First Grade to Forever | Couple Portraits Hampton Roads

• September 10th, 2021 •

Copyright ©  Devon Shanor Photography | All rights reserved

One of my very favorite things to photograph is couples that have been married for decades.  So often we forget to truly appreciate and cherish the love in a marriage when kids, school, careers, sports, activities, bills, church and EVERYTHING else that comes with running and family and a household, comes FIRST.  We forget that two people started it all, two people who fell in love are the foundation of it all.  Too often we forget where it all began and truly celebrate each other and the love they share. 

My Treasured Love Sessions are such an important part of my business.  They bring me so much joy and hope! These session celebrate the couple and their journey through life, love, commitment and sacrifice.

I was SO honored to photograph Joe and Faye.  They met in FIRST GRADE!  They have so many decades of memories, from coloring and recess, to sock hops and cotillions, from football and cheerleading to building a family, to retirement and grandkids. It was such a blessing to “walk down memory lane” with them as they shared so many of these special moments with me and reminisced on a life well loved. 

We even photographed Faye in her wedding gown… that still fit!!!!  She looks as beautiful now as I am sure she did then, and her grooms eyes are still focused on her! 

During our session planning, I had them each answer a few questions without the help of knowledge of the other.  I used their answers to “write” them a letter from one to the other.  It was such a special moments as they read their letters to each other and then danced to their favorite song.

Enjoy this little walk down memory lane with us as we celebrate the love between Joe and Faye! 

Class of 2021 | Ava

• March 18th, 2021 •

Copyright ©  Devon Shanor Photography | All rights reserved

I love getting to photograph siblings of past high school senior clients. Ava’s sister was a client of mine years ago and I was happy when their mom called me to photograph Ava too!

Ava, didn’t want my traditional sunset portraits. So we decided the Botanical gardens would be perfect with great architecture and stunning gardens for the beautiful bright and airy look she wanted.

It was a HOT and very humid day but Ava was a rockstar and her portraits are AMAZING! After the session, my son and assistant even remarked “she could be a model.” I agree, Ava, you are stunning and it was such a joy to photograph you. I pray 2020 and 2021 are amazing years and you get all the “senior moments” you deserve!

 

DSP Candids of the Week! | Candids

• March 10th, 2021 •

Copyright ©  Devon Shanor Photography | All rights reserved

Portraits are supposed to be fun! Posing and staging is only half of it! Personally, Candids are my favorite! One of my favorite things about Devon is her ability to make any session fun. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tantrum, nervous mom getting her first boudoir shoot since kiddos, a Dad that “really hates getting his picture taken” or that senior that is only doing portraits to appease Mom and Dad… It’s a fun experience here at DSP!

Here are some of our favorite candids that we absolutely love! 

“I love my baby brother!!!!… Sooooooooo much!”

“Don’t mind me… just struttin’ my stuff with the newest fad… Wear necklaces around our teeth!” 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE BEAUTIFUL MATTHEWS SISTERS!!!

“Nothing like a cold ocean touching your toes to make you run like the wind!”

Keep checking back for more candids on the blog! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working with Family | Personal

• February 23rd, 2021 •

Copyright ©  Devon Shanor Photography | All rights reserved

Anybody who has talked to me about working with Devon has heard me say “I don’t work with Devon just because she pays me…” and that statement is more than true…

 

I started as a client, I wanted to do newborn portraits for my son Bradley and I tried to do them myself… I procrastinated and finally said I need a professional to do this! Devon was sweet and understanding and we did a “newborn” style shoot when Bradley was three months old. I was so happy to have newborn portraits, even if he wasn’t really still a newborn. She was so patient with me as a new mom, especially one that was suffering from Post Partum Anxiety and didn’t know it at the time. 

We loved them and the experience, this woman even got my husband to enjoy getting his photo taken. I even got him to agree to do family photos once a year! So the following year, we did Bradley’s one year portraits…. this was so much fun! Devon had just gotten back from her latest trip to Ethiopia with Habesha Mama so we got talking about what she does there for kids in need. It was such an incredible story that just made me love her as a person even more. (keep an eye out for a post about Habesha Mama if you’d like to hear about it!) We talked and laughed and bonded.

The following year, Andrew was born. Needless to say I didn’t hesitate to get newborn portraits right away! Andrew was 13 days old when we got his newborn photos and I will treasure them forever! This time Devon learned more about me, she found out I was a real estate photographer, and had some significant experience with graphic design.

The following year… (yes, I got my husband to do pictures FOUR years in a row with Devon!) for Andrew’s one year portraits we were already family. My kids looked forward to seeing her, and my husband was not nervous about pictures and as a result, I wasn’t stressed out about getting ready for pictures.

After his cake smash, during our inevitable hour chat, Devon told me that busy season was coming and what was on the horizon for her and Devon Shanor Photography. I told her that if she ever needed a hand I would be happy to help out! A few months later, she took me up on it! It started as a small edit here, to collages, and evolved into so much more. 

 

Here we are in the fifth year, I’m integrated into Devon Shanor Photography more than I ever expected to but I LOVE IT. A little bit of graphic design, little bit of office management, little bit confidant, little bit organizer, and so much more. Jack of all trades is an understatement when it comes to what I do for Devon Shanor Photography…. But let me tell you, Devon SAW that in me. 

I work for Devon… not just because she pays me, but because it’s like working with family. There is a comfort and openness that I’ve never had working anywhere else. My opinion is valued and appreciated, and my skillset is valued and even encouraged to grow. There is an honesty and respect that you don’t usually see in big work place politics. We aren’t scared to put each other in their place. She tells me I’ve gone off on a tangent and got distracted (ADD… Just saying, it’s brutal!) and I’m not scared to tell her that the fifteen different folders for the exact same thing really gotta go. There is respect, love, friendship, Christ, honesty and so much more working with Devon, because that’s WHO SHE IS, and it’s who we have become as a team. Devon always says this, but Dev, MY TURN! I LOVE MY JOB! 🙂 

 

Why should you meet your Photographer BEFORE your session?

• February 11th, 2021 •

Copyright ©  Devon Shanor Photography | All rights reserved

I just got off the phone with a client interested in booking a photography session, but she didn’t want to talk about anything except pricing.  I encouraged her to come into the studio to meet me, see the space, go over all her ideas, etc.  She said it wasn’t necessary, she just wanted to know my prices over the phone and compare them to other photographers and she will decide later.  Now I am a HUGE bargain shopper so I have NO problem with the price comparing and shopping around for the best price BUT with photography there is SO MUCH MORE to getting great pictures than just price!!

Post a “looking for a photographer” on fb and you will get HUNDREDS of responses of people willing to take your picture for just a few bucks.  However, there are many, many, many people out there who should NOT be calling themselves professionals and can cause harm, headache and disappointment.  I want to help you make sure that YOU aren’t on the receiving end of that! 

One of the BEST ways to do that is to meet your photographer! There are so many reasons why, but lets talk about my top 5! 

1. Does this photographer match the STYLE of photography you want?

I recommend you do this BEFORE you start calling photographers.  There are so many different styles of photography out there and you need to find out what kind of photographer they are before you even consider them.  Let’s name just a few styles of photography out there right now…

  • Natural
  • Bright and Airy
  • Dark and Moody
  • Lifestyle and Photojournalistic (less posed- just capturing the moments as they happen)
  • Traditional and Posed
  • Black and White
  • Fine Art

Once you determine a style, talk with your prospective photographer about it.  I am a natural photographer who edits warm and with bright colors. I do some Bright and Airy as well.  My sessions are mostly posed with lots of lifestyle breaks to capture the moments between the press. I have had clients has for a full Bright and Airy session.  Cool, I can do that.  You want a full Dark and Moody session, nope I’m not your photographer.  It’s just not my style. Even the best photographer in the world is going to disappoint you if their style of shooting and editing is not what you are wanting!

2.  Do you LIKE them? 

Find out if you LIKE your photographer.  I always tell my clients we need to make sure we are a good match and if we aren’t, that is OKAY!  The photographer is going to be spending a lot of time with you and his/her personality is going to lead the way on how the session feels and how YOU feel taking the pictures. If the personality of the photographer isn’t compatible with yours, the session is going to feel stressed and possibly even annoying. 

 I am bright and bubbly.  I am corny with my jokes, will often call you mom and dad (verses your names on a family session as I direct you), will snort and fake sneeze and dance very badly to get your kids to laugh, I might climb a wall or balance on a fence to get the shot, etc.  If those thing annoy or scare you, it’s okay to pass on me!  You are hiring me to make you FEEL and look amazing. If you are inwardly cringing when I greet you with “hey girl” or “hey hon” we are already off to bad start! 

So meet your photographer and ask yourself “Would I enjoy spending a few hours with this person?” If the answer is no, keep looking! 

Once you know if you like them, you need to find out if THEY like you for the kind of photography you are wanting!  Do they like Kids? Dogs? Husbands? 

The husbands part is a joke… kinda lol.  I have found that LOTS of husbands and dads really don’t like having their pictures taken, so make sure you find a photographer that can be patient with that and help ease the tension. Teenagers can bring the same amount of angst and annoyance at having to do pictures.  Does your photographer know how to work with that?  

As for the kids, I have met so many people who said “I don’t think my last photographer even likes kids” or “They seemed to be uncomfortable when my kid acted out.”  Photographers photographing kids should be expecting meltdowns and know what to do when they happen.  I know YOU are going to get frustrated and upset if little Tommy is acting crazy, my attitude should calm you and little Tommy down, not add to that stress! 

Same for dogs, do you want Fifi included in the family portraits?  How does your photographer feel about pitbulls? Or Chihuahuas? Have they photographed pets before? Important things to ask!

3.  Let’s talk Price!

Of course, price is a HUGE factor in determining which photographer you are going to choose.  Meeting your photographer is the PERFECT time to go over their price list.  Photographers who just “send out” their price list are often complaining in our photography groups about clients not reading it and then being frustrated at their ordering appointments. You need to know exactly what is included upfront and what is expected later.

When meeting your photographer BEFORE your session you can discuss sessions fees, digital images, printing rights, products you can purchase, etc.  You can feel the albums, touch the canvases and wall art, hold the blanket, try on the portrait jewelry, etc. You can ask questions about payment plans and delivery options.  That way there are no surprises after your session.  You want to truly love and enjoy your portraits when you first see them, not be frustrated about surprise pricing! 

4. How “professional” is your “Professional Photographer?”

What happens on the shoot if the photographers equipment breaks?  Does he/she have backup equipment? A professional photographer should always have backup equipment because we all know technology doesn’t always cooperate.  Do you really want to have to cancel your session and do it all again later if there is a technical problem? 

For newborn photography, photographers need to be TRAINED and educated for newborn safety.  Are you really going to trust your 10 day old baby to someone who hasn’t been trained? There are many stories of babies falling, getting hurt, being burned and more by photographers who didn’t know what they were doing. Ask your photographer about their training and experience with newborns.

For boudoir, does your photographer share your images?  Post them online? Are they comfortable posing all different shapes and sizes?  Do they know how to enhance the parts you love, but hide the ones you don’t with posing? 

Is your photographer licensed and insured? Do they have backup systems to make sure your images are safe?  How long are they kept? Do they have ways to share with family and friends?

Are they experianced to handle all different lighting setups?  If it’s crazy bright and sunny, or cloudy and overcast can they still get great images?  What if your session is indoors in a dark room?  

These are all GREAT things to discuss BEFORE your session.  We all have horror stories we have heard of bad photography experiences.  Don’t let it be you in the next story.  Simply meet with your photographer and discuss them!

5.  Tips for a great session.

Meeting your photographer also allows you to get some great insight to having a great session!  He/she can tell you all the little tips that will help your session go smoothly.  If they have been doing this a while, they know ALL the tips and tricks!

They can help you pick out outfits, choose the best location for your needs, show you samples and galleries from past clients, discuss hair and makeup, go over the best times for the best shots, go over tips on how to help the family be prepared, etc.  Meeting with your photographer will allow you to really talk out everything you WANT in your session and together you can bring it all together BEFORE you show up.  Just “winging it” is fine in some cases, but to truly make sure your photographer captures your vision, talking it out beforehand is crucial! 

Many photographers have clothes closets as well.  At my studio, we have tons of newborn and baby outfits and wraps, we also have a large closet of maternity dresses, we have crowns and mermaid tails, and we have a few boudoir pieces too. These can help you as you make decisions on which photographer can meet all your needs. 

 

 

Bullock Family | Beach Portraits

• February 8th, 2021 •

Copyright ©  Devon Shanor Photography | All rights reserved

How many years has it been since YOU took your last family portraits? If you answer is more than 3 years, it’s TIME!!! Don’t let the years slip away with out taking time to “freeze time” with a beautiful family portrait you can cherish for generations.

I LOVED getting the Bullock family in front of my camera. Three STUNNING women with big hearts and beautiful smiles. (Yes, this is a mother daughters portrait- not sisters!) We wanted to have a little fun so we brought some smoke bombs to the beach and created a little magic. They even brought their dog who LOVED all the adventure of being at the beach~!

It had been a RAINY week so we were so grateful God let the sun shine and kept us dry. Jess and girls, Thank you so much for allowing me to capture your family.

Signs to Remember | Creative Chaos

• May 25th, 2020 •

Copyright ©  Devon Shanor Photography | All rights reserved

So here I am sitting at my desk, about to start my anatomy homework… today is no different than any other day I sit at my desk to work or do schoolwork, but today was just hard. Looking at my two little boys and thinking, “am I ever going to be able to take them to a playground to play? Will Bradley be able to start preschool? Will we be able to go on that road trip to see my husband’s family 1,300 miles away? Will my mom get to meet Andrew?” These questions, and more were running through my head today. I have several signs on my desk that I’ve surrounded myself with that remind me on days like this that “This too shall pass”. So I’m not sure which one of you need to hear this today, but I sure did.

Sign #1: “Take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go” – As a species, we have made it through, the plague, the flu, swine flu, and so many other terrifying diseases. Technology has come so far and we will find a treatment. We have made progress and know more about Covid, as terrifying as it is. We will get through this.

Sign #2 – “Let your faith be bigger than your fear” – Everyone has different beliefs, but my faith will carry me through this, I need to focus on the bigger picture, instead of being scared of the what-if’s.

Sign #3 – “Too blessed to be stressed” – Yep… This is true, I am very fortunate in these hard times, my husband and children are home with me and are happy. When today being Memorial Day, so many families aren’t as fortunate… My thoughts and prayers are with those families, and remind me to be thankful for what I have and hug my family a little tighter today.

So while this morning has been hard. We all have hard days, we all have sad days, but like my last two signs say… “if it is to be, it is up to me.” (Thanks Dad for the 2 letter word idiom) and “girl, you’ve got this”.

All of these speak so true, we just need to remember… this too shall pass. So hang in there… You’ve got this.

Phenomenal Moms | How I spent my Mother’s Day

• May 11th, 2020 •

Copyright ©  Devon Shanor Photography | All rights reserved

Yes I worked on Mother’s Day. My church, Freedom Fellowship, and I have done family portraits on Mother’s Day for the past 8 years or so. It has become a traditional so many of us look forward to each year! It might only be a few minutes and you might only get 3-4 images, but even just ONE beautiful portrait is such a gift to us moms.

We have some phenomenal women in our church and such wonderful examples of motherhood! We have single moms doing this all on their own without any support from their children’s fathers. We have mothers who have lost their husband and have been thrust into single motherhood unexpectedly. We have mothers who never got to hold their babies but are still mothers to heavenly children. We have mothers who are without biological children but have many spiritual children who look to them for advice and guidance. We have mothers who never birthed their children but choose to love a child born from another as their own. We have mothers who chose adoption for their children and have sacrificed knowing their children call another woman mom. We have mothers who struggled for years and needed the help of science to help them bring their children into the world. We have mothers whose children have emotionally cut them off, who mother now through their prayers, praying their children will reach out. We have mothers who’s children have passed away and who have a very difficult time “celebrating” Mother’s Day. We have grandmothers who fill the role as mom. We have military mother’s who are celebrating being a mom while deployed across the world away from their children.

Motherhood takes on very different roles for different women. Mother’s Day might have passed but take time to recognize ALL the different mothers in your life, in your neighborhood and at your job. Don’t forget to celebrate their motherhood journey as well!

Please take a look at some of the amazing mom’s I was able to photograph yesterday. I can’t post them all as we had such a great turn out for our “Drive-Thru” Mothers day portraits. (We had a line of cars in the parking lot social distancing and waiting their turn to get out of their car!) This is just a snapshot of the phenomenal moms of my church. Such a blessing to know and photograph them!

This beautiful momma celebrating the 14th Mother’s Day without the child she never got to hold.
The amazing Pastors, Rick and Diana, from Freedom Fellowship
New momma!

Happy Mother’s Day!|Creative Chaos

• May 10th, 2020 •

Copyright ©  Devon Shanor Photography | All rights reserved

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful mother’s out there. Whether you’re a biological mom, adoptive mom, soon-to-be mom, grand-mom, step-mom, all around mother figure and everything in between, I hope you have a beautiful and wonderful day today, and are celebrated for the amazing people you are.

During this quarantine, our patience has been tested! Creativity has a new definition, and time is sometimes irrelevant. Did I do that yesterday morning? Or this morning? Wait, it’s only 3:00, it’s not bed time yet? I hear you. I’ve been there, but you know what? This too shall pass. Personally, this quarantine has been a beautiful reminder of what mother’s and family are supposed to be all about. We are forced to go back to basics and spend quality time together, get creative, play games, and just be present in the moment.

Today, I am spending my day with my wonderful husband and beautiful boys. Had to get creative because they have been going stir crazy, so I made a tape race track in my living room. We have had race after after race and I’m exhausted and it’s only 1:00. Andrew is down for a nap and Daddy and Bradley are outside playing. Mommy is going to kick back and read a book.

Enjoy this time together, take those few moments for yourself too. You’re beautiful and you deserve it. Happy Mother’s Day! You’ve got this!

What is your favorite game? |Creative Chaos

• April 2nd, 2020 •

Copyright ©  Devon Shanor Photography | All rights reserved

Do you have a favorite board game or card game? Did you have family game nights as a kid? I did! I remember we used to have family game night once a week when my brother and I were kids. We could never agree, so we always each brought one we wanted to play and my parents picked between the two.

During this difficult time when we are all self quarantining, board games and card games are making a huge comeback! Monopoly, Risk, Life, Guess Who, Phase 10, Uno, and so many more are being played more and more often! We have always enjoyed games so this is exciting for us to have time to play and Daddy home to join in the fun.

But after game after game of monopoly being whooped by my sister-in-law, my husband and somehow even my three year old, I wanted to get creative. So we are creating our own Monopoly!

We only used graph paper and markers. The movement pieces are beads I had with some hot glue on the bottom for stands! The possibilities are endless! What game would you create your own version of?

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