Yay one! A year full of firsts and lots of milestones to celebrate with Lily. The plan was to do family portraits outdoors and then bring the family indoors for Lily’s cake smash, well the weather didn’t get the memo. It rained for three days straight leaving the ground soaked, a chill in the air and not a single ray of sunshine in sight!
So I know what you’re thinking, just reschedule the session and the problem is solved. Well not so fast, the fabulous smash cake had already been delivered and there was no way we were going to let this sugary goodness go to waste. We ended up doing lily’s cake photos as planned and did the family photo session a few days later. Lily and her big brother Tristan were naturals in front of the camera. Tristan liked my camera so much he wanted to help me take the photos. We just might have a future photographer in the making!
Cheyla approached me about a unique portrait session idea and I was so excited to dive into her ideas with her. This vision took us on a journey into her faith in God and her beliefs. Giana and Naomi joined in and were each crowned as well. The studio portraits and the family portraits at 64th street showed love both in faith and in family, even a blended family. It was a beautiful representation that love isn’t defined as blood alone and that our faith gives us strength and builds us up. I am so grateful that Cheyla and Eddie trusted me with their idea and their family. This was a session I will never forget! I hope it inspires others to think of unique sessions where photography can assist in capturing an important moment in their life!
I hope you enjoy these incredible portraits as much as I did. It was difficult to pick my favorite ones to share!
Woman are the backbone of this country! We are homemakers, doctors, lawyers, soldiers, business owners, role models, caregivers, and so much more. We juggle roles without even realize we are doing it. We can kiss a boo boo and put on our high heels in the same breathe. We bring forth life into world as mothers while also running empires. We are statistically more kind, loving, grateful and better at handling stress. We are super-powerful women!
This week we celebrate International Women’s Day. A day to celebrate women all over the world and how far we have come as women. I personally want to celebrate woman empowering women! I see a trend of women uniting together and empowering each other. We need to do more of this. When I first started out in business I had three AMAZING women who mentored me. Women who guided me, gave me advice and encouraged me. (Thank you Andi, Dee and Dana.) Their guidance gave me the ability to believe in myself and push forward on a dream I knew very little (at the time) on how to accomplish. Now, I mentor women doing the same thing. They aren’t my competition, it’s my way to give back and cheer on another superwoman!
We need to empower each other. Cheer each other on, give each other feedback! We need to stop judging each other and our life’s choices. I am successful business owner who chose to stay home and raise her babies for over 10 years. Your choices aren’t going to be my choices. Whatever you are doing with your life, you are a an empowered woman. Do you stay home and raise your little ones? Are you a single mom doing everything by yourself? Are you a military member who has to say goodbye to your babies for months at a time? Are you a military wife caught between being a single parent and a married one- juggling the two at a moments notice? Are you a career woman pushing to achieve your dreams and “soccer moming” it as well? Wherever you are you are a superwoman! You need to celebrate that.
I want to help you celebrate. Come see me in the month of March. Let’s celebrate your womanhood! Let’s celebrate your superpowers.
- For some that might mean professional headshots celebrating your success in your field.
- For some that might mean a boudoir session showcasing your sensuality, beauty and uniqueness.
- For some that might be a “Model for a day” session where you get to just celebrate YOU with different outfits and ideas.
- For some that might be a Cultural Heritage shoot as we celebrate all of your unique cultures that make up who you are.
Contact me for your own personalized session. 50% off all individual session fees if you mention “Empowered Women” at your consultation!
About 10 years ago I was very unhappy in my life. My marriage was a mess and had been for years. We both wanted to make it work but PTSD is a very vicious enemy. I was scared, afraid, lonely and felt hopeless. I had plans for my life but they hadn’t played out as I expected, instead my life was full of tears and crying out to God and there seemed no light at the end of my current tunnel.
Fast forward to today. Right now, I’m sitting in a van driving in Ethiopia with some amazing friends. We just left a group of beautiful vulnerable street children, kids whom we love who we have been trying to help for years. As we leave them we now have a legal, solid plan in place to help them. God showed up and moved MOUNTAINS for us.
My good friend and talented musician is playing beautiful music on his guitar. We are humming along and laughing at the slow cows and goats crossing our highway. All around me is beautiful farmland showing incredible harvest and the incredible Ethiopian gorge. I’m about to cross the incredible Nile River. We are laughing at the “Lazy Monkeys” begging for food as the cars pass them on the side of the road. I’m going home to a healthy husband who misses me, supports my dreams and encourages me to continue to follow them and see bigger than I think possible. I’m going home to my kids who are learning to pursue their own dreams and make me so proud. I going home to a business I ADORE and can’t wait to get back too.
I’m literally sitting here thinking “THIS is my life” in awe at the journey God has brought me through to get to THIS moment. I’m taking a deep breathe and LIVING THIS MOMENT. I’m thanking God as I see how he had brought me through such dark times and given me such joy. This feeling isn’t so much a feeling as a true PRESENCE of God. I’m not just feeling his JOY I’m literally living it and I see it in everything around me.
I don’t share this to brag about how amazing my life is but instead to encourage you! Be encouraged if your life isn’t what you want it to be, God is faithful if you are diligent. Don’t give up on yourself, your dreams, your happiness. Sometimes you have to make very hard decisions and go through some really hard times that seem to have no end in sight. But you can’t STAY stuck. Leave the job, go back to school, ask for help, sell your house, take big risks. Times likely will get worse before they get better, but God is in the midst of your struggles and there is REASON for it! Maybe I went through mine so I could truly appreciate the JOY He would someday bring me. Maybe I went through so I could share my story with you and it would bring you courage or strength. Maybe I needed some growing pains to become the woman who could help run this organization helping children in Ethiopia. All I know is there was a reason and TODAY I get to breathe in and appreciate the journey.
Keep pushing though. Keep dreaming. Take risks. Maybe someday you’ll also be sitting in a van, jamming to live music, about to cross the Nile, just having witnessed a mountain move, following a dream you had once thought had died. You’ll look around and say “Wow, THIS is MY life.”
This is a song that played in the car moments after I wrote this. Such a perfect song to complement this blog post. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ehm4HLnr-FQ
These Pictures were taken on top of the Gorge as we headed back from Debre Markos, Ethiopia. It was me taking a moment to just BE in the moment and thank God. It will forever remind me of the time when time stood still and God showed me so much favor and blessing.
Morgan and Michael were one of the first couples I photographed for 2019 in my pursuit to capture and spread more love. They have been together for over 12 years and the last time they had portraits taken as a couple was for their wedding. Even though we had to start late because they forgot to bring the guitar, with a little patience we were still able to capture their love and the romance they share in those simple moments. It can be hard to find time to focus on each other when kids and family take the front seat. I am so happy that I was able to help Morgan and Michael rekindle their love for each other. I can’t wait to help more couples rekindle their love in the new year.
Each January I “claim” a word for the new year: a word that is focused around having a single simple word or theme to guide me in what I want to embrace more of in the coming year.
This year I claim LOVE as my word because the world needs more LOVE, I need more LOVE, my family needs more LOVE and my business needs more LOVE!
LOVE is all around us in all of our relationships. We forget sometimes to focus on the love and instead focus on the bickering, the rushing to get to work or practices, the financial issues, the chores, the disappointments, etc. We get so busy in the day to day of life that we forget to actually see the love right in front of us. This year my goal is to give and share more love and in business to work hard to create opportunities for more people to capture their love in print.
I want to do better at encouraging people to capture the LOVE in their relationships. I want to photograph the beauty and love between a mother and baby, the time tested love of a couple married 40 years, the love for oneself in boudoir, the love between siblings who fight like cats and dogs but also have grown up as each others playmates. I want to photograph LOVE in all the relationships of life.
For families, I want to focus on encouraging families to CAPTURE the love they share. Too many times I have heard “It’s been 10 years since we took family portraits” or “I can’t do family portraits until I lose the weight.” Yet I have also heard after deaths in families “I don’t have any recent picture of my dad with is grandchildren, now it is too late” “I wish I had recent pictures of my parents together that weren’t taken on a cell phone.” Too often we want to wait for the right moment and forget to recognize that the right moment is RIGHT NOW!
One area I am especially going to focus on this year is capturing LOVE in marriage. I am not going to say that there are no perfect, never argue, he/she is exactly what I need and want them to be all the time, marriages out there, but in my experience almost ALL marriages have times of extreme struggle. Look at the divorce rate that keeps climbing- marriage is HARD work.
I have been married for 18 years, together for 22. We fought tooth and nail for each other even when we didn’t like each other. But the LOVE was there, just hidden beneath the hurt, pain and trauma. The photographs we have during the good times, smiling and loving each other and our children are reminders that LOVE overcomes. Our children remember the good times because those are the memories we have on our wall and in our albums. They see and remember the LOVE their parents have always had for each other.
I photograph families all the time and often take time to get portraits of mom and dad together as well. But it’s not often I get a full session dedicated to the love between a husband and wife. That will change this year as I bring back my “Renew” sessions and introduce my “Romance in the Simple Moments” session. I cannot wait to photograph love that has been TESTED. Marriages of 5, 10, 15, 30, 50 years. Marriages that, like mine, have gone through the storms and come out battered but stronger than before.
I also need to claim LOVE for myself more this year. Last year was a very trying year for me and I let self love fall away as I worked so hard to support my husband, kids, family and business. All of their busyness kept me so overwhelmed that taking care of me took a back seat. I gained weight and spending time with friends rarely happened. This year I claim SELF- LOVE for myself. I am determined to loose 40 pounds by eating better and getting back in the gym. I have already been away on a fabulous girls weekend in NYC with two of my besties. I can’t be the best Devon I need to be if I am not loving myself enough to take care of my mental and physical health. So this year, I will embrace loving myself better.
I am claiming LOVE this year for my business and for myself. My marriage still has rough patches and places where we can improve the ways we love each other. Like many of you, we get caught up in the kids and their busy lives and schedules and realize we are more roommates than anything else. We need to focus of US because without a strong US our family is not as strong as it should be.
Do you have a word for 2019 that you are claiming? Share it with me, I’d love to stand in agreement with you!
Kent was 6 months in December and he was happy and ready to celebrate his new ability to sit up on his own! He was also pretty excited about Santa coming to visit later in the month! Nichole, Kent’s mom, had to take a conference call during the portrait session so she spent time in the office while Kent and I got some fantastic portraits of him in the studio. Kent was such a superhero for his portraits! Thank you again for letting me photograph your handsome little man!
I continue to be proud that I made the decision to expand my space last year because it gives my clients and I the much needed space during the sessions!
Margo was the star of this portrait session! Margo modeled one of my new lace outfits for newborns and I think it looked incredible on her. Margo slept for most of her session making it very easy for me to get some gorgeous portraits of her. I can’t wait to photograph Margo more as she grows up into a beautiful little girl. Congrats Mom and Dad, you have a perfect little peanut!
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.
On August 10th, I held an Open House for everyone to stop by and come see the new space. Since June when we first decided to take on the space my office manager, Becca, and I have been working on getting everything perfect. I was so excited to share with everyone what the space looked like and I am so happy everyone that could show up, did. We found ourselves laughing with silly Photo Booth props, enjoying copious amounts of popcorn topped with candy from the popcorn bar, and drinking refreshing fruit punch with real fruit chunks.
Becca painted a wonderful canvas that was used as the guestbook and I took time at the end of the night to read what everyone had written. Thank you for all of the kind words! I am blown away by the feedback I received and so thankful to have such a strong supporting group of clients that have become friends and friends that have become clients.
Guests entered a raffle for a $75 credit and then enjoyed a quick tour of the new studio and office spaces. I now have a dressing room space, a make-up mirror, coffee machine, and more space for large families to enjoy viewing their photographs! I also had a slideshow of some of my most favorite photographs playing for everyone to see. I got to share some of our upcoming events: my back to school mini portrait session on August 25th at Tidewater Arboretum, my mermaid crown making party on September 8th, Senior Portraits for the class of 2019, exciting news about my Santa on the Beach session this fall, and new sessions that I am able to provide now that the studio has a separate space. I am very excited for what the fall will bring!
We had three raffle ticket winners that each won their own $75 credit toward an upcoming fall session. I can’t wait to photograph each of the winning families!Please enjoy some of the photographs of the studio and from the Open House.
We had such a wonderful turnout that we will be looking to host more events at the studio and at other locations. If you’d be interested in learning more about future events make sure to follow me on Facebook and watch for posts!
I hope that if you didn’t make it to the open house that I will see you soon to check out the space in person! I am very excited to share with everyone the new space and show off all of the hard work everyone has put in to make the space look so amazing!!