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Letters to My Children | 22 Months + 20 Weeks (In My Belly)

Letters to My Children | 22 Months + 20 Weeks (In My Belly)

May 12, 2019

Dear Babies,

Today is Mother’s Day! And I can’t help but sit and reflect how blessed I truly am to be your mama! I have grown so much as a person since I became a mama, and I love being a mama so much. It was what I was meant to do, I can feel it. I’m so grateful for Mother’s Day and for me to reflect on how truly blessed I am. I don’t need gifts or treats (although, that is ALWAYS nice!) to remind me of how blessed I am. I can’t believe how lucky I got with not only an amazing husband, but adorable children as well. And although I have yet to meet my youngest, I just have a feeling they will be amazing, too. Thank you, little ones, for making this mama proud and happy. Happy Mother’s Day to me!

To my oldest:

Can you say terrible twos? Although you haven’t hit that milestone yet (just two more months!) you have definitely started to show the attitude of a two year old. Some days are very tiring and it’s definitely hard to be patient. But I just try to put myself in your shoes. And I know, life isn’t always fair. I too sometimes want to cry and scream when I don’t get my way. I understand. You won’t always be in this phase and I know the saying, ‘the days are long but the years are short’ is all too true. I want you to stay my little baby forever. But, that’s not reality or possible. You are so amazing and so smart. So, I will be patient for you. I will hold you when you cry and let you tell me what’s wrong. You usually calm down and tell me what’s wrong and then you’re well on your way to being happy.

I really appreciate how polite you are! You sometimes say ‘please’ but you almost always say ‘thank you’! And it’s quite honestly the cutest thing I’ve seen.

I’m starting to prepare for your SECOND birthday? How on earth did I give birth to you almost two years ago! I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun. It’s been such an amazing two years, you are my favorite little almost two year old!

I can see it now, you’re going to be such an amazing big brother! You have such a sweet heart (even though you’re in the terrible twos stage) and you really do show me the world with different eyes. I’m so happy to be your mama, you keep growing and you keep learning. Together, we’re going to do amazing things. You are so special and so loved, don’t ever forget it.

To my youngest:

This past week we got to SEE you on the ultrasound machine! We were able to see you wiggle and kick and even give us a thumbs up! Oh, and one other very important thing…we found out what gender you are! And……….YOU’RE A GIRL! A girl! I can’t believe it! I had this feeling for a while that I was going to have a girl, I couldn’t shake it. And I thought to myself, ‘if she isn’t a girl…I’m not sure what I’ll do!’. Then the ultrasound technician asked me if we wanted to find out gender and I said, ‘yes!’ and she asked if I had a guess. I told her I thought you were a girl…then after about 2 seconds she said, ‘you’re right! You’re having a girl’.

I’m so excited and may have already started planning what I want you to wear, all the pictures I’ll take of you, the bows I will put on your head (against my own mother’s wishes, I bet). I am so excited to have a girl! I do have to admit, though…I thought for sure I was going to be a complete boy mom. I’m glad that’s not the case!

Now I have to start collecting girl stuff (since I have NOTHING because of your older brother), figure out a middle name for you, and buy some things for the nursery. To say that I have a lot to do is an understatement…I still have to pinch myself sometimes, I can’t believe you’re joining our family! You are so loved, little girl. We’re all so excited to meet you and snuggle you. I can’t wait to see what you’ll look like – will you look like me and your older brother? Or will you look like your daddy? Will you have brown hair like your brother? Or blonde? Or maybe that reddish tint from your daddy’s side? I can’t wait to see what your little nose will look like, what your eyes and ears and mouth will look like!

But, to be honest, I of course can wait for you to grow and develop. Please come at the right time, when you are fully developed. I want to meet you so bad, but I can be patient (thanks to big brother!). You keep growing and developing like you’re supposed to. You’re perfect, little honey. You make me so happy.

I am also happy about the possibility of giving birth at a birth center! Some things have to line up perfectly for this to happen, but I have faith that if it’s meant to be, we will meet you there! It’s the closest I’ll get to a home birth. Although I really enjoyed your brothers birth, there were a few things that I’d like to change, and I feel these changes will happen at the birth center. I’m excited and I hope it happens!

Thank you both for making me a mother, for showing me how to love more, and for giving me a new purpose in life.

I love you both so much.

Love, Mama

Louisville KY Maternity Photographer

Beautiful Family Session | Louisville, KY Family Photographer

Beautiful Family Session | Louisville, KY Family Photographer

Family sessions are becoming one of my favorite sessions. This family session I did last fall, and am just now catching up on blogging it! I am so excited to show you this beautiful family session. This is one of my favorite locations to photograph in the Indiana/Kentucky area. It’s actually a reservoir by a big church! Mt. St. Francis has beautiful land and gets amazing light at sunset. If you’re looking for a good location to take pictures, I will always offer this one up!

This family was photo perfect – their outfits were spot on, they smiled and let me pose them with ease. They really made my job pretty easy! I love the color choices they picked out. Overall, one of my favorite sessions to date! They were really such a joy to capture.

If you’re interested in seeing more of my family sessions, be sure to check out my portfolio. I book all year long. For the winter months, I typically do indoor family sessions. For all other months, I love doing outside family sessions! Contact me for more information or to book your family session today.

I also do newborn and maternity photography. If you’d like to find out more about the sessions I have to offer and what it looks like to book a session with me, please check out my welcome guides. I lay out exactly how a session works and what you should expect, I really want to make this experience as simple and easy for you as possible. I want to create memories for you that you will cherish forever. If that sounds like something you’d like, please contact me with the link above! I look forward to working with you!

Louisville KY Family Session Photographer
Louisville KY Family Photographer
Louisville KY Family Photographer
Louisville KY Family Photographer
Louisville KY Family Session Photographer
Louisville KY Photographer
Louisville KY Family Photographer
Louisville KY Photographer

A Walk in The Rain

A Walk in The Rain

I love photowalks so much! There is something so relaxing about a walk in the rain, am I right? I took my son out the other day to walk in the rain. We just walked around our neighborhood and I tried to feel inspired by the elements around our apartment building. I’ve been reading a Breakout from ClickinMoms called the Art of the Photography by Sarah Gupta and it has really inspired me! She lives in New York City and she manages to make all of her photos look like shes out in the country. I was amazed and so inspired. I still have some things to practice, but if she can create beautiful images like she does in her city, then I can definitely do the same in mine.

Are you new to my site? You might like my How to Get Started in Macro Photography post, then! I hope you stick around!

I have always loved photo walks, but I think my photography is finally changing into something I love. It only took me four years. Give yourself time to learn and grow. I know I’ll be learning and growing for the rest of my life (in all things, not just photography).

So, on this walk I actually used three different lenses. I really wanted to capture images the way I wanted to. I think the next time I go on a walk, I’ll push myself and take only one lens. But here was my gear for the walk:

I’ll be sure to put my settings and which lens I used under each photo. I really do love photowalks! I hope you enjoy and get inspired yourself!

So my son actually has on a spiderman shirt underneath his cute sweater. I really didn’t want to take pictures of him in that shirt…but he didn’t want to take it off (he’s been really attached to the shirt this past week). But he was totally fine with having the sweater on! Luckily it was colder this morning so he wasn’t hot at all!!

Sigma 24 ISO 100 | f/2.0 | ss 1/1600

Sigma 85 ISO 100 | f/2.0 | ss 1/1600

Sigma 85 ISO 100 | f/2.0 | ss 1/1600

My son was tired of having me take pictures of him at this point…so I decided to turn to the nature. Rainy days are perfect for macro photography! This first image was taken with my Sigma 85 before I decided to switch to my macro lens.


Sigma 85 ISO 100 | f/2.0 | ss 1/1600

Nikon 105 ISO 500 | f/5.6 | ss 1/500

Nikon 105 ISO 1000 | f/5.6 | ss 1/500

Nikon 105 ISO 1000 | f/5.6 | ss 1/500

Then it was back to my Sigma 24 lens, which is honestly on my camera 85% of the time. Mostly because I’m indoors 85% of the time. I do find that my outdoor photography looks a lot better with my 85 lens and I am pushing myself to try and use that one more. I love the creaminess it gives my images when outside. Oh, I also wanted to point out that having a higher shutter speed (the lowest I tend to go is 1/250) is key to avoid camera shake and motion blur (unless you want this, of course!).


Sigma 24 ISO 100 | f/2.2 | ss 1/400

Sigma 24 ISO 100 | f/2.2 | ss 1/400

Then my son found a puddle to splash in. He loved jumping in the puddles. He really enjoyed it! But after a few splashes he decided to sit in the water haha! When he realized he was wet and messy he asked for ‘a tissue’ (which is what he always asks for if he ever gets messy). Sure, bud. You can have a tissue. It sure did make my morning so much funnier!


Sigma 24 ISO 100 | f/2.2 | ss 1/400

Sigma 24 ISO 100 | f/2.2 | ss 1/400

Messy bum haha!


Sigma 24 ISO 100 | f/2.2 | ss 1/250

As you can see from my settings, getting closer to the stairs, our light was getting darker. So in the above image, I brought my shutter speed down to 1/250. But I didn’t want to keep bringing my shutter speed down. So, instead, I brought my ISO up a little so that I could keep a fast shutter speed for the below images, while still keeping everything exposed (I actually purposefully underexpose my images, I just like the way they look better, I feel like they’re creamier).


Sigma 24 ISO 400 | f/2.2 | ss 1/500

Sigma 24 ISO 400 | f/2.2 | ss 1/500

He realized his bum was wet haha!!


Sigma 24 ISO 400 | f/2.2 | ss 1/500

Sigma 24 ISO 400 | f/2.2 | ss 1/500

If you have any questions, let me know! I encourage you to go on a photowalk. Rain or shine! Pro tip: if you go on a photowalk when it’s a bright sunny day, either go right before the sunsets (golden hour) or try and find some shade to shoot in. Overcast days you can go anytime and shoot anywhere (as long as no sun is peaking through, it could create hotspots if that’s the case). Just be mindful of the light you are using. You will like the images you get a lot more if you use the light thoughtfully.

Happy shooting!

How to Get Eye Contact From a Toddler

How to Get Eye Contact From a Toddler

Getting eye contact from a toddler can be extremely difficult. I want to say one thing first: getting eye contact from a toddler/baby is not my priority. But I do absolutely love eye contact. And they have such sweet expressions when they’re this age. As of the date of this post, my son is 21 months and has started to hate the camera. So much that he’ll purposefully not look at it. These tricks have helped me get some pictures with eye contact.

Are you new to my blog? Welcome! I talk a lot about photographing my toddler, self portraits, how to get better photographs of your kids, and also some blogging tips from a mom to moms. One of my favorite posts I’ve created is Photographing a Toddler 101, if you’re struggling with getting better pictures of your toddler, this is the post for you!

Let’s get started!

Aly Dawn Photography | How to Get Eye Contact From a Toddler

how to get eye contact from a toddler

When I’m photographing my toddler (or any toddler) I keep one very important thing in mind: the toddler is in charge. Haha! Isn’t this how it is in real life? That toddler has a mind of their own, and they will let you know their opinion. Which leads me to my first tip:

Aly Dawn Photography | How to Get Eye Contact From a Toddler

play with them first

If you are wanting to get eye contact from that toddler, you need to make sure that you don’t immediately start pointing a giant camera in their face. Of course that will make them feel uncomfortable and unsure. What I like to do is to play with them first. I won’t even get the camera out at first. (This is especially important if the child is not your own child). With my son, I will set him up in pretty light and start playing with him. Tickles work, peek-a-boo works, something that grabs their attention. Then I’ll pull out my camera. If they are still unsure about me, I will let them see the camera. I’ll take a picture at them and say, ‘Look! It’s you!’ when I show them the picture I just took.

Aly Dawn Photography | How to Get Eye Contact From a Toddler

play peek-a-boo with your camera

I have to say, as an adult I don’t really like a big black thing in my face. So can you really blame a cute little toddler not liking it as well? I like to play peek-a-boo with my camera, meaning I will get my settings all set up, focus my shot, and then pop out from behind the camera yelling peek-a-boo and capture their response. Unfortunately this doesn’t work anymore for my son (he’s learned all my tricks!) but I think you’d definitely be able to get one or two shots from this! You have to be quick and ready, though.

Peek-a-boo will also work with other things, too. I like to use a door sometimes to play peek-a-boo. It gets a good laugh out of the toddler. 🙂

Aly Dawn Photography | How to Get Eye Contact From a Toddler

ask them if they can see something in your camera

That was a long title haha. But ask the sweet toddler if they can see…a bunny, a frog, a rainbow, themselves, in your camera lens. This trick works better for older toddlers (my son doesn’t quite get it yet). But you should get some awesome eye contact (be sure to talk to the toddler a little bit before this and find out what their favorite animal). I did this with my cousin in the above image. I asked her if she could see a rainbow, and that was the image I got. This worked well for her age group (which is three). Younger toddlers might not do this and you’ll have to try something else.

use live view mode

I often switch my camera to the live view mode. This allows me to not need my face right up against the camera the whole time. And remember how having a big black thing in your face isn’t fun? This might help ease the toddler a bit.

Aly Dawn Photography | Cute Toddler in Woods

get someone to help you

It’s always a lot easier to get my son to look towards me (if not at the camera) when his daddy is right behind me talking to me! Like in the image above, my husband was behind me talking to him and got him to look his direction. If I have the camera in my hands, my son will not look at me. I sometimes settle for ‘looking near my camera’. Just as long as I can see those sweet blue eyes. So get some help! If you are a photographer taking pictures for clients, get the mom and dad to help. Or even an older sibling! They may even make the toddler laugh (which is WAY better than a fake smile!!). Having a helper always makes it easier.

Do you need some more help learning photography? Join ClickinMoms forums to get loads of tutorials everyday!

don’t say ‘cheese’

DO not under any circumstance, ask your child to say ‘cheese’. What this teaches your child is to fake smile at you. Which is not what you want. If you’re wanting smile images, think outside the box. Don’t say, ‘*Insert name* look at me! Say cheese! Smile!” instead, you could be a tickle monster and tickle them and then jump back and grab a shot. You could say I see a booger! Or did you just fart!? I mean, seriously. Just because you have a camera in your hand doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any fun! Make it fun and you are sure to get genuine smiles, and awesome eye contact. Have them run around and chase you and capture them running after you.

Aly Dawn Photography | How to get a toddler to look at the camera

use reverse psychology

Use reverse psychology to get the eye contact you want! Instead of saying, ‘look at me! Look at the camera!’ you could say, ‘don’t you dare look at me! Don’t look! Don’t look at the camera! Don’t do it!!’. It might only work once and then they might get smart…but one shot is ALL you need! This only works with my son every once in a while, but I think he’s still a little too young to understand. I think it would work great for kids around three years of age!

Photographing toddlers can be so much fun! Be sure to check out my other blog posts related to toddlers. I hope they help you in your quest to capture cute pictures of your kids and clients!

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Letters to My Children | 21 Months + 16 Weeks (In My Belly)

Letters to My Children | 21 Months + 16 Weeks (In My Belly)

April 13, 2019

Dear Babies,

I sometimes have to pinch myself that by the end of this year, I’ll have two babies to love and adore. Life is so good, dear sweet little ones. We are blessed beyond measure. We might not have a lot in way of physical things (like a house, for instance) but we are so happy. And it’s all because of you two. I can’t imagine life without either of you. You make life fun and interesting. You make my life whole and complete. I am so happy I get to be your mama.

To my oldest:

You are growing up way too fast. Please, slow down just a little bit. At 21 months, you can say way more than 50 words (I’m pretty sure you can say about 150 words, but I’ve never counted, so I can’t be sure). You know your colors really well. I thought for a while you just memorized what color each item was…but pretty soon you started pointing out all the colors around you and you were always right. I’m so impressed. You can also count to three, when you want to. Sometimes you start with two instead of one, but that’s ok. You’ll get it. You also know some of the alphabet, which I had no idea until I asked you one day if you knew what ‘A’ was, and you did. Reading books is the best thing I’ve ever done for you!

Besides being the smartest 21 month old I know, you are also really polite. You know when it’s appropriate to say ‘thank you’ and ‘please’. You are also learning ‘sorry’. But you definitely have ‘thank you’ down. You say it even when I’m not expecting you to. I just think you’re so adorable! And smart! And I’m so proud of you for all of your accomplishes. You really just make this mama smile.

You’re still breastfeeding. I love the connection breastfeeding brings us. I’m so happy we’ve been keeping it up. However, I am in the process of slowly weaning you. Last night, for example, you only nursed twice and for about 10 seconds each time. I was amazed and so happy. You slept so long last night. During the day you only nurse one time, usually around nap time. You’ve been eating more food, which I think definitely helps. I’m hoping you will be weaned by the time your sibling gets here. I don’t want to cut you off cold turkey because that’s just no my parenting style. I love our breastfeeding journey and I will be sad when I no longer get to breastfeed you. But I know you are ready to wean.

You love going to the park and sliding down the slide. It’s your favorite! When we first started going to the park, you would yell ‘no!’ at anyone who tried to slide down with you. You’ve gotten a lot better and now only look at them funny, haha! You also really love taking walks. And what I mean by that is that you actually walk around, no stroller. It’s cute and wears you out so I let you. And plus I need the exercise myself! You certainly keep me busy, little one. I love it so much ,though!

Keep growing, keep getting smarter, keep being your adorable self.

To my youngest:

Life got so much sweeter when we found out about you. I had a feeling pretty much right after I conceived that I was pregnant with you. I didn’t tell your daddy, though. I didn’t want to get his hopes up as well. Four weeks later I took a test and sure enough, there was the positive sign. When I told your daddy later that day, he was shocked but so happy! It took so long to get pregnant with your brother, we were expecting the exact same thing with you. But that wasn’t the case. And we are so so blessed.

We got to see you on the ultrasound when you were just 8 weeks (in my belly). You looked like such a cute little bean! And we saw your heart beat and you move. At our last appointment, we heard your heart beat again. I love that sound. Our next appointment we get to see you on the ultrasound again and fine out what you are. I’m so excited, little bean! I can’t believe I’m already that far in my pregnancy with you! This pregnancy is flying by. I feel like you’ll be here before I know it. And I’m happy about that. I can’t wait to give you hugs and kisses. I can’t wait to breastfeed you! I can’t wait for you to meet your older brother (you’ll love him, I promise). I can’t wait to pick out a name for you! I can’t wait till your daddy gets to hold you for the first time. You are already so loved, my little bean. Life is just so good.

I love you both so much.

Love, Mama

Aly Dawn Photography | Letters to my children