Family & dog snuggle on a bed together in Charlotte, NC


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Daniel & I don’t get to do these sessions very often. Mostly because it’s been hard to reconcile the photojournalistic direction our weddings were going with family portraits. WE LOVE MOMENTS and we found that our families wanted more posed photos. We’ve slowly but surely been changing the direction of our family sessions and we’ve been LOVING IT!

Megan and Chris are dear friends whom I’ve know for a decade. I was privileged to shoot their wedding & now I get to capture their first family photos together! With friends like Megan & Chris, they don’t even send me shot ideas or come up with a photo theme. They just say “Mabyn, do what you want! We trust you!” – The sweetest words a photographer will ever hear!

So when a giant snow storm completely thrashed our original photo plans I jumped on the opportunity! My dear friends looked at me with wide eyes and asked “What do we do?! It’s terrible weather outside! We can’t take pictures in this!” Normally I’d be up for the challenge, but with sweet baby girl only six weeks old I didn’t feel that taking pictures in a snow storm would be the wise choice. So I grinned from ear to ear and told them we were doing an in home session. They gave me the thumbs up and we explored their home looking for the best pockets of light. They snuggled together, played together, and overall we had an amazing time documenting a fabulous afternoon at home!

This has to be one of my favorite family sessions yet! There’s something so beautiful about just staying in and being with each other. Thank you so much Megan & Chris for trusting me so well. I love you guys! I can’t wait to do more of these beautiful sessions in the future!


Family & dog snuggle on a bed together in Charlotte, NCMom holds her newborn in Charlotte, NCBaby peeks out of dad's arms in Charlotte, NCDad rocks his daughter dad snuggles his daughter reflection in mirrormom and dad play with their daughter as dog looks onclose up on baby's handbaby pulls moms hair funny moment

family snuggle together in their bedroommom and dad gaze lovingly at their new daughterdad snuggles daughter while mom looks onfamily plus dog hang out on their bedbaby toes and dad playingprofile of sweet baby girlclose up of baby girl's eyesbaby girl gets changed and looks at the cameradad pets dog while mom & baby look ondog lays on bed as the family snuggles togethermom and dad hold baby girl in the window lightsilohuette of mom dad & baby

At home session with the Rheaume Family

Tips for Brides

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The DIY Guide to Taking Christmas Family Photos

I’m a really terrible Christmas card photo planner. Every year I intend to have one of my amazing photographer friends capture a few shots of Daniel and I, but life always gets in the way. 2 weeks before Christmas I scramble to take a few shots myself so we can put out a Christmas card or at least a Christmas Facebook post! Thankfully, there are a few tricks that I’ve learned over the years of doing this that allow Daniel and to have gotten some pretty spectacular shots. All of these photos I’ve taken with a camera & tripod (except the last one. Thanks Mom!). Some utilized a little extra gear too, but you can recreate most of these types of shots with the following tips in the DIY Guide to Taking Christmas Family Photos!

couple poses for a ugly sweater Christmas card with their cat in Charlotte, NC

(2016 Christmas Ugly Sweater Party)

Tip #1 – Put your device on timer mode

No matter what device you use, whether it be a professional DSLR or your iphone, all cameras come now with a timer option. 10 seconds is just enough time for you to set it and get your booty into the shot! Mom is no longer missing! If you want to add even more flexibility to your shots you can add on a remote trigger to your setup. They’re super cheap and reduce the running back and forth to your camera. You can get a bluetooth trigger for most phones now too! Just click a button and the photo is taken!

Couple kisses on top of Grandfather mountain in the fall (First Anniversary at Grandfather Mountain)

Tip #2 – Get a tripod

Stabilizing your camera or phone helps SO much! It allows you to have a stable shot without stacking a tower of books just to set it up (been there done that). It also makes you hands free so you’re able to snuggle up with your family or hold your cat! Adding a more personal element. There are so many cheap tripods out there these days. Amazon has 5 million options alone for both cameras and your phones. I would recommend getting one that extends to eye level at least, some are misleading and you’ll still have to stack books to make it work.

Family poses for a group shot at Thanksgiving in Charlotte, NC

(The Ludke Clan Thanksgiving 2017)

Tip #3 – Use natural light

Now this may or may not help reduce the blinking issue, but it’s a lot easier for your eyes to bear than a bright flash over and over again. Place the family facing a window or go outside. It’s easy to find a few snowy trees or some Christmas lights to stand in front of and sneak a festive shot. This allows for a nice even light source and less shock to the system.

Couple throws snow into the air making silly faces in Charlotte, NC

(2017 snowpocolyps)

Tip #4 – Have fun!

No need to stand there awkwardly wondering “what to do I do with my hands?” Use this opportunity to give snuggily hugs, throw snow, or make silly faces. It’s fun moments like these that truly make a photo stand out!


Capturing moments in time are so incredibly important. I hope these few tips will help you snag the perfect Christmas shot this year and for many years to come. If this all sounds like too much work, then I would highly recommend hiring your favorite photographer to help create some gorgeous memories for you. It’s even more fun when all you have to do is focus on being a family!

And without further ado here is our 2017 Christmas Card to you! Merry Christmas!

Mabyn & Daniel

Couple blows breath into a cold snowy night in Charlotte, NC

The DIY Guide to Taking Christmas Family Photos


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The Webster Duck Pond

One of the biggest honors I get as a photographer is return clients. It means so much to me! It’s also amazing to watch previous wedding clients grow into families! Creating new & beautiful chapters in their lives.
Not too long ago I got to document Katie & Mike’s snowy winter wedding back home in Syracuse. In just 2 short years, they’ve moved home to Syracuse & started a family! Josie is hilarious and we had an amazing afternoon exploring the Webster Duck Pond. We then wandered over to Meacham park where swings are a favorite and then ended in the most perfect way!
When I shot Katie & Mike’s engagement session, we ended the day at Gannons Ice Cream. How fitting that we ended their family session at the same place! Let’s just say Josie is now a fan of ice cream! I can’t get over her cute messy face! AH!
Not only was it a great adventure with the Rey family, but it was amazing catching up on life. So much has happened since their beautiful wedding. It’s such a joy and honor to capture this new part of their lives!


To see more fun filled family adventures click here!



The Rey Family at the Webster Duck Pond in Nedrow, NY