FireCracker’s 2 year old pics

Thanks for the comments on the online SnapShop….I am so excited you all are excited! It is a pretty big deal for me and I’ve got some nervous anticipation about sharing it with some of you in August. Thank you for your kind support!!


Back when I posted the boys birthday pictures I made a comment about being impressed with moms that have themes and props for yearly pictures. I feel like I’m doing good just to get it done! Well, the day before we left for Colorado it dawned on me that we’d be in gorgeous scenery and I could do my daughter’s 2 year old pictures there. I called my mom and asked for her help making a last minute dress. She, of course, ended up making it and I observed pretending like I knew enough to help. The next day as we were loading the car with luggage I thought it would be fun to incorporate some bunting and other things. I grabbed bunting off my shelf. Then I threw a hot glue gun, dowel rods and pink scrapbooking paper in the trunk…just in case I could make something to go with the bunting.

Once in Colorado I was on constant mode trying to find a good spot, but posed pictures were the least priority to my kids. One evening about an hour before we were going to put the kids to be I decided to attempt it that night. I gave FireCracker a quick bath hoping it would revive her curls the dry Colorado air stole. As we were getting on shoes to leave I remembered the pink paper and dowel rods. I cut the paper in the shape of waving banners, drew “Two” and “Years” on with a pen, outlined the edges, and hot glued them to the rods. We drove over to a nearby hiking path and I grabbed a few shots. It was all thrown together fast and furiously. Not the well planned out attempt I had in mind, but it worked.

Everything shot with my Canon 5D and 85mm f/1.8 lens

ISO 100, 1/320, f/2.8……….ISO 100, 1/1600, f/2.8


ISO 100, 1/320, f/2.8 – both

ISO 100, 1/125, f/2.8….ISO 125, 1/200, f/2.8

ISO 100, 1/500, f/2.8

ISO 100, 1/250, f/2.8

ISO 100, 1/200, f/2.8

ISO 100, 1/200, f/2.8

The kids ran out of patience and we ran out of light so I called it quits. I didn’t find a good spot to hang the bunting, so I was a bit bummed over that. I also decided the pen wasn’t dark enough…so I took a sharpie over it. Then I opted to just to keep her dress, shoes, headband, bunting and flags in the car….you know just in case. Well, the next night on the way home from another town we crossed a big bridge with access down to the river below. I made Chris pull over and I changed FireCracker’s clothes and lugged everything down to the water’s edge. I propped two sticks up among some rocks to hold the bunting. She didn’t want to hold her flags, so I stuck those in among the rocks too. These make me happy. I already have a canvas of this one from Mpix in her room.

ISO 100, 1/250, f/2.8


ISO 100, 1/250, f/2.8

ISO 100, 1/400, f/2.8

Well that is really only part of the story of getting her 2 year old pictures. But, I know you guys like to see the more realistic side of things….so here you go…..

When she got tired of me she ran to him.

This is where he fake falls into a ditch just to get his little sister to laugh.

“Ashley, how do you always get your kids to smile for the camera? My kids never cooperate like that.”

She won’t always smile for me…but I have a little plan called “the Brothers effect” to get rid of tears and bring on grins. It involves 3 big brothers acting like goofballs for her enjoyment. Works nearly every time.

Dress made by my mom (Amy Butler fabric), Shoes from BabyGap (old), headband from Lou & Lee (hot glued onto a metal headband)

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  • lesley@homemade grits - she is so awesome! these pictures with the garland and flags are perfect. happy birthday to that little cutie.

  • Katie - Besides being totally impressed by the quality of the photographs you take, I’m just impressed that you take pictures of your kids at all! Most of the time I just forget to take pictures of my (almost two year old) daughter, but it seems like the times I do remember she’s either blurry or flashed out. All we have is a little point and shoot, but I think it’s probably me that’s the problem more than the camera. Will your online snap shop class just be covering DSLR info, or will it be helpful for lame little point and shoots as well?

  • Gevay - She is so adorable!

  • Katherine Bach - I absolutely LOVE the one on the top right. The backlighting is incredible! Her dress is gorgeous, but I too am partial to Amy Butler fabric. πŸ˜‰ Congrats on your online class, I am glad I got in on one to be able to meet you in person though. I have yet to get around to taking my two younger kids birthday pictures… they were both born on the same day in March! No one will know it’s like 5 months later, right?!

  • Susan - Love them!! Also love the reality check on what “really”goes on behind a photo shoot! lol

  • Margaret - So cute! I love the one of her looking over her shoulder. I always feel terrible when my son cries during pictures, but sometimes it’s just so funny…some of the cutest/funniest pictures of my son are ones where his face is building up to that terrible cry (I always stop if he’s really upset or hurt…but its usually out of exhaustion or aggravation because of picture taking πŸ™‚ I love that upside down smile that comes with the cry build up!

  • Sarah - incredible pictures as usual! i love the one of her in the field with the sun in the corner. stunning!! did you use any kind of action in photoshop for that one?

  • allison - love every single one – especially the “outtakes”. Thanks for sharing ALL the pictures and the story – because that’s exactly what I go thru as well! So excited for the online snap shop!!

  • Leigh Ann Phillips - Wonderful pictures! i have the fabric in her dress and am planning to make a skirt for myself.

  • jacqueline - Dearest Ashley, i am SO HAPPY i found your beautiful space here. Everything is just so inspiring and i am really enjoying my stay here.
    Your little one is so beautiful and HAPPY birthday!! All these gorgeous photos made me smile and warm my heart! I read about your online SnapShop too and am getting very excited. πŸ™‚ Have a lovely merry happy tuesday. Love to you and yours!

  • andy - such great pics. love them all

  • Kimberlee Jost - Your mom should have an Etsy shop…that dress is too cute.

  • amanda torres - I actually like all the outtake pictures of my kids even better. It helps me remember what the days were actually like and all their little emotions. Great job, as always!

  • Ranee - 1- so stinkin’ cute. love the dress, the bunting, and the not so “planned” way you roll.
    2- i love the whole colorado series of photos and am so glad that you included that you ate in the car b/c of rowdy kiddos and that the trip wasn’t “perfectly perfect”. thanks for being real.
    3-definitely interested in the online snapshop. yay!

  • Katrina - Perfection. She is too cute. I think my favorite is the pouty one that is right next to the smiley one. Not too sad, simply adorable.

  • Jennifer - I swear you are McGuyver – it cracks me up that you just grabbed those supplies and had a great shoot – I think your cape should have a glue gun on the back πŸ™‚ Jennifer

  • Rebecca - All of them are great. You and your mom made a great team, oh and the brothers too πŸ˜‰

  • Carissa Miller - She’s precious. And congrats on the Online Snap Shops. So excited foor you!

  • Whitney - Look on the bright side, at least she kept her headband on! πŸ˜‰ Lovely photos!

  • Maredith - I LOVE these! The props, scenery….even the ones with her sad face…adorable!

  • Kristina LaRue - She is just too precious! Love her expressions!

  • Nicolle S - She is the cutest little girl! I love how these pictures turned out!

  • Lori - Ashley – I love the story!!! totally awesome. Also, I love, love, love the field of dandelions with the effect of the dusk behind them and her in the middle. I love the dress and really just that you thought ahead enough to be spontaneous with a plan. That’s me. Spontaneous with a plan. I love those pics with her crying. too funny.

  • giozi - She is so pretty and cute. Congratuations again. Kisses for the little princess

  • Mariah - Good job, Mama!!! Go get the phone, right now. Call your husband at work and tell him how wonderful he is to pull over and be game to your photo taking missions. πŸ™‚ You’ve inspired me for Harry’s 1st birthday photos! We will actually be in CO the week before his birthday. woo-hoo!

  • Emily - love it. Thanks for keeping it real with us. πŸ™‚

  • Brooke Whitis - Ashley, how AWESOME are these?? So so so cute!! I love the one of her in the field…at the beginning. I also think it’s pretty awesome when you didn’t have anywhere to prop the flags….that is a great family portrait idea….to have family members holding the bunting…would have been super cute if you had all the boys holding it πŸ™‚ These are SPECTACULAR! You are inspiring!!

    Oh, and not that I need to do the snap shop, but I am tempted to do it just because you are so cool πŸ™‚ I hope you are having a fantastic summer!!

  • Kimber - oh my word!

    a) her pictures are all adroable and i’m in love!
    b) you are so awesome to already have made that pic into a canvas, seriosuly you rock
    c) scenery= divine!
    d) last pictures of her mad vs getting happy is the funniest thing EVER. oh my goodness, thank you for reminding us that your awesome pictures take a lot of work too and don’t just appear out of thin air either!

    ps- I too am SOOOOOO excited for your online workshop!! i’m all over that one!

  • Molly - Your pictures made me giggle a lot this morning. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Jenna - Oh, these are just lovely! I love the brother effect – hope that works with my little girl as she gets older. πŸ™‚

  • Christie - I remembered seeing those sticks holding the banner and thought I will totally copy you (and give proper credit of course). I love these pictures so much! Beautiful!

  • Alice H - She has the best pouty face!

  • Caroline - I LOVE the “brothers effect”!!
    way TOO cute!

  • Tanya - Just precious!!

  • pinksuedeshoe - I love that you post the pictures of the real side of photographing kids. They are just as awesome as the ones you’ll hang up in your house. And it kind of makes me wish I could rent a few older brothers next time I’m trying to get my 2.5 year old to smile. πŸ™‚

  • Jennifer - The Brother Effect is hilarious!! I love it!!

  • Marie - Those are seriously the cutest 2 year old pics ever! I LOVE the one where she is holding her brother’s hand…precious! I officially don’t want to have my children in winter so we can always get outside bday pics! πŸ™‚

  • Michelle - This may sound weird, but I like pictures of kids crying too. It may not be a picture you want blown up on the wall, but they crack me up. There is SO much emotion in that little face. I think they are all adorable.

  • rkokes - love that last one when she is looking to the side-beautiful!

  • Chelsea in MO - These are beautiful, and funny, and sweet! Oh FireCracker, you are so gorgeous sweetheart! The shot with her and oldest brother holding hands, WOW! It made my ovaries yell : ) and my eyes get all watery. Those are the moments that make us mommas melt. Have a good day!

  • Kristina - Love the artsy props combined with the natural background! Your posts are so inspiring, and always get my creative juices flowing.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Why did this post make me cry? I have no idea! Ashley, this is beautiful. I know that you didn’t spend months on end planning this out ~ but you would never know that. Your family is amazing. What a blessing to have 3 older brothers that just adore her.

  • amac - So adorable! All of them, even the crying ones πŸ™‚ I can attest that it is VERY hard to get good pictures of my only child with no siblings around to entertain her! Yay, for big brothers!

  • Tina - Dear Ashley,

    I just want to say how much I LOVE the photos you share of your beautiful family and all the great ideas. I am an amateur photo enthusiast…an old dog trying to learn new tricks with the MANUAL setting on my camera. I LOVE that you post your settings as it is helpful to me in improving my own photography. Thank you for adding this to your pictures! And your children are adorable! Mine are now grown, but I wish I would have known to do all this when they were small! Love your blog!

  • Jessica P - Great pictures! I love the banners that she’s holding, and the crying pictures might be my favorite. That sounds so wrong, but something about little ones all worked up and fussy is pretty adorable. Unless you are at a restaurant, or on a plane, or at the movies…

  • cynthia - Just down right CUTE. I feel like I was there. You share the best stories! πŸ˜‰

  • LeAnne - She looks like she’s a BLAST to be around. I know I keep stating this, but I smile at every picture you post of her. She’s just got something about her….
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Anna Joy - these pictures are perfect. I esp. like the “brothers effect”. so weird but it made me teary over it…i love the relationship she has with her big bros!

  • Melissa@Julia's Bookbag - MY EYES!!! AAAAGH MY EYES!!! THE CUTENESS!!! I can honestly say those are the cutest pix I have EVER SEEN. Ever. Your daughter has SO. MUCH. SPARKLE! And I love love love all the crying/pouty pix — priceless!

  • Amanda - So sweet!! love the make shift 2 year banner… you are so creative, Ashley!

  • Midwest Magnolia - Melissa Lewis - Haha, thanks for sharing the “behind the scenes!” All of these pictures turned out great. My little guy turned two last week as well. Wish you could have taken his 2 yr old pics as well:)

  • Kathie M - So very cute! πŸ˜€

  • Denise - love, love, love!!!

  • Karissa - She is adorable, happy or sad! You can tell she really loved runnin’ around with those flags, though!

  • Nicole - Holy Christmas! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the b/w with her on the rocks – how cute! The story behind all of them is priceless – thanks for sharing!

  • Nicole - oops – sent too quickly. the dress is oh-mazing! and can’t wait to hear more about the online SnapShop!

  • amber - She is precious. And so are your sweet boys. I have a soft spot for crying toddlers. Don’t know why. It gets me in trouble with my own;)…thanks for sharing the good & the “bad”…or the “funny” side of catching her at 2. Sweet, sweet.

  • Amy - so that is the trick… siblings!! haha! she is adorable.

  • Amanda - The brothers effect is perfect. Seriously priceless πŸ™‚

  • Jeannette - I’m almost crying these are so good – and about the online SnapShop – Hello – the world will love it – I need it too!

  • cailan - Appreciate that your persevered and did it Twice – and so glad you did. Wow. these are so sweet. Can’t believe that sad face! What a cutie-pie.

  • Katie - I LOVE the brother effect! It works like a charm in our home as well:)

  • Amy K. - She is so cute, I just want to EAT her. Gobble her right up. YUM!

  • Heather - Great pics, but seriously, my favorite part is the series at the end! Love it!!

  • Kelli - You are impressed with those moms that have a plan and an articulated method, coordination and all that and most of them are impressed with your laid back, go with the rolls and it all works itself out in the end. The pictures look GREAT, both sets and all the outakes, isn’t it awesome that with todays technology we get to keep every memory so close and tight?

  • 3 months with my boy » Jocelyn K Brown Photography - […] favorite blogger of mine- ashley recently did aΒ SHOOT with her little one that i loved. i loved her banner… i know these are floating all over the […]

  • Samae - OMG. I love these pictures!!! So cute.

  • Susan P - o i am in love with your photography, your talent, your vision, your blog and your children! these are wonderful photos. and THANK YOU for not making the rest of us feel totally inept by “being real” and including some less successful photos.
    I love your nickname for your little girl…makes me laugh. would love to know the story behind the name. but what a personality she must have….her expressions are just over the top….total and enthusiastic joy or complete anguish. those “real” shots made me laugh out loud….not at her distress, but at the situation.
    thank you for sharing your world.
    God bless

  • Susan P - oh, btw, the first photo on the page reminds me of my middle daughter at that age….

  • Eryn - I can’t even handle how cute “the brother effect” pictures are. I have 8 nieces and nephews and am the designated photographer of the family so I am usually the one jumping up and down and making crazy faces for smiles. I’d love to have a brother trio to help me out! πŸ˜‰

  • Norma - I have been following your blog for about a month…your life and family has truly been a blessing and inspiration to me. Thank you

  • Momofthree - What great pictures! In our family it’s my hubby who stands behind me to get the kids laughing and if I snap enough pictures I can find at least one with a great smile pointed in the right general direction:)

    I love the black and white shot of her holding her brother’s hand. So sweet it brought tears to my eyes.

    Thanks for sharing

  • Little One is two! » - […] worked for pictures – kept her happy and I got to get some pictures. My mom made her dress (FireCracker in it two years ago) and her headband is from My Little Dear on […]