The 'C' Family at Pleasure House Point | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

On occasion, I will meet a family that has never enjoyed having professional pictures taken. Sometimes it's been years since wedding pictures or hospital newborn pics, so I'm even more excited when we meet! I love that they have trusted me with this job and I don't take it lightly. 

The work of booking a session, getting outfits chosen, hair combed and noses wiped is a big job. Once you show up at a session, it's my hope you can relax and just enjoy your time! I understand the struggles.

And this party of six - well, they were amazing. THE most well-behaved, joyful and polite kids I've seen. Mom and Dad, you are doing an amazing job. Teach us the ways or write a book - please! 

We explored Pleasure House Point while collecting snail shells and rocks. It was a perfectly cool, early Fall evening in Virginia Beach!

The most precious jewels you’ll ever have around your neck are the arms of your children...

These two brothers were the best of pals! I did not have to ask them to hold hands, they just fell into this pose naturally. The sweetest thing.

Friends, there are just a handful of dates left for 2017! I'm booking into early 2018, so it's never too early to reach out. Contact me today, I'd love to meet your family! :)

3 Tips for Getting Littles to Look at the Camera | Photographer Education

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Photographing little ones can be a challenge - I totally get it! Whether you're in the backyard with your own kids or working at a family session, having eye contact with the lens can feel like a game of cat and mouse.

"LOOK HERE!!"

"Just look for ONE second!" 

"Over here!" *frantically pointing at the camera*

Been there, done that. And can I say, sometimes it just doesn't cut it. Depending on the disposition, patience, mood and sugar level (ha!) of a child, they might just not want to look at the camera. And most of the time, this is totally fine. I do always aim to get a close-up portrait of each child during a session. Some willingly stick their nose in my camera, but others take some coaxing. If I've done my job of connecting with them early in the session, it does go smoother.

Here are three tried and true tips for getting those little ones to look at the lens. Try one at your next photo session! :)

hampton roads photography education
A two-year old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it.
— Jerry Seinfeld
  1. "Peek-a-Boo!" This is a classic move and one that usually works with babies. Even toddlers and school age kids love to play this way. I will hold the camera in my face and pop up over it with a funny noise or expression. Really play too - kids know when you're faking it! Dart behind a tree, a sand dune, whatever is available so that when you pop up they burst into laughter. Even a smirk will do. Then, snap the shot!
  2. "What's Inside my camera?" This is my go-to for very shy kids. I will tell them a fish (or another small object) is inside my camera. If they look closely, they'll see it. This creates beautiful, soul-filled images of kids looking right into the lens. Smiles are optional for this, but if I gasp suddenly "OH, there goes the fish! Did you see it!!?" it coaxes out a grin or a curious expression.
  3. "Lady, there's something on your head..." I like to use this one with older, more resistant kids. There's no shame in my game! I will place something ridiculous (a twig, a leaf, a rock, a kid's lovey or small toy) on my head and balance it in place. I ask them crazy questions and as they look at the object, I get close with my camera. Then, if I knock it suddenly off my head (usually acting like a lunatic lol) they will giggle and I snap away.

That's it! A few, helpful tips to try out on your littlest subjects next time. Let me know how it goes! 

Are you wanting more guidance and session tips while photographing families? Join us at the Art of Imperfect: A Workshop for Family Photographers on Saturday, Septmember 30th in VB. There are just a couple of seats left - I'd love to see you!

September Reset | #MomLife | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

There's something about September. Something that makes it feel like a fresh start. It doesn't have the same kind of January-New Year vibe, but it always feels like a new chapter starting.

The kids are back to school and I'm finding some breathing room. How about you? Any new goals or plans for this month? 

I saw this quote online and thought - YES! This is September. 

hampton roads family photographer

Check out my cuties on the first day of school this week! I'm so proud of them both. :)

virginia beach family photographer

Even though it still feels like Summer most days and the weather is unpredictable (looking at you, Irma) there's a gradual shift. Pretty soon Pumpkin Spice will be eeeeverywhere (no complaints) and we'll be discussing Halloween costume choices. The last chunk of the year zips right along. I'm looking ahead and mapping out our family calendar and trying to leave plenty of breathing room. That's why September is my reset month this year. 

Looking at the last few months of 2017 and evaluating what goals I've accomplished and what's still out of reach. I used to never evaluate like this. I was so forward thinking, I just kept plucking right along. I never stopped to really evaluate what was working and what wasn't. Am I the only one like this?! #daydreamerproblems 

Things I'm Resetting this Month:

  • Morning routines with school carpool, work, and fitness thrown in somewhere
  • Business workflows and monthly must-do's
  • Prioritizing personal and work goals for the end of the year
  • Holiday planning and bucket-list-writing (I want to take the girls to the see The Nutcracker!)
  • Utilizing my Trello boards to keep it all straight

...that feels like a lot, but I'm going to take it in weekly chunks. 

I'd love to know how you reset! Do you do it in one feel swoop in January or gradually throughout the year? Comment below and let me know. Have a great September, friends!

xoxo

Erin

hampton roads family photographer

Sunset at Sandbridge | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

 I read somewhere recently that vacations with young kids can often feel like trying to brush your hair in the middle of a tornado. Bahahaha, there is some serious truth to this - right?!

We love our kids, but traveling with them is NOT for the weak. It takes careful planning, packing all.the.things and then some.more.things. Oftentimes, we feel like we need a vacation from our vacation! 

But, in all the chaos, there are beautiful moments. Memories made. Adventures experienced. It brings us closer together as a family and it's in those sweeter memories we can dwell on during the harder days. When I've had a particularly rough parenting day (or month) I'll find myself sifting through our family pictures. A mental shift happens when I look at them. It's a reminder - there is LOVE here. Deep, meaningful, gonna-burst-if-I-don't-squeeze-your-face kind of love. 

So, when families contact me during their Virginia Beach vacation, my heart just leaps. Yes! Yes to capturing memories during this sweet season. Yes to looking back and remembering the beautiful chaos of life. Absolutely, yes. 

I met this lovely family about an hour before sunset out at Sandbridge beach. We were pushing bed times with the littles, but they did amaaaaazing. There's something about the beach that perks kids up in the evening.

We watched the waves, twirled and watched the clouds turn pink...

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“Life is either a great adventure or nothing.”
— Helen Keller

There are just a few slots left for September beach sessions. The weather is cooler and sunset is earlier for those kid bedtimes. Click the button below and let's chat! :)

The Art of Imperfect: A Workshop for Family Photographers

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Wanna hop in my time machine, real quick? Okay, buckle up.

Let's rewind to the Spring of 2013. I had a busy three-year-old and an infant. My life felt full in so many ways, but the artist in my heart... well, she was kicking her feet around and making a stink.

I tried to squelch her with thoughts like:

"I'm a stay-at-home Mom, it would be selfish to put my desires first."

"We don't have the kind of money for me to invest in building a business. That would be reckless."

"There's no lack of talent around here, I mean - isn't everybody a photographer?!"

Oh wow, my psyche can play some serious mind games. And not to mention the loads of guilt about ALL. THE. THINGS. if I even toyed with the idea of starting a business. Whew!

Still in that time machine? Cool, let's keep moving.

Fast forward to Summer of 2013. My sweet husband and friends were cheering me on about sticking my toes in the proverbial pond. I was ready to start photographing families and building the "portfolio" that all the websites said I had to do first. Um, okay. But - how?!

Friend, let me be real. IF, a local photographer had offered a workshop where I could:

  1. Learn some easy tips for managing a family session
  2. Practice that 'unposed' lifestyle look I was obsessed with
  3. AND give me insight on editing in Lightroom

I would have been ALL over it. Sign me UP! But, when I looked around, there wasn't a soul offering something for me as a newbie family photographer. I could travel to the west coast or to a big, expensive conference - but there was no way I could afford that in the beginning. 

So, after years now of specializing in families, I decided it was time to create it myself. A workshop for that 2013 Erin who was desperate to learn and grow as a family photographer! 

Can you relate to that fire in your heart? Photographing the love and connection in a family is a HUGE gift. You are documenting their current season of life, with all the beautifully imperfect moments. It's not something I take lightly and it continues to light my soul up! 

If this connects with you, I'd love for you to attend The Art of Imperfect on Saturday, September 30th in Virginia Beach. Click the button below for ALL the details. Can't wait to see you! :)

Have a few questions about the workshop? No problem, let's chat!

2017 Summer Reads! | #MomLife | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

If you're new here, you might not yet know what a HUGE bookworm I am. Until my oldest daughter was born, I was a 6th grade English teacher for VB Schools. I loved my job and the angst of 11-year-olds. My favorite part was unlocking meaning and connection from stories. If I could have done that all day, it would have been soul-fulfilling on a deeper level. But, alas, that is not how the life of a teacher really looks.

I'm looking at you SOL's...

This love of books and stories runs deep in my nerdy little soul. My current favorite app (okay, besides Instagram) is GoodReads. Whenever I see a title that catches my eye, I add it to my 'want-to-read' list. Then, when I'm browsing Amazon or the library catalogue, I have all those titles stored. Super helpful! You can read more about the 99 books I read in 2016 HERE!

So far this year, I've been reading a mix of great books! I'll share some favorites:

Everything, Everything - I love the occasional YA romance! As a girl who married her high school sweetheart, it always gets me straight in the feels. #socheesy #butIloveit

Dark Matter - Not one to usually pick up sci-fi, but this was SUCH a page-turner. I could not finish it fast enough. It's long-ish, but totally worth the read!

I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time - Wow, this book was super inspiring and motivating! It's full of the daily schedules from Moms who are rocking it at life! If you're struggling with work/life balance, this is a must read, Momma. 

My Not So Perfect Life - A fun, rompy book for the beach! Very British, so of course I loved it, ha!

James and the Giant Peach - If you're looking for a read-aloud with younger kids, we really enjoyed this one! I managed to find the old claymation movie to watch after too. The girls are obsessed with all the Dahl classics!

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Currently, I am reading Longing for Paris: One Woman's Search for Joy, Beauty, and Adventure - Right Where She Is and really enjoying it. It's about how God wants us to use our gifts and desires to live our fullest life - even in the middle of daily monotony.

Plus, it's making me crave croissants! ;) 

Do you have a pile of books on your nightstand?? I can't be alone here. I'd love to hear what you're reading this Summer and loving. Comment here or send me a message! 

Happy Reading! xoxo

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!