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.

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!

Here is September in Thirty Photographs.

What I didn't foresee in setting out to do a 365 project was the way it would point me towards gratitude. My life is rich: the people, the places, the work I get to do and the beauty I get to see. The ordinary is extraordinary when held up to the light. Here is September in thirty photographs. 

September 1: Selfie with Jameson.

September 1: Selfie with Jameson.

September 2: Georgia spreads her arms and legs in the pool and shouts "Starfish," and the cuteness kills me.

September 2: Georgia spreads her arms and legs in the pool and shouts "Starfish," and the cuteness kills me.

September 3: Leftover 4th of July fireworks on Labor Day.

September 3: Leftover 4th of July fireworks on Labor Day.

September 4: How many kiddos can you fit on a paddleboat with Uncle Rudy?

September 4: How many kiddos can you fit on a paddleboat with Uncle Rudy?

September 5: Ice cream, before and after.

September 5: Ice cream, before and after.

September 6: Engagement session magic light goodness.

September 6: Engagement session magic light goodness.

September 7: New kitten for my little friend.

September 7: New kitten for my little friend.

September 8: The reluctant daily photo subject. 

September 8: The reluctant daily photo subject. 

September 9: *NOT* his birthday, but my lunch date on the 9th loves dinosaurs, and NEEDED to wear his t-rex shirt.

September 9: *NOT* his birthday, but my lunch date on the 9th loves dinosaurs, and NEEDED to wear his t-rex shirt.

September 10: Wherein all of my photography dreams came true.

September 10: Wherein all of my photography dreams came true.

September 11: Nadine in four frames.

September 11: Nadine in four frames.

September 12: Nightly kitten routine looks like fetching and jumping for green beans. 

September 12: Nightly kitten routine looks like fetching and jumping for green beans. 

September 13: Anniversary photos for Debo and Tyler. So. Much. Love.

September 13: Anniversary photos for Debo and Tyler. So. Much. Love.

September 14: Every time I vacuum these two camp out on the landing.

September 14: Every time I vacuum these two camp out on the landing.

September 15: Pink.

September 15: Pink.

September 16: Early morning stalker.

September 16: Early morning stalker.

September 17: Photo by Ty. I am finally getting consistent at landing *small* jumps on the wakeboard. Ty surprised me with a properly fitting board, and it's made a huge difference. 

September 17: Photo by Ty. I am finally getting consistent at landing *small* jumps on the wakeboard. Ty surprised me with a properly fitting board, and it's made a huge difference. 

September 18: Grease... high school musical edition.

September 18: Grease... high school musical edition.

September 19: Besties.

September 19: Besties.

September 20: The reluctant daily photo subject, location scouting in the Jeep edition.

September 20: The reluctant daily photo subject, location scouting in the Jeep edition.

September 21: Photo by Ty. An eff cancer kind of day.

September 21: Photo by Ty. An eff cancer kind of day.

September 22: The look Albert gives me when Millie stalks from overhead.

September 22: The look Albert gives me when Millie stalks from overhead.

September 23: Lake sunsets win every time.

September 23: Lake sunsets win every time.

September 24: Abba's senior photos looked like recreating a photograph we took when she was 10.

September 24: Abba's senior photos looked like recreating a photograph we took when she was 10.

September 25: Savannah.

September 25: Savannah.

September 26: Happy birthday, Josh!

September 26: Happy birthday, Josh!

September 27: Never let go.

September 27: Never let go.

September 28: Because date night.

September 28: Because date night.

September 29: New glasses.

September 29: New glasses.

September 30: Dinner and a movie with friends. Elim kept yelling "ooky." I think he's ready for October.

September 30: Dinner and a movie with friends. Elim kept yelling "ooky." I think he's ready for October.

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.

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.

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. 

Paying Attention: A June Project

On June 6 I started taking a daily photo in an effort to regroup a bit and get back into the practice of shooting for myself. I was recovering from minor surgery and couldn't run, and I found myself in a rut. It's been a bit of a crazy year, and it felt like both my motivation and creativity had taken a hit. I plan to stick with the project, as it's awakened me. I remembered that paying attention causes me to be more intentional and more grateful. While I'm not sure I'll blog each month's photos, I want to share what I captured this initial month, because I'm loving these photos.

June 6: Morning light and nap time go hand in hand around here.

June 6: Morning light and nap time go hand in hand around here.

June 7: Birthday dinner with beautiful friends (and baby Woody!).

June 7: Birthday dinner with beautiful friends (and baby Woody!).

June 8: Mixing bread. I'm in a rhythm of making our bread using a sourdough starter, and I love the days when I actually bake it. The practice is good for our bodies and good for my soul.

June 8: Mixing bread. I'm in a rhythm of making our bread using a sourdough starter, and I love the days when I actually bake it. The practice is good for our bodies and good for my soul.

June 9: Shaking off after a dip in the pond. While I couldn't run, Darby and I went for long walks, and I took my camera most days to practice noticing our everyday life.

June 9: Shaking off after a dip in the pond. While I couldn't run, Darby and I went for long walks, and I took my camera most days to practice noticing our everyday life.

June 10: Nadine gives me a belated birthday gift and a new favorite t-shirt.

June 10: Nadine gives me a belated birthday gift and a new favorite t-shirt.

June 11: Millie observes me observing her through our front window.

June 11: Millie observes me observing her through our front window.

June 12: Anticipating my nephew's arrival at my sister's baby shower. He'll be here this month!

June 12: Anticipating my nephew's arrival at my sister's baby shower. He'll be here this month!

June 13: Naughty.

June 13: Naughty.

June 14: Kitchen windowsill.

June 14: Kitchen windowsill.

June 15: Mellow Mushroom with my brothers. I love these kids.

June 15: Mellow Mushroom with my brothers. I love these kids.

June 16: Mae Mae brought this little buddy all over the house after I gave it to her for a photo shoot. Check out  Emy and Annie   for more handmade goodness.

June 16: Mae Mae brought this little buddy all over the house after I gave it to her for a photo shoot. Check out Emy and Annie  for more handmade goodness.

June 17: The boy who lived.

June 17: The boy who lived.

June 18: Farmer's market haul.

June 18: Farmer's market haul.

June 19: Four years of family photos. The families who keep coming back add depth and meaning to my work. I've been doing the Traycoff family's photos since before Lauren's birth.

June 19: Four years of family photos. The families who keep coming back add depth and meaning to my work. I've been doing the Traycoff family's photos since before Lauren's birth.

June 20: Forlorn much? That dogs are so expressive makes me laugh.

June 20: Forlorn much? That dogs are so expressive makes me laugh.

June 21: Three days later, baby Hank arrived.

June 21: Three days later, baby Hank arrived.

June 22: Seeing what matters most. Through a paper towel roll.

June 22: Seeing what matters most. Through a paper towel roll.

June 23: Before their shoot I asked myself "what does a boy at three look like?"

June 23: Before their shoot I asked myself "what does a boy at three look like?"

June 24: To the lake!

June 24: To the lake!

June 25: Buttermilk sourdough cherry scones on deck for the  Honey and Salt  retreat.

June 25: Buttermilk sourdough cherry scones on deck for the Honey and Salt retreat.

June 26: I had half a day alone at the lake, and it was perfection.

June 26: I had half a day alone at the lake, and it was perfection.

June 27: Finally sharing my favorite place with one of my besties.

June 27: Finally sharing my favorite place with one of my besties.

June 28: Saying goodbye to the cabin but only for a few days.

June 28: Saying goodbye to the cabin but only for a few days.

June 29: El Paso with my niece and the last few minutes of daylight.

June 29: El Paso with my niece and the last few minutes of daylight.

June 30: Road trip from El Paso to home with my sister-in-law and her girls. Texas, in it's vastness, contains such beauty.

June 30: Road trip from El Paso to home with my sister-in-law and her girls. Texas, in it's vastness, contains such beauty.

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.

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!

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!