the greenawald family

it's funny how life works sometimes.  i met my husband in college, like a lot of people do, and while we were there we each made a lot of friends.  some of them were mutual, and others weren't, simply because while a lot of our time overlapped, between different classes and jobs, a lot of our time did not.  at his on-campus job, my husband met a guy named jason, and in one of his classes, he met a girl named samantha.  eventually, samantha became jason's wife.  while i saw jason a handful of times if i happened to stop by the office, i never really got to know him or samantha, simply because life never really allowed us the time or opportunity to cross paths.

fast forward several years, and we found ourselves at the wedding of a mutual friend from college, seated at the same table with jason and sam.  we chatted, as you do at weddings, and discovered that they have a son around the same age as our youngest, and so we were quickly swapping toddler stories- who walked when and how, picky eating habits, terrible sleep patterns, all the parenting stuff.  we laughed and had a lovely time, and on our way home, i turned to my husband and told him that i couldn't believe i'd never had a chance to get to know these two people in college.  they do life so much like we do, and were such fun people to be around, i was sad i had missed the chance to build a friendship with them when they lived walking distance away, instead of an hour drive.

so, of course, i friended samantha on facebook as soon as i got home that night, and i've been enjoying her sweet, honest, funny, and completely relate-able posts about her life as a momma ever since.  

you can imagine how excited i was when she contacted me about doing a session for her and her family to document her growing bump before the arrival of baby number 2.  that meant spending an evening with this totally sweet, down to earth couple, while also getting to meet and play with their adorable toddler- all while taking pictures of them.  i was all-in before i could even finish reading her first message to me.

let me tell you what- the night did not disappoint.  we had a bit of a hiccup when we showed up to the Reading Public Museum and realized it's a hot spot for pokemon-go players (no exaggeration, there were people e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.) but we were able to find ourselves a quiet spot or two and then just let the little guy lead our evening.  the bond he has with his momma? incredible:

although his bond with his daddy was just as clear- and i suspect it's going to grow even stronger once baby sister comes on the scene ;)

they are truly a beautiful example of a family built on love for one another, and even though the weather was hot, and there was much toddler chasing, it was clear that this baby girl is going to be joining a family that knows the value of being together.

oh- and on our way back to the parking lot, we spotted an ice cream truck.  they decided to stop, and of course i asked if i could follow them around just a liiiiiiiiiittle bit longer.  any night that ends in ice cream is a good night :)

revealing beauty: the irwin's story

i recently had the privilege of shooting my first true documentary session.  i love the family i shot it for for a lot of reasons, one of the big ones being that they've been willing to be my "first" twice now- i did my first ever session for people not related to me with them a little less than a year ago.  this was when i was even newer to photography than i am now, and before i really knew that documentary shooting was what i wanted to focus on.  we did a relaxed session with heavy lifestyle leanings then, but there was still a lot of posing and direction given.  it was a really great session considering i had never formally taken photos for someone before (and how terrible i am at posing people), and i think a lot of the reason it went so well is because of how great this family is.  so, when they reached out to me about doing photos for them again to celebrate their daughter's first birthday, i knew i couldn't turn them down- and that they were the perfect people to try out a real documentary session on.

when i first arrived to their house that morning, mom greeted me at the door with an apology because the little one had just fallen asleep for an unexpected morning nap.  i think my face probably lit up like a christmas tree, and i'm guessing my return greeting was a little more hasty than normal social etiquette calls for.  i don't really remember, but i probably asked permission to photograph the napper as i bolted my way past mom and up the stairs- i mean is there anything sweeter than a napping one year old?  (turns out the answer is yes- a napping one year old on a sofa with bare toes and a tushy in the air) :

and that set the tone for our morning together- quiet, relaxed, and completely natural.  shortly after i took these, mom and dad woke her up to help keep her on her schedule, and i just clicked away while she woke up.  normally i would have been a little bummed by how often she looked at the camera, because what i really wanted was to capture her interactions with mom and dad, but this girl has eyes you could swim in and cheeks you could eat with a spoon.  stare away, sweet girl.

and besides, once she woke up and got used to me being there, she gave me plenty of authentic moments with mom and dad.  although honestly, i would have had to try to not capture the connection these three have.  their love for one another is so sweet and genuine, it just flooded their whole home.

and then there were all the sweet moments of her just being a one year old.  i could have photographed her all day as she played and explored, happy and content in the comfort of her home and surrounded by all of her things and the people she loves most.

many thanks, irwin family, for inviting me into your home and being another one of my "firsts".  a very happy birthday to your beautiful daughter!