2014 Christmas Cards – part 3

Ending my 2014 Christmas season are three families near and dear to my heart! A close friend, a co-worker and my family!

Being a close friend of mine means that the Lake family has their pictures taken with me a lot more often than normal. (Maybe normal for other people but for me, it’s not enough!) Sometimes I just text Alexis and ask if I can come over for the afternoon and take pictures of little Katalina!

We met again at this special park of mine in Southport and even though it was a cloudy day the pictures still came out so beautiful! Then we ended the session back at their house in front of their Christmas tree for some “first Christmas”/ 6-month shots of Katalina! And I have to say, with each session both Jeremy and Sam are slowly getting more accustomed to smiling nicely for the camera! We’ll get there someday, Alexis! :)

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I met the Sandoval family at Brunswick Town because Savanna was looking for a place with lots of mossy oak trees that this area is famous for and Brunswick Town has it! Not to mention, unless you go on a day they are holding an event, there’s practically no one around so it’s the perfect spot to take pictures with some really awesome backdrops. Both sets of grandparents were there also to give Raylan lots of hugs and kisses! We basically walked the entire loop of the historical site and ended just before dark, getting lots of family photos in between. Raylan was not feeling like being a model that I know he is so we did a lot of candids, squirrel and dolphin hunting and acorn throwing to get his attention. He is the coolest, sweetest boy ever but he’s got a serious face that’s great for Ralph Lauren catalogues!

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My last Christmas card session of 2014 was the Pridgeon family. As always, one of my favorite families to photograph. It’s hard not to love every picture that’s taken of Nate because he is so stinking’ adorable! He was feeling a little under the weather and at that stage in life where he’d rather be exploring and doing other fun things than having his picture taken. Luckily, being my nephew, I knew exactly what would perk him up so I whipped out my phone and played some fun dance tunes to get him smiling and focused on staying in one spot! I also knew that cookies and milk at the end would be a hit with a cookie monster such as himself!

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2014 Christmas Cards – part 2

Part two of the Christmas sessions picks up with another Morris family. This one with three energetic children and a puppy! It was tough getting a posed picture so we went with the candids at the park so the kids could enjoy the wide, open spaces and I enjoyed getting a work-out running around them clicking away! Luckily for a Christmas card, you only need one or two great photos to send out and that’s really all we strived to get! Nichole warned me that photographing her family was going to be difficult but with a little bit of patience we managed to make it work!

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Ralph’s presence was requested again for my next rustic, country-inspired family session with the Caseys. Ralph is straight out of 1950 so driving him in him scares me! My husband wasn’t around to bring him to the park again so I found the courage to crank him up and drive him over to an empty wooded plot of land right next to my house. I had no idea it was actually such a great backdrop over there!

The Casey family came to my house to start the session with the truck and then we went over to the park where we could take advantage of other country backdrops like old wooden fences, big field of tall grass and of course, that great enchanted forest! (You should really see this place after an ice storm, then you’ll know why I call it ‘enchanted’!) The day was beautiful and the sun created gorgeous lighting for this beautiful family! Take a look!

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The Johnson family was the second of six sessions that I had in this one particular week of December. I did their pictures for last Christmas and their boys have grown so much in one year! I could not get over it, not to mention how adorable their youngest boy was! How was this the same little baby I saw last year?? I don’t think I’ve ever fallen in love with a little boy’s smile like his. Look for yourself – you may just want to eat him up!

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When I pulled into the parking lot before the Bennett’s family photo shoot I got so excited because of what I saw. They had an old red wagon and lots of Christmas decorations and the little elf inside of me couldn’t wait to get started! But waiting it what we had to do because in my Christmas joy, I accidentally locked my camera with my only set of keys in my car. YAY! And the Bennett family practically drove up from Florida just to do this session with me. Double YAY! In between frantic calls to my husband who was 45 minutes away with family, I tried to miraculously unlock my car with my keypad entry that hadn’t been programmed (I was hoping the previous owner had an easy pin code that was still usable!) and Anna tried using maybe a pocket knife of some sort to unlock my door. Finally, my husband was able to call a friend who just happened to be on the same street as us, with the means of safely breaking into my car. It seemed hopeless but after a 30 minute delay we were finally back on schedule! YAY!

Lesson learned; get a spare key and program my keypad! But it was worth the wait because as always we got some really cute family pictures for Christmas cards and had time for other sessions which will be blogged about in a separate post!

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The Morris Family

In the middle of Christmas card photo sessions I did family portraits for the Morris Family. Sheila emailed me and said her family had recently moved to the area and she saw my photos using my husband’s truck, ol’ Ralph, and really wanted to use that in their session amidst some old oak trees. Now, the Southport area has a ton of big, beautiful mossy oak trees BUT they are all surrounded by houses and other buildings. I took a few hours one day and drove around with Bear in search of a public area, not surrounded by buildings, where this sort of picture could take place. I almost gave up hope until I remembered seeing signs for a park down the road from my house. We went and I fell in love. Within the first minute I came across a wooded entry  to some kind of enchanted forest (for real, folks!) and there was a big, beautiful oak tree standing right at the entrance. PERFECT! We continued to explore and walked around the entire park and then I ran home to email Sheila to let her know I found the perfect spot!

We met a few days later on a beautiful afternoon and had our session with Ralph, under the big tree then changed scenery to the beach 5 minutes away. This beautiful family has some new beautiful pictures to hang on  the walls of their new home in Southport!

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2014 Christmas season!

My most favorite but hectic season is the Christmas card season! I love, love, love Christmas so being able to spend my time working on holiday themed family portraits is a delight! Especially since I get into the mood by listening (and singing along) to Christmas songs while editing! This year I squeezed 12 family sessions into a four-week period. That was fun!! But each session was so unique and fun, I’m already looking forward to next year!

Let’s start with the Mullis Family. This session was just before Thanksgiving and it was the first dose of cold that we had in NC so far this year. It was a very cold 40 degrees and they had a 2-month old braving the cold for some beautiful (first!) family photos! We met at a cute little park inside a neighborhood in Wilmington. Maintenance was setting up lights for Christmas and lucky for us, they started a roaring fire in the outdoor fireplace! Perfect photo op when we were feeling really chilly! After about 20 minutes little Max was telling us it was time to go, so we went back to the warmth of their home and finished some really Christmas-themed shots of him!

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My next sessions took place at Brunswick Town with Briana, John and Peyton. Every time I photograph this family, Peyton just gets cuter and cuter! This day was also very cold and Peyton was being so adorable and patient! She didn’t complain once about it, but would just shiver in the cutest voice ever and then giggle about it. I want to just eat her up!!

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My next session with the Boldt family was rescheduled initially due to cold weather and the day we met, it was so warm on the beach you could comfortably wear flip flops! That’s NC weather for ya! The biggest roller-coaster of temperatures on Earth! Well when I met them on the beach, I was greeted by the cutest little toddler all dressed up in a cute Christmas outfit. Over the summer when I first met them, their baby was just barely starting to walk, and now she was running around, as cute as ever! And they had a super cute idea for their Christmas card we even had total strangers stopping to take a picture of the set up!

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The next family was the Steelman family and I went to their lovely home in Wilmington for their family photos. This was their baby girl’s first Christmas and both sets of proud grandparents were present for a full-family session! It was another cold morning so we did a very quick session outside in a neighbor’s nicely landscaped backyard then went back inside for photos with the Christmas tree! My favorite pictures of all are the ones of little Charlotte inside the Christmas present. I took so many and it was so hard choosing just a few because she is the cutest baby!

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Caswell

On a beautiful day at the end of October, the sweetest little angel named Caswell was born. I was asked to come to the hospital hours after she was born to take a few, literal newborn pictures and to document her older brother and sister meeting her for the first time. They were so excited! Instantly, they were both so in love with their baby sister. Everyone in the family has a name starting with a “C” which is why in some of the pictures, Caswell is holding a necklace with three “C” charms; one to depict each child! Enjoy the cuteness!

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Peter & Anj – married September 27, 2014

As most of you know, I lived on Cape Cod in Massachusetts before moving to NC and I had quite the list of clients that I sadly left behind. Well, when Anj and Pater were planning their Cape Cod wedding, Anj asked if I would come up for the weekend and photograph their big day (with my mom, as a team!). In her words, she said, “maybe you would like the idea of coming back to the Cape!” Ummm… YES! I didn’t even have to think twice. Going back to Massachusetts at the end of September meant not only seeing my family and friends but seeing the wonderful New England fall foliage that I’ve missed EVER so dearly and make a trip to the Big E! For non-locals, the Big E is short for The Big Exposition which is an annual 3-week long fair that hosts all 6 New England states and their vendors and what each state is famous for, plus typical fair stuff like carnival rides, horse shows and big name entertainment (this year Darius Rucker was one of the many!). It takes place in West Springfield which is 10 minutes from where I grew up so of course I went almost every year. Going home for this wedding was a no-brainer!

Anywho….. back to the wedding! I ended up being the second shooter for this wedding with my mother, Lani Giguere, owner of Heritage Photography being the lead photographer. We’ve done a few weddings together and each one just get better and better! It wasn’t hard to get a beautiful picture during this day. Everything was perfect from the weather (upper 70s in late September?!?) to the ceremony and the goooorgeous sunset before the reception! What made this wedding truly unique is the blend of cultural traditions that both the bride and groom brought to the day. The bride Anj is from Germany so her entire family and a lot of friends were presents and the groom, Peter, his mother is from Sweden so their Swedish family were also present. So the wedding incorporated many German customs such as playing games during the reception and the cake was a special German wedding cake made specially by Anj’s sister. Also, after the ceremony there was a cake reception where every guest brought a dessert and mingled until they eventually caravanned over to the reception for a cocktail hour.

During the ceremony, Peter played a song that he wrote just for Anj for their wedding day and while he played his guitar and sang, beautiful pictures were displayed on the screen behind them. The groom’s father, brother-in-law and friend each spoke during the ceremony, and Anj’s friends sang beautiful songs. There were many tears (of happiness) throughout the guests and you could just feel the love that these two have for each other and for everyone who was present.

I could go on but I’ll let my pictures do the rest of the talking! Enjoy – and Congrats to Peter and Anj MacDonald!

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The Johnson Family

I ventured to a wonderful little area of Wilmington for this family’s session that they wanted for their 9-month old baby girl. I knew off the bat that we were going to have a great session when the dad showed me the fall-country-harvest backdrop he set up in their backyard. I am a sucker for anything country and this set-up had me drooling! He had an old tractor positioned against an old wooden fence with bales of hay, mum and pumpkins set up for little Kinsley to sit on. It was perfect! After that we moved on to another wooded part of their neighborhood for a little “tea-time” picnic. Then we moved in to their exclusive neighborhood dock to finish the session at sunset. Even though the tide was extremely low the setting was still so gorgeous! Enjoy this cute little family!

Becky and Michael

Becky is a friend of mine from college and even though she was two years ahead of me we’ve kept in touch since graduation and have gotten much closer post-college than we were as students! I photographed her sister’s wedding down in Murrel’s Inlet, SC last September (and they’re now expecting their first baby next year! I’m starting to see a pattern here…) and I’ll be photographing her and Michael’s wedding next August in Bridgewater, MA!

The engagement of these two seemed to have taken forever. They’ve been together for like, a decade. (Not exactly, but that’s what it felt like!) When Michael finally popped the question, I shouted, “finally!!” and did a happy dance. I love these two so much and they’re so similar to my husband and I; he loves the outdoors and fishing, she loves anything country and we’re both parents to a four-legged lab-child! Brody and Bear would be best friends!

When Becky said she wanted me to shoot her wedding I did everything in my power to make sure it could happen and I was so happy that I was able to do their engagement session despite living 800 miles away. It just so happened to be the same time that I was flying up to second shoot a wedding on Cape Cod so I was able to hit two birds with one stone! I flew in to Hartford, CT and drove to Hopedale, MA which is the cutest little country town I’ve seen in a while. Lots of winding country roads lined with trees almost peaking with fall foliage, stone walls, old wooden fences, big old farm houses; I was in HEAVEN going to their house! I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves for how gorgeous the setting was and I was so happy to go back to New England during the best time of the year!

Bently

Just over a year ago I shot the wedding of Erika and Brenton Irving, a young, Godly couple very much in love. Now, a year and four months into their marriage they have been blessed with a beautiful, healthy baby boy they named Bently. Aside from being ridiculously cute and perfect, he may be a record-breaking size for the hospital he was born in; 10lbs4oz and 23 inches!! He didn’t fit into any newborn clothes or any size 0 diapers. He was born a full-grown man!

I have never seen a newborn baby so alert and curious about life. When you speak to him, he looks you square in the eye as if he completely understands what you’re saying. I was so happy to get to the hospital to photograph his first days of life surrounded by his family and again a few days later when he was home. He is the sweetest boy and was such a joy to photograph as he never cried and happily let me do what I wanted with him, which included lots and lots of snuggle time! Congratulations to the new mommy and daddy! Bently has been born into such a wonderfully, loving family!

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Nate Turns One!

This year has gone by way too fast. It can’t possibly have already been 365 days since little Nathaniel was born, could it?! It feels like just a couple months ago he was still a little blob, not able to sit up on his own and now, at one year old he’s not just walking, he’s running around! Completely smitten with his new super power of cruising around on his own. I can’t imagine how Atlanta and Jake feel, knowing their baby is now a grown man toddler!

Well, we all knew that this cake smash session was going to be epic, because Nate has been enjoying sweets and “grown up” food for months now, always trying to grab handfuls of food off of everyone’s plates. Atlanta came fully prepared with awesome outfits, the cutest backdrop I’ve ever had and the wonderful idea of pictures of him washing off in a galvanized tub afterwards. I loved everything about this photo session, (minus the 1,294 bug bites we all got) including his big sister Sadie getting in on the cake-eating action! Enjoy Nate’s first birthday cake smash session! :)