The best part about my Little Sprouts clients is how well I get to know them and their family as I photograph them multiple times over their baby’s first two years. I knew I was going to have fun with this couple from the first time I talked with Erica and I could actually hear her pregnancy glow through the phone. And when I arrived at their home for our initial consultation, she answered the door wearing a Virginia Tech sweatshirt? Well. Let’s just say I come from a home of Hokie fans, so it seemed like kismet that I was going to get to work with them!

These two are playful, and funny, and obviously have a lot of laughs together. Their baby is one lucky little fellow to be joining a family like this. Erica and Chris enjoy the outdoors, particularly fishing, so we met at Lake Norman State Park for their maternity session. Chris even tied special lures to their fishing poles (including a teensy tiny one for Emmett) for the occasion. This was one of the first warmer days after a long, cold winter, so we made the most of our gorgeous morning together. I can’t wait to meet Emmett SOON, and get to know you all even better this year!

Troutman maternity photographer lake norman state park maternity photo session | chris & erica
 
Fishing Themed Maternity Photos lake norman state park maternity photo session | chris & erica
 
Lake Norman Materntiy Photographer lake norman state park maternity photo session | chris & erica
 
Mooresville Maternity Photographer 768x1024 lake norman state park maternity photo session | chris & erica
 
Lake Norman Beach Maternity Photos lake norman state park maternity photo session | chris & erica

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It’s that time of year again: time to take advantage of our beautiful North Carolina weather and colorful foliage and get those photos taken for a stunning holiday card and gifts that will touch your family’s heart! My calendar is filling quickly and there are only a few weekend time slots still available, so I decided to offer my mini-session pricing on any day of the week through December 6th instead of picking just one or two days for these great deals. All you need to do is contact me to schedule a time that fits both our calendars, then pick one of the packages described below. 

The last day to schedule a photo session with me for this year is December 8th, so don’t delay: schedule today!

Fall Mini Sessions 2013 web fall 2013 mini sessions!

To schedule your custom mini session, contact me today!

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What a joy it is to help welcome a brand new baby to a family through photographing all those tiny details to help them to remember this fleeting time as she quickly grows! I met Emily and her mommy and daddy when she was just 7 days new. She was already becoming more alert and would quietly observe the world around her as I photographed her and her parents.

Miss Emily had started that one-week growth spurt on the day we met and she was very hungry! One of the great parts of hiring a custom photographer for newborn photos is that parents don’t need to feel rushed through a 15-20 minute session in the hopes that they walk away with 1 or 2 “decent” images. I will take as much time as is needed to allow for feeding(s), soothing, and re-diapering so that parents will have 20-30 keepsake images from our session.

And now, join me in welcoming Emily! Isn’t she lovely?

Lake Norman newborn baby girl photographer emily | davidson newborn girl

Davidson newborn girl photographer emily | davidson newborn girl

cornelius newborn baby girl emily | davidson newborn girl

Lake Norman newborn girl photographer emily | davidson newborn girl

Huntersville newborn baby girl photographer emily | davidson newborn girl

Congratulations to the “A” family! May your lives together be filled with joy. I can’t wait to see you all again when your new little miss is a wee bit older!

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I don’t post much about my personal life here on this blog, but today seemed like a good day to throw a little bit out there about me. You see, today is the day that my daughters turn 10.

One decade.

Double digits.

How on earth did THAT happen?!

It has been a pretty amazing ten years, and I really wish I had known what I know now on the day we found out that we were having twins.

Let’s rewind back to the beginning of September 2002. I was almost 9-weeks pregnant and thought I may be miscarrying (it had happened once before I had my son), so had called my OB and was sent to a local ultrasound location to be checked since he didn’t have an opening in his schedule for that day.

I called my best friend to see if she could help watch my almost 3-year-old son, and the almost 2-year-old boy I was babysitting at the time. She knew that I was anxious and wanted to be there for me when I got the news, so she met me at the imaging center with her almost 3-year-old daughter, her 1-year-old son, and the two young children that she was babysitting. My husband met us there too and went back with me for the ultrasound while my best friend earned some points towards sainthood and kept 6 small children relatively quiet and entertained in the waiting room!

The technician got me situated and began the ultrasound while I held my husband’s hand. She was quiet at first, and then she said “Oh look, there’s two!” and continued making conversation while performing the scan.

I lay there for a few minutes and looked over at my husband with a questioning look. He shrugged his shoulders and looked back at me with an equally confused expression. So I said to the technician, “Excuse me, but two what, exactly? Two arms and two legs?” To which she replied with a laugh “No! Two babies!”

My husband’s head dropped into his hands, and I felt like the bottom had just dropped out of my world. I laid there in stunned silence as she continued the scan and pointed out two little peanuts: Baby A and Baby B. Turns out that spotting is very common with twin pregnancies. I wasn’t miscarrying at all. The radiologist came in soon and confirmed that we were going to be having twins, probably some time in March or the beginning of April since they tend to arrive before 40 weeks.

We took in all of the information, but honestly it was all a bit of a blur. All I kept thinking was “how on earth am I going to handle TWO babies in addition to my very active, VERY demanding son?” and “what if it’s two more boys?!”

They printed out our ultrasound pictures and sent us on our way with the advice to schedule a follow-up within the next week with my OB.

When I walked into the waiting room and saw my best friend’s worried and expectant face, I tried to hold it together, but all of the emotions and fears just bubbled up and I burst into tears. It took a few minutes for me to relay that I was not crying because I was miscarrying, I was crying because we were having twins. I was crying because all of the things that I thought I knew to expect about having a baby had changed drastically with those four little words. I was crying because there was a good chance that I may in fact miscarry one or both babies because there are more risks with a twin pregnancy. I was crying because I didn’t think I could nurse two babies, and I was so sad that I might not have that beautiful experience again. I was crying because I was afraid of how having twins would affect my son – how would I ever have time for him again? I was crying because I was afraid. Period.

I won’t bore you with all the details of the pregnancy. We had some scares that Baby A’s bowel was not developing properly and that Baby B was showing some cysts in the brain that could indicate potential developmental delays (both issues resolved themselves in utero, and I attribute that to fervent prayers by many). We went ahead and found out the gender of the babies because we thought that finding out that we were having twins was surprise enough! And over the course of the pregnancy we put those early fears to rest. It was physically challenging carrying two babies on my 5-foot, 2-inch frame, particularly the last month when I developed PUPPPS.

When April 17, 2003 finally rolled around and I delivered two healthy, (and hefty at 6 lbs 5 oz, and 7 lbs 1 oz!) baby girls at 39 weeks, the only tears I cried were tears of joy.

Having twins is definitely a challenge in some ways: the sleep deprivation during the first few months was like nothing I have ever experienced! There have been the logistical challenges, and the decisions about whether to keep them in the same class at school or to separate them (we separate them and it has been so good for both of them), the necessity of driving a minivan or other larger vehicle because 3 car seats wouldn’t fit in a sedan, the expense is definitely higher (the only “discount” we got was delivering two babies for the price of one!). But none of these challenges begins to touch the wonderful parts of having twins.

Imagine waking up and going to sleep every single day of your childhood with your best friend living under the same roof! Of course there are some squabbles, but the skills that they have developed just in sharing, compromise, and conflict resolution far surpass those of other children their age, and will help them throughout their lives.

None of the things that scared me so much on that day were an issue after all, and the simple joy that they have brought to our lives has increased exponentially. I would love to comfort that scared woman I was when we got the news, or to experience getting the news knowing what I do now so that I could feel the elation instead of the fear.

And so today we celebrate having these two daughters in our lives for ten years, and our hearts are filled with gratitude at hearing those words: “Oh look, it’s two!”

Olivia Oh look, theres two! Or how my life changed forever.

 

Katy Oh look, theres two! Or how my life changed forever.

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I discovered the idea of taking a photo a day for a year back in 2009 when I was still actively scrapbooking. The idea has been around for a while in photography circles, but it was introduced as a way to document the everyday life in a Creating Keepsakes magazine. It’s called a Project 365, and the concept really just resonated with me (you could say that it clicked, but that would be an awfully cheesy photography pun, so I will restrain myself…).

The idea was to take a picture every day, and then also to jot down either a memory about the picture, or some other random memory from the day. How easy is that?!

But then the kit that was being offered by Creating Keepsakes sold out so quickly that I didn’t get one. I was really disappointed, but decided to continue with the concept since I had already started taking the photos.  In response to the disappointed masses who missed out on the physical kit, CK offered a digital download so that we could either print out the journaling cards or use them for digital photobooks. I decided to try something new…

I knew how to use photoshop on a very basic level, and had been intrigued by the idea of digital scrapbooking (making your scrapbook pages on your computer) for a while. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a go!

I decided to use Blurb to print my book because you can have more than 100 pages (which is very important since there are 52 weeks in a year and each week has a 2-page layout).

This is what my very first digital page looked like using the cards that came with the kit:

Sample Page Project 365 project life | clementine freebie

It’s pretty basic. No bells and whistles. And honestly? I am fine with that!

In 2010, Becky Higgins introduced her take on this idea, and called it Project Life. She describes the whole concept way better than me, so go check out her site for more details.

This method of scrapbooking has had the most profound change on what I scrapbook. And it was this idea of capturing the every day moments that has shaped the way I photograph for my business.

I am currently working on our 2010 Project Life photo book (yeah, I’m still not caught up. oh well!). I chose to use the digital version of the Clementine Edition because I loved the colors in this kit.

I wanted to have a larger variety of journaling cards than what was provided in the purchased kit, so I set out to find some more.

Leena Loh is one of the creative team members for 2013 for Project Life and she designed a freebie set of beautiful, bright, citrusy-colored cards. I loved her design, but the colors didn’t work with my Clementine kit, so I shamelessly copied her design for my own use and then asked her permission to share what I made with other Project Lifers who are using the Clementine kit. She gave me the go ahead, as long as I included a link back to her site. A huge thank you to her for her generosity, and willingness to let me copy and share my take on her cool design!

To get your copies of these cards, just click the link below:

link! —-> Days of the Week Clementine Freebie  <—- link!

The files are .png files that you can either print yourself on your printer, use on your digital pages, or have printed by your favorite photo lab.

Clementine Journaling Cards 1024x768 project life | clementine freebie

Now go document your life!

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I just received my brochures for the mini sessions that I will be offering next month for area families who want to have their son or daughter photographed for their First Holy Communion, and I love how they turned out! In case you attend a church that has not received my brochures, here are all of the important details about the mini sessions.

Be sure to call soon to reserve your time because three spots have already been taken (as of March 13th)!

In addition to the two dates that I have reserved exclusively for these mini sessions, I can schedule individual mini sessions depending upon my availability. However, to ensure that you have your photos prior to the May communion dates, sessions must be scheduled and held no later than April 21st. I will continue to offer the mini session pricing through the month of May if you do not need to have the photos prior to your child’s first communion.

First Communion Front 999x1024 first communion mini sessions | lake norman first communion photographer

First Communion Front Flap 975x1024 first communion mini sessions | lake norman first communion photographer

First Communion Inside Right 999x1024 first communion mini sessions | lake norman first communion photographer

First Communion Back copy 999x1024 first communion mini sessions | lake norman first communion photographer

All images used in the brochure and displayed in this post are copyrighted by Anne Zirkle Photography.

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My neighbor, Enza, and her sister-in-law, Madeline, saw a need in our area for delicious baked goods that fit into the special diets of themselves and their children. Enza has a son with multiple food allergies, a daughter who is allergic to gluten, and she suffers from celiac disease. She is an amazing cook and baker and developed a variety of her own recipes and methods for creating baked goods that were safe for her family to eat while still tasting delicious. Madeline has been an avid baker and skilled cake decorator for years. Their bakery, Maddy’s Fatty’s, offers a variety of baked goods that are all organic and natural, as well as items that are Vegan and gluten-free. Be sure to go check them out!

I first took pictures for Enza and Madeline to use on their website, but after Enza saw the photo session I did with Sugarpops Candy and Soda shop she contacted me about doing a similar session to create art to hang in the bakery.

We met at Jeton Park since it is close to their Cornelius bakery, and let the kids have some fun eating cupcakes! I had hoped that they would get messier, but these kiddos were so neat, and polite. Smiles and laughs flowed freely, but everyone managed to keep themselves free from stickiness!

Cornelius Childrens Photographer maddys fattys bakery | cornelius family and child commercial photography

Maddys Fattys Cornelius Child Photographer maddys fattys bakery | cornelius family and child commercial photography

Lake Norman Bakery Child Photographer maddys fattys bakery | cornelius family and child commercial photography

Cornelius Bakery Child Photographer maddys fattys bakery | cornelius family and child commercial photography

Lake Norman Childrens Photographer maddys fattys bakery | cornelius family and child commercial photography

Maddys Fattys Bakery Family Photographer maddys fattys bakery | cornelius family and child commercial photography

My personal favorite Maddy’s Fattys cupcakes are Salted Caramel and Maple Chocolate Bacon — seriously heaven in your mouth! Go treat yourself to some decadence and let me know what your favorite flavor is!

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Jaxson’s grandma contacted me to schedule a newborn photo session as a gift to her daughter who was coming to visit from Colorado with her husband and new baby boy. We got together for our session at my home studio the day after the Ravens had won the Super Bowl (woo hoo!), and my house had not been completely undecorated from the previous nights party. It turns out that Jaxson’s daddy had grown up in Maryland too so we had some fun talking about what an exciting game it had been.

I typically photograph newborns when they are 5-10 days old because they tend to be more sleepy and their bodies are still very flexible and comfortable in the curled-up poses that mimic how they were positioned inside their mommy’s belly. At 23 days old, Jaxson had become much more alert, and also was enjoying the freedom of being stretched out! But we still managed some sleepy baby pictures in addition to the ones where he was bright-eyed.

Lake Norman Newborn Photographer jaxson | newborn boy | 23 days old

Mooresville newborn boy photographer jaxson | newborn boy | 23 days old

When Jaxson would wake up, if he started to fuss his daddy had a special way of holding him that always calmed him down within a minute or two. I was so glad I managed to snap a photo of this for them to remember one of those little details that is sometimes forgotten as our babies grow up. And it turns out that this method didn’t work much longer after we had gotten together, so it was truly a fleeting moment in their lives!

Davidson newborn boy photographer jaxson | newborn boy | 23 days old

Cornelius newborn boy photographer jaxson | newborn boy | 23 days old

Jaxson’s mommy is a member of the U.S. Army and is going to be deployed shortly, so I know that she will cherish these photos and the time that they shared as a family while she is away from them. Thank you to her and her husband (he is now retired from the Army) for their service to our country!

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I have to feature this family again on my blog for several reasons:

1. They are awesome (A & T are complete naturals in front of a camera)!

2. Lori has helped me break into corporate photography this year, which isn’t necessarily creative, but it helps pay the bills.

3. We did another funny Christmas card project that I have to share!

4. I find it really cool that someone who started as a client has become a friend.

We are both moms to twins, so there was an immediate connection there (if you have twins too, then you know what I am talking about here). Back in January, we got to spend an interesting week in Atlanta while I provided photographic coverage for her company’s leadership retreat, and then we collaborated on a photo shoot that got one of my photographs published in an ad campaign for tires! Thanks to her encouragement I have worked with another company to do corporate head shots, and another one to photograph items for a catalog and website. She has since left that company and we are coming up with all kinds of ways to work together in her new job of working with senior citizens! Stay tuned for more about that at a later date…

Back to this session, one of the first tasks at hand was to help her with another unique Christmas card photoAfter tossing around a few options, we decided to tie up the kids with Christmas lights in front of her Christmas tree! I avoid using lights with young children because of the threats they pose in terms of lead poisoning and electrocution (yikes! generally NOT a way to get repeat clients!), but A & T are 12, and know to not put the lights in their mouths… We also used some duct tape on their mouths, but only after we had reduced the stickiness by putting it on our pants and peeling it off a few times. The family pets got in on the fun too… The colors on the pre-made card idea that Lori had found did not work well with the photos, so I used the idea as a starting point and tweaked it a bit and then customized it to suit her taste. And here is the final result:

 

Front crop1 717x1024 the f family | concord, nc family and child session

Fun, right?

And then we took a lot more pictures to hang in her home and for gifts. This is one lucky momma because her kids are just as beautiful on the inside as they are on the out.

Concord Family Photographer the f family | concord, nc family and child session

Concord Childrens Photographer the f family | concord, nc family and child session

Huntersville Child Photographer the f family | concord, nc family and child session

Up above is the gorgeous, more posed photo of these twins, and down below you get to see a bit more of the true personalities. A is busy chatting with me about acting, while T is being distracted by something he found on the ground…

Huntersville Childrens Photographer the f family | concord, nc family and child session

(There’s one of those “real life” moments up there! A got a little bored while I was taking pictures of her mom and brother so she decided to “surf” on the swing…)

Huntersville Family Photographer the f family | concord, nc family and child session

I’m already looking forward to our 2013 session and need to come up with a unique and funny idea for their next card!

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This gorgeous lady contacted me as a referral because her husband’s mom really wanted pictures of her son with his wife, and her other son with his new fiance as a Christmas gift this year. I love giving and receiving personal gifts like this, so was thrilled to work with them to come up with something meaningful.

One of my favorite products right now is a large 8×8 cube that has six images laminated on each face of the cube. It ended up being exactly what they were looking for!

Erin and her husband hadn’t had portraits taken since their wedding almost 10 years earlier; and her brother-in-law had just gotten engaged to his long-term girlfriend so I started off with some photos of just the two couples.

Rowan couples photographer the c family | couples and family session

Salisbury engagement photographer the c family | couples and family session

Then we got everyone together for some group shots. Erin had seen photos I had done for another family last fall, and really liked the one with everyone holding hands and walking. It turned out super cute for them too!

Salisbury family photographer the c family | couples and family session

Sometimes photo magic happens when people are looking at my camera, and sometimes it happens when they don’t realize I am there. I particularly love the image below for that exact reason!

Rowan family photographer the c family | couples and family session

And we finished up with a shot that they included in a card along with their gift! The sunbeams came in just perfectly to give it a really special feel. (And check out that banner! I have learned to make these and am finally using up my old paper scrapbooking supplies!)

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