Aug 1

Holiday mini sessions

It's hard for me to think about fall when I'm currently melting in the North Carolina sun, but before you know it the temperatures will drop and we'll be counting down the days until the holidays. To kick off August, I'm releasing my fall mini schedule. These mini sessions are perfect for capturing your families growth over the last year. Check out my options below.

Option 1: Saturday, 10/7 (4:00pm, 4:30pm, 5:00pm, 5:30pm, 6:00pm), Raleigh

For those who want a less traditional look, C and I found this cool mural in Raleigh!

Option 2: Saturday 10/28 (8:00am, 8:30am, 9:00am, 9:30am, 10:00am, 10:30am), Yates Mill Park (Raleigh)

This is my most popular location! A pretty, rustic location with lots of trees that will hopefully be turning at the time of the session, as well as a long, wooden bridge (if you are interested in shooting here, you'd be much better off with the early morning sessions before the sun gets too high), an old mill building, and a gorgeous waterfall. There are also fun cobblestones and an exposed bridge that add some cool texture to photos.

Option 3: Saturday, 11/11 SOLD OUT (2:15pm, 2:45pm, 3:15pm, 3:45pm, 4:15pm, 4:45pm), Oak View Park (Raleigh)

A new location for this year! This location is a nice blend of rustic, open fields, and fall colors. There's also a cotton field to shoot in!

Option 4: Sunday, 11/19 SOLD OUT (2:15pm, 2:45pm, 3:15pm, 3:45pm, 4:15pm, 4:45pm), Raulston arboretum (Raleigh)

This location is a large garden setting, with lots of pretty arches and wooden benches interspersed throughout the greenery. The sunsets here are amazing if you're the last session!

Sessions are first come, first served and I'm taking bookings now. I also have a very limited number of openings for full family sessions if you're interested in one of those instead. me for more details!

Hope to see you this fall!

Oct 7

Raleigh "Beach" Session

I love photographing the unique bond between twins; and I love to try to capture their sweet, intimate relationship during sessions. These two are near and dear to my heart, and I have loved watching them grow over the years. We have been trying to do a beach-inspired session for the past couple years but always ran out of summer before we were able to fit something in. We were lucky enough to find a local "beach" to shoot at this year, and my inner California girl was so excited to find a place that reminds her of home.

Sept 20

Baby's best friend

I absolutely love it when families include their fur babies in their sessions, and the H family had one of the sweetest pups I have ever met. I was dying when Lilly literally cradled her new baby brother in her arms. Such a sweet "mama"!

Sept 12

B is one!

Our sweet, easy-going B turned one last week! She celebrated by starting to walk, figuring out how to open doors, and discovering that she loves to eat king crab legs. She is such a joy to be around, and I cannot get enough of her babbles, snuggles, and dimple-y smiles. Here are more photos from her cake smash session a month ago, styled by the amazing Greenhouse Picker Sisters.

Stay tuned as I catch up on blogging more sessions from the past several months!

July 12

Holiday mini sessions

Wow! Thank you to everyone who has messaged, texted, and supported us after my blog post on C. The response we received was overwhelming, and I am very grateful for each and every one of you. In the wake of that post, we found ourselves being offered a spot in an intensive autism treatment program in California, and I am thrilled to share that we will be able to participate in it. I truly believe this is going to be such a great program for C, and I can't wait to see the progress he will make. Unfortunately for 715 West, this means that I will not be able to shoot sessions from the beginning of August through late October.

In order to accommodate as many of you (my amazing clients turned friends) as possible during the busy fall season, I am going to be holding a series of holiday mini sessions in November at various locations around the Triangle. Keep reading for more information on dates and locations. If you'd like to reserve a spot, please let me know now! All sessions are first come, first serve. I will update this page from time to time to reflect what is currently available. A limited number of full sessions will also be available. Contact me to check availability.

Option 1: Saturday, 11/5 (8:00am, 8:30am, 9:00am, 9:30am, 10:00am), Yates Mill Park (Raleigh)--SOLD OUT

This rustic location has lots of trees that will hopefully be turning at the time of the session, as well as a long, wooden bridge (if you are interested in shooting here, you'd be much better off with the early morning sessions before the sun gets too high), an old mill building, and a gorgeous waterfall. There are also fun cobblestones and an exposed bridge that add some cool texture to photos.

Option 2: Saturday, 11/12 (2:45pm, 3:15pm, 3:45pm, 4:15pm, 4:45pm), Raulston Arboretum (Raleigh)--SOLD OUT

This location is a large garden setting, with lots of wooden benches and some interesting architectural features interspersed throughout the greenery. The sunsets here are amazing if you're the last session!

Option 3: Sunday, 11/13 (2:45pm, 3:15pm, 3:45pm, 4:15pm, 4:45pm), Suggs Farm Park (Holly Springs)--SOLD OUT

This location boasts pretty, rustic wooden fences, and gorgeous open fields that get prettier the later it gets. The park is very dog-friendly if you'd like to include furry family members in your session, and has lots of open space for energetic toddlers to burn off some energy.

Option 4: Saturday, 11/19 (7:30am, 8:00am, 8:30am, 9:00am, 9:30am, 10:00am), American Tobacco Campus (Durham)

This last option is at an urban location, and has so many fun, funky places to shoot! There's lots of fun stairways, brick, and back alleyways to explore.

Sessions are first come, first served and I'm taking bookings now. If this is something you're interested in, please contact me as soon as possible so I can save your spot! I also have a very limited number of openings for full family sessions if you're interested in one of those instead. me for more details!

Can't wait to see you all this fall!

April 6

What autism looks like

In light of April being autism awareness month, I decided to switch things up a bit and write a post on what autism looks like to our family, from a photojournalistic point of view (disclaimer: this post contains a mixture of photos from my big camera and phone—whatever happened to be more convenient at the time). Initially, I had intended to do a post that was primarily photos, with the idea that photos of huge lines of cars would mean more than simply writing "C likes to line up his cars". However, as the post started to take shape, I found that his story needed to be told in both pictures and words, especially since no one would have any clue why I was posting photos of my cereal boxes (more on that later). So over the past several months I have been documenting the little moments that are “normal” in our house: the funny quirks, maddening obsessions, and moments so tender we’re reduced to tears. There are lots of tears at our house, every day. Happy tears, sad tears, frustrated tears, angry tears. With autistic kids and the ones who love them, emotions run big and strong all the time.

I think it’s ironic that everyone agrees that all kids are unique, yet many people still lump autistic children together in their minds simply because they have the same disorder. The range of the autism spectrum is staggering. However, on multiple occasions I have had interactions with well-meaning people who tell me about the autistic child they know who is currently “doing great and holding down a steady job bagging groceries”, in an attempt to encourage me about C’s future prospects. In the meantime, C is doing multiplication and discussing the components of amino acids at the ripe, old age of four.

With autism, there is no “normal”. And while this is what our normal looks like, I’m certain it is drastically different than other families dealing with spectrum-related disorders. So with that, welcome to our home:

First of all, C loves numbers. Even the word “loves” is a gross understatement. They are an all-consuming obsession, one that has infiltrated almost every sector of our lives. For example, he loves clocks because clocks have numbers.

He loves staring at clocks, asking what time it is, telling you what time it is, and a normal “conversation” to him would be to discuss whether its “AM or PM” in various states across the country (oh yeah, he has known all 50 states since he was two. It is also typical for him to describe his broken tortilla chip as looking like Illinois or a logo on a shirt bearing resemblance to Ohio. But I’m getting sidetracked.). He can also read analog clocks better than my husband most of the time.

If you have a keen eye, you’ll notice that C is wearing the same clothes in many of these shots even though they were all taken on different days. If given the choice, he will only wear clothing with numbers on it, and his favorite shirt is a Little Kickers t-shirt that he got for participating in a soccer program when he was 18 months old. As his personal stylist, it kills me that he has a whole closet full of awesome clothes that only get worn when I’m willing to pick that fight, but most days it’s just one of the many things I’ve had to let go of for the sake of sanity.

The obsession with numbers even extends to our breakfast cereals. He identifies various cereals not by their names, but by the number of grams of whole grains per serving each one contains.

He is also extremely literal, and life to C is very black and white. He loves cribbage boards (because they have numbers on them), and it was the cribbage board that taught him to count by fives. After counting to 120 by fives several times, I asked him to keep going. Specifically, I asked him “Well, what comes after 120?” To which he answered “121”. Duh, mom.

C is one of the smartest people I know, but the autism is most apparent in his social skills (or lack thereof). Every time we go out, C loves to talk with the strangers we encounter. He wants to say hello to everyone, but lacks the social tools to sustain a conversation beyond “Hi!” His current obsession is with first, middle, and last names, and he will ask a person what their first, middle, and last names are no fewer than five times in a conversation (even if the person is a good friend, our next door neighbor, or an immediate family member). I apologize if this has happened to you.

He is very curious about the world. He especially loves mechanical things that move, like wheels, hinges, and gears. We often have to stop in the middle of bike rides because C finds that playing with the gears is more fun than riding the bike itself.

His idea of a dream date would be to spend the afternoon in Home Depot, because there are plenty of hinged items to open and close (Washers, dryers, refrigerators, cabinets, and toilet seats. Who knew there were so many options when it came to toilet seats?!).

He is also obsessed with instructions. Not my verbal instructions for how to be a functional member of society, unfortunately, but instruction booklets. LEGOS must be built strictly according to the instructions (I’ve been told “No Mommy! Don't do step 5 yet, we are on step 4!” countless times). He also loves getting out board games and setting them up according to the instructions, but he’s never interested in actually playing any of the games.

There are several other humorous things C entertains us with, but I do want to acknowledge the fact that dealing with an autistic child is not easy, and most days it feels like playing Russian roulette. Each interaction, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, can unexpectedly lead to a mind-blowing, body-flailing, scream-so-hard-you-throw-up reaction. I’ve had blood and snot smeared into my carpet and across my walls because I asked him to wash his hands, or had him throw himself down the stairs in protest over going potty downstairs when he wanted to pee upstairs. We’re slowly learning some of his triggers, and the best strategies to prevent outbursts, but it’s a difficult road at best. The hardest part is finding the right balance between being firm in discipline and setting boundaries, yet giving him the extra comfort he needs but doesn’t necessarily want in his moments of insanity (especially when all you want to do is scream and threaten to disown him). I do believe that there is a large sensory processing disorder component at play in most of the outbursts, and I frequently need to remind myself that autistic kids’ brains are wired differently, and sometimes that wiring can cause them to lose control of their bodies. It’s hard though, especially in the midst of an epic breakdown.

These big emotions swing the other way too. He loves his sister like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s a big, unconditional, rough love that usually ends in a gross invasion of personal space or him “riding her like a horse” (his words, not mine), but she loves it and it's good preparation if she wants to play rugby when she’s older. But he is so, so sweet to her, always wants to give her kisses, and gets upset when she has to nap because he wants to play with her. He gives her band-aids and “pink soap” (antiseptic wash) whenever I tell him that a certain food might hurt her belly. He sings to her and tells her “Its ok Brooklyn, you don’t have to cry” when she’s upset. They have the relationship I wanted them to have so badly before she was born, but was afraid to hope for after his diagnosis.

I could go on and on about C’s various quirks, but I’ll end with this last one. Another obsession is lining things up in long, perfect, straight lines. Sometimes I’ll come into the house to find all the shoes paired up and arranged in a perfect line down the entryway. Most of the time its long rows of cars lined up, sometimes 30-50 cars deep. What is most perplexing about it is that these long, extremely ordered lines are often found in the midst of gigantic messes, since he has no qualms about destroying rooms while playing in them. This is how I imagine it must feel like to be C: trying his best to make order in the midst of chaos and no one seems to understand.

It is too easy to put on a happy face for social media, and I am all too guilty of only posting the perfect photos of my kids without mentioning how difficult it was to simply dress my child in the outfit he's wearing. Autism is hard. However, even though it is a label (and quite a negative one at that), the diagnosis is also a powerful vehicle we can use to get him the early intervention therapy he needs, and the information I need to help him. But it is also important to remember that labels are only labels, and no label could ever fully describe the smart, sweet, awesomeness that is C. It is so easy to focus on the quirks or the struggles or the craziness, but none of these quite captures the whole picture.

He never ceases to amaze me.

Mar 29

B's 6 month shoot

My sweet, sweet little girl is 6 months old! She is an amazing sleeper and eater, and thinks her brother is the funniest person in the world. We are absolutely smitten with her!

In the middle of the shoot, C asked if he could take some pictures too. I thought it would be sweet to get a shot of them together, and this was the shot I was trying to get:

However, in trying to get that shot there was a LOT of silliness going around. B thought it would be hilarious to roll all over the bed instead of doing tummy time (even though tummy time is her favorite thing right now). She kept crashing into C and both of them would erupt into belly laughs, resulting in these out-takes:

Isn't it funny how sometimes the out-takes end up being your favorite shots?

Feb 22

Cake Smash!

I have had the privilege of seeing this little girl every 3 months this past year, and it was so fun to see the little (and not so little) changes each time we got together. Miss N turned one this past week and we had a super fun, stylish cake smash to celebrate! She was so adorable, and just a tad excited to dig into her cake ;)

I usually try to get a shot of the "aftermath", but apparently someone wasn't quite ready to be done yet!

Feb 10

Future engineer

One thing you might not know about me: I am a HUGE nerd, and I really (really) enjoy geeky math humor. So you can imagine how excited I was when we incorporated some engineering "classics" into this sweet little girl's 6 month photo session. What can be better than those big blue eyes and phase transition diagrams?

Jan 25

M family newborn session

I love that my clients have such stylish taste. When I walked into baby S's nursery, I was in love with all the decor. I especially loved her dramatic curtains (they're from Restoration Hardware, in case you become as obsessed with them as I am), so we had to include them in the photo shoot since that's what you do when you have amazing curtains. Enjoy!

Jan 11

Happy New Year!

A lot has happened since the last time I updated this blog (although I suppose that's to be expected when I don't write for six months)! I wrapped up sessions in mid-August to prepare for Brooklyn's arrival, had a few labor fake-outs at the end of August, and finally welcomed our baby girl over Labor Day weekend, fittingly! I spent a much-needed 5 weeks getting to know her and adjust to chaos life as a family of four, and then the craziness of fall sessions began. I absolutely loved seeing all of you, and had such a blast seeing old faces and meeting new friends. I shot over 25,000 images from October through December, can you believe that?!

One of my New Years resolutions was to blog more frequently, so check back often for new posts. All the best in 2016, from our family to yours!

July 22

R family newborn session

I love that I have gotten the opportunity to shoot a ton of newborn sessions lately. Getting to snuggle all your adorable babies has made me really excited to welcome our own in a few weeks! Speaking of which, I will officially be on maternity leave from mid-August until the beginning of November. If you are interested in a fall session when I return, please email me now ( and we'll get something scheduled. My calendar is already 75% full, so if this is something you're interested please don't wait until the fall to contact me! Thanks for your understanding--I really try to accommodate all my wonderful clients, but I know this year is going to be a little crazy :)

Baby B is such a perfect addition to the R family. She was just the sweetest, sleepiest little bundle, with a whole head of amazing hair! It was so fun working with this family--even their dog was just the sweetest!

June 26

D family session

What struck me most about this sweet couple was that they had such a gentle spirit, and I loved they way that was reflected in their kids. It really made me reflect on how little patience I sometimes have with my own family, and want to work on that! I loved that we got lots of "snuggly" shots, and tons of sweet smiles. Enjoy!

June 15

G family maternity session

I had the opportunity to do some maternity photos for this gorgeous couple a few months ago. They were expecting twins, and had decided to keep their genders a surprise! I think that would be such a fun way to get yourself through labor, but I don't think I have enough patience and willpower to do it personally :) This sweet mama was also one of the fittest pregnant women I know--she did crossfit (yes, CROSSFIT) until late in her third trimester, and she had not one but two babies in that belly! It really paid off though--doesn't she look amazing?

June 5

D family session

You might recognize the D family from my portfolio--they were one of the first families I had the privilege of photographing! They're about to start up a new campus ministry at UNCW, and we're so sad to see them go. I know great things are in store for them though, and I was excited when they asked to do one last session before their big move. We decided there was no better setting than downtown Raleigh to commemorate their time here!

May 27

E family newborn session

Remember the E family's gorgeous maternity session? Little Miss L decided to make her début this past winter in the middle of an ice storm, just to keep everyone on their toes. I'm fortunate enough to see this little girl almost every week, and I can't believe how big and smiley she's gotten since this session!

May 18

C family spring session

I first met the C family last fall to do some photos for Christmas cards, and was so excited to hang out with them again this spring for some updated photos. Aren't they just the sweetest pair?

May 4

M family newborn session

Baby N was one of the sweetest, most easy-going babies I have gotten to work with. I loved every minute working with her! I shot this session early this year, and I can't believe I'm barely getting this post up when her 3 month session is right around the corner (I *told* you I was really behind!).

Wearing her mommy's pearls from when she was a baby. I love it when family heirlooms can be incorporated into sessions!

April 22

Senior Portraits

I'm back! I apologize for the hiatus, morning sickness is no joke! Thanks for your patience with me in the meantime. Lots of sessions to get caught up on, but I thought I'd start with a senior portrait gallery to switch things up a bit. G was referred to me by a dear friend (thanks B!), and is set to graduate this spring. It was so much fun doing a senior session for a change of pace (quite literally, I didn't have to do any running/chasing/jumping for this session!). Their friends owned this amazing property that we shot at, isn't it to die for?!

Feb 6

The Art of Science

I am a *huge* science nerd. There, I admitted it. So when I got the chance to do some photography for the Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC) at NC State, I was really excited! In college I studied engineering with a focus on biotechnology, so this was definitely up my alley. I'll try to add captions to some of these photos so you know what you're looking at!

A settling plate to measure contamination in the air.

An automated system to fill storage bags with product.

Some of the disks in a disk-stack centrifuge, used during bioreactor harvest.

A robot that dispenses small volumes of liquid rapidly and accurately.

Colorful pipettes used for measuring and transferring liquids.

Jan 22

Beach Family Session

You might think that as a photographer I have tons of pictures of my own family, be honest, I'm terrible at keeping up! This past holiday season we were on vacation and I decided that I needed to take some updated photos of our family. It was especially important to me to get some shots of Cameron and my parents and sister, since we don't have any "real" photos of them all together. C wasn't the most cooperative kid, but that's just the reality of "threenagers".

I grew up on the border between Los Angeles and Orange County, and the beach was always a quick hop away (oh how I miss that!). This particular spot is one of my favorites--my dad and I used to scuba dive here when I lived in LA, and its a short drive down PCH from the place where Greg and I got married. Even writing this post makes me a little nostalgic, so I have to keep reminding myself its not worth the crazy taxes and traffic!

And thanks to my sister for snapping a few shots too!

Jan 15

Whimsical Twins Session

I met the A family through another client (hi B!), and had such a great time hanging out with them one morning. Mom wanted a casual, whimsical mini session, and it was so fun to document the twins' individual personalities and how they interacted with each other. It also didn't hurt that the light in their house was GORGEOUS!

Pretty easy to see where their good looks come from.

Jan 7

F Family: Maternity and Newborn

Happy 2015! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! We spent the holidays in Los Angeles, and enjoyed picture perfect beach photo session weather. I had the opportunity to catch up on photos of my favorite model and his grandparents, so stay tuned for that post.

Today's post has been a long time coming, so please forgive me! Our dear friends, the F family, recently welcomed a baby girl and we could not be more happy for them. Big brother E is best buddies with my Cameron, and it was so sweet to see him transform from energetic toddler boy into a such a gentle big brother when he held her (see below). I also had the priviledge of capturing some maternity photos for them as well, so you're getting a double session post today!

July 18

6 Month Twins Session

Meet L and C. They're 6 months old, absolutely adorable, and have the most amazing blue eyes I've ever seen. Mom had a great eye for styling the session; aren't the fedoras and ties the cutest things you've ever seen? I also loved the personal touches she brought to the shoot, like the boys' favorite book. What a fun way to personalize the session, as well as document what their favorites were at this precious age!

July 13

M+S Married!

I love it when clients turn into great friends--it just makes my heart happy. S was referred to me by a friend, and throughout the process of planning her big day we really just clicked. We had fun bonding over floral arrangements and griping about PhD dissertations, and it brought back great memories from planning my own wedding. I also learned a ton about Persian weddings, and quickly found out that they know how to throw a great party!

The wedding was held at the gorgeous Carolina Inn, and the hotel and its staff were nothing short of amazing. M and S, I had a blast capturing your big day and I'm so glad I can call you friends. Enjoy your photos!

June 25

Baby N Newborn Session

Baby N is finally here! I had the privilege of shooting a maternity session for this beautiful family, and have been anxiously awaiting his arrival ever since. Dad is an avid golfer, so they had the adorable idea to do a golf-themed session for their birth announcement. Any bets on when this little cutie will be joining his dad out on the green?

June 11

C is Three!

This post has been over a month in the making, so forgive me for taking so long! My sweet, silly, mischievous little boy is now three years old. It's ironic how it can seem like he was born yesterday, while simultaneously feel like I've been wiping cheeks of both kinds for an eternity. C definitely keeps us on our toes--he is extremely curious, constantly moving, and manages to make himself bleed at least once a day.

C is far from a perfect photography subject. In fact, he is probably THE hardest child I have had to photograph. During this shoot I was by myself trying to get him to stay put, shoot, and (unsuccessfully) keep him from rolling around on the filthy floor. By the end we were both red-faced (as you can see in the photos below), sweaty, and really, really dirty.

I was attempting to style our shoot after what I have seen on the mini style hacker blog, and all things considered I think we did a decent job. In case you're shopping for your own little boy, C's outfit is largely from the clearance rack at Target, jeans are from Baby Gap, and the Converse were cheapest at JC Penny.

Happy birthday C! We love watching you learn and explore the world around you. You bring so much joy (and many Band Aids) into our lives!

In my opinion, the perfect shots are the ones that capture the essence of your child at that moment in time:

June 04

Father's Day Mini Recap

It was so great to meet some new friends during our Father's Day mini sessions. We had to contend with rain at times, but that didn't seem to put a damper on things as you can see :) You guys are the best! Thanks to everyone who participated!

May 30

Mommy-daughter Maternity Session

Little sister is due in a few weeks and A wanted to do one last mommy-daughter photo shoot with big sis E before the big arrival. I had such a blast hanging out with these two! E was so interested in the wildlife we found while shooting--she caught some tadpoles in her hand, pointed out several frogs, and even found a snake! I could have done without the snake, but E was so fascinated. We had a fun time exploring, and I loved capturing their special mommy-daughter bond. We were worried it might rain during their session, but the lighting ended up being fabulous! Enjoy!

May 20

Spring Mini Recap

Thanks to all the families who participated in my spring mini sessions! I loved seeing familiar faces and meeting new friends. There was way too much cuteness to fit into one blog post, but here is a sampling of some of the fun we had!

May 14

UNC-NCSU Graduation Session

S and G are high school sweethearts who decided to attend rival colleges. They had the fun idea to do graduation photos at both campuses, each dressed in their own cap and gown. We garnered plenty of stares during our session, but that was probably because these two are so good looking! Here are a few shots we took at both campuses iconic locations.

Aren't they just the cutest?

May 09

N Family Maternity Session

I had such a great time with the N family as we documented their last few weeks as a family of three. Isn't Mom just glowing in these images? I had such a hard time deciding which ones to post--I loved so many of them!

May 01

Baby L Newborn Session

We have known Baby L's family since we joined our church three years ago. I was so excited when I heard they were expecting, and I was even more excited when I was asked to do their first family photos. Here are a few of my favorites from our session.

Being a cute model is hard work.

Apr 25

And the winner is...

Deena, please email me at to schedule your free Spring Mini Session. Thanks to everyone who shared!

Apr 20

Spring Mini Sessions

I love driving around this time of year and seeing all the trees blossoming. It reminds me of the afternoon my husband asked me to marry him underneath the cherry blossoms in Washington DC. Whenever I see those pink buds, it takes me back to that crazy, perfect day!

I found a gorgeous backyard garden to shoot some spring sessions, and I'm so excited to share it with you. In addition, to celebrate our website launch, I'm having a little give-away. Head over to Facebook, like 715 West Photography, and share our Spring Mini flier for a chance to win a free Spring Mini Session! Winner will be announced on the blog on Friday.

Apr 07

Sweet Little Baby

Part of the What to Expect blog series

Ah, newborn sessions. Taking pictures of a sleeping baby sounds simple enough, right? As with anything that involves kids, nothing is as straightforward or easy as it seems!

Newborn sessions are best when completed within baby’s first 10 days. When you book a newborn session, I will put your due date on my calendar, and have a consultation meeting with you to discuss your vision for the photoshoot. After baby arrives, we’ll schedule a specific appointment time for the session. I am happy to go to your home, but if you would prefer I can also shoot newborn sessions at my home studio in Cary.

Your session will likely run 2-3 hours to allow for plenty of time for breaks, feedings, and diaper changes. I ask that you wait until I arrive to feed your baby. I will need approximately 20 minutes to set up, which is a perfect window to feed baby so s/he is comfortably and sleepy during our session. Parents and siblings should wear simple clothes in solid colors without many embellishments since they tend to distract from the main attractions. While we’re shooting, I always tell moms to not worry. All babies cry, and most will spit up or have dirty diapers at some point during the session. This is normal, and I might use the opportunity to snap a few shots mid-scream so you can remember what life was really like when they were little.

Apr 05

Kids will be Kids

Part of the What to Expect blog series

I'm pretty sure my son, Cameron, is the worst subject to photograph. He's constantly running away, jumping off of high objects, or trying to touch my camera lens.

If your child is not cooperating during your session, don't worry, I have seen much worse from my own child. I am grateful, though, for all the frustrating sessions he's put me through because ultimately what I realized is that some of the best shots I've gotten have been when kids are just being their authentic selves. I look forward to capturing your family's own uniqueness and personality during your session.

This is one of my favorite shots of my silly boy. It totally captures his personality!

Apr 03

What Not to Wear

Part of the What to Expect blog series

Outfits can really make or break a photo. I love following lifestyle blogs and scouring the web for ideas. Here's a list of DO's and DON'Ts that I've compiled to help you pick the perfect outfit.

What works

1. Coordinating outfits

Matchy-matchy is bad, coordinated is good. What is coordinated? Having a common theme that ties everyone together. Usually this is a common color, but textures, fabrics, or metals work as well. Try using a pop of red (or another color) for Dad's undershirt, Mom's scarf, daughter's leggings, or son's vest.

2. Bright, bold colors

Bold colors really do "pop" in photos, especially with open-space backgrounds (a field, or a park, etc.). White or neutral colors tend to blend into the background, unless they're accented with a fun texture or a pop of color.

3. Fun shoes

Photography sessions are a great time to dust off your fun heels or an excuse to go shopping for a new pair. I love detail shots, and fun shoes are a natural prop for your session. Don't limit yourself to just heels, one creative family wore matching TOMS' to their shoot!

4. Figure-hugging Outfits for Maternity Sessions

We want you to show off your bump, Mama! Also, it may seem a little counterintuitive, but loose, flowy shirts can actually make you look bigger than you really are. We never want you to look as big as you may feel late in your pregnancy.

5. For more outfit ideas, visit our Pinterest page!

What doesn't work

1. Bold prints or patterns

These tend to be distracting and draw attention away from the face.

2. Character T-shirts

Unless we're doing a superhero themed shoot, licensed apparel tends to look too casual.

3. Matching Outfits for the Whole Family

It just looks like you're trying too hard, and no one wants that.

4. Trendy Outfits

What's trendy today may not be trendy tomorrow. Choose timeless pices that don't distract from the most imporant element of the photo - YOU.

Oh, Cameron. Don't you know that Christmas Jammies are so 2013?

If you’re having trouble deciding on outfits for a session, feel free to contact me. We can discuss the look you’re going for, and I can send you some ideas to point you in the right direction.

Apr 01

About Baley

Hi, I'm Baley, and I'm the woman behind the lens at 715 West Photography. I want to take a moment to introduce myself to you since I prefer to have sessions with "friends" rather than "clients".

I grew up in sunny, warm southern California, and decided to go to UCLA for college because I couldn't imagine living anywhere where it snowed. I majored in chemical engineering, and developed a hatred for the Florida Gators because they always knocked the Bruins out of March Madness. After graduation, I decided to pursue graduate school, so I moved to New Jersey (where it snows A LOT) and met my future husband...who also happened to be a Florida Gator. I really think God had a sense of humor when He was planning it all.

My husband was offered his dream job, and I jumped at the chance to get away from the frigid temperatures. The next year we welcomed our son Cameron into the world, and life hasn't been the same since. Of course there were the obvious changes: stretch marks, giving up on a good night's sleep, not blinking an eye when you were suddenly covered in (insert bodily fluid here). However the most profound change to happen to me was my relationship with my camera. Up until that point I had been perfectly content with my little point and shoot camera. But when the best-looking baby in the universe (I may be slightly biased here) is sitting in your living room, you want more than just okay pictures of your kid's first smile. So I invested in a "real" camera and started practicing every chance I got.

My shooting has evolved dramatically since then, and I love continuing to learn and grow as a photographer. I love honing my craft artistically, and having 715 West Photography as my creative outlet helps me to suppress the urge to redecorate our home constantly (my husband is grateful). Additionally, the technical side of photography really excites my inner nerd, and I could talk for days about the optics of lenses or how focal length and distance affect depth of field.

All in all, I am extremely excited to see where this new venture leads. Thank you for partnering with me on this journey!

Thank you, Cameron, for getting me started on this wild ride!
--> Click here for older posts