Welcome to the brand spankin' new Worthington Photography Blog! We are Sam and Mel, a husband-wife photography team based in the "rivah city" of Richmond, Virginia. We hope you'll come on in, sit a spell, and browse through Mel's journal of our most recent shoots and adventures. If you wish to reminisce, you can still access posts from our old blog here. Enjoy!

Baby Roscoe Turns One

May 27th, 2010

roscoeseyes

Baby Roscoe is a V.I.B (very important baby) to me.  Exactly one year and one day ago I photographed what remains the single most powerful event I have ever had the professional pleasure of documenting: Roscoe’s amazing birth (to revisit it with me, click here).  It was an important day for me personally as well as professionally: I was six months pregnant at the time and I still play Midlake’s Roscoe when I need to muster just a little extra positive and/or creative energy in my day.

My mother always says, “12 faces for 12 months” to explain the drastic changes in a baby’s features over the course of their first year.  I don’t see the newborn in my own son’s most recent face but I immediately saw the tiny baby from the birth and newborn session in this older version of Baby Roscoe, its kind of amazing to me.  The first thing we did was to take photos around the nursery, I especially love this updated family photo.  (Relax, Chloe pup… really, don’t be so uptight…)

cribportraits

Next we packed up the car with the stroller for a trip to the The Mall in downtown DC to spend the afternoon.  I loved watching Roscoe explore and play with the monuments in the background.

flareboy

We stopped for a quick snack, how darling is this little apple eater?  These photos are 100% boy baby to me between the overalls and all the dirt beneath his busy little fingernails.

appleeater

appleeater2

Hey, I heard this is how the pioneers used to brush their teeth:

teeth

Throughout the day Jacqueline, Andy and myself reminisced about births and the experience of this first year… the birth of parents… the trials and triumphs of this brand new life.  We wondered if it was possible to brace for the impact of parenthood and decided that its just one of those things you have to go through.  We talked about how it is harder than we thought it would be and yet more rewarding and amazing than we could have dreamed.  I remember a kind girl once telling me that there would be a lot of conflicting emotions in parenthood: that it is possible (and maybe even normal) to feel both elated and exhausted, grateful and inconvenienced, confident and terrified.  Spot on.  Jacqueline suggested Frou Frou’s Let Go for their slideshow song because the words sum up the first year for her but she wasn’t sure anyone would get it.  Girl, I get it.  There is beauty in the breakdown.

Click here to see his online gallery.  Happy Birthday, beautiful Baby Roscoe….  I can’t wait to photograph more birthdays.

cribboy

roscoesperch

bunny

jacqueline

gardenboy

capitol

family

clover

offbalance

grassysmile

bwapples
bwwalk

Posted by Mel @ 10:13 pm, in Portraits, Wee Ones | 1 comment | Permalink

Jenn and Chris’ Wedding

May 21st, 2010

bwatacups2

Gorgeous.  Gorgeous weather, a gorgeous bride, a gorgeous place.  Jenn and Chris’ wedding at Tuckahoe Plantation, one of our very favorite local venues, was the stuff little girls dream of without any of the pretense that usually comes with such lofty hopes.  And that’s probably because Jenn and Chris are such relaxed, fun, and kind people.  They would have been happy no matter what.  Every guest we came across at this wedding was truly kind.  Sam said more than once, “everyone here is so…. nice!?”   Yes, I threw the question mark in there because prior to this wedding we were convinced that everyone has at least one relative that everyone else feels the need to apologize for… but maybe not?  Or maybe that guy just couldn’t make it?

A farm dog with soulful eyes and a nice smile decided to participate in the ceremony.  He favored the center of the aisle and even accompanied Jenn and her father part way down.  Throughout the ceremony his head found the sympathetic hands of guests who gave it a good scratch, he chewed on plastic cups (that more than one person beside myself tried to throw out of range just to keep the crunching noise to a minimum… to no avail…), and he even cruised right up to the alter more than once.  His presence didn’t ruffle any feathers.  A friend of mine believes that dogs are old souls who come back to watch over us.  Maybe that’s why it felt like he belonged.

Chris’ father co-officiated the ceremony and gave a very personal homily.  A family member painted a beautiful family tree for everyone to sign in lieu of a guest book.  The soft pink, silver and Tiffany blues were perfect for spring.

jennchrisswatch

Jenn and Chris’ exit was a little different: the idea was for guests to use their cameras like paparazzi to get the couple to make crazy faces.  Sam had the “safe” vantage point so I decided to do something a little more experimental and keep my shutter open, figuring that as flashes went off I might get multiple funny faces.  I’m not crazy about the picture but the spirit of the idea is there (check out Jenn’s face in the upper right), I know what to do differently next time.  Anyway, I decided to post it just to show that this old dog is still learning new tricks!

weirdpapparazi

Here’s a slideshow of our favorites from the day and if you would like to check out their online gallery when its available, click here.  Congrats to Jennifer and Chris on a beautiful day and a fantastic night!

guys

dress

jengettingready

paigestairs

revupton
puppyfriend
thumbsup

ringbearer

bouquet
doggiefriend

chrisceremony

jennceremony

ceremonyarch

uptheaisle

bushes

whitepicketfence

clover

bwatacup1

flare

chrisjennfirstdance

danceoff

tent

crazylights

jenndance

jensolo

Posted by Mel @ 8:33 pm, in Weddings | No comments | Permalink

My Belly Portraits by Eleise Theuer

May 19th, 2010

Its closing on a year since these photos of me were taken by the amazing Eleise Theuer back in the beginning of August in the height of the Virginia summer.  I’ve gone back and forth about posting them here for a long time, they are so personal.  And it makes me feel vain and weird to show them off.  But I felt inspired by Natalie and Craig’s session and it occurred to me that I ask my clients to bare their pregnant bodies and emotional moments on this blog so it only seemed fair for me to step up and do the same.   We’re getting ready to shoot family portraits with Eleise so this is a great way to gear up for that.

Like most photographers, I’m more comfortable behind the lens than in front of it.  And yet I need to post these because I want you to know that we spend our hard earned money on photography too.  I appreciate the business you give me because I know the sacrifices you make to hire me.  Photography is not just my profession, its something I value highly, something I tuck money under the mattress for.  As a result of my profession, I am more aware than most that there are moments you have to live to the fullest while you have them but you can’t get them back.  Photographs bring us back.

I knew Eleise was the right choice for these photos because of her dreamy, detail oriented photographs:  she translates gestures, texture, and color in such a poignant and powerful way.  It sounds cheesy but pregnancy truly felt like a dream for me, even when I reflect on it now.  The road to get there was longer than we expected and everything finally fell into its right place.  The baby was still so abstract then and I had no idea just how much our lives were going to change.  I like remembering this version of me.

I’ll even show you my ankle shot.  Lordie those pregger ankles.  I can still feel the numbness and pain when I look at that photo!  But I love that photo.  Maybe I’m in a better  place to appreciate these photos now that I am back to my pre-preg weight (after gaining 42 lbs!) or maybe the wonder of what a body can do only comes after the fact.  I don’t remember my belly ever being so big.

If you are pregnant, have it documented in a style you love, even if you aren’t completely in love with being pregnant.  If you have a baby, have professional pictures taken as often as you can.  I’m not talking about getting a friend with a nice camera to come over or buying yourself a better camera instead.  I’m talking about pulling someone in who “sees” for a living.  A photographer isn’t the product of their camera or equipment, a photographer is someone who sees things the rest of us don’t.  I don’t care if its myself or Eleise or someone else (sincerely)…just do it.  Pregnancy and babyness are like mist: they are here and then gone.  I have no idea what I will do with these photos of me ultimately but I am so grateful that I have them always.

Thank you so much, Eleise.  I love these forever.

aerial

bellycurtain

bellycloseup

ankles

bed

Posted by Mel @ 5:24 pm, in Personal | 5 Comments | Permalink

Waiting for Baby Boy Toalson

May 17th, 2010

shoes

Today’s rain may have thrown a monkey wrench in my portrait plans for the early part of this week but I’m making the most out of this dreary day by catching up on editing.  And just in time…I definitely wanted for Natalie and Craig to see these before Baby Boy arrives!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: belly portraits are the hardest thing I do.  Its not for a lack of great subjects (I truly have the best) or because I don’t love the maternal form (I definitely do) but because its so hard to do in a way that is artistic without being cheesy, emotional without being over the top, and most challenging of all – unique.  While I’ve never really succeeded with it (by my own standards), I get a little closer every time I do it.  Natalie and Craig’s photos are the closest I have come yet.

Natalie and Craig built the house that has become the hub of their life so it only made sense to take photos in this very special place.  The couples’ dog, Hilton (as in Hilton Head where the couple was married, not Paris or Perez), was a very willing participant and all I had to do to get her to look at me was say the word, “ball”.  I often joke that my job is like taking a test you can’t study for: each shoot offers the gift of serendipity, particularly when I shoot for a client for the first time.  So I was pleased to find so many intimate and welcoming details in Natalie and Craig’s home that I could use to frame this special, happy time in their lives:

lamp

chalkboard

babyboychalkboard

nurseryinwait

quilt

I couldn’t decide which close up I liked better so I included them both!

family

lifesgreatestblessing

oneoflifesgreatestblessings

Its kind of creepy (or maybe just cool) that the specular highlights on Craig’s shirt and the couples’ profile mimic the look of their baby in the ultrasound.  I didn’t intend it but I liked it:

sonogram

I find myself drawn to the same things over and over again when I do belly shoots: clocks in the background (tic tock!), open windows letting light in, and items that lay in wait for the tiny person they belong to.   I always hope that loving anticipation comes through these photos.  There are both excited moments of chatter and quiet moments of pause on a belly shoot.

Sam made fun of me for wishing Natalie a “powerful” birth earlier today, he called me a hippy.  Guilty as charged, minus the patchouli.   Good luck to you both in the days to come, enjoy those first sweet moments of parenthood and I can’t wait to meet Baby Boy on our newborn shoot very soon.  In the mean time, here’s a slideshow and if you would like to check out their online gallery, click here.

porch

lapdog

hilton

rings

sweetlight

freckles

ticktock

smilingnatalie

bed

Posted by Mel @ 8:39 pm, in Bellies, Portraits, Wee Ones | No comments | Permalink