Newborn Portraits – Sam – Charlottesville

Meet my new nephew!! That’s right this little cutie is my sister in law’s son and so obviously I’m biased in thinking he’s precious!  He is officially a month old now and doing very well!  His sister Cora has adapted so well and is really sweet with him.  She is gentle and kind and even calms him down by saying “It’s okay little buddy, it’s okay.” ::swoon::  Sam meanwhile is an observer, calm and quietly takes it all in.  He has big blue eyes that watch you intently.  It’s going to be great watching these two grow up! Read More »

2018 – My Butterfly Year

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The end of 2017 had me doing a lot of reflection and in the midst of all this reflection I came across this post on the Tone It Up account and it really struck a cord with me.  You see I found myself lost a lot this past year.  Unsure of who I really was and where I wanted to go.  It was the hardest year for me professionally and I personally didn’t feel connected to who I really was.  I didn’t understand where all this came from until seeing this post and reminding myself that it was just a season.  2017 was a year of ups and downs that I needed in order to realize what was really happening, I was growing and I just didn’t realize it.  While I felt like I was in a cocoon, wrapped up in self doubt, there was a ton of people in my life who were there for me and knew what I could become.  I needed the hard moments of last year to make me see how far off course I had gotten from who I truly was.  I didn’t feel like myself because in all honesty, I wasn’t being myself.   I had lost sight of the goofy person who never cared what others thought, the girl who said yes to adventures over sitting on the couch, the girl who saw the good in everyone first and was uncomfortable bringing them down.  That girl wasn’t around in 2017, but she is now.

While I questioned a lot this past year, I was consistently guided back to things that bring me joy.  I prayed a lot this year, which I’m usually very private about, but I have to say that in doing so, in asking for guidance, I found that I got the answers that I desperately needed.

When I was discouraged in the classroom and decided to look for new opportunities a door swung open to a job that I LOVE.  I got my sparkle back that I was losing and now am able to share my sparkle with others and help people which fills me with so much joy!

Relationships is the heart string of 2017.  When I needed it the most, old friends came back into my life and reminded me of the girl I really am.  I found myself closer to my sister this year when I found myself stressed and overwhelmed by wedding planning. These friendships that I had neglected for a long time are now breathing truth and new life into me.  Reminding me of who I really am and helping me focus on what really matters.

I’ve also been consistently reminded of how many people are in my corner.  Each time I’ve shared out something personal I’ve had hundreds of people who have been there encouraging me and reminding me how blessed I am.  And of course, through everything, my relationship with Sterling has been the most constant force, having him as family is the the best part of 2017 and my future.

While 2017 may not have been a year of a ton of outward growth, it’s been a year of tons of internal reflection and appreciation.  I’m ready for 2018 and I’m ready to show up and be a better person.  I’m ready to reconnect with my genuine self and spend more intentional time with people I love that remind me of my focus and my heart song.

This year I’m determined to try…

  • Saying YES to positivity and gratitude
  • Saying YES to adventures
  • Saying NO to gossip and negativity
  • Saying YES to relationships that bring me joy
  • Saying YES to helping others
  • Saying YES to eating healthier
  • Saying YES to working out consistently and getting stronger 
  • Saying YES to my faith and strengthening it
  • Saying NO to silly spending in order to say yes to long term savings
  • Saying NO to soda (this makes me sad, but it has to go)
  • Saying YES to more me time

In 2018 I’m focusing on reconnecting with myself and my genuine happiness.  I’m determined to put intentional energy into old friendships that I deeply cherish and lift me up.   I’m excited for 2018 because I finally don’t feel as lost as I did in 2017.  I don’t feel like the caterpillar who is hungry for more and I don’t feel myself hiding away my true self in the cocoon.  I’m ready to be the butterfly and try new things, open my wings and show off my true self.  This is my year.

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Williams Newborn

I’m not going to lie to you, I always get nervous before newborn sessions.  Mostly because I don’t have children of my own yet so I don’t know all the ways to sooth them the ways mothers do.  Also because I’m never 100% sure of how it will go.  With kids I can distract them or play games or try to make them giggle but newborns can’t be distracted easily with games or silly phrases.

While I always get a little nervous before hand – I always sink into calm the moment we start.  Newborn sessions are special – they are new and exciting and sweet.  It’s calm and slower and intentional.  It’s not about games and being silly it’s about sweet little moments.  Capturing the way moms look at their baby, the way dads hold them and look at their wives.  It’s about little toes and tiny ears.  Small little smiles and sleepy poses and details. I always love taking newborn images and even more so editing and delivering newborn images.  They are a milestone, not just a picture for a card but a memory, a moment, a blink.

Lauren’s little girl made our session perfect.  She was sweet and when she wasn’t sleeping she was staring right at the camera with these beautiful big blue eyes.  Lauren has these white curtains in the room which we were able to use as a perfectly clean white background.  The nursery is decorated with sweet little touches of giraffes – a favorite of Lauren’s.  🙂

Here are some of my favorites from the William’s newborn session, I know I’m biased but I think they are simply precious!

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Best of 2017

This year was a challenging one for me but one in which I got to do some new things that pushed me to improve.  To start I did more newborn sessions than any other this year!  Two years ago I was telling myself that newborns weren’t for me and that it wouldn’t be something I offered.  I quickly began to understand that if I wanted to be considered a “Family Photographer” I’d have to accept the challenge of newborns because let’s be honest – newborns are a huge milestone for families.

And so, this year I decided to say yes to newborn sessions!  It challenged me because since I’m a natural light photographer – I usually prefer to be outdoors.  With less access to the sun it can be challenging to shoot newborn sessions without studio lights inside.  I used to struggle to get good clean colors and skin tones with indoor photographs but with the help of an expo disc and having these sessions I feel so much more confident at getting great clean color.  Now I love the clean and soft skin tones of newborn sessions and the slower pace that feels refreshing.

I also offered two dates for holiday minis to accommodate more families and found huge success!! With a total of 15 sessions I got to work with amazing families and my bucket was filled after chasing around and playing with so many littles!

This year I also registered for some new and exciting educational experiences which I’m taking time in 2018 to dive into!  More about this to come!

I’m looking into 2018 with excitement and ready to grow!  But for now – here are some of my best images from 2017!

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Trenton – Senior Portraits

I can’t believe that Trenton is a senior! I first met him 5 years ago (?) at Sterling’s family christmas party.  He is Sterling’s cousin and is one of the sweetest young men you’ll ever meet.  He is always one of the first to say hello to me and helps however he can.  He has a heart of gold and takes care of his mom and sisters in a way that will melt your heart.  He’s a good ole boy who loves everything country, specifically hunting, his truck and his dog.  He came out of the woods that morning right before these images and even cleaned his truck!

The whole time we walked around he kept offering suggestions and was willing to do just about anything – including picking up a log with a tractor and moving it across a field for me. 🙂  Needless to say Trenton is growing up to be a wonderful man who will do amazing things in his life!  Such a pleasure getting to take these and getting to have him as family.

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Had to get some with his mom Brandy, she’s the best!

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He has the sweetest girlfriend!!

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Holiday Minis pt. 3

The last two families from the Holiday Minis are two close friends that I worked with at Quioccasin.  When I switched into my new role as an ITRT at a new school the hardest part was not getting to see my people every day.  Catherine also became an ITRT this year so I get to see her fairly often but I don’t get to have my daily chats with Becky and others who I love which sometimes is really hard.

Getting to see them and their families for holiday minis was such a treat.  I love how fun and kind these two families are and what great examples of good parenting they are.  Their children are precious and kind and love each other – something that is instantly obvious!   I feel like these women need to write me a mom manual that includes everything they’ve done from the beginning to raise such beautifully sweet littles.  🙂

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Holiday Minis pt. 2!

It’s time for another four families from this past year’s Holiday Minis!  The colors from these sessions seriously POP and I couldn’t be happier with the way they turned out!

The Bostain Family

This family couldn’t get any more beautiful if they tried – inside and out.  The best part about getting to spend time with them is that these boys are such boys!  They are explorers and giggly and love to wrestle!  These two boys absolutely love each other too, you can tell by the way to play and look at each other – the way you look at your best friend.

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Kourtney don’t hate me for posting this one – I think it’s so fun!!

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These two boys absolutely LOVE each other!  They are so cute!

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The Bowdens

Best part about this session besides the beautiful family who are good friends of mine – the light! It was so light and airy and gorgeous!  Just look at the rainbow coming across in the bottom corner of the first picture!!  I also had the most amazing little cheerleaders!  After each picture Ryleigh or Parker would give me little doses of encouragement like “oh that’s so cute!” haha it was great!

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The McKays

I have known Cathy since I was 12 years old!  She is a fellow camp girl and also an Alpha Phi!  She was my program director while I was a camper and counselor and then at JMU was my sorority advisor!  Ryan used to be at camp with us too when they were married so I’ve known him forever as well!  Needless to say we know each other really well but this was the first time I got to meet her precious son Cap!  We spend the entire time together laughing and laughing over who knows what!  Honestly I’m still not sure but I think it was ninnies?  Whatever it was, it made Cap burst out laughing!  He is such a hoot!  These images are gorgeous – just check out these colors!

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The Davidsons

Lordy lordy – how cute is Cora!!?  We got to take these images on Thanksgiving and the light and colors were perfect!  The POP of color is gorgeous! Not only that but look how excited Cora is about her baby brother!  ::swooning:: 

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Holiday Minis pt. 1

Alexandra-Michelle-Photography- Holiday Mini - 2017 - Driskell-33This past October when I announced the dates for the Holiday Minis I was nervous.  Nervous because I had been absent from the blog for awhile and wasn’t sure I would get any response.  I also took a leap and decided to host minis on two dates so accommodate more people.  The response I got was amazing!  The November date sold out in 48 hours and with the October date I got to work with 16 families!

You’ve seen the glimpse of the minis from October a few blog posts ago and now it’s time to show off the other 9 families!  🙂  Since there are so many and each deserve their beautiful spotlight I’m sharing the rest of the minis in three parts!  Also who doesn’t love looking at these beautiful fall colors a little longer?

Today we have three amazing families each with a unique story which made these sessions really special.

The Putnams

This mini session was especially special.  Katie was my roomie in the Alpha Phi House and one of my best friends through college and now.  When she asked if we could add in her in laws to the mini session there was no hesitation in saying “of course!”.  You see her mother and father in law just moved back to Virginia from Houston Texas and were there during the hurricane.  They were safe but with all the flooding they lost some of their most treasured things – most devastatingly – all of their family photos.  When Katie told me this my heart broke.  I can’t image this and so I spent extra care to make sure I got great photos of many different family combos.  🙂

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The Driskells

Katie and Hagan are dear friends of mine and so getting to spend time with them and their little girl Ellie was sweet.  Katie and I have always loved swapping sessions and going on photography adventures together.  I got to take their engagement pictures years ago and then their maternity photos this past spring before baby Ellie was born.  🙂  Just look how cute she is!

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The Shait Family

This was the first time I’ve worked this sweet family and it was instantly comfortable and fun!  Their son Camden is precious and full of joy!  His giggle lights up everything and everyone around him – there were countless images of him giggling because I couldn’t get enough!  I loved getting to spend time with this family and hope we get to again!

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Fall Color Flashback pt. 1 – Franciscos!

So if you know me at all you know that snow is my all time favorite thing – ever!  I absolutely love everything about it.  I love how quiet it is and how calm it can be, I love how people snuggle up inside and drink hot chocolate and watch movies while it falls and I love playing in it!

This weekend when it started snowing here in Richmond I was OVER THE MOON, literally squealing out loud in the library at school… As it was falling and I was hanging out inside watching my movies I realized that with the snow was the official end of fall.  Now snow may be my favorite thing but fall is my favorite season so it did make me a little nostalgic of fall and all the bright beautiful colors.  This got me thinking about how I hadn’t blogged out the rest of the minis and all these beautiful fall images.

And so, to celebrate the beginning of Winter (unofficially- I know it technically doesn’t start until the 21st or something) I am spending this whole week sharing out and reminiscing about fall colors with my #fallcolorflashback!

To kick it all off we have the Francisco family and their beautiful little daughter!  You may remember them from last spring when I did an extended family session with them.  I was excited to see them again for a holiday mini!  The colors in these images are beautiful only to be matched by a really beautiful and kind family!  Margaret and Ben – thanks for a great session!

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Baby Harrison’s Newborn Session

One of the greatest and most surreal part of getting older has been watching so many of my friends become parents.  When I first graduated college my friends and I sat down and made a list of who would be the first to get married and who would be the first to have babies.  Then a few years later it started to happen!  Our friends started getting married and at first it felt so weird – as if to say “Are we all really old enough for this!?” Now as I get closer and closer to the big 3-0 the wedding game has really picked up the pace, this past season alone (April until October) Sterling and I had 11 weddings, including ours!  And we had 5 close friends have babies plus three more who are pregnant and due in the next few months!  It’s wild!  Five years ago if you had asked me what it was like to have so many people around me getting married and starting families I might have reverted back to that initial thought of feeling so old!  Now though it’s just really really exciting.

In fact, I’m finding it more exciting to watch my friends become parents than I was leading up to their wedding.  Yes weddings are fun and exciting and emotional and beautiful but babies are just such an amazing miracle!  The science alone of creating something from scratch is just so cool!  Add all of this with watching your friends shine with love every time they look at this little human and knowing that they have a special gift that they will cherish forever is really amazing.

Sarah and Adam are now in what feels like a growing club – Friends with Babies – and they fit right in.  I got to their house on Sunday and they were both just glowing with pride and excitement.  They had to be tired but you’d never guess it, Adam was all smiles and Sarah has fallen into motherhood with such grace it is as if she was destined for this role all along.  Top that off with a beautifully clean house and I’m wondering – how are you two doing this!?  Where are you hiding the gnomes that clean everything and make you look so beautiful and can I borrow them for my regular day to day life!?

We spent the time together on Sunday in a very toasty nursery (which sounds like I’m being sassy but I’m not!)  It was perfect for newborn pictures because you want a toasty room, it keeps them warm and sleepy.  Harrison was the perfect little model, we got him out of his clothes and he fell right to sleep, holding each pose like a champ!  We even got him on his stomach for some poses and just kept on sleeping.  Needless to say he was precious, with the tiniest little features and a full head of hair – he’s perfect.

Sarah and Adam – I just love you guys and am so glad I got to share this time with you!  Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy – he’s lovely!

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