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.

Introducing the 'Stay Little' Lounge | A Photography Community for Moms

It's funny how things work out. Never would I have imagined years ago when I left my teaching career that I would become a small business owner. I thought being a 'stay-at-home-Mom' would be the extent of my actual work. I never anticipated that from this business, I would still find a way to keep teaching. That it would become an outlet of creativity in my life AND bring so many new and incredible people into my inner circle.

I have had the privilege of teaching and mentoring over fifty Moms and photography enthusiasts. I have been encouraged and amazed by their talent, generous hearts, and ambition to 'just get it right in camera!' These women amaze me on a daily basis.

hampton roads photography class

It's because of my love for this community of women that I'm launching the 'Stay Little' Lounge Facebook Group. This group is a Photography Community for Moms, and it's a FREE and safe space for Moms to share, learn and grow in their photography. I often see Mothers placing their creative ambitions on the shelf until their children "are just a little bit older". Now sometimes we need to self sacrifice for our kids, but let me encourage you, Momma - You are a better wife and mother when you can dig into something creative, artistic or beautiful. It looks different for everyone, but I whole-heartedly believe that every Mom has her thing. If photography lights you up inside, I'd love to invite you to join our growing community. 

You are a better wife and mother when you can dig into something creative, artistic or beautiful...

Here's what you'll find in the 'Stay Little' Lounge:

  • an encouraging community of Moms who LOVE taking pictures 
  • a place to share images of your kids, ask questions, and support others
  • accountability to practice your skills and dust off your DSLR
  • fun challenges, including our first - the Ten Weeks of Summer Photo Challenge
  • FB Live Q&A's with Erin every Wednesday through the Summer months
  • exclusive opportunities and discounts for events and continued education

Are you in?! Click the link below and come join the community!

 

I can't wait to meet you and see where your creativity takes you.

xoxo,

Erin

Sunset at 80th Street | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

Let me tell you, this family gives me all-the-feels. Here's why.

Back in 2012, I had a little fledgling idea of starting a photography business. But like with any big dreams, doubts always peck at the side of your brain. I thought:

  • Would anyone even want me to take their picture?
  • What if NO families book me?
  • Maybe I should just keep portfolio building...forever.
  • What if they're not my kind of people?
  • My equipment isn't the fanciest - so this could never work.

And on and on my brain would spin. It happens. If you're a creative entrepreneur or just an over-thinker by nature - I know you feel me here! 

But the Universe wasn't about to let me struggle along without giving me a lift. Through some sort of divine intervention, the Castin family found me. They took a risk (sight unseen) on me. They are and will be forever be "my first family". I LOVED our session. The kids were much smaller then, and I knew instantly - this was my jam. Fun and spirited kids, laid-back parents and a beautiful sunset. Now my only thought was, "how can I do this like 100 more times!?" LOL!

  I'm so grateful for their friendship and loyalty over the years! It means the absolute world to me. I am sad they will be leaving the country for a few years, but I'm deeply thankful for their service to our country. Hoping to catch up on the other side and see how the kids have grown even more!

Happy Adventuring and 'See you later' Castin Fam! xoxo 

virginia beach family photographer

I love the beach access at 80th Street, it doesn't even feel like Virginia Beach. So lush and green right now, it's a great place to start when the sun is still higher in the sky.

virginia beach family photographer
virginia beach family photographer

Me: Just walk towards me and act natural!

Little Brother: Um, ok.

Hahahaha, he's just the cutest thing!

virginia beach family photographer

The light peaking over the dunes... just my favorite thing.

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

She got him with the smooch!! LOL! He loved it :)

virginia beach family photographer

Running to the next adventure...

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

Friends, my Summer calendar is filling quickly. I love my people and I want to serve you well! If you've been dreaming of a Summer session, please contact me soon so we can get your date on the books. Drop me a line below and let's get started! xoxo

Pleasure House Point Sunset | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

The adjustment of going from one to two babies, no matter the age, is a real challenge. I remember being overwhelmed most days and feeling pulled in about a million different directions. The pictures we do have of that time are only a few, probably because we were just trying to keep our heads on straight. Can you relate?

When Caitlin contacted me for a session, I was thrilled! It hadn't been too long since I photographed her maternity and newborn session with her daughter, Izzy. Her family had recently grown and they were ready for a sunny, golden hour session. We lucked out with the weather and  had a gorgeous night at Pleasure House Point. Even with the busyness of having a toddler and infant, I was so impressed with how they worked together as a team. I love seeing parents who communicate with one other and embrace the chaos that is life with littles. 

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

Loved the light! And these sweet faces :)

virginia-beach-family-photographer
virginia-beach-family-photographer
embrace the chaos that is life with littles...
virginia-beach-family-photographer

Hey, cutie!

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

So beautiful and sun-filled! 

Friends, I am booking mini and full sessions through Summer! Contact me for availability - I'd love to see your family.

Best,

Erin

Moms Who Matter | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

With Mother's Day coming up this weekend, I couldn't resist looking through some favorite mother and child images from the past. These moments are certainly one of my favorite things to capture. Especially since Moms are usually the family photographer! When you hire a pro, you get to be in-front-of-the-camera, at last.

Enjoying your children. Living in the moment with them.

Soaking up this beautiful gift we call, Motherhood.

hampton roads family photographer
hampton roads family photographer

If you missed my recent blog, I talked about how my girls are getting too big for me to carry. I think this is why I'm so drawn to images of Mothers holding their babies. If you can still physically lift your child, I will ask you to so during a session. Or, to hold one another and get super close. The connection of mother and child is beautiful to witness. I can't get enough!!

hampton roads newborn photographer
hampton roads family photographer
The connection of mother and child is beautiful to witness.
hampton roads newborn photographer
hampton roads family photographer
hampton roads newborn photographer
virginia-beach-family-photographer-2.jpg
hampton roads family photographer

Woo...these all just get me right in the feels! Do you have a favorite picture with your mother? If the answer is no... friend, let me just encourage you to make that happen. If your Mother is on this side of Heaven, have a session with her. If you need updated ones with your own children... schedule it. And then PRINT those images. For your kids and for your daughters who will be on this same journey one day. And they'll witness all that love you had and still have for them. What a gift!

Happy Mother's Day to all the sweet Mommas out there. You are the life force and heart of the family. May you be loved and blessed every day... not just on a Sunday in May.

xoxo

Norfolk Sunset Session | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

There's something so sweet and easy when photographing a family for the 2nd or 3rd time. The kids know me (or remember me within the first five minutes) and I get to see how much they've grown since our last session. This is particularly amazing after a newborn session and I witness how this little nugget of a baby has grown leaps and bounds! It's like a swift reminder of how incredibly fast that first year moves.

As soon as you get used to something, babies shift the ground beneath you again. Clothes are too small. Waking again at night. Crawling away during a diaper change. Throwing their food all over the floor. The list goes on. But wow, the gift of pictures is that we see how fast they are changing. No wonder it's constantly shifting! As exhausted parents, we hang on for the ride the best we can. The gifts we get in return? They are so, so sweet. 

Gifts like drooly smiles and ugga-mugga nose rubs. Unexpected neck hugs and sisters that are constantly smooching on each other. I can speak from experience, that looking back on these kind of images with my own girls - it's a gut check! And after I've cried into my coffee (or wine) I often stare at them in awe. They can now pump their legs hard on the swing. They can reach the top shelf. They can do it themselves.

"I got this, Mommy."

It's altogether wonderful and heart breaking. 

So, when I got to see these two sisters again, I had a similar gut check. They are in this sweet stage right now of just figuring it out. I loved watching them play, giggle and enjoy our night in Norfolk. I mean - who couldn't love these sweet faces?!

hampton roads family photographer
hampton roads family photographer
hampton roads family photographer
hampton roads family photographer
hampton roads family photographer
hampton roads family photographer
hampton roads family photographer
The most precious jewels you’ll ever wear around your neck are the arms of your children...
hampton roads family photographer
hampton roads family photographer
hampton roads family photographer
hampton roads family photographer
hampton roads family photographer

Gah, so much sweetness! 

Friends, I have a couple open Spring dates and Summer is filling fast. If you are wanting to book a weekend session, please contact me and we'll get your date scheduled! I would love to see your family :) Open nights are:

Saturday, May 13th

Saturday, June 3rd

Bring Your Camera | Hampton Roads Photography Class

When I first became obsessed with learning my Canon Rebel, I would bring my camera on as many outings with my girls as possible. Now, during this stage of exhaustive motherhood, I had a toddler and an infant. I had been shooting for awhile, but was just really understanding manual mode. I'd also started following several incredible photographers and became a member of the Clickin Moms community.

I was blown away with other MomTogs and how they were catching these incredible moments while out with their children. Why couldn't I do that?! So, the camera went in the diaper bag, usually wrapped around a spare burp cloth and I just said a silent prayer that my daughter's sippy cup wouldn't leak all over it. 

Swinging Baby! June, 2013

Swinging Baby! June, 2013

I was particularly drawn to images of kids at restaurants, swimming at the pool or cruising the aisles of Target. Probably because this is how my life looked! I wanted to capture each moment and stage of their development and our days together. 

First Haircut! January, 2013

First Haircut! January, 2013

But, oh goodness, was there plenty of frustration and growth during this period. For starters, overhead lighting at Target is not ideal for a custom white balance and shooting at the beach around 11 am while my kids RUN around wildly is.. a bit hard you could say, haha! 

I wanted to capture each moment and stage...

However, I was persistent. I knew that if I could shoot in these challenging scenarios, anything was possible. I had no inclination to start a business at all, I was just a Mom who loved photographing her kids. And her friends' kids. And any kid or face that would let me.

Norfolk Zoo Playdate with friends! March, 2013

Norfolk Zoo Playdate with friends! March, 2013

So Momma, bring your camera. Let go of the anxiety of feeling awkward and just bring it. You're already packing the entire contents of your house when taking out small children, so what's one more thing?! LOL! 

Trust me - you'll be so grateful you challenged yourself AND captured unique images of your kids' everyday life. Images they will look back on with fondness. Images that represent your love for them and also your own determination to work on a hobby that lights you up. 

Ready to get out of Auto Mode?? I would LOVE to help! Teaching Moms is a huge source of joy in my life. Only Little Once 101 Workshop is Saturday, May 13th in Virginia Beach from 2-5.

The workshop includes: 

  • A manual for note-taking 
  • Opportunity to practice your new skills
  • Access to the private, Facebook group full of incredibly supportive MomTogs
  • Photography challenges
  • Continued education and opportunities to grow your skills

Use the coupon code, MomTog, and save 10% by registering early!

Too Big To Carry | #MomLife

Moms of Littles, I know it feels like your babies will never be big. They will always be little and squishy.

Portable and plump. 

Got a booboo on your knee? *Swoop!* I can easily lift you up in my arms for a snuggle.

Want to see something over that tall fence? No problem, climb on my shoulders, kiddo.

Feeling tired and clingy? It's okay, I can do that Mom sway with you on my hip while I cook dinner.

Something scared you? Bury your face in my neck, I've gotcha.

But all along I knew they were secretly growing. Busting out of those baby onesies. I'd try to smoosh them into their favorite cozy sleepers, but eventually they'd bust out. Anybody else miss the footed pajama phase?

 My Dad used to joke he stretched my sister and I at night (which might have been true because we are collectively 5'11 and 6'1 - hmmm...). So, I knew it was coming. I'm not gullible enough to think that my children would never grow up. Right?!

But then it happened. I reached to pick you up and nearly tumbled over from the effort. You are all legs and knees down. Minimal baby chub remains to pad your behind when you climb on my lap. I find myself crouching or sitting to hold you. 

You are a KID now. Not a baby.

And the biggest difference to me is that I can no longer easily lift and hold you in my arms. I will try though, despite the pain in my back and neck. I will attempt to carry you as long as you will let me. Until you beg me to put you down. Until you claim to be too grown up.

But even then, I'll hold you. 

You are KID now. Not a baby...

Stay little sweet girl, just a bit longer.

xoxo 

Erin

Neon District Photo Walk | Photography Education and Community

I recently bragged about how incredible my workshop and mentoring ladies are to some other photographer pals. Not only are they talented beyond belief, but so supportive of one another. I knew I wanted to build an even closer knit community for us, so hosting a photo walk was at the top of my list! This meetup had been rescheduled a couple of times due to crazy weather and me being super sick in March. So thankful for the nice weather and this great group of ladies!

Street photography is obviously not my speciality, but I wanted to challenge myself by shooting something different. Of course, most of my favorite images from the night are all the behind-the-scenes of us shooting. No surprise there ;) #peopleperson #ilikefaces 

Street photography is a challenge because it reverses many of the "rules" we use in portrait photography. I'm not trying to capture one subject, but more tell a story or communicate directly with the viewer of the final photograph. I found myself thinking about composition even more than usual and the Neon District does not disappoint with the amount of inspiration available! I found myself on the ground many times trying to frame a shot correctly.... I think this is why all my jeans have holes in them, oops!

hampton roads photography class

I loved all the designs on this wall! So fun. 

HamptonRoadsPhotographyClass-3.jpg
hampton roads photography class

Loved these bees too - aren't they cute? :)

hampton roads photography class

Attempting reflective big camera "selfies" haha ;) 

hampton roads photography class
hampton roads photography class
The camera makes you forget you’re there. It’s not like you are hiding but you forget, you are just looking so much
— Annie Leibovitz
hampton roads photography class

I loved this last image from the night, I've always been a big fan of this wall. But for some reason, it really struck me differently seeing these talented Moms standing under it. It jumped out to me: We Can Create. 

Because we can. We must. Just because you're a Mom now, doesn't mean you are no longer creative, artistic or imaginative. It's even more important to pursue creative endeavors that make our hearts sing. For some, that might look like crafting, scrapbooking, cooking, blogging - the list goes on and on. But if you happen to land on photography - be prepared to jump in feet first. It's a beautiful and incredible journey. And the best part? It. never. ends. Always something new to learn. Always chasing light. 

hampton roads photography class

Thanks to Nicole for this image of me in my element :) 

 

If you're wanting to learn more about photography AND be part of an incredible community of Moms, I would love to meet you! One-on-one mentoring is offered year round and the next Only Little Once 101 Workshop is coming up on May 13th. Bring a friend and get off Auto mode! 

You can also sign up for my monthly newsletter just for photography education! Receive tips, editing how-tos and opportunities for continued learning.

Spring in Virginia Beach | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

Welcome, Spring! This was my first official 2017 Spring session, and I was thrilled with the beautiful weather last weekend. We had to delay this session due to military travel plans (you know how they like to change their minds!) but it ended up working out perfectly. We'd all had sickness and awful weather - so I'm glad everything aligned for this session to happen when it did! Sometimes it's like that and you just gotta roll with it ;)

I've been friends with Amanda since my oldest daughter was about one. Our mother's group for 2010 Moms was such a blessing, and I'm grateful every day for the friendships I formed there! We've stayed close and Amanda is also a fellow MomBoss! She owns a successful Etsy shop, where she makes customized vinyl gifts - check out her page HERE!

Amanda reached out to me when she heard her oldest daughter, November, would be home for a short visit before deploying. She knew this was a sweet time, and one worth documenting! I captured November's senior pictures two years ago and I'm so grateful for her service.

I love this blended family so dearly - they are always a joy to capture. We opted on shooting at The Francis Land House in Virginia Beach. Amanda is also a previous teacher and history buff so it was perfect!

 Just a few favorites...

hampton roads family photographer

Can we talk about how great these outfits are!? Coordinated without being matchy. Love it!

hampton roads family photographer
hampton roads family photographer
Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.
~ Michael J. Fox
hampton roads family photographer

Sweet baby Jack!! 

hampton roads family photographer

When the baby escapes, hahaha ;) 

hampton roads family photographer

Bookend babies. Oldest and youngest.

hampton roads family photographer
hampton roads family photographer

Gorgeous, Amanda!

hampton roads family photographer
hampton roads family photographer
hampton roads family photographer
hampton roads family photographer

We had so much fun, thank you Amanda and family! :)

Weekend slots are filling quickly, contact me soon to book your Spring or Summer 2017 session. I'd love to see you!

See more family sessions HERE! 

Best,

Erin