My friendship with Meredith dates back to early high school, with days of running around the ice rink where our brothers played hockey. We didn’t go to school together, and we lived an hour away from each other, but somehow a friendship developed that has endured over 20 years, and hopefully will continue for many more.
The last time I did a newborn session for my cousin, Amanda, I was just starting out in photography, still building my portfolio, a new mom myself with another one already on the way. Here we are just over two years later, and I got to meet sweet baby Adelyn.
In the spring, I donated a family session as a silent auction item for the Greater Severna Park Mom's Club annual gala to benefit Sarah's House. Sarah's House, established in 1987 through a partnership between Anne Arundel County, Catholic Charities and the U.S. Army, provides shelters, meals and other assistance to families in need in Anne Arundel County. I was pleased to hear that my session was one of the highest items bid upon, helping to raise money for this an institution that gives so much in my community. I didn't know who had won the silent auction until August, when Amanda contacted me to set up her fall family session.
Lizz and I have know each other since high school, but we hadn't been in touch much since graduation. Last year, shortly after I decided to give Facebook another chance after my nearly 4 year hiatus, Lizz contacted me to inquire about my photography. She wanted some fall family photos for her Christmas cards and she enjoyed my photography, even if it was mostly photos of my boys at that point. I had a blast photographing Lizz, Richard, Bella and Natalie at the Naval Academy last fall and could only hope and pray that they enjoyed it as much as I did and would decide to have photos done with me again this year.
This little man was born three years ago, as of last Friday. It’s still hard for me to grasp that. I can still clearly envision the days and hours leading up to his debut into this world, and still feel all of the feelings that I felt during that time. To say having children turned my world upside down would be an understatement. And yes, I know it’s a little cliche, but it’s true. I look back on who I was before kids and wonder how on earth I didn’t get more done, how I was not more focused and I marvel at the things that I thought were important. That’s not to say that I didn’t try back then, it’s just that I didn’t know what I was capable of until I had to do it all with two little diversions in my life, every single day.
But this story that I’m telling today isn’t about being a mom, or my childbirth experience. It’s just to share with you part of what drives my photography journey . . .
It feels as if I have known the Palmer family my entire life. I went to elementary school with them, and Stephen is one of my brother's closest friends. So I was very excited when Stephen contacted me last November to set up a family photo session as a Christmas gift for his mother.
This is going to be a little different than my usual posts . . .
I know how hard it can be to be in the thick of things, with two toddlers running around like wild animals. I know how it feels to cry with them when we're all having a hard day. I know what it's like to feel like a terrible mom because I yelled because I was overtired, overwhelmed and stressed and they pushed all my buttons. I know how easy it is to forget that I am doing the best I can. I also know that I have the best job in the world as their mommy and that that can be hard to remember in the thick of things.
I received the first email announcing the categories for the 2018 VOICE weeks ago. I don’t believe I have ever entered a photography competition before. I don’t know what pushing myself to enter will accomplish, except that I hope it will push me to continue to develop as an artist. There are so many incredible pros out there, if I am being honest, it’s intimidating.
I’ve done some location scouting in my area. It starts with an internet search, creating a list, driving around to attempt to check out parks during golden hour, even doing some self portraits at these locations to test them out. I’m always looking for places with beautiful backgrounds, not too crowded and yet not too difficult to access. And yet, the truth is that my favorite location is the one that my client suggests.
My first email to her was titled, "You're an Inspiration" . . .
I'm a person who thrives on community, and as soon as I started my photography journey I knew that I would be searching for my community. And while online communities are helpful and convenient, I really crave that in person experience that can be much harder to find online.
It feels as if I’ve known Brad and Jess forever. I have at least know them since Bradford, who we used to refer to as Little Brad, was around my Noah’s age. He recently had a birthday and is now in the double digits . . . not so little anymore. My parents and Brad’s parents met as “neighbors” at the beach, as in they had condos in the same building and spent several summer weekends soaking up the sun and good company in the sand in Ocean City, Maryland. And whenever I go to the beach, even though my condo is 17 streets away, I always end up on the beach by their condo because their street just has this amazing sense of community. And that is where I got to know Jess, Brad, Bradford and Josie.
For the past year, I’ve been wading through the unfamiliar waters of establishing my business, working to reach the families that I want to serve and serving them by creating memories and documenting moments for them to look back on for years to come. It is truly rewarding providing families in Maryland, DC and Virginia with lifestyle newborn and family photography.
Emily and I met while I was working for the Navy in Norfolk, Virginia. She was a Lieutenant in the Navy and a project manager when I met her, which meant she worked long, hard hours and, though I had met her briefly, I didn’t see much of her for several months. Things changed when we were both relocated to a new department and when I had to choose where to sit in a room of empty cubicles, I picked the seat right next to hers. (I’m an introvert, but a social one; I don’t like to be alone.) I am almost certain that her first thought was what is this chick thinking, she’s totally invading my space. However, we bounded over several mutual interests, including good books, a love of dogs and a distaste for being bored.
I had just had a baby via c-section and I had picked up photography 9 months before. I had been blessed by having my first son’s newborn photographer as my mentor, had shadowed her on sessions, and had done a few newborn sessions myself over the past several months. Surely, I could do newborn photos for our newest addition myself. Now, almost a year and a half later, I’m going to tell you why I regret that decision . . .