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i love a good story… | champaign-urbana family photographer

I love a good story.

Over the past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about the stories that are told through the photographs I create.  For example, one of my favorite pictures of my daughter Averhy is an image of her swinging on our swingset, looking up at the sky as she spins around, laughing. Her hair is blowing across her face, getting tangled by the wind. The summer that I took that picture, Averhy and her best friend spent nearly every day spinning on that swing, twisting it as high as they could go until their toes would no longer touch the ground… then they’d tuck their legs up and spin and spin… giggling until they were screaming (or sometimes screaming first, then giggling…)  Averhy’s laugh and smile is not something that is easy to capture. (Unfortunately she learned the fake cheesy smile at a young age…) However, in this shot, she is being HERSELF. Completely. And I was lucky enough to capture it.  The swingset is still in our backyard, but the double swing she was sitting on in that picture is now broken and thrown away. Her hair at that time was long and flowing, but now it is at her shoulders, given away twice to locks of love. And though (I think) she has always looked older than her age, more than three years have passed and her round cheeks and baby teeth have been replaced by a new version of herself. But each time I look at that image hanging on my wall, I see the story of that day and remember the details of that moment… just an everyday moment made special through the passing of time.

I know that in the busy-ness of life, we don’t always take the time to document the little things that make our lives wonderful RIGHT NOW. It’s easy to look back to days when our kids were smaller and reminisce, or we get caught up in looking forward to the day when this or that will finally happen. When I look at my own life, and the many ways I forget to enjoy today, it makes me want to make a change. A change in the way I approach my interactions with my kids, my husband, and even my work. I want to be more intentional in the time we have together.

At my house, this means taking the time to sit with Averhy on her bed while she reads Harry Potter before bedtime. I could easily say goodnight and let her read on her own while I clean up the supper dishes, but I know she likes having me sit there with her. And someday she won’t.  Or it means sitting down to color a picture with Eden, taking turns and letting her choose which crayons I should use for which part of the picture.  She could easily color the entire thing on her own while I fold some laundry, but I know she likes having me “help” her.  And someday she won’t.

This is not to say that every single moment of every single day has to be perfect. Or planned. Or a wonderful memory that will be displayed in a wedding slideshow someday.  However, I do know that I have forgotten some of the little things about my daughters that I found so endearing when they were younger… and that makes me sad.  (That’s the real reason why I haven’t yet repaired the corner in our kitchen where Averhy bit the wall when she was sitting in time-out when she was two.  Yes, I did say she bit the wall.) And when I see that picture of Averhy spinning on the swing, it makes me want to remember more everyday details that make up my family’s story. And I want to help you remember those moments about your family as well.

That’s why, beginning this summer, I’m taking a new approach to the time I spend photographing your family.  Our time together will still be relaxed and fun, but it will be more focused on who your kids are and what your family does together… when I’m not there.  My goal will be to capture images of you interacting with your kids, doing the everyday things they love to do with you.  You won’t have to worry about perfect clothes or posing in a pretty setting or all smiling at the camera. Instead, you can just enjoy spending an intentional moment with your family… while I look through my lens at the everyday things that make up your life, and capture the special moments that are within them.

What our time together will look like depends entirely on your family.  Maybe you spend Saturday mornings at the Farmer’s Market, or maybe that’s pajama day at your house… perhaps your kids are obsessed with Legos and just love it when you sit down to build a castle with them… maybe baking chocolate-chip cookies is always your kids’ request in the kitchen… With younger kiddos, it might look like playing with bubbles in the bathtub, or creating a masterpiece with fingerpaints, or even mastering the art of picking up Cheerios one by one… whatever those little things may be, I want to help you remember them years from now.

Before your session, we will start talking about the story you hope to tell.  I’ll ask about the details that make your kids unique, the routines that are important to your family, and the ups and downs of your daily life. We’ll chat about parenting, communication, and your dreams for your kids as they grow up.  Together, we will come up with some activity ideas for your session – things that your kids like to do and love it when you join in the fun. Then during your session, together we will tell a story – in photographs – about who your family is at this moment in time.  And I want you to have the full story, not just bits and pieces, which means giving you all of the images and details from our time together… which looks like this:

Story Session = $1500

  • non-refundable session fee retainer ($225) due to reserve your session date/time; balance due prior to session
  • all full-resolution images from your session on USB and uploaded to
  • your choice of a storybook album OR keepsake image box with all images as 5×7 prints
  • available for new or current Sweet Pea Photography families with children of any age
  • all other print and product options may be purchased separately, should you wish to add something to your order

I do realize that there are some times where the story we want to tell is rather brief – one that can easily go on the front of a holiday card, for example!  To meet this need, I will offer a limited number of mini-sessions each season.  These 30-minute sessions will still be relaxed and fun, but with a set location and  more direction and guidance during our time together. Also, to help ensure that your kids are comfortable and the images we create are genuine reflections of your family, Mini-Sessions are only available for current Sweet Pea Photography families (who have had a session anytime since 2010).

Mini-Session = $225

  •  non-refundable session fee ($225) to reserve your session date/time
  •  3 complimentary full-resolution images from your session on USB and uploaded to
  •  only available for current Sweet Pea Photography families
  •  all other print and product options may be purchased separately

It’s my hope that these new session options will help write a meaningful chapter in your family’s story.


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