Spring is just around the corner and for photographers of every kind, that means the business is picking up. I'm so excited for all of the newborns, babies, and families I'll be photographing in the coming months, and I'm sure you're all looking forward to reading about something other than my adventures with my kids! However, I must admit, I do enjoy the slower season that winter brings. I've enjoyed this time of turning my camera towards the beautiful, everyday moments in my own home.
This last week of calm has been so precious to me. I ended up submitting 3 different photos to the Life in 52 lifestyle photography challenge this week.
First, my husband decided to take Bug out for a special daddy-daughter dinner for some one on one time. She was SO EXCITED. She asked me to help her pick out the perfect dress and to style her hair in a bun. My heart could have exploded with love that day.
Later in the week, Bug wanted some arts and crafts time. She received a kit for Christmas to create and decorate stepping stones. She's been begging to make one and we finally had everything we needed to get it done this week. After it dried and we took it out of the mold, Bug got started painting the stone. When Bubba saw her, he came to me with his little, chubby toddler hands out saying, "Mommy, me paint too!"
I poured a few colors of washable paint onto a paper plate and gave him a small paint brush and a piece of paper. The house was blissfully peaceful for a solid half an hour while they created their masterpieces.
I'll admit we don't paint around here often. It's so cumbersome to cover the table and pull out all the supplies and, of course, clean up afterwards. However, every time we do something creative and messy, it brings such happiness and calm that I end up thinking to myself, "We really should do this more often."
Maybe my goal this spring will be to find the time to make more messes.
See more from the Life in 52 challenge here.
If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you know we sold our house last summer and built a new one. We love our new house, but there's been one part that I haven't enjoyed.
It's a relatively new neighborhood, and they started building on the lot next door pretty much as soon as we moved in. It's been 5 whole months of large trucks blocking our driveway, loud tools, and music blaring all day. Our new neighbors are set to move in very soon, and I can't WAIT.
My son, however, sees things a little differently than I do. He is OBSESSED with trucks and tractors and machinery. We even worked that love into his 2 year photos. When one of these large vehicles comes to work at the house next door, Bubba runs all over the house to find the window with the best view. Once he finds it, he will sit there - just watching - while they work. Every once in a while, someone will notice him watching and honk and wave. It's pretty much the highlight of his little toddler life.
This week, a cement truck came to pour the driveway next door and parked right in front of our house. I figured it was most likely the last time he would get to watch this, so I let him sit on top of the train table in the playroom and watch as long as he wanted.
This week has been pretty slow here in my family. Some people might think that's boring, but I embrace slow weeks. Working to build a business with two kids at home rarely provides truly relaxed weeks.
The weather here in Charleston, SC has been tolerable. A little chilly for my taste but not terribly cold. I've enjoyed time with my kids and husband, managed to get my house back into some order, and even found the time to take in a couple of online business classes. This week has been a blessing.
I will admit that my photography challenge photo from this week wasn't entirely candid. My daughter received one of those ribbon wands for Christmas (or was it her birthday? I don't really remember), and she's been trying to twirl it around the house for weeks. Unfortunately, she struggles to find an area in our house where her ribbon doesn't get wrapped around a doorknob, a dog, or a little brother.
Yesterday, as we were going out to the backyard to play, I saw the ribbon wand discarded in a tangled mess on the floor of our living room. I suggested to my daughter that she might have more luck twirling the ribbon outside where there were no obstacles. I grabbed my camera, untangled her ribbon, and waited.
It was a little windy yesterday. She actually got herself wrapped in ribbon a couple of times, but that never stopped her from twirling...
See more posts from the Life in 52 challenge here.
Photographers will often tell you that their most difficult subjects are their own children. I am no exception. My daughter loves having her photo taken; however, she doesn't want to listen to my directions and posing suggestions. She has her own ideas that don't always photograph well.
My son is difficult in a different way altogether. His 2nd birthday was this week, and I wanted to have a little photo session with him as I do with my children every year. Toddlers can be challenging to photograph anyway, but at least with clients, they are curious about the silly lady with the black box in front of her face. Getting them to look at me and my camera isn't too difficult. My own son is so accustomed to my camera being out that he probably views it as an extension of my arm. He doesn't care to look at the camera because he's just not that curious about it.
I knew I needed to go with a more lifestyle photography type of session. There's no way I was going to get him to sit still for more traditional portraits. He absolutely loves tractors and trucks and anything with wheels, so I really wanted to find a place in Charleston, SC that fit that theme. I originally planned to take him to where my husband works for his family's business because they have tractors and a backhoe. The timing and weather just never worked out for that though. I then remembered that the company where my husband's work buys their tractors is only minutes from my house. I asked my husband if he thought they would let me take our son's portraits there. He was confident they would and recommended a few employees to seek out when I got there.
The next day, after dropping my daughter off at school, we headed over to see the tractors. Not only did this wonderful company allow me to take Bubba's portraits there, but they also gifted him with a little toy tractor. He was in HEAVEN. He made this face and said, "WOW!" more times than I can count.
We wandered around for quite a while just letting him explore to his heart's content. I occasionally posed him a little or said something silly to get his attention and make him laugh. For the most part though, I just followed him around and captured his adventures.
These photos also worked out perfectly for Week 3 in the Life in 52 challenge. I edited this photo in both black and white and color but couldn't decide which I liked more. I posted both on my Facebook page and asked for opinions. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of COLOR.
See more of my photos from the Life in 52 challenge here.
If you read my last blog post about our big snow day here in Charleston, SC, then you know I've decided to participate in a weekly lifestyle photography challenge. I wanted to take on this challenge as a way to document more of these every day beautiful moments with my family, but also because this kind of photography really hones many of the skills I need as a birth photographer.
Birth photographers often have to work with little light or unusual light settings, which can be tricky. We also have to work around other people - finding the right angle and the right light without getting in the way. Finally, we have to find and capture the beauty in those hours and minutes without intentionally posing or creating it.
We're only in week 2 of the lifestyle photography challenge, but I am already finding myself on the struggle bus. Why? Well., there are two main reasons:
1) This week has been chaos. We are finally getting back into our regular schedule after a MONTH off. Winter break was extended due to all the snow and ice. This week, my daughter headed back to school and dance, and I have been trying to clean and reorganize everything from the holidays and the snow days.
2) I have a toddler in my house. While Bubba (my soon-to-be 2-year-old) provides ample opportunity for adorable photos, he also happens to be pretty destructive. I would love to leave my camera somewhere accessible, so I can grab it quickly to capture a moment before it passes. However, toddlers and expensive camera equipment do not mix. I thought I might leave my camera bag out, so my camera is still somewhat available, but apparently the toddler mastered the use of zippers this week. It seems my camera bag has to stay up and out of reach for the time being.
This week's photo actually came from Bubba's rummages in my camera bag. I was sitting on the couch with my laptop, editing an ADORABLE 6-month milestone session (seriously can't wait to share them with all of you), and I had my camera bag next to me. Bubba repeatedly tried to grab my camera from the bag. I was beginning to get frustrated with constantly having to pull him out of my bag when I remembered I keep one of my old point and shoot cameras in the bottom. I pulled it out and told him if he sat on the couch next to me, he could hold it very carefully. He's a pretty rough and wild little boy, so I fully expected to have to take it from him pretty quickly. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how carefully he held it and how gently he touched each of the buttons. It wasn't long before he lifted it up to his eye and tried to take a picture with it.
Thankfully, this photographer was ready with her own camera.
A door is closing on another year. When each year begins, I always feel like I have a long stretch of time in front of me - a long chapter of my life yet to be written. Then at the end of the year, I always end up thinking to myself, What happened? Where did the year go?
This year has been busier than most for my family. I decided that I wanted to really pursue photography as a career - more specifically, birth photography. I spent this year going to school at night to complete a photography certification program, building a portfolio and website, preparing all of the legal aspects of my business, and finding new clients. If building a business weren't enough, we moved twice this year! My husband and I decided to sell our first home in the spring and build a new house. We are still living in the Charleston, SC area, but we had to move into an apartment between selling our old house and closing on the new. We've been settled in the new house since September, but I just now feel like I'm getting to sit and breathe for a minute. It's been a wild ride.
I wouldn't change it for anything though. I love this crazy life.
This year, I've spent time with several amazing families...
Some of those families were expanding.
Some had recently expanded. I photographed some of the most beautiful babies and kids!
One of the biggest highlights of my year was capturing an unforgettable birth.
Despite the chaos, 2017 has been an amazing year for my family. I hope you close this year with fond memories, but most of all I pray 2018 is full of joy and blessings for all of you... and, of course, I hope you'll consider inviting me in to capture some of those memories. Happy New Year!