I Love You.{I Know.}

I love unique. I love it when I’m asked to do something different. It’s challenging, it’s fun and I feel like I can be EVEN MORE creative. It pushes the boundaries.

Samantha contacted me recently to set up an engagement session and had mentioned they wanted the shoot at our local, public library. During our exchange of emails and getting details together, I asked her: “why the library?” and this was her response:

[I’m thinking of a thumbing-through-the-stacks-looking-for-love type thing. I’m an English teacher with a writing degree, so my whole life is pen and paper. I read fiction, and John reads nonfiction. We compliment each other in that way. One of the first things we ever did was exchange Harry Potter books. Our whole lives are built around the things that we love together, and libraries are the places where that happens. So, it’s less about The Library and more about the idea behind it.]

It was perfect. And I couldn’t wait! These are the pictures of their story. As we were walking through the genealogy department, a huge-impossible to miss, stained glass window scaled the east wall. John said: “When they built this library, they had local students create pieces of art for this stained glass window. My brother and I were some of those students, look….here’s our artwork.”

You don’t get more personal than that! Congrats Samantha and John….she loves you and you know….

 

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Randy + Laura = Madison Grace

Randy and Laura, I met them for the first time while shooting their maternity session. They were so cute, so laid-back and SO in love.

Then, I was lucky enough to be at the hospital minutes after the birth of their child. I love the stories that shape people’s lives and being able to put pictures with that story is my absolute favorite. I feel so lucky to be able to do what I love and freeze memories for people forever. Here’s a little excerpt of their story:

[Randy and I met in an evening Spanish class at UAFS in Aug of 2013 (that neither one of us really wanted to take). Every time I looked at him, he was already looking at me and vice versa. After a few weeks of class, we decided to study together before our first test. Three years later with a baby on the way and it feels as if we’ve never not been together.
We are anxious and excited to begin our journey as parents together! Hopefully Madison Grace will find her Prince Charming one day like I’ve found mine. Until then, I’m sure her Daddy will be her Prince Charming.] 

Here’s to a happy life Randy and Laura! Can’t wait to watch your family, your daughter and your love grow!

 

All Tucked In

“When you hold your baby in your arms the first time, and you think of all the things you can say and do to influence him, it’s a tremendous responsibility. What you do with him can influence not only him, but everyone he meets and not for a day or a month or a year but for time and eternity.” –Rose Kennedy

If I said that I get tired of going to hospitals and photographing newborns, I would be fibbing. The crazy thing is, I never cared for anything like that…until I became a parent myself. What a beautiful thing it is to see a new child’s first interactions with the voices it had heard for so many weeks before. I had the privilege of photographing this new member of the B family recently and I just LOVED going through the gallery….over and over and over again. Baby Tucker’s face is so sweet and to be able to capture this moment, freeze it and give his parents the gift of remembrance is so exciting for me. Tucker is a lucky boy. He has an older brother who he’ll be able to play baseball with and two parents who have very selfless jobs as educators. He is now part of a wonderful family of 4 that have great hearts, simply said. I’m so happy for you Tucker and I count out thousands of wishes for you and your dreams.

 

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A Crazy Kind Of Life

“What I love most about this crazy life is the adventure of it.”– Juliette Binoche

Here I am, focusing the lens, about to hit the shutter and the guy in my photo session gets down on one knee. Did I know about this? No. Did she know about this? No. We were totally shocked and if I said I didn’t cry, as I was shooting, I would be lying. It was one of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever been a part of. Now, I must disclose: she is one of my closest friends and I’m biased….but it was wonderful being there.

Shanda and Chase have a crazy life. They dated for years, broke up a couple times, moved away from one another a few times and yet, found themselves back together….in the same state….at the same time. What do people call this? Oh yeah, “meant to be.”

They knew they wanted to get married. She had just taken a new job in Arkansas and he had just graduated from pharmacy school. They bought a house and began their new journey together. About 6 weeks after they had moved in, I met Shanda for lunch. I was planning on talking about wedding plans, but she had something else she had to tell me.

Let me step back a bit. Shanda was basically told most of her adult life that she would probably never have children of her own. Without going into all of her medical history, it’s as simple as this: her chances were slim, very slim and Chase knew this and he was okay with it.

Fast forward to our lunch date. She sits down, looks at me and says: “I’m pregnant. It’s REALLY early, like we just found out. But I’m pregnant. I’m really pregnant.” I sat there, stunned and then I cried. It was such wonderful news, but not without reservations.

So, right there, over lunch, we planned on pictures for the spring. These are those pictures. These are the images of her, Chase and their unborn baby, Henry. These are the images of her becoming a fiancé. These are the images of undeniable happiness. These are the images of a new chapter in her crazy life.

Henry was born April 30th as a very healthy baby boy. I haven’t had the opportunity to photograph him yet, but you better believe that will be happening as soon as possible. Now Chase and Shanda’s life is even crazier than before, but I do believe they wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

Brandon + Erica = Ever After

“Life is a song – sing it. Life is a game – play it. Life is a challenge – meet it. Life is a dream – realize it. Life is a sacrifice – offer it. Life is love – enjoy it.” –Sai Baba

I stood to the side as speeches were given at this couple’s reception. The words brought laughter, but they also brought tears….heartfelt and sweet.

Brandon and Erica have known one another for years, but life took them separate ways. She had fallen in love with someone else, had children and lived her life. Many years later, when the kids were older and she was alone, Brandon walked back into her life with open arms and an open heart for the children that would soon become his. Brandon filled a gap and he filled it well. He went to the kid’s games, helped them with their homework and became Erica’s best friend. He also became a father and eventually, a fiancé.

Now, he’s a husband and she’s writing a new chapter in her book. She has a new partner, a new job, a new college degree and a new beginning. Capturing their wedding was an honor for me, the entire family was precious. So, cheers to you Brandon and Erica, I wish you all the happiness life has to offer.

 

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Cooper | Fort Smith, AR Senior 2016

Cooper wanted some photos by the water; recently he had been near the banks of where the Arkansas and Poteau Rivers meet, skipping rocks. I had never walked down before because, honestly, I didn’t know if I would be able to hike back up the hill…haha…but I’m glad we made the walk and the scenery was the perfect backdrop.

As a senior boy, I know being in front of the camera wasn’t his #1 priority that day, but he was so easy to work with and I’m sure he did it out of the love for his mother. After all, she was about to send her oldest son off to college and being a mom myself, of a boy about to start kindergarten, I can’t imagine how proud and sad she must be during this last year of school.

One of the lasts I’m sure she will treasure most, will be Cooper’s last baseball game. Just being with them for a short time, you could tell baseball has played a major role in this family’s life throughout the years. So here are some images from Cooper’s senior shoot. I know, as a mom, she will treasure these last images….one day I know I will as well.

 

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Brooke & John

It has taken me a couple of weeks to sit down and write about this truly, AMAZING couple. Life has become very busy and it’s prime photography season, but lets meet them.

Brooke is an elementary school teacher and her eyes definitely show it. She has the kindest eyes and I’m sure her students feel very lucky, safe and loved around her. John is goofy and full of personality, I don’t think we went more than a few minutes without laughing during this shoot. Together, they are SO much fun to be around. Their story consists of chance meetings, failed job opportunities and being in the right place. The ring is an heirloom that holds special memories for John’s family….something you don’t give away to just anybody. Love definitely shows, but their friendship is what’s so great. Brooke and John, may you always laugh together, love together and continue to have fun….can’t wait for the big day!

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Brand New Baby

I told my friend Megan that she has blind confidence. She laughed, but my statement was true! Lets throw it back to a very pregnant Megan and how she asked me to come take photos of her brand new baby, once he made his arrival. I told her no…and I meant it.

I photograph a lot of children, but babies…..babies are an anxiety booster. First off, I’m just not good with babies and I currently have two children, one 4 years and the other, almost 6 months. I feel like I just don’t have the patience to photograph babies. They cry, they’re hungry, they want to be held…etc. it’s REALLY tough to get that “cute, posed, sleeping baby” shot. I have a friend who mostly photographs babies. I took both of mine to her to photograph. She has a gift…really, she’s amazing. I watch her in awe and cannot believe she can position, calm and photograph a baby like that. I cannot do this and I don’t act like I can. I guess you can say I’m a work in progress.

However, Megan wouldn’t take my “no” as an answer. So fast forward 4 days after she gave birth and there I am, walking around her house with my reflector, looking for a good light source. Trying out as many shots as possible that will keep with my style. Trying not to be anxious around her because she has trusted me to capture this special moment. Trying to be patient. This post is a sneak peek into my session with Megan and her new baby. It’s not cute and posed, but it’s them and that’s what I’m most proud of. My friends challenge me in so many ways and I’ll be forever grateful for that. Four-day-old Parker is beautiful, has two wonderful parents and a very proud, big brother. Look out world, he’s here.

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Children: In Any Form

Children are lovely. I have 2 of my own. They are so full of life and love and energy. Photographing children makes me happy and brightens my day! They say the funniest things and make the craziest expressions, they may cry and not even smile for you at all. Or if they’re “fur children” they may be totally inappropriate. LOL Just a day in the life….

BarkerSM3 (1 of 1)

BarkerSM2 (1 of 1)

Barker (8 of 30)

BrownFINAL (7 of 21)

Ben&Ellis (1 of 2)

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MarkhamSM4 (1 of 1)

BillingsleyFINAL (13 of 15)

BenoitFINAL (2 of 16)