My Week of Photos - Favorite Portraits

Confession time here...I have not picked up my DSLR this week! I know, I really should be using it every day if I want to continue to learn to take great photos. But sometimes, life just gets really busy and there are times when I am just not feeling inspired to take photos with my DSLR. And I believe it is perfectly fine to take a break from something you love, even if it is baking, reading, or taking photos.

So, for this week's post of My Week of Photos, I want to share with you some of my favorite portraits I have captured. Ever since my kids were babies, I have loved capturing moments of their lives. Before digital came along, I would get my double prints and spend hours creating scrapbook pages to fill albums of our family memories.

Then digital came first, I had no desire to get a digital camera. And now? My iPhone takes better photos than my first digital camera. But at the time, those old digital cameras were better than not capturing any memories at all.

Last night, I spent hours looking at old photos on my computer...reminiscing and laughing until I had tears running down my cheeks at some of the expressions on my kid's faces in different photos. It really makes me realize that I need to make some time to go through and dump the photos I don't want to keep and print out some that I want to put into albums or hang on my wall.

Today, I am going to share with you some of my favorite photos of my kids and some favorites I have taken of other people. As I am getting closer to wanting to possibly start my own photography business, I have struggled with how to explain the type of photography that I love. Talking this over with someone recently, the perfect category for me: lifestyle.

I love to capture moments, not always posed. Real life that doesn't need to be photoshopped and lightroomed to death. Moments that people will look back on that bring smiles and laughter. Moments that warm your heart.

Here are a few of my favorite portraits:

Kelsey with cake

This photo was taken with a Kodak EasyShare digital camera. At this point, I had never taken a photography class and didn't know anything about looking for the right lighting, composition, or anything really. But I entered this photo in our little community art contest and won Best of Show! Wow, I was so surprised!

Matthew and Kelsey

Here is one with both of my kiddos, again with the Kodak EasyShare. This is in the days way before I even knew about editing photos. Looking back now, I can see that this photo could use a little bit of an edit. But the thing I love about this photo are the people in the photo and their obvious love for each other. Their really great relationship continues even today.

Matthew and Kelsey

Once I did start to learn about a little bit of photo editing, every now and then, I would change the tone of the photo. I think changing this photo to sepia really works so that my daughter's shirt pattern doesn't compete with my son's shirt pattern. But again, this photo captures the sweet relationship these two had and continue to have.


Once I finally got my first DSLR, a friend told me to turn the dial to aperture priority. And I sure had fun with that for a while! Our family used to do a lot of Civil War reenacting and this is one of my favorites I captured of my daughter in our camp one weekend.


Then I had a chance to take an actual photography class! I learned about shooting in manual mode and lighting and so much more! This was one of the first photos I shot of my son using natural light from a window in our home. And I learned a bit about Lightroom so I could fine tune photos a bit. 

Jazz senior portrait

During the photography class, we had a chance to go out one day to do senior portraits for one young man. This was my first time really photographing someone who was actually posing for photos! The group of us were able to suggest different poses. It was a great experience, especially using my new found skill of shooting in manual mode!


With my DSLR and my new knowledge of how to use my camera, I started feeling more confident in what I was capturing. And I had plenty of opportunities to try out what I was learning at different events.


It is moments like this that I still love to capture, ones you really can't plan for.


I have been second shooter at one wedding so far. This shot was completely unplanned. But when I saw where she was standing, I knew I wanted to try to capture this moment before she walked down the aisle.

girl on the beach

Here is another one of those unplanned shots. I was with some friends at a beach in Southern California when I saw this little girl at sunset. I took a few photos of her and loved what I saw in camera.

yosemite engagement shot

Then, a friend asked me to take their engagement Yosemite...and they were going to pay me to do it!! Win-win-win!! We spent the whole day wandering around Yosemite and I had the fun of capturing them together. This one was one of my favorites from that day!

Felix's family

But there is one thing I have been able to do that is even more amazing than being paid for my photography...having the chance to travel on two Compassion trips now and capturing moments like this one. In January 2014, my son and I traveled to Mexico where we had the opportunity to meet one of our sponsored children. There were a few people behind and around me when I captured this one, but I love how Felix is looking right at me. His smiling face is one I always remember from this trip.

Compassion kids in Mexico

You would never know by this photo that these kids were a bit skeptical of us when we first arrived. It is still one of my favorite photos from this trip!

Colombia Compassion girl

In February 2015 I had the opportunity to go on another Compassion trip, this time to Colombia! This little girl was at the last center we visited. This photo reminds me of a quote I just read in a new book, Small Matters, by Greg Nettle and Jimmy Mellado: "Jesus is the One who invites you and me to join him in reaching out to children the world has given up on, to take them by the hand, to rejoice for this one others considered lost who has found the way home."

Photography is something I love to do, capturing moments that people will love to remember.