Katie + Jay + Lucas | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

Katie & Jay are regulars in front of my camera.  I have shot their engagement photos, Katie's bridals, their epic Smith Mountain Lake wedding, and finally got to meet their little man, Lucas.  They also have their two furbabies, Ghost and Goliath, that have made their debuts as well.  Katie & Jay took advantage of my Fall mini sessions, and opted to have their session at Back Bay of First Landing State Park, the same location as their engagement session.  Now, if you have visited the Back Bay before, I am pretty sure if it's a beautiful day, you will see both stand-up boarders, tons of photographers, or a little bit of both.  It was definitely a bit of both that day.  But thankfully, there were a lot of areas to choose from.

To say the least, with a baby and two adorable doggies, it called for a very eventful session, but it never fails... I always get great shots of Katie & Jay! And how about little man Lucas?!?!? Isn't he just the CUTEST?!?!?!? 

Daddy's Almost Home | Personal

As some of you may not know, my son, Joseph was born just after his daddy left for a deployment with the Air National Guard.  He is a Staff Sergeant with the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron, which RED HORSE stands for Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers.  They are essentially the equivalent to the Navy SEABEES (they also train at NCBC Gulfport in Gulfport, Mississippi).  We were hoping that Joseph would make his appearance before daddy left, but as any military family (even though we are a Guard family) can tell you, things don't always go the way that you plan it!

Although we have been together for over four years, this is our first deployment together, and he has missed his birthday, two of the kids' birthdays, as well as our first wedding anniversary, which was on October 5th.  Thankfully, where he is at, we have been able to keep in contact with him pretty much every single day.  Although I can't really discuss when daddy is coming home, but all I can say is that we are ready for daddy to come home and we can enjoy being a family again!  They say that keeping yourself busy helps pass the time by a lot quicker, and I do have to say that it actually does seem to, especially since I returned back to work from maternity leave and have shot three weddings, second shot a few weddings for my gals Nicole of Nicole Jean Photography and Leslie of La Bella Bonita Photography, as well as a few other sessions.  And let's not forget about the classes that I am still taking in pursuit of my Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice through American Military University.

Daddy, we can't wait for you to come home and for you to finally meet Joseph face to face for the first time! I already know I will be a blubbering mess that day and I know that I will need to ensure I have several boxes of tissues with me!

Garcia Family | Virginia Beach Maternity Photographer

Kathryn contacted me for her maternity photos, just in time before their bundle of joy, little Mr. Ezekiel arrived in the wee morning hours of August 31st. Kathryn is a fellow military spouse and It Works! Distributor in the area.  We originally met several months ago while participating in a photo project for our friend Angel Whisenant, who photographed us for I Am Her Voice, that was part of a campaign to help bring awareness to Sex Trafficking (http://www.angelwhisenant.com/nopriceisworthmyvoice).

We met up on the trail side of First Landing Park to capture some photos along the wooden walkways, then headed across the street to the beach side and captured some awesome sunset photos as well. I tell ya, just something about that golden hour.... I can't get enough of it!  


Welcome Them Home - Owens Family | Hampton Roads Homecoming Photographer

My friend and fellow photographer Kayse of La Mia Bella Photography messaged me one day asking if I could help out her friend Stephanie.  Stephanie's husband was returning home from a deployment and she needed a photographer to capture it.  When she told me he was with ACU-4, I got excited since I have never photographed a homecoming that involved LCACs (Landing Craft Air Cushion)! 

Stephanie, Caidyn and Kylee waiting for 7 months to see their hero. And let me tell you, just like at any other homecoming, I got teary eyed as I watched them reunite with him.  Owens family, thank you for allowing me to be able to capture your special reunion!


Spending Time with Family on Memorial Day | Personal

On Memorial Day weekend, we headed over to my parents house to BBQ and enjoy some pool time.  Can't deny having some free pool time, whenever you want, right?!?!  And little miss Aliyah LOVES spending time with her cousins every chance she gets to see them.  And obviously having too much fun in the sun, you get tired while eating your lunch!

I've Waiting My Whole Life to Meet You Daddy! | Norfolk Navy Homecoming Photographer

It all started with an email from my fellow homecoming photographer friend, Tricia of Teal Tree Studios.  As homecoming photographer, we all know that the date we're initially provided at first contact with a client is not set in stone.  Dates in the military are NEVER set in stone!  Well, Tricia emailed me asking if I could take on her homecoming client due to the new time and date conflicting with a personal matter.  As I have been shooting homecomings for the past six years, I absolutely LOVE shooting them, so I couldn't say no!  I then received an email from Sarah to touch bases about the date and tentative time.  And of course, as expected, the time changed. Again.  But let me tell you, I am glad the time changed! The warmth of the sun setting as the friends and families of the sailors aboard the USS Mitscher provided the perfect backdrop.  

Sarah mentioned that this is the first time in 16 years that she will have a photographer present at a homecoming.  But this was a special occasion.  Baby Mia was born while daddy was deployed.  The first meeting between daddy and baby NEEDED to be documented! And boy, the feels.  Seeing daddy holding his baby girl for the first time gave me goosebumps. And yes, teary eyes.  Thank you Sarah and family for allowing me to capture your special day.  

Welcome home to Randy and his fellow Mitscher crew!

Working For That Smile | Smithfield Family Photographer

Kendrea is not only a friend, but also a co-worker.  We both work for the Navy JAG on Naval Station Norfolk.  We were chit chatting one day, and she mentioned about getting some updated family photos, since the last time they had photos done was before little man was around.  We discussed about locations, and I mentioned Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield.  She looked at some photos from other sessions that were held there and fell in love! So we set the date and crossed our fingers that the weather will cooperate for us (we all know how bi-polar Virginia weather can be!).  Earlier in the week, the weather was being a pain in the butt, and we worried that it was going to be bad for the weekend.  

Well, we lucked out. It rained like crazy on Saturday, but Sunday, was awesome.  And when I arrived at Windsor Castle Park, I was surprised that there was NO ONE else there shooting sessions! It is really rare because Windsor Castle Park is a choice location by a lot of photographers in the area.  Guess we just lucked out! I have to say, little man definitely made me work for some smiles throughout the session.  In the first few frames, I swear he was giving me the "what do you want LADY" look. Kendrea even joked about how mean he initially is when he first meets someone new.  But let me tell ya, by the end of the session, he was all about giving me hugs and posing for the camera!

Thank you Kendrea for allowing me to photograph you and your family! 


Coming Home at the Right Time | Norfolk Homecoming Photographer

Dani was due to give birth to her and David's third child, and papa was on his way home.  And boy, did he coming home at the right time! Just a few days after coming home,  their daughter LaLune was born!  And I must say, she is absolutely adorable!  

But back to the homecoming story.  Dani contacted me to capture her family's reunion at Norfolk International Airport.  I can never turn down a homecoming, so I definitely said yes.  We met up around 745am, with a Starbucks in my hand.  Her adorable sons, Theo and Maxx kept each other occupied while we patiently waited for their papa to return.  From finding a garden maze, to sharpening their spidey senses, to coloring in a coloring book they got from an airport volunteer, they kept it cool until the saw their papa.  The minute they saw their papa, they immediately took off.  Thank you Dani, David, Theo, and Maxx for allowing me to capture your special day and WELCOME HOME David!     

keeping the kiddos busy

is he here yet?

patiently waiting for papa

running for papa

finally reunited

papa and his babies

finally a family again

An Afternoon with The Korrells | Suffolk Lifestyle Family Photographer

Amanda and I go WAY back.  I mean, like back to Hawaii.  We first met in Hawaii when our ex's were deployed at the same time.  We hung out almost every day! We'd have sleepovers and act like tourists, driving around the island.  But as military life, I ended up moving to Virginia in 2009, and that was the last time I saw her.  We kept in touch on Facebook, even after she returned to the East Coast and moved back to Maryland.  But it wasn't until recently when she and her family moved to Virginia that we decided to actually meet up again.  When she first moved to Virginia, they were living in Newport News. Still close, but a drive over the HRBT that I hated driving on.  While her hubby was deployed, they bought and moved into a cute house in Suffolk.

One Sunday afternoon, I headed up to Suffolk.  The drive was so beautiful! Definitely made me think about moving up there.... But then I remembered how the traffic sucked going to base.  The further away I move from Norfolk, the worse it will be! Maybe one day. Soon.  I arrived at their house and immediately hugged Amanda as she greeted me on their front porch.  I mean, it has been SIX years since I last saw her!!  We hung out and chit chatted, reminiscing about the fun times we had when lived in Hawaii, to the craziness we both went through when we moved from Hawaii.

Previously, I told Amanda that I wanted to do a lifestyle session with them.  How could you not want to take some photos of their little cutie?!?! Thank you guys for allowing to spend the afternoon with you! And Amanda, like I said, let's not let 6 years go by again!

little cutie

toy story toys

daddy and son

hiding in the cabinets

putting on his new hat

lunchtime!

Before the Rain Rolled In | Chesapeake Family Photographer

Angel messaged me looking for a photographer.  She was referred to me by Ashley Barnett of We Are the Mitchells and told me that she had been looking for a photographer for the past 2 months before being referred to me.  She wanted an awesome fall background, so I suggested Oak Grove Lake Park.  For weeks, we watched the weather, hoping that we didn't have to reschedule it, or have to move it to an indoor location.  I arrived at the park, and of course, there were sprinkles.  But as I walked deeper into the park, I came across at least 6 other photographers and their clients! But luckily, we were able to work with the limited availability of space and were able to get some awesome shots. Especially my favorite shot below!

Meister Family woods

We literally had to wait closer towards the end of the session to jump on this location.  And thankfully, we were able to get their session wrapped up before the rain rolled in.  Thank you Meister Family for allowing me to photograph your fall portraits!

Meister boys

Meister Family

Mom and kiddos

Mr and Mrs Meister

Taking It Back to 2011 | Hampton Roads MIlitary Photographer

Since today is Thursday, I figured I'd post for Throwback Thursday (#TBT).  And the fact that we just celebrated Veterans Day and the USS Bush will be home soon, why not post about a homecoming from 2011?  On the USS Bush's maiden deployment in 2011, I had the opportunity to shoot the homecoming for Christina and Chad.  Chad is an F-18 pilot and was flying back in at NAS Oceana with the Tomcatters.  Christina was 9 months pregnant and ready to pop when Chad came home.  We all thought Hudson would make his debut before his daddy came home. But we were lucky enough that he waited a few more weeks after.

It was a cold December day.  We all patiently waited as the boys flew over us to prepare for landing.  Now if you have been to a homecoming before, you know that emotions run high, especially as loved ones see the ship/sub/jet for the first time in months.  I have to admit, even as I see them come into view, I get caught up in the emotions too and find myself wiping tears away.  Needless to say, with Christina being pregnant the entire deployment, and she and Brady seeing Chad as he emerged from his jet, emotions were in super high drive.  As soon as Christina reached Chad, his hands went straight for Christina's belly. 

Then there is the homecoming kiss.

This kiss just says it all! In fact, the emotion behind this photo actually caught the attention of the editors at Glamour magazine!!  They contacted Christina and I to see if they could use her story and my photo in a feature about six wives, girlfriends and soldiers reuniting with their loved ones when they came home from a deployment.  Needless to say, we were over the moon!!! And come to find out, they wanted to use my photo for a FULL page spread, AND another one of my photos. I mean, how COOL IS THAT?!?!?!?

Full page spread!

Having your photo(s) featured in a magazine is a HUGE accomplishment.  I may never have another photo featured in a magazine or on a website again, but knowing that my photo is still being seen, even 3 years AFTER, it still is an amazing feeling!

To Christina and Chad, like I always told you, ya'll are famous!! ;)

 

It's a Family Affair | Smithfield Family Photographer

When another photographer books a session with me, I always get nervous. Don't know why, but I sometimes feel nervous! Kayse and her adorable family are no strangers to me though. I have ran a Color Me Rad race a few years ago with Kayse, and her family was at the finish line waiting for her. Kayse is the owner and photographer of La Mia Bella Photography, and has been a photog friend of mine for a few years now. We have shot at the same homecomings along side other photog buddies.

Let me just add that Kayse and her family are HILARIOUS. I swear, I was laughing during the entire session.  To say we had fun is an understatement.  Unfortunately, I can only share this photo since momma Reese wants to keep the rest hidden....  Keep your eyes peeled!

Thank you Kayse for allowing me to capture these photos of you and your AWESOME family! Maybe next time we can do this one.... (CLICK HERE!)

thereesefam

Miss Madison the Fall Cutie | Chesapeake Children Photographer

You may recognize this little cutie. Miss Madison is no stranger to my camera. Last fall, her mommy and daddy joined her for a family session at First Landing State Park.  This year, it was just miss Madison, and this time, they brought their adorable doggy, Buster! Buster definitely is a riot.  He cooperated for some of the photos, unless you had a pine cone in your hand, and it's all over.  I think he liked the fact that he saw a lot of other doggies there as well.

I swear, every time I see Madison, she seems bigger! From the day her mommy came home on the USS Bush a few years ago, to last fall, when we had their family session.  Next time I see her, I bet she will be taller! Isn't it crazy how quickly kiddos grow???


We Miss You | Smithfield Family Photographer

Grace and her family have been great friends of mine, especially because she and I shared a special bond of being Hawaii transplants to Virginia, as well as the fact that both her husband, Matt and my fiancé, Jake were both on the USS Harry S Truman at the same time.  Matt is away at Army boot camp, so Grace wanted to get some photos done of the kiddos with his boots, and send some to him.  I can't wait to hear about his reaction when he sees all of the photos!

Hurry home Matt! Your family misses you dearly!!! 

Miss Briyleigh is TWO! | Virginia Beach Children's Photographer

Little miss Briyleigh is too adorable. Her momma is currently deployed on the USS Bush, so she is missing out on Briyleigh's second birthday. So Briyleigh's daddy and I talked about doing some photos in her birthday outfit and send them out to momma.  The day of the session, the sky literally dropped outta nowhere.  It was raining cats and dogs and then some.  While we patiently waited for it to finally die down, we did some in home photos.  Once we saw that it had stopped, we then made our way to Red Wing Park.  Of course, when we got there, it was still drizzling a little.  But we jumped on the opportunity before the weather decided to turn again.

Needless to say, miss Briyleigh definitely had me running around and kept me on my toes!

HM-15 Change of Command Ceremony | Norfolk Military Photographer

HM-15 will always hold a special place in my heart.  Especially thank you to Mrs. Sarah Clark, their great and fearless Ombudsman (BIG puffy heart you!!!), for bringing me in and making me a part of the Blackhawk family.  From homecomings to the Command Christmas party, I'd have to say that I love my Blackhawk Family!  The time was coming for Skipper and Mrs. Bahr to say farewell, and Mrs. Bahr asked for me to be there. I mean, how could I turn her down!?  From photographing a retirement ceremony for Daddy Clark to photographing Skipper Bahr's last days with HM-15, I was pretty stoked.

I have to admit, that it was the first Change of Command that I photographed, and I LOVED IT! I have attended a few Change of Commands before as a civilian employee, but being able to enjoy it with the families was extra special.  It made me honored to know that they entrusted me in capturing a special moment in their lives.  Skipper, Mrs. Bahr, and kiddos, thank you for allowing me to photograph this special day for you! It was an honor to be able to have met you all and look forward to seeing you around some time hopefully! To Skipper and Mrs. Gendron, thank you as well and I am looking forward to many more events with you all!

HOOYAH BLACKHAWKS!!!!

Fair Winds & Following Seas | Hampton Roads Military Photographer

Sarah and her family hold a special place in my heart.  They came into my life in the beginning of 2013, just before Jake went on deployment.  We had their Pre Deployment OpLove session at Fort Monroe, and Sarah had on some FABULOUS sparkly heels that I drooled over.  Then while Jake was deployed, we had a Doctor Who themed session for the boys at the Adam Thoroughgood House.  I must say the boys were dashing!  It was quite eventful since during the session, they were beating the wisteria with their light sabers (yes, it totally happened!) and caused my allergies to go haywire.  To this day, Sarah and I joke about how the boys almost put me in the hospital that day.  On the day that Jake returned from deployment, I was fortunate to be there as well.  As emotional as homecomings already are, seeing Jake reunite with Sarah and the boys melted me heart.

Fast forward to this year, I get a message from Sarah that Jake was retiring, and she asked me to be their photographer.  Of course I said yes, they were like family to me!  The day finally came, and boy, was it a wonderful day.  There were many tears and laughter, needless to say, there couldn't have been a dry eye in the house.  Jake, Sarah, Liam, and Maddox, I love you guys so much! Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives and special memories.  In this crazy military life, I am thankful to have found awesome friends like you that have turned into family.

Fair Winds & Following Seas!


There's Always a First Time for Everything | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

Aurea and I go way back.  When I first moved up here from Hawaii, Aurea and I worked in the same office.  When I first met Aurea, we immediately hit it off, like we were old friends that haven't seen each other.  When we walked through the building, many people thought that we were actually sisters! I mean, we do look alike. :)  I worked in the same office until two years later, I was given the opportunity to start my career as a federal civilian employee.  I kept in touch with her and others from my old office, until things got really busy.  Aurea texted me one day that she was interested in getting some family photos done, especially since they never had them done before! So we scheduled a date and time. 

The day came, and we met on the beach near the Lesner Bridge.  Let me just say her girls were too funny and had me laughing pretty much throughout the entire session! Here are my favorites from that day.  Thank you Aurea for allowing me to capture some memories for you and your adorable family!


A Day with the Brubakers | Downtown Norfolk Family Photographer

Julia and her adorable family are one of my LivingSocial families.  She purchased the deal that ran last year, but with unusual circumstances, we weren't able to shoot their session until now.  We talked for months, figuring out where exactly we were going to do have their session and bounced ideas off of each other.  When Julia last contacted me, she told me that they wanted to get them done soon, since they were moving back to the West Coast very soon.  We settled on a location with an urban feel, Freemason District and the adjacent areas; the Pagoda & Oriental Garden, and the USS Wisconsin.  All locations that will remind them of the time when they lived on the East Coast in Virginia. 

Thank you Brubaker family for a fun session and hope you have a safe trip to Cali!