Any reason to see my friends, Brian and Reshella, is a good reason. But this time, the reason was a tiny human: chubby cheeks, chilly toes, bright eyes. Gah! They introduced me to their son Hudson as we hung out in his nursery (…really trying to hold back my “hanging at the crib” joke here). Evening light poured in through the windows and my children made googly eyes at Hudson from behind my lens. After our session we all went to Vito’s and ate our weight in pizza. On the way home I fantasized about a system where I would only do photo sessions in exchange for pizza. Or sometimes sushi…or Taste of Thai. Or pretty much just food in general. Make an offer.
I love watching life from behind my camera: bellies growing plump with life, moms and dads getting outnumbered by children, little tiny humans growing into their own personalities. Year after year, it always amazes me. That’s why I love documenting people over and over again. I last met with these sweet sisters two years ago. I remember their session well because it was sandwiched between four other sessions that day and theirs was by far the most energetic. And by energetic I mean my face hurt from smiling, I had grass stains on my knees and I really needed a snack. This year’s session was no different. They brought the jokes and giggles and high fives and hugs…all the good-for-the-soul kind of things. It was wonderful to see Sydney & Alison again and witness their individuality coming to life.
I met with Miranda, Chance and their son Graham at their home in Downtown, Harrisonburg for an at-home family session. The morning was crisp and cool and when I arrived, morning light poured through the stairwell window. It was a pleasure to photograph this beautiful, growing family just months before Graham becomes a big brother. Below are some of my favorites from our session.
Bobby and Julianne got married at the James Madison University Arboretum on a day that threatened rain with hovering gray skies. Ducks and squirrel played in the distance as guests began to gather under a tent by the pond for the wedding ceremony. As Julianne’s father walked her down the aisle and under the shelter, raindrops fell from the sky. Guests took communion and sat contently with smiles as the couple made promises of forever, sealed with a kiss. The reception was the longest and most lively I’ve witnessed with six hours planned for dinner and dancing. (!) The night went perfectly and new memories were made with the merging of a new family. The happiness was so contagious you could spot the hotel staff, wedding coordinators, videographer and DJ dancing and laughing while working. And then, a requested Metallica song played and I thought surely the banquet room would collapse on itself. The entire room went WILD and somehow the blow-up guitar survived the crowd. It was a sight to see and I’m happy I could be there to document this joyous occasion. Congratulations Julie and Bobby!
This at-home session was held at the Hughes new home in Rockingham County. Hilly country roads led me there on a humid Saturday morning and I was greeted warmly by a very vocal dog, chickens, rabbits, a blue-eyed cat and three sweet children. I’ve photographed Ashley and Bill many times before and I look forward to continuing this tradition. Their family just keeps getting better and better…and bigger!
Brides Brittany and Lindsay along with their four lovely bridesmaids spent the morning prepping for the wedding day at The Storefront in Staunton, Virginia. This unique little spot is located in the heart of downtown that, on this particular dreary day, was bustling with coffee-drinkers and mom-n-pop shoppers. The girls grabbed their umbrellas and we hit the streets until the droplets became more persistent. The day was the epitome of fall in the Valley: gray skies, drizzle, a calm coolness in the air and brilliant, radiant changing leaves. The ceremony and reception was held at the Octagonal Barn at the Frontier Culture Museum. Personal touches could be found in many forms. The table clothes were made from upcylced Lucas Roasting Company coffee bean sacks; hand-written thank you notes (one for each guest!) hung by clothespin on a line; they carried flower bouquets handmade by Caite (a bridesmaid) from old book pages; the fire pit was crafted and personalized by Brittany’s father; Brittany and Lindsay even baked homemade scones to pass out and share with each of their guests during the ceremony. As guests warmed their souls with A Bowl of Good soup, Three Brothers brew and dance floor shenanigans, the beauty of the event became more present. They had love (and soup and beer and dancing) what more do you really need?
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I’ve always adored the idea of a woman with a pregnant glow. But it wasn’t until I met with Angel for our session that I truly appreciated what that means it all of it’s entirety. This gal blew me away. And it’s not like I don’t know her…I’ve known this girl for years. In fact, she’s one of my most favorite people. Her and her husband, Josh, are two of my close friends. Not close as in we hang out daily but close as in, they’ve been there. Ya know? They are great people and I would do anything for them. And I believe they’d do the same for me…because they have. It was an honor to help them document this special time in their lives. So many laughs and frantic, excited waving of hands. It’s what we do. I can not wait to meet this precious baby Shipp sailing our way in early September.
Amisha and I have scheduled half a dozen photo shoots in the passed two months but the late spring rain was not falling in our favor. When this day finally came, it was a sunshiny miracle! Braelea, her daughter, hopped out of the car saying “cheeeeese” and flinging phrases like “Oh pickle juice!” around. She is a hoot! Her personality shouts through these images and had me smiling and oohing and EEEing all the way through the editing process. And Amisha! Not only is she gorgeous(!) but she jumped a barbed wire fence with me for a photo op. In a dress. And sandals. Ok so we switched shoes for a hot minute but she was up for it and still looked stunning standing in that wheat field. One tick, an eskimo kiss and a few rosy cheeks later, our session came to an end and we drove away smiling.
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