Monday, August 3, 2015

Lee and Kelli: 15 Years and Counting {Tampa, Florida Lifestyle Family Photography}{Allen, Texas Lifestyle Family Photography}

Lee and Kelli celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary this year.  A few months ago Kelli approached me with an idea for a special photography project to celebrate this milestone in their lives.  She commissioned me for a "Day-in-the-Life" portrait session with a vision of documenting a little glimpse into their every day lives.  Our goal was to celebrate their continued love and commitment to one another and to highlight the many blessings that have come from their 15 years of marriage - their home, their children, and the life they have built together.

"Day in the Life" portrait sessions are among my favorite.  When clients are allowed to be themselves in their own space, magic happens.  I adore this family (Kelli is one of my 5 Creative Retreat friends)!  We first met years ago in our Sunday school class.  Lee's job has since taken their family from Texas to St. Louis to Tampa.  Life has thrown many curve balls their way.  Through it all, they have maintained a love for the Lord, a love for each other and a positive, joyful outlook on life.

Congratulations to 15 years of wedded bliss, my friends!  May our Heavenly Father bless you with many, many more!

Part of building a life together involves creating a home that reflects your personality and style.  A home should comfort your soul and provide safety, rest and inspiration.  It should also welcome and embrace those who enter its doors.  Kelli and Lee have a beautiful home.  I love all the little pops of bright color and bold patterns - so much like their fun and vibrant personalities.

15 years later and Lee and Kelli find themselves in a beautiful home filled with the most wonderful blessings of all - Their 4 children (and memories of their loved ones who live across the miles).

God has been faithful!

I could end the post here and it would be a wonderful tribute to a beautiful couple who have worked faithfully to build a life and family together.  But, there's so much more to this beautiful family than nice posed smiles.  I want you to see what makes this family truly special! Their genuine love for one another. Their playfulness.  Their spunk.  Their passions.  Their zest for life.

Lee and Kelli have taught their children the importance of living their lives for the Lord.  Anyone who knows me knows that this is my highest calling for my own family.  I admire this about Lee and Kelli!  I also admire how they unashamedly encourage their children to reach their full potentials and to strive for their goals and dreams full throttle.  They have a special knack for creating an atmosphere of energy and fun in their home.  They may work hard, but they also love hard, play hard and laugh hard.  They aren't afraid to be true to themselves and they celebrate each other's unique talents and differences.

Life in their home is pretty much normal every day stuff.

I was tickled pink to have an insiders look.

While checking out the light in Lee and Kelli's home, I came across this completely non-staged scene. Always a sucker for tender father-daughter moments, I wasted no time in documenting Lee and Tia's special relationship.

I was in the bedroom looking for the perfect light for this following sequence of shots I had in mind. While these are a bit more staged, the love between mother and daughters is as real as it gets (as evidenced in the sweet card Tia left for her mommy).

What I love about "Day in the Life" family sessions in a client's home is the fact that the children get regular breaks throughout our time together.  Tia was such a big helper with Annika while I was working with their brothers down the hall.

Another upside to "Day in the Life" portrait sessions is the opportunity to goof off and be silly.  These sessions are perfect for little kids who have a hard time sitting still for more formal portrait sessions.

One of the elements Kelli wanted to include in their project was a quirky mix of elegance and chaos. She loved the idea of being all dolled up in the middle of her not-so-perfect everyday surroundings. When I saw this wallpaper in Lee's home office, I knew it was perfect for what she had in mind.

Lee's collection of artwork he's saved from his children was the perfect segue into the father-son sequence Kelli had in mind.  While this might very well be an ordinary day-to-day activity, the boys had a blast hamming it up for the camera!

Kelli is a blogger I follow.  Her posts are informative, down-to-earth yet intelligent, sometimes humorous and always inspiring.  Late this spring she posted her second annual "Summertime Agenda of Awesome" post entitled Living Creatively with Children.  It's packed full of wonderful ideas for keeping children active and creative throughout the summer.  Each summer she creates a fun and colorful poster showcasing their family's summer rules - which perfectly balances responsibility and fun.  

Fun being the key word!

Speaking of her blog, Kelli is also an author with two books being published this year.  We stole away from the rest of the family and stepped into her office for a few quick head shots.  


As is the case in most homes where the mother works from home, our time alone was very short lived!  We were soon joined by her youngest son - which worked out perfectly.  Sloan LOVES the camera and is not shy at all, so we got some great shots!

Go with the Flow!  

That's the first rule in "Day in the Life" photo sessions.  

If a photographer is too rigid in their plans and unwilling to look for the candid moments, they will miss out on the true gems of life.

Why wouldn't I want to capture this little slice of photo-bomb heaven?


He's so darn cute!!!!

So glad he decided to join us!

The fun continued in the dining room with a game of Beat the Parents.  This is a family favorite activity, and Kelli wanted to be sure to document it some good old fashioned family game time.

Don't forget about Annika.  She may be small.  But she is FIERCE!

As our time winded down, Lee and Landon got dinner started while Kelli comforted Annika on the couch and Sloan and Tia goofed off in the living room. 

These are simply a few candid shots while the family enjoyed some down time before Kelli's last portrait request.  A family being a family.  If you look closely, you'll see the value in this type of portrait session.  You'll discover things about this family that a traditional portrait session could never tell you.

You'll see that their oldest is a budding chef.  

You'll see that an accomplished gymnast lives under their roof. 

You'll see that there's nothing quite like a mother's gentle touch.  

You'll see the fun a brother and sister can have together - and the mischief they can get into.

You'll see a dad who's not afraid to help out in the kitchen.

Don't get me wrong.  Posed family portrait sessions have their place (and can certainly be incorporated into a "Day in the Life" photo project).  But, it is my hope is that you will want more!  That you will be convinced to invest in a "Day in the Life" photo project of your own.  

Short of a live movie (which could be incorporated as well), a "Day in the Life" portrait session is the best "slice of life" documentary you can hand down to your family for generations to come.

Last but not least, we carved out time to cross off Kelli's final request from her list - a family dance in the kitchen (which happens regularly in this music loving home). 

This fun and joyful time ended right where we started - with Lee and Kelli enjoying a little time "alone".  They prove it just takes a moment to usher in a little walk down memory lane.  Time to remember why it was they first fell in love.  Time to enjoy where that love has brought them.  And time to look forward to where it is yet to lead.

Time to celebrate their togetherness!

And their family!

Lee, Kelli, Landon, Tia, Sloan and Annika, I am so humbled you invited me into your home to create these images and preserve these memories for you!  May God bless you with many, many more years of joy, laughter, growth and reaching after your dreams!

Love you all!

* * * * * * * * * * 

What about you?  Are you interested in documenting your own family's story?  Give me a call!  I'd love to work with you to bring your vision to fruition.  You can reach me at 214-547-9820 or email me at

These every day moments are the memories that will help to tell your family's story years down the road.  

How can you prepare for your own "Day in the Life" photo session?  

Ask yourself the following questions:

What are the activities that we enjoy doing together as a family?  

How can I highlight the relationships that are important to me in real and tangible ways?

How do I want my house to look?  Does it need to be picture perfect, or do I want it to look lived in - just the way it is?

What special gifts and talents or personality traits of your family members do you want to document?

This is just a start.  I'm happy to work with you to sort out all the details - from wardrobe to activities.

It would be my honor!

Celebrating You!

Tammy Labuda

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