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our project 10: december

I panicked a little when I realized it was December 9th & I hadn’t made a plan for this month’s Project 10 shots.  But then it snowed overnight.  And the piano people called to schedule delivery.  This was a December day full of little goodies that I’m glad I was obligated to document.  I actually started the day with the Flip video camera.  I feel like we miss out on the live action documentation in favor of constant still camera shots.  I’ll play with the video clips soon!

I was he!!-bent on getting to the gym today but the spoiled rotten youngest child begged to play in the snow before we went.  She was unsure.  Then she loved it.  It was fun to watch her rediscover the snow since she wasn’t even two last winter.

I kind of want to eat her.

And in a rare fun, laid-back mom moment, I let the big kids go right outside to play after school.  Here’s one for you.  This morning when I saw the snow, we were digging out snow boots and securing hats & gloves.  I checked the weather on my phone and it said it would be sunny by 8:00am so I let them go without pants; assuming the snow would be gone by recess.  I looked back at it later and realized my weather app had updated and reset to ATLANTA, GEORGIA.  FYI.  It was sunny by 8am in Atlanta.  And my kids had to be the dummies on the sidelines at recess because they didn’t have snow pants.  Ellie had to fill me in on the “Big 5” (hat, gloves, coat, snow pants & boots) & wanted to make sure she’d be set for the next snowy day.

I had to get a snow gear face shot of each of them too.

Meanwhile, they delivered our piano.  Our refurbished, 100 year-old piano.  I hadn’t even seen the stain color but it’s exactly what I was hoping for.  It sounds old and saloon-y.  We love it.

That’s the piano guy testing it out.  Isn’t he dressed perfectly for the role of “piano refurbisher”?  Love it.  Oh.  We need a bench.

I sat down to play for just a minute and burned the bejeezus out of the milk for the hot chocolate.

But it was apparently still drinkable.

He likes it.  And works at it.  I can’t wait to see how he really does with it.  He’s the kid that walks away when something looks challenging because he’s not automatically good at it.  But he might just work at this.  Oh.  We need a bench.

Please keep surfing the circle with Efi:  http://blog.studio8photos.com/2011/12/10/605/

Kirsty-Abu Dhabi - The snow gear is awesome!!!! Love the snow faces and how snuggly they all look. I’m not sure this desert chick could handle being that cold! I’ll look forward to hearing how things progress with the piano too – thanks for sharing your day

Amy - Absolutely love all of these shots, Nancy! What a perfect day!!

Andrea - I wish it snowed more in Georgia…love the colors and the hot chocolate.

Darien - Love that piano & your piano photos! :). Your kids are adorable!

jasmine johnson - love love love this day! (i can’t imagine being a teacher in the snow and having to get the kids snow suited up for recess…)

robyn - love the snow shots! And what a wonderful piano, i bet it sounds great!

Jobrina Hofleit - LOVE the snow, so perfect for the Holidays!!!!! I would of done the same, even though I’m HUGE on the gym, I’d pass it up just to let my little one enjoy MORE snow time! 😉 Looked like such a great day Nancy! 😉

our project 10: November

I can’t believe I missed last month.  Can’t believe it.  So I was totally going to make up for it with some really well thought-out self-portraits this month.  How could I possibly be too busy to take pictures of myself?  I’m always right here!  So I didn’t end up with 10 captivating, flattering & eye-catching selfies.  But what I do have is a collection of shots I’d never have taken the time to get otherwise.  I’d never take a “first thing in the morning” shot just for the fun of it.  I’d never ask a client to take a cell phone pic of me shooting.  I’d never let my kids take pictures of me pretending to enjoy flipping burgers.  But these are everyday things I have somewhat documented now.  And I’m glad.  My Day.

First thing in the morning.  I’m always a sleepy, kind-of-crabby mess between 7-7:30 getting the older two kids ready for the bus.


Yummy newborn session for a friend.  She had Starbucks waiting for me and the baby was sugar.

Drivin’ around Granger.  I’m not sure which hobby I spend more time on.  Drivin’ around Granger or photography.  I do both a lot.

Someday I won’t be able to believe I spent so much time in my day in my minivan.  Someday I won’t have a minivan.  One kid at an activity; the other two asleep.  I really could have just taken a little snooze too.

Non-smiley pics of me always look so silly.  I didn’t feel smiley though.  I was tired and wanted to fast-forward though the night.  But I pretended to smile.

I barely even look at facebook on a real computer.  Most of my facebook time is on my phone or iPad.  flick.stare.flick.stare.flick.stare.

Turkey burgers & homework & music.

Bedtime.  Modern Family wasn’t on so I sneaked in a “bedtime nap” after reading with this kid.

From bedtime into the wee hours.  Curled up.  Hunched over.  Soda.  Mess.  Princess blankey over me because it always seems so cold in here!

That’s my day.  Very ordinary.  Very suburban.  Very diet coke & yoga pants.  But it’s me & my life & my family.  And it’s just right.

Please keep browsing & enjoy Efi’s day:  http://blog.studio8photos.com/

our project ten: november {calgary family photographer} » robyn oakenfold - […] please visit the blog of  Nancy Lary  and see what she has to share and continue to follow the blog links until you get back to me. […]

Carey - adore adore adore adore adore adore adore.

Andrea - This is so great!!! I love your take on your day.

Kirsty-Abu Dhabi - I LOVE that you did this and documented yourself – seeing your day makes me smile

robyn - oh how i love this. i think we all need to try this once!

Val Spring - Love your day! Love that you are in most images. I’m sure you’ll treasure and LOVE looking at these when the kids are older and out of the house. Adore being in this project with you!

Be Real. My family.

Over the past year, I have spent a lot of time in introspection.  It took me most of 2011 to feel solid in what kind of photography business I want to be running.  I think I knew but I still hadn’t wrapped my mind around it.  It wasn’t yet a solid, articulated concept.  I know I want to capture connection and essence.  I have mad respect for traditional portrait photographers and don’t begrudge anyone (friends, family & strangers alike) the prerogative to choose more traditional photography over the type of lifestyle photography I strive to achieve.   I don’t take it personally when someone chooses another photographer over me solely based on style.  If someone books with me, I want them to have looked at my images and thought, “I have to have images just like this of my family.”  I do not want someone to book with me out of obligation or because they think they’re getting a deal.  I want them to book with me because we sat & visited over coffee and really talked about how to capture their family in the most real, most meaningful way.

It was during the Stacey Woods Lifestyle Your Style workshop that I was really able to think about what kind of images I would want of my own family.  Thinking along those lines helps me work with a client to choose a location or activity for their session that is meaningful to their family.  And it’s what led me to drag my family to the beach for superhero capes, fried chicken, balloons, and playing on the beach until the sun sizzled on the water.

This is one of my favorites from our little family session.  It was right before school started.  Right before Ellie started Kindergarten.  “First Day of School” was all about her.  When I asked her, “What do you think about starting Kindergarten?” she said, “I think ‘all day’ sounds like a really long time.”  I love that we’re all looking at her here.

I made these capes.  I braved the sewing machine and made these capes.  They ran up and down that hill for the longest time.  I found myself thinking, “We are having fun.  No one is crying.  I don’t want to run away.  Brian’s not about to snap.  We are having fun!”

I had a vision of each kid holding three balloons.  But the clever gal at the floral department of Martin’s wove the strings into such a complex web that we couldn’t get them apart without cutting the strings.  I’ve expressed my disdain for balloons before.  But they do bring smiles.  And these magically floated away rather than coming home.

We talked ahead of time about how we weren’t going to swim, just get our feet wet.  It could probably go without saying that three kids rode home pant-less & freezing cold. It was fun at the time.

And then there was film.  And this shirt.  This was the only time she wore it.  She was like, “I don’t want to hurt your feelings but…it’s…black.”

And this.  There’s something so “two and a half” about this image.  I see lots of baby in her cheeks and her fingers and elbows.  But then I see lots of big girl in her stride and her lips and her gaze and her not-so-chubby belly.

From time to time I post on facebook about the importance of having family pictures done.  It’s not a “book me book me” thing, it’s a “book a photographer book a photographer” thing.  It’s a “family pictures are important” thing.  Even when someone has inquired with me & ends up using someone else, I still smile when I see their pictures come up on facebook.  I’m still glad they did it.

There’s never a perfect time.  Or better yet, now is the perfect time.  This time in your family’s life is worth capturing.  Your extra 10 pounds are not a good reason to postpone pictures.  The fact that it’s not a major milestone is not a good reason to postpone pictures.  The fact that the leaves are not at their peak color isn’t either.  When you’re 70 years old & looking at pictures with your grandkids, you’ll look back and know that it was the absolutely perfect time to capture your family.  And if you’re a photographer…it’s the perfect time to get on the other side of the camera.

August 21, 2011 was the perfect time to capture our family.  I’m excited to print these & finally have a wall gallery in my home.

stephanie newbold - Nancy, this blog post and sweet, beautiful happy images just touched my heart…what a lovely family you have!

Kay Pickens - These are fabulous, Nancy!! Just fabulous! I’m not sure which one I love best!

I love that you captured them having so much fun. So relaxed. Playing. Getting wet 😉

Makes me want to get a lifestyle photoshoot with all my “grown” boys…though, I swear it would be crazier than shooting a passel of two year olds…

Lora Swinson - Nancy….these are so stunning. You always make my jaw drop!

Our Project 10: September

Last month when I focused on having all three kids around all summer long, I knew I wanted to focus on just Lulu for September. “Just Lulu.” Like it’s a walk in the park. Like I barely know she’s here. As if. She’s independent but still prefers to be interacting with someone if she’s awake. Still though, I’ve been kidding that she’s like my little pet monkey. I dress her up. She’s adorable. But still very ornery & high maintenance. And she even poops on the floor sometimes.

Of course she hasn’t slept through the big kids getting on the bus even one morning.  She stands right in the way as they’re trying to get out the door and yells, “BYE.  BYE!!!  BYE!” as they run to the bus and then watches it drive away.

But then when they’re gone, she demands I put on a “nice movie” (instead of Monster House).  This week it’s been Peter Pan.  I like it that she’s content to sit for a while but I also really like seeing her enjoy classics like Peter Pan and 101 Dalmations. 

This was the day her big bed mattress arrived!  Hers is going to be the first room we really “do”.  There will be a theme (rainbows) &  a complete set of furniture.  Of course we’re playing up the big girl bed thing…like it’s going to make her any more likely to go to bed easily.  It’s not.  It was still fun to document the moment. 

In thinking about what I really wanted to make sure to capture in Lulu at this moment in time, I wanted to make sure I got a few good shots of her eye color.  I’m not sure they’ll always be this shade and she’s usually moving so quickly, I can’t get a good look. 

And I wanted to make sure to get a real, full-on smile.  She really is so full of joy. 

Let’s play “Who’s In Charge Here?”  I let her hold my film camera to get some shots of her playing.  Suddenly I was the model and she was the cranky, bossy photographer giving me the “Just one more!”

She shot and missed. This was supposed to be my at-least-one obligatory shot of me.  Not my fault.

It’s not all fun & games though.  There is the very difficult subject of potty training.  This kid is ready.  She’s ready but here’s the thing, it comes down to some of the best advice I ever got while working as an Occupational Therapist:  “You can control a lot in a kid’s life but you can’t control what goes in…or what comes out.”  This day, with only a slight suggestion, she hopped up there and announced, “I’m gonna pee.  And POOP!”

The reward for pooping on the potty?  A GIANT MARSHMALLOW.  GIANT.  Regardless of her propensity toward all things obnoxious and intolerable, she doesn’t like sweets.  She’d never finish a big treat like this but boy I tell ya what, that one or two bites is totally worth it for her.

And naptime is the end of our one-on-one time together.  She goes down around 2pm and the big kids get home shortly thereafter.  I proudly admit to laying down with her for at least 10 or 15 minutes when she lays down for a nap.  It’s amazing bonding time and quite refreshing.

I’m so glad I get to soak up so much of my last kid.  She’s a yummy one.  And still she’s going to keep reminding me why she’s the last one.  If ever there was a second I thought I knew this game, she constantly reminds me that every kid is different and needs to be handled differently.  She demands more vigilance, patience and tolerance than I thought I could ever be capable of.  But she also brings more humor to our family than I ever could have imagined too.

She’s a hoot.  A card.  A character.  Lulu.  Two-and-a-half years old.

Please keep surfing and enjoy Robyn’s post…http://www.robynoakenfold.com/ten-on-ten-september/




breeze - Aw, I absolutely love her! I love that you focused on her and I loved to see a peek into your day spent with her!

Kirsty-Abu Dhabi - So wonderful to see this piece of Lulu – it’s a great idea Nancy. And I love the potty training pic!!!! Every parent needs one!

Laura - LOL, these are adorable and made me giggle as I read the captions :)

jules - do you have any idea how much i love this little one of yours?! adorable!

Carey - my favorite is the just one more. Fantastic. : )

Andrea - oh I love this. I miss those days when they were little. I love her just 1 more picture. She means business!! I wish I had known more about photography when mine were this age. These are priceless.

efi - SHE IS UNIQUE .. love the last one ..sneak peek :)

Jobrina Hofleit - Oh my goodness Nancy….I love every.single.frame!!!!!! I really can’t pick my favorite, they are all so perfect and I love that you let us in on a day of just you and your baby! 😉 And those striped pj’s are the cutest!!!!!

robyn - oh so sweet Nancy. love the close ups of her on the bed and that potty one is priceless. thanks for sharing her with us… this made me smile!

Shannon Harrison - Haha! LOVE “just one more”! She looks like a hoot :)

Val Spring - She looks like the most fun little girl!!! And she’s absolutely beautiful! LOVE the potty one and the full smile one is so precious! xo

Film captures what my mind sees

Yeah, this is going to be an artsy one.

A few months ago, I purchased this camera:

It’s a Canon A-1, probably about as old as me.  Film is a trend in photography and I’ve been drawn to it’s emotion and imperfections.  Imperfection in digital photography isn’t as easy to appreciate as it is in film.  Digital imperfection has to be deliberate and come on, that’s not really imperfection at all.  I started jumping in my seat a little when Becky Earl would post an image on Facebook.  Then Angie Warren.  Then Jonathan Canlas of FIND.  And you know what’s weird?  I was simultaneously re-connecting with childhood friend, Adam Williams of Wishbone Pets, who also shoots film…sometimes with the A-1.  It’s been in the back of my mind all summer.  But I’m stingy.  I’ve been hesitant to spend money on film and even more hesitant to spend money on processing.

I’ve cranked out a few image that I’ve been happy with.  I love the look of film on a plain background and just a simple image of a kid.  I was over the moon when I was able to capture each of my kids in that way:


Shooting simply and thoughtfully.  And very little editing in Lightroom or Photoshop.  These images are what my mind sees when I picture each kid at this place in their little lives at this moment in our history.

But this takes practice.  Did you know there’s no image on the back of the dang camera after you take a shot?  Really?  I know that too but I look back there after every other picture (it’s getting less frequent).

I took the film camera along when I visited my friend Jen right after having her baby.  If there are words for these shots, I don’t have them.  The digital pictures I took at the same time are emotional but these?  I can feel these.

Then I started to relax and shot a bunch of film at the end of a senior session:

And I finally relaxed when we went to the beach:

Going through the prints (yes, I got prints and the Walgreens angel even gave me a coupon for doubles…remember getting doubles?) in the Walgreens parking lot last night, it started to make sense.


When learning photography, you get to a point where you have a “finished product” in your head when taking a shot.  You know what you’re hoping to do in-camera and what you’re hoping to do in post-processing.  Maybe it’s cropping for composition or color adjustment or brightening, but you have an idea when you take the shot.  Then it’s just a matter of execution at each step to achieve that desired end result.  With film, it all happens right at that moment I click the shutter.  Are there images that end up being total crap?  Yeah…almost 1/2 of each roll (I have to tell myself that will get better).  Are there images that do need a little juice in LR/PS?  Yeah for sure.  Do I still enjoy the convenience of digital?  Oh yeah I do.  I took over 200 digital images at the beach and around 45 film images.  I love what I got on film but I’m glad I have the excess of the digital images too.

So I’ve had a hard time answering the “why film?” question until now.  Film captures what my mind sees.



Kay Pickens - Nancy, I just love your film work!! There is such an emotional tug with these photos! Can’t wait to see more.

kristen reed - amazing . love love love!

Adam - Good post, Nancy. Becca and I have had some trouble answering that question, too. More often than not, it’s been a gut thing mixed with vague descriptors like … ethereal quality of light, nice tones straight out of the camera and whatnot. I love your words: Film captures what my mind sees. (And thanks for the shout, too!)

Nana - Your words are as artful as your camera.

Jess - So inspiring Nancy! And you make it look so easy. 😉

megan - Nancy, it is so inspiring to see you photographing in a way that makes you so happy. And not just your personal projects, but clients, too.

Amy - So insightful and inspiring! I am loving watching you experiment with film, Nancy!