her gift

i sometimes wake in the early morning & listen to the soft breathing of my children & i think to myself, this is one thing i will never regret & i carry that quiet with me all day long.- storypeople

hilary emailed me months ago, sharing that the only thing she wanted for mother's day was for me to photograph her family, while they were vacationing here in florida. she wondered if i was available. i made sure i was available.  hilary, i'm flattered and honored and i hope that your photos are everything you dreamed for and more.  thank you for trusting me!

the girls are night and day from one another.  one loves math.  the other loves to sing. one is serious. the other giggly. one couldn't wait to get in the water.  the other never got in.  and i had an awesome time photographing each of them.

i hope you're all treating the moms in your life to something special for mother's day.

oh yea... and happy earth day.


it's been a while

just wanted to wish all the moms out there a very happy mother's day!  i hope you're being celebrated today -- and continue to every day. some mom photographs i've been blessed to capture over the years...

and here's an interesting little tidbit on the founding of mother's day.


past few weeks have been crazy. filled with...   two weeks of traveling.   seven client shoots. two editorial shoots. teaching a workshop.   taking a workshop. not much time on the computer. teaching another workshop next week. and lots of prepping for africa, which is just a short bit away now.  

hoping to catch up and share more very soon.

what ____ looks like | month seven

where has february gone?  it seems to have just flown by.  but i guess, really, every month seems to feel that way.  here's a bit of what our everyday-kind-of-days in february looks looked like... as with every month, four trips to the horse farm / petting zoo.  always a new friend or two. and many old friends.

the new barn kitten had an eye infection, but my kids loved all over him anyways. and a rat got loose but didn't go far from his hairless friend.

fighting for attention.

falling off the new horse.

and bravely getting right back on.

barn windows.

the reptile room -- one of his favorites.

tire swing at the farm.

his new walking path.



the aviary.

my boy.

dirty feet -- more often than not.

boat ride with friends.

seeing dolphin along the way.

our almost-private island.

heading home.

hands off!

a visit with jen.

and shooting with jen.

one minute up | the next minute upside-down.

sky and ryder with my camera.


few quick photos during our shoot.

balancing act.

trip to the state fair.

building the snail a home of shells.

which ended with the boy yelling in the girl's ear and the girl giving a throat punch.

after gymnastics.

portraits with my new lens.

chicken, for the school 'moosical'.

his first speaking line -- "but others are boiled and made into chicken soup...buccbuuuuuuk."

the gift she made her best friend, using the separation of cool and warm colors.


there’s a circle of 12 photographers participating in this what ____ looks like monthly project.  i hope you’ll check them all out [clicking link to link]. next up… chubby cheek photography | child photographer.

family favs | 2011

sharing some favorites of my kids from this past year.  my goal was to narrow it down to 20 images; however, i didn't quite make it.  28 images | 35 photographs...

one of the best changes i made with my photography in 2011 was to take more everyday photos of my kids.  i plan on doing even better in 2012.

lensbaby | interview and info

so fun to see my lensbaby interview reposted on the lensbaby blog yesterday.  not sure if i ever shared the interview here...

i get asked a lot of questions regarding shooting with a lensbaby (i've actually received five emails over the past couple days).  most often, it's inquiring about my favorite lensbaby products or which products i'd recommend. so i thought i'd share a bit about that here (lensbaby makes for a great christmas gift).

first, you need a lens.  i have both the composer and composer pro lenses. the composer pro is definitely more solid / sturdy feeling.  and for a $50 difference, i'd go with the pro.

then you need an optic (or two or three...). i started using a lensbaby years ago, with the double glass optic. some are discouraged by the fact that with the double glass optic, you have to internally swap aperture rings.  however, honestly...i rarely swap the ring. most of the time i'm shooting with with the f/4 ring in.

not long ago, lensbaby released the sweet 35 optic, which is awesome because you can adjust the aperture on the outside [versus having to insert a new aperture ring in the optic].  the sweet 35 is an awesome optic; however, for me personally, i've become so used to my double glass optic (some habits are hard to break) and i seem to be more of a 50mm shooter than a 35mm shooter.  so i still seem to default much of the time to using the double glass optic.

i have almost all the optics and wish i could share more thoughts on the other optics but i haven't shot with any others -- YET!! it's definitely one of my 2012 goals; experimenting and playing with the other lensbaby optics.  anyone want to model for me?

here's a few of my favorite lensbaby photos shot in 2011...

and i'm so honored to have this shot grace lensbaby's sweet 35 optic box.


no, i didn't see her cape but i secretly think that kristin is superwoman. five kids, ages one to 12. all so well behaved, kind and polite. her husband often away for work.  she home schools. and who looks this amazing after five kids, with the youngest just turning one? yep, superwoman, i say. i was supposed to photograph the young family a month ago, but it was rained out. they were driving from gainesville and we just couldn't take a chance with the weather we were having at the time. well...it just so happened that her ten-year-old had a football game in clearwater this past friday, so we did a session with kristin and the kids on saturday. and i'm super excited to be photographing the whole family in the spring, when kristin's husband is done traveling for a bit.

kristin is an awesome photographer, who recently moved from california to gainesville. and while i'm so honored each and every time i'm commissioned by my peers, it also adds some added stress and pressure [self-imposed, of course].

what if i don't live up to her expectations? what if she's disappointed? what if... what if... what if...

but i'm happy to say that this is what kristin shared after seeing some of her photos...

at loss of words...really (and i can talk.) loveeverysingleoneofthem. (as in, have the huge urge to take down every single photo in my house and just put these up instead.)

love them, love, them. LOVE LOVE LOVE them.

cannot thank you enough, deb.  from the very bottom of my heart....k

and with that said, my heart is SO, SO happy!! again kristin, i can't thank you enough for entrusting me with your family's photographs!!

here's a few of my favorites...

lensbaby love

most of the time when i photograph other photographers and their families, i try to focus on family shots and photos of the photographer with his or her kids (because we're just not in the family's photos very much).  needless to say, my heart was so very happy when karen requested some lensbaby photos of her kids.  here are a few of my favorites, from our time together in chicago (which reminded me so much of growing up and made me miss the midwest).

having a 14-year-old, who most of the time doesn't want to have anything to do with me, this photo melts my heart...

the good, bad and ugly

...the real. where should i start? okay, let's start with the good. i had such an awesome time in both san diego and chicago. i got to hang out with lots of friends (old and new).  i shot a ton, which of course, i love and i'm so, so grateful for all the families who entrusted me with their photographs. i'm all caught up on mail and bill paying after two weeks away. i just read this post by the awesome tara whitney. reading that poem makes my heart so happy (tara also recently shared this awesome post). i'm now back home with my family!! YAY!! and i was recently interviewed by lensbaby and the interview went live a few days ago (so, so exciting, even if i do sound a bit like minnie mouse).

the bad and ugly. so it's really not THAT bad or THAT ugly but... i'm 12 sessions in the hole and trying to crawl my way out. but it's slow going. very slow going. i need to unpack. i have to clean, do laundry and grocery shop. i have a shit-load of emails to respond to, but i seem to have become an expert procrastinator with that right now. i need to finish writing something for another photographer (promised i'd get it to her tonight). i need to return phone calls. and well...there's much more where that came from.  yes...after two weeks away, i'm trying not to feel overwhelmed.  every now and then, i feel it sneaking up on me, trying to creep into my soul. but i keep fighting it. shaking it off.

to top things off, i haven't worked out in 2-1/2 months and have been eating like total shit, which isn't helping me feel very good right now. i've gained five pounds, feel fluffy and overall just feel yucky. i'm back to crossfit three times a week, starting tomorrow. i also decided that i'm going to take a couple photos like this tomorrow morning because it's only fair.  i want to keep being real and not just share about my health and fitness when the going is good. it's not going to be pretty strong and healthy, but it will be real.

i sit here blogging as i'm transferring photo files from my laptop to my main computer.  i'm trying to i WILL resist all temptation to visit facebook, pinterest and twitter because each of those usually equates to a major time-suck. i'm trying to keep focused, prioritize and work hard, knowing that eventually it will all get done. i also need to keep myself in check that once my kids are home from school, work stops.  i am theirs -- all theirs!! work doesn't resume until after they go to bed and then it's back at it... tackling one to-do item at a time.

hope this doesn't come across as complaining. it's just life. and i'm grateful for every bit of it -- the good and the not-so-good.

maui | part three

visits with old friends.meeting new friends. lunch and shopping at the super cool town of paia. gin and tonics with cucumber and mint. photo session on fleming beach. steve... kite boarding lessons. times two. early morning snorkeling at molokini crater. clear water. lots of fish, an eel and seven sea turtles. an incredible last-night's dinner at nick's fish house. and through it all, i feel so blessed to have experienced the most amazing reconnection with my husband. i never want to forget our time spent together in maui.

steve, thank you for loving me!!

and now... on to vail, for the awesome NAPCP retreat.  so excited to be speaking on the 27th.

being content

katelyn had contacted me a while back about doing photos of she and her husband. and then she saw i was coming to utah.  so she packed up for the weekend, did the six-hour drive, from colorado to utah, and met me there. katelyn's husband couldn't get away but i was able to photograph the beautiful katelyn. my hope was that i could show her in photographs the beauty, strength and peace that we all see in her in person.

and today, i received this beautiful note from katelyn...

I am writing you with tears of happiness and hope streaming down my face. I find myself sneaking looks at my computer throughout the day just to look at the incredible images you captured of me in Utah. It almost feels as if I am looking at someone who is not me- ALMOST. The person in these images looks so at peace... and strong. Two words I never thought could describe be.

For a large chunk of my life I was so concerned with what other people thought about me that I didn't think of myself and the actions I took were based on what I thought others would approve of. I felt I needed to look/dress/act/think a certain way in order to be liked. In trying to be like everyone else and fit this societal mold- I lost myself.

I've always had this idea of who I was but I was too afraid to let it show. It has only been within this last year that I have begun to figure out who I really am. In the past few months I have done so many of the things I've always wanted to do and I'm finally becoming Katelyn. I am on this beautiful journey toward being comfortable in my own skin and knowing that I am enough.

This is such a momentous time in my life and I'm so excited to have “proof” that I am content with being me.

I feel like there is no expression of gratitude that could even come close to letting you know how truly grateful I am for these images. Thank you for helping me to let go of fear and thank you, a thousand times over, for making me beautiful in my own eyes.

my wish is that every woman can make this peace with themselves. to see their own beauty and strength. to be content in their own skin...with who they are and all they have to offer. and always remember that each one of us is absolutely... beautiful and special and unique!

the entire weekend in utah was incredible. and powerful.  the land is absolutely majestic. the company was oh-so-inspiring. and hilarious (i haven't laughed as hard as i did that weekend, in a really long time). thank you girls for a magical weekend!! can't wait till the next time.


also, please don't forget that my mini-workshop registration opens tomorrow at 9 AM CST on the bloom forum. you must be a bloom forum member to participate in the workshop. to register for the bloom forum or for additional information, please click the bloom logo below...

The Bloom Forum

angels among us

most people don't know there are angels whose only job is to make sure you don't get too comfortable and fall asleep and miss your life. - storypeople

just returned from the most amazing, magical weekend in park city, utah. the kind of weekend where you laugh so hard, you cry. the kind of weekend that feeds your soul more than you could have imagined. the kind of weekend where you can hardly believe the amount of beauty that surrounds you. the kind of weekend where all you keep thinking about is how incredibly blessed and lucky you are!!

and i'm so not exaggerating!!  now...it's back to editing. through the wee hours of the night. for many, many, many days ahead. more to come but have some serious catching up to do first!

also, super excited that travel sessions are filling up, for september -- san diego, NY and chicago. please make sure to inquire soon, if interested.

a hat, framed and your voice

hats can be short,and hats can be tall. you can wear them to the market, or you can wear them playin' ball.

some people wear their hats to block away the sun. some people wear their hats just because they think it's fun.

the pilgrims, they wore hats, and nurses do too. sombreros are a spanish hat, but that I bet you knew.

hats can be all colors, all shapes and sizes too. like a cowboy hat or a pirates hat in black or white or blue.

magicians use their hats to pull their rabbits from. and a sailor has his hat on when it's home from sea he comes.

there are hats for all occasions and many places too. last night we thought we'd model this hat for you. - author unknown

came across the above poem and couldn't help but share.  reminds me of dr. seuss, which we read nightly in this house and...last night, i asked sky if she'd let me take a few photos of her, to test out my new hat. (the poem will also be a perfect addition for my family's annual book.)  we didn't have a lot of time to shoot last night -- about 15 minutes in between sky and ryder's gymnastic start times and then about 10 minutes when we got home (until we had enough of being attacked by mosquitoes).

photos shot with lensbaby composer | double optic and nikon 50mm f/1.4G

also, i wanted to share this video series i just discovered and am totally diggin' -- [framed] show, by melissa niu. i watched ryan muirhead's [framed] video yesterday and i can't stop thinking about his closing words...

...find your own voice and the only way to do that is by working. you can't read up on it. you can't learn it. you can't absorb it from someone else. but if you're out there shooting constantly -- on good days, on bad days, when you're feeling creative, when you're not...carry a tiny camera with you everywhere you go. if you do that enough, your voice will find you. it's inevitable.

YES... your voice will find you.

thanks ryan for your ongoing inspiration and the reminder to keep shooting...through the good days and the funks!!

lensbaby love

i get asked a lot of questions about my shots like these...

the above images were all taken with the lensbaby composer and double glass optic.  i just can't say enough regarding either product.

and lensbaby recently launched a couple new products, which i'm super stoked about --the sweet 35 optic and the composer pro.

i already have the sweet 35 optic (but haven't had it very long at all). it's awesome. it's different. and i can't wait to play with it more.  below are a few shots that i've taken over the past couple weeks.  i really haven't shot a lot, period, over the past couple months...something i'm hoping to remedy soon. very, very soon!

and i should be getting my composer pro next week.

i just can't wait.

oh yea, one more thing... it's truly an honor to share that the photo below was selected for the packaging of the composer pro.  purchase a composer pro and you'll find this image beautifully wrapped around the box.  thanks lensbaby!!

ETA:  one thing i forgot to mention is that with the sweet 35 optic, the aperture can easily be switched, from f/2.5 - f/22.  the double glass does not offer that.  but the two definitely have their own, unique look and feel (IMHO).  and i will always love my double glass.  which means i'm completely torn on which optic to purchase, if you're purchasing a lensbaby for the first time.

you are significant

You were born a daughter.You looked up to your mother. You looked up to your father. You looked up at everyone. You wanted to be a princess. You thought you were a princess. You wanted to own a horse. You wanted to be a horse. You wanted your brother to be a horse. You wanted to wear pink. You never wanted to wear pink. You wanted to be a Veterinarian. You wanted to be President. You wanted to be the President's Veterinarian. You were picked last for the team. You were the best one on the team. You refused to be on the team. You wanted to be good in algebra. You hid during algebra. You wanted the boys to notice you. You were afraid the boys would notice you. You started to get acne. You started to get breasts. You started to get acne that was bigger than your breasts. You wouldn't wear a bra. You couldn't wait to wear a bra. You couldn't fit into a bra. You didn't like the way you looked. You didn't like the way your parents looked. You didn't want to grow up. You had your first best friend. You had your first date. You had your second best friend. You had your second first date. You spent hours on the telephone. You got kissed. You got to kiss back. You went to the prom. You didn't go to the prom. You went to the prom with the wrong person. You spent hours on the telephone. You fell in love. You fell in love. You fell in love. You lost your best friend. You lost your other best friend. You really fell in love. You became a steady girlfriend. You became a significant other. YOU BECAME SIGNIFICANT TO YOURSELF.

Sooner or later, you start taking yourself seriously. You know when you need a break. You know when you need a rest. You know what to get worked up about and what to get rid of. And you know when it's time to take care of yourself, for yourself. To do something that makes you stronger, faster, more complete.

Because you know it's never too late to have a life. And never too late to change one.


- Nike

omg. this has me in tears this morning. the kind of tears that make it hard to breathe. hard to swallow. a lump in my throat, as i read. and re-read.

my friend, tara, shared this nike ad today on facebook. i had never seen it. she said she had it taped to her wall as a teen. today, i will share it with my teen. i will print it for her, with hopes that she will pin it on her inspiration board. with hopes that she will read it and re-read it and embrace the words.

kiele is thirteen. turning fourteen in a month. and as i read the words above, the remaining teen years just flew in front of my eyes. in a blur. i ache knowing that she is growing up so quickly. in a few years, she will be in college. most likely no longer living with us. at the same time, i'm so proud of who she is. the beautiful little lady she has grown to be. i truly couldn't be prouder!!

it took me a long (a VERY long) time to become significant to myself. i hope that i can teach kiele different. i will definitely do my best...to share that she is significant NOW. and will be forever!

thanks tara for sharing. for sharing something so beautiful. that has affected me so deeply.