Plant City, FL Newborn Photography

DSC_0640

Can I just say how adorable this sweet baby is??? She was wide awake for 90% of her session so the few sleeping poses I was able to capture were so precious to me. She was so alert and aware of everything going on around her; which I honestly didn’t mind because she’s just so cute!

Her little brother is about the same age as my son so it was adorable to watch him interact with his baby sister. He was so good with her and kept wanting to give her little kisses; the cuteness was definitely through the roof with this session! The love he already has for his sister is so obvious and heartwarming.

On top of the fact that this session was an overload of cuteness…the family was SO easy to talk to. I love when I meet clients and it’s like I already know them. The conversation flows easily and naturally…those are my favorite. These two were genuinely just sweet and easy going. I’m so thankful that they picked me to capture these darling moments.

 

 

 

Adult Cake Smash, Plant City FL

DSC_0258-2

I’m not sure who came up with the idea of an adult cake smash session but it is pure genius! This was seriously so much fun to do.

One of the cutest things to me was the chalkboard sign I had made from Etsy (Click Here to Continue to Etsy Listing) . I’ve always loved the signs when celebrating a little one’s first birthday but how cool is it to be able to answer the same questions as an adult? Plus it really is just too cute.

The funny thing about this session is that Jennifer thought she was just going to pose with the cake. Towards the end, once I had taken plenty pictures of her being pretty and celebrating her birthday, I told her “You know you’re going to have to actually smash the cake right?” She looked at me shocked and said “Say what?” I laughed and told her “It’s a cake smash session…you have to do it! It won’t be the same without the smashing!” And so she did and it turned out adorable!

And I will end this post saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY GORGEOUS!!! Oh and also…this is my new favorite picture of her : )

DSC_0322

 

 

Family Portraits

Tonight I want to take the spot light off of me as a photographer and shine it on the amazing photographer that I’ve used for the past 2 years. I also want to take this time to get a little more personal on who I am as a person; not just a photographer.

I’m starting with my husband’s favorite picture of us. This one is what I call our “model faces”. I feel like it looks like a picture out of a magazine thanks to our incredible photographer. Her name is Lindsey Cassidy (Lindsey Cassidy Photography) and she is based out of Bartow, FL; so if you’re in that area I 100% recommend her!

9.14.17-25

One of my favorite things about our photographer is that she captures genuine moments, when we are truly laughing and joking, even if we’re making fun of ourselves. She captures who we really are as a family and that is such an inspiration to me. I absolutely love her work!

You see that picture right above here? The one of my husband and I smiling? That’s his favorite one of us and I knew it would be. I’m genuinely smiling/laughing and that is not something I usually like pictures of. I’ve been insecure about my smile my whole entire life. Even now, at 31 years old, I find myself covering up my mouth when I laugh too hard. Why? Because I’ve always felt that I show too much gum or that my teeth were too small…one of the two. But my husband of 10 years loves it. He loves it because it’s the real me, my real smile; not my posed smile. It’s taken me a long time but for the most part (because like I said I still catch myself covering my mouth) I’ve accepted that this is who I am; gummy smile and all.

9.14.17-121

My husband and I are actually celebrating our 10 year anniversary this November. I don’t think a lot of people know just how out of the ordinary this feat is for us. It’s a long story really so I’ll use bullets to try to keep it simple:

  • We met through our ex’s sister (blood sister to my ex, sister-in-law to his) Not just any exes either…our first loves.
  • We started talking while he was in Iraq; he was 19 and I was 20.
  • We became a “couple” after 4 months of talking, even though we didn’t physically meet each other until 1 month after that when he came back from his deployment
  • 2 weeks after he was back in the US I moved to NC to live with him. 1 week after that he proposed to me. 2 weeks after the proposal we eloped at a juvenile court. (He was 20 and I was 21).
  • We had our “wedding ceremony” a year later but the only ones who knew we were already married were our moms.

So there’s a little background on our marriage. It hasn’t always been easy, of course. That first year honestly was the hardest on us but we made it. We’ve been lucky to grow with each other instead of apart. I pray that it continues that way for the rest of our life.

9.14.17-33

I’ve already shared my husband’s favorite photo of us so now I’m going to share my two; because of course I can’t just have one!

9.14.17-779.14.17-114

I absolutely LOVE these. My reasoning is simple: look how HAPPY we are! Just looking at these two pictures make me smile and feel that happiness. I’m so happy and grateful to have these moments captured forever. THIS is why family photography is so extremely important for me.

There are a few other aspects of my life that make me cherish family photography even more. There was a time that I wasn’t sure if I would ever have a family other than my husband. I had 2 miscarriages, 6 months apart, when we were trying to conceive. My doctor recommended I have testing done to see if I could even sustain a pregnancy. With the second miscarriage I had to have a D&C; 2 days after that I was in the hospital in excruciating pain. It turns out it had nothing to do with the procedure but instead it was my appendix. My appendix had ruptured and due to the location of the infection from it the doctors were not sure if I would be able to get pregnant again on my own. I was told this as I was recovering in the hospital; I’m laying in the hospital bed when one of my OBGYNS informed me of this and I can’t even express how broken I felt in that moment. I felt like an absolute failure as a woman. All I could DO was GET pregnant, but now I might not even be able to do THAT. My doctors advised me to wait 6 months to check my tubes and see if they were blocked from the infection. Give my body time to rest and recover. Well, if anyone knows me they know I’m a planner. I plan ahead…way ahead all the time. So to me there was no way I could wait. I had to know so I could start planning how I was going to handle this if I could not carry my own child.  If you want to read more on that I actually have a blog called Boots and Baby Bottles that I started 2 years ago (I haven’t kept up with it at all really). 

So I went in 2 months after I got home from the hospital; only my right tube near my appendix was slightly blocked and they pushed the dye through to clear it. 1 month later I was pregnant. And then 1 year to the exact date that I was hospitalized for my appendix…my son was born. I survived my ruptured appendix, I survived gangrene that had settled in my abdomen from it; I truly believe that God was giving me a second chance on life and 1 year later he showed me why.

9.14.17-38

So when I see our family portraits and we all look so unbelievably happy…it just makes my heart overwhelmingly full. I am beyond aware of how lucky and blessed I am. I know how common miscarriages are, I know how common infertility is, so I KNOW that there are so many other mamas out there who feel what I feel when they look at their family. That is what inspires me and pushes me as a photographer…giving families those overwhelmingly happy moments captured forever. Having those constant reminders that there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.

If you’ve made it this far into my post thank you; I hope it wasn’t too much information and hopefully at the very least you were able to enjoy Lindsey Cassidy’s amazing photography skills! 🙂

9.14.17-20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to Wear to Your Photography Session

One of the most common questions I get from clients is what should they wear for their session. My number one answer is honestly, whatever they feel beautiful in; anything they feel confident in. Because when it comes down to it…no matter what the style, color, or “theme” you go for if you don’t feel confident it will show. With that being said, here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years from both my professional experience and my personal experiences.

1. Choose what you feel the most confident in.

2. Don’t base your outfits on the ‘season’ ESPECIALLY if you live in Florida.
This is a personal tip. Every year I schedule family pictures somewhere between September, October, and November. I LOVE fall; the colors, the lighting, the holidays, everything. I love the style of fall…or at least the style of fall in the rest of the US. In Florida the weather barely changes at all. So every year I choose outfits for myself, my husband, and my son. And every year they are “fall” themed which means sweaters, long sleeves, jeans, boots; the whole thing. And every year we are sweating and miserable 15 minutes into the session. This year I vowed that next year I will not do the same thing. I will embrace the Florida Fall and I recommend that you do, too.

2

3. Minimize Patterns
I LOVE patterns. Florals, stripes, plaid…I love them all. So I would never say to just stick with plain choices. I do recommend picking one person to wear a busy pattern for a family of 3 or less; 2 people if the family is 4 or larger and so on. I feel that this allows the pattern that you choose to stand out and not have to compete with the other patterns worn. It also gives the images a cleaner look that isn’t too “busy”.

3.jpg

4. Don’t be “matchy matchy”.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this…if everyone wants to wear the same color that works too. I just always suggest if you want to wear the same color I would make sure the shades vary at least slightly. This way everyone stands out as individuals instead of blending together as one.

4.jpg

5. Have fun with it.
Pick an outfit that you love but might not normally wear on a daily basis. Go with colors that you might not normally try. Be bold. Most importantly: choose something that makes you feel good, something that you can be yourself in, that represents your style, and have fun.

5.jpg

I really can’t stress enough that the most important thing is to wear what looks good to you; even if that means everyone is wearing a different pattern or color scheme….as long as everyone is happy, feeling confident, and having fun that is truly ALL that matters.

If anyone else has additional advice I’d love to hear it!

Fishhawk, FL Family Session

After 1 week of stressing out about hurricane Irma and then another week cleaning up after the storm I was finally able to jump back into photography! I will be honest…the week leading up to landfall was emotionally draining. Thinking and considering that a category 5 hurricane could hit the west coast near Tampa Bay and then possibly be a category 4 when it crossed the inland counties where my family and I live was terrifying. I have been scared of bad weather my whole life; as a toddler any time I heard the “beep beep” on TV that meant they were displaying a message on the bottom of the screen (weather related) I would run into the living room, point at the TV, and demand “read to me!” to my mother.  As I’ve grown up I still have the fear of bad weather but I handle it better. Even with the possibility of a catastrophic storm hitting near my home I think I handled my fear better than I ever have. I was as prepared as I could possibly be given the circumstances but mentally and emotionally I was exhausted. I literally couldn’t think of anything else…my photography was pushed to the back of my mind for a moment there due to the mental freak out I was having.

But Hurricane Irma is gone and I am ready to dive back in!

DSC_0141

I’m so glad I got to meet this adorable family of three tonight. I found out that they are actually from Ukraine but they’ve lived in Florida for a few years now.  They were so sweet and even though it was almost 90 degrees at 6:30 in the afternoon with bugs out in full force they did not complain.

 

This couple was actually one of my model families; when I placed the model call I stated that I would give them 5 digital images in exchange for allowing me to use their images for my portfolio. Of course there were more than 5 that I loved and I shared my favorites with them. It meant so much to me that she was so grateful that I sent her more than the amount she expected. I love being able to surprise clients with a little something extra. ♥

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Downtown Lakeland, FL Couple Session

Let me start by saying I absolutely LOVE this couple! They are so cute together with the way they interact and they don’t even know it.DSC_0160

I went to high school with this gorgeous lady and we haven’t seen each other since…but honestly it didn’t feel that way. We immediately started talking like we’ve been around each other this whole time; who doesn’t love friendships like that? She informed me that her and her husband haven’t had couples portraits done since they were married years ago. So I’m honored that they trusted me to capture a few moments for them.

These two really do have so much love for each other and you can see it plain as day. And of course I love their story…they were high school sweethearts but their relationship ended when he had to move to another state. They were able to reconnect years later and they’ve been together since.  How perfect is that??? I am so happy for her and for her happily ever after.

Lakeland, FL Mommy & Me Session

Let me just start by explaining that fall is my favorite season. I love everything about it, from the change in weather, to pumpkin flavored everything, to fall colors. I love it all. Even though I live in Florida where the weather barely changes and the leaves don’t change I still appreciate the slight drop in temperature autumn brings. So it’s no surprise that I couldn’t wait to schedule a fall themed session.

DSC_0089

This session in particular was special to me because my models were my best friend from elementary school and her daughter. It’s crazy to have so many childhood memories of her and then memories from 8 years ago when she was pregnant with her daughter. We can go months or even years without talking but as soon as we catch up it’s like we never had those breaks in between. Those are some of the best friendships I think; especially as you become adults with spouses, families, and jobs.

 

SweetonCollage-30x20

I could tell going in that she didn’t feel confident in front of the camera…which I completely understand. I recently had headshots done; I am naturally an awkward person but put me in front of the camera and I’m much worse! So I tried to let her see the beautiful images I captured straight off the back of the camera. She liked them but her reaction when I sent the final, edited images was priceless.

AnnloyCollage-30x24

She loved them so much and that only confirmed how much I love doing this. To see how nervous she was about them and then to see her react so positive to them was amazing. She is a beautiful person inside and out and I’m so glad that I at least helped her see that.