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.    

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