Welcome to the blog of LJReed Photography!! I am sure you're wondering how I could possibly incorporate more pictures on my site but there is an entire other side that I want you to see!!
My passions include writing, giving back and photography and I have compiled them all together in a variety of ways! It's like my way of giving you and image and being able to feel the warmth in it! I want you to feel like you were at the event or session when you are done. I hope that it sparks something inside of you whether it be a memory that makes you smile, the push to call an old-friend, or to just remember to live in every moment and ALWAYS. TAKE. THE. PICTURE.
I am so fortunate to know so many wonderful people that love the world and devote their entire lives to making everyone else's better. I am in awe of their gifts, their love, their drive. Three traits that I strive to perfect nearly half as well as they did. I thank them for putting trust in me to capture their events that mean so much to them. I thank them for allowing me to learn from them. And most of all, I thank them for being on this journey with me, my photography wouldn't mean anything if I couldn't use it in every way possible.
One endeavor that I am really looking forward to is combining my photography within the Addiction and Recovery field. I feel as if those in recovery are skipped over because of the stigma that (somehow) still lingers with Substance Use Disorder. The gears are turning and I will find a way to make an impact, someway, somehow.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
– Mother Teresa
"You are my sun, my moon and all of my stars." - E.E. Cummings
Hey everyone!!! I just wanted to give you some formal/informal (you decide lol) information regarding the upcoming sessions for the remainder of the year!!
Thank you to everyone that I got to photograph and catch up with over the summer months! We lucked out with weather and I didn’t have to reschedule one session!! That is some kind of record!
The first session coming up in September is new!! And sold out! I named it ‘second-summer’ because it’s not quite fall yet. Sure, the colors are changing but they aren’t at their peak foliage until later into October depending on the rain we have. The tall grass, the deep yellows and browns make for stunning backgrounds but the clothing options are endless for these. You can go with a a brighter fall palette when choosing your clothes and leaves more room for accessories!
I am still plugging away at my senior sessions and have room for 2 more in September and October! Senior sessions in fall are great because of the foliage and colors.
When there is only one subject it just pops even more!
I am building the dates for my fall sessions as we speak. I am going with the standard mini-session offer and going to add a smaller package in case a client would need just some updated family shots! I will update the website and give you some notice as to when they will be announced. Within the week, for sure!
Oh, how could I forget??!?!!! The sibling-sports sessions!! I LOVE THESE!! Booking for these are on an individual basis because they are such short sessions and because everyone has crazy schedules this time of year! We also don't have to limit it to just siblings!! Cousins? That's a great gift for the grandparents!
Once I get this all finalized this week, I will enter into the holiday season…….
THE HOLIDAYS???!!!! Warm weather please don't leave us too quickly!
Have a great day everyone!!!
Here are some previews!!
Friends!! I have been avoiding this post for a few months….nothing bad but I just have a lot to say and don’t know how!! LOL
Over the winter I was sure that I was going to put photography on the back seat and find something ‘new’ to do. Not because I didn’t love it anymore but because the market is so saturated, money is tight and the world just seems in an all around bad place these days.
But, like every other time I thought about quitting or giving up on something that I love, I didn’t. I may not have as much time as I would like sometimes but photography is my passion, my release, part of my purpose. So, I’ve been doing a ton of research, thinking, contemplating and overthinking on how and what I want my photography success to look like for the next couple of years.
When I say overthinking, it’s like the overthinking was overthinking.
Part of owning a business, especially when you’re supplying a service is being your own brand. Posting videos, behind the scenes and just all around being the face of the company. While I love all of that, I am not really the video/selfie taker/poster.
I love photography but also have many other passions that I want to share with you guys but this is a photography page. My website is established, I don’t want to change that. It’s been my business name for 12 years, why change it now. Name changes don’t ‘rebrand’ a business. It simply changes its name.
The agony of defeat set in that I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t finding my place in the photography world so I was back to quitting…. I love sharing small businesses, things that I am passionate about, stories, photos with a story but for such a simple problem it surely seemed like a giant one to me.
So here is what I was able to come up with…..
This morning I was explaining my dilemma to Cam and she goes why not just call it ‘LJReed Photography & Blog’? Ummmmmm, why didn’t I think of that?? I kept thinking that I needed some sort of fancy word or name….nope, just basic.
So, from here on out I will be sharing my photography, my favorite recipes, fun facts and all the things that I love…
My page will only have kindness, love, humor and encouragement.
Take your drama to your momma.
I LOVE to write, I know I’ve tried this blog thing a time or two before but I am not sure why I keep ‘taking a break’.
I hope that you will stick around to see the new and improved LJReedPhotography&Blog.
I am not sure that being a PTA mom was on my list of dreams to be when I grew up but I became everything that a PTA mom is without the mini-van! If there was an event at the elementary school when my children were there, I WAS THERE!! Sign me up! Put me in coach!! It was a lot of work but it was so rewarding and created the most amazing memories for me as a stay-at-home-mom. I hope that my kids cherish them one day as much as I do!
Not only was I fortunate enough to be asked to photograph a variety of events and awards for the Norwin School District, but I also put together 5 yearbooks between two different schools!! Being able to produce a memory of that magnitude is indescribable, at least for someone like me. People look at their yearbooks for decades upon decades, it becomes a part of them; and I was able to provide that for hundreds of kids....WOW.
This particular event pictured below was such a sweet moment. All of the graduating seniors put their caps and gowns on and went back to their respective elementary schools. They walked through the halls of the school with teeny tiny hands waving at them like they were some celebrities. Teachers hoping out of line to hug a former student. I am smiling at the memory. This is why I love what I do. I get to see these things, I get to feel them, see the innocence of a group of 18 year old kids picturing those hallways full of their tiny faces, remembering how those very small hallways once seemed so large. It sends me back to being the scared kid in a big school to remembering the day that I got to speak at my graduation ceremony a mere 15 years ago... Those big kids ran right to the playground where they probably enjoyed it more than they ever had, not knowing or thinking that the next time that they're on those swings they might have a baby on their lap or a child in the building behind them.
These are the moments that matter. These are the reasons I will always share my gift with everyone when they need me.
"With brave wings she flies."
A pillar in the community. A smiling face. A brave soul. Selfless. Loving. Kind. Fighter. Granddaugther. Daughter. Aunt. Sister. Wife. And most importantly, Mom. You didn't need to know Maria personally to know that she was all of those things, you knew because everyone loved her and then when they needed to, fought with her.
I was so thankful they allowed me to go into their home and capture everyday memories for them. (TBFP captures real, fun, awesome moments for families struggling through certain hardships and illness.) Memories I hope that the boys can cherish forever. Memories, that they can see and smile.
I can replay this session in my mind like it was yesterday. We laughed, I cried, Nathan swung from the ceiling and JJ just rolled his eyes wondering when that kid would stop. Maria just smiling, soaking it all in. Brian hating on her last paint-and-sip masterpiece, nerf guns and swinging. They told me their story as they both looked at each other thankful and amused.
This is just one shot of the series from that day, but seemed fitting for their family. They laughed when they needed, hugged and had all the love surrounding them.
Please think of them as they start this new chapter.
Maria, you will be missed by so many but your boys have so much love and memories surrounding them that you will never, ever be forgotten. Thank you for showing us what the real meaning of bravery and purpose is.
Team name and logo created by Lindsay.
“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.” – Maya Angelou
Many of you already know that Lisa Sczcepankowski was recently diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. We got an overwhelming amount of support and money with the bracelets but I wanted to do more!!
First, I want to explain to you who Lisa and her family are to me. I was their primary babysitter for Taylor and Connor starting when they were 3 and 1. Lisa and Bobby instantly treated me like family and their home was my second home. I could go to them with anything and they would help and guide me through it, a second set of parents.
Watching Taylor and Connor grow up into amazing young adults was and is such an honor. We've always considered each other like siblings. I love that they feel they can turn to me with anything because Lisa provided me that growing up. I am so happy that now they both babysit for me and play a role In my kid's lives. Cameryn and Landon adore them and Nick and Ally. Connor also has a nice love affair with out yellow lab, Harley!
I'm a stay at home mom and when Cameryn was about 18 months old she needed more interaction with kids. I was so afraid to leave her and the only person (aside from grandparents) that I was comfortable with watching her was Lisa. Lisa watched her one morning a week for me to grocery shop, roam target or schedule an appointment. I am so thankful that Lisa got to share that with Cameryn.
I would do anything for the 4 of them and I know that there are a lot of others that feel the same way. Lisa has always loved me unconditionally so these are just small ways that I can show her how much I love her!!
A small portion of the proceeds will go to the Cancer Caring Center and YACS as they continue to support young adults battling cancer.
Brayden on his first birthday!!
From the time I was very little I have always wanted a way to give back...have my own charity, something of the sort. Nothing ever seemed to fall into place, but recently it did!! I am so happy and honored to take everyone's family photographs and capture special moment's in your lives, but I have added a new project that is very near and dear to my heart and cannot wait to share this with everyone.
It is so hard to lose focus about what is really important around the holiday's and with all of the hustle and bustle, we tend to forget how lucky and blessed we really are. I had the absolute honor to photograph some families that are currently staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Pittsburgh for various reasons, and I am very pleased to share with you, the Brave Face Project.
The Brave Face Project was inspired by the absolute bravest boy that I know and am lucky enough that he is my nephew, Brayden John Ellis. Bridget, my sister-in-law was just 16 weeks when she and my brother Brad, found out their baby was diagnosed with Myelomeningocele Spina Bifida. It was such a shock to Brad and Bridget, their other two children, Madelyn and Ryan, and our entire family. But, with the help of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Brayden was given a chance that not many get.
Bridget and Brayden were accepted into a study that would relocate them 4 hours away from home to Philadelphia. They underwent surgery when Brayden was just 19 weeks in-utero. This little miracle is considered ‘twice born’!
Because Bridget and Brayden needed round the clock care in a city that was on the complete opposite side of the state, the Ronald McDonald House became their home-away -from-home for the next 4 months.
I have heard of the RMH and at times threw some spare change into the bin underneath the drive-thru window during a quick McDonald’s trip after a soccer or baseball practice but that was all of the knowledge that I had about the organization.
Well, let me tell you what a life changing thing they offer to people who are experiencing the utmost pain, heartache, and fear as they watch their child(ren) battle for their lives. The RMH gave my brother and his family somewhere safe to stay while they faced the unthinkable.
Brayden was born August 20th, 2013 at 31 weeks and 5 days at a whopping 3 pounds!!! He was in the NICU preceding his birth and arrived home to Pittsburgh at the beginning of October. No-one knows what to expect with a baby, especially after a diagnosis like this but in pure Brayden fashion, he is letting nothing stop him and runs around like a little maniac. He has the most infectious laugh and silly faces. He is caring and kind and everything that you’d want in your family.
Throughout Brayden’s journey I was having bracelets made as a fundraiser and I needed a perfect name for this cause. The slogan that will be around every time this miracle is spoken about. I randomly looked up what the name ‘Brayden’ meant…
“The name Brayden is of Irish origin and means both "brave" and “salmon”." (salmon??? It's my favorite fish so I left it in the description lol!!)
‘BE BRAYDEN BRAVE’.
I found the perfection I was looking for!!!!
After they had arrived home we were at my parent’s house talking about how happy we were that they were home for holidays. Everyone was so happy that he was here and that Madelyn and Ryan didn’t have to split time between the two cities anymore. Then, as the discussion moved to other families they had met and certain situations we began saying things like, ‘thank goodness you’re home now so the kids can do this….’ ‘Thank goodness you’re home now because how could you have gotten this done…’ Everything we were talking about was regarding families that had older children that also needed care. I randomly said to Bridget, ‘how would you even get a photo of your baby if you couldn’t leave? And the holidays are coming…That’s horrible. Memories are so important…’
And this is where the Brave Face Project was born!!
The Brave Face Project has photographed some very brave faces. Parent’s facing the struggle of their infant needing a kidney, a mom with terminal cancer playing in the backyard with her babies, and infinite amounts of people that come together for a variety of causes.
I wish I could put into words the feelings I have when I do these things but I can’t, it’s impossible.
But it feels as though my heart grows bigger and beats with more purpose after I give back in any shape or form.
Now check out some of these beautiful AND BRAVE families.
This girl...how amazing... These necklaces all have a bead..every bead shows a time that she was poked, touched, had an I.V., etc. and these were just her necklaces for this trip to Pittsburgh!! Such an amazing strong young lady!
Over $1700!!!! Can you believe it?!?! $1700 that YOU GUYS GENEROUSLY DONATED TO FAMILIES IN NEED!!!!
THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!!!
I got to do a thing today. A thing that made me tear up, smile, laugh and learn what children think of their birthday and what makes them so special.
Megs, thank you for picking me to photograph this event for you. You are one of the most caring, kind and thoughtful person that I have ever met. Your personality is contagious and I have been filled with joy all day!
Today, a local school in McKeesport got to shop in the 'birthday boutique' for new clothes, pajamas and hair bows!! This month Beverly's Birthdays celebrated the October birthdays.
If you know me, I LOVE my own birthday and always ask everyone when their special day is, too. So you can only imagine how happy I was that it was totally appropriate to ask 80 children when they got to celebrate. We had two birthday's today and only one that falls on halloween! (He wasn't nearly as excited as the entire crew was!!) And I kept waiting for someone to say October 22nd, my dad's birthday, but no one shared his special day.
The children came out in full smiles; I parked them next to the 'birthday boutique' to capture their 'biggest birthday smiles' and sent them off to shop. One little girl was so giddy that I thought her spirit fingers were going to fall off and her cheeks explode.
When asked why your own birthday was so special, I truly imagined that most would focus on the gift and present part. Nope. A majority of the kids said that they thought their day was special because they got to share it with their family and friends. |insert tears|
The children left the 'birthday boutique' with a duffle bag full of goodies, more warmth in their hearts, and at the very least, a day, a moment, a morning, that was totally for them!!!!
Please, I am begging you, if you are not familiar with Beverly's Birthdays, look them up. Such a simple concept that can change a life forever. So thankful to be included in such a special thing.
“LOVE AND KINDNESS ARE NEVER WASTED. THEY ALWAYS MAKE A DIFFERENCE.”
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