Happy Mothers Day | Why Moms Changed My Why

Over the last several years, this photography journey has taken me to places and people that I never intended when I bought my first camera.  Clients who were once a name on a first-time inquiry in my inbox have now become friends that I care for dearly.  And I am so lucky for that.

But probably the biggest surprise is how my role behind the lens has inspired me to be such a relentless advocate for moms.

Because in doing hundreds of sessions over the last several years, there’s no question that every single mother who has been on the other side of my camera is beautifully unique from the other.  But she is also very much the same. And SO MANY OF US spend our time comparing our differences, instead of seeing that we all really just want the same things… and that we share in the same struggles.

We have days we have insecurities..  We can fear judgement.  We want a break.  We crave time with our family when no other life responsibility is tempting us in the back of our minds.  We just want to be able to let loose sometimes.  We would do anything for the well being of our kids, and we want them to remember us as being GOOD. We have days where we wonder if we can do it, and then will turn around the next and wonder how we ever existed without them.  We have a hard time with our changing bodies.  We struggle to find balance between being parents and being a married couple.  We want to just “be” and not worry how our parenting choices will be perceived by others, or if they are the best ones for our kids.

Most importantly, we just want to be the best mothers we can be in a world that is constantly trying to tell us we are not.

This was put in front of me EVERY time I photographed a family, and heightened by the fact that I was going through my own growth in motherhood. And that’s when I realized that I had a much bigger calling in this life than to just be a picture taker.

My camera had the power to show a family what exists when you peel away the stress and the social pressure. I had the ability to create a safe space for a couple of hours for them to just “be” who they were without housework, jobs and judgement in their way.   That shutter button could freeze dozens of pictures that a Mom could refer to on the days she felt like she was falling apart.

I have made it my life’s mission both through my lens and through my words on The Thinking Branch to continue to help us all see that it’s OK to be whoever we are.  That doing our best as mothers is enough. That loving our kids hard will trump any mistakes we might make along the way.

It has been an incredible privilege to get to know these mothers. I love hearing their stories. I love when they feel comfortable enough to unleash honesty on me.  I love watching their kids respond to them. I love when their authenticity is undeniable in a picture. I love learning from them. I love being inspired by them.

By YOU!  My beautiful, strong PBB Moms. Thank you for the privilege of being welcomed into your lives to help document these precious times and be able to SHOW YOU everything that is amazing about you and your family.  Let’s keep working together to build bridges between each other as mothers,  to accept ourselves for who we are… and to believe that we are more than enough for our kids.

Happy Mother’s Day, ladies. Keep shining.

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Happy First Birthday To Mr. G | Avon, OH Children and Family Photographer

We had a stunning night in Avon, OH to be the backdrop for my session with this crew of five to help celebrate the littlest dude’s first birthday!

Being a Mom myself usually allows me to bring a lot of patience and perspective to a session.  While I know everyone’s family dynamics are different and every kids’ personalities are unique… I’ve learned in my almost 6 years of photographing that there are a lot of things that are the same, too.   And so I’ll bring some of the techniques I use to engage my own kids with my client kids.  But with this session – I truly felt like I was engaging my own kids! ha!  The trio of personalities (and ages!) in these kiddos were hilariously similar to my three.  The loving, older one who follows the rules.  The middle one who is sweet, independent and an edge-walker.  And the baby… who loves life and goes with the flow.

SO MUCH family dynamics and personality awesomeness came pouring into my lens this night and I loved everything about the colors, the love and the connection that came through in these photos.  I’ve photographed these guys when they were a family of three and a family of four… and they make a pretty phenomenal party of five, too …

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Avon Lake – Cleveland, OH Children and Family Photographer | Mr H | One Year Session

I always say it – one of my favorite things that I’m privileged and humbled to get to do as a photographer is to photograph my friends and their families.   The Dad in this little trio was my first boss when I came to Cleveland, and now we are so lucky to call him and his just-as-kind-as-she-is-gorgeous wife friends of ours.  Two of the nicest people that you can ever want to be around. Ask anyone that knows them and they’ll say the same.

I was so lucky last year to get to photograph their little man as a newborn when they became parents for the first time… and it was awesome to get the email to be asked to work with them again to document this little dude’s first birthday.

Outside of having the most beautiful lakeside morning (with a lake that was blue as I’ve ever seen it!) … this little guy couldn’t have been more cool,  happy, adorable and content…  An awesome little combination for a photo shoot.  They came with some amazing photo ideas (and Mom came with an amazing dress) – and put it all together and this happened.  😉




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Avon Lake, OH Children and Family Photographer | Miss K | 6 months old

I’ve been crazy-fortunate this year to get to do a lot of full-first year milestone sessions (what I consider to be newborn, 6-month and one year).  It’s so fun for me to see how much these sweet little ones have changed, but to also see how much their parents have grown into their role.

I’ve kept up with this little lady on Facebook since she was born this past winter… and she stops me in my tracks every time I see a picture of her.  She’s GOR-GEOUS… and has a shine to her brown eyes that is so special and so hers… I was counting down the months until we got to do this session 🙂

We had a beautiful early morning day by the waters of lake Erie… and while she gave me a couple of those “who are you, and what is that giant contraption doing in my face” looks… her sweet little personality came barreling out and we captured her sweetness and the love that her Mom and Dad can’t stop giving her 😉



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Cleveland, OH Newborn Photographer | Baby Boy J | Rocky River, OH

To say that I adore this family is an understatement…  And then to try to put into words how COOL it has been to photograph their family every year (sometimes two times a year) for the last four years is probably pretty impossible.  This session marked our THIRD newborn session together as big sis and big brother welcomed their littlest brother into their tribe.

We stepped outside the “normal” PBB newborn session set up and got outside for the first half of the session to capture some fun family and big sibling shots… as well as some sweet outdoor newborn shots of the little dude before going back and doing some in-home photographs… and I LOVE how complete it made the session feel.








Mom has always photographed with such ease and gorgeousness… ESPECIALLY after having her babies which is extra awesome.  She exuded a really beautiful “zen” spirit that day… which is kind of exactly opposite what you expect when you have two active older siblings in addition to the demands of a new baby… but that’s her. 





And back home for some snoozing in my cozy traveling studio 😉





Moms and Dads of multiple kiddos … don’t ever forget to take pictures together with each individual child.  This is such a special thing for them to have when they’re older.  They’ll be so many pictures of them with their siblings and the whole family… this kind of image is one they’ll cherish.  And you will too.


You guys are so amazing.  If I write too much I’ll probably cry… so we’ll just say “until next time…” – and get really excited that “next time” we will have a whole new set of locations to choose from.  Love you all.  Until then…