Windy Day at Camp Milton – Family Photoshoot

Right before Christmas, I had scheduled a shoot with Machell and her family. On the day of the shoot, it was uncharacteristically windy – with gusts of wind at 25 mph.

“Should we change to another location?” Machell asked me, worried the wind would cause a problem in the flat, open fields at Camp Milton. I pictured hair being blown in faces, and people squinting. I also pictured the beautiful fall colors and yellow grass of the fields – something that you can only find a couple months out of the year in Florida. “Let’s risk it!” I said, and with heavily cloudy sky and chilly wind, I headed out to location.

I’m so glad we did! The cloudy sky gave beautiful even light. The wind pushed everyone’s hair back – in perfect model fashion. Machell’s family even brought their dog, who was so picture perfect and made everyone else smile. I’m glad for the little unplanned surprises that make a photoshoot better than planned.

Fanaaj: Newborn Session

The first time I handled a newborn session, I was hesitant to touch or position the baby. Even after handling two babies of my own, other people’s babies seem so fragile, they could break. This session was so great for me, because the mother – and my good friend – trusted me completely and gave me full creative control. I did a lot of rocking and soothing and swaddling (quite messily I might add), but it all paid off in the end because this newborn’s perfection was able to shine through.

My friend has a bright loft in her house that was perfect for a quick family portrait.

High School Senior Photo Session – Camp Milton

It was a joy working with Hunter and Sola – 2 high school seniors and best friends. They decided to share a session together which turned out to be a wonderful idea. As I would do a set up with one, the other could watch and get ideas for her turn. Then when they switched, the other would cheer and make the other laugh. So glad I could spend an afternoon with these two lively, beautiful girls. 

Thanks for making me laugh! They have bright futures ahead of them.

Phillip and Shantelle, Amelia Island Wedding

I was lucky to photograph and video this intimate ceremony for Phillip and Shantelle. Our day started in a seaside hotel room, with those nervous but happy moments of getting ready. We got delayed when the zipper on Shantelle’s dress broke off! Shantelle was totally calm, and her easy going attitude set the mood for the whole day.

We walked out of the room to see clear blue skies and a sparkling beach. I can see why people love to get married by the ocean. Then every time they go to the beach, they can associate it with the most beautiful day of their life.

From the moment that Phillip first sees Shantelle in her dress to the moment their family cheers for them when they are officially married, this day is full of stunning moments. Watch the video (below) for the full experience!

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Playtime in the Trees: Losco Park

Losco park has a beautiful stretch of old, old trees. There is something about the crawling branches, the close blanket of leaves, and the dotted light that makes me think: fairytale. If anyone is thinking of coming here for a photo session, they would be hard pressed to not be completely charmed.

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P.S. This is the first day in two weeks that Simon has agreed to wear a shirt that doesn’t have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I thought it was a moment to commemorate.

Conrad: Newborn Photo Session

Sometimes newborn photo session make me nervous because they are unpredictable. So when I arrived at Conrad’s parents house, I was relieved to hear that he had cried the whole morning so now he was tired and ready to be photographed. Parents out there, any way to plan for this for your next newborn photo session?

Those eyes…

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Conrad’s mom said she wanted a minimalist life-style shoot. In the past, I’ve depended heavily on props or unique locations to engage children or make interesting pictures. So this was a stretching moment for me, but in the end, I liked it! There is nothing to distract from family interactions and the sweet moments they shared.

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We shifted him to different positions, held him, passed him around, and he still stayed asleep 90% of the time.

This next picture with baby and big sister was tricky. Big sister didn’t want to cuddle Conrad, and when I loomed over her with the camera, I became scary. So with the help of Mom and Dad, we laid her on the bed and held a laptop playing her favorite movie above her so she could watch while lying down. Then slowly we shifted Conrad closer to her, and like a sneaky hunter in the wild, I moved in – watching and waiting for the perfect moment. That’s what I call a parent-photographer team.

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Some daddy-son moments:

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Some mommy-son moments:

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Mom has a beautiful, contemplative smile.

Some behind-the-scenes of what daddy-daughter were doing in the meantime. Even though it doesn’t seem like anything big, I can imagine this being a cool thing to remember: “Remember how “Sing” was your favorite movie? See! You made me watch it everyday!”

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Mom was so good with engaging her daughter with Conrad. “Where are his feet?” she’d say. “Where is his nose?” Asking the parents on the best way to involve their children is something that I want to work on better in future shoots. The parents know best.

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The love and closeness in their family is very apparent in their home.

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The last few photos of the session, I tried to use some of the props I had brought because I have a secret love of photos where babies are lying in layers and layers of texture rich fabric. Don’t tell my daughter that I cut off the bow-tie from her favorite teddy bear to use in this photoshoot.

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Then, I tried to turn Conrad over and balance his chin in his two hands (I’d seen infants posed like that on other blogs), but that was too ambitious. He got shag fluff in his mouth and he started to cry – the sort of cry that I could tell it was all over. I felt so bad! Lessons, lessons.

Mother’s Day In-Home Session

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I love in-home sessions because there is personality and memories in the space all around. Lizzy’s living room glowed with late evening light. Her father (who happened to be visiting) helped me balance my reflector and illuminate this quiet tableau:

Lizzy’s daughter just turned 1 and likes to run around. It required some sweet temptations to get her to sit down. But now she will remember that “Dear Zoo” was her favorite book.

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I asked, “What’s your daughter’s favorite thing to do with you?” Lizzy said, “Squeeze my nose.” And sure enough…

I asked, “What’s your son’s favorite thing to do with you?” Lizzy said, “Put his feet in my face.” Ahhh, boys.

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Lizzy’s house looks like one from a magazine. I thought she maybe arranged it or cleaned up just for me. Apparently, this is how it always looks!

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This sweet moment happened when we were trying to get the whole family to stand together. Their little girl took off, and instead of trying to corral her, Rick and Lizzy stood back and watched. I’m glad they took time to appreciate things while in the moment.

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I love it when kids stand funny or do their own thing – let their personality shine through.

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Rick and Lizzy have this beautiful magnolia tree in their front yard. I’m thinking, there will be many memories under that tree.

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This beautiful girl is 1 and very sweet! She’s asking to be picked up here, and we’re just talking excitedly and clapping our hands. I think she forgave us.

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It isn’t often they get to see Grandma and Grandpa. Glad we got to capture some of these quick moments before the day was done.

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Again, I love in-home sessions for the intimacy and meaning they inherently have. If I could do it again, I would highlight different parts of the house with small family moments, framed with doorways and light. Some exciting things to try in the future!