Category Archives: Family

Change. What does that look like? What does that mean for Smitho Photo?

I have started this blog post more times than I can count over the past couple of weeks and then deleted it as I haven’t been quite sure how to start it or what to say.  This will most likely be longer than I need it to be, so for that I apologize ahead of time!  I have cried, I have prayed, I have leaned upon my husband and put my trust in Jesus.  One of my favorite verses in the bible has always been Jeremiah 29: 11 which reads For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

As some may already know, I have struggled for many years with numerous health issues.  Too many to list in this blog post.  In my lifetime I have underwent countless surgeries including open heart surgery and most recently another revision to my amputation just this November.  Leading up to my most recent surgery last month, I struggled physically more than most even knew.  This summer we had cut way back on how many sessions we booked with Smitho Photo and actually only booked half of what we had booked the year before due to my ability to keep up physically with the demand of the business hoping that would help.  Unfortunately, the demands of the business day in and day out were just too much on my body.  Keeping up with booking, editing, and the behind the scenes work, along with the photographing the sessions and going out on the beach multiple times a week and spending 8 hours at a weddings when we had one booked proved to be just too much.   For every one of those sessions and weddings Mr. Smitho was right there beside of me, helping with lighting and a lot of times shooting along with me.

When we first decided to start the business, Adam and I did so as a team.  The name Smitho actually came from the nickname Adam’s boss gave him years ago at work.  It just stuck and fit, so that became the name of our business.  If you have ever had a session with us or had any interactions with us then you know we work as a team.   We have learned together.  We have attended conferences through the professional photographers association.  He knows more about lighting and the equipment we use than I could ever dream of.  He is a tech junkie and loves to play with light and color gels and new concepts.   All of the work below and actually all work in this post will be his gorgeous art!  I always tell him that I’m jealous that he gets to have all the fun while I make sure I get all the safe shots!

We have worked tirelessly together for countless hours day in and day out to make Smitho Photo into the business it is today.  We have done it honestly and the right way.  We pay our taxes, we make sure that we do everything legally.   We are part of our professional organization.  We take pride in our art.  We don’t just go out and take pictures because we have a nice camera and then charge people.  We have taken the time to learn our craft, and then have continued to work to get it to a professional level that we are proud of.   We have taken workshops, classes, and have worked side by side.  Many times when I’m shooting and it requires special lighting he directs me more than I direct him, haha…. I’m just louder than he is.  He has worked beside me in every single wedding that we have shot thus far.

His work is gorgeous!  He’s patient and pays attention to small details.   He does a great job with detail shots because he always puts a creative spin on them, and sees them in a way that most wouldn’t.

During our weddings, he does a great job of sitting back and watching for intimate emotional shots that show the connection between the couple and each other, or the couple and their family members.  See the pictures below from numerous weddings we have shot.  You can see images he’s shot from the groom first seeing the bride, from during the first dance, or the ceremony, during the send off and reception… he has such a great ability to capture it all.

Usually during beach sessions he has taken the second camera and was busy grabbing candid shots while I was capturing the main images.  Had I needed him to at any time he could have taken over taking the lead images without there being a problem.

He has a knack for balancing the images he takes during a session.  For instance during a wedding day, he does a great job making sure he captures silly pictures that shows the true personality of the bride and groom but also the emotion of the day and the excitement as well.  He thinks things through ahead of time and can see just how a shot needs to be set up for it to work out successfully.

I have taught my Padawan all of my tips and tricks of the trade that I know and physically I am currently in a place where I am unable to keep up with the business in a way that I would like.  Therefore, I am for the foreseeable future going to be handing the reigns over to Mr. Smitho.  I will still be giving him my opinion on…well just about everything… and helping when I able, but the day to day operations and stress, editing, and so forth will be something that he takes over.  We have worked too hard in our business and have built such great relationships with so many clients and after much prayer and discussion could not imagine just giving up and throwing in the towel on this dream of ours.

Unfortunately, after extremely LONG talks with my doctor and our talks as a family, we know that we are making the best decision for our family that we can at the moment.  Once I heal and can focus completely on my health, then at that point we will see how I feel.  As far as Smitho Photo goes and the work that we deliver to our clients, you should still expect to see the same level of work that you’ve come to love as I have full trust and faith in my sweet husband that he can do anything he sets his mind to, and let’s face it… a lot of the shots you’ve seen that you’ve loved were probably his and not mine anyways 😉

For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

And you know what they say… after every rain comes a beautiful rainbow!  Thank you for loving us and our family!  Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we continue through this transition!  We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!  We are looking forward to seeing you all in 2019!!

 

 

This Thanksgiving I’m Thankful For Memories

I have started writing this blog post at least 10 times and then have erased what I was typing because I haven’t been exactly sure how I wanted to start it.   Truth is, if I’m just being transparent and honest this Thanksgiving I’m somewhat of a hot mess.  A huge piece of my heart met Jesus just a few days ago.  She was one of the strongest, hard headedest, caring woman I knew!  She was a force to be reckoned with when she needed to be,  and shaped me into the woman that I am today.  I lived with my Grandparents most of my life and have such great memories, but have hardly any pictures to document those memories.

I remember always having extra people at our house.  It seems we always had someone living with us that didn’t have somewhere else to go.  My Grandfather was in a wheelchair, so Nana would hire someone that was salvation army, to come work at the house to do repair work or yard work, etc about once a month… it seemed that after that, within a month or so, that person would just start showing up for dinners or food.  There were many of those people that just stayed in touch.  Before I was born, I was told she was driving home one day, I think it was near Christmas, and saw a solider in uniform walking carrying his bags and she pulled over and he was trying to get to a hotel to stay the night… she said absolutely not, he could come stay at her house and get a hot meal… this was just the type person she was… you were going to be fed and taken care of… And gracious day could she cook!  We always had a huge Thanksgiving meal at our house and everyone would come.  We’d have a house full of people and not one person would take pictures… and now all I can do is tell my children about it.

My kids will never know Nana like I knew and remember Nana.  They won’t know what the house looked like that I grew up in.  There are no pictures of all of Nana’s decorations.  The woman LOVED decorations!  Every. Single. Holiday. Didn’t matter if it was Easter, Valentines Day, or Christmas.  We have a couple from Christmas…. but not many… But when I say she loved decorations…  I mean at Christmas we’d have people that lined up down our street to come to see our house.. our house was in local contests and even was on the news for their decorations… it took weeks to finish the decorations…   For Easter, we had to put plastic eggs hanging from all the trees, etc… everything was decorated!

I noticed when I was going through, getting pictures ready for her service that there were multiple pictures of her as a little girl.  There were more pictures of her as a child then there were of her and I together and she was born in 1943.  I think it would be safe to say that is probably true for at least 85% of the population.  As adults, we don’t want our picture taken.  We’re going to wait… until we lose more weight, or until we have the time to get coordinating outfits together, etc… as adults we always have excuses not to be in the picture… but we’re going to make sure we have pictures of our kids!

Let me assure you there will come a day… where your children may be the ones wading through boxes of pictures, clinging to the hope that they can find pictures of the two of you together.  My Dad passed away at 57.  I remember the same gut-wrenching feeling with him.  I would encourage you don’t let this be your children.  Take the pictures.  So today, after you’ve cooked all day, and you’re exhausted, and you just want to sit and lounge and take a nap, before all that… take a picture!   When I got to the point where I was old enough to start really taking pictures myself, Nana had had a massive stroke and had slowly started progressing with dementia and while we had pictures they weren’t while she looked “healthy.”

Please continue to pray for our family, as we go through the holiday season, and cherish each memories you make today.  I am surely thankful for my memories.  Especially pray for my sweet babies who are having such a hard time with Nana being gone.

We are thankful for each of you and look forward to 2019.  You may have noticed over the past few months we have not been very active on social media.  I SO need to do better with that haha… I promise I’ll try and work on that in the new year!  These last few months have been trying and long, between two hurricanes, remodeling our home due to water damage to our floors (happened before the storm believe it or not, because we have that kind of luck), me having major surgery,  and Nana’s passing, we are ready for a new season filled with joy and calmness!!!

 

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!!

 

Young Love

We had a young man contact us to capture his proposal to his girlfriend while they were here on vacation.  He was so sweet and had thought of everything, months in advance.  What we had to figure out was how to get close to him without his girlfriend suspecting anything.

I asked Makayla, Mr. Smitho’s drop dead gorgeous cousin if she’d be willing to model for me so that I could be taking pictures of her when they walked up we could be close to them for the proposal!  Lucky for us, Wade Makayla’s equally as drop dead gorgeous boyfriend just so happened to have graduated and returned home from Ohio State University just a few weeks ago.

(In case you missed the seriously adorable couple who got engaged that day you can find some of their pictures here) 

After finishing up Makayla and Wades gallery I could not decide which ones to share…  so I decided I would make a blog post and share them here !

The lighting was perfect and the wind blew her hair just right.   If you are ever around these two it is evident in a matter of seconds just how in love they are.   Their laughter was infectious!

I didn’t have to direct or pose them… I was able to stand back and just capture the moment!

I told Makayla that she could be a model!

But then she gets it honest.

At Easter I had the privilege of photographing her parents.  Her mama is Adam’s first cousin.  She and Mark, Makayla’s daddy were high school sweethearts.  They have been married 25 years this year and we did a photo session to commemorate their anniversary.

I am so blessed to be able to call them family!  When I married Adam, I gained an amazing extended family.  Not only do they all look like they walked off the page of a magazine… If I ever need a babysitter, I know we can call Aunt Mo and if she’s not busy she’ll be there.  Most of my family lives out of town now and so to have someone we can call on that will take care of my babies as if they were her own is a Godsend!

Make sure you like our facebook page   and our Instagram page 

to keep up to date on our latest work!  We are booking into August and September right now and still have our beach special pricing happening.  Also, if you are getting married later this year or next year, NOW is the time to get on our calendar.  There are several dates for next year already booked!  We would love to be the ones to capture your memories!

Motherhood… A day in the life

When I was little I always dreamed of having babies of my own.  I wasn’t sure that would ever happen.  I was born with multiple health issues…  Doctors said I would never walk, I would never run, and I as I got older I would probably be in a wheelchair.  When I was 19 I was told I needed open heart surgery and that my heart was enlarged.  I remember laying on the gurney at Duke Hospital, petrified, and I remember thinking to myself that this was it.  I had made the mistake of reading up on the surgery beforehand… never. ever. do that.  A surgeon would have my heart in his hands while my body was connected to a machine that would breathe for me.  I thought about if this was really it, then I ‘d never know what it was like to get married.  I would never experience being pregnant or having babies…nor would I buy my own home… or have a real job… and the list went on and on…  Thankfully, my journey didn’t end there… my story wasn’t over… it was just beginning.

Being a mother is the most rewarding, the most frustrating, the most exhausting, the most humbling, and the single most important thing I will ever do in my lifetime.   We aren’t to a point in our photography business where I can do it full time and stay at home, so every day I get up, get everyone ready for the day, and I go to work.  I am fortunate to have a great job with full benefits, but I long for the day I can come home.  I feel like I miss SO much working.  And while we work to get our photography business built, we work two jobs which increases the time away from our kids.  But, that makes the time we do get to spend with them even more precious.

I thought about this morning as I had time before the kids woke up… how many things we take for granted day in and day out.  I thought about all the things I am going to miss one day, when they are grown and no longer at home with families of their own.  As we work to build our business… as we work to support our family… we are overlooking the little things…

So I decided to spend a few minutes capturing our morning.

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My house is never perfectly clean… my house is full of dog hair… from our very rotten furbaby…. there are toys in the floor, and inevitably a basket full of dirty clothes overflows into the floor of my bedroom.  Seriously… somewhere we have about 15 missing people hiding that contribute to the dirty clothes.. There is no way 4 people can create the mountain of clothes that collects in this house!

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There are crumbs from cookies….

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Somewhere you may find a juice cup that was hidden and never found…

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But one day there will be no more juice cups… there will be no more cookie crumbs… or the sound of giggling… the blaring cartoons, or the obnoxious toys…

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There won’t be toy’s strewn in the floor, or the pitter patters of little feet in the hallway

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So when it’s all said and done….. and they are grown… with families of their own… I hope they know that mommy always tried… that she loves them fiercely with all that she is…. that while she is far far from perfect… she strives to be the very best that she can possibly be.  There are days that I make mistakes… that I get frustrated… that I get overwhelmed… and days that I’m just plain exhausted… but I will never stop trying… I will never stop believing in their ability to be amazing…  I am the mama of two precious… gorgeous babies… they are my biggest blessings and and my proudest accomplishments!  I may not always get it right…and that’s ok… we’re not expected to… but I will never stop trying to be the very best me that I can be. Because they deserve that.  And if I could go back and tell that scared little 19 year old girl on that hospital gurney at Duke one thing… it would be breathe… take it all in… it will all be ok and one day your struggles will turn into your story….and your story will be amazing…  God has so many blessings lined up for you… so breathe and live in the moment!

God isn’t done with me yet!  (Thank the Lord!) My story isn’t over yet… so while I write my story… I vow to do better capturing it.  I capture so many other memories for everyone else sometimes, I forget that I have my own memories to capture!

Are you capturing your memories? How are you writing your story?

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Dreams do come TRUE

You may have noticed that we haven’t created a blog post in quite sometime.  There are many many benefits of living in paradise.  We have the luxury of living within 3 miles of two of the most beautiful beaches in North Carolina.  We can hear waves from our front porch year round and can smell the salt air when we pull up in our driveway.   During the summertime however, you won’t find us swinging on our front porch.  On any given evening, when the light is gorgeous and golden, you will find us at one of our area beaches capturing memories of those who have ventured to NC on vacation.

Already this year we have had the distinct honor of photographing over 80 families.   Between family sessions, weddings, and events, we have hand edited and delivered over 10,000 images!!! The majority of those sessions were beach sessions that occurred this summer.  As we reflected back over the summer at all the families we had the opportunity to meet, we were so humbled.  You see, we don’t just take pictures.  As cliche as it sounds… we pride ourselves in creating memories.  With camera phones at everyone’s disposal, anyone can take a picture.  It takes time and dedication and talent to create art.  We are dedicated to our craft and work tirelessly to create one of a kind images that will stand the test of time.  We want to capture your family in ways that you will cherish for many years to come.  We are excited to say we are already booking sessions for next summer!

This summer we had all types of sessions.  I wanted to take a few moments to highlight some of our sessions and share some of the images that you may have missed from those sessions.  We had many large families.  Our largest family session to date was a sweet family that we captured at Holden Beach.  Their grandparents had started the tradition of coming to the beach for over 50 years.  I don’t know that I’ve ever been so impressed with the closeness of a family.

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I received an email from the granddaughter who had booked the session, that the matriarch of their family, Ms. Marthalee who had started the tradition of coming to Holden all those years ago had passed away.  This was just a little over a month after these pictures were taken.  She was so beautiful and absolutely loved the beach.

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What a reminder of the importance of having pictures taken!  We heard story after story of families who had vacationed together for years but hadn’t ever had professional pictures taken.   We loved working with so many large family groups!  This is just a small sample of those families.

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Some of our favorite sessions included cute couples who were excited to announce new additions were on the way!

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We can’t wait for them all to return next summer with their sweet bundles of joy!

As always we dealt with crazy weather.  There is a saying in Southeastern NC, if you don’t like the weather wait 10 minutes and it will change!  We had rain and rainbows!

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and of course incredibly gorgeous sunsets!

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We had fun themed sessions like this one from the notebook.  This may have been one of my favorites to date.

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We were able to capture sweet young love…

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as well as couples who were celebrating years of being happily married.

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We loved seeing parents interact with their babies… both big and small!

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and of course grandparents with their grandbabies!

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You can only imagine with all of these different families the countless incredibly gorgeous children we encountered this summer!

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We heard over and over this summer, we didn’t realize this experience would be so much fun…. and my goodness did we ever have fun!

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and of course with having edited over 10,000 images this year already there’s no way we could ever begin to share them all…. but hopefully you will see how much we have loved sharing our summer with you.  We have SO enjoyed capturing your memories and are so humbled that you chose us!  We hope that most importantly you cherish these memories for decades to come!

We are already booking sessions for next summer!  Last year in March we were almost completely booked for July!  If you are interested in booking a family session, don’t wait until it’s too late to get on our calendar!

Thank you for an amazing summer and for helping us realize our dreams!

Christie and Adam Smith

 

Just how important are professional pictures of me with my kids?

This will be long, but definitely worth the read… You will also learn very quickly that although I have a masters degree and have years upon years of education under my belt I’m not the english major my sister is.  I’m not an eloquent writer and I just hope by the end of this my point comes across.

I recently gave a presentation and as part of the presentation I was looking for pictures from when I was a small child.  I have boxes upon boxes of old images.  I was born with a multitude of health issues.   When I was brought home from the hospital my mom came to stay at my grandparents house.  My grandfather and I developed an undeniable bond like no other.grandaddy

I continued to stay with my mother and grandparents… After my mother and father were married, they moved to a place of their own.  Every time, they’d take me home with them I’d become extremely sick and end up in the hospital.   When my grandfather would arrive, my fever would break and I would start coming around again.  The doctors couldn’t explain it but, after much contemplation my parents decided to allow me to stay with my grandparents, although they remained a very active part of my life.

So as I started to prepare my presentation I found picture after picture of me by myself as a child and countless pictures of me and my grandfather.  I realized, my grandmother, the patriarch of our family… I had very few pictures of.  They were almost non-existent.  As a small child the only picture I could find was this one at a Shriner fish fry fundraiser… not the best picture to say the least. Picture1

I know there are only a few in existence of me and my mother as well, although I couldn’t find them before my presentation.  My Nana played a vital role in my life growing up.  She worked tirelessly and was always giving to others.  We always had someone else living with us, that she had taken in who didn’t have anywhere else to go.  If she saw someone walking she would stop and pick them up, bring them home, feed them a hot meal, and then take them where they wanted to go… in the 80’s that was still safe to do.   My precious Nana…  who decorated for every. single. holiday,  who loved her Polaroid camera,  who was devoted to her disabled husband, was never in front of the camera.

My first year in college I got a phone call, that Nana had a massive stroke.  Her speech was affected, her memory and mind were affected, and she had slight paralysis.  It took countless hours of physical therapy and OT to get some sort of normalcy back to her life.  However, from that date forward she was never the same.

As I waded through picture after picture, I just knew there had to be more pictures in there of her, and sadly there just wasn’t.  I came across some pictures I took with my cell phone back in 2012 many years after her first stroke on mothers day with my mom and with my Nana on Facebook.  They hadn’t been printed, and if they were they’d be so pixelated from the terrible quality they wouldn’t print well.

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In today’s modern world, it is so easy to grab your cell phone and take a “selfie” with you and your kids, or parents, or whoever.  Gone is the day that you carry around a real camera to family events.  Then you take those selfies and upload them to social media for the world to see…. but have you ever thought about what happens if your profile if the social media sites were deleted?  What happens in 20-30 years from now when your children are looking back, digging through trying to find pictures of you.  Will they find them?

My grandmother is now in a memory care facility.  I see her weekly and cherish every minute we get together.  I even convinced her a few months ago to let me take her picture.   She’s as beautiful now as she’s ever been but pictures just aren’t the same.   Every time she has a ministroke a little more of nana as I knew her slips away.  It’s a constant reminder of the fragility of life.   As of late we have more bad days than good days… and nothing is as it once was…. A75_4546-Edit

This is why I decided to do Mommy and Me mini-sessions and why I decided to discount them as much as I did.  I want anyone who is interested to be able to have the opportunity to capture those precious memories that will span among generations for years to come.   You can go here to book your session.  This was the ad for the sessions that were ran on Facebook.

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These sessions are so personal for me… they are something that I’d given anything to have from when I was a small child with my mother and grandmother.  I also realized as I went through this that I have very few pictures of me with my own babies…  Since having our second child last July I have been overly self conscious with my appearance and hate the way I look in pictures… As a photographer it’s just easier for me to be behind the camera…  so I have vowed to do these myself as well.  Mr. Smitho  is a great photographer as well and I will have ours done as well… even if I’m dreading it just to make sure we’re capturing our memories!

Last year I took a picture of Nana’s  hands intertwined in my daughters hands.  To date it is my favorite picture that I’ve ever taken.  It speaks so deeply to my heart.  Those hands that held me so many nights, now wrinkled, calloused, and tired… in the sweet youthful hands of my daughter.  I’m reminded of what’s important.  At the end of the day, when it is all said and done, we will have our memories, and pictures.  smithophoto (1 of 1)

The Millikens!

If it weren’t for this precious family my husband and I would have never met.  Most do not know how me and Mr. Smitho met… While I was attending UNC-Wilmington, using an ancient version of instant messenger named ICQ.  He was looking for a girl in his class to get a homework assignment.  He found me instead… his first words to me were “do I know you?” haha not to bore you with a whole lot of details but we realized we were from the same county but attended different high schools… When I told him I attended UNCW he told me the only person I know at UNCW is a girl named Carmen…   I Said funny… my suite-mate and good friend is named Carmen…  come to find out it was the same person…  He worked with her boyfriend and they had went to high school together… After doing some investigating with her that he wasn’t a weird stalked we would chat briefly online here and there… it wasn’t until a couple years later that we would finally meet up…   Almost exactly to the day , 14 years later and we’re still together!  Now Carmen and her then boyfriend are married and have a precious little girl!  How gorgeous is this mama??  A75_3943-Edit-Edit

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Those eyes!!  and she wasn’t a fan at all of her cake! A75_4219-Edit-2  A75_4042-Edit A75_4058-Edit A75_3846-Edit She’s so incredibly beautiful…

You may remember her sweet newborn pictures…

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I’d have to say she’s only gotten prettier as she’s gotten older 🙂

Happy Birthday sweet girl!!

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