Sunday, August 29, 2010

Change is good!

Yep, I'm a blonde again and I absolutely LOVE it!

Jonah turned TWO!!!

I cannot believe it- my baby is 2! I'm the Mom of a 2 year old now! Wow! Time has flown by so quickly, but what an amazing journey it has been, raising this little monkey of ours!

Jonah has the quirkiest personality, I just love it! He pushes me to be more carefree and to enjoy the simple moments in life. His laugh is beyond infectious and his smile is angelic. His temper tantrums range from pouting to laying on the floor kicking and screaming. If you're a parent of a toddler, I would highly recommend reading 'The Happiest Toddler on the Block'- man has it been helpful. My friend and fellow toddler mother, Lyndsi, graciously let me borrow hers and I've been reading here and there when I have free time at work. I have learned so much, but most of all, I've learned that it's ok that I need parenting advice, I'm not meant to know everything!

I've said it a hundred times, but I'll say it again and again for as long as I live- Jonah has been the single most incredible blessing I could've ever hoped for. Motherhood has completely exceeded my expectations and I can't wait for the future and to continue witnessing this tiny person who is all mine transform with each stage of his life. I'm so grateful God has trusted me with the responsibility of raising one of His children!

Here are some pictures from Jonah's two birthday parties! The first set are from his party in TN, courtesy of Christy (thank you soooo much Aunt Cwisty!). And the second set are from his party here. To see even more check out this Facebook album! Enjoy!


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Rising Star Interview- Christy Foreman

Where to begin? Christy and I have been friends, well more like sisters sharing one heart, for about 7 years. She is like an extension of me, even though we now live over 200 miles from one another. We've had somewhat similar backgrounds, went to the same high school, and have shared too many memories to count- from tears to pee in your pants laughter! I love her more than I think she knows, and I am so grateful for her and her friendship. We've both grown into mature Christian women who seek Jesus like no other! We encourage one another when the other is down and we share a love for photography.

Christy has blown me away with her desire and love for photography. She stays up late researching, keeps up with other photographers and genuinely cannot get enough of it. She has taught me, encouraged me, and mentored me to be all that I can be. She is an amazing person inside and out and she is an incredible photographer. I am so excited for her and cannot wait to continue to watch her grow!

When did you know photography had your heart?
I knew that I have always loved the art of photography. I have always liked taking pictures, that stopping time moment. I have to be completely honest, though, and say that when I first picked up a DSLR, which was in NC when I was taking some snapshots of, well, YOU Cara, I fell in love with the camera itself. Now, please do not mistake me because I do not by any means believe the camera is what makes a picture, but it's like I had this light bulb go off in my head that this is what I was meant to do. I bought my first DSLR a few months later and ever since photography has "had my heart."

Why do you hope clients decide to hire you?
I want my people to hire me because they love ME and my art! I want them to know that I like to use smiley faces and exclamation points when I write e-mails or blog posts;) I try to make all of my clients feel special and very relaxed and comfortable. I do not want it to be like the traditional photo session AT ALL! It is meant to be about their personal style and I want them to be able to look at my blog and website and know that and KNOW ME! I hope to stop special memories in time so that my clients can cherish them for a lifetime.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned thus far in your journey?
I can honestly say the most valuable thing I have learned so far is to never take my art for granted. What I mean by that is....and I think that all photographers at one time or another have done this, is to look at another photographer's pictures and wish upon wish that my pictures could look like hers or his. I have learned to appreciate mine! I have my own style and my own eye for beauty that our great GOD above gave to me and no one else has that very same thing;)

What or who inspires you the most?
I have to say WHAT inspires me the most is that I simply know that I love what I am doing when I am behind the camera. I have never really found something that I have just really loved doing until I found photography to be something that I knew I would be really interested in as a career. I find that it pushes me to learn all the time. I mean there is always something new to learn from something that I have previously learned. Know what I mean?!?! There are so many great photographers out there that inspire me to better myself. What I mean by this is not that I want my photos to look exactly like theirs, because I have my own style and keep developing in that, but I study their work and their technical skills and how they got to where they are today. It gives me that extra push to "keep on keepin' on." My pastor actually used that phrase last Sunday at church and it simply made me smile. For a couple of reasons. 1) because I remembered when Joe Dirt said it and 2) because I know in my heart that is what I truly need to do, as hard as it may seem sometimes and as busy as my life is, I know it will pay of in the end!

What’s your favorite shot you’ve taken so far?
My favorite shot that I have taken thus far is a shot that I took of my son Ayden. I was still trying to really figure my camera out and I had just switched over from auto to AP mode (I was slowly trying to ease into shooting manual) and I was shooting with my 50MM 1.8 which I love with all of my heart. Kaleb, and Joe had went hunting I believe which left Taylure, Ayden and I at home so of course I used this time for a mini photoshoot. It probably would not seem like anything special to many people, but something about this photo makes my heart melt. The look on his little face, he looks so innocent. He has his lips just a tad puckered and his eyes are not the sharpest ever but you can read into his soul. Like a sweet little angel. I look at this photo often and it makes me smile every time I do. This is what it's all about!

Christy's favorite shot (her precious son Ayden):

Where would your dream shooting location be?
My dream shooting location...ahhhh, would my kids be coming..hehe...No, seriously, If I could shoot anywhere it would be a lake or beach-y area that was kind of like not with alot of people there. I was recently reading a photographers blog that I absolutely adore and she was talking about Lake Michigan and it's beauty and showing some photos and I thought, YES that is where I would love to do a shoot. In the early morning just as the sun is rising, then again in midday on an overcast day and then again in the evening as the sun was setting. I know I know three photoshoots at the same place in one day at your dream location. Sounds like, well, a dream! I would just like a sort of deserted type area that has ends of beautiful-ness that our GOD himself created for me to capture moments for someone that would last forever.

What advice would you give someone just starting out in this great big intimidating world of photography?
For starters I still consider myself as needing advice and I am continuously looking for it! I stalk blogs (yes I said stalk) for FAQ's and any advice that anyone is willing to offer. Now when I say I stalk blogs I say this because I love to blog. A piece of advice that I have to offer, because I know from experience, is not to get caught up studying others work so much that you lose sight of what your own artistic abilities are. What I mean by this is, sure get inspiration from others' blogs, get FAQ's and information, but don't sit there and wish upon wish that your photos could be like theirs or study their work so much that it takes away from your own creativity. You have to appreciate your artistic abilities and what GOD has given YOU! It is easy to get discouraged and if you love what you are doing try hard to...Never get discouraged! Don't you dare hang that camera up or open that box up with the intention of putting it away..NONO...(imagine my finger waving back and forth.) Yes, it will be alot of work and you will have to study alot of different aspects of photography but if you stick with it, it will pay off for you in the end. It is about heart. If you don't have your heart in it as with anything, others will be able to know. There have been times, I will go ahead and admit, that I have taken a set of pictures and looked at them in post processing and thought "ahhh geez, i could have done better" but then I have to know that this is a learning experience and I am still learning and always will be. I will never be perfect! I practice all I can and I encourage others to practice. alot. On objects, on family members, friends, anything and everything. My dream and goal is to be the best photographer I can be for ME and my clients that choose to hire me. I don't need to be a superstar, I just want to be ME and that's the kind of attitude I encourage others to have. Don't try to compete to be the best of the best at all times. Just put your heart in it, get behind that camera and make time stop even if it's for a brief moment. Much Love!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
In 5 years I see myself as a wife of an amazing husband, mommy to a 14 year old, 10 year old and 6 year old...OM-Goodness can I take a second and pick myself up off the floor. Saying my childrens ages in 5 years made me almost pass out;) I am not quite sure where this photography journey will take me but I know that my Maker had my plans made for me before I was even born and HE will carry me through whatever the future may hold for me.
In 10 years I see myself again as a wife to an even more amazing husband of NOW 14 years, mommy to a 19 year old, 15 year old and 11 year old. OK now I'm just going to have to step away for a moment because that is really freaking me out.....Ok, I'm back now. Again, Not so sure about my photography journey or any other life journey but I trust that HE is with me every second of every day.

Other than photography, what has your heart?
Well, I guess from the question above you can probably guess what or WHO has my heart...My Savior, my husband, and my three adorable children. Without them I simply wouldn't be me and if there wasn't a ME then this world would be no fun! I always know that I can talk to my Savior day or night and He is always listening. If I need guidance it seems that I hear the answer through a church song or a friend giving me advice or the sermon that my pastor is giving that week. HE is always there. Honestly, if I start talking about my husband and kids I could go on and on for days. This is how it is...We are known, by me, as the "fabulous 5", we love each other alot, we bicker at each other over silly stuff (like who left toothpaste marks on the sink, in the boys bathroom) we help each other out, like any family should, even though we have to repeat over and over sometimes "boys don't go outside until you help clean up after dinner." Taylure and I will go in together in the mornings to wake the boys up for school or daycare and she gives them a big hug and says, very loudly "come on boys." Like I said I could go on and on, but i won't because I'm using run on sentences like I do often and I know it's really annoying. Basically, they are my world.
Another person that holds a piece of my heart and always has and will is my sister, Kim. She is like the other half of me and people think we are twins. No really. We don't think we look alike, but other people do. I laugh at her alot because she's really funny. She doesn't laugh at me very much, I guess I'm not quite as funny as her. What she doesn't realize is that I am very funny, but I get all my funnies out before she gets here so she doesn't get to hear them. Her and I are tight like spandex. She's my sissy and I love her bunches.

What do you think sets you apart from the rest?
Of course, it would have to be the fact that I am a superhero. Not many people knew this, until I just announced it in this interview. Until now, I have kept it very low key and today I am finally announcing it to the world. Ok, we are be serious. sshhheesh. I want my clients to feel special! I want them to feel comfortable and I want to get to know something about them. I love children, I know you would think I would get tired of them, but I love them and I LOVE to shoot them! Haha I just made a funny! (See Kim) I want them to come to their session feeling like they already know me either through my blog or website and of course chatting through e-mail. Then I want them to leave from their session happy, and so excited to see their photos from the session they can hardly stand it! One thing I try to always do is give my clients a peak from their session either the same day if I'm able or a day or two later. The thing is, I have walked in those shoes before and I know they want to see something and honestly I am probably as excited to see them as they are! Basically, I think the main thing that sets me apart from all the rest is my eye. There's not another one out there in all the world exactly like it to capture the beauty of this world and I appreciate that.

Additional little note from Christy to me:
Thank you Cara. This was a very humbling experience and I am grateful for the opportunity! I mean someone wanting to interview little 'ol me. Thank you, thank you! And this is probably not very professional but neither is telling the whole world I am a superhero, I love you!

Here are some more of Christy's favorite photos and why:

i took this photo at my home just after it rained. the leaf just sort of spoke to me. and i love the way the simplicity of it.

i absolutely LOVE this image! what can i say, i LOVE these people. they had love for each other like you wouldn't believe and this image shows their fun side.

Cute little baby feet. Oh how I love them! They always smell so good, they are so little, so pure and so soft.

Aaahhhh, this one has my's my children. Taken on Easter playing outside and I captured Ayden and Kaleb letting Taylure smell a flower. Oh the simple life of being little again. This is what life is all about.

One of my favs because two of my best buds renewed their vows after many years of marriage. He surprised her with it and asked me to do some photos. I was overjoyed and had so much fun watching them in love! This is one of my favorites of the day!

This is one of my favorites from a recent session that I did! I showed them a preview of this one picture, because I loved it so much! It's kind of simple yet you definitely get the point that they are HOT! BOOYA

this photo sort of speaks for itself. i love how kids are so unpredictable. and this is why i love photographing kids so much.

Simply put. Gorgeous.

Another photo taken at my home. This little guy hung around for a few days and finally let me take some photos of him. Unfortunate for him, I caught him, taking Oreo's (our cat) food! I just think it's adorable, a bird eating out of a cat dish.

Christy- Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview! You've definitely inspired me, and probably everyone else! Keep on keepin' on Friend! I love you so much!

Christy lives in Knoxville, TN. Check out her website and blog for LOTS more!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Olin's - Charlotte Family Photographer

The Olin's, Morgan and Garrett (and Jay) to be more exact, won the Lasting Love Story contest that I had recently. If you missed that post, be sure to read it so you can get up to speed on their story!

We met at Independence Park, the oldest park in Charlotte, for their session last Sunday. It was pretty darn hot, but the light was to-die-for! The park was buzzing with families and even a pot-bellied pig, but I think the cutest family of all was the one in front of my camera! :) I noticed after I was going through everything after the session that I had taken A LOT of Jay! He was like a magnet- so stinkin cute and BRAVE!

Morgan and Garrett, thank you so much for meeting up with me to have some fun! I hope I captured some moments that you'll cherish for a lifetime!

Now, this is the best part:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

one language

I took Jonah to the Latta Plantation today to have some fun, eat lunch, and see some horses. When we got out of the car to walk to our picnic site I heard loud Spanish music. At first I thought it was some sort of a concert, but then I realized it was a church service. It was so moving to see a group of Christians, just like me, singing and worshipping our God by the water....even though they were speaking another language. I heard a lot of hallelujahs and saw a lot of hands raised toward Heaven. I was in tears as I watched them and thanked God that we have the privilege to live in a country that allows us to worship Him anywhere!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Happy 5 Year Anniversary M & G!

Whew! It has been one heck of a week! Our trip home to TN last weekend was so much fun, but also exhausting as usual! When Monday rolled around I was hurting! I made it through the unknown which is Monday and went to bed early (as usual). Tuesday morning I received a call from the daycare that Jonah had already had 3 runny poops (sorry for the detail) and that I needed to pick him up and he would need to be out the following day as well. I cannot tell you how annoyed this makes me. It happens way too frequently and it's ALWAYS due to teething. That's a story for a whole other post though. So, I decided to take a little trip to Myrtle Beach to stay the night with my best friend and her family who were there for vacation. We had a blast but Thursday was rough... just like Monday! Anywho, long story short, I meant to post this way earlier in the week but just haven't had a chance with all of the insanity. However, I think it worked out perfectly considering today is Morgan and Garrett's 5 year anniversary! Anytime I'm "missing" for a few days from the world wide web, just take comfort knowing I'm doing something extremely important- living my life. ;)

Now on to the good part! Morgan and Garrett are the lucky winners of the lasting love story contest! We actually went to Sunday School together and Morgan saw my post on FB and entered immediately. I love that they've been together since 2000- the same year my husband and I got together and their son was born one day before Jonah- so many similarities! They've faced life's challenges together and made it through some extremely difficult times. Marriage is definitely full of ups and downs, but it's such an incredible ride and I'm so excited Morgan and Garrett have lasting love!

Morgan, thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I cannot wait until our shoot later this month! It's going to be so much fun!

The story is so much better from Morgan though:

On August 6th, Garrett and I will be having our 5th wedding anniversary. It all started in February 2000 when I was in 11th grade and he was in 12th. We met inadvertantly on the basketball court at our church. He played ball and I kept score. After the games on Saturday nights several of us would go out to a movie and something to eat. Garrett went out with us on this particular night, but my sister was the one that had the crush on him. Garrett had other plans and didn't care for my sister much. We sat through the movie and after talking through it, we ended up walking out holding hands. This began everything for us. Some how the church became a special place for us because we had our first kiss in the parking lot. At that time, I felt like I was walking on clouds. We dated throughout the rest of high school and college. Knowing that we couldn't afford getting married while in college, we stayed separately at our parents house and traveled back and forth to see one another. While the time felt like it was going to be forever before we would be married and live together, now it feels like it went past in a minute.

February 13th, 2005 Garrett proposed after a dinner at Kabotos. It was great and very surprising. Later that year on August 6th we were married. It was a wedding that was simple and I was so giddy throughout it all. So much so, I couldn't stop bouncing at the wedding. I haven't heard the end of that yet. It wasn't a time to cry, but a time for joy. I was marrying my best friend for the past five years and finally we could share our lives together each other.

Throughout our married life we have looked towards the postive things that have happened. We've bought a house, we added a little munchkin in 2008, and always make sure to take time for ourselves. Times are tough when he goes out of town, but I always look forward to when he gets back home. Our love was really tested earlier this year when we found out we were pregnant with our second child. At 9 weeks we found it was a tubal pregnancy and would have to be removed immediately. This was the first time we were both left speechless with nothing much to say. We loved this little kid and didn't want to give him/her up, but neither I nor the baby would make it through the pregnancy. The weeks after that were tougher on me, but Garrett looked toward the positive side. We had one little boy and we can try again. Now we await whether we are pregnant in the next couple of months. Through a time like that, your love really grows and feels like we can get through anything. Now it's a time to look towards the future and the many years to come.

Stay tuned to CJP blog to see the photos from this session and to see if there are any other contests or exciting news!

Goodnight for now!

Much Love and Hugs,