Acts of Kindness

I am still reeling from the tragedy that occurred last Friday in Newtown, CT, and I'm sure that you all feel the same. I look at my young son and I just want to hold him so tight and never let him go. I feel such sadness for those families who lost precious loved ones, especially in this normally joyous holiday season. I still can't read any of the news articles about this without my eyes filling with tears and my chest getting tight.

In the wake of this horrible event, there's been a lot of buzz about doing acts of kindness and I want to join in with the skills that I have. There has also been much discussion about the family of one of the little girls that had recently had a family photo session done. Many photographers have joined The Olivia Act, committing to give free photo sessions to deserving families who might not otherwise be able to afford professional photos of their children.

I want to give in honor and memory of all those involved, but I need your help. I want to give a free mini-session including the digital images, to at least one family with children and at least one teacher and his or her family. I hope to do more throughout the year, but I'll start with this. The session can be for the whole family or just the children, whichever they would like. They can be considered deserving for any reason you decide, military service, any form of hardship, just being a great person, etc.

Can you help me by telling me about a deserving family or teacher in the Lake Wylie, SC or surrounding areas (Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Clover, York, Belmont, Gastonia, etc)? Be sure to include their name, email and why you think they are deserving of a free photo session. Please send your suggestions to Andrea[at]Speechless-Photography[dot]com and include either "Deserving Teacher" or "Deserving Family" in the subject line. I know everyone is busy right now, but please try to get your email to me on or before Friday, January 11th. I'll pick 2 of your submissions to contact to schedule a free session, either this spring or as soon as the weather is nice enough to comfortably be outdoors.

This isn't about growing my business, so you don't have to like my Facebook page or follow my blog to submit deserving families or to be chosen for the free session. This is just about doing what I can with the tools that I have and hoping that my small act of kindness will encourage others to do the same.

"How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment. We can start now, start slowly, changing the world. How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make a contribution toward introducing justice straightaway. And you can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness!" - Anne Frank

These pictures of my son from our recent trip to the beach were included for no other reason than that they bring me joy.

Always Learning - Lake Wylie, SC Beauty Photography

I think it is so important to seek out educational opportunities in photography. There is so much to learn, and I love finding out ways to improve my shooting or post processing workflow.

At the beginning of my photography journey, one of the very first photographers that I admired and started following was Andee Tate of Crave Photography. She offers mentoring and I was finally lucky enough to have a spot in one of her online sessions last night.

I am so excited to put everything I learned to use on my next photo session, but because I couldn't wait to play, I went ahead and re-edited a photo I took at the end of the summer.

Here is my image with no edits (top), my original edit of the photo (middle) and my new "post Crave" edit (bottom). What a difference!

The best black and white photos start with an image with lots of contrast. Unfortunately, my original edit of this photo was fairly soft and flat, so the black and white was a little blah. But check out what a difference the information I learned in the Crave mentoring session made! Wow!

Trey, Liz and Little Mr. W - Fort Mill, SC Family Photographer

Meet Trey, Liz and Little Mr. W! This family was so much fun to photograph at their urban family session and this little guy definitely kept me on my toes.

This was my first time shooting in downtown Fort Mill, SC but it won't be the last! As you can tell from the photos, we had so many great locations to choose from in a small area. I felt like a kid in a candy store trying to decide which spot we would try next!

This was also a perfect location for this family session because Liz is originally from Fort Mill. She and Trey are both native South Carolinians!
Mr. W had a great time running around and laughing at my crazy antics during the session. He was pretty stoic for the most part, but a few tickles from mom and dad brought out a big smile. He gave out lightning fast kisses and hugs to both his parents and the was off to see what else he could find around this spot.
Trey and Liz met in college at Clemson and are both die hard Tiger fans! Don't they look great together? I'm so glad I had a chance to get a few pictures of them alone, because once you become a parent, pictures of just the two of you are all too often a rare thing.
You can see that Mr. W got his piercing blue eyes from his momma, whose eyes are also gorgeous! I think he must get his serious face from his daddy.
Mr. W was a natural model. He posed perfectly on the steps for a fraction of a second before he was up and running again.I think these are some of my favorite photos from the session, I'm obviously a sucker for a sweet smile!
This little guy had a great time popping up out of the basket that I had brought with me. Thankfully, it slowed him down just enough to get a few cute shots. One of his favorite songs is "Rumor Has It" by Adele and he sang part of it for me during the session. I have to say, his singing was pretty impressive!
Mr. W was full of energy and super adorable! I had such a great time photographing this family!

I also designed some cute holiday cards using the photos from this session, so be on the lookout for a peek at those in a future post.

Fall & Halloween Cards - Lake Wylie, SC Child & Family Photographer

I love designing amazing custom cards for my clients using photos from their session. I recently created some super cute fall and Halloween cards that I couldn't help but share!

Custom cards are such a great way to share your photos with friends and family, especially those that live far away or anyone that you don't get a chance to see very often. Adding photos to your cards really personalizes them and gives the receivers a quick way to catch up on how you are doing and how much your family has changed and grown.

Collage cards, like this fall card, are almost like a mini-photo album. Designs like this show off multiple pictures from your session and are great for the times that you just can't pick only 2 or 3 favorites. You can see more of the photos used for this card here.
This Halloween card uses a clean and simple design, with patterns and shapes that keep it fun! The rounded corners are a unique and modern touch that will make your cards stand out from the rest. You can see more photos from my Halloween costume "Monster Mini" sessions here.
And this Halloween card features a cool striped background that pulls colors from the costumes of each member of this dynamic duo. I hand pick the background to coordinate with the photos and the layout to best show off your favorites on each of the cards that I design.
This is an example of the actual printed cards and the paper types used. The fall card was printed on standard card stock and the other two cards were printed on pearl finish card stock, which has a slight shimmer. The Spiderman card also has rounded corners.

Giving Thanks...

I am incredibly thankful for the multitude of blessings in my life.
I have a wonderful family; a loving husband, an active and healthy son and a super affectionate dog. I have caring and supportive friends. I have my health and a stable full-time job. I have more to be thankful for than I could ever hope to list...
I also have a passion for photography that I have been fortunate enough to develop into more than just a dream. Transforming this wisp of an idea into a reality has not been done on my own, I owe thanks to all of you - my clients, blog followers, Facebook likers, and anyone who has ever sent someone my way.
Thank you for sharing about me, supporting me and commenting on the photos that I create. Thank you for trusting me to document your special moments and once-in-a-lifetime events.

Today, and everyday, I am thankful for YOU.

Fall Family Fun! - Lake Wylie, SC Family Photographer

Nothing says fall like mums, pumpkins and bales of straw! You'll recognize Josh, Amy and little Mr. C from some of the other sessions that I've done for them, but I have to admit that this session is probably my favorite so far!

When Amy told me that she wanted to do a fall family session, I knew just the place! I love these gorgeous yellow flowers in the background, but they don't stay pretty long. Luckily, our timing for the session was just about perfect and we had perfect weather to go with it!

Amy did a fantastic job choosing outfits for her family to match the setting and complement each other. I love how the orange just pops off of the background!
Mr. C's first Halloween is also coming up, so he had a fun shirt that we worked into the session. He is one happy little guy with the sweetest smile and bright blue eyes!

I love my vintage Pepsi crate and take advantage of any chance to include it in a session. Mr. C thought it made a great place to hang out for a few minutes while he checked out the surroundings.
I took a few "snapshots" as they were getting ready to leave, because how could I resist capturing that adorable expression? Mr. C may be little, but he already has a big personality!

I also designed some fabulous fall cards for Amy using these photos that I'll be sharing soon!

Happy Halloween from Speechless Photography!

I hope you and your "little monsters" are having a Happy Halloween! Here's a little Halloween photo overload to brighten your day!

Three serious super heroes and one sidekick in training!

Practicing their "mean" faces for the criminals and their smiles for when they ask for candy...

The masks come off! Their super power is being way too cute!

This dynamic duo is ready for action!

Now, tell me how you will be able to resist giving these boys way more candy than their parents will let them eat in a month! :-D

This little Spiderman is hoping for a web-slinging good Halloween haul...

And let's finish up with a little dragon sweeter than all the Halloween candy you can stuff in your treat bag!

Time for Family Mini Sessions! - Belmont, NC Family Photographer

It's that time of year again! Family mini sessions and custom designed holiday cards are now available. I only have limited spots for these sessions, so contact me today to get signed up! 

Feel free to forward this information to anyone else who might be interested. I will offer a referral bonus to anyone who has a friend book one of these sessions with me. 

The price will be $250 for 20 photos (color and black and white versions of each) and custom designed holiday cards can be added for $40 per each set of 25. The sessions are for families of up to 5 people. Additional people can be included for $25 more per person.

What's a Beauty Session? - Clover, SC Beauty & Fashion Photographer

Hey ladies, you know all those times that you need a picture of yourself for your Facebook profile or the directory at work, but when you start searching your files, you realize that you are always behind the camera?

There might be a handful of pictures where you appear, but they are usually an afterthought and often are just not something you want to share with the world.

The solution for this dilemma is to let me pamper you with a beauty session! I will help you to choose your outfits, give you tips for doing your makeup and will use only the most flattering of poses to show you at your best!

Professional hair and makeup* can even be provided if you really want a treat!

"I've never seen a smiling face that was not beautiful." ~ Author Unknown

Every woman loves to feel beautiful. There is a good reason why we all treasure those special times when we get dressed up in the perfect outfit and spend a little extra time with our hair and makeup. Something about it just makes you feel so good!

Maybe it reminds us of playing dress-up as girls or possibly it's just because we often are so busy taking care of everyone else and rarely take that time for ourselves. Usually this preparation happens before an event or a special night out and might occasionally be documented by a quick snapshot as we head out the door. But what if you could splurge a little and schedule a session to really document all the details of how fabulous you looked and felt! And it's just plain fun to feel like a glamorous model for an hour, too!

Maybe you'd love to schedule a session but are waiting until you lose some weight. I know I have absolutely been guilty of this myself!

Well, don't "weight" any longer! I have studied the most flattering poses and ways that I can help you to minimize any areas that you might be self-conscious about.

Let me help you show the world how beautiful you really are!

* Professional hair and makeup provided at an additional cost.

Monster Mini Sessions - This weekend!

Don't forget to reserve your spot for the Monster Mini Halloween Costume sessions this Saturday, October 6th in Lake Wylie, SC!

You can also add custom 5x7 photo cards for just $40 per set of 25!

The Beach Boys - Lake Wylie, SC Children Photographer

Sand, sun and three boys enjoying every minute of it! If you're having vacation withdrawals as summer draws to a close, just spend a few minutes checking out these pictures to feel like you're hanging out on the beach with three of the cutest boys you've ever seen!

I had the good fortune to be at the beach for my own vacation at the same time as these Speechless VIPs, so of course we had to work out the details for a beach photo session! I'm sure you recognize the twins from their multiple previous sessions and you might recognize their cousin little Mr. C (who will be turning a year old very soon - can you believe it?) from his newborn photos.

All three boys enjoyed "resting" a few minutes in their bright red wagon.
Little Mr. C wasn't completely sure about the sand and water at first, but he came around pretty quickly. This little guy was full of smiles! I loved watching him toddle around on those sweet baby legs!
The twins had a great time playing in the sand and enjoying their morning at the beach.
If you have to get up early for photos, it helps to have a giant sandbox to play in while you're doing it!
Check out those gorgeous blue eyes, I think his momma might just have a heart breaker in the making!
These guys are so lucky to have each other and I know they are going to grow up to be the best of friends. I love the hug in the photo below where they were showing off some brotherly love!
I think they were secretly excited to be allowed to get in the water in their good clothes.
It didn't take much to convince them that they were allowed to jump in!
By the end of the session, they were "all in." They headed back to the beach house wet and happy!

This blog post was definitely a photo overload, but I wanted to make sure that all my readers got their full daily dose of sun, sand and cuteness today!

April and Baby R. - Rock Hill, SC Baby & Newborn Photography

If you need a dose of cuteness today, then look no further! Meet April and Baby R! This little guy was 3 months old and already out of the newborn stage, but, as you can see, that didn't mean we couldn't get some adorable photos and work in some cool props.

I love photographing older babies as they check out the world with their bright, wide awake eyes! Quite different from sleepy newborns, although I love them too for different reasons. Baby R. already had quite the personality and I think you can see it shining through in his photos.
In addition to being a fantastic new momma, April is also a talented writer and filmmaker! She contributes regularly to The Charlotte Observer and has also championed street art and performers in Charlotte, NC and other areas around the country. You can learn more about her cause and see examples of her work on the BUSK! Facebook page and website, her Vimeo page, and the March Blake Media Facebook page and website.
April wasn't really expecting to be in the photos, but I couldn't resist a few snaps of that momma love! I think we can all agree that there is nothing better than sweet baby kisses! As you can see, April's natural beauty meant that she looked gorgeous, even though she wasn't prepared for a photo shoot.
My husband and I started decorating our home with antique toys and other vintage items. We have a great time "antiquing" on the weekends. Don't tell him that part of my criteria for things that I want to buy is whether or not I can pose a baby in or on it! This vintage Pepsi crate was one of our recent finds and this little guy thoroughly enjoyed being propped up in it on a super soft fuzzy blanket.

If you're kicking yourself for missing out on having professional newborn photos taken of your little one, then contact me today to schedule a baby session instead! Your baby might be out of the sleepy newborn stage, but that doesn't mean we can't get some fun photos to document this special and quickly changing time in his or her life!

Jacquie - Rock Hill, SC Beauty Photography

Meet Jacquie. Isn't she gorgeous? Seeing how poised and confident she looks in her photos, you would never have known how HOT it was during her session! She definitely kept her cool, despite the near 90 degree temperatures.

If some of these locations look familiar, it's probably because Jacquie is Dayton's mom and we did her beauty photo shoot along with Dayton's session. This gave us the opportunity to get photos of both of them at each location and a few of them together. 

Don't forget that you can always save 10% or more by booking multiple sessions at the same time which can then be shot together or held separately within the next year to 18 months.

Jacquie is an AVON consultant and did a great job on her makeup for the session using AVON products. If you'd like to place an AVON order or need help picking the best shades and products for you, check out her website!

I can't decide which had more sparkle: her gorgeous eyes or the beautiful beading on her shirt. I love Jacquie's soft, subtle smile here. It definitely has a "Mona Lisa" like quality!

Halfway through the session, Jacquie changed into this fantastic gauzy blue shirt. The color really popped against the greenery of the vines and the orange brick wall that we found nearby. The blue also perfectly flattered her complexion and her silver accessories were an excellent finishing touch!

As the sun set, we caught just a hint of gorgeous flare around her. I love how the slight haze adds a dreamy quality to these images. And check out those fabulous shoes! Jacquie really thought of every detail while she was planning the outfits for her session. If you're unsure how to put a beautiful outfit and accessories like this together, be sure to check out the resources that I have listed on my Session Preparation page.

Jacquie's husband Denny showed up as we were finishing the session, so I couldn't resist getting a few pictures of both of them. Don't they look great together? And his coordinating blue shirt was a complete coincidence!

"Always remember to be happy because you never know who's falling in love with your smile." ~ Author Unknown

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