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One of my most favorite things about documentary photography is being able to capture the honest, real-life moments when families are feeling the most connected. It is within these little moments where I find my magic and I love it. Those moments of welcoming a baby home are no different.

This amazingly talented mama is a photographer here in Phoenix and I’m so grateful to call her friend. Congratulations to this sweet and beautiful new family of four!

When asking if there was anything she felt she wanted to say, she said these words that couldn’t be more true:

“After having two little ones, I’ve realized just how important and sacred the first 40 days postpartum are. My grandmother stresses that it is important for us to be still because our body needs to heal. So that means no chores or too much movement. Even if we think we are fine and strong (which we are! There’s no doubt about that!) Just rest. Ask someone else to take care of the home and just let go. You’ll never get this recovery time again and you’ll never get these precious moments back. Your body and your heart will be grateful.”

Watch their story in motion below, and view the pictures from their session <3

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For every session I always ask what the story is behind WHY you want to book a session. It’s such a simple question, but it really makes you think about why capturing these photos are important.

For the Boyd family, they wanted to capture this new time in their lives in their new forever dream home with their daughter. When chatting with Grace she said,

“I love life. I love everyday and I want to just capture pure emotion and love.”

I think it’s important to let you know a few things before photographing your family. Ground rules, if you will 🙂

1.) I will become a fly on the wall and photograph you in your element. Capturing the love, genuine emotion, and what makes you thrive as a family. I will also encourage snuggles, and run around with your kids.

2.) I want to capture what’s REAL. That means I won’t ask you to look at me and smile, or pose you in awkward poses. The heart of your session is YOU, and telling your story through photographs. It’s perfectly okay if no one is looking at the camera, in fact, that is even better!

3.) My passion is storytelling and capturing emotion. I want to make you feel something. With that being said, if posed memories are what you are looking for, then I probably am not the photographer for you and that is okay! But, if you trust me enough and let the “perfection” guard down I promise you your session will not lack emotions, memories, and pure love.

This is an incredible example of a family who trusted me with their story, and that is when sessions like this happen. Can you can see the genuine emotion and feel the love between this family? This is why I do what I do, and I hope you can see it now to..

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Dear J.J.,

Happy 1st birthday! I never thought I would be lucky enough to have the privilege to write a letter like this. I also never thought I would be able to have another child, and I definitely never thought God would bless our family with someone as special as you. You are the most perfect little addition to our family.

I am exhausted a lot because you love snuggling with mommy all night long. I am also exhausted because you are full of energy and are constantly finding things to get into. Regardless of how tired I may be and how sometimes I feel like giving up, this first year of your life has flown by. I know people say that all the time, especially after your first kid, but it is proving itself to be true as the months go by. You continue blowing through every bittersweet milestone us mamas look forward to during the first year.

Your first birthday was a day full of first’s, including your first hair cut. Daddy cut your hair, and being able to watch him doing something he is so passionate about made it even more special. You sat still like a champ as the hair fell to the floor and I held back my tears.

I don’t know what the next year will bring, but right now in this moment I am holding on tighter then I ever have before. To these moments. To the way you laugh when your sister is being silly. To the way you lay your head on me right after waking up from a nap. To the way you give kisses when I ask for one and you say “mmmm-aaaaa”. And to the way you bring so much joy and crazy beautiful chaos to our family.

Love,

Mommy

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Sigh. As I sit down to write this, that is all I can manage to do when thinking about my Project 52 I attempted to do last year. In all fairness, I did give birth to my baby boy and complete it all the way until June, but was posting multiple weeks at at time. I admire those who take a picture, edit it, upload it, and share it everyday. Thinking about that makes my head spin. Maybe a Mobile 365 is better for me since I always have my phone, right?

2016 has already come and gone, and has taught me so much. It was a year of intense growth, and truly finding my vision and purpose. But most importantly, this year taught me how to see beauty in everything. From growing a business, to battling the struggles of motherhood and raising a family, to balancing everything in between. There is a certain strength that comes from allowing ourselves to see the beauty throughout this crazy, sometimes chaotic, journey.

Will I still aim to shoot everyday? Absolutely. There is something magical in how it helps me see my everyday in a new light while at the same time helping me grow in my art.

Moral of the story, these days are beautiful and fleeting. No matter how often you capture it, just be sure you are making memories strictly for you and your family. That’s what I got out of failing my P52 and that makes it all worthwhile to me. I did manage to go through all my photos from 2016 and saw some that I skipped over at the time. Here are the forgotten files from our year. Enjoy!

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This beautiful mama is a local photographer and as you can imagine it gives me butterflies every single time! When she told me she wanted me to capture her family I was of course honored, as I always am when another photographer trusts me to photograph their family’s moments.

I was immediately drawn to their love and connection and how truly REAL they were together. We just played the entire time, and the boys found rocks for their dog, ran in the sunshine, and just embraced each other’s company. I was completely in my element as I watched them explore and have fun together.

I love their images for so many reasons, but the main reason is how you can just FEEL all the love between them. Here are some favorites from capturing this season of life for them.

Thank you Courtney for allowing me to capture your sweet family <3

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