I loved being able to capture this family’s story! I don’t need to tell you how much I love photographing lifestyle sessions! I’m sure you’ve heard me go on about it at some point! I love real life! I also love setting up gorgeous styled shoots, but nothing beats the real! Looking at the photos below, take me back to my own childhood! It’s not just about capturing a moment, but capturing a time frame in your life with your kids. My heart is for all of us to go back into loving the real and sometimes even imperfect moments. We have become way to influenced to make everything look perfect and beautiful, but lets not forget that we are all most beautiful being ourselves!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I so enjoyed photographing this family. Alaina is one of my best friends and her whole family is just so fun to be around! I love to look at the growth in a family. For example a family of 5 here, turned into this big family in just a matter of years!

Love this scripture…

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like Arrows in the hand of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man who’s quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with the opponents in court. PSALM 127:3-5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I so enjoyed photographing Bentley doing his favorite thing… Playing sports! What a sweet part of childhood to capture. I played at the same ball fields that we took these pictures at, when I was a kid! It’s crazy how fast time flies by! Before you know it Bentley will be my age remembering playing here! Thank you Brittany for letting me capture your boy doing what he loves!

 

 

 

 

 

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August 7, 2017 in Newborns

What a precious little girl! She was wide awake the whole session even though she was seemingly asleep in some of these photos! Just love those sweet little newborns!

 

This was the second time I was able to photograph The Walpoles. Last time we did a session in the yard with the sprinkler and popsicles etc… You can view that session here, http://johannalakin.com/blog/?p=7453

This time, they were visiting the beach and so we did a beach session! The kids got to play in the water at the end which made for some sweet candid shots 🙂 I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to spend time with this family and am excited to do it again in the future!

I highly encourage you if you are planning a beach session to allow your kids some playtime for some of the photos. It totally pays off! Don’t you agree?

 

 

What an awesome family this is! I am so excited to share some of the photos from their beach session in Destin. Vanessa is stunningly beautiful as are their two girls Johannah and Ruth and so I had it made in the shade getting good shots! I love the mixture of candids and posed shots throughout this session. I think that most of the photos from any session should be candid. I’m sure you have all heard me ranting about lifestyle photography lately! This session is a great mixture of both lifestyle and portrait style. Thank you so much Vanessa and Tim for asking me to take photos and showing me a new spot in Destin to shoot at! I thoroughly enjoyed it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a perfect sunset beach session! This little girl is beautiful and is such a natural in front of the camera. Although Marleigh hates taking pictures, you would never know it by looking at her in these.  I enjoyed getting to know her and her mom, Amber! Here are just a few of the beautiful shots we got of Marleigh.

 

 

I was so honored to be able to capture the last day of Josiah’s chemo. The end to a very difficult 9 month journey which is best told by his mom, Melissa.

 

Melissa:

Hi I’m Josiah’s mom. The past two years have been the hardest of my life. It’s been a roller coaster so hang tight, here it goes! In July of 2015 we welcomed sweet Josiah in to our world. Two months later, my husband decided to walk away from his family. That was a punch in the gut. Fast forward to the end of October, I dropped Josiah off at daycare where later they called to tell me they found a lump on him. So of course I had him checked out! His pediatrician told me it was just an infected lymph node, prescribed some antibiotics and sent us on our way. A few weeks later the lump grew in size so I took him back in and they, again, prescribed antibiotics. After no change again they referred us to a pediatric surgeon. The surgeon strongly recommended excision due to the location of the lump and their lack of being able to identify exactly what it was. December 14, 2017 he went into surgery to have the lump removed, the surgery was uneventful (thank God) and I was told it would be sent to pathology. The surgeon said not to be concerned, it was protocol, and we would have results in 2 weeks. I was called with results 2 days later…..

I was oblivious to what was coming, I never even considered the “C” word.

The surgeons body language made the results obvious. I can’t remember much of what he said because it felt as though I was underwater. Several appointments, ultrasounds, MRI’s, PET scans later his diagnosis was: Extra-renal Wilm’s Tumor. I was told his diagnosis was the rare of the rare. This type of cancer normally presents on the kidneys, which causes the patient to lose the kidney if not caught in time. This rare presentation of cancer had become Josiah’s blessing as the removal was far less intrusive than it would have been if it were on his kidney. Can we talk about rare? When Josiah joined us Earth side he was born en caul which only happens to every 1 in 80,000 babies: rare. When the surgeon first described his diagnosis as rare I thought, “God certainly has something unique planned for this kid!”

Next came the treatment plan: 25 weeks of chemo and 10 consecutive days of radiation. How do you digest that? Slowly, that’s how.

With every chemo I hoped and prayed it would get easier to hold my lil guy down as they accessed him, but it never did. They described the pain as pressure but his tears told me different. I fought for understanding and hope some days but then was sweetly reminded that every day was a new day of health and healing that would be provided by our Heavenly Father. I’ve never had to lean on my faith as much as I’ve had to over the past 2 years. Every time Josiah would ask me “whats that?” as he touched his port with confusion, every time he looked me in the eye with the “help me mom” look but I had to allow them to continue, I had to call on a special kind of peace that I now know only the ultimate Provider, King Jesus, can provide. In the midst of my “numb”, He was there. What I described as feeling numb for the longest time I now identify as the Lord’s presence in each moment, giving me strength to not fall apart like my mama heart wanted to!

Speaking of falling apart (and because we are being real here right?), around his 6th chemo treatment, out came his hair. In chunks. All over the house. Covering his carseat. Clogging the bathtub. Bath time was terrifying, I feared that with each scrub I would create a new bald spot. And I did. Yes it was just hair but it was one more thing that made it all so painfully real.  Josiah’s prognosis was good but that didn’t make the hair loss, the holding him down, holding my breath for lab results, or explaining why Josiah was always “grumpy” easier. It all sucked. BUT in true Jesus fashion, in the midst of all of those raw emotions his hair loss caused, He allowed me to experience my arms being lifted and prayers being said in my silence as the village He so faithfully gave me covered me in that moment. They came to my home, prayed over me and my boys, and even left encouraging sticky notes all over my home! What a God-moment that was!

 

To spare you an hour of reading, here are just a few more God-moments/blessings I’ve experienced:

– My Family. Even though most are over 8 hours away they still managed to provide support and wrapped their virtual arms around us 🙂 Thank God for family.

– Latrice. She became Josiah’s nanny right before he was diagnosed which ended up being perfect because we would have had to pull him out of daycare. The Lord provided before we even knew we would need it.

– Cheryl and Alison. I can never properly describe the roles these 2 women of God filled for me and my boys during this season. I could try but we would be here all night. Driving partners, emotional support, and much more. I love you both!

– Lifepoint Church. This church has been more than 4 walls. More than the place I love to worship or fall to the alter when I’m weakest. They’ve been like family, financial and emotional support.

– Monetary blessings. From fundraisers created by complete strangers to friends that remodeled my home to create a play room for my boys and the random money showing up in my mailbox or account that was right on time!

– Donated PAID leave from complete strangers and friends. Over 200 hours have been donated which has allowed me to be away from work for his treatments and not lose pay!

– Bear. This is my oldest son. He prayed for a baby brother and has fulfilled his role of big brother beyond what most 9 year olds are capable of. Josiah ADORES his Brother Bear!

And finally….

As of July 12, 2017 Josiah is CANCER FREE!!!

 

I’ll leave you with the scripture I held on to tightly and still do! “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, A hope both sure and steadfast.” Hebrews 6:19.

 

Hold tight to the hope that only Jesus Christ can provide. He will anchor you when the waves get too rough. Thats a promise.

 

 

 

In the waiting room. This is Josiah’s stank face.

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Helping mom sign the med board.

 

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The Oncology nurses are so great! They get to know each child and how they respond in order to make the process smoother with things like stickers and games.

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There’s always a little time for fun before things get hard.

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“Brother Bear” showing Josiah how to open his mouth for the Doctor!

 

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This is the hardest part of the whole process. Hard for baby and really hard for Melissa. She says its a numbing feeling and she has to check out mentally and emotionally in order to avoid the urge to throat punch the nurses (Melissa’s words). Haha

That’s totally the Mama Bear instinct kicking in to defend her baby. But she also understands that they’re just doing their jobs and speaks highly of them!

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These photos here are right after he has been accessed, where they stick a needle into the medi-port for pre chemo blood draw and where he will later receive the chemo.

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This is favorite infusion nurse, Jan.

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A little play time while waiting for the blood work and chemo to be made.

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Before giving the Chemo, the nurse has to flush the port with saline. When they do this, Josiah experiences an overwhelming taste of salt in his mouth which he hates! Nurse Jan was so sweet and would sing the “Salty Water” song and it helped to distract him. One of the many reasons he loved her so much!

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The lollipop was a small effort to keep the nausea at bay.

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Now he is getting hooked up to the chemo…

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Poor baby 🙁

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Right after she was done, he hugged her and said “thank you”. Was it thank you for helping or thank you for stopping? either way it was so sweet!

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Last chemo complete and mamma getting him ready for the celebration thats behind the curtain… They do a surprise party for each kid after chemo is complete.

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This is Josiah’s favorite Oncology nurse, Kim who even though she just moved to a different job, made a special trip over just to celebrate with him!

The relationships between these nurses and their patients are incredible. They become like family.

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This is all of the Oncology and Infusion team! Happy last chemo Josiah!!!

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A big shout out to Dr. Brown who is amazing!!!

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At last, the moment that seemed like it would never come!

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A bitter sweet goodbye!

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It weighs so heavily on my heart as a photographer to talk about the part of photography that I am most passionate about. Lifestyle photography is so much more than a portrait.

As a mom you may feel overwhelmed taking care of your babies, children and toddlers, but I am confident of this. ONE DAY, you will wish you were overwhelmed again. Overwhelmed of having their arms around you pulling every ounce of love out of you, overwhelmed by their need of you to be in their life every waking or (sleeping) moment, and overwhelmed by them constantly saying “mom, mom, mom!”.  Mom’s, please don’t be so obsessed with having magazine picture perfect shots of your children. They may capture beauty, but they don’t really capture character in the same way. Lifestyle photography captures motherhood and childhood as it REALLY is… from snuggling up reading books, to swimming or even tantrums or spilled cereal! You will miss this time and one day you will want to look back through a book of photos that shows not only your children but your relationship with them and you can re-live them being in your arms again and loving you more than anyone else in the world. Remember how wedding photography evolved from stiff posed shots, to amazing candid and romantic shots? I have nothing against a few posed shots to show what everyone looks like but I think the majority of the photos should show more than that. Lets not wait any longer to get photography to evolve to the much better “lifestyle” photography.

I can count on one hand the times that someone has asked me to do a lifestyle session. This HAS to change! I am wanting to evolve my photography into what I care most about. Preserving your REAL memories with your children. So, please take the chance and on your next session, ask me to come document your family! You will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner and I PROMISE you won’t have one regret!

We all have a different story. I have 6 sons, and so a whole lot of my own lifestyle photos include wrestling and video games! Haha

 

Some examples of Lifestyle sessions can be:

Just a normal day in your everyday life

A swim day with the kids

A day at the beach

Capturing the holidays

A special tradition that you and your family enjoy…

 

 

This was a sweet family I photographed several years ago but it’s still one of my favorite sessions. We documented a morning in their lives with their two sweet kids!

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Just a dog and his girl 🙂

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This is the “stone cold” expression my 2 year old gets quite often. Love his serious self!

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This is my oldest with his baby brother. He loves his little brothers and they love him!

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Playing in the yard! This was themed session with a lifestyle approach.

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Dad of the year! Little Gabe thinks so anyway!

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Cousins hanging out in the ocean!

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A little arts and craft time!

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Wrestling wars break out in my house all the time!

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Sometimes the little guys can’t quite hang…

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My sister Kim with her kids, getting ready for Christmas. Her boys break out the instruments all the time at her house and we get to enjoy their talent!

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Just a little Thanksgiving Eve game of Pie in the Face.

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We have a tradition that we call the “all nighter”. On Thanksgiving Eve the boys stay up the whole night smoking turkeys with their cousins and playing games.

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What a sweet couple and awesome day! Leslie and Justin have been so great to work with and I enjoyed being able to capture their wedding day. I met Leslie last year through photographing her family and then her best friend’s wedding and it has been so great being able to now photograph her wedding! Here are a few photos from the day! Congratulations, Leslie and Justin and thank you so much for having me!

 

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