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!

The cutest of sisters

June and Lily aren’t just any two girls. They are sisters. The cutest of sisters.

Whenever I have the opportunity to photograph them and their sweet family I am blessed to be in their company. Seriously. These giggles and smiles make any day better.

Plus, sisters are just so darn special. I have two sisters, so I know the lucky level of friendship these girls feel. I know how easily sisters can make each other laugh (and cry). I know how comfortable they make each other feel. 

When I ask them to snuggle up next to each other for a photo, that’s all the direction I need to give. Because sisters know exactly what to do. They are like puzzle pieces that fit together effortlessly. 

June and Lily always exceed my expectations during their photo sessions. Seeing them grow up together as siblings adds something special to every visit I have with them. 

Girls, treasure each other. And consider yourselves blessed :)

Kylie and Co.

The Moore family just helped me and my camera kick off fall, and I couldn’t have picked a better crew. Kylie just turned two and absolutely lit up in front of the camera. She also has the adorable nickname ‘Squeaky,’ which I got to call her the entire session, so there’s that.

We headed to Yates Mill County Park looking for fall color. And though the leaves haven’t quite popped yet – at least not in Raleigh – this family’s beauty and joy was captivating. 

Who needs leaves when you have these smiles?!

Kudos Moore family on another successful session. Much love to this sweet bunch!

A long three weeks

Here’s the truth: it has been a long three weeks.

In my new role as stay-at-home-freelance-photographer-videographer-mom, I am blessed with keeping my kiddos during their 3-week intercession break from year round school.

That’s three kiddos for three weeks. That computes to
…let’s see here
…math
…UTTER EXHAUSTION.

But my tired is absolutely worth these kids’ smiles.

I choose to treat intercession break as “mommy camp.” I want my kids to have a memorable time away from school, and I also aim to wear them out every single day so that they can rest their little souls in the afternoon. 

Here’s a slideshow of our first intercession break, “mommy camp” style.

What are your favorite school break activities?