We're already a month and a half past these 4-month portraits of Piper, and time feels like the enemy right now. Here is what I want to remember: the constant full-body wiggles, the hands and feet blurred from movement, the giggles, the drool, the rolling and scooting and beginnings of crawling. And the chins. (Too many to count.) Oh, and I have to remember the big, slobbery, open-mouthed kisses she started to give when she was just over 3 months. And how her face lights up when her sisters appear. I just can't get enough of her.
Our friend, Alice, always sends the best French clothes for the girls. I wonder if she knew how well this little dress would match the sofa?
Friends, if you've stopped by the Calm Cradle Photo & Design website this summer, you may have noticed some changes. Big ones. New look, new logo, new content. I've been working on rebranding as a lifestyle photography business, and I'm bouncing off the walls with excitement as the new site officially launches today. Please take a look around!
Let's talk about lifestyle photography. What is it? Well it's what I've been offering clients all along, but I'm finally confident enough to declare it as my own. Lifestyle photography is about storytelling. It combines fine arts and documentary styles to capture authentic moments, relationships and sense of place. You can read more about my definition here.
My goal is to offer clients a meaningful collection of high-quality images that reflects who they are—not just 15 minutes of awkward posing in an insignificant location. I want clients to look back at their photos years later and feel that the images still ring true, that they still have the power to bring back memories of the crazy anticipation of that first baby, their newborn curled up sleeping in his nursery or their daughter's determination to climb that wall 10 times per visit to the playground. These sessions don't have to be complicated to plan or intense to undertake. I'll help you select a location or activity that means something to your family and also works photographically.
Sound like something you're interested in? Contact me to book your customized lifestyle session. I'll be scheduling a very limited number of sessions this fall, so grab a spot on my calendar as soon as possible. Book before Sept. 15, 2016, to receive 10% off your session fee.
Since lifestyle photography doesn't lend well to mini sessions, I won't be offering them this year. They're often a portrait photographer's bread and butter, but I'm going to try to focus on high-quality, personalized sessions over quantity right now. We'll see where it takes me.
What's new on the site
I'd love to draw your attention to some of the updated pages, including:
Expanded portfolios: Newborn & maternity, Baby & child, and Family & engagement
What is lifestyle photography
Nature & landscape work
When I started this business in 2012, I offered a mix of nature & landscape photography, as well as children's photography. While nature and landscape are my first loves, I've realized over the years that it's too time consuming to constantly post updated work. Most of my sales in this area actually come from people seeing my photography on this blog or my Instagram feed and emailing me to place custom orders. I'll continue to offer this type of photography for purchase, but I've removed the pages from the site to focus the Calm Cradle Photo & Design brand on lifestyle photography. Just shoot me an email any time you'd like to purchase my landscape & nature work.
This blog will remain largely the same. While it's not the most focused blog, it's a place for me to document my own story in a variety of ways. One change has already taken root, however. This summer I launched a new series: Pittsboro-Chapel Hill Outdoors. Now that we're settled into a home we hope to live in indefinitely, we feel invested in this town and would like to find more ways to connect and create community. My goal for this series is to offer something our community currently lacks: an online resource for family-friendly outdoor activities. I hope it's something you'll find useful as a neighbor or visitor to this wonderful place.
If you've made it this far: THANK YOU! I'm thrilled to refresh and refocus Calm Cradle Photo & Design and appreciate your support and readership. Enjoy these last precious days of summer. (Just don't ask me about kindergarten. I can't even.) Hope to see you this fall!
Something I love about lifestyle photography is exploring the locations clients choose for their sessions. Recently I was lucky enough to work with this family for the third time in the last few years. (You can find their previous sessions here and here.) They selected the Coker Arboretum on UNC-Chapel Hill's campus, which sat, unbeknownst to me, right under my nose when I was a grad student.
This was my first session since Piper was born, and it felt like a vacation to wander around the arboretum with them. It's a special place they frequent, so they showed me their favorite spots to run around and investigate while I photographed them in action. Clearly they felt at home here. I hope years down the line, this collection of images will spark many happy memories of time well spent together in the dappled light streaming through the trellis and trees.
I'm now accepting a limited number of bookings for fall lifestyle photography sessions. Please contact me as soon as possible to schedule your customized session. You'll receive 10% off sessions booked by Sept. 15, 2016.
I'll admit I wasn't thrilled with the North Carolina Botanical Garden the first few times we visited. The paths are overgrown (by design, not neglect), and it's confusing to get around if you aren't familiar with it. I preferred to take the kids to Duke Gardens (Durham) or the JC Raulston Arboretum (Raleigh) any day over the Botanical Garden, and here's why. The low visibility made me afraid the girls would step on snakes, and we also returned home with tons of mosquito bites each time we visited. And if they ran ahead at all, they were immediately out of sight due to the foliage.
But we recently discovered that a few newer (to us) and improved features near the Education Center make visiting the Botanical Garden with kids fun and low stress.
If you're standing in the parking lot looking at the Education Center, the Children's Wonder Garden sits on the left side of the building. It offers short paths through wildflowers, a fairy mailbox and letter writing station and a little natural playground. This portion of the garden is small, but when the kids are ready to move on, you can access the Piedmont Nature Trails from the gate at the end of the path for a short, shaded hike. I wrote about these trails in my last outdoors series post.
When you return from your hike, don't miss the stick sculpture by Patrick Dougherty, which you can walk (or run, in our case) through. It's located in the courtyard area in the middle of the Education Center complex.
Parking logistics & hours: There is a large parking lot in front of the Education Center. Check out garden hours here.
Strollers: A jogging or all-terrain stroller is a must for getting around the garden, though some of the paths other than those I described may be too narrow and overgrown for a stroller. The adjacent Piedmont Nature Trails are not suitable for strollers.
Bathrooms: There is an outdoor entrance to the restrooms at the Education Center next to the Children's Wonder Garden.
100 Old Mason Farm Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
Looking for more family-friendly outdoor activities in and around Pittsboro and Chapel Hill, NC? Click here for more Pittsboro-Chapel Hill Outdoors series posts. Click here to learn more about the series.
I'm Julia Soplop. I've spent my life documenting the world around me in writing and photography. I believe there is something profound in bearing witness to moments of joy and pain in others’ lives. My husband, three girls and I live outside of Chapel Hill, NC. You can read more about me here.