Category Archives: Children & Kids

Proceeds from Portraits go to Vocational Scholarships in Haiti

(I apologize for the lack of photos in this post; my website is having issues uploading them at the moment. But you can check out photos from my last trip to Haiti in Haiti – Part One and Haiti – Part Two. I never quite got around to blogging the other parts I had in mind, so this is what it is for now!)

A few months ago, I made a quiet little change to my portrait business…you may have noticed it if you poked around last fall. All proceeds from portrait sessions will now benefit vocational scholarships for young people through Hope for a Village in southern rural Haiti. (When a scholarship is completed it may be sent towards paying for Haitian doctors and nurses at our community pop-up clinics.) This area was hit by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, but is an area that I have been to a few years ago and will travel to again in the future.

In Cotes-de-fer, Haiti, young adults make plans for their city. They do things like create their own trash removal system to keep the streets of their town clean. That was the story that partly inspired this change in my business. It was the answer to my asking God, “How can I use my skills to help in a tangible way?” For several months I pondered the idea of doing a family portrait event where the proceeds went to HFAV, but He had something BIGGER in store.

The first scholarship will be to send a local woman to a skilled birth worker training program that’s already in place, Midwives for Haiti. I’ve been told by my friend Missy, the Hope for a Village founder who is originally from Cotes-de-fer, that many of the school teachers in the area are actually trained as nurses! Medical school is paid by the government as long as students agree to live in Haiti (and not leave for other Caribbean islands or the US, taking their medical skills with them). However, there aren’t enough jobs to go around to all the students when they graduate medical school. On my last trip, I met a tiny lay midwife, her sun baked by the sun and her bones tired from traveling many miles to get to all the births in the area. At that time, she said she was the only midwife still working births. It’s possible there was a “lost in translation” moment, but our translator said she was doing 8 births a week. A WEEK!!!

The need for more midwifery skills in the area is great. The options for families were either use the one local midwife, go to the small clinic in town, or go 2 hours to the closest [just okay-quality] hospital. It is 4.5+ hours to the best hospital in the country if you have a major issue. (And even then, it doesn’t mean you’ll get care….AND you’ll have to purchase all your medications and supplies at the random street vendor/pharmacy next door before they’ll treat you…) Recently there was a hospital built by a ministry, which opened at the beginning of December. The cost to deliver a baby is highest at hospitals, followed by a clinic, followed by a community midwife. If you have absolutely no money, you’re looking at giving birth with maybe your mother (if she’s still alive) or your sister. And that poses some major risks if something goes downhill (not to mention some risky old wives’ tales surrounding birth and breastfeeding practices). A trained birth attendant can save lives in this country!!

That’s one less baby without a mama…one less heartache for a family….

I knew with the circles I run in that I would be able to connect her and other interested women with educational opportunities. I just didn’t know what that would look like until now. (On that note, if you are a midwife who would like to come with us on a trip to that area to teach continuing education classes for nurses, PLEASE message me!)

To be honest, I am booked quickly as a doula/birth photographer and my calendar stays as full as I want it at this point. Not to overuse the phrase, but I’m really, truly blessed to be going to births and helping families or documenting their incredible birth stories! I felt like this was the direction God wanted me to take the portrait side of my business for the time being. So what does this look like in a practical sense? After cost of the product and a percentage of basic business expenses, the rest will be sent to Hope for a Village, earmarked for a particular scholarship or medical missions trip (to pay our Haitian doctor & nurse friends for helping at the free clinics we do for the most needy in the area). My model of creating art for your walls stays the same. Just because this is essentially a fundraiser for a non-profit doesn’t mean I’m going to cheapskate what I believe is an important thing – a physical, tangible, high-quality, printed piece of artwork that you will enjoy seeing in your home. It also means that I’m sticking with what I love to shoot: anything babies, maternity, & family. Just because the proceeds are for charity doesn’t mean I’m going to shoot an event or your dogs. Sorry, but it’s true…I used to do little stuff like that & enjoyed it at the time, but I don’t anymore. I really want to focus on creating this type of art involving families. It also means it will remain an investment to hire me. I am making you custom artwork. Yes, my prices may be higher than everyone and their sister’s husband’s cousin’s friend, but they are worth it. The quality products I’ve located through some special companies are amazing and the ART that is on them is created for your family to enjoy for generations.

If you’d like to book your own session, please visit the packages page for more information.

 

Birthday Boy

This sweet, happy thing has been in our lives for two years now! Here is his reaction to being sung “Happy Birthday” in the middle of his photo shoot. Now he wants to keep watching this video over and over on my computer…. 🙂

 

Tiffany

Omg I love!!!!! Happy birthday, Mr. Seth!!

Reed Family book/album & photography ideas

I just wanted to share the layout pages of the Reed Family’s book, which I created after their session in November.  I just realized I hadn’t shared it yet, and I think this has been my best storybook design to date.  It was a 2-hr session with three-year-old twins, so there was a LOT of good stuff to get in.  I think the end result was 40 pages!  They got it on art paper (feels like watercolor paper) with a black leather cover.

And a few shots of the final printed product.  It is my favorite part to finally get back the artwork in print!  There’s something just so nice about holding pictures in your hands & feeling the texture of the paper, rather than just looking at them on the screen.

storybook album of family photo session in Springfield MO

Photography studio space & ideas

I’ve had many updates to my office/studio since moving in!  Paint on the wall (or at least one wall so far!), new samples, new backdrops, new props.  I just took some pictures today after getting things ready for our Valentine’s Day special.  (And as soon as I have my kid models come in next week, I’ll be able to pop their pictures into my design pieces & share more about it!)  So here’s how it looks!

The first few are some shots of the shooting space, followed by my workspace & solutions for showcasing my samples away from tiny hands.

The white one’s still getting tweaked for the Valentine’s Day special.  It’s gonna be fun!

The Desk was a Craigslist find that I refinished with a distressed/antiqued look (formerly a very glossy cherry stain). The white wicker shelf was just something my mom was getting rid of years ago.  I keep all my samples & swatches on it, as well as business cards, necklaces, and business licenses.  The twigs behind it are cut from some Bradford Pear trees nearby (in the fall they grow tiny fruits!)

The floating shelves are from Lowe’s.  The frame with my logo on the bottom right is two-sided & flips around.  On the opposite side is a list of ideas & ideal times to post things on my Facebook business page.  The cream-colored box was a Goodwill find, and the vase is a find from The Enchanted Parlor in downtown Ozark.

Below the shelves is my dry-erase workflow chart with 35 steps from start to finish for each client.  (But that’s for another blog post!)  The frame is a yard sale find & I haven’t decided what color to paint it yet.

The card display is a weathered old window frame that I discovered on someone’s curb.  😀  I used rick-rack with nice upholstery thumbtacks on the frame, then attached the cards to the ribbon with copper spiral paperclips I found at Hobby Lobby.

And of course, The Organic Bloom frame samples – which are FOR SALE, by the way.  (Please email for prices.)

Coming next post: For my photographer friends, how I set up the backdrops!

Just looked this over and I LOVE YOUR SPACE! And…your details are so inspiring. 🙂 Great stuff, Rebecca!

Thanks so much for coming to my blog to take a look, Ann! That means a lot to me that you would take the time to do that. 🙂

[…] my last post, I showcased my studio space with the new backdrops I set up for Valentine’s […]

Fall children’s photo ideas in Springfield, MO

This is my little love!  We went to the park during the peak days of the fall color – truly the most gorgeous I ever remember! – and had some fun taking pictures.  I practiced opening my lens up to f 1.4 & manually focusing it, and was pleased with the sharp results – and pleasantly surprised at the fabulous bokeh behind him!

child playing on bridge

Starting with my absolute favorite…that look MELTS my heart!!

There’s nothing like obscene noises to make a little kid belly laugh. 😉

K e e p   I n   T o u c h