SENIOR: Nikki

WORDS...

You've heard me discuss my love of words before...they not only create incredible stories, but they are used to describe the things that make us who we are...

woven together, they tell a story...individually they conjure up thoughts and ideas...

words can be used to build and grow...or used to tear down and destroy...

regardless, they are POWERFUL...

And to embody the meaning of those words...to live them day in and  day out is also something that can build character and determination and allows one to develop into the person you were created to be...

Nikki is captivating and charming...classy and kind...insightful and sophisticated...with a touch of spunky and shy...

She is natural and has a calming effect, just being with her...

It's an honor to meet these young adults, embarking on their new journey into an unknown future...

I am captivated not only by their beauty, but their determination & strength as they walk the tightrope...balancing between childhood & adulthood...

She is on her way and I have no doubt that her future will be amazing!







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Dave Fox Design Columbus, Ohio

My heart is in family photography...

I'm all about the meaningful, HAPPY and memorable moments...

I love to also single out those seniors that are embarking on adulthood...it's not the "ending" but the new beginning for them...

However, there are sometimes where I'm invited to an "event"...and I get to be a silent spectator...

I truly love these opportunities because it not only "mixes things up" just a bit...but, I am afforded this incredible chance to mingle with adults and people watch on a grander scale!

I love the diversity, the creativity, the uniqueness that each event brings...

from professional meetings to company golf outings to grand openings...

I relish in the challenge to tell the story of the day...to capture the details that make a corporation SHINE!

Dave Fox of Columbus, Ohio does just that...

I was inspired by their showroom...their attention to detail...the way they made their customers feel...

It was an evening to remember!









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SENIOR: Hanna

I've been looking forward to writing Hanna's blog post. 
She's chill, friendly, humble, warm, FUN and that all around "girl next door"

She's a natural beauty and so what you see is pure and true and lovely...

I recently read one of those "letters" going around facebook about a teen son to his mom...
The idea was "tell the story" of what it felt like to be a teenager...

Each generation is so different and yet, many face the same pressures that we've all had to face at such a transitional time in our lives...

There is a readiness that is occurring...the motivation and excitement for what is yet to come...and behind that is the realization that "all that I've known before is about to change"...

Independence...

It feels like a leap...

I suppose we all handle it in different ways...

Hanna handles it with grace and an ease which I envy...

Big change is ahead...I'm sure her parents feel it, she feels it...her friends see it coming...

And then you see those eyes and that smile...

and the confidence behind it that says, "I can do this!"

Congratulations Hanna!









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Scientific Notion ;)

She's a Science teacher with a creative "edge"!  

When I think of Scientific People, I think a lot about left-brained people...People who are highly intelligent, who can solve problems, who "see" things in lists and organized patterns...

I've never had these qualities...I "see" things in pictures and blobs and fun colors...solving problems and decision making aren't really my cup of tea...

Then I met Christine...Here is a gal that has a bit of both worlds...

Yes, she's a Science teacher, but she also heads up the Photography club and has a love of storytelling through pictures...

I love her enthusiasm and that SMILE...no wonder all those boys in her life adore her...
how could you not?

Mom & Dad are like newlyweds and the twins...well, I have a feeling they are far more unique than what "status quo" normally reports about twin siblings!  

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them and her extended family this beautiful fall evening...

I'll actually see her again quite soon, as I get a chance to join her at photography club with the students!







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Reading Matters



We all know that reading benefits us in numerous ways...

Whether it be increased vocabulary, improved analytical thinking, improved memory & writing skills, enhanced academic achievements and even stress reduction...we know that having a love of learning & reading is the first step...next is getting the content & level to motivate & challenge the reader.

Books began as an escape for me.  I remember my 5th grade teacher who told our class that we were required to read 100 books by the end of the school year. I was flabbergasted...We lived in a very poor city.  We had no "specials" at our school at the time, except for gym class once a week...no school library, no music, no art...K-6th grade.

I honestly have no idea where I found the books except for perhaps my church library or maybe what my teacher secretly left out in her classroom for us to "find". I was motivated back then and I wasn't going to let a lack of resources stop me from achieving my teacher's goal.  And, whatever it was, I found a love...

Books took me to another place...where the fact that I was bullied didn't matter...whether my parents were divorced held no baring on my "popularity"...where the worries of a little sister's heart condition & open heart surgeries were tucked away for awhile so that the crying & churning in my stomach could settle for just awhile.

Oh, I escaped into different worlds and different characters and I soared...

Fortunately, that desire never left either...I still have a passion for literature...I'm not as "risky" as I was back then...I have somewhat fallen into certain genres that I like and I tend to stick to them...Occassionally, I step out of my comfort zone and read a *gasp* non-fiction book...OR even a dystopian fantasy...heaven help me!!!

Therefore, I started reading aloud to my own daughters when they were still inside the womb.  While I was at home awaiting the arrival of my firstborn, I would read stories outloud...just to "practice" my different voices and inflections...

When each one of my girls arrived, I didn't stop there.  I spent hours reading to them, taking them to storytimes (all the while bribing them with fruit snacks to sit and listen to stories read by others) And even though my old girls are teenagers and my youngest is approaching double digits, I STILL read to them...

Somewhere along the way, instead of being an "escape"...it became a way to "CONNECT"...

It's safe because it's not me "parenting" them or giving them lectures about this and that...it's calming because after long days of school & peer interactions, they need that "escape" too...what they don't fully comprehend just yet is that because I'm alongside for the ride, they get to "escape" WITH me!

I don't even know if that makes complete sense, but I know that when I close a book, after weeks of reading with my girls, I am always in awe of how that time together has grown us...given us a memory...a connection...in a non-threatening and even exciting way...

I thought I'd give a few "guidelines" for read-alouds that I've learned from not only teaching in my own classroom from the past, but having learned with my own kids...

1. Choose a book to the level of your oldest, but content in the middle. Younger kids understand more than what we give them credit.  At the same time, the content needs to be such that will not only keep the interest of the oldest, but not be inappropriate or too mature for the youngest.

2. Gradually increase your reading time & leave room for "one more chapter MOM!!!" Young ones often can't deal with more than 5-10 minutes at a time...and that might only be one picture book when you are first starting off.  I remember using books on tape for car rides to just have that in the background when we drove places as "white noise"...eventually, as my girls got older, they would catch part of the story and we'd find ourselves parked in a parking lot with them begging me to not turn the car off yet so they could keep listening!  We are all tired at the end of the day, but try to build in an extra 3-5 minutes so that if they do beg for "just a little more" you can indulge them...(and they LOVE IT!)

3. Let them work with their hands while you read.  When my girls were not even a year old and we went to storytime, I would give them fruit snacks one at a time for them to finger and put in their mouths.  I wouldn't let them run around and get concentrated on other things during a storytime, but I would allow them to work with their hands while they listened.  To this day, my girls will brush each other's hair, draw/color, or work on beading or legos while I read stories.  However, more times that naught, they just want to get close to me listen...it never gets old.

4. Use vocal expressions. I cannot stress this enough...MAKE IT FUN...get excited when you read, read fast & slow, loud and quiet, make up voices...Read it outloud like you are auditioning for a play...YOU are the performer in this "show".

(In case you have time to waste and want to be tickled pink...you can watch my youngest retell the GRUFFALO story in her tiny 3 year old voice)


5. Make it personal. Interject your own feelings...let them know that you are INto the book too.  Sound out words, laugh at your own mistakes while reading...get mad at characters and LIVE the story with your kids.  Remember, it's an "escape" into another world, but you're IN that world with them...this is another way to "connect" with them too!

For those that missed my last book listing...here are some good read louds for kids!  These are just a few of my favorites and many, you have heard me talk about before :)  My favorite authors for little kids have been C.S. Lewis, E.B. White and Gertrude Warner and Sara Pennypacker...as the kids got older, I got into other authors and different genres...

Have FUN!

Kenny & the Dragon
The Miraculous Adventures of Edward Trulane
The Penderwicks
The Trumpet of the Swan
Narnia Series
Tuck Everlasting
Princess Academy
Clementine Series
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
The One & Only Ivan
Wonder
Harry Pottery #1 (let them continue the series when appropriate)
Half Magic
Frindle
Boxcar Children #1 (let them continue the series)
Castle in the Attic
Charlie & the Chocolate Factory OR James & the Giant Peach
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Where the Red Fern Grows
Anne of Green Gables
Charlotte's Web

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CT PhotoMemories CONTEST



Is anyone else just ready for Spring yet?  I'm not meaning to complain...my girls even got out and made snowmen the other day...and that's awesome.  I'm thankful we live where we live during this time in their lives...I love having 4 different and unique seasons throughout the year...

However, I must admit that the COLD is my least favorite one...

And so, in honor of Spring Fever and wanting it to get here fast...I thought it'd be FUN to have a contest...

All my FAMILY SESSION Peoples listen up...
(Not trying to exclude my seniors...I've got other things planned later for that...)

You should have received an email from me giving you instructions on entering this contest...if you did not, PLEASE EMAIL ME IMMEDIATELY.

If you purchased a 2015 family session with me, you have the opportunity to enter your FAVORITE image from your gallery by Saturday, February 28th.

I will gather all the images and put them into an album.  You will be able to direct friends & family to find YOUR image in that album and vote for it...I will also have other ways to gather MORE votes!

I'm so excited and can't wait to see which ones you choose!!!

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The Weekend February 2016

THIS is a picture of me and my college bestie..

I've mentioned her before...We are opposites...in almost an extreme sort of way...
If you are into the Fixer Upper show, think of her as Joanna Gaines...My personality is a tad more like Chip (and also my bestie's husband)...It's actually quite funny to watch the show because they fit those rolls perfectly...

If you remember a post from last summer, you'll recognize our vacation together in Mackinac...
We try to find other opportunities to get together throughout the year as well...and this past weekend was one that finally worked...

And ohhhhhhhhh was it needed!

We're all in our 40s now...our children "need" us in different ways and life feels so CONSTANT...
"adulting" is an actual term from which we never get a break it seems...

Maybe there are those that live a perfect life, never argue with spouses, have straight A perfect children who never whine or make poor choices...perhaps there are families where money is never tight and friends & family never cause stress...maybe there are people out there that don't struggle with the scale or have spotless houses and their vehicles are imaculate...I know some people that tell me that their hardest "struggle" is their perfectionism...ahem...

Can I be blunt honest with you?

I am NOT one of those peoples...

And either are my closest friends...and because of that...I am so, so, so grateful...

Because, we get to DO LIFE together...
we muck through the muck...

and sometimes, it seems like there is just a lot of MUCK to muck through...

we laugh until we cry and cry until we laugh...

we are real and raw and we don't fear being judged or patronized...

I pray that you have friends like this in your life...because they are GIFTS from heaven...

These are the people that see your nitty gritty and show theirs to you...

and you don't feel alone...

They came this weekend and brought with them a little reprieve...an opportunity to set aside some of the worries & hurts that have been afflicting us in this season of life...

We made cookies, painted canvases, ate lots of donuts and might have had a few drinks along the way...

These images are far from perfect...and not even my "norm"...and that's okay...because on weekends like these, I'm lucky to remember to get my camera out at all...but, I do still want to REMEMBER...










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Why Black and White?

When I deliver a gallery to my families and seniors, there are often a scattering of black and white images.

I am truly most attracted to colorful, vivid, bright, contrasty images that are happy and vibrant!

At the same time, I always want images to convey meaning and emotion...and over time, I have seen how black and white photos offer a more poignant perspective...it pulls out the raw emotion of the moment...

Sure, the color image may be fine, but in certain instances, it doesn't hold a candle to the negative space created by that two-toned edit...

I often have families requesting the color representation of certain black and white edits that I scatter in the gallery...

I know the reason they are attracted to the image, however, is the very reason for which they are requesting it NOT to be that way...They FEEL something when they see the image, they smile or laugh or it tugs at their heartstrings...sometimes I do include the duplicate version in black and white, but sometimes I do not...because I know that side by side, the color version falls so short of what I try to produce to represent my heart, my style, the WHY behind what I do...

let me give you a few examples of how things look through my eyes:

I changed this first one into black and white because the house in the background was too much of a distraction in the color...I wanted the focus to remain on the boys...on the wrestling and the tumbling...not the grass or the location...


I love coordinating color matching for families...and I love this momma's sweet smile...these are images taken within seconds of each other...The one below speaks volumes to me in terms of a memory and a moment caught...


Another example of how, although, I"ll giggle for a ginger headed kiddo anyday of the week...the black and white version of this photo focuses directly to those smiles and the JOY of them being together...not distracted by background colors or even their beautiful hair...


So there you have it...that is my crazy reasoning behind my workflow edits of black and white coloring...The banner on my blogsite states: memorable, happy and meaningful...It starts with how I "see"life through the lens with each of my unique families...but, the bonus work happens through the edits, where I search for the happy spotlight, the meaningful connections and the memorable moments and showcase them in a way that freezes time and give my families something to cherish for a lifetime!

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SENIOR: Natalie

It's another installment of "catch up with the blogging"...

Why do I do this?

Blogs are slowly becoming a thing of the past for the next generation...
they've got twitter and instagram...and countless other apps that deal with 2-3 sentences at most...

I'll tell you why...

I still like to take the time to 'introduce' my clients...to 'showcase' them...

because, I'm a "words of affirmation" person...

and because of that, I like to share WORDS that encourage and help you (readers) know these amazing individuals that you may not otherwise "meet"...and I KNOW that they are WORTH meeting!!!

Since I only see my clients for 1-2 hours at most, I want to be sure that I capture the essence of the person to the best of my ability and then share that with images and narrative so that the "whole story" comes together...

Because, again, I believe each person is unique and special and worthy of a spotlight once in awhile...

***************

Assertive, captivating, confident, happy, spunky, warm...

I just keep coming up with words that describe Natalie...

She knew what she wanted and she was sure of herself and how she presented her likes & dislikes...

I envy that in a person because I tend to be rather indecisive...

being around people like Natalie, however...people that ARE sure, but are also unbelievably ACCEPTING of others...it makes you feel like a million bucks just being near them!

I think her images capture the multi-faceted individual that she is and is becoming...

She is a determined, country girl at heart that adds a pizazz and spunky flair to the mundane of everyday life...she brings the spark and the sunshine...the funny and the beautiful...

What a pleasure to hang out with her for an afternoon!!

Congratulations Nat!










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Blog Archive

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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