Free to Love

She's the Queen Princess in her household of boys.

Her love for them is unconditional and evident in how she interacts with them all.

It's the little things really...the way her husband holds her hand, or the way the boys tackle & laugh...there is a freedom of love in their home...

when someone knows, to the deepest part of them, that they are loved and valued...a confidence grows...it transcends temperament or even propriety...

what a gift...

sometimes it's not until we are older, that we recognize it, but it doesn't make it any less valuable...

to love, without holding back...to accept..with all our imperfections, and still see beauty...

she does this...

for her husband, her boys...her mom...

And I can see it returned to her as well...

They've built a home, a family and LOTS of love...

it was a pleasure to see it in action :) 








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And then he GREW

It's been a year since I last saw this guy...

he was just learning to be steady on his feet...

and now he's climbing trees....



I couldn't get enough of those big, bright eyes



I am so humbled when people choose me to photograph their family or children...There are a TON of photographers in our area. I know you have a choice...and those families that continue to come back, well, they warm my heart!  I love being able to capture smiles & looks and moments in the lives of others!

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HAPPY

The 6th snow day has just been announced this evening...

it's more like a COOOOLLLLLDDDD day if you want to be more accurate...

I don't want to complain...we all make our choices...I choose to live in the midwest and therefore, I choose for my face to freeze when I step outside...I choose to have to shovel my driveway and yell at my dog to please do her business more quickly because we are letting out the precious heat from the house...I choose that my children will play in snow and eventually want me to join them even though I just want to be wrapped in my electric blanket with my 3rd cup of coffee!!!

However, on this 6th snowday I'm starting to question my "choice"...hmmm

I was excited to see this family up next on my long list of blog catch ups...

They make me smile...

Sweet little sister is the "lovey" one of the group...you can see for yourself in the pictures below...she just has that "cute gene" that makes everyone want to love on her!

It was so refreshing to see the way these siblings enjoyed one another...I remember the smiles and giggles...and even stolen kisses!

Oh, and I so miss these warm days...

I'm very much looking forward to spring!!!








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MARCH MADNESS (CLICK IT SESSIONS)

There are lots of photoshop editing softwares out there.

My choice has been with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Elements.

The main reason I choose to edit my photos is because, as a mom (and photographer) who photographs young children in a playful, candid settings...outdoors in changing light, for limited amounts of time...

well, let's just face it, I'm more about the MOMENT than I am about keeping myself in a constant state of worry to make sure my settings are PERFECT for EVERY shot.

Ideally, I DO want to get it as close to perfect as possible (this is why I teach Snapshop classes and why I'm constantly taking classes & researching on my own) However, when I'm balancing on a rock above my clients, trying to outrun the impending storm on the horizon, while a little one has already given his 35 seconds of attention and reeeeeeally wants his donut treat as promised...I'm not "always" spot on in my exposure or white balance check (just bein' real!)

Because of that, I have taken not only classes but have spent COUNTLESS hours learning about photoshop...determining ways to help my own imperfections in photography so that I don't feel discouraged when I "mess up" in camera, but I still "got the shot"!

That said, for the month of March ONLY, I am offering one on one Click It sessions during the weekdays (M-F) from the hours of 10-2pm for those that want to learn some basics for the SAME PRICE as a regular class session.  Here is the link to exactly what we cover:  CLICK IT



Here are some practical uses of photoshop:

fixing coloring on those overcast days and directing the viewers eye to the subject of the image!


taking care of little scrapes or broccoli in the teeth that you didn't notice before you snapped the shutter button...

This program is LIMITLESS and we can't cover EVERYTHING in just 1.5 hours, so this is a BASIC class to teach you how to the main things to enhance the photos that you produce out of your own camera equipment!

If you've already taken Click It #1 and understand those basics, you are ready for Click It #2 or #3

Click It #2 introduces you to the world of textures, clipping masks and Card Making! (this is especially helpful during the holiday season or when you just want to make a cute birthday invite for your son/daughter...We do not delve into graphic design persay, but I teach you how to take a few of your favorite photos that you've run through your own experience from Click It #1 and design your own creation.


I am continually developing more workshops within this program...as I said, it's limitless!  Therefore, as we go through the different "levels" I will continue to update the newly developed class outlines...

Click #3: diving into the world of LAYER MASKING!!!

Contact me via ctphotomemories@gmail.com OR facebook messaging on the CT Photomemories Facebook Page to schedule your date/time now.  March can fill up fast!

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I'm soooo cold!!!

I’m so completely cold and nearly frozen to the core in this lovely Midwestern state (remind me again why I don’t live in the South?)  And therefore, I decided to try something different, to get the blood pumping…

This past year, I purchased some new software, new lenses…took an online class or two…I’m in a perpetual state of learning…and while I “think” I do a pretty good job of hiding it from all my wonderful clients, I do, at times, use y’all as my guinea pigs to get better at my craft!

I practiced bracketing, white balance tests, focal ranges, different lighting, backlighting, crazy angles, and at times, some little kiddos kept me on my toes trying to get those personalities to shine for mom & dad! I also delved deeper into photoshop skills & creating my own enhancing actions.

My bff from AMWeakleyCreative & I have culled through 1000s of my pictures from 2014.  Looking for different shots…not necessarily the posed ones, but ones that I knew there was a skill that I was attempting to master…or a challenge that was presented and I kept at it until we got the shot. Other images called for different processing techniques and we chose a few of those as well. We narrowed it down to a few handfuls of “lucky” families…(I mostly stuck with families instead of adding in any wedding, newborn or senior shots because those are more controlled settings & stylized shots…and I wanted to showcase the candid “moments” of families & children)
From Monday, February 16th through Saturday, Febraury 28th, you are allowed to vote on your favorite image over on the CT Photo Memories Facebook page.  You can get friends & family to come and like the CT PhotoMemories page, like the picture and even leave a comment.  Full “rules” will be given when I post the gallery (in a few hours).  The winning family will win a special discount certificate from me, to use for their 2015 family session.  I wish I could have chosen one image from each of my over 120 sessions last year, but I didn’t think you’d want to search through that many…so Anne helped me cut it down to just a fortunate few.

So, let's have some fun, enjoy the memories of the WARM weather from 2014 and help someone get a sweet little prize!

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Miracles are Precious

We live in a culture of immediate gratification...

instant coffee,
instagrams,
internet at our finger tips,
texting/email/iphones/twitter...

It's almost become the "norm" or just "expected" that things will happen immediately...if A, then B, then C...bam, bam, bam...

Sometimes I mourn the generations that went long before us that worked long, hard hours with little payback or compensation...and yet they were determined and never once, accepted a handout or gave up...

However, I've grown used to the "ease"...

As mom, I often wonder how this culture will impact my daughters...because "life" doesn't always work "exactly as we plan"...and what are we to do when what we planned for, imagined, dreamed about...doesn't come to fruition in the way we want...

and then I met this family...


I first met them when I photographed their wedding... and though it was a most meaningful and grand affair...it was also a time where dear family members had Heaven on the horizon, and some had already finished their earthly journeys...where the cloud of cancer hung over sweet sisters & aunts bravely facing the future...

They committed themselves to each other on that day, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health...till death do you part...

and they meant it...

We are never promised an easy road (although I so wish that were the case sometimes)

And yet, I'm starting to sense that perhaps, it is through some of those hardships that love is strengthened, that commitment & integrity are bolstered, that compassion & gentleness are multiplied...

It was in their case...

They waited a long time...through yet another painful journey, for their little man...

And as I spent time with them...I heard the gentleness of voice, the reassurance of love, the 
re-pledging of forever, and the togetherness of teamwork...

I'm showcasing their pictures in black and white because there is such a "story" behind the images...and I don't want it to be missed...

Congratulations to this new mommy & daddy...I have no doubt that they will be LIVING a legacy for their son...one wrapped in honor, character, perseverance and LOTS of LOVE!






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Andrea: senior

Classic, Genuine, Animated, Jovial, Gentle

just a few words that come to mind when I recollect the time I spent with Andrea.

It's so cliche' to talk about "time passing so quickly"...but, in truth, it just does...

What is comforting to know is that even though the baby pudge and  chubby legs go away, the buck teeth and cheesy grins disappear...they are all replaced with a new beauty...eyes that reflect growing wisdom, mannerisms that emulate maturity...it's an ever changing process...

I've only got a few more years with my eldest before it will be time for her Senior pictures...and I'm not naive enough to think that it's longgg way off for my next 2 daughters either...

It is a privilege to meet young women like Andrea...

She is a gem!








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We're HOME

A long while back, I had the privilege of documenting a "goodbye"...

As a mom and lover of memories (someone who literally has a hoarder's heaven in her basement of every trinket imaginable from childhood)...I understand the desire to "remember"...especially for younger ones that may not be able to recollect what life was like "back then"...

I put together this video montage for them...




It took awhile, but they finally found a place to call home once again...one that fit their family needs and a place where the kids can grow and make memories with friends...

It was a long wait for them...this mom is a friend of mine and I adore the way she & her husband love each other...they way they work as team and tackle challenges hand in hand...

It is an honor to know them...and though it's been awhile since their "move in" date...I have no doubt that they are enjoying life and making many new memories in their new home!








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open table

I was asked to take some pictures last night at one of the monthly gatherings of The Open Table.

I wish I were more eloquent...I wish I had words that could adequately express what I experienced...

I did not take pictures of faces (purposefully)...I took pictures of helping hands, of big hearts, of non-judgmental attitudes, of gratefulness, of hope...

It made some a little nervous...me, with my big ole camera walking around...and so, I put it away after a short while...and I sat at the tables with them...

I met two Navy veterans who talked with me about their time in service and they asked me about photography.

I met quite a few single moms who I wished I knew well enough that they would have felt comfortable receiving a huge hug from a complete stranger...but instead, I played with their kids (and kicked myself for not learning another language fluently) These children that sat patiently awaiting their turn...obedient, kind & playful...they could have been students in MY class when I taught at school.

I met elderly ladies that I know have lived long enough that the stories they could share would leave people enthralled.

I don't know what has led them to where they are...and quite frankly, with all the politics involved, I didn't want my mind to travel there...I wanted to see PEOPLE and not just circumstance...If I'm completely honest, even the frequent "pull up your bootstraps" attitude of mine, was just put on the shelf for the sake of grace...for the sake of the moment...

I walked away from last evening with a different perspective...

sometimes changes occur in small increments...a changed mindset...an alternate view...a new way of "seeing"

If you are interested in volunteering at the Open Table here in our own community, see the facebook page HERE or our church website HERE






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Maybe it was the red hair?


If you know me at all...you know that I'm an avid reader...

Perhaps more accurately speaking, I would say that I'm addicted to the written word.  It began in 5th grade with a big push from my teacher and the ball hasn't stopped rolling.  The first series that completely engulfed me, was Anne of Green Gables...

Ohhh...I LIVED as "Anne" in my own imagination...

And if I'm just putting it out there anyway, let me tell you that once I graduated college, I took a train to PEI, Canada to see for myself, the "setting/story" in my mind.

It was not disappointed!

So when I met this family on the campus of a nearby college for a photo session...and I saw this beautiful new mother of two...I knew I had met a kindred spirit!

**did you see what I did there?  kindred spirit?...you won't "get" it unless you've read the books**



I know that sometimes I can be rather "overwhelming" to meet right out of the gate (it's that adopted Anne, with an "e", temperament that I assumed for myself back in my youth) and I'm not sure if I might have  set her to questioning my sanity for a few moments...but, I was elated when I saw this beautiful wife & momma step out with her kind husband & two little babies...she oozes the "kindred spirit" persona!

This session was back in late summer and these sweet kiddos have grown MUCH since our time together...

But then, isn't that why we keep pictures...so we can look back and remember...

They'll never be this small again...







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How can I reach you?

The best way to contact me is either through Facebook Messaging or emailing me at ctphotomemories@gmail.com

I can't wait to hear from you!
"Teach us to number our days, (savor the moments) so that we may gain a heart of wisdom" ~Psalm 90:12

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