Greensboro Photographer - Fitness Portraits

I have long wanted to work with fitness professionals in my photography business.  Showcasing strength and confidence is right up my alley and I love working one on one with clients.  I met Emma through my other side gig - we both work at the Adult Fitness Center at Proehlific Park.  Emma is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and is in the process of launching her online coaching business so she can start helping people worldwide.  In addition to wanting to serve and help others feel good, she is one of the most kind and sweet individuals I have ever met.  And with her British accent, I could sit and listen to her talk all day.

 

Greensboro Portrait Photographer ~ Introducing the Simply You session

Coming in 2018 are the Simply You sessions!

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I am so excited to add these sessions to my line-up in the new year.  I adore doing outdoor, scenic portrait sessions.  Everything about them is amazing and so much fun.  But, this past year for me has been about simplifying and finding peace within the chaos of every day life.  Being proactive in seeking out simplicity really forced me to see things in a different light.  One of the things that has been on my heart is getting back to exploring the natural emotions and expressions in people.  I think sometimes we get so caught up in 'trying' to be happy, that we forget to actually let ourselves work through feelings.  Having small children, I am often reminded that we are meant to experience a full plethora of emotions.  My toddler certainly exhibits a range from thrilled to angry to fake sad every single day.  And that right there is what led me to wanting to offer these sessions.

Take away the beautiful trees or cool old buildings or rolling hills.  Look away from the well thought out wardrobe.  Let's get back to basics.  These images are meant to capture the sparkle in your eye.  The expression of being deep in thought.  And even, perhaps, a little bit of annoyance (like the blonde one featured above).  These images will be raw, real and timeless.  All done on a plain white backdrop.  Just you (or your child) and me with my camera.

Portraits at Old Salem - Winston Salem Family Photographer

I was so excited when the H family requested to do their family session at Old Salem in Winston Salem.  I have seen some amazing images come from all the unique little nooks on the grounds.  I will definitely be returning for other sessions!  So pretty and so many different settings to work with.

I met Mrs H at one of the gyms (in Kernersville) where I teach group fitness classes.  Turns out we have three children all roughly the same ages, which immediately bonds two moms together.  We are also both transplants to the Triad area.  It was so fun to meet her entire family and spend the afternoon with them.  They were so chill even though it was windy and freezing outside the day of their session.

 

 

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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Greensboro Senior Photographer ~ Distinguished Young Women - North Carolina

As long as I have been booking clients, I have had a deep desire to somehow get involved with a local organization in some capacity.  One of my core missions is to help build confidence in young girls and teens.  So, imagine my excitement when a new friend basically dropped an opportunity to combine both of those wishes in my lap.

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to spend a few hours taking head shots for the NC Distinguished Young Women program in Greensboro. 

"Distinguished Young Women is a unique program that combines the chance to win college scholarships with a program that offers Life Skills training to prepare young women for the world after high school. Each year we make over $1.5 billion dollars in scholarships available and it costs nothing to enter!" (distinguishedyw.org)

This program is 100% in line with my personal values and those I hope to see instilled in young women as they grow up.  If you are a high school junior or parent, I highly recommend looking into this amazing opportunity.  The girls I met all had a sparkle in their eyes, they were kind, fun to be around, and stunning!  I am so excited to be at the final event in January.

 

It was cold, windy and rainy, but all the girls obliged a group shot outside before getting started on the work weekend.

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Darian is the reigning North Carolina Distinguished Young Woman and will be passing along the torch in a couple months.

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Greensboro Family Photographer ~ C & S

I used to be embarrassed to admit that I met friends online, but honestly, so many of my really good friends are now people I met online somewhere.  This sweet mama is one of those people and we just happened to have moved to the Greensboro area within a few months of each other.  And the really fun fact is that our daughters were in the same class at school.  Yay for new friends  - when you don't live near family, you tend to lean on each other.

We met up on an amazingly beautiful Saturday evening at Country Park in Greensboro for this session.  These 4 love to explore the great outdoors together, so this setting was perfect.  C & S are such a cute couple and you can just tell they are happy together by the way they look at each other.  And I loved getting a firsthand glimpse at how much their daughters love each other.  Little best friends are so fun to watch.

 

Greensboro Family Photographer ~ The H Family

This family portrait session has been over a decade in the making.  When I was pregnant with my first child, I joined a first time moms forum on Babycenter.com (<--is that still a thing?).  I met an amazing group of women on there and we have all continued to grow our friendships over the past 11 years.  The sweet mama in these images was one of those women.  In fact, her oldest and my oldest have the exact same Birthday!  I really never thought I'd get the chance to meet the entire H family in person.  But, lucky me, this past summer they moved across the country from Washington state to the Raleigh area and one of the first things my friend did was ask if I was still doing family sessions.  Ummm, YES!  So, one gorgeous weekend in October, we met up at Guilford Mackintosh Lake Park in Burlington and were finally able to hug each other in person.

These kiddos had me at hello.  They were so cooperative and the whole family just was genuinely fun to be around for the evening.  I am so glad they live such a short drive away now and can't wait for my own family to meet them! 

 

Greensboro Family Photographer ~ Sweet Baby E

While I don't typically consider myself a newborn photographer, sometimes I make exceptions.  No twisting my arm; hanging out with a sweet baby is relaxing and a great reminder of the good in this world.  I made the drive from Greensboro to Matthews, NC and spent a beautiful Sunday morning with this perfect baby girl and her sweet Mama. It was just what the Dr ordered.  And the peaceful feeling stuck around while I finished up editing this session.

I just know that this little piece of heaven will be a huge blessing to the P family and I cannot wait to watch her grow up. Now, if only they lived a little bit closer to me.

 

Winston Salem Event Photographer ~ Housewives in the City - Winston Salem

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to connect with local women business owners at a networking event in Winston Salem.  We met at Firebirds Grill and enjoyed an evening of conversation, learning about each other's businesses and eating good food.  I fully believe in buying local and supporting other small businesses when I can - especially home based businesses.  I know how much work and time and love goes into trying to build something from the ground up.  It's truly a labor of love and being able to connect with other people who share that same passion and mind for business is such a great experience.  

Housewives in the City is a national organization with over 80 chapters across the United States.  If you're local to the Triad, our chapter is Winston Salem.  If you're in a different region, you can find your local chapter at http://www.housewivesinthecity.com/.  This is such a great non-profit to connect with people in your area.  Meet-ups are held monthly at various locations.  I definitely recommend checking it out.

 

Greensboro Family Photographer ~ Boosting Self Confidence in Your Child

Every morning while she eats her breakfast, my toddler stared at the wall in front of her and shouts 'Mama...Dada...Lena...Baby...Dylan.'  At first I thought she was just practicing her new words, but I quickly came to discover that she was telling me that she can see her family in the pictures on the wall.

My son's bedroom floor is sprinkled with half a dozen photo books and scrapbooks that contain all the pictures that tell the story of his parents in college, his Grandparents, his life as a baby and toddler. &nbsp;He turns the pages of those books almost every single night - I gave up on making him put them back on the bookshelf.  I do not consider myself great at home decor - interior decorating just isn't where my talents lie. &nbsp;I do, however, make sure that there are pictures of our family hanging in nearly every room of our home. &nbsp;I know we live in a digital age and everyone wants to share pictures online, but I still firmly stand in the land of the printed image. &nbsp;And based on the reactions my children have and how much they love to look at old pictures, I'm glad I have stuck with the hassle of printing images.  I got my Bachelor's degree in Psychology, so it's not big surprise that I am intrigued by learning the effects of different stimuli on the brain. &nbsp;It's become increasingly interesting to me since I had my children and I am forever trying to make sure they have self confidence and know that they belong in our family. &nbsp;I stumbled upon a few articles recently that discuss how having pictures of themselves hanging on the walls of the home can help boost a child's self esteem.  Judy Weiser, a psychologist and art therapist from Vancouver, says this about displaying pictures in the home, "“They learn their genealogy and the the uniqueness of their own family and its story. When a child sees a family portrait with them included in the photograph they say to themselves:&nbsp; ‘These people have me as part of what they are, that’s why I belong here. This is where I come from. '” &nbsp;Don't we all just want to feel like we belong to someone or something? &nbsp;It's human nature.  &nbsp;“Touching the photograph where a face is smiling or the shoulders, it is the same thing as touching a book when you read it.&nbsp; There’s a lot of stimulation of the brain when you have that sensory experience. That is a bit lost in the move to digital. You are touching a keyboard, mouse or a touchscreen but you are not touching the image," says Craig Steinberg, a licensed psychologist who works with children ages 5-13.    There are so many other experts who have chimed in on this topic, but I have the proof that what they are saying is true living in my own home. &nbsp;This is why I continue to encourage and offer print packages with my sessions. &nbsp;It's tough to build confidence in such a crazy and negative world, but within the walls of our home is where we can have the most impact. &nbsp;Hanging a picture you love is such an easy way to get your family out the door on a positive note.

My son's bedroom floor is sprinkled with half a dozen photo books and scrapbooks that contain all the pictures that tell the story of his parents in college, his Grandparents, his life as a baby and toddler.  He turns the pages of those books almost every single night - I gave up on making him put them back on the bookshelf.

I do not consider myself great at home decor - interior decorating just isn't where my talents lie.  I do, however, make sure that there are pictures of our family hanging in nearly every room of our home.  I know we live in a digital age and everyone wants to share pictures online, but I still firmly stand in the land of the printed image.  And based on the reactions my children have and how much they love to look at old pictures, I'm glad I have stuck with the hassle of printing images.

I got my Bachelor's degree in Psychology, so it's not big surprise that I am intrigued by learning the effects of different stimuli on the brain.  It's become increasingly interesting to me since I had my children and I am forever trying to make sure they have self confidence and know that they belong in our family.  I stumbled upon a few articles recently that discuss how having pictures of themselves hanging on the walls of the home can help boost a child's self esteem.

Judy Weiser, a psychologist and art therapist from Vancouver, says this about displaying pictures in the home, "“They learn their genealogy and the the uniqueness of their own family and its story. When a child sees a family portrait with them included in the photograph they say to themselves: ‘These people have me as part of what they are, that’s why I belong here. This is where I come from.'”  Don't we all just want to feel like we belong to someone or something?  It's human nature.

 “Touching the photograph where a face is smiling or the shoulders, it is the same thing as touching a book when you read it. There’s a lot of stimulation of the brain when you have that sensory experience. That is a bit lost in the move to digital. You are touching a keyboard, mouse or a touchscreen but you are not touching the image," says Craig Steinberg, a licensed psychologist who works with children ages 5-13.

There are so many other experts who have chimed in on this topic, but I have the proof that what they are saying is true living in my own home.  This is why I continue to encourage and offer print packages with my sessions.  It's tough to build confidence in such a crazy and negative world, but within the walls of our home is where we can have the most impact.  Hanging a picture you love is such an easy way to get your family out the door on a positive note.

HELP! My Senior Session is Coming up, now what? | Greensboro Senior Photographer

Prepping for your Senior year of High School is exciting, nerve wrecking, stressful and fun all the same time.  Your senior pictures should be in the fun part, but I know there is a lot to prepare for.  So, let me help take some of the guesswork out of things by answering some of the questions I get asked the most!

Q:  I have my session scheduled, what comes next?  

As soon as your name hits my calendar, you will receive a follow-up email from me.  Attached to this email will be a questionnaire.  It asks for a lot of personal information - things such as what your favorite music is, what type of session are you dreaming of, what's your personality type, do you play any sports, what are your hobbies, etc.  I use these forms so I can really get a good sense of who you are so I can plan your session accordingly.  Once I've had a chance to review your answers, we will have another phone call or email to discuss location options and go over outfit styling.
 

Q:  Where do I change my clothes?

No worries, you will not be on display!  I bring a pop-up changing tent with me to every session.  Some clients use it and others are comfortable just changing in the car.  Occasionally, we will be at a location that allows you to use their public restroom.  It all depends on where we end up.  I also encourage females to wear bike shorts or some other type of fitted short under their outfits.

 

Q:  Who do I bring with me to my session?

This is your session and I encourage you to bring only those who help you feel at ease and most like yourself.  Most Seniors come with Mom, but I have had a cousin or best friend or sibling tag along on occasion.  If you are feeling nervous, it could be good to have someone with you who can make you laugh.  I consider myself a good conversationalist and will do my best to help you feel comfortable.

 

Q:  Where will my session take place?

This is something we will discuss via phone call or email after you've booked your session.  Most Seniors choose 2-3 locations, usually a different vibe for each.  You'll need to think about what kind of look you want - downtown with lots of brick and old buildings, graffiti walls, fields of flowers, water, in the woods, etc.  I'm willing to shoot where ever (except train tracks - that's illegal and I don't do illegal).  If you have a specific location in mind, let me know!  If a location requires an entrance fee, we can most definitely shoot there, but please know the fee is your responsibility.  If you don't have a location in mind, that's fine too.  I spend a lot of time driving around and finding unique locations with beautiful light - I am happy to recommend something I think would fit the idea you have in your head.

 

Q:  What should I wear?  And for girls, how should I do my hair and makeup?

First things first, do NOT wear something you feel uncomfortable in.  Your Senior pictures you reflect who you are at this time in your life.  If you don't feel good in your outfit, that will most definitely show in your images.  I always recommend choosing 3 different styles of outfit - something more dressy, a casual every day outfit, and then something that shows off your interests/hobbies (ex if you play a sport or are a dancer).  I've even done a guy who decided to go shirtless to show off his tattoos.  Don't forget accessories!  They might be small, but a great chunky bracelet or a sparkly ring really help pull the style together.  And shoes...this is a great time to show off your favorites, I love a great cowboy boot.  Girls, don't forget those nails.  Please do not come with chipping nail polish - either have them painted/manicured or keep them clean, goes for toes too if you're wearing sandals.  As for hair and makeup, some prefer to visit a salon and makeup counter prior to their session and others prefer to do their own.  This is completely up to you!  If you want that airbrushed, perfect makeup look, then by all means go get that done!  If you prefer to go more natural, then just bring your fresh faced self.  Remember - this is YOUR session and I want you to feel super confident.

 

Q:  Can I bring props?

Sure!  Props can really help bring your personality and hobbies into the session.  Play Volleyball?  Bring that ball.  You love to dance?  Bring those ballet slippers.  Love your car?  We can certainly work that in.  

 

Q:  My session is over, now what?

You can expect to see a sneak peek from your session within 48 hours on my social media platforms.  Feel free to tag yourself and share with your family and friends!  Your full gallery of edited images will be available to you within 3 weeks.  I will schedule an in person viewing session with you and your parents.  This viewing will either be in my home or your home.  All decision makers need to be present, as you will be placing your print order at this time.  I will bring samples so you can see and feel the quality of the products I offer and get a sense for sizing.  After your order has been placed, you can expect to receive your products in 3-4 weeks.

 

Hopefully I was able to answer most of your questions here, but if there's something I didn't think of please reach out to me!  Ready to book your amazing Senior Session?  You can reach me via the 'contact' tab on my website, via email (audraephotography@gmail.com) or on my cell phone 336-690-3131 - I respond to calls and texts.  I am currently booking sessions for the Class of 2018 in Greensboro and the surrounding Triad NC region.  I can't wait to help you kick off your Senior year!

P FAMILY | Greensboro Family Photographer

My relationship with this family goes way back, actually it goes back an entire decade!  This mama and I met at a Mom and Me class at The Little Gym in Holly Springs, NC when our oldest children were just babies.  We have both lived in several states and homes since then and have added a few more kids to the mix.  Somehow, we ended up back in the same state and close enough that we can still spend some time together on occasion.  Lucky me!

The P family drove up from Charlotte for their session.  We met at the beautiful Magnolia Manor in Colfax.  It's a little, not so hidden treasure I stumbled across and the weather was perfection that afternoon.  Great day to capture these adorable smiles.

Can't wait to meet their new addition this Fall!  You can count on seeing some of that cuteness around these parts in a few months.

Greensboro Senior Photographer ~ Page High School ~ Meet Malin

I met Malin in a round-a-bout way.  Her mom regularly attends a fitness class I teach at a local fitness center here in Greensboro.  Being that we had recently moved here when I first started teaching, I was talking to her mom about how I didn't know any babysitters.  Voila!  She offered up her daughter, who loves kids, and the rest is history.  I can be somewhat shy and reserved, but not when it comes to getting someone to help me with my munchkins.

Malin, my girls (I don't typically bring them to sessions, but they adore this girl) and I met up at the Paul J Ciener Botanical Garden in Kernersville.  It was perfectly cloudy, breezy, and warm - basically a great evening for a photo shoot.  The location was gorgeous and had a good mix of the natural/plant vibe and lots of brick and stone to satisfy my love of a 'downtown' vibe.  I will definitely be going back for other sessions.

While most High School Seniors take the summer off to spend some quality time with friends and family before they head off to college, Malin is cutting that short.  She is heading out on a huge, scary and (what is sure to be) an amazing adventure pretty much as soon as she tosses her cap.  It's going to be so much fun watching where life takes her.  

Best of luck, Malin!  

On Being a MomTog | Greensboro Family Photographer

Being a photographer with my own children is both awesome and a little frustrating.  If you're a parent, then you can probably relate with me when I say my children are always better behaved for other adults than they are for me.  I have no problem having amazing sessions with other children - I can always manage some smiles and spontaneous fun.  With my own children, however, I just never ever know which attitude they are going to bring to a shoot - if I can even get them out the door.  The plus side, however, is that I can gauge when they might be in a cooperative mood and can head out the door at any given moment with nothing more than my camera and my child.

As I have been getting more acclimated to Greensboro and Winston-Salem, I am finding so many amazing locations for photo sessions.  I stumbled upon this pretty field a couple weeks ago after dropping off a babysitter.  When I saw the trees speckled with all the pretty flowers, I knew it would be the perfect spot for my 7 year old's annual photo shoot.  She's obsessed with pretty flowers so I figured she'd oblige me.  Thankfully, she did not disappoint and I managed to capture who she is at age 7.

World...Meet my sassy SEVEN year old.  I may be biased, but isn't she gorgeous?  (oh, and the almost two year old had to jump in because, helloooooo, matching dresses from Gymboree)

Greensboro Senior Photographer ~ Northwest Guilford HS ~ Meet Grace

Hey hey!  Time to finally get this new blog kicked off.  It's taken me a little bit of time to call Greensboro 'home', but I truly feel like this is my place.  The place where I think my family will finally settle down and get comfortable.  Which, for me, means that I finally feel like I can pick my photography business back up and make a name for myself.  (For those of you who I haven't known long, I had a pretty great photography business going when my family lived in Michigan a few years ago.  Had to put it on the back burner for a few years because, well, family first and we moved twice.)

With that being said, a few weeks ago, I was able to meet up with a super sweet girl to start refreshing my high school student portfolio.  February has had amazing weather in North Carolina this year.  We ended up with a perfect afternoon and found a location in Colfax with amazing lighting. Grace is one of my model representatives at Northwest High School in Greensboro.  Her family recently moved to the area and we got to be neighbors for a few shorts months.  She is already finding her place and plays both Varsity Volleyball and recently made the Girls Softball team - Go Vikings.  On top of being a great athlete, Grace is also really funny, friendly, beautiful and all around just plain fun to hang out with.  And my kids say she bakes a mean chocolate chip cookie.  What can I say?  Working with teenagers, I need to capitalize on the babysitting perks, too.

Meet Grace - Class of 2019