candid photography

Norah + Evelyn make four // Story-Telling Session // Larson Park, St. Louis, MO

This super fun, artsy, talented (and funny!) family welcomed me into their home to capture some beautiful moments with their two gorgeous girls. We started the session at Larson Park, since it was going to be a hot day here in sweaty St. Louis.. and boy did the heat come fast! It is a good thing we hit the park first. This family was so easy going through the heat and bugs, and they were cracking me up the whole time. At one point we had Evelyn in a basket, with Norah sitting next to some thorns and being SUCH a good sport about it (there may have been bribery going on here people). These two girls are such beauties, and made a great duo! And Norah was a silly thing throughout it all, which I love.

I had way too much fun being a fly on their wall in their home, which had super-dreamy-drool-worthy light. It was just perfectly perfect. Norah is so artistic and will either be a Graphic Designer like her talented Momma (she told me she wants to grow up and be a designer like her). I see some musical talent here too and she also was teaching me about the liver, via a drawing she did! She also drew a beautiful heart (graphic, not the human heart) that was really well designed with textures and layers (I am also a Graphic Designer and respect a good illustration!). Check her out busting out in song on her cardboard guitar (and practicing on her real one with her mermaid friend). Evelyn is just talented at being downright adorable, and grabbing her toes. She was VERY focused on those toes during the whole session. She has Momma and Dad wrapped around her cute, chubby fingers. Can you blame them? Momma and Evelyn had countless moments together that I wanted to orchestrate a music video too. They were just two peas in a pod, and clearly madly in love. Norah couldn't even keep her hands off baby sister! 

Norah was clearly Daddy's girl, and they really perfected the scrunch face silly-expression thing together. Clearly she got it from Dad. I was so impressed with this crazy awesome deck Dad was building, and the kitchen table he made by hand! See what I mean, the talent?? 

Don't forget the adorably perfect golden retriever.... baby + doggy= cuteness overload <3 Thanks guys, it was way too much fun!

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shae // wild thing // Hockessin, DE

Who says you can't do an outdoor photoshoot in January? My sister and I. When Amy and I get an idea in our head, you can't stop us! My sister and I took advantage of a brief opening in our crazy holiday schedule this year while we were visiting our family in Delaware.

The sun was golden as it went down, the air was crisp and our toes were collllllld. The boys were GREAT sports about it. Sure we may have had some more photos had the weather been 60, 40.. even 10 degrees warmer. Sure the boys would have been a bit more relaxed and smiley, had their faces not felt frozen. Sure the trees would have been greener and the light would have been a little richer. But the landscape turned out incredible, because it was so golden and neutral (great for lighting and skin tones). And that barn popped out just a bit more against the barren landscape. And had I not done this session, I never would have captured my Godson, Shae "Willy" shining as bright as a sunbeam, completely unfazed by the 20 something degree weather. He was a free as a bird (we also call him Shae bird), with boundless energy. I could not get him to stop smiling, or running for that matter. I cannot believe how much this little man has grown up, right in front of my lens. I captured his first week on Earth, in the arms of his Mommy. And editing just now, I saw traces of peach fuzz where his manstache will grow in. Where does the time go? 

Shae's younger brothers, Luke and Ross(y) were not as thrilled to be outside, but they were such good sports. I was SO thankful that Luke let me take a few portraits of him. I'm seeing hints of the little man that he is becoming too. It is thrilling and terrifying all at once. This "old soul" has incredible blue/grey eyes that hide behind his deep set brow. But oh do they twinkle when they catch the light just right. Since I photographed him backlit (with the sun behind him), for that juicy golden light, his eyes did not catch that twinkle this time around. I'll get them next time Luker! Maybe on a nice, hot, sunny beach day (in shade or indirect light of course).

Kids are incredible. Sometimes, the weather does not faze them at all (to a fault at times). Really, children tend to be unfazed by so much. This crazy world is always throwing things at them, and they continue to shine brightly. Can't we all learn so much from them? 

To see how tough this family is in cold weather, check out my post from our winter shoot on Lake Erie a year and a half ago.

Things to think about when doing a winter session:
• Consider waiting until Spring (Joking! Ok seriously, re-consider if it is below freezing- 32 degrees).
• The sun is lower in the winter, so "Golden Hour" shooting can start two hours before sunset, rather than one.
• Look for bright colors that are typically man-made objects (bright barns for instance, or see my previous post of Finn near colorful kayaks). Wear bright clothing, or bits of color in your accessories.

• Jackets, hats and gloves can be adorable. Plan ahead!
• Have the kids run around! Get the blood flowing!
• Scout the location ahead of time so you can get done quickly.
• Keep the shoot to around 30-45 minutes.
• Always try to follow a natural flow in a session. This was a family session that obviously ended up focusing on Shae. These shots were unexpected, bonus shots.

Mel + Joe // The Tea Barn at Fair Hill // Elkton, MD

These two crazy, adorable kids are the epitome of fun. I was so honored to take part in their special day. When I say that they know how to have fun, I mean it. Silly string at the engagement shoot? Um, yes please. Circus themed wedding at a barn with a kissing booth, ring toss, super-sized Jenga game, skee-ball and corn hole? Um, dream come true for a photographer. From the games, to the countless details scattered throughout the venue, this wedding was asking to be over-photographed. Which it was. And to make matters worse, these two lovebirds were extremely photogenic. 

The wedding took place on an unusually hot day in late September. The sun was shining brightly over the barn the entire afternoon and until sunset. Mel and Joe carried their big spirits everywhere they went that day, barely letting a moment pass without a big smile or laugh (Mel has a great, big, throw-your-head-back kind of laugh). They danced until the sun went down and left in a colorful shower of silly string. They were surrounded by a lot of amazing people that day, who clearly knew how much these two loved each other. And through it all, one big thing that mattered to them on their wedding day, was that everyone was having as much fun as them, including the vendors. What an extremely big-hearted, cool couple. Thanks for having me Mel & Joe!

Vendors: Wedding Planner: Danielle Crumlish | Getting Ready Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott | Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Tea Barn at Fair Hill | DJ: Andre Verlander | Officiant: Randy Franco | Videographer: Valley Creek Productions | Second Shooter: Kelci Alaine Photography | Catering: The Wood Fired Pizza Shop | Catering: Little Baby's Ice Cream

Jessie & John + 1 // Maternity shoot // Los Angeles, CA

You know how there are certain people in your life that you feel like you've know before? As in, from another lifetime? Well, Jessie is one of those people. She is a kindred sister for sure. I feel like we're related, even though we obviously aren't. We can say whatever is on our mind and have no judgement, regardless of how crazy it sounds. So when I started having dreams that she was pregnant.. and I mean multiple dreams.. I knew it was going to happen soon. When Jessie told me that she was expecting a baby, I was not surprised one bit! Jessie is genuine, loving, artistic, driven and super-duper sweet. She giggles a lot. This baby has no idea how lucky s/he is to have her as a Mommy. It goes without being said that John will be an incredible Dad as well. I see the way Jessie gazes at him, clearly as madly in love with him now as she was years ago. With a love that strong, this child is bound to be surrounded with love. I am so, SO excited for these two!

So here is a little story that I want to share with you all…
Jessie and I had dinner with each other and our hubbies the night before the shoot. Jessie told me that she wanted to bring a watermelon to the shoot, and incorporate it somehow. Most women that have been pregnant know that you can go online and see what "fruit" size your baby is that month. It's actually a lot of fun– I got obsessed with it when I was pregnant with Finn. John teased her about it, and I scrambled to come up with poses in my head of a pregnant woman holding a huge watermelon (it turned out super cute!).

Jessie and I really wanted to get up early the next day and head to the beach in Santa Monica to catch the delicious, golden morning light (the Golden Hour that I recently posted about). Since I was visiting Los Angeles, and was still on East Coast time, waking up early was effortless. I woke up to the sunrise and checked my phone. No Jessie. So I got up and started packing up my gear, taking my time eating breakfast and hydrating. Jessie soon texted, "Sorry but I'm running late! I should be there in 15". I had this strong urge to keep her calm and not rush her. Who cares if we aren't in that Golden Light? I know from enough shoots, that going with the flow is the best method. So I said, "Take your time, there is NO rush! We have all morning". I then sent my hubby, Tom out to get me coffee. She arrived a bit later and said, "You'll never believe this accident that I saw on the 405! A car flipped over! I was one of the first cars to arrive. There was another car or two, but I must have just missed it. What is really crazy is that if I didn't stop to get this watermelon, who knows if I would have been in that accident". I got chills. "Geeze, Jessie, that is NUTS! And you were so set on using it in the shoot! I am so glad that you got that damn watermelon. Clearly it was meant to be in the shoot."

So the craziest part of this story is something that I never shared with Jessie. We got so caught up in the excitement of the shoot, that it didn't even enter my mind. I dear friend of mine lost someone who meant a great deal to her earlier this year in a car accident. And they had this inside joke about watermelons. She has been seeing watermelons and watermelon paraphernalia all over the place since he passed. You could say it gives her peace when she sees watermelons. The days leading up to–and while in LA, I had some odd watermelon sightings. Like driving past a pickup truck on the highway, with a guy in the back loading a bunch of watermelons that had fallen out. I didn't think to tell Jessie about all of these watermelons that were entering my life, hers included. 

I heard once that if you are heading out the door, and something prevents you from trying to leave yet (like losing your keys, or stubbing your toe, or having to go change your baby's poopy diaper), that it is your guardian angel preventing anything bad from happening to you (like getting into an accident). So whenever I get pissed off and impatient because I have to run inside multiple times, or I'm waiting on my slow husband and child that poops every time we head out the door… I stop, smile, and think to myself that it is just a little help from a friend. 

I know Jessie has a lot of angels around her. And clearly so does her baby. And one of them really likes watermelon. 

Little Aly // Northern VA

Happy Friday ya'll! Here are some photos from a recent shoot I did for my coworker and her ADORABLE baby girl, Aly. This little munchkin is so full of cuteness, and is incredibly sweet on top of it. She's also incredibly laid back. You know how everyone says they want a laid back baby? Well this girl is that baby. She did not have a single fussy "peep" during the whole session. I think back on Finn, and he would have demanded milk and/or a nap at least once in the span of time that I was with Aly. And he would have tried to eat the balloons. And the crate. And probably the grass too.

Aly also had these great little expressions. Check out that "I may be little, but I have a big personality!" face in the series on the bridge. You'll know which one I'm talking about. This little girl is awesome.

Her parents are chill too, so it all makes sense. Of course my coworker wore a dress that perfectly matched the balloons that I picked up. Totally perfect coincidence. And as two geeky Graphic Designers, we were thrilled. Oh, and their beautiful dog, General Patton hung out with us too. He was also a perfect gentleman! The few times I've done a shoot with a dog, it ends up making things pretty tricky. This fine Sir even let me take a couple snaps of him calmly standing (or laying) guard over his sweet little family.

What a beautiful spot and lovely evening spent with this very cool little family.