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When I was a kid, my mom took me and my sister to a photography studio to have our professional portraits taken every 3-6 months. She wanted to make sure that each phase was photographed. I slept with curlers in my hair all night and had a new frilly dress all laid out. I smiled a really perfect smile and we bought prints to frame and extra for my grandparents.

Those pictures are cute, don’t get me wrong, but those pictures weren’t for me. My favorite pictures lived in the dark.

Hidden away under my mom and dad’s bed were pictures of our life as I grew up. Shot on my mom’s 35mm film point and shoot and developed at the local Kmart 1 hour photo were hundreds and hundreds of 4x6 prints that show what our life was like as time went on.  There are pictures of me coming home from the hospital after I was born and eating an ice cream cone for the first time.  There are pictures of me asleep in my car seat in my parents old car that I don’t remember. I’m wearing heart sun glasses
and a puffy snow suit because winters are super cold in north western Indiana (and I've always been super stylish - haha). There are pictures of a Christmas that we put our new kitten in a Barbie VW Beetle that my sister got as a present. So many birthdays and days at the park. My grandparents are young, and my parents - they are the age that I am now.  These were the memories that made up my childhood - countless days I recall because these pictures exist.

Now, I have children of my own and I realize how lucky I am that my mom managed to take all of those pictures. I am able to dig through this priceless box and revisit every stage in the history of our family when I was little. I can see how our house looked and changed as my dad made renovations. There’s the new house when we moved and all the crazy outfits that my mom put me and my sister in.

I believe in capturing the reality of your life happening right now. It’s a time that is rarely photographed because you’re too busy living it. Your children and grandchildren will want to see what your everyday life was like. Your kids will want to remember how you looked day-to-day, not just when you’re dressed in fancy clothes once a year for your holiday cards, posed perfectly, smiling at the camera.

I love when a family trusts me to come into their home and document the real moments that they have with their children: the insanity of bathing the kids; jokes around the dinner table; sibling love; the boo boos and the owies from learning to walk or ride their bike; tantrums and tears; cuddles and kisses; curiosity and love.  But honestly, not a lot of families contact me and even when they do, there are all these fears that lure them into not booking.  Sometimes it's the investment cost.  Usually, it's just everything else - letting life get in the way.

These moments are fleeting.

These aren’t the photos for the holiday card to the grandparents. Truthfully, these photos aren’t even for you. These sessions are so that your children can remember what life was like when they were little, when you were young parents fumbling through diaper changes and keeping track of cub scout meetings and t-ball practice.  About holding tiny hands and hugging so hard it seriously actually hurts.  About spilling bubbles and trying out what sidewalk chalk tastes like.  It's about messy dinners and tickle fights.  It's about the weird random stains on the living room rug and wondering if you will ever have nice things again.  Someday you will.  Someday the mess will be cleaned, the clothes all washed, folded, and put away.  Someday, the house will be silent.  You'll be able to leave the house and get to the grocery store so much easier.  And when that time comes, gosh, will you ever miss the mess and those crazy little people that tormented you so.

So, for the sake of honest moments and leaving traces of love behind for our little people and in support of this crazy adventure of parenthood - for ALL families - for the rest of the year I am photographing you for zero dollars.  Zero.  None.  Totally free.

Did you get that?  Free.  No monies.

Why am I doing this?

Because it's important.  It sounds so simple, but that's the truth of it.  Every family deserves to be photographed like this and I want to take away whatever excuse you can dream up for why now isn't the right time to invest in preserving your family, as it is, right now.  Imagine all the things you would try if they were free?  Well, this is.

Don't be fooled - my hope is that you fall in love with your photos and make a commitment to have a Real Life Family Session every year.  That you document your family yearly and print an album.  My dream is that in 10 years - 15 years from now, you have a collection of albums that shows how you grew as a family and all the things that changed as the years went by.  

SO WHAT'S THE CATCH?  THERE HAS TO BE ONE, RIGHT?  

Not even a little one (other than getting you addicted).  Seriously.

Whatever your routine is - the beautiful mundane.  Folding endless laundry and bathing your littles for the millionth time, I'll be there.  There's no need to clean up, dress up, or do anything that you wouldn't generally do.  If you take a walk - I'll follow.  Laundromat adventure?  Why not!  (Kids make a lot of dirty clothes, y'all.)  I'll come to your home for 90 minutes and photograph your family doing your thing, edit all your photos, and deliver them to you in an online gallery that you can share and download.  Fo free!

Through the fate and chaos (a lot of chaos), this adventure - although often sticky and unreasonably loud - is so, so beautiful.  It only lasts for so long and your little ones will treasure having documentation of all the little things, but most of all, being together as a family.

OKAY, SO WHO CAN APPLY?  

I am doing my best to seek out all different forms of families.  Not every family is two parents that look similar and two kids in a detached house with a dog.  Families are all different and equally beautiful.  I want every family to be able to come to my website next year and see another family that looks like theirs.  Single parents, interracial families, adoptive families, LGBT families, families with special needs - we should ALL be represented.  Our love is the same and it deserves to be seen.  Especially if you feel unrepresented, I encourage you all the more so to apply.

Sometimes, when we don't see ourselves in the media, on commercials, or on a website - we think that thing isn't for US.  We even subconsciously tell ourselves that were are undeserving or someone wouldn't want to take our photo.  LET'S END THAT.

We all share in this craziness of parenthood and regardless of what is going on in the world, we are all just trying to raise our children the best way we know how, in homes of all kinds and shapes but most importantly - that are filled with love.  Photos that remind us of this might not change the world or anything, but it couldn't hurt either.

So if you have a family and you want honest moments of your life preserved - scroll down and fill out the submission form.  I definitely want to photograph you.

BUT SERIOUSLY, CAN I PAY YOU?

Nope.  

However, I believe in printing a photo album of your photos to keep and display.  Someday, at some point, your computer with be out of date or your hard drive will crash.  Printed photos never crash and it's less sentimental and romantic to pass on hard drives to your children.

I'll be designing a beautiful album for each family, which you can purchase from me at a crazzzzy reduced price.  In no way is anyone obligated to purchase anything.

OTHER DETAILS...

As much as I'd love to photograph all the families everywhere, I also know that I am one person.  If you are within 100 miles of the Hampton Roads area, I encourage you to get in touch with me and we'll coordinate a time to document your everyday.  I want to photograph as many families as I can before the year is out.  I don't know a number - how many that might be - but I'll give it my best.

Go check out other families that I've photographed this past year on the blog:

The Blair Family

The Nguyen Family

The Adcock Family

The Oldham Family

The Hunley Family

So what are you waiting for?  Fill out my form (below) and I'll be in touch.

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