The Love-Macs | Family

Recently I was contacted to shoot an in-home family session, by a photographer and fellow Columbian...wait...Columbusian...I mean, resident of Columbus. ;) I'm always excited and a little anxious when contacted to shoot another photographer's family because that tells me that they are an artist, maybe like me, or maybe not. Therefore we could have different opinions about our art and that makes me a little nervous.

That being said, hopefully, when you are choosing a photographer for your family, you are doing so based on that photographer's body of work. What you saw that attracted you to them, er, their business, I mean. There are many, many different styles of photography that span the spectrum, so ALWAYS be sure you like what you see of their work before you book a photographer. 

It was encouraging to hear, upfront, that she loved my style and was excited to have me in their home, capturing those everyday, precious yet oh-so-fleeting, interactions. We had a bright, sunny day so we were even able to make it outside for a couple of shots as we wrapped up our session.

Their little guys, Finn and Sawyer were adorable and so fun to meet and play with. Ahhhhh. Kids. They are at the heart of my business. They are why I do what I do. I enjoy it so much.

Special thanks to the Love-Macs for choosing Happy Ely After for their family photography.

You guys made my day!

On a sidenote, you can check out their work on their website, ( Or go to their Facebook business page and show them some "LOVE". :)

Enjoy. <3

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Rory 1 Year | Birthday

Most of you, who follow my photography, have probably noticed that the Drennings are one of my frequent flyer families. My husband had the honor and privilege of photographing them when they got married ( and delightfully sent them my way when they contacted him about the birth of a beautiful baby girl, last year.

Rory just turned one. Her parents wanted some individuals of her for her first birthday but because of the time of year, (you gotta love Ohio winters) we decided that an in-home family session, with an emphasis on this little cutie, would be our best choice. It didn't even feel like work. Rory is a silly and playful little girl who is full of joy and smiles. Watching her grow and change over the last year has been so fun. I think the duck lips were my favorite part of this session. I can't wait to see what silliness she will have for me next time!

Happy First Birthday, Rory June!

Enjoy. <3

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Rilo | 11 Months

Oh man, guys. This is month 11. She is almost one year old! How in the heck did that happen so fast?! I've been planning her birthday party and I keep thinking, "My baby is going to be one. She is almost not a baby. She is going to be a toddler soon." So bittersweet. 

I knew that 3 kids would make life even crazier and that this first year was going to be a tough one. Anytime there is a big transition in your life, it can be tough. I'm not certain though, that being pregnant with a third wasn't actually harder than taking care of three kids has been. At any rate, this year has been one of many transitions and it has flown by. My sweet girl has been a true joy much more of the time than not. 

I am so thankful for her. 

This happy little girl was the perfect addition to our family. 

We are very blessed.

Enjoy. <3

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Smith | Kiddos

Despite this typically very cold season, I have been keeping busy with family sessions. We have had some "acceptable weather" days here in Ohio's capital. However, this particular day got to be a little too cold to complete our one hour session. We planned our session near the downtown public library, so that we could scoot inside and finish up if we needed to. 

The kiddos were troopers. Sweet little Abigail is a month old and was a perfect little model for her basket portraits. Actually, she stayed asleep for almost the entire session! Score! Her big brother, Ryne, kept us on our toes, with his boundless, toddler energy. That was great for keeping our blood pumping on such a chilly day. :)

It's always unpredictable with little ones, especially when you want to get them in photos, TOGETHER. We definitely had to get creative with these two but that's part of the excitement for me. There is never a dull moment during one of my sessions but, hopefully, my families always end up with unique photos of their loved ones that they can cherish forever.

Thanks so much, Smith family!

Enjoy. <3

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Blinn | Birth

I got a call on a Sunday afternoon, around 1:30pm, informing me that Kelli was at the hospital because labor had started in the night and they wanted to get things checked out. There were factors occurring that would make it safer to go ahead and keep her while she continued to labor than to send her home and wait for the intensity to pick up. So, very excitedly, I packed my bag and headed over to the hospital. Some friends of theirs had been in town visiting and were supposed to have lunch with them. Much to their surprise, they got to visit with them in Kelli's hospital room, instead. :)

I got to hang out with them for a while and photograph the settling in process. Because they weren't sure how quickly she would progress and the fact that I live nearby, I headed home and waited for the call. We decided that I would come back by the time she was 7-8cm so that I could photograph the delivery.

I got the call at 10:24pm. Left my house at 10:29pm and I arrived at Kelli's door at 10:47pm. I knocked and paused for 5 seconds only to hear the sound of a newborn cry! I missed it! Kelli had been in the bathroom at the time of needing to push and didn't make it back to the bed before little Jonathan arrived. 

What an emotional event. To add to the awesome chaos, the cord and iv tubing got tangled in delivery! It became somewhat comical to think back on afterward. Kelly did such an amazing job! Matt was also incredible. Such an involved and supportive husband and daddy. They are a great team. 

Baby Jonathan Francis was a healthy and perfect little peanut, weighing in at 5 lbs. 2 oz!

Jonathan has a remarkably sweet big sister, Zachari Jane, who actually cried upon learning that she had a little brother because she had wanted a sister. BUT she warmed up to him immediately upon holding him. So, we'll just let that be our little secret. :)

This is a beautiful and loving family. I am so privileged to have witnessed and documented such a precious and sacred event. 

Thank you, Blinn family.

Enjoy. <3

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McClure | Exchange of Vows

Many of you know that my specialty is family photography. I love photographing families and children. Weddings have always been my husband's area of expertise, as he is co-brother (ha) of Ely Brothers Photography ( Weddings are not my forte, nor do I have any desire to venture down that path for a specialty. However, I was recently contacted by an engaged couple who had planned a small wedding ceremony in their hotel suite and wanted me to document it. They only needed me for a couple of hours, so I decided to do it.

It was a beautiful evening. When I arrived, Julia was still getting ready and they were waiting for the minster to arrive. After exchanging vows, they shared some champagne to celebrate and then we ventured around the hotel for some portraits. We had a lot of fun and I really got a chance to capture some of their personalities. They were so chill and easy going. I loved everything about the evening. Sweet and simple.

Mark and Julia are an amazing couple and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them. 

Best wishes to you both in your life together!

I'm looking forward to seeing you again, as soon as you are in need of some family photos. :)

Enjoy. <3

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Rilo | 10 Months

Ok, guys. It seems as though, every month now, I'm a little later and later on posting the monthly photos of Rilo. A week or two won't make a difference once she is grown, right? As long as we are able to look back at these month markers and see how much she changed in such a small amount of time, I will be happy.

At this age, she is very busy. She doesn't stay in one spot for long. She is very easily distracted. I was a little concerned that she may not even cooperate for these, as she has been a bit tempermental with cutting teeth, lately. She has 7.4 teeth, so far. (Ha! Her 8th one has one corner through.) So, as you will see below, I tried to bribe her that morning with a piece of turkey bacon. It was her first time but she LOVED it. The only problem is that she started eating it faster than I anticipated and I didn't want her to choke so I took it away. BIG MISTAKE! Way to almost ruin the shoot, Val. Luckily, I distracted her with my lens cap and then she found her favorite place in the hallway. The cabinet.

So, this month's shoot, as per usual, isn't too fancy. Just a hallway, some bacon and a cabinet. But hey, it's not about being fancy. It's about extraordinary, little moments in your ordinary day. I love this girl.

Enjoy. <3

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Rilo | 9 Months

This month is Rilo's 9 month as a member of our household. (Well, kind of, she was living in our house while she was in my belly, too.) I had wanted to do a beautiful, outdoor session this month, in the snow! But I couldn't wait for the snow. Even though we did finally get a wonderfully, large amount of snowfall, just yesterday, it would have been way to cold and maybe even a disaster, had I tried to attempt it.

I bet you guys thought I forgot this month, didn't you? :)

I didn't forget!! But as the holiday months go, I tend to fall behind on certain tasks that I normally have the time to complete. All of our family-christmas-get-togethers are now complete, and I'm actually a little saddened by that fact. December always seems to fly by. Lots and lots of preparation for the short periods of time that we spend with family. I have a big family with members in several different states, so I really do look forward to this time of year. (One sibling, I didn't get to see this year, is serving in the U.S. Navy, and though we were sad, we are also very proud of him.) But typically, the sadness begins with the goodbyes. I know I've heard people older than myself say, "The older you get, the faster the years fly by." I always just kind of grinned and acknowledged it without actually thinking about it. It's so true, though. At least for me, now it is becoming true. I think it is partially because the time spent with my family is further in between than it used to be. Most of us have families of our own now and there just isn't the time throughout the year to have regular get-togethers. I know that this is a natural part of life in the dynamic of growing families, so I make the best of it. That is why I always have my camera with me. (Barring the occasional mommy-brain forgetfulness.) There are just too many memories that need captured so that I may cherish them forever.  

Enough sentiment! Here are the images from our little Christmas themed shoot. I have been waiting almost 6 months to take her photos in this dress. I love it so much!

I hope you enjoy/ed all of the time you spend/spent with your loved ones this season!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all! 

Enjoy. <3

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Rigsby | Family (In-Home Session)

Sometimes when you make plans, it doesn't go as expected and you are forced to improvise. This session is a reflection of such an occurrence.

We planned to do one of my typical outdoor family sessions but due to an unanticipated need for rescheduling our first date and then inclement weather for our second attempt, I suggested that we try an In-Home Session and see what we could come up with. 

I am so glad that we did. An In-Home Session has a more intimate feel (which I love!) and very simply captures the essence of a family dynamic. 

The Rigsby's are very sweet and laid back so they made my job easy. Even with little Stella being at the age of development when kids don't really care if you are there to take their photo, she still did a great job of cooperating.

Kids do so much better when they are able to be in their element and comfort zone. I often think about parents who take their kids to studios for portraits. (We have been those parents in the past.) I have even offered studio-style portraits. Some of them did not go over very well. What I have realized is that taking children to a place they have never been, in a place where they aren't allowed to touch anything, and expect them to sit still, look at a bright light and also, don't forget to be excited and smile, seems like the exact opposite way to capture a child's personality. It's no wonder family photos can and have been frustrating for so many families, not to mention the high expectations and unpredictability of the outcome for the photographer.

You also miss out on the opportunity to get those interactions that I think make the session! A warm embrace, a sweet little giggle, the grasp of tiny fingers, and even that fraction of a second when eyes lock, a smile peeks and the connection is so strong that you can feel it through your lens. That's what I love. Happy moments. That is what my photography is all about. That's why I love FAMILY photography. Childhood will become a glimpse in the rearview mirror of life. It happens before you know it. I have three young children and I already have to use photos of them to jog certain memories that I thought I would keep forever. I want my families (clients) to be able to use these photos to hold onto those memories. When there are too many to count and not enough room in your brain to store, you can look back through photos and remember with thorough enjoyment, all of those happy moments. 

Enjoy. <3

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Rust | Family

 Oh man. If you could have only been there with me when I shot this family session. I mentioned in one of my previews from this session that this family is one of the goofiest that I have photographed and it was no exaggeration. It was difficult for them to even stop making jokes and keep a straight face for at least half of it. 

I reassured Katie that even though, Matt and, their daughter, Abilene were being uncooperative in a comedic way, (we were also racing the setting sun) that I was sure we had some good, semi-serious and sweet-moment ones. ;)

I love this family and I love these photos.

Thanks for making the trip from Indiana, guys!

Enjoy. <3

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Laing | Kids

I was contacted recently, by the parents of these little sweethearts, to photograph some age milestones of their kids. John is 7, Sylvia is 3 and William is 6 months. 

They're full of spunk and personality so it was a joy to capture a few keepers of each one of them and also a couple of shots of the sibs all together. 

It's always a toss up when photographing multiple kids at one time. Inevitably, someone is having an off time of it. (At least, in my house, that's usually the case.) Lol. Fortunately, they were all cooperative and good sports about the whole thing. I give props to mom who prepped them beforehand with a little talk and also stuffed some halloween candy in their pockets, for good measure, that they could have at the end, if they cooperated!

Gotta love prepared moms. Also, bribes are great, too!

Thanks again, Laing family, for a wonderful session!

Enjoy. <3

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Rilo | 8 Months

Well it's already been 8 months! My baby is growing so fast. A couple of weeks ago, she started pulling herself to a half bent position on toys and small items. This week, she is officially pulling herself straight up and attempting to start cruising. !!! 

Oh goodness. I can't believe how fast she is meeting her milestones but it's making me so glad that I am documenting it. I can barely remember the ages of each milestone with my big kids but when I look back at photos of them, it jogs my memory.

How wonderful it is to be able to look back and cherish each stage of development and the gradual growth that takes place with slight changes their sweet little features. 

I love this girl.

Enjoy. <3

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Ulm | Family

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of photographing the Ulm family. Whitney is a friend and is also a photographer. She and her family live in Columbus, Indiana. It's always an honor to be asked to photograph a photographer's family. So, I was very excited when she messaged me to set this up. 

We used to be neighbors, actually (practically, I should say), and I can attest to the fact that Whitney makes the best lasagna Levi and I have ever eaten!

 If you're from the central Indiana area you should look her up.

Check out her beautiful work here and show her some love:

 It was a wonderful time hanging out with you all and I hope you love your images as much as I do. 

Thanks again for making the drive, guys!

Enjoy. <3

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Rilo | 7 Months

So October has flown by for us. Some of you know that we went on our first "Family of Five" vacation this month. It was great! Fun, chaotic, wild, relaxing only at times (ha!) and definitely WARM. It was wonderful.

I am a little behind on my editing but Rilo turned 7 months in October and I decided to snap a few of her monthly photos on the beach, since we may not get that opportunity again for quite some time. I usually like to take a few more than I was able to get for this shoot but she loved the sand so much, she started to eat it!

This was the messiest session, yet.

I love them. 

Oh man. It's great to be back in the midwest for the bulk of our lovely autumn weather BUT I definitely left a little piece of my heart and soul in sunny Florida.

Enjoy. <3

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Pflug | Family

This is such a dear and sweet family. I am privileged to be a friend and to also have been able to capture their family photos for the second time, as their family has grown. 

 We picked a spot near the Hoover Dam Park, Columbus, Ohio and walked around. We did get messy but we accomplished our goal!


I love the simplicity of capturing families at play. 

To get to witness a family that plays together, talks, explores, giggles, and just enjoys being in the company of one another is my honor.

I get to look through that window of love and steal moments of time for them. (Only to give them back, of course.) 

That's what I do. What I want to continue to do. To say, "Hey, meet me somewhere that you and your family can be yourselves. Your interactions will make the shoot."

I play the smallest role in the occurrence of these magical moments. Families make them happen. I'm just here to capture them.

Enjoy. <3

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Rilo | 6 Months

Sweet Rilo is already 6 months old and is such a happy little girl. We just started some solids and teething is in full swing. She is about to cut her bottom two teeth!

I am two days late for her technical 6 month date but the weather has been yuck and this morning was beautiful!

Enjoy. <3

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Rilo | 5 Months

Man, time is flying by. This girl is gonna be on solids soon and I don't know where the time goes. I really love the challenge of finding new places in my home to take these monthly photos of her. I tried a little something different with the editing this month. That and my husband left his 35 mm f/1.4 lens here yesterday, so how could I resist? Feel free to let me know what you think. She's such a happy baby, so it doesn't really matter how I edit them. She's still cute. :)

Enjoy. <3

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Elliot | 4 Years

Some of you may remember Elliot from last year, when I took photos to celebrate her 3rd year of life. This year we decided on photos at a local community garden which included some flower picking, lots of swinging and a game of Marco Polo. She tends to be a little shy at first, but it doesn't take her long to get spunky. I really like this kid. 

Check out her session below. 

Enjoy. <3

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