As a Florida photographer myself, I love being able to receive other Central Florida beach family sessions! This one by a personal friend and fellow east coast Floridian, Avery Shae Photography, features gorgeous light, perfect beach water reflections and plenty of smiles!
I love when photographers grab the perfect reflections in the water, which can only be achieved a limited number of times in the day! Props to Mindy, from Avery Shae Photography for grabbing these!
“I captured these images for my childhood friend Megan. Her son’s Virginia newborn legacy session was filled with so many special details, like the cradle made by Megan’s grandfather (that she slept in when she was a baby!). I always love incorporating storytelling details like this in any session. They’ll make his newborn photos extra-special one day.“- Laura, photographer
Fresh 48 sessions are some of my favorites and this Missouri hospital session shows why. These moments of a little bit of chaos and cluster mixed with euphoria and bliss cannot be matched. Watching this family of three become a family of four is a joy to see.
“This is my family! My sweet Truman was born on June 6, 2018, and officially made us a family of four. I still cry looking at the photos. I love the details of Truman’s squishy face and his brother’s unsure expressions. We can still imagine how it felt to hold him for the very first time and the photos take us back to that day!”-Bailey Morris/Photographer
This Modern home family session is full of rich colors and modern home accents and more than a few laughs. Amy Louise Photography is sharing this gorgeous family with us!
“This session was a dream for me. The children were super sweet and loved to snuggle with their parents, so we were able to focus a lot on their connection with one another. The family has put a ton of effort into their home. It is an old Seattle home filled with character and the dad does a lot of the work himself, while the mom has a great eye for style and does all the decorating herself. We wanted to showcase their home as well as the beautiful family that lives in it.”- Amy Louise Photography
This Vero Beach extended family session is full of gorgeous light in a stunning location in Florida. Cory, of Ebb and Flow Photography is sharing this session with us today and I couldn’t be more thrilled to share it. Having these family portraits with our loved ones is so important to have. When our memories fade, the photos remain.
I love when families and photographers think outside the box and this Greenhouse family maternity session is fantastic. Diffused light from the walls and ceilings, greenery and florals to accentuate the family, and a family in deep rich tones. My heart sings!
“I had so much fun photographing Emily, Eddie, Chase and baby#2! Being that it was February in NJ, we wanted someplace warm and bright, and McNaughton’s Garden Center greenhouse worked out perfectly! It’s filled with so many gorgeous plants and gave us a taste of summer and warmer weather that we were looking for! They kept me laughing the whole time, and Chase, their 4 year old, was such a sweetheart! He had so many great picture ideas! He just kept saying “ok how about I do this now..” 😂 Such a fun afternoon! “- Meghan Casey/Photographer
I see so many people turning to Homeschooling and it had me curious, how does a parent even start the homeschool process? Several of my friends have been or have started homeschooling their children and I am both in awe and envious at the same time. I feel like, if I have questions then I can only imagine all the others who do as well. My job as a writer for this site is to inform and educate. I chatted with a couple homeschooling mamas (who also happen to be business owners) Maggie,Crystal, Amanda, and Shannon, to get some amazing information for you. I am excited to share this with you and if you have been considering or are on the fence about this process, I can only hope this helps you in some way! -Amanda/founder of TFJ
How do you know homeschooling is right for you?
Maggie added: “I knew I wanted to homeschool before my first son was old enough to go to school. I just assumed I was a helicopter mom or anxious. So I brushed off the idea and told myself it wasn’t possible. Then we went to a private preschool and it was… fine. Not great, good most of the time, bad at times but it’s what I thought we needed to do. Just go with the flow, do what is expected. We transitioned to public school for Kindergarten.
The first day my 5 year old asked me in the car on the way to school “Mom, don’t you think it’s weird that kids are supposed to spend 8 hours a day away from their family?” It took me a minute to give him a good answer. I couldn’t think of one. I simply agreed that it was strange.
We approached the front door of the school, ready to walk my son in for his first day of school, ever, and we were not greeted with smiles. Instead a teacher put her hand on my shoulder, and through a chuckle told me “time to let go mom, you stop here.” I wasn’t allowed in the building and my son looked back at me with fear. This wasn’t right for us, and we both knew it.“
Shannon’s situation was a little different; read her take: “Our son went to public school until 2nd grade. We are military and found out we would be moving in the me middle of his 3rd grade year. For those reasons that is why we chose to homeschool at first.”
How do you choose a curriculum?
“At first we used a big box curriculum that came with all the bells and whistles. We used it for 1st grade and half of 2nd. Gavin started getting really bored and the stories we were reading just didn’t keep his attention. I started having doubts and felt like the curriculum was putting a lot of pressure on me with trying to get everything done. We ended up taking more of a minimalist/unschooling approach and that has worked best for us as of now”
Shannon used trial and Error:
“The first year I did a free online curriculum and I just added a few things here and there on what I wanted to do. I added spelling because that was something that was important to me for his learning. I also added cursive/handwriting because that was something I wanted him to learn. The second year I went to the Thrift store and found a few pieces and I just watched a lot of YouTube curriculum reviews. I feel like you still always grow and learn new things to work for you as far as curriculum. Things that work one year you make realize doesn’t work for you the next. That is 100% the beauty of it”
What steps did you have to take to start the process?
Maggie who lives in Maryland said:
” Each state is different, so research the rules and know your rights. For us, it was as simple as signing a form at the end of the school year at the school itself, informing them we have no intention to come back and we have plans to homeschool. Mid summer we submit our intention letter to the county and that was it! The best advice I can give is to know what is required for your portfolio review… then work backwards and plan your curriculum for the year accordingly. “
Shannon started in South Carolina: ” The most important step to take when starting the homeschool process is to make sure what the laws are on homeschooling your children in your state. In South Carolina you had different options but I chose the one with accountability. I had to find a service that I paid a fee to that would accept my grades twice a year and I had to check in with them. They had make sure I was doing what I was suppose to as far as not just leaving my kid home and not teaching him.
Here in Alaska its so much more freeing! You have options here. The first being you do it freely. You don’t have to answer to anyone if you don’t want to. You can teach whatever you want. The second option is you can sign up with the state. You check in ever so often, you take their state test at the end of the year, and you could receive money from the state.”
How have your kids adjusted to the homeschool process?
Maggie’s kids are loving it:
“My children have adjusted so well… I feel like I have my son back. We watched him struggle with boredom, bullies and teachers who ignored his questions or shut them down because they were not related to the tests. I have my curious, inquisitive, fun, kind, gentle, lover of learning back. It’s wonderful. “
Crystal’s two boys are excelling:
” They are great, friendly, and well rounded kids. Since they are free to explore their own interests, they have really excelled. “
Amanda was concerned at first but wishes she would’ve started sooner:
” This was my biggest concern which is why I let my kids finish out their school year. Thinking back now it was all so silly but I wouldn’t be a Mom if I didn’t worry over all of the small things. My kids LOVE homeschool and have overcome all of the insecurities they formed in public school. They have confidence and feel in control over their day and their education. We can explore areas of interest. When things aren’t working we can find things that do. Education is no longer a cookie cutter experience that they must conform to. We also now learn all of the time. It has become a lifestyle for our family. It is the best decision we have ever made and it has not only affected their education but also our family life. I can’t ever imagine going back to a public school world and I am not actually a little sad we didn’t start sooner. “
The Decision can only be made by you
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong decision but we hope that some of these insights give you some guidance on what could work for you and your family! These children are our future and their education is so important- go with our gut and your heart. There are tons of resources out there that have made it so much easier to get started! Best of luck with whatever your family decides and know that your children are in incredible hands either way! -Amanda
When our daughter, Zoey, was diagnosed with a condition considered incompatible with life, we set out to make and preserve as many memories with her as possible. I was still pregnant at the time of her diagnosis, but we went to Disney World and the Zoo. We visited the beach so she could hear the waves crashing. And we took photos of everything to document her adventures.
After Zoey was born, we continued to make as many memories with her as possible. We took thousands of photos on our cellphones and had professional photographers at the hospital and at home. We are blessed to have photos of Zoey in my wedding dress, pictures with her great-grandma and everyday moments with her. Zoey lived for 120 beautiful days. It’s now been nearly five years since her death, and I continue to treasure those photos documenting her life.
But taking photos changed for my husband and I after her death. Why would I want to preserve the memory of those moments—the ones where she’s missing? Capturing a smile on camera felt like a betrayal of our grief. How dare we smile when our hearts are shattered? While the photos of my husband and I before Zoey seemed complete, everything after her death seemed so empty.
A new chapter
Six months ago, we welcomed our son into our family. Now we’re walking a delicate line of celebrating this new and amazing life, while forever grieving our daughter. Having family photos taken the first time was incredibly difficult. Photos are so important to me, but I didn’t know how to take a “family” photo when one of our members will forever be missing. For me, I needed to find ways to include Zoey. Some of the ways are subtle—the anchor pendant I wear around my neck, a butterfly scarf. Some are more obvious- a photo of her, her stuffed turtle. While nothing ever feels complete, I’m committed to having photos with our son.
I’ve appreciated the care and understanding our photographers have shown our family. They’ve helped me navigate this difficult place and been empathetic about the situation. To all the family photographers out there, please know that not every family will feel the same way about photos. Some may find the thought of gathering together without their missing piece too much to bear.
Show the families you care and find ways to include
For some, they know they want photos, but it will take all of their strength to make that phone call to book an appointment. Some families embrace the term “rainbow baby” while others will shy away from it. There are million ideas and creative ways to include the missing piece of a family in their next set of photos. Please be willing to sit with the family and work through ideas. Don’t be offended if you have an idea but the family isn’t on board. Find a creative way to include trinkets or photos. Your time, patience and creativity will be appreciated.
Read more about Dawn and her family’s journey at her blog and if you have your own article you’d like to share to help families, we would love for you to submit them here.
“Newborn sessions are my absolute favorite types of sessions, and this session was a dream! I do not have my own studio space at this time so I shoot my newborn sessions in my clients’ homes. That seems to worry some people at first, if they feel they don’t have a “pinterest worthy” home. I am constantly assuring people that is no worry for me at all. All I need is a window. This Memphis TN newborn session was shot in a tiny two-bedroom apartment, and you would never know! I set up my “traveling studio” in front of the best window and did my thing! Baby Addibelle slept almost the entire time, so there wasn’t much time spent having to soothe her back to sleep. She let me move from one set up to the next almost seamlessly! –Photographer Sarah Morris
When it came time for the family portion of the session, my heart literally melted into a puddle on the floor. Watching new parents swoon over their brand new baby is one of the best parts of my job as a newborn photographer! These new parents did not disappoint in that department. They swooned with the best of ’em, and snuggled that sweet baby girl in as if they’d been snuggling her as part of their family since forever!
Something tells me that sweet baby Addibelle is in good, loving hands and it was such an honor to be chosen as their photographer, as they step into this new chapter of life.” -Sarah