Senior Portraits: Joshee | Senior Portrait Photographer Hampton Roads

• September 24th, 2014 •

Copyright ©  Devon Shanor Photography | All rights reserved

I think it was a Thursday when I received a call from John, Joshee’s Dad saying he had found me on google (I love when that happens!) and wanted to book me for Senior Portraits on Saturday!  They were in town from the Eastern Shore, and Joshee wanted to have his portraits taken while they were here. It just so happened I had a slot open so I was more than happy to meet and photograph him!

What a BLAST we had!  Joshee is half Korean, so we started at Red Wing Park and incorporated some of the Oriental Gardens.  We got some great shots with the bridge, bamboo and pagoda.  It had rained earlier and was looking a little gloomy, but we headed to the beach anyway, hoping for a decent sunset.  When we arrived the sun was trying to peek through and I was satisfied with a little color.  Then, a few minutes after the sun actually set, the sky went CRAZY!  We got the most amazing  colors and clouds.  I shot for almost a half hour after sunset, making sure I got as much of the amazing sky as possible!

Joshee was awesome.  Cool and laid back, willing to climb trees and sand dunes, even be a little silly when I asked!  He was a blast to photograph and I hope someday, I get to photograph him and his family again!


P.S.  I LOVE photographing High School Seniors.  It is one of my very favorite sessions.   If you know a High School Senior, or a parent of a Senior, please give them this link  to check out my Senior Magazine, explaining everything there is to know about Senior Portraits with Devon Shanor Photography! 



Rick and Diana Hocker: 25 Year Celebration

• September 24th, 2014 •

Copyright ©  Devon Shanor Photography | All rights reserved

In case, you haven’t heard me say it before, I love my church, Freedom Fellowship!!!  Our pastors and leaders, Rick and Diana Hocker, are a big reason why.  They have been our Senior Pastors for TWENTY FIVE YEARS! 

I have been a member of Freedom for almost eight years, the entire time we have lived in Virginia Beach.  When we adopted our son Messay, from Ethiopia, Pastor Rick and Freedom rallied behind us and helped us raise the thousands of dollars we needed to bring him home.  When my marriage was failing, Pastor Rick and Diana were instrumental in supporting us and helping us get back on track.  When finances were tough, the amazing food pantry at Freedom allowed to know our family wouldn’t go hungry.   My children learn about God at home, but on Sundays they also find out God isn’t BORING and they can have FUN during worship and in learning about Him.  Freedom is a big a part of our lives and school and work.  It’s home.

We have Rick and Diana to thank for the amazing church Freedom Fellowship has become.  I could go on and on about how they have impacted our life and I know about 600 other people who could do the same.  We love our church and for the past 25 years, Rick and Diana have led us.  They have sacrificed and shared so much of themselves.  They are a wonderful example of Pastoral love and we are so blessed to have them STILL serving, sacrificing and loving us.

I was honored and blessed to attend their 25 year Service Celebration this past weekend.  So many came out to celebrate and share.  We laughed at some of the old stories and pictures, we reminisced about the “way things used to be” and we talked about the amazing vision God has for our future.  Thank you Rick and Diana for your quarter of a century of service.  I hope to photograph the 50th anniversary as well!    Here are a few highlights from the evening.  If you want to see to see all the images from the night, just click on this link, .

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Years ago, Pastor had a silver front tooth… Eddie and Curtis wanted to make sure we remembered that all evening!  🙂 happy_142

We were so blessed to have Rick’s Dad, Marvin Hocker speak and share some stories about Rick growing up!  happy_143happy_144


So many amazing speakers sharing how Rick and Diana have impacted ministries and people all over the world! happy_145 happy_156happy_146happy_161happy_149happy_152happy_153happy_154happy_155


Kids Felicia and Loren, and grandson Malachi, couldn’t be there, but they still sent their love! happy_157happy_158happy_159happy_148happy_147 happy_151


Alex: Half a year old! | Baby’s First Year Photographer

• September 22nd, 2014 •

Copyright ©  Devon Shanor Photography | All rights reserved

It’s a bird… It’s a plane… it’s… a drooling six month old!  Alex is growing up so fast and for his six month old session  he channeled his best Super man and Winnie the Pooh.  (I have to say he is the cutest little superhero and childhood character I have ever seen!)  He also played in a box, rode a bike with his siblings and showed me how (strong and happy) he is during some tummy time!  I can’t believe our Baby’s first Year sessions are half over!  Soon he’ll be one and running around after his sisters.  I don’t know how mom and dad feel, but I wish time would slow down. 🙂  But since it won’t, it’s good we have these amazing portraits to help us remember his adorable his first year.

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A scare and a life lesson | Personal

• September 17th, 2014 •

Copyright ©  Devon Shanor Photography | All rights reserved

Life sure isn’t boring around here!  No matter how much I wish “normal” was a part of my life, God just has other plans!

Last month I had one of the most terrifying moments in my life happen.  Something I NEVER thought would ever happen to me happened.  I was at my bank when it was robbed at GUNPOINT!  No, I am not making that up.  I was casually talking to my teller when she froze as she looked over my shoulders and mumbled “not today” as she immediately locked her drawer and (I assume) pushed an alarm under her counter.

I am kinda naive about things so even when I turned and saw the masked man, I didn’t realize, right away, what was going on.  No, it wasn’t until I saw the gun as he jumped up on the counter, did I realize he was robbing the bank!!  I am not sure how other people would react in this situation (because believe me, what you THINK you would do and what you really would do, are two different things!) but I froze.  As he stood up on the counter and held the gun at one of the tellers, I simply froze and waited for him to tell us what to do.  I wanted direction!  Do I get on the ground?  Run?  Cower?  Give him my purse?  Scream?  I needed some direction as I simply stood there in disbelief that this was actually happening.

The older ladies around me needed no direction… they ran!  Yep- they just booked it right out of the building.  I waited a moment or two and when no gunshot or “Freeze, don’t move” was heard, I realized he was allowing them to leave and ran myself.

This happened on a Saturday morning in broad daylight at a prominent bank in a good area.

Things I realized that day…

1.  I make a terrible witness!!!  I watched the guy leave the building (as I hid in my car on hold with 911) and get in his car and I still couldn’t tell the police what model car or exact clothing he was wearing.  (Yes, my Marine husband teased me about that later.  He would have figured out the guys shoe size with his skills of observation!)  I was just hoping he didn’t see me and shoot me! I was the only one to see him leave, and even the police officer teased me about being a “key witness” who knew very little!

2.   There is no such thing as a “safe place” anymore.  If people get desperate, even the nicest neighborhood/businesses can be where terrible things happen.  We need to remember this and always be prepared and aware of our surroundings.  Sadly, more and more people are seeing the line between “right and wrong” disappear… where if it’s RIGHT for you, then it’s not really that wrong.  It’s making living in our world a scary place at times.  We don’t need to live in fear, but we do need to be aware of our surroundings.

After the bank robbery, my family and I had many talks about “what to do when…” so my children would know when to run, when to fight back, when to get involved and when to get away.  We talked about abductions, robberies, fights, hitchhiking and more.  I PRAY nothing like that happens to them (or me!) ever (or again) but in the event it does, I want them to know how to best protect themselves!

3.  I have never thanked God so much for a “professional thief” before.  As I talked with the police and the other witnesses after the fact, we were all amazed at how calm, cool and collected this man was.  He didn’t yell, didn’t get upset when we ran out of the building, didn’t act erratically, etc.  The police said he was most likely a professional.  While that may make it harder for the police to find him and the bank to gets it’s money back, it made ME so thankful.  We all made it out safely and no one was hurt.  I am thankful for his calm demeanor.  We all, including him, walked away that day uninjured and to me, that is more important than the money he stole.

4.  Life can be going along “as normal” and BAM it can change in an instant.  So much could have gone wrong that day.  I could have been shot.  I could have had my kids with me and they could have been injured or emotionally scarred.  My life COULD have drastically changed that day.  That morning MIGHT have been the last time I had ever kissed my husband or children.  Our “normal” average life, could have instantly changed without any notice at all.

It made me think my kids and what life without “mom” would look like.  Had I hugged them enough, kissed them enough, tucked them in enough, read to them enough?  Was I the BEST parent I could be?    Would the love and tenderness outlive in their memories over the discipline and yelling?  Had they seen me laugh enough?  I am so thankful God allowed me to walk away from that scary situation, but the fact remains that no one truly knows how much time you have left.

My profession, photography takes moments and freezes them in time.  It is part of why I love so much what I do.  It takes the people you love and FREEZES them forever.  So that people for generations to come can remember and even get to know, people they love.  I hear people all the time talk about the pictures they have of their loved ones.

“I love seeing this image, it reminds me of how much she loved to laugh!”
“She always made this face when she cried!”
“He loved this red shirt so much!”
“Can’t you see how much the baby looks like grandpa in this picture?”
“This was the last time we were all together.  Remember how happy grandma was?”

It makes me so sad when people give excuses for not taking family portraits.  Yes, we all wish we were a little thinner or less wrinkled or less grey or more photogenic… but YOU are beautiful to your husband or wife, your kids, your future grandkids.  Don’t shy away from the camera, embrace it.  If, God forbid, you don’t have many tomorrow’s left… don’t you want to leave your loved ones pictures of you smiling and happy?  I recently talked to a young man whose mom passed away when he was a child.  He has ONE picture of her.  ONE. His mental memories of her are there, but he sometimes struggles to remember her smile, her laugh, her hair.  Imagine if she had left behind hundreds of pictures.  All different smiles… many different captures of her laughing… lots of images to remember and see her beautiful blond hair.  His memories of her would be so much more alive and vibrant.

I don’t say all this to drum up business… come to me or go somewhere else.  But, please, take portraits with your family.  And not always the posed smile at the camera portraits.  Interact with your kids, laugh, be silly, show your laugh lines and grey hair.  Be you in front of the camera.  If you are married, show the love between you and your spouse.  Kiss in front of the camera, be silly, LAUGH together.  Create some memories not only to be stored in your brain but also be be stored and cherished and HELD in physical form.  A picture truly can freeze a moment and capture it forever.  It’s a lesson even I had to learn.  I take pictures of my kids all the time, but it’s rare for me to take pictures WITH them.  After this robbery scare, I asked myself when the last time I had been photographed with my kids.  Thankfully, this summer we took some family portraits at the beach during a mini family reunion.  I was so thankful because the one prior to that was a few years ago.

The lessons I learned during and after this robbery, are ones we should all remember and work to live out everyday.   Make sure you hug more, yell less, say I love you often and worry less about the small things.  Hopefully we all live to be 100, but in the event we don’t, make sure you leave behind a life without regrets and lots of happy memories for the ones who love you!




Getting ready for Apollo | Maternity Portraits Virginia Beach

• September 3rd, 2014 •

Copyright ©  Devon Shanor Photography | All rights reserved

One of my FAVORITE session in a long time was this one with Jennifer and Michael.  They are the most relaxed, laid back, in love couple and they were completely open to anything I wanted to do.  Jennifer had the MOST perfect little baby bump and I was DYING to use my newly purchased maternity posing gown.  She wore it perfectly and I am so in love with the amazing portraits we captured.  Little Apollo will be so loved by these two and their amazing extended family members, I just can’t wait to meet him.  He’s due pretty soon, so be on the lookout for his newborn portraits!  I hope he inherits mom and dad’s calm, laid back nature!  🙂


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Back To School | Family Photographer Virginia Beach

• September 2nd, 2014 •

Copyright ©  Devon Shanor Photography | All rights reserved

Every Year, I take my kids to a park to do some back to school portraits.  I do it BEFORE the first day of school, because I am always WAY too busy the first day to remember to grab my camera.  We’re too busy figuring out that morning routine and getting everyone off to school without having to worry about mom, the photographer, trying to coax out natural looking smiles!  I always open up these back to school portraits to my clients as well and this year we had two families join us!  Thanks to all who came out and I pray for a GREAT year of learning and friendships for everyone heading back to school!

(If you missed out on Back to School portraits but would like to do something similar- just let me know, we can schedule a session just for your munchkins too!)


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Sisters: Back to School | Family Photographer Hampton Roads

• September 2nd, 2014 •

Copyright ©  Devon Shanor Photography | All rights reserved

Meet Micheala and Morgan- two sisters ready to head back to school and celebrate the end of summer!  They are some of the most caring and sweet girls you’ll ever meet and photographing them was a joy.  We jumped, we laughed, we got sandy… it was a blast.  I love photographing all different kinds of portraits but tweens and teens are some of my favorites and these two did not disappoint.  🙂  Thanks girls for being such great models, you both are so beautiful and amazing and I hope you never let anyone tell you differently!


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Jack Turns ONE! | Baby’s First Year Photographer: Virginia Beach

• September 2nd, 2014 •

Copyright ©  Devon Shanor Photography | All rights reserved

Jacky Boy is ONE!  What a great year it was for him.  I so adored watching him grow and he gave me a run for my money on a few of our sessions (TWO teeth broke through the day after his six month session and the day afer this session we found out he had an ear infection!) but we always managed to capture his awesome personality!  I LOVE his adorable faces he always showed and when he giggled and laughed for me… HEAVEN!

Thanks so much Raaf and Claire.  It was an honor photographing your family this past year.  You are doing a wonderful job raising such an amazing your man.  I can’t wait to see your family grow (hint hint!) in the future!  collageJack-117 Jack-114 Jack-110 Jack-108 Jack-106 Jack-95 Jack-75 Jack-70 Jack-58 Jack-12 Jack-65Jack-6