Winter Magic | King George Virginia Child Photographer

"Children see magic because they look for it"
- Christopher Moore

I kept seeing all of these beautiful snow images in my facebook newsfeed but we just hadn't been lucky enough to get any snow.  Finally we got snow and I started trying to decide on what look I wanted to go for.  I knew I wanted to do something a little different.  I love the look of composite photography and knew that was the direction I wanted to go.  I asked Ava to help me pick out something for her to wear and she picked this dress because it was the color of snow.  In my mind I immediately thought snow white and how all the creatures of the forest would come to her.  I grabbed an apple on our way outside and headed out to try to match this vision I had in my head.  

It took several hours in photoshop to take the original photos (which was on it's own a beautiful shot) and turn it into something magical.  I will be working on a series of my children in fantasy/whimsical photos.  

What I love so much about composite photography is the ability to mix a bit of reality and fantasy and create something imaginative.  I always envied how painters and artists who have the ability to draw could take what it in their own imaginations and put it on paper.  As a photographer using this method of editing I can also do the same.  

If you would be interested in creating a look like this for a session with your kids contact me today and we can start dreaming up a vision. 

Our Rescue Pup Willow | Maryland and Virginia Photographer

We moved into our home the first weekend of September.  Literally two days before our oldest started Kindergarten.  We weren't in the home long before we started talking about getting a dog.  We have just under 6 acres and we are a bit farther from family so we thought it wouldn't be a bad idea for our security.  Plus, Aaron and I both grew up with dogs and wanted our kids to experience that as well.

I put an ad out on Craigslist looking for local breeders of the type of dog we were looking to get.  About a week after the ad had been up I was contacted by a woman who had a 13 week old Cane Corso puppy.  They had a lab who was not taking to the families new addition so they were trying to re-home her. 

This is the photo she sent us...

We talked about it for a few days...she was one of the breed's we had considered and she was only about 40 minutes away.  The other puppy we were considering at that time was in North Carolina and would be a good day trip to go get.  We decided to give this little girl a chance and just like that we were on our way to get her.

Her first night home...

We had to rename her because poor Hayden just couldn't say her name.  We decided on Willow :) 

I made her an appointment with the vet for shots and to have her spayed.  She ended up having an infection and had to go through two rounds of strong antibiotics to get rid of it.  There was a time I worried we weren't going to be able to clear it up. 

We had only had her about a month when she got a little too close to a foster kitten of my Sister's and contracted ringworm.  So back to the vet we went and got her an antifungal and into quarantine she went.  We had to leave her in her kennel or put her out on the porch or in the backyard.  We couldn't let her loose in the house and we had to limit contact with her for WEEKS.  I was so worried this time was going to really hinder her relationship with us and the kids.  I know she had to think she had done something wrong.

We were able to let her out of quarantine right around Thanksgiving.  She was so happy to be out and she went right back to be the happy playful puppy she was.  Well, almost....she was now quite a bit larger which took her and the kids some time getting use to.  She also needed work on re-learning boundaries and rules.   It was a tough few weeks getting her back on track.

Thankfully she seems to be doing so much better.  She is so smart and has taken over as defender of the kids.  She watches them like a hawk and comes to their defense anytime they call her name.  She wakes and goes to them if they wake up from nightmares, she hovers over them if they cry, and if need be she will push you right out of their room.  While playing they love to say "Willow Help" and she will put herself between us and them and good luck trying to get around her.  They find this to be absolutely hilarious. 

Finally last month I was able to do a little photo shoot with her.  I had wanted to do this when we got her but she had so many health issues that got in the way. 

She always has the saddest little look...I promise you she is not nearly as pitiful as she leads you to believe...
 My favorite shot because it's just so simple.  Sometimes photos get overwhelmed by props and distractions.  I prefer the subject to shine through.

 I hope she is happy here with us...I hope after all her shuffling around and struggles she had as a puppy she finally feels like she has a place of her own.

Project 52 Week 6 | King George Va Photographer

 {6/52} | A Personal Photography Project | Life as Real as it Gets

After school Ava came home and wrote out all of her little valentines. She spent so much time picking the perfect color gel pen to address each kids card. It had to be "their" color. She puts so much effort into being a good friend.

We found out this week that a classmate of hers has been taking things from her lunch.  I witnessed it on Monday while Hayden and I were there having lunch.  She told me after school that it happens a lot by the same girl.  We go to lunch with Ava at least once a week and I always notice this girl doesn't eat her sandwich and always complains that her lunch is gross and she doesn't like anything in it.  I have even had a conversation with her about fairness and packed lunches.  She didn't feel it was fair that other kids had things she didn't.  I tried my best to explain that it is up to each kids parent to pack their lunch and they won't all have the same things.  I also encouraged her to talk to her Mom and tell her what she liked in her lunches and what she didn't.  I told her that we don't always know what our kids want and it helps if they tell us.

I am so conflicted over this whole situation.  It makes me so sad for Ava that someone is taking her food because that's just not right no matter what the situation.  I put a lot of effort into Ava's lunches and try to make them fun and special.  I did a lot of research last year and settled on a planetbox for two reasons.  One, Ava hates for her food to touch and two, no annoying packaging to have to fight open every day.  *When I do go to lunch I spend a ton of time helping kids open capri suns, gogurts, pudding cups, fruit cups, etc.*

Here are some of her lunches...

So now I have to teach Ava that sometimes our friends do things that aren't very nice.  Things they shouldn't do and we have to stand up for ourselves.  We have to tell them that it is not ok and we don't like it.  I have to now teach my child to speak up and defend herself.  I was hoping we would get a bit further into school before she had to start learning some of these lessons. 

As a parent it is so easy to teach your children right from wrong, expectations, and boundaries while they are home with you, sheltered a bit.  Then you send them off and they are exposed to other kids who have been raised by different standards, rules, and boundaries...some more strict and some less.  Now your child must learn to adapt within this group of peers.  These are the reasons they say parenting isn't for the weak. 

It is now my job to advocate for my child, to help teach her how to handle this, and if we are lucky find a way to help the other child as well.  Today is only Tuesday...I think the weekend is going to be a welcome break for us.

Personal Project 52 | Maryland & Virginia Lifestyle Photographer

A Personal Photography Project | Life as Real as it Gets

Every year for the past five years I have attempted a different version of a yearly photography project. I have done the project 365 and it is HARD. A picture a day sounds simple enough but seriously there were days were I had to force myself to pick up my camera. I would be lacking energy, motivation, creativity, inspiration, or simply just wanted to be LAZY. I don't think I'll ever sign up for that one again. Unless maybe it was paid, then, who am I kidding, NEVER again. I don't ever want to feel like I hate my camera or it's a chore.

So WHY do a project at all?? Well, the idea behind them is to push yourself. To spark some sort of inner creativity and maybe photograph something wonderfully extraordinary if you are lucky. Plus, I have kids and well, I want to remember these days...the detail of how things were when they are no longer.

This year I decided I didn't want to feel forced to have my camera out at all times and I didn't want to feel forced to photograph a certain theme. While themed projects can be fun they are also very limiting. They can feel a bit like a school assignment and I hated school. So why torture myself right?!?!

So this year I am choosing a project photo a week for 52 weeks. I started a bit late so I may actually end this in 2016. Ew, did I just type 2016..yuck, I don't want to think that far ahead.  Let's pretend that didn't just happen.  

Here are my first 5 weeks worth of photos....

{1/52}The story behind the photo..."We started off the year like we ended the last....sick. This has been a rough winter on so many kids. Hoping we can soon put all of these colds and health issues behind us and start enjoying the new year. Luckily this little guy is easily pacified with his kindle and a candy cane."

 {2/52} The story behind the photo..."Ava had gone to bed and was watching a movie on her kindle. Hayden was in his room playing with his trains while I cleaned up the kitchen. I went to get him when I was done to get him ready for bed and couldn't find him. Then I spotted him up in bed with his Sissy...they were being so quiet so I ran and grabbed my camera. As well as they do get along, bed is normally battle time. They are fighting for the attention, they disagree on everything, and it's normally all we can do to get them settled in separate areas. This was a rare sight and I'm so glad I was able to catch it."

{3/52} We made the cutest bird feeders out of bird seed and gelatin. Then we used twine to hang them outside. 
{4/52}It was beautiful out on this day so after school we stayed outside. We even got out the chalk for the first time this year. Is it springtime yet? As much as I'd like a good snow I'm over the cold rain, which is all we seem to be getting this year.

{5\52} These were taken this evening on an oddly 70 degree February day.  I had forgotten how easy the evening are when we can just all be outside enjoying the evening air and not stuck inside driving each other crazy.

Now another task for this year and these slow winter months is to get caught up on all my backdated blogging.  This year I will be blogging more personal blog posts as well as my sessions/photography related stuff.  I use to have just a personal blog and I stopped posting on it when I started my business.  I miss it but I have no desire to maintain two blogs.  

To keep up with my project 52 follow me on IG or like my facebook page.  I'll be posting them weekly over on those social media platforms.  I'll try to post some on here as well.

I'm looking forward to this year and getting back to my roots of blogging.  Now I really should at least attempt to act like I'm going to go to sleep...maybe it will trick my body into thinking I'm tired.

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