As beach photo shoot season comes to a close and we welcome fall with open arms (at least I do, I don’t know about you guys) we have to take a minute to appreciate a Maryland summer. There is so much to love about summer here.
The thing I love the most is being near tons of water. We have all kinds of streams, rivers, lakes, the bay and even the ocean is a little drive away (hey, that rhymes hehe.) Any given day during the summer you’ll find me with my camera at one of those incredible water locations.
I have to say, this summer has been pretty amazing as far as photo shoots go. All the little ones were very cooperative, all the grownups were looking STUNNING, and of course, the water was epic!
This year was the first time I decided to host Beach Mini Sessions. I’m so glad I did. I’m sure this will be an annual thing from now on.
I never realized how many people long for a dreamy beach photo of their family until I posted information about this event. I had people calling me and telling me they’ve never had their photos done at the beach but always wanted to. I also had people saying they have beach photos done a lot but they really wanted a whimsical beach photo shoot. I’m so honored that all the beach mini families trusted me with their family’s summer photography session. All the photos turned out great!
When I was planning for these sessions I wanted to find a location that had the look of a big sandy beach….like an ocean beach…not a river or lake beach (if that makes sense.) I ended up deciding on this little beach located right near the Bay Bridge in Annapolis, MD. This little gem of a beach provided the PERFECT backdrop for the Paint The Stars Photography Beach Minis.
Once I chose the location I started booking the families. I was thrilled to hear that most of the families that signed up for these sessions had a similar creative view as I did for the style of their shoot. I tend to go for the dreamy, fairytale look..which I’m sure you already know by seeing any of my work.
When they were arriving at their sessions I was seeing a lot of gowns, flower crowns, slacks and bow ties. Can I get an ‘Amen?’ You could probably hear me squealing in excitement all the way in Baltimore!
Some of the families even chose to use some of the gowns from my own stash! So, if you’re thinking about planning your own Paint The Stars family session make sure you get in touch with me about wardrobe. I might just have something for you and your children to wear!
Below you’ll find some of my favorite photos from the 2017 Beach Mini Sessions. I hope you enjoy looking at them! 🙂
I was so happy when the mommy of these little sweeties had a collection of seashells for them to play with during their photo shoot.
I mean come on…look at all of these outfits! This family photography session was planned beautifully!!! They are all perfectly coordinated.
Talk about beach hair!? Isn’t this little girl the sweetest beach baby ever!?
Okay guys, I’m a little obsessed with this one. Do you see the happiness in her eye’s? Look at the little tongue sticking out in the cutest way? This to me just screams summer! Love it so much! I think her mommy will cherish this one for a long time.
What do you think?
Did you enjoy the beach photos? Pretty dreamy, huh? I think beach portraits are maybe one of my FAVS…it’s a strong tie for beach vs. fall. I don’t think I can choose!
If you enjoyed looking through all of these photos would you mind doing me a favor? Would you please leave me a comment below? I love reading what my readers have to say!
Every once in a while you come across someone that the camera absolutely loves. Guys, I could photograph this girl everyday of my life and never get bored! Katherine is not only the apple of my photography eye, she’s a very good friend of mine as well. So, win win for me! I get to enjoy her beauty from the behind the camera AND when the camera is not around. She’s just as beautiful on the inside and she’s the kind of girl who makes you laugh about 20 times in one conversation. So much fun.
So it’s no surprise that when we found out she was expecting her newest addition to her family we all jumped for joy. This little princess has no idea the amazing family she’s being born into. She’s a lucky girl, that’s for sure!
When we started planning Kathy’s ‘Paint The Stars Photography‘ maternity session I kept asking: “What do you envision for your maternity photos?” Every time she would say: “I don’t know, I just know I want WATER!” She also said she wanted to be on a horse like my daughter’s session but I refused to put an ‘about-to-pop pregnant woman’ on a horse! So, I was trying to think of a gorgeous location where a preggo would be safe and comfortable in the water. I’m a Maryland photographer so I have the advantage of being surrounded with water locations. Lots of lakes, rivers, the bay, even the ocean if we’re willing to drive a little.
One day it just dawned on me. There’s a beautiful stream that runs through a Maryland state park near us. So off we went! I’m so glad we did. The stream did not disappoint!
We started off on the shore of the stream. The water was very shallow with lots of little rocks. It was the perfect place to start our session with family photos. It was great for the kiddies to play in while we did the grown-up photos too.
Once I captured some ultra sweet photos of the whole family together and maternity photos of Kathy with her husband I switched gears. Now it was time to get some epic pregnancy photos of Kathy alone. Well not alone, her and her sweet little bundle of joy that’s about to be born.
We were on one side of the stream but on the other side I could see a really cool spot with big boulders and little water rapids. I was like: “We’re going!” The only thing was the stream was about 20 feet wide! But it looked like it could potentially be quite shallow all the way across.
I told Kathy that I’d walk across first with my camera and test out how deep it was. Turns out I was right, it was pretty shallow. About up to my waist (is that considered shallow or deep?) Still a little unnerving to carry my baby (my camera) through that water. But nonetheless I made it. So I put my camera down on the rocks and made my trip back across the stream to walk Kathy across and help her not fall with that precious cargo she’s carrying.
I got across, grabbed Kathy by the hands and slowly and carefully (and cracking up laughing the whole time) we made our way across the stream holding on to each other for dear life. I really wish someone could have gotten a behind-the-scenes photo of that rediculous-ness.
Finally, we reached the other side. It was so worth it! I posed Kathy standing in the midst of the small water rapids and she looked stunning. She was willing to sit within the rocks in the water too (she’s such a trooper!) She even let me pour water all over her for the last photo. She made this Annapolis area photographer so happy.
It was funny when we were across the stream and the kids were still on the other side. I brought my 5-year-old to this session because she’s friends with Kathy’s kids. So we had 3 little ones on the shore of the stream playing and yelling to us while we were trying to take epic maternity portraits (Kathy’s husband was over there with them-they weren’t alone, cause I know that’s what you were thinking.)
Once we were finished with the gorgeous-ness of Kathy’s maternity session we started on our way back. I started to walk towards the water to cross the stream and just then there was a group of people coming out the woods right next to us! There was a small path to walk down to that side of the stream instead of crossing through the water!!!!!!! Can you say ‘palm to forehead’ moment?!
We laughed when we saw the group of people come out of the woods so they said: “Did you guys cross the water (With a look of disgust on their faces?”) Then they had their own little ‘laughing at us’ sesh. It was quite embarrassing… But you know what? I captured some amazing photos of my friend so I don’t care. I’d cross it again and again for her!!!
Here’s some of my favorites from the session. Take a minute and enjoy them, we worked extra hard to capture them 🙂
What do you think!? She’s amazing, isn’t she? Now do you see why I love photographing her? I’d cross an ocean to get photos like these (maybe not but I still love them.)
Stay tuned for her little sweetie’s newborn session. Should be any day now!!!
Would you mind doing me a favor?
Would you consider leaving a comment below with any thoughts about this or any other session I’ve done? Maybe you just want to say “Hi!” Go ahead and leave me a comment below! I love hearing from my readers 🙂
Being a Maryland Newborn Photographer has been one of the greatest pleasures for me. In the last few years I have developed this great love of newborns. A brand new baby is so precious. Nothing like it! The way they cling to their mommy, the way they smell, the way they snuggle into a soft blankey. It all is just too much for me to take.
I think my love of newborns multiplied when my youngest was born a year and a half ago. I have a 5-year-old as well but it seems as though those memories when our children are brand new are forgotten quickly. My little 18-month-old Valentina awakened this baby love in me again! She came right when I was starting to focus my business all around newborns so I got to work with a lot of babies right when she was tiny too. I feel like that timing made my newborn obsession explode!
But, that works out perfectly for me… Because I get to channel that love of newborns into my newborn photography! It’s so fun to snuggle them up in all kinds of cute ways with different colors and props.
For example, a recent newborn baby girl Nora that I worked with was born on 4th of July. So naturally we used some American flag props!
She was so snuggly laying on that flag with her sweet little knit shorts. I mean, seriously..does it get any better than a baby on her country’s flag? I love this flag so much. I used it for my oldest daughter’s 4th of July inspired session too! View the photos on her blog post.
I’m also a sucker for little cute stuffed animal props. I love to collect tiny toys for my newborns to cuddle while being photographed. Look how adorable Nora was holding this tiny pink teddy from Little Evie Prop Shop.
I knew I wanted to use this cute moss and flower crown prop so I used a wrap that matched it and then a natural colored backdrop to compliment the crown.
Sometimes instead of styling a photo around a prop I will choose a color or two and style around that. My favorite color to use with newborns is cream/ivory. It looks so soft and natural! You can view another way I used this color scheme on baby Shae’s Newborn Photography blog post.
If I have a blanket in a cool color I’ll try to find complementary colors to pair with it to give a dynamic look. Little Nora did great showing off this blue and yellow color scheme shown below.
She looked fantastic on this vibrant purple backdrop too!
Did I hit the jackpot with this cutie-patootie or what!? She was like a dream to work with. Each pose that I set her up in she would sink down and be super cozy.
Although I LOVE using lots of colors and props in my newborn photography, I’m also a sucker for a naked baby! Being able to see the baby with minimal props, clothes or colors let’s you really appreciate the little one and their beauty!
Sweet Nora is too perfect for words. I was so honored that her parents chose me for their newborn photographer.
We finished off her session with photos with mommy and daddy.
What a great way to end the shoot. Mom and dad were happy to snuggle Nora. We were all so pleased with how wonderful Nora did at her shoot! I can’t wait to work with this wonderful family again.
Hello everyone! I hope you’re enjoying this beautiful Thursday afternoon. Here in Maryland it’s 80 degrees and sunny…doesn’t get much better than that!
Although we are in the height of our wonderful summer I wanted to get my clients and friends thinking about fall photography. I’ve already been booking my calendar up with some fall child and family photography sessions. So, if you’re considering scheduling a fall session for your fam then I suggest you get on it!
This season tends to sell out the quickest and there’s no secret why. During a Maryland fall season there are so many gorgeous colors to incorporate into your photos.
I’m a sucker for great lighting that produces vibrant colors so it’s obvious that I love fall. You mix the perfect sunset with the most beautiful shade of orange and voila, you get an epic family portrait!
With so much potential for an incredible family portrait there’s one thing that is a little cringe-worthy and that is BAD WARDROBE. I know moms and dads have the best intentions when planning their photos. But lets be honest, you’re not a designer, you don’t have time to research color palettes and have no desire to do so either. All you know is you want a great fall family portrait.
Don’t worry. Most of us are just like that. We want beautiful portraits but we don’t know where to start when planning our outfits. Well I’m here to help.
Today I want to share with you a couple of tips on what NOT to wear to your family’s fall photo session.
-DO NOT Dress Extremely Casual
One of the first questions a client will ask me right after they book their session is: “What do you suggest we wear?” You can ask anyone I’ve talked to before. I always say “The dressier, the better.” A family portrait is supposed to capture your family at their best. To show you off in the finest way possible. So why not put your best foot forward and try to ‘fancy’ it up.
So, here’s my tip for you as you try to assemble your outfits. Avoid things that are typically worn in a casual setting. Instead of wearing jeans to your session, perhaps you could try slacks. Instead of your hubby wearing his white t-shirt, maybe he could wear his white polo. If at all possible dress your daughter in a gown! When else is she allowed to prance around in public looking like a princess? Seize the opportunity!
In fact, I’ll do you one more. I actually have an entire wardrobe of gowns for moms and girls to borrow for their Paint The Stars Photography photo shoots. Boom. Now you have no excuse!
The portraits above were some photos I took of my own bunch. You know I had to put the girls in super fancy gold sequin gowns! They had the best time twirling around and feeling gorgeous that day. It’s great because the kids have so much fun and you get some great photos. DOUBLE WIN!
–DO NOT Forget the Accessories
I love little details that can make a portrait stand out. I’m talking accessories, people! The photography industry is becoming more and more artistic. Gone are the days that you show up to your session in everyday attire. Now there is just so much you can do to create an eye-catching and jaw-dropping photo. In a world where Claire’s and Etsy exist there is just no way you can come to your photography session without some kind of awesome accessory.
My suggestion is to pick out your outfits first. Figure out what theme or style you want to portray. Then choose your accessory to match the outfit that you came up with. I typically plan my outfits weeks and weeks in advance so I have plenty of time to search the web to find the PERFECT addition to my family’s outfits.
If the web isn’t big enough and you still can’t find that perfect added touch to your wardrobe then that’s when you need to get your creativity flowing. Go to Michael’s and MAKE something to match! I make flower crowns for my girls ALL. THE. TIME!
This is my little Sofia wearing a flower crown that I specially made for her fall photo. See how I matched the gold in the crown to her dress and the green and orange to the scenery? So cute and so fun to make.
This little guy is rocking his bow tie and suspender accessories!
Accessories can also be sentimental items. For example, if you or your husband are in the military maybe you could incorporate your hat or your dog tags?
The sky is the limit when it comes to creating a great family photo by incorporating accessories.
–DO NOT Dress Everyone too ‘Matchy-Matchy.’
Another way to miss out on the potential of the GORGEOUS fall season is to have your whole family matched up WAY TOO much. There’s a difference between matching and matching OVERLOAD. What you don’t want to do is have everyone in your family wearing the same color shirt.
If I see one more family photo where everyone is wearing a plain white t-shirt I might lose it! You’re doing yourself (and your photographer) a major disservice when you do this. You could potentially ruin your photos, waste your time, and waste the money that you’ve invested into getting great photos done.
So, instead of dressing everyone in one color try to choose 2, 3 or even 4 colors to coordinate around. If you’re wearing a burgundy dress then have hubby wear a grey shirt. Or if you have 2 children try dressing them in outfits that compliment each other instead of blending them together. If you’ve chosen navy blue and grey as your colors then you could try dressing your daughter in a cream colored cardigan with a navy blue skirt. Then dress your son in a navy blue vest with a white shirt underneath and grey slacks. How sweet would that be!?
So just keep this in mind: choose 2 or 3 colors and coordinate everyone around them. You can usually use cream and white to compliment any color palette that you’ve chosen.
Didn’t this mommy do a great job coordinating her and her son’s outfits PERFECTLY!? So cute!
–DO NOT Forget Make-Up and Hair Styling
Like I said earlier, you want to put your best foot forward during your family’s session. That means bring in the glam team! By glam team I just mean do your hair and make-up….However, if you have a professional do your hair and make-up then that’s an added plus!!!
It’s the same concept as stage make-up for performers. They need to apply extra make-up to be seen from the back of the audience. Your family photos are similar to that. Since you’ll be photographed alongside your family and some gorgeous fall scenery you want to stand out. You don’t want to get washed out by everything else going on in the photo.
If you don’t typically wear make-up and you want to look like your normal self in your photos then that is totally fine. I don’t want you to make a smokey cat eye if you’re not used to it. But what I do want you to do is apply some foundation, and get some blush on those adorable cheeks, and if you’re really feeling froggy, some mascara on those gorgeous lashes would be wonderful. If you just apply these few articles of makeup then you will accentuate what is already there and make yourself stand out without looking like a whole different person.
Now, if you’re like me and you typically wear a lot of make-up, then shoot for the stars for your photography session. I want your normal make-up but amplified! Throw on that darker shade of lipstick! Darken that cat eye just a tad more! Really go for it. You’ll thank yourself when you look like a superstar in your family photos.
Style your hair in a way that makes you feel beautiful. If you’re not quite sure what styles look good on you then take a few minutes and watch a couple Youtube tutorials on your hair type and styling it. I know this sounds silly but seriously, why even get your photos done if you’re going to dislike the way you look in them. If you arrive feeling stunning then guess what, your photos will be stunning.
Well there you have it. My little list of what not to wear to your family’s fall photo shoot. There are many other tips and suggestions on what to wear and what not to but I certainly don’t want you getting overwhelmed. Planning your photos is hard enough. But I think if you follow these 4 suggestions then you’ll be in great shape!
What do you think about these suggestions? Did you enjoy this post? What tips do you have for creating a fantastic fall family photo?
Please comment below! I’d love to hear what you have to say! Even if you just want to say “Hi.”
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In this digital age we live in we have a lot of pressure to take great photos of every activity we do. After all, everyone we know will see the photos on some form of social media. So why not try to maximize each photo op to get the best out of it?
Our family vacations should be no different. In fact, I think family vacations should be highly photographed! These are the memories that your child will hold near and dear to their sweet little heart.
There are so many precious moments that fly by on our vacations that could potentially be forgotten. Like the time your 2-year-old chased the seagulls down the beach. Or that moment when your teenager helped their little sister make a seashell collection. Or even that silly time daddy picked up mommy and carried her into the ocean with him. Had no one pulled out a camera and clicked the photo then these incredible family moments may have been long forgotten! So we need to do our best to capture these photographs.
I know people who don’t take beach vacation photos simply because they don’t know what the heck they are doing with their camera. Or they take photos and never like their results and want to give up. If you’re ready to take better family beach photos then this is the post for you.
In this post I will give you 5 EASY ways you can improve your own family’s beach vacation photos.
Although some of the suggestions in this post will be geared towards DSLR cameras you can still apply some of them towards any camera. Just because you don’t have the latest and greatest Nikon equipment (I’m a Nikon girl hehe) doesn’t mean you can’t get AWESOME photos! Most cell phones these days take great photos. So, if you’re at the beach and you see a moment that makes your heart melt then do yourself a favor and snap the pic (with whatever camera you can get your hands on.)
So without further ado, here are my 5 ways that you can improve your family’s beach vacation photos:
ANTICIPATE YOUR PHOTOS:
I can see it now, you’re sitting on the beach and you see your son boogie boarding on the biggest wave ever. He’s getting so much distance and having the time of his life. You run over with your camera and start snapping away. You get back to the beach house later that afternoon and realize your photos of that epic surfing sesh were anything but ‘epic.’ In fact, they’re a little blurry….and boring…and there’s a random person’s foot coming in from the side of the picture. You get discouraged and tell yourself “That’s as good as I can get with this camera.” Well I say “NO!” That’s not true. All you have to do is anticipate your photos. Instead of snapping away to your heart’s delight actually put some thought into what your photographing.
If you see your son having a great time out in the ocean riding waves then go over to where he is and bring your camera. Watch him ride a few waves first. Notice the moment when he smiles the biggest. Notice the moment when everyone moves aside and he’s the main focus. Then when you’re ready set yourself up in the area where you know he’ll be when he smiles the biggest. That next big wave will come in and he’ll laugh and you take that photo. Guess what, you now have a photo of your son boogie boarding that you can cherish forever. All because you anticipated that beautiful photo of him before it even happened 🙂
This applies to all kinds of fun beach moments. You know your kids the best and you know what to expect out of them. Next time you want to take a candid photo of them just wait for that moment when you know they’re about to be cute and THEN take the photo. You’ll be surprised at the difference in results that you’ll get.
You might think I’m a terrible mom but I tend to love taking wipe-out photos. You know, when the wave knocks them off their feet in the funniest way. So fun! If you see your little ones getting washed up a lot on the beach you can totally anticipate a fun shot like the one below of my daughter with her cousins. My kids love to have framed photos like this in their rooms.
2. PAY ATTENTION TO THE DIRECTION OF THE SUNLIGHT
Sometimes we take great photos of our kids on the beach but they are ruined because the sun was too bright in their faces. When you are considering taking a photo of your sweetie on the beach take a moment to think about what direction the sun is shining. Try to avoid having direct sunlight in your subject’s face. If at all possible move to where the sun is shining on the side or back of your subject. That way you won’t get those super blown out bright spots on your child’s face in their photos. That can look very distracting and take away from the beauty of your photograph.
This is one of the easiest tips for better beach photos because it doesn’t require much effort at all. You just need to move your body over a few steps. A task so small yet gives much better results!
In the photo below of my kids with their cousins, I could have easily posed them with the ocean completely behind them and no beach on the side which may have been a better photo ‘landscape wise.’ BUT the sun would have been 100% in their faces. They all would have been squinting so bad and it would have looked terrible. Since I posed them with the sun coming in from the side it’s much more pleasing to to look at. Although you can’t always get the baby to stop crying for the ‘all kid pic’ (LOL) you can at least pose them in a smart way that gives you the best results possible.
3. PLAN AHEAD FOR YOUR ‘MOST PHOTOGRAPHED’ BEACH DAY
This is a tip I just taught myself during my family’s OBX vacation a week ago. If you know you’re going to be taking a lot of beach photos on a specific day you can actually try to match your family’s outfits or bathing suits and bring cute accessories to the beach that particular day. Now, let’s be honest… I know you’re on vacation and you don’t want to be worrying about buying a bunch of matching things and spending too much time planning. But, you probably have a few bathing suits for each person in your family. You can choose the ones that match each other the best for a specific beach day. Or you might have gotten yourself a really cute bathing suit cover-up or floppy hat for your vay-cay. Your ‘most photographed’ beach day would be a great time to wear those accessories. That way, you know you’ll be looking your best and more likely to actually get in the photos on the beach with your kids.
During my family’s beach vacation I was on the beach everyday taking photos and they were turing out pretty good. But towards the end of the vacation I knew I wanted to get a couple great photos of the women all together on the beach and some group shots of everyone. So one of the last days we were there I told all the grown up girls to wear their black bathing suit so we could get some cool beach photos together. Since I told them I’d be taking some photos we all also put a little make-up on too (lol) we’re so vein. But you know how us women are…we refuse to get in any photos unless we feel like we look our best. So why not take advantage of that? At least one of your beach days! When you post your photos on social media it’ll look like you were that glamorous the whole trip 😉
4. FOOL-PROOF SETTINGS:
It’s inevitable, at some point if you want to be in any of your family’s photos than you’re going to need someone else to take the photo for you. I’ve devised a master plan on how to achieve great photos even when you have to hand your camera to someone who has no clue what they’re doing. It’s all about choosing settings that give a lot of wiggle room.
This tip is geared more towards you experienced mom-tographers who can shoot in manual. If you’re happy with your auto settings than by all means, hand that camera over to your niece and let her snap some great shots for you. For me, I like control over my settings..even when I need someone else to take the photo.
So, if you shoot in manual all the time but cringe at the thought of a novice trying to shoot with your settings then listen up. Put in settings that allow some mistakes to happen without ruining your photos. For example, I typically shoot with an aperture of about 2.8 but when I hand my camera over to my 13-year-old to get a photo of my husband and I then I will bump that aperture up to 4! This way, if she doesn’t get the focus spot on then I’ll still have a sharp photo because of that deep depth of field.
I’ll do the same with shutter speed. When you’re shooting something on a beach at sunset you’ll notice that it gets dark quick. Once it gets to a certain point I’ll shoot with a shutter speed of 1/125 (which is pretty low) to get a few more in before I have to call it a night. However, with a shutter speed that slow it’s easy for a newbie (even experienced photogs) to get major blur! So, if it’s getting dark during sunset but I still want a cute photo of me with my baby then I’ll keep my shutter speed around 1/250, crank up my ISO (to the point of a little graininess), then hand the camera over to my hubby. I don’t know about you guys but I’d rather have some grain in my photos than have a blurry piece of crap.
5. INVEST IN A TRIPOD AND WIRELESS SHUTTER REMOTE
I had to learn this lesson the hard way. I’ve always been the one in my family taking all the photos. That means I’ve tried many ways to figure out how to get me in the photos too. Up until two years ago I was doing the ole ‘set the timer on the camera and do a 60-meter dash to pose for the photo’ trick. My family and I would get a kick out of the first few photos my camera would snap off because you can see me running to the pose. It’s quite hilarious.
But my ‘beat the camera timer’ days are over! I’ve got myself a good tripod and a wireless shutter remote so I’m all set. By using these two pieces of equipment you can set your camera up on the tripod, put in all your settings and point the camera wherever you like. Then you just stick the remote receiver on top of your camera’s hot shoe and voila, you’re ready to take your own photos…easily!!! I got my remote from B&H Photo.
Now I’m free to get in as many photos as I want! If I notice my family is having a really sweet candid moment I can set up my camera on my tripod and plug in the remote receiver to it. Then I go have my candid moment with my family all the while hitting that remote button. I don’t have to ask anyone to take the photo for me and I can take as many photos of my own candid moment as I want!
Can you see my remote in my hand? Nope, me either 🙂 Just looks like a sweet little family beach moment. Seriously, go get one!
And when you and your girls want to have some fun and get some silly photos but your husbands are less-than-interested in taking the photos you don’t have to worry. You have your trusty remote and tripod! How do you think we got this photo? You think our husbands put up with handling the camera for this? NOPE! If you look closely you can see how my one hand is a fist. That’s because I’m hiding the remote in there 🙂
So fun, right!? So very easy too!
We had so much fun on this vacation we went on. We have so many great memories and we CANNOT wait to do it again next year. But you know what one of the best parts is? I have tons of great photos to look back on to remember those wonderful moments we all shared! My kids get a kick out of all the photos too. They forgot about some of the stuff we did but when they saw they photos they said “Ohhhhhh, yes! I remember that!!!” So if they barely remember it now and we just left a few weeks ago, imagine in 10 years. They’ll be proud to have an album of photos to look back on to remember these wonderful days. Your kids will be too when they look back at all the FANTASTIC photos you’ll be getting after reading this!
Before I end this post I also have to share a few of the photos that I took during our EPIC Beach Photo Shoot. You know I had to do a photo shoot on these gorgeous beaches right!?!?!
I’m so obsessed with the beaches in NC. They were stunning, a photographer’s dream!
I hope you all enjoyed this post about improving your family’s beach vacation photos. My wish is that these tips and suggestions significantly help you achieve better photos. I wanted to make them as easy to understand as possible. I truly believe that if you follow these tips you’ll see great results.
Would you do me a favor? Please leave me a comment below with your thoughts on these tips. I’d love to hear what you think! How do you photograph your own family at the beach? Do you struggle to get the results you’re hoping for? Do you have another suggestion that we should add to this list?? Let me know!!!
I’m so excited to share this Paint The Stars Photography session with you all today. I actually photographed this session almost 2 weeks ago. It’s been killing me not to share the photos but I wanted to wait for 4th of July weekend.
I started planning this session about 2 months ago. I found an amazing vintage American flag on one of my favorite prop vendor’s website (Blue Stone Sky) and knew I wanted to do something fun for 4th of July with it.
I have 3 daughters so anytime I start dreaming up a styled session I begin to envision which one I’m going to have model for me. We have a son too but he’s not very interested in getting his photos taken a lot lol. I’ve been blessed with girls who LOVE to get all dolled up to do these kinds of sessions for me. They get so excited when I tell them my next idea. They say: “Oh, Oh, how will you do my hair?!? Oh, Oh, what outfit did you get for me!?!”
For this session I knew I wanted to focus on little Miss Bella. I haven’t done an epic session of her in a little while, so it’s about that time! I knew she would rock this one.
The idea/story behind the photo of Bella on the horse with the flag is this: A princess from around the 1800’s just escaped the castle, threw on her riding boots, hopped on her horse and rode to her freedom. The photo of her on the horse is when she finally reached her freedom and she is at peace.
Right before I took the photo of my sweet Bella on the horse I told her that idea. I said I want you to look like you’re at peace, you’re free, strong and you’re happy. She said “Alright, I got this.” Then she did exactly what I hoped she would. She looked amazing, and beautiful, and strong and and and…Just perfect.
I’m so proud of this girl. She has really blossomed into quite the model. Anytime I have a session I tell her the ‘look’ that I’m going for and that’s all the direction I need to give her. She can listen to the vision and then match her look to what I’m hoping for. That’s not something that is taught…this girl was born with it!!!
I also need to take a minute to mention that this was the first time she ever rode a horse. She did pony rides when she was younger but nothing like a giant adult horse! She did this session with NO SADDLE and by the end it was like she had been riding horses her whole life. She was directing this horse like a pro! Another reason she is a great model, she can go with the flow, big time!
We were so lucky to be able to use this horse. His name is Jagger. He’s a beautiful horse who belongs to a friend of mine. He is a little intimidating when you first meet him. He’s very big and he’s not shy at all. He will start nuzzling you as soon as he meets you. To someone who doesn’t frequent horse stables, this is kind of scary. Within minutes though, you fall in love with this big guy. He’s so gentle and warm. He makes you want to go buy a horse of your own (Bella and I actually discussed the possibility of owning a horse one day.)
After the session Bella kept asking “When can we do pictures with Jagger again? I love him!!!”
If I’m doing a session of one of my daughters I will typically dress all of them up and get photos of the others at the same time. Even though the focus is only on the one, I will find any excuse to get a photo of them all together during each shoot. So, if I’m going to be around a gorgeous horsey I’m definitely dressing up my 5-year-old too! I even considered including my 16-month-old on this shoot as well but then I said “That is going to be way too hard, Amanda. What are you thinkin’!?”
Sofie was so cute at this shoot. She did pretty good at taking direction but she was a little more interested in the farm cat that was running around. She kept saying “I can’t go over there to take pictures because the kitty won’t know where I went and she will be sad.” I was so hot and sweaty by this point that I was like “Fine! Just go play with the kitty then…. BELLLAAA, come here…let’s do more photos of you! Your sister is not cooperating!” I was able to capture a few before she ran back to her kitty kitty though.
When we were getting ready to leave Bella demanded that she get a few photos with Jagger without the flag. She was so in love with this guy by the end that she did not want to leave. I’m so glad she wanted to get more photos with him because the lighting was perfect and Jagger was in a great mood!!!
The photo below is Bella’s favorite!
I’m so thrilled with how this session turned out. We absolutely can’t wait to do photos with Mr. Jagger again. His owner said we can take him to a beach next, so keep your eye out for that epic sesh!!!
Before I end this post I wanted to explain a little about the outfits and where everything is from. I got Sofia’s gorgeous ruffle gown from Belle and Kai. I just love how those soft ruffles gave these portraits a dreamy look. Obsessed! The headband Sofia is wearing is from Posh Peanut Children’s Boutique.
Bella is actually wearing a shirt from my closet. My sister bought that shirt for me for my birthday I believe it’s from Target (Love me some Target!) Her tutu skirt is from BB’s Boutique. That long skirt was the perfect addition to our rugged princess theme. The cute little headband she is wearing is actually a tie back that I use for newborns! Take a look at one of my past newborn clients wearing the same tie back.
I know I have some-what of a prop/gown buying problem. I’ll openly admit that… But I just can’t help myself! It’s so much fun dreaming up these sessions and then finding the perfect wardrobe to match my vision.
I hope you enjoyed reading all about this mega fun session we did. I hold these photos near and dear to my heart. The photo of Bella on the horse while she’s holding the American flag is actually my favorite photo I’ve ever taken!
I’m proud of my Bella for doing such a great job and you know what.. I’m proud of myself as well…Yeah, I said it. I’m proud of myself 🙂 I’ve come a long way in my photography journey and my early work is absolutely cringe-worthy (lol!)
To have an idea and see it through to the end and it turn out exactly how I dreamed…that’s pretty incredible. After doing this session it made me so excited for future styled sessions with my girls. I can’t wait to see the creative and crazy things we do!
What are your thoughts on this session? Did you enjoy looking at these photos? What about the American flag photo? What emotions does it evoke for you? Does it give that escaped princess look? Leave a comment below with your thoughts and I’ll love you forever 🙂
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When you live in Maryland and you happen to be a photographer you basically dream of green all year long. There are many months where the green is sadly…gone… It’s brown and dead and dull during the winter months. Then all of a sudden spring springs! You see so many gorgeous colors. Purples, pinks, whites, yellows and of course GREEN. We are in full fledge summer now so green is in abundance!
I recently photographed a little girl and was very pleased with how everything turned out. When I did little Kinlee’s photos the green was absolutely vibrant. When I showed up to the location where we planned to do her photos I was so excited. I saw how the bright sun was shining off of all the green leaves and trees. I knew immediately that this session would be special.
Kinlee and her parents are actually past client’s of mine. I did her 1st birthday photography session last year. Here’s a photo from that day. Wasn’t she a cutie in front of that pink cake!?
I asked her mommy to tell me some fun facts about little Miss Kinlee. Mommy said Kinlee’s favorite things are her doggy (she loves to kiss her,) going outside to play, and picking flowers. I already knew how much she loved to pick flowers because of something I witnessed at her 2-year-old session. I wanted to get some candid photos of her so I showed her a little patch of flowers. I was going to tell her to pick some but before I could speak she went right to it and started picking those little white flowers and making a collection. Look at these photos below of her picking the flowers. Her parents and I could not get over how cute she was!
Every time I meet with this family I can’t help but feel this incredible love they have for one another. I asked mom to tell me something special that they do as a family. Mom told me that every night both her and dad put little Kinlee to bed together. They tuck her in together and Kinlee even tells them “Love you” before she drifts off to sleep. I just love hearing about happy families. I can imagine Kinlee years down the road having these wonderful memories of mom and dad laying in bed with her and kissing her goodnight.
These photos of the three of them interacting together and snuggling melt my heart. What do you think of them??
Can you feel the love too? They are just too beautiful! Also, do you see what I mean about the sun shining off of the leaves and trees? Gorgeous, right!?
The location that we chose for these photos was perfect because it was the right mix of sun light and shade. Kinlee goes to bed rather early so we needed to do this session a little earlier then I like to ensure a ‘good mood’ out of her. Since the trees were very tall they casted a large shadow over this gorgeous white flower patch which was perfect for the bright evening light we were getting. We were located in this little valley so the sun was able to peak through the opening in the trees and kiss the back of Kinlee and her parents ever-so-perfectly.
Once I was happy with the family photos that I captured I switched gears into getting more photos of just Kinlee. When you’re photographing a 2-year-old it’s more about being in the right place at the right time rather then posing them. They don’t want to be posed and they don’t want to be held down. They are typically in their own world and on a mission! It was no different for this princess. She was having so much fun carrying her little bouquet of flowers as she ran around climbing and laughing. I definitely got my cardio in for the day as I jumped up and down trying to find the perfect angle and chased Kinlee around.
I’m happy I got my heart rate up because look how cute these photos turned out!
This one below is my favorite! She kept running towards me and then giggling and running back. She did this a few times before I realized I could probably get a really cute one of her running away. Boy, oh boy was I right. She looks so sweet with her little curls and dress flowing in the wind as she runs away. What do you think?
I love sessions where I feel like I’ve made a connection with a little one. Children are complex little things and it’s so special when they feel close to me. I really do treasure it! I got into the right business huh? I could tell Kinlee was pretty at ease with me so I was a happy camper 🙂
I asked Kinlee’s mom to tell me her favorite part about her photography session with me. She said she loved how Kinlee and I interacted 🙂 She also mentioned that she loved my patience with everything. Mom told me that all in all it was a great experience 🙂 My heart is so full. I just love hearing that.
What was your favorite photo from this post? Are you a photographer? If so, how are you enjoying the summer season??? I’d love to hear from you. Comment below 🙂
I’m so excited to share another Paint The Stars Photography newborn session with you all today. It’s all about baby Shae this time. This particular baby girl is very special to me because I’ve been photographing her parents for quite some time.
I met them back in 2015 for a surprise engagement session. Danny was so very sweet. He contacted me in 2015 saying that he wanted to do something epic for his girlfriend. He wanted to propose to her on top of Federal Hill in Baltimore, MD. It’s gorgeous there. From the top of the hill you can actually see Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. It’s quite the view!!!
The day of the engagement I positioned myself at the top of the hill and waited for Danny and Heather to walk up. Heather had never seen me before so she probably thought I was just some weirdo as I pretended to take pictures of flowers and trees while I waited for Danny to pop the question. I didn’t want her to know I was there to photograph them!
Then as Danny bent down on one knee I swung my camera around and started snapping away to capture one of the most memorable moments I’ve ever had the pleasure of photographing. Here’s one of the photos from that day:
It looks like this photo was totally set up and posed but it was a real moment! Aren’t these two the cutest!?
Then just a few short months later Danny and Heather asked me to be their wedding photographer! What an honor! They were married on June 10th, 2016 at the Cork Factory in Lancaster, PA. Their wedding was such a blast. We rode a trolly all round Lancaster taking photos at some fun areas and then danced the rest of the night away. Take a look at some of the photos from their big day:
If all this excitement wasn’t enough, a few years later they contact me and tell me they are having their first child…and they want me to photograph her!!!
You guys know how I feel about baby stories so of course I had to get the lowdown on the pregnancy and delivery of sweet baby Shae. I asked Danny and Heather to spill the details!
Heather told me that the first trimester was kind of a mess. She was nauseous and throwing up a lot in the first few weeks. She said it was so hard because she is an ICU nurse. So you can imagine trying to deal with the interesting smells that come from that job while you’re feeling on the brink of puking all the time! Luckily though, the other two trimesters were easy. Lots of pigging out on donuts, gummy bears, swedish fish and twizzlers. Heather said baby Shae made her have the craziest sweet tooth cravings! I also must say that Danny and Heather told me about an amazing donut shop in Linthicum, MD. Apparently Paradise Donuts is the place to go for crazy yummy donuts. I haven’t been but I intend to check it out!!!
Then on May 24th at midnight Danny and Heather headed to the hospital. They thought it was time for their baby girl to arrive. The doctors had Heather walk around a bit but by next morning at 7am there was still no baby! They were getting ready to send Heather home when her water broke. Baby Shae said “No, no, no..I want to meet my mommy and daddy now!”
Heather received her epidural and was comfortable until about 7pm when Shae Shae was ready to come out. It was just 20 minutes later when their princess was here. May 24th at 7:22pm, baby Shae made her grand appearance.
Danny and Heather told me that right after she was born Shae was placed on Heather’s chest and both mommy and daddy had happy tears flowing!!! They had instant love for their princess that they never knew they could feel.
About a week after sweet baby Shae was born, the brand new Cullen family of 3 came to visit the Paint The Stars Photography studio in Glen Burnie, MD for their newborn photography session.
I was so excited to see that Heather brought a sentimental item for her baby to be photographed with. She brought the very veil she wore on her wedding day.
Look at this little sweetie sleeping peacefully on her momma’s wedding veil. I’m such a sucker for sentimental props!!! The veil looked great with baby Shae wearing a dainty pink tieback from Your Spot LLC.
I had the best time snuggling this little girl up in all the cute newborn photography props that I have. The color palette for this little one’s session was pink, cream and brown. I also just got a mint blue backdrop so I used that in one set up as well.
Baby Shae was very content and peaceful at her newborn session. She was more than happy to be posed on all the sweet blankets and buckets.
I really wanted to use this beautiful floral backdrop I have so I laid Shae on my grey bump blanket from K2C Blooms and placed it in a cute little wooden bucket. I placed that on top of my floral backdrop and voila, super cute! I loved the look of that pretty grey color paired with the peach color of her bonnet and pants set from Tiny Blessings Boutique.
In another photo I wanted to get her snuggled up with a teddy. I have an adorable blue teddy from Your Spot LLC so I grabbed that and paired it with my blue wood floordrop. I used my pink curly wool blanket from Ababa Baby Props to lay little Shae on. I love the color tone from that photo. You get the dark moody blues from the floordrop but then you have the soft pink from the blanket!
I usually always incorporate an all cream colored photo into each session and Shae’s shoot was no different. For this photo I wrapped Shae up in a cream colored stretch wrap and laid her on top of my cute little cream colored bump blanket from Blue Stone Sky. I used this same bump blanket for another little newborn photography session I did a few weeks ago. I love the soft touch it gives my photos!
Even though I kind of wanted to keep the color palette to just pink, cream and brown I had just purchased a mint blue backdrop that I was dying to use! So I ended up doing a mint blue themed photo. It looked so good with Shae wearing a cute mint blue headband from Alison Garden Boutique.
I’m thrilled with how the Cullen Newborn Photography photos turned out. Take a look for yourself:
Don’t you love how gorgeous Shae is? She was a dream to work with. I can’t wait to watch her grow and do more sessions with her and her sweet parents very soon!!!
Would you mind doing me a favor? I’d love for you to leave a comment below! I want to hear all your thoughts. Did you enjoy reading baby Shae’s story? What did you think about her newborn photos? Do you have an interesting story about your own baby? Let me know! Comment below 🙂
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Thanks for visiting! I hope you have a lovely weekend! Get out there and enjoy the sunshine!!!
Newborn photography is quickly becoming my favorite. It’s a fierce battle between newborn photography and 1st birthday photography. I adore both so much. I think the thing that kind of pushes me towards newborn photos a little more than 1st birthday photos is the sweet stories behind these baby’s arrivals. I love learning all about these pregnancies and deliveries. Each and every story is so very different and exciting.
Some moms tell me how they barely felt anything and only pushed two times and their baby was here. Others tell me they had a near death experience during their pregnancy! It amazes me how there are so many different ways that these sweeties make their way into this world.
One thing I do know, the world is a MUCH better place once you add a brand new baby. No matter how they arrive!!!
Baby Tyson’s story is a perfect example of how a pregnancy can be ever-changing and exciting.
Tyson’s momma, Courtney told me that the first 5 months of her pregnancy were awful! She mentioned being sick all day…EVERY DAY!!! I mean, can you even imagine that? Trying to work and carry on day to day responsibilities yet feeling like you could barf at any second. Us mommies are pretty strong, huh?
Then all of a sudden after that 5 month mark Courtney said the pregnancy was great. Isn’t that funny how it works!? You just never know what’s going to happen! One day your head is in the toilet, the next your at the gym feeling great and doing aerobics.
I guess you could say pregnancy prepares you for mommy hood in that way. When you have little ones at home that’s how life is. One day your getting so much accomplished and feeling on top of the world. The next day you’re spending two hours pulling bunchems out of your daughter’s hair and questioning life decisions.
Then the day came for Courtney’s 38-week checkup. She told me that she was dealing with some high blood pressure issues for 2 weeks before the appointment. So when the doctor came into the room they said “We’re sending you to the hospital for delivery!” She was not expecting that at all. Tyson made sure he kept his mom on her toes!
Of course mommy was excited to finally meet her baby. But unfortunately, being induced at 38 weeks made for a 28 hour labor!!! Courtney told me that it was so long and very painful. Luckily though, once it was time for Tyson to come Courtney only pushed for 15 minutes and her prince was here.
May 10th, 2017 at 9:10pm baby Tyson made his grand arrival.
Mommy had to be tended to after delivery so the doctors took the baby rather quickly so they could focus on her. But after a bit Daddy brought baby Tyson over to mommy and held him up to her so she could kiss all over him. That was the first time they were a family of 3. Such a sweet moment!
Courtney and Matt (Tyson’s Daddy) have a big family. So when it was time for everyone to meet the baby it was quite the party. There were lots of visitors that were anxiously waiting to meet their new baby. Courtney said they were all very shocked to see some red in baby Tyson’s hair!!!
About a week after Tyson’s arrival Matt and Courtney brought him to the Paint The Stars Photography studio in Glen Burnie, MD for his newborn photography session.
Guys, let me just tell you. This little boy could have been a newborn workshop model. He was so calm and content. Every pose we laid him in he would just sink down and be so cute!
For one of the first photo setups I wanted to get a nice bold color going. So I paired one of my custom photo prop blue onesies from Your Spot LLC with a nice vibrant blue floordrop. I’m so pleased with how the contrast between the blue and the cream turned out. Especially the photo below where Tyson is snuggling a little teddy bear!
I’ve been looking for opportunities to use this adorable grey wrap and bonnet set that I got from Eco Street. So for another one of Tyson’s newborn photos I grabbed my grey backdrop fabric and laid Tyson on it with the grey wrap draped over him. Then on my cream flokati, I snuggled Tyson up in another sweet pose over some wool fluff. Then I put that cute grey bonnet on him and swirled the grey wrap around him. He looks like a little baby doll with that hat on. I just love it!!!
The photos of Tyson with his parents turned out great as well. I loved posing them. Courtney and Matt both have very relaxed and down-to-earth personalities so they were very easy to move around and photograph. If you look below at the photos you’ll see one of my most favorite. The last photo on this post gives me goosebumps. I’m obsessed with the way mom and dad are looking tenderly down at their brand new son with the bright light shining on the three of them. The first day of the rest of their lives. That’s what it makes me think of.
Congratulations again Matt and Courtney. I know I’ve said it a million times but I’m just so happy for the two of you. Tyson is absolutely perfect and I can feel the love between the three of you. I’m still so honored that you chose me to photograph your sweet bundle of joy for the first time. I know how important and fast this time with Tyson being a newborn will fly by. It’s a big responsibility to have it photographed perfectly and I’m thrilled that you chose me.
How did you like reading about Tyson’s story? Do you have a similar pregnancy and delivery story? I’d love to hear about how your newborn made it into the world! Leave me a comment below with a photo of your sweet baby. I just love hearing baby stories.
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This week at the Paint The Stars Photography studio has been a little crazy. Of course I have my weekly work load to handle. Some weeks there’s a TON of stuff to do and some weeks I can take it easy. This week just so happened to be a BUSY BUSY BUSY week.
There’s a few things going on. First and foremost we had our loving and incredible pastor, Pastor Paul Foster Sr. (Lighthouse Church) go on to be with Jesus. The church is mourning his death this week… And by church I mean THOUSANDS of people. This man has one of the most incredible testimonies I’ve ever known. To be able to love and inspire so many people is beyond imagination. So many loved him and will miss him. However, we all know he’s in a MUCH better place than this world. We love you Pastor Paul!!!!!
My husband has been helping get the new church facility ready for Pastor Paul’s memorial service. The services were held these past two days. So we planned our week all around that. We want to be there as much as possible for his family. They have always been there for us. Especially Pastor Paul. He has always been a very busy man but when you pick up the phone and call on him he always came running. Such an inspiration.
To be sure my hunny could be available for any help at the church and for the memorial services I’ve been keeping the girls at home with me. When you have little ones you and your husband have to be a team! So for this instance, my position on the team was freeing up my schedule so I can be home with the girls and he can be where he needs to be.
In addition to all the preparations for the memorial this week I also had some clients scheduled for their photo reveal and a newborn photography session on the books. To other professionals this probably doesn’t sound like too busy of a schedule but to this work-from-home momma it was a lot. Because after all I still had my normal back office work load and normal family and household responsibilities going on. We also have teenagers so that means we double as a taxi service. Anybody else with teens feel my pain!?
That’s where that team player mentality really comes in. This week I did more of the running the kids around rather then my husband. But other weeks when I have a lot of outdoor sessions to get to or the occasional girl’s night (woop woop) my husband will carry the load for the team.
But even with the busy schedule I wanted to take some time out to share a recent 1st birthday session I photographed.
Sweet Savannah came to the Paint The Stars Photography studio and was an absolute doll. Her momma mentioned that she had a busy day before she came. She had an eye doctor appointment that morning and Mom said it was more intense than she anticipated. Nonetheless, Savannah rocked her 1st birthday photography session. Just take a look at those sweet smiles below!
Savannah’s mommy let me do something that I absolutely love, style the whole session 🙂 I let her know ahead of time that I had plenty of outfits, props and backdrops. She said I was free to do whatever I wanted. She said “I trust your creativity.” To this Annapolis family photographer those were some magic words.
With that in mind I started grabbing all the pink and gold things I could find. You wonder what my favorite color is? 😉
For the first set up I immediately went to my stash of items from one of my favorite prop vendors, Posh Peanut Children’s Boutique. I paired one of their pink vintage rosette headbands with their delicate yet stunning cream and lace romper (You can see a photo of my own daughter wearing the same headband in our 1st blog post.) I wanted to keep with that neutral/cream theme so I sat Savannah in a little cream colored bucket that was purchased at Hobby Lobby. Then I layered one of my pretty ivory wool bump blankets purchased from another photography vendor that I love, Blue Stone Sky.
For another setup I wanted to get some rich colors going so I grabbed one of my gold sequin tutu dresses and I paired it with a pink rose tieback that one of my previous clients gifted me. (Yes, you read correct. Sometimes my AMAZING clients actually let me keep some of the props that they purchase.) I was so pleased with the way the gold dress complimented my dark blue wood floor.
Then as the finale we wanted to do a 1st birthday theme at the end of the session. I just love the look of chunky babies with no shirt on. So I kept Savannah shirtless with just a pretty blush pink tutu and of course she had to wear a party hat, DUH! I put a custom 1st birthday party hat on her and it looked so festive. If you guys are planning a 1st birthday or a 1st birthday photo shoot then you need to check out Kutie Bow Tuties. They have tons of personalized festive and pretty accessories! That’s where I got the party hat that you see Savannah wearing below. Cute isn’t it!?!
Before the session I was brainstorming ideas for 1st birthday props to use for Savannah’s portraits. Since it was spring I decided to go with a tulip theme. Cause what is a Maryland spring without tulips? I love how the end product turned out. It has that whole dreamy pink feeling. You can see the photos from this section of the shoot below.
So to say this 1st birthday photography session was a success would be an understatement. When mom and dad came to the studio for the photo reveal they were both in awe. They purchased some gorgeous wall art of these photos that I’m sure they will treasure for many years. My only set back was that mom and dad didn’t get in any photos during this shoot. I made Savannah’s mommy promise me that very soon we’ll do a session where mom and dad will participate!!! She promised…So I’ll have to stay on her and not let her back out! You hear that Brianna? I’m not letting you get out of your promise! 🙂
I hope you enjoyed reading all about my crazy week and sweet Savannah’s 1st birthday photography session. Do yourself a favor and peek at the beautiful images from her session below.
Please also take a minute to write me a comment below. I truly love reading all you have to say. Any comments on this post? Maybe you just want to say “Hello!” Do you have some words of wisdom on how to handle being a work-from-home mommy? I’d love to hear what you have to say 🙂
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