Big Announcement!

Okay, so I'm super stoked to share here a little piece of information that I've slowly introduced via social media over the past few days. It's not a big deal, really, but I'm truly excited for what it means!

So what's the big deal? Here's a little clue... let's see if you can spot it:

Notice anything different?

That's right! I have officially filed with the great state of South Carolina to turn Laurel Lynn Photography into an LLC!

{ insert shouts of celebration here }

Okay, okay, settle down. As I said, it's not really that big of a deal. But in my mind, it makes me OFFICIAL! :)

I'm excited to be taking this photography business of mine seriously, and forming an LLC was, in my mind, just another step forward to making that dream a reality. Now my business life is separate from my personal life, and I feel I can finally start giving more attention to both now that there isn't a jumbled mess in my head trying to keep things organized!

The best part? If you were one of my (several) previous clients who wrote a check payable to "Laurel Lynn Photography" only to have me sheepishly ask you to write a new one made out to me personally, we won't have to deal with that drama anymore! Hallelujah! It's a little thing, but really it was quite embarrassing for me as a business owner to have to put my clients through that inconvenience. Now you can pay for your sessions with checks payable to Laurel Lynn Photography, LLC. I'm so excited!

I also wanted to take a moment to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to my dear friend, Jes Jameson. Without her prompting and urging during the spring rec baseball season our boys played together in 2016, I seriously doubt Laurel Lynn Photography would exist today. Thank you, Jes, for your encouragement, positive support, and of course, the referrals! I couldn't be more grateful!

Summer Break

Hello, Laurel Lynn family! I wanted to post a quick update to let everyone know I will be taking the summer off to welcome a new baby to our family! I will not be scheduling any sessions from June 1st through August 31st. I'm REALLY looking forward to getting back behind the camera for fall sessions beginning September 1st.

Thank you for your understanding and continued support!

Hugs!
Kathy

Session Spotlight: Katriel

I had the BEST time with my latest Senior Portrait session. Katriel was such a joy to work with! And what a natural beauty!

See? I told you so!

She was so laid-back and easy-going, which made my job so easy!

We met at Falls Park in downtown Greenville. There are so many amazing colors and textures to work with, which is why it's one of my favorite places for photography sessions!

If I were to be completely honest, I would tell you that Senior Portraits are actually one of my most favorite sessions to shoot. It's such an incredible time in a young person's life... that transition from High School to College... young adulthood... and beyond!

I am beyond blessed to have had the opportunity to share in this special time in Katriel's life! Such a beautiful young woman!

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And seriously SUCH a natural beauty!

Thank you, Katriel! Many blessings as you take your next steps in life!

Session Spotlight: Ashley + Chris

Y'ALL!

Sorry... didn't mean to yell. But I'm just So. Stinkin'. Excited. Read on and you'll find out why!

I had the awesome privilege to photograph my very first engagement session last weekend. And the best part? It was with The. Sweetest. Couple. Ever.

Seriously. Ashley and Chris were such a joy to work with! It's clear these two are absolutely smitten with each other! They made my job so easy -- I couldn't be more grateful!

At this moment as I am writing this post, there are 308 days until this adorable couple becomes husband + wife on January 6, 2018. Talk about patient! But if you really want to know how patient they are, how about the fact that they got engaged waaaaaaay back in August 2016! I know, right!?

I just can't get over how much fun it was to shoot this session. Ashley is the sweetest, and Chris, well, he follows instructions very well and does exactly what he is told. The makings of a perfect husband, if you ask me!

One of my favorite things about this session was the fact that these two lovebirds brought their moms with them. Isn't that the sweetest thing you've ever heard? It was so neat to see mom + future mother-in-law traipsing all over Taylors Mill watching their sweet not-so-littles pose for the camera at their engagement session. Be still my heart!

I can't wait to see what the future holds for this adorable couple!

Did I mention how excited I was about this session?? I tried really hard to keep my excitement in check during the photo shoot, but I have to tell Ashley and Chris (and their moms!) how much I appreciate them taking a chance on me and providing me with the opportunity to capture this sweet couple's love and adoration for each other up close.

** cue the "awwwwwwws"

Session Spotlight: Baby Ethan

Y'all. My apologies for the lack of recent posts! As you may imagine, I've been quite busy taking photos of amazing families, children, and babies lately, so I hope all is forgiven! Speaking of babies, I just had to share a session spotlight featuring this little cutie!

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I mean, really. Can you even? This guy was such a gem to work with! And the rest of his family was a treat as well! He was welcomed by his beautiful mama, Stacey, and proud dad, Mike.

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I couldn't dare leave out his proud big sisters! Aren't they just lovely?!

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Little Ethan was so much fun during his session! He cooperated waaaay more than a newborn baby should, and even hit us with a winning smile! Just. Can't. Even.

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This adorable little dude is destined to be a pro linebacker someday!

I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity to spend some time with Ethan and his amazing family! They are a beautiful family -- inside and out!

If you know someone who is expecting, would you consider telling them about Laurel Lynn Photography? I would be so grateful for the blessing of creating special keepsake portraits of their little bundle of joy!

Session Spotlight: The Philip Family

I had the BEST time with the Philip family! They have four gorgeous girls who are sweeter than can be! Look at all of this preciousness!

I can't even handle these big brown eyes and that adorable smile!

And is there anything better than matching smocked Christmas dresses? I think not.

And of course there has to be the best biggest sister in charge of this crew! Isn't she gorgeous?

I had so. much. fun. working with this family! And let's be honest: anyone who plans Christmas photos in October surely must be a BFF of mine! Planning ahead is my favorite!

Thanks for the incredible session, Thomas & Liz! Your girls are beautiful -- inside and out! <3

Session Spotlight: Baby David

They say there's a first time for everything, and spoiler alert! It's true! I'm just over the moon giddy to report that I finally photographed my very first newborn session with sweet little David here. He is just darling! See?

Those eyes, amiright!? Awwwwww! He's just so snuggletastic! I had a brief mini session with David and his super-sweet mama Valerie, and I could barely handle the cuteness of this little one! Mom wanted to be sure I capture some of his precious little features, so I made it my goal to come through for her! I mean, just look at that sweet swirl of strands atop this guy's adorable head!

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While we're talking newborn traits, check out these tiny toes!

And those tiny fingers! {swoon}

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I'll be honest --  this was my first session, and clearly I have a lot to learn. But I'm so happy to have a few precious gems to share with David's mama to help her remember these tiny details of her sweet newborn baby... boy #4, by the way! She certainly has her hands full, folks!

I am so grateful to Valerie and her sweet boys for letting me into their home to photograph this handsome little fella!

Session Spotlight: The Haynes Family

You guys.

This family was the coolest. I had so much fun hanging with these people at Falls Park in downtown Greenville last night. Such a beautiful family. See?

Our session started with the kids, because, let's be honest: kids fade fast. Especially when you're requesting that they participate, smile, look in a particular direction, and not get dirty. That's a tall order for a couple of sweet little kiddos, amiright?

Don't let their adorableness fool you... the little guy on the right? He's in charge. Like, of all the things.

And the little miss? Such a sweetheart! This girl doesn't need any instruction in front of a camera.

I loved editing this family's session because those beautiful blond-haired, blue-eyed babes? Let me tell you: they were such a joy in post! Not surprisingly, there isn't a lot of editing required when you're working with so much adoreableness! The black & white edits were my fave!

Another session is complete! And I couldn't be more elated that I had the joy and privilege to work with yet another incredible family. Thank you, Haynes family, for the fun and entertaining evening at the park!

Session Spotlight: The Burns Family

Can you believe August is already here? Back to School is just around the corner. #imnotready

But I'm happy to say I was able to kick off this month with an awesome photoshoot with an incredible family! Seriously, if you don't already know them, you need to seek them out and find them. As in, right now. Like, Facebook-stalker style*. They're seriously that awesome.

* Please do not stalk my clients.

 

We met at Falls Park in beautiful downtown Greenville. I was a bit worried about the weather because it was raining at my house when I left for the shoot, and was seriously overcast as I arrived downtown. But I'll be honest: I've found that shooting when cloudy is actually much easier than shooting in full sun. It saves me the challenge of finding decent shade!

 

Have you seen anything so very cute and precious and adorable and perfect in all your days?? This girl knew how to work the camera! Such a joy, this one!

Her big brothers? There are two: both adventurous and 100% boy! Our session included several brief intermissions to allow for bug searching, worm collecting, and snake skeleton finding. Yes, really.

 

After we finished our session, we walked across the street to a local fro-yo joint. I gotta say, I might need to make that a tradition following my family sessions! It was so wonderful to sit and chat with these great folks while our kids played together and spilled--er, I mean, scarfed, their frozen treats.

 

All in all, another incredible session is in the books! And can I just add that I still can't get over the fact that I was given the privilege to capture a few special moments for this family. It's such a blessing to have this opportunity -- one I do not take lightly!

Click here to view the full Burns Family gallery. 

If you're local to the Greenville area, I would be honored to schedule a session with you and your family! I am still accepting new bookings for an introductory rate of just $50 through August 15th. That means if you contact me by August 15th to schedule a session, it's just $50! This includes a one-hour outdoor session at the location of your choice, an online gallery, and 10-20 edited high-resolution files of your precious family! {Sessions booked by August 15th must be scheduled by November 30th.}

But what happens if you contact me to schedule on or after August 16th? Well, my introductory price goes away, that's what! #sadness #booknow :)

Taking a Risk... Help Wanted!

Okay, friends, so I'm taking a bit of a risk here in writing this post. As it turns out, I really love photography. Surprised, are you? ;) I love capturing the everyday moments with friends and family. Lifestyle photography is my jam. And I want to do more of it.

I just love photography. And if you know me, you know that I am not one to talk myself up or broadcast my strengths to the world. But I think the work I do results in special, meaningful keepsakes for the families I shoot. And I just want the opportunity to do that for more people! That's where this post, and YOU, enter the picture (pun totally intended).

If you're reading this, I'm guessing you're a friend of mine, or perhaps a family member, and/or maybe even a fan of my photography. I'm so so glad! Would it be so terrible if I were to ask you for a favor? Social media and word-of-mouth are the golden tickets of advertising for a small startup business like mine. I'm doing everything I know to do to get Laurel Lynn Photography launched and officially on the map! Since you're reading this post, you obviously already know about my website, but I'm also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, too! I'm running a Summer Mini Session promo, and I even have some beautiful business cards on hand. I've recently launched Facebook ads, and have contacted a few friends & family with marketing skills to explore new ways of letting people know about Laurel Lynn Photography.

So what exactly am I asking from you? It's simple, really. Share my posts. Retweet me. Invite your friends to Like my Facebook page. Tell your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors about Laurel Lynn Photography! For individual/family sessions, my rates are extremely reasonable. And the types of sessions where I need more exposure and experience? Your connections would be priceless to me, and I can promise you I would make it worth their time to act as my guinea pigs. ;) Think about it. For example:

  • Know of someone expecting? I'd love to give my first maternity session a go!
  • Know of someone with a newborn? I'd love to give my first newborn session a go!
  • Know of someone with an almost one-year-old? I'd love to give my first cake smash session a go!
  • Know of a newly-engaged couple? I'd love to give my first engagement session a go!

As you can see, I'm working hard to build my business. I realize I have a lot to learn and need to gain more experience. But to do that, people need to know about my business. And they won't know about me without your personal referral.

Would you be willing to help me? I couldn't be more grateful.

Before & After

For some reason unbeknownst to me, I have always shot in RAW by default. Not ever JPG. Just RAW.

And individual RAW files are huuuuuuuge! They eat up hard drive space. They take up cloud backup space. They import/export so ridiculously slowly. They fill up SD cards so quickly that I can't take more than about 400 images on a single card. And for someone who shoots a TON of images at any given event, that can make things a bit inconvenient.

Such large images.

Each file.

HUGE.

Times 400 or so.

But it's just how I've always done it.

I was shooting images at my nephew's graduation party over the weekend and it was such a wonderful opportunity to capture lifestyle moments without intruding on the activities happening all around me. Lots of kids. YAY! Lots of outdoors. YAY! It was so much fun!

But there was a lot of switching. Indoors to outdoors. 50mm Prime lens to 300mm zoom lens. And all of this shooting in manual, which means adjusting white balance, ISO, shutter speed, and aperture with virtually every shot.

Each time I needed to change my setup, I'd take a few test shots to check my settings and make adjustments as needed. I usually delete these shots because they typically end up with either a blown-out exposure, or crazy underexposed. But because I was changing things up with my gear so frequently, I didn't take the time to delete the shots on camera.

When I began my editing, I quickly culled through 344 photos to narrow the field of those worth taking the time to edit. And I came across this one of my 6-year-old son. This is SOOC (straight out of camera, i.e., no edits):

SOOC

SOOC

Because I shoot RAW, I have a ton of options in editing. I bumped up the exposure and the image had a significant amount of noise due to the low exposure. So I took it black & white, adjusted the exposure slightly, and smoothed it out a bit.

What a gem!

POST EDIT

POST EDIT

Obviously it's still pretty grainy and the focus on his eyes isn't the sharpest ever, but I just can't get over that sweet face!

Makes me happy I insist on shooting RAW.

Session Spotlight: Madison

You guys.

I had the most awesome opportunity ever. I was asked to photograph my beautiful niece Madison's senior pictures!

She is quite literally one of the most beautiful people I know -- inside and out! I couldn't wait to capture her gorgeous smile and playful personality once I stepped behind the camera.

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This lovely young lady was so much fun! I literally gave her almost zero instruction on what to do, yet she'd throw herself into the most perfect poses that resulted in beautiful photographs that perfectly captured her gorgeous personality.

Madison played softball throughout her high school career, so I wanted to be sure to include this in her senior photos.

Naturally, I also wanted to include some photos of Madison in her cap and gown. Unfortunately, this sweet lady forgot to bring them with her to the shoot! Who says high school seniors are supposed to be responsible? ;)

I'm pretty sure I had Madison walk almost all 20 acres of Legacy Park in Greenville as I shot her photographs in a variety of spots. And the poor girl was in heels most of the time! Bless.

Although this senior session was several days prior, I was also able to capture some photos during her graduation ceremony as well. Yay for finally taking pictures in her cap and gown!

{The lighting in the auditorium wasn't the best, so I chose to shoot in full manual to grab the best images I could, considering I don't own a $10,000 zoom lens nor was I close enough to warrant shooting with a speedlight. #photographergoals}

I'm so proud of this young lady!

I think it's safe to say she was a bit excited to get that diploma in her hands!

Congratulations, Madison! I am so proud of you! And I am so happy that I had the privilege to capture a few special moments from this season in your life. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for your future!

Go Bucs!

Session Spotlight: The Jameson Family

My first official photo shoot is in the books, folks! And I couldn't have had a better family to work with than the Jameson family.

Aren't they just precious?

It was a joy to work with such an incredibly sweet and patient family! The kids were naturals in front of the camera. See?

Big sis was just as precious. She's about a year older than my daughter and was such a delight!

Their son plays on the same baseball team as my son, and it was so much fun to capture his candid smile as he played in the park. Occasionally he'd look my way and notice I was clicking away and give me the absolute best smile. What a heart-breaker!

I have to take a moment here to say a very public THANK YOU to the Jameson family. While I had already created my website to feature my work and to serve as a bit of an outlet to talk photography, I had no intention of actually shooting sessions of real, live people (other than my own family, of course). That is, until this sweet family saw photos I had taken during the boys' baseball games and approached me to see if I would be willing to take updated family photos for them. I insisted that I am just a hobby photographer and there would be no promise of decent shots, but they weren't concerned. So I wholeheartedly agreed.

And behold! They had to be the easiest family to photograph. Ever. I had a great time with them and was able to learn a lot about being a photographer. I took what was once just a creative outlet (my website) and turned it into a professional site where clients can view, share, and purchase photos from our sessions. We're talking totally legit here, folks.

I hadn't necessarily set out to be a real-live, actual, paid photographer, but it looks like that's exactly what I've become. And I couldn't be more thrilled! I am so grateful for the Jameson family and the push they gave me to explore this passion of mine and turn it into a reality. I look forward to where this road will lead me!

A First!

You guys, it's official!

I completed my first successful (IMO) family photo session!

It was amazing and scary and exciting and nerve-wracking and incredible all at the same time! I wanted to wait until I sent my client (eeeeek! a client!) the proofs before I considered this first session complete and would be willing to write about it here. But it's done! YAY!

Now for furthering anxiousness as I await the client's thoughts about the photos. I think they turned out great (even considering my amateurism) mostly because this family was just stinkin' adorable and awesome. {swoon}

So yes, I can officially say I'm in the photography business (among so many other things, but I'll keep my focus on photography here). Thanks for following along on this journey with me! I can't wait to see what's next!

Cheers!

A New Addition

The Spring baseball and softball season continues to be in full swing here in the south, and has kept me busy with a plethora of opportunities to work on photographing my favorite subjects: my kids!

The cutest of all the Reds (bias duly noted).

The cutest of all the Reds (bias duly noted).

 
My little Cub getting her fast-pitch on!

My little Cub getting her fast-pitch on!

 

Unfortunately, through shooting my kids' games, I discovered something interesting: my gear is lacking. Specifically in the area of zoom capabilities.

Never fear! My husband, the darling he is, has gifted me with the purchase of a new lens for Mother's Day! {shout out to hubs!} Considering I am our household's sole certifiably gifted and talented online shopper, I was also gifted with the privilege (and fun!) of shopping for my new lens. That, my friends, is what you call a win-win.

While I was originally thinking of investing in an 18mm-300mm lens simply for the ease of shooting at such diverse distances, I quickly realized that with the convenience of not having to swap out lenses as often came with it the added cost of said convenience. And let's face it, I'm cheap. When it comes down to it, I'd rather swap out a lens than drop several hundred dollars more on one with added flexibility.

That said, I'm super excited to welcome this bad boy to the family very soon! It's an AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR zoom lens. Ain't she purdy?

AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

 

I'm really excited to shoot the kids' games next week. And here's hoping it arrives before my daughter's LAST softball game this Thursday!

So This is Happening

I'm not sure what I was thinking. I mean, it was just a question in an email. There was no pressure. No awkward silence. No one impatiently staring me down wondering why I hadn't spoken up.

I could've said anything.

I could've said nothing.

But for some reason, I found myself typing a response, carefully proofing each word, as if it was just meant to be.

And perhaps it was.

One of the parents from my son's baseball team asked if I "did photography professionally?"

Who, me? Oh, you must have me confused with someone who actually knows what they're doing!

Me!? Oh, you probably just made that assumption because I tote my DSLR to all of the games.

Oh, wait -- so you saw the photos I shared with the team from a few of the games?

Ya, okay. That was me.

But it's just a hobby. I have a lot to learn. I don't really have any idea what I'm doing. Truly.

And then, before I knew it, I was offering to do a portfolio building session for their family.

YEP! And just like that, I apparently scheduled my first official photo shoot!

{eeeeeeeeeeek!}

A Photography Contract? Things just got real.

A Photography Contract? Things just got real.

To say I'm a bit overwhelmed and unprepared would be an understatement. But excited? You betcha!

The good news is I have TWO WEEKS to prepare. This is plenty of time, right? Riiiight??

The good news is this wonderful family knows I'm a photography hobbyist and not a bona fide professional. So there's not a lot of pressure. It's some (hopefully) great family shots for them, and some invaluable experience for me!

Yay for the win-wins in life!

Wish me luck...

Joy!

My littlest guy celebrated THREE today. So. Much. Joy!

 

 

Lenses, Lenses, Lenses

I've got a few lenses in my arsenal. They each have their own purpose, and I love them all dearly (some more than others, but don't tell them I said so!).

My D60 kit came with the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens.

AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens

AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens

 

This lens is a very versatile and compact "walk-around" lens with a focal range of 18-55mm. It's the first lens I shot with in my dSLR venture. It takes good pics, but it didn't take long with this lens before I wanted more.

My next lens purchase would provide me with an increased ability to zoom in on my subject. It was the AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED zoom lens.

AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED zoom lens

AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED zoom lens

 

This bad boy allowed me to get up close and personal on the action! I've used it a lot at sporting events, concerts, and basically anything that required me to shoot from further away than I'd like. It's basically the only lens I'll use at my daughter's softball and son's baseball games. It gets me close, but of course I'd always like to get even closer. More on that in a bit.

The most recent addition to my gear was the AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Prime lens. I discovered the value of Prime lenses while completing an online photo school program about a year ago.

AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Prime lens

AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Prime lens

 

What can I say about this lens? She's incredible. She takes the most perfect portraits providing just the right amount of background Bokeh (blur) while maintaining a crisp and clean focus on the subject. I LOVE this lens! A good Prime lens along with a quality camera can make even the most inexperienced hack of a photographer (me) turn out amazing images, thankyouverymuch.

So of course I'm always looking for new, fun, functional toys to add to my collection of photography gear. I'd have to say that if I didn't love my husband and value my current station in life, I would pick up this AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR in a heartbeat! Something about the $11,200 price tag makes me think the husband wouldn't be too pleased with me choosing a lens over, say, several months of house payments, utilities, and food for our family of five. ;)

 

I'd have to give up adulting and just stick with photography full-time because I wouldn't be able to put this beast down! I can only imagine the images I could create with this lens on my new D5300 -- especially with sports and action photography! {sigh} A hobbyist can dream, right?

Back to reality! If I happened to have several hundred dollars burning a hole in my wallet, I'd probably drop it on the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR lens.

 

This lens offers both wide-angle and super-telephoto capabilities without the inconvenience of switching lenses. At just under $700, it's much more affordable. And the extra 100m this one offers over my current zoom lens would be gravy. Unfortunately, I have to keep reminding myself that this IS just a hobby, and those kids are still expecting three meals a day. So, this one remains just a dream... for now. ;)

I Did It!

Well, I took the plunge. With my generous, supportive, loving husband's permission, I ordered my Nikon D5300 yesterday! I cannot even wait to get my hands on this sweet thang! I will barely be containing my excitement about this, so I shall now apologize in advance for the onslaught of photos sure to be hitting my website in the very near future!

I think I'm most excited about shooting my youngest son's upcoming birthday (IF it arrives in time), followed closely by my daughter's softball games as well as my son's baseball games. My daughter is a 3rd grader playing up on a 4th/5th grade softball team and this is the first year of girl's pitch. Before now, it's been coach's pitch. And my sweet overachiever daughter decided to learn to pitch! And she's GOOOOD! I cannot wait to get great shots of her in action! My Kindergarten son plays up on a 1st grade boys baseball team, and it's his first year of coach's pitch. Last year it was t-ball! He's played so well and I'm sure I can get some adorable shots with my new camera!

Whew. I'm so totally stoked about this purchase. I'm considering it my birthday present from my family... about 10 days early! ;)

Thanks, family! I expect full cooperation from all of you when I bust out my camera and chase after each of you for the perfect shot!