unexpected days.

I put so much pressure on myself to blog.

To post every day. To get sneak peeks up the first or second day for clients. To get family photos up asap for, um, my family. To be interesting or encouraging or real. To do what I said I would do like ANSWER QUESTIONS or compete a contest or whatever.

But then days become busy and life takes over and I get too tired to write complete sentences at night so I go to bed and tweet that I will blog tomorrow. And then tomorrow comes and I get a NILMDTS call at 6:30am that is 45 minutes away. And I have another session in the afternoon 45 minutes away. And I know that blogging will again, be hard to do.

SO whatever. We all have unexpected days right? And the blog will wait!

Schmitt family… I swear your sneak peek is ready I just need to POST it! Haddock family, yours too!

I HAVE the answers to all of your questions, again, just need to POST them!

But today has taken over and I will get to it. I will get to it. I swear!

In the meantime, here is my latest and most favoritest photo of Bailey ever!


don’t mind me.

Nope. Just ignore me. I'm just the mom that changes her kid's diaper out in the open right on her lap. Poop and all.


And distracts him with an assortment of snacks so he doesn't wiggle away.


So if you see me at the park or the pool or Target, don't be surprised to find me like this b/c I will do just about anything to keep my kids off of those disgusting changing tables in public restrooms!

And, I mean, what's a little tiny penis out in the open between friends?




My parents, sister, BIL and niece were all with us at The Missouri Botanical Garden over the weekend but I love this photo b/c this is how I look out there on my own, which I am during the week a lot. I'll take Gray in the stroller with a GIANT bag of snacks and clothes and wipes and diapers and extra underwear and whatever else I think will avert disaster. Thanks Mom for snapping this!


And just to show you one of the CUTE photos we got this day…


My sister, Abbie, will kill me b/c here are my THREE children smiling and her ONE child is not. But I have to tell you, I swear I snapped like 25 photos while they all stood there and the other adults jumped around trying to get smiles and not in one single photo is my niece, Samantha, smiling! Sorry Ab! I tried!

I love it though b/c to date it is by far the best photo of all four grandkids!

And I have lots more photos to share from last weekend but clients are first when it comes to editing. 


TODAY: Oh let's see. This morning I had a great meeting with a client and a good phone call with another, the kids were at my mom's for a few hours so I could accomplish those two things kid-free. Then we had lunch and while they napped I worked and in an hour a babysitter is coming over so C and I can go meet some friends for dinner and a movie! OMG I am so excited! Especially b/c last night Chris and I went to dinner just the two of us. If you follow me on Twitter you read that he called me yesterday and ASKED ME OUT ON A DATE. swoon. So we went and had a great dinner and talked and talked and talked. Now that soccer is over we can finally reconnect and it was amazing. So what a treat to do it again tonight!

This weekend I have two fun sessions and lots of catching up to do! Jaime I swear I will post your sneak peek asap!

Thanks for all the great comments on yesterday's post… I PROMISE to answer each and every question this weekend… so look for lots of posts Sat and Sun!

Happy Friday! Get out there and enjoy it!

break the rules! embrace the grain! (love post comin attcha!)

Love Light sessions just may be my favorite sessions. There is something about exploring the city for light, stretching the limits of your camera and forcing yourself to get super creative that just turns me on.

And because I've had some questions lately about my Love Light sessions and because I had one this weekend that I am in love with and because I don't mind people COPYING me I want to share the love and give you all the details of a Love Light session from behind the lens. 

I had a call from a sweet photographer (Hi Val!) out in Oregon over the weekend that asked if she could talk to me about my Love Light sessions. When I said SURE, her first question was about using my flash. And I think she was a bit shocked when I told her I DO NOT use a flash. EVER.  

Not that I am anti-flash. I mean I am. In my own work. But some photographers out there can really rock their flashes and lights and things, it's just not my thing. 


Shocking, I know. But I really do. Sometimes I will shoot with my ISO at 1600 in good day light just b/c I can. I'm a rebel. 

So I am going to show you some images from this weekend and talk about the WHO WHAT WHERE WHY of it all. 

20090524_0222b  ISO 1250 | f/1.8 | 1/160

This was under a bridge of some sort and when we were walking by I saw that light and said, "go stand under the light and just BE. Do whatever. Talk, hug, cuddle, sit, stand, whatever." And they did. This was our first shot of the night and I love the mood. I love the grain. The color. Etc. 

ISO 1250 | f/1.8 | 1/160 

On the stairs of a MetroLink Station. I like how the stair lights are illuminating their feet. I like that they are laughing, Susan has a beautiful smile.  

20090524_0252b  ISO 1250 | f/1.8 | 1/160

I don't pose people. Very much at least. I sort of just guide. "Go stand there, maybe lean, Susan look at me and Bill look somewhere else, doesn't matter where, touch, be close…" I love that with a little guidance people can rock it out. And I love that Susan was trying to be serious but just couldn't! Her smile it begging to come out! 

20090524_0258b ISO 1250 | f/1.8 | 1/160 

Sometimes I will keep my camera near my face and as I'm talking to the couple (or family or kid) and they laugh I will shoot. Even without looking through the camera at all. And it may turn out a bit blurry but sometimes you can capture such a natural moment when they think you're done shooting. 

20090524_0269b  ISO 1250 | f/1.8 | 1/160

Val also asked me if I use a tripod and the answer is NOPE. Just me. I always always try to keep my shutter speed at 125 or above b/c I do shoot just hand held all the time. BUT, I think I might take my tripod  along on my next Love Light b/c you could really rock out some cool shots with a super low shutter speed and available light. Like THIS ONE:


ISO 1600 | f/4 | 1/10 

WOW. Did you see those settings? No human in their RIGHT MIND would shoot hand held at those settings. BUT, I had a good friend of mine along for the session (Hi Trish!) who is a photog in Dallas and I mentioned I would die to have the ENTIRE Arch in the shot but my 50mm could never get it. So with her guidance I popped on my other lens (just the kit lens that came with my 40D… nothing fancy… next investment is a new lens!) and we started messing around. That lens only goes down to a f/4 and with my shutter speed at 125 it was too dark. So Trish suggested we push the envelope a bit more! By the end we were laying on the ground with the camera resting on our legs holding our breath and asking B+S to NOT MOVE A MUSCLE!  


I am in LOVE with this shot! 

One street light illuminating the couple, the Arch lit up, I love it. 

But what I love most is that we totally stretched the camera, our creativity and it was a collaboration. Thanks Trish! 

A few more from the Arch grounds I love… 


Love Light isn't all about perfect lighting, it's just about LIGHT. Finding light, creating light, finding creative light. This shot is grainy (aren't they all?) and anything but perfect, but I still love it. I love how the giant Arch spotlights are lighting them from behind and underneath a bit. I love that they were just hanging out. I love the way the lights create a line from the bottom where you see the spot lights all the way to the top of the photo where the rays of light take your eye all the way up to their faces. It's not perfect but it's DIFFERENT.  


ISO 1600 | f/1.4 | 1/125

I just touched on the EXACT reason I truly love the Love Light sessions. They are DIFFERENT. I read a TON of photographer blogs. I look at a ton of their websites. And so far I have not found one person that does an entire session at NIGHT with NO flash. And as much as I think it's totally ok to copy other artists, ahem,  to gain inspiration as you learn your craft, I also think it's important to try to find something that
sets you apart. AND if I am totally wrong and there is someone else out there doing this PLEASE LET ME KNOW in a NICE way b/c I would love to see their work! 

20090524_0294b  ISO 1600 | f/1.6 | 1/200

20090524_0284b  ISO 1600 | f/1.6 | 1/200

20090524_0361b  ISO 1600 | f/1.6 | 1/160

So the moral of the story? Go play. Play with your camera and break some rules. Play with your clients. At night maybe. Play with light.  

Light is a seriously awesome thing. When I am out on any kind of session I am very rarely looking for anything but light. And then once I've found awesome light I will THEN look around for a cool place to shoot. It's truly why I love urban settings above parks b/c the light in and around and between buildings can be so so awesome. With the added bonus of some cool textures and architecture.

If you have any questions I didn't touch on about Love Light sessions please leave them in the comments and I will answer them later today/tonight! And please, FEEL FREE TO COPY! Even all you St. Louis photogs! Even if every single photographer in the country went out tonight and did a Love Light shoot NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM would look the same. And I am confident in my work that even if everyone and their mother is doing Love Lights that people will still hire me for ME. So copy on my friends. If you want to. You don't have to. I'm just sayin you can! HA! 

TODAY: Well. Drama over please. Thanks for the support as Nobody Important and Anonymous did manage to choke me up. It's hard people. It's hard to write a blog and love to blog and then know that there is someone, maybe lots of someones, out there hating you. Hating you enough to leave nasty comments. I just pray they move on and find someone they actually like. DOWN WITH DRAMA. 

I have sweet Kelsey here this morning with the kids and I am checking off this TODO list one item at a time. Slow and steady wins the race. Laundry is rolling and the floors are so sticky I can't stand to walk on them so a mop will be my buddy during nap time later. We have to hit the grocery store and I'm hoping the rain lets up enough for a walk later. Chris is home at 4:30pm today b/c SOCCER IS OVER (OMG I have been waiting to say that for SO long!) and we're going out to dinner to celebrate! 

Today is the day. The day God has given us! Enjoy it! 


I just got an email from Elizabeth and HAD to take an editing break to share! It had me laughing out loud!




Have you
seen this ad campaign?



And I
scanned two of the ads for you and attached them. Looks like ANONYMOUS needs to
go tell Visa to stop copying Kal too.


Oooo, I’m
mean and nasty, aren’t I? Grrr…


Hope you’re
having a good day!



HA! SOOO AWESOME Elizabeth!!! Thanks! 

Anonymous… what do you think? HA!  

i am home alone.

And working feverishly while they ALL are away!

Chris is at school working, obviously, with less than two weeks left before our summer can begin… I can not wait for summer to start! With him home so much I will finally be able to have day light hours of work time and not stay up so late, we'll spend countless hours at the pool and the park and the Garden and in our own back yard. Soccer season takes a toll on our marriage as we just never see each other and I can't wait to have time to reconnect. 

Parker and Grayson are at my mom's house today, thanks mom! My sister and her family pulled out of the driveway and with no grandkid break in sight we showed up! Good thing my mom loves my kids b/c I know she has to be tired! 

Bailey is having the most exciting morning of her little life… she's at her first official playdate! A little girl from her preschool class invited her over to play and it's the first time I've left her at a home I don't know with a family I've barely met. But the mom was sweet and had as many toys strewn about her house as I do so I'm sure Bails felt right at home!  

And I am working FAST AND FURIOUS while I have a quiet house. Catching up from all the family time this weekend and preparing for my INSANE June. A June that is complete with two out of town weddings, one catalog shoot, a little man's first birthday, Chris gone for a weekend, the first time to leave ALL THREE KIDS and 13 family sessions! HOLY HELL it's going to be busy! But so so great. 

I have LOADS to blog. The answers to your questions and the WINNER to announce, tons of family photos and lots of sneak peeks to share. But not today. Today I am working and the blog has to wait a minute. Although not completely b/c I do have a fun session to share with you and even better that I'm sharing it on Tracy's birthday! 

Happy Birthday Tracy! I hope you and Brad enjoy your photos! 

20090524_0001b  20090524_0031bwb20090524_0014bwb 20090524_0060b

20090524_0130b 20090524_0146b  20090524_0167b


Tracy had to talk Brad into this session as he is NOT a big fan of being on that side of the camera. So instead of doing a full session we did a MINI session. Which I don't advertise often, but I am always willing to do a mini session if that's all you think your spouse or kids can handle. Email me for details if you're interested!

ALSO… JUNE IS FULL. Man is it full. Not much else I can squeeze in there. But I have slots open in July and August. October is booking up so please think ahead for Christmas this year! And one more thing… I'm not offering design work right now. Just no time. If you are interested in invitations or other print items email me and I can give you suggestions of other companies and designers. 

And I'm out. More sessions to work on, a few albums to design, I'm creating a NEW logo for myself or maybe hiring someone to do it for me, I'm talking to someone about working as my assistant and my TODO list is now on page three. THREE. 3 pages of things TO DO and GET DONE and FINISH and CROSS OFF THE LIST.  

SO off I go! To WORK! Enjoy your day! GO! 

UNPLUG part 2.

We've had an incredible weekend. Unplugged for the most part, some work, lots of play, little tv. Great.

I'll be back tomorrow with loads of sneak peeks, lots of family photos and ANSWERS to your burning questions (and a WINNER).

But today we are headed to the Garden or the Magic House, rain permitting. And we're hanging with our cousin on her last day here. Just enjoying family. UNPLUGGED style. 

I know lots of you unplugged this weekend… remember to blog about it on June 1st! 

Until tomorrow…  


You can find out WHY I came up with this idea HERE.  Or read more about the idea HERE. Join in! 

just a quick post about the Grayman.

Grayson turns one on June 12th. That is RIGHT around the corner and so I need to write a minute about him NOW before I forget all of his fun details. So this is more for me than for you I guess. Which means it won't hurt my feelings if you head on down your Google Reader and skip this!


In the last month or so he has popped out 8 teeth.  EIGHT! Not all are in all the way, but all have broken the surface making him a bit happier. A BIT.

The best part of his new teeth are NOT the fact that he can induce searing pain when he's overly tired and accidently CHOMPS down on ME while nursing. Not fun. No, the best part is that his front two teeth are like, I don't know, 5 inches apart! HA! We could park a car in the space between those two teeth and this is the first photo I've grabbed of him that show the gap! Love it! 

In the last month he has also FINALLY figured out how to drink from a sippy cup! YAHOO! And even though he's almost one we still tried to introduce the bottle so that it would be an easier ween from me, and he's doing it pretty well! I'm NOT done nursing and will go for as long as he wants but I do have a few out of town WITHOUT children trips in June so we need him to be able to drink milk without me around. And he's doing great! 

The BIGGEST news of THIS WEEK is the fact that he finally started crawling! Our little lump is ON THE MOVE! 

20090521_0476b  He looks unsure here, but trust me, he's getting better by the day!

And even though he CAN crawl now he still will scoot most of the time on his bottom. Not in any kind of direction, and he mostly just turns in circles, but somehow while sitting up he will move across the room without you really noticing. It's the funniest thing.  

And last but not least, he is TALKING!  

Ok, no. No he's not. But he IS finally babbling consonnents! DADADADADA is his favorite. He's been a pretty quiet kid besides his little lion roars and pig grunts so this new DADADA is pretty stinkin cute.  

He's pretty stinkin cute all around! 

In about two weeks I will have a ONE, TWO and THREE year old! Where has the time gone??? 

Thanks for indulging me! I just don't want to forget how important this month has been in his little life! 

TODAY:  It's Bailey's last day of school so we snapped a photo on the porch (like the FIRST day of school), took the teacher's their gifts and I said goodbye to her for the last time there. Her and Parker are most likely going to the preschool that is IN C's high school next year so she won't be going back. Parker and Gray are at my mom's and I'm home WORKING. I am drowning in work and today is my day to try to reach the surface. I've had 7 hours of sleep the last 2 nights, total for two nights i mean, and I am tired. So I'm moving slow. But slow and steady wins the race so we'll see. Just had to share an email I got from my mom just now talking about Grayson… 

no nap, another poop, perfectly solid. but while changing him on my bed
i reached for diaper and wipes and in that split second he jumped off
the bed, He is ok, scared me as much as him. I am out of practice!


HA! So funny to include that in his special post today! 

It's basically the weekend, my SISTER and her fam get in town late tonight, we're UNPLUGGING on Memorial Day and it's going to be AWESOME. I hope you enjoy your day!  

today will be a good day.

Yesterday sucked. And I don't know why I love this phrase so much, b/c it is downright disgusting, but it describes my day perfectly when I say it sucked BIG FAT HAIRY BALLS. It really did or I wouldn't have made you choke on your cheerios.


Except that even on the most craptastic (since I feel the need to share where I find great words, my good friend FERN used craptastic first I think!) days God sends me so many good moments it is hard to look back and only focus on the BAD. So yesterday the good did NOT out weigh the BAD, but it did break it up enough that I can't completely hate the day! 

First, I had help and that is always a PLUS. Our sweet friend Kelsey was here in the morning to babysit for me and then came back in the afternoon.  We paid her of course, but just having a sitter for the day is amazing.

Second, a blog reader, Amy RIley, surprised me by BRINGING ME A MOUNTAIN DEW! She emailed me a while back saying she just wished she could help me by bringing over a soda one day (it must have been after a super depressing WOE IS ME post) and rather then politely decline I said something like, "sure! we've never met but here's my address and feel free to come by any day or every day!" And she did! And on a bad day to boot! It made me smile and literally came about 5 minutes after posting yesterday so it was good timing. THANK YOU AMY! I loved chatting with you! That just made my day so so so much better! AND it gave me a much needed energy boost! 

I am surrounded by the most amazing blog readers and clients and friends and family a girl could ever wish for! 

Of course there were other little moments like Grayson FINALLY babbling consonants by saying DADADA! The first ever babble! AND I got it on video! And then there was when Bailey told me I was pretty and she loved me best or when Parker sang me a song about being her best friend. I mean really. You don't get better than all of that. 

And the comments and emails and tweets I got helped a TON. Because that comment made me feel pretty crappy. And most of me just wanted to shout at that person, "I AM A PERSON! BE NICE!" but instead I sort of freaked out here and vented. And you all made me feel SO much better! Thanks! 

And now for a few photos b/c this IS a photo blog right? 

Sunday morning when I was skipping my session with the Joy's. NOT ON PURPOSE but when my brain had a massive FART and I screwed up we decided to drive and location scout for the catalog shoot. We headed out to Lake St. Louis and had a fun morning on the beach! 

20090517_0007b 20090517_0008b  20090517_0017b



Even though I won't process the catalog photos like this I was just digging the tints on these. Which is funny b/c the sky was a brilliant blue and I was loving it too. But for some reason this spoke to me more.



BIG NEWS! Please head over to Davina Fear's blog today because I am FEATURED! Oh man I can't even tell you how honored I feel to have been nominated and then asked to be on her Women in Business feature! Davina is an incredible photographer and I'm totally one of her many many blog followers. And the women who have been past features… let's just say I don't feel worthy to be among them. Go HERE to read my feature and then please leave her a comment! Or leave me one and let me know what you think! And CLIENTS… some of your photos have been posted over there! So check it out!

I think a second post later today is called for b/c I am dying to show you some 11 month photos of Gray! Nothing special except that he might be the cutest little man ever! And in no way am I biased! 

But before that I will change the laundry and make the bed and clean up the kitchen. Then I will throw some clothes on and we're going to head out to the Botanical Gardens this morning. It's going to be a beautiful day and I want to let the girls run around and enjoy it! Then I have a MOUNTAIN of work to do during naps and a NILMDTS meeting tonight. Good friends and good food and a good cause… can't get better than that! 

Now get out there! RUN, SKIP and PLAY! And enjoy your day! 

If I can't say GO anymore I am going to give you a RHYME to send you on your way! Each day! Hip hip HOORAY!  


I am fired up today.

Man. It has been a day. A day and a half and really it's only been half a day.

Still with me?

And because I am fired up from my crazy half day I am going to tend to some business.  

First, I am adding a new set of links on my sidebar today for ST. LOUIS PHOTOGRAPHERS. I have some listed in my "Photography" links but I want to pull them out for a special reason.  

You might have stumbled onto this blog or been directed by one of my clients who wanted to show you how cute their kids were from a recent session and although it's maybe intrigued you to think about hiring someone to take photos of your own family, you REALLY HATE MY PHOTOGRAPHY. Which is FINE. Totally ok! Not everyone will like my work or my style or my blog or me. And that is A-OK. 

But there are a lot of other incredible photographers in St. Louis so I want to give you other options of people I either know and adore or know of and adore. That way you can find the best photographer for your family! Easy peasy. 

Second, ANONYMOUS from the comments in the last post brings up a good point. A GREAT point actually. Thank you Anonymous.  

When I end my posts with a short phrase and then GO, it is NOT an original idea. I started reading Kal Barteski's blog a few years ago and loved that she sent out this VIBE to her readers. I read her first thing in the morning and it always gave me a swift kick in the pants to get my day MOVING. I still read her in the morning and I am still inspired to work a little harder and faster each day to live life to it's fullest. I have her linked on my sidebar b/c I support her work and WANT you to all read her too. I think she's awesome.  

I have posted her artwork before and told you to go check her out. I have emailed with her before and comment on her blog when I can. SHE HAS COMMENTED HERE BEFORE. So she's read my blog. At least once. And she hasn't thrown a gasket that I end a lot of my posts the same way she does. 

What I want to say though, is that I am not doing that to copy her. And although I don't think she owns the word GO, it isn't right to be exactly the same as someone else. THAT BEING SAID, not everyone that reads this blog reads her blog and if I can send out even a TINY bit of the awesome vibe she sends out then I want to do that for those that read MY blog. And it's not in a fake way, I really do work very hard, incredibly hard in fact, to get the most out of each day God has given me. And I think Kal would be on board for spreading the message to LIVE LIFE and enjoy it. 

Which now brings up another issue, if we're going to get into the issue of COPYING. I have always loved the phrase, ENJOY IT. I write it on a lot of things and THINK about it constantly while I am changing the millionth poopy diaper or all three of my kids are having breakdowns at the same time. I tell myself when i am about to rip my hair out that I had better SLOW DOWN and ENJOY IT b/c someday I am actually going to miss this part of life.  

So when I found Elise Blaha a few years ago I immediately fell in love with her b/c her whole being is wrapped up in the words ENJOY IT. So if you read her blog you might think I am copying from her too. And although I love her, I'm not. It's like saying that because she has ENJOY IT on her blog and in a lot of her artwork no one else in the world can say it. It would mean that because I love non-posed images I am directly stealing ideas from Tara Whitney. And man alive would Carrie Sandoval be rich if she had a penny for every time someone hung a baby from a tree branch.  

If you are an artist, you are GOING TO BE COPIED in some way. And frankly, I think it's inspiring. When I get emails from photographers just starting out and they ask me questions about WHATEVER, I always feel humbled and flattered and answer them to the absolute best of my ability.  Because in the end WHAT DOES IT MATTER IF SOMEONE IS COPYING YOU? Didn't you attend kindergarten?

I will never forget when a little girl in 2nd grade copied the ghost I made for the classroom Halloween decorations. I came home that day crying and my mom said I should be FLATTERED b/c it meant that she loved my work enough to put aside her own ideas and use mine. Good lesson mom.  


Good to get all of that off my chest.

And I actually had cute photos of the kids to post today! I guess they will wait until tomorrow.  

And until then… GO! HA!