When they walked out of their car, I was thinking to myself "yup, nailed it on the outfits, and totally beautiful family." We had the golden light too, so I was pumped for this session. But sometimes as much as you try and have everything in place, you have a child who just isn't feeling it. In this case, their little Rozelynn woke from her nap but wanted to keep sleeping. [I mean who can blame her?!] I pride myself in being able to work with kids, I mean I have three myself and I was a past teacher. But even after pulling out the gum [I am not afraid of bribery with parents permission] there was nothing we could do. So I kept shooting and these are the ones I got with a crying three year old. I think they are beautiful and reveal life. I share this because it's easy to think either a) sessions aren't that hard b) I have a strong-willed child, family pictures are just not an option. Most sessions come with some sort of challenge, whether weather, lighting, family dynamics, etc and most family sessions come with a child who doesn't love it. And that's okay! I believe family sessions are always important, no matter the season of life you are in and I'm willing to push through in our session for it. I always say, the pictures I take aren't just for today, but for the years to come, to look back on and let the images trigger memories from that season. The Ramos loved their gallery despite the challenges we had and they are excited for another session in the future!
Back in December I get an email asking if she could gift her sister a maternity session. She said my sister is expecting twins, and being a mom of twins myself, I know how much I wish I would have captured my pregnancy, that I want to make sure my sister does.
Is that not the most precious gift? Fast forward four months to April and we got to use that gift of a maternity session. I truly had a great time with the Stryker family. I mean just look at the joy from those kiddos?! And now the joy just continues on as they are both big brother and sisters to two little sisters who are thriving.
One thing I love doing with my new families I meet is Facebook stalk them. Kidding.
But for real, I love becoming "friends" on Facebook with my clients because I get to know them, and I truly believe to bring out the best in people, you need to know who they are, their story.
The Randall family is one that I have had the opportunity to get to know over the last year since photographing them in the fall. And I have come to adore Lynsey, her passion for her family, community, and life.
On top of being an amazing full time working mom, recently Lynsey took a step of faith and started something needed in our town-- a mom blog. I know, I know what you are thinking. There are so many mom blogs. But this blog is specifically for Bloomington and to celebrate all the different moms doing life here. It isn't about her, it's about all of us. And I love that. You can find Bloomington Mom Blog on Facebook and soon the website will be launched!
P.S. How darling is her family? Loved the light, setting, and what they wore, but mostly their smiles for each other.
I know this session was back from the fall, but I had to share it because there is a story and depth to this family and it brings a reminder that life comes full circle.
Nearly four years ago my family was going through the scariest time of our lives when our middle child was diagnosed with cancer at two years old. But God brought me such a sense of peace during that time and our community blanketed it us with so.much.love. Including mama Venus, pictured here. Between our daughter coming home from the hospital after the diagnosis and prepping to go back a few days later for a major surgery, Venus offered our family a free photo session right then. We still have one of those images hanging in our bedroom as a reminder of God's goodness and the community that loved us well.
Flash forward to this past fall when I ran into Venus and she asked to get on my schedule for family pictures. I knew then, I wanted to be able to gift them one as a thank you for what she did for my family. I wanted her to know here act of kindness four years ago, still holds dear to my heart.
And to top it all off she just asked for a really low key session where they weren't overly posed and could just be them, which is always my favorite way to go.
This was a last minute change of date session. I texted mama Erin that morning and said the weather is suppose to be gorgeous this afternoon, can you make it essentially 30 minutes after school gets out? And friends, they totally pulled it off and it was glorious golden light.
This family holds a special place in my heart. I can proudly call them dear, dear friends. I never expect my friends to hire me for photography. I am totally okay with them using someone else to capture their family. [They say don't go into business trying to make the money off friends and family, and I hold that true.] But when they do ask me to do it, it's such a privilege. They live intentionally and seek to love the Lord greatly by loving others well.
When Amy contacted me for pictures and mentioned wanting them on the IU Baseball field because they have the hook up through her husband's job, I was super excited and basically felt like I was taking pictures on celebrity turf. I mean, imagine being a little boy like Nolan and always getting to spend a lot of time here, how cool would that be?! We had such a good time riding a golf cart around finding fun places to shoot. It's really too bad my job requires these things on occasion.
Also, this family wins for one of the easiest families to get to smile with a legit, happy, I love life, smile!
And the best hair award goes to...every single person in this session! For real, you can't help but notice the Luidhardt awesome hair all around. But I will tell you they are more than their hair. I have now done two sessions with them and both times they have been nothing but JOY and SMILES. And they make having five kids so easy like a skip into the lake.
I couldn't have asked for better weather or light at Lake Monroe. The trick is to do it right before sunset and sometimes that makes it tricky because of bedtime with little ones, but it is worth it for that gorgeous golden light!
You know what's my favorite? Returning clients. Families that email me up and say "it's the time of year for our annual pictures." Because that means a relationship is being built and that is ultimately one of my goals. I want to watch families grow and give high five to the kiddos till next time.
The Wasson family are one of those returning families. And I adore them. I know they are always going to be dressed so cute and be easy going and fun! It's now become a tradition for Dayne, the middle one, to bring a favorite toy and snap a picture of him playing with dad. It's pretty precious!
When Melissa booked a family session with me last fall, one of the first things she said was "we haven't had professional family pictures in a very, very long time." Right then, I knew it was such an honor that she had decided to set aside the time and investment to do it with me after all the years of waiting.
The cool thing is, I know Melissa and Ryan pretty well because our daughters are great friends at school. I also know Melissa as a killer business owner with LulaRoe. I know that she puts in 110% towards her dreams and her family. She's honest, vulnerable, and so funny. And that's just what I wanted to capture in these images. A love so deep for her family and a passion that comes from her eyes for life.
Thankfully, as worried as she was that the session may be a total disaster with having a toddler, it was actually a total hit. I'm so glad she took the risk and time to say yes to professional family pictures. And say yes to me being behind the lens to do it.
Ok, here are the things you need to know about this truly amazing family. [And you can trust me on all of it, because these guys are some of my dearest friends.] They love really well. Their family. Their community. Life. God. All of it. They are easy going! Imagine being a mom with a 14 month old girl and newborn twin girls...super blessings, right? Also, really hard. But for mama Kim, all I remember her is going with it with a smile and ease like no other. Now look at her babies all growing up and with a little boy in there too! They aren't afraid to adventure, even when they were all very little. Adventuring hearts are my favorite. And so is this family.
If you can't tell, I'm super grateful for my friendship with the Arnolds. I believe God calls us into community to walk the ups and downs of life. And I'm over the moon thankful for the community that walks with me and my family.
Did you do it too? Fall in love with the adorable DeVallance family and little Will's glowing blue eyes. It's easy to do, don't feel bad. This session was so special to me. They aren't Bloomington residents anymore, but they were in town visiting family and booked a session for them and their extended loved ones (not pictured). They have a story of endurance and hope as they navigate waters of life and I just love so much how they cherish family pictures together.
We just so happen to have had the best weather mid-November during the session as well. The glowing light. The sunset setting over Lake Monroe. The love. It all just fit so nicely together like a puzzle piece that brought a sense of joy when completed.
When asked about style advice for family pictures. One of the most things I share: do not be afraid to mix and match patterns and don't be over the top matchy. [You guys, I cannot do the khaki pants and white shirts. I'm sorry. I just can't. Also, my own personal extended family did that years ago, so no judgement.] Well, the Bunger family without my style advice NAILED IT. When mama Leah texted me about her hesitation in wearing this absolutely fabulous dress, I was like you must. All their pattern mixing and her in the beautiful dress just highlights their family's personality, I love it so much. Also, if mama wears such a dress, I'm probably going to ask her to get twirled by dad. I'm secretly hoping they blew up one of the dance pictures and hung it right above their bed.
Three small children and family pictures can be overwhelming and questioning if it's worth it. It is totally worth it. And the Bunger family happened to have one of the most smooth sessions ever.
[There is a season for everything. That very much applies to weather, but also our lives, and what our country, our world, is experiencing right now. I'm hoping these images bring a reminder that warmth will come. Flowers and green will blanket our land again. But also kindness and love and light will trump the dark.]
When you book a session, you obviously hope for the best weather, right? And you think end of September, summer will be gone. Well, I think it hit nearly 90 this day, but the Laughlin family dressed [adorably] for fall. Can I just say, they still rocked their session out. Those kids did amazing! Truly! I know the next generation is being raised with awareness of others and the importance of kindness and empathy, and for that I am grateful.
When you take pictures of a family so full of energy and life very little posing takes place. The Chenault family were made for the camera, that's for sure. Even though this session was a few months ago, I can still very distinctly remember the laughter that came from them. Straight up joy. I couldn't ask for more. Knowing parts of their story, knowing they have endured heart ache, yet in the midst of the pain, they have chosen joy, and that, that is just what makes life worth it. And makes my job worth it.
Let me just tell you, when a family invests in my birth to one year package or a comparable custom package, I get overly attached. I can't help it. I photograph their babies every few months and I just fall in love. The Bauer family is one that I have fallen in love with. I now text mama Brittany and request all her hair and face tips because hello, she looks glorious. Yes? This was their last scheduled session with me in their package, but never fear, I have a feeling we will reunite again next year. I mean, we just have to.
Leo. Lena. And baby boy coming. So basically they win for the cutest family ever. [I say that a lot, but it's just because I really do have the cutest families I work with!]
What I love about this family is our history together. First off, Brianna and I go back to high school. But what's even more is this family is one of the very, very first to support me in my photography endeavors. They hired me way back when I was just doing it on the side as a little something, when their oldest was a newborn. And now here they are still supporting in my full blown, paying taxes business. I forgot to fist bump them at our session based solely on that awesomeness.
And in case anyone is wondering, because I totally asked, Brianna is wearing the ever popular LulaRoe. It works with her adorable pregnant belly and it will work post baby. I'm thinking LulaRoe is definitely a place to look for photography outfits. And no, I do not sell it nor do I own a piece (yet), but I am happy to share of ideas to shop for what to wear for photos.
I don't normally post a maternity session and newborn session in one post, but I think it is so fitting to go with their story they shared. And I love the story-sharing is from the perspective of the dad!
I'll never forget being at their newborn session and listening to them already talking about wanting another baby. Read their story below to understand their deep desire for many kids.
On our very first date, Elissa and I somehow (thankfully) managed to skip the awkward small talk as we dove right into the topics that can really bond two people together. One of the things that we instantly connected on was a strong mutual desire to be parents. We’ve both always loved kids and have individually spent years thinking, dreaming, and praying about raising children of our own – picturing what they might look like, how they might think and learn, and what talents and personalities might be hidden inside them. Then, as our relationship progressed, we began to dream about these things together – what our children might be like. Shortly after getting married, we decided that before having children, we wanted to spend some time living outside of the US doing volunteer mission work. We sold our house, quit our jobs, and moved to Kenya to volunteer at a children’s home that rescues children from the street. As we built relationships with the children in the home, we began to feel and understand the depth of a parent’s love, further growing our desire to have children of our own.
Upon returning to Indiana, we were so excited to start building our family. I remembered everything I learned in 5th grade sex-ed about what it takes to make a baby, so I was pretty confident we could get it done with no trouble. I imagine most people, like us, don’t expect to have difficulty getting pregnant, so when the bad news comes month after month, it begins to become very discouraging. Through these months, it became increasingly difficult to remain hopeful about conceiving, but we were diligent to talk to God and look to Him for hope and guidance. Fast forward one year – after a year of actively trying, most doctors seem to think of this as the benchmark for what they would consider “infertility” – not to say that it’s not possible for you to conceive, just that it is apparently more difficult than it should be. We began discussing some fertility treatment options with our doctor, and Elissa started a medication to help with Ovulation. At that point, we also decided to begin exploring adoption, which is something we’ve both always hope to do. After just a little bit of research and a couple of meetings with adoption agencies, the cost, complexity, and timing of adoption were incredibly overwhelming. We felt super discouraged. We prayed together that night, asking God to show us the plan He had for us – asking why we were having so much trouble conceiving when he clearly placed the desire in our hearts. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait long for the answer. That very week, not but a few days after our adoption appointment in Indianapolis, Elissa hesitantly but hopefully took a pregnancy test during her lunch break from work, and received a positive result! Then, nine months of excitement and anticipation brought us to the day that we finally got to meet our daughter. Kelti Matrine Pontius was born on October 22nd, and from the moment we laid eyes on her, we were changed forever. We are absolutely in love, and we’re excited for that love to grow even stronger as we discover all of the treasures God has hidden inside of her. We realize that our struggle with infertility was shorter and simpler than many others’, but one thing is clear to us in retrospect – God’s timing was perfect, his plan was complete from the beginning, and he always had good things in store for us. The blessing of a child is indescribable, and we pray for that blessing for everyone who desires it.
It's kind of hard looking at these pictures because it wasn't but two months ago [I know. I know. I'm terribly behind on blogging, insert: busiest season ever and I was doing everything to survive life and editing], and look at all the green! Flowers! Warmth! But that's okay, I've learned that seasons are so much more appreciated when they are just that, seasons. A time of coming and going. I absolutely loved capturing the Suhr family in their season of many small children. They have quite the story of love, faithfulness, and moving forward even the midst of hard trials. And they have beautiful, rainbow babies. Not to mention, their hour session was super easy! Those four kiddos were so, so good. It was evident how much they all love each other.
You know the saying "it's such a small world." It really is. When we moved to South Florida two years ago, I ran into the Gil family. We both happened to move to the same city in Florida from Bloomington. Then we both moved back to Bloomington just a few months apart. Isn't that crazy? I have now taken their family pictures both in Florida and Indiana. I totally adore them. I mean, they have the cutest kids in all the land. Hashtag model family.
The biggest compliment I can get as a business owner is a returning client. I can hardly use the word client, because really I think about my clients as friends. That is my hope, that they become a friend of mine, that I know them, what they enjoy and what makes up their story. My photographer (Hi Liz!) has been taking my own family pictures for the last 6 years and it is SO fun and comforting to know she knows my family. I hope in 6 years, I have clients who I have been working with that long.
The Black family is a client that has quickly become friends of mine. I started last year with taking their family pictures in a mini session and we have continued to do sessions here and there with their daughter's two year pictures [which I totally still need to blog about], and now maternity and next up newborn. I basically cannot handle their cuteness. Both are totally hands-on parents and seem like experts in the field. I have a feeling they are going to rock at having their family grow by a little boy very, very soon.