Miss Whitney “Sweets”

Since I’m so far behind in blogging, I’m going to share this cuties last two sessions.  I’ve been photographing Miss Whitney since she was in her mama’s tummy.  After her newborn photos, we met for each of her milestones, so I literally watched her grow up in front of the camera.  When I finished her one year session, I felt sad knowing I wouldn’t see her in three months.

The first set of photos is from her nine month session.  This was in August.  We decided since it had been such a hot summer that we would just meet inside at the Franklin Park Conservatory.  These are my favorite photos of her from all of the sessions!  Previously, her mama was disappointed at how serious Whitney was during her photo sessions, since she’s typically a smiley little girl.  That’s why I love this session so much, because we see all sides of her little personality.  The water was her favorite!  The photo of her on her tip-toes, she’s looking into the pond of Japanese Koi.  I didn’t think we’d ever get her away from that spot!  Then, she found the water fountain and realized it was the right height for her to actually touch the water.  She made some hilarious faces in those shots!  My favorite may be the last one, but I love them all.

I am sad though when I look back at how awesome these photos are, because I’m reminded that I can’t photograph inside of the Conservatory anymore.  They no longer offer the photographer membership I had.  My membership expired in November, and it has been very difficult for me to photograph anyone other than newborns and small children because of that.  Hopefully, one day I’ll have a studio and all of that won’t matter!  Until then, here’s Whitney’s awesome nine month photos…

 

Whitney’s birthday is in November, so you would assume it would be too cold to be outside.  Per Ohio’s typical weird and unpredictable weather, it was actually nice out.  We were able to take some family shots sitting on the front steps of their house.  For Whitney’s solo photos we used some of my backdrops inside of their home.  Her daddy has always called her “sweets” so that was the theme of her party and we incorporated it into the session.  She wasn’t a huge fan of that tutu as you’ll see in the one photo, but as soon as we put candy in front of her she was all smiles!  Whitney stayed true to her “sweets” nickname as she very sweetly offered to share her smarties during the session 🙂  I also love her little outfit with the Ugg boots.  I always look forward to seeing what mom has picked out for her to model.

I still keep up with Miss Whitney through social media, but as I said, it is weird to not see her every three months.  Maybe she needs a sibling, so I can see them more often again 😉

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Emily + Tyler + Princess P

I’m really excited to share this family with you!  I had met Emily and Tyler way before they asked me to photograph them, but I had never spent much one on one time with them.  They are really good friends with my sis in law and we all went to the same high school together.  I remember after we met for the maternity session, I texted my sis in law to say what awesome parents Emily and Tyler were going to be!

The beautiful thing about photographing families is that I get to know them on a different level.  I feel like I should add a disclaimer to my website; WARNING I am going to touch you lol!  This can really freak people out, especially if we’ve never met!  I blame it on my Physical Therapy job that I’m a touchy feely person.  Anyway, I did warn Tyler at the beginning of their maternity session that I would touch him, as I was putting a sonogram photo into his back pocket lol!

These maternity photos almost didn’t happen, because Emily and Tyler weren’t sure they wanted them.  Like most men, spending time on a Sunday being photographed didn’t sound like much fun.  Emily was 34 weeks along when she contacted me, and admitted she also wasn’t crazy about being photographed, but was afraid she would regret it later if she missed out on these special memories.  I couldn’t have agreed with her more, so we found a date that worked in a hurry since we were about a month away from her due date.

Let me tell you, I am soooo happy they changed their minds about these photos, because I love them! Emily and Tyler live in Mansfield, so I was worried at first that if would be difficult for us to find a time to schedule.  It all worked out perfectly though!  I was already going to be in town for a Baptism on a Sunday, so we met in downtown Mansfield that day.  We had such a hot summer, I was also worried about over heating Emily, but it was later in the day when we met and the buildings around us provided lots of shade, so that worked out perfectly too.  We decided a mini session would be perfect, so we spent 30 minutes together and captured so many great photos.

 

I’m pleased to introduce Miss Peyton, better know as Princess P, to you!  She is four days old in these photos.

I spent about 4-5 hours with Emily and Princess P during the newborn session.  If you’ve ever hired me for a newborn session you know I take my time and move at the baby’s pace, so it does take a while.  This session took longer though, because I visited with Emily for so long.  It was really nice to just sit and talk with her about motherhood, the delivery process, friends, family, etc.  Of course, I loved meeting the princess, but my favorite part of this session was getting to know Emily better.

Miss Peyton did so well during her session!  Once I got her to fall asleep, she was out cold.  Emily, Tyler, and myself are all big OSU fans, so you’ll notice all the different OSU poses.  This is one beautiful baby girl!  She had a perfect complexion and oh my gosh those cheeks killed me!  You really get the full effect of those cheeks when she’s posed on her belly!

 

This is my favorite photo!  How sweet is that smile?!?  I recently blew this up onto a canvas and hung it in a local Dr’s office.  So, Miss P is famous already and doesn’t even know it!

 

A huge thanks to Emily and Tyler for allowing me to capture this special time for them!  I hope we’ll be able to work together again in the future!

 

 

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Little D is 3

I’ve been photographing Little D since he was born, and let me tell you, those photos were awful lol! Thank goodness his mama has been my friend since high school or I don’t think she would have ever asked me to photograph her kids again!  I can definitely see my growth when I look back through their photos.

This photo session was to capture Little D turning three.  It was crazy hot out this day.  Basically, last summer it either rained or was 100 degrees. We met at Homestead Park since it’s so close to both of us.  I also wanted to meet there so we could still use the covered bridge if it rained.  Little D was not into having his photo made at first!  We finally got some adorable smiles out of him though.  You’ll see little brother, Ellis, in the family shots.  I believe he was two months old at the time.

That orange couch they’re sitting on is one of my favorite props!  It sits in my sun room and has a matching chair and ottoman that I also love to use.  We recently looked at buying me a new car that was beautiful, but that couch wouldn’t have fit in the back.  You know you’re officially a prop junkie when you turn down a fabulous new car because all of your props won’t fit into the back!

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Carter {3}

It never fails, every time I meet with Lori and Carter, it’s 100 degrees outside! This day was no exception!

Lori picked a location in Dayton, Ohio that I had never been before. We met at the Cox Arboretum MetroPark. It was really beautiful there, but tricky to find shade since many of their flowers require direct sun. We had a hard time getting Carter’s attention away from the ponds, because there were turtles everywhere. He just kept pointing and saying “turtle turtle.”  You can tell that’s what he’s doing in a couple of the photos below.

Carter always makes me work for his photos lol! It’s worth it though, because he’s just the cutest little guy! I always get a ton of compliments after I post his photos. I love all of the candid shots of him! He has a big personality inside that little body!

Lori and I graduated from high school together. We never really kept in touch, aside from social media, until she had Carter and started allowing me to photograph him. Now, we see each other 2-3 times a year. I know that still isn’t much, but it’s always great to see her and catch up! I only have one request Lori, if you have another child let’s shoot for October so it isn’t so hot out lol!

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Thad & Kathy’s Wedding

I have photographed six weddings. I have known all of the couples prior to their wedding day, but three of them in particular, I’m fortunate enough to call family. (If you’re reading this Heather Barry and Brian Stevens I’m talking about you!)

I would like to introduce you to Thad and Kathy. You have already met them in a previous blog when I posted their amazing engagement photos. I’m fortunate enough to call them family, because Kathy is my hubby’s aunt.

This lovely and intimate ceremony was held in my in-law’s backyard. They always keep their yard beautifully landscaped. With the addition of chandeliers hanging from the trees and chairs for the guests, it transformed into the perfect garden ceremony. If you remember, we had a lot of rain last year. This day was no exception! Thankfully, it only drizzled rain during the ceremony and the best man’s wife was kind enough to let me stand under her umbrella-ella-ella-eh-eh. Sorry, I couldn’t miss that opportunity! Don’t they say rain on a wedding day is good luck though?

Thad is the sweetest man I’ve ever met in my life! Well, aside from Shannon’s Papaw 🙂 Speaking of Papaw, those suspenders were in honor of him! We are all very, very happy to have Thad as part of this crazy and fun family. He’s also the most photogenic man I’ve ever worked with! I mean, check out those photos below! I’ve never seen Kathy as happy as she is with him. He treats her like a queen. If you’ve spent any time with this couple, I’m sure you’ve heard him refer to her as “queen.” They were truly destined to be together and it was an honor to be a part of their special day.

This day had a little extra special meaning to hubby and I. Thad and Kathy picked June 15 to be their wedding day. That day also happens to be the dating anniversary of Shannon and I. We celebrated 16 years strong that day, so we know it’ll bring just as much joy and love to the newlyweds.

I want to point out some superstars from the day! Kathy’s sister, Robin, is my mother-in-law. She not only hosted the wedding in her backyard, but also decorated the reception hall, made Kathy’s beautiful bouquet, and served as Matron of Honor in the ceremony. Kathy’s niece, Ashley, is my sis-in-law. She designed the beautiful flower head piece Kathy wore in her hair. My amazing hubby, Shannon, set up the speakers for the ceremony, helped me take some photographs during the ceremony, and made the photo slideshow for the reception. Lastly, I want to recognize how amazing all of the speeches were at the reception. Robin, Butch (the best man), and Cody (Kathy’s son) all gave very funny, creative, and sentimental speeches.

I’m honored to finally introduce Mr. and Mrs. Cetinich! Wishing you both a forever of happiness!

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Grayson is ONE!

We met this family through a mutual friend quite some time ago, but this was our first time working together.  They decided to have some family photos taken to celebrate their little guy turning one.  We had a terribly hot summer, and this day was no different.  They were troopers though the entire time, so you’d never know it was in the 90’s and we were all covered in sweat!  You can see, in some of the photos, just how hazy it was.

We decided to meet at the Park of Roses.  The bad thing about this park is the lack of shade on such a hot day, but it is a beautiful choice for photo sessions.  We were tempted to jump into that fountain to cool off!

The boys did awesome during the session!  Grayson was smiley the whole time and Tristan was my little assistant!  It’s always so nice when it’s obvious that families are enjoying their photo session.  Especially, since many of them admit they weren’t looking forward to having their photos taken 🙂

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Kamden {6 months}

This was my first time working with this cutie!  We met over the summer at Homestead Park for a mini session to capture his six month milestone.  If you’ve never taken advantage of my mini sessions, they are the perfect amount of time for kiddos.  I do limit the locations for these sessions, so contact me for more info.

Kamden was so easy to work with!  I used some of my vintage props for this session just to give him a little extra support when sitting.  Occasionally, a six month old can sit safely, but typically they are a tad wobbly still.  I love the photos of him sitting in the grass with the tie on!  He would pull out as much grass as his little hand could hold then try to shove it directly into his mouth.  Boys will be boys!

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Amelie & Lindy

This was my first time working with this family, but I had met mama while she was pregnant.  She works for the Dr’s office that I often photograph for.  Usually, I’m doing personal family photos with the staff of this Dr’s office, but on this particular day, I was taking their staff head shots.

Thankfully, it was summer when we met for these photos.  If you’ve ever worked with me and you have a toddler, I’m sure you’ve heard me say that I don’t really love using backdrops with them.  It can be very hard to get a toddler to stay in one area and get a natural smile and pose out of them.  Big sister, Miss Amelie, was not a big fan of the camera that day.  I tried to capture some shots of her playing inside the house, but I was struggling.  Finally, we decided to go in their backyard and that’s when I got the best shots!  I was having her show me her favorite flowers in the backyard and talking to her about her upcoming birthday, which was really close to mine.  Once she was engaged with me in conversation I got some great shots of her.  Then, we decided to have her fingerpaint in the backyard, and those ended up being super cute photos of her.  I was able to capture a really natural side of her while she was painting.

Little sister, Miss Lindy, wanted to stay awake for her entire newborn session!  Her big blue eyes are wide open for a lot of the photos.  We took several nursing breaks, and while I played outside with big sister, she finally fell asleep.  She stayed sound asleep all the way through the end of the session where I got some sweet photos of the two sisters on the couch together.  Amelie was a proud big sister, and for the first time, didn’t mind at all to look at the camera with a smile 🙂

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Happy Birthday Tzina!!!!

Today is the birthday of one of my longtime friends, Tzina!  Her and I met in the 9th grade.  We were chair partners in orchestra, twirled on the flag corps, and shared the honor of being on Homecoming court together.  Those were just a few of our memorable times together! Since we grew up during the ancient times of film photography, most of the photos I have to share from back then aren’t good quality, but they are still so precious to me.  I also had a hard time finding our high school photos since they are scattered between photo albums and scrapbooks.  Here’s some of my favorites though…

Unfortunately for me, Tzina has moved back to Greece where she is originally from.  We are actually terrible at catching up with each other via Skype, but when we do find the time to chat it’s like we’ve never missed a beat with each other.  Thank goodness for Facebook though, because it always keeps us updated with each other’s lives.

This past summer, Shannon and I were so fortunate to be able to travel over to Greece for Tzina’s wedding!  I don’t think any vacation we ever take will top that one!  Not only was Greece amazing, but we were able to reconnect with several high school friends, and watch our first traditional Greek wedding.  I knew by seeing photos of Tzina, that she looked and felt amazing to be back in Greece, but when I physically got there with her, she radiated happiness!  I mean, of course she was ecstatic that she was getting married and so many old friends had travelled from all over the world to share her special day.  Even though I miss her terribly, I would never want her to move back to the US  after seeing how complete her life is now in Greece.

I wanted to share some of her amazing wedding stories and photos!  First of all, we were warned that it would be a long day!  The girls and I started our day around 9:00.  We had breakfast and headed to the hair salon.  Tzina’s wedding hair was the most intricate masterpiece I’ve ever seen!  After everyone finished at the salon, we put on summer dresses and headed to Tzina’s parents home for the start of the ceremonies.  Tzina lives in a village called Florina.  It was quite a rural drive to get to the house, which sat high up on a hill.  When we arrived, the wedding photographers immediately wanted some fun shots of all us girls together.  I had no idea we would be asked to be in photos like that!  It was so fun!  There was a fully catered meal and also a live band, so we enjoyed that for a while.  I’ve been watching Tzina, and our other Greek friend, Christina, do traditional Greek dances since I’ve known them, but watching her with her family on her wedding day was so awesome.  The music and food continued for the guests, but all of us girls had to go inside and not only get our wedding clothes on, but also help Tzina get into hers.  Once she was dressed, she was escorted and presented to her father.  More dancing occurred and then we made the trip down the hill to the church.  The church was absolutely beautiful!  It was also very significant to Tzina, because her parents and grandparents had been married there too.  This part of the ceremony was my favorite!  Talk about being a show stopper on your wedding day!  The street is shut down and lined with people.  Some of these people are wedding guests, but most of the ones on the street are just bystanders taking in the beauty of yet another wedding.  There was a band in front of Tzina and anyone who wanted to, could walk behind her through the street and up the stairs to the church where the handsome groom was awaiting her arrival.  At this point, Tzina asked me to help carry her veil behind her as she walked and I was so honored to do this!  Definitely my most memorable part of the ceremony!  Once inside of the church the ceremony lasted about an hour.  Even though we couldn’t understand much of what was spoken, just watching all of the rituals was so neat and beautiful.

Now, let’s talk about the reception!  Those Greeks really know how to party!  I believe there were between 500-600 guests at the reception!  We had another deliciously catered meal and watched more traditional Greek dancing.  Some of the dances can easily be picked up if anyone ever wanted to jump in and join the fun.  Shannon and I choose to sit back, relax, and just take it all in.  I think Shannon and I threw the towel in around 2:00 AM and headed back to the hotel.  The party was still going strong though!  Tzina said they finally left around 4:00 AM.  I guess it’s typical for a Greek reception to last until 6:00 AM.  I told you they know how to party!  My favorite memory from the reception was Tzina and her hubby dancing in a pan of beer!

The day after the wedding was so great, because we spent the entire day with Tzina.  We met for lunch, which lasted hours, because we finally had time to catch up on everything.  Then, Tzina walked us through the village, which was so pretty.  There were so many cute shops, but they were all closed since it was Sunday.  We got to see their new flat, which was beautiful.  It just was so great to spend quality time together!

Saying goodbye to Tzina that night was so hard!  Those three days we spent in Florina will always be some of my most treasured memories.  I remember I kept telling Shannon how amazing it felt to be with people that really know you.  People that have been a part of your life for more than a decade.  You’ve grown from children to women together, seen the good, bad,and ugly, and yet still love each other.

Tzina will be welcoming her own little Greek Goddess into the world in March!  She has been dreaming of being a mother since we were teenagers in orchestra class together, so I couldn’t be happier for her!  She will make an amazing mother, and I can’t even fathom how beautiful this little girl is going to be.

Happy birthday Tzina!  I love and miss you!  Can’t wait for all the excitement this year holds for you!  xoxo

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Welcome to the 30 club!

What better way to welcome my sis-in-law into the 30 club than sharing all of her secrets and posting really embarrassing photos!  I’m totally kidding!  She keeps her secrets in her hair, so I could never find all of them any way 😉

I was 14 when I first met Ashley.  My first memory of her is standing in their living room with a red-headed child thrown on her hip.  Ashley probably weighed 90 pounds, and so did that child haha!  She was babysitting for their neighbors.  Nothing significant happened between the two of us on that day, but that will always be how I remember meeting her.  Here’s some of our first photos together…

Shannon and I were Seniors and Ashley was a Sophomore.  This was during spirit week and we were suppose to dress up in a blast from the past outfit.  Shannon looks hilarious!  He’ll probably kill me for this haha!  It’s funny how styles come back around, because I think I could wear my outfit in that photo now!

This next one is from my senior prom.  I think Ashley says it best, “we must be like fine wine!”

Now, I wouldn’t say Ashley and I hated each other, because that’s a very strong word.  Lets just say, we definitely were not scheduling two hour phone dates and running off to Vegas together for a girls weekend.  This lasted for a good 10 years!  I know that sounds crazy to not get along with someone for a whole decade, but it’s true!  We never had any big fights or anything crazy during those 10 years.  We were just young, catty, jealous girls.  We were so much alike back then.  In our individual family units we stood out and held our own, but together, we couldn’t find a room big enough to hold the both of us!  We often would show up to family events dressed alike.  I am an only child, and was also the girl in school that would lie to you when you asked where my outfit came from, because I didn’t want anyone to have the same clothes as me.  Having said that, you can understand how mad I would be when we showed up looking like twins!  The photo below is the best!  This was Christmas, and trust me, we had not discussed clothing together!

Here’s some other great photos of us dressed very similar to each other…it looks like we only did this with the color scheme of red, black, and white, but that’s just because I could only find these photos!  The photo directly below was at my 24th birthday/wedding engagement party.  Ashley’s holding the card I made asking her to be a bridesmaid in our wedding.  I kinda look like Minnie Mouse lol!

This next photo was taken at our annual Christmas cocktail party.  The ironic part of this photo is that the dress Ashley is wearing, I had the exact same one in black.  Thankfully, I hadn’t chosen to wear that one, but we still looked very similar.

I know you’re probably saying, but you girls look so happy together in all those photos.  Remember, I said that we didn’t hate each other.  We just didn’t make an effort to become friends outside of family events.  That’s why there aren’t a ton of photos of us together back then.

This next photo was the turning point in our relationship.  It’s not that it’s a great photo, because it definitely is not!  That night though, was significant to the relationship we have now.  From then on, we saw each other several times a week and for the first time we actually opened up to each other.  We spent many, many hours that summer talking about those 10 ugly years.  We’ve been very honest about it to each other and anyone who asks, which is why I feel ok to write this blog now.  We had an absolute blast together that summer!  In the end, we realized that clothing was a petty thing to argue about, among other things.  We left that summer not only as friends, but as sisters.

Now that I am a photographer, I see more in the photo below.  Look at how close our heads are together.  I always tell my clients the closer your bodies are the more connected you’ll look in the photo.  As you look at the photos further down, you’ll see just how connected we get.  Practically attached at the hip!

Here’s more of my favorite photos of us together from that awesome summer…

Please note we showed up this night wearing the same color dress, but thought it was “so freakin cuuuuute” instead of being annoyed by it!

Amy G!!!  She makes everyone happy, so I had to throw this one in!

We’ve now spent 7 good years together!  I’m beyond thankful that we repaired our relationship before she moved to Atlanta.  Life has dealt both of us several bad hands, but ultimately those low times are what drew us closer together.  We also believe that conflict is good.  I once listened to a pastor talk about conflict.  He said you absolutely can not avoid conflict in relationships.  There are no short cuts around it no matter how hard you try to avoid it.  He said, it’s what happens during that conflict that shapes the relationship.  It’s the people that ask questions of each other and really work through it, that in the end, up with a deeper more connected relationship.  That pastor is the cousin of Ashley’s fiancé.  Small world 🙂

I’m not proud of the person I’ve been in the past, but I am proud of the person sitting here writing this blog.  I’m also proud of Ashley.  I feel like I should insert the Drake song here lol!  Seriously, I am blessed to call her my friend and sister.  I also really love her fiancé, Doug!  I’m excited and honored to be a part of their future and make more happy memories together.  Although, we do welcome the hard memories too.  After all, those are what got us to this point.

I’m going to overload you with more photos now.  I’m a photographer, I can’t help it!

This photo was at Put In Bay during my bachelorette party.  Ashley made me the veil I’m wearing.  Maybe that was the start of Renee May Couture??

If you know us at all, you’ve heard us call each other Pussywillow (ash) and Poppycock (me).  That began as a joke while we were shopping for flowers for my wedding.  Below, she’s wearing the pussywillow halo I made her for to wear at our wedding rehearsal dinner.  Please note, our dresses are the same color!

Now, she’s holding her birthday present wrapped in pussywillow paper.

My personal fav is the pussywillow sweater she got me for Christmas!

In the photo below, I’m wearing a one-of-a-kind Renee May Couture original piece!

Us on my wedding day.

In the photo above, you can see Ashley’s holding a parasol.  That’s what I had my girls carry instead of bouquets.  That theme continued with the song we chose to walk into the reception to, Rihanna’s song Umbrella.  Now, anytime that song comes on you’ll hear a loud “AWE!” and everyone surrounds me and makes an umbrella with their hands.  See below!

The next photos were Ashely’s 28th birthday.  It was her first birthday in Atlanta away from family, so we all surprised her!  I think she looks surprised!

We are both wearing lace tops with similar colored skirt/shorts 🙂

This photo was a very special moment for all the sissies!  Ashley presented each of us with cards asking all of us to be her Matrons/Maid of Honor at her wedding! We were so excited we celebrated with cheerleading moves!

In November 2012, Ashley and I shared our first visit to Disney together!

Hanging with some Minions at Universal Studios!

Working on our Heisman pose!

Some of my fav photos of the two of us from our visit to Atlanta…

I want to end with family photos.  I love being a part of this family!  I’m sure you can see why 🙂

HAPPY 30TH BIRTHDAY ASHLEY RENEE’!  LOOK AT HOW AMAZING YOUR LIFE HAS ALREADY BEEN, I CAN’T EVEN WAIT TO SEE WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS!  I’M WRITING IN SHOUTY CAPS SO YOU KNOW I MEAN BUSINESS!  HAVE AN AMAZING BIRTHDAY!  WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

Poppycock + Pussywillow 4-EVA

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