Teenage years are worth documenting

As families grow together and your once toddlers are now looking like young men and women, scheduling a photoshoot can seem like a large task. Between practices, school, work, college applications, who has the time?!

When you search “family photoshoots” on Pinterest the majority of the photos are with kids under the age of ten.

When seeing this you may think - 

Are family photoshoots  just cuter when kids are still young? 

Maybe it’s just too hard to get our family together in the teenage stage of life?

Will they want to participate?

Is it worth it?

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Madison + Ryan's Wedding at Blue Valley Vineyard

The overwhelming emotion of the day from start to finish was JOY.

Joy while the relaxed bridal party sipped mimosas during hair and makeup at their luxurious farmhouse Air BnD and jammed to Taylor Swift.

Joy as a daddy tried to remain stoic while holding his beautiful baby girl in a wedding dress.

Joy as the groom and groomsmen told epic wedding stories and joy as guests filed in under bright blue skies on a warm June day with the slightest breeze.

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Firefly is Hiring!

Working in the studio (aka first level office of my home) is a casual and comfortable atmosphere with the occasional protective bark from our Australian Shepherd, but we work hard to play hard — constantly seeking to serve our families with joy and excellence.

Applicants must be self-starters, motivated workers, and eager to learn. As a Studio Assistant, you will be involved in the daily work of a photography studio : corresponding with clients via email, scheduling appointments / sessions, fulfilling, assembling, and packaging print orders, running business errands, following up on leads, and learning studio-specific software and tasks. 

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Instead of the standard "Cake Smash" session...

I don’t really know why, but the idea of a “cake smash” is definitely a random American thing.

The phrase describes the tradition of giving a child a personal birthday cake and watching him/her annihilate it. But for some reason, the tradition has become more about backdrops and props for pictures than the tradition or moment itself and what’s behind it— who’s behind it.

AKA the celebration of a child (and surviving that first year as parents).

Positioning a child as a prop and forcing them to dig around in icing while the cry out of of anxiety isn’t really valuable in any way.

That token photo is more obligatory than meaningful.

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Leah O'ConnellComment
You're not a bad mom

No one created these “rules of good mother-ing,” but somehow we get ideas into our head about these insane expectations. From the way we live our lives day to day to the pictures we take and share… the world can be full of pressure. So in case you need permission to go against the grain, allow me to remind you—

You're not a bad mom if you choose to skip taking monthly milestone photos and stats of your pregnancy or baby's first year.

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Featured: Sweet Family Session on the Downtown Mall

Whenever a family reaches out for suggestions about where to have their session, I start by asking them “where do you like to spend time?”

This sweet crew is getting ready to move at the end of the month, so when they started reflecting on what they wanted their photos to really say beyond just looking pretty, they realized that they wanted to capture a piece of the city where they started their family.

  • The brick streets they roamed pushing a stroller with one hand and a gelato in the other.

  • The concert venues they sat cozied up together for date nights.

  • The feeling of love they felt they grew here and the memories they made.

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How do you model “having your picture taken?”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this:

“Every time I get their camera out, my kids either make goofy faces and get all awkward or run away.”

Let's troubleshoot that by asking one big question :

Do *you* make silly faces and get all awkward in front of the camera?

Do *you* pose and stick out your tongue when you take a selfie?

Do *you* widen your grin and stiffen up?

Do *you* run away when someone asks you to be in a photo?

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3 things you can do with your digital photo collection

First: My #1 Tip for Managing Your Personal Digital Files

We all want the digital archive of all our photos at our fingertips — and there’s nothing wrong with that.

But if you think ahead, past sharing on social media, our finger tips won’t always be on this Earth, and neither will our devices. After learning to manage my own family photo library and delivering hundreds of thousands of photos each year to my families and local businesses, I’ve discovered the truth about photo quantity.

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Modern School Photography : Charlottesville Daycare + Preschools

School photos have and always will be a thing -- but what doesn't have to be a thing is the pressure that comes with it.

  • The pressure to buy photos you don't love

  • The pressure to put a cheesy, awkward 8x10 photo up in your home and stuff the rest of a package in a drawer for the rest of time.

  • The pressure for kids to perform and be something they're not.

  • The pressure to keep going with that same old royal blue backdrop and glued together prop of chapter books that looks unnatural as heck for anyone holding it.

Can we stop? Like really, let's just stop. Anyone?!

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At home maternity and newborn sessions with the Hamby family

This family has been with me since I first got to Charlottesville and they were expecting their first baby. A lot has changed since then, including my photography style and a second baby!

When we met for their first journey plan, they were in transition while they built their dream home. Now that they’re in it, we kept this maternity session cozy by celebrating a simple weekend morning of breakfast and backyard time, playing and reading books together. At this point, the nursery was still relatively empty, so we wrapped up by taking a moment in there to embrace the season of waiting and life before 3 became 4 (+ dog :-) ).

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Featured Brand : The Movement Barn

Casey of The Movement Barn contacted me in search of a way to do just that as she launched her new boutique Gyrotinic fitness studio geared toward dancers and physical therapy for all ages. She knew that the unique equipment and beautiful setting of her studio would draw people in, but only if they could see and experience it for themselves. Through her questionnaire and discovery calls, we came up with a plan about what kinds of photos she needed and me at sunrise on a foggy fall morning to photograph her work in action!

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