2015: A Photographic Journey

A year ago I owned who I am as a photographer, and stopped worrying about copying photographers I admire, or trying to accomplish images beyond my ability or desire as an artist.  I said no to jobs that didn’t align with my intentions, and ended up with a really lovely year of images I am proud of.  These are one of my favorite images from each of my photo shoots this year, and as I reflect on my work, I am very pleased and proud.  Enjoy and here’s to a fabulous personal and professional year!

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Here’s to another inspiring year full of beautiful families and lots of loving moments.  Cheers!

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Family Photos Maine Montage

In an effort to move these Maine blog posts along–which I can’t skip because the memories and photos are precious to me but I’ll admit, there have been quite a few of them!–I’m going to combine three glorious days of Maine extended family fun into one gigantic family photo montage.  We loved sharing our vacation with our family, as did our kids, and were especially glad to celebrate our nephew’s Tommy’s birthday and to have everyone experience these locations that are so dear to our heart.  Therefore, enjoy!  Montage time!

Old Orchard Beach

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Kennebunkport, York, Wells

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Drakes Island at Sunset

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There are so many things I can say about how blessed we are to get to experience this precious life in such a glorious way, but I think the photos did it better than I ever could.  Much love to our family and thankful for these wonderful memories with them!

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A Watchful Eye & A Favorite Spot

There is a little spot I know that makes my heart happy to just be near it.  I stand below and watch them climb to it, and that is enough for me.


I watch them help each other to reach it, and guide each other down.

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I watch them take in the world from this new perspective, ever so much higher because they are so small.


I watch the smiles that light their faces as they sit and drink in the sea.

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And I realize it’s not the place that is my favorite, but the happiness that comes from sharing it.

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What is normal?  Well, in this house, apparently it’s this.


“Mama, I take your picture.  Cheeeeeeese!”


Then she checks out her shot, makes sure it’s what she was going for, checks out the light and depth of field.



An artist in the making!

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The Beauty In The Everyday

Ever since I admitted to myself who I am as a photographer–a lifestyle photographer who captures everyday moments and who is happiest appreciating the smallest details in life–I have felt such a pleasure in developing that style and not feeling like I have to be something I am not.  In turn, my Inspired Life 365 Project has given me ample opportunity to practice this style indoors and out, in all kinds of light and with a real variety of subjects.  A lot of the time I have an idea about what type of photo I want to shoot on a given day, but some days are more difficult than others.  Looking back on the past two months’ photos, I realize I have a tried and true subject that I fall back on when nothing else jumps out at me: capturing Little H while she naps.  And I’m okay with that.

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At first I felt like I was cheating, doing the same subject more than once.  But now I realize, this is a challenge!  How many ways can I photograph the same child in the same crib in the same cluttered bedroom?  What perspectives can I shoot?  What different editing styles can I try?

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It’s actually giving me a bit more confidence as a few indoor shoots loom on the horizon in March, and it serves as a good reminder to me that parents love photos of their kids just as they are.  The way they sleep, the way they eat, their crazy smile or their tiny toes.  People want photographs to remember every stage and every child, how they were unique and especially theirs.  Like how a baby might sleep with their butt in the air.  Who would want to forget that?

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It’s not cheating to photograph the same thing over and over.  It’s finding the beauty in the everyday.

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In their guest bedroom, my in-laws have silhouettes from Disneyland of their three children from when they were very young.  I’ve always loved looking at the way the boys’ hair sticks up in the back or the curve of their chins and noses.  It wasn’t until we had a spectacular sunset at their house one winter night–when the sun was setting around five o’clock–that I realized I could try to do that, too, for my kids and JDubbs’s brother’s.  Five cousins, five silhouettes.  Maybe they could hang upstairs besides the older generations’!

So I called in Jax and Em, my two brainwashed children who think strange photographic requests are normal everyday occurrences for all children.  I found a window with a clear shot of the setting sun, propped them up on a stool, and shot away.

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I love looking at their profiles!  And the same elements that struck me in JDubbs’s and his siblings’ photos make me so happy here: the curve of their noses, the shadow of their hair, their sweet little mouths and noses.

Then I begged my niece, nephew and Little H to do the same, although what I didn’t realize was that the older kids’ height was distracting me from the unsightly pile of snow right beyond the window.  Plus, Stella’s chin gets lost a little in the landscape behind.  Not my perfect backdrop.  But at least they were willing to humor me and give it at try!  Now I know how to shoot it and what to avoid in the future.  Although the snow pile does hide a bit of Little H’s mullet…


I want to try this again without the snow, but by then daylight savings will happen and the little girls may not be able to make it to sunset.  I’ll have to find another way to make these photos happen because they really are special and sweet!  They’ll make a great gift for my in-laws, but also a treasure for me!  I think we just need a little less snow and a little more height to get the photos just right.


Because when they are just right, it’s pretty magical.

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Our Lives Between The Lens

Sometimes when I’m hanging out with my kids, the mom side of my brain is present and having a conversation with them, but the photographer side is yelling, Do you see how the light is reflecting in his eyes right now?  Look at his lashes!  Then I slowly sidle over to my camera bag, saying, “Really?  Yes.  Mmm–hmm,” all the while, until we continue our conversation with my camera in hand.  My kids are used to this, and maybe it’s not the best parenting practice, but such is our life.  They think photo shoots are normal, like going to the dentists.  Sometimes you just have to suffer through them.

Other times, the opposite happens.  I’m hanging out with my kids, and even though the light isn’t perfect and my inner photographer is lamenting, I still sidle over to my camera bag, chatting all the while, then resume our conversation with camera in hand.  But this time, even though the photographic conditions may not be perfect, the kid is.

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Could I have asked him to move over a foot?  Sure.  Was the blazing midday soon less than ideal?  Of course.  But were we having fun talking, being silly, taking pictures, and would me getting into Photography Mode be a buzz kill?  Definitely.  So in times like this, I capture Jax as he is, basking in the sunlight and being my boy.  There’s nothing less than perfect about that.


Is he used to having me peek at him through my lens?  Yes, and probably too often.  He humors me in this way.  But he knows that even when my eye is behind the viewfinder, I am listening to him, and that connecting with me as a photographer is just part of being my kid.  But I won’t ever let my camera come between me and him.  I love every nuance of this face, every inch, every expression, even the grouchy ones.  Sometimes I just have to document it all before he goes and changes on me yet again.


 After all, he wasn’t just the one who made me a mama.  He’s the one who made a photographer!  My very favorite subject.

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