Photographing Families in Angola, Indiana

Wavemakers, Tri-State Gymnastics, the Carnegie Public Library, the YMCA of Steuben County…these are just a few of the places that have kept me crazy busy over the last few months. Between the kid’s activities, school, and trying to keep healthy food on the table, it feels like I haven’t had a second to breathe. I’m sure most of you feel exactly the same way! But I am going to make the time to share just a few amazing families I’ve had the chance to photograph recently in Angola.

First up is a family I had the privilege of photographing last year. And I was truly honored to work with them again. They are just a wonderful family!

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Picture Perfect: Fall Photography

Yes, it has been a LONG time since my last post here but I am still squeezing portrait sessions into my insanely busy schedule. I’m so glad we made this photo session happen! And I’m always super excited to see these two girls. I’ve photographed them since they were just little babies and at this session in particular, I was just amazed to see how much they have grown. As always, their mom did a fantastic job coordinating their Matilda Jane wardrobe and the weather could not have been a more perfect fall day.

Gotta love this sweet sister shot.

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Miss A always impresses with her poses and intensity.

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And this little mover and shaker will charm your socks off with her spunky personality.
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Sweet Sisters: Studio Photography

These sweet and adorable sisters did an amazing job for their studio portraits. And I couldn’t be happier with the results.

However. I do believe Miss G had a talk with lil Miss E on their drive down to Angola that must have gone something like this…Miss G leans over toward her sister’s carseat and whispers: hey sis, whatever you do, don’t let Tonya take your picture. She’s tried to take mine before so trust me. Tonya will work really hard to get you to look at the camera so here’s a few of my tricks: hide your face, cry, act like you are hungry, but whatever you do…don’t look at the camera.

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Well, Miss G…you talk a good talk. But I think I still win.

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Eye contact AND a smile. Winning.

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Still winning.

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Cuddle time with mommy.

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Safe travels with a family photo prop.

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So Miss G…even you have started to warm up to the camera. Thanks girl…it’s about time!

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The Quirky Ballerina

The quirky ballerina just turned 6. She’s spunky, loyal, and stubborn.

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She likes to catch worms and eat spaghetti.
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She likes to explore and be outdoors.
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She likes sleep in Saturdays and Justin Bieber.
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She likes to be in front of the camera…if I pay her a dollar.

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She likes the color purple and wants to be an art teacher when she grows up.

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Happy World Down Syndrome Day

Happy 3/21. Today is World Down Syndrome Day. A day to celebrate people with 3 copies of the 21st chromosome. And today I’m celebrating my beautiful niece. Miss you lots…and yes, these are photos from Christmas. Guess I need to get back to blogging. That, and take another trip to Texas.

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I do believe she is the cutest lil snow leopard I have ever seen.

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This picture certainly brings a smile to my face!

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So Cute: Studio Photography by Tonya Marie

How did you get so cute! I believe I said that 113 times at this session. Over and over. But I just couldn’t help myself and I’m sure you will see why as you scroll down for the amazing studio portraits. This much cuteness should be illegal. Seriously.

Now we all know that photographing 3 kiddos age 5 and under can be a challenge but it went beautifully. The clothing obsessing planning done by their mom was perfection. Their mom also took the time to really look through my blog and website and decided she wanted simple (simple as in: well lit, thoughtfully put together, gorgeous portraits, that aren’t fussy, capture glimpses of personality, and showcase my adorable kids, simple, yeah!, I love to do that, thank you so much for “getting it” simple) studio portraits. I’d say this session was a smashing success.

First up, we have the charming little Miss E. She is so expressive with a little side of spunk. She has this awesome smile and already has this bubbly, full of life, personality.

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Next up, we have Miss Cutie Patootie who is welcome in front of my lens anytime! Stunning, sweet, and she follows direction SO well. Wow!

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And finally we superman’s alter ego: Clark Kent. He gave me lots smiles but this serious gaze is so intense I couldn’t resist.

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And Superman himself. You can tell he was totally in his element with that amazing smile!

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Down Syndrome: Our Introduction

Our world was turned upside down on April 19, 2010. And by “our” I mean my family. We are close even when thousands of miles and a giant ocean separate us. It was on this date that we found out my sister was pregnant with a baby who has Down Syndrome. Since then, lots has happened and the world has righted itself (mostly). We are just beginning our journey with Down Syndrome and I thought it would be cool to share some of those experiences. Below you can read my interview with my sister. You can also check her blog for more information on Baby Rylee and and a behind the scenes peek of Tonya Marie Photography.

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When did you find out that Rylee has Down syndrome?

April 19 at 7:52am (GMT).  I was over 13 weeks pregnant.  We originally found out there was probably a problem with baby at my 12 week ultrasound when they found a large nuchal fold on the back of baby’s neck.  We went in six days later for a CVS test.

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How old were you when you got pregnant with Rylee?

A girl never tells her age :)  Ok, ok, 32.

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Do you or Josh have any family history of Down syndrome?

Nope and nope.

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Are you glad you found out she had Down syndrome before giving birth?

Yes.  It allowed me to go through all the emotions; why me?, anger, grief and eventually acceptance before baby was born.  It also allowed me to educate myself on Down syndrome and what to expect at birth and beyond.  When she was born I was emotionally prepared and ready to love her.

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 So far, what has been the most difficult thing?

Initially receiving the news that baby had Down syndrome.  Over 90% of pregnancies diagnosed with Down syndrome are terminated in England.  The treatment we received from the medical staff was horrible (and thats putting it lightly).

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What has been the most amazing thing so far?

Realizing that she is ‘just a baby’ right now.  Down syndrome or no Down syndrome, she is my baby and I couldn’t love her any more than I already do.

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What are you looking forward to seeing Rylee do?

I honestly haven’t thought that far ahead.  I’ve been so consumed with getting over her jaundice, trying to get her to gain weight, a scare with an abnormal newborn screen blood test and giving Avery the love and attention she deserves that I haven’t thought about it.  She did shock us with rolling over stomach to back at just three weeks old!  You go girl, lets continue to defy the odds!

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Will Rylee receive any special care?

Yes.  Rylee will have a follow up heart sonogram and see an Ophthalmologist in January.  She will also receive care from the state of Texas through ECI, Early Childhood Intervention.  We had our intake meeting 2 weeks ago and we have Rylee’s evaluation next week.  A plan will be developed that will probably start with physical therapy and eventually will include speech therapy among other services they will provide for her.  All ECI services occur at our house and are meant to teach the parents techniques to use.

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Photography Note: These photos were all shot using natural light with high ISOs and I couldn’t be happier with the results. Seems getting a giant light and studio set up all the way to Texas is pretty tricky these days.

{My} Family Photography: Angola, IN

So I sit down this evening with a glass of Smoking Loon Cabernet Sauvignon (it’s not bad for cheap wine and everyone needs to have a favorite bottle of cheap wine on hand for not so special occasions) and a still warm from the oven oatmeal raisin cookie (or two) to write this blog post. The dreaded blog post. The one I try to do every year. The one with my family photos. I am definitely the photographer. Not the photographee. But I’ve been coerced (okay, not really coerced but it sounds better than *a few people remembered I was going to post pictures of my family and I haven’t gotten around to it*!) into sharing. I will say that this year’s attempt went better than last year thanks to my amazing friend JG who helped with the kids and my camera. Thank you!

So here we are.

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We all know the saying “take a picture, it will last longer” and it is so true especially if you are like me and have a good case of mommy brain. I want to remember exactly what my kids were like at 6, 5, and 1 and a half.  While I would have liked my hair cut, a different jacket, and to have lost 10lbs…this is us. And all the effort of orchestrating family photos…totally worth it.

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At a year and a half, my sweet baby is turning into a toddler. Sigh.

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And my firecracker who keeps life interesting, is growing up.

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And my charmer who wants to be just like his daddy is now 7.

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Beautiful Baby Photography

I just got back from visiting my newest niece in Austin, Texas. I have so much to catch up on and am certain I will be searching for the toothpicks to prop open my eyes tomorrow morning. But I have lots of people who are (im)patiently waiting to see newborn portraits. And. Well. Who can resist this beautiful baby? I know I can’t!

I adore the dimple and darling half smile for Aunt Tonya.

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Not only is she a super sweet newborn but she is (so far) a fantastic sleeper.

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There are many more photos to come. Until then you can read a bit more about Baby R on my sister’s blog HERE.

6 Month Old: Angola, IN Studio Photography

This handsome 6 month old baby visited Tonya Marie at the studio in Angola, IN. How lucky am I to get my camera on this cutie patootie! 6 month olds are one of my favorite ages to photograph. They are curious, cute, and so charming…plus they usually can’t crawl away so I have a captive audience.

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Hello beautiful baby!

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He has those gorgeous brown eyes! Definitely a future heart breaker.

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How could you resist this adorable expression!

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And we got some smiles too!

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