Three Before Four

Lindsey coaches running and has a podcast and is expecting her fourth son any day. She happens to be my running coach, and I once got to be a guest on said podcast. I also got to connect with her family when I was in Indianapolis in May. We met for family photos on the Monan Trail, where she and her husband run, often with their boys in jogging strollers.

Seeing a family interact in a place that is meaningful to them produces photos that illustrate their collective identity. The boys were so at ease on the trail, full of personality. If something stands out to me about Lindsey and Glenn, it's how much they seem to enjoy their boys. They are patient, encouraging, enthusiastic and easy going. This is not a family who takes themselves too seriously; they are quick to laugh. Hugs and high fives go a long way. I cannot wait to see how a fourth little man adds to the mix. In the meantime, this session makes me smile.

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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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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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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. 

Ingrid

I photographed Ingrid and her family last fall, and this brave girl and her incredibly courageous family are facing her leukemia with remarkable grace. I wanted to share these photos now, because Ingrid has had a really tough month, having spent a huge chunk of time in isolation as her little body, immunocompromised, battles infection. If you're the praying type, say a prayer for this sweet girl. I love her stunning smile and princess heels and the way Klaus adores her. I look forward to a day down the road when I can update these photos with a healthy survivor story. In the meantime, in the midst of it all, Ingrid shines.

When It's Good, It's Good

Our pre-session phone consult covered a variety of topics including twins with a best friend dynamic worth capturing. We talked about getting family photos that showed love and life being lived, about connection and quiet. We also discussed places that feel like their own around Dallas and landed on Fair Park for a warm afternoon spent in the sun.

I witnessed that twin thing that is a pair ten-year-olds somehow both childlike and wise beyond their years in the way they seem to know each is a great gift to the other. By the end of the shoot I felt like I'd know this crew forever, and I am thrilled to share the results. The best of sessions are a collaboration between photographer and subjects and when it's good, it's so very good. 

Side note: if you follow me on social media you may have noticed my husband and I have relocated to New England. Dallas friends, have no fear. I will boomerang back for photos (I have 5 portrait weekends available in 2017). If you're in New England, particularly Connecticut, Boston or Cape Cod, I'd love to hear from you! I look forward to continuing to capture families, newborns and the beautiful moments of life here, there and everywhere.

Sweet Little James

When Jaime's mom heard I would be in Kentucky over the holidays, she reached out to see about a gift session. Jaime is my cousin, and I hadn't met her baby yet, so I was thrilled at the prospect. My time was limited, so arrangements were made on the one day that worked for both of our schedules. That day the temperature hovered in the high 20s- not ideal for photographing a young family with a toddler, but as Jaime and I texted, she insisted it would be fine. And she was right; it was more than fine.

Little James couldn't have been more thrilled to be outside with both of his parents to play with, and Jaime and Adem laughed their way through our time. We all fussed over James' hands (were they too cold?), but really the chill couldn't be the focal point when love shone so clearly in every frame of their session. I have so many favorites and narrowing it to a few to blog was difficult. I adore this session.

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.

In the Waiting

A few weeks before a baby arrives, maternity sessions often get scheduled. This session was about capturing that memory: a mama's stretched belly and her son's adoration of said belly. I photographed a family anticipating expansion. Kathleen also wanted to capture the beauty of her family right then: their joy and laughter, their calm. She didn't only want maternity photos focused on the coming baby; she wanted family photos in their home to remind them of the fullness of life when they were a family of three. And fullness came through in every frame.

Maternity sessions preserve a fleeting moment in a changing season, and I love knowing a family will be able to revisit that season for years to come.

A Week Shy of One

Carinne's photos took place a week before her first birthday. She walked like pro, giving me all kinds of big-eyed stares, suspicious of a new person. Soon enough she though me a friend, and then her expressive little face lit up. She didn't have words yet, but her eyes and that smiled told her story with clarity: here is a little girl who knows she is loved, who adores her parents and who is ready to take on the world. For just a year earth-side, this wee one has the important stuff figured out.

Introducing Savannah

Remember the sweetest maternity session ever? Savannah arrived a few weeks later, and her newborn session took place on a quiet and rainy Sunday afternoon. Big sister Scarlett proudly showed off her tiny new sidekick (and gave her daddy a makeover). Savannah stayed awake and calm most of the session. It was a conversational, pass-the-baby and tickle-the-toddler session that left everyone content in the way that celebrating an expanding family should. So many photographs in this collection to love!

Waiting for Savannah: A Summer Maternity

Emily emailed a few days before her maternity session and asked if I thought we could do a few photos using her in-laws' pool. We'd planned a morning session in their backyard. August in Texas, well, it's hot. The pool sounded like the perfect ending for the shoot. The anticipation of baby girl number two alongside of delight in big sister number one filled every frame of our time together, and I especially love that towards the end Emily suggested a family jump into the pool. Those photos turned out downright magical, and with the thermometer still pushing 90 in mid-October, revisiting these photos for the blog seemed pretty perfect. 

Everyday Extraordinary

Allison and Adam first contacted me before their firstborn arrived, and from the time we did that initial maternity session they've wanted photographs that reflect the simple beauty of everyday life. Our sessions have been conversational and low-key, allowing me glimpses into a family's growth and change over time. When we did family photos last year, Allison told me she was expecting twins, and we pencilled in a newborn session. I never imagined when booking that session that their newborn session would shift to a family session a few months later. The boys arrived early, and their precious Sam never left the hospital. You can read more of their story on their blog. I found myself amazed at the extraordinary courage this family displayed.

I am so glad Allison and Adam decided to do this session at home, letting the nuances of their family shape the session's flow. Home often trumps the most interesting of locations, because it's so decidedly specific and familiar. This session was passing boys back and forth, reading stories, tickling bellies and a demonstration of the great love that belongs uniquely to one family. The desire to honor Sam was an integral part of this session, and we did some photos in his memory. That said, the truth is they honor Sam all day every day in the way they love and care for one another and his brothers. It is beautiful to see. 

Incredibly Not Perfect

When Caitlin inquired about booking a session for her family, their third with me, she thought a lot about what she wanted to preserve about this season with her brood. Just before their shoot  she sent me an email that said, "I've finally decided to face the fact that every time my family is in front of a camera I try very hard to make us all look 'perfect.' (I use quotation marks because it's really such a farce.) Well, despite my efforts, my family and I are so incredibly NOT perfect... And I just can't do masks anymore...

"...Where I am now is that I want REAL... even if the cost is imperfect pictures where the darkness is captured along with the light." I heard a quiet yes resonate in me as I read her email. I knew their session would be something special from the moment Caitlin shared her heart. And it was. It really was. We hiked the muddy woods the children love. We wandered and talked and paused and laughed. It was incredibly not perfect. It was incredibly real and raw. Mostly it was incredibly beautiful.

This session makes me want to capture these kinds of photos for all the families I work with. They move me. I hope they move you.

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Sunsets and Sweetness

Shelly and Justin were some of my first clients, and I'm amazed at all the goodness in their lives. I've had the privilege of capturing so many significant moments. This session, Riley's six-month and Cooper's three-year session, took place a couple of months after both significant dates. That meant Miss Riley was sitting up and Mr. Cooper had even more words than you can imagine a precocious kiddo having. I love these kids. I love this family.

We played and laughed and carried on, and towards the end Justin headed to the playground with Cooper so that Shelly and Riley could do a few nursing shots. They are among my favorites from this beautiful family in all of our years together. I love her chubby hand reaching up, her feet kicking wildly, the sun setting in the distance. It was one of those sacred moments in my little corner of the world when everything seemed just right.

July Life

Snippets of life in July. Being intentional about a daily photo has caused a creative shift as well as a growth of gratitude. Paying attention and pulling out the camera daily has been so good for me.  I'm looking forward to sticking with it for while. I hope you enjoy seeing as much as I enjoyed making.

July 1: Making a list of the things she wanted to do at the lake.

July 1: Making a list of the things she wanted to do at the lake.

July 2: When it comes to baby whispering, we are a matched set.

July 2: When it comes to baby whispering, we are a matched set.

July 3: Beers in the water and endless jumping off the boat.

July 3: Beers in the water and endless jumping off the boat.

July 4: Playing cornhole; taunting Mom. Let's be honest; she probably won.

July 4: Playing cornhole; taunting Mom. Let's be honest; she probably won.

July 5: After the rain.

July 5: After the rain.

July 6: Goddaughter. Super hero. Both.

July 6: Goddaughter. Super hero. Both.

July 7: All in a day's work.

July 7: All in a day's work.

July 8: They are so much braver than last year.

July 8: They are so much braver than last year.

July 9: Slalom.

July 9: Slalom.

July 10: Celebrated Donna's birthday with a 15k. We both got age group awards and chased running with tacos. Win.

July 10: Celebrated Donna's birthday with a 15k. We both got age group awards and chased running with tacos. Win.

July 11: Mom sitting at my sister's bedside almost 24 hours into her labor. We thought we'd meet Jameson on the 11th, but that wasn't to be. I love this photograph, as it tells so much about the way my mom loves.

July 11: Mom sitting at my sister's bedside almost 24 hours into her labor. We thought we'd meet Jameson on the 11th, but that wasn't to be. I love this photograph, as it tells so much about the way my mom loves.

July 12: Capturing the miracle of new life amazes me always. Capturing the miracle of my nephew's arrival? I don't quite have the words.

July 12: Capturing the miracle of new life amazes me always. Capturing the miracle of my nephew's arrival? I don't quite have the words.

July 13: Getting to know Jameson.

July 13: Getting to know Jameson.

July 14: Hospital kisses.

July 14: Hospital kisses.

July 15: I married a badass.

July 15: I married a badass.

July 16: Jump!

July 16: Jump!

July 17: Brothers. Eye roll.

July 17: Brothers. Eye roll.

July 18: Besties.

July 18: Besties.

July 19: The linen cabinet.

July 19: The linen cabinet.

July 20: Sleeping in the morning light.

July 20: Sleeping in the morning light.

July 22: When in proximity to Chicago, eating as much Chicago-style pizza as possible is essential.

July 22: When in proximity to Chicago, eating as much Chicago-style pizza as possible is essential.

July 23: My cousin Allie got married, and I loved being a guest at their wedding. A big camera photo had to happen, of course.

July 23: My cousin Allie got married, and I loved being a guest at their wedding. A big camera photo had to happen, of course.

July 24: The skies at dusk, always friendly, even after a 3-hour weather delay.

July 24: The skies at dusk, always friendly, even after a 3-hour weather delay.

July 25: A hard day.

July 25: A hard day.

July 26: Our cats prefer the dog's food.

July 26: Our cats prefer the dog's food.

July 27: How had he only been here two weeks, I wondered? It seems like we blinked, and he'd been here forever.

July 27: How had he only been here two weeks, I wondered? It seems like we blinked, and he'd been here forever.

July 28: Experimenting with double exposure. Love him. Love this place.

July 28: Experimenting with double exposure. Love him. Love this place.

July 29: Posed dog in the magic light. Cat walked into the frame and stole the show.

July 29: Posed dog in the magic light. Cat walked into the frame and stole the show.

July 30: Our niece on his side meeting our nephew on my side. We scored in the family department.

July 30: Our niece on his side meeting our nephew on my side. We scored in the family department.

July 31: Apprentices in Uncle Ty's lab.

July 31: Apprentices in Uncle Ty's lab.

Magic Light and Real Life

Real talk: the families who sign up for a session at the day's end when the light is golden and beautiful have regular kids, meaning kids who get tired and are sometimes a *wee bit* grumpy towards the end of the day. When Andrew and Alex arrived for family photos they'd had a big day, so we spent a few minutes just kinda being. Real talk, part two: almost any kids, given the undivided attention of their parents at the park will warm up and get distracted from said end-of-day *ahem* challenges.  A little bit of play, a whole lot of laughing, some fast running and a good bit of interacting created one of my favorite spring family sessions this year. So much love shines through in these photos. 

If your photo shoot feels a little crazy while in process, have no fear. Good stuff is happening, and it looks like what is uniquely beautiful in any given family, through a camera lens. I love this job.

Brand New Big Sisters Make the Sweetest Newborn Session Magic

Poppy's arrival meant two-year-old Violet graduated to a new role of big sisterhood. I love seeing the way a family grows and expands not just in number when a newborn comes home. Hearts open wide and even the tiniest toddlers discover they are capable of great big love. Violet's busy, big-girl-self nestled alongside of sleepy Poppy was not the only magic moment at the session, but it is a good place to start in sharing a family's warm welcome of a second beautiful daughter. 

Newborn sessions are day in and day out among my favorites, and in sharing this session I want to share that I am running a newborn special through the summer. Full newborn sessions with all digital files are $550 (a $300 savings) or with 25 digital files are $425 (a $125 savings). Maternity options are also available. If you or someone you know is due June through August, I'd love to hear from you. I want all families to have beautiful photographs like Poppy's sweet session!

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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