January 19, 2014

my belly. baby #2.


So I REALLY wasn't going to do maternity photos...like, really.  We had such a busy fall, I felt like I missed the window of "cute preggo lady" and had moved on to "people are giving me that sympathetic look at Target preggo lady" .  The swelling, the puff, the waddle.  I'm not kidding.  In TJ MAXX last night I totally had a sympathy conversation with the random woman in the bathroom.  All this to say, we had these cute selfies (us + our cameras + a trigger) that we did with Darby when I was pregnant with Sharpe, and my mom has been on us to do the same shots with baby #2.  I thought it was a great idea, I really did, it just seemed that we should have done it, oh, 10 weeks ago!! Now that baby boy will be here in 10 days, I suddenly regretted that we hadn't done it and so we made it happen.  Just getting my hair and makeup and self ready + sweating + finding something that fit was enough to make me realize we should have done it much sooner, but nonetheless, it got done.  Selfies round 2!  We weren't focused on getting a variety of shots, but on getting literally the same couple of poses we got the first time around.  I think we did a pretty good job:) So, here I am- about to POP!  Hello big round belly!  I can do this- 10 more days to go:)  

  1. chelsea cote:

    these are so sweet!

  2. jill:

    Yall are just beautiful and all….. but I can’t get over that Darby person…..

Yup, another year down!  Gosh, I know all the "old people":) talk about how time flies, but it's just so true!  Honestly, I can't even get my mind around this year.  As I sit here exactly two weeks from my due date of Baby Hartsell Boy #2, I am really lost for words for this year!  It was too much, all of it.  I'm overwhelmed by it, but in the BEST way possible.  I'll try and recap because I think it's important to reflect and just see what all we accomplished as a family and in business.  You can read 2012's recap here…that was fun to go back and do, too!

(I'm going to share pretty much just a lot of iPhone/instagram photos because well….the pro photog mom sorta fell apart in 2013.  Not as many pro photo shoots- and most of them that we did have I've already shared already on the blog, so sharing some you may not have seen.  Go back and take a look at all the pro ones sometimes, they are pretty cute, too:))

We started the year with a one year old.  That was fun, really fun.  Our little late walker decided to get on the walking bandwagon sometime around 13-14 months…this is after pretty much furniture walking for 6+ months.  We kept thinking he'd take off, but he just never did.  Still off the charts, our little boy brings us SOO much joy.  I know I brag on him too much…but he is such a smart, sweet, and darling little man.  Just easy! very easy!  Everyone keeps saying the next one won't be the same, and I say hush it!  Don't jinx this good thing we have going here!  I can't believe how much he has grown in this one year.  He went from our crawling, paci loving guy to talking up a storm in full sentences and developing so much of his personality.  Luckily because of his sweet nature, the grandparents never minded keeping him for, oh you know, 3/4 the weekends of the year.  They saved us!  We would get updates and photos to our phones while working of whatever cuteness he was up to.

(started the year still crawling…so little! and still bald!)

We had a busy spring and early summer in business- lots of fun weddings, which I will get to.  We joined our church officially and Sharpe was dedicated on Mother's Day.  Once school was out, we headed to the beach!  We took most of July off to spend as a family- and boy did we:) Practically moved down to my parent's place at Oak Island where we were totally on Island Time.  Saw lots of friends along the way and spent lots of time being…well…lazy.  Our fall was to be the busiest we have ever had…so we were "Getting Ready to Get Ready".  Spring was also when I got my second bun in the oven, so lazy days were just what we needed a few months later!  We played and played and played on the beach.  As fun as it was this year- I know this coming summer he is going to be such a perfect age for the beach.  Although, you know my whole family is see-thru, so the sun situation is really just a problem.  We are all just so white!  It takes a traveling caravan to get us and all of our sun protection down to the beach.

(at the beach.  getting a little more hair and he shot straight up! no more baby rolls)

Back from the beach and back to reality- our craziness in business started back up in August along with Joe heading back to school.  I was going to miss my helper!  Rejuvenated, we got back in the swing of things, but boy was it crazy!  Sharpe started back to preschool 2 days a week and we tried to get back in our routine of lots of work and lots of weddings and amazing seniors and families.  We did pretty good.  We found out we were having another little boy somewhere in here, and we couldn't be happier(I knew the whole time it was another boy!).  I was definitely a little relieved, what was I going to do with all of that boy stuff if not?!

I would be remiss to not mention a few things in here that were critical to our year.  I turned 30 on the 30th of August.  It was fairly uneventful….but mostly because our family experienced great loss in early September…the death of my beloved DD.  My mothers mom lost her battle with Parkinson's/Alzheimer's after a rough couple of months and a few very short weeks of touch and go.  In the middle of what all we had going on in business and life, this was hard. very, very hard.  We had a packed calendar of weddings to shoot but I tried to be as much help to my family as possible- and primarily to my mom who takes on the burdens of our whole family without complaint.  That's really all I can say about that without turning into a puddle here at the computer.  I miss her so much.  It was a hard time and continues to be a process to move through.

(a shot from our wedding 5 years ago.  4 generations.  DD on the far left) 

Fall marched on and we tried to keep the pace.  Our wedding schedule was so crazy there wasn't a ton of time for fall outings, but we managed a few.  We knew it would be a crazy fall, which is why we took so much time in July, but we still managed a trip to the pumpkin patch and a few other fall play dates as a family. Oh, and had THE BEST TIME thinking of what Sharpe should be for Halloween and making his costume.  These are just the sort of things that keep us up at night!  Super Darby and Super Sharpe were a big hit!

 (playing with his bestie Griffin at school, Halloween and a trip to the pumpkin patch!)

 Fall turned into Winter and  as we neared the end of our crazy, crazy wedding run our steam was running low, but we looked forward to a few things we had planned on the calendar.  One being a trip to the Polar Express up in Bryon City.  Also shooting our annual Christmas card- which is also something we go a little nuts over.  I am also VERY pregnant at this point, so trying to get everything ready for baby…which, for the record, is still not done 2 weeks before he is to arrive.  The holidays were great- we shot a wedding right before and right after- but Sharpe was SO FUN to be around.  He loved to "open peasants" and some of his favorite gifts were toy cars and his fireman dress up outfit.  Not too sure about Santa, he soaked everything in!  He also celebrated his 2nd birthday. Since we did it up big for his first birthday- we just kept it low key at home with pizza and the grandparents for birthday #2.

And then it was New Year's!  Yup, that's how quick it happened folks! Such a fun year with our little guy.  In Business...

We shot 31 weddings as a company- 29 for Joe and I and 2 for our associate.  It was crazy busy and crazy fun.  Celebrating with people on the happiest day of their life is truly life-giving!! What a gift!  In April I attended a workshop in St. Louis- learning lots of new tricks of the trade and continuing to try and learn more about our craft.  We really spent most of the year perfecting our workflow and trying to make things more efficient- and some great changes were made.  We implemented a new delivery system for weddings and I revamped my senior sessions.  We shot lots of Photo-Fusion Videos(which we introduced at the end of 2012) and took so much pride in our work.  Shooting most of the year pregnant added a little extra element of stress, but Joe picked up any of my slack and I am super happy with the body of work we produced for our amazing couples this year.  Thank you for trusting us with your moments!!!!

2013- lots of these fall weddings still to hit the blog!


And that was 2013, people!  It was crazy long at times, and crazy short at times.  Our little family will grow by another 2 feet, and I am just so excited for what 2014 holds for us.  We still have a FEW wedding dates left in 2014, so if you know any friends/family/people you like getting married, we would love for you to pass our names along.  Senior and Families, too!  We wouldn't have this business without those people out there that are constantly referring us and telling their friends about us.  We consider you partners in this work!  Thank you Thank you Thank you for sending love our way all year long.  We count our blessings every night for all of our cheerleaders, for the support of our family and friends, and of course AMAZING CLIENTS!!  We are truly blessed.   Joe and I hope 2014 showers your family with love and we can't wait to share more in the days and weeks to come.  Thanks for reading!


On Friday Joe and I celebrated our 5th Anniversary!  I don't feel like we've been married but for a minute, or that we are even old enough to have 'almost' two kiddos!  Time truly does fly when you are having fun! Those who know us personally know that I am a bit spoiled by this wonderful man...and those who REALLY know us are laughing at the VERY true reality of that statement! I get it, I'm lucky:)  He is the best husband I could have never even dreamed up, and that's no lie.  But really, enough sappy...he's just really great and I am so thankful for him.  Thankful for the husband and dad that he is, and for who he is to our family.

Which brings me to my next point:  One of my favorite parts of this job are getting to do it with Joe! For the last few years we have shot every wedding together and have developed a bit of telepathy when we are working.   A large number of photos on this blog are his- but he doesn't care much about credit.  In fact, I have to MAKE him look at the blog posts to see all of his great shots.   This year, when I have been pregnant for roughly 90% of the weddings we shot, he has really picked up the ole preggo slack- and has done more than his fair share without complaint.  He is such a patient, patient individual..and one of the most serving and selfless people I have ever known.  I've been collecting some photos we take of each other over the past few wedding seasons and have been wanting to share them for such a long time.  Since I am in total nesting and purging and 'get things off my to do list mode' there is no better time!  We just really love our job as wedding photographers.  We love working together and we love working with such amazing clients. And I love having such a talented and helpful hubby who just makes things fun!  For me and for our clients!

Here is a little behind the scenes glimpse of us when we are working.  Really, mostly back of the head shots..and mostly of Joe, but still a few good ones.  Enjoy the commentary as well:)  Happy 5 years, babe!

Some of these weddings haven't even hit the blog yet so get excited! Oh, and don't judge us because we may or may not only have like 2 wedding outfits that we wear.  You know, we like to keep it classy.  Once you find the outfit you can sweat, bend, freeze, move in....you tend to stick with it;)

Professional flower and dress holder...and crinoline adjuster.  Joe will fluff that crinoline before you can even blink!

If we can work a 5d mark 3, we can work an iPhone;)

Joe is 6'4".  He's the best at getting "All the Single Ladies" in order!

Some people are more excited than others about the bouquet toss!  Check out that wing span!

Again, the height is good for so much- like running as fast as possible out of my shot in three strides so I can get the veil in the wind after tossing it up.  And doing that, oh, about 15 times in a row.

Gotta love a man who is not afraid to manhandle a dress.

Don't know how to cut your cake? We're here to help:)

Honorary bridesmaid: Joe.

Let me fix those hairs for you!

We're really fun.  I promise.  Most of these ladies are smiling and having a great time- even though it was February and FREEZING!


See, we're fun!

Dude, get out of my shot!

Light, more light!

Dark first dance- can't have that.  More light, Joe!

Train and Veil Wrangler to the rescue!

Light check.

Don't mind us, just fixing the train. Again.

and again.

More single ladies.

Whenever Joe shows the bride a shot on the back of his camera and they start oohing and ahhing, I have to run over and show them mine.  You know, to prove I got a good one ,too;)  Healthy competition.

We probably adjust the veil, oh, 200 times in a wedding day.  We are quite psycho about it actually.

Ok, now look longingly into each other's eyes.  Ha!

A rare belly bump shot. This was almost 2 months ago. Use your imagination to think of how HUGE I am now.

"Joe, go pretend you are the bride and walk down the isle so I can check the white balance."

Let's all try to really not fall into the fountain.

Dont mind Joe while he creepily touches you;)

Sarah, you look awesome...but again, the veil.  It needs attention.  Joe to the rescue!

This spot of grass, not that spot of grass.

Hope you've enjoyed this behind the scenes look!  Can't wait to recap our year later this week on the blog.  I know 2014 is going to be fabulous with our new baby boy addition coming soon.   We will have much to share.  Enjoy some rest this rainy Sunday!

  1. Lindsay McLain:

    love this post! we are so excited and looking forward to working with BOTH of you!

  2. chelsea cote:

    this is just the cutest! love you both and can’t wait to hire you someday!

  3. Jordan Rowell:

    These are too funny! You and Joe were both amazing to work with and you made it so much fun! I keep finding myself looking for excuses to get pictures made so we can work with you both again!

  4. Kristin:

    Joe is AWESOME! :)

  5. Deanna Lee:

    What a sweet tribute to your husband! He really has a rare talent! Such a good team!

  6. Sarah Foster:

    You guys are seriously amazing!

New Years Eve 28 days from a due date and with a sweet two year old buddy at home aren't quite as exciting as they used to be:)  A quiet evening at home catching up on our netflix is just what we need after surviving the crazy wedding season we had and the overwhelming(in a good way) holidays.  Joe has been off work this week and we have begun 'Operation: Baby Mode' and have been getting our much neglected home to-do list accomplished.  Sweet baby boy #2's mom is not quite as on the ball as I was with sweet baby #1 Sharpe!  His poor room is not even about finished and we have yet to round up all the baby items that are sprinkled all around our attic and all over the county at friends and relative's houses.  Not to mention the ole "my house must be spotless and the carpet cleaners have to come, and the garage has to be cleaned out and the windows washed...and all the 10 thousand things I wanted to get done this year now have to get done in the next 3 weeks" list.  We are getting there, just at a snails pace!  Joe is a saint, because since we have waited so long, I am pretty much zero help...I can't even put on my shoes!  Excited to have him home a few more days to knock some of this stuff out.

As I have been thinking about our year, I can't wait to make our annual year-end post-but that will probably be later this week or early next.  Need to round up our favorite images and really reflect on all of our blessings.  I have, though,  been meaning to post these particular photos for forever as a sorta "before and after" and today was the perfect day because these two celebrated their anniversary.  9 years ago today I shot my best friends wedding.  My sweet friends Teresa and Paul were married on the florida coast after an 11 day engagement(if I remember correctly) and I drove down to be with them on their very special day.  As I look at these photos, quite honestly they crack me up-in the sweetest way possible...but at the same time I absolutely adore them .  They are a reminder of why I love what I do.  I love being with two people in love on one of the most important days of their life and capturing that raw emotion.  I loved it then.  I love it now.  They are also a reminder, especially at the ending of a year and the beginning of a new one to never give up on chasing those big dreams. I don't think even in this moment with them on a beach I could imagine where I would be today in my photography journey.  The "photographer" in me cringes at my lack of photo knowledge in these photos, but the "storyteller" in me loves them as much as any photo I take today.  Thanks, Teresa, for reminding me of these images and for being such a trusting and supportive friend all of these years!  Happy 9th anniversary!

Workshop Update:

Love taking pictures??  Want to do a better job capturing your sweet family/friends/vacations with that new DSLR you may have gotten for Christmas or have just had for  forever, but definitely don't know how to use?  There are a few spots left in my workshop which is NEXT SATURDAY, Jan 11 at 9am at our home studio in downtown Concord.  Tuition is $175 and I would love to have you!  Email me for more info: lindseyleelancaster@gmail.com

Happy New Year!


I am so excited to share our 2013 Christmas card!   After last year, Joe and I(well mostly me, but Joe some, too) thought so much about what to do for our card this year.  There are just a few things in my life I go a little psycho/obsessive over and our card is one of them (it runs in the family- Christmas cards were my mom's thing as well- we just take it to a different level).  It was such a fun and busy fall- I'm just glad we got it together in time and that my vision was pulled off exactly as I had hoped.  The week we were supposed to shoot the card photos Sharpe had a fever for 5 days and just wasn't himself, so on the afternoon we managed to make it happen it was FREEZING cold, but both of our little bears were such troopers.  And Darby...someone said to me that she is the most long-suffering dog, and it's sorta true;)  The funny part is she tolerates my shenanigans a lot of times better than Sharpe does:)  Next year will be interesting with a three year old and an almost 1 year old...better let the brainstorming begin now!  Hope you love it as much as we do! Look below for more shots from our Christmas card shoot.

Merry Christmas!  Joe and I hope the days ahead are filled with much love and laughter and the true meaning of Christmas.  Love to you all!

Top pic front of card-Below back of card:)

Above is one of my most favorites shots ever.  Of all times.  Just couldn't bring myself to choose it for the card though because Sharpe wasn't smiling.  But this picture truly sums up these two- they are just the best of friends!  Yes, see how long my 2 year old's legs are!  Tall boy!

 Outfit change, you know, for variety:)

 Flannel:  it's all the rage.



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