What Eight Looks Like | Lifestyle Project May 2012

Our big boy turned eight last month.  It was bittersweet for me, as his mama.  Parker had so much influence on me when I was first learning photography.  As a very busy toddler, he pretty much dictated that my shooting style be unposed and loose, on the go, and very much what "lifestyle" feels like to me now.  He is why, to this day, I try not to pose my clients.  He is why I want to just let them be real, and document the way they interact with one another.  He was my first muse. These days, he is not quite so unfazed by my camera.  He's usually giving me bug-eyes or sticking his tongue out when I point my camera his way.  But that's alright with me.  Whatever he gives me, I will document.  And embarrass him someday at his wedding treasure this funny, clever time in his life, while it lasts.

The past few weeks, Parker has let me quietly photograph him, just the way I always do.  He even surrendered and let me photograph him for a class that Bree and I are teaching, to illustrate a technical point for our students.  I savored every moment.


Making funny faces, stifling laughs, catching frogs and lizards with the neighbor boys, running around shirtless, playing soccer, showing off, missing teeth, building with legos, and even being sweet to his baby sister... this is What Eight Looks Like.

You are a delight, my love.  I am so glad you made me a Mama.


I hope you'll continue the blog carousel and visit my sweet friend, Deb.  I always look forward to seeing what beautiful bits of life she's documented of her children.  Enjoy the journey, xo.  Deb Schwedhelm  |  Tampa Child Photographer


What Meeting Finn Looks Like

If you've been following along from last month, I've been asked to join eleven very talented women across the globe who have come together with a common goal: to capture our families in a real and beautiful way.  No posing.  No forced smiles.  Just come-as-you-are lifestyle photography (my favorite!).  I am honored to be a part of this group and look forward each month to seeing what they've posted and what beautiful snippets from their families' lives they've chosen to remember and share with us.  It's called "What ___ Looks Like", and each month we fill in the blank with a new subject or a different example of the same subject... our choice. This project has been both a challenge and a joy for me, as it forces me to grab my camera for reasons other than "work".  And thank goodness for that.  My kids certainly deserve it!

This month I'm sharing What Meeting Finn Looks Like.  (Edited to add two photos from my sister, below.  They really help tell the story of how meaningful this visit was to me.)


Last summer my sister had a baby boy.  If you read this recent post about the newborn I'd never gotten to hold, then you'll know how excited I was to have my my beautiful sister Amy and my sweet nephew Finn come visit us from Kentucky after Charlotte was born!

This is what he looked like when I first met him in the NICU (I took this through the window)...

NICU Baby Photography

My sister took these photos from her side of the window... Parker, me and Lila.

And the smears of kisses and salty tears I left on that window, after we found out that I wasn't allowed to come into the NICU of that hospital to hold my nephew.  I nearly left my heart on that pane of glass.

This is the only way I've "seen" him since... again, through a "window"...

Huge thanks to my sweet Parker for snapping this at the airport for me... xo  (Yes, Charlotte is in there somewhere.)  :)

I finally got to hold him!!!   No more windows to separate us.  I. Love. This. Shot.  What's funnier (to me) than our babies' sweet fishy faces is that Amy and I both did this at the same time without us looking at the other one... a complete coincidence.  And we are mirroring the expressions ourselves.  We're crazy.  And very much alike, apparently!  But I think Parker has the knack for capturing the right moments, don't you??  A lifestyle photographer in training.

This was the first time we'd held each other's babies.  :)  We had a wonderful time together.  Here are a few snippets from our long (but much too short) weekend...

And of course, what is a trip to Florida without meeting the ocean for the first time?

Sweet boy.  I tried very hard to hold it together when we said goodbye at the airport.  I didn't cry in front of her, but when I got back in my car I couldn't keep in the tears any longer.  I thought I was safe since she had walked into the airport and would surely be busy with baggage and tickets and checking in, etc.  But she texted me a few minutes later saying she looked out the doors and saw me crying... and then she lost it too.  As Truvy says in Steel Magnolias, "I have a strict rule that nobody cries alone in my presence."  And that certainly applies to sisters.  Especially to sisters.


I'd encourage you to follow this circle of women, right along with me... next up is a very talented artist named  Gina Oh |  Arroyo Grande, CA Photographer.  Last month Gina shared the beauty and laughter to be had in a simple bike ride, and I can't wait to see her sweet kids' faces again this month.  I hope you follow us.  Enjoy the journey, friends.

xo, Stacey

holiday schedule, and a few more images too!

Just wanted to give you a little update now that we're fully into December and the holidays are almost HERE!!!  :)  This is my absolute favorite time of year, but WOW at the busy-ness!  My labs are working overtime and crazy hours to get all the prints, canvases, albums and image boxes back in time for Christmas delivery, and I'm pulling lots of late nights getting everyone's orders in and put together, shipped out, blogged HA!, and delivered!  I even have a few new sessions to share before we close up for 2009 and await the New Year! That said, my holiday schedule will continue through December 17.  Stacey Woods Photography will be closed from Friday, December 18 until Monday, January 11.  (Excepting newborn and maternity clients, which must be photographed during all-important, fleeting, very specific timeframes to ensure the best images possible!).  If you're already on my books for the first week of January, have no fear.  You're still in!  :)  I am starting to book up January now so definitely place a call or send over an email if you'd like to get on the schedule for January or February.  And if you have an order outstanding, please wait just a little longer!  It's coming shortly, I promise!

Now, to share a few images from some recent sessions.  I've been almost afraid to post some of these for fear that I'm spoiling someone's Christmas card or present!  ;)  But I think I'm safe to share these, so here we go!


This is a lovely family that I met at the last Baby Loves Disco event in Tampa.  They looked me up again this year for a Christmas session, and I'm so glad they did!  Little A was so funny and so spirited the entire shoot!  He made me work for it!  :)

Preschoolers go their own way, that's for certain... right into Daddy's arms.  Ahhh, sweetness.


And how I love this sweet still moment with Mama.  He had the most gorgeous lashes, really.



And I know you can't see it in this black and white photo above, but Mom had on some KILLER red pumps.  :)  Loved them, and loved the energy of this family.  Can't wait until next time, sweet S family!  Hope you have a wonderful holiday.

featured on the Creative Mama blog today!

Angie Warren, of The Creative Mama fame, contacted me a few weeks ago, and I was beyond surprised that she asked me to be a part of her blog series, "For the Love of Photography".  In the span of two weeks, Angie is sharing something for everyone at any level:  from the mom with a camera to a professional photographer.  Some AMAZING photographers have already contributed to this series...  Leah Zawadski, Marta Locklear, and many more, with even more to come the rest of this week (i.e. the fabulous Tara Whitney and the Shutter Sisters team!).  So suffice to say I was honored to be included alongside these wonderful and incredibly talented women!  (And still a little shocked, LOL!) You can read my article and see some of my images HERE.  Leave Angie some blog love (ahem, a comment!) on that post, and you're automatically entered to win a fantastic camera bag from Acme Made!  ;)

Thanks again, Angie, for having me.  And thank you all so much for all the comments and compliments so far -- I greatly appreciate every single one!  xoxo


like mama, like daughter

You know I had to keep that title Southern.  LOL! Nicole contacted me recently and shared the news that her Mom was going to be in town from Arizona for a visit, and that she'd love to have me photograph their relationship together, as mother and daughter.  And for me, it was an honor.  Let me just tell you... I had an absolute blast with these gals tromping all over Clearwater Beach.  Thankfully, they trusted in my vision for the session, and let me have at it.  Even when, during our wandering, I stopped quickly and instructed that they sit down here, yes right here, in the middle of the sidewalk!  :)  I love it when clients "get" my style and just go with the flow. We have such a good time, and hopefully, the results speak for themselves.  I'll let y'all be the judges...

I looooove this combo.  Love how relaxed and beautiful they both look here....

We had the most gorgeous light to work with!  I loooove the golden hour.  :)

We even stopped for ice cream at one of my favorite little hideaways.  :)

Now.  Don't these just make you want to call your Mama??  :)  Remember that this Sunday, May 10, is Mother's Day!  SWP is offering Gift Certificates to give the sweetest ladies in your life.  Show them how much you adore them by giving them the priceless gift of custom photography... either a session to celebrate themselves or one to capture memories with the kiddos.  Inquire for details!

Y'all STAY TUNED to the blog for the next few days.  I have TONS of sneak peeks and sessions to showcase here, plus lots of personal "stuff" to share too.  Bear with me as I catch up from this crazy week!  :)

in the blink of an eye.

It seems like just yesterday we were bringing him home from the hospital, in that carseat that seemed to swallow him whole.  Tiny blue onesie.  Sleepy blue eyes.  Itty-bitty cry.

Today, he turned five.  And I am feeling a little bittersweet.  So sad to think he'll be starting Kindergarten this fall.  Yet so proud to see him accomplish such "big-boy" things.  My heart both breaks and swells with pride as I watch him grow up right in front of my eyes.

I crept into his bedroom last night, after he was good and asleep, and I thanked God for giving me the honor of being this child's mother.  Thank you, God, for letting me take care of him here on this Earth.  Thank you for giving him such a sweet heart, and please guide me in the duty of nurturing that heart and mind as he grows.

We had a rather large celebration for him this weekend.  We are blessed to be surrounded by so many people who love him!  But since today was his actual birthday, we celebrated quietly at home... with a trip to the ice cream shop, some fun at the playground, and dinner at his favorite restaurant (Skyline Chili, LOL!).  Then we baked a cake at home, and laughed and loved until bedtime.  I couldn't ask for a more perfect ending to today.

Happy Birthday, my sweet boy.  "I wuv you pieces."

Love, Mama.  xoxo

Post-a-palooza continues....

I loved this session... big brother was so fun and full of energy (as per the age!), and their Mama was so patient and gentle with them the entire session.  That makes my job SO much easier!!  (Thanks Ashley!!  xoxo)

He was so playful, and so much fun.  What I'd give, sometimes, to just be able to play in the floor all morning without a care in the world.

He danced and danced.  I loved the light coming from behind him while he bopped around.  :)  And that blur of his arm just gets me.... makes me remember the way he spun around with pure joy.  Oh to be a child again -- just for a few moments!

His beautiful little sister was awake, and completely the opposite of her brother (well, this particular morning at least -- I don't know what their Mama might say about most other days!).  ;)  During the shoot, she was calm and gentle, and so serene.  She quietly soaked up the room with her big brown eyes.  I adored her.

See the difference between these two?  It's quite the same at our house too, I assure you.  LOL!  

And I wouldn't change that for the world.  :)  

baby LOVED disco!!

Okay, so I know y'all have had your eye out for these.  :)  Baby Loves Disco's Tampa Launch was a huge success!  Here are a few "detail shots" and then I'll showcase some of the kiddos.... Baby Loves Disco was graciously hosted by the Blue Martini, which is located within the Shops at Bay Street in the International Plaza.  

Baby News Bits was one of the fabulous sponsors!  Check them out here.  Every mom needs to go to their site right NOW because they've got amazing ideas and sooo very many resources for parents.  Seriously.... I was browsing their site and could have stayed there forever!

LOADS more sponsors.... Yogani (providing parent massages), the Parent Guide, Stroller Strides (who provided the fantastic Stroller Parking - thanks Natalie!), Cleanwell, Moms Like Me, Precious Cargo (who hosted a fantastic dress-up corner!) Aveda Level2 Salonspa (and their super-fun GlamLounge!), and so many more....  Check 'em out!

I was even able to sit down with a few of the kids and have some quickie-shoots.  My favorite part of the day!!  Take a peek....

And lastly, my own disco babies!  :)  My husband brought our kids so they could enjoy the festivities too!  Parker had a blast, as you can see below....  and Lila, well, Lila was a little sleepy (aka needing her Mama).  And since Mama had to work, we compromised.  I can't tell you how much I adore this baby carrier!!!  (Link posted for all you moms and dads who have asked me about it!)  And obviously, another little someone likes it too.  ;)

Parents, your slideshow gallery of the day will be posted to my site in just a couple of days.  Those of you who provided your email address will receive an alert from me when the gallery goes live.... the rest of the parents in attendance, just check the blog here in a couple of days for your link.  For now, enjoy the preview!


ETA:  Here is the link to the slideshow!  When prompted, enter the password "babylovesdisco" (all lowercase, without quotes).  You may email me or simply call me to order!  And remember, you'll get 15% off your order for mentioning you were at Baby Loves Disco!