Photos of late

It has been a busy season for all the hats I wear. Teaching, writing, photography – these things come in waves. Sometimes they all converge the same week and I wonder what I’ve done to myself.

I don’t advertise for photography outside of this blog and Facebook, mostly because I accomplish photo sessions during free time, so that means I’m not booked solid with one session after another. (Since it’s a hobby and not a career, this is key.) Yet, I still love doing them. I especially enjoy kids because they aren’t self-conscious, they mostly don’t care what they look like, and their smiles are so… pure, especially once I get them laughing. 

Newborns are my favorite, by far. This segment of time is so short and it passes too quickly. A yawn is still novel.

Engagements aren’t bad either, y’all. Particularly in autumn.

That tongue!

And at six months old, when babies can finally respond to your crazy sounds and hand-waving, you occasionally get a good snapshot of a real smile.

Clearly he gets eyelash extensions.

Let me know if you want some photos taken in December. I have a little time.

A baby, a birthday party, and three graduates

While writing is my deepest passion, I am grateful that photography can be a creative outlet. I am also grateful so many people continue to trust me with their most important people and occasions.

Like the birth of a baby…

Or a three year old’s birthday party…

And when three daughters graduate…

Thank you to my friends and family for trusting me with these moments. 

The flawless faces of beautiful children

I am a lucky girl. When “playing with my camera” takes me to a sprawling property, situated in front of these beautiful faces, I cannot complain.

It’s not hard, really. Engage the kiddos, chat with them, be silly. I’m not scary or overwhelming, so they don’t mind when I require a little of their time. For these siblings in particular, they are used to me and my lens in their faces.

And now, I’m getting to know their friends, which is a treat like none other! When a friend connects you to another friend, it is the dearest compliment.

I sit here with a ton of gratitude, not only because people trust me with their family’s photos, taking up their time and a little bit of their money, but because what started as a hobby (and continues to be a hobby) has turned into a gift I’m able to give others. I love it. My work doesn’t stand against the work of professional photographers whose creativity is their livelihood, but it’s good work. It’s beautiful. It’s honest.

Thank you again.

If you’d like to book a photo session, do let me know.

What to wear for your family photos

A few days before a family photo session, I’m often asked the same question: What should we wear? 

It’s a great question, especially when there are a couple of parents, a couple of a kids, the occasional pet… yeah, fair question. You want to look your best, but what does that even mean?

I have two pieces of advice worthy of a blog post.

  1. Wear whatever is comfortable. If you aren’t comfortable, it will show on your face. This means don’t squeeze into something too small, and don’t buy a new outfit for photos without trying it on first – which involves walking around in the outfit, sitting down in the outfit, etc. DO wear clothes that give you confidence.  
  2. Choose colors that complement each other. And by complement I do not mean match. It’s at this point where I refer clients to Design Seeds, my favorite artistic interpretation of color.

Design Seeds was created in 2009 by Jessica Colaluca, an artist and color aficionado who uses original and submitted photographs to create palettes of complementary colors. As soon as I send clients to Design Seeds, they get it. You can start with one color and build a palette from there, or simply scroll through palettes until you find one you like.

Last week I photographed a family of four and they totally rocked the complementary color challenge!

This was the palette of choice:

Design Seeds

And here’s the result:

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Peach, lavender, aquamarine…

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Their outfits complement one another and no one is wearing the same shade…

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Though no one is wearing a pattern, it’s totally fine to mix and match as long as colors complement one another and there are a few solid shades to break up the noise.

Here’s an example from last holiday season where the family mixed burnt orange with blues – and a couple of plaids – to create a harmonious color palette.

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Though this isn’t the palette they pulled from, they very well could have!

Dark Design Seeds

You’re welcome! – xoxo

The De Gracia Family

About a million years ago, I lived in Atlanta and went to middle school. We had just moved from West Germany (a few months before the Berlin Wall came down) and my parents bought a house in a quiet subdivision in Clayton County. It was a lovely lot situated around a small pond that was shared by the neighborhood. Next door lived Nortasha and her family. She and I were in the same grade and rode the school bus together. Despite being neighbors, we ran around in different circles, so we actually didn’t know each other very well.

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Fast forward those million years and we became friends on Facebook. Our kids are the same age. We share similar values and appreciate the same sense of humor. I like things she posts, she likes things I post. We keep an eye on each other in this way.

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For all the reasons Facebook is annoying and intrusive, I can’t foresee leaving this online community. Army brats can’t nail down a hometown. For us, there is no such place. When you move every three years, home is where the Army sends you, and in 1990, the Army sent us to Atlanta, next door to the Graves family.

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We go to Atlanta once or twice a year to visit friends. Some time last fall, Nortasha and I started messaging about family photos. Nothing concrete, just something like, “Hey, next time you’re down this way, let’s figure it out.”

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Of course! There’s no question. This is life coming full circle. Photograph your children? Absolutely. 

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We met at a park Sunday morning. It was chilly, not as warm as it had been all week, but the sun was shining and the sky was a perfect shade of blue. We hugged, made introductions, and got started.

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Nortasha and her husband, Adolfo, are adorable. Lovebirds, sweethearts, the whole nine. All I had to do was click the camera.

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Their children, Gigi and Gabriel, were great sports – teeth chattering, but smiling and doing their best, despite the cool temperatures.

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This photo session was a gift to me, a valuable reminder that paths can cross again, new memories can be made, and people aren’t ever really forgotten.

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Thanks for carving out some time this weekend, De Gracia family. I hope we can do it again.  

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Big group with big smiles

To say this session was a long time coming would be the truth. Scheduling ten people plus a photographer is already a challenge, but the weather has been a real bear. When we finally had a break from the rain, we went for it.

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My first wedding

I perused Craigslist the other day (I know, that’s risky, but…) looking for “creative gigs” and came upon a post requesting a wedding photographer STAT.

First, I am not a wedding photographer. So naturally, I clicked on the ad.

As it turned out, a very small wedding was occurring about an hour from my house in two days of the ad being placed. The original photographer had a medical emergency with his son and was in a bind. The photography budget was low, as were the photography expectations (in terms of quantity). I sent him a link to see my work and he felt I could do the job. All I could say to the guy is that I’m not a wedding photographer, but I was willing to give it a whirl.

A whirl I did give.

I was nervous yet hyper-focused. Unlike family photo sessions, there is no option to reschedule. There are no second takes or do-overs. You have to get the shot as the action occurs, which is why it’s imperative that real wedding photographers work in pairs or trios. You need the extra angles and opportunities.

Working solo, I hustled.

THANK GOODNESS the chapel was small. It was small enough for me to run like a crazy person from one end to the other – as discreetly as possible – and capture everything I could. Sure, there were staged photos, but nothing from the actual ceremony could be reenacted, so I had to be on point.

The wedding party and family members were gracious and patient, and let me dart around as I needed to. I don’t know if they knew this was my first wedding, but I had no time to chat. It was click-click-click for a straight two hours.

And I’m still editing. Normally I can edit photos from a session in several hours. I actually pride myself on a quick turn-around. That is an impossibility with a wedding! I actually talked to the bride today and reassured her that I was still working on them. I sent her a sneak peek via text and she was pleased. (Whew!)

Even though I’m also pleased with my work, I know booking a wedding much bigger than this one is not a reality. I would need a second shooter, or rather, I’d need to be the second shooter alongside a more experienced photographer. STILL, I’m sorta curious to know what this could look like if I expanded my lens collection, upgraded my camera (does anyone have $1,000 I could borrow have?), and pounded the pavement for clients. Right now I rely on word of mouth, and while people have been kind to recommend me, I’m not really “out there.” These are the things I ponder each night before falling asleep.

Oh, and wondering when I’ll find a literary agent. There’s always that.

Photo session: Karin, Ethan, and Sidney


When you’ve known a set of kids since their birth, it’s a treat to take pictures of them as they grow. Karin and her children are special to me, to our whole family actually, not just because we’ve been through many life stages together, but because through all of it we’ve keep our promise to be there for one another no matter what.

They were overdue for updated family photos, so it was my birthday gift to Karin capture their lives at this very moment.

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Scouting with my model

I’ve been enjoying some photo sessions lately so looking for new spots to shoot has been on my mind. On Monday I asked Jackson to be my model and we went to a new spot that I thought would look gorgeous in the evening sun. I have a special family in mind for this place, so I wanted to make sure my instincts were right. Continue reading “Scouting with my model”

Watkins Family photo shoot

I am so pleased to share with you the Watkins family. Like us, Todd and Ashley built their family through adoption. It was a joy to spend an hour with them at a local park. Though it was hot and humid, we got lucky and beat the rain.

Enjoy! ♥

Sherrod family photo shoot

Last week I drove to Lake Junaluska to take photos of one of my favorite families. Jimmy was ordained in the United Methodist Church and, though I didn’t go to the ceremony, I captures moments in the aftermath when the family of four had some down time.

Cuteness abounds in these tiny faces! It’s a privilege to document their little lives from the beginning. (Click on the photos for larger versions.)

Catherine in black and white Catherine's blue eyesSuch cuteness. I love the squash mouth ♥
Eyes and squash Henry at the treeThis little ham knows how to pose for me and I know I have about .25 seconds to capture it.Henry on the stairs Henry's smileCongratulations, Jimmy!
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