Before You Were Born
I'm not sure how it all started. Maybe it was the way he looked at her or maybe they just casually bumped into each other one day getting coffee, it doesn't really matter. What matters now is that these two fell in love and have built a life together. And now, their love is bringing a new little soul into this world.
And for now, they wait on that sweet little boy to arrive. Babies have a way of shaking things up in your life and routine. They bring about change in ways you can't even begin to prepare for. The overwhelming, unconditional love that flows through your veins is one of the most powerful feelings you will ever have, I'd even say the most powerful. The void in your heart that you didn't even know existed is filled. Sleepless nights, endless diaper changes, triumphs, trials, frustrations, joy...all of that awaits them in a few short weeks. But that overwhelming love makes every single bit of it worth it. She's about to embark on a journey that generations and generations of women have gone on before her. She will be forever intertwined in their journey as she gives birth to this baby. And Drew will fall in love with his wife all over again. And again and again and again.
Ashlea and Drew decided to plan their session around the things that represented them most as a couple: their energetic dogs and the beach. In the Hampton Roads, Virginia area, our lives are all so intertwined with the beach. It's apart of us, runs in our blood. And there's nothing quite like watching an amazing sunset over the ocean. Virginia has amazing sunsets and I love the way the bright, vibrant colors of the sky reflect on the ocean. It's breathtaking. So, I tagged along to document their (exciting!) last days together as a family of 2. A new chapter will begin soon and oh! sweet baby, what an adventure you will be!
I've tried to think of some words of wisdom to give to these first-time parents, beyond all the "stuff" our society says that parents need. I've come up with this: Trust that God has a plan for your life. Don't worry about the small things, give grace where it's needed. Make memories (and document them!). Laugh and love freely.
I'd love for you to write them a little wisdom in the comments so they can read it!
I have begun a personal project recently. I am cultivating a photo series called "Mornings with Brother Bear" that is documenting and following my mornings with my son. There is coming a day, sooner than I would like, that he will be headed off to pre-school. How did this happen? I ask myself. I am still trying to figure that out. I have enjoyed my mornings with him so much, even as uneventful as they are most days.
He's so active, adventurous, loud, and slightly unruly. He teaches me so much and keeps me humble (ha!). But something very unexpected happened when we began our mornings alone together. It got quiet. Many mornings are spent cuddled on the couch with me working on the computer and him right beside me. Playing cars, watching TV, reading books, or just chatting with me. It has been an unexpected and very welcomed few hours of our day. Who knew? Sometimes he even comes to my office with me and sits on the swing beside me with his notepad or cars and "works". I love our simple mornings.
One day he will be grown and we will have an empty nest; maybe he will have a wife or little bear cubs of his own. Will my memory remember these little details in 50 years? Maybe. Will he? Probably not. But at least he will be able to look back at these and see what it was like. He will see how much I truly loved him and know that I valued our quiet time together.
Here's the first photo of the series. I don't normally eat breakfast, but the past few mornings I've woken up really hungry. I fixed him a bowl of cereal and it just looked so good, so I fixed myself a bowl and plopped in the seat beside him. We did "cheers" with our spoons and went to work on that deliciously sweet and satisfying bowl of Frosted Flakes. I sat there watching him eat his cereal and it dawned on me that these were important memories we were making here. So, I snapped a few shots and then put my camera away to enjoy the rest of my cereal.
While it may not seem like much to others, this means everything to me. Today, I am very thankful for my Mornings with Brother Bear.
I'm excited ya'll. Really excited. This is big!
I'm hosting a beginner's photography workshop right here in Hampton Roads.
I can't tell you how excited I am. This basically rolls my two passions into one great and awesome day. So, let's get into it. I'll give you the low down on why you want to take this workshop and how to get yourself a (very, very limited) seat. Don't worry, it will be a laid back and a no pressure atmosphere! We will even have time to practice where I can provide one on one insight and have a Q&A time.
The Who: This class will be open to anyone with a camera. It doesn't have to be a fancy DSLR, it could just be a point-and-shoot. Even those with point-and-shoot cameras will benefit from the workshop, because a great picture is all about light and composition. Those with DSLR cameras will benefit from learning about what their camera can do and how to use certain features. Mom's and Dad's, come learn the skills you need to take better pictures of your kids and your everyday life! Small business owners, come and learn to take better pictures of your product, what you do, and your day to day life in your business. Your social media and marketing will thank you for it! Whether you want to take it up as a hobby or are just wanting to learn something new, everyone will be able to take something away from this workshop.
The Why: It's no secret that I think photography is one of the most important things in life. Documenting memories and your life is important to me. Being able to be a visual historian, a visual storyteller is priceless to me. This workshop will help you to improve your pictures, so that they become more meaningful and visually pleasing to you and others. This workshop will set you up with a basic overview and understanding of beginning photography concepts like light, composition, and general rules of photography. Parents can learn to take better pictures of every day events- these will be the legacy you leave behind to your family for generations. Small business owners will be able to take better product photos for marketing and social media. You will benefit from my years of experience and I will provide a small classroom atmosphere to provide one on one help or stop to answer questions. If you've been thinking of doing this or taking an online workshop, now is the time. You know the saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words"? It's so true. Let's get on the right path to learning how to take better pictures! Also, I want to point out- an investment in yourself is never a bad investment.
The Where: This workshop will be held at the Russell Memorial Library in the Western Branch area of Chesapeake, Virginia in the Edgar Allen Poe conference room. The address is 2808 Taylor Rd. Chesapeake, Va 23321. Here's a link to the library website.
The When: Saturday, March 25, 2017 from 10:00am - 1:00pm (light refreshments will be provided)
The Cost: $75. A 50% non-fundable retainer will be due at reservation and the balance is due 7 days before the class. This can be paid in person or online.
The Bonus: I have created an exclusive Facebook group just for the Alumni of this workshop. In this group, we will build a community of hobbyist and amateur photography enthusiasts that will provide on going support, a place to share our awesome captures and tell the stories behind them, ask questions, and give encouragement. I will also post (optional) photo challenges to keep us inspired and on our toes!
The Additional Info: Before you come, I encourage you to read your manual that came with your camera at least once. I will be able to provide one on one support during the workshop, but I can't devote every second to showing every person where every button is. I don't expect you to know them all, this is a beginner's course after all! However, your manual will prove to be an amazing resource throughout your photography journey. If you have lost your manual, simply Google your camera and model with the keyword "manual" (click here to open Google in a new tab) to download a copy. Bringing your manual is optional, but could be useful!
I can't wait to meet everyone and share this amazing experience with you. Bring a friend! But remember, I am keeping the class size small to be able to provide one on one assistance and for Q & A time, so reserve your seat today before they are all gone! Share this information with anyone you think would be interested. Comment below if you are planning to attend, I'd love to hear from you!
Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.