Stills that Speak Photography, LLC: Blog en-us (C) Stills that Speak Photography, LLC (Stills that Speak Photography, LLC) Fri, 08 Jan 2021 05:44:00 GMT Fri, 08 Jan 2021 05:44:00 GMT Storms With a Chance of Rainbows Storms With a Chance of Rainbows

Having survived 2020 we all could benefit hearing a story of HOPE.  Rarely does hope appear ‘large and in charge’ – rather more like a faint whisper that you strain to hear…visually resembling a fragile strand instead of a safety rope.  Although HOPE can at times feel insignificant, please don’t underestimate its strength…many did and we all remember how the fight of the century ended between David and Goliath.

In fall of 2019 I received a message for what would be a Rainbow Maternity session.  For those of you unfamiliar with the term ‘rainbow babies’ – simply put these are the babies families are blessed with after the painful loss of a previous little one whether by miscarriage, still birth or the baby passing shortly after birth.  These sessions are always special…the stories touch my heart each time.  The bravery of these Mamas and Daddies to ‘try’ one more time humbles me beyond words. Since these mamas tell their story best, here’s Tiffany…

E466Tiffany & Sean's maternity session.   ‘I hope my story can reach someone else struggling through the challenges of infertility.  Sean and I tried for almost 5 years before we got our first positive pregnancy test back in May of 2018.  After two doctor’s appointments, at only 7 weeks along, I was told my baby had no heartbeat.  I was devastated.  It was suggested that Sean and I both have complete workups done to include multiple labs and tests to include a HSQ test performed.   After all the results came in, we were told we had a very slim chance of getting pregnant on our own.  During our fertility appointment I asked if we could try Clomid by itself before attempting IUI and IVF.  The fertility specialist’s response was, ‘No.’  The option suggested was a medicated IUI with Clomid and even with that we were only give a 1% chance of success. I then asked about IVF.  She said a medicated IVF would increase our chances to 3%.  That same day I went and made my follow-up appointment with my doctor and asked to be prescribed Clomid.  I faithfully took it as directly, carefully tracking my cycle while holding on to that hope of 3%.  On April 7, 2019 we received the news we’d hoped for…a positive pregnancy test!!  Our miracle rainbow baby made her arrival on December 20, 2019!!!’
 Layla's first milestone session.

3% chance….yet Tiffany and Sean held on to that hope.  They weathered the storm and then welcomed the rainbow…Layla aka Bug.  And what a precious miracle she is.  This sweet baby girl has non-stop smile that melts your heart!!  She is truly an absolute joy to be around!!

 Layla's one year cake smash.  Layla's Milestone Session

Never give up…no matter how small or frail hope may seem at times – embrace & nurture it...believe!!  In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”   Holiday Session






(Stills that Speak Photography, LLC) Virginia Photographer Cake Smash Session Maternity Session Milestone Session Rainbow Baby Rainbow Session Stafford Stills that Speak Photography Fri, 08 Jan 2021 17:30:00 GMT
Gone But Not Forgotten Losing a loved one is painful for family and friends.  When the death is unexpected, that pain is multiplied.  So imagine, without warning, losing the love of your life...the incredible daddy of your two young daughters...when 3 months pregnant....right before the holidays.  Yes, it takes your breath away...doesn't it?  I'm sure you're thinking exactly what I was, "I can't even imagine."  Nothing prepares us in life for losing someone so young at such a tender moment in time. So when this sweet mama reached out regarding a Maternity Session and asked if an image of him could be included in a few of the session photos, all I could think of was Mercy, I've never done this, but one way or another...I going to make it happen for her!  

Mama arrived to the session looking absolutely perfect - just did the little ones.  She had chosen both a black and a white gown saying, 'He loved black and white' and brought a framed photo of dad as well as a locket with his image. Believe me when I say, she did an amazing job throughout her session despite how incredibly difficult it had to have been for her.  I'm not going to lie, there were quite a few times that I choked up behind the camera both at the maternity session as well as the fresh 48 session and then again while editing the pictures. Mama, on the other hand, remained a pillar of strength...even through a few heart wrenching poses.

 Gone too soonA beautiful bless from a great love.  Locket of loveDaddy's pic - mama's heart.

When her little guy made his arrival a couple of months later, we included dad in the Fresh 48 session as well.  Now this little prince will have photos when he's older, just like his sisters, to look at and see how much he was loved.

 Father & SonEternal love


Honestly, I initially hesitated writing this blog until a dear friend mentioned how much she wished she'd known about these types of edits years ago and encouraged me to post a few of the completed images. 

Her words, "People need to know about this - it could be healing for so many."



(Stills that Speak Photography, LLC) Fresh 48 Session Maternity Session NOVA Fresh 48 Photography NOVA Maternity Photography Stills that Speak Photography Wed, 19 Jun 2019 15:37:00 GMT
A Grandparent's Day Family Portrait...Love sees no color With division being headlined daily regarding race issues I feel beyond blessed to share a story of a different color.  What a wonderful experience photographing Kaleb and his Pawpaw at Old Mill Park in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  Some of their story may be difficult to read but believe me when I say - it's a story worth reading.

Karstin started dating her son's father seven years ago.  Sadly he left her when she was only three month's pregnant with Kaleb and she was left with no other choice but to move back in with her parents.  Although this would be an ideal situation for many - such was not the case for Karstin.  You see, not only was the pregnancy itself frowned upon but to further complicate matters her father had zero tolerance for interracial dating and the baby's father was African-American.  This was a stressful time for a-matter-a fact father and daughter barely spoke until Karstin was hospitalized with Pre-eclampsia at about seven and a half months.  Although these events alone would be enough to strain the best of relationships it was about to get worse.  Not only did the results of a 4D ultrasound show a diagnosis for Kaleb of Hydronephrosis in his left kidney but Karstin went into premature labor a month early. The baby had to be delivered via emergency C-section.  She longed to have her father to lean on during these traumatic events but had little hope, given the circumstances, that it would happen.  This my friends is when Karstin's story takes a turn...

Her dad did not leave her side through those critical times.  Quoting Karstin:  'It was love at first sight when my dad laid eyes on Kaleb.'  She had, throughout her growing years, never seen her father cry but this time...this time was different.  His eyes filled with tears as his heart did with love while holding his grandson for the very first time.  

Kaleb, because of his diagnosis, had to be seen weekly by a specialist in Richmond until his first surgery at six months of age.  Despite long work hours away from home, Pawpaw checked in on his little Kaleb multiple times each day.  When Karstin expressed the need to go back to work and help financially her father without hesitation shot the idea down....stressing HE would take care of any financial needs either of them had until such time Kaleb was better. Karstin says:  'My dad raised my son like his own...providing for him and loving him more than I have ever seen him love anyone else.  Kaleb is now 5 years old and has been through three surgeries since birth.  My dad and son's relationship is unbreakable!  My dad says Kaleb is his heart, soul and best friend...that he wakes daily looking forward to see his face and spending the day with him.  He says there is no one in the world he loves more.'  Her dad's views on inter-racial dating have done a 180 degree turnaround after Kaleb was born.  Karstin says:  'They are truly best friends and the love he has for Kaleb is one that can't be broken.'

It may sound cliche' my friends...but NEVER - EVER underestimate the power of love.

'No one can change a person but a person can be the reason someone changes' - Shannon Adler

'If you don't like something - change it.  If you can't change it - change your attitude.' - Mayo Angelo

'Be the change you wish to see in the world' - Gandhi

(Stills that Speak Photography, LLC) Family Portrait Session Lifestyle photographer Stafford Photographer Stills that Speak Photography Mon, 14 Sep 2015 12:14:22 GMT
Dare to dream...Dare to dance...Dare to overcome...  

I firmly believe that the young and elderly can bestow wisdom upon us unrivaled by any book IF we simply watch and listen.  Such is the case with the amazing young lady that Stills that Speak Photography is honored to showcase today.  What struck me immediately when speaking to and photographing this beautiful and extremely talented young lady is although self-assured, Nya exudes a sweet and humble spirit so rarely found in today's society.  What isn't as obvious is the challenges this Umbiance Center for the Performing Arts dancer overcomes on a day to day basis while maintaining that light up the room smile of hers.  As always a proud mom conveys her daughter's story best...

'Failure for most people lies not in setting your aim too high and missing your mark, but setting your aim too low and hitting your target.'  "These words along with various other inspirational quotes such as 'prepping for opportunity' fill the dream board of this inspirational young woman.  Ten year old Nya Harris has been dreaming big since the tender age of four.  When she explained to her parents that she was going to be a dancer and an actress at the wise age of five, her parents patted her on the head - placed her in classes and replied nonchalantly 'Sure baby.'  Months later they sat in a filled auditorium watching their daughter act in three different scenes.

Fast forward three years.  Nya's friends and family watched as she continued to sing, dance, and act in two additional 5 star plays.  Today she can be found walking around the house while reading books by Misty Copland, Michaela DePrince among other well known dance artists.  She devours book after book while training 3-4 hours a day on her dancing.  We encourage her to go outside and enjoy being a kid, her dad explains, but Nya would rather have her friends join her inside doing p90x or mastering a new dance move.

With every diversified interest, she is focused and driven in her goals.  Nya is environmentally conscious and loves animals.  On days that she is seizure free (Yes, readers - mom said 'seizure free'), she loves hanging out with her best friends, laughing and learning new things.  Her dreams continue to motivate her despite her recent epilepsy diagnosis.  She is learning how to manage it so that she can continue to enjoy doing what she loves...whether that be books, quotes or her friend's company.  Regardless the challenges this diagnosis presents, Nya remains positive. 'Mom, you have to dream it first in order to live it' she says. 

This past summer she enjoyed the experience of being taught by and dancing for Mrs. Debbie Allen.  Nya's sights are currently set on training for her next goal...auditioning for none other than the legendary Dance Theatre of Harlem."

Be on the lookout for this up and coming talent...what an incredible lesson for the rest of us...if only you BELIEVE!!

(Stills that Speak Photography, LLC) Lifestyle photographer Stafford Photographer Stills that Speak Photography Umbiance Center for the Performing Arts child portraits dance portrait Wed, 09 Sep 2015 06:52:48 GMT
Special Needs are not always especially apparent May has been designated as Early Intervention Awareness Month.  Early Intervention, also known as Infant and Toddler Connection in Virginia, is where I am fortunate enough to work when I'm not photographing incredible families.  We have amazing providers and staff that help our littlest ones ages birth through three with everything from developmental delays to more severe challenges.

Not all special needs are apparent though.  Today Stills that Speak Photography is showcasing Lucy.  Clearly you can see what a bright shining star she is...just LOOK at those eyes and that smile.  SHE kept a smile on MY face throughout this nursing session.  Her smile is infectious - you simply can't be in the room with her and not have a grin on your own face.  What you can't see is though, is that this precious sweetheart has been diagnosed with a very rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome

Regardless the diagnosis, mom embraces (literally) the blessing that Lucy is!  As always a parent's thoughts from the heart convey that best.  "Despite the challenges her diagnosis brings, we are the luckiest parents on the planet. She is absolutely amazing, a ray of light!  She brings so much joy and laughter into our world and has even brought incredibly inspiring people into our lives that we never would have had the opportunity to meet.  We are so lucky"  And truth be blessed is Lucy to have such a loving mom?!

(Stills that Speak Photography, LLC) lifestyle photographer mommy and me sessions northern and central Virginia Photographer nursing portraits nursing session special needs children Tue, 19 May 2015 04:00:23 GMT
Rainbow Baby This was one of those portrait sessions that didn't simply touch my touched me to my very soul.  I'm sure many of you have heard the term Rainbow Baby...for those that haven't I will include the poem below.  This is a session that leaves you, as the photographer, feeling blessed....blessed that this amazing beautiful family allowed you to share, if only a moment, in their very personal storm and rainbow.  Their love for each other and their rainbow baby is all too apparent but equally sprinkled in the conversations are the loving words and candid memories of Lexi Grace ~ Krystal Hope's angel sister. Who better than a parent to share a glimpse of their story..."Krystal Hope is Lexi Grace's little sister...making her a rainbow baby.  Krystal was due on Lexi's birthday but was delivered one week prior.  Lexi left us in October of 2013 after fighting ten long days for her life.  When Lexi flew that night, half my heart went with her.  I was crushed and prayed every day that if I was blessed again, that I wanted to be blessed with Lexi's twin.  Every time I look at Krystal, I see her sister so I know she's here with us. 'After every storm, there is a Rainbow of Hope'"

“Rainbow Babies” is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm.

When a rainbow appears, it doesn’t mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath.

What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds.


Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.

(Stills that Speak Photography, LLC) Children Photography Family Portraits Fredericksburg Photographer On location lifestyle photographe Rainbow Baby Portrait Session Stafford Photographer Mon, 11 May 2015 04:06:17 GMT