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photo shoot ~ ellie’s newborn portait session

My dear friend Jamie has been featured on this blog several times before (here, here, and here), and today I’m sharing photos of her precious newborn, Ellie. Miss Ellie is the newest addition to their already too-cute-for-words little fam. :)

We started off the session with some photos of Ellie and her dad. So sweet!Then it was mommy time. :)And some of the three of them, while big brother Greyson was still napping.Greyson woke up from his nap and needed some mama snuggles before we took family photos.Aw! He is so handsome!See, how cute is this family?!?We ended the afternoon with just sweet baby Ellie on her own, snoozing. :)Because Jamie is a close friend of mine and I know she won’t mind me sharing this, I wanted to chat just a little about newborn sessions with me and the expectations and/or concerns you might have about doing one. When Jamie had her first baby, Greyson, we talked about possibly doing a newborn shoot of him, but Jamie chose not to because of some first-time-mommy jitters. Now, I’ve never had children, but I can totally respect that. I get it. It can be stressful to think of having to do some big photo shoot just a week or two after giving birth. I wanted to tell you all, like I told Jamie when she asked me about doing pix of Ellie: I am not a newborn photographer who comes in with a bunch of props and poses and wants to finagle your baby into unnatural angles just for the sake of a picture. I mean, have you ever seen a newborn sleep with their chin propped up on their fists? Have you?? Me either. So, we don’t do that. I don’t do poses that I have to manipulate a lot in person or via Photoshop. I come to your home and I might bring a couple things or I might not. I might bring a space heater or I might ask you to turn your heat up just a little to try to help your baby stay asleep while we are moving them around or changing them. I will use your sweet little blankets and the existing nursery and home decor you have put so much time and love into choosing. I will probably move stuff around near a window to try to get some nice lighting. I will be patient and calm, even if your baby just won’t stay asleep. I will do my best to reassure you that it’s okay, we will get some precious photos you will love. Because real life doesn’t look like that one still frame you see on Pinterest, where it seems like a newborn baby magically falls asleep swaddled in nubby fabric angelically bathed in perfect light, with a soft smile on their lips. Nope. That doesn’t happen often. But your baby is still cute-as-can-be, and even if we can’t get that naked-snuggled-in-faux-fur pose that we really wanted, because maybe she just wouldn’t fall asleep for us during that setup, it’s okay! I promise. There will be other sweet photos.

After Ellie’s photo shoot, Jamie texted me saying, “Wow!!! We love them SO incredibly much!! Thank you!!!” with a bunch of heart eye emojis. :) And Ellie hardly slept for us during her session, and Greyson didn’t really feel like taking photos that afternoon, and we only got one outfit on Ellie. And guess what? Jamie and Jairus and I still LOVE these pix! :) I mean, I was so happy editing them. How can you look at this sweet baby angel face and not feel happy in your heart? :)

So I just wanted to share that to let you all know that this is real life, I am a real life photographer. I like real life. I love it! And I love how this session turned out. So don’t worry if you hire a photographer to come take pix of your newborn and the session doesn’t look like a YouTube newborn instructional video (I have seriously wondered if they drugged those babies – awful, I know! They didn’t, I am sure they didn’t…!) — I bet you will still end up with some photos you adore. :)

Happy Monday, friends. It’s February and love is in the air. Let’s celebrate it!

~abi~

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Cheryl MartinFebruary 6, 2017 - 11:00 pm

I love these pics. You captured so much in them.

gabe & ashley’s wedding ~ the reception party

000 Stonebridge Outdoor ReceptionWell, we have reached the final post from Gabe & Ashley’s beautiful wedding day at Stonebridge Wedding Venue in Blum, TX. In case you’re new around here, I will fill you in on why this was such a special wedding for me to shoot… Ashley, the bride, was married to my younger brother Jack for five years before his life was taken while serving as a Green Beret in the Philippines in 2009. Gabe, the groom, also lost his brother that same year. Gabe’s brother Elijah was also in the military, and Gabe & Ashley met while working for TAPS, an organization that helps people who have lost military family members. Gabe and Ashley have been so wonderful to my family, always keeping us involved in their lives, which means the world to us. Their wedding day was no exception, and it warms my heart each time I look at their photos and see my family all celebrating together. <3

I’ve shared several posts from their day already, which you can see by clicking here. In today’s post, we will look at some of my favorites from the reception parrrrtay they had after the ceremony! :) The wedding party started things off with a little champagne toast.001 Stonebridge Outdoor ReceptionThen it was time for some dancing!002 Stonebridge Outdoor Reception003 Stonebridge Outdoor Reception004 Stonebridge Outdoor Reception005 Stonebridge Outdoor Reception006 Stonebridge Outdoor Reception007 Stonebridge Outdoor Reception008 Stonebridge Outdoor ReceptionAshley’s dress was just perfect for twirling!009 Stonebridge Outdoor Reception010 Stonebridge Outdoor Reception011 Stonebridge Outdoor Reception012 Stonebridge Outdoor Reception014 Stonebridge Outdoor Reception015 Stonebridge Outdoor ReceptionLove Greg & Debra, Ashley’s awesome parents!016 Stonebridge Outdoor Reception013 Stonebridge Outdoor Reception017 Stonebridge Outdoor ReceptionAshley’s Maid of Honor, pictured above, also made their lovely wedding cake!018 Stonebridge Outdoor Reception019 Stonebridge Outdoor Reception020 Stonebridge Outdoor ReceptionGabe dancing with his grandma…so sweet!021 Stonebridge Outdoor Reception022 Stonebridge Outdoor Reception023 Stonebridge Outdoor ReceptionOkay, so Ashley’s family has a longstanding tradition of “stealing” the bride as she and the groom are making their exit. My nephew DJ was more than happy to carry on this tradition and snatched Ashley from Gabe and raced her off to my brother in law, who was waiting to whisk her away in a car.024 Stonebridge Outdoor Reception026 Stonebridge Outdoor Reception025 Stonebridge Outdoor ReceptionAfter a few minutes, Ashley was kindly returned to her groom. ;)027 Stonebridge Outdoor ReceptionAnd they were off, to live happily ever after! :)028 Stonebridge Outdoor ReceptionAshley & Gabe~

THANK YOU for being the people you are, for helping me believe more and more in love, for being a shining example of hope, and for allowing me to document your wedding day for you! I love you guys so much.

~abi~

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gabe & ashley’s wedding ~ the ceremony

001 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor CeremonyOkay, guys: I only have one more post after this one to share from Gabe & Ashley’s perfect wedding day. Today’s post is my very favorite from this day, other than the one of Ashley & Gabe’s portraits. I always love the ceremony part of wedding days! There’s something so reverent and powerful about watching two people pledge their lives and love to one another. It’s beautiful and it moves me every time! What a sweet covenant.003 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor CeremonyAshley’s wedding gown was insanely pretty! All over lace with a swingy ankle length skirt, topped off by this sparkly belt…um, yes to all of it! She looked perfect, head to toe!002 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor CeremonyAnd Gabe wasn’t looking too shabby either. :) Gotta love a good plaid bow tie!004 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor CeremonyI adore this pic of Ashley’s niece peeking out at the ceremony site as the guests were being seated. :)000 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor Ceremony005 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor Ceremony006 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor Ceremony007 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor CeremonyHere’s Ashley’s dad watching the processional.008 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor Ceremony009 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor CeremonyThis was such a special moment to me, I just had to share it: Ashley had my mom walked down the aisle with her mother and Gabe’s. This beautiful gesture of honoring Jack’s memory touched me so. I actually had no idea this was even happening until I saw my mom being escorted down the aisle, and I definitely had to choke back some tears at this sweet move on Ashley’s part. It means the world to us to know she will always consider us family. Love you, Ash!010 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor Ceremony011 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor Ceremony012 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor Ceremony013 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor Ceremony014 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor Ceremony015 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor CeremonyAshley and her brother looking over at their dad…awww!016 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor CeremonyTHIS TREE, y’all! What a grand backdrop for a wedding! Such a showstopper. Seriously, Stonebridge is a stunning venue with so much to offer!017 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor Ceremony018 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor CeremonyOh, those looks! Melt my heart!019 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor CeremonyThe way Ashley is gripping her dad’s hand while he prays over them…….020 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor Ceremony021 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor Ceremony022 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor Ceremony023 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor CeremonyThere’s lots of giggling when you have to kiss right in front of your dad! ;)024 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor Ceremony025 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor Ceremony“We did it!” Yay! I love this moment. :)026 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor Ceremony027 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor Ceremony028 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor Ceremony029 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor CeremonyThis is when we raced off to the river bank to grab some portraits before it was pitch dark out! So fun! :)030 TX Wedding Stonebridge Outdoor CeremonyNext up, the final post: the party! :)

p.s. I accidentally left a couple pix out of yesterday’s post, so I also updated that one. :)

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gabe & ashley’s wedding ~ getting ready + the dinner

000 TX Wedding StonebridgeI am combining some of the prep photos with some favorites from Gabe & Ashley’s pre-ceremony dinner. Have I mentioned that I LOVED how relaxed and laid back their day was?? Maybe I have, once or twice in the previous posts. ;)

020 GA021 GA001 TX Wedding StonebridgeI cannot say enough good things about Darla, who did Ashley’s hair and makeup! She also did the bridesmaids and Ashley’s mom’s hair and makeup AND SHE ROCKED IT! I mean, she did a phenomenal job! Everyone looked gorgeous! Darla is connected to Stonebridge. I believe she usually does the makeup and her sister usually does the hair, but her sister was out of town. Or something like that. Anyway, she did an amazing job and you should ask for her if you are getting married there! :)002 TX Wedding Stonebridge003 TX Wedding StonebridgeMeanwhile, over in the guys’ room… :)004 TX Wedding Stonebridge005 TX Wedding StonebridgeGabe is such a classy gent! He was so excited for this toast with his groomsmen. He got these glasses and scotch just for this moment. Loved it.006 TX Wedding Stonebridge007 TX Wedding StonebridgeOver at the Tuxedo Hall, the games had begun. :)008 TX Wedding Stonebridge009 TX Wedding StonebridgeMy nephew must have drank twenty sodas this evening! I’m serious. haha!010 TX Wedding StonebridgeLoved this moment caught while Ashley’s dad blessed the food.011 TX Wedding StonebridgeGabe & Ashley’s nieces made good use of those sweet coloring sheets! I love this idea for a kid’s table at an event! The kids loved it, too.012 TX Wedding StonebridgeAs I was writing this post today, I clicked over to the Stonebridge Wedding Venue site so I could link it up on here, and I was pleasantly surprised when I clicked on their blog and saw a post about Gabe & Ashley’s wedding! It is such a sweet post. Totally worth clicking over to read, I promise. :) As on all these posts, I have to give HUGE props to the kind people there at Stonebridge for helping to make this a perfect day for Ashley & Gabe! Only a couple more posts left to share from this one. I’ve so enjoyed getting to tell this special love story through my photos, and I hope you are enjoying following along. :)

~abi~

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[…] gabe & ashley’s wedding ~ getting ready + the dinner […]

gabe & ashley’s wedding ~ the family portraits

064 outdoor texas wedding family photosNow that I’ve jumped back into blogging with both feet, I wanted to get back to sharing more of my favorites from Gabe & Ashley’s wedding last summer. To get you up to speed on this special wedding, you can check out the first two posts here and here. One thing I loved a lot about their wedding is that they started off in more casual outfits for the bbq dinner before the ceremony, so their family photos were more like family photos instead of just obvious photos from a wedding day. I have a large family and I know how difficult it can be to coordinate schedules for a family photo session, so I’ve always thought I would like to have family photos for my own wedding taken at the rehearsal so we will all just be dressed nice but the photos won’t scream these were taken at a wedding and everyone can frame them in their home if they want. Make sense? Anyway, I loved how Gabe & Ashley did it. It was perfect. Here are just a few favorites of some of the family portraits we took that day. I loved the emotion in the ones of Gabe with his grandma {above} and with his mom and niece.065 outdoor texas wedding family photos066 outdoor texas wedding family photos067 outdoor texas wedding family photos156 GA134 GA166 GA159 GAAshley and her sisters are simply stunning!068 outdoor texas wedding family photos069 outdoor texas wedding family photosI was pretty proud of getting such a good big group photo of Ashley’s whole family! :)070 outdoor texas wedding family photosAw! Little cuties!!071 outdoor texas wedding family photosWe snagged Gabe when he was changing into his ceremony clothes and made him come take a photo with our fam. Sorry, Gabe! But i LOVE this photo! I look at it and just see a family that God stitched together. My cup runneth over. :)072 outdoor texas wedding family photosHuge shout out to Stonebridge Wedding Venue for providing us with an insanely gorgeous backdrop for this whole day and all these photos. :) I truly loved shooting there! Can’t wait to share the rest of this very special day.

~abi~

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