Halloween | 5 on 5

Today I'm sharing some photos that I took on Halloween as we were getting ready to go Trick or Treating with our kids.

My girl was super excited to dress up as Mal from Disney's Descendants. I think she looks so grown up here - I can't stand it! She hopped right into the most beautiful patch of light for a really pretty candid portrait. 

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My 2.5 year old went Trick or Treating dressed as Batman. He's starting to figure out what Trick or Treating is all about which made this year extra special. I loved his curiosity as these Trick or Treaters came down the street with their wagon and buckets of candy. 

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He was super adorable pulling our own wagon. He couldn't wait to get started!

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Even though this isn't a Documentary Shot (I'm totally breaking the rules here guys) I wanted to share our Trick or Treating crew. I set up my tripod and grabbed my remote to get this group shot before we hit the streets. There are so few photos of our family together so I'm really glad we stopped for a minute to grab this one. 

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As you can see my girl was more than ready to start once the sun started coming down. That was my cue to put the camera away ;)

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I think next year we'll have to break tradition and head out a little bit earlier so I can grab some photos of the kids ringing doorbells too!

Up next in this month's blog circle is Melissa Kayser, a St. Charles, MO Documentary Photographer . She's sharing some photos of her family as they explore the winner of the 2008 Guinness Book of World Record's Largest Maze in Wahiawa, HI. Head over and show her some love!

 

Orlando Newborn Photographer | Documentary Style Newborn Session

My heart aches because I wish I had storytelling photographs like these when my babies were small. Raw, simple and honest. I love being able to deliver a session like this to a client because I know how much they'll treasure each and every photograph. 

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Shooting these first time parents was extra special. I could feel their love and amazement over their sweet little boy. I can still remember that feeling from when my kids were born. It's that feeling you get when you look at your baby and you just can't believe how perfect they are. I love capturing that for families.

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This shot right here is life with a newborn...how many of you can remember your countertop looking like this? 

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The Dad. He was so awesome and loving the entire session. 

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A total natural.

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Hungry babies hate waiting. We've all been there right? It's such a familiar scene, one that always makes me smile. 

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I seriously love shooting Documentary Style Newborn Sessions. They're the easiest way to capture life at home with your newborn. Believe it or not, there's a way to have a stress free photo session with your baby...and this is it :)

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During Documentary Style Sessions I photograph everything. Whether it's the bottles in the sink...

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the burps...

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or diaper changes...

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even tummy time...

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I document it all. 

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See, I told you this guy was a natural.

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Baby boys, they just love their Mama's...

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and you know their Mama's love those sweet newborn snuggles! If you're a Mom, you know the power of snuggles + baby smell. It's pretty much heaven on Earth.

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Before heading out I grabbed some sweet details while Mom was holding her little man. I can't express how amazing this family was to be around. Their baby boy is so lucky. He hit the jackpot. 

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There you have it, my favorite way to capture life at home with a newborn. No stressing for Mom and Dad and a gallery full of the real life moments they shared with their baby. No silly props or Pinterest poses. Just real life and love. 

Want to see another Documentary Style Newborn Session? Click here to see another awesome and real session with newborn twins :)

 

Tiny Dancer | 5 on 5

Our daughter loves to dance and this past summer we spent a week at the Encore DCS Grand Finals in Charleston, South Carolina. It was a pretty long car ride for a five year old who just wanted to get there and dance. She's still talks about how long the ride was!

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This was her first year in competitive dance and as much as I wanted to photograph every single minute, I just couldn't. I couldn't be there for my daughter the way she needed me to be and still be a photographer. I'm not gonna lie, it can be really, really hard to put the camera down, especially when you're a documentary photographer. Over time I've learned to be okay with missing moments and not getting the shot when life gets in the way. Even though I didn't walk away with a ton of photos from the dance season, I have a few that make me smile and bring me right back. 

We start every competition by getting ready in our hotel room where it's quiet and where there are no distractions. It’s all about flat ironed hair, false eyelashes and dramatic lips. It can be a bit of a time crunch and this is when my nerves really start setting in. Thankfully my girl is not nearly as anxious as I am! 

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When we arrive in the dressing room we’re almost ready to go. I help my girl into her costume and she lights up like a Christmas Tree. She's ready to dance!

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Photography isn't permitted inside the auditorium, so the dressing room is one of the only places where I can take photographs. The dressing room gets a little crazy and is not an easy place to grab photos. The Moms, including myself, are super busy and the girls are changing in and out of their costumes. I was able to quickly grab this candid moment between my daughter and her teacher. I love this sweet peek of them having a few seconds together before the girls hit the stage.

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Then, even after it's all over, my little girl is back to dancing, even if it's just in our hotel room :)

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We come home with photos and DVD's of the dance performances but they don't tell the story of what happened behind the scenes. The story isn't just what happens out there on the stage. It's long car rides, time spent together getting ready and the dancing like crazy even when the show is over. It's all the reasons why I pick up my camera in the first place.

Up next in this month's blog circle is Amy Thelen, Portland, OR Photographer and she's sharing some Creative Live Awesomeness. Amy, I'm so jealous!!! Head on over and show her some love! 

 

World Breastfeeding Week | 5 on 5

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated every year from August 1st - 7th all over the globe to encourage breastfeeding and to improve the health of babies around the world.

Even though I grew up around plenty of babies, none of them were nursed by their mothers. At least not in front of me. Still, breastfeeding was something that seemed to come naturally the moment my daughter was placed in my arms.

As natural as breastfeeding felt, it wasn't always easy. At times it was painful, exhausting and I felt like giving up. I held strong, never wanting to disappoint the little nursling who depended on and vigorously enjoyed my milk. I knew in my heart that I'd regret quitting so I set small goals. Over time nursing became effortless and I was so grateful that I did not quit. Before I knew it my two week goal turned into two years.

Breastfeeding comes easily to some women. For others there are obstacles. For all of us, it is a journey. In honor of Breastfeeding Mom's and World Breastfeeding Week I'm sharing 5 breastfeeding stories for this month's 5 on 5 photo share. 

I photographed this baby's birth, and his very first nursing session. He's less than one hour old in this photograph:

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A self portrait, nursing my one year old son:

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A rockstar Mom of three, breastfeeding her 1 month old newborn twins:

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I photographed this Mama nursing her 3 week old newborn:

And Pumping Moms, this one's for you: 

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Breastfeeding has been a profoundly beautiful experience. An experience that bonded me with my children as well as other nursing mothers. 

My son is still nursing at 28 months. Soon he will wean, but for now I still hold him tight in my arms. I know all to well that these moments in motherhood are fleeting. If you're interested in capturing sweet and authentic memories like these in the comfort of your home, get in touch, I'd love to chat with you about a Motherhood Session.   

Next up in this month's blog circle is Margaret Albaugh Spokane Photographer Be sure to head on over and see what she has to share! 

 

Pillow Play | 5 on 5

This month I joined the ladies of the 5 on 5 Documentary Blog Circle to share a set of photos from a regular day at home. Normally I discourage the kind of crazy that leads to couch cushions on the floor followed by leaps and jumps but every once in awhile I'll grab my camera instead of being the "fun police" ;) 

These shots were taken and culled with my son in mind. He’s at this in-between stage in his life where he’s big enough to play rough but still very much a baby. I wanted to capture that along with the joy he experiences while playing with his favorite pal, his big sister. 

I ran for my camera the moment I saw him tearing the couch cushions apart…

Sibling photography Orlando, FL

Then I waited for a moment where I could get in close enough to feel like I was a part of the action too.

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Being sure to capture him among the pillows. 

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Toddler boy family photojournalism

Rough landings and all!

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When I realized that I was able to truly capture my children without posing or directing them it changed the entire way I approached photography. 

Nothing extraordinary is happening in this set but it doesn't mean these moments aren't worth documenting. I've captured my son's authentic joy as he bonds with his big sister.

When I look back at the photos I've taken over the last two years I don't just see cheesing faces. I'm reminded of the toys that were loved, the games that were played, the clothes that were worn and the way life felt during that particular time. In the background I can see the slow transformation of our home as we continue to tackle projects big and small. For me, it's all about being able to look back and remember things just as they were. I'm so glad to have these photos for my kids and they already enjoy looking through the photos that I’ve taken of them. 

Sharing next in this month's blog circle is Melissa Kayser, a St. Charles, MO documentary family photographer Head over and show her some love! 

Thanks for stopping by!

Orlando Documentary Photographer 6
 

Newborn Twins | Orlando Florida Newborn Photographer

My heart skipped a beat when this Mama told me what she wants to remember when she looks back at this time in her life. She told me that it's, "the chaotic, fun times, the hard but rewarding moments, all of our efforts that show the huge love we have for our kids, our little apartment that we can call home, humble but full of memories, the beginning of this journey with kids." 

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Her words spoke to my heart on so many levels. Documentary Style Sessions are all about letting go of expectations and capturing reality. It's about embracing and loving the life that you live - even when the words you use to describe it are hard, chaotic and humble. There's beauty to be found all around us. It's found in the spaces that we live and in the moments between us and our children. 

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These sessions are meant to be a peek into our lives. They'll serve as a reminder of the things we did, what we were like and how our lives felt. It's not only a gift for us but for the generations to follow. 

These parents made having a toddler and newborn twins looks easy. Okay, maybe easy isn't exactly the right word...but their teamwork persevered and their loving personalities and patience shined through the entire session. 

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At times, things did get a little chaotic: imagine a hungry baby x2 but shooting with a documentary approach helped keep the vibe relaxed for everyone. Mom was busy nursing like a champ for a lot of our time together and Dad stepped in to help with bottles and diaper changes. Big Sister stayed close to her new siblings and loved on them along with Mom and Dad. 

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It was an absolute pleasure hanging out with this family. Once again I photographed a family brave enough to embrace the Documentary Style and it allowed me to capture their "right now", their "ordinary" and their "love".

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The family ended up moving out of this apartment a few months after their session and I know they are so glad that they had this special time documented. Like Mom had said, it was the beginning of their journey with kids.

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For me, the very best part, aside from the photos, is that we ended this session as friends :)

Ready to document this special time when your baby is still new and small? Send me a message, I'd love to chat!

 

Documentary Family Session | Orlando Family Photographer

This family totally embraced the documentary style session. They did their thing and I photographed them. It was a documentary photographer's dream :) 

I photograph my documentary families the same exact way I photograph my own. My approach includes crouching, crawling, climbing and a lot of other awkward and strange positions that usually puts the people I'm photographing at ease. 

Anyway, I love that these sessions are as honest as they are unique. I get to capture families living. For real. I'm capturing a story. Their story. I'm freezing a moment in time for these families and to me, that's really, really special.

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I'm a big believer in photographing the everyday things. I know that one day artwork will stop covering their walls...

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...and epic water balloon fights won't break out in the middle of the afternoon. 

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Think about your day. What was different 6 months ago? What will change 6 months from now? Our lives and routines are always changing. 

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It's why we should always remember to embrace the place where we live, the people we love and the things that we do  <3

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Ready to give a documentary style session a try? Click here! I'd love to crouch/crawl/climb around and photograph your family ;)

 

Lifestyle Family Session | Orlando, FL

There's two reasons I love shooting documentary style sessions. The first is because I'm free to capture what I see and feel and the second is because I really enjoy capturing a family in the place they call home. Eventually the people I'm shooting either forget that I'm there, or are comfortable enough to start being themselves. That's when the magic happens and the results are ordinary moments that have been captured beautifully and in a way that will take my clients back in time when they look at their photos. It's about preserving more than just how things looked but how life felt. 

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Before I started shooting with a documentary approach I photographed my clients on location. At the time I enjoyed it because I didn't know there was any other way to shoot. I was doing what other photographer's were doing by posing my clients and doing what I assumed they expected. It turned out that my favorite images from those sessions were always the in-between moments when everyone forgot they were being photographed or just stopped caring. It was in those short moments that I was able to capture something honest and real.

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When I began documenting my life at home and photographing my client's without direction there was a lot more honest and real being captured. Those images, those were the ones that really made me feel something. Feeling something and connecting with my clients - that's what inspires me as an artist. For me, it has nothing to do with what happens when a family poses and smiles for the camera and everything to do with what happens when a family is living in the moment. That's what I want to capture. 

As much as I'm shooting for my clients I'd be lying if I said I wasn't also shooting for myself. I shoot from my heart and not from a list of Pinterest poses.

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I'm the photographer that wants to be in the moment with you and your family. The one who will make a fool of herself just to make you feel more at ease. The one who will make friends with your kids and let them be 100% themselves. The one who will capture more than what your family looked like but how you made each other feel... 

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Lisa, thank you for allowing me to do my thing while you and your family enjoyed hanging out together. There's nothing better than photographing families full of love, like yours.

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Interested in a Lifestyle Family Session like the one above? I'd love to chat with you about these fun sessions that will capture your family honestly and beautifully. Click here to get in touch. 

 

In Home Family Session | Central Florida Documentary Photographer

Sessions in and around a client's home are my absolute favorite. Why? Because there's no place like home. Because my favorite childhood photos are the ones that were taken at home. Because to me, real life is way more interesting and beautiful than anything you'll ever find on Pinterest.

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I spent a Saturday morning with this family a few weeks before their second baby's due date. I can still remember how special those last few days were with my daughter, those very last days when we were still just a family of 3.

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Very soon this family's Saturday mornings will change but when they look back at these they'll be able remember what a Saturday morning was before they were 4. 

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Want to have your family's story told in pictures? Let's do it! Send me a message here.