Where do I even begin about the Knebel family? The circumstances which prompted their interest in having family portraits made, as soon as possible, are still so sad for me to think about. Elizabeth’s mom had very suddenly and unexpectedly passed away, leaving them devastated and realizing how very precious every moment of life really is. It takes an effort to have family portraits made, and we all have a million reasons why we will wait until next month, next year, or maybe never–too busy, too complicated, too much weight still to lose, and the list goes on. The Knebel’s realized all too abruptly that the time was now, which is what brought them to us. From the moment we met them, it wasn’t about being sad at what they had lost, but rather embrace and celebrate what they have in their beautiful, fun-loving family. What a great lesson to be learned, on so many levels. Since their family portrait session, I feel fortunate to say that I consider this family not just clients, but friends. Please meet the hilariously funny, loving, and very real Knebel’s!
Our journey with Crissy and Anthony began a few years ago with the birth of their son, Gabe. When we heard they were getting married we were of course thrilled they wanted us to photograph it. It’s a special treat to be photographing a wedding for people we know so well, so it was no surprise their engagement session was a joy. I felt like a fly on the wall watching these two on a long date. We started at the brew pub where Anthony proposed and had a beer (or two), then it was off to the lake. Crissy was just coming off knee surgery and was a real trooper during our long stroll in and out of the water. Thank you both for including Stef and I in this special time in your lives. We are excited to hear what the future holds for you.
Today is our Reilly’s 12th birthday!! And breaking news in the past few hours…the 14th grand baby on the Hays side of our family is going to share a birthday with his cousin. Such a fun day! To my brother-in-law and sister-in-law today–treasure every moment, as it will go by in the blink of an eye and before you know it, you too will have a 12-year old. The past 12 years have in ways felt like minutes, but in others like an entire lifetime. We have been blessed with two amazing and completely different daughters. Reilly, our firstborn, is so smart, determined, and always mature beyond her years. A perfect student and competitive gymnast, Reilly is always up for the next challenge; she definitely keeps us on our toes! Take these portraits, for example; a few nights ago, she informed us she wanted a photo shoot the next day. She immediately started tearing apart her bedroom, choosing outfits. At that particular moment I wasn’t exactly in the mood to style her session, and will admit, I wasn’t into it at the moment. Morning came and she had clearly not lost momentum, as she plugged in the curling iron and sat on the stool in the kitchen, beckoning me to curl her hair for her photo shoot. I curled and sent her and James and their way to the studio (I have learned from experience that things go much smoother if I stay home for these sessions!) I have to admit, I was very pleasantly surprised when James started showing me the images. These images represent more than just my 12-year old daughter; they represent our daughter becoming an independent young woman. Looking back, I’m glad I wasn’t “into it” that day, because had I been, these images may have reflected too much of me and not enough of Reilly. Happy birthday Reilly! We love you!!
Shhhh…don’t tell anyone, but I just had the big birthday. Yep, it happened–I turned 40. When James turned 40, he wanted a party with his family and closest friends. While I would have certainly enjoyed that, I knew what I really wanted was to take a fabulous vacation with my husband and daughters, so that’s exactly what we did. We spent a wonderful, relaxing week in June in beautiful (and steamy…) Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We stayed in Nuevo Vallarta, which is basically “New” Vallarta; it was great! We spent the week doing exactly what I wanted to–relax and be together. On my actual birthday, June 14, the girls and I swam with dolphins, which has been the dream of our youngest daughter, Teagan, for the past 3 years. On most other days, our routine was as follows: lounge around our room, James and I would go exercise, back to room, lunch, slather ourselves with sunscreen to arrive at the pool just in time for Happy Hour at the pool bar at noon, drink mango margaritas in the pool, read in the shade while the girls swam, back to room to enjoy the luxurious air conditioning, shower, relax, out for dinner, dessert, and back to room for more lounging. Repeat. Not overly exciting but exactly what we needed. Here are a few snaps from the trip (disclaimer from James: please excuse the less than stellar images, as the humidity made it extremely difficult to use professional-quality equipment).
We received this incredibly heartfelt letter from the mother of one of our recent high school senior graduates and just had to share. Her words describe the gift we have given to her, but really, her letter, her daughter, and their entire experience is the greatest gift–to us. A great reminder that the senior portrait session is so much more than just pretty pictures. Thank you Linda for allowing us to share your words.
“I wanted to let you know what Madeline’s session with you did for us. If I can sum it up. . . . It was transformative. . . . It was important. . . . It was a rite of passage. . . . It did for us the favor of seeing Madeline in a new light. . . . All grown up – at the beginning of something grand. Every change of costume showed us something different about her. The train station was everything I could have dreamed of. My girl, at the beginning of her journey, hopeful and timid, but brave. The white flowers and the white dress showed us her softness and vulnerability. And the balloons with the hoop skirt. . . Well, that showed us that there is no one else in the world like her. She is a true thumbprint. Sherlock Holmes meets “Up” – that could only be Madeline. And finally, The Striped Corset. . . she is strong, she is fierce and she is bold. When I showed my sister-in-law that shot of Madeline she literally gasped. In that moment I knew we’d done it and that my daughter was ready to take on the world.
When I told you on the phone that we chose you because we knew you could give us what no one else could, I knew I was right. In one very fun afternoon you managed to capture her. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for an unforgettable experience and the enduring memories.
Vinyl is killing the mp3 industry…
I’ve made no secret about my recent (re)-infatuation with vinyl records. Several months ago, I dusted off my 35 year old turntable I bought in Oregon a while back, got it refurbished, and began spinning again. I either own digitally or have access to almost everything I could ever want to listen to, but I can’t compare the feeling I get when I take the effort to place an LP on the platter and drop the needle. There is something deliberate about it, calculated and valued. The analog crackle and pop of the spinning wax conducting through the needle somehow seems incredibly more “real” than pressing play on my mobile device. I get to touch and view the artwork in the size and format that the artists intended. When I buy an old record, I’m having the same visceral experience someone had 30-60 years ago. My daughters (and their children) will someday be able to hold these and experience them the same way I did, even when I am gone.
The parallels to my photography business hit me like a ton of bricks. I love digital technology. It has allowed me creative opportunities I would have never realized or been able to express. But as time goes by, I am realizing that despite my greatest digital creations, without a physical representation I “have” nothing.
About two years ago an educator/peer in my industry unexpectedly lost his wife in a tragic accident. Immediately he searched for her photographs and memories of them as a couple. She had always been the one in charge of storing/archiving their digital media and he was in a near panic as he could not locate anything. He feared all those memories were lost. Fortunately he was able to locate the old hard drives and the data was still intact. He immediately printed the images and they are still hanging on his wall.
We are excited to introduce our Class of 2015 senior spokesmodels! Our spokesmodels this year represent 10 different school in our area. If you recognize any of them below, be sure to contact them directly for a special offer on your senior portraits. Senior Portrait season is almost here, and now is the time to call and schedule your session. For more information and galleries please visit our senior site HERE. Also be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for to see the most fashion inspired and artistic senior portraits around!