The One Year Project

As many of us know, the span from birth to 1 year old is one of the most intense periods of 12 months that you can experience. Intensely beautiful, intensely hard and so full of love. A new life changes so much in that period of time, it is basically impossible to remember all that happens. I first experienced this dramatic and incredible time from February 2013-February 2014 after my son, Leo, was born. As we neared his first birthday, my husband gave me the idea to document, not only our son’s first birthday, but those of other babies born in 2013. For us, this included many close friends and acquaintances.

The following images are the result of this project and I’m so happy to share this with you today. Here are 13 photographs of 1 year olds in different settings, sharing their varied personalities just as they are.

How have you marked the first year of your child’s life? Did you throw a big party? Have photographs taken? Spend a special day with your child?

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Norah turned 2!

Way back in February (doesn’t winter seem like a distant, terrible memory now in the middle of July?) I photographed this sweet toddler for the 3rd time. It was a great moment to capture Norah as she had just turned 2 years old. After photographing her at 6 months and then again at 1 year, I could see her personality continuing to grow and develop. She is truly a sweet little girl and she became a loving big sister in April. Her baby brother will be lucky to have her showing him the way in life, she is a gentle and kind big sister from what I hear.

For this years’ photographs we settled on the Cleveland Museum of Art as the backdrop and Norah had a good time wandering and exploring the atrium and hallways. We are so lucky to have such a gorgeous institution in Cleveland that allows for free visits and more art creation on the grounds. I love CMA! Have you been lately? The renovations are absolutely incredible.

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Norah on the go!

Fueled by a creative idea from my husband, I have embarked on a journey to document the 1st birthdays of at least 12 babies this year. Starting in February, I have photographed at least one child per month and Norah was the first to have a birthday in 2014. February is not the nicest month in Cleveland, so we had to think about indoor options for this session. We chose Tower City and you may recognize some of the sights in these images if you are familiar with this spot.

At this point in their lives, babies have so much personality and some are even walking around. Norah was one such girl and I had a blast watching her explore while I photographed her movements and activity. It’s great to freeze this time in Norah’s life to see what she was up to on her birthday and to be able to look back and see what milestones she had reached. Now, four months later, she has learned new tricks and is starting to talk. It’s so much fun to watch these kiddos develop and grow, and I am privileged to be able to capture it.

How do you commemorate first birthdays? What are your favorite milestones of this age? Have you considered a 1 year old shoot for your child?

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Emma joins her family

Last month I had the honor of photographing the newest addition to my cousin’s family. Emma arrived on August 31, 2013 after many days of waiting by her wonderful mama. A week later, I was at their house camera-ready. We got to work quickly since Emma was already napping. She slept like a champ and even allowed her big brother to steal a few kisses while she had her photographs taken. I love her sweet girly outfit in these photos – just what her mama had been waiting for!

After Emma woke from her nap we stole a few moments outside with the whole family. Their new house is seated on a gorgeous lot and I had fun utilizing an old brick wall and the weeping willow tree as backgrounds for their family photos. Weeping willows are my favorite trees – they have a story to tell I think.

Do you have a favorite tree or location to take photographs of your family or friends?

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A trio of girls romping in the leaves

On a cold, snowy day in Cleveland it’s refreshing to look back at photographs from a beautiful fall day in October. The leaves, the light, the lack of scarves and coats, adds up to an entirely different feeling than winter. I last had the pleasure of photographing this sweet family when they were awaiting the arrival of baby girl #3, Mylah Elizabeth. We used this session to capture some 1 year old portraits of Mylah as well as the two older girls, Aliyah (now 3 years old), and Selah (age 5). I think it’s safe to say we had a blast playing in the leaves and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon.

What is your favorite way to capture the fall colors? Have you been thinking about the seasons to come while we’re in the midst of winter?

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Ethan is back!

Last fall, I had the opportunity to photograph a great family of three at Edgewater Park. This year we met up again, this time at South Chagrin Reservation and the location could not have been more beautiful. We had rain the night before so the landscape was lush and green and the water was rushing down the waterfalls. I had great memories of following Ethan around Edgewater as he threw rocks and sticks in the lake and this year he showed me his advanced rock throwing skills as well as his funny side. By the end of the shoot he was in full on ham mode and we had a blast playing together.

Where is your favorite place to explore nature in Cleveland? Do you like to photograph moments from your walk or hike?

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A girl, a boy and the Shaker Lakes

At the start of spring, I was asked to photograph these two adorable kiddos at the Shaker Lakes here in Cleveland. The rain held off for us and I was able to capture some sweet moments with each child. We had fun swinging, exploring the gazebo, climbing stone walls, checking out the playground, and smelling daffodils.

We followed this sweet girl around as she wandered through different areas and led us on a journey of discovery. The little baby boy was 8 months old at the time and was such a perfect age for portraits. He didn’t move to much and gave us so many lovely smiles. The entire process was great and I hope to see these two again in the future.

Have you enjoyed taking photos this spring? Are you gearing up to carry that camera around all summer?


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An adventure at Edgewater

Now that our lovely land of Cleveland is covered in beautiful white snow, I have another taste of fall and days spent outside to remind us of warmer months. I truly love the change of seasons here but it’s nice to remember sunshine and green grass when you can’t see it looking out your window.

I spent a Saturday afternoon with a family of three, mom, dad and the little man. We wandered the beach at Edgewater, throwing sticks and chasing birds, climbing rocks and wandering the landscape. I’m so grateful to mom and dad for letting us walk on those somewhat precarious stones to capture some great moments. Their little guy was on the move the entire time and it makes me appreciate everything parents do to keep up with their kiddos. Have a look and dream of your next park outing, maybe it will be for sledding?

What are you doing to remember warmer days and keep a positive outlook in the cold days of January? Have you taken any beautiful winter white photographs?

Sisters in the leaves

October in Cleveland is one of the absolute best times of the year. All month long the leaves change and fall to the ground. The light in the evenings is generally beautiful and we took advantage of that in a Friday session. I often recommend shooting at clients’ homes to allow children to be most comfortable and this was true for a couple little girls in Strongsville. We had a great time running around their yard and having fun until the sun started to set. Take a look at the images and enjoy the last few moments of fall this year.

What is your favorite autumn activity to do with young kids? I love a good afternoon spent apple picking.

Chase turned 1!

On one of the last sweltering days of summer, I headed out to Tinkers Creek in the Metroparks. I met one of my favorite trios, Ryan, Janelle and Chase, to photograph their family. Our last session was inside in February and snow was everywhere, and this session involved, wading and sitting in a creek, swinging, eating ice cream and sweating (mostly by yours truly). I love being able to capture this new family as the Chase man grows up and I hope you enjoy the many expressions he makes.

Did you get a chance to play in a creek or swing or eat ice cream this summer?