May 20, 2011

The Olsons | family portrait

Light: The light is my enemy and the light is my friend. And although I can certainly nitpick images from this session where there is too much contrast between highlights and shadows and wishing I would have positioned them just a bit differently, I would check this family portrait session off as: the light is my FRIEND! I am swooning over the glowing warmth in so many of these shots.

Meet the Olsons.  Had it not been for an unfortunate event that happened a little over three years ago, I may not have gotten the opportunity to photograph this adorable family of 3.  When Lorna was pregnant with Allie, her sister-in-law Michelle (check out her family's session HERE) wanted to give the amazing gift of memories in the form of photographs. Love!  So Michelle asked one of her friends who was pursuing photography at the time to do a maternity shoot with Lorna & Tyler. Imagine your anticipation for waiting to see your maternity keepsakes only to learn that the photographer was not only going to not give you the photos, but not even let you see them either. Talk about heartbreak! It completely blows my mind why someone who is supposed to be passionate about photography and heart all things photo could do something like that.  The situation was never rectified and Michelle has felt beyond horrible ever since and wanting to find something to make up for what happened.  When Michelle asked me to snap her family she also thought this might be a way to make up for what had happened 3 years ago. Of course I said I'd love to do a session for them, but I do admit the pressure was on.  Lorna & family may not have been able to see what she missed out on but my heartache for the loss of photographs is devastating to me. A lover of photos all my life, if I ever lost any of my most precious keepsake memories - my photos - I'm pretty sure I'd bawl my eyes out for weeks.  Because of this I felt the need to try to make up for what the family was never able to keep and hold dear.

To Tyler, Lorna, and sweet girl Allie: I hope I was able to capture some moments of your now family to keep and treasure for ALWAYS.  It was so easy working with the three of you and I truly enjoyed it. And I promise, you WILL be getting your photos from me ;)
 I must say that this family all have eyes of mystery and intrigue! I swear half the time I looked at them while editing they were all green and half the time I looked they were all blue. They must all have the eye-changing color gene! My guess is that they are blue in real life since that was the primary color I saw  :)
One of my favorite shots of Tyler & Lorna! Engaging and sincere. Lovely. And add in some squeals of delight from the warmth of the sun that hugs them tenderly.
Allie is such a cutie-pa-tutie! Poor little girl wasn't feeling the best for part of the shoot, but she was such a trooper and allowed me to get a few shots of her with the glorious warmth from the end of day rays.  On a random side note: my brother was almost an "Allison" if he was a girl.  Allie has also been one of my favorite girl names for as long as I can remember.
What little kid doesn't love bubbles?!
I am in love with the glow of the sun in these last family shots.  The light is my friend :)

May 16, 2011

the monday personals | the simple things in life

This Monday's post will be short and sweet. Ok, so maybe just not as wordy as the others ;)  Life is about the simple things that bring a smile to your face and happiness to your life. Here's a few things I love and am thankful for from this last week:

1. A freshly mowed and landscaped yard. The smell of fresh cut grass (and hay when it's that time of year!).  Bonus points this week go to the new lawnmower that in my opinion gets cool points purely based on the fact that its vibrant orange is a lovely touch as an accent color to the yard. ha, ha.

2. The vision of spring that seemed to blossom overnight from drab to fab in just seven days.  Trees and bushes looked lifeless less than a week ago and now I praise their green goodness.

3. The miracle of life.

4. Big white fluffy clouds that remind me of my father-in-law and his home for the past two years.  You may have left this earthly place, but you are never forgotten.  We smile each time we see a butterfly, marshmallow clouds, and golden rays of sunlight that you send to us with messages that you are looking down and watching over us continuously still. Miss you Gary!

5.  Morel Mushrooms.  Enough said.

6. My husband. This week we celebrated our 5-year anniversary. I'd truly be lost without him. He captured my heart when I was just 16 years old and it will belong to him forever and always.

Photo Credit: Taken by the fabulous Leanna Gosse
This one was taken by just plain 'ol me.

May 15, 2011

The Burbachs | family portrait

To say this shoot put my skills to the test as both a photographer, creative artist, and adapter to all things life related is a true fact. Between the simple fact of this being my first time shooting a family session - and not just a family but one of 6, add in excessive harsh bitter cold wind, a sky that cleared away for a gorgeous background palette but brought with it intense light, a 3-yr old who took his Mommy's van for an adventure and refused to have his picture taken, a 20-month old who missed her afternoon nap and was the clingster of all clingy kids, a bubbly full of life little girl who was constant camera ready for me with a giant smile, a husband who particularly doesn't enjoy his picture taken but was doing it for his wife, and my first attempts at using my new flash were just a few circumstances I had to overcome that day.

What does this really all mean though? One of the first things Michelle said to me when she inquired about getting me to snap their family was "I think you'll have a challenge doing all 6 of us ;) " -- those were her exact words. The statement probably held true but I still loved every minute of it.

Michelle and I go way back. Back to grade school. She was my best friend for many years around the ages of 10-12 before she moved to a different neighboring school district. I remember many times having sleepovers, girl talk, being lab partners, and just everything teen girl related. I was really sad when she had to move away, but so thrilled to connect again through this glorious thing called facebook. And she still lives only a few miles from my parents farm so it's nice to know she's still so "close". Michelle and I share the same trait: LACK OF PATIENCE! I felt so bad that it was taking forever to get her family photos completed, but life always seems to happen and you have to roll with the punches. Once finally completed and I was able to post a preview, she wrote me the most touching thank you a photographer & friend could ask for:

"Emily, I am so very proud to call you my friend. You are such a wonderful mommy, wife, friend, photographer, and so many other things. I loved watching you take pictures that day and how you were jumping around on hay bales, laying in the weeds, watching the kids cry and still shooting pictures, lugging around a chair, the wheels of ideas turning, and so many other things. What a great experience to be apart of your photo journey and our family memories. You are a true inspiration!"

To Michelle I say, I truly love you and your family and I would do it again in a heartbeat purely just for the memories and girl talk. Feeling frustrated that I went in that day with a plan and came out with something so much more twisted and not even close to what I had outlined, I felt I was letting you down. I hope I lived up to your expectations of capturing the beautiful randomness of your life as best I could. I wouldn't trade the day's events because it was a reminder that life happens and even when it does it's still a truly beautiful and amazing thing and one should smile through it all just like you said.

Here's a bit more on what touched me so much that day:

To watch Madison continuously show a tremendous amount of love, compassion, and help to her younger brother and sisters tickled my heart with glee. There was simply no name calling, hitting, or competition between the kids. It was pure love and togetherness. Together the four of them were a whole. When one cried, they all cried, if one laughed, they all started laughing. Everything I saw that day reminded me of how much good there still is in this world.
 Through it all, there was never a smile NOT on Madison's face. I think her Mom said it best "Madison portrays exactly what we try to teach our kids, smile through it all, life is not always perfect."
 10 years, 4 kids, and numerous amounts of laughter, tears, heartaches, smiles, giggles and hugs later - Andy & Michelle are celebrating their 10 year anniversary in July. What an amazing journey they have had so far. I can still remember the day they said their vows infront of the world. Would you ever imagine you'd have all this ten years later?
To watch a man not only become a father but to give into his inner emotions, deepest fears, and vast depths of love to blossom and grow toward his child is a brilliant thing to witness. I can say I know from experience and it is one of the best things in the world to be a part of ;)
Meet Madison: bubbly, energetic, a natural at smiling for the camera. I think I could take her picture all day :)
Meet Carter: mischievous, mind of his own, comical, and a three-old-year in every way.  Life is always a ride with him around. Introducing the "Carter Stink Face".
I do not want it in a barn, I do not want it on a farm. I do not want it on a chair. I do not want my picture taken anywhere.
Sweet pea Ava who constantly reminded me of my own lovely at home. 
And lastly, precious Sophia who has taught this family about conquering life's struggles and will to survive. Born 6 weeks early due to complications with the pregnancy, Michelle & family know all about how precious life is and praise God every day for the family he has given them.
We are family.
Hideously embarassing blast from the past! My mom dated the back of the picture as September 1993. I was 11, Michelle 10 :)