Category Archives: Family

Young Love

We had a young man contact us to capture his proposal to his girlfriend while they were here on vacation.  He was so sweet and had thought of everything, months in advance.  What we had to figure out was how to get close to him without his girlfriend suspecting anything.

I asked Makayla, Mr. Smitho’s drop dead gorgeous cousin if she’d be willing to model for me so that I could be taking pictures of her when they walked up we could be close to them for the proposal!  Lucky for us, Wade Makayla’s equally as drop dead gorgeous boyfriend just so happened to have graduated and returned home from Ohio State University just a few weeks ago.

(In case you missed the seriously adorable couple who got engaged that day you can find some of their pictures here) 

After finishing up Makayla and Wades gallery I could not decide which ones to share…  so I decided I would make a blog post and share them here !

The lighting was perfect and the wind blew her hair just right.   If you are ever around these two it is evident in a matter of seconds just how in love they are.   Their laughter was infectious!

I didn’t have to direct or pose them… I was able to stand back and just capture the moment!

I told Makayla that she could be a model!

But then she gets it honest.

At Easter I had the privilege of photographing her parents.  Her mama is Adam’s first cousin.  She and Mark, Makayla’s daddy were high school sweethearts.  They have been married 25 years this year and we did a photo session to commemorate their anniversary.

I am so blessed to be able to call them family!  When I married Adam, I gained an amazing extended family.  Not only do they all look like they walked off the page of a magazine… If I ever need a babysitter, I know we can call Aunt Mo and if she’s not busy she’ll be there.  Most of my family lives out of town now and so to have someone we can call on that will take care of my babies as if they were her own is a Godsend!

Make sure you like our facebook page   and our Instagram page 

to keep up to date on our latest work!  We are booking into August and September right now and still have our beach special pricing happening.  Also, if you are getting married later this year or next year, NOW is the time to get on our calendar.  There are several dates for next year already booked!  We would love to be the ones to capture your memories!

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Motherhood… A day in the life

When I was little I always dreamed of having babies of my own.  I wasn’t sure that would ever happen.  I was born with multiple health issues…  Doctors said I would never walk, I would never run, and I as I got older I would probably be in a wheelchair.  When I was 19 I was told I needed open heart surgery and that my heart was enlarged.  I remember laying on the gurney at Duke Hospital, petrified, and I remember thinking to myself that this was it.  I had made the mistake of reading up on the surgery beforehand… never. ever. do that.  A surgeon would have my heart in his hands while my body was connected to a machine that would breathe for me.  I thought about if this was really it, then I ‘d never know what it was like to get married.  I would never experience being pregnant or having babies…nor would I buy my own home… or have a real job… and the list went on and on…  Thankfully, my journey didn’t end there… my story wasn’t over… it was just beginning.

Being a mother is the most rewarding, the most frustrating, the most exhausting, the most humbling, and the single most important thing I will ever do in my lifetime.   We aren’t to a point in our photography business where I can do it full time and stay at home, so every day I get up, get everyone ready for the day, and I go to work.  I am fortunate to have a great job with full benefits, but I long for the day I can come home.  I feel like I miss SO much working.  And while we work to get our photography business built, we work two jobs which increases the time away from our kids.  But, that makes the time we do get to spend with them even more precious.

I thought about this morning as I had time before the kids woke up… how many things we take for granted day in and day out.  I thought about all the things I am going to miss one day, when they are grown and no longer at home with families of their own.  As we work to build our business… as we work to support our family… we are overlooking the little things…

So I decided to spend a few minutes capturing our morning.

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My house is never perfectly clean… my house is full of dog hair… from our very rotten furbaby…. there are toys in the floor, and inevitably a basket full of dirty clothes overflows into the floor of my bedroom.  Seriously… somewhere we have about 15 missing people hiding that contribute to the dirty clothes.. There is no way 4 people can create the mountain of clothes that collects in this house!

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There are crumbs from cookies….

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Somewhere you may find a juice cup that was hidden and never found…

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But one day there will be no more juice cups… there will be no more cookie crumbs… or the sound of giggling… the blaring cartoons, or the obnoxious toys…

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There won’t be toy’s strewn in the floor, or the pitter patters of little feet in the hallway

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So when it’s all said and done….. and they are grown… with families of their own… I hope they know that mommy always tried… that she loves them fiercely with all that she is…. that while she is far far from perfect… she strives to be the very best that she can possibly be.  There are days that I make mistakes… that I get frustrated… that I get overwhelmed… and days that I’m just plain exhausted… but I will never stop trying… I will never stop believing in their ability to be amazing…  I am the mama of two precious… gorgeous babies… they are my biggest blessings and and my proudest accomplishments!  I may not always get it right…and that’s ok… we’re not expected to… but I will never stop trying to be the very best me that I can be. Because they deserve that.  And if I could go back and tell that scared little 19 year old girl on that hospital gurney at Duke one thing… it would be breathe… take it all in… it will all be ok and one day your struggles will turn into your story….and your story will be amazing…  God has so many blessings lined up for you… so breathe and live in the moment!

God isn’t done with me yet!  (Thank the Lord!) My story isn’t over yet… so while I write my story… I vow to do better capturing it.  I capture so many other memories for everyone else sometimes, I forget that I have my own memories to capture!

Are you capturing your memories? How are you writing your story?

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Dreams do come TRUE

You may have noticed that we haven’t created a blog post in quite sometime.  There are many many benefits of living in paradise.  We have the luxury of living within 3 miles of two of the most beautiful beaches in North Carolina.  We can hear waves from our front porch year round and can smell the salt air when we pull up in our driveway.   During the summertime however, you won’t find us swinging on our front porch.  On any given evening, when the light is gorgeous and golden, you will find us at one of our area beaches capturing memories of those who have ventured to NC on vacation.

Already this year we have had the distinct honor of photographing over 80 families.   Between family sessions, weddings, and events, we have hand edited and delivered over 10,000 images!!! The majority of those sessions were beach sessions that occurred this summer.  As we reflected back over the summer at all the families we had the opportunity to meet, we were so humbled.  You see, we don’t just take pictures.  As cliche as it sounds… we pride ourselves in creating memories.  With camera phones at everyone’s disposal, anyone can take a picture.  It takes time and dedication and talent to create art.  We are dedicated to our craft and work tirelessly to create one of a kind images that will stand the test of time.  We want to capture your family in ways that you will cherish for many years to come.  We are excited to say we are already booking sessions for next summer!

This summer we had all types of sessions.  I wanted to take a few moments to highlight some of our sessions and share some of the images that you may have missed from those sessions.  We had many large families.  Our largest family session to date was a sweet family that we captured at Holden Beach.  Their grandparents had started the tradition of coming to the beach for over 50 years.  I don’t know that I’ve ever been so impressed with the closeness of a family.

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I received an email from the granddaughter who had booked the session, that the matriarch of their family, Ms. Marthalee who had started the tradition of coming to Holden all those years ago had passed away.  This was just a little over a month after these pictures were taken.  She was so beautiful and absolutely loved the beach.

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What a reminder of the importance of having pictures taken!  We heard story after story of families who had vacationed together for years but hadn’t ever had professional pictures taken.   We loved working with so many large family groups!  This is just a small sample of those families.

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Some of our favorite sessions included cute couples who were excited to announce new additions were on the way!

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We can’t wait for them all to return next summer with their sweet bundles of joy!

As always we dealt with crazy weather.  There is a saying in Southeastern NC, if you don’t like the weather wait 10 minutes and it will change!  We had rain and rainbows!

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and of course incredibly gorgeous sunsets!

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We had fun themed sessions like this one from the notebook.  This may have been one of my favorites to date.

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We were able to capture sweet young love…

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as well as couples who were celebrating years of being happily married.

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We loved seeing parents interact with their babies… both big and small!

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and of course grandparents with their grandbabies!

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You can only imagine with all of these different families the countless incredibly gorgeous children we encountered this summer!

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We heard over and over this summer, we didn’t realize this experience would be so much fun…. and my goodness did we ever have fun!

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and of course with having edited over 10,000 images this year already there’s no way we could ever begin to share them all…. but hopefully you will see how much we have loved sharing our summer with you.  We have SO enjoyed capturing your memories and are so humbled that you chose us!  We hope that most importantly you cherish these memories for decades to come!

We are already booking sessions for next summer!  Last year in March we were almost completely booked for July!  If you are interested in booking a family session, don’t wait until it’s too late to get on our calendar!

Thank you for an amazing summer and for helping us realize our dreams!

Christie and Adam Smith

 

Just how important are professional pictures of me with my kids?

This will be long, but definitely worth the read… You will also learn very quickly that although I have a masters degree and have years upon years of education under my belt I’m not the english major my sister is.  I’m not an eloquent writer and I just hope by the end of this my point comes across.

I recently gave a presentation and as part of the presentation I was looking for pictures from when I was a small child.  I have boxes upon boxes of old images.  I was born with a multitude of health issues.   When I was brought home from the hospital my mom came to stay at my grandparents house.  My grandfather and I developed an undeniable bond like no other.grandaddy

I continued to stay with my mother and grandparents… After my mother and father were married, they moved to a place of their own.  Every time, they’d take me home with them I’d become extremely sick and end up in the hospital.   When my grandfather would arrive, my fever would break and I would start coming around again.  The doctors couldn’t explain it but, after much contemplation my parents decided to allow me to stay with my grandparents, although they remained a very active part of my life.

So as I started to prepare my presentation I found picture after picture of me by myself as a child and countless pictures of me and my grandfather.  I realized, my grandmother, the patriarch of our family… I had very few pictures of.  They were almost non-existent.  As a small child the only picture I could find was this one at a Shriner fish fry fundraiser… not the best picture to say the least. Picture1

I know there are only a few in existence of me and my mother as well, although I couldn’t find them before my presentation.  My Nana played a vital role in my life growing up.  She worked tirelessly and was always giving to others.  We always had someone else living with us, that she had taken in who didn’t have anywhere else to go.  If she saw someone walking she would stop and pick them up, bring them home, feed them a hot meal, and then take them where they wanted to go… in the 80’s that was still safe to do.   My precious Nana…  who decorated for every. single. holiday,  who loved her Polaroid camera,  who was devoted to her disabled husband, was never in front of the camera.

My first year in college I got a phone call, that Nana had a massive stroke.  Her speech was affected, her memory and mind were affected, and she had slight paralysis.  It took countless hours of physical therapy and OT to get some sort of normalcy back to her life.  However, from that date forward she was never the same.

As I waded through picture after picture, I just knew there had to be more pictures in there of her, and sadly there just wasn’t.  I came across some pictures I took with my cell phone back in 2012 many years after her first stroke on mothers day with my mom and with my Nana on Facebook.  They hadn’t been printed, and if they were they’d be so pixelated from the terrible quality they wouldn’t print well.

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In today’s modern world, it is so easy to grab your cell phone and take a “selfie” with you and your kids, or parents, or whoever.  Gone is the day that you carry around a real camera to family events.  Then you take those selfies and upload them to social media for the world to see…. but have you ever thought about what happens if your profile if the social media sites were deleted?  What happens in 20-30 years from now when your children are looking back, digging through trying to find pictures of you.  Will they find them?

My grandmother is now in a memory care facility.  I see her weekly and cherish every minute we get together.  I even convinced her a few months ago to let me take her picture.   She’s as beautiful now as she’s ever been but pictures just aren’t the same.   Every time she has a ministroke a little more of nana as I knew her slips away.  It’s a constant reminder of the fragility of life.   As of late we have more bad days than good days… and nothing is as it once was…. A75_4546-Edit

This is why I decided to do Mommy and Me mini-sessions and why I decided to discount them as much as I did.  I want anyone who is interested to be able to have the opportunity to capture those precious memories that will span among generations for years to come.   You can go here to book your session.  This was the ad for the sessions that were ran on Facebook.

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These sessions are so personal for me… they are something that I’d given anything to have from when I was a small child with my mother and grandmother.  I also realized as I went through this that I have very few pictures of me with my own babies…  Since having our second child last July I have been overly self conscious with my appearance and hate the way I look in pictures… As a photographer it’s just easier for me to be behind the camera…  so I have vowed to do these myself as well.  Mr. Smitho  is a great photographer as well and I will have ours done as well… even if I’m dreading it just to make sure we’re capturing our memories!

Last year I took a picture of Nana’s  hands intertwined in my daughters hands.  To date it is my favorite picture that I’ve ever taken.  It speaks so deeply to my heart.  Those hands that held me so many nights, now wrinkled, calloused, and tired… in the sweet youthful hands of my daughter.  I’m reminded of what’s important.  At the end of the day, when it is all said and done, we will have our memories, and pictures.  smithophoto (1 of 1)

The Millikens!

If it weren’t for this precious family my husband and I would have never met.  Most do not know how me and Mr. Smitho met… While I was attending UNC-Wilmington, using an ancient version of instant messenger named ICQ.  He was looking for a girl in his class to get a homework assignment.  He found me instead… his first words to me were “do I know you?” haha not to bore you with a whole lot of details but we realized we were from the same county but attended different high schools… When I told him I attended UNCW he told me the only person I know at UNCW is a girl named Carmen…   I Said funny… my suite-mate and good friend is named Carmen…  come to find out it was the same person…  He worked with her boyfriend and they had went to high school together… After doing some investigating with her that he wasn’t a weird stalked we would chat briefly online here and there… it wasn’t until a couple years later that we would finally meet up…   Almost exactly to the day , 14 years later and we’re still together!  Now Carmen and her then boyfriend are married and have a precious little girl!  How gorgeous is this mama??  A75_3943-Edit-Edit

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Those eyes!!  and she wasn’t a fan at all of her cake! A75_4219-Edit-2  A75_4042-Edit A75_4058-Edit A75_3846-Edit She’s so incredibly beautiful…

You may remember her sweet newborn pictures…

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I’d have to say she’s only gotten prettier as she’s gotten older 🙂

Happy Birthday sweet girl!!

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The McMillan Family

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Oh this sweet family!!!  I am SO behind on our blog posts!!  We were so busy back in November when I did their session I just realized I never posted their session on the blog or on our facebook page!!!  I’m finally getting time to take a breather!  We are working on updating all the images in our galleries on our website…yes it’s quite sad I have a 7 month old and the image on my website of me is still a maternity picture!   Anywho…  I LOVED how these turned out so I just had to share them with you albeit 2 months later!

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I met Lisa when she was working with my sister in law… at a birthday party for my niece… She had this gorgeous baby boy then and I was just waiting for the day I could get him in front of my camera… He was shy at first and wasn’t too sure of this crazy woman acting like a fool or her big camera…however…with a little bribery and a little bit of playing around and he was perfect!

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How gorgeous is this sweet boy?!?

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and one more of his sweet mommy and daddy for good measure!

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I LOVE when a beautiful family, beautiful lighting, and a beautiful location all comes together… It’s my favorite!  I promise promise this year to stay more up on posting when I have sessions on our blog and on our facebook page!!

If you haven’t liked our Facebook page please do so!

Updates in the world of Smitho Photo-A glimpse into our lives!

This will be long… but it’s long overdue!  When you hire Smitho Photo you are hiring a husband and wife team!  By reading our about page (because I’m sure you’ve combed every inch of our awesome website), you would learn that Adam and I have a daughter Lexi who is 6.  What you may not learn because I desperately need to update it like every other part of the website, is last October we announced we’d be adding a new addition to our family.

After what seemed like forever, I learned what the true meaning of anxiety was.  Taking my 9 month pregnant self and putting it in front of my own camera was a scary experience!  I’ve always struggled with my weight and been super self conscious.  But this was our last baby and I wanted to remember myself just as I was…

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After a difficult pregnancy riddled  with doctors upon  doctors, gestational diabetes, insulin injections, and numerous ultrasounds our sweet precious Landon James was born July 2nd weighing in at 8lbs 9oz.

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Our family was now complete!

I had a c-section so after a week of the hospital, after a few days home I was determined to take Landon’s newborn pictures myself.  I’m still not quite sure what I was thinking.  My sweet boy gave me a run for my money!  But in the end Mommy won!  Adam plays guitar.  The guitar in these photos are actually his Papa’s guitar who we named Landon after.  My prayer was that he didn’t pee on this precious one of a kind heirloom!  He humored mommy and refrained!

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During the transition to a family of 4, Lexi somehow grew up overnight.  She all of a sudden seemed maturer and lost both of her front teeth.  It was also time for Landon’s 3 month pictures.  So what happens when there’s milestones happening and your mommy is a photographer… well you document them!

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And in closing… Since it’s now November of course we had to throw Halloween in the mix.  We have a few HUGE Star Wars fans in our house…yes we already have our tickets purchased and in hand for the new movie!  Lexi wanted to be Princess Leia… well you would think with anything and everything branded Star Wars these days that would be an easy task!  Not so much…   So Grandma came to our rescue with making her incredibly awesome Princess Leia costume.   Mommy and Daddy made the belt and we had to settle for a light Saber b/c a blaster was no where to be found!  We also couldn’t find an infant Ewok costume!  Imagine the horror!  How could they not have an Ewok costume for a 3 month old!?!  It is absolutely necessary!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything cuter!  If you don’t know what Ewoks are you need to look them up!  I want Wickett to come live at my house!

So if you’ve made it this far in this incredibly long blog post I’m impressed!  You see when you choose Smitho Photo.  You’re not jsut choosing a husband and wife team. You are choosing a family.  You are helping pay for dance lessons and tball for our sweet girl.  You are paying for diapers and eventually sports for our little boy.  You are helping support our small family.  That’s why your continued support and business means so much to us.  That’s why your referral to you coworkers and friends means so much to us.  Because to us this is personal.

I will leave you with our sweet Ewok and Princess Leia herself!

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