Amy B Photography

blue steel

©Amy B Photography 2017

I will be honest, shooting high school seniors makes me sweat.  I get nervous and start feeling really old and saying stupid things…more than normal.  But then I got the chance to photograph Jonathan.  Even though I have known him and his family for sometime, setting out for our shoot was a whole new ball game.  First of all, I haven’t done senior photos in quite some time (will I even remember what to do?!) and second…he is way cooler than me.  Letterman’s jacket, immaculately styled hair, perfectly cuffed jeans…you get the idea.

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I quickly settled back into my groove of ridiculously unfunny jokes and random “OOO!  Let’s stop here!!  This light is KILLER!” as Jonathan and I wandered around.  The best part was, he made it SO easy for me!  Seriously?!  Look at this kid!  I didn’t even have to tell him where to look or how to stand!  He just found his spot and BOOM…blue steel for dayz.  With a z.  Because duh?!  Youth!

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Seoul itself is just an amazing backdrop!  You can wander anywhere and find the best spots for a shot.  Color, texture, depth, design…Seoul has it all and it has it everywhere.  Yes, some of the places we stopped to shoot smelled like dookie, but that is just part of this crazy, amazing, odd city!

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One of the best parts about this shoot (besides Jonathan reading my brain on what we should do next) was having his step-mother (and my dear friend) along with us.  She was a posing and lighting expert!  She had the most amazing ideas for how to set up the scene and I kinda wanna hire her to tag along on all my shoots, to help make the magic happen!

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Another aspect of Seoul that makes it such an unreal place for photo shoots (or for just eye candy in general) is the amount of graffiti.  I don’t know if this stuff is commissioned or allowed but most of it looks like true art that nobody is upset about having there.  Most store fronts have these roll down shades and I would say the majority of them have some sort of spray painted words, images or mixed media design on them!  A photographers dream!!

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Hey Jonathan!  Thanks for putting up with a giant dork like me!  Thanks for making it so effortless to take your senior photos!   You were so easy to work with, knew exactly what to do before I could even make the request and I am surprised my camera didn’t just explode in my hands from your steely gazes!  I love that you let me sit you down in dirty alleyways or lean against weird walls.  Thanks for being down for whatever and I am so stoked we got to work together!  Happy graduation and all the best to you in ND!

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under the blossoms of seoul

©Amy B Photography 2017

I met sweet Mama during the cherry blossom season of 2016.  What a blessing to photograph her newborn babe and family only one year later!  Since sweet baby was born during cherry blooms and while they were living in Korea, Mama made the perfect plans for our location!

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While baby ate and cuddle mama, big brother and I had lots of time to play!  Lots of silliness, exploring the Korean cultural homes and tic-tacs!

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He sure loves his little sister and made sure to come over a steal some snuggles with her every now and then!

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How fun to have Grandmom visiting for the session!  She and big brother had fun playing together and exploring while we took photos of sister!

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Little charmer!  Who knew he could wink?!

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A Korean cultural heritage village, cherry blossoms AND Seoul Tower in the background?!  It doesn’t get more authentic than that!  😉

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Since sister was born in such a huge city, we made sure to snag a few photos on the way home, documenting the craziness of the bustle she was born into.

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Mama had a vision for how she wanted to document baby’s birth city and time of life for their family.  Thankfully she was very patient with me (babies and props are not my area of comfort or expertise) as we collaborated to make her dreams come to life.  I mean seriously…how adorable is that sweet cherry blossom baby in a kimchi pot…in front of a traditional Korean home?!

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Passing tourists and lookie-lous just FREAKED OUT over how cute little sister was in her pot!  Looking back, we should have charged for them posing for photos!  😉

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After the kimchi dreams were reached, baby was still totally asleep!  So we took our time and had fun!  Mama is a photographer as well and was given the most perfect wraps as baby gifts by her incredibly thoughtful and smart friends!  They lent so well to our setting and the images!

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Thank you so much for trusting me with your newborn images, friend!  Thank you for giving me your grace, trust, confidence and patience through it all!  I am so thankful we met at the park that spring day!  Thank you for letting me hold the baby ANY chance available, for allowing such nonsense as I played with big brother and for letting me push the limits of time and hunger as we stole every drop of that beautiful evening light!  You have a beautiful family and I am so thankful our paths crossed!

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all things in bloom

©Amy B Photography 2017 - Seoul, South Korea

Meet Anna and Jake!  I met Anna at a baby shower and was so thankful she contacted me for photos!  I had SO much fun with the three of them (Hi Baby!!) and we seriously laughed the entire time!  These guys didn’t need to be posed or told what to do…they were just magic!  They put up with my lame jokes and my outrageous requests as we wandered around the park.  It was the spring cherry blossom bloom in Seoul and such a magical time to capture their sweet little girl-in-waiting.

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I mean seriously?!  How cute are they?!  Even our outtakes are keepers!

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Thank you Jake and Anna, for allowing me to photograph this special time in your lives.  It’s only been the two of you up until this point and I am SO excited to see you be three!  Maybe someday soon, we can take another walk around the park but this time, with your baby in your arms instead.  :)  Praying for all the best in your delivery and so incredibly thankful to have met you both!!

©Amy B Photography 2017 - Seoul, South Korea

By His Grace

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Meet sweet Alannah!  What an angel baby!  Can you even handle those cheeks?!

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What a joy it was to watch big sister stick to her side like glue.  Wherever baby was, big sis had to be.

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Little brother wasn’t so sure about the new edition but in his own precious way, he stole time with baby Alannah.  And Dad was SO patient through it all!

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Like I said, big brother was a bit unsure about his role with sweet baby.  For those few moments he chose to indulge, we were there to make sure to snagged them!  So while these moments were fleeting…they were some of my favorites from the whole session!

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No one likes to feel left out, so we made sure to have a quick tickle-fest with the bigs to show them some love!  I feel like I can still hear the giggles in these photos!  (Sorry mom and dad for getting them all wound up and then just ditching you!) 😉

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It’s amazing to see that even though sweet Alannah is the third baby in the home, the looks in a parent’s eyes are still as if they haven’t ever known such love.  Just when you think your heart might burst with adoration for your little people, God always makes extra space for love you didn’t even know you could handle!

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One of my favorite things about these types of sessions is the fact that they are so real.  Some mamas apologize for the house not being perfect or there being “stuff” in the photo…but that stuff is life.  It is always my hope that those things of life tell pieces of your story when you look back on these photos years later.  While they might be artifacts in your history that you wished hidden, I cherish in using to tell your exact story.

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Little sis woke up and spent some time studying Mom and Dad’s faces.  And then she just started showing off!  Not even one week old and the BIGGEST smiles you have ever seen on a newborn!

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Round two for big sister and she was just smitten!  I pray that their bond grows ever stronger throughout their whole lives!

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Thank you to Alannah’s family for allowing me to photograph your precious first days together in your home!  For letting me play with and giggle with the kids and for just sharing yourselves with me!  Thank you for letting me steal some cuddles and nuzzle those adorable cheeks!

And thank you to Mama’s friends who came together to help set up this photo shoot as a gift to the family!  Mama is such a beautiful soul and you can tell by the company she keeps!

©Amy B Photography 2017

Documenting December - Day Seven

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Receiving mail is one of my very favorite things in life.  Handwritten letters, postcards, gifts wrapped in bubble paper or even a good ol’ Hallmark card with a few loving words are treasures I save forever!  Our lives are filled with instant gratification but the anticipation and patience required with standard mail delivery is thrilling.  I know after I have sent a package, without having told the person it is coming,  I wait on the edge of my seat to hear that they received it and hopefully felt loved by the gesture. 

©Amy B Photography 2016

So of course, one of my favorite traditions around Christmas has always been the arrival of postage-stamped cards in the mail.  I rejoice (and ironically) usually Instagram “the first card of the year”, rubbing my hands with child-like joy that the dam has been broken and more are sure to come.

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Along with that tradition comes the memories of cards gone by.  At the end of each Christmas season, we take all the cards received that year and bind them together in whatever we have on hand.  Two years ago, we had an album (like an overachiever) and you can read this past post on how I put our books together here.  Last year, we went back to basics with a decorated cardboard cover and two free standing binder rings.  Whether fancy or simple, the book of correspondence is tucked away with our Christmas goodies and is made anew the following year when we begin to enjoy the season again. 

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Today we pulled out the book from last year.  Being a military family in a foreign country, we weren’t able to take all of our belongings with us so most all of our “memory items” are in storage until we are station state-side again.  But we have 2015 in our hands as this is our second Christmas in Korea, and we enjoyed flipping through our favorite friends and faces all over again.  The kids laugh at the adorable babies and the furry family members featured.  We share memories of how we met these friends once-upon-a-time or how much fun we had last time we saw them.  We guess what their 2016 cards will look like now that they have new babies or hug each other tighter if we know they lost someone this past year. 

These cards?  They have our people on them.  We are blessed to know so many amazing friends and family all over the world and at Christmas, the tradition of snail mail still holds on.  We mail cards because we know how good it feels to receive cards.  Our list is filled with people we care deeply about and this Christmas Card Book is such a treasure to enjoy each year.

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Do you still send Christmas cards?  Have you made yours this year?  

Thank you again for sharing your Christmas card love with us!   It is a gift we can hold in our hands and revisit each year, thinking fondly of the many people we love!

Documenting December - Day Five

©Amy B Photography 2016

The fifth day of December meant the start of a new tradition!  We are a lego family so it was only fitting we build a Lego Christmas Village to enjoy for hopefully many years to come.

To get the kids excited for this, we laid out a lego trail that led them to a table ready to build!  We have been purchasing sets over the years as we find them for cheap prices and hiding them for this very day.  We also asked the kids to come up with some of their own Christmas creations using the pieces we already have! I will post photos of the finished Winter Wonderland but today…we build!

Documenting December Day Four

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He will be a teenager soon.

He might go through a time where he won’t want to decorate the tree with his family.

He might stop singing Christmas music with us one day.

He might not be the first one to put on his Christmas jammies, shove a blanket under the belly and run around the house pretending he is Santa much longer.

He might not be totally delighted in the moment of hanging his first ornament.

But maybe he will.

Maybe this beautiful, nearly tweenager boy will hold onto his child-like joy of Christmas for all his years.

Even if he loses it for a time, I will have this face.  I will have those freckles and that santa hat he chose to wear and that sparkle in his eyes.  There will still be this moment.

This is documenting December.  These are the moments I want never to forget.

 

Documenting December - Day Three

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The second Sunday of Advent.  Because we missed the first one, we squeezed two in one for the day.  This year, we are reading an Advent story called Tabitha’s Travels and the kids BEG me to read extra each day.  And while this photo looks all serene and lovely, please know that we had our fair share of scoldings and fights (“but that is MY candle!”) leading up to it.  I may have almost sent them all to bed and given up at one point too!

But what is Advent if it is not refocusing our hearts and minds on the reason for the season.  We may have had moments of frustration but God and his redeeming grace brought it all back.  So when I laid the kids down for bed that night and they talked about how much they love our Advent nights, I was so thankful for the moments shared, both good and trying.

I hope they look back on photos like this and know that our story has sweet and sour in it.  And that most of all, there is always forgiveness and there is always grace.

Have a blessed Advent Sunday friends!

 

Documenting December - Day Two

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[sing the song] On the second day of December, some dirty rotten scoundrel gave to meeeeee, a stomach virus. [stop singing the song]  That’s it.  It doesn’t rhyme and I hate being sick.  So while I lay in bed, sleeping yesterday and today away, my beautiful and able children made crafts, drank who knows how much hot cocoa, and watched as many Christmas movies as their eyeballs could handle.  I just keep telling myself “At least they only used the Elmers!” or “I am so thankful they let me rest even if it did mean they ate a whole bag of marshmallows!” through gritted teeth.

Seriously, I am so thankful for rest and independent, responsible children, even at the cost of glitter glue everywhere.  And we got our very first Christmas card of the year!  Such a thrill to have a hand written letter from our German Oma Uschie as the opener of the season!

Hoping to feel better tomorrow!  I better because there are no more wooden popsicles, playdoh or pipe cleaners left and who knows what kind of “craft supplies” the kids will come up with then!

Free Advent Candle Coloring page found here.

Documenting December - Day One

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Every year, I purpose my time to document the happenings of December.  Christmas is, to me, the most meaningful holiday of the year and cultivating purpose and tradition with my kids is high on my list.  Plus…there is just so much fun stuff going on!

So every year, I make time to take normal, everyday, seemingly boring photos and/or photos that challenge me or push me as a photographer.  While this might seem like I am doing it all for show, I really am not.  These photos are our life and every December, since 2009, we have a beautiful story to look back on how our family has grown over the years.  We have proof of failed attempts, we have images of items lost in moves we wish we still had, we hold books of cultural idioms
not currently celebrated and we have the growth of our own traditions passed on through time.

There are tears, giggles, crooked trees, thrift store decorations, deployments, ugly sweaters, angelic faces and whiny fits all smashed into the pages of our story and every December, I am thankful I took the time.

So this year, I am taking a bit more time to share it with you.  Some photos might make you wonder why I took the time to blog them and others might make you smile.  Either way, it’s our story and it means something to us.  I bet your story is just as amazing!

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If I am being really honest, this year I am having a hard time put my Christmas feelings to real life.  I have all the excitement bundled up in me but this is the second Christmas in Korea where I feel very far from my family and very lonely.  I do not mean to throw a pity party and I don’t want sympathy.  I am just being real.  Maybe I am ruined from the amazing Christmas’ we were able to celebrate in Germany or maybe I just miss my people on the other side of the ocean.  But this year, I really have to make an effort to get into the swing of things and make time for the wonder.  It is always worth it when I do but this year…it’s just a bit more of an oomph to get me going.

Dec 1st meant getting all the goodies out of storage.  It meant surveying what we have to decorate with and where it will go this year.  It means finding hidden gems and even some new items we forgot we had purchased on the clearance rack in early January!  The first day of the month is opening up the doors to deck the halls!  Let the wild rumpus begin!

Do you document everyday life?  Do you want to start this year?  This life is pretty darn amazing, even in the smallest details, and taking time to tell your story truly helps you see how beautiful it all is!