oh, snap!

First, can someone please tell me you used to use the phrase "Oh, snap!" when you were in high school? 

This past month I took a ton of pictures for people, and spent hours and hours of snaps and evenings editing, and I never got around to posting any here. I've always loved taking pictures. I can remember loading up on film for my cheap, lime green camera every year before I went to church camp. I would take 4-5 rolls and then wait anxiously for the few days it took to process them. 

In high school I took a photography class, learned to shoot manually, and learned to develop my own pictures in a black room. [One day I want a black room in my house. Right?] 

In college I finally got a Kodak digital camera, and I loved it! Brent and I could email pictures back and forth of our day to day [literally, I would mail him pictures of me getting my mail! eating my chicken patty! working out in the rsc!]. It's hard to even remember a time before we all carried a camera in our pocket, but that little digital camera was one of my favorite possessions, and I dreamed of one day owning a DSLR. 

Shortly after I graduated, my parents bought me my Canon. I was ecstatic! And my picture taking increased exponentially, which is hard to believe since I was taking pictures of myself eating cafeteria food before, but it did. 

Slowly but surely I learned how to shoot manually with my digital camera, and over time saved and bought better lenses. 

About four years ago some good family friends asked if I would take senior pictures for their oldest daughter. Then her friend asked me. Then another friend wanted some shots of her kids. And so on. I learned as I went. 

I still feel like I would need to invest a lot more time in education and A LOT more money in equipment if I wanted to really make a run at this, but for now, I really love taking pictures for people. I'm always flattered that they ask, and I still get a little nervous before each shoot, afraid I'll mess something up and not capture this moment in their lives quite like they had imagined, but overall I just really enjoy it. 

[And shout out to my for real-professional-photographer-friend, Meagan, who has showed me and taught me a lot with my camera-- if you're in the Kansas City area PLEASE contact her for pictures. She's the best.] 

This first shoot was fun for me because the family was great, but they brought their dogs!! Oh my. I was sweating bullets but they were so good about it and really respectful of my insane-fear and Knox [the beautiful black lab], was kept on a leash nearly the entire time. Whew. 

 He really is a good- looking dog, though, right?

And then this little nuggest of cuteness was about to turn one, so we had to get some pictures of that!

I've been taken pictures of these little guys since the youngest was just a newborn, and it's always fun to get the whole crew involved! Never a dull moment trying to get this crowd together for a picture :)

This is one of my favorite pictures I captured during the last month, because it pretty much sums up this family and I love it!

As our family is growing, I've realized that Brent and I have fewer and fewer pictures of just us. I figured that was probably true for a lot of families, and tried to snap some for the couples. I think the children will like seeing their mom and dad together in pictures down the road.

And then there was Gibson, the boy with the longest most luxurious lashes you ever did see. It was fun to just kind of let him do his own thing and capture his curiosity and grins. What a doll. And quite into fashion, too.

I mentioned it's becoming a tradition to visit my sister in the fall, but I think my college roommate and I have started a fall visit tradition as well! This was year three…I think three years constitutes tradition! And each year I've been able to snap some pics of their beautiful family.

Is she not one of the most beautiful women ever? And yes, her husband has a disgusting mustache in this picture. [I can say that. Don't worry. But if I take pictures for you I won't say your mustache is disgusting…unless it looks like this. Then I might. ]

I really love taking senior pictures especially for guys because, let's face it, senior guys are funny: they really don't want to spend an hour or more taking pictures [their mom is making them], but if they are going to do it then, dangit, they wanna look cool! This guy is such a good kid and he was a good sport about his pictures.

And this, friends, is how you SM-EYES!

Here is one thing you should know: My cousin has beautiful daughters. She came up for a day and I got to take some pictures of these beauties in one of my favorite locations: my Grandparents' backyard [where Brent and I were married].

Some friends I have known and loved for a very long time [preschool! church camp! the best kinds of friends, right?!], are having a baby girl in January and I had the privilege of taking some maternity pictures for them. It was so much fun because these two are so much fun, and can I get a "SHUT UP!" about her dimples?! I mean, seriously, how do you have such amazing dimples when you're not even smiling! This baby is going to be the coolest kid ever.

Then there is my sister and her family. Obviously I love these people crazy amounts, but they would be the first to tell you that getting a good picture of three of them, let alone FIVE of them, is tricky. :) We did our best though and these came out wonderfully. I wish I could dedicate a post just to all the faces I captured of Ellie, but for now, here are a few of my favorites:
[FYI: just before we were going to take these pictures, Kali asked if I had any boot warmers. I hadn't brought mine, so I asked if she had an old sweater she could cut up. Badda bing badda boom. She had some awesome boot warmers. Do it!]

She is very into Irish Dancing right now [because what three year old isn't]. I'm so glad I caught this! [She wants her  next birthday to be an Irish Dancing birthday! Have fun with that theme, Kali!]

And lastly [I told you I took a lot of pictures last month!], my church does this awesome fundraiser where several photographers volunteer one day and families can sign up for a thirty minute mini session and all proceeds go to the children's ministry/money for camp etc. It's a brilliant idea and if you're church is looking for a good fundraiser--DO IT!

So anyway, I took some pictures for this event. It was a seriously cold, seriously windy morning, but all the families were great sports. It was also incredibly bright out, so the lighting wasn't phenomenal…except it was for black and white! I love slightly overexposed black and whites, and it was perfect for that, so I just rolled with it.

And I got to take some pictures of some beautiful families and make some cashola for the church. Win-win!

Favorite picture from the day:

Yes, this little man and Becks are great friends already.

And that's a wrap!
It was a busy month, but I enjoyed it and learned even more behind my camera.

Sometimes I feel like I need to be taking more pictures of my girls with my "real" camera, but Meagan once shared a quote by someone [she'll have to remind me who in the comments] :

The best camera is the camera in your hands. 

So don't be afraid to take pictures of your kids with your phone, your old-school digital, or your lime green film camera! You'll be glad you did.

In the mean time I'll try not to overload your instagram, because I clearly take this advice seriously :).
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