. They are captivating, energized and welcoming of the camera in the back row.

My most recent assignment was coverage of a women at work session. I couldn’t help but be inspired at every level. 

The participants were all females in leadership in the workplace.

The faculty was comprised of world-class female instructors.

Participants maneuvered through real-life scenario negotiations, on-the-spot presentations and honed in on growing skills. It was fascinating to watch and see the students do so without breaking a sweat. 

Stay tuned for more content around this cool program! 

What’s one more?

Hubby and I have the biggest of announcements and thought we’d share it here, amongst our friends and photography family. Come June 2018, we will be welcoming our fourth little Busbee to our family, and we couldn’t be happier!

This Busbee nugget has been brewing since our trip to Hawaii (baby’s first airplane trip), so I anticipate this child will have an adventurous spirit.

Years ago I would have never imagined having such a big family. Once upon a time I only wanted one child.

As the years have passed, and as we had our first, second and third child, my heart kept bursting with the thought of another. It was a longing I couldn’t quiet. With the birth of each new baby, hubby and I would take a look at one another and say, “we want another, right?” And we kept wanting another.

Baby Busbee No. 4 is the final piece of our Busbee family puzzle. This one completes us. Caleb, Natalie and Cameron are so thrilled with what’s to come, and their joy makes this addition even more incredible.

We are the most grateful humans to have been gifted these blessings by God. And while we are undeserving of his trust in and grace for our family, I am honored and continually shocked to be a part of something so priceless and special. 

I may say a lighthearted, what’s one more, but those are just words that give me courage to perform well at the most important job I’ll ever have, being a mom.

Thank you for the support and well wishes. We are excited for the months ahead!

 

The lights of my life

All the twinkling lights of the season had me eager to get my own sweet kiddos in front of the camera. This can be tricky, because my kids sometimes love to avoid my camera and I.

But this attempt was a success, thanks to my little blessings.

My plan started with two strands of white Christmas lights that I strung (with temporary decorating clips) to the wall and floor. I selected a blank wall at random. My home has many blank walls from which to choose because I haven’t yet decorated it, even though I moved in more than two years ago.

placed a little wooden chair about three feet in front of the lights, not knowing yet if I’d use it or not. 

Then I waited for the magic moment (aka, after homework was finished and kids were bribed). I used a single ring light offset to the right of the subjects.

Oh dear goodness, the results were magical. At least in my opinion, but hey, they are my kids. I would truly love any photo of them. 

The more the merrier

I’ve known this gorgeous mama (lady in white) for so many years now – seriously, since adolescence – but, this is the first time I’ve gotten to photograph her mega awesome family.

We grew up together in Morganton, NC and she is one of my sister’s closest friends. Today she is a mama of three, soon to be four, and she’s doing the whole parenting/busily practicing law thing so gracefully. 

I always knew she could juggle a lot. She grew up in a house with numerous siblings and during our teenage years we waited tables together, a job she handled with skill and speed. Maybe she’s just born with it – the ability to be busy and own her life’s balance beautifully. 

Watching her with her children during the session, I noticed she is a very collected mama. A very nurturing, caring, easygoing mama. I was impressed to say the least. We had the additional company of cousins during the session. It was an event worthy of the tagline, the more the merrier.

I certainly appreciated the crowd’s energy and enthusiasm, including some fun photo ideas, and their patience and good spirits in the chilly, post-Thanksgiving morning weather. 

It can be challenging to be a good sport while being photographed in the cold, but every single one of these subjects nailed it.

Organized by the mama-to-be as a gift to family members, their session I’d say was a success. I cannot wait to meet baby #4 in the coming months!

Childhood is fleeting

This weekend my camera and I were blessed by the presence of Eudora. She is one of my favorite subjects of all time as she is ever the entertainer and gives me great smiles.

There was a moment in our Sunday photo session at Brightleaf in Durham in which I was reminded just how fleeting is childhood. 

We had crossed the train tracks to take photos amongst some nearby fall foliage. We were safely away from the tracks when we heard the train headed our direction. What luck, I thought! Eudora will get to see the train pass by!

This vivacious little goofball, who moments earlier was energized and owning the camera, had retreated into an innocent, frightened (not amazed, as I had hoped) shell. She was rightfully terrified of the loud noises from the train. I was shocked and instantly felt horrible for subjecting her to those decibels. 

We raced away, far, far away, from the train and the tracks as fast as our legs would carry us, all the while Eudora plugging her precious ears. 

She recovered instantly, because she is brave and strong and amazing, and because children are so blessedly resilient. She and I are still friends, though trains and her are not.

And of course, she nailed the remaining portion of her session.

Our shared train experience reminds me of the fleeting nature of childhood and its innocence, and how one day, not far from now, Eudora will no longer be afraid of trains and loud sounds but will have new and exciting challenges to face. 

I trust she’ll tackle them well. She’ll handle them like a boss, just as she did this incredible photo shoot.  

(Note: That snazzy little dress she’s wearing – a tribute to Mo Willems book “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.” 100% adorable and I wish I could pull that look off myself)

When the kids come home for the holidays

When the kids are home for the holidays, you seize the moment and make memories. The Schneider family had the brilliant idea to capture the memories through photos. 

One of their big requests was to try to get their dog Fiona in on the action. And why not…she’s a super cute pup?!

Look at this one – she’s looking right at the camera! What a stunning little specimen. 

We staged the photo session at the family’s Pittsboro home, which was naturally gorgeous and full of fall color. The family specifically loved this transplanted Japanese maple. 

Following the group portraits, we took a few individual shots, including these fine wine/bourbon drinkers. They warmed up to the camera in a wonderful way – with their favorite beverages!

And Fiona’s favorite family member wanted a personal photo with his dog.

The mother-daughter photos always steal my heart. 

And a mom-and-dad photo for good measure. 

All in all, this family totally rocked their photo shoot. I can’t thank the Schneiders enough for making this gig so enjoyable!

Johnson family brings on the charm

The Johnson family has captured my heart once again! I got to walk the fine campus of UNC-Chapel Hill with these gorgeous people for their session. Mark is currently finishing an advanced degree in education at UNC, so the campus holds a big place in their hearts.

Plus, it’s gorgeous!  We kicked off our session in McCorkle Place, which was painted in beautiful fall color.

Also, people walking dogs. Check out how I quickly removed this dog-walking photo bomber, below.

We wanted to recreate this photo on the steps of South Building from two years ago, but currently South Building is blanketed with Campaign banners (possibly for the next 10 years :( …yikes).

 

We had to frame this year’s photo further to the left of the columns of South.

And then there was my attempt to get smiles out of big brother Jacob. He was fighting an ear infection (and we didn’t know it), so truly he was a trooper. And he cracked a few adorable smiles. 

Baby Julia will be turning one in January and she was displaying her best crawling and balancing talents. She is very sweet and on the move!

Here’s one of my favorites from the session. They look absolutely snuggly and cozy and warm. Those kiddo’s sweaters are too cute.

Thank you, Johnson family, for trusting me with your precious memories!

Fall portraits in Duke Forest

The Bisanar family is always a favorite of mine to photograph – they make it so easy. They know what they want out of a photo and they come prepared, well-dressed, even when I ask them to hike into Duke Forest.

They have two children the same ages as my two eldest kiddos and they are sweet and funny and playful. They are not a hot mess like my family. Seeing their family answers many questions I have about what it would look like if I brushed my children’s hair or had them wear matching shoes. It truly quenches my curiouosity.

I get to hang out with the grandparents, too. They have an incredible sense of humor and are always game for whatever I throw their way.

Our most recent portrait session brought us deep into Duke Forest, amongst beautiful fall leaves and afternoon sunlight. There were so many unbelievable natural backdrops that helped make this session a success. Plus, the Bisanars rocked their smiles. 

Until next time!

Baby Charlie’s big day

Baby Charlie’s christening at Duke Chapel was one of the most precious events I’ve ever attended. 

He is all of four months old. All of him completely darling.

His baptismal gown was a reincarnation of his mother Annie’s first communion gown. Charlie must have known how special it was, as he grinned while putting it on.

Family traveled the distance to be with baby Charlie on his big day. Cousins from many states away even had small roles in the ceremony.

And the Godparents from New Jersey visited for the momentous occasion.

It should be noted that baby Charlie slept peacefully for his entire ceremony: as the Cross was traced on his forehead;

during the Homily, Intercessions, Prayers, Blessings and Invocation;

the Baptism and water;

the lighting of the candle;

and many, many, endless rounds of family photos :)

Baby Charlie awakened just in time for some final photos to preserve the memories of the celebration.

He seemed completely satisfied with the ceremony that just took place, and happy in the loving arms of family and friends.

Congratulations, Charlie, on your baptism!