Family is all that matters.

This weekend, I had a marathon run of photography sessions.  Engagements, seniors and families.  Every single one was a delight and every single one was a lot of work.

At the end of the day, when my head hits the pillow, I pray that the images I take have meaning to those for which they are intended.  Sure, we all as photographers want to take beautiful portraits.  But, for me, it is so much more important to take pictures of relationships and interactions, moments and experiences.  I want them to look back at these pictures years down the road and not think of how they looked - young or old, small or big.  But rather, smile in that way that brings their heart to a fuller place as they think of how those people gave meaning to their life.

This world moves so very fast.  It doesn't matter how many pretty pictures you take.  it only matters whose heart your connect to and those in whom your life finds meaning.

Today, I am posting the last of my work with the Longaneckers.  This family took a long journey to build their family with adoption of three siblings.  This session marked the final step in that journey and first premiered online the day their adoption was made final and they announced their new forever home and family.  I think of you guys often and pray every day that your heart knows the love and joy I have found in my own and finds many wonderfully grand adventures!

Families Helping Families!

Thank you to everyone who has donated to the Cormican adoption campaign!

What started as an idea to simply support a dear couple in their journey towards adoption has turned into a true joy of the heart for me.

Family is everything.

While I love photography and the reward of capturing that 'pretty' picture of a senior or an interesting or creative editorial story, I realize that capturing the moment between two people as they share their lives together is so much more rewarding.  As this campaign begins to unfold with each new family, I am delighted and blessed to see so many great stories and the knowledge that these pictures will carry meaning in someone's life for years to come.

Soon I will post collections from those family sessions with their stories. 

Take time to document your family story.  Whether it is that formal portrait that will hang on your walls for guests and grandchildren to see one day, or simply a casual adventure that captures who you are and how you relate to each other.

You have a wonderful life to share.

It starts with each other and ends with the stories your tell to others. If you want to take part in the Cormican campaign fundraiser to support their adoption journey, while capturing your own story, simply download this form and make your donation!

A Forever Family for Skye, Cayla and Preston!

After months of waiting, it is official... the adoption of Skye, Cayla and Preston by Katie and Joel Longanecker is now complete!

I have been blessed to photograph several families and children of adoption over the years.  Some I call my own, others I have come to know as family and delight in watching them grow and change over the years from session to session.

But, this one... was different.

This was the first time I was part of the process before it was finalized.  As Katie, Joel and I planned and executed the session, we were working to document their new family and have ready images for the adoption finalization announcement.  It would be the first time they could share online images of their children and we wanted it to be fun and special.

What we didn't plan, was how much the children would want to document their new family themselves.  Over the course of the 2 hour session, I would find my camera in the hands of the children nearly as much as it was in my own.  Instead of battling them to pose for me, we went with the flow and let them design the things they wanted to capture that day.  I held the camera and helped with exposure, but the poses and the captured moments were all their own as they looked through my viewfinder and found their own memories at the press of the shutter.

One day, I will post my images from the session.  But today, you will find below the images that Skye, Cayla and Preston captured.   I think it is more beautiful than anything I could have ever dreamed.  Seeing their family through their eyes and their eyes alone.

Yes!  Mommy and Daddy are purposely holding 3 flowers, picked by the kids!

Beautiful Skye - This girl has a wonderfully creative eye.  She is destined to be a photographer one day!

Spirited Cayla - this fun girl is ALL personality and spirit.  She will be a handful, but in all the good ways!

Darling Preston - still a young heart, but oh... such a darling!

Okay... I technically took this one, but the set up was the planning and idea of Skye and Cayla.  (Preston simply added to it!)

The Longanecker's took part it the fundraising campaign to help another adoptive couple - Tony and Tara Cormican.  Their session fee went towards this couple as they prepare to adopt a child from Uganda.  Want to be a part of this great campaign?  Go to 'Giving Back' and learn more!

When Zombies are Involved - You Know It Will Be Unforgettable!

I pull in to the coffee shop, ready to meet a new family who will become the latest faces in my portfolio.  I don't know what they look like, but know how hard can it be to find two parents and three young kids in a coffee shop usually reserved for pretentious individuals on laptops!

The first thing I see is a red minivan with a zombie family on the back.  I instantly laugh to myself - yeah, zombies makeup for the minivan.  (The thing that most people fear when they start thinking they have to get rid of the fun college car for something 'responsible')

Inside, I meet three of the sweetest, most charming little kids - speaking of their recent color run, brightly colored shoes and the BBQ chips they have gotten from Caroline.  Little did I know at the time, this would be one of those sessions that I will talk about for years.

This is a very special family, brought together through adoption.  In just a few short weeks, the adoption will be finalized and these photos I am about to take, will be their way of introducing the children to the world as their kids.  (During foster car, they can't put the kids photos online, for safety reasons.)  So, this session, while wonderfully casual and full of play, will have lasting place in their family.  It is the imagery that will cement their family as now complete and the formal start of their forever.

I can't imagine a better way of doing that.... aside from the wonderfully perfect zombie decals on the back of their minivan.  Congratulations on your beautiful family Katie and Joel, S, C and P.  You guys have a beautiful forever waiting for you, even if the zombie apocalypse comes ahead!

PS.  That reminds me... need to watch a few episodes of The Walking Dead!  I don't know if I am going to make it until October when season 5 begins!  #Bethyl

Celebrate Your Family By Helping Another!

The joy of having children and the joy of belonging to a family are God's greatest gifts.  Yet, so many will spend their lifetime waiting for it or desperately in need of a helping hand to obtain it.

This past year, one very special couple began their search for their child through adoption.  Tony and Tara Cormican are seeking their first child through a Ugandan adoption.  It is a long and expensive process, but I am hoping you can help them find their child and that child find their way to this special family.

This summer, donate $125 or more directly to the Cormican adoption fundraising campaign and receive a full family portrait session at NO CHARGE!

This includes a 90-minute session on location, a disc of high res images and a print release.

The only requirement?  The session must include more than 1 person.  We are celebrating families and relationships.  So let us celebrate yours!

To meet Tony and Tara and hear their story, simply visit their website at
You an also follow their adoption journey on their blog at

To learn more and to schedule your session, contact me at or call (952) 564-4472.

Trust me when I say, there are no better parents waiting than this loving couple!