Best Newborn Photographer Winner!


 

Just in case you missed the verdict, we WON Best Newborn Photographer for September 2012!  Not me, WE.  Two very important, life-changing votes set us apart from second place.  You read that right:  we won by TWO VOTES.  One, two.

Why “we”?  I can list a million reasons as to why this is a group win and not just a personal win for me as a photographer.  Here are a few of my favorites:

  • This image was created in a joint effort with my very dear friend Jamie of Jamie Lynn Photography.  She brought equipment and props all the way from Alabama and we both sweated our tails off photographing these babies for hours.  She has a nearly identical image in her portfolio as well.  I promise whole-heartedly that she earned this just as much as I did.
  • The image would have never been considered if it were never nominated to the Best Newborn Photographers contest!  Thank you for taking that extra step on my behalf.
  • Although it was chosen in the top 10, the image logically didn’t stand much of a chance in the face of some of the newborn photography giants competing alongside the triplets.  With 6 minutes remaining in the contest, the triplets were tied with another image – both having 1,232 votes.  Over one THOUSAND people contributed to this win!!
  • Throughout the week of the contest, the image was shared hundreds of times.  I wish I could track an exact number, but the hundreds of you that rallied for this win by sharing and asking for votes definitely earned a claim to the title.
  • My family campaigned for me like you wouldn’t believe.  My father (who isn’t even on Facebook and barely knows how to surf the net) called all of his clients and friends and insisted on votes.  My mother did the same and was caught more than once showing the triplet’s picture to random strangers with babies and requesting that they go vote.  My granny (who is nearly impossible to say no to) was very persistent in sharing the contest and requesting votes (drill sergeant style).  This title definitely belongs to them too.
  • And last, but not least – the two people that cast those last two deciding votes.  There would be no title if it weren’t for them.  A very humbling realization indeed.

I have come to realize that life is made up of collaborative efforts in our pursuits and endeavors.  Whether it’s work related, life as parents, fundraising, making the world a better place, or just deep in prayer – we are never, EVER alone.  Thank you God, and a huge heartfelt thanks to all of you!

 

 

Winning the real challenge


 

I’m not sure why I am so blown away by the love and support of EVERYONE for the picture of the triplets in the BEST NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER contest.  Considering the history of family, friends, and strangers across the world reaching out to bless these babies, I should have predicted the same enthusiasm from all of you again.

Those of you that have voted may know that there is one {super adorable} competing image in particular that has been neck and neck with the triplets.  The photographer is wonderfully talented and also owns a very successful and popular newborn prop business {that I adore} – I envy her notoriety and network in the market for sure!  I sent her a message complimenting her on the beautiful image and wishing her the best of luck.  She responded with compliments for my image as well and wished me luck.  The next sentence filled my heart with joy,

“your support from your family and friends is beautiful”.

I can’t put into words how grateful I am to be blessed with all of you.  Although the contest goes until August 31st, I know in my heart that whether or not we have the most “likes” is not what really matters.  With all of the random acts of kindness, sharing and votes from strangers, encouraging comments & messages, prayers, endless love & support we have already won the real challenge.

Thank you.

 

Feelin’ Lucky.


The recent warmer weather and sunshine has done wonders in brightening my spirits.  I’m a Florida girl at heart, and the drab of Winter in Kentucky tends to bring me down.  I have made a commitment to slow down a bit in my daily routine and learn to find joy in the little things in my life.  It’s amazing how quickly I’ve realized what I have taken for granted.  On this average afternoon, relaxing in the yard – I thought to myself “I sure am one lucky girl”.

Kylie attempted to show me her cartwheel, Pixie played catch, we searched for “4 leaf clovers”, and Kyle tried to help in the cartwheel department.  Me?  I brought my camera and took pictures – just another little thing that brings me joy.  Oh, lucky day :)
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Welcome Home Jaxon! Fort Campbell Newborn Photographer


My very first time being hired as a photographer was on May 3rd, 2011.  Although I spent months learning, researching, shadowing, and experimenting after I received my first DSLR in February, it wasn’t until May that I got paid.  I was ecstatic – someone liked me and my work enough to pay me to photograph their welcome home ceremony reuniting their family after a year long deployment.  It was very surreal to me.

I wrote about that memorable first session of mine here:  Heartfelt Homecoming  although I think this is the first time I’m announcing that it was technically the first time I got paid.  I thoroughly enjoyed welcoming home a soldier and celebrating with the Major family as they became one big happy family again.  I felt honored to be capturing these memories for them and blessed to be able to call this “work”.

Fast forward to February and I was able to spend quality time with the Major family again.  This time they brought their new addition to their family – Jaxon – for those priceless newborn portraits that everyone loves.  I was tickled pink holding him and even more so when I saw his older brother and how much he had grown since last May.  My heart smiled as soon as I realized that this family started my journey last year and kept it going strong this year.  Thank you<3


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You Save Me.


Life can be painful sometimes, people can be cruel.  I assume that God allows us to endure hard times for His reasons – something needs to be learned or experienced.  Something needs to change.  When you feel that the ones who love you the most hurt you the worst, it takes your breath away.  It shocks you.  It hurts so badly and you’re not sure how to make it stop.  In a perfect world we could check in to the local ER and request a prescription for whatever heals heartache.  Realistically, if this has happened to you then you already know all to well that this world is no where near perfect.

My natural instinct is to withdraw.  Isolate myself, shut down – in an attempt to hide from the pain I suppose.  I wanted that so badly, hoping that it would all go away like a bad dream.  I have to admit that I even tried that route.  Anyone with children knows that as mothers we no longer have that luxury though.  I couldn’t sit around crying and feeling sorry for myself like I wanted to.  I had the most beautiful little girl bubbling with laughter in front of me, telling me to get up and live life.  I’m not going to lie – a lot of what I’m doing is faking it until I make it, but if it weren’t for my daughter I probably wouldn’t have the desire to even fake it.

She dressed up in this adorable cape and mask today and we went outside to play in the crazy wind that preceded an upcoming storm.  The moment was profound to me in numerous ways.  Here I was in the middle of a massive “storm” in my life, watching Kylie laughing, twirling and enjoying life – knowing a real storm was on the way.  It was then that I realized that this too will pass.  This “storm” in my life is temporary, life will go on.

At that moment I thanked God for Kylie and her ability to “save” me.  I hope that one day she will realize how much of a hero she is to me.  As I thanked God, I felt Him gently reminding me that the person that loves me the most will never, ever, EVER hurt me – because that person is Him.

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You Save Me.


Life can be painful sometimes, people can be cruel.  I assume that God allows us to endure hard times for His reasons – something needs to be learned or experienced.  Something needs to change.  When you feel that the ones who love you the most hurt you the worst, it takes your breath away.  It shocks you.  It hurts so badly and you’re not sure how to make it stop.  In a perfect world we could check in to the local ER and request a prescription for whatever heals heartache.  Realistically, if this has happened to you then you already know all to well that this world is no where near perfect.

My natural instinct is to withdraw.  Isolate myself, shut down – in an attempt to hide from the pain I suppose.  I wanted that so badly, hoping that it would all go away like a bad dream.  I have to admit that I even tried that route.  Anyone with children knows that as mothers we no longer have that luxury though.  I couldn’t sit around crying and feeling sorry for myself like I wanted to.  I had the most beautiful little girl bubbling with laughter in front of me, telling me to get up and live life.  I’m not going to lie – a lot of what I’m doing is faking it until I make it, but if it weren’t for my daughter I probably wouldn’t have the desire to even fake it.

She dressed up in this adorable cape and mask today and we went outside to play in the crazy wind that preceded an upcoming storm.  The moment was profound to me in numerous ways.  Here I was in the middle of a massive “storm” in my life, watching Kylie laughing, twirling and enjoying life – knowing a real storm was on the way.  It was then that I realized that this too will pass.  This “storm” in my life is temporary, life will go on.

At that moment I thanked God for Kylie and her ability to “save” me.  I hope that one day she will realize how much of a hero she is to me.  As I thanked God, I felt Him gently reminding me that the person that loves me the most will never, ever, EVER hurt me – because that person is Him.

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Cheese{y}


 

CHEEEEEEEEEESE!  It’s what we all say during picture time, right?  We tell our children repeatedly, “everyone say cheese”!  We all do it – we’re all guilty.  I would like to take on the roll of the cheese police for a moment though in the honor of all photographers in America.  Stop the insanity!!!  Chances are your child has the most adorable smile, but it’s rarely captured without the help of a professional.  Why?  Because we don’t ask them to say CHEESE!  Here you’ve wondered all along why the only expressions you’ve managed to capture are silly faces and cheesey grins.  There is a reason those grins are called cheesey you know?  So, my advice to you:

*  Talk to your child – ask questions and be silly.  Make them laugh!

*  Capture the moments in between the cheese.  The simple, true expressions of innocence that only children can portray.  Whether they’re serious, pensive, looking away, silly, or anything in between.  You will want to remember these just as much as the adorable smile.

*  If all else fails, pick a different word.  Try monkey!  Or better yet, say “On the count of 3 say Mommy’s a monkey!” – it’s sure to get a few laughs and genuine smiles.

Thanks for reading and allowing my cheese police rant.  Join in with me and help educate America – cut the cheese!  heh :)

Behind the Scenes (and screen).


When I first entertained the idea of starting a photography business, I thought I had a great plan.  I distinctly remember running my ideas by my best friend for a little feedback on my intended business plan.  I decided that I would charge $30 for a one hour session and a CD of images.  It pains me to just type that sentence.  Neither my best friend nor I had much experience or knowledge about custom portrait photography, and $30 for an hour of work sounded pretty sweet to me.  I started my journey with her graduation portraits and after spending nearly 8 hours culling, editing and uploading them for ordering I had a huge reality check.  Including the {what was supposed to be} one hour photoshoot, I just made a whopping $3.33 an hour.  That didn’t even begin to factor in the cost of my equipment, programs, software,  gas, my babysitter, and my time on the phone and emailing her to make sure her session was exactly what she wanted.  I was pretty dumbfounded to say the least.

I’m writing this post because I know that my best friend and I aren’t the only ones that had that naive mindset toward professional photographers and the work that they do.  It pains me how many times I disrespected their work by assuming all they did was spend an hour taking my pictures!

The truth is, very little of my “work” day is spent behind a camera.  That was a hard pill for me to swallow initially.  The majority of my time is spent on this laptop.  Whether it be marketing, communicating with clients, planning photoshoots, gathering inspiration, buying props, participating in online classes and tutorials, paying bills, networking, invoicing, choosing favorite images, editing, updating my portfolio, blogging, and paying it forward with freebies and giveaways – I’m on the computer.

In the end, it’s to your advantage as a client to have a photographer that does not just spend an hour taking your pictures and giving you a CD.  Although I still have so much to learn, I wanted to share a few before and after examples of what I do with your images when I get back to the good ole laptop.

Nothing fancy and nothing major – just some minor changes that make a major difference.  So the next time you come across a photographer charging some ridiculously low price for a CD, know that your pictures will either be worth the low price you pay or she {or he} will be working for free.  If she’s got talent and potential and you know your pictures are worth more – throw her a bone, give her a tip, advise her to price herself accordingly, let her know that she’s worth more.  I am truly grateful for all of you that have done that for me.