TOGETHER

You may remember this family from past posts...

I've joked about their "country" roots...or at least my perception that they channel Shania Twain and Randy Travis...but, we'll just let that go this time around...

They happen to be one of my favorite families to photograph...I'm not even sure I can remember when or how we first met, but regardless of details, it began a connection that has stood the test of time...

He is gregarious and always motivated with the anticipation of their family session...I learned early-on, listening to him talk of his daughter and sons...and the great love he has for his wife...that underlying all the fun and excitement comes a steady wisdom of where he wants to lead his family...

She is thoughtful, gentle, and kind...and not to mention GORGEOUS...she's the whole package and when I am in her presence, she has a way of making people feel valued...I know that I don't have to act a certain way around them, but can just relax and enjoy...

The children are unique, adventurous, FUN, and considerate...it makes them a joy to be around...and I know that I can ask them anything, and they are game!

I look forward to their session every year!!! It's yet another reason why I enjoy family & lifestyle photography best of all...I'm in a season of life,with my own family, where there are certain things that are of top priority...that mean more than a bank account or fancy car...more than fame or extravagance or keeping up with the Jones'...and it's refreshing and inspiring to me, to meet others that have found that niche' as well...who look at "hearts" instead of just faces...

Can't wait to see them again!!!








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Family Time

I remember when my kiddos were this age...

When one of them was embarking on the school years, while the other two were at home with me...diapers and sippy cups...washing their hands, playing puzzles and reading picture books.

As I am catching up on all my blogging from past sessions, I am watchful of these expressions and relationships that are stopped in time...the JOY of those moments...and yet still that sometimes underlying exhaustion of just the constant-ness of parenthood!  

My daughters are with their grandparents for a couple of days...my house is quiet...and it's different...

I remember back to the days of when they were young and my home was filled with all those baby things...but as they got older, it became a different kind of "constant"...more emotional and intellectual...their "needing me" is still there, it's just different but still CONSTANT...

and so, I admit that these couple of days that I have in my quiet house are a welcome respite from the norm...I don't think that makes me a "bad mom" (at least I hope it doesn't), I think it just means I'm human...and someone who has the same desires, worries, chores, dreams as many others...and we are all constantly changing in our growing... 

I think what is important is the BEING in the moment, where we are...in our season...recognizing the joy, understanding our limitations, taking time to enjoy, and taking time to rest...

It was evident, in my time with this family, that they live IN the moments...as exhausting as they may be at times...there is a commitment and understanding of the fleeting time...

I loved their LOVE for each other...their patience and acceptance of the season they are in...

These were some of my faves from their session!











thank you for spending that beautiful fall day with me...XOXO ~Colleen

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Snapshop Michigan 2015

I taught a camera workshop in Michigan this weekend and it was AHHHHmazing! 

I "retired" from teaching back when my eldest daughter was born...however, I do believe that some people are just born with "teaching" in their hearts...it's something they not only love to do, but they also just can't help it...it's an innate quirk that just pops up...

I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to teach classes like this...not only because I love teaching but because I have a passion for capturing moments and I "get" that others want their pictures to have depth and meaning and POP off the screen/page!  I know what it feels like to look through my family albums and love the moments that are captured...to be transported back in time when I see those pictures...to see the "movie" replayed in my mind, all because of a snapshot!

We had people drive in from Grand Rapids and even CHICAGO to attend this Snapshop class that was held in southeast Michigan.  

You'd think that I'd learn and actually take pictures of all that was going on, but I just get so excited to speak with everyone...

I ask everyone to complete a questionaire before they attend the class.  They are asked to rate themselves with regards to a number of photography terms and their ability.  For this class we had those that rated themselves at 2 and 3...AND we had some that rated themselves at 6 and 7!  Therefore, we had a wide spread of learners...so I knew I had my work cut out for me in order to make it applicable to all the different learners and learning styles.  

It turned out that the torrential downpours that NEVER STOPPED actually helped their cause, because we were able to spend quite a bit of time diving deeper into concepts that we otherwise might not have gotten to during our class time.  (Although, lots of those topics are covered afterwards once my Snapshop Grads join the private facebook group in order to continue their learning) 

The gals that attended were enthusiastic and weren't afraid to jump in, ask questions, and try something new.  

I'll be honest, this class can be overwhelming.  I have put together a HUGE amount of information ranging from composition, storytelling, and framing to metering, focus, aperture, shutterspeed, ISO, toggling and so much more.  

At one point, I was making an analogy to the movie Inside Out with regards to how many "voices" are trying to talk at the same time while you are trying to determine HOW/WHEN to snap a picture...

My class members, MAY have thought I was a tad schizophrenic, but at least we brought the FUN to the party!

After a Snapshop class, I'm flying high for the next few days and this wasn't any different!  It was a pleasure to meet all the gals that attended...I enjoyed their enthusiasm and I look forward to working with them through our Snapshop Grads facebook page as well!

Here are a few of the pictures that I was able to snap before I got distracted with talking and teaching ...
and a sweet quote from one of the gals' surveys!

I always loved the idea of taking the perfect picture but I did not know the technical side of my camera. After taking Colleen's Snap Shop class, I can confidently take beautiful pictures in any type of lighting without my flash or auto mode! It was worth the drive and the time! Erin Maher





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SENIOR: Justin

strong, honorable, generous, kind

..............................

I had never met him before this evening of our session time together.  I've known his mom for many years..and so I've "heard" about him at various times of popping into the school office.  His parents are mighty proud of him...

I like to get to know the Seniors that I work with outside of parents and friends and all those outside factors...I get to see how they interact with complete strangers (i.e. ME) and as the time goes by and we all warm up...I get to hear about future plans and I get to see their reaction to their images from the back of my camera...

Justin already had me when he pulled out the Chelsea jersey...if you know my husband, he's a HUGE British Soccer league fan...and in particular, Chelsea!  Many a DVR'd games have been watched after avoiding social media all day so that he could enjoy the game fully in his man cave...Justin has often gotten up wayyy before the normal school wake up call so they could fit in watching a game before the day would begin...

that's dedication and discipline!!!

You'll see from these images where many of his passions lie...and each of them take a strength and courage just to participate...

I appreciated his input, his willingness to go along with my often crazy ideas...he never wavered in his kindness of words...

It was such a fun evening and I was so grateful to have met him in person!
Thanks for sharing time with me! ~Colleen 







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Delight

I'm a fair-skinned Irish girl from up north...I've got bits of German, Scottish, French...all running through my veins...but the green eyes and light hair seem to pop up all throughout my family tree.

I married an Italian...olive skinned, dark eyes and hair...

Therefore, somehow between the two of us, we managed to birth 3 incredibly different looking little girls...one has dark, dark brown hair, the other's is brown and our baby is a highlighted bright blonde!  It amazes me everytime I see a picture of them together!

You can imagine my delight when I met this family...Each one of them with different dominant traits and yet so uniquely different! 

Isn't that part of the marvel of relationships in general...unique individuals, molding and growing, sacrificing for each other out of love and selflessness...so that together they make this dynamic unit...

There is a verse "a cord of three strands is not easily broken"...

When I meet families like this, where outward appearances are so charismatic & compelling...and then I watch them together...I recognize the unity and strength within them...and the differences seem to fade away just a bit... 






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Natural Beauty

One definition I found for the term "natural beauty" was: 

 a person who holds the power of sunshine, life, and love on the outside

I actually think that is an accurate account for every member of this family!

I know that to look at them on just the outside, you'd all be jealous...that hair, those eyes, perfect skin...you name it...they ALL HAVE IT!

But, what I like about that definition is that it's the idea of the power of life and love on the INSIDE that presents itself on the OUTSIDE too...

They do this!

I was so excited when they contacted me again to do some family photos...she not only has been a huge cheerleader for me for the past couple years, but she & her family exemplify the type of family I enjoy photographing, because it allows me to be completely free in that photo-journalistic style!

Take your time and soak up each of these images...the emotion, the genuine happiness that exudes from them all!










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Baby Sister

It was probably one of my most favorite "newborn" shoots when their little boy was born about 2 years ago. They aren't so much into props and poses, as they are into just the simple things that make life GOOD...

I knew it wouldn't be any different when their little girl arrived...no need for ribbons or bows...I was there to just showcase life as it unfolded before me...

I love their choice of mementos in her nursery...and the fact that their sweet boy can talk my ear off and I love every minute of it...

OH, the stories he told me...make believe and realistic...he knows he is loved...his daddy kept a running conversation going with the little man while sister was getting pictures...but, all new blessings come into a new family and so while it was just him in the limelight when he was a babe, she needs to share...

I have no doubt that either one of them will mind it...

such authenticity and genuine care...gentleness without being told...it was precious to see...













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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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