Stacey Woods Photography Blog » custom lifestyle portraiture for the modern family


Sometimes the most interesting parts of a photograph are the details and possibilities that are suggested.

I’m not sure what I love more about this photograph: the seen or the unseen.

I love the visible part of this sweet girl’s legs and feet, as she’s jumping ever so slightly above the edge of the wave… Daddy standing tall nearby to protect her and lift her should she lose her balance.  It’s a quiet, gentle image of a father and daughter that I find myself coming back to again and again.

But I’m also drawn to the reflection of her, arms stretched upwards in a ballerina’s pose.  That water-filled dip in the sand that suggests that she was just standing in that very spot, just before the tide washed its most recent wave up to the shore.  Just before she leaped over that wave and into the deeper tide.  Bravery and spirit, confident youth.

Daddy — and his shadow — planted as firmly as possible in the soft, wet sand, watching over his little girl to make sure she doesn’t dance too far from his protection.  He knows that someday she’ll dance a little further and further from him as she grows up, as she moves confidently into her life’s path, into her own oceans.

So I’m curious… what do you see?  :)

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Where I belong

You belong among the wildflowers.  You belong in a boat out at sea.  Sail away, kill off the hours.  You belong somewhere you feel free.

Run away, find you a lover.  Go away somewhere bright and new.  I have seen no other who compares with you.

You belong among the wildflowers.  You belong in a boat out at sea.  You belong with your love on your arm.  You belong somewhere you feel free.

You belong among the wildflowers.  You belong somewhere close to me.  Far away from your trouble and worry.  You belong somewhere you feel free.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  –Jeremiah 29:11


Unlikely combination, I admit… but Tom Petty, the sound of seagulls and shallow waves spilling onto a warm beach, and the book of Jeremiah make up the soundtrack of my life this week.

Friends, here’s hoping you find peace in your heart, when and where you search for it.  For me, it was on a beach on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico.  Right where I belong.



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Things I Love: February Edition

Today, I put together a collection of little things that make me happy and add a special meaning to my life, or remind me of meaningful people or times past, or things to look forward to.  I plan to make Things I Love a regular feature here on the blog, so I hope you’ll come back for more!

I believe to have a meaningful life, you need to surround yourself with things (and people) that hold special meaning to you.  Whether that may be artwork, letters from your family, or photographs of your kids… whatever brings your heart joy and reminds you of someone/something you love is meaningful and important, and should be celebrated!

Here are a few of my favorite things to have around me, besides my people, of course.

Things that mean a lot to me are often art-related.  I bought these three sweet watercolor prints last year and love that they tell the story of Chris + me + us.  You can get your home state (or states, if you’re nomads like us) from Pinecone and Poppy too.

Poppy and Pinecone FL KY NC

I swoon over typography.  Lettering, calligraphy, and gorgeous typefaces.  I have taken a calligraphy class or two, and my goal is to carve out more time to practice it.  Someday I’d like to offer a few art prints with sweet mama sentiments that lift my spirits, and hopefully yours too.  Until then, I’ll just continue to be inspired by this hand-lettered print that I bought for the girls’ room, and this adorable card, and all of these (especially that gorgeous swoopy S below).

S monogram from clementine & pickle

{Image above courtesy of my sweet friend Tiffany Ruda at Clementine & Pickle.}

Songs are often meaningful too.  They bring back memories of laughter, sadness, joy, or certain times in my life.  For example, every time I hear the Wallflowers, I think of my youngest sister and our spontaneous trip to the Isle of Palms, SC in 1997.  When I hear Chris Tomlin’s Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone, I think of my Momaw Jiggs. (Valentine’s Day will mark an entire year since she left this earth, and my heart is not looking forward to it this year.)  I’m not embarrassed to admit that when I hear Tom Petty’s Free Falling, I think of Tom Cruise slapping his steering wheel in Jerry Maguire, and I just have to do it myself.  (Admit it, you do it too!)

I’m a visual girl, so my home office wall is dotted with framed quotes and encouraging notes from clients.  This one is a favorite, and if you’ve been a newborn client of mine in the past year or so, you’ll have received a version of this print as a gift from me!  Having gone through PPD twice myself, it’s so important to me that new mamas remind themselves daily of this truth.  Especially when the nights are long and the days are hard.  I look up at this print every day, and it makes me smile at what I’ve come through and it encourages me to envision where I’m headed now.  :)


Sweet scents and delicious foods can sure conjure up terrific memories, can’t they?  I have an entire recipe binder full of wonderful memories and cherished family recipes that mean the world to me.  My mom’s potato salad, Momaw Bertie’s Mandarin Cake, and Trish’s apple dumplings.  Our sweet tea needs no recipe, I know it like the back of my hand.  Actually, I am trying my best to quit sweet tea.  (gasp)  Downright blasphemy from a Southern girl’s lips, right?  Well, I hope to at least cut back dramatically.  I am embarrassed to admit how much I can consume in a days’ time, and how little water I squeeze in.  Sweet tea is a comfort food for me, and it reminds me of warm days watching a jar of tea slowly steep in the sunshine of Momaw and Popaw’s side yard.  Yellow lid, soft green grass, sparkling amber tea.  Such a calm, happy memory for me.  But healthy, it is not.  I am from the South, you know, so a cup to a cup and a half of sugar goes into every pitcher.  (I know!)  So I’m trying to cut back and make it more of a treat, rather than a habit.

Since I cannot go without caffeine altogether, this delicious cold brew coffee has been filling in the gaps for me.  There will never be a substitute tea for me (it’s my standard Luzianne or nothing), but I can distract myself with flavored coffee so much more easily.  My favorite flavors are Sweet Delight, Mocha and Sea Salt Caramel Mocha when I’m feeling super fancy.  I add honey and almond milk to mine, and a little ice.  I think I might try Caribbean Coconut next.  I do love anything with coconut.


A few practical things that add meaning to my life are my Day Designer, my Simplified LifeBinder, and my PowerSheets.  Honestly, they deserve an entire post themselves, but let’s just say that I couldn’t make it a single (productive) day without this super trifecta of organization and planning.  They are beautiful, and they make me so happy.  Bonus points that they were all created by strong, driven women who have a heart for creative entrepreneurs (and mamas).

Whitney English Day Designer

And it goes without saying that some of the most meaningful things in my life — besides my family — are my family photographs.  They are all around me, smiling up at me and encouraging me to keep my camera’s shutter clicking with intention.  To show them that they are important to me, and that their beautiful faces are truly God’s artwork.  The best kind!  And it is my honor, and my life’s work, to create meaningful photographs for you and your family.

Momaw meeting Charlotte.  Priceless to me.

Possibly my favorite picture of Parker and Lila together, ever.

Lila and her beloved Bitty Baby.

Charlotte’s “baby” and her shenanigans.  She climbs into this shopping cart all by herself and I’m always afraid she’s going to tip it over.  She’s so proud of herself!

This scrunchy smiley face, and all of those rainbow loom bracelets.

And that smattering of freckles that dance across her cheeks and nose.  Ohhh.  Things I love, for sure.

Now it’s your turn…..

What meaningful things do you surround yourself with?  Do you have a sentimental piece or two at your desk, or beside your bed?  Do you connect memories to songs like I do?  I’d love for you to share in the comments below, at least ONE big or small thing that is really meaningful and important in your life right now…

xo, Stacey

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On being kind.

Earlier this week, Lila’s kindergarten teacher brought Lila and I home after school, because my car key broke and fell off my ring somewhere between the parking lot and Lila’s class line.  Crazy accident, right?  But that sweet woman generously offered to rescue us.  The women in the front office were so kind and helpful, looking up phone numbers and offering their best advice, and a phone and phone book too.  The assistant principal actually found my missing half of a key the next day and returned it to me.

THANK GOD FOR KIND PEOPLE.  Kind people who hurt when you hurt, who offer to help when you are in a jam.

In this world of go-go-go, it’s often so easy for us to just look past people who are having trouble in favor of our own busy schedule and to-do list.  But these people didn’t.

So on Friday, we brought flowers to the school staff and to Lila’s teacher.  Miss Anna in the front office was so surprised and overjoyed.  They were just simple wildflowers from the grocery store, but I wrapped them in kraft paper and washi tape and added a pretty handwritten note.  I didn’t spend a lot of money, in fact it took me longer to rewrap them and add my personal touches than it did to purchase them.  But they thanked us over and over.  And my heart swelled.  And Lila grinned and ran off to class to take her bundle of flowers to her teacher too.  She wrote me back a sweet thank you note and she loved all over Lila at school.

You know, I was struck by how good it made me feel to make someone else happy.  Even though they made me happy first.  Isn’t kindness a funny thing?  I’ve read somewhere that kindness is actually a selfish thing to do, because it makes you feel amazing in the process.  I’m not sure that I believe that.  But I have to admit that even when I start out in a grumpy mood, I can feel my spirits lifted after I’ve done something kind for someone.

Love doesn’t just talk about loving on people… love actually does.

This week, I want to challenge you to show kindness to someone.  Do something extra special for someone who doesn’t expect it.  Do it “selfishly” if you must, but do it with a genuine smile and a sincere heart. I promise you will be so happy afterwards.

Kindness doesn’t have to be big and showy to make a difference.  Pay for someone’s coffee in the Starbucks line behind you.  Hold the door open for a mama with a stroller.  Hold the door open for anyone.  Buy flowers for a friend.  Make a pan of Shauna’s enchiladas for a new mom and take them to her.  Take your kids to the park or to a movie.  Read one more story at bedtime.  Refrain from nagging your husband and instead ask him if there is anything you can do for him.  Smile at and say hello to the stranger you pass on the sidewalk.  Download a song your kids love and play it in the car.

And don’t forget to come back and tell me how awesome you feel.  :)


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Merry & Bright Mini-Sessions

It’s Mini-Session time again!  Every Fall, I offer Holiday Minis so that you can update your family’s photos if you’ve had them done earlier in the year.  Lots of clients see me every few years for those big milestones (pregnancies, new babies, birthdays, etc.) and then opt for a mini-session in between.  And sometimes, families who aren’t quite ready for a full Signature Session opt to try a mini-session and dip their toe in slowly.

So which one are you?  :)

I have THREE open spaces left:  Saturday September 28 at 6:30 (the sun sets at 7:20) and Saturday October 5 at 5:15pm and 5:45pm (the sun sets at 7:12pm).

The location we’ve chosen offers the best of both worlds: a lush green setting…. rows of pine trees, clusters of sea grapes, and a pond surrounded by reeds and rushes.  And it just happens to be on the beach as well… a picturesque boardwalk leading to the Gulf of Mexico, soft waves lapping over the sand, a huge stretch of white sand beach, dunes covered in sea oats and wildflowers, and even a tiki hut.  (How cool would a tiki hut be on your Christmas card this year, right?!)

To reserve your family’s reservation, just send me an email using the contact button up there on the right sidebar…. —-> or give me a call at 727-698-0344.  All sessions must be paid in full to reserve your spot; all mini-sessions are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

I can’t wait to see you!

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