This post isn't limited to a photo session, though the second half includes photographs from my dear friends' family session. Rather, these images were composed over a visit that spanned several days when I was in Massachusetts last month. Nannying for Sam and Lucy when they were tiny babies facilitated my growth as a photographer by providing constant subjects as well as supplemental income while I finished school, started a business and developed a new-found passion. The natural progression of life has led to a beautiful friendship with their whole family, and when I travel to the East Coast, I am welcomed into their home. These guys have been my friends on good and bad days, and I love the way they love each other. Getting to be a part of their lives is getting to be a part of something special: a family who thrives because they keep choosing each other. The kids wear the confidence of well-loved children, and the whole crew seems intent on mastering the art of being on each others' team. These photographs have so much joy, especially in Miss Lucy's toothless grin and Sam's non-stop motion. Every year I say the newest photos are my favorite collection, and I think that's maybe because the good keeps getting better. I'm so grateful I get to witness just how beautiful that looks.
Lynne and her boys have shared their lives with my camera lens for the past six years, and I've watched two little boys become teenagers. I'm not sure teenage boys are enthralled with the idea of family photos at this stage in their lives, but it's always fun to hear what's going on with them and what bands they're listening to and what they're reading. The real treasure, though, is in the in between moments when they let me see what is beautiful about their family. Laughs and looks and gestures and kindness... these things consistently show up. And someday these boys will have photographs to show their own children, and that thought makes me smile. I so admire the mom Lynne is. She has strength, grace and compassion, and she wears all three well.
One of the privileges of meeting a new family is getting to hear pieces of their story and then getting to see the page that story is on as we engage during their session. This session took a couple of years of correspondence to actually get on the books, as my travels to Massachusetts are limited, and their two-kid, two-job routine keeps life moving. When our schedules aligned, I got to watch conversation and jokes followed by giggles. I saw big gestures, small smirks and easy conversation. It's the stuff of daily life that I imagine parents reflect on when days feel too busy or the kids can't quite seem to keep their acts together. I love taking family portraits because it creates a visual reminder of the good and the beautiful that looks unique on any given family. I think it matters. In this particular set, I love that you can see one little boy's vibrance, his eagerness to befriend me and his joy. I love that you can see his sister's calm, her steadiness and her warmth. Here are siblings making each other laugh. Here are two parents surrounding their children with love. Here is a family being themselves. It never gets old, getting to see the reasons why a family works and getting to create photographs with them so that they can see the way they fit just so.
Spending an afternoon with these two was refreshing and calm. Their home is a beautiful space, and we did most of the session in the backyard and garden, with much loved four-legged family members making appearances here and there. Seeing the interaction between mother and son through my lens put a smile on my face. Melissa is intent on investing in Zach's interests, from the animals to surfing and snowboarding. Her son comes alive when he talks about and does the things he loves. That she knows that, that she celebrates that, this is how a parent comes alongside a child. She is raising him to be a good man. A whole lot of life and a whole lot of love builds the constructs of their home.
Of this crew I knew we'd have lots of fun, because last year it rained (and by rained I mean poured), and we had a blast...This year, though, we had a beautiful Sunday morning. I love the big grins the kids got out of each other when we did their photos together. They made my job easy! These guys love and live well, and it was the perfect kickoff to my Massachusetts sessions this year to hang out with them in the Public Garden in Boston. They live in Bean Town, so shooting in the city was perfect. I had a hard time narrowing photos to share for the blog. This was truly one of the happiest sessions I've ever photographed.
This collection of photographs reminds me that love looks like the goodness of interaction: laughter and joking, encouraging words and embracing arms. When I meet a family, I try to see what is beautiful about their dynamic. Elementary aged boys aren't always the most enthusiastic photo session participants, but Harrison came with stories to tell about Harry Potter (he loves Ron Weasley) and mountain biking and adventurous eating. His parents came with easy conversation and friendly banter. White Rock Lake makes a great backdrop for a Dallas family photo session, and it was the perfect location to illustrate this beautiful family who showed up ready to be themselves in front of the camera. I a grateful I had the opportunity to work with them.
A couple of weeks ago, I met week-old Lucia for her newborn session and returned over the weekend to take some family photos. That meant I got to see Lucia's proud big brother Luigi dote on his sister. Luigi is a super high energy guy, and he made it very clear to me that he loves his sister. He was eager to snuggle up beside her and as gentle as a four-year-old can be when he kissed her. I never tire of seeing the interaction between siblings, and this session did not disappoint. Luigi and I spent a few minutes playing outside as well, and pretty much all this kid wanted to do was laugh. I'm a fan of little ones who think I'm hilarious, so that worked out well. I think photos are so valuable, as they provide a tangible reminder of what a family looks like loving one another. I recognize that having a newborn is busy and demanding, and coupling that with a busy preschooler means life is very full for parents who might be low on sleep and high on tasks. That said, I look at these photos and see love and joy and what is beautiful about this family. I hope you see that too. I consider it a privilege every time a family lets me catch a glimpse of who they are together. I look forward to seeing how Miss Lucia grows and changes in the coming months and how Luigi continues to own his role as big brother. The future is bright for this family.
A lot has changed in seven months. Stella has gone from sleepy newborn to bouncing (busy) baby girl. At seven-months-old she is sitting, crawling and pulling up. To say her parents have their hands full is an understatement. But what a precious way to have hands filled. Stella's inquisitive eyes captivated me, and she is quick to coo, smile and laugh. I loved the interactions of this family the first time I met them, and the beauty, love and tenderness has grown right alongside the baby who made her mom and dad parents. It was a fun Saturday, and I am already excited for one-year photos!
At her newborn session, she slept and slept. At her six-month session, Emmaline smiled and laughed. She beamed at her parents as she demonstrated her new found sitting skills, perfect for exploring the grass and beach at Lake Lewisville with eager hands. I love her chunky legs and bright eyes. Emmaline is such a fun baby. I love that this collection of photographs illustrates her sweet spirit and the beautiful way her parents interact with her. They were all smiles and encouragement as they watched her play, and when we did family photos, it was goodness to behold. Cannot wait until next time!
Cooper is such a little love, and I've had the privilege of witnessing this truth from the moment he was born. It's been a big time privilege to be a part of this family's life. I've documented Cooper life story thus far, and prior to his birth, his parents story, from engagement up to the present day. It has been an honor to follow them on their adventures, and in the process they've become wonderful friends. I'm grateful to have them in my life. For this session, we decided to keep things low-key and mostly just played and let Cooper be himself. Cooper being himself means letting a happy toddler run around and wave at people and play to his heart's content. He's an easy going kiddo, so it was a blast to take these images. I am excited to share them on the blog today.
I knew Bethany would be induced on July 27, as we'd talked earlier in the week. Sunday morning I ran at White Rock and as I wrapped up my run received a "come now" text. Things were moving faster than Bethany anticipated. This being her fourth baby, she had an *idea* of how things might go, but babies come in their own time. And Finn was ready to meet his family. After a rushed shower, I hurried to the hospital where things were steadily progressing. I've known Bethany and Mark for over 20 years; they're my sister's best friends. That said, seeing the two of them prepare to welcome Finn allowed me to witness a deep love play out in the midst of the intensity of birth. I can't quite put words to the beauty of it. And then, Finn.
As soon as he was out, at 11:37 am, he worked his little lungs, wanting his whole 8 pound, 6 ounce, 21 inch self to be known. To witness a birth is to see the miracle of new life. I still can't look at these photographs without crying. As soon as Finn was placed in Bethany's arms, he settled. He was home; he knew it. Oblivious to the surrounding excitement, Finn captured his parents heart.
And then there's the part not long after his arrival where his big siblings arrived. They were literally jumping for joy, excitement radiating on their faces. The immediacy and depth of their affection for Finn amazed me. I loved getting to see them peer through the windows in the nursery and dance down the hall as the nurse pushed Finn to Bethany's room so the siblings could formally meet. And then he was in their arms. They ooed and ahhed and snuggled. Extended family came and went. Gifts were exchanged. The baby was passed around to pairs of arms welcoming, celebrating, loving him. All that is right and good and true in the world showed up at a hospital in Arlington, Texas that morning, for Finn had arrived.
When I first met Landon, he was a vibrant, busy little guy. He kept his mom and dad on their toes, and they beamed at the task. Just days after his first birthday we had a follow-up session, and while Landon is very much the same sweet and active baby, now mobility has been added to the mix. We headed to their backyard to create some photographs to show off Landon's eager smile and big personality. He was the picture of contentment throughout the session. I love seeing how adored this fella is, and this blog doesn't even begin to illustrate the fullness of love I got to witness in this family. So excited to share these!
The day before little Hailey turned three, her mama and I did a mini-workshop in their home, and we followed that time with a photo session. We updated family photos while doing Hailey's three-year photos. Three is a great age, and baby James, age five months, is also in quite an adorable stage. I loved the backyard light and the easy interactions. Hailey was hesitant to put her mermaids away (what wee girl isn't?), so we started the session with figurines in hand but transitioned to them "helping" me take photographs. That led to giggles from Hailey and grins from James. Taking a family's photos allows me a glimpse into who they are, and the glimpse I caught on that Monday night was of a family that is really good at being family. Mom and Dad naturally passed the kids back and forth, wiping noses and tickling tummies. Hailey showed off her baby brother with pride. James cooed and drooled and demonstrated his rolling over skills. It was a delightful evening, and the captures illustrate love and connection. They make me smile.
On her first birthday, I had the pleasure of photographing Harper. We'd done photos in February when I was in Delaware, and I'm amazed at how much a few months changed this baby girl. For one thing, she is going, going, going... everywhere. Her daddy wasn't home in February (he's an Air Force pilot), so I love that Harper's birthday session was a family affair. I wanted to post Harper's blog today so you can see her beautiful, vibrant personality. She had a medical procedure done this morning that requires her to be a courageous and resilient girl in the coming days and weeks, and this little light of a girl just shines, shines, shines. I wish photographs could contain the sound of a sweet baby voice, although I think her enthusiasm for life comes through. Would you say a little prayer for sweet Harper and her amazing mama and daddy today and in the next few weeks. She's going to be just fine, but they have a challenging month ahead.
Next time I see this brave one, she'll be running and talking and more of a kid than a baby, but for now, here's Harper's happy birthday session. It was happy indeed.
The Pacific Northwest is my favorite part of the US, and some of my favorite people happen to live there. It had been a couple of years since I visited, so once the trip was scheduled, one of the first things to be planned was photographs of my best friend's family. We took a few photos of our various adventures, and I blogged a few photos of the trip as a whole. I'm excited to finally be sharing a few more photos of the littles and of Carla's session. Carla is one of those rare friends who came into life unexpectedly and promptly became one of my people. We have never lived in the same place, but we've had international adventures as well as cross country visits. I love that her kids call me auntie and that her husband doesn't mind if I sleep on the couch for days at a time. We've weathered hard things and witnessed beautiful things. I can't imagine my life without my bestie and her people. They're pretty spectacular, and I hope that shows in these photographs.
Things I love about Zane's one-year photos: he wore the same outfit his uncle wore as a baby that his grandma made for the first part of the session, for one. Also, he absolutely loved "driving" the old bus we used for the second part of the session. And how darling is this baby? He adores his mom and dad, and they sure do love him. I've so enjoyed watching them become parents. It's been so sweet. A quick sneak peek today...
Crosby's mom booked this session as a Father's Day gift for his dad. Their three-month-old grew their family in the most beautiful way that new life does. We spent a quiet morning in the backyard and around the house capturing these photographs. I really love the antique crib where Crosby naps during the day and that the family's furry friends are so enthusiastic about the addition of a happy little guy to the mix. Crosby snuggled, smiled and slept. As much as we enjoyed this session, we all had ideas for future sessions too, as Crosby hits milestones and learns to sit, then crawl, then walk and talk. So much wonder to watching baby grow through my camera lens, and Crosby gave me glimpses of just that. He is a little gift, much loved and celebrated.
When I first did photos for my original Kentucky clients, then-two-year-old Leslie called me Uncle Erin. She already had an Aunt Erin, her dad's sister, and I was a family friend who came with my-sister-who-is-her-mom's-best-friend-and-therefore-aunt. Calling me uncle just made good toddler sense. The name and the family photos stuck. This is a family I've known and become close to through good times and bad. I've seen their big love, heard their kind words, witnessed so many moments of hugs and kisses and dance parties and late night movies... They know what it means to be family. I am honored to get to document a few memories each year to time capsule the moments of a given day. I love the feel of these photos, but more than that, I love my dear friends. The girls cheer-led me from the sidelines of the marathon I ran in May. We FaceTime occasionally, and Kara and I have processed the stuff of life on many a long phone conversation. I love to eat at their table and to sleep in their guest room. I hope these photographs give you a sneak peek of the beauty and wonder of the love that is uniquely theirs.
This was another rainy-day-Kentucky-reuion-with-a-high-school-friend session. Bridget was one of the first friends I made when my family moved to Kentucky midway through my high school career. We took a lot of classes together, car-pooled (in her miles-long Cadillac), giggled about crushes and graduated. We started college at the same university, but I transferred to Texas. We lost touch. We reconnected on Facebook, and she booked me to photograph her littles last month. I loved getting to meet them. Avery sized me up the entire session; she's precocious and smart and sweet. Grant is a chatterbox and busy, and I loved hearing his big thoughts and dreams. Our time passed quickly, and I love the Kentucky-ness of the old barn and the horses. Really, though, I love that my work opened a door for me to have a good visit with an old friend and her family. It had been 14 years. We surely won't wait that long to get together, whether for more photos or for lunch (which followed our session, of course). The time was too rich.
I spent a week in Lexington in June for a Honey and Salt wedding and got to photograph several families as well. The bad news is it rained the entire trip. The good news is this family did not mind one little bit. The boys' interactions illustrated that having a brother as a buddy is the best thing ever. It mattered not that midway through the session the aforementioned rain came down, in spite of sunny skies, and when it rained, it poured. Everyone brought their best selves: big smiles and willingness to play and plenty of interaction. We continued on, and I am so excited to share this sneak peek. I am loving these photographs!