Light-Filled Sunrise Session | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

Gimme ALL the baby fever, ya'll. 

(Just kidding, honey. Ha!)

Do you recognize this little guy? Well, I captured his sweet newness about 8 months ago so I was absolutely giddy to see how much he has grown. I mean, the little firetruck on his jumper - I can't. handle. life. Check out his cozy newborn session HERE! #swoon

There is nothing sweeter and more hysterical than photographing babies when they are SO fascinated (and honestly, a bit confused) by the camera. Most of the time, they look at me like I'm either an A, bizarre alien or B, a lunatic with spinach in my teeth. And I can't blame them. Starting the morning off with a caffeinated, bubbly photographer isn't usually how one starts the day. I do apologize for my obnoxious baby cooing and blathering at sessions - but it woooorks! #sorrynotsorry 

This guy brought all the sugar, even if he woke his amazing parents up at 3:30 am the night before! You guys are rock stars. Parenting is NOT for the weak! Look at all this cuteness. It makes those early wake-up calls so worth it. 

A happy family is but an earlier Heaven...
— George Bernard Shaw

All the heart eyes for these three. And did you spy all those teeth popping through?! The cutest.

Morning sessions are a great option for babes under a year old. If your little one is in bed before 7 pm, (I've totally been there) an early slot might be for you right now. YOU know your child best and what works in this season of life.

As we approach Fall, that sunset time gets earlier and earlier, so it might not matter as much. But, it's always something to consider when planning for your family's session. Don't let this stage slip by without documenting all those leg rolls and drooly cuteness! You'll be so thankful to have these images in the years to come. 

5 Awesome Things about Turning 35 | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

5 years from 40.

Mid-thirties.

Officially a grown-up now?

Naaaaaah.

Recently, the hubby and I bought a new refrigerator for the kitchen. After 11+ years of marriage, this was our first time fridge shopping! After it was installed, we marveled at our matching appliances. We felt adult-ish, haha! It's hard not to feel like we're playing at this grown-up thing. But then you get excited about appliances and window treatments and you realize.... yep, I'm there. Can you relate?

hampton roads family photographer

To mark my 35th year around the sun, I created a list of 5 awesome things I love about this age. My thirties have been some of my sweetest years yet and I'm excited for what's around the corner. #bringit 

  1. I care about the good stuff more. I worry over petty things a LOT less than I did at 25. I used to get caught up in the details, but I view life with a more 'big picture' perspective now. It's waaaaay less stressful.
  2. I'm okay being alone. As an ENFP, I'm one of the most introverted of the extroverts. I LOVE people and that is still where I get most of my energy. And power... like a gremlin in water, ha! But, at 35, I crave my alone time even more than before. Maybe becoming a Mom and being constantly surrounded by little, talky girls has shaped me this way even more!
  3. I'm unapologetic about my self care. I used to feel guilty about leaving my family to travel alone or indulging in something just for myself. But now, I know that those self care rituals and treats are SO important. It's easy to sink into the martyr mentality as a mother of young kids, but it's not a healthy place to be. If I need to roam Target alone, get a pedicure, or read a book alone at the pool... it is MORE than okay for me to do that. I'm a better mother, wife and friend when I take care of myself.
  4. I dream bigger than ever before. Like I mentioned in #1, I have a big-picture mentality now. I can see past my current situation and dream things for myself and my family... I never could have imagined at 25 years old. There are no limits and I'm done getting in my own way. Bring it on, universe.
  5. Finding time to nurture relationships. Life is busy in this season (is there ever an un-busy season?) and that's no surprise. I think that's why making time for the important people in my life feels all the more special and sacred. Brunch with my Mom, coffee with a friend, neighborhood walks with my bestie, mommy-daughter dates with my girls....it all adds up. It's easy to say, "I can't, I'm too busy" but when I prioritize who and what is important to me, it fills my emotional cup to the brim.
I’m a better mother, wife and friend when I take care of myself...

What do you love about your current stage in life? I really believe that there is sweetness at every step and recognizing it is the gift of aging with grace and wisdom.

Okay. Now I'm off to pick up some anti-aging moisturizer. ;)

Stumpy Lake Mini-Session | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

The last time I saw this family, there were just three of them! That lifestyle session is still one of my favorites. And now that they've welcomed another son, it was time for updated family pictures.

Erica nailed it with the classic and neutral-toned outfits. And even though it was huuuumid out (hello Summer time in VB) a short and sweet mini session was perfect. Small kiddos can usually hang for an evening session, but if you're worried about meltdowns - a mini is a great option. I'm offering limited Summer minis through the remainder of August, so don't miss out! There are just a couple of spots open before September.

I will be offering Fall minis to returning families through my newsletter first. These are discounted 20-minute sessions perfect for Christmas cards and updated frames. More details about those will be coming soon! :) But for now, enjoy all this cuteness....xoxo

Oh, I just love a good swing shot! :) Cutie! Thank you, Nott family! It's always such a joy to watch families grow. Your sweet boys are so treasured!

Want to hear more about Fall mini sessions, specials and everything that's happening with EAP? Be sure to sign up for the newsletter - nothing spammy, just goodies and updates :)

Sunset at Fort Story | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

There are no friendships quite like the ones that first-time mothers build over coffee, diaper changes and endless trips to library class. 

So. Many. Library classes.

But, back to Motherhood friendships. Grown up bonding can be challenging to say the least. Gone are the days where our cherished time was consumed with our social lives and it was effortless to create lasting connections. Those years have been replaced with our thirties and forties, when so many of us are devoted to building our families, careers and legacies. If you're anything like me, when you meet another Mom you absolutely adore (but you don't want to scare her) you want to ask her out on playdates for the sole reason of getting to know her better. The kids will be there, but it's time for us to hang out too.

For this natural extrovert, the first year of my oldest daughter's life was difficult and isolating to say the least. Without my mother's group (shoutout to Meetup.com for finding me 2010 Moms!) I would have easily been talking to myself (and inanimate objects) to an unhealthy level. In fact, I was to the point where I would talk to anybody who would listen.

Target cashier? Let's be pals.

Bank clerk? We're besties. 

Random stranger in the Kroger parking lot? Hey girl, heeeeey! 

Anna, was one of the awesome friends I made in the 2010 Moms playgroup. Back when we had one baby each, we'd take them down to the bay. We'd swap stories and marvel at the amount of sand two small toddlers could consume. It was a sweet season, and over the years we've kept in touch as the military has taken Anna's family far and wide. She now has FOUR beautiful children and is an absolute Mom-Boss. She handles her family, career, and personal goals with grace and I truly admire her. 

Her youngest is now six months old, so we marked the occasion with a fun family session at Fort Story! You can catch up on his sweet, lifestyle newborn session HERE! We had a beautiful sunset and so much fun exploring. A storm was rolling in towards the end of the night, but we finished up just in time.

Just a few (*cough* I mean a TON of) favorites...

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.
— Desmond Tutu

I loved each unique personality of these kiddos. Each one is so special and together they are such a fun and spirited group!

Friends, my August and September calendars are nearly full! If you're craving a beachy sunset session, this is the time for it. :)

Do you want to be amongst the first to get on my Fall mini-session calendar? Be sure to sign up for the EAP newsletter so you can stay up to date. Returning families will be notified first and any remaining spots will be shared via email! I'll be opening up just a couple dates this Fall, I can't believe it's already around the corner. But for now - soaking up all these Summer nights!

Taking the Next Step on Your Photography Journey| Hampton Roads Photography Class

I remember after some time of getting comfy in shooting with manual mode, I started to poke around the internet for answers on how to take my images to the next level. I always love getting an image right in camera, but I wanted to add that polish that made an image look more professional and styled.

Enter Lightroom.

*applause... followed by confused silence*

I'm not sure why I landed on Lightroom instead of Photoshop, but the interface was user friendly and I had other friends who swore by it. That was enough for me! Admittedly, I am NOT the most techie-geninus around. (I know, big shocker if you know me - ha!) It took a LOT of education to get myself up and running with Lightroom. And there are still tricks and new insights I'm learning all the time. There is no finish line in photography... it's an art that builds on itself. One baby step at a time, friends. I am so glad I invested in learning Lightroom (both online and in person) to get over that head-scratch stage and to the point where I knew how to maneuver around. 

Here are some fun SOOC (straight out of camera) and edited images to compare the before and after. Lightroom is a powerful tool, but only when you know how to manipulate it to suit your style and artistic aesthetic. It's amazing how just a few easy adjustments can make an image pop!

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There is no finish line in photography...it’s an art that builds on itself.
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Friend, I'd love to help if you're stuck in the head-scratch stage right now. I believe you are MORE than capable of diving in, composing your images like an artist and developing your own editing style. If you're longing for a Lightroom roadmap, I would love to have you join us at the next Only Little Once 102 Workshop coming up on Saturday, August 19th!  

Here's all the fun stuff planned during our afternoon together:

  • We'll discuss photography topics including nailing focus, artistic composition and shooting in varying light scenarios.
  • In Lightroom, I'll take you through several clean edits with tons of tips and tricks on how to add that certain polish to your final images.
  • A time to ask-me-anything - including how to start a business, building a portfolio or organizing your massive collection of digital files. 
  • After the class, you'll be added to our exclusive Only Little Once Grads private Facebook group. Join an awesome community of Mom-Togs, just like you, who are creating beautiful work.
  • A bonus thank-you gift! :)

If this has you totally pumped and ready to dive in, I cannot wait to meet you! Drop me a note with any questions you might have, I'm always up to chat photography. :)

Cozy Lifestyle Newborn Session | Norfolk Family Photographer

Have you ever been through a season of life full of total and complete change? Maybe it was a wedding, a cross country move, having twins or starting a job in a new town. Well, have you ever had two (or three!) major life changes happening simultaneously?

This sweet (and oh so brave family) just welcomed their second son AND they are preparing for a move in just a few short weeks. Can we just take a moment to applaud their total amazing-ness? In my opinion, that takes a lot of guts, grit and complete faith. 

When I arrived Saturday morning for their lifestyle newborn session, we'd had crazy thunderstorms the night before. When a loud clap of thunder woke me at 4am, I immediately thought of this family and their small kiddos. And even though I know not much sleep was had (because babies, toddlers and craaaazy storms) they all greeted me with a smile. And a dino roar or two - which you know I LOVED. :)

I was pretty obsessed with their cozy Norfolk condo. Since this was their first home together, it was bittersweet to capture them in the space. Nothing is quite like the home you bring your babies home to! I loved the window light, the fun details, and can we talk about the teal lampshades? You guys - TEAL is my love language. 

I can't. handle. the. cuteness.

 I literally wanted to squish his cheeks. Such a sweet big bro!

Giving older siblings special jobs during a session always works like gold. Just asking them to find a book or a special toy makes them feel apart of the process! This is an important time in their lives too - sharing the limelight ain't easy. ;) 

Making the decision to have a child - it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
— Elizabeth Stone

His expression of pride here gives me ALL the Momma feels. So precious.

Because it's not a party without dinosaur puppets. Duh. 

These two boys are going to be besties, I can tell. Such a blessing! Loved my time with these four. Safe travels Springs family!

 

Are you expecting? Congratulations! Newborn sessions have always had my heart. I keep my schedule open to take on newborn sessions year-round and I would love to capture this time for your growing family. Drop me a note below! 

Sunrise at Little Island Park | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

If you've been following EAP for some time now, you'll recognize these sweet faces! Every Summer, these dear friends of mine book a session when they are vacationing in Virginia Beach with family. It's become a tradition and I'm always so humbled and blessed by them. Watching their family grow has been such a gift. You can see a flashback here and see how these munchkins have grown! 

This year, we opted for a sunrise session at Little Island Park. This is a great option for younger kiddos who can't hang past 8pm for a sunset session. It was lightly overcast and nearly empty at the beach. Another plus when opting for an earlier session. Just a few favorites from our time together! I just love them... 

If you want to know how much I love you, count all the waves in the sea...

If you're worried that your kiddos are extra clingy during a session... please don't stress. Sometimes the only solo shots we get of toddlers and babies are in their parents' arms. I honestly love this. There's so much emotion and connection that we can capture. Embrace this season and whatever mood your child is in - it's worth it!

Friends, I am currently booking sessions into September. If you are wanting a beach session, consider a morning slot! Email me to start planning. Happy Summer! xoxo 

Calling all MomTogs! | Hampton Roads Photography Workshop

hampton roads photography workshop

Have you ever taken one of those learning profile quizzes? The ones that have you answer a series of questions and then tell you how YOU best learn? I know as a teacher, this was always something I loved to do for myself and for my students. It helped me see myself in a better way.

I discovered that I was certainly a hands-on type learner. The quickest and easiest way for me to grasp concepts was by actually doing it. I needed my teachers to be a guide, so that I could eventually take over the reins and become a master at whatever it was I was learning about. I love to be coached! After years of doing theatre as I kid, I like to think I take direction pretty well ;) 

Are you the same? Have you been trying to master your DSLR camera with YouTube videos and Google? While there is SO. much. information out on the internet - it can sometimes be frustrating. I find myself just searching for a straight answer at times! If you learn better hands-on and are searching for a fun (okay, super goofy extrovert) coach to guide you - I'm your girl!

 I have had the privilege of sharing my love for photography and teaching dozens of Moms how to shoot in manual mode, understand their settings, and take their photos from just snapshots to real ART. I would love to have you join us on Saturday, July 22nd for the next 'Only Little Once 101' Workshop in Virginia Beach! 

Take a look at these BEAUTIFUL images from some of our 101 grads! So proud of these sweet Mommas! :) 

hampton roads photography workshop
hampton roads photography workshop

I am in love with these! The Target cart just screams #MomLife!

Adorable images by MomTog Jill E. 

hampton roads photography workshop
hampton roads photography workshop

Aren't his curls just adorable?! Love these beachy, July 4th images!

Lovely work from MomTog Nicole B. 

hampton roads photography workshop
hampton roads photography workshop

In our private Facebook group, we have fun, monthly photo challenges. June was all about the "faceless portrait" and I just love these creative examples!

Stunning images by MomTog Emily O.

Will you join us and get out of Auto Mode? Stop guessing and start mastering your camera! I can't wait to see you :) You can find more information HERE or click the link below!

xoxo

Erin

We <3 OBX | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

I think it's the goal of many a parent to create memories and experiences that are even better than you experienced as a kid. Now, hands down, I had a wonderful childhood. Pure, 80s-90s riding-my-bike-to-7'11 kind of childhood. But creating special memories with our girls is some of the greatest joy I have ever experienced as a parent!

This was our third year renting a beach house in OBX with my family and I feel so blessed that my girls have these memories to look back on! You can see our adventures from last year HERE. I have really made an effort to transition away from the just-buy-more-toys manner of parenting and am focusing on investing more in experiences. After all, those toys don't even get played with most of the time! I'd much rather focus on fun trips and adventures where we grow closer as a family.

I want my girls to know the sweet bliss of an ice pop after a long beach day with their cousins. 

For me, that completely captures childhood. Here are just a handful of favorites from last week. :)

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I’ll eat you up, I love you so!
— Where the Wild Things Are

Charlotte's face here just gets me right in the FEELS. Her complete joy of the wild, ocean waves AND being with her cousins - it's just the best expression. The waves were crazy choppy the first day we were there, and it was SO windy. We got pretty sandblasted, but that didn't stop me from getting waist-high with my camera in hand - hahaha! #livedangerously 

I wanted a portrait of each girl, and I love the look-away portrait a LOT right now. Something about their sweet faces and eyelashes, so sweet... I love my nieces fiercely and take my role as Super Cool Crazy Arty Aunt very seriously. This one is bound for middle school next year *sob*.

Sometimes (okay, lots of times) I get caught up and I forget to hand over the camera and get IN the frame with my girls. Thanks to the hubs for capturing this one! When they do pose with me, the girls act completely CRAY - anyone else's kids do that?! #Ithoughtso

This guy is the best #girlDad around we are blessed to call him ours! We've got a busy, but joyful, Summer planned and I'm incredibly grateful for my little tribe. 

What memories are you making this Summer? I've seen lots of OBX vacay pics in my newsfeed - love seeing all the joy!

Are you a fellow MomTog? Join our FREE photography community for Moms over on Facebook, I'd love to get to know you more :)

Little Island Park Sunset | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

Mother Nature is such a fickle thing, but I am so thankful for when she does choose to show off. Especially when families visit for a relaxing week in VA Beach! This family reached out and I'm so glad they did, we had a perfect evening out at Little Island Park in Virginia Beach. 

Gimme all the sandy toes, sweet snuggles and glowy light! #swoon

Just a few favorites from our time together...

virginia beach family photographer
virginia beach family photographer
Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.
— Alex Haley
virginia beach family photographer
virginia beach family photographer
virginia beach family photographer

We asked them to whisper secrets and little brother just leaned over and snuggled big bro... it was literally the cutest thing I have witnessed in a long time. It was half head butt, half cuddle - LOVE! ;) #brothers

virginia beach family photographer
virginia beach family photographer

Snuggling on their Momma...oh my gosh these boys just stole my heart!

virginia beach family photographer
virginia beach family photographer

This little beauty was all about having her picture taken, I loved how she was so happy to pose and love on her family. Sweet girl!

virginia beach family photographer

Ready...Set....GO!

virginia beach family photographer

And to think this family all started because of these two people. Such a beautiful story to witness!

virginia beach family photographer
virginia beach family photographer
virginia beach family photographer
virginia beach family photographer
virginia beach family photographer
virginia beach family photographer

Loved my time with this fun crew! If you are visiting Virginia Beach this Summer, I would love to meet you :) Drop me a note and let's chat about capturing your family's vacation memories.