Category Archives: photography

When Two Passions Collide

emma sr 2015 (200 of 1)If you’ve read some previous blog entries, its no secret that I am a huge supporter of people who work in education. As a parent of two children in the public school system, I feel like we are usually on the taking side of the give and take relationship. One of my pet peeves is that teachers where I live are not properly compensated nor are they given the supplies they need to do their jobs (think paper, pencils— the basics). When I hear that every teacher has to spend their personal money to support their classroom, I get annoyed. I always ask what sort of supplies our teachers or schools need and I step up as often as I can.

I recently learned of some teachers who support their classrooms not only with consumable goods but also they support the needs of their students through food and clothing. I know teachers who do this for one or two students but these teachers do it for the majority of their students. Talk about paying it forward, they pay it forward daily without thinking about it.

I love when two of my passions collide: photography, and paying it forward to educators.  I offered this photo shoot and, in return my client offered without hesitation to donate to teachers who pay in forward daily with their time, patience, support and personal finances. THANK YOU, to my awesome client for feeding and clothing students so the teachers can take a short break from doing this themselves. Here are a few additional sneak peeks from this fun senior photo shoot…

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This young lady is so smiley, it was a challenge to capture a more serious expression to match the mood of this light.

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Challenge for today: you probably pay it forward without knowing it, take a minute to learn how you do this. You don’t have to spend money to spread kindess…a simple smile can reassure someone, taking the trash to the curb can be a relief to someone with a hectic schedule. Opportunities to be kind are everywhere.

Beach Week!

I finally went on the beach vacation that I have anticipated for SIX years now. Each year my best friend and her family go on vacation and they always tell me to stop by for a few days. Well, my kids were always in school (one downside of year round education) during their vacation but not this year! I totally crashed in on them for the whole entire week. I had a great time with my adopted parents, sister and niece and nephews.

I had the opportunity to spend time with my friend’s parents. I see now where she gets so many of her traits. What an amazing, endearing couple they are! I also learned that they Pay It Forward by raising money to offer two annual scholarships to children who support their community and try their best in school.

yip bp My second favorite part of the week was stumbling on an alligator observation area. I didn’t even know we had alligators in North Carolina. There were no barriers, just free range humans and gators. I really wanted to wrestle one but my friends help me back so I had to settle for a few photos.  And just so you’re in the know, its a $2500 fine and 30 days in jail for feeding an alligator.

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We came home with as many children as we left with. I took the photos through my sunroof with a 200mm lens. Or maybe I got a little closer on land. I cant remember. Either way, we returned to this beautiful doe hanging in our yard. I’ve never seen such a variety of wildlife at the beach.

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Mrs. Butler

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Meet Mrs. Butler. My daughter was excited to be in her glass because Mrs. Butler’s goody bag of goldfish crackers were better than her teacher partner’s (you know the way to my daughter’s heart). Over this school year, I have loved getting to know Mrs. Butler, but I joke with her that as we’ve become friends we have both experienced uncharacteristic streaks of misfortune. I’ll save you the details but it sure makes for an easier road when you know that another soul feels your pain.

I’ve also gotten to know her kids, both of whom are smart, witty, caring and sweet souls. My daughter, who used to be in class with Mrs. Butler’s son, even likes her son–and Amelia is not one to care for boys in any capacity. And finally, I was introduced to her other half; he is a scientist so that makes him automatically awesome in my book!

For about six weeks I have had to hear about how uncooperative one of her kids would be. They wont smile, they wont do what they are supposed to do, they will make goofy faces, the list goes on. I love to be able to say “told ya so” and that everything worked out as I said it would. He-He! Here are the Butler’s are their uncooperative family! butler2014 (1 of 1) butler2014 (2 of 2) copy  collageAnd something just for fun. 🙂 butler2014 (1 of 2)

Thank a Teacher

I have this special super-power that allows me to figure out who top-notch teachers are. Its true. While this teacher never taught my kids, I can tell by seeing her class and see her with her students that she is amazing. She contacted me for a photo shoot and I was excited to get to know her a bit. When I met her family, he daughter was so shy she wouldn’t even look at me; by the end of the session, we were planning her wedding, which was to take place at pre-school the next day. It was a fun 90 minutes!

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And here is a sampling of what a family photo shoot would look like with me!

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Thank you to all the teachers who go above and beyond, every day.

I’m Paying It Back

My whole idea for this photography service is to help bring awareness to “paying it forward” or random acts of kindness. As I am getting things up to full speed, I am “paying it back” to our Occupational Therapist. She has been amazingly patient, creative and just all around awesome with my kids. She must be great because while the work they do with her is very demanding, there is never a complaint to go and see Julie!

Julie recently had a baby so I wanted to offer a photo shoot as a thank you for all she has done for us. Our family is truly grateful for her! Thank You, Julie!

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The First

I am so proud to launch You’re It! Photography with this family. Before You meet them though, I need to explain how special this dad is. I met him years ago when my son started school, this is his first and one of his favorite PE teachers. My kids love him because he always has a smile, always encourages his students and is always willing to be a mentor without any persuasion. dadjw You will soon come to learn how much teachers mean to me. These professionals Pay It Forward every day when they show up to school. In our state of NC, they are subjected to some of the lowest salaries in the nation with minimal benefits. This man came to work smiling and supporting almost 1000 students on a daily basis.  All of his students love him and light up when they see him. But I am most thankful for how he encouraged my son in PE, an area of difficulty for him, and always motivated my son to try and do his best with amazing patience. When a teacher offers my kids their extra time and respect, I just feel as though I cant do enough to pay them back.

The birth of their daughter was extra special because about two years ago, thy lost their first daughter, Hope, at birth. I didn’t really know this family well when that happened but I wanted to offer my services to him and his wife to document a possible future pregnancy and birth. Its been about eight weeks now since Joy Hope was born and I was asked to photograph their baby in the hospital. I was honored and I met her at less than 24 hours old! She was almost as beautiful as her Mom, whom I learned is also a rock-star teacher (and one of the sweetest, most down to earth women I’ve ever met). familyw About a week later I went to their home to do a traditional newborn photo shoot. Look at this beautiful princess! I’ve never seen new parents so happy, excited and rocking the “Parent” title like pros. Meet Joy Hope! joy day 9 (100 of 1)-8 Mom and dad are big baseball fans and have played for several years so they really wanted to incorporate a baseball theme into Joy’s shoot. One of my favorite things about being a photographer is when people throw ideas at me on the spot and I have to be immediately creative to produce work that is meaningful to the family. I don’t have a catalog of poses in my head that I chose from, this all happens as I get to know the family. baseballw This family is beautiful, inside and out. As part of their contract with You’re It! Photography, they will be telling you how they Pay It Forward every day. I am a better person for meeting them and getting to know them. I hope I can continue to photograph them with Joy!


Remember, something as simple as a smile can go a long way–pay it forward however you can! At the very least thank a teacher the next time you meet one. You cant imagine what they do for their children!

Now, on to how this family pays it forward…this beautiful mom, Diana and her friend (another awesome teacher) created an organization called Tiny and Delightful Designs: Two teachers with hearts full of love for little babies needing a little extra hope. $1 of your purchase will be donated to the American Heart Association.”

Tiny and Delightful makes baby onesies and burp cloths. They started this organization because they both had a passion for children and crafting. After Diana lost her infant daughter to a heart condition, they decided to donate at least $1 to the American Heart Association from every item sold as a way to give hope to other babies afflicted with heart conditions. Each item contains a heart to remind you of your donation when you make a purchase though them.

Thank you, Tiny and Delightful Designs for paying it forward, one gift at a time! Please consider them when you need to purchase a baby gift! You can also find them on FaceBook and Instagram!


Welcome to You’re It! Photography–my approach to delivering high-end photography services to those who wish to “pay it forward” and make your little corner of the world  a better place.

The website is still under construction and a work in progress. But in the meantime, it is my belief that investing yourself in others will always lead to a better spirit and community. I wish to use my work to lead by example of how giving to others will ultimately allow you to give to yourself and create a better world.

In this venture I am also interested in meeting with clients who wish to visually inform the community about personal or social issues. We can work together as a team to creatively bring awareness to issues that are important you.

I plan to have session applications and contact info posted within a few weeks. Talk soon! Jo