Welcome Baby Stone!

Is there anything more incredible than watching a baby come into the world by the very will and strength of its mother? It is like watching a literal miracle happen before my eyes.

Rachel’s birthing story is a little different than the average because of one major detail. Years before, Rachel gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who she willingly handed over to amazing adoptive parents (who are still in her life!) for reasons that kept her firstborn child safe and gave her a life full of love from a family wanting so badly to call a baby their very own. Kudos to you Rachel for bringing that sweet girl into the world and doing what was best for her regardless of how hard it was for you!

This time though, Rachel and her husband Casey, were excitedly preparing to bring their baby boy home and the excitement shown in their eyes like never before!

I woke up on Friday morning to a text from Rachel telling me she was having contractions and they weren’t letting up. So I prepared myself for an awesome day and headed over to her home to document her labor. She was planning to do a completely unmedicated water birth at a Birthing center close by and I was so stoked! When I arrived she was confident and chatty like it was any other day, only pausing from our conversation when a really difficult contraction swept through.

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Casey was so friendly and excited as well as we waited patiently for her contractions to reach 5 minutes apart steadily for an hour before heading to the birthing center. He decided to do a little breakfast prep as everyone knows, new Dads need major fuel!

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Upon arrival I was blown away by how comfortable everything seemed. Beautiful fresh sheets and comforter on an ACTUAL bed, a huge tub for the actual birth, a spacious bathroom, and even a lovely separate waiting area complete with a fridge to stow yummy snacks and drinks to keep mama upbeat and refreshed! She was told she was about 5 cm dilated and that it would be another several hours before she progressed so they prescribed a walk around the local park to help.

Y’all, we weren’t at the park an entire minute before she started having contractions 1 minute apart. We hurried back! Baby Stone was on his way and he wasn’t waiting around!

Still during all of this, Rachel was calm and collected, concentrating on the natural strength of her own body and the idea that so many women had gone before her in this. As she progressed quickly, she was ushered into the jet tub to labor there and it wasn’t long before she was ready to push.

Casey was there every step of the way, massaging pressure points in her back, holding her hand, and calmly reassuring her with positive whispers. I love seeing a new dad watch his wife labor- there’s a grace and love that comes over them both that transcends your typical romance. It’s something deeper and more meaningful that can even make me tear up!

The last five minutes of her labor was so intense, I had to make myself breathe because I was on the edge of my figurative seat! Finally, baby Stone made his grand entrance and Mom and Dad both fell instantly in love, emotion after emotion washing over them as they gazed teary-eyed into their little man’s sweet face.

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Dad was SO proud! Mama and babe were healthy and doing great in less than an hour after birth and Rachel was able to take her new son home that day.

The next day, I came back to their home to document some photos of them together holding, changing, and loving on their new addition. Rachel was understandably feeling much better and was up and about as if she hadn’t done one of the most amazing and exhausting feats the day before!

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Congratulations you guys! Your world is finally in full color and the best is yet to come 😉

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Riquel & Ethan Say ‘I Do’

The sun rose high on May 20th for one of Utah’s most beautiful Saturday mornings. I met Riquel and her brand new husband Ethan outside the door of the Provo City Temple as they became newly sealed. Friends and family members gathered around and cheered on the new couple as they walked out hand in hand, that bright sun in their eyes.

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They practically glowed with pride for one another.

Riquel was absolutely stunning with an amazing gown that fit her like a glove. It was easy to understand why Ethan couldn’t keep his eyes off her! And that ring! All the heart eyes.

And how cute were these beautiful bridesmaid dresses? The right amount of modesty and glitz made these pretty girls just light up! They all especially enjoyed our “fake laugh” photos which had them genuinely laughing by the end of it.

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Ethan and his groomsmen were looking quite dapper themselves in fitted navy suits. The guys were friendly and always the gentlemen as I asked for picture after picture. They never once complained and were such good sports about it all.

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It’s so refreshing to see big families come together to celebrate marriage! Every single family member and friend present seemed to be just as excited for Riquel and Ethan on their big day. Having family support you 100% in all you do is priceless!

After the sealing we drove to a local ward house for the reception. Along the way, the wedding cake was demolished (haha we can laugh now) but Riquel was such a good sport about it and kept the most poised and beautiful smile on her face the entire time. After all, it’s only cake. I think a lot of people ended up demolishing the rest on their plates anyway!

Congratulations you two and I wish you all the best on your new journey together as husband and wife!

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Kid’s Day Out!

Every once in awhile, a photographer comes across clients who are open to any and all possibilities as far as a session goes, and those sessions always turn out to be filled with AMAZING photographs because of one thing: no rules.

The Emory family is that unicorn client: fun, fresh, and full of laughter and life! Heather and her husband Brian commissioned me to document some fun in Brookhaven with their girls Cameron, Chloe, Zoe, and their nephew Jasper. We started out at a creek on some private property of friends of the Emory family and it only got better from there!

These kids are no stranger to photography, between professionals in the family to just fun and ordinary photo ops, and its so evident how much they enjoy being in front of the camera while simultaneously looking curious and natural. And did I mention how gorgeous they made each shot??

Seriously. Cameron (above) is the oldest and finishing up eighth grade but she exudes maturity and confidence that I know I didn’t have at her age. Intelligent, well-mannered, and naturally beautiful are just a few of the qualities that are obvious from these photographs. I think a part time modeling gig might be in her future if she wanted it!

The two younger girls, Chloe (top middle) and Zoe (bottom left) don’t allow youth to stop them from showing up and showing out in the best way possible. I gave them very little direction in posing and many of our shots were built off of ideas they formed on their own! And don’t let me forget little Jasper, their cousin. Talk about a flirt! He didn’t meet a single stranger that day and made us laugh almost every time he was in front of the camera.

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Aren’t they precious?? Between Jasper’s sparkling eyes and sweet smiles, to Chloe and Zoe’s effortless melancholy facades, I was in photographer heaven!

Brookhaven, MS has the coolest downtown as well, featuring old school style Barber Shop and soda fountain shops, fun bakeries, colorful brick and lighted alleyways, and even a train that runs straight through the middle of town.

Enjoy a few of the images from this special day and take some advice from the Emory clan: throw rules to the wind next time you get a chance to snap some photographs whether they are professional or just quick snapshots of you and your family. Letting go of rigidity can and will provide opportunities for fun that will translate into lasting memories you can cherish for a lifetime.

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Finally Fowler!

Sunday evening, Levi & Meagan Fowler began their journey as husband and wife… and you better believe they did that in style! Meagan is a fellow book nerd, so each table for guests at the reception was adorned with its very own “love story” theme complete with different book editions featuring some of the most classic and beautiful love stories of all time including: Gone With the Wind (Scarlett & Rhett), The Lord of the Rings (Aragorn & Arwen), Pride & Prejudice (Elizabeth Bennet & Mr. Darcy) and so many others. It was quite a book lover’s dream!

Oh and I guess the cake and food wasn’t too shabby either 😛 With catering from Fresh Cut Catering, and the venue at The Cotton Market, the food, decorations, and scenery were positively sublime.

Isn’t she lovely? I love seeing the beautiful poise and grace on a woman’s face as she prepares herself to say ‘I do.’

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Levi and his groomsmen were nothing but gentlemen the entire day, doing everything I asked and in a very timely manner. With a crew this handsome its hard not to get a good photo!

And if you thought he was glowing before… you guys should have seen him as he anticipated seeing his beautiful bride for the first time before the ceremony. Their faces lit up like teenagers y’all and it was so evident how much they love one another. Looks like a real life fairy tale romance in the works!

Meagan you were SO beautiful Sunday, and you guys lit up any room you walked into with the most amazing smiles you had for one another. Truly you don’t see love like yours everyday! I wish you guys all the best in your marriage and I hope you continue to see each other in the same light as you do today! Congratulations and enjoy some more photos from your big day!

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Jonah is a Senior!

It’s a big season for seniors everywhere and Jonah Sterling is no exception. Standing at 6’6 its hard to not be intimidated by him, but he’s truly one of the nicest and most respectful young men I’ve had the pleasure of meeting lately.

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I was put in touch with Jonah through a previous client and it was so clear to me right off the bat how impressed I was going to be by this kid. Jonah goes to school at Mendenhall High and is attending Jones Community Junior College in the fall semester where he is undecided on a major, but dreams about a career in medicine.

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Clearly, he’s got a good head on his shoulders. This is probably mostly in part due to his hard working parents who have taught him a thing or two about what it means to be dedicated to family, friends, and work.

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When I pulled up to his home for our first session, we ended up driving out to some fields in the back of his family’s land where cows roamed and critters lurked in the shadows of the trees. We even crawled under barb wire at one point to get to a fallen log and it was equal parts magically nostalgic for me (my grandparents owned a farm) and painful as I am no longer 10 years old running through pastures and climbing under barb wire fences LOL.

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You can tell Jonah loves the land he works, though. You can also tell he’s hopeful about a future that may or may not include those things, and he’s fine not knowing those details for a little while longer.

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That’s such a rare trait for anyone these days where the majority of us want to be in control and know everything that’s going to happen before it actually does. Instead of demanding those things, Jonah is content to be patient and watch how things play out while also understanding that he’s going to have to put in old fashioned hard work to get to where he wants to be.

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Y’all, he even got up for a sunrise session for his second shoot! It was his idea!  Mom and Dad, you guys have a great kid with such a kind disposition and honest work ethic that so many young men don’t have. Cherish these last few months and weeks with him before he’s out of the house and making his own life decisions. And Jonah, remember that dreaming big doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes along the way, it just means you have to keep working until you get there.

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Grayson is a Senior!

2017 is a big year for high school seniors everywhere. Getting ready to pack up and move off to bigger and better things like college and adult jobs can be scary, but for Grayson Seghini these things are nothing but exciting.

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And with a look like that, why shouldn’t they be? Grayson obviously has way too bright a future to be intimidated and sweat the small stuff. But it is clear that he will miss one thing: his family.

Grayson is his mom’s firstborn son and a self-proclaimed mama’s boy and though it may impart some wistful longing while away from home on his part, I know it’s going to be hard on mom.

Mother to mother, I salute you mama. Cause it ain’t gonna be easy!

But Mrs. Seghini doesn’t have much to worry about, Grayson is exceedingly likeable, bright, and well-mannered and I found myself telling her on several occasions, “You’ve got such a sweet kid!” Those qualities in young kids, especially young men, are SO rare nowadays and considering Grayson wants a career in political science, I think those qualities are going to serve him well.

Grayson, I truly wish you well in your journey over the next couple of years as you discover more and more about who you want to be and what you need to do to get there. Just don’t forget to come home to see Mom every so often 😉

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A Jackson Classic Gets a New Look!

I don’t know how many of you know about E&L Barbeque on Bailey Avenue, but if you haven’t been there to try out their rib tips, dipped wings, hot links, or the AMAZING BBQ sauce, then you’re missing out.

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Recently, my friend Elise Ros married into the family business of E&L and in order to keep the classic BBQ soul of E&L alive, she’s taking no prisoners in order to rebrand and redefine how the city of Jackson sees the business and BBQ in general. So when Elise contacted me about helping her with this, I was all in! Plus there really was no way for this food not to look incredibly delicious no matter what we did!

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Seriously, how good does this look? I may have to get some BBQ for din din tonight!

Besides having some of the best BBQ around, Elise and her (growing!) family love the city of Jackson and its people in a way that really makes me proud that Mississippi is my home state. That’s why she’s dedicated her life to not just food service, but people service. She works harder than most people I know and she wants people to experience food, not just eat it.

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Naturally we had to incorporate MS in there somehow!

Nom! Chicken wings!!!!!!!! and that sauce! Lawd have mercy!!!

E&L has been a staple since 1980, first in Chicago, then in Jackson in 1989, and its seen a lot of people who love BBQ. For Elise, it was important that she stayed true to the history of E&L while also creating an air of originality for the restaurant that is all her own.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t pack lunch tomorrow! Instead head on over to E&L for any of their signature BBQ recipes and you won’t regret it.

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Baby Dew Coming Soon!

Y’all, this day was COLD. It was the day after a major ice over that seemed to shut down most of Mississippi because we just aren’t equipped to drive in the snow and ice… At least that’s what we tell people. But Jessica and I had this date picked out well in advance, and as you can see she didn’t have a whole lot of time left before Baby Dew made his/her appearance. You heard me right, Baby Dew is a SURPRISE!

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These two are too cute!

Despite the fact that it was -1000 degrees outside, Jessica was literally the most beautiful pregnant woman I have ever seen. The dress she wore fit her like a glove and she glowed with joy and love for her sweet little one warm and snug in her tummy. Don’t worry, we covered her up with a fluffy robe and thankfully I thought enough ahead to bring a blanket to bundle her in between takes as well.

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And wasn’t she absolutely flawless? Despite the cold, she couldn’t have blended in more perfectly in the middle of the woods with an evening gown on than she did that day. It was fate.

I know Baby Dew is going to be so blessed by having these two awesome people as his/her parents. Jessica is the definition of such a sweet and beautiful spirit, while Kyle kept me laughing with his quirky sense of humor. I have to mention that he was such a good sport about this as well. I’m sure it wasn’t his ideal Sunday afternoon spent out in the cold, but he was great about each gust of icy wind and trekking across squishy, wet terrain to get that perfect shot for his wife.

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Congratulations you guys! You are so so blessed and I can’t wait to find out his or her name on their birthday!

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Special thanks to Nikki Henry at Ritz Salon for styling hair for the shoot. 

Anna Fairley Trotter’s Debut!

Anna Fairley Trotter was born to Becca and Daniel Trotter on January 13, 2017 weighing 9 lbs and measuring at 20″ long. Mom and Dad are acclimating to their new roles splendidly and they are cherishing every second with their sweet baby daughter.

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When I walked into the Trotter family home, I didn’t expect everything to be so clean. There was not a speck of dust in that house and fresh flowers adorned the living room coffee table. The carpet was neatly vacuumed and there was a warm glow from the natural light filtering in through the den and kitchen windows. The nursery was immaculate with beautiful wispy white curtains, an antique wooden crib, an assortment of amazing books displayed and a gorgeous white fur rug that I could have literally slept on.

Little Anna Fairley’s got better taste than I do apparently. Luckily for the new parents, not only was Dad helping to keep things clean in his down time, but his mother was just finishing polishing the kitchen until it sparkled! What a blessing! Ladies, if you get a good MIL to help when babies are born, you’ve definitely hit the jackpot.

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Aren’t they sweet together? I love seeing grandparents with their sweet new family additions. It’s like Christmas morning!

As you’re taking a moment to look at all the sweet faces and little fingers and toes, remind yourself to take time to cherish the small details in life: the wrinkled feet, that fresh baby smell, the coo’s and burps, first smiles and sweet giggles. Those things go away so quickly that sometimes we are left wondering where did the time go? Enjoy those moments while they are here because tomorrow is a new day and tomorrow they may be grown up 🙂

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Congratulations Trotter Family! Snuggle that sweetheart!!

Starlee’s a Big Sister!

I have THE most exciting news ever! One of my best friends is pregnant!

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When Sabrina called me to tell me the news I was ecstatic! I’ve known Sabrina almost as long as I’ve known my husband-they went to church together-and we became fast friends who saw each other through birthday parties, LOTS of after church cheese dip, marriage, the birth of my son, and now I get to be a part of her second pregnancy!

Keeping this a secret was really hard y’all. (I’m not a very good secret keeper so if you’re thinking of confiding in me, it better be for a dang good cause.) But when Sabrina told me she wanted to do a shoot surprising her sweet firstborn Starlee with the news, I couldn’t resist.

Isn’t her face priceless? The surprise was awesome. She didn’t even suspect anything because Sabrina is smart and acted like it was a valentine’s present so no big deal right?

Starlee has grown into the cutest little woman with the sweetest disposition just like her mama. I know she’s going to be the best big sister out there and Sabrina is already glowing!

As for Sabrina’s husband, Chad, he enjoyed the photoshoot more than anyone (hehe) but we did get him to manage a smile a few times by talking about embarrassing stories 😉 Take a look at a few more of the pictures from today below! Enjoy and congratulations Sheffields!

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