Oh, what an adventurous afternoon this was! The sweetest family, perfectly coordinated in their blue and green ensembles. Games of chase, peek-a-boo and pretending to launch rockets! Endless enchantment with the simplest parts of nature — rocks, leaves, Spanish moss, blades of grass — and enjoying the beauty of nature along the river. Even though we had to make a last minute change to our original session location because of the Columbia Veteran’s Day parade, I think that this dear family was just destined for another family session on the river — and the Columbia Canal and Riverfront Park never disappoints!
When I think back on this fall family session on the Columbia Riverwalk, what comes to mind isn’t that it was literally freezing when we started our session, or even the gorgeous sunrise glow illuminating the Gervais Street Bridge. What I remember when I look back on these photos is family. Togetherness. Delight in each other’s company. Inside jokes. More than anything, I recall the joy and laughter that filled every moment of this session — the true mark of a family who can find joy in anything, as long as they are together!
What does it look like to be three years old? Sometimes, it looks like brown ringlets glowing in the morning light. It also looks like spinning and dancing in twirly dresses, and showing just how fast you can run. And then befriending every dog that you encounter, examining every flower, and searching out the best puddles — so you can stomp in them! Ah, what a joyful age is three: Endless curiosity. Zeal for life. Drinking in every ounce of the world and all it has to offer. And what a joy it was to meet up with this sweet girl and her mama at Colonial Lake Park in Charleston to capture this new age and stage with this fun “mommy and me” session!
It was a Saturday morning in the Lowcountry that felt more like June than late October. Overcast skies gave way to a bright, sunny morning, and golden sunlight filtered through trees dripping with Spanish moss. A sweet family of three strolled through Charleston’s beautiful Hampton Park — mom, dad, and baby girl — and I was absolutely captivated by the sweet, quiet way they interacted with one another. As we paused to capture some photos near a garden still vibrant with flowers, butterflies dipped and darted among the blooms, and I couldn’t help but think what a perfect morning it was to enjoy one of the last days of this year’s seemingly endless summer!
It was a warm, sunny afternoon following a day of nothing but rain and a week of cool, fall temperatures. A sweet family of four gathered together at Columbia's Riverwalk Park, a place that they have many special memories together. As we walked along the Congaree River, sounds of jazz music wafted down from the Gervais Street Bridge Dinner and provided the perfect, upbeat soundtrack as we stopped along the river for photos. As we smiled and laughed, it felt like the kind of afternoon you want to remember always, a feeling that you want to bottle up and keep.
Snuggles and tickles on mom and dad’s bed, the room filled with the most gorgeous morning light. Reading favorite stories. Mom and daughter baking cookies together while dad and son played together on the floor. Dancing together to favorite songs. A sweet and happy boy, grinning with the biggest smiles after kisses from his mama, and his spunky, independent big sister eager to help, show the way, and jump into all the fun! There was such a feeling of coziness and warmth in this precious family’s home, and it truly felt like the most perfect fall Saturday morning as I snapped photos of them enjoying each other and their time together during their lifestyle family session!
Crisp, cool air blowing through rows of trees tinged with autumn leaves. The sweetest brothers, dressed to impress in their most adorable (and stylish!) duds. The sounds of laughter echoing between buildings as bubbles floated away in the breeze. This playful session in downtown Chapin was the absolute best way I could have imagined to kick off the busy fall photography season, from the blissfully cool weather that came after a week of record-breaking high temperatures to all the fun we had dancing, playing with planes and trains, running down sidewalks, and waving and smiling at everyone who passed by!
Lily is Cancer Free! | Sunrise Golden Hour session in Downtown Spartanburg | Spartanburg, SC Family Photographer
It was a misty summer morning, and the clouds enveloped the top of the tallest buildings in downtown Spartanburg, obscuring them from view. The quiet downtown streets were just starting to come to life in the early Saturday light, and the two sweetest puppy parents and Lily, their most precious beagle, strolled down alleyways and sidewalks as we stopped here and there to capture some sweet moments of their family of three. Although the morning was cloudy, there was so much light and joy — Lily had just completed her chemo treatments for her battle with lymphoma and was now cancer-free and in full remission!
Happy Father's Day to all the incredible dads out there! While I know this day can be a hard one for both dads and those who would be celebrating them, I love that there's a special day dedicated to honoring the special men in our lives and all that they do for us and our children!
Happy Mother's Day to all you beautiful mamas out there! I have been so honored to be able to capture all the different stages of motherhood for so many incredible women — from welcoming first babies to celebrating their first year of life, from toddlerhood to teenage years, every stage is so beautiful and worth celebrating.
Golden hour light streaming through the trees. Strolling down brick sidewalks across the beautiful campus of Furman University. The sweetest baby, dressed in the most adorable ensemble complete with suspenders and overalls. A sweet, joyful mommy and daddy absolutely smitten with their little guy. I can’t think of too many better ways to spend such a gorgeous spring evening that truly felt like a taste of the summer days to come!
One of the things I love most about photographing sessions with young children is that you never know what’s going to happen. If you happen to catch me out at a session with little ones, you might hear me singing silly songs, telling cheesy jokes, playing games of peek-a-boo or Simon Says, or inviting some good-spirited tickling! I love the challenge of finding out what makes little people tick, discovering the things that make them light up with joy and excitement. The goal, of course, is always to get some sweet, traditional photos with everyone looking at the camera and smiling, but my favorites always tend to be the photos where they are “in their element” — the ones where I capture them running, exploring, climbing. I always love seeing the true essence of their little personalities shine through, as though I’m able to freeze these moments in time for their parents to look back on down the road and remember the way life was right now.
Twirly plaid dresses and shoes made for running. Hiding and seeking, exploring and sliding. Jumping and climbing and fun on the swings — these are a two-year-old’s favorite things! One of the most fun things about toddlers and young children is that they are innately curious little people, eager to experience and explore the world around them! I’m always amazed at what they notice, the way that simple things like sticks and rocks and bits of acorns can capture their imaginations and interest. When that’s the case, I can’t think of a better way to capture this stage of their childhood than a fun and playful “mommy and me” lifestyle session that embraces their curiosity and incorporates the joy of play!
Have you ever had a moment where you see another family and it shows you a flash forward to your future? I often reflect on how the hard moments of motherhood sometimes cause me to lose sight of the wonderful things about this season of life — the things I know will miss when time has softened and faded the memory of the challenging times. As I watched the O’Connell family laugh and joke with one another during our sunrise family session in downtown Park Circle, I had several moments where I caught a glimpse of what my life might look like ten years from now, and future-me felt a definite wave of nostalgia for the season I’m in now!
The longer I’m on this journey of motherhood, the more often I reflect on the fact that my expectations of how things are going to go with a toddler very seldom match the reality as it plays out in my day to day life. However, one of the most beautiful things has been, as I like to put it, “embracing the chaos.” Although it can definitely be frustrating when things don’t go the way I’ve envisioned or planned, I’m constantly reminding myself that everything in the world is new and different for my little guy, and he’s just so excited to learn and experience and discover it all. And witnessing that? It’s such a beautiful, wonderful privilege. So when I get the privilege of watching those moments and capturing them for another family, it just about makes my photographer heart explode with joy!
Hi! I'm nicole!
I love photographing families in every stage of life, creating warm, bright, and natural images that you will treasure for a lifetime. What I love most about being behind the camera is telling the story in front of me, highlighting the joy and relationships between loved ones and capturing each personality!