Christmas Minis 2018

Oh hey Richmond, miss me?  Well I MISS YOU!  So much so that I’m doing not just one day of minis but TWO days of Christmas minis in Richmond this year.  🙂

I posted back on Instagram a few weeks ago about where to do the minis and the response was overwhelmingly for Richmond!  It happens that I’ll been in town two weekends in a row for other sessions and it worked out perfectly to host my minis on those weekends!  I CAN’T WAIT!  I am so excited to see some familiar faces and especially the littles!!

So what do Christmas Minis entail?  It’s 30 minutes with a guaranteed 15 images.  It’s perfect for busy families who really want fresh new images but don’t always have the time for a full on session.  It also great for those who are looking for a few images for a holiday card!  These sessions are always some of my favorite of the year.  I get to see some of my favorite people!  It also ends up being just the right amount of time for the littles before they are done, which let’s be honest can happen with longer sessions.

Because I’m traveling in from Maryland there are more limited spots than in years past.  So if you are interested let’s book it and get you a time slot!  🙂  The details are below, go on and grab your spot!   You can email me at alex@alexandra-michelle.com !  I CAN’T WAIT to see you!!

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Check out some of my favorite holiday mini images below!

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Oh yeah, I almost forgot to tell you!  If you use this code when you contact me to book I’m going to put you in the drawing for 20% off!  The drawing is going to be on MONDAY (yes Monday as in the 24th!) Use code “HOLLY JOLLY” when you contact me and I’ll put you in the pool to get 20% off your session.  Only one person will win 🙂

Country Farm Sunset Portraits

Carryn Turns 13!

HOLY shizzz this session was amazing!  I got in the car with Brandy and as we pulled out of the driveway she hollered over to Chris her husband about loading up the horses cause we were going to Renee’s.  The name sounded familiar but it wasn’t until we started approaching the location that I realized where we were going.

At first I thought Renee’s was a place where Carryn rides, but it wasn’t, it was a gorgeous piece of property of a nearby neighbor, Renee.  As we pulled up I realized where we were going, this was the infamous farm.  The farm that used to belong to Sterling’s grandmother, where his mother and aunts had lived when they were younger, where Sterling had grown up exploring nature.  It’s probably one of his most cherished places and I was seeing it for the very first time.

We pulled up to the property and started looking around.  I felt kind of weird actually being there without him, as if I was imposing on his memories and special place.  Those feelings quickly faded when we came up a familiar site.  A large red barn was right in front of me, beautifully perched up on a hill, the same site that we have framed in our house.

It was neat getting to spend time in a place that is such a huge part of Sterling’s life but that paired with getting to spend time with the Mullins and take these images, made for a perfect night.  The Mullins are my kind of people.  The first time we took pictures together I needed to get to a higher ground and so climbed up on the shoulders of Chris who didn’t skip a beat.  Brandy is a country girl who will do anything for her kids and she has amazing taste.  We’d make one hell of a styled shoot duo if I was in the Charlottesville area.  For this session, we brought over a trailer with not one but two horses and the whole family joined in to help.  At one point I was standing on top of Taylor’s (Carryn’s sister) boyfriend’s car.  These people are all in and I LOVE it!

The best part of the whole session was the last few moments in the field with Carryn’s horses.  The light got softer, the horses came out and Carryn blossomed.  This is her happy place.  She is 100% herself when she’s with her horses.  She’s confident, carefree, beautiful, soft and strong all at the same time.  She SHINES in these images in the field and they are some of my favorites ever.

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This horse is BEAUTIFUL!  They got him from Chincoteauge!

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Classic Summer Church Hill Senior Session

Malone | August 2018

When I taught Malone in 7th grade I have to admit she was one of my faves.  As a teacher you’re not supposed to have “favorites” but while you love all your kiddos for individual reasons, there are some that stick out through the years.  There are always ones that you hope come back to visit and catch you up on all their new adventures.  Any teacher will tell you that getting to catch up with old students is one of the best parts.  It makes up for all the late nights, weekends spent grading, and endless emails.  You grow to love your kids and seeing them as young adults who have grown so much but still have a lot of that 7th grader in them is such a joy!  Read More »

Our One Year Anniversary!

We have been married officially ONE YEAR and one week 🙂  After all of the moving mess we knew that for our one year anniversary we wanted to do something low key.  We wanted to be able to come home and sleep here but also have an adventure.  So we decided to do something we both really love – explore a new place and be outside!  We decided to take the Saturday and head down to Harper’s Ferry for the day so we could explore the town and then hike!

That morning we woke up – dropped our dogs off at my parents and headed down to Harper’s Ferry.  It is an precious little town!  So precious in fact that you have to park pretty far away and take a bus in because there is so little parking downtown – which honestly I think is really cute!  The bus is free and even plays bluegrass music and tells you about the park and the town.  We walked up and down the main street, visiting each quaint store and then had lunch.  We ate at Almost Heaven which was filled with West Virginia gear everywhere!  For a down home place it was kind of pricey but we did really like beer cheese fries and tasting local West Virginia beers.  While in town we picked up our first ever “National Park Passport”.  It lays out all of the national parks and historical sites in each region of the United States and then as you visit each place you collect stamps.  We are officially determined to see as many places as possible and make it (at least) a yearly tradition to explore the great outdoors!

After lunch it was off to our hike.  We crossed the river on an old rustic train bridge that has a walking path on the side.  This bridge is actually part of the Appalachian Trial which was pretty cool!  Once we got to the other side we decided to do the Maryland Height’s Overlook because it’s the highest point that overlooks both rivers and the town.  It’s a five mile hike round trip and we had just enough time to do it.

The trial was awesome!  Very well kept, wide and not too steep which I really liked.  I really don’t like heights so I was a little nervous to get to the top.  The nice thing about this particular overlook though is that you can’t see the edge of the cliff or the drop off unless you go to the edge.  So I got to comfortable enjoy the sites without being terrified the whole time.

The hike took us about 2 hours round trip and it POURED in the middle!  Fortunately we were under a great canopy of trees so while we did get wet, we didn’t get nearly as soaked as those in town did.

What was so nice about our one year anniversary was getting time to just be together, uninterrupted by social media.  We spent the whole day just exploring and talking and it was a perfect slow down to the otherwise crazy fast paced summer.  Our first year of marriage may not have been especially glamorous but it was just perfect.  We spent a lot of time with great friends, traveled some, enjoyed being with our families and found a stronger connection with God.  We found a church that we fell in love with, took on new adventures and dreamt up great big plans for our future.  We took chances, cried a lot (mostly me), laughed more and now are leaning on each other more than ever.  Our journey together has never been perfect but it’s taught us a lot about what true love really looks like (at least for us).

Sterling – You are more than just my best friend, you’re the love of my life and my favorite human.  Thank you for walking this journey with me – even when I ugly cry and blow bubbles to calm down… You’re my biggest fan and my greatest role model of what being a good christian, friend and family person looks like.  I know you’ll be just as goofy, fun, sincere, and lovely when we’re 80 as you are now, which is why I’m glad you’re mine.  🙂

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Sarah Senior Portrait Session

This session is one of my all time favorites because it is SUPER special to me!! Sarah was one of my students in the 7th grade and now she is a SENIOR!!!  Her mom is one of my friends from work and so this session was like a little reunion and is just what I needed.  Getting to catch up with them completely filled my bucket!

Getting to see my old students and catch up with them is by far my favorite part about being a teacher.  I love it!  Which is one of the reasons that moving to Baltimore was so hard for me because I knew I wouldn’t have little run ins with my kids anymore.  Getting to catch up with Sarah while also taking her senior portraits has now become the best part of being a photographer so far!  It was a combination of two things I love and it was so fun! Read More »

Back to School Minis!! This September!

As most of you reading this though, my main profession is as a teacher!  More specifically I am an Instructional Technology Coach which basically means that I work with teachers to help them plan innovative lessons and project experiences for their students!  As most teachers will tell you, there is something really special about the back to school season.  I LOVE it!  I love the red apple decorations with the big yellow school buses!  I love the pencils and the funky erasers; I love the bulletin board borders, stamps for homework and don’t even get me started on the stickers.  I have thousands of stickers that I’ve been collecting for years with no hope of using all of them.   And even though I don’t have my own personal students any more, I am a sucker for those flashy pencils to give away as behavior rewards. 🙂

So this got me thinking, I love the beginning of the school year and I wanted to do something FUN to celebrate!  I also haven’t hosted anything in Baltimore yet and am ready to hit the offer something for families in this area!  And so, for the first time ever I’m going to host BACK TO SCHOOL MINIS!   PLUS if you are a teacher with a current teacher ID, I’m going to offer you a discount (because we all know how much us teachers shell out of our own money in the first weeks of school…. yikes!)

So many families take those cute first day of school images with their kiddos all ready to go and then may not get another good looking picture until school pictures, and that’s if those go well.  If they are anything like my school photos… let’s just say they aren’t always flattering.  So then I thought, maybe people would be interested in actually getting nice images of their kiddos at the back to school time without making their kiddos sit through a long photo session when they are in the midst of getting settled back into their routine.

I am SO EXCITED for this!  I’m especially excited because this will be my first portrait event in Baltimore and I can’t wait to see who signs up!  Each mini will be 20 minutes for families in (or will willing to travel to) Baltimore.  Location is TBD and the minis will be hosted on Saturday, September 22nd with the rain day on that Sunday.  If you are at all interested contact me here and make sure to say BACK TO SCHOOL MINIS in the notes section.   I’ve got limited spots and time slots are first come, first serve so if you are interested let me know as soon as possible!

Can’t wait!

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Beat the Heat! 3 Tips for a Successful Summer Portrait Session

Summer is the BEST!  Well except for the bugs… and the insane heat… and the hair frizz?…. and the humidity…?  Let’s be honest, summer looks like an amazing time to take pictures, and it is!  You may have a little more free time, your kids aren’t in school, you can get great outdoor images with flowers and lush greens in the background, PLUS your outfits can be a little more freeing and fun!  While all this is true, there is one big downer that can turn any summer portrait session to the dirt… the heat.  More specifically, the humidity which is just killer for us in below the Mason Dixon Line.  So what can you do to have a great summer portrait session that will beat the heat and feel amazing!  Keep reading!  I’ve got three big planning tips that are necessary to survive your summer portrait session (especially if you have kids). Read More »

Bethany Beach Trip

With all the waves of change that have happened in the last few months all I wanted to do was escape and relax.  Last week I got to do exactly that and it was perfect! The beach was super calm, partly because it was an off week and partly because the weather forecast predicted rain for the entire week.  While the weather looked bad, like really bad, rain every single day all day kind of bad, I knew I wanted to go despite it.  Even if it rained the whole time I just wanted an excuse to get away from unpacking and read some books, go on walks and eat junky beach food like broccoli bites (which are not as healthy as they sound) as much as I’d like.

It was an added bonus when my youngest brother Bradley decided to join me!  We packed up the car and headed down to the beach.  It rained on and off for most of the drive but oddly enough as soon as we passed Rehoboth and pulled up on Bethany Beach the rain cleared!  While the weather called for rain every day there was only one day that it rained all day and we couldn’t go to the beach.  Every other day was gorgeous and maybe had a rain storm in the afternoon or evening!  The sun was warm, the ocean was calm and I got to sit and do nothing but read and relax.  I ate a lot of broccoli bites…. like every day for four days worth of broccoli bites.  While I would do it again because…DUH, it was a little awkward when the same guy took my order at the walk up window each time… hahaha!  YOIKES!

I also got to spend time with my brother and some really good friends!  My friend Bobby was in town at his family’s beach condo that week and on Friday Jessie drove all the way up from Richmond to join too!  It was such a treat all the way around!  I came back feeling refreshed and ready to take on new things!  Thank God!

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Tenney Family Neutral Newborn Session

Tenney Family Neutral Newborn Session

— Richmond Virginia —

When Anne reached out to me a few months ago about doing her newborn pictures I actually had a moment of “pinch me!”.  I knew Anne in college as she was kind of a big deal in sorority life at JMU!  She was a Tri Delta and I was an Alpha Phi and while we never officially knew each other I definitely knew of her!  She was Panhellenic President and was known as one of the nicest women at school.  Panhellenic for anyone who isn’t a sorority person is the overarching organization that each sorority is involved in.  It’s kind of like a community counsel and puts on events such as recruitment.  Being President of Panhel is a HUGE honor and an even bigger responsibility!  It’s a two year commitment and running recruitment is no easy task!

After we got talking she sent me over a Pinterest board of the type of shots she was hoping we’d get.  It was such a wonderful surprise to see that most of the pictures on the Pinterest board were mine!! I couldn’t believe it!! They were mixed in with other images by people that I really admire and look up to which was so humbling!

When I got to Anne and Aaron’s house it was nothing less than what I expected, beautifully spaced with an amazing layout.  Her nursery was decorated neutrally with basic white, grays and light beige/brown.  I honestly had never seen a nursery that neutral before (usually there is more splashes of pink or blue) and I loved it!  It was easy to get bright and clean images of the space and of the baby plus it had a simple feel that was refreshing and classic.

What impressed me more than their beautiful home and their clean and well planned nursery though was Anne and Aaron and how gracefully kind they both are.  They are people of faith and you can tell it’s very important to them.  I walked into their house and immediately felt welcome and trusted.  Anne and I talked like two old friends and I have to say – she really is one of the nicest and down to earth people I’ve ever met! She was kind enough to hold up a blanket in the background as a reflector for almost the entire time!  Beyond their kind hearts, Aaron and Anne are such natural parents and in the most genuine way.  I noticed it in the simple ways they care for Will and each other. Like how Aaron snuggled up with Will just to watch golf, or how Anne talks to Will to sooth him and calm him.  They were born to be a parents and God has blessed them in a beautiful way.  Their parenting was never flashy or braggy, but sweet, humble and natural.  You can tell that this was path is blessed by God and that they are in it together every step of the way!

Anne and Aaron – I LOVED getting to know you better during this session and am so glad that we are doing at least two more milestones together!  You have a beautiful family and hearts of gold, I’m grateful to get to work with you both!

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Our First Week in Baltimore

Well it’s been about a week (almost) since moving up to Baltimore and there have been our fair share of ups and downs.  So far it’s been going pretty well and we’re enjoying our new adventure.  While we’ve had a few things go wrong the one thing that has been constant is our ability to work as a team.  I know it sounds cheesy but having Sterling as my partner in crime makes everything 10x easier.  He’s the first to crack a joke to cut the tension when something goes wrong and the one to do the heavy lifting, quite literally!

So a little recap of the week so far!  We had a few “son of a gun” moments this week one of which was having our all our tools and two storage containers stolen while we were moving in!  We pulled them out of the uhaul first while we moved the other things and in the process of moving the truck to a different parking spot, the tools were swiped.  Luckily the tools were mostly all cheap tools we had gotten from Walmart throughout the years and Sterling’s dad has offered to give us some of his doubles!  We also found water damage and mold on some of our stuff that was in storage while packing the uhaul.   The water damage and mold got to Sterling’s textbooks and my Cricut 😦 and also some of our ornaments.  Thankfully all our sentimental ornaments and favorites were safe and the textbooks with the most damage were ones that Sterling doesn’t need as often or can access online.  It was definitely frustrating and caused a handful of curse words if we’re being honest but, we keep reminding ourselves that it’s just stuff.  Things, replaceable things.  We have been so blessed that we made it up here safely and besides these minor hiccups, everything has been going smoothly.   Besides the moving hiccups Winnie would be upset if I didn’t mention that she got a pretty bad hot spot on her tail and lost the fur on half of it.  She is currently in a cone and milking it for all it’s worth – including sleeping on our pillows on top of our heads at night.

Now for all the good moments from this past week!  The best part of our move so far is our new place!  It is very charming and has plenty of room for us and all our things.  We’ve got two bedrooms, a finished attic space where Sterling has set up an office and a MEGADESK (said like Dwight), a finished basement, garage and HUGE kitchen (which I LOVE).  The best part of unpacking so far has been unpacking all of our wedding gifts that we didn’t have room for before.  All of our new dishware, glasses, kitchen appliances and pots and pans have not only been unpacked but there is actually SPACE for them!! AND room to spare!!!  It feels amazing to have enough space that we won’t have to live in clutter!  We came up early before moving and painted the first floor and master bedroom and it has made such a difference!  The new color brightened the entire house up and makes it look more neutral and clean.

We also got to go to an Orioles game the second day we were here!  My mom got tickets for us to go and celebrate my Dad’s birthday as a family (minus my sister who was at a wedding).  Being able to spend time with my family has also been nice.  My brother stopped in at our place to grab some things and it was so nice to get to chat with him for a little without having to drive three hours to do so!

The aspect of the move that we are really enjoying is our new neighborhood.  It is loaded with charm, big overarching trees, children everywhere, and sidewalks to take the dogs on walks.  The neighborhood is very family friendly with kids playing basketball in the alley, walking home from sleepovers, riding bikes and even setting up slip and slides in their front lawns.  Needless to say I am VERY excited for Halloween and all our trick or treaters!  Everyone in our neighborhood has been ultra friendly too!  There is an older man who comes by and walks two dogs everyday.  Each day he makes a stop and talks to our neighbor Dotty about the weather while the blind dachshund wanders a bit on his leash.  It’s quite the American scene 🙂  Sterling is loving our fenced in yard out back as he can make some coffee in the morning, let the dogs out and then scroll through emails before getting ready.  🙂

We’re definitely missing our friends and family in Virginia and are hoping to get everything unpacked and settled ASAP so they can all start visiting. 🙂

Disclaimer: These are all iPhone images 🙂

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The moving process was pretty painful if we’re being honest.  We got started at 7:30am and didn’t leave Richmond until 11pm with most of our stuff packed.  Unfortunately it didn’t all fit in the truck so we are heading back this weekend to get the rest.  We packed all day on Thursday and unpacked the truck all day on Friday.

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Terrible picture on the left BUT those are my new dishes that I registered for!!  Look at those cabinets in the back!! They are big enough for ALL my kitchen gear!

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SHE. IS. PITIFUL.

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Now we’re off to get the rest of our stuff this weekend and then I’m heading to the beach for the week!