As Mother's Day Approaches

Last week I attended a workshop on storytelling, and the speaker said that it's often small nuances that happen in the midst of our big life-changing stories that pack the most punch. He said looking there helps us find the stories within a story that illustrate human connection on the deepest level, drawing listeners in. That resonated.

With Mother's Day approaching these photographs of my sister and my nephew on the eve of my niece's birth kept coming to mind. Meghan's attentiveness towards and concern for Jameson as she prepared for the arrival of her daughter clarified so much of what makes her an incredible mom to both her kids. She knew he was on the precipice of change and wanted his transition to be smooth. She wanted him to know he was loved, he was ready and his place was secure. And the conflicting emotions of anticipating a beautiful change in her little family alongside of letting go of the sweetness of a season ending so a new one could begin- they showed up. Is that not the never-ending stuff of motherhood?

Maggie's birth and newborn photos are a blog not yet written, but for the lead up to Mother's Day I wanted to share these few simple photos, because they move me, and I hope they do the same for you.

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Welcoming Pearl

Connection creates the most compelling story a photograph might tell, every time. When a collection of photographs communicates the unique and yet universal beauty of a family, together, in the comfortable security of just being, I find my most prevalent response to their photos one of gratitude. They've allowed me to see and document something true and good about life, about the world.

Pearl's newborn session, just three days after her birth, stands out to me because the joy and energy in her family as they adjusted their lives to welcome this tiny person felt tangible from beginning to end. I saw so much love, from her confident, proud biggest sister and her finding-her-way little not-quite-as-big sister to her smiles-never-left-their-faces mom and dad. It felt like they'd all been waiting for her all their lives and like in 72 short hours her permanence in their hearts and home was long established. I saw so much connection that day.

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Adventure Awaits Always, Anywhere

Alicia and I emailed back and forth about session location, settling on a reservoir her son loves. We parked and headed towards the water, crunching leaves and sharing stories. We talked food and dogs, the stuff of everyday life. Once we arrived at the water, it was all skipping stones and yoga poses and family moments. I got to see kid hugs and high fives. I captured Andrew signing "I love you" alongside of Julia's "namaste" atop a tree stump. I tend to feel a session is going well when I am capturing genuine interaction with little direction, which was basically this entire shoot.

The sense I had when as I watched the goodness that is Alicia and Justin and Julia and Andrew is that for them, adventure awaits always and anywhere. They love to be outdoors. They know how to be present in the moment and content. When I wrap up a session like theirs I feel like I've been given the gift of seeing a family living the beauty that is uniquely theirs.

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When Photos Become Love Letters

The moment my nephew was born last July I stood mesmerized, and to borrow a line from Bono, his first cry was a joyful noise. I had the privilege of witnessing most of Jameson's first year as an in-town auntie, and watching him grow and change from newborn to baby to toddler, somehow in the span of no time at all, helped me see all the good stuff in life. Unsurprisingly, my sister and her husband took to parenting with confidence and ease. I got to see that too.

Meghan and I always thought we'd welcome babies around the same time; that wasn't meant to be. Her precious boy, though, taught me to allow myself the grief of the motherhood I might not experience while celebrating the joy of this wee baby who won my heart from the get-go. I didn't know how redemptive his presence would be, nor did I know how much I needed tangible redemption. When we decided to move I was sad about leaving our families and saddest about losing the privilege of being a week-by-week witness to Jameson becoming himself.

I'd meant to blog his birth photos, his newborn photos, photos through the year... And somehow I never got around to it. I love that now that I finally pulled photographs I have a collection of his story through his first year, mostly in horizontal black and white for cohesion's sake (along with a very important post-birthday diptych). I've always loved documenting an ongoing story most, and this year-in-the-life makes my heart explode. These photographs, they are my love letter, not just to Jameson but to myself and to my family. He is ours, for keeps.

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Family Sessions Forever

While I've transitioned to full time work as the photographer for Connecticut Children's Medical Center, I still have the privilege of working with families, albeit on a more limited schedule, in Texas, Connecticut and throughout New England. This session reminded me of all the reasons why I'll shoot family sessions forever: nuances of beauty caught in passing moments... 

Anya taking her time to warm up. Bowen coaxing Anya to smile. The whole family pulling each other close, closer, "how close can you go?" Laughing. Laughing. Laughing. I want to see these moments, to allow families to live them in front of my lens, so they (and I) remember the truth of their story long after the photographs are taken.

I've been photographing the Song family for years, and every year seems that much sweeter than the last. This session moved me, and I'm grateful to get to share it. Here's to contagious grins and belly laughs and bear hugs and perfect-though-not days made permanent with the click of my shutter. If you are interested in seeing your family through my lens, please don't hesitate to reach out. 

Songs and Memories

I'm working my way through favorite 2016 sessions, and this was a morning of singing and dancing, of running and laughing, of kids being kids and of parents delighting. I love the easy rapport we've built through several years of sessions, and I love little Anya's serious disposition in the beginning this time around. I love Bowen's determination to include his little sister. Here is a family comfortable being themselves, and I suspect what you see through my camera lens in these photos is what you get on any give Saturday. I love when that's what comes through in a session.

These Two

Sarah and Eisley and I scheduled and rescheduled because of rain, rain, rain. When we finally met for photos on an overcast evening, a tiny girl with the bluest eyes warily assessed me. It took a while for her to warm up, but when she did Eisley remained intently focused on her mama, wanting her close. The bond between these two makes me smile; they are the sweetest little family. Sarah is one of those moms who takes her kiddo in stride and parents with ease and laughter. Eisley is one of those babies who is inquisitive and busy. I loved watching this session unfold.

Austin at Three Months in Black and White

The black and whites of Austin's three-month session: this boy is loved, cherished and wanted by a proud big brother and a busy big sister. His pudgy feet kicked and kicked as their play surrounded him. His patient mama redirected them when it was time for Austin's solo portraits, but they hovered close, watching me and doting on him. I've worked with Austin's family on an ongoing basis for the better part of three years, so capturing this little man growing up makes my day. Isn't he adorable?

Introducing Rosie Roo

In January, my dear friends welcomed their third daughter, beautiful Rosie. I cannot believe I'm just now blogging these photos. I'm mesmerized how wide-eyed this sweet nugget was then (and she remains so now). I'm amazed that this is the third little miss in this family that I've captured through my lens. I love that Ellie, Mae and Rosie get to grow up with the gift of each other and that they belong to two of my favorite people. Revisiting these photos makes me want to photograph All. The. Babies. and also makes me so grateful for friends who entrust me with documenting their families as they grow and change. 

Almost Trio: A Maternity Session

Jessica and Sam's dynamic duo of brothers will expand into a trio in a few short weeks, and I got to take a few photos as they await the arrival of their new guy. It was the muddiest day, and the boys were so excited to have an excuse to get their feet dirty and play. I've done sessions with this crew for several years, so the kids know me. I love that the familiarity yields stunning results every time, and I love that I'm getting to watch a family grow and change and make room for one more. Such a sweet time. I cannot wait to post newborn photos soon!

Just a reminder that I'm running a maternity and newborn special through August, so if these photos appeal to you and you or someone you know is expecting in that time frame (or in the fall... the special can be extended by paying a retainer while it is running), I'd love to hear from you. Pricing starts at $425 for 20 digital files, a $125 savings with the option to upgrade to the full gallery. Maternity sessions are minis priced at $275, a $75 savings and include 10 digital files with the option to upgrade to the full gallery. Some restrictions apply. So excited to fill my summer calendar with beautiful bumps and babies!

Repeats: Favorites, Annually and Always

If the great joy of family photos is witnessing what love looks like in any given season of life, then seeing that a year later only grows the goodness. Like etchings on the wall to mark that a little one has grown an inch or three, a year's passing seems to extend the beauty and the fullness of who a family is. This was my second time to photograph Teddy and his family. Last year's session took place at the nature center, so this year's session we headed downtown for a more urban feel. Teddy talks a lot now, and he's emerged from toddler shyness to preschool confidence. He makes his parents laugh, keeping them on their toes with lots of running and jumping. When I asked him if he saw a dinosaur in my lens, his three-year-old wit came quick. "No," he said, "I see Spiderman."

Spiderman it is, little guy. I'm grateful that my job has allowed me to cross paths with this family, and I look forward to continuing to document the ways they grow and change through the years. I'd love to do the same for you and your family too, and I'm now booking into October and November. Shoot me a message for session and scheduling details, and we can get the ball rolling.

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Nadine is Three, Part One

We planned Nadine's three-year photos around having golden hour light to compliment a favorite family outing. On the morning of the scheduled session, rain set in, so we rescheduled the bulk of her portrait session. Her parents were on a deadline for a few photos, though, so we did a mini-session on the front porch of their house. I'm so glad we did, because while the second part of her three-year photos is really fun (and will be shared soon), I love the beauty seen here. I see Nadine's contagious joy. It lights her face all the way into her eyes. I see the way she loves and is loved. I see a child I've known since birth coming into her own, secure in her identity because her parents are raising her to be strong and brave and honest and good. I've been doing Nadine's photos since she was born, and she's my little buddy, counting herself my friend right alongside her parents (she's right). That said, it makes me so happy to share these.

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Introducing Beatrice Mae

Beatrice Mae, niece 3.0, arrived to a very full family and so wanted and very much loved. She is utterly delightful, and I loved getting to meet her. My mom and I went to Raleigh together to meet her, and we were in love from the first day. These photos were taken before she was two-weeks-old, over a few days. I'm a little sad to say we didn't capture any stunning family photos, as it was rainy and dark most of the trip, and the one day we attempted... well, I'll just let you see for yourselves. I love that we got some real life, real time, this-is-what-it's-like-to-have-a-newborn series in the midst of my time there. I have additional photos to blog from this trip, but I wanted to share some photos of our sweet honey Bea all fresh and new. She bookends a very full nest, and I love her so. Isn't she lovely?

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Little Ladies in Red

With family photo sessions, it's the ways people interact and look when they're at their best that compels me to do this job. I love seeing the expressions on little faces and hearing the laughter that ensues as we pursue some glimpses at real life. This session felt so special, because they'd never had family photos done- not even wedding photos. I loved getting to bear witness to the goodness that is uniquely theirs. These three little ladies in red are treasures, and I loved getting to see that. The twins are doted on by all, and their big sister simply shines. We didn't do a whole lot of posing or setting up shots. Everyone just did their thing as a family, and I got to photograph just what that looks like. Those tend to be the very best sessions. I hope I get to continue to witness and document these beautiful lives.

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Little Ladies in Red

With family photo sessions, it's the ways people interact and look when they're at their best that compels me to do this job. I love seeing the expressions on little faces and hearing the laughter that ensues as we pursue some glimpses at real life. This session felt so special, because they'd never had family photos done- not even wedding photos. I loved getting to bear witness to the goodness that is uniquely theirs. These three little ladies in red are treasures, and I loved getting to see that. The twins are doted on by all, and their big sister simply shines. We didn't do a whole lot of posing or setting up shots. Everyone just did their thing as a family, and I got to photograph just what that looks like. Those tend to be the very best sessions. I hope I get to continue to witness and document these beautiful lives.

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On Family and Mini-Sessions

Once kids are beyond the phase where they seem to be changing- and wildly- every few days and then weeks and eventually months, some families find that booking an annual full session is more than they need. I love when families continue to prioritize family photos by booking a mini-session for the years when a full session is not required or budget constraints make a shorter session sensible. These thirty minute sessions go by quickly, but they flow well, particularly with families who are are exiting the baby/toddler phase. They're also great for solo photos to update a toddler's growth for particularly busy little ones. This beautiful crew met me in November for a mini-session in Highland Park, and I love that their session showcases just how much variety is possible in thirty minutes. The girls were so fun and sweet to each other, and everyone brought their very best selves to the session. I am so thankful I'm getting to watch these girls grow up through my lens. They're perfect mini-session clients.

I'm currently booking a limited number of anytime mini-sessions (I used to only offer them semi-annually), and if this type of session would be a fit for your family, please do not hesitate to contact me!

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The Page They Were On

I'm never opposed to an afternoon at the lake, and neither were these guys. While I've photographed the littles before, it was the first time we've done family photos. It was a tag team parenting approach to keep up with two busy toddlers, and we stayed busy for the whole session. A certain young man was inclined to run, run, run, while his baby sister was newer in her walking skills. We mostly just let the kids set the pace, and the end results were a selection of photographs that illustrate what's beautiful about each individual as well as the whole family. It's fun to look at these now, a couple of months later, knowing that in the time that has passed since these session, each of these kiddos has continued to come into their own. It makes me excited for next time as well as thankful that we got to document the page they were on in the fall. They change so fast...

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Sweetest Sisters

The best way to get happy, laughing little girls at a photo shoot is to have happy, fun-loving little girls as your subject. These three, each with her own personality and take being the subject of photographs, simply delighted me. I have three sisters, and two of them are close in age to me, so whenever I have a trio or foursome of sisters, I find myself remembering fond childhood memories. We too shared secrets and hugged tight and were (mostly) buddies. Life is that much more beautiful and fun and exciting with a sister, and I hope that these photos give these girls sweet memories of growing up together. I hope they know they've been given a gift in each other. I see that gift in these photos.

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Paint the (Cow)town

Because Dallas is where I live, my clients tend to be on the Dallas side of the DFW area. The Redding crew hails from Fort Worth, so their annual session typically takes me west. This year we opted to use the newly updated Sundance Square, exploring in and around downtown as we went. I loved the change of pace. We had plenty of friendly banter illustrative of love and fondness and kids-who-are-mostly-friends whose parents still flirt with each other. I love this collection. We worried that we'd get rained out that day, and I'm so glad we weren't, because this session makes me smile. I'm grateful that I've gotten to know this family through the years, because they are engaging and warm. It's always a blast to work with them.

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Little Girlies and Joy

This was our first meeting, and new families mean I get to hear and see their unique expression of what love looks like. These bright-eyed, beautiful little girls both gave me lots of smiles and laughs, and I got to watch their parents do that tag team thing that happens when a couple has a pair of busy girls. They did so with affection and ease, and while I'm sure there are days that aren't so quiet and simple, what stands out to me about this session is how peaceful it was. I am continually humbled by the goodness that occurs when I get to show up for a photo session and bear witness to a family who decides to fully show up for a session, bringing their best. That's what happened here, and while I love how wardrobe choices and warm light played into how these photographs look and feel, what stands out is the interactions illustrative of how a family goes together just so. So much joy to behold here...

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