Monthly Archives: April 2017

Happy Monday friends!  I hope you all had an amazing weekend!  We had a fun weekend over here with just the perfect amount of fun, birthday celebrations,and rest! When I went home over spring break to Virginia Beach, I did a little something for myself!  A 35 birthday present just for me that I had been wanting for a long time.  I scheduled a photo session with one of my friends who is an amazing family and newborn photographer in the area:  Heidi Calma!  As a photographer, it’s hard to be IN the pictures.  It’s not something I’m super comfortable with to be quite honest, I’m awkward and goofy and it shows in my own unique way.  More importantly though, it’s hard for me to capture my own family!  I can take a million images of Linc, which is such a blessing.  He’s wonderful right now and lets me take as many images as I want, as long as I do in my playful way.  My other family  members though, they feel the way I do: it’s hard, scary, awkward and out of our comfort zones to be in front of the camera!  So, I thought I would take it out of my own hands and enlist Heidi!  My gift to myself this year for my 35 birthday was one of Heidi’s specialties:  A generation photo shoot and it was perfection!

I scheduled it and I didn’t tell my mom until I arrived!  In other words, I kind of set her up 😉  That’s the only way I could do it.  I don’t have a whole lot of images of me and my mom together, not even from my wedding.  So this session was such a blessing for me in more ways than one.

We got dressed, nothing fancy per my request!  I wanted us just how we are on any given day with one exception:  Linc!  I made sure I styled his hair and he actually put on some decent clothes for this.  We showed up to Heidi’s studio and it was pretty comical to be quite honest.  I knew Heidi could handle us because she’s a boy mom too.  We were in and out of there so fast!  Linc was wild of course, but Heidi was fantastic!  What she captured was perfection!  It was us!  It was my mom and I together, laughing and joking and also pretty sentimental!  It was Linc and I:  wild and chaotic and tender, once in a while!  And then of course all three of us!

Here are my favorites from our time with Heidi!  Happy 35 to me!  By the way… it’s like almost the whole gallery!

Linc loves to read and I’m so happy we brought books so Heidi could capture this time in his life right now!

Also this image below is probably one of my most favorites to date of Linc and I!  I’ve always played little games with Linc, but this little piggy, is still his favorite.  It cracks that boy UP!  he can’t make even two toes!

The book my mom is reading to Linc in this image (which Heidi masterfully captured in a few images that I didn’t show) used to be mine when I was Linc’s age.  I kept it at my MeeMaw Helen’s house who kept me every Tuesday and Thursday until she passed away when I was in middle school.  I always think of her every day, we had such an incredible relationship.  The kind you could never express in words.  This book comes really close though.. Little Critter, My Grandma and Me.  

Oddly enough, Linc came to Little Critter on his own and when my mom sent over all my old books, he would carry this around.  It was the only book he didn’t beat up or destroy.  Now, this book lives at GiGi’s house and they read it together all the time.

I brought it specifically to capture in this session but the moments happened on their own. It was almost like we had more generations in this picture… you just can’t quite see them!

Thank you Heidi for capturing these moments for me!  I couldn’t have imagined it any more beautiful or perfect!


  • April 10, 2017 - 1:47 pm

    Susie Crouch Mathias - I love these shots. You will cherish these forever. xoxoReplyCancel

If you’ve been following me for a while or lately on instagram, you know I’ve been chatting a lot (like a lot a lot) about our children having their own special magic!  Actually, I truly believe that childhood is in itself magical!  If you have the patience and the heart to let it be free and wild and to sit back and look for it, you can find it all around you.  Today, I wanted to share with you my favorite little tricks to capture that magic in camera and also use it to tell their story!  YES, pals, one of my most favorite parts of shooting little ones is that every moment in their lives actually tells a story!  It’s so amazing and it’s why that magic is so dear to my heart.  Childhood is precious and making sure we document that story is so important, which is why I wanted to share my 10 tips with you today!

These are really easy peasy things that I do around my own home to capture that special every day magic and tell that story that sometimes can be missed if you aren’t tuned in and looking for it!  These are simple everyday moments that can pass by with a twirl of a dress, or a wink of an eye if you aren’t paying attention;  but it can also be created or cultivated too!  So if you are mama like me who believes in real moments and the magic they carry, here’s 10 tricks to help you capture them and document them so you can keep them forever!

  1. Keep Your Camera Out and Ready!  This one seems like a no brainer but actually for me, it’s kind of hard to do.  I always forget to leave my camera out where I can access it, or worse I forget to bring it with me when we go out.  I can’t even begin to tell you about all the missed opportunities and stories I have had where I’ve said to myself or to Tuck, “oh man, if only I had brought my camera because this is an amazing moment!”.  Leave your camera in a place where you can grab it quickly and pack it with you in your bag when you go places (yes even to the grocery store and Target.)  Childhood magic doesn’t stop just because you are in the grocery store, trust me!   I know we all have cell phones and the cameras in those things are pretty darn amazing;  however, there is nothing like having your real camera on hand and being able to craft and create an image with your own camera where you can control the settings!   10 tips to help you capture your own child
  2. SHOOT ALL THE MOMENTS:  Most magical moments happen in the in-between when we aren’t celebrating a big day or a big event!  It’s in those simple, every day moments when we are going about our usual day that the real childhood magic exists and can live.  It’s during those quiet hours when our children can play and pretending that you find the beauty and the true realness,  and those are the moments that you will want to savor for years to come.  Those are the stories that they will want to hear year after year after year.  Capture those and you will be in heaven! 10 tips to help you capture your own child
  3. BE AN OBSERVER:  Sit back and let the play happen around you!  Don’t try to direct the action or get involved, just let your children play and let them be swept up in the moment!  Don’t worry about the mess or their clothes, or the details if you can!  Just let them go to town (safely) and just sit back and enjoy their laughter and imagination, through your lens!  It’s amazing what happens and the images that come from this are always some of my favorites!   10 tips to help you capture your own child
  4. BECOME A WILLING PARTICIPANT & HAVE AN ADVENTURE:  Sometimes I will engage and play along and this stirs up the crazy even more!  With my camera in hand and at the ready, I will play monster, dragon or anything else I can dream up or my little one at the time can dream up and we create a game together!  I will engage in play for as long as I can and then when I find an opportunity that I love or seems fit, I snap a few images along the way! The whole point is to have an adventure together!  Some days, I even take my Linc on a special adventure.  Taking him outside and somewhere where we can explore together creates it own special kind of magic itself, almost like lost boy magic!  This gives you that little kid, big world feel and also creates special memories attached to those images as well.
  5. BE WILLING TO CHANGE DIRECTION:  I know at home with Linc, some of my favorite images have come from when we have been doing one activity, switched gear’s  and then put on some dance music and just gone to town!  Sometimes, when you can change direction and put on some tunes, blow some bubbles or surprise your little ones it brings them to a place of delight and fun and that’s always a great start for magic!  So don’t be afraid to be like Taylor and Shake it off, or up rather!   10 tips to help you capture your own child
  6. EMBRACE THE CLUTTER:  We are moms and we are making memories and raising little ones, so guess what… our homes aren’t perfect and that’s OK!  Embrace the toys, the laundry, the dishes or whatever else might not be perfect in the shot.  It all tells the story of your life right now in the moment.  There are ways that you can minimize and crop and as you shoot around your home, and you will learn to position around it the more you shoot.  But, to be completely honest, I love including those kinds of details in my images because that is our life.  That is where we are right now in our story and to leave it out just wouldn’t be telling it truthfully.  So be honest with your life and embrace the clutter, even shoot those little details!   10 tips to help you capture your own child
  7. USE THE LIGHT YOU HAVE:  Learning to use light and shaping the light is one of a photographers greatest assets.  Light can make an image very moody and dramatic;  or it can make an image feel happy, light and upbeat!  Light can convey emotion perfectly and make you feel all sorts of feels.  Learning to read the light in your home and using it well can tell such a powerful story.  Likewise, understanding the light outside has the same effect. Knowing the different times of day in which you prefer to shoot will drastically change your images and help you to capture your own special kind of magic with your own unique style. 10 tips to help you capture your own child
  8.   SAY YES!!!!  This one might be hard (and it is for me sometimes) but I’ve learned having a little boy who loves to get dirty sometimes I just need to say yes!!  In a world where it’s easy to say no because of the mess and the clean up or because we might run late (the excuses could run on forever) sometimes it’s just nice to say YES.  What happens when you do actually say yes?!  Magic!  Magic happens for everyone, especially you as the mama. Let the kids do it.  Let them get dirty, let them spend a little extra time, let them run through the water and be ready with your camera.  I promise, you won’t regret it.  And that clean-up, have you camera on hand for that too!   10 tips to help you capture your own child
  9. TALK WITH THEM:  Talk with your little ones while you are playing and shooting them!  Have a conversation or ask them to tell you a story!  It’s OK if your little one isn’t smiling all the time.  It’s ok if they are looking away or in the middle of a conversation.  When you ask children thoughtful questions and truly listen, you can capture some of the most wonderfully beautiful and real expressions.  You can capture THEIR expressions, the kind that only you get to see as their mama.
  10. PRACTICE DAILY:  This is the best piece of advice I can give you!  Practice really does make perfect but not perfect in the sense of immaculate.  Perfect in the sense of perfectly imperfect and wonderfully magical.  One thing I do when I find myself shooting personal projects or shooting daily shoots like this is to download the images at night and see what I’ve uncovered.  It’s a beautiful gift to myself and it helps me understand where I want to grow.  It also helps remind me of how incredibly lucky and blessed I am.

You don’t have to be a master of the camera to capture your children’s unique personality or magic!  You just have to be willing to get down on their level and play a little bit!  So try these out today… grab your camera and start shooting!  There’s no right way or perfect way.  There’s just your way that works for your unique little one!  When you shoot to tell their story, magic just follows and I will tell you, it’s the best feeling in the world.

So go, start shooting friend!  I can’t wait to see what you uncover!


Oh my, what happens when I come home and I get together with one of my best mom gal pals, you just never know!  Ashley is a fellow blogger and has one of the best lifestyle blogs out there!  If you aren’t following her and Wavelry and Avalon (and you also have girls) you absolutely need to be! She has the best fashion advice for moms and daughters and her party style is on point.   Anyway, she and I bonded over having incredibly amazing but super strong willed kids and so when we are together we can’t soak up enough of each other and our shared experiences!  We lift one another up, we laugh and we can actually help one another breathe.  It’s just the best.  The other part about our “get together’s” and our visits  is that there is almost always some kind of crazy shenanigan photo session that just happens.  We don’t always intentionally plan it but it’s something we always just roll with!  This visit:  we sort of planned it but it was more than anticipated and it was phenomenal and also oh my gosh, did this just happen kind of funny!  We decided since it was cold in Virginia Beach, it was time to re-create the mommy and me Donut Date we did from Valentines a while back but with an added in pillow fight for fun!  What we didn’t anticipate is how many feathers were going to be in those darn pillows!  Ya’ll… I’m still finding feathers!  They traveled all the way home with me to Florida and I love it because it brings Ashley and the girls to my everyday!

I hope you can take a bit of a break today and grab yourself your favorite beverage and a snack because this is going to be a long one!  There were just too many favorites for me to narrow it down and in order to tell the story like I needed, I had to keep them all in!

So cheers:  let’s clink, my coke to your coffee or soda!  And away we go!

Indoor Mommy and Me, Pillow Fight

I arrived a bit early which was perfect!  The girls were still at school and Ashely and I had some time to catch up.  We chatted while she got ready and it was heaven.  I miss her so much and I can’t wait until she brings these girls (and Joe too) to Disney!  Oh man, here we come Princesses, here we come!!  We decided we would ease the girls into the session by just spending some time with mom on the sofa with the donuts of course, and if you know Waverly,, they had to be Duck Donuts!

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This next one is one of my favorites!

Indoor Mommy and Me, Pillow Fight

These twirl dresses Ashely bought were amazing!  We stepped in the kitchen to refill our drinks and of course, scout out some new Donuts!  I caught Waverly twirling and just had to snap a quick picture!

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One of my most favorite parts about lifestyle photography/documentary photography is just sitting back and letting the action happen!  Childhood is truly a magical time and I want to capture it as it is!  I dont’ like to give much direction and I love to sit back and watch the magic unfold.  I truly believe each child has their own magic and oh man, the Brickner girls, they have so much magic I think Tinkerbell should be jealous!  Waverly decided it was time for a dance party so we set one up for her!  She was the DJ and I just sat back!  These images to me, are the perfect images of the afternoon after school time.  The time of witching hour or right before, when you put on some music and let your kiddos go wild.  It’s what we do at my house and I know it’s what Ashley does.  We laughed together and I know years from now, we will both look at these images, think of one another and get a good laugh!

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Are ya’ll ready?!  Because here is where the fun begins!  PILLOW FIGHT!!!!

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I can’t help but laugh even now as I’m looking at the images!  There were so many feathers ya’ll.  I can’t even possibly describe how many.  It was ridiculous.  Joe (Ashley’s husband) walked in the door and his eyes were huge!  I stayed and helped clean up because there was no way I could leave there house like that, it was incredible.  Joe was such a great sport though!  We chatted and caught up while we cleaned and I will tell you, those feathers were so beautiful and so soft.  I think next time I might just buy some pretty feathers and put them in a pillow case rather than using actual feather pillows.

This is why I love the Brickner’s though!  They will do just about anything when it comes to capturing memories for their girls!  They totally embrace childhood and their girls adore it.  They have FUN and they don’t worry about the mess.  They care about the experience and I know I keep saying it, but the magic.  Ashley and Joe are the kind of parents that allow their children to be wild and free.  To have the experience rather than worry about the little things.  What’s even better, they capture it for them so they can remember it for years to come.  We only get one life, we only get one chance with our children, so we should embrace it with everything we have.  Ashley and Joe do this and they do it so incredibly well with love and fun and adventure!

I can see years from now Waverly and Avalon sitting with their parents older, looking through albums laughing at these images saying “mom, I can’t believe you let me do that!”  I can see years from now, Waverly and Avalon, doing the same activities and passing down crazy traditions with their children because their parents allowed them the opportunities to be free and playful!

This is why I love lifestyle sessions!  One day it’s just a mommy and me donut date and pillow fight,  but another day far down the road it becomes so much more!

Indoor Mommy and Me, Pillow Fight

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