The Weavers are… | Family Session + more!!

Expecting! I’m so excited to share this wonderful news and on such a special day as Valentine’s Day!!
Back in November last year, I had the honor of photographing the Weaver family, Lucas, Autumn, and Alya. Toward the end of the session, they shared a secret with me. A HUGE secret. They were expecting!!! I was so excited for them and I love that they trusted me with this secret and that they wanted to include their wonderful news in their session. They hadn’t yet told their families and wanted to have photos to share their big announcement. So we quickly put some ideas together to announce their new baby!
Recently, Autumn announced her pregnancy on Facebook. Their little one is doing well and getting big. With their permission, I am sharing the photos that we took during their session back in November where they announced they would be going from a family of 3 to a family of 4! I just loved little Alya, she was so good and I am sure she will be a great big sister! Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Snow days | Personal

So as many of you know, we have gotten a lot of snow in the last two weeks. Thankfully, this Tuesday night as I sit her typing this, I am not preparing for snow! The first week we got about 2″. The next week, 6! This is pretty rare for our area, and although I like snow, I think we are all done for the season. We’ve had our fill.
Steven has seemed to really enjoy the snow, although we weren’t able to play in it for long periods. We woke up one morning the second week and the temperature was -4! That is crazy for this area. So we never stayed out more than 30 minutes at a time. He was pretty funny playing in the 6″ of snow. He had a hard time walking, as he is not even 3 feet tall! We tried to build a snowman, but the snow was really fluffy and not really snowman building snow. We painted the snow using water colored blue with food coloring and Steven and Mike played golf in the snow. The first week was good for sledding and Mike pulled Steven and I behind the mini bike. The second week, not so much. It was just too deep for that, so we just pulled him with our hands.
The dogs really loved the snow. Colt loved trying to eat it and Hurley loved running in it. Mike tried to play ball with Hurley in the deep snow, but the balls kept getting lost.
Steven and I spent a lot of time indoors over the last couple of weeks, which is tough, because we both love to be outside! Thankfully, I had bought a few things of play dough and that has provided a lot of entertainment. We had better luck building a snowman made out of play dough. I also converted a cardboard box into a mailbox. He likes it pretty good, but not quite as much as I anticipated. We have Lincoln logs and our train set and plenty of books.
Now the snow is gone and whenever we get ready to go somewhere and go to put our shoes on, Steven says “No bibs.”, referring to his snow bibs. I think he is over the snow too! We are both ready for warmer and drier weather. Bring on the Spring!

The first snow we got. Steven had a blast being pulled on the sled!


The BIG snow we got!

Hurley loved trying the find the balls in the snow, but it was pretty difficult.


Colt checking out the snow. He gave me some funny faces as he romped around!



Mike and Steven playing golf with Hurley!




Making our play dough snowman inside where we were warm and dry!!





Cardboard mailbox.  I found the inspiration for this on Pinterest, though not very good directions.  I just winged it!



When your photo session doesn’t go as planned | Business + Personal

So I have been meaning to write this post for awhile. I first had the idea after working with several families and during their sessions, their kids just weren’t feeling like having their photos taken. The parents get stressed and apologize repeatedly, reassuring me their children are usually well-behaved and all smiles. I assure them that it is ok, that theirs are not the first kids I have worked with that have off days. They all do, mine included. I then gained this experience first hand and therein comes the personal side of this post.

I know I have written before about the wonderful network of photographers that I am a part of through Amanda Hedgepeth. I decided this past Fall that I wanted to take the plunge and have our family photos professionally done. I know, its what I do, so I should value it, and I do. I really do!! But, like many of you think, it is an expense and one that sadly doesn’t always make the priority list. Well, I decided we needed to make it happen.

So I started thinking of who I wanted to have take our pictures. My cousin had taken ours several times, and she did a fantastic job, but I wanted someone I knew in the profession. I contacted Debbie with Debbie Laughlin Photography.  I had talked with Debbie online through our network, and she was so kind and helpful.  Besides, I loved her work.  So I contacted her and we set a date.  I started dreaming of our perfect session. Laughing and smiling and all the beautiful photos we would have.

Well, fast-forward and our session date, the day after Steven’s birthday, the weather was 34 degrees and windy.  I was still set on us doing our session though.  So I dragged my husband and our son out to Fort Story and the Cape Henry Lighthouse.  We were sitting in the car letting Steven eat his snack before the session and Mike asked me “Do you hear that sound?”.  I listened and asked if it was a jet?  He said “No, it is the wind!”.  Yikes!   I should have called it off.  But, I had my heart set that we were going to have our photos taken and we had no other time available for the rest of the year! So Debbie and her sweet husband showed up all bundled up ready to brave the cold and wind.
It was a disaster. Not on Debbie’s part by any means. She was awesome!  We were just so cold and the wind was blowing and making it worse.  I wanted us to look nice, so in a complete moment of mommy failure, I didn’t put a jacket on Steven.  He was freezing.  He got so upset and cold that he couldn’t recover.  He was crying and tears were streaming down his face.  We tried everything to get him to smile.  We even all bundled up, but it wasn’t happening.  Debbie was so patient and kind to us.  She reassured us that it was ok and that she didn’t mind.  She hung in there with us and tried her best, but Steven just wasn’t having it.  So she kindly told us that she would give us what she had and that we could reschedule to finish out the session.  We didn’t even last 30 minutes out there!

So, this is a lot longer than I anticipated it being, but what I want to get at is that it is ok if your kids are having an off day. Like Debbie, I love what I do and I love working with families and kids. It isn’t for everyone. Not every photographer does family and children sessions. I do and I love it. I love capturing the special moments and meeting all the little people. If I didn’t like working with families and children, I wouldn’t do it.

So parents, it is ok if your kiddos are off. I will do my best to work with them and try to get them to relax and be their usual charming selves.  I am patient and understanding.  I won’t get upset and its ok.  WE all have our off days.  But, if they get to the point where they just aren’t having it, that is ok to. We can always reschedule. Your session is supposed to be fun and enjoyable and a great memory. Besides that is what we are doing. Creating and capturing memories. They should be pleasant and happy ones.  Being a parent comes first and your children’s well-being comes first.  We can always reschedule for another day! 🙂

I want to give a big thank you to Debbie for being such a patient and kind person and photographer. She is definitely a role model for me as a family and children’s photographer. I am so grateful for the beautiful photos she did capture for us. And, we will always be able to look back at our session as a learning lesson in parenting. Sometimes you really do have to put your kids above your wants and dreams.

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This is probably one of my favorite photos of us ever!  I love that you can tell he is smiling at Mike!

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All photos taken by Debbie Laughlin Photography.

My favorites from 2013

This has truly been an amazing year! I started my photography business in 2013 and it has been a wonderfully, blessed journey. I am so grateful for everyone that supported my business this year. This year I had 32 different paying clients!! I know that may not sound like much, but I only started charging clients in May and only did sessions on the weekends. I worked with so many wonderful couples, families, and children. I cannot wait to see what 2014 brings!! Here are some of my favorites from 2013. Enjoy!

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DeJarnette Family | Airfield 4-H Center, Wakefield, VA

I have been wanting to do a session at the Airfield 4-H center ever since I started my photography business. I am so thankful that the DeJarnette family gave me that opportunity. Kristy contacted me about taking their family photos and I was again trilled and honored that someone would choose me to capture their memories! I went to high school with Kristy and I always enjoy working with people I know!
Kristy, Luke and their little girl Tenley are such a sweet family and so beautiful. I mean look at those curls on Tenley. And she isn’t just a girly girl! She loves to fish with her daddy. I love that they brought their fishing poles and tackle box to capture this special bond they share.
I love all the different settings this beautiful location offered. Tenley had the best time exploring everything. She is a quick little 2-year old, but thankfully she sat still for a moment here and there. I love working with families where you can see just how much the parents love their children! Thank you to the DeJarnettes and I hope you enjoy their beautiful Airfield session!

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Christmas Mini Sessions 2 | Bergey’s Breadbasket

So the first Christmas mini sessions went so well and I had had some interest from people about offering more, that I decided to hold a 2nd day of them. I again decided to hold them at Bergey’s Breadbasket in Chesapeake. They were so wonderful to work with and I really loved the way the first session photos turned out.
I again had a wonderful group of families that signed up for these sessions. It was a lot colder on this day, but the skies were clearer. Everyone looked so nice and each session was unique. Thank you to all of the beautiful families that signed up. I enjoyed working with you all so much and I hope you enjoy their beautiful Christmas-themed photos!

Thank you again to Bergey’s Breadbasket for letting me use your location.

Banner made by: Butterfly above

The beautiful Grabias family.  We wrapped up sweet Kynlee to keep her nice and warm!

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The beautiful Zwick family and their sweet baby Owen! Love his reindeer hat and the cows that joined in on their session!

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The beautiful Devlin family.  Love this family of five and their sweet kiddos!
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The beautiful Jones family! They are now a family of four, and it was very special to be able to take baby Wyatt’s first Christmas pictures!

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Zimmerman Family | First Landing State Park

   I swear I have some of the best clients. The Zimmerman family is no exception, they were so amazing during their session! I had never met them before that day, but Breauna and I are sorority sisters!! She graduated before I joined, but we are still both Pi Phis! I was so excited to hear that one of our sisters had recommended me to her. Thank you so much to Kristy and make sure you check out her Etsy store for her jewelry business The Funky Tangerine!
Breauna and her husband Bret have two of the most beautiful girls. Ellie and Eva are just gorgeous and they did so well during the session. Breauna chose First Landing State Park as the location for their session and it was so beautiful. I had never been to this location before, but I love it when my clients pick somewhere that they love! It had beautiful beach, trails and bright fall leaves. The backdrop was perfect for fall photos!
Thank you so much to Breauna and her family for allowing me to capture all the fun silliness and love in their family! You guys were so awesome and you all totally rocked your photo session!  Check out this gorgeous family!!

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Slaba Family | Windsor Castle Session

Every time I work with a family, the session is different, even with families I’ve worked with before and even at locations I’ve shot at before.  I love it!  It keeps me on my toes and never gets boring!
I went to high school with Tony and Jessica, but this was my first time working with them.  Their kids are just beautiful, but little Nicholas wasn’t feeling like having his picture taken and Caroline was into everything but sitting still.  But that is just how kids are.  Some days they are on and other days not so much.  I reassured Tony and Jessica that as their parents it may seem like they were 100% times worse than they really were.  They just weren’t feeling it.  It makes my job a little more challenging, but by no means impossible or terrible. This is a beautiful family inside and out and their kids are just normal kids! They really were great!
I love working with families and especially their kids! I love the challenge of capturing beautiful photos, from ones where they are all actually looking at the camera and smiling to those special ones that really show their personalities!  The later ones are my favorite.  They can be a bit silly and maybe ones only the parents can appreciate, but they are still special.
Thank you so much Tony and Jessica for allowing me to capture your beautiful and sweet family. I really had a great time working with you all and your kiddos!

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Christmas Mini Sessions | Bergey’s Breadbasket, Chesapeake

I had such a great time working with all of the wonderful families that signed up for my first Christmas mini sessions! I chose the location of Bergey’s Breadbasket, because to me that was a part of Christmas. My dad, sister and I used to go to Bergey’s, when it was a dairy, every Christmas Eve to buy eggnog and Colonial custard. My dad would give these as gifts to some of his family and friends. We loved getting up early and venturing out early Christmas Eve. We would love to see the calves and all the animals on the farm. I am so glad that they were able to open again as a bakery.
I was so excited to shoot these sessions. I had a Christmas wreath hung on the barn door and got a banner that said “Be Merry” for the families to hold. We even enjoyed hot chocolate and cider with my mom’s ginger snaps. It was definitely “Christmasy”!! Thank you so much to all the wonderful families that came out. You guys all rocked it and you all looked so wonderful! I hope your families enjoy your photos and I’m sure they will look great on your Christmas cards! Merry Christmas to all!

Banner made by:

The beautiful Franklin family!

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Kyndall and her cousin Charlotte

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The Speight Family! Daddy was on a fishing trip, but don’t his girls look beautiful!

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The gorgeous Tomlin family!

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The Saunders family looking wonderful!

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The fun and beautiful Adams family!

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The Stotesbury Family | Family session on the Farm

With every session that I book, I am so thankful and amazed that someone would choose me to capture their precious memories. I know that probably sounds cliché, but it is the truth! I am still so new to this business, but I am so thankful to Leisha and Joey for supporting me from the beginning.
When Leisha asked if I would take pictures of not only their family again, but also her sister’s along with their parents, I was so thrilled and nervous at the same time. I’d never done a large family session before and these types of sessions are extra special. I know how hard it is to get a large group of people together. With schedules and kids it can seem impossible. But they made it work and we had a perfect fall day!  Thank you to some of the wonderful photographers I network with, I felt prepared to rock this session!
I love that they wanted to have their session done at my family’s farm. The cotton was ready to be picked and make for a beautiful backdrop. I love the old barn and tree. The kids seemed to enjoy the setting, feeling the cotton and exploring the fields. Getting four kiddos under four to all cooperate can be challenging, but their little guys did great. Its funny, because they didn’t plan it, but all four kids have “k” sounds to their name. Kylee, Caige, Carson, and Carter. They did so good too. We even got some sweet pictures of the grandparents with all of their grandbabies! 🙂

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