Nico, short for, the cutest heart-breaker ever, turned one-year old at the end of April! We did his cake-smash session the day after his birthday party with family and friends. You know you had a successful first birthday when you’re a rock star for your photo shoot and then pass right out for nap time right after smashing a cake! 🙂
The morning was a little rainy so we had to set up indoors but stepped outside for a couple shots. Even though this child is only one year old, I still can’t get over how handsome he is! Is that weird? I mean, his face, those eyes, his outfits… he is A.dorable! The best part is he totally knows it and loves to flirt. But who could say no to that face?! He will have so many girlfriends by the time he graduates kindergarten! Watch out Mary and Frank! Can I be first?? 🙂
This beautiful lady and her husband were expecting their first baby at the end of April. At the beginning of April, the more I saw her, the more I felt like she was not going to last until then. We did her maternity session when she was about 36 weeks on a Friday and they welcomed their beautiful baby girl one week later! Great timing!
Before having a human baby, Katie Mae was first a mother to two English Setters, Gunner and Molly, so she wanted to incorporate them into her session. Gunner was a lot more attentive and attached to his mommy than Molly was so he’s actually the only one we were able to get pictures with.
We took a lot of pictures inside her almost finished nursery, and oh my goodness, I fell in love! With items from Ikea and The Land of Nod, this room was, as I like to say, Pinterest-worthy! Has anyone else seen a mermaid-themed room before? Of course, Katie Mae coordinated so perfectly in that room with her gorgeous red hair! Check it out!
This wedding was so fantastic! From the beginning I knew it wasn’t going to be your typical wedding. Jackee asked me to shoot her wedding because she wanted as many friends and family involved in her big day as possible. I had photographed her family before and we have been in touch ever since so this made sense for her! She told me that they are planning a Gatsby-themed wedding on the top floor ballroom at an old historic building in downtown Raleigh that the couple actually met at. That in itself is the cutest thing ever. How many people can get married at the same location where they met? She also told me that it will be a later wedding, therefore there will only be a desert bar, no sit-down meal. Oh, well, dessert will be just fine! Especially the smorgasborg that Rocky Top Catering provided!
This was also the very first wedding I have shot without a second shooter. I figured it would be fine since it was a smaller event and a smaller space but having wedding coordinator Nicole from Vision Events really made my work a lot easier. She and her assistant worked so well together and kept everything so smooth and even helped me out when I needed it!
So I drive up to Raleigh and check in to my hotel room that she had blocked off for me and I was handed the sweetest welcome bag ever! And I mean sweet! It had all sweet things that are southern or from North Carolina such as a bottle of Cheerwine (no it’s not wine, it’s like a cherry cola!), a can of local beer, Moonpies and Krispy Kreme donut holes!
Over to the venue I went and headed to the 11th floor where everyone was getting ready. The Capital Club building used to be a gentleman’s club way back in the day, I’m guessing the 1920s but is now a restaurant on the first floor (where Adam and Jackee met) offices in the middle floors and the 11th and 12th floors are for events. It didn’t take long for the girls to be ready, surprisingly. We took her “getting ready” pictures and since she had so much time left over, she just took her dress off again and waited in her robe until time got closer! How is that possible? I’m almost jealous over that! Adam, on the other hand was a little more rushed. He was in charge of blowing up ALL of the balloons that were needed for the night.
Once the ceremony was beginning, their three daughters rode the elevator from the 11th floor to the 12th floor each holding a bunch of balloons. They walked down the aisle, placed them at the altar then then took their place at the mics. Jackee’s daughter JoJo played the guitar and then her, Regan and Riley all sang an amazing acoustic version of “Swept Away” by The Avett Brothers while Jackee walked down the aisle. The ceremony was very sweet and intimate, the pictures afterwards were so much fun to do and the reception was a blast! I had to remind myself not to get carried away with dancing along while trying to take pictures!
Well, I think I’ve said enough. I’ll let these beautiful images speak for themselves!
Mistie is my… cousin-in-law? Second cousin? Not sure how this genealogy works, but she is my husband’s cousin, which makes her a cousin of mine of some sort. Though I haven’t known her my whole life like you normally do with cousins, the few years that I have known her I’ve gotten to know the sweetest lady ever. When she started dating Stacy you could just tell how happy she was and how in love they were. Fast forward I don’t know how many months, and Mistie tells me they are coming to our area around Christmas and wanted to know if I would take their family photos. Of course I said yes! We went to a morning Christmas service at their family church where she happily flaunted her sparkly new rock on her ring finger! Surprise! So these family pictures turned into engagement pictures as well! Just before sitting down for our family holiday feast, we walked around Nanny’s property and down the dirt road to the street sign. Why? Because my in-laws live on their own road named after them and she is a proud Lehrschall! I am so excited for the two of them to start their new lives together and join their two families together.
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! 🙂
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!!
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!
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!
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!
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!