Confession time: These are LAST year’s Valentine’s Day photos. I never blogged them last year, because, as usual, they were done the evening before Valentine’s Day, and by the time I was ready to share them, they were no longer ‘in season.’ So, I decided to hold onto them until Valentine’s Day rolled around this year so that they wouldn’t seem so out of place. And who knows, maybe next year at this time I’ll be sharing photos from this year’s Valentine’s day session. That’s the way falling behind works. *wink, wink*

At any rate, this is my very own little cutie pie. My daughter. My little munchkin. When I was pregnant with her, she had a due date shortly after Valentine’s Day, and so I always thought of her as my own special little Valentine. Well, turns out she had other plans, and came out with a January birthday. But it’s still close enough to Valentine’s day that her yearly photo session often takes on the Valentine theme.

I have been wanting to take photos of her in her winter hat for a long time. I love the way it looks so cute on her! And often times, she wears her hats around the house long after having come in from the cold. (I guess she takes after her dad that way. Me, I NEVER wear hats. Like, ever.)

I also had this fun idea with glittery hearts I wanted to try. Throw in a few candy conversation hearts, and we had the makings of a very cute, very fun photo session.

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After all was said and done, here are the Valentine’s we created to hand out to her classmates.

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Aren’t these just the cutest?! We printed them wallet sized, and packaged them with some pixie stix in a clear cellophane bag, and tied it all up with ribbon. Super easy, and super cute! I just love making homemade valentines!

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Working hard on my 2013 resolution to share more of my photography here on my blog. I had hopes to blog 1-2 times per week, but as you can see, it’s been over a month since my last post! No excuses; I’m just trying to make a point to share things more frequently because I have had so many wonderful clients and photo sessions over the last year or so that I’m eager to share with everyone!

This family is no exception. After trying to coordinate our schedules for a couple months and find a date that worked for the both of us, we eventually found ourselves together on a Saturday evening, late in June of last summer. I found a wonderful location just a short distance from their home, and we set out to have little Miss A’s photos taken! We even managed to get mom and dad into a few shots as well.

I love this little girl’s dress, and of course, her beautiful blue eyes! She’s quite an adorable little girl! Of course, mom and dad have passed on their wonderful genes, and they are just such a photogenic little family!

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Well, it’s 2013, and I can hardly believe another year has come and gone. I am so very grateful to all my clients who helped make 2012 be an amazing year for me and my business! As I was trying to think of ways to make 2013 be bigger and better, one very important thing stuck out: I need to blog more frequently. Honestly. When I set out with relaunching my photography business in 2010, I did so with great intentions to blog every session and to FREQUENTLY share my work online. And in 2010 and 2011 I did a pretty decent job.

2012 was another story altogether.

Somehow in the midst of all the crazy chaos of working full-time and trying to build a successful photography business on the side, I just did not make enough time to make blogging a priority. Last year, I blogged just ONE of my portrait sessions. Completely unacceptable! I WANT to share my photos and create a bigger and better web presence, and so my big and lofty goal for 2013 is to make a more dedicated effort to making blogging a priority for me and for my business.

I have had a personal blog for nearly 8 years now. (And sadly, 2011 and 2012 were not good years there either.) It was a place I shared my personal photography (including a project 365/photo a day in 2009) and some of my non-photography creative endeavors. But I think that going forward, I will be less concerned about keeping my personal photography separate from my business photography and to make a more deliberate effort into sharing my photography all in a single place.

I tallied this morning all the blog posts I *want* to do (also known as The Blog To Do List) and I came up with nearly 30 separate topics I want to share and NEED to share – and that’s just from 2012! As 2013 continues on, there will be additional topics to add to the list, so I feel it’s important for me to make a commitment to blog more of my stuff more frequently. A New Year’s Resolution, if you will.

And so, the hardest part for me is deciding where to start. I have so many wonderful client sessions I want to post and share, but I decided to kick the year off with a series of photos of my little girl. I may have mommy goggles when it comes to her, but I have so much fun photographing her and trying new things with her. During a family vacation last summer, I finally had the opportunity to try the beach session with her that I had long been thinking about. Honestly, this session took about 10 minutes, start to finish, and it was truthfully all I really needed in order to capture what I wanted with her. I haven’t really shared these before now, so I’m excited to be able to post something new here, something personal but something I am also very proud of.

What I love most about this series of photos is that it’s imperfect and honest. We didn’t do her hair, and her white dress is at least a year old and is worn and stained. And her fingernails and toenails are sporting some week-old (read: chipped) nail polish. And yet, all those things are what makes these photos so real, and it’s what makes them so special to me.

Taken along the shores of Little Bemidji Lake near Itasca State Park in northern Minnesota in August of 2012.

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I have been a member of the ClickinMoms community for a few years now, and it’s been a really great resource for me. I’ve been privileged enough to have met several local ladies, and many of them I now call friends. One of the great things about this community is how they now coordinate annual photowalks – across the globe! A scheduling conflict prevented me from attending last year’s walk, but when I saw the photos the ladies took and shared, I knew there could be no excuse to miss the next walk! So when the date was announced and a Minnesota location was chosen, I made sure to to make it work. What’s even better is that this year the walk was scheduled to take place in Stillwater – a city I have always heard great things about, but have never had the fortune to visit for myself. Thus, I *had* to go.

This year’s walk was not a disappointment – even with the lengthy drive to and from. The fall colors the whole way down were absolutely brilliant! Even better, the temperature that day nearly hit 80 degrees. It was BEAUTIFUL. (Ok, so maybe the steep hills and lack of parking did have me muttering a few unsavory words, but it was totally worth it.)

I wanted to be able to share some of my personal work here. It’s especially important for me to take the time to photograph things that are not client related. It helps to feed my creative soul, and it affords me the time to try some unorthodox things that aren’t well-suited to client work. I think it’s also good to share some of the things I do for myself because it helps to present who I am as an artist and what it is that I find beautiful and interesting. So I have put together this set of images I created during that photowalk and have decided to share them here.

I present to you my take on downtown Stillwater MN.

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I’m sooo excited to be offering mini sessions again this year! I love being able to photograph several sessions in a single afternoon, and since fall is such a great time to have your family portraits taken, these are a great option!

I have reserved Saturday October 6th as our mini session date, location to be determined based on fall color. Session fee is $75 and includes a 25 minute session and an online proofing gallery of 12-15 images.

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Mini sessions are perfect for children, families, and couples. Families with more than 6 members should reserve two timeslots. Mini sessions are not available for newborn or senior photo sessions.

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Special mini-session packages will be available. This is a great way to have your family portrait taken for your custom holiday cards!

Contact me today to reserve your spot!

These adorable kids and their equally adorable parents were the fortunate recipients of a photo session gifted to them by a bunch of their closest friends. Initially, we tried to make it a surprise after a conversation with mom and a mutual friend revealed that they had never had a family portrait taken. However, coordinating schedules proved to be too big of a challenge to pull off a surprise, so we had to let them in on it. (Probably a good thing, too… it gave mom and dad some time to coach the little ones on how to practice their pretty smiles!)

So we met up at their home one HOT and buggy Friday night to capture some sweet and precious moments of them as a family. They were all troopers!

I’m seriously in love with these little faces. They were so cute and so silly, and I can only hope that they love how beautiful their family photos have turned out.

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This family came to me by way of referral from a friend. I do actually know mom – but she didn’t know that I’m a photographer. She wanted to hire a photographer to do her family photos because last year she attempted to corral the family for photos herself and decided that this year she’d bring in hired help. I’m grateful my friend Tami suggested she contact me – I was able to come in and direct the group, leaving mom to relax and the rest of the family to have to listen to me instead. She had a very specific vision for this session, with wanting to incorporate the college sweatshirts into the session. They are a sports family, and this is their thing. Those who know me know bold and bright isn’t me – but these worked SO WELL that I think I may just be coming around and embracing bright colors.

We spent a windy (and cold!) October afternoon around their hobby farm, walking through the woods, and taking photos. I think the boys may have been a teeny tiny bit reluctant, but I think I coaxed a few natural smiles out of them. It really was the perfect setting – the family nice and cozy in their college fleece with the autumn leaves and vivid October sun providing a backdrop for the session. I, of course, in my black leggings, was covered in all sorts of burs and sticky forest vegetation – but it was definitely worth it to get these shots.

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While I was mostly there to capture them as a family, can I just say that the photos I took of mom and dad alone are my FAVORITES from the session!

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Thanks K family for a great session! I know we were all pretty chilly at the end of the afternoon, but I think we captured some great family moments together. Thanks so much for trusting me to capture your family and your love!