"Photography is a feeling," Nara said to me when we met back in May. As someone who also studied journalism, Nara wanted photos that would tell a story and capture true emotion.
This girl is speaking my language! I thought to myself. I was so excited to create beautiful images for her and her husband — but I also felt a lot of pressure. We were so in tune with our ideas on what compelling photography should be, and I definitely wanted to deliver.
To prepare for our session at Carvins Cove in Roanoke (my first time shooting there!), I thought hard about how I could bring out real feelings and those storytelling images I love so much. After all, Nara and Thiago have quite the story...
They've known each other since they were kids, when they were placed in the same class at their school in Brazil. He's been in love with her since he was 10, but she never felt the same way until Thiago moved to the United States for college. When he left, Nara realized she loved him as much more than a friend.
Eventually, they started dating, and Nara moved the U.S. to be with Thiago. They got married at the courthouse, then had a big ceremony and celebration in Brazil with their friends and family.
I wanted to capture their love story and all the stories to come — the ones with their baby boy.
So throughout our session, I'd ask Thiago to tell Nara things that he loved about her and things that would make them both laugh. I'd ask them questions about their baby, who soon began wiggling during our photos.
Without pausing, Thiago would start speaking to her in Portuguese — and she would immediately light up. Though I didn't know the words, I fully understood just how much these two loved each other. They've already spent most of their lives together, which I think is so sweet and amazing.
When I look through these photos, I can see a deep friendship and love that outshines even the gorgeous sunset we watched on the water.
I'm so excited to share this session and can't wait to meet their baby boy soon!
The best sessions are the ones that don't feel like "sessions" at all. The ones where we never stand and smile at the camera. Instead, we run, talk, play and laugh — and at the end, there just so happens to be a ton of beautiful, tangible memories.
My time with the Cooper family was just like that.
We met on a gorgeous summer evening, at a huge field near their home in Salem, Virginia. The golden-hour light was every photographer's dream, and the mountain views were just what this outdoors-loving family needed.
But the thing I love most about these photos isn't the light or views at all. It's how much you can see Nolan and Harry's pure, childlike love for their parents. It pours out in these images just as much as the sunset does!
"It's true what they say," a client said to me this week over coffee. "When you're a parent, the days are long, but the years are short."
I've been a mom now for 12 weeks. While that's still 40 short of a year, I totally get the saying. Our days certainly feel long. In fact, I'm not really sure when our days begin or end, as middle-of-the-night feedings are still very much a thing for Tucker.
But I wouldn't change anything about how I've spent the past three months (which have flown by). I wake up every morning so happy — and so thankful — to see Tucker, his huge smile and his big, sleepy stretches that make him look like he has three chins. I love who he is, who he's becoming and who I am because of him.
3 Random Mom Thoughts
1. I can't believe I'm crying over this.
A few weeks ago, I watched Tyler give Tucker a bottle. Tucker accepted it, no problem. And I started tearing up. Doesn't he wonder where I am? Is this how it's going to be every time he does something without my help? Goodness.
2. What a chunk!
Now at 16 pounds, Tucker has just about doubled his birth weight. That's what you get for eating every two hours, on the hour.
3. I still haven't cleaned the bathroom, and that's okay.
I've decided recently that it doesn't matter how many to-do's remain unchecked on my ever-growing list. As long as I spend the day being a good mom, that's enough. Chores will always be there; my time with Tucker won't. (But I really do need to clean the bathroom.)
Trying on the outfit my friend bought him in Vietnam. / Being bored at Sweet Donkey last night.
Mornings are his happy time!
Wearing shoes for the first time. Leather, very fancy. / His first trip to the Roanoke Star.
Fourth of July kisses!
So lucky to have this view every morning.
In a few short days, Emily and Trent will go from party of two to family of three.
I remember what it was like to be in Emily's shoes; you feel excited, scared and miserable all at the same time, and every day you wake up thinking, "Maybe today's the day." You wonder how nine months have gone by so quickly. And while you can't wait to hold your baby, you hang on to the last few moments when he's all yours, tucked safely inside your belly.
It's such a weird, unpredictable time. Your whole world is watching, waiting for you to announce that he's finally here. So I think it's really important to slow down and take some time to capture just the almost-three of you.
Emily and Trent, thank you for letting me photograph this time in your lives. Your baby boy is already so lucky to have such fun-loving, down-to-earth parents!
Welcome to the blog! I'm Laura, a Charlottesville-area photographer specializing in authentic, natural-light photography and heirloom print art. Hope you'll explore my little online home and reach out if you have any questions!