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what does joy look like?

what happens when it’s mid-december and you get a group of moms together for dinner?  eventually the conversation will make it’s way to the hustle and bustle of the season, the never-ending to-do lists, the holiday plans, the stress that it may be causing, etc, etc. and at least in my group of friends one of us will inevitability throw out the phrase “choose joy!” we actually say that quite a bit in my group of friends. (thanks to one friend in particular! who also is a loyal reader of this blog – hey girl!! love you! xoxo) anyway, it got me thinking last night that for many people, unfortunately, this season especially is a time when we do have to make a conscious effort to choose joy. but you know who doesn’t have to make that choice? kids! they just do it! they are for the most part joyful! ok, maybe not the kid throwing the tantrum in Target (ignore that kid!) but if you want a quick fix or a quick pick me up, look around and look for a kid and i bet you will be able to see someone who is experiencing some type of joy.


some examples of joy from recent holiday sessions:



occupational hazard

falling in love with every baby that crawls through my studio door. that’s a lot of babies. that’s a lot of love. but when a baby is belly laughing like this one, i mean, really? how can it be helped??


baby photography

Gen Levy - Oh my goodness. That is one of the cutest babies I've seen in a long, long time.

shalimarb - and he was even cuter in person - if that's even possible!!!

one holiday at a time

at shalimar b photography we’re all about that base, wait a minute, no we’re not.  i mean, yes, we are, but what i meant to say is that right now we’re all about christmas photos and holiday cards and getting clients prints for christmas gifts and wrapping up holiday sessions, and all things holidays. this has been going on since about september. it’s just the nature of the business.


in my personal life my two boys are endlessly asking “when are we getting our christmas tree?” i’ve received individual, well thought-out drafts of each of their christmas lists no less than 5 times, they have pointed out all of the christmas lights and holiday decorations going up in the neighborhood.  and my response to them is always the same. at least in my home life i can say this:


one holiday at a time.


thanksgiving is not a holiday that i will ignore or decorate over. i love this holiday! what’s not to love? it’s got all the things that make a holiday fabulous.  good food? check. pie? check. taking time out to be thankful? check. not staying up until midnight to wrap presents? check. did i mention pie? check. double check.

so what am i thankful for? so many things – too many to list but the biggies are my health, and health of those i love. food in our bellies and roofs over our heads. anything after that is just gravy in my opinion.

i’m also so thankful for all of my clients who trust me to do what i love. and it’s not just capture pretty pictures of them or their children looking at the camera. i do love that, don’t get me wrong. but what i really love is capturing the moments that pass between people that love each other. you can’t plan for it. you can’t ask for it. you just have to wait for it and know when to take the shot. every session i complete, i am thankful for these moments, and for the people that give me the opportunity to witness and capture them. here are a few from some of my recent holiday sessions. . . happy thanksgiving!



turning bad days to good

i don’t know too many people that can say that if they are having a lousy day it will be better once they go to work – but i sure can!!!!!

it always amazes me! not that i have a ton of bad days – i don’t (thankfully!) but you know how life is. . . we all have things going on .  .  . things on our mind . . . stress, anxiety, etc. but when i walk into a photo session everything just melts away.  anything that was bothering me is suddenly gone, completely forgotten and all i see are the beautiful faces in front of my lens. this little guy was such a joy to me on this day and was exactly what i needed.

we laughed. we ran around. we threw the ball. we cooed over his little sister.

he and his family were a complete delight. and when they left my day was a little brighter and my step was a little lighter.


click, click, click

is that my shutter clicking away? or is that me and this couple just clicking and “getting” each other? was that totally and completely cheesy?  aahhh, yes it was.  however!!!! the correct answer is . . . wait for it . . . both!! sometimes people come into your life and you just “get” each other. i felt this way about this couple. i’m very lucky actually, because i feel that way about many, many of the clients that walk through my door. what’s even better about this couple is that they have booked me for an entire year of photos as their sweet baby is born and grows – i can’t wait!!!  not only to meet their sweet little peanut but also to get to know them and watch them become parents. (sidebar: when an expectant mom comes to the studio wearing Chuck Taylors – hello! instant cool factor!)  this is one of the best parts of what i do. watching people make that leap into parenthood.

when i go thru the photos of families that have been with me for their baby’s first year, it is amazing to see the changes in not only the baby, but also in the parents.  and i don’t mean in how tired the parents look or the baby weight that has been lost. i mostly mean the looks of love that pass between a mother and her baby. the way a father will throw his baby up in the air – so high that sometimes i will gasp (!!) as the baby is laughing like crazy looking at daddy because he knows his daddy will catch him. or the looks between mommy and daddy as if to say “look at this amazing person we created.”

so when i see expectant parents it makes me think of what they have ahead of them. i’m excited for them. but i don’t tell them. i’ll let them figure it out for themselves and be there to take the photos.