3 Reasons to Pick Up Your Camera This Fall | Hampton Roads Photography Education

Let's be real here. Do you have a DSLR camera somewhere in your hall closet right now? Or maybe it's packed up on the top shelf of your pantry?

Wherever it might be lurking - I want you to think about the last time you used it. Did you take pictures last Christmas morning and it hasn't seen the light of day since? I get it. Life is busy and full. I totally get how overwhelming it can be to learn something new. Especially with that handy Iphone camera in your pocket. 

Can I just encourage you today? I want you to feel motivated and inspired to pick up your big camera. Grab that beast off the shelf and challenge yourself this Fall!

And if you're still dragging your feet and thinking of 362 excuses - here's an extra kick in the proverbial pants. ;) 

1. Your kids are busy doing ALL the things. Soccer games, trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, pony rides, apple picking, treat baking, bike riding... I mean, there are a TON of fun memories being made this season. Everyone says that childhood flies by, but you don't realize how fast until you're the Mom and those babies are growing at warp speed. Let's freeze time just a little bit. 

2. Better Conditions. With sunset time moving earlier, that means you don't have to keep your littles up past bedtime to utilize the best light. Temps are mostly cooler and those pesky mosquitoes are on their way out. Head out shortly after dinner time and pre-bath time to get some practice in. Kids sometimes need a switch in routine. Make it a fun weeknight adventure. :)

3. Golden Hour is really golden. Fall (in my nerdy opinion) has THE best light. It's my favorite. Golden beams and a softness that just doesn't exist in July. Pay attention next time you're walking around your neighborhood at sunset. As the leaves changes and the sun drops, it creates absolute magic. And so much of photography is about the light. Use it well!

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Are you wanting more encouragement and support with your photography? Join the 'Stay Little' Lounge Facebook group and get access to helpful tutorials, fun challenges and motivation to pick up your camera today. See you there! :)

A Sweet and Snuggly Lifestyle Session | Virginia Beach Newborn Photographer

When another photographer contacts me - it is one of the greatest compliments! It's like being a hair stylist and choosing who cuts your own hair. You have an eye for the craft, and it's a huge deal choosing another artist. 

If I'm completely honest, on top of being a huge compliment, I also feel a bit nervous. I want to live up to their expectations and totally rock the session for them! Sarah and I had been following one another on social media for awhile - so I was truly honored when she booked a newborn session. You can check out her photography page HERE and give her a follow! Sarah understands the lifestyle approach to newborn sessions and embraced the care-free and relaxed vibe. 

During the session, she suggested photographing bath time for the baby and I was in nerdy-photographer-Heaven right away, haha! This family was so laid back, genuine and full of love. Big sister giggled at least 1/2 the time which reminded me of how much I love six-year-olds. Seriously - such a great age! Sarah's husband was on board for anything and it was sweet to witness the love he has for his girls. Pictures don't lie and their connection is written all over these images. Totally obsessed...

virginia beach newborn photographer
virginia beach newborn photographer
virginia beach newborn photographer

Big sis has the magic touch. She brushes baby's hair and it instantly calms her down. A regular baby whisperer in the making, friends!

virginia beach newborn photographer
virginia beach newborn photographer

Yes to ALL the legos! A girl after my own heart. ;)

virginia beach newborn photographer
virginia beach newborn photographer
virginia beach newborn photographer
virginia beach newborn photographer
virginia beach newborn photographer
virginia beach newborn photographer
virginia beach newborn photographer
virginia beach newborn photographer
No one in this world can love a girl more than her father.
— Michael Ratnadeepak
virginia beach newborn photographer
virginia beach newborn photographer

Are you expecting? Congrats! I'm currently booking newborn sessions into 2018. Send me a note and let's chat :)

The Art of Imperfect Workshop Recap | Hampton Roads Photographer Education

Ever realize how passionate you are about something when you talk about it to someone else? This is how I've always been. When I get talking, I use my hands a LOT. I start talking louder. 

 Really loud.

 I get extremely passionate and excited and can't shut up. I really can't control it. It all just rushes out of my mouth and I feel a little bad for whoever was listening on the other end, LOL. My husband usually laughs at me and says, "You've got that look in your eye again." It's true. But, it's an excellent gut-check for me to have these little outbursts. Did I mention I have very patient and understanding friends and family!?

It means something has lit a fire in me and I should probably follow that calling. If not, it's like trying to walk around with that kind of energy inside all the time. Not always a good idea, ha!

The Art of Imperfect Workshop started because of these spirited talks I've had with others about lifestyle photography. That imperfect art of capturing families in an authentic and story telling manner that goes beyond a simple pose.

Saturday's workshop was such a dream and I'm so grateful to all the attendees, models and artists who made it possible! Six months ago, this workshop was not even on my radar. The fact that it happened still feels pretty surreal. Here are some of my favorite images from the day!

Makeup: BlushTones Artist: Meg Bryan

Models: The Meek Family - The Fulrath Family

Special thanks to BlogStomp and Lens Pen for helping spoil the attendees!

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I loved the controlled chaos of the shooting portion of the workshop, LOL! So much fun, I can't wait to see all the images. :)

So grateful for these fabulous families - are they cute or what? :)

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The sweetest group of photographers joined us as well. Thanks to Dana Rae Photography for sending over these awesome behind-the-scenes shots. So much fun! 

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Loved my time with these talented ladies! I can't wait to see them grow as artists even more. Family Photography takes a certain heart - and these gals have it! xoxo

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Interested in joining the next workshop? Be sure to sign up for the EAP Education Newsletter and you'll be the first to know details once they are released!

Brock Environmental Center PhotoWalk | Hampton Roads Photography Community

You guys have heard me brag on my workshop grads before - but I'm not kidding when I say that they are increeeeedible. I'm so grateful they found my classes, but even more thankful for their friendships. Over in the Only Little Once grad private Facebook group, we're sharing images, inspiration and support. It's a solid group of women and Moms who love photography and have said, "yes!" to pursuing their creative goals.

Their talent and genuine kindness to one another blows me away. Every month, we participate in fun challenges and I cannot believe how much growth I've seen! Many of them are beginning to specialize and it just makes my heart so happy.

This was our 2nd official PhotoWalk - last Spring we went to the Neon District in Norfolk, which was really fun. You can read about it HERE! This time, we decided to explore the Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach. I've head magical things about the sunsets there and wanted to scout it at golden hour. We had fun experimenting and challenging ourselves to think outside of the box. It was so refreshing and I loved the opportunity to shoot for myself after a busy Summer season. 

After sunset, we headed over to the Leaping Lizard Cafe off of Shore Drive, which was delicious! Highly recommend their salads and veggie lasagna. Perfection. :)

Here are a few favorites from our night!

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To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.
— Elliott Erwitt
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Do you want to be in the know about upcoming photography events and workshops? Sign up for the EAP Education Newsletter and you'll immediately receive FIVE Tips for Finding Light Indoors right to your inbox. Nothing spammy, just nerdy photog love!

Struggling with learning Lightroom or wanting to take the next step? I offer one-on-one mentoring sessions year round and would love to talk all things photography with you! 

Happy Friday, friends!

xoxo

Erin

September Sunset at Little Island Park | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

Parenthood can pull at our heartstrings like nothing else. This ride of loving little people while still pursuing a career, personal goals, friendships and nurturing a marriage is a WILD one. Plus, there's no training or guide book - so most days we're just winging it. Can you relate?

This family is about to be separated due to work commitments, and Mom wanted to sneak in a photo session. I imagine her looking at these images while being miles apart from her babies. It yanks at my heart. I am grateful that the weather cooperated and we enjoyed a gorgeous sunset session at Little Island Park in Virginia Beach!

This was my second session with these cuties and they are so full of personality! Which is really how I prefer it. ;)

I loved the way little sis kept tugging on her Dad's beard! She was feeling shy and it helped comfort her - so sweet. And luckily, she didn't tug too hard - haha ;)

Adventure is worthwhile in itself.
— Amelia Earhart

Friends, I have just added THREE more Fall Mini Session slots coming up on Saturday, October 14th. These are short and sweet sessions that are perfect for updating those picture frames!

Click below for more details and to book! :)

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!