When Your Aunt is a Photographer…

You will get a photo shoot for your first birthday present. And a blog post to go with it.

I am so lucky to be an aunt to my four delightfully spunky nieces, and taking photos of them is one of my favorite things. I love photography, and I cannot think of a single moment that I have not enjoyed being behind a camera. And I enjoy it that much more when I get to photograph people that I love. For Lydia’s first birthday, her mama brought her up to Athens for some strawberry picking and her birthday photo shoot.

Photography makes a pretty cool gift, whether you’re related to a photographer or not. It’s meaningful. It doesn’t take up space. And it lasts a lifetime. (Eh hm, if you back-up or print your photos and don’t leave them sitting on a hard drive.) The gift of capturing this moment in time- I know I would love to receive that wrapped up in a box.

Today was a perfect spring day. And look at this perfect face…

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Under the Gingko Tree | Fall Mini Sessions

Athens is such an easy place to love. It doesn’t take work or effort. And like all relationships it might not quite be perfect, but even its flaws are endearing. The local food, the Athens Farmer’s Market, the creative energy of the music scene and vibrant local artist community, the cooperative heart of business owners, knowing someone everywhere you go, my favorite beer…But, it’s the Gingko trees that really seduce me to fall whole-heartedly for this little town. I live for Gingko tree season. I drive all over town multiple times a week to track the changing colors of some of my favorite trees all over town. And while I could say it’s for the mere pleasure of the experience, it’s really so that I can host my favorite sessions of the year: Gingko Tree Mini Sessions -the paragon of fall photo sessions.

Golden hour under a golden tree that symbolizes this special town- nothing could be closer to photo perfection.

But the very best thing about Athens is the people.

(It might have been the gingko trees, if I had never smelled the fruit).

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September Trip to Orange Beach

The 3.5 children and I took our annual trip to Orange Beach at the beginning of September. It wasn’t exactly a vacation, and perhaps traveling as the solo parent while pregnant was a little bit ambitious. All four of us got sick while we were there (ear infections and bad coughs), and I barely slept at all between the three sick little ones waking me up. I missed David’s help at bedtime, and at 5:30 AM when the little ones start to stir. But after having a few weeks to recoup and actually sleep more than 2 hours without disturbance, I am feeling more grateful for our time together. Most importantly, Dmitri, Damon, and Eleanor loved the beach. The sand, the ocean, the pool, going on adventures, seeing family- they loved all of it. And I know they hold tight to those memories. At the end of it all, Damon said, “Mama, you are the best mom ever because you took us to the beach.” For that, I am thankful. It was a lovely, albeit exhausting, way to celebrate the end of summer, and now we are fully embracing fall.

And maybe one day my idea of a beach vacation will happen, and I will be sad and missing these busy little ones!

A note about being a photographer and a parent at the same time: I have a little rule about traveling with my camera – I generally choose one day to bring the camera with me. I get the photos that I want to document our trip. And then I enjoy being present, hands-free and able to experience life with my arms wide-open with my three favorites, and the camera stays in the bag the rest of the time. I’ve done this on several trips, and it has worked really well. For shorter day trips and outings, I set a time limit on how long I will take photos, and then I put the camera away. I never want my family to feel like I am too busy being a photographer to be a parent. And that means, for me and my family, having boundaries. We are all much happier for it.

The photo of me is my first pregnancy photo with baby # 4. You know it’s your fourth baby when you wait until 21 weeks to actually get a photo. Baby bump continues to grow, and I’m feeling pretty pregnant these days. I am excited about meeting this baby! Less than four months to go!

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Summer’s End

Summer is winding down, and while the warm temperatures will stay for a while longer, my mind is shifting to the changing season. I have loved the sunshine and all of the water play with my water babies. Summertime is a laid-back kind of busy for me-the days are full, but fun. I enjoy the freedom of going here and there, playing with friends, and ignoring the to-do list a bit. But after a while, I need a more steady pace, a routine,  a rhythm. I feel tired, and a little out of control. It’s time for a new schedule, for starting the homeschool year with my kindergartner (!) and for fall weddings and family photo sessions!

I wanted to get a few recent photos of my own three little ones, specifically to capture my newly five year old before the start of school year. My three littles are not especially cooperative when it comes to being photographed and it’s a bit of challenge to play the role of parent and photographer simultaneously. But nonetheless, I think this session really captures Dmitri, Damon, and Eleanor and their respective personalities. And we had fun. At the very least, peanut butter cup cookies were involved.

A photographer’s note: I shot this entire session with my 85 mm f/1.4, which was new for me. I usually shoot children with my 50 mm f/1.4. I challenged myself to try something new, and I really love the results. I think I’ll be doing this more!

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Sharon + Andrew | Engaged

Where do I even begin with this engagement shoot? Two people that I love, a lovely beach, throwing things at each other…it just doesn’t get much better than that. Most of my sessions are in the Athens or Atlanta area, but for this session I got to photograph my sister-in-law and her fiance at Sunset Beach in North Carolina (which is a lovely, quiet island). I have had this shoot scheduled for a year, and it just couldn’t get here soon enough! I think it was definitely worth the wait…

The session started off sweet and classic. And then we headed to the beach for some fun with Holli Powder. Sharon had a friend bring her the powder from India for the session. I had to really clean my camera, but luckily their were no people or equipment casualties during our shoot. We had so much fun…I think the pictures make that evident. Congratulations Sharon and Andrew! I am so happy for you and cannot wait for your wedding.

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