Saturday, January 1, 2011

This Blog has Moved!

I’ve migrated my blog to my own domain and am saying goodbye to Blogger forever. So, update your bookmarks to my new page and follow me on the new blog!

Here’s to a great 2011!

Williamsburg Wreaths | Virginia Beach Photographer

We were late getting to Williamsburg this year, but the wreaths were beautiful as always. There was a whisper of snow still on the ground and Logan even saw "Santa" strolling about in his gray track suit. We told him he was on vacation after a busy night. If you'd like to take a peak back at past year's wreaths, you can find those posts here and here. Wishing you a wonderful year in 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Go To Gift | Holiday Decor

Do you have a "Go To" gift for the holidays? This is mine. We usually make it every year for the guys in hubby's squadron. But it is so simple to make a batch and have on hand for neighbors, friends, hostess gifts, etc. And then of course I get to sip on the leftovers ;) The bottles I ordered from Bottles and More and the gift tags are mini moo cards from Moo. I love these because you can add a personalized touch to your gifts. We have a family picture on the front of the card and a personal message on the back. And the ribbon is natural raffia that you can find at any craft store.

Coffee Liqueur
3 TBSP chocolate syrup
11 1/2 oz whiskey (Jim Beam or other)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 pint half and half

Blend together in blender and pour into bottles. You might need to add a bit more to the bottles after they've sat for an hour or so.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Twinkling Lights Repost | Virginia Beach Children's Photographer

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas! And don't forget to take those Christmas tree pictures tonight instead of tomorrow morning when the kids are rushing to open their gifts! I thought I'd repost this tutorial from last year so you get those twinkling lights in your pictures!

This picture didn't go exactly how I had envisioned it. The layout of our living room was a little awkward to get the shot I wanted, but I thought I would share how to get the twinkling lights in a picture like this one. You know when you squint your eyes and look at a street lamp the lights turn into a starburst? Well, the same thing happens when you close up the aperture. Think of it like your camera is squinting. I took two pictures for this shot, both from a tripod. The first I set the aperture as high as it would go, to f/32 and got the twinkling lights effect. Then we brought Logan over to the tree and he started pointed out the lights and ornaments. The second shot was taken using bounced light off the flash, I angled it towards the top of the wall directly behind me and set the shutter speed back up to around 125 so it would freeze Logan's small movements. Then I merged the two photos in photoshop and came out with this final product. Try it on your tree and see what you come up with!

Monday, November 29, 2010

{A Piece of Home} | Virginia Beach Life Art Photographer

For me, the holidays always elicit fond memories spent with family. I remember one Thanksgiving in particular, the last with my grandma and grandpa before they both passed away the following year. It was the one time we were all together, knowing that grandma would soon be taken by lung cancer. It's funny to think about what makes a memory. Her gravy and green peas are at the top of my list. Mom never could quite make them the same. This past Thanksgiving we spent the day just with our little family. As a military family, we sacrifice the closeness we would like to have with parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers... The convenience of dropping the kids off with grandma and grandpa for a date night, driving over to my sister's for a play date with the cousins, or even just a Sunday get together. So I surround myself with pictures to feel closer to them.

This year I knew I wanted to incorporate family into our Thanksgiving tradition. And what better way than with photographs. I had a wallet size picture printed in black and white for each extended family that we were missing and hung them ornament style on a simple arrangement of flowers. Since they were tall, and because I had a lot of pictures to hang, I flanked the table with two of these arrangements. As we sat down to a candlelit dinner, I loved being surrounded with the visual reminders of the memories we made during special holiday's. The arrangements are still on our table, serving as a subtle reminder to me to look for those small actions in my life this holiday season that will create the lifelong memories for my own boys.

Hopefully this inspires you to incorporate your photographic memories into your holiday décor and I would love to see or hear what you come up with!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

{Warmth} | Virginia Beach Children and Family Photographer

It was a cold day at the beach this afternoon. When I first saw these kids slink out of the car, they seemed less than thrilled to be hiking across the cold sand, runny noses and all, for some strange lady to sit them up proper and take their picture. But, I watched as this family truly came alive with each other.

"M" was in need of a recharge and curled up with a blanket on the sand. I ran over and snapped this and I adore the mess of curls hiding her eyes.

"M" idolizes her Daddy. She loves playing baseball with him and I wanted to showcase that connection. I feel like she can't take her eyes off him in this picture.

Both kids were about done by this point in the shoot, so we left them wrapped in the blanket. "M" was in charge of keeping her little brother warm which she was happy to be tasked with. She also loves making him laugh. :)

And one of my favorites from the shoot is subtle in it's own way. For me, I love the soft smile peeking out of "M"'s curls. Like her Momma just whispered something in her ear and she smiled enough to know that she is so completely loved. Contented happiness is what I see.

Thank you to the E Family for spending your afternoon with me. I hope you enjoy your sneak peek! If you would like more information on scheduling your family session, please visit or email me at for more information.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Lottery Ticket | Virginia Beach Photographer

I'm a reader. I absolutely adore a good book. I just wish I had more hours in the day for it. Once in a while I read something that inspires me to take some aspect of my life and flip it in a new direction. I read this joke somewhere that has always stuck with me. The joke talks about this homeless man and how he prays to God every night to win the lottery. Night after night he prays for the same thing. Finally God speaks to him and tells him to buy a ticket.

Oftentimes as women, as military wives, as mothers... we are lost in the lives of those around us. As a military wife especially, we gain this extra dependent appendage when we marry into it. The excuses start coming on why we shouldn't or can't. Relocation, kids, deployment, detachments, lack of nearby family, lack of sitter, and the list (for me anyways) goes on and on and on. Sometimes though, the faith in ourselves needs to be held above all others. Ideas need to be nurtured, and opportunity needs a place to come knocking.

This year, I bought my lottery ticket. C.S. Photography became C.S. Photography, Inc. and when I incorporated, I also went through the tedious steps to create my business plan. As a sneak peak of things to come in 2011, here is the mission statement I developed for C.S. Photography, Inc.:

To capture LIFE ART and inspire creative design through HOME décor.

I am so excited to finally share with you all the months of behind the scenes work to develop a business concept and vision that I have had for my photography and where I want to take this business. This concept represents so many nights spent awake with ideas swirling around in my head wondering if I can make a market for it. It's time to take my leap and get things rollin'! So, if YOU are listening, I have my lottery ticket in hand! And to the rest of you reading, it's time to go out and buy yours!

Stay tuned for so much to come in 2011!