Family Pictures at Salem Lake

Windows down, music up. The sun was peeking in and out of the clouds. It was truly a perfect day. Not quite in the heat of a Georgia summer, and a slight breeze?!, what more could I ask for.

I always like to get to a location ahead of time. It’s always been my jam. But this time, I would’ve been a good 30-45 minutes early, I get a text saying “hey we are here!” first! I’m never against the early birds. In fact, I love punctuality.

I met Sarah online, as she had won a shoot to redo some wedding photos. (some bridal portraits) I had been following along her life and journey for some time now. It was crazy to me some of the synchronicities between us and our lives. The biggest being that we both have a son, a year and a day apart. AND both of their names is Jackson. (Mine is spelled Jaxon though.) So this was the moment I get to meet the little guy that I felt connected us on a whole other level.

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Jackson had JUST woken up from a nap. Rubbing his eyes as Kevin got him out of the car. He grumpily looked up at me. I could only imagine his thoughts… “who is this?!” Winning over a toddler isn’t always the easiest, especially when you’re holding a camera in your hand. It’s like they know. But before we knew it, he was running all over the place! Particularly loving the batting cages, and later the ducks!

What stood out to me about Sarah and Kevin was their gentleness. They were so loving, but also gentle. Seeing them interact with one another, and with little Jackson I knew love was present.

Sarah & Kevin,

It was such a blessing to be able to bless you with these family pictures. Your family is truly beautiful. I can’t wait to see ya’ll grow and flourish in the new season of life that ya’ll are in, with a new job, and a new home. I can’t wait to hear all your favorite Disney World hacks, and who knows maybe one day we will join y’all at Disney for a fun trip with the boys. I can’t wait to take more pictures of y’all, but for now I’ll continue to swoon over how precious your family is. <3

-Cassandra

Lily Pond Magic

Rain drops fell lightly from above. Cooling off the morning to a comfortable temperature. The windows were down, as we headed to a new spot I had been recently shown. I looked over at her, wind in her hair, as music filled the car. Transported me back to those summer days… riding in the car, hiking in the dry heat, taking a dip in icy cold waterfalls and beautiful lakes. That night we slept under the stars for her birthday, and the time she kidnapped me away to Yosemite in attempt to see the fire falls. Here we were again in the car, this time listening to Johnnyswim instead of Taylor Swift… things have changed… but only a little.;)

We emerged from the woods. Immediately my eye caught the pink blossoms coming from the water.

As a symbol of rebirth, the lotus flower beckoned me, inviting me in. Rain washed over me. I was breathing in new life. It was mothers day. The Lotus reminded me of my own rebirth this past year. A beautiful yet messy birth into motherhood. The death and mourning of who I once was, but the glorious development into a new being. I once explored and adventured, and I still do; but now I do it holding onto a new identity as a mother. I treasure being a mom, and it forever was a dream of my heart. A dream and a promise fulfilled that I get to see daily smiling back at me. A reminder that God is faithful to his promises.

We took a few more pictures as it started to rain harder. We headed back towards the darkness of the wooded trail. We talked and walked along. Sharing thoughts and dreams, just like old times.

Arin, you never cease to amaze me with your sense of wonder and adventure. the spirit within you that is alive to learn and to grow, to teach and to nurture. Thank you for keeping my spirit of adventure alive and for always making an effort to see me when you’re in town. You are and forever will be an incredible friend, and I can’t wait to finally visit you in New Orleans.

and a special thank you for introducing me to Johnnyswim.

One day when I’m free
Take a ferry ride over and be close to me
Build a house by the rock where the bay meets the sea
Where the dreams of my mother are buried like seeds
And I’ll be your lighthouse, I’ll be your lighthouse
And I’ll be your lighthouse, you’ll be one for me
— Johnnyswim

A baby of Promise

Yesterday’s shoot was nothing short of beautiful.

It’s not what we had originally planned. We had a different location in mind, a different backdrop, a different idea of how the smoke bombs would turn out... but sometimes that’s how life is, it’s full of changes, turns in the road, and surprises… but those surprises sometimes end up being gifts and treasures… kinda like this baby will be..

I arrived on site, probably half an hour early to scout out the area, find the best lighting, and to know exactly where I was going to take them. It wasn’t far into my walk up the mountain area that I noticed some dark clouds in the distance.

I looked intently at the sky to see what direction the clouds were going, in hopes that just maybe they would be headed the opposite direction. Not long after I got a text from Todd saying that it looked like a storm might be blowing in. I was still hopeful that it wouldn’t. I even thought' ‘man these dark clouds might even give some really awesome contrast to the colors of the smoke bomb that was gonna reveal’, what Baby Smith was going to be. but just within minutes the wind picked up tremendously, the clouds were almost above me as I quickly headed back to where my car was parked.

cue the rain…

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I texted Sarah and Alec giving them a heads up, and they told me to start driving back towards where they were and that we’d find another location.

They had a place in mind! Now even though I grew up around the area there’s still so many hidden treasures I’ve yet to find. When I pulled up this location and saw where they were thinking my eyes were opened. There are some golden gems right near me that I wasn’t even aware of!

This spot was perfect. It was dreamy. It was still raining!

But that wasn't going to stop us. The clouds overhead made for some of the best lighting, the lake covered in lily pads was something you’d see in a story book. Sarah and Alec’s love for each other, and love for their new baby to be was evident….

Amidst storms, whether in life, or changes in Georgia’s ever changing weather, remember to always hold onto hope.

I recently even had a conversation with Sarah about this being a season of hope, a season of fresh beginnings. That I could feel in the atmosphere there was a sense of hope rising, in myself and in my life personally. but also I could sense it in those around me. It’s a season of promises fulfilled, and new dreams to be born. It’s so exciting to see her and Alec having this baby, a baby of promise, a baby of hope, and restoration.

And with great pleasure I get to help announce that baby Smith is a GIRL!

Juniper Smith coming September 2019! <3

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Perhaps you were born for such a time as this.

Esther 4:14

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen
— Hebrews 11:1

Love in a small town

This past week I had the pleasure of photographing this beautiful family and their newest addition, Davis.

I grew up with Steven and his siblings in the same neighborhood. I come from a larger family having 4 brothers myself, so it was really nice to know another larger family. Steven is one of 7! I have tons of memories of swimming, discovering, finding animals and scorpions, peeing in the woods (yep... ) & loving all the animals and dogs we could find with them. I'm pretty sure last time I saw Steven he was about 4ft tall, but he sure grew into his big bones and broad shoulders.

Then oddly enough I met and trained Lauren at a local restaurant about two years ago. She always stuck out to me, she's incredibly beautiful and sweet. Together they are about as sweet as can be. Steven is gentle and loving, and it surely shows watching him interact with Lauren, Ava (2), and their littlest one Davis (7 weeks old).

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There are times when this town feels too small, and other times it feels just small enough to unite old memories of childhood with the new exciting chapters as getting married and inviting little ones into our lives.

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Parenthood sure looks good on ya'll.

Little Davis gave me a mad case of baby fever.

from the smell of newborn baby skin and milk, his tiny toes, the little yawns.

I know ya'll are in love, because I am too.

He is the sweetest, and will definitely have so much fun growing up with his sister Ava.