Recently, I had the opportunity to do a commercial photography shoot for Free Country Apparel.Β  Only a handful of times have I shot commercial photography and when I do it is typically something that fits in the general groove of our regular routine. For this shoot, I simply needed to tell a story, my oldest would be my main model, and each of the kids would wear a Free Country jacket. Of course, I asked him if he would be up for it before I said, “yes.” He’s 11 and having his picture taken isn’t on his list of top 10 favorite activities. I think I won him over by telling him he didn’t have to look at me and smile, I just wanted to capture him doing something he loves.

We headed over to my in-laws on a rainy day. I wanted to tell the story of him paddling his siblings around the shallow edge of the pond.

He is in his element at his grandparents’ land. I loved getting to step back and just watch him…these are among my favorite photos of him now.

5.15FreeCountry-015.15FreeCountry-035.15FreeCountry-055.15FreeCountry-075.15FreeCountry-085.15FreeCountry-095.15FreeCountry-105.15FreeCountry-115.15FreeCountry-125.15FreeCountry-135.15FreeCountry-145.15FreeCountry-155.15FreeCountry-16I keep writing and re-writing a million things I want to say about him…but it would embarrass him. He likes to hear those things when it is just the two of us. He made me a mom. He is transforming into a young man before my eyes. Goodness, I love this guy.

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  • Charity G. - Gorgeous photos. I love how well you know your children and see their strengths and personalities. I strive to know my children that way and feel I fail most days, but I am so inspired to keep trying as I read your blog daily.

  • Paige E - Wow. He looks so grown up. My oldest boy is turning double digits later this year and as much as I dreaded him growing up, I’m really enjoying getting to know him. He is really a fun guy to hang out with. I love these pics!

  • shadi - Your posts about your oldest son always make me cry…I have two boys and my older one ‘s personalty and character seems very much like your oldest son’s…Thanks for reminding me how lucky I am to have him in my life.

  • Laurel - I love the part about the dog jumping out of the boat!

    Great story telling πŸ˜‰

  • Cassie - These are all beautiful photos…and that one of the pup jumping out of the boat is amazing!

  • jodi - love this! Such a fun memory in years to come, for sure! Yea!!

  • susie - I love that photo of the boys splashing your girl on the dock… it might be a favorite of all of your photos and I love all of yours! Make sure you make a huge print!

  • Kate S. - Arly the Beagle=absolutely perfect for this shoot. Seriously, couldn’t have picked a better breed for cute outdoorsy shots with kids than a Beagle if you’d been a casting director making the call, lol.

  • Jana Taft - These pictures are amazing! I love every single one. I love following my own kids around with my camera and capturing them just being kids, so I could really relate to this post. I also have a son close in age to yours and your description of him made me smile. My son is affectionate and loves to hear me tell him all kinds of things about how I feel about him, but he gets embarrassed if any of that goes public. Such a sweet post!
    Thanks for sharing! You are a gifted photographer. <3

  • lovetoteach - Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!!!!

  • Debbie - Love the photos!

  • Tika - Great pictures! Always impressed and intrigued by your work. Love the one with your youngest boys and the dog looking down in to the water.

  • Migdalia Yika - Your photos are beautiful! So happy I happened upon your blog, I just signed up to follow. Thank you for sharing your talents as well as your family with us. What a handsome bunch!


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Each year I’ve received requests from students and homeschooling parents (for their older students) to offer SnapShops in the summer. For the first time, I am going to try it out this year.Β  After the June/July sessions, I will only be doing one more round of each class in 2015 (in the fall, dates to be announced).

Registration for both of my online photography courses (SnapShops for phone & DSLR) is open. Both courses are my approach to capturing my days with my phone & DSLR. Both courses go over composition and storytelling. The phone course covers tips, tricks and apps related to phone photography. The DSLR course is for the beginner wanting to better understand how to use a camera – going from Auto to Manual. Click here for more information on each course.

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  • Cindy B - Quick question: just received a compact system camera (Olympus E-PL5) as a birthday gift, and would like guidance on moving from auto to manual. Is the Snapshop class appropriate? Will you offer a class at some point specific to micro four thirds cameras? I believe you had a loaner…

  • tami - Ashley,
    I am sorry to ask this for the millionth time but……. My hubby is buying me a camera for my bday and i was wondering about the Nikon d5100 vs 3300. I am a beginner but wanting to get your opinion. Or if you would suggest another camera

  • midwestmomm - I’m going to sign up for this! Is there an online course you recommend for
    Editing your pictures?

I took a few photos for some friends. As I left, their youngest daughter handed me a big ziplock bag full of rose petals she plucked from her mom’s rose bushes. She wanted to send them home with me to her friend…my oldest daughter.

My girl could not wait to head outside to toss and dance in the petals….and I sure didn’t mind following her with my camera.

50mm lens, ISO 100, 1/1000, f/1.4

5.15flowers-00150mm lens, ISO 100, 1/2500, f/1.45.15flowers-00250mm lens, ISO 100, 1/3200, f/1.45.15flowers-00450mm lens, ISO 100, 1/3200, f/1.45.15flowers-00650mm lens, ISO 100, 1/3200, f/1.45.15flowers-00750mm lens, ISO 100, 1/2000, f/1.45.15flowers-00850mm lens, ISO 100, 1/2000, f/1.45.15flowers-009

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  • Rae - So beautiful! <3

  • suzy - SO very adorable! I love their faces as the petals are thrown in the air. Magical.

  • Lisa - So beautiful! Thank you for the daily reminder to enjoy the sheer beauty in simple things

  • Jenny B. - So sweet! Firecracker looks SO tall in that first photo! I’m sure the pose and the leggings are helping, but it’s amazing how fast they grow up. I think my youngest son and she are about the same age, and he’s getting noticeably taller these days too. πŸ˜‰

  • Kim B. - Wonderful!! My favorite is the bottom right in the block of four square photos. That would be so beautiful framed. (of course, ALL of your photos of your children would be beautiful framed!!).

  • Natalie - So lovely! Just wondering how you were able to get both girls in focus with f/1.4? Did you focus on your oldest?

  • Kaitlyn - Love this. Everything from the mismatched socks to matching striped pants and striped shirt. Her and my girl would get along great!

  • Ann - Love how you capture memories! So beautiful!