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!

Puckette Family Portraits

Wanna know why I love working with Maggie and this sweet family?  About a year ago this time I took her newborn images and instantly felt comfortable.  Maggie is so down to earth and easy going the whole session felt like hanging out with a friend.  We got some gorgeous images that are hands down some of my favorites – especially the clean black and whites images that we got.

But then!  Flash forward a few months and I run into Maggie at Jack Browns.  It’s been months since I’ve seen them and they still say hi and talk about their newborn images! Better yet!  She emails me about making sure to get on my calendar months in advance!  AND THEN!  I meet them for our mommy and me session and Maggie says “Alex! I wanted to bring some glasses and wine so we could hang out while we did this but I just didn’t have time to get it together.” GIRL! YOU are my THE BEST!

I love working with women and families like this who are loyal and keep coming back but also who get me! It ends up feeling a lot like working with a friend than just a client and we always get GORGEOUS images.  My favorite part of childhood and family photography is getting to work with families through the years and watch the kids grow up and their family evolve! This loyalty means the world to me and makes this whole business feel x10 more personal and worth it.

For this session we met up at my favorite spot and the light was perfect!   We basically stayed in the same two spots the whole time because the light coming through the background created the most creamy bokeh!

Check out this my favorites of this amazing family of three!

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It’s Here! Baltimore Here We Come!

Today is MOVING DAY!  You want to know what I am most excited about?  It to all be OVER!  Haha seriously.  YES SERIOUSLY!  I am so ready to settle into a normal life where I can use my kitchen appliances!!!  Or not curtz (I think I just made that word up…) around boxes!  Or how about just settle into the idea that for at least a year or so I’ll actually know what’s up from what’s down!  I can’t wait!  It’s going to make me bust by a*$ unpacking just so I can settle into normalcy.

First thing I’m trying to do after we unpack?  GO TO THE BEACH!  I’m driving my tush down to the beach for a few days even if it means I go by myself because I need to just get away, clear my head, read a book and leave my anxiety in the ocean.  I’m going to buy ice cream and boardwalk fries, drink wine on the porch at night and wear shorts and a big sweatshirt every evening!  Also big goal of mine is to finally have the time and focus to get back into my workout/running routine.  I MISS it!! If you know me from growing up you would NEVER in a million years think I was this girl; hell I didn’t even own sneakers until college because I felt like I should… Also did you see what I did there?  With the semicolon?  Grammar nerds – did I do it right?  I never actually know…  In any case though I’m excited to have my life normal enough again to get a routine going and run, I just need to find a running route from my front door (wish me luck!).

The last time we were up in Baltimore to paint, everything went wrong.  Yes and I do mean everything, like spilt a can of paint in my car everything.  So please if you’re the praying type or even if you’re just the wish on a dandelion type PLEASE pray/wish/send us cosmic waves of good luck that everything goes smoothly today and this weekend as we unpack.  Seriously though because I just need to get my butt to the beach. 🙂

I’ll be posting soon with pictures and the story of the paint/move so keep you eye out!

Hampton Girls – Belle Isle Morning Session

OH MAH GAWD!  So a few weeks ago I woke up early and tried to run some errands around town, you know, pick up dog food, get birthday card for friend, etc. etc. etc. Well the pet store wasn’t open yet so I had some free time on my hands and I decided on a whim that I was going to go down to Belle Isle and walk around.  It was about 8am and as soon as I started walking around I knew that I HAD to do a morning session here!  The light was amazing! Seriously so glowy and clean.  Well a few weeks later Anne contacted me about adding to her mini session with her daughter Morgan and I thought, well I’ll just throw it out there and see if they’d be willing.  Sure enough Anne said yes and it was GAME ON!   I was over the moon!  We set the session up for 8am and while it was early it was SO WORTH IT!  Read More »

Mommy and Me Portraits – Francisco Family

We met early at Forest Hill Park for this session which was great because it got HOT that day!  I got to the park a little early and saw it, the most gorgeous tree with the most gorgeous low hanging branches!  SWOON!  We spent almost the entire time in this one spot.  Margaret wore a purple dress which popped off the background and showed off her baby bump so beautifully.

While this session was a mini and shorter in time than a typical session we were able to go a lot of images and variety!  We were even able to incorporate their dog!!  My favorite part of the session though was playing with Scarlett at the end as she picked me flowers and brought them over to me as little gifts!  Read More »

Watermelon Smash – One Year Portraits

It’s always a good sign when you roll up to a session to meet the family for the first time and you connect instantly with the family and kids.  I arrived to Forrest Hill Park and walked up to meet Kelsie and her husband Brent and within seconds their gorgeous daughter Maddie did what I always hope the kiddos will do, she opened her arms and reached out to me.  AHHH my little heart almost exploded!!  She got passed over to me and I knew in that moment – this was going to be a GREAT session!   Read More »