hampton roads photography tips

Focus on What You Love | Photography Tips

At some point on your photography journey, you will hit a wall. Some sort of creative roadblock that leaves you feeling uninspired, frustrated or just... meh.

I'm not saying this is guaranteed at all, but I don't think I've met a photographer (or any artist) that has just glided seamlessly through his or her career. In fact, the BEST photographers out there have gone through phases or transitions and come out even stronger on the other side! I try to remember this when my well of creativity is running low. 

So how do we push through and find inspiration to pick up the camera again? It's not always this simple, but I try to re-focus on what I love. 


Forgive the pun, but when we shift our artistic focus back to what really matters - it can really light us up! So, first things first. Ask yourself a couple questions:

1. What do you love to photograph? List them all. The options are endless!

You might love photographing your own kids, the backyard wildlife, beach sunsets, expectant moms or that new cookie recipe you tried last week. 

2. Which of these haven't you photographed in the last 3-6 months?

Has it been awhile since you focused on your favorite subject? Is there something you love, but haven't tried yet? Make a note of it. If you are in business, have you been head down in client work and missing your family's day-to-day? I've been guilty of this, so I tend to focus during the Winter months on images I want to create of my girls.

3. Take a mental image of what you want to capture. Close your eyes and imagine the completed image you want to take. It could be a series of pictures, but I want you to really grab it in your mind. Stay flexible though, we know things don't always happen how we envision. And aiming for perfection can sometimes set us up for disappointment. Especially when we're trying to get our toddlers to comply, haha!

4. Plan to make it happen! Even if it feels like homework, do it anyway. Stretch yourself and remember how much you love this subject - whatever it may be. 

The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.
— Ansel Adams

I hope this was encouraging for you! If your creative juices have been feeling dried up, just know you are in good company. We're all on this journey together! So lean in and set your lens on what you love.

Happy Valentine's Day, friends!



P.S. If you're looking for more inspiration and tips, sign up for the EAP Education Newsletter! A fresh one is hitting inboxes this week. Click below to sign up! :)

'Only Little Once' Workshop | Hampton Roads Photography Education

Oh, Facebook Memories. Gets me EVERY time. I open up my FB app and am suddenly inundated with adorable images of my babies. WHY must they grow so fast!? I'm proud and broken-hearted all at the same time. Word on the street? This doesn't end. 

Ain't no 'hood like Motherhood. 

It's been amazing to watch my girls grow and change - but these snapshots are also a great reminder of how MY photography has grown! I was that Mom with the new DSLR taking ALL the pictures in Auto mode with no idea how to manipulate natural light or what all the buttons meant on my fancy camera.

Can you relate? While reading this if you find yourself nodding in agreement, then I have a photography workshop just for you! In the years I've been offering "Only Little Once" it has grown to share the love of photography with dozens of local Moms and hobbyists.

I'm gonna have to take a moment to humble brag on a few ladies. Here are their amazing before and afters! You guys - this is better than those weight loss side-by-side comparisons, LOL!

Hampton Roads Photography Education

MomTog Kristen has grown SO much in a short time. From auto mode with on-camera flash to manual mode with natural light. Check out her photography journey over on her Facebook page:

Little Moments Photography by Kristen Stewart

hampton roads photography education

MomTog Abigail has grown leaps and bounds! Although she had dabbled with manual mode before the workshop, she struggled with nailing focus and accurate white balance. She now captures beautiful and timeless images of her kiddos straight out of camera. No editing necessary! ;)

hampton roads photography education

MomTog Emily loved taking pictures of her littles, but was still frustrated with settings. She's now confident in her skills and is dabbling with editing! Love this before and after of her oldest girl. :)

The Facebook group is so motivational and positive!
— Kristen

After the workshop, all attendees are added to our VIP Grad Facebook group. It's a thriving community of supportive Moms and hobbyists just like you. No big, scary page with thousands of other strangers. Just a tight-knit group of ladies who love taking pictures of their littles, pets, and the world around them. It's a safe place to grow, ask questions and find inspiration. You'll also be able to join in our PhotoWalks we have 1-2 times a year. Check them out here:

Neon District PhotoWalk

Brock Environmental Center PhotoWalk

We can't wait for you to join us! :)

Still not sure if this is for you? Want to start learning now?! Join our FREE group, the "Stay Little Lounge" over on Facebook! Scroll through the posts and videos for inspiration, education and community. See you there!

Keep on clickin'! :)



3 Reasons to Pick Up Your Camera This Fall | Hampton Roads Photography Education

Let's be real here. Do you have a DSLR camera somewhere in your hall closet right now? Or maybe it's packed up on the top shelf of your pantry?

Wherever it might be lurking - I want you to think about the last time you used it. Did you take pictures last Christmas morning and it hasn't seen the light of day since? I get it. Life is busy and full. I totally get how overwhelming it can be to learn something new. Especially with that handy Iphone camera in your pocket. 

Can I just encourage you today? I want you to feel motivated and inspired to pick up your big camera. Grab that beast off the shelf and challenge yourself this Fall!

And if you're still dragging your feet and thinking of 362 excuses - here's an extra kick in the proverbial pants. ;) 

1. Your kids are busy doing ALL the things. Soccer games, trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, pony rides, apple picking, treat baking, bike riding... I mean, there are a TON of fun memories being made this season. Everyone says that childhood flies by, but you don't realize how fast until you're the Mom and those babies are growing at warp speed. Let's freeze time just a little bit. 

2. Better Conditions. With sunset time moving earlier, that means you don't have to keep your littles up past bedtime to utilize the best light. Temps are mostly cooler and those pesky mosquitoes are on their way out. Head out shortly after dinner time and pre-bath time to get some practice in. Kids sometimes need a switch in routine. Make it a fun weeknight adventure. :)

3. Golden Hour is really golden. Fall (in my nerdy opinion) has THE best light. It's my favorite. Golden beams and a softness that just doesn't exist in July. Pay attention next time you're walking around your neighborhood at sunset. As the leaves changes and the sun drops, it creates absolute magic. And so much of photography is about the light. Use it well!

hampton roads photography education

Are you wanting more encouragement and support with your photography? Join the 'Stay Little' Lounge Facebook group and get access to helpful tutorials, fun challenges and motivation to pick up your camera today. See you there! :)

The Art of Imperfect Workshop Recap | Hampton Roads Photographer Education

Ever realize how passionate you are about something when you talk about it to someone else? This is how I've always been. When I get talking, I use my hands a LOT. I start talking louder. 

 Really loud.

 I get extremely passionate and excited and can't shut up. I really can't control it. It all just rushes out of my mouth and I feel a little bad for whoever was listening on the other end, LOL. My husband usually laughs at me and says, "You've got that look in your eye again." It's true. But, it's an excellent gut-check for me to have these little outbursts. Did I mention I have very patient and understanding friends and family!?

It means something has lit a fire in me and I should probably follow that calling. If not, it's like trying to walk around with that kind of energy inside all the time. Not always a good idea, ha!

The Art of Imperfect Workshop started because of these spirited talks I've had with others about lifestyle photography. That imperfect art of capturing families in an authentic and story telling manner that goes beyond a simple pose.

Saturday's workshop was such a dream and I'm so grateful to all the attendees, models and artists who made it possible! Six months ago, this workshop was not even on my radar. The fact that it happened still feels pretty surreal. Here are some of my favorite images from the day!

Makeup: BlushTones Artist: Meg Bryan

Models: The Meek Family - The Fulrath Family

Special thanks to BlogStomp and Lens Pen for helping spoil the attendees!


I loved the controlled chaos of the shooting portion of the workshop, LOL! So much fun, I can't wait to see all the images. :)

So grateful for these fabulous families - are they cute or what? :)


The sweetest group of photographers joined us as well. Thanks to Dana Rae Photography for sending over these awesome behind-the-scenes shots. So much fun! 

Art of Imperfect Workshop-0003.jpg

Loved my time with these talented ladies! I can't wait to see them grow as artists even more. Family Photography takes a certain heart - and these gals have it! xoxo


Interested in joining the next workshop? Be sure to sign up for the EAP Education Newsletter and you'll be the first to know details once they are released!

Brock Environmental Center PhotoWalk | Hampton Roads Photography Community

You guys have heard me brag on my workshop grads before - but I'm not kidding when I say that they are increeeeedible. I'm so grateful they found my classes, but even more thankful for their friendships. Over in the Only Little Once grad private Facebook group, we're sharing images, inspiration and support. It's a solid group of women and Moms who love photography and have said, "yes!" to pursuing their creative goals.

Their talent and genuine kindness to one another blows me away. Every month, we participate in fun challenges and I cannot believe how much growth I've seen! Many of them are beginning to specialize and it just makes my heart so happy.

This was our 2nd official PhotoWalk - last Spring we went to the Neon District in Norfolk, which was really fun. You can read about it HERE! This time, we decided to explore the Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach. I've head magical things about the sunsets there and wanted to scout it at golden hour. We had fun experimenting and challenging ourselves to think outside of the box. It was so refreshing and I loved the opportunity to shoot for myself after a busy Summer season. 

After sunset, we headed over to the Leaping Lizard Cafe off of Shore Drive, which was delicious! Highly recommend their salads and veggie lasagna. Perfection. :)

Here are a few favorites from our night!

To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.
— Elliott Erwitt

Do you want to be in the know about upcoming photography events and workshops? Sign up for the EAP Education Newsletter and you'll immediately receive FIVE Tips for Finding Light Indoors right to your inbox. Nothing spammy, just nerdy photog love!

Struggling with learning Lightroom or wanting to take the next step? I offer one-on-one mentoring sessions year round and would love to talk all things photography with you! 

Happy Friday, friends!



Calling all MomTogs! | Hampton Roads Photography Workshop

hampton roads photography workshop

Have you ever taken one of those learning profile quizzes? The ones that have you answer a series of questions and then tell you how YOU best learn? I know as a teacher, this was always something I loved to do for myself and for my students. It helped me see myself in a better way.

I discovered that I was certainly a hands-on type learner. The quickest and easiest way for me to grasp concepts was by actually doing it. I needed my teachers to be a guide, so that I could eventually take over the reins and become a master at whatever it was I was learning about. I love to be coached! After years of doing theatre as I kid, I like to think I take direction pretty well ;) 

Are you the same? Have you been trying to master your DSLR camera with YouTube videos and Google? While there is SO. much. information out on the internet - it can sometimes be frustrating. I find myself just searching for a straight answer at times! If you learn better hands-on and are searching for a fun (okay, super goofy extrovert) coach to guide you - I'm your girl!

 I have had the privilege of sharing my love for photography and teaching dozens of Moms how to shoot in manual mode, understand their settings, and take their photos from just snapshots to real ART. I would love to have you join us on Saturday, July 22nd for the next 'Only Little Once 101' Workshop in Virginia Beach! 

Take a look at these BEAUTIFUL images from some of our 101 grads! So proud of these sweet Mommas! :) 

hampton roads photography workshop
hampton roads photography workshop

I am in love with these! The Target cart just screams #MomLife!

Adorable images by MomTog Jill E. 

hampton roads photography workshop
hampton roads photography workshop

Aren't his curls just adorable?! Love these beachy, July 4th images!

Lovely work from MomTog Nicole B. 

hampton roads photography workshop
hampton roads photography workshop

In our private Facebook group, we have fun, monthly photo challenges. June was all about the "faceless portrait" and I just love these creative examples!

Stunning images by MomTog Emily O.

Will you join us and get out of Auto Mode? Stop guessing and start mastering your camera! I can't wait to see you :) You can find more information HERE or click the link below!



Introducing the 'Stay Little' Lounge | A Photography Community for Moms

It's funny how things work out. Never would I have imagined years ago when I left my teaching career that I would become a small business owner. I thought being a 'stay-at-home-Mom' would be the extent of my actual work. I never anticipated that from this business, I would still find a way to keep teaching. That it would become an outlet of creativity in my life AND bring so many new and incredible people into my inner circle.

I have had the privilege of teaching and mentoring over fifty Moms and photography enthusiasts. I have been encouraged and amazed by their talent, generous hearts, and ambition to 'just get it right in camera!' These women amaze me on a daily basis.

hampton roads photography class

It's because of my love for this community of women that I'm launching the 'Stay Little' Lounge Facebook Group. This group is a Photography Community for Moms, and it's a FREE and safe space for Moms to share, learn and grow in their photography. I often see Mothers placing their creative ambitions on the shelf until their children "are just a little bit older". Now sometimes we need to self sacrifice for our kids, but let me encourage you, Momma - You are a better wife and mother when you can dig into something creative, artistic or beautiful. It looks different for everyone, but I whole-heartedly believe that every Mom has her thing. If photography lights you up inside, I'd love to invite you to join our growing community. 

You are a better wife and mother when you can dig into something creative, artistic or beautiful...

Here's what you'll find in the 'Stay Little' Lounge:

  • an encouraging community of Moms who LOVE taking pictures 
  • a place to share images of your kids, ask questions, and support others
  • accountability to practice your skills and dust off your DSLR
  • fun challenges, including our first - the Ten Weeks of Summer Photo Challenge
  • FB Live Q&A's with Erin every Wednesday through the Summer months
  • exclusive opportunities and discounts for events and continued education

Are you in?! Click the link below and come join the community!


I can't wait to meet you and see where your creativity takes you.



Spring Session Wardrobe Tips | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

Sometimes, as a busy working Mom, I go through moments of decision fatigue. I feel like I'm constantly making decisions. Everything from which snack to give my girls to what route to drive to a shoot location. Ever feel this way? It's exhausting - right?!

Well, when it comes to choosing your family's outfits for a photo session, it can feel really overwhelming. So. Many. Decisions.

hampton roads family photographer

Which shoes for the baby? Should the baby just be barefoot?? What about my husband's pants? Jeans? Khakis? Dressy? Casual? Wait... do the boys need belts?! Gah! I feel you, Momma. It's a lot. 

I really do enjoy helping families narrow down outfit choices. I like to consider the location, read through the questionnaire and get a feel for a family's style or vibe. I want you to look like - well, YOU. Not something fabricated or unoriginal. Over the years, I've written different blog posts on this topic, but I wanted to share a fresh approach to this process. I hope you find it inspiring and helpful as you plan! And if you're still facing too much decision fatigue - call me :)

Five Tips for Choosing Photo Session Outfits

1. Shop your closets. It might not be the most exciting, but it IS the most frugal. You might already have several pieces or accessories that you, your kids or hubby can wear. Start with what you already own first. 

2. Ladies first. Men's clothing choices are pretty limited. Shirt, shorts, pants, jeans, shoes, belt, tie, done. Boys clothing is the same way. Way less options. So, start with the ladies. That's you, Mom. And your daughters. We have LOTS of options, so don't feel bad about making it all about you. ;) 

3. Look online first. I love the ease of online shopping! Check in to some of your favorite retailers and see what's new for Spring. I love the all the soft pinks and chambrays out right now!

4. A good fit. Usually with kids clothes, we like to buy with room to grow. But, for pictures, choose items that fit really well right now. You can always sell it after or pass it on to a friend. You don't want to be messing with slipping straps or trying to cuff too-long pants. This also includes you! Don't purchase in hopes of losing "just five more pounds" - you are gorgeous just as you are. Right this moment.

5. Hire a friend. Sometimes getting another opinion makes the whole process more fun! Have a particularly fashionable friend? Have her look online or make a run to the mall with you. Or better yet, send her with cash and sizes in hand!

hampton roads family photographer

I hope this was helpful as you prep for your Spring session. Don't overthink it either, so much can be said for classic clothing and taking that extra effort. You'll be so glad you did! 

Friends, my Spring and Summer weekend dates are beginning to fill up. Contact me soon and let's get your family's session on the books! xoxo