Cynthia was the first client to have a Cultural celebration portrait session. She chose to not only embrace her own African culture but also showcased her love for Hawaiian culture. Cynthia is a local actress and a wonderful friend that has helped me decorate my new studio and office space with wonderful plants and trees. I just hope I get a green thumb really soon! I had so much fun photographing Cynthia and I know the future holds great things ahead for her.
Thank you Cynthia for being a wonderful friend and a beautiful person inside and out.
Here are a few of the portraits from Cynthia’s unique session. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
I adore photographing newborns! My youngest is 12 so, my littlest clients give me my baby fix! They are so tiny, new, squishy, and adorable!! I love molding them into little naked balls, swaddling them into little beans with my wraps, and perfectly inserting them into baskets and bowls. That said, a newborn shoot is not easy – with much of the work happening before I even book a client!
When I take your little one out of your hands to photograph them, I am accepting the greatest gift you have ever been given. I am taking the baby that just days ago you had only ever held in your womb. I have a HUGE responsibility to care for that baby and make sure he/she is safe and sound. I take that responsibility seriously and I have put in the work to make sure I am educated on how to photograph your baby safely. I have attended newborn workshops and classes to make sure I know how to mold, swaddle, and insert your perfect little bundles into the beautiful poses you often see in newborn portraits.
Often the pictures you see are not single images- but two or three images composited together where I am photoshopping out my assistants hands and fingers that are helping hold that perfect little baby in that pose. The beautiful pictures of babies hanging from tree limbs- often that baby is just two inches off the ground- not hanging freely as the photograph would like you believe. Expert and trained newborn photographers know these tricks and tools to keep your baby safe while still creating amazing art of your precious baby.
You are probably aware that newborn babies can’t support their own heads- so the famous pose with the little one holding their head on their tiny hands, is IMPOSSIBLE to do without doing a composite. I always tell a client I can’t promise that shot because unless the baby is relaxed and completely asleep- that shot isn’t going to happen. If your 6 day old baby doesn’t want to be in a certain position, I will not force them just for a picture. I still capture amazing images for my clients that express who their baby is and what they like even at such a young age.
The point of my post is to encourage people to research your photographers ESPECIALLY for newborn portraits. You only get one chance to do newborn portraits (they change immensely after the first 2 weeks) and you don’t want your first portraits of your little one and your first portraits as a family being done by someone without the experience your child deserves. While I understand cost becomes a big deciding factor for many people, for the safety of your newborn I beg you not to hire someone with price in mind. An amazing deal doesn’t equal proper training and education to provide you with a safe environment and portrait session for your newborn.
I continue to take classes and attend workshops on newborn photography. I want to stay up to date on all the information out there so that I can enhance my client’s portrait sessions. You and your little precious munchkin deserve experience, education and passion.
Look at examples of a photographer’s work and try to find the photographer with the style you are looking for. When looking into a photographer, make sure you ask many questions such as:
Get the information you need to make the very best choice for your little munchkin. You want your session to be something you remember with fondness and love, not fear and unease. Choose the photographer who will make your session easy for both you and baby, and will create amazing portraits you’ll cherish forever!
Here are a few composite images I have complete for my clients. Enjoy!
Before you know it, your precious baby has grown up right before your very own eyes. One day you’re chasing after them as they embark on their first run with those little feet and then the next you are receiving information about graduation caps and gowns. I’m currently trying to navigate my own feelings as my daughter, Olivia, is an upcoming Senior! While I am very excited for her, I find myself asking, “How did it all happen so fast?!”.
One of my favorite sessions to photograph are Senior Portraits because I get the opportunity to capture the cusp between childhood and adulthood that these talented young people experience. I am rewarded once more when I get the family together for their viewing and display the photographs – because the expressions of surprise, love and admiration are the greatest bonus I could receive.
I love seeing how each Senior chooses to express themselves during their session with their body language, the locations we go to, their clothing, and any props or important items they choose to add into their session. It gives me a glimpse into who they are and an idea of the kind of incredible future they will have. I have had students bring their baseball bats, footballs, guitars, skateboards, art supplies and surfboards to incorporate into their portraits and we always find fun and interesting ways to utilize their prized possessions to make their portrait unique. I am so thankful for the moment when they let their guard down and I capture the portrait where they are completely relaxed and comfortable because, that ends up being the one they love the most.
Senior Portraits are also a great opportunity to capture the family as it stands at that moment before they go off to college. There is so much that can happen in a year that it’s important to take photographs of everyone together before internships, relationships, and other life events pull people in different directions. I offer FREE family portrait sessions to every family that books a senior portrait session.
As the school year comes to a close, I am so proud of the Graduating Class of 2018. I know that you have an incredible future waiting for you and I am excited to see all that you will accomplish over the next four years. If you haven’t had your portraits done already, it isn’t too late to get some portraits done to commemorate this incredible moment in your life.
Looking ahead to the Graduating Class of 2019, I am excited to capture this year’s moments with Seniors and their families. I am currently offering a Senior Summer Session deal that is CRAZY and I know you won’t want to miss it.
Devon Shanor Photography is evolving once again with the addition of my new Office Manager and Marketing Coordinator, Becca Kajouras. She is a wonderful asset to the team, adding creative and new ways to organize my business space and market my portrait sessions.
Becca recently worked for the local SPCA where she helped find animals their forever homes helping to make families feel complete with their four-legged friend. It was there that she became interested in Marketing after helping to photograph some of the animals for the SPCA’s website. She’s currently finishing up a Bachelors degree in Psychology at Norfolk State University with a plan to pursue a Masters program in the future. In addition to working for Devon Shanor Photography and finishing up her degree, Becca is a single mom to her son, Wesley. Together, they have three dogs (Dakota, Lucy, and Winter) and a large tank full of fish! In her spare time, Becca enjoys painting, reading with her son, spending time with her dogs, and cooking.
I’ve asked her to answer a few questions so everyone can get to know her. I know you’re going to love her as much as I do!
What is your favorite color ? I love the color Green.
What is your favorite food? Give me Tacos or Home-made Greek food any day.
What is something silly you’d like to share?
I love to laugh and I love to make the people around me laugh. At home it is never a dull moment, I am always trying to be silly to make my son laugh, smile, or just hang his head in embarrassment. I love to sing and to create made up songs. Recently, I created a breakfast song that we have gotten stuck in our heads. I also enjoy playing Just Dance with my son and I always end up laughing when I mess up on a dance move. I am a Nickname Creator Queen at my house, and everyone has a ton of silly nicknames that we use. The dogs have the most nicknames at this point.
Tell us about yourself:
I love helping others. Ever since I can remember I was that kid that gave away her toys to cheer someone up or did what I could to help another person. I love talking to new people and getting to know someone – it is the highlight of my day. I love spending time with my 8 year old son learning about what he’s into at the moment, right now it’s Dinosaurs, Minecraft, and Cooking. I have 3 crazy dogs; Dakota (my old lady) – she’s going to be 10 this year and has been with me through everything, Lucy (my little bug) – is a rescue I adopted in 2017 after I took her home to help her recover after an orthopedic surgery and fell in love, and Winter (the baby) – is also a rescue adopted in 2017, she’s very smart and sweet and loves to bring me shoes as her way of telling me she needs to go out. I recently got back into painting and feel so much happier that I’m being creative once again.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Northern Virginia and I honestly miss getting on the Metro and going down to visiting the museums – my friends and I used to do that often. We (my son and I) moved to Virginia Beach 5 years ago to be closer to the beach.
Why did you want to work for Devon Shanor Photography?
A few years ago, I asked Devon to do a portrait session of my family (Dakota, Wesley, and I) after I got my Associates Degree. If you know me, you know I am not a fan of being photographed but I loved how Devon made me feel throughout the whole process. Ever since then I’ve stayed in contact with Devon and when she had a position open for Marketing, I knew it was my chance to work for someone I admired and to work toward something I had fallen in love with. I feel that Marketing helps me bridge my love of communication with my creativity.
What will you be doing at Devon Shanor Photography?
I’ve only been with Devon for about a month now and I have done a variety of things including organizing her space, creating marketing material, and coming up with new ideas for the business. Everyday I get up excited because I know I’m going to learn something new and that I’m going to get a new idea. I know I will be doing a variety of things with Devon that goes way beyond Marketing and I am excited to meet all of her new clients and the clients she has had for years.
Welcome to the world sweet baby Devin! Not only did I get to capture portraits of momma’s new munchkin, but I got to capture BEAUTIFUL maternity photos!
Mom and Dad Urie are both in the military, so I would like to take this time and say thank you so much for your service! This couple was an absolute blast to work with. They are so in love and so silly together! There was a lot of laughter and sweet moments while capturing portraits for this lovely family!
I was so excited when I got the call that baby Devin had made his appearance! The little munchkin marches to the beat of his own drum and wasn’t sure how he felt about being the star of the shoot. No matter how he felt he was cooperative and I was able to capture some very sweet portraits for Mom and Dad to keep forever!
Andrea and Jamison thank you so much for allowing me to capture these sweet memories for your little family!
If you’d like to book a newborn or maternity shoot, please feel free to contact me!
Santa Clause made an appearance at the beach this year! The weather was chilly but I’m sure that made Santa feel at home! We had so many great families!
We love when Santa on the beach mini sessions because we get to capture so many beautiful portraits for families and help a family in need. Instead of a session fee we ask that those participating donate a toy for a family who may not get a Christmas this year. We actually over filled a big box of toys for the munchkins we are helping out, how awesome is that!?!?!
We had so much fun with this shoot as you can see below! Each family was super awesome and we were able to capture such great portraits that we love so much and hope you do too!
Stunning. Energetic. Happy. Athletic. Fun. Beautiful. All words to describe the lovely Beca.
We had such a great time on both of our sessions! Why more than one session? Well sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t check with me and she does her own thing! Halfway though our beach session, the wind went CRAZY and Beca’s beautiful hair was everywhere, sand was flying into my camera and we were being blown over!! We just weren’t going to get the beautiful sunset pictures we wanted, so we scheduled a second shoot that thankfully provided a beautiful, windless, sunset.
Beca, I can’t wait to see how your last year in high school goes and what next year holds for you. I haven’t know you long but I do know you are a dedicated, beautiful, hard working soul and I know you will achieve whatever goals you set your mind too! Work hard this year, but enjoy every last minute of high school while you can, you deserve it!
I love this family! We have so much in common with our kids being about the same ages and Christina and I are heading on a mission trip to Ethiopia in just a few weeks! They are such a wonderful loving family and I was overjoyed when Christina called me to capture their family portraits. But then she told me their last family portraits we taken THIRTEEN YEARS AGO! That mean big time pressure for me… this would be their first professional pictures since both Max and Clara had been added to the family!
The day came and God provided us with a beautiful day and an incredible sunset. The kids were excited to take pictures prepared to have some fun! I loved when I was trying to get the kids to smile and told a joke… everyone laughed and Max encouraged me by saying “Good job Devon, just keep the jokes coming and this shoot will be easy!” Lol, what a riot!
One really interesting thing about this shoot was that, they knew they wanted the beach, but were open to whichever beach I choose. I choose First Landing State park as it has great sunsets. Later as we were viewing their images, Christiana told me that the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel seen in the background of their images, has a very special place in the start of their family. When they were first married they traveled that bridge weekly as family and work were on opposite sides. To have the bridge in the background of their portraits, 15 years later is pretty memorable… the fact that it happened on accident is just awesome.
Thanks Christina and Frank for creating such an awesome family and allowing ME to create some beautiful images for you to cherish for years to come. Let’s just not wait ANOTHER 13 years til we do the next session! :)
I LOVE this family! I have known Jennifer for years, in fact three years ago we served with each other on a missions trip in Colombia! She is such a sweet, genuine person. I was there to watch her fall in love with Johnny and become mom to the beautiful Cheyenne!
A year ago, they suffered heartbreak when they miscarried their first baby. We were all devastated but knew, somehow, God would heal their hearts and their dreams for growing their family would come true. And then, seven months ago, they DID! I was SO EXCITED to hear Jennifer and Johnny were expecting a baby boy and was honored they chose me to capture this amazing time of carrying him!
Since it’s October, we decided a pumpkin patch was the PERFECT place to start their photo shoot. Jennifer was the most beautiful I have ever seen her and she glowed throughout her session. I loved the vintage pram they brought that they will use with Baby Johnny, and it made for a perfect prop when we moved the session to the woods. Cheyenne did great too and was jumping for JOY as she waits to meet her baby brother!
Thanks Bradley’s for allowing me to capture this extra special time in your lives. I can’t wait to photograph your little man in just a few months!
Life sure isn’t boring around here! No matter how much I wish “normal” was a part of my life, God just has other plans!
Last month I had one of the most terrifying moments in my life happen. Something I NEVER thought would ever happen to me happened. I was at my bank when it was robbed at GUNPOINT! No, I am not making that up. I was casually talking to my teller when she froze as she looked over my shoulders and mumbled “not today” as she immediately locked her drawer and (I assume) pushed an alarm under her counter.
I am kinda naive about things so even when I turned and saw the masked man, I didn’t realize, right away, what was going on. No, it wasn’t until I saw the gun as he jumped up on the counter, did I realize he was robbing the bank!! I am not sure how other people would react in this situation (because believe me, what you THINK you would do and what you really would do, are two different things!) but I froze. As he stood up on the counter and held the gun at one of the tellers, I simply froze and waited for him to tell us what to do. I wanted direction! Do I get on the ground? Run? Cower? Give him my purse? Scream? I needed some direction as I simply stood there in disbelief that this was actually happening.
The older ladies around me needed no direction… they ran! Yep- they just booked it right out of the building. I waited a moment or two and when no gunshot or “Freeze, don’t move” was heard, I realized he was allowing them to leave and ran myself.
This happened on a Saturday morning in broad daylight at a prominent bank in a good area.
Things I realized that day…
1. I make a terrible witness!!! I watched the guy leave the building (as I hid in my car on hold with 911) and get in his car and I still couldn’t tell the police what model car or exact clothing he was wearing. (Yes, my Marine husband teased me about that later. He would have figured out the guys shoe size with his skills of observation!) I was just hoping he didn’t see me and shoot me! I was the only one to see him leave, and even the police officer teased me about being a “key witness” who knew very little!
2. There is no such thing as a “safe place” anymore. If people get desperate, even the nicest neighborhood/businesses can be where terrible things happen. We need to remember this and always be prepared and aware of our surroundings. Sadly, more and more people are seeing the line between “right and wrong” disappear… where if it’s RIGHT for you, then it’s not really that wrong. It’s making living in our world a scary place at times. We don’t need to live in fear, but we do need to be aware of our surroundings.
After the bank robbery, my family and I had many talks about “what to do when…” so my children would know when to run, when to fight back, when to get involved and when to get away. We talked about abductions, robberies, fights, hitchhiking and more. I PRAY nothing like that happens to them (or me!) ever (or again) but in the event it does, I want them to know how to best protect themselves!
3. I have never thanked God so much for a “professional thief” before. As I talked with the police and the other witnesses after the fact, we were all amazed at how calm, cool and collected this man was. He didn’t yell, didn’t get upset when we ran out of the building, didn’t act erratically, etc. The police said he was most likely a professional. While that may make it harder for the police to find him and the bank to gets it’s money back, it made ME so thankful. We all made it out safely and no one was hurt. I am thankful for his calm demeanor. We all, including him, walked away that day uninjured and to me, that is more important than the money he stole.
4. Life can be going along “as normal” and BAM it can change in an instant. So much could have gone wrong that day. I could have been shot. I could have had my kids with me and they could have been injured or emotionally scarred. My life COULD have drastically changed that day. That morning MIGHT have been the last time I had ever kissed my husband or children. Our “normal” average life, could have instantly changed without any notice at all.
It made me think my kids and what life without “mom” would look like. Had I hugged them enough, kissed them enough, tucked them in enough, read to them enough? Was I the BEST parent I could be? Would the love and tenderness outlive in their memories over the discipline and yelling? Had they seen me laugh enough? I am so thankful God allowed me to walk away from that scary situation, but the fact remains that no one truly knows how much time you have left.
My profession, photography takes moments and freezes them in time. It is part of why I love so much what I do. It takes the people you love and FREEZES them forever. So that people for generations to come can remember and even get to know, people they love. I hear people all the time talk about the pictures they have of their loved ones.
“I love seeing this image, it reminds me of how much she loved to laugh!”
“She always made this face when she cried!”
“He loved this red shirt so much!”
“Can’t you see how much the baby looks like grandpa in this picture?”
“This was the last time we were all together. Remember how happy grandma was?”
It makes me so sad when people give excuses for not taking family portraits. Yes, we all wish we were a little thinner or less wrinkled or less grey or more photogenic… but YOU are beautiful to your husband or wife, your kids, your future grandkids. Don’t shy away from the camera, embrace it. If, God forbid, you don’t have many tomorrow’s left… don’t you want to leave your loved ones pictures of you smiling and happy? I recently talked to a young man whose mom passed away when he was a child. He has ONE picture of her. ONE. His mental memories of her are there, but he sometimes struggles to remember her smile, her laugh, her hair. Imagine if she had left behind hundreds of pictures. All different smiles… many different captures of her laughing… lots of images to remember and see her beautiful blond hair. His memories of her would be so much more alive and vibrant.
I don’t say all this to drum up business… come to me or go somewhere else. But, please, take portraits with your family. And not always the posed smile at the camera portraits. Interact with your kids, laugh, be silly, show your laugh lines and grey hair. Be you in front of the camera. If you are married, show the love between you and your spouse. Kiss in front of the camera, be silly, LAUGH together. Create some memories not only to be stored in your brain but also be be stored and cherished and HELD in physical form. A picture truly can freeze a moment and capture it forever. It’s a lesson even I had to learn. I take pictures of my kids all the time, but it’s rare for me to take pictures WITH them. After this robbery scare, I asked myself when the last time I had been photographed with my kids. Thankfully, this summer we took some family portraits at the beach during a mini family reunion. I was so thankful because the one prior to that was a few years ago.
The lessons I learned during and after this robbery, are ones we should all remember and work to live out everyday. Make sure you hug more, yell less, say I love you often and worry less about the small things. Hopefully we all live to be 100, but in the event we don’t, make sure you leave behind a life without regrets and lots of happy memories for the ones who love you!