family life

Project 52 - March 2018 - Greensboro Photographer

March kind of kicked me on my tail, so my personal weekly photography project got placed on the back burner.  I did manage a few captured moments, but it definitely needs improved upon for April.  Lucky for me two notable things happened in March - I finally was able to purchase a new DSLR camera (more to come on how I made my selection in a future blog post) and Easter fell on the very last day of the month.  Those are the only reasons I have any pictures from the month.  Bad Momtog!

 

Simply You, E - Greensboro Child Photographer

March was the month for six month old babies with names starting with E!  So much cuteness in my house.  Baby E lit up the room one Saturday morning and it just made my day.  Six months is an age of discovery - babies are finding their voice, their hands, other people and their feet (my personal favorite).  It's so fun to watch them find so much joy in simple things.  If only we could hang onto that as we get older!  Such a great reminder to find joy in every day.

 

Project 52 - February 2018 - Greensboro Photographer

I'm really not sure where February went.  It pretty much flew by in a haze of traveling husband, sick kids, me being sick and random projects/events.  I did manage to keep up with my Project 52, but the 365 took a hit and I'm okay with that.  In the end, I'm still taking way more pictures of my personal life and that is the whole point.

February marked one more step toward no more baby stuff in our house.  I noticed how much the pacifier was messing up my toddler's teeth.  One morning I woke up to find her and everything in her crib (including the binkies) covered in vomit.  So, rather than buying new ones, I encouraged her to throw them away and be a big girl.  She happily obliged and that was it.  She shocked me because she really loved those things, but she hardly shed a tear that first night and never asked for them again.

And I have very obviously been on a black and white kick lately.  I even ordered a few canvas for my dining room and those are all black and white, too.  I'm loving the simplicity of it.

Simply You, M Twins - Greensboro Child Photographer

I really really love these Simply You sessions, you guys.  The focus on the person is just striking such a chord with me. 

I had never met the M twins prior to the morning of our sessions.  When I arrived at their home, I was greeted by L - who immediately grabbed my hand and pulled me into the house.  All with a smile on his sweet face while he said "Come in, nice to meet you."  Such impressive manners for such a young little man.  I was smitten.  Then his brother, T, came around the corner with a big ol' grin on his face and I couldn't resist the smile or the amazing dark curls.  Lucky lucky parents!

 

Project 52 - A 2018 Lifestyle Journey

I have always wanted to do a Project 52 or the even more ambitious 365, but life has been so hectic for the past 7 years I just felt overwhelmed at the thought of such an undertaking.  But, as I sat down to think about the things I want to FOCUS (my word of the year) on for 2018, I really want to get back to documenting my family's life day to day.  When my oldest was born and through his toddler years, I had a personal blog and every year I created photo books using those blog posts.  As I was looking back through those books, I realized they stopped when my middle child was 2.  That immediately made me sad!  It was right then I committed to finally completing a Project 52 (and am actually thinking about making it a 365).


I always think things like this are more fun with friends, so I have created a Facebook group to share, inspire, encourage and motivate each other.  When I put out the call for others to join me, I expected a handful to request to join me.  But, the number has already surpassed my expectations and it's not even January 1st!  This group is open to all - cell phone, dslr or point and shoot - I really don't care what you're using.  All I care about is that this group encourages you to find joy in the every day and make sure you have something to look back on later in life.  Personally, my intention is to use my big camera (Canon 5D) on my own family and not just for clients.  I plan to create a yearbook for each of my kids for Christmas every year and I want to make sure I have plenty of memories to fill the pages with. 

If you'd like to join us, hop on over to Facebook and request to join the group - Project 52: A 2018 Journey.  The more the merrier!  All I ask is that the atmosphere stays positive, no critiques unless asked, and encourage the other members to complete their journey. I have created a document of themes for each week of the year - you can use that to inspire you or do your own thing.  I plan to highlight some of the images on my business Facebook page (Audra E Photography) and here on the blog.

I can't wait to see what memories everyone is capturing in the new year!

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Greensboro Family Photographer ~ Top tips for stress free Family Portraits

You know I have three small children.  I know a lot of you have small children.  In which case, we all know that finding some spare time in your already packed calendar to schedule your family portrait session is actually the easiest part of the whole process. 

What are we going to wear? How do I get my husband to smile? What if my kid throws a tantrum?  What if they run and fall and end up with mud all over their clothes? What if I don't like the way I look? 

I get it. I've been there.  In fact, most of the time, I'm still in the same situation AND I add the stress of trying to get amazing images of my own family.  You see, I'm a huge procrastinator and therefore can never get my act together enough to schedule a photographer for myself.  Plus, I'm a little picky and like to do my own editing.  But, here's the thing, you are always thinking of worst case scenario.  So, here are my top three tips for lowering that stress level and actually finding a way to ENJOY spending an hour of quality time with your family.

Number One - Bribery works really well.  I'm not normally on board for bribes with children, but in this case it actually does work.  Case and point, my 7 year old was adamantly against letting me take her picture.  I don't take it personally because she just doesn't like being the center of attention.  But, I passed on buying the school portraits this year and I need updated images for Christmas gifts.  I have my anxious kiddos on some food restrictions for various reasons, so I knew that if I offered up something that is normally forbidden she would be all in.  I even let her choose which forbidden treat she would get.  That girl smiled like I have never seen her smile before...and I dare say she actually looked like she was having fun.  Her treat of choice?  Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies...chock full of ingredients that make me (as her mama) cringe.  But, I got what I wanted and so did she.

Number Two - Come in a wardrobe that is comfortable!  If you are not a fancy schmancy family, then DO NOT come dressed like you're going to a black tie affair.  Dad will be annoyed and tugging at his bow tie.  Mom will be worried about her Spanx staying put.  Little Ava will will be whining that her tulle skirt is too itchy.  And Little Evan will be trying to rip off the buttons on his shirt.  You're setting yourself up for a very unpleasant experience.  Now, I'm not saying you can't dress up your norm a little bit, but if your kids are used to wearing UnderArmour try to keep them at the same comfort level.  And Mom...wear something you feel good in.  Now is not the time to test out that jumpsuit you swore you'd never wear. (<---I don't worry about that one, but one of you might)

Number Three - and this one might be the most important - TRUST YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER! You hired this person for a reason.  You scoped out their portfolio. You got recommendations from friends. You've talked to them via phone call or email. If they are the person you liked when you hired them, they know what they're doing. If Johnny is running amuck and won't stay in a pose - try not to yell at him or make threats.  Your children are not the only ones who do this...actually 99.9% of them do this.  We have tricks up our sleeves.  And even when those tricks don't work, we work with it and we know how to use our camera ninja skills.  I promise you, we WILL get that amazing shot. Try to relax and just let us do what you hired us to do.  The image below of my own two daughters, is a good example of kids not wanting to stay in a pose.  That two year old is a little cray cray and has a stubborn streak like you wouldn't believe.  She had no interest in holding sisters' hand, she was more interested in running in the rain or chasing the dog walking behind me.  I could have gotten extremely frustrated, but instead I just went with it and let the girls do what they wanted.  And what did I get?  Oh, only my favorite image from the whole session.

 

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The things we hold close

My family has moved around...A LOT.  In our 13 years of marriage, my husband and I have lived in 9 homes.  My oldest son (who is almost 11), has been to 5 new schools in the past 5 years.  You learn a lot when you don't stay put and you almost become numb to change.  We don't hold on to a lot of 'stuff' because, well, that's just one more thing we have to pack and load and unpack the next time we head to a new home.  

But, each time we move in to a new home, one of the very first things I do is start hanging family pictures on the walls.  It's not something I have consciously done, but looking back I have always felt immediately like a new place is home as soon as I can see my family memories in it.  I think that is one very big reason I gravitated toward becoming a photographer.  Things really don't mean a whole lot to me, but in all of the images of my family, I can see every single memory we have made together. It really tends to change your perspective when you get intentional about giving yourself visual reminders of the important things in life.

Previously, my photography blog has been strictly all about the portrait sessions I am showcasing for my clients. I will continue to showcase each and every session because I want my clients to know how truly amazing I think they all are.  But, something has been tugging at my heart lately and I just feel like it will tie in seamlessly to my passion for my business. 

So, from here on out, you will frequently find posts, ideas, and tactical ways to live life more intentionally.  Learning to really cherish the things most important to you on a daily basis.  This has been something I have really been working on within the walls of my own home for a years now and I can't even begin to tell you how much it has changed the Spirit in our home.  We feel more deeply.  We are happier.  We are learning to speak to each other and act according to the way the other person feels love. We are taking time to be present. 

 

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