I love milestone portrait sessions. It's so fun to photograph these little ones as they grow. Out of the different milestone options, I think 6 month sessions are my favorite. Babies this age are often starting to sit up on their own and their little personalities really start to shine through. Plus, they make the BEST faces!
If you remember this little guy's 3 month milestone session, you'll see that his parents decided to keep the baby suspenders theme going. I was certainly not disappointed. I adore baby suspenders and I'm sure you can see why!
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.
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!
I must be the luckiest photographer in Charleston, SC. Maybe even the luckiest photographer ever. Would you like to know why? It's because my clients have THE. MOST. ADORABLE. BABIES.
Little miss Annalisa is no exception. With a sweet little face and big brown eyes, I knew her cake smash session was going to produce some beautiful photos.
I love cake smash photography sessions because, for the most part, I put a cake in front of a little one and sit back and capture all of the fun. I love posed, formal photographs and they have their place in our lives, but my absolute favorites as a photographer are those which capture personalities and natural moments. It's one of the biggest reasons I specialize in birth photography. I am simply an honored observer who finds and captures beauty as it unfolds. Cake smash sessions are a slightly more controlled form of lifestyle photography. I control some of the variables like decorations, props, and lighting, but as for the subject itself, the birthday girl, I just have to wait and watch for those photo-worthy moments.
Prior to the session, I spent some time talking with her mother about different color schemes and props I have available to use. We discussed the cake and Annalisa's outfit (you can never go wrong with a tutu), and mom gave me some pointers on some different ways to get her little one to smile.
December in Charleston is often mild as far as weather goes and thankfully that held true for our session. I set up in an outdoor covered shelter in a local neighborhood.
Annalisa was PERFECT during her cake smash session. As soon as her dad sat her in front of the cake, she slowly stuck her hands in. Once she had a little taste, it wasn't long before she was cramming her hands AND feet into the cake. I think it's safe to say that everyone involved had fun with this little one.
Happy Birthday and enjoy this sneak peek!
The Charleston area has an abundance of beautiful locations and it can often be overwhelming to decide where to photograph a portrait session. No matter what style you are trying to achieve, Charleston has something for everyone: stunning natural scenery at parks and plantations, waterfront views, historic homes and buildings, and even some modern and industrial settings. The location for this particular family session has a little bit of all three.
Located on the former Charleston Naval Base, Riverfront Park was once a hidden gem, only known for larger events like the Annual 4th of July Festival. In recent years, however, many people in our community have discovered its charms. As a matter of fact, I saw at least 3 other photographers at the park while we were there. The great thing about Riverfront is that there is plenty of room and it never seems to feel crowded. There are historic homes that naval officers once called home. There are oak trees dripping in Spanish moss and places to sit and look out over the creek that runs past the park. You will also find a large, industrial performance pavilion and a sampling of modern art pieces throughout Riverfront Park.
The weather on this particular weekend was pretty cold and dreary for the most part, but we ended up with a beautiful, mild afternoon for this family photo session. We walked all around the park and took advantage of all it has to offer.
I must say this is an incredibly photogenic family, and those handsome boys kept me on my toes! Jackson, the older brother, was my little model. He loved to pose and would randomly tell me, "Hey! Take a picture of me like this by this tree!"
Little brother, Weston, mostly wanted to play, but he would occasionally stop to give me a big, heart-melting smile. I had to be quick with my camera though because he would only hold the smile for a few seconds before running off again.
This is just a small sample of this family's portrait session. I loved capturing their family dynamic, and I think the photos show their relationship perfectly.
When this family contacted me to take their annual family photos, I suggested a few beautiful locations for our session to take place. They recently moved back to the area and decided their first family photos in town should be in a quintessential Charleston location: the Battery. As their photographer, I was secretly hoping they would choose that particular spot. I've lived in Charleston my entire life, but I still love walking along the Battery and down the various side streets. It's an especially beautiful sight at sunrise. Our session was scheduled the day before Daylight Savings Time ended, so I knew it was my last opportunity to photograph in that gorgeous morning light while sunrise was still happening after 7 am.
I could not have asked for a more perfect morning. The weather was cool and mild, and this family was so much fun! I was thrilled when their adorable little girl warmed up to me almost immediately. After she asked about my dogs and I complimented her pretty red dress (my favorite color), we were ready to get started.
I really enjoyed spending time with this family. They were so relaxed and truly seemed to enjoy each other's company. I had a very hard time choosing which photos to share here in the blog. The entire gallery exuded happiness and love. Take a look and you'll see what I mean!
A few weeks ago, I introduced my new nephew by sharing his newborn session here on the blog. For his 3 month photos, I decided to go with a fairly simple set-up: just a plaid blanket and a couple of basic props. When your subject is this adorable, what else could a photographer need? I mean... does it get any better than a faux baby bowtie and suspenders? I think not...
It amazes me how quickly he has grown. Before I know it, we'll be planning for his 6 month session!
I've heard it said that October is to photographers as April is to accountants. It makes perfect sense. The cooler temperatures, beautiful fall colors, and stunning sunsets are a photographer's dream. Plus, it's the perfect time of year for new family portraits just in time for holiday cards to be printed!
I must say, however, that October is a little different for photographers here in Charleston, SC. The weather cools down some, but temperatures in the upper 80s to low 90s are still very common. Days at the beach are a regular occurrence and the leaves usually stay green.
I still love October though. I can feel the holidays coming, and I'm still a huge kid when it comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas. We also have plenty of great fall activities in Charleston, despite the fact that it still feels like summer most of the time. My family stayed busy all month, and instead of overwhelming my blog readers with tons of individual personal posts, I decided to combine them all into one highlight reel.
We started October with my little man's first haircut. Whenever I write about my children, I always refer to them by their nicknames, and my son bears the most quintessential southern boy nickname possible: Bubba. My sweet Bubba had the most beautiful blonde curls, but for some reason, everyone else seemed to think it was more mullet than precious baby curls. I finally agreed to allow my husband to take Bubba to the barber shop next time he had his own hair cut as long as he didn't complain when I showed up with camera in hand. I have absolutely no problem being that mom.
I have a love/hate relationship with this haircut. He looks like a little boy now without his little baby curls, but he's so stinking cute that it's hard not to love it.
Every October, we also make plans to visit the Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch with friends. On the weekends, the pumpkin patch has food and a petting zoo in addition to all of the other wonderful activities. However, I usually choose to go during the week. Aside from a few school field trips, the crowd is much smaller and less overwhelming for my small children. We still have a wonderful time with plenty of opportunities for play.
The biggest event for our family each October is Bug's birthday! Since she turned 5 this year, we decided to make it an extra special birthday. We had a party with friends and family at our house, but I have almost no pictures! I was in "hostess" mode the entire time. A few days after her party, I took Bug to the beach for a special birthday photo session. I always get pictures of my kids for their birthdays each year, either by hiring another professional photographer or doing them myself. This year I had something special in mind that I really wanted to photograph on my own.
I started with more traditional portraits in a white dress that were all for me, but then I switched to something all about her. Bug is obsessed with mermaids. She has a mermaid bookbag for school and requested that we make her room in our new house mermaid themed. I couldn't resist the opportunity to make her into a mermaid for her birthday. The joy in her face in these photos is so real. She giggled pretty much the entire time and asked if people walking by might think she was a real mermaid.
To top off a pretty awesome birthday week, my mom and I took Bug on a little road trip on her actual birthday. We headed to pick up my niece and then drove on to Charlotte, NC to visit the American Girl store. Again, I had planned to take pictures of the girls in the store, but I was a little overwhelmed in that place. Plus, I had to rein in the birthday girl who was making plans to buy every. single. thing. she saw.
After Bug spent every penny of her birthday money, we met up with some friends of mine who live in Charlotte for a birthday dinner at The Cheesecake Factory before heading back to our hotel. My mom found a hotel that partners with the American Girl store to provide a "pink package" to guests. All the bedding and towels had been switched to pink as well as the alarm clock and trash cans. Each of the girls also received a bag with a bed, robe, and slippers for their dolls to keep and a couple of giant chocolate chip cookies.
When we got home, it was time to get ready for Halloween. Bug decided she wanted to be Moana this year. That was easy enough because she already owns a Moana dress up costume. Since this will likely be my last year with full decision-making rights on Bubba's costume, I decided to dress him as Maui to go with his big sister. I found a cute Maui pajama set on Amazon and used my crafty skills to create a wig and fish hook. I was worried he wouldn't wear the wig, but he was perfect!
Now that October is over, I'm looking forward to the fall weather finally making its way here to Charleston. Plus, I'm allowed to talk about Christmas occasionally without constantly getting side-eye from friends and family.
What was your favorite part of October? Did you dress up for Halloween? Your kids? Tell me about it in the comments!
Although I chose to specialize in birth and fresh 48 photography, I really enjoy portrait photography as well. My favorite portraits are those that come from ongoing relationships with my clients - taking maternity portraits and then being present when the baby growing in that sweet bump is born or seeing a baby from a fresh 48 session grow throughout their first year. I love capturing families as they grow and change over the months and years.
I have two options for portrait sessions: the Mini and the Full. They are both great options for all types of portraits; the difference really boils down to the length of your session and the variety of options presented in the gallery at the end.
A mini session is 30-minutes on location. These sessions are ideal for seasonal/holiday photos, baby milestones, children's birthdays, pregnancy announcements and gender reveals. Minis are also available for family or maternity portraits, but photo options are more limited by the time available.
Full sessions are one hour on location. These sessions are perfect for any client looking for more variety from their portraits. Because we have more time, we are able to include an outfit change if desired and possibly a change in location if another option is close.
I sometimes have clients ask which type of session is best for families with young children, and my answer honestly depends on the family. Some children are excited to take photos and are very cooperative at the beginning, but by the end of the session they're tired and ready to be done. In those cases, I think a mini session would be appropriate. On the other hand, some children take time to warm up to me and a longer session gives them time to get comfortable and pose well for photos. You know your family best, and I am happy to talk it through with you to decide which option might be best.
Once a client has chosen the type of session they want and paid the retainer fee to secure their date/time, I send an email with an overview of what time to arrive and some suggestions for choosing outfit(s). Sometime in the week before the session, I will consult with clients by email, phone, or text - whichever is easiest for them - to go over any final details and answer any questions. I am also available if they need help choosing what to wear! It's not uncommon for clients to text a photo of some options and ask for my help and opinions. I want them to love their photos, so I am always willing to help choose a location and clothing that will make the portraits look their absolute best.
The day of the session has arrived. Everyone is dressed and ready. Now what?
I usually plan to arrive early to walk around, even if it's a location I have used before, just to make sure there are no surprises waiting. I also prefer to be unpacked and set up, so clients don't have to wait on me when they arrive. If children are involved in the session, I usually take a few minutes to introduce myself and talk to them to help them feel more comfortable with me.
The flow of the session depends on each client and their family dynamics and what they want from their portraits. However, I usually include the same four prompts within each session.
Posed Group Portraits
These are what most people think of when they hear the word "portraits." Everyone placed in a specific spot, looking at the camera, and smiling.
These are more active photos. I encourage clients to walk together, tickle, dance, or move in some way. These portraits usually show more geniune smiles and the relationships between family members.
These are similar to traditional posed portraits, but instead of the whole family/group being included, these are individual photos of each person or smaller combinations of family members.
No matter what form a portrait session takes, I always end my sessions the same way: PLAY!
These are often my favorite photos from a session. This is when personalities really shine. I take whatever time is left at the end of a session, and I encourage clients to just let loose! If we are at the beach, go splash in the water. At a park, clients will chase each other or pick flowers or whatever comes most naturally to them.
Once the session is over, I try to post a couple of sneak peeks on my Facebook and Instagram accounts as I edit over the next few days, and the gallery is delivered within 2 weeks.
Contact me today to plan your next portrait session. I would love to work with you!
Have you ever had a portrait session? What were your favorite photos? Posed or Playful? Leave a comment below and let me know!
One of the many perks of living in Charleston, SC is the access to so many beautiful beaches. There is no shortage of gorgeous ocean views in this area. However, there's one stretch of beach that holds a special place in my heart. I have memories from my teenage years of sitting on the rocks with friends talking about nothing and everything. It's a quiet stretch of beach with a spectacular view.
When Allie contacted me about taking maternity portraits, I knew this would be the perfect place.
Allie and I went to Winthrop University together. She is a teacher in the upstate and was planning a vacation to Charleston and Hilton Head with her husband, Andrew, and her son, Liam. She asked if I would take beach maternity portraits for her while she was in town. Having recently finished my photography certification program, I jumped at the opportunity to use some of my new knowledge.
We started with some posed family portraits on the rocks. I loved what they chose to wear because they all coordinate without being super "matchy."
Liam did a great job listening to my directions and suggestions, but he eventually started getting restless (as all kids do). We let him take a break while I took some photos of mom alone. We did convince him to run back in and give his baby brother a quick kiss though.
My favorite part of every beach portrait session comes at the end. That's when it's time to get wet! The family takes a walk in the water. Kids get to splash and get wet. My favorite photos almost always come from the spontaneous moments the waves bring.
I only wish I lived closer to this family so I could photograph this sweet new baby boy on the outside too!
Do you have a favorite beach spot? Tell me about it in the comments!