Photo Challenge - "Love."

This week's photo exercise theme was "love." I'm blessed with a lot of love in my life, so I could have gone many directions with this, but I thought I'd take this opportunity to introduce you to someone who is seldom seen on my blog. This is my nine year old. He doesn't live with us right now, which is why I rarely post photos of him. 

Springfield IL Family Photographer | Lydia Stuemke Photography

In the fall, we left Hawaii and flew home on emergency leave to our home, in Illinois. Noah, who had been really shy and quiet, and withdrawn since moving to Hawaii, was a completely different kid. He was laughing, and joking. He was outgoing and always smiling. He was so happy to be near the family who he had missed so much since we left Illinois five years before. So he asked to stay. And we respected him enough to take him seriously. 

So, this is love. Love is listening to your nine year old when he asks to live thousands of miles away for nine months. Love is when his grandparents give him his own room and welcome him into their home. Love is when other friends and family members invite him to movies or museums or to go ice skating. 

For his sisters, love is wishing you could have your brother instead of Christmas gifts. Or dreaming you were playing together and waking up and he's not really there. Love is falling asleep with his picture every night and taking it with you to school every day. 

I am so thankful for this little family and how full of love we are. Even when it means you're missing someone. 

Be in the Frame Challenge

This week, I was challenged to be in the photo. It was probably my toughest week yet. In theory, it should be easy to be in the frame. (Selfies, anyone?!) But in practice, I realized how I usually SEE the moment then shoot it. I love the authenticity of an image that documents the emotion as it naturally unfolds. Capturing that isn't so simple for the one who's usually BEHIND the camera. I wound up needing to CREATE the moment. 

 That said, sometimes, in the middle of creating a moment, a REAL moment took place. And those moments were enough to keep me coming back for more. This week taught me to be more intentional about documenting my time with my kids and iPhone selfies aren't cutting it! I hope to share more photos of me in 2016. I want my kids to be able to look back through albums and see that I was there too!

Be sure to go check out my friend Sharleen's take on the Be in the Frame challenge here!

Don't want to mess with tripods and timers? Relax. I'll take care of everything.

Contact me today so you can tell me your family's story!

Shallow Focus Image Exercise

Well, that didn't go quite as I had hoped. I was invited to participate in a another photography challenge this week in Sharleen Mey Photography's Facebook Group. Our theme for the week was shallow depth of field and OOF. For the non-photographers out there, shallow depth of field is when only a small area of your image is in a focus, like the photo of my daughter reading on Christmas Eve. OOF stands for "out of focus," which Sharleen NAILED on her blog. So be sure to make your way through the blog circle to her site. 

This week, though, I was really uninspired and just couldn't really find my groove in the theme. I contemplated not participating this week, but then decided that it's TOTALLY OKAY to not have amazing images all the time! Sometimes you try and experiment and maybe the photos don't turn out how you had hoped. And that's when you learn and grow and just. keep. shooting. 

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my duds. Stop by my friend Candice's blog  to see her take on the week. She nailed free-lensing and you'll even see my littlest asleep on my pack in her post!

A couple hours later...

Wait, wait, wait. Bring the beat back.... I'm wasn't finished, apparently. I went out and shot right after I posted this and had SO much fun with Candice's Lensbaby! Thank goodness for sweet neighbors who kindly loan gear! She may never get it back.