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!

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!

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?

My newest assistant

Today’s morning photo session with the lovely Herndon family was a delight. We had perfect fall weather and enjoyed gorgeous scenery at Yates Mill Park in Raleigh. Molly and Jason (mom and dad) are always good sports and their two sweet daughters – Madeleine and Avery – have smiles that melt my heart.

Madeleine and I shared a special few moments today when she asked to take pictures with my camera. And who could deny that request!?

She’s nearly three years old and super friendly, offering hugs to me throughout the session. So of course I let her control the camera, just a little bit. Here is what she produced:

Madeleine

For a three-year-old, isn’t she amazing!? I asked her if she wanted to be a photographer when she grows up. The girl has talent, already.

“No, I want to be an Octonaut,” Madeleine replied.

And that’s why I love toddlers. They have dreams. Big, glorious, superhero-sized dreams.

But if that falls through, she has a future in photography.

A different day, a different toddler

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Meeting a new family is always exhilarating and always keeps me on my toes. As a photographer, I go into each session confident with expectations on lighting, posing and the technicalities of my camera. But meeting new families creates an ever-changing environment in which to work.

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I get excited to learn – if the family has children – the kids’ names and ages. Before shooting the King family’s session, I discovered their daughter, Dolan, was almost exactly the same age as my daughter.

Oh, this should be a piece of cake, I thought. Relating to Dolan will be exactly the same as relating to my daughter. Dolan will offer smiles galore at the mention of puppies and chocolate, just like my daughter.

But, in the world of photography and families it doesn’t quite work that way. Each child is so very different, and each child performs differently in front of the camera. Some choose not to perform at all.

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Lucky for me, that wasn’t the case with sweet Dolan. She and I made friends quickly, though of course it was a different friendship than the one I have with my daughter.

Dolan led us all through the park, as if she knew the way, as if she had been there many times. Dolan’s favorite game was throwing sticks and rocks in the river to watch them make a big splash. Dolan loved finding structures to climb – rocks and steps and bridges. We held hands on the walk back to our cars.

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I treasured my time with this sweet two-year-old gal!

Of wonder and leaves

Madeleine has been such a joy to photograph since birth.  I have had the opportunity to capture her newborn photos, 6-month photos, and now her 1-year portraits.  She is such an amazing little lady who is a natural in front of the camera.

For her 1-year portraits, Madeleine’s parents had the idea to take photos at West Point on the Eno.  Many families and photographers frequent this outdoor venue, though it was a first for me.  I visit the Eno River a few times a year, but never had I been to West Point on the Eno, the entrance to which is off of Roxboro Road in North Durham.

The park is fabulous, perfect for hiking, adventure water sports, picnics, and those who love history.  Madeleine’s family and I got to visit on a cool fall day.  Spending time with my clients is always a joy, but spending time trekking through a gorgeous location with my family is even better, especially when the location is a place my client has selected.  Kudos to them for leading us to this ideal setting.

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