I met the Ryan family on a warm July afternoon. In the 3 days prior, I had just photographed a surprise proposal, an engagement, and I figured I could round out the weekend by capturing a brand new little life! I arrived at the hospital and headed to the family waiting area so I could meet the whole family and play with the (NEW) big sister! Have ever seen such gorgeous curls? I was melting from the cuteness of her big blue eyes and golden curls, and I hadn’t even spent time with the newborn yet!
While Grandma and Grandpa took her for a walk around to burn some toddler energy, it gave me some time to take some photos with Mom and Dad. Is there anything sweeter than a Dad holding his tiny newborn baby?! The only thing that MAY be sweeter is Mom cuddling her new little man! Its a toss up. I can’t be asked make this decision!The tiny feet, tiny hands, and tiny little faces are my favorite things to photograph at these sessions. I have two children who aren’t much out of the toddler years themselves, and it already seems impossible that they were ever this little. Time truly does go by all too quick. The details you swear you could never forget start to fade in your mind.Once big sister came back from her walk (where she no doubt charmed the nursing staff) we took a few moments to get the family together for their first photos of a family of FOUR! My favorite thing about these Fresh 48 sessions is that they are low pressure. There is no worry about perfect smiles, and coordinating outfits. They are relaxed, and are about just preserving the moment. Children have all types of reaction to the newest member of the family, and I love trying to imagine what they are thinking.Having unlimited ice cream from the nurses may be the 2nd best thing to having a new baby brother.Some of my favorite images from these sessions are the ‘imperfect’ ones. The ones that show how Mom and Dad are learning to juggle another little person; and how although they may be tired and feel a little spread thin during those first few days and weeks, they are also finding out how their hearts are fuller than they ever could have thought possible. Thank you to the Ryan family for allowing me to photograph such a special time for you all.
When I see a piece of art, I immediately create a story behind it in my head. As I posted these images, I strung them together with a storyline as well.
Do you enjoy art for what it is, or do you try to make sense of it?
Fashion: Pretty Little Things & J.Hilburn
Hair: Oomph Salon & Port City Barbers
Makeup: Jo Louise Beauty
Photography: Mercy Street Studio
Venue: Fezziwigs Food & Fountain
When Erin let me know she had someone who was looking to have their proposal photographed, I said ‘YES!’ without hesitation. I was still riding high on the surprise proposal I’d witnessed three weeks prior and couldn’t wait to be a part of another. I reached out to Logan (one half of the future bride and groom to be) and after actually speaking to him I was even more excited. As Logan told me his plan for proposing to his girlfriend I found myself ‘awww-ing’ out loud. More than once. He had clearly put a lot of time and energy, and most importantly love, into his plan to ask Lindsey to be his wife.
When I showed up where the proposal was going to happen I was greeted by Logans sister, some nieces and nephews, a couple brothers, a brother in law and even their pastor! Logan had enlisted his entire family to pull of his plan so that it would hopefully be a complete surprise. His sister quickly filled me in on the last minute details and I started snapping photos of the scene. The rose lined pathway, the candle lanterns and the beautiful hand painted sign that his Aunt had created, were all set up and waiting.
Before I knew it, I was getting the signal that they would be pulling up any minute and that I should go into ‘hiding’. ( I may or may not have been humming the theme to Mission Impossible as I tucked myself behind a bush up against the building.) I started snapping as soon as I saw them head up the walkway and watched as he presented her with one rose to signify each important things they had been through.
As they began to walk toward the candle lit path I tried to stay close, but out of the way so that I wouldn’t interrupt the moment. I knew the actual proposal would be happening as they got closer to the sign, and I also knew I was going to have to control my own water works. It was the sweetest sight to see a couple make the commitment to be married.
I saw Lindsey nod several times, and Logan placed the ring on her finger!!! After a brief hug and kiss (and probably the coolest thing Ive ever seen at a proposal–but more on that in a minute) one by one Logans family came out of hiding to congratulate the couple.I always love the moment when I am ‘discovered’. 🙂
I was so honored to play a small role in capturing this surprise proposal and wish Logan and Lindsay the most beautiful future. OH! And I promised Id go back to the coolest thing Ive seen at a proposal. Did anyone notice the plume of smoke drifting into one of the photos above? It was the remnants of this!!! There is no other way celebrate a proposal on the 4th of July weekend!
The best thing about being too busy during the summer months to have blogged my sessions, is that now, in the cold dreary winter month I get to relive these photos and pretend its warm and sunny! Now where did I leave off? July…Oh yes! Do you remember these two gorgeous people? Meet Tony and Ashley. Beside being a sweet, and genuinely kind couple, they were also the winner of our 2016 Photo of the Year contest. I came to meet Ashley when she volunteered to be a model for a new kind of session Erin and I were trying out at the studio. We spent about two hours together that day and we all had a blast sharing ALOT of laughs. When she contacted Erin a couple months later to ask if we would photograph her wedding that coming fall it was hard to say no because Ashley is so easy to be around! Erin and I don’t often photograph weddings, but after learning that it was going to be an intimate beach wedding, with close family only (with a GIANT celebration the following summer) we happily accepted!
I wanted to spend a little more time getting to know Ashley and her fiancé before the wedding, so we scheduled an engagement session. Tony was stationed in North Carolina and would only be home for 4 days over the 4th of July weekend so we set a date and prayed for great weather in our limited window of time. When the day arrived we had a breezy warm summer evening and I couldn’t wait to meet up with them. Ashley was taking us way out to a location that was special to her and Tony, and to this day I couldn’t get us back out to that place (or even describe how to get there) if I had to!
While we drove we chatted about their upcoming wedding and what deployment and long distance dating was really like. Listening to this young couple talk about the past couple years of separation really touched me. It reminded me how much of ones personal life is put on ‘pause’ when they dedicate themselves to serving our country. We spent the next couple hours chasing the sun and photographing the love that these two share.The place that we drove out to had long gravel roads, a lake, wooded areas and an open, sun drenched, grassy field. Basically a photographers dream! Ashley was wearing four inch heels and a full length gown and yet was up for traipsing around to any spot I suggested. We scaled rocks, climbed INTO bushes and walked through mud patches. She never complained once which is more than I could say for myself if I were (literally) in her shoes! As the sun began to set we raced to the last location we knew we would be shooting at before we lost the sun. It was a big open field with sun pouring in from all directions and Tony and Ashley had some fun dancing.I loved spending time with them and sharing a lot of laughs. By then end of our session I was so excited to play a small role in their wedding ceremony that upcoming fall. And if you think these photos showed a couple SO in love with each other, wait until I get to blogging their beachside wedding! But that will have to wait for now. 🙂 I have had SO much fun getting to know this couple, and witnessing their love survive and THRIVE through the distance between you. I wish you both a future filled with love and happiness.
After cleaning up from one shoot I set up for another the next morning. I pulled a cream and gray Flokatis, a pink blanket, and coordinating hats and wraps then locked up and headed home. That evening I received the session form and read the parents preferences… “I’m thinking pink, gray, cream.” What a sweet feeling that was. I knew it was meant to be!
Sweet Maeve was not really interested in being out of anyone’s arms. And who would be!? She wanted to see every bit of what was going on at the shoot. And her big beautiful eyes were so gorgeous!
But her parents and I worked hard to coax her to sleep here and there with rocking, nursing and some heavy utilization of my good friend binky 🙂 And got some great shots! Of course I HAD to thrown in a fall inspired look too. I mean, big sister even brought me little pumpkins!
In the intermissions where Maeve wasn’t feeling camera ready, I got to hang with my new BFF, big sister Audrey! Its hard not to fall in love with this sweet, kind, smart, dancing little ball of light!
I do it for the snuggles. xo~Sarah