Abel was beautiful, sweet and easy to work with (a photographers dream). You could feel the joy and warmth as you walked through the Harmer family's beautiful home. I absolutely adore doing these lifestyle sessions because I really get to know people and get a feel for who they are. They picked some really great spots for their pictures and each one is a familiar and happy spot for them. Which will make even more lasting memories. It was such a happy experience working with them.
Have a great weekend friends. -Rachael
Charlotte is One!
I know what you are thinking! Another cake smash? Yup. I have really grown to love cake smash sessions. When I first started offering them I did it because it was a natural fit. But it has really grown to be one of my favorite types of sessions to shoot. Especially when I have watched a baby grow. I watched this little girl enter the world and take her first breath. It was an emotional birth session for me because her mother is my best friend. I love this little girl so. She is so precious and I think it definitely shows in these pictures. She is such a sweetheart and I am lucky to be a part of her life! I just adored this rainbow theme!
Have a colorful day!-Rachael
Happy First Birthday
It is amazing to me that you are one. I know it goes by fast. I learned that with your brother. It just doesn't seem possible. I think I almost feel like you are always going to be the baby. Your the little brother. I think I really am going to have to consciously stop myself from always treating you like the baby. You are growing and learning everyday. I have loved watching you grow into your own little person. I try not to compare you to Desmond but you guys are so different that it's hard for me not to.
You don't talk yet but I haven't met anyone who didn't understand you. You are very clear on what you want. You grunt, growl, and yell about everything. It seems to me that you are going to be a very passionate kid. You get so angry when things don't go your way and honestly a lot of times I can't help but laugh. You get so serious so quickly. I hope you always keep that passion but maybe lose the anger.
I guess I shoudn't be surprised that you are a Daddy's boy. Your brother was at this age too. The minute you hear him walk through the door in the evenings you shoot for the kitchen. I love watching you two play, your Daddy loves to make you giggle and you make him laugh, a lot. He often puts everything down when he gets home and spends time with you before doing anything else. He doesn't say it but I think it makes him feel really good that most of the time you prefer him to me. I'm oddly O.K. with this fact too. Your Daddy is amazing and I hope you never take that for granted, though I know you will because what child doesn't.
One of my greatest fears has melted since you were born. I was so scared of what your relationship with your brother would be like. He was such a Momma's boy that I worried how he would feel with you getting so much attention. He has been so excited about you since day one. When we brought you home all he wanted to do was be close and touch you. When ever we go out he introuduces you to everyone. "This is my brother, his name is Benjamin." I don't know how long he will do this but I love how proud he is that you are ours. You two make each other laugh and play so well. Sometimes he's too rough with you but he doesn't mean it so don't take it too personally. He really does love you and care about you. You won't remember these things when you are older so I always want you to know this. He has cried when you cry, several times. He gets very upset if he thinks we are going to leave you anywhere. He has pleaded with the nurses not to give you shots because "He's just a baby!" He takes things out of your hands if he thinks you might try to eat it. I've never really seen him get angry with you and that makes me so happy. I want your brother to be your best friend and your protector. I think he is on his way there.
As for me, I love tickling your shoulder and watching you squeal in delight. I love the clicking noise you make with your mouth when you want to nurse. I enjoy watching you learn and seeing how your brain works. I think I may underestimate the things you are capable of until we try them and I see how amazing you are. I think it is my brain's attempt to keep you little. I promise I will stop doing that. I adore our cuddle time that we have most days. I love that even if you aren't sleepy, if I lay with you on the couch you will still lay there and cuddle on me. I love how well you are able to play by yourself. You will spend long amounts of time just standing at your brother's toy box pulling all the toys out. You love looking at books and turning the pages. Even more than playing by yourself you enjoy when your brother plays with you. You also love when Daddy and I play with you but you don't require our entertainment as often as your brother did. It cracks me up that anytime you hear any beat or music you start to dance. You have your own set of unique dance moves and they are adorably hilarious. I wondered when I was pregnant with you if you would be just like your brother or if everything would be different. I can honestly say that I don't know if you guys could be much more different. You both have one thing in common. Neither of you know how to sleep worth crap. So with that I end this letter saying, please sleep. Mommy and Daddy are exhausted. We would be much more fun if we could just sleep. I promise!
We love you Benjamin and we can't imagine our lives with out you in it. Happy Birthday baby.
And then, in true rock-star fashion...
He was done.
When you are pregnant with your second child you often wonder, how will I ever love another child as much as my first? Then just like the Grinch, your heart grows another size. My heart has grown exponentially in the last year and I am one blessed Momma.-Rachael
Mom had one request, no pink. So the challenge was on. A girly feminine session with no pink.
Make it work.-Rachael
Paxton 6 Month Session
To say that I am a little behind on my blogging would be a giant understatement. I am so far behind that it is actually time for Paxton to have his one year session. I know it's horrifying. Being a mom of two littles and trying to run a business from home is rough. Eventually something has to give and the last six months that has been blogging. People don't get too upset if their session doesn't get blogged but they get pretty upset if they don't get their edited session in a timely manner. But I digress. This session was my first time meeting Paxton and he was pretty shy. That happens though and that is OK. I love capturing all sorts of emotions even if one of them is nervousness. He had no idea who I was or why I had a giant camera in his face but he sure stared me down and I love that. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't care if a child is smiling, laughing, cranky, or pouting if they are looking directly into my camera when they do it I fall in love.
I also have to say this was my first time meeting Teghan and she seemed equally shy to be in front of my camera. She protested and after a little convincing I got her in front of my camera. I am so glad I did. I think every mother should have pictures of themselves with their children. I think it is so important and their pictures together turned out beautifully. See for yourself.
Have a great week all. -Rachael
The Contest is OVER!
Last year was my first time entering the shoot and share contest. I was amazed by all of it. It was so much fun and so inspiring. Last year there were 110,000 photos entered into the contest and I took second place in the "That Just Happened" category and I was a finalist in the "Personal Work" category. I knew I wanted to enter again this year and I also knew the competition would be fierce. There were way more entries this year, over 225,000 in fact, which meant more (friendly) competition. I told myself in the beginning that I would be happy if my pictures placed higher over all than if I had one or two "winners" and that is exactly what happened. I am very pleased because I know that it means as a whole my work has improved and that is my goal every year. I use this competition as inspiration and drive. I want seeing all of this amazing work to push me to do better every year.
I must say I am utterly shocked by my finalist photo. I was truly guessing it would be out in the first round and have gotten a good chuckle that this accidental picture made it so far.
Here are the images that took some honors. I will tell you what category they were in and where they placed.
Yep that's right, I took a picture of glitter with my phone and it became a finalist. Do you see why I have been chuckling?
I want to say a special thank you to everyone over at Shoot and Share. Your team did an exceptional job of running this contest and doing your absolute best to make the community happy. Great job guys!
Welcome Baby Harper!
I got a call from Ashlyn at 2:45 P.M. on the 17th. This was it, she was in the hospital and they were going to go ahead and induce her. I went to bed hoping to get some sleep because I was sure I would be awaken in the middle of the night to head to the hospital. I failed. I couldn't fall asleep at 6:30 P.M., I wonder why? So I waited, and I waited and then I went to bed. I was checking my phone every hour because I was so surprised I hadn't heard from Ashlyn or Kevin. Part of me was starting to get concerned that they had taken her for a cesarean. It wasn't until 5:30 A.M. that Kevin texted me. She was at five centimeters! That's my cue. So I headed to them and was so happy to hear that while things had been slow and intense, all was well.
From there things went pretty quickly. At just before 9:00 A.M. She was at 10 centimeters. She began pushing. While Ashlyn pushed for a while Miss Harper was just not low enough yet. So the nurses decided to let her labor down. Which pretty much equates to waiting. Letting those contractions do their job and push baby girl down. At just shy of noon it was time for her to try pushing again! She pushed for an hour with the support of Kevin, her nurses, and her doctor. At the nurses suggestion she started using a mirror so she could understand how she was pushing. It wasn't long after that Harper made her entrance at 1:05 P.M. on February 18th. Then they were three. They went from a couple to a family, and the love multiplied. It is so evident in the pictures.
Watch their story below. The pictures speak far more to their story than I ever could with words.
I go way back with Gracy's momma. We worked together before either of us had kids. I remember when she told me that she had met Adam I was very excited for her. I remember feeling such happiness because she seemed so happy. She was very tight lipped about him at first and I felt like I was dragging information out of her as we worked in the back room at our job. I remember the look of excitement on her face that I recognized. It's the same way I looked when I spoke of my husband when I met him. We both moved on from that job and fast forward a year or so and she was getting married and asked if I would shoot their wedding. I said yes and I was happy to do it but it is the only wedding I have ever shot. I don't do weddings I am better with babies so imagine my excitement when I got a message telling me that they were expecting and they wanted me to do her newborn pictures, I was elated.
Gracy has always been a breeze to work with. She is just like a doll, she has this perfect creamy skin and these big bright eyes. I've had her in front of my camera many times and it is just so exciting for me to be able to capture this family's milestones. First a wedding, then their first daughter as a newborn and now we are planning her one year session. I love working with families that I have such connection with.
Now: Same park, same bench, same love, just more of it.
Happy Tuesday everyone. Have a blessed week!-Rachael
From Newborn to One
Kynleigh was such a precious baby to watch grow. I always got such a wide range with her which I just love. Some times she would give me giant smiles while other times she would just stare into my lens which i adore. She was wide awake during her newborn session but an easy baby to work with. She has always been such a joy to shoot. She is such a beautiful little girl and I know she will grow to do amazing things. Happy Birthday Kynleigh!
It has been a great joy and blessing to watch this little girl grow. Thank you for making my job so easy Miss Kynleigh. -Rachael
Little baby Charlotte came all the way from the greater St. Louis area to see me. I think her parents and I were a tad nervous. They had told me previously how important it was to them to get good sibling shots. They had also told me that big sister wanted nothing to do with baby. I figured my best shot was to lay Miss Charlie down and let Kenley just sit behind her. Imaging my surprise and happiness when she agreed to touch Charlotte and interact with her some. Charlotte wasn't too happy after being in the car for awhile so we decided since she wanted to be loved on by mom and dad, and the fact that we couldn't really reschedule that we would turn it into a family session.
It's always nice to see friends in my studio. Happy Tuesday! -Rachael
I am a mom and a photographer. My love of motherhood led me to photograph all things from bellies to birth and beyond.