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  • Writer's pictureBrandy Lawrence

lainey turns one! | first birthday session at howell park

One of my favorite things about photography is watching my families grow and capturing all their big milestones. I have one family in particular that has been with me since the beginning!!

I used to work with Amanda at Wounded Warrior Project before starting photography full time. We were on different teams and hadn't really worked together before, but she had recently gotten engaged and heard I was a photographer! I had only officially launched BLP in January of 2016 and her wedding was in January 2017 so I really hadn't even been shooting that long!

I remember standing next to Amanda in the breakroom, waiting for the Keurig to finish brewing my coffee, and she asked whether I shot weddings. I'm 1000% not a morning person so I was quickly trying to clear the cobwebs and form a coherent response and decided we should set up a little time to chat in her cube about her big day! She ended up being one of the first weddings I had ever booked, so in the hours leading up to our meeting I was busy pumping myself up and freaking out that she would even consider me!

I consider myself a pretty terrible salesperson, so I decided I would just learn as much as I could about her wedding plans, walk her through my role on wedding day, and let her determine if I was the right fit (coincidentally not much has changed and this is still how I book weddings!). I guess my strategy worked because less than a week later she booked me! I put on my professional face and told her how excited I was, then basically went back to my cube and jumped up and down with a few silent fist pumps.

Amanda and Jud were my very first engagement session EVER and we were meeting in downtown Jacksonville to shoot. At this point, I was pregnant and in the first trimester with Michael. I was 100% caving to the cravings, so I got there early to eat Publix chicken tenders and dill pickle flavored potato chips in my car before they arrived. Probably not my proudest moment, ha!! They were so awesome and patient while I stumbled through poses and made me fall in love with engagement sessions!

Their wedding was January 21st, 2017 at MOSH in downtown Jacksonville. Their family and friends were so warm and welcoming even though we'd never met yet! The reception was supposed to be on the rooftop lounge, but Florida had other ideas and decided to rain (that's good luck for wedding day, right?!) so everything had to be moved to a small ballroom inside. You'd never know plans had changed because everybody just went with the flow instead of stressing. Amanda and Jud were getting married and that's all that mattered!

Just about a year later, they found out they were pregnant with a baby girl! I was so honored they still came back to me for photos! Their maternity session was at Castaway Bay off San Pablo and I was finally starting to get a handle on controlling the glowy light!!

Lainey was born March 31, 2018, and a few weeks later we took their first family photos! She pretty much slept the ENTIRE time like the sweet baby angel she is and Amanda and Jud were handling parenthood with a lot more grace than I started out with (at least it seemed like it during the hour I was there!! ;))!

Later that year, I announced I would hold fall mini sessions before taking maternity leave myself, and Amanda was literally the first client to sign up!! I was so incredibly flattered that this family kept coming to me time and time again through so many seasons of life. Lainey was just about six months old and was pretty much the star of the show!!

Well just last week this sweet baby girl turned ONE and I got to photograph her insanely blue eyes AGAIN!!! We trotted around Howell Park in Atlantic Beach and with all her smiles, you would never know she skipped her nap that day (isn't that how it always works out? The ONE time you actually need them to sleep... ha!)! Amanda's mom, Cheri, watches Lainey while Amanda is at work, so we captured some photos with her too!

Amanda, Jud, and Lainey - I can't tell you how grateful I am that you've trusted me to capture all your most important memories these past few years! Thank you so so much and I can't wait for the next one!! Love you guys!!

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