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Category Archives: special projects

Suzana Turns 10! {Huntington WV children’s photographer}

Suzana’s parents and our family have been friends for years, but I’ve never had the opportunity to photograph them.  Imagine my joy when Rachael (mom) called and asked me to help her brainstorm a special session for Suzana’s 10th birthday!  We carefully selected location, outfits, themes and her expectations for the session….I was so excited by the time the day finally arrived.

We had the most perfect weather– not too hot, not too cold– and sweet Suzana hammed it up for me.  I love how we were able to bring Rachael’s vision to life– to celebrate Suzana being herself….laughing, dancing, leaping, even making a duck face (but we decided together to not keep that one 😉 ).  Suzana is such an incredibly cheerful child and I really enjoyed getting to spend this special time with her and celebrate this milestone.

Enjoy these images from one of my favorite sessions to date!

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Prints are Important!

For me, there is something so powerful about printed work…. its lasting permanence, the emotional impact it brings to the viewer. My commitment to providing my clients with prints from every session has always been a core value in my business.
This print, a 16×48″ panoramic view of the entire staff and student body at FWES, makes me SO proud!!! Commissioned last fall, the image gives ownership of the school to the students and is now a focal point in the foyer of the building. Imagine my complete and utter joy this morning when I walked in a forgotten reading book (lol- mom life!) and saw it hanging for all to see! Imagine, still, how it felt for several students to stop by and find themselves in the image– “There I am!”, they exclaimed. My heart is full. <3

 

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Favorites- 2016’s best client images

Time for my annual review of images from my client sessions from the previous year! I always love looking back– not only is a great reminder of the amazing families and children with whom I’ve created, but I truly like to analyze and reflect on the work…why did I choose that particular pose? If I processed it in color- would the impact have been greater in black and white? I’ve even been known to re-edit prior works if I run across a new skill or technique that I think would enhance.  I guess you could say I just like to think ;).  So– without further adieu, and in no particular order….here are my favorite client images from 2016:

 

 

Nicole’s senior session….not only is this child incredibly beautiful, she’s also amazingly intelligent and a state-champion athlete!  It has been such a pleasure watching her grow up and I am so eager to see what the future holds for this shining star.  For this photo, we were in a nearby park and the sun was streaming *just so* through the trees… I love how small and delicate she looks here.  It reminds me a little of  a Tinkerbell/fairy princess photo… I adore it. If you want to see the rest of Nicole’s session, look here.

 

Oh, baby Liana is beyond adorable, isn’t she?  Ever since her grandma called me (all the way from Chicago!!) I have been enamored with her family.  Her newborn session was a breeze, this fall session was so perfectly styled and we had the best weather. Plus, in a couple of weeks she’ll be coming back to me for her first birthday and a cake smash session!  I am beyond excited!  I loved this image because it’s just so REAL– she is joyful and happy and her parents are completely smitten by her…it warms my heart. 

 

This photo makes my heart sing and makes me want to cry all at once.  Marra and her mom met me for a session in the fall on a cold, chilly day.  I didn’t know them before but it was an instant connection and I liked them both so much, especially how snuggly Marra was with her mommy.  This was a totally unscripted moment– I just encouraged them to connect with one another and whispered to Marra that maybe she might want to make her mom laugh…and this frame was born.  It’s real, it’s un-posed, and the perfect depiction of a mama and her girl…. since I have a girl around the same age the bittersweetness of the moment is not lost on me….we are holding them tight but they’re still growing up on us. 

 

Oh baby Grayson…so adorable!  When his mom got out this baby deer outfit I almost died– how was I even supposed to deal with this cuteness??  That little tail sticking up kills me every time and those ANTLERS?  No…I can’t.  He is so precious! 

 

Back to Liana again…I told you I can’t get enough!  This photo I loved anyway when I first took it…she only yawned the one time and thankfully I was already prepped and caught it in time.  Later, I chose to convert it to black and white and I’m still glad I did…for me, removing the color helps me to focus on the innocence of her little baby self…not a care in the world, just warm and cozy in my 90 degree studio (lol…she was the only one comfortable- the rest of us were sweating!) You can see the rest of her sessions’s highlights here.

 

Sigh…baby Kane.  This image– the tiny features, the snuggly blanket and the ears on that hat just combine to make it so peaceful and calm– I feel like when you look at it, really study it– your stressors have to ease a bit.  He’s just so happy and carefree– not a single thing on his mind except this cuddly naptime.  The colors work together to evoke a calm, pleasant response with the earthy tones.  As soon as I took this shot, I knew this would be a favorite for the year.  

 

Twins Harper and Drew came to see me and helped me to check off two things on my photography bucket list– boy/girl twins (I had previously only done baby boy twin sessions) and Miss Harper was the smallest baby I’ve photographed– she was just over 4lbs when this was taken!  The two of them were SO good for me… easygoing, sleepy (yesssss!) and just let me move them however I wanted.   I’ve not really felt as calm with a newborn as I did with the two of them- I knew that the session was going well and it was so nice to have that peaceful confidence.  This is a bit more prop-heavy than what I usually provide, but when mom told me about their nautical themed nursery I just couldn’t resist.  Hands-down one of my favorite sessions ever! 

 

This precious guy just melted my heart at his milestone session.  Watching him roll around and practice sitting was so much fun, especially since I hadn’t seen him since his newborn session! He has grown and changed so much this year.  I also love his mama’s expression, snuggled in with her sweet boy.

I’m a sucker for baby feet…I make a point of catching them in every newborn session.  This little guy, though, seemed to want to elude me in my efforts….kicking and moving them all around  and making it tough on me.  So….desperate times call for desperate measures!  I grabbed a newborn wrap I had nearby (love that springy green color!) and wrapped his feet up… it limited it movement and resulted in one of my favorite feet photos EVER!

A lesser-known aspect of my work is helping my commercial clients to enhance their professional spaces.  A lot of times we’ll use work I’ve already made in advance– like my travel and still life albums.   But occasionally, a client will request custom work, such as this image which I made specifically for Cabell Huntington Hospital’s Pain Management department.  They wanted some cool images of the train stations and locomotives in our town…so I booked myself one afternoon and went out shooting for them.  They purchased this print in a HUGE size for their office lobby and I am so excited for it to be installed!  Josh and Katie’s engagement session downtown was a true joy to photograph last fall.  I LOVED capturing their tender moments together and enjoyed laughing with them too (they are both huge goofballs!)  This image was very special though– they went out on a limb with me and agreed to stand next to this giant puddle we found in an alleyway…I knelt next to the water (and truthfully, almost fell in!) and got a great series of images from our little adventure.  I’m always looking for something unique, something different…so naturally this image makes my heart sing.It’s only natural that one of my very favorite client families would also have a favorite image for last year.  This sweet girl has been photographed MANY times by me– her mommy’s maternity session, her newborn session, and several sessions featuring her older brothers have all taken place with me in the past.  I simply adore all 5 of them!  I love her expression here and while I’m not usually heavy on props, I LOVED her mom’s idea to do a hot-air balloon theme.  Isn’t she adorable?!If you clicked on the links above, you’ll recognize these cuties as her big brothers!! This might be my favorite image taken all year….they are so adorable!  They can be rough and tumble, typical boys…and then turn it right off and squeeze in a moment of tenderness (like this!) that just melts your heart.  I love these little guys!I photographed Becca’s senior session on a sunny, unusually warm November day and I am SO glad she wanted to go outside the studio.  We headed down the street to the historic Keith Albee Theatre and the images we took in front of it just blew me away.  She is so talented!  I loved her session from start to finish.Just like Becca’s session, I loved Lexi’s senior session too!  She is incredibly beautiful and super smart, too.  I loved the juxtaposition of her girly outfits and our gritty downtown locations (can anyone tell I simply LOVE being downtown?!?! 😉 ) And I adored her shoes, which are on full display in this sassy image.  Definitely a favorite of mine for sure!Tiny baby Max was so cute and sleepy during his newborn session with me.  This is almost an outtake– one of those happy accidents that just fall in your lap.  I had opened his wrap to move him and he was so zonked out that his arms reached up like that…I laughed and then grabbed my camera and took the shot.  I think he looks like a tiny body builder- suns out, guns out! 😉And finally……..this right here. 😉 Does this not just sum up how we feel some days?  Sweet N is such a character and I love photographing his family.  He is a charmer– changing from a great big signature grin to this– which his mom and I fondly refer to as his “emoji face”.  He makes me laugh!!  If I ever wanted an image to evoke emotion…by golly…this one works!! 😉

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Lexi | Class of 2017 {Huntington, WV senior photographer}

I had the pleasure of working with Lexi on her downtown photo session and we had such a blast!  You may remember seeing her baby brother a few months ago…I was so happy for Lexi’s turn in front of my lens.  Our weather was completely perfect, with the most beautiful evening light providing just what we needed to get some neat looks.  I loved her wardrobe choices, too– such great combinations!  I am so excited to share these– isn’t she beautiful?

 

Thank you, Lexi and family, for choosing Captured Bliss!!!girl-senior-pics

This pic is a behind the scenes peek– look at her dog, along for the ride!! She was so good and never moved a muscle. 😉2016-12-03_0004girls-senior-photosgirls-senior-posinggirls-senior-sessionsenior-picturessenior-posing-girls

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F*I*V*E Years in Business..and, a teaser of an announcement :)

Today marks a big, BIG landmark in my photography career– 5 years in business!  I’ve spent the day reflecting on Captured Bliss and I’ve been running some numbers:

  • 5 years in business (6 years if you count my skill building year where I worked for free, building my portfolio)
  • 60 months of classes, workshops, in-home study and peer-reviewed coursework
  • 50+works featured in magazines, on calendars, in local office buildings and Cabell Huntington Hospital, in the Huntington Herald-Dispatch, and on local billboards
  • over 15 commercial clients who’ve collaborated with me to create works that helped us to both grow creatively
  • 100+ separate families
  • 400+ individual children
  • and of course, the best clients in the world!

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So, all of those things are great.  I’ve really enjoyed this “job” (if you can call it that– I think it’s too much fun to call it work!) and I’ve loved getting to meet so many people, discovering the balance to managing life with small children (my youngest was an infant when I began), learning to arrange a schedule that would allow me to be home when my family needs me but also meeting the needs of my clients and avoiding the days when my husband could be asked to go back in to work, etc etc etc… I’ve come a long way. (If you don’t believe that, please view Exhibit A here– this is my daughter Audrey’s “newborn session” that I did for her in 2010 versus a newborn I shot earlier in 2016…. Bless. My. Heart.  WHAT is that?!?!)  This is the perfect example of someone who has yet to hone her craft. 😉  I guess without looking back, we can’t see progress, right?

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Anyway–let’s focus again.  It’s been an amazing ride so far, and I’m looking forward to an announcement, soon, of the culmination of something I’ve been working toward since 2011.  There’s still a bit of fleshing out that needs to be done, but an opportunity is coming that will allow me to use my skills for more than just photography…it’s an opportunity to use them to provide hope, and support, and grace, and love, and empower those who need it, when they need it most.  And the best part is, if this goes according to my plan– there will be room for you, my friends, to join in with me!  Isn’t that just the best?  To use a gift for the betterment of others?  I say……..yes.<3

 

Thank you, sincerely, for your support over the last 5 years, and I hope you will stick with me.  There’s a lot more to come.

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