Elevate: A Fine Art Photography Exploration | October 2011

Anyone can shoot chaos.  

But the most perceptive photographers can make compelling pictures

out of uninteresting moments. - Alex Tehrani

Stacey Woods beach portraitsI don't often get the chance to shoot just for me.  To release the ideas that I have bottled up, waiting for the right moment to play out and be realized.  But if we don't stretch creatively, then we will never grow.  To that end, I have joined another group of photographers for a second project that I'm proud to be involved in.  It's entitled, "{elevate} a fine art photography exploration".

Elevate is a blog project focused on exploring the fine art side of photography.  Each month, we will post a photo or series of images focused on art and photography.  There are no rules.  We simply post what comes from our heart and allow our inner artist a chance to explore and fly. Stacey Woods beach photographer FloridaWelcome to where my heart is.  I hope you'll be here again next month.

As it goes with my other blog project, there are several of us in the group.  We are supporting one another each and every month, and we'd like for you to take a little trip through our circle if you would.  You might discover a new favorite artist or a new way of seeing the world.  Would you continue our circle's journey, and visit my very talented friend Martha Schuster for her beautiful vision of fine art photographer this month.  She doesn't disappoint, I assure you.  Martha's work is perfectly captivating.  Enjoy...

Martha Schuster  |  i see the moon photography  |  Long Beach, CA

Seeing in Shades of Black and White

My "other job" is co-owner, co-editor, and collaborator over at The Creative Mama, a wonderful little blog that focuses on nurturing creativity within our everyday lives.  I'm excited to have my article published today on why I shoot black and white images, a few key elements I look for when crafting my black and whites, and what inspires me to shoot black and white images (almost) exclusively. joy

Funny, but looking around my home right now, there is very little color surrounding me, besides whites, creams, blacks, greys, beiges, and browns.  It would appear that I also live in black and white!  I guess that's my comfort and where my heart truly is.  And I'm more than okay with that.

I hope you'll read along and feel a connection to the way I see my world:  In Shades of Black and White.

One Small Thing...

twisty pigtails, Stacey Woods Photo ...just because I love her.  And because I miss her while she's in daycare.  We are most definitely a two-income family, and while I'm thankful that she's in the most loving arms possible (besides ours), it's still hard not to ache for her sweet smile and twisty hair.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to editing so that when they come home, my time can belong to my sweet babies again.

Have a wonderful day, friends!!


I've had this post on my mind for several days now.  Trying to find the right words.  Thinking of the importance of this session, and really, of every session I am commissioned to shoot.  I will tell you that immediately upon meeting them, I could tell that this darling baby girl is loved beyond her wildest dreams, and by so many people.  Her Daddy is undoubtedly thinking of her while he's overseas fighting for our country and protecting our freedoms, his daughter's freedoms, on a daily basis.  Her Mama has strength like I've never seen, and she is to be thanked for her many sacrifices as well.  I know it isn't easy. But I will say that there aren't many things in this life more recognizable and powerful than a parent's love for his/her child.  It's a beautiful thing to see.  And let me tell you, this child is loved.  Truly adored.

clearwater childrens photographer stacey woods

We met at a natural spring in this area, and the entire park was beautiful.  I plan on going back just as soon as I can.  The fields were beautiful and the light was delicious.  Backlight is my soft spot, you know.   ;)  And so are snuggles with Mommy.  Watching them together was mesmerizing.  And I must confess that I just kept shooting, and smiling behind my camera, long after I'd gotten the images I'd intended on getting... they were just too sweet together and their connection was so obvious, their adoration so mutual.  It really was precious and hard to turn my eye away from.  Every child should be this blessed!

palm harbor childrens photographer

tampa florida family photographer stacey woods

Daddy was only in for a short while, in fact he was leaving the next morning and would soon be on his way back overseas.  But watching him interact with his daughter was touching.  You see, he hadn't seen since she was just a few weeks old, and she had just turned one a few days before our session.  I imagine he'd had to get to know his daughter all over again as a toddler.  And that made me realize how lucky my children are to be able to see their Daddy at home every day.  It also reminded me to be extremely thankful for those who sacrifice that very precious thing for our sakes.  I don't think we could ever thank our servicemen and women enough.

clearwater baby photographer stacey woods

tampa military family photographer

Ami, Frank, I'm grateful that you were so willing to be in front of my lens.  Your daughter has such a sweet smile and personality.  You're doing a great job with her, and you are both such an inspiration of strength to me.  Thank you!

I have so many more images that I'd love to share, but I have to save some lovely surprises for their gallery.  Thank you everyone for stopping by the blog.  I appreciate you being here!  And I'll be back with more sessions to share soon.



connection | tampa florida lifestyle photographer

From time to time I'm lucky enough to turn my lens on old friends.  This post is for Bill and his sweet daughter Noelle.  Bill has been a friend of ours since 1999, and he and his daughter recently visited us from Philadelphia.  It was funny to see our kids playing together on the beach ~ because when Chris and I met Bill more than ten years ago, we were living in PA and complaining about the snow and cold weather.  :)  Real friendships last through new jobs, cross-country moves, relationships, marriages and the births of children.  And they are some of the most loyal and blessed friendships you can ever hope to have. I took just a few minutes one morning to grab a few images of their close daddy-daughter bond, and I couldn't help but smile behind the camera as I was watching them together.  I simply asked them to play together for a few minutes, and this is what I had the good fortune of seeing from behind my lens...





amato009And maybe my favorite image of the day....

amato006 Just melts my heart.  He's so good with her, and she obviously adores him in return.  Bill and Noelle, thank you for flying in to see us for Chris' birthday.  It made his day, and ours.  Miss you all!!


Shhh, don't tell Daddy....

TOP SECRET STUFF HERE.  :)  If you know Captain Daniel Long of Otherside Charters, then shhhh, don't tell him you saw this post!!!  This session is a sweet surprise for his birthday, from his beautiful wife and two adorable daughters.  I thought it was a fantastic idea!  His wife, Janet, is the owner of Kookie Krums, a yummy coffee shop/boutique in downtown Dunedin.  (Make sure you pop in soon, because I did some commercial work for her this year, and she's ordered a whole slew of my canvases to decorate her boutique!)  Anyhow, back to the surprise.... The gals and I headed up to Honeymoon Island to play.  (All of you with young kids know... that I sometimes call our sessions "playdates" and that I always make a point to play with the kids, make it fun, and let them loose to just RUN at some point in the session (well, some sessions have lots more running than others, I must admit!  Especially with the toddler crowd.  ;))  Well, there was so much to do on this particular playdate.  Like hiding in the sea grapes.... um, do y'all see a little blond-haired girl anywhere?!  Where did she go???  ;)

I must add that I love her nail polish.  LOL!  And after hide-and-seek was over, we made sea-shell castles.  (If any of you have ever been to Honeymoon Island, you'll understand why.  There are more shells on that beach than there are grains of sand!)


Then, there were strolls to take and waves to "kick" of course....

How I *adore* my wide-angle lens at the beach.  :)  This next shot is one of my favorites!!

And of course, there is always time for cuddling and snuggling with Mama.  It just wouldn't be a playdate without a little bit of snuggle-time!

I'm in love with this next shot.  Such adoration from Mama, and that sweet soft backlight gets me every time.  So summery and relaxed.

I loved the graininess, and the soft movement of Janet's hair in this one....  and don't tell me that you CAN'T hear the littlest one laughing!  :)  Love that.

Do you think Daddy will be pleased?  :)  Remember, no spoiling the surprise!  

By the way, I refuse to apologize for showing so many images at a time nowadays!  I'm thrilled that my blog finally shows my photographs nice and HUGE, so I get on a roll sometimes and can't stop adding.  LOL!  Have a great night, everyone!!