Chris and Amelia welcomed their son Greyson into the world this past January. I was lucky enough to spend a quiet, snowy Sunday morning with the three of them.
Baby Makes 3
You may remember Chris and Amelia’s December maternity session, when we spent the day exploring W.C. Johnson Park in Collierville and enjoying the brisk sunshine. But I met Chris and Amelia a long time ago when I shot their engagement photos and then their Tupelo wedding. I’ve had the joy of watching them grow as a couple, hit milestones together, celebrate a new job, add a puppy to their home, and when they announced their pregnancy last year I was overjoyed. One of the many things that I love about my job is that my clients welcome me into their lives and let me experience and capture the big moments for them. I knew the two of them would make amazing parents. Amelia is an elementary school teacher with a love of books. I knew that she would be collecting a library for her son’s nursery as soon as she could. I was so excited to walk into Greyson’s room and see the many adventures his imagination would take him on.
I don’t do traditional posed newborn sessions. I photograph what’s called a Lifestyle Session. I come to your home and take images of your family and your life. I give you a little preview of what your life looks like from a different point of view. A truly wonderful aspect of this is that I get to experience a moment in my client’s shoes. So one quiet and snowy Sunday I traveled to Mississippi to meet the newest Bell gentleman and extend congratulation to the happy parents. I stood in Greyson’s room for a few seconds and stared at his many books and his baseball themed nursery. I wondered what other adventures would line his walls as he grew, what his first time playing catch in the yard with Chris would be like, and where his story would take him. I imagined that he would sit looking out of his window, the same window his Mom and Dad would look out while holding him, and I wondered what he’d see.
A Boy And His Dog
The Bells have this amazingly protective Boxer. Zoey bonded with Greyson the minute they brought him home. Amelia said that Zoe will check on him to make sure he’s ok when he cries, and that follows them around the house. During our photo session she was always with her people, standing watch over them to make sure the lady with the camera wasn’t up to no good. I laughed because my female basset, Sophie, did the same when we brought our son home from the NICU. They bond with them immediately and treat them as if they are their own baby. Since Zoey is a puppy I guess you can say the two of them will grow up together. And judging by how protective she is of him now, and how much she already loves him, I know those two are going to give Chris and Amelia a run for their money!
The Bells were my first official session of 2018 and I can’t think of a better way to start my year. Take a look at some of my favorites below!
ANDREA KING PHOTOGRAPHY | WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER MEMPHIS | MEMPHIS ENGAGEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER | MEMPHIS PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER | AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL
Brittany and Justus are previous clients of mine who are expecting! I was so excited to visit them in Kure Beach, NC and photograph their maternity session!
Road Trips and Good Times
I met Brittany and Justus several years ago when I did their engagement photos and then captured their wedding. They are the kind of clients who turned into friends and I’ve stayed in contact with them since. Justus is an Officer in the Marines (Thank you for your service!!) and has been stationed in Jacksonville, NC at Camp Lejeune. It’s funny because my husband and I were married at the Officer’s club there in 2006 and my father lives about 40 minutes away from Jacksonville in a little beach town. So I know the area quite well and spend a lot of time there.
Last summer while we were vacationing with my Dad I messaged Brittany and asked if they wanted to come over and catch up. It was there I found out they were expecting! I was so excited and even caught up with Brittany and their daughter, Mya, later that year in Mississippi for some gender reveal photos! (Jay had to stay at home in Jacksonville) I was so excited to find out they were expecting another little girl!
Live Oaks and Salty Air
At Brittany’s gender reveal session we planned for a super fun and glamerous maternity session in December! While visiting my dad last year we headed to Fort Fisher in Kure Beach, NC. My husband is a huge history buff and it’s somewhere he’s wanted to visit for awhile. I was more interested in the amazing Live Oak trees that surrounded the fort and lined the beach, and Brittany was too! It was the location she chose for her session. So December came and I packed up my car with my little and headed to NC for some fun!
We got lucky with a windy, but not super cold day. We started on the beach for some fun family shots and Mya had me cracking up the entire time. She is so excited to be a big sister and I could tell right away she loves the beach! Even in the cold she was chasing waves and running up and down the shoreline.
After some family photos Brittany changed into an amazing red dress and Jay put on his dress blues. We spent the sunset shooting in the live oaks while Mya climbed the trees and played around us. It was a pretty amazing trip and I can’t wait to go back later this year and see them again. Brittany is due to deliver any day now and welcome their daughter Avery into the world!
Check out some of my favorites from their session below!
Andrea King Photography | Wedding Photographer Memphis | Memphis Engagement Photographer | Memphis Portrait Photographer | Available for Travel
I caught up with two of my favorite clients this past December. We spent the day documenting the upcoming birth of their son, Greyson.
You may remember Chris and Amelia Bell. I traveled to Tupelo, Mississippi to capture their wedding day. They are one of my favorite couples that I have gotten to work with! I fell in love with them during their engagement shoot and was just blown away by all the love and warmth that surrounded their wedding day. They are the kind of people that really hug you. You know the ones I’m talking about right? The ones that just pull you and embrace you like old friends. So when I found out they were expecting I was just over the moon for them!
We met right before Christmas to spend the day talking all things babies and taking beautiful pictures. The two were just as cute and laid back as I remember them being. Whenever we’d talk about the baby Chris would have this huge smile that would light up his face. I know they are both incredibly excited for the birth of their little one. As a first time parent it can be incredibly nerve wrecking to think about bringing a child into the world! I remember how nervous I was as my due date approached, but Chris and Amelia seem so much more calm than I was. I know these two are going to be absolutely amazing parents and I know their son is going to be spoiled with love.
Check out some of my favorites below, and be sure to check back later for their newborn session!
Andrea King Photography | Wedding Photographer Memphis | Memphis Engagement Photographer | Memphis Portrait Photographer | Available for Travel
Stephanie and Steven got family photos for the first time ever this past October! We spent a Sunday evening walking around a park and laughing.
If you keep up with my blog you’ve read about Stephanie before. She is my gym buddy and a kick ass makeup artist. (She also works at The Skin Clinics and gives one hell of a facial!) She did one of my bride’s makeup a few weeks ago. One day at the gym she and I got to talking about booking a session for her and her husband. They’ve been married for quite some time and don’t have any really nice, formal photos of themselves. I was pretty excited when she mentioned this because (for me) it’s a big deal when my friends trust me with their memories. We talked outfits, location, and what to expect during their time in front of the camera.
A Walk In The Park
Our original date was rained out but I think that was for the best. We ended up having a beautiful Sunday at a local park. It wasn’t hot and it wasn’t cold and the golden hour light was just amazing. We hiked a little ways into the woods and had some fun screaming obscenities to make them chuckle. We wrapped the session as the sun set behind the trees.
We ended up with some insanely beautiful images that I absolutely adore. I’m so honored to have been the one who captured these memories for them. And an added bonus is that they’re displayed in their home already.
Andrea King Photography | Wedding Photographer Memphis | Engagement Photographer Memphis| Available for Travel
525,600 Minutes…How do you measure a year?
I don’t post too much personal content on my blog, maybe once a year I’ll open up to my viewers and post about my life. I think 2018 will change that. So many of you become my friends and not just “normal clients” to me. At this time last year I was ready for 2016 to be over. It was, hands down, the toughest year of my life. But career wise it was also the most rewarding. In 2016 I lost my mother, my best friend, to cancer within 3 months of her diagnosis. I was also named Best of Memphis by The Knot and packed my schedule for this year. It was a roller coaster, and I was ready for a quiet, refreshing year of work and healing.
But God had other plans for me. The year came in quietly but it sucker punched me right in the gut when I wasn’t looking. I started January off by saying goodbye to another best friend and family member- my beloved Stanley the Basset. He gave me almost a decade of love and companionship and when it was time I had to let him go. He went quietly while laying my my arms on our living room floor. It was another heartbreak that weighed heavy on my soul.
With Every Season
This year I was determined to be present in my life. To soak up every ounce of it because if 2016 taught me anything it was that your life can change in an instant. My little family of 3 flew on a plane together for the first time! We went back to my hometown in PA for my Mother’s 1 year Memorial and we spent time with family and friends. I took my camera with me and even photographed some friends who I haven’t seen in ages. It’s amazing to me to see how people have grown and changed over the years. I met their kids and husbands and spent time laughing with them!
That trip we decided it was time to expand our family, so shortly after we started trying for a second child. In late spring we got the news that I was pregnant! My pregnancy with my son Brody was very high risk, so I knew what I was in for. I have a clotting disorder that attacks the fetus and causes miscarriages. I started my blood thinners right away and quietly stopped taking bookings for November to almost the summer of next year. My official due date was the middle of March, but my son was 5 weeks early and I knew I could be in for the same thing. I didn’t think it would be fair to my brides to take on their wedding and risk not being able to shoot it.
I started getting really excited, I was super sick to my stomach and my hormones were raging so I knew I was very pregnant. A trip to the doctor’s office confirmed it and we quietly told close family and friends. A few weeks into my pregnancy I started noticing my heart skipping beats, it getting harder to breathe, and chest pain. I was about 10 weeks pregnant when I pulled into my OBGYN’s parking lot and got the phone call that I failed my stress test. I’d need to go back for more testing asap since it was now potentially dangerous to the fetus. (Later I would find out that my beats are mistimed and my valves open too soon. Not something serious, but annoying and causing me to be super tired a lot)
I walked into that doctor’s office with my husband and son, and I just had a gut feeling my whole world was about to change. I climbed onto that bed for my ultrasound and got the news that no mother wants to hear- I’m sorry but I can’t find a heartbeat. Devastated doesn’t even begin to describe my emotional state. My husband was optimistic that everything would be fine, but further testing showed a miscarriage and I was scheduled for surgery later that week.
About a week later I boarded a plane to go back to PA. My brother and sister in law were having a baby and I was determined to go to the shower. I think everyone was a little worried about my current state of mind but there was no way I would miss it. For the longest time I had been praying they would be blessed with a kid, and I knew my mother had put away gifts for them when it happened and I wanted to be sure they got them. I spent 48 hours in town laughing with family and mending my heart with my two very best friends. It was exactly what my soul needed.
I came home and prepared for fall wedding madness. October and November of this year were my busiest months ever. I shot more weddings in a 6 week time period than I ever had before, I had mini sessions, client meetings, and family sessions. I was so ready to dive into work and do what I love- document love stories. I wasn’t even paying attention to my health because I was so busy working. But one night in October while at a reception I realized how exhausted I felt and how strange I felt. I knew I was about 8 or so days late on my period, and when I went to the bathroom I realized I was bleeding. Something in my gut told me it was wrong, so when I got home that night I took a pregnancy test. It turned positive before it even finished testing, and once again my heart was shattered. I knew it was over before it even began. I was at the doctor’s office every day that week for ultrasounds and tests. Within 72 hours I knew that I had lost another child about about 4 weeks into my pregnancy. My doctor told me to rest and wait it out and I laughed in his face. In 72 hours I was going to be making a 19 hr round trip to Texas, coming home to shoot a family session, then a wedding, then 2 more family sessions. I don’t have time to rest or wait for my body to pass the pregnancy. So with that he scheduled me for another D/C the next morning.
After our first miscarriage I had this empty feeling in my gut. I had bonded with this child, and when I lost it I didn’t know what to do. So I started searching the internet to look at basset hound puppies. At first it gave me something to smile about, and then it turned into me begging for another dog. That’s when I found Lola. Another photographer posted about her basset puppies and I begged my husband to get me one for Christmas. He caved and we decided to get a female hound located in Vidor, TX. We had scheduled off work and planned to get her when she was 6 weeks. This was planned for the day after my second D/C. So I loaded myself in the car with pillows and pain pills and slept the 8 1/2 hrs to get her. The moment I saw her I almost burst into tears. She was perfect and she was mine. The 8 1/2 hr trip back was spent snuggling and enjoying puppy breath.
I got home and dove back into work- wrapping weddings and shooting mini sessions. Trying to balance doctor’s appointments, editing, and mending my broken heart. And then something strange happened to me…I opened up a little bit about our losses. Suddenly my inbox was filling up with messages from women in my life struggling with the same problem or infertility. And I realized something- I am not alone. And that is why I decided to write this blog post.
When you go through something like this….it breaks you. It wears on your soul. I, personally, felt like a failure. I can’t even do the one thing women are made to do- I can’t keep my child alive. It hurts, it rips you to the core. The after part of my life without my mother has been so challenging for me. And I would have given anything to have her here for this. To hold me, to listen to me, to tell me it’s going to be ok. And I’m not going to lie- I’m mad at God for taking her from me and putting me though this mess. I’m angry and I’m a little bitter. I always planned that if I have a little girl she’d be named after Mom. I told her this a few years ago and she cried and hugged me. Now I’m left wondering if I’ll ever get that chance.
This year has been a roller coaster of doubt, but I also have faith. Faith that this isn’t where my story ends, that loss isn’t going to be my entire life. I choose to realize that although 2017 has been hard, it’s also brought JOY. I have met so many amazing couples who have given me the gift of laughter and friendship. I’ve been embraced by their family members who don’t know me and have given real hugs- the kind where they squeeze you and mean it. I’ve connected and reconnected with so many other strong women who have felt my pain and refuse to let me give up. I got to spend an entire week with my son and my dad in Pigeon Forge. We rode roller coasters, my dad took Brody on the ferris wheel (those things scare the crap out of me) and we saw breathtaking views. We had a nice family vacation at the beach where my Dad lives, we took my son to his first professional baseball game- go Phillies! And I get to celebrate being an Aunt to a sweet little boy named Chase and spoil him! We spent two amazing weekends in Louisiana with my husband’s parents and they even came to Memphis for Grandparent’s Day at his school!
A New Year
I’m staring at an almost empty calendar for 2018. I have a few projects all out of state early next year and a couple of weddings here or there. This is the emptiest my work schedule has been in a long time. I took off thinking that at this point my belly would be huge and I’d be prepping for a second kid. I stopped advertising, stopped my feature on The Knot, and turned away so many wonderful brides. I’m not going to lie- it’s giving me a tiny bit of anxiety! But I’m also trusting that maybe this is the break I need to stop and reboot.
Whatever 2018 brings…I’m ready for it. My life may never be quiet or without trials. There may always be something that I’m battling, but I pride myself in having strength. 2017 has been a rollercoaster for me. I’ve been so blessed with amazing clients and I am so thankful for each and every one of you. You fill my life with new adventures, with new possibilities, and with so much laughter. Thank you for an amazing year!
Special thanks to my friend Rebecca Jaffe. She’s another kick ass photographer here in the Mid-South, and our midnight conversations have kept me sane. She’s been a huge cheerleader for me through all of this, and has always encouraged me in all things- especially my career. And for that I am so thankful.