Archive: ‘Children’

Stella The Star–A Magic Hour Foundation Session

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Recently, I have had the opportunity to work with a foundation whose sole purpose is to provide custom portraiture, free of charge, for families who are currently dealing with or who have recently dealt with cancer. This subject is very near and dear to my heart as my mom (who also happens to be my best friend) has dealt with cancer twice in the last five years. When she was diagnosed this time, we were blessed enough to have our entire family home over the holidays and spend that time together. I immediately contacted a photographer friend to come over and take some photos of all of us together. I will forever cherish those photos.

Enter Magic Hour Foundation. I came across this organization while networking on Facebook. I don’t think it was an accident, I truly feel I was called to be a part of it. Such a wonderful organization, and I am grateful to be involved.

I’d like to introduce you to Stella and her family. Stella, at the age of 18 months, was diagnosed with Stage 4, high risk, neuroblastoma. Having children of my own, I cannot imagine having to watch my child go through any major illness, let alone advanced cancer. Through it all, Stella’s family remains strong and happy, despite the circumstances. I think it may have something to do with their faith…they inspire me to be more spiritual and faithful.


I think this is her signature smile. :) I love when the tongue comes out!

Speaking of inspiration, Stella is by far one of the most delightful, happy, engaging and sweetest souls I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I have yet to see this child NOT smile. She is incessantly happy and glowing. At the mere age of barely 2, she inspires ME to be a better person. To be satisfied with the everyday, to smile even when things are not perfect. I just want to eat her up.


Stella runs the show, but not without a little help from her older siblings. I’ve only met them a few times and they each have their own personal strengths. Big brother seems to want to hold things together and is oh so cuddly and loving. I caught him leaning his head on his mom’s several times and stealing kisses from Stella often.

Big sister, only in kindergarten herself, is a sweetheart. What I saw in her was a little mother hen, always helping with Stella by holding her hand or simply rubbing her back (which I caught her doing when nobody was looking).

Together, I think they probably keep mom and dad busy…but what a gorgeous bunch!

Stella’s mom and dad remind me of myself and my husband. They seem to truly enjoy each other and work well as a team.

Through Stella’s journey (i’ve been following her on Facebook since her diagnosis, they have a page set up to raise awareness, raise funds and most of all, pray for Stella), I’ve felt the fear and anxiety in her mother’s words, but i’ve also been enlightened by her faith and strength. There is no doubt these two share a very strong and special bond.



I’d like to thank the Magic Hour Foundation for providing me with this wonderful opportunity. This experience has me looking at life a little differently, enjoying the little things even more and hugging my children a little tighter. An even bigger thanks goes out to Stella, who has taught me to smile, even when life throws a curveball. This is just a small hiccup in what this universe has in store for you, Stella.

Check out Stella’s facebook page, Prayers for Stella. Updates, photos, fundraising and prayers!



Wardrobe Wednesday {Curvy Girls}

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Hello all of you gorgeous, curvy girls! We’ve had some requests for what to wear for the fuller figured or curvy ladies out there recently. I am well versed in this area, since I am definitely curvy. :)

Before I offer all of those tips and tricks that work for me, I decided to do a little bit of research first. Here are some fabulous tips to keep in mind, plus some great tips that work for me:

  • 1. wear clothes that FIT! clothing that is too large can make you look larger and sloppy. clothing that is too tight can accentuate areas you don’t want highlighted. :)
  • 2. navy and black are very forgiving, but don’t forgot to pop color with a belt, scarf, necklace, earrings or shoes!
  • 3. just because it’s trendy, doesn’t mean it’s right for YOU. choose trendy clothing carefully.
  • 4. wear the right UNDERWEAR! find bras that fit and are smooth to round out those curves and compliment them.
  • 5. if you have an hourglass figure, play it up! wear belts and find clothing that cinches at the waist.
  • 6. if you are larger on top and smaller on the bottom, balance it out by wearing jeans or pants that flare a bit but are fitted through your hips. wear something on top that skirts over your larger areas.
  • 7. wear v-neck and tops that dip a bit. open up your neck and chest area. it draws more attention to your face by opening up that entire area.
  • 8. this goes for everyone: accessorize! wear large earrings that attract attention to your face or a cute belt that draws attention to your waist if that’s one of your smaller areas.
  • 9. wear heels! it makes you appear taller and elongates your legs. :)

Now that we’ve gone through those, let’s take a look at what I’ve put together! Remember these are just guidelines and suggestions. If you like what you see, visit the links posted below the photos for details on where to buy these fabulous items!

First up, a curvy mom plus family compilation.

I started with the mom. A long maxi (with spanx underneathe) can be very slimming as it skims over a lot of problem areas. Chevron stripes are very “in” right now and I thought this black and white number was very cute. Pop it with a little yellow on top (which will also cover your arms if that’s an issue), some large earrings and either flip flops or wedges. From there I moved onto the girl’s outfit. I found this adorable dress with different colors in it. Pulled the pink out by adding pink sandals…which brings me to the boy. I wanted to incorporate some more pink so I found this handsome striped polo. Who says boys can’t wear pink? Not me. :) Gray shorts went really well with this shirt and then tied right in with Dad’s gray shirt. Pair Dad’s shirt with some jeans and you have a no fuss outfit for him…because everybody knows Dad’s REALLY enjoy photoshoots (insert sarcasm). Make it easy on him, mkay? Click HERE to view details about the clothing, including price and where to buy.

And a few more examples for curvy ladies. The outfit on the left cinches at the waist and skirts over any bulges that may be occurring up top. Pair it with some fitted white jeans and a colored wedge. SUPER cute necklace adds some pop and you’re ready to go! The dress on the right is adorable and comes in several different colors. It also cinches at the waist with a tie. This dress doesn’t need much more than some jewelry and shoes. Easy peasy. I chose wedges that were open across the ankle because it helps to elongate the legs and slim the ankle. If you have heavy legs, you’ll want to steer clear of any sandal that goes around your ankle. Click HERE to view details about the clothing, including price and where to buy.

The ladies of Wardrobe Wednesday are currently taking suggestions for future posts. If you have some, please feel free to comment on this post or on our Facebook page!


Mom & Me Mini Sessions {Fort Myers Family Photographer}

Friday, April 12th, 2013

It’s no secret that I LOVE mother and child photos. I always capture them, every session, and they are by far my favorite. SO, after hearing some comments about me offering mother/child sessions, I decided it was time to dive on in. So here it is! There are only 6 spots available, so contact me ASAP! OR 239.410.2802



No Words Necessary {Estero Family Photographer}

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

UPDATE: The Lawrey’s have been featured locally, as well as nationally recently. Click HERE to read their story or watch the short video clips to get a glimpse of what they are all experiencing. They are in serious jeopardy of losing their home–if you would like to donate, any small amount helps. There is a bar on the right titled “How to Help”, you could help a family save their home. Also, turns out Gavin is a very talented photographer! Click HERE to view his work…it is for sale, again to help pay the bills.

I know I said no words were necessary, and there won’t be any…after I get this out. I’ve known this family for two years now. They are by far, one of THE most sweet and loving families I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. Two years ago, Brandi won a contest I was having on my SJD Photography Facebook page. I quickly learned what this family was dealing with. Their son, Gavin, was diagnosed with Paroxysmal Kinesigenic Dyskinesia (PKD), and nocturnal seizures in February 2010. This disorder causes Gavin to have episodes that cause him to “shake” and lose muscle control. Not too long after this diagnosis, came a more devastating diagnosis of Mitochondrial disease. Gavin and his family have had a rough run, to say the least. But this does not break their bond. Their love for one another AND others as well. I truly admire every one of them. Now, for their photos. You can just feel the love in every single one of these images. Be on the lookout for Hershey, their latest addition. He is Gavin’s service dog, and detects any seizures or episodes Gavin may have BEFORE they occur. He is well loved, as you can tell. :)


Their “awareness” bracelets! Brandi wanted a shot of these because there is so much meaning behind them. Notice their coordinated outfits too…every color they’re wearing represents the different awareness colors.

I just love this family and I am so honored to have been able to work with all of them again. They are all so appreciative of the photos and the memories captured, which makes my job so much more important and worthy!


Tea Collection {Retail Spotlight}

Friday, December 16th, 2011

I have blogged before about Tea Collection...usually through Wardrobe Wednesday. Well this time I was lucky enough to team up with Tea Collection and take pics of my own children dressed in the retailer’s bright, colorful and beautiful clothing! Tea Collection is known for their “destination” lines of clothing. This season’s destination is Modern Mexico and I am in love with the fun and colorful pieces! Take a look for yourself.









I love the Tea Collection line, not only because it’s colorful and full of life, but the rich tones they use are perfect for children’s portraits! Their clothing is also super durable (and comfortable), holding up to the every day wear and tear that children put it through. And for those of you in charge of the laundry, it washes VERY well! (and tends to be wrinkle free!) I can’t say enough wonderful things about this line of clothing. It’s just awesome!  Check out their holiday line…it’s gorgeous. (there is also free shipping for orders over $150.00!!)

Spunky and Sassy {Fort Myers Children Photographer}

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Oh how I love these girls! This is my third time photographing them and they are just so spunky and sassy!



Big sister is so sweet to little sister and vice versa!





How cute are they? I just love these sisters!


Wardrobe Wednesday {spotlight on ZARA}

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

This is one awesome Wardrobe Wednesday post from Morgan Dawson of Morgan Dawson Photography! LOVE this spotlight and all of the compilations! And she speaks Italian…well, maybe just a little. ;)

Buon giorno a tutti! {Good morning everyone!}

Ok, that’s just about the extent of my Italian – other than “Dov’è il bagno?” (where is the bathroom?), “Vorrei un cappuccino” (I’d like a cappuccino) and “Mi dispiace. Non parlo italiano.” (I’m sorry. I don’t speak italian).

Mi dispache, but I just got back from an amazing trip to northern Italy and haven’t quite accepted that I’m back to my normal life yet. I have this strong urge to bake bread, learn how to make my own pasta, and make my wardrobe more euro chic (especially since part of the trip included a conference attended by people from 35 countries). The bread baking happened yesterday (total tangent, but this book is AMAZING!) and the pasta will need to wait, but the wardrobe changes might be easier than I thought.

If you’re not already familiar, let me introduce you to Zara. Zara is a clothing and accessories retailer that began in 1975 in a central street in downtown A Coruña, Galicia, Spain. You can now find them in over 70 countries. While they have an online store that can be viewed in 10 languages, it wasn’t until 2011 that the US was one of the 17 countries where items could be shipped. I’ve never been to a store – and am trying to accept the fact that I was unknowingly two blocks away from one last week – but I’m already a huge fan just by browsing online.

Zara carries clothing for women (including a more youthful TRF line), men, and separate kids lines for young boys and girls (age 2-14) and baby boys and girls (age 3-26 months). You may notice that I included below examples of shoes and scarves for each group. If I had to overgeneralize what I saw in Italy, it was funky shoes and scarves, scarves, and scarves (even on kids and babies – so adorable). Oh, tons of chunky jewelry as well! The question doesn’t seem to be “if” you should wear a scarf or chunky jewelry, but rather what color and how many pieces.

If I wasn’t pregnant (unfortunately they don’t have a maternity line), I’d be going nuts with the shopping. For now I’ll just need to focus on shoes and scarves. But only for now…


Wardrobe Wednesday {Fall and Holiday Photos}

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Kelly Valeri of Kelly V. Photography has put together an AWESOME family holiday wardrobe this week! Check out her shopping secrets and the adorable outfits she compiled this week.

I’m all about unique clothing finds — especially when it comes to dressing for a portrait session. And living in a mostly rural area without too many shopping options, I rely on online retailers quite a bit. So I was really excited to find out about Anyone can sign up, and it delivers a daily e-mail to your inbox with deals for moms, babies and kids. All at incredible savings!

Sure, sometimes I just don’t have time and they get ignored or deleted. But when I’m looking for something a little different, Zulily is the place to go! It has introduced me to all sorts of retailers I never knew existed.

So for this week’s Wardrobe Wednesday, I thought I’d share my shopping secret with you and feature a few clothing finds from today’s daily deal! And if you sign up, you can get them, too.

One of today’s shopping “events” as Zulili calls them, is from Bouton Kids. When I checked out their website, I realized everything is hand-woven. Some of it is a little eclectic for my taste, but I loved some of the patterns and styles. I found two great pieces on the Zulili sale that made for a great starting point for outfits for a family session.

Even better? Zulili is featuring the skirt for $44 ($76 on the store’s website) and the shirt for $37 ($64 at the store). Great deals, huh?

To round out the rest of the outfits, I opted for a little pop of color with red, which is perfect for fall.



Blazer: Old Navy, $49.50

Jeans: Old Navy, $39.94

Shoes: Old Navy, $40



Shirt: Old Navy, $15

Jeggings: Old Navy, $34.94

Boots: Old Navy, $36.94

Bracelet: Old Navy, $10.94

Earrings: Old Navy, $8.94



Hat: Old Navy, $12.94

Shirt: Old Navy, $8.94

Skirt: Zulili, $44 (must be a member to shop)

Shoes: Target, $9.99



Shirt: Zulili, $37 (must be a member to shop)

Pants: Old Navy, $14.94

Shoes: Old Navy, $19.94

I Heart Faces {People’s Choice}

Monday, September 26th, 2011

This week’s challenge at I Heart Faces is People’s Choice for best face photo from summer 2011. While in MI this summer for a little R&R, I photographed THIS fabulous family (you may just recognize them…they are the awesomely talented Jean and Travis Smith). It is by far, probably the most favorite family session I’ve ever shot. I’ve only spent a few hours with them and I just love them. Here is my entry for this week.

Make sure you check out the ridiculous amount of talent over at!


Wardrobe Wednesday {Fall Families}

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

That fall chill is in the air…or so I hear. Here in southwest Florida, it doesn’t cool off until at least mid-October. However, my clients still prefer to dress for the season and I don’t blame them! I know when I have my family portraits taken later this fall, we’ll be dressing the part, whether it’s 90 degrees or not! ;) Last week, I asked our awesome Wardrobe Wednesday fans what they’d like to see this week. The majority of you said you’d like to see more boy ideas and fall suggestions. So guess what? I combined the two. ;) And because I am the queen of one stop shopping, I am featuring clothing from Tea Collection. LOVE.THEM.SO.MUCH!  We have featured them once before. Click here to view that post.

As soon as I went to Tea Collection’s website, the warm fall colors were very apparent. Tea Collection always has a globally inspired collection, and this season it’s Modern Mexico. Let me tell you, it is CUTE. What I really love about Tea Collection, is that their pieces coordinate with one another, which makes layering (and putting together compilations for photo shoots!) pretty simple. Another feature I love, is that they have different features such as outfits, new arrivals and wardrobe sets. If you want an outfit already put together for you, just click on outfits and voila! There are so many things I love about Tea Collection; I could go on and on, but the number one feature is that their clothing is made to last. It does not fade easily, wrinkle much or fall apart. This is important to me because my kids are hard on clothing!

Check out their website for yourself. They often have SUPER sales, which is a nice bonus.

This week’s compilation was a cinch because of Tea Collection’s awesome coordinating items and themes. I chose to do a lot of layering, because it adds dimension and color to photos. The first boy’s outfit was already put together by Tea Collection. I LOVED how the henley was placed over the hoodie. The hoodie added just enough color to POP the outfit. I decided to show the items separately on the compilation board, but I added the picture of the outfit separately to show the look I am trying to depict. The second boy’s outfit was coordinated by me, myself and I. I saw the Ticking Stripe Pant (and had to have them for my son!) and went from there. I decided to coordinate another shirt over hoodie outfit to go w/ the pants. Fun to coordinate with the other boy but not too “matchy matchy”. For the mom, I found the scarf paired with the red v neck shirt and fell in LOVE. I just read recently that red is THE COLOR this season. And I don’t know many people who don’t look great in it!  Unfortunately, Tea Collection does not offer a men’s collection, so I kept it simple and left the father figure out.

Here are some images from a family I photographed in Ohio last year. This mom had the wardrobe DOWN! Layers, colors, and textures…oh my!

So there ya have it. I hope this post inspires many readers to check out the very awesome Tea Collection line and to layer for their fall portrait sessions!


BOY: Outfit 1

Hombres Stripe Henley–Cloud–$22.50

Happy Hoodie–Salsa Red–$30.00

Daytripper Jeans–Bio-Stone Wash–$49.00

Simple Satire Sneaker–Nine Iron–$42.00

BOY: Outfit 2
Ticking Stripe Pant–Mushroom–$32.00

Mariachis En Barco Tee–Ochre–$26.50

Happy Hoodie–Cinnabar–$30.00

Frida Wide Leg Demin Pants–$88.50

Dia De Sol Scarf–$61.50

Velas V-Neck Tee–$31.50

And to all of my faithful SJD Photography blogstalkers, I am nearly booked for the season. If you would like to book, please do so ASAP. I only have a limited number of sessions left!



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