Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Heart Faces - A Touch Of Light

I love I Heart Faces. The photography is phenominal, the themes are inspiring, and I'm proud to enter this image as my 2nd entry into their weekly Photo Challenge.


Things I love

Puppies covered in chalk from a sidewalk art project.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Holiday Jump-Start

Today is so exciting! I'm finally launching my Holiday Jump-Start packages. If you are on my email list, you've been hearing about this idea for a few weeks, and now is the time for me to share it with everyone.
For the first time ever, LHP is offering mini-sessions as a Holiday Jump-Start!! These packages include everything you need for meaningful holiday gifts. From framed prints to photo ornaments, they've got it all. 20 minutes of your time for the session, 10-12 edited images to choose from, and simple Holiday gift-giving.
Click here for more information!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Have you seen this TED Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert? She discusses her theory about creativity not being inherent in the person, but instead the source of the creativity is outside ourselves, visited upon us by a being history has called a Genius. She shares some funny, interesting, even fascinating stories of the creative process from this perspective.

I'm not a morning person. At all. My bladder disagrees, and I typically wake between 5am and 6am, but I'm back asleep less than 5 minutes later, 99% of the time. This morning was different. I was on the edge of sleep when my brain clicked ON. It was almost audible. My brain was on fire with different thoughts - web copy, sales copy, to do tasks, ideas, pricing, staffing needs, things I'd previously forgotten... on and on it whirled for 20 minutes, until I finally gave in, grabbed a pen, and tried to write it down in the dark to shut it up.

It worked. Kinda. By then it was too late to get more rest, but I did feel a sense of peace in my head for a short time, until the edges of sleep began to curl around me once more. Having experienced this kind of visitation before, I knew that sleep at that point would simply create a crabby mommy when the boys got up in 20 minutes, so today my day started early. Wish me luck.

Here are a couple of example photos - one being my normal 'brain-dump' list-making style. The other, my 5am Genius writing. I've got about 8  pages of the 5am Genius writing. It was so dark I could see the notebook, but not the writing I'd put on it. My hope was that I was legible enough to read in the daylight. Luckily, it seems mostly coherent.

5am Genius writing:

Normal 'brain-dump' writing:

Take the 20 minutes to watch the TED Talk. The story about the poet is simply compelling.

Hope you have a visit from your Genius when you can best receive it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

LHP + Mudpuppies = Awesome

You might have met D's dog Spot (who thinks he's my dog...) Well, Spot dislikes having his nails trimmed. A LOT. I've done all the recommended steps that include treats and such - Spot still has a 'no way am I letting you touch my feet' kinda attitude. So, when I called Mudpuppies and mentioned this, their answer was 'no problem, but you can't be in the room.' Total win-win for me! The first time I took him in, I met Kimberly, the owner. We chatted for about 30 seconds - and Spot was DONE. What? I didn't even hear him barking! They were phenomenal. Seriously. I continued to chat with Kimberly, and guess what? She wanted to see about partnering together for some Holiday pet photos. How fun is that? I was in... and now we are getting so close to time and I'm getting even more excited.

I'll be at Mudpuppies Barktober event happening on Oct. 8th, where you can learn all about Mudpuppies Self-Serve Dog Washing (and everything to do with pets!) and more about how to jump in and have a great photo of your pet for the Holidays with our Holiday Paw Prints event.

Here's what you need to know to stop by:
3867 Peach St.
Erie, PA

More to come about Holiday Paw Prints, but until then, here's a short slideshow of some special pups I've enjoyed working with...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday love

A dear friend with a beautiful Inner Creative Voice started a practice of posting things she loves each Tuesday, and we can link to it! I think it's a wonderful idea, and so. Although it is unusual, I love Facebook. I was dreadfully resistant at first thinking it would simply be a time-sucker (and it is! Oh, how it is!) but without it, I would have trouble sharing our life with my sisters-in-law. I wouldn't be able to do this anywhere near as easily. So, for today, I love Facebook!

Friday, September 9, 2011


Friendship can be a funny thing. Certainly, friends cycle in and out as our phases and interests of life change. Sometimes though, there is a friend that you simply forget how much you have in common, and how nice it always is to chat when you make the time to see each other. Do you have friends like that? For me, one of my friends like that is Amy. Every time we see each other, we have great conversations, and I so enjoy our time together... but you know. It's just hard to make that effort to see each other.
Thank goodness Amy likes my photos! Otherwise, I do wonder when we might see each other!
One of the things I like most about Amy is her desire to really capture their life and the things that they enjoy. So, one year we were outside at a grandparents house playing soccer. The next year we spent time together at Asbury Woods. Summertime this year, Amy wanted to capture one of their favorite pastimes - campfires! (Any place there might be marshmallows is somewhere I want to be!)
In honor of friendships everywhere, here's their slideshow!

Music: Tim McMorris "Make It Last"

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Today there are so many thoughts and ideas buzzing around in my head that I'm finding it hard to concentrate. There are so many wonderful opportunities coming my way right now! I'm excited to share some of them with all of you next week... but today is all about trying to stay on task and finish up some edits.
Just for stopping by though, here's a sneak-peek at what I'm working on for next week!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy 1st Day of School!!!

In honor of the first day of school this year, I wanted to share some photos that mean a lot to me and my family. You see, we are a Montessori Family.

In February of this year I was able to repay the teachers in our Montessori program for all the gifts they’ve given to our boys in the last two years.

I visited the boys classrooms, and as always, I was amazed at the way the rooms function. Each room has a distinctly different feel, and it completely reflects the personalities of the teachers.

Mrs. Law is energetic and energizing. In her room, the movement is a little quicker, more colorful, more bold.

Mrs. Mulholland is dedicated, and calm. In her room, the focus is always on the children and the process, and the pace is a little more quiet.

They’re even organized differently - which at its core, reflects the Montessori process clearly. As a primary student, (grades pre-k through kindergarten) the students are invited to experience their world with manipulatives, and are surrounded by materials that involve all the senses in the process of learning. In the elementary space, there are more work tables, and spaces to work in groups. The  materials are still there, as well as some more advanced hands-on learning manipulatives, but I find it fascinating that the same tools are approached differently at each phase of the Montessori education process.

Here is a peak into the work, personalities, and processes of the wonderful Montessori program at Belle Valley.

Music: Renee and Jeremy - "Share"

Thanks so much to the hard work of our Montessori Family. Here’s to a fantastic year!

Friday, August 26, 2011

A new home

My 2nd Anniversary for LHP is coming up in October. I've been doing photography (both teaching and working with clients) for about 6 years, but the official, paying taxes and being a registered business is about 2 years old. I spent a large part of this year wondering if I was going to keep LHP running, and as I've done some sessions, worked with some great clients, met some amazing women, and learned about how to run a successful business, my heart keeps returning me to YES. This is my passion. This is the time. So, with the support of my family, we made some changes, and LHP's official home moved from a small, dark, shared space out into an open, bright, sunny spot where I can interact with my family, see the bus when it comes, and have a sweet dog sleeping at my feet.
There is more work to be done, but I'm so pleased with how this new layout has been working for me.

Here's a picture of Day One of LHP's new home.

Soon, I will introduce you all to LHP's new web-home. I've been working on a new website for quite some time, and I'm excited to be getting closer to revealing it to you! A few tweaks and changes to reflect some new ideas I've had is all that is left to do. There are lots of changes, new stuff, and products coming, so keep checking back!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Link with Love

Such an amazing idea. See that? Over there on the right side? Awesomeness. I'm so honored to know Kal, and so often inspired by her ideas, her attitude, and her art. This idea is so BIG. So RIGHT. So perfectly in line with what I believe, what I've tried to teach, and what I require. RESPECT. LOVE. INSPIRATION. ART. SHARING. Link Back.
Learn more about this new program here.
Spread the word.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Ugh! I had this whole post typed up that didn't reflect my joy in this family AT ALL. It was a total bummer of a post, because I was reminded this week that they're not permanent Erie residents... so I got all negative. None of that, PLEASE. This family is far too fab to worry about next year. Instead, let's take a look back at last LAST year first, as in 2009. Way back then...
The Garrison's were my guinea pig family. They bravely dressed their kids nicely, and let me take them to the beach to see if I could do what my heart was telling me I could do.
Here are a few from that very, very first LHP session, before it was even LHP! Thanks to my good friends for letting me experiment on them, this session even resulted in some of the pictures that are still my favorites today.

For our 2010 session, they were all about capturing some more Erie memories. We spent some time downtown so they would have some photos of that area, and I get to experiment on the Garrisons AGAIN when we do this year's session - they've already reserved my first snowfall session this coming winter, much to Beth's dismay. :) I've convinced her that she can't leave Erie next year without capturing memories of her favorite season!

 Here is the video of our downtown session.

Music: Renee and Jeremy - Is there really any wonder?


Monday, March 14, 2011

I Heart Faces...

This will be my first entry in the I Heart Faces weekly Photo Challenge. This week's theme "Sun Flare" instantly brought this image to mind. I hope you enjoy it! Please visit I Heart Faces to enter your own image, or to see other amazing photos.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Kita 5

Working with the Kita family was a wonderful experience. They had some great, creative ideas of what they wanted to capture, (hence the motorcycle!) and the things that were important to them. Their appreciation for photography was obvious when I visited their home to share their images with them, and the kids were some of the nicest, most well-mannered kids I've ever had the pleasure of working with.


Lucky by Leslie Mills

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Toddler and Puppy? Sure!

Working with the Kelley family stressed me out. It was early in the season, I felt pretty new at all this, and there was a toddler AND a puppy? Um. Sure! Absolutely. That's no problem at all! At the beach? Sure! (Panic! Never let them see you sweat!)

The day of the session dawned with beautiful weather, and after the first 15 minutes it was obvious that things would be fine. Having the most photogenic family ever didn't hurt, and Treasure was, well. A treasure. She calmed down just when I needed her to, and played with Nathan like a pro. Some training (both puppy and boy!) had obviously been going on!

Once I relaxed, and they relaxed, we made some magic happen. I hope you enjoy the Kelley family slideshow.

Always Home by Sound of Harris

Friday, February 18, 2011


Melanie has always shown the utmost devotion to her baby Gus. Since Gus is a therapy dog, I knew that he must be something special. In all the scrapbooking I've ever done with her, somehow I'm pretty sure I missed seeing any photos of Gus. So, to finally meet him on the day of our session, I was beyond delighted.

I have a soft spot for a fluffy dog. Our family dog as a kid was lovely and fluffy and his temperament was very similar to Gus. It was so relaxing to be with this canine bundle of love, and to see that the devotion that Melanie has for Gus is nothing compared to how he looked at her, and that their relationship was nothing compared to how Mel's PARENTS feel about their 'grandson'. Gus is one smart dog, and he knows where the easiest treats come from, let me tell you!

It's possible that Gus was easy to photograph that day because he was days before his surgery for his 2nd bum hip which made it hard for him to be energetic, but I think that calm, serene temperament is what makes him such a fabulous therapy dog, and excellent photography subject. Since we also had to reschedule because of Mel's own knee replacement surgery, you can see how this dog and owner belong together, and since they care for each other throughout their surgeries it also explains their devotion. In light of all of that, this song by one of my favorite artists seemed to fit just right.

I am happy to report that they have both fully recovered from their joint replacements. I just hope Mel's knees let her keep up with a younger, more rambunctious Gus these days!

Make it last by Tim McMorris

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


When it comes to uber-moms, the first person who comes to mind for me is my friend Melaura. We first met at playgroup, and the thing I remember most about her was how quiet and reserved she was. As I got to know her better, my admiration for her grew. I'm not sure I've ever known someone who knew exactly what they wanted the way Melaura did. "I want four kids." Which, of course, blew my mind. "Why?" says me. "I don't know. It's just what I want." So, her conviction that her family would not be complete until she had that fourth baby never wavered, and when it came time to celebrate that baby's arrival, we were all ready.

The thing I love most about this slideshow is what it DOESN'T show. It doesn't show that her husband Dan had to return to work two days before I photographed the baby, and that Melaura was almost falling over in newborn exhaustion. It doesn't show that there were two tired and hungry toddlers, and Melaura's oldest daughter also in the house. It doesn't show that it was one of the first insanely warm May days, or that the noise level in the house was extreme. It doesn't show Hobbs, who is Melaura's first baby, or how he was both serene and freaked out by the activity level in the house. It doesn't show that 4 kids = chaos.

It just shows how much Makayla was wanted, and loved, and cherished.

Better late than never.... Welcome Baby Cranford number 4.

Music: Fall by Jasmine Ash

Monday, February 14, 2011

VDay and Memories

In honor of my childhood, I give you a memory of two cousins who spent an unhealthy amount of time together. Thinking up trouble, scamming more overnights at each others houses, torturing younger (and in my case trying to torture older) siblings and cousins. Swimming until our fingers and toes were permanently prunes, our bodies shivering with cold, and our hair lovely shades of green. We shared a lot, and one thing we continue to share is a love of music.

Happy Valentine's Meghan. Hope when your day starts in CA it brings you love and contentment.

Broken Wings - Mr. Mister

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday Tips

Last week I talked about the importance of batteries. Today, as the snow falls gently, and coats the landscape in beautiful whiteness, I want to talk about taking your camera with you everywhere. I'm not suggesting that you start lugging your SLR and all your lenses around with you... your camera phone will do in a pinch. Not to mention that today's camera phones and point and shoot camera's have phenomenal range and versatility, and support my firm belief that it is not the equipment that make the photograph, it is the effort and experimentation of the photographer. Let me say this again: Your Camera Doesn't Matter.

So, carry a way to take pictures every day.  Use it to document the small things, and then you'll be in the habit of having it with you to document the big things too.

Monday, February 7, 2011

(quote monday)

"The reason Art is VALUABLE is precisely why I cannot tell you how to do it. If there was a map, THERE'D BE NO ART, because Art is the act of navigating without a MAP." Seth Godin

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Things I read...

I like to read. I read a lot of blogs these days. Some cuz they're funny, honest, interesting, inspiring, or because someone I know writes them.

I like to read. I read lots (and lots, and lots) of (fiction) books. I have 3 bags of books downstairs to be donated. If you think I mean nice, small plastic grocery-type bags, you'd be wrong. I have 2  - 13 gallon kitchen bags, and one large black 'yard waste' bag that I am unsure of its actual gallon-measurement, but I confess I have trouble lifting it.

I like to read. I read less magazines than I used to... I just don't seem to have the time.

I like to read. I read more business books now than I ever have in my life, including textbooks I should have read in college.

I like to read. I'm not a huge fan of the digital book readers, since I don't travel enough out of town to make carrying more than 3 books in one device appealing, and as I move about my day I will never remember to carry a regular book with me, let alone a digital reader. However, I'm truly in love with the Kindle app I have for my Android phone. I still forget my phone a lot, but a lot less than I would forget to grab a digital reader.

So, here is some of what I'm currently reading:

I just finished Seth Godin's Linchpin. I read it on my android Kindle app - so I actually finished it. It was fascinating and scary at the same time.

I am re-reading A Wrinkle In Time by Madelenie L'Engle. I read this as a kid, and loved it. I found it when Matthew and I hit the library yesterday and thought I'd read it again. I do this a lot with books I enjoy, it is like visiting an old friend.

I found this blog/website today, through Deb Schwedhelm's blog (obviously, I read hers too!) and I loved the statement that Stephanie Beaty includes on the page I linked to.

This is just some of what I'm reading. A good friend sent me a whole block of interesting/funny/amusing emails last night, and I confess... I don't always take the time to read them all. But, since I did, I learned about this: Yosemite Frazil Ice.

I also recently found a blog on Minimalist living called Be More with Less. The name alone gets me excited. LESS. That'd be awesome. Perhaps unrealistic, but awesome. There, I learned about this: Weather Inversions.

I like to read.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesday Tips

The number one best camera tip I can offer any photographer (besides experiment) is to buy extra batteries. It doesn't matter if you own a SLR, a DSLR, or a point-and-shoot camera... running out of batteries and not being able to capture what you see in front of you is a needless sort of frustration.

When you research what camera to purchase, don't forget to take note of the type of batteries the models you are comparing use. It varies greatly, and might make a difference to you when choosing between two similar models. The convenience of standard batteries (AA) might make a difference if you plan to travel with your camera. No need to pack extra chargers when you can just stop anywhere to pick up fresh batteries.

With that said, the battery life on some AA powered camera's can become another source of frustration. So, even with the convenience of purchasing new AA batteries, I recommend also investing in a charger, and rechargeable if that's the camera option you go with. I find it most convenient to have a full set of batteries on a charger, and a set in my camera. Easy to grab the fully charged set to throw in your camera bag when you adventure out with your point and shoot.

Most DSLR's require a larger power source, so they either use larger standard batteries, or just more of them. Some come with their own, proprietary rechargable battery packs, usually little blocks, and each camera typically ships with just one. (although some places offer add-on packages that include an extra battery - check the price on purchasing a 2nd battery to know if the add-on is a good value).

The most common, non-standard battery packs for DSLR's are as follows:
  • Lithium Ion (Li-on) — This is what my Nikon uses. The battery life is long, but is easily depleted when I am forced to use my flash. They are rechargeable, and can be charged again and again for a long time. Replacements are pricey, but worth having an extra.
  • Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) — Ni-MH batteries are the most common replacement for standard AA, since they can be recharged again and again.
  • CR-V3 — This battery type is equivalent to 2AAs, and come in both rechargeable and non-rechargeable versions.
Having an extra battery pack or charged standard batteries makes it less important to pay attention to the battery warning light. Especially since that's the least reliable feature on a camera, and running out of power is the most frustrating (and avoidable) issue that you can plan for.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Music Monday

Keeping things simple here today. I love music, but I just stumble on stuff and feel like I'm 'alternative' and 'trendy' when I like a band I've never heard of... even though it is probably totally famous without my being aware of it.

Luckily, I have some great friends who are more musically cool than I will ever be. Riding on their music-coattails is what I do best. Hence, Exhibit A:

My friend Luke. He posts Songs of the Day on FB for all of us... and has a really mellow groove to most of his choices. I'm currently obsessed with this one...

Steady as she goes... The Raconteurs

Thursday, January 27, 2011

One Little Word

Last year when I first participated in One Little Word, my word essentially chose me. This year, it was much more difficult, and I don't have the same conviction that this is the RIGHT word... however, last year the process and result was so rewarding, that it seems like choosing a word and just rolling with it would have to yield some sort of positive result, right? Sure. I'm gonna go with that.

My One Little Word for this year is: CONNECT.

I have simple goals for this word, and I hope to achieve them. Last year, the word accomplish had impact on my life in ways I wasn't able to predict in January, and so I also have some hope that connect will provide insight and benefits beyond my simple goals.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

12.11.2010 Through My Lens...

Right after Thanksgiving, I got the message from Cassie: “I’m contacting you on my first day home from the hospital with Lillian! When can we take her pictures???” I was honored to be her photographer of choice for her precious newborn. Once we had everyone gathered at her house, I planned a whole afternoon to meet, cuddle, sniff, and photograph Miss Lillian Remele Stoll.

I was so impressed with how relaxed Cassie was as a new mom, and how connected everyone was to each other and the new baby. Even Jack seemed to know what was going on ( and used the excuse to sneak away for a neighbor-dog visit! Smart dog, Jack! )

The day was snowy, yet warm, crisp and clear. Their home had a perfect spot near the glass doors to take advantage of some beautiful (and rare in November!) natural light. I’m thrilled to introduce Miss Lillian to all of you, and I hope you enjoy her slideshow!

Music by Renee & Jeremy

Saturday, January 8, 2011

In The Works..

There is a project in the works that I am so excited about. It has always been a part of LHP to support different organizations. I've contributed to the Belle Valley PTA, twice to the Second Harvest Food Bank, twice to the Susan B. Komen for the Cure, and other organizations by giving away free portrait sessions in various Basket Raffles. All the families I've worked with (or will work with!) have been so amazing, and the experience so rewarding in a number of ways that I've spent several months considering, researching and thinking about ways to include more charitable giving in 2011.

As soon as I have more details, I'll share more here. For now, I'm just excited to think about the possibilities!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


There are so many possibilities associated with a new year. I'm not a fan of resolutions, but I do enjoy dreaming at the beginning of this year. I'm taking a 'goals' class with the wonderful Aby Garvey over at Simplify 101, and one of her tasks includes a Dream List. Her goal for her students is a list of 101 dreams, which feels really extravagant to me. That's a whole lot of dreaming for someone who is usually far too practical. Wish me luck with that.

I'm also looking at different possibilities for LHP. Last year was a lot of figuring it out as I went along, and that helped me learn a TON about what to do, what to try next, and where I might like to take things. Lots and Lots and Lots of possibilities for LHP.

What are some of your current 2011 Dreams? I'd love for you to share some here...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

One Little Word{s}

Ali's post that lists all the word choices her readers have made in 2011.

I'm still thinking about mine. It hasn't found me yet!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Digging out....

Today I've spent 2 hours digging my desk out of the humongous pile of miscellanea that has accumulated there in the past 10 weeks or so. Since we purchased the house I have noticed that it isn't possible for me to have every room clean. Everything in its place (because not everything has a place) and everything tidy. Apparently, I need a dump zone. At one point, it was the spare bedroom (now the boys bedroom). Then, it was the basement room (now toy storage and exercise equipment 'storage'). Now, it has morphed into the kitchen/office... and I don't like it. Everything that doesn't immediately have a home ends up in the Kitchen or the Office and I don't know how to stop the flood.

Trying to put a dent in the pile. At least (I think) things are getting sorted through and put away (or THROWN AWAY) more often since these piles are in spaces that should be functional. Previously... I could fill a whole room, and walk away, just closing the door behind me. Out of sight, out of mind. So, maybe this is better... but it's still a complete pain.

Once the desk is clear, maybe I can actually get some work done.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

One Little Word:

So, last year I picked a word for the year, one that would help me focus on some of my goals, and make positive changes. I really feel like I was able to do that, even though about 6 months in I didn't think of it more than once every 8 weeks or so. But, to kick off the year on the right foot, I think it really helped keep me focused.

I wasn't going to do it again, I saw some bloggers started posting about it in early December, and I was so overwhelmed I couldn't think that far ahead, or focus on anything other than the few hours directly in front of me.

Now that the new year is here, and New Years Eve (an evil holiday for me ) is over, I'm really looking ahead, and I think I'm going to do this again.

Last year my word was ACCOMPLISH. I started the year with different goals for that word, but looking back, I can see how just the subconscious effort I put into that word in the the first half of the year totally set the tone for my whole year. When I stop to consider all the things I've really accomplished in the last 12 months, I'm completely overwhelmed, and amazed at myself.

I'll be thinking of a word that sums up my goals this year. I hope you'll think about joining me!