This was just one of those moments in life when you know; you just know with your full heart that it was all meant to happen. Carrie and I had never met, but from the moment I walked into her home, it felt like we had known each other for years. Not only does she have an incredible gift for creating beauty all around her, but she has the softest, kindest soul. These four, to me, were a vision of life and love and trust and joy and tangled up together; family in its purest form.

I brought my four-year-old daughter with me for the shoot. She instantly ran off to play with little Jackson, while Carrie and I chatted as she styled the most amazing scene for baby Amelie, with delicate baubles and shiny trinkets. Our conversations instantly dove deeper into the meaningful bits of life, and I found myself feeling so grateful our paths had crossed.

As I photographed the four of them, they just beamed for one another; a thick layer of peace and calm serving as a foundation for all that goodness piled on top. It was an immense blessing to preserve these memories for such a truly lovely family.

(all images shot on portra400 film — you can also see this session featured on Cottage Hill Magazine)

Sometimes loving is easy. Rosy cheeks and big round eyes and chubby hands begging to be held. Sometimes loving is hard. Handing out grace like discount cards on the street corner.

And on days when it rattles, churning, and twisting my insides like cables, pulling and tugging and stretching tight, it is a scene such as this that reminds me that loving comes easy to those who chose it.

I traveled a few hours north in the early morning calm one February day to meet Stacie Lucas, owner and designer for Amae (previously Duchess and Lion Co), to photograph her and her sweet little one’s for Little Peanut Magazine. I was greeted by the kindest smile and warmest hug, and welcomed into their home.

It was such a beautiful experience to be there, a part of their lives even for a short while, talking to Stacie about all things motherhood, playing trains and reading books on the playroom floor. And I loved being a part of the Body of a Mother Project for Little Peanut Magazine. I’m just grateful for it all.

(all images shot on film)

Springtime is kind of like outdoor photo magic time. The grass is green for all of five minutes, and little wild flowers bloom for what seems like an eye blink. And the warmth.  The sun is starting to feel a bit more inclined to shine brighter, and longer, and warmer than it has for months, and with that kind of effort comes all kinds of birds singing, squirrels dancing kind of stuff.

Oh, and then you sit a beautiful, lovely, family love fest right in the middle of a green grass flower laden nest, and all is right with the world.  Especially when said love fest includes a blue eyed baby with the most amazing glowing dandelion fluff and the sweetest smile that just won’t quit. It’s all just a springtime dream.

all images shot on portra 400 film

Motherhood is such a precious gift. It pushes us to the edge, and pulls us in close. Being a mother myself, I find such value and beauty in preserving those subtle moments that speak volumes. Those moments that evoke an emotional response; those nuances between a mother and her child that she will want to look back on years from now and be able to remember what it felt like to hold that baby in her arms.

I’ve been photographing this chunk of love since he was in utero, and even then he didn’t disappoint. Those blue eyes, and wispy curls, and don’t even get me started on his thighs. I love seeing these two together, playing and snuggling close. If you’d love precious photographs of you with your little ones, send me an email and let’s hang out.

all images shot on fuji 400h film | featured on Belle Lumiere Magazine

We scatter momentarily before finding one other again. Like a magnetic force springs us back to a huddle; a touch, a kiss, a constant reminder of comfort and safety.
Sometimes I wonder if  all of this fluid flock behavior is providing them with a skewed view of the world around them. But then I realize they’re young. So very young. And for us, in this season, it works.

You know what I don’t want to have happen?  I don’t want the next ten years to pass, and then I come to the heart breaking reality that I’ve helped countless families preserve their love in photographs without documenting my own little flock. I don’t want that for you either.  Because us mother’s need pictures. We need to be reminded of the unmistakable connections and full blown true real shining love that lives there between us and our babies. We need beautiful pieces of evidence showing that magnetic force or whatever the days look like for you.  It’s not only a luxury, but some days it’s a down right necessity.

And so you know…I would just be the happiest to make that all happen for you by photographing your family. But also here’s this…so that you can document the everyday, all the time, whenever you want.

So here they are; all the tips and tricks I implement when using my self timer to photograph the three of us (or four when the husband can stop in from work). I also use these tips when my husband is up for taking some shots for us, because self timer and husband pictures in our family are pretty much the same…he’s a farmer, bless him ; ) .  I hope these work for you all!

1. Use a tripod. | You can find a great 60 inch tripod on Amazon.

2. Take the picture with your phone first. | This is bit more necessary if you’re using a film camera since each shot = $$. So when I’m using my 35mm or medium format film cameras, I take the image first with my iPhone to be sure that everything is in the frame that I’m hoping to capture.

3. You need someone, or something, to mark your focus before you jump into the shot. | I usually have my 4 year old mark my focus. So I’ll place her right where I know the center of “us” will be (usually me since I’m the largest target out of the three of us). But I’ve also used a pillow, stuffed animal, small Elsa figurine, you get the picture.

4. Don’t get your little one(s) involved until the very last minute. | What you really want to avoid is a melt-down. Can I get an amen? Really a melt-down from anyone, littles and adults alike. So I try to get everything set up and ready before I call in the crazies.

5. Have treats readily (and steadily) available. | Gummies are a go-to around here, but really whatever you have. I am never above bribery. “Let’s play here on the bed for a few minutes and you get a treat!” Then once you start playing, reading, snuggling, whatever it is you want to capture, they’ve kind of forgotten about the picture part…but just in case they don’t, you’ve got treats.

6. Start with a continual shoot on your dslr. | I normally use my film cameras, but if I was to use my dslr, I would definitely suggest using continual shoot. That way you’ve got a much higher chance of getting some great shots in a short amount of time! Disclaimer: I’ve never actually used continual shoot because I use film, but it sure sounds like a great idea!

7. Lastly, if the kids aren’t feeling it, just try again another time.| Sometimes they just aren’t into it. Sometimes they just want to do their own thing, and have their own space. Trust me…you’ll know if it’s not working reeeal quick, so don’t force it.

And don’t worry about your hair, or if you’re wearing make-up or if you’ve worn the same v-neck t-shirt for 2 days straight, or if your eyes are puffy. And don’t worry if you only get one shot you love.  I usually shoot for about 10 minutes, about 36 shots, and end up with roughly 5-8 I really love…to me, success, because I have these treasures to print and hang or stow away for years to come.

Now go take some pictures.