candid children's photographer

Maggie + Patrick (and coming-soon, Henry) // Maternity // St. Louis, MO

How can I forget the star of the show, Bart (the bulldog)? He simply wanted to steal the spotlight during my recent photo session with his pregnant Mommy/owner.  His sweet, older companion, Homer (the pug) was also adorable and loving, doting on his pregnant Mommy. I love the names— Bart & Homer, my favorite childhood tv show, the Simpsons! These two adorable pups are smitten with their Mommy Maggie, as I am sure the NEW star of the show, baby Henry, will be as well. Maggie has a very calm energy, already deeply in love with this little baby. With a history of being a Nanny, I teased that she is already a professional Mom. Soon-to-be-Dad Patrick also has a calming energy, and is as loving and supportive as a Dad could be. These highschool sweethearts are starting a new, exciting chapter in their lives, and will no doubt be amazing parents. Their house will be a fun little circus for sure, with these two furry big brothers welcoming baby Henry in just a month! 

Finn turns 2! // Alexandria, VA

When I was pregnant with Finn, we went to see Coldplay. When they played the song "Yellow", I felt very emotional (typical prego) and super connected to Finn in that moment. The song felt so powerful. After Finn was born, this continued to feel like "our song". Finn also loves the song.. but who knows if it is because he heard it live (slightly muffled), or if he just likes it. I'm not sure what the lyrics really mean, since Chris Martin doesn't seem to even be sure. Regardless, they have a powerful meaning to me.. or at least bring me back to the time when Finn was a tiny baby growing in my belly… and how much he has grown! Here are a couple of my favorite versus below. Full lyrics are here.

"Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah, they were all yellow.

Your skin,
Oh yeah your skin and bones,
Turn into
Something beautiful,
You know,
You know I love you so"

The first series seen below was taken at one of our favorite playgrounds, right near an overpass/bridge that we love to explore. The next two series below were taken at a marina near our neighborhood, along the Potomac River. This is just an example of how you can incorporate color into your outdoor photo sessions, even in the dead of winter. And you can still pull the effect of the warm, golden sunlight when you backlight the subject in that precious hour before sunset; "Golden Hour".

finn turns 2 (cont'd) // my new canon 5d mark iii

This is a continuation of the below post, journaling Finn's 2nd year; leading up to his 2nd birthday in December 2014. I will be posting all week. 

The first series seen here (Finn in his plaid overalls) was taken at a local music festival in Alexandria, which is one of our favorite local events all summer. The next series (and all photos from hereon out) were taken with my amazingly, incredible, brand new Canon 5D Mark iii. We were in Delaware for the 4th of July, visiting the Grandparents (and Finn was exploring their backyard). The last series was taken in my kitchen. It was so hot out that Finn wanted water time in our kitchen sink, not the outdoor baby pool. The lighting was to die for, so I whipped out my new camera to continue getting familiar with it. 

You can see the astounding difference in image quality/clarity/color between the 5D and my loyal ol' Canon 40D. You could say I'm satisfied with my purchase! If you are thinking about purchasing a professional camera, as a professional or striving-to-be-professional photographer, the 5D is worth the purchase. I've also heard great things about the Canon 70D and 6D, if you don't want to break the bank. If you are just a Mom/Dad or amateur/hobbiest, I would recommend something a bit more affordable. I started with the Canon Rebel, which was an incredible starter camera! Do your research and ask someone who knows about this stuff if researching is too overwhelming. I went with the 5D because I did want the high ISO (for indoor low light situations. I knew I would be diving into the wedding industry, needing high ISO when the flash wasn't an option, or my style of choice.

Little man walking // Lockhouse 25, C&O Canal // Potomac, MD

I think we all tend to take for granted so many things in life- like walking. Can you imagine going through life without this incredible GIFT? One of the greatest joys in raising a child is seeing all of the milestones that they go through. We are all such incredible creatures- starting out as a teeny tiny little speck of chromosomes. Within one short year, give or take- a child is up and walking. Or running. Isn't it INCREDIBLE? From a needle head to a teetering toddler. It is no wonder that these tiny little people tend to be focused, fearless and completely besides themselves when they start using their two adorably chubby legs.

Mr. Landon is such a beautiful little boy. One of those poster babies that could be on a Gerber jar or a Baby Gap ad. His parents are just as beautiful. He looks to be a mix of the two in appearance, and his demeanor seems to come from both sides. Did I mention that they are all very sweet people? I have had the pleasure of seeing this little guy since he was pretty small, and he always has a huge grin on his face. So when I was able to see his toothy grin, along with a focused side- I was beside myself. I love deep thinking. I love to photograph it. His focus and determination was clearly due to his newfound talent. Walking. All he wanted to do was walk. Explore. And there was so much to see… colorful leaves, billowing trees, running water with ROCKS. He is free! This boy has everything- the looks, the cheerfulness, the amazingly genuine parents, the determination and focus… what a cool little man.

Sweet baby Nolan

There was another very special baby that was born right before Christmas. Finn's younger cousin, Nolan. We were so glad that our rotation of holiday visits landed on this side of the family for this past Christmas, which fell two weeks after Nolan was born. The timing couldn't have been more perfect! He came into this world calmly and is just about one of the most laid back babies that I have ever met. He is also incredibly sweet and snuggly. Finn is always SO excited to follow his big cousin Trevor around, trying desperately to keep up. One day Finn, one day. It will be fun to see the three of them following each other around next year!

Here are some tips for any Mommy photographers or Moms that are just trying to take photographs of their newborn: Stay calm, patient, turn up the heat, have a blow-dryer handy, burp the baby, rock the baby and photograph near a window. See more below...

We had the heat set to 80 degrees, went through 5 diaper changes2 feedings and ran the hair-dryer before little Nolan happily fell asleep on his parent's bed. Also, his Mommy's relaxed and soothing attitude (see her hand on him below) helped him fall asleep with not a care in the world. Having the Mom stay close usually helps keep the little one relaxed. If they are hungry though, they will smell her and wail. So keep them well fed! Some babies do get distracted by Mommy's sent regardless, so if they don't calm down, send her away to get some R&R. Using the parents bed is a great way to have a lot of space around the baby to work with. Just make sure you shoot in the room of choice when the lighting is best. Don't get frustrated if the baby is awake, those can be beautiful photographs as well. When they sleep though, they tend to have a more relaxed face, with no "Benjamin Button" wrinkles, haha. A hair-dryer, white noise machine (a ton of apps for your smart phone) or a vacuum cleaner also tend to stop the crying if it gets really bad. Remember to burp the baby after the feedings as well, and don't rush! A last ditch method is to either you or the Mommy hold the baby on their back with the head in your hands and feet pressed into your belly and sway him/her left to right (back and forth), keeping their feet in the same place. This motion creates some kind of effect that is similar to being in the womb. Remember to be patient, and give yourself 2-4 hours if needed. Babies are like sharks and pick up on fear, hahaha! G'luck!

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a brand new baby for christmas

I had the pleasure of photographing the sweetest little family, just before Christmas. The Momma had her third, beautiful baby (a boy) on December 6th, which is RIGHT in the middle of the holiday craziness. I can relate 100% (Finn was born on 12.10.12). SO, I re-assured dear Momma that people would understand if she didn't have holiday cards AND announcements sent before Christmas, in addition to taking care of all of the other typical holiday needs AND a new baby. She sounded just like me last year, trying to do it all. Such an angel! I told her, "I think people would be impressed and surprised if you got all of that done"! Last year I had to be easy on myself and settle on sending a combination birth announcement/new years card (skipping a Christmas card). It can be really difficult trying to get everything done, the way we are used to. But as a Mom you also have to force yourself to let that pile of laundry pile up sometimes (a few days too). It actually is liberating. Meanwhile... flash forward three days and you find me on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floors and cabinets like Cinderella. 

Sorry, tangent! The photoshoot was AMAZING! Not only did I photograph the oh-so-beautiful new baby boy, but I spent the morning photographing his older sister and brother, who built a gingerbread house in the process. It was so much fun! I will be sure to try to plan activities for kids next time I have an indoor shoot. It kept them focused and creative. They did a seriously good job on that house too! These kids were so sweet, silly and adorable. What more can a photographer ask for?

I was thrilled with the light that poured in through their windows... enjoy, enjoy.

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A shoot on Lake Erie- behind the scenes

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! It snuck up on me fast, and flew right on by.

I was lucky enough to see all of my immediate family, near and afar. Over Thanksgiving we all headed to the Midwest to see my sister and her clan of boys. She has an awesome little family; three boys and a Rottie named Petunia. My sister is my other half. I would be lost without her. I wish we lived closer, but I'll take what I can get.

Here are some behind the scene photos, in addition to the actual photos of me shooting my sister's family photos on Lake Erie, (my husband took iPhone pics of me shooting them). You'll also see a photo of my hubby photographing my sister, brother and I in one. My Dad is the one that took the holiday photo of my little fam (see previous post). Any photo of me in it was taken by either my hubby or Dad. So yea, I ask the family to step up if I need to be in the photo. I just adjust the settings and hand the camera over... and pray they get me in focus!

I have some more awesome shots from the visit, which I'll post soon. Here is the bunch from the Lake. And to any of you who think you can't have a photoshoot in the winter, you are wrong (have you seen my shoot of Finn in the highchair while it is snowing- which the Grandparents thought was cruel, but he loved it, I swear). My sister's boys LOVED being outside, regardless of the chill in the air. Natural light is best, and my absolute standard for shooting. 

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