Archive for Child

Charlotte Family Photography, The Easton Family

From time to time, my husband’s job as a high school teacher sends business my way, and earlier this year, I was lucky enough to meet Heather and Brian, parents of three kids.  I was hired to shoot a senior portrait for Andie, one of their beautiful daughters, on the campus of Davidson College.  So, of course, I was thrilled when Heather told me that she was interested in booking another family session for the Spring.  The shoot was for her mom, Ingrid, and the session would involve Heather and her family, her sister Erika’s family, and then Ingrid and her husband Ed. 

The location required easy walkability and lots of flowers. I chose the campus of Queens University as our meeting spot.  It’s a fantastic place for a photoshoot; the landscaping is just beautiful, and the buildings themselves are elegant props.  We started out by Belk Chapel and then made a slow tour of the grounds, stopping here and there along the way.  Everyone, kids and adults alike, had the best energy during the shoot.  I could tell doing this for Heather and Erika’s mom meant a lot to all of them.

There are times when it can be a little unwieldy to work with large family groups, but the dynamic between Heather’s family, Erika’s family, and their mother and father was fantastic.  Between the daughters’ two families, there are six kids—their ages are 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, and 8.  What I found incredibly charming was that the kids from each family who were closest in age had these adorably close relationships with one another, like they’d just grown up parallel with one another as allies. They had also dressed perfectly for the occasion.  Before the shoot, Heather and I had discussed wardrobe, and everyone showed up dressed in various pastel shades, with lots of blue and pink.  No matching, but all so complimentary. No matter how they paired up, everyone looked truly fantastic.

I loved spending time with Ingrid and Ed, their children, and their children’s families.  They were so kind, both to me and to one another, and it was impossible not to see how much they all cared for one another.  When I heard that Ingrid enjoyed the shoot and adored the photos that came from it, I was delighted to have given her some lasting mementos of the beautiful family she has raised.  

Family Photographers in Charlotte, The Gourley Family

Even before I became a parent, I had a healthy respect for the unique magic of photography.  But once my girls came along, the way I looked at what I do changed in an essential way.  More clearly than ever, I understood the crucial importance of preserving those delicate moments that are there for the blink of an eye and then gone forever.  In this way, Lori is a woman after my own heart.  When one of her big “milestone” birthdays was approaching, her husband Graham wondered briefly what to get her, but it didn’t take long for him to make up his mind.  Lori loves creating a photographic record of her family, and Graham knows it.  As a gift, he decided to get Lori not one but TWO family sessions with me.  I already knew Lori and Graham because I was their wedding photographer back in 2008.  Needless to say, I was so excited to help Graham craft this incredible surprise for Lori.

Our first session was just with Graham and the two kids, Connor and Kaylin, and Lori had no idea what we were doing.  I met them late in the afternoon on the Midtown Greenway, and we got some beautiful images of the three of them.  Connor and Kaylin were so lively and sweet.  At 4 and 6, I wondered if they would be suffering through some of the same rivalries I see in my own kids, but they played so well together and were such good listeners when I needed them to follow my direction. 

During the shoot, we wandered along the greenway, stopping here and there for images.  I could see immediately how much the kids adored Graham, and how comfortable they all were with one another. They seemed to delight in the knowledge that we were working on a surprise for their mommy.  When the excitement for the experience became a little much, I would ask Connor and Kaylin to make silly faces for a shot or two, and then give me sweet faces like they would give to their mama. Holy moly–those two melted my heart!  We ended the session at a fountain and the kids splashed around a little—until Connor nearly fell in.  All in all, it was a fantastic shoot, and mission accomplished.    

Over breakfast on her birthday, Graham presented Lori with a slideshow I created for him of some of his favorite images from the first session, and then he told her that there would be a second shoot, this time with her included.  Lori’s reaction to the images of Graham and the kids from the first shoot was just what Graham had hoped for—sweet tears—and Lori was delighted to take part in the next round. 

We all got back together in November.  This time, we met at the UNCC Botanical Garden to catch the last of the beautiful fall color, and I was so happy to see Lori and Graham together in front of my camera again.  That their love is stronger than ever couldn’t have been more apparent.  It was so heartwarming to remember them as they had been nearly 10 years ago, and then to see them in their new reality as parents of these two amazing kids. 

These sessions were pure fun, and I truly cherished the opportunity to reconnect with this beautiful couple and their sweethearted kiddos.    

Charlotte Family Photographer, The Alexander Family

I’ve known Todd and Jessica for 12 years, since the days when all three of us were loosely affiliated with the same event-planning company.  Over the years, these beautiful people have made themselves a special home in my heart.  We might not see each other as often as I’d like, but when we get together, I find myself feeling the same love and admiration for them that I’ve always felt.  But that’s not quite right.  I admire them more now than I ever have.  The amazing relationships Todd and Jess have not only with one another, but also with their children, inspires me.  My own two kids are the great blessing of my life, but man, sometimes they just kill me.  From time to time, I think of families with three or four kids, and my gut reaction is basically, “There but for the grace of God go I.”  But not with Todd and Jess.  This is a family that makes it work.  They respect and treasure one another at a level I know is exceptional.

When I show up at Todd and Jess’s place for this shoot, my car door is hardly open before the four kids-Hayden, Caroline, Joelle, and Cameron—are rushing toward me, their arms outstretched for hugs.  And not just one each.  A whole bunch of hugs.  It’s about the sweetest welcome a girl could ask for. 

We do the whole shoot at the house, which is perfect for this family.  For as long as I’ve known them, Todd and Jess lived in the same house, but in March, seeking more space, they moved into this new one.  As Todd is wont to do, he had already customized the place, including the addition of a new woodshop, all constructed by Todd himself.  Since Todd has worked on my own house any number of times, I’m well aware of the fine work this man can do, and I make it a point to use the new shop as a backdrop during our shoot.  For pretty much the entire session, we just chase the light around the back yard and driveway.  Toward the end of the shoot, I take Todd and Jess across the street for some romantics in the last of the evening light.  Otherwise, it’s just this family in the place they love most. 

These kids are special, and I’m not just saying that because I’ve known all of them since they were babies.  Hayden, 13, is gigantic now—close to six feet tall—but he remains the considerate and empathetic kid he’s always been.  This past summer, he took his first mission trip, to Nashville, and helped build handicap ramps for two retirees.  Caroline and Joelle are sugar sweet, leading me by the hand around their yard, showering me with affection.  Seeing such openness from these two girls gives me hope for my own daughters—if my own my kids develop such a willingness to care unabashedly for others, I’ll consider myself the luckiest mom in town.  And Cameron…he’s just a pistol.  Some of my favorite shots are of Cameron in his hat.  They pretty much sum up his spunk and spirit.

I was so happy to have the chance to reconnect with Jess and Todd and their happy quartet.  They’ve given so much to me and to my family, and I think often of how, when Todd and Jess came to my wedding in Nantucket, Jess was—unbeknownst to her—pregnant with Joelle.  As usual, they were there to support us—Jess to plan, and Todd to DJ—and that’s essentially what I think is the heart of this family: loving another and caring for others.  I’m lucky to have them in my life. 

Charlotte Family Photography, The Hine Family

It’s always such a boost to spend an afternoon with a loving family, especially when the main subject is as adorable and energetic as little Anthony.  It had been two years since the last time I saw him, and I loved seeing the enormous developmental leaps he’d made since then.  Anthony is a little sweetheart.  He’s generous with his hugs, he kisses boo-boos, and he always makes sure to ask if you’re okay.  He loves reading his books, playing outside (soccer especially), swinging on anything, and goofing around with his dinosaur toys.  I got the chance to see pretty much all of that during our shoot. Anthony definitely delivered.

Because it’s where Shanel, Jared, and Anthony spend so much quality time, we decided to use their lovely backyard as our main setting.  Anthony and his dad kicked a soccer ball around, Anthony trotted out the aforementioned dinosaurs for a little play session, and Woody, the 4 year-old Havanese who’s essentially a full family member, made an energetic appearance. 

As the sun began to set on the front of the house, we made a move to the front porch, and as we were passing through the house, Jared and Anthony decided to take a book break.  Shanel says that Anthony tries to carry all of his books around the house wherever he goes, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.  The dynamic between all three of them was so comfortable and genuine—I got the feeling that what I was seeing was pretty much how it was all the time. 

As we soaked in the last bit of sunshine on the stoop, Anthony got to show me his pumpkins, which he was obviously very excited about.  Then again, this is a little boy who seems enthusiastic about pretty much everything.  We chased the final streaks of sunlight down into the street for a few final family shots.  It was the perfect ending to my time with this lovely crew. 

Charlotte Family Photographer, The Peters Family

It’s kind of a funny thing to photograph a family I love and respect as much as I do Bob, Jena, and little Georgia Beth.  On the one hand, I’m looking for the best shots in the locations we’ve chosen, thinking my way through situations as I try to hold up my side of the conversation, etc.  On the other hand, I’m looking at this trio of people who love each other so much and wondering if I could ever make it look so easy and sweet and natural with my own kids.  To add to it all, I’ve known Bob since we sat together in “Coach” Ponce’s spanish class back at Myers Park High School, when he was rail thin and ran cross-country.  Reconciling my two Bobs can be a little dizzying sometimes.

For our shoot, we meet up at First Ward Park in uptown Charlotte.  That Bob and Jena chose uptown was kind of a no-brainer considering how important a role the city plays in both of their lives.  Bob is the head mixologist at The Punch Room inside the Ritz-Carlton, and Jena runs a performing arts studio, JBP Entertainment, inside Spirit Square.  Both are fixtures in this town and have been for a long time.  The city really means something to both of them, and vice versa. 

For her part, Georgia Beth is a natural performer.  I’ve known her since she was tiny, and watching her grow into this self-assured little spitfire has been a joy.  This girl is always on.  She’s sassy but warm, and she knows how she fills a space.  Her amazing confidence makes it all the sweeter when she crawls into her mom’s lap for a few shots, or when Bob hoists her onto his hip as though she were three instead of seven.  Seeing those little glimpses of little-kidhood shine through Georgia’s burgeoning big kid persona is precious. 

We make our way gradually from one corner of the park to the other, and as we walk, we take advantage of the beautiful landscaping, which is well designed and new enough that it hasn’t overgrown yet.  Of all our locations, my favorite is at the far end of the park, near the Charlotte Lab School, with the cityscape in the background.  When I ask Jena to crawl up on top of an exhaust grate in her heels, I’m sure she thinks I’m a little batty, but the images I captured of the Peters crew snuggled up in front of the city they love were so worth it. 

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