Gunter {Family} . Jewel Box

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Once in a while you get stunning light, mixed with  bright fun outfits, and add a dash of giggles. A photographer can only smile and beam with the joy when that perfect recipe is created.

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Those sweet smiles that are exchanged between a husband and wife who actually have a second to embrace are the most real and relaxed moments they might have all day.

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But the star of the show is this sweet girl. She rocked her 4 year old session. Each expression she shared was filled with joy, kindness, and a bit of sass. Which is everything that makes up a little girl.

You can tell that she loves being the sole attention of each of her parents.

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Happy sweet 4 years, dear girl. I wish many more years of family snuggles and joy filled laughter.

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The Crain {Family} 2016 + 2017

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One of the greatest joys in being a photographer is seeing families grow. Photographing engagements, then weddings, and then babies (and sometimes multiple babies). I had the honor of photographing the Crains last year and then again this past December. However, there were some major changes in a year… and I believe you will love the change. I’ll give you a hint : he is a 10 lbs, adorable, and cuddly. Keep on scrolling to see!

2016:

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2018 (and the big change):

Stunning Emily and strong Stephen became PARENTS! I loved that they continued the plaid trend and I even got a few baby snuggles in = Big Win!

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One thing I adore about these two is the ability to look so natural as a couple in front of a camera. I told them to go be cute, and this is what I got. Perfection.

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And this little guy is the big surprise…

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I was thankful to steal a few snuggles from this happy guy at our session. Seriously, babies are the best. Can I get an Amen?

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2017 Christmas Gift Guide for the Photographer in your life {photo tips}

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The mom-tog (or dad-tog):

-Photographer Assistant Onesie – $
This is the sweetest little onesie for your favorite little model and assistant.
– Easy and portable pop up studio $$
If you are looking into product photography a portable light box is incredibly helpful.
-Shutter Hugger $
Getting kids to look at the camera can be tricky, but these are a huge help and I often use the Dalmatian.
Artifact Uprising gift card $-$$$
This is perfect for the parent who loves a modern look and to print their photos!

The rugged photographer:

Cell phone Waterproof Dry Bag $
The worst thing is to ruin your phone due to water, I love this one because you can still use it through the bag.
-Fingerless Gloves $
Warm and cute is a hard combo to find, but these gloves are great for those winter outdoor adventures.
Bendable Tripod $
I literally just ordered this one for myself and am excited to possibly actualy be in some of my family photos this year! It is also great to get those selfies with incredible outdoor backgrounds.
Camera Rain Shell $$
This protective shell is great to throw in a backpack and takes up little space.
Drone $$$
This might be the bad mamma jamma of drones, even I think it is pretty.

The super girly photographer:

-Stay Focused Wall Print $
Beautiful and encouraging is the perfect combo for wall art.
-Cute Photography Slouchy T-shirt $-$$

I’m pretty sure I love all of these options. The funny and very true phrases are exactly how I feel most of the time.
Stunning Camera Strap $$
Love how a camera strap can become a beautiful accessory.
-House of Flynn Camera bag – $$$
I just got this for myself (see above) and I can’t wait to show you all how much I love it.

The shutter happy grandma:

Camera Cookie Cutters $
Now these are just super cute and great for making cookies with those grandkids.
– Modern Children Photography book – $
This is a great book on how to get modern and natural photos with kiddos! I deeply appreciate all of the practical advice.
-Camera Planter $$
I know I put this in the ‘Grandma’ section, but I love this planter.
-The Cutest Camera Bookends – $$
This is another product that is super cute and perfect for any camera lover.

Price Key:
$- less than $25
$$- $25-$100
$$$- Over $100

St. Louis Christmas To Do List {Personal}

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Christmas is probably one of the most magical times of the year. I am mesmerized by the lights around the neighborhood. The kindness that is offered by complete strangers. And thankfulness of the hope and faith of the season.

I know that the season can also get busy, but if you are new to the area, or just want to get reacquainted to all the fun the city of St. Louis holds, here is a list of my favorite St. Louis Christmas activities!

  • Garden Glow – Missouri Botanical Gardens
    While it might be a little costly for a family, the views are stunning. It is truly magical. I would suggest it might be best for a date night- and if so make sure you pick up a hot beverage before you enjoy the lights!
  • Santa Parade – Main Street St. Charles
    This event that happens every weekend during the holidays is basically a kiddo’s dream. I appreciate the historical nature of the Santa’s in their costumes and the street is decorated beautifully. This is a free event but give yourself time to travel as parking can be difficult.
  • Christmas Tea Party – London Tea Room or La Patisserie Chouquette
    Both locations have a fabulous formal tea that you need to register ahead for, but if you just want to enjoy a pot of tea (or their scrumptious desserts) with a friend that is encouraged as well!
  • Brewery Lights – Anhueser Busch Brewery
    AB does a great job incorporating adult beverages in all of their events and tours and the Brewery Lights aren’t any different. While there are children activities, I would recommend for a date night as well. The walking tour with a few samples is free – so double win! 
  • Ice Skating in Forest Park – Steinberg Skating Rink
    While I do not ice skate- seriously I am miserable on the ice and miserable to watch- others thoroughly enjoy this winter activity. It is a great way to burn some calories- or energy from your kiddos who are couped inside. They are cash only- so that is nice to remember.
  • Winter Wonderland Lights – Tilles Park
    This is a tradition for many families in St. Louis. I know as a kid I was packed in a vehicle and oooo’d and ahhhh’d as we went through the park. If you want to up your game you can also schedule a horse drawn carriage ride through the park. 
  • The Polar Express – Union Station
    Make the magic of the book come to life through this actual train ride. While this is an expensive trip for your littles it is full of fun for all!
  • Wild Lights – St. Louis Zoo
    The St. Louis Zoo + the magic of Christmas lights = instant fun! If you are looking for a fun event for your kids that burns off some energy and isn’t too expensive this might be the perfect option.

 

 

Do you have any other fun suggestions? If so leave them in the comments below!

Shop Small Saturday . Gift Cards {Business}

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As your tummy is completely full of incredible Thanksgiving leftovers and you have had your fill of Black Friday- or avoided it like me (Thank you power of Amazon), I want to share a different gift.

A gift that will be looked at for generations to come – Photographs.

I can vividly remember sitting in my Great Grandmothers chair look over old photos. Pointing at each person as my dad explained exactly who each person was. I can remember the smell of perfume on my Great Grandmothers chair and exactly how the room looks.

Memories are a funny thing like that.

That memory would not have been exactly like that without looking over those photos, and learning about my family who is no longer with us.

It makes me so happy when I have families come together and gift photography to each other.

A recent family that did this was the Allen Family. Now Grandma and Grandpa Allen have a photo of their whole family.

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Be looking for a post about this family soon, but until then you can give your family a similar gift.

Gift cards are offered all year-long, but around Christmas I like to throw in a few extras.

2017 Christmas Gift Card

One Hour Session
Downloadable Online Gallery with 60 edited photos
One 8×10 and three 5×7 photos of your choosing

all for $200

The gift card will be sent digitally so that you can wrap it up however you would like!

Interested? Email sweetsarahmariephotography@gmail.com

 

Bushor {Family} . Creve Coeur Lake

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If I could nominate a family for best dressed it would probably be this one. Every year (and I think I’ve been blessed to photography their family for 3 years – 2016, 2015) they come dressed to the nines and coordinate oh so well. Seriously, if I was a mom I would get notes from Jacque. Not only would I get notes from her about fashion, but also how she raises two sweet and kind young ladies.

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I would ask her how she incorporates fun and laughter into her day.

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I would also ask her how she balances life and being a great wife. I mean her husband is incredibly smitten with her and his two little ladies.

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And while Creve Coeur Lake may not be the most traditional location for Christmas Family Photos. I cannot get enough of how the sun sets behind the lake. This location is a gem in St. Louis. Seriously, some of my favorite sessions have been here (Ashley and Beth).

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Jacque, keep on working those cute outfits and teaching your ladies that life should be filled with love, laughter, and kindness.

Guffey {Family + Maternity} . St. Louis Morning

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I have a deep love hate relationship with morning sessions. However, I am easily motivated by coffee and so that is how I convince myself to book sunrise sessions. Seriously- I say to myself, “Sarah, if you book a sunrise session you can grab a skinny vanilla latte from Starbucks on your way home.” Yes, I talk to myself often- no shame in my game.

However, I didn’t even need to bargain with myself in order to get up bright and early for this session with the Guffeys. I was honored to take this sweet family’s photos for a few years now – in 2016 and 2015. And I want everyone to know that I am so thankful to build relationships and see my clients sweet families grown. Seriously- when I say it is an honor, I truly mean it. So when Alex contacted me and said her family was growing again, I’m pretty sure I squealed and immediately agreed to anything she wanted.

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I love it when families incorporate something personal into their sessions. Their sweet little lady wore a dress handmade and I believe the satin of the dress was from a bridesmaid’s dress from Alex’s wedding!

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Now to Alex’s sweet baby bump…

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Alex was obviously glowing, but the stunning sunrise behind her helped added to the glow.

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These two just look at each other and start beaming. They have the most genuine smiles.

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And because we know who is really in charge,  I will leave you with a few photos of the cutest little lady.

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2017 Fall Mini Sessions {update}

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Wow! The response for mini sessions have been overwhelming… however, St. Louis weather has not been cooperating. I originally set dates for October 22 and November 18 and when both of those filled, I added November 5. But the weather had another idea and October 22 and November 5 both had to be adjusted. So to those who have been so super flexible… Thank YOU!

But due to the overwhelming response, the November 18th date is filled and I’ve added a November 26 date. I have gotten smarter though and it will be located in The Jewel Box.

Details:
November 26
25 minutes || sessions from 11:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m.
40 Digital Prints with an online downloadable gallery
Print release
$100

To book your session: Email sweetsarahmariephotography@gmail.com

Once again, thank you for being incredible clients, it is truly a joy to see your families grow each year!

 

Nolan {Newborn} . St. Peters

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I had the incredible privilege to photograph Nolan’s sister, Victoria, last year and was excited when Amanda told me that she was pregnant again but this time with a boy!

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While Miss Tori is still getting used to her new little brother it was great to see how much she has grown! Amanda and Ben are incredible parents that always have a project going on and still seem to keep life together- inspirations for sure!

One project that impressed me was Nolan’s nursery. Amanda said it was so last minute- but it looks anything but last-minute and is the perfect nursery for this little guy! And if you are wondering- yes, Ben made those!

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Nolan sweetly slept through most of his session and was a champ!

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Ok, we had a few yawns, and he even does that in the most adorable fashion.

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Congratulations Stokes Family on adding strong Nolan to your fold!

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Oliva {Newborn} . St. Louis

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Can a photo get any cuter? Seriously…… wait for it.

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Oh…. I can do better than that….

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Yes, that is the cutest baby butt bunny tail ever. That’s it, you can go home, you have seen the most adorable photo on the internet. In all seriousness, Miss Olivia rocked her newborn session. Her mom and dad were the sweetest and most patient ever- and she will have them wrapped around her little finger.

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I’m a sucker for anyone in a tutu, but a newborn- yes I was done, when Olivia came out in this one. Mommas- please feel free to put your newborns in all of the cutest little outfits. Yes, I know they grow out of them, but come on, they are so dang cute.

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There is such a special bond between daddy and daughter and photos like this remind me of this deep fierce love. Olivia looks so small in her daddy’s strong hands.

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Congrats you two on the birth of your first sweet little lady.