The Wolfpack

When I go to my parent's house for a holiday, the house can get pretty chaotic. How chaotic can it really be? Imagine a house with two parents (mine), 6 kids (theirs), two spouses, one boyfriend, and four crazy dogs. It can get a little nuts and none of us kids even have children of our own yet! Although it's no weekend at the spa, it's always fun to go home to see everyone and there is never a dull moment. Since the puppies are the only "grandchildren" at the moment (my parents must be so proud), I took a minute over Easter weekend to take some photos of the four of them. Allow me to introduce you...

Ella (aka Ella Bella or Missy Ella) is a miniature schnauzer and belongs to my brother Sam. He tells everyone constantly that she is his "best friend". My parents bought Ella at the request of my sister about 6 or 7 months before Sam was born, so she's been a part of his life since day 1.

I'm sure by now you all are familiar with Einstein (aka Einer, Einey, Bubba), who makes regular appearances on the blog. He wasn't feeling especially into having his photo taken but even models have off days. :)

Next we have my sister Abby's cairn terrier Rudy (aka Rude Dog or the always popular Mufasa) who is playful and rowdy, much like his owner.

And finally there's Herky (aka Turkey or Herk), who is a Yorkie like Einstein but bigger and with more energy.

So there you have it, the gallery of grandpups! I definitely have a new respect for pet photographers - it's not as easy as it looks (I wish I had photos or a video of Josh and I behind the scenes, it was pretty comical I'm sure!). Einstein is used to me shoving the camera in his face, but the other dogs weren't too sure about the whole modeling thing.

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! I've got some great sessions coming up in May and I can't wait to share them all with you. Keep your fingers crossed that we have some warm (sunny) weather!

Also, if you aren't already connected with me on Facebook - you can see my page HERE. This is a great place to find out about session openings, specials, products, etc that I may not post about on here. Another thing - I have been having some issues with email so if you sent me an email and didn't get a response within 24-48 hours please call or try to resend (see my contact info HERE). I always try and respond to inquiries as quickly as possible, so please don't think I have been ignoring you if you haven't gotten a response - unfortunately it seems a few emails have been disappearing into cyberspace recently.


This is my little brother Sam and his "best friend" Ella (more on her in a day or two).


I arrived at my parent's house for Easter on Friday night and Sam quickly announced that he lost one of his front teeth! Of course, we had to do a little photo session to document the occasion. He was so proud and the tooth fairy left him a whopping $20. The tooth fairy must have a fat bank account.



Two days later, the other tooth fell out too (with a tiny bit of help)!


Who knew being toothless could be so cute?


What to Wear: Family Photos (Spring)

People often ask the question "What should we wear?" and honestly so many of my clients nail it - bright colors, great prints, coordinating beautifully. My first advice is to trust your gut! Often times people over think things but if you trust your instincts and go with what you love, then everything will work out just fine and look fabulous. Bright colors are great and photograph well, especially in the springtime when the grass is green and the flowers are starting to bloom. I put together two different outfit sets, since I haven't done this in awhile, both for a family of three.

I love this first set, and I would tuck the woman's blouse in to give it a more polished and flattering look. I would also roll the sleeves up on the man's shirt (which you could tuck in or leave out, depending on your style). You'll notice the flower print AND the plaid - they work together because they are similar in color, so don't be afraid to mix it up.

This second look is super fun with one of my favorite color combinations right now - orange and navy. This set has a more relaxed, casual vibe and I think the little boy's outfit is just adorable (love the shoes!!). I also found
this super cute nautical dress for a little girl for a family of four (or if you have a girl instead of a boy).

Daydream Believer

As a kid I had an active imagination, often coming up with grandiose plans and I wasn't afraid to dream big. For example, after watching the 1994 winter Olympics, I was convinced that being a figure skater is what I was meant to be. I spent time drawing and dreaming up costumes (it was always about the costumes - especially the feather accents...hello, Oksana Baiul?). Anyways, you can imagine my excitement when I got ice skates for the following Christmas, nevermind the fact that I had only ice skated a handful of times in my life - I was certain that once I put on these beautiful white skates I would be doing a triple salchow in no time (all I needed was the perfect skating dress...). Anyways, as I'm sure you've guessed, my figure skating dreams didn't come true but I had such a great time planning and dreaming about it that it wasn't too disappointing in the end.

What does this have to do with photography you may ask? True to form, I tend to plan and daydream constantly about ideas for sessions and am constantly seeing inspiration in magazines, catalogs, and online. I'm often uncertain as to how to approach people with my ideas, as occasionally it can be hard to explain my vision to others and it sometimes takes just the right client to make an idea work. So, instead of letting the ideas float around in my brain and possibly never come to fruition, I thought I would post some thoughts/inspiration here in the hopes that maybe an idea will speak to someone who reads this.

One session I've been dying to do ever since I saw the February 2011 J Crew catalog is a vintage (60's?) inspired session. I'm not talking full on retro, but when I saw the catalog I was in love with the images and would love to do something with a similar feel. You can view some of the images HERE, I'm especially in love with this one and this one (despite the fact that we have no palm trees here, I think I could make it work).

I also think about locations that would be amazing...I'd love to do a session in a field of flowers (haven't found one around here yet, so if anyone has any good spots they want to share, let me know!), at an apple orchard, and on a farm.

Baby sessions are something that I've been doing a lot of lately, and my sister showed me a super creative 1 year session where the parents had the baby "paint" a canvas (with baby safe non-toxic paint, obviously). The little girl played in the paint and crawled all over the canvas and then the parents had the canvas stretched and it now hangs in the baby's bedroom. I thought it was such a unique take on the 1 year session (cake smash, etc).

So anyways, those are some of the things I've been daydreaming about recently - hopefully one of these session ideas will come to life someday!

Have a fantastic Friday!

Myelle - 6 Months

Sweet baby Myelle. Don't you just love her name? I have never heard it before, but I think it's beautiful. Lindsay told me that before she knew she was pregnant, she was watching the Olympics and there was an athlete named Myelle. She thought it was such a pretty name that she filed it away in her mind as a possible name for a future daughter, not knowing at the time that she'd have her daughter that October!

Myelle was such a great little model, I adore all of her little headbands (Lindsay makes headbands like these - so any moms with little girls that are interested - let me know and I'll get you hooked up!!). Anyways, despite having to do the session all indoors (crazy Iowa weather!), I think we got some great shots. Here is a preview, enjoy!






Myelle was quite bendy - I kept calling her "yoga baby".







Can You Dig It?


At the beginning of 2010 I wrote up a list of 101 things I'd like to do in 1001 days (see original post here). Goals #1 and #2 were to buy a new house with a yard for Einstein, and sell our current home. In February we started looking and after talking with our friends who built last summer/fall, we decided that we would build as well. So...we met with the builders, finalized our plans, put our house on the market, accepted an offer on our current home, and picked out our new lot. Despite all the meetings, planning, and picking out all of the appliances, countertops, cabinets, lighting, etc - it hasn't seemed real until yesterday. I got an email around lunchtime that they would be digging the hole that afternoon, and we got some calls and texts from friends in the neighborhood as well once they began. After work we loaded Einstein into the car and headed over to photograph them breaking ground. Einstein is not sure about all the dirt, but I think he'll like his new backyard with lots of room to explore.


In July we will be moving into our new home, and I am so excited to see it progress over the next months. I can't wait to see the finished product!


New Product: Photo Collage

As you may remember from Oliver's recent session, he did a cake smash for his 1st birthday. His mom Nicole had asked if I could do a photo collage so she could purchase a print to hang on his bedroom wall, and this is one of the versions I came up with (Nicole actually ended up choosing a slightly different version to coordinate with Oliver's room - you can see it in my Facebook album here):


As you can see, this collage works well to showcase a Cake Smash session! I just love how it tells a story and allows the parents to display a lot of photos without taking up an entire wall. This particular photo collage comes in 3 sizes - 8x8, 10x10, and 12x12 and you can choose 16 photos from your session (or a few less if you want some written squares as shown above). Pricing is as follows:

8x8 print - $25
10x10 print - $30
12x12 print - $35

I do have some other collage options available with various numbers of photo openings so please feel free to email me if you'd like to see some examples.

Hope you all are having a great week!

Willa: 1 Year

You may recognize Willa along with her parents Amie and Jeff from the blog last fall when I took her 6 month photos. We had such a great time back in September, so I was definitely looking forward to seeing them again when Amie booked a session to document Willa's 1 year. We met last weekend at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon (which by the way, is one of my favorite little towns - they have lights on the trees on Main Street! All year long! It's so quaint and I love it.) and took advantage of the warm weather. Despite Willa's long weekend of traveling, she did a great job and gave me lots of smiles! Here are some of my favorites from their session...

It must be said that Willa has to be one of the best dressed little girls I've ever met. Amie has fantastic taste and the clothes she picks out for Willa's sessions (not to mention how she and Jeff always complement Willa's ensembles) are perfection. I love that she chooses bright, fun colors and isn't afraid to mix in a pattern or two. If anyone is wondering, Willa's clothing came from Gymboree and Crazy 8.

Ok, now we're really onto the photos - I love this first series, Willa has such a great smile!











I love these photos of Willa with Amie and Jeff individually, they're so sweet.






And of course, I had to take a photo of these fabulous shoes! They were so adorable, I couldn't resist.