Journey Through Life Blog

Pregnant Glow / Chesapeake Maternity Photographer

August 23, 2014

I met Danielle through a model call.  I'm always studying and researching trying to better my craft.  I take online courses, attend workshops, go to conferences, etc.  After taking a recent lighting course, I was dying to try out all of the fabulous things I've learned.  Danielle was kind enough to let me photograph her sweet baby bump.

Two of the different lighting techniques I learned in the class were called "Dream lighting" and "Rim lighting."  We had time to practice both.  

Dream lighting is exactly as it sounds.  It gives a dreamy, clean feel to the pictures (almost heavenly).  I loved the way these turned out.

Rim lighting is lighting just a small portion of the person or subject.  It is a beautiful way of highlighting a significant portion of the image to make a powerful statement.  I like that it can be very dramatic and emotional.  We were able to incorporate a stuffed animal that had been passed down in Danielle's family.  It added that much more life to the portrait.

To learn more about these lighting techniques visit the  This is an amazing source for photographers.

Also Danielle creates beautiful crocheted items.  Visit her shop at


Maternity sessions are best done in the 7th to early 8th month.  Schedule your maternity session now. Contact us here or 757-630-0575 or

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Sweet as Sugar / Virginia Beach Newborn Photographer

March 4, 2014

This sweet little sister finally arrived.  Her parents were estatic that they got to take her home with them from the hospital, since big brother had to stay a little longer when he first arrived.  Just a few months ago we were showing off mama's bump and now we get to see the lovely little girl that gave her mama all those potty breaks in the middle of the night.

There is just something so sweet about a motherly glow.

Proud daddy loving his sweet family.  Big brother is quite the ham and already loving his role in protecting his little sister.

These two will have lots of fun memories to make ahead of them.  

Book your newborn session today.  Click here.

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Holbrook House Cookie Shoppe / Virginia Beach Food Photographer

February 13, 2014

What better way to kickstart my Feature Friday blog about highlighting local businesses than with something sweet.  I had the chance to meet with Linda Holbrook of Holbrook House Cookie Shoppe recently and I had so much fun.  I was there to take behind the scenes pictures of her in action and she was so easy to talk to that sometimes I would forget to take pictures because I was so wrapped up in the conversation.  Read on to find out more about her and her delicious cookies.  I didn't mind taste testing at all!


I definitely enjoy the outlet for creativity.  I love creating new designs, learning and using new techniques, and making people smile when they see their idea come to life on a cookie.


I grew up making these cookies, and I progressively improved with my decorating.  While living in Italy, I took cookies to my kids' school events and was repeatedly asked if I took orders. Eventually, I figured why not!?  So, in 2011 I set up a web page and a Facebook page, and my business took off from there.



The taste!  I bake using my grandma's recipe, and I've never tasted another cookie like it.  Also, I never use royal icing or fondant.  While they look beautiful, buttercream and glaze can't be beat when it comes to flavor.


What's changed for me is going from a hobby mindset while living in Italy to a licensed and inspected business once we moved to Virginia Beach.  As far as the industry itself, I've only been in this industry for two years, but there appears to be so much potential.  Cute, individual desserts like cupcakes and macarons are still hot, and custom decorated cookies can be the next big thing!


In the future, I'd like to grow to the point of having a storefront/cafe while still retaining the family-business, local feel.  I'd also like to move into the wedding industry, creating custom cookies to complement the cake and/or as favors for the wedding party and guests.


Looking back now, one of the funniest incidents was when a friend of my husband's was visiting us in Italy. I had finished a cookie order, set it to dry, and went to bed.  When I woke up in the morning, my husband was pacing the floor.  He looked at me with fear in his eyes and told me his friend had eaten two of the cookies in the middle of the night.  I had to deliver the order in mere hours!  I refused to take them to the train station to get to their train on time, and luckily I had extra dough, so I spent the next couple hours replacing the eaten cookies before delivery. I wasn't laughing at the time, but it makes me giggle now.



I would like to be known as an honest, dependable, helpful businesswoman.  I'm quick to help out with last-minute orders and rushed requests whenever I can.  I'd hope to be described as reliable, pleasant, and accommodating.


Both the most successful and the most satisfying way to earn new customers for me is through word of mouth. I love when I get an email or a Facebook message from someone anywhere in the country telling me they were referred to me from a past customer of mine.  There's no greater compliment to me than someone liking my product enough to recommend it over all the other options that are out there.



My ideal customer is one who knows what they want in a final product but is also willing to trust in my experience and creativity.  My goal is to make a cookie that fits the customer's event/business/occasion perfectly, and my ideal customer believes in my ability to do so.


I run!  I love the me time involved in running mile upon mile alone on the road.  With three daughters at home it's often the only chance I have to be alone with my thoughts.  I also love to read.  As a family, we love to travel and be outside when the weather is nice.

See samples of her work below or stay up to date with Holbrook House Cookie Shoppe on Facebook

If you like to have your business featured, click here.


Survey Questions taken from Expat Women

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Family with Pizazz / Virginia Beach Family Photographer

January 13, 2014

If any of you know this family then you know they have lots of charisma.  I don't think I've ever laughed this much at a session before.  My cheeks hurts from smiling by the time I was done. I used to work with these 2 beautiful women when I was a teacher.  It is funny I worked in the same building as them for almost 4 years and I felt like I got to know them so much better in the short 1 hour photo session.  See how much you can accomplish in 1 hour!  :-)


I'm usually pretty sarcastic, but they sure brought out the best sarcasm in me.  It made for some great smiles.

This little man knew how to shine in front of the camera.  I wanted to quote him because as we were leaving he asked his mom if we could do the whole session again!  Those are things I love to hear.








Something about a little boy in a mama's heart.  Melt...

Book your family session

757-630-0575 or Leah


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Family Summer Beach Session Fundraiser / Virginia Beach Family Photographer

September 25, 2013

I recently had the chance to photograph this sweet family during their son's senior session.  When Michelle called me to do Daniel's senior session I offered to photograph her family at the end of the session.  She loved the idea.

I have known this family for almost 10 years, my husband has known them even longer.  Just writing it seems hard to believe it has already been that long.  I had the chance to teach with Doug at Norfolk Christian years ago and was able to teach his daughter Katherine.  I even had the opportunity to do Katherine's senior portraits a few years back.  So I was really excited to photograph Daniel for his senior session in August.  As many might know this is an incredibly giving family and they have a true heart for the Lord.  Some of you may also know that they received some not so pleasant news this August.  

That is why I am here... to tell you their story and give you a way to help if you would like.  

The #1 way you can help is PRAYER.

Here is their story:

Doug Sandwell was diagnosed last month with stage 4 lung cancer.  The news came as a great shock to his family, including his wife and 4 children, since he is a non-smoker and is only 45 years old.  As Bible teachers at Norfolk Christian, Doug and Michelle have dedicated their lives to reaching young people with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and as their medical bills begin mounting we want to bless them with some financial support.

 The #2 way you can help is through the Mini Session Portrait Fundraiser I am hosting.

These sessions are 30 minutes long and each package is all inclusive, meaning it covers sitting fee and product.  There are 3 packages from which to choose.  A portion of each package sold will go directly to the Sandwells to help them with their medical bills.  This would be a perfect time to get an updated family picture, capture a baby milestone, an individual portrait, etc. So not only would you be checking something off of your to do list you would be helping another family in need.  

Things to know:

Location:  Virginia Tech Arboretum at 1444 Diamond Springs Road  Virginia Beach, Virginia

When:  November 9, 2013

Time:  Slots available



  • Not intended for newborns or senior portraits
  • If a large group (more than 6) I would suggest booking 2 slots (2 packages required)
  • 20% non-refundable retainer fee to hold spot
  • Please arrive 15 minutes before your session begins to ensure the event runs smoothly
  • Drinks and snacks will be provided
  • Once you are registered I will contact you to discuss your ideas for the shoot and will email you a model release/contract
  • You may choose online gallery proofing or in person proofing


      1.  $ 125

  • 30 minute session
  • 1 Digital Image
  • Print Release
  • 2 5x7 Gift Prints

      2.  $ 235

  • 30 minute session
  • 3 Digital Images
  • Print Release
  • 2 5x7 Gift Prints
  • Mounted 11x14

      3.  $ 375

  • 30 minute session
  • 5 Digital Images
  • Print Release
  • 20 Christmas Cards
  • 11x14 Wrapped Canvas 

Related Links:



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Country - Beachy Senior Session / Chesapeake Senior Photography

September 18, 2013

When I taught at Norfolk Christian I taught this handesome guy's sister and was able to do her senior session a few years ago.  I was so excited that his mom contacted me to do his senior portraits.  His sister is gorgeous and full of life.  Daniel is the handsome version.  I told him he looks like he belongs in a paparazzi magazine because he could totally fit in as an english royal.

I wasn't kidding.  He really looks prince worthy.  We started off at east beach in Norfolk where I also had the chance to photograph his awesome family.  That is for another post.  

He just rocked every shot.  I didn't have to do a lot of leading.  He was a natural.

We finished our session at the Chesapeake Arboretum for a more country type feel.  He couldn't have picked a better outfit to go with the scenery.  


Coming soon:  Fall Mini Sessions to support his family as his step-father is going through Lung Cancer.  Stay tuned to see how you can help.  Find more information here.

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Newborn Love / Chesapeake Twin Newborn Photographer

September 7, 2013

Did I ever tell you how much I love NEWBORNS?  Well, imagine how much I love twins.  I had an awesome time photographing these precious babies that were only 7 days new.  I had an awesome assistant Candy who made this session even easier.  I loved how they would just so naturally snuggle right into each other.  

My studio was all warmed and ready to go for these sweet munchkins.  I even got to capture a sweet memory of them with their big brother and sister, who were awesome by the way. 


They did a great job posing with their new baby brother and baby sister.  It was a relaxed setting and plenty of snacks and juice boxes were provided, for which I think big brother was very thankful.  I could tell that big sister was going to be a huge help to her mommy and daddy.

I just love sweet baby feet.

Newborn sessions are best between days 6-10.  Plan your newborn session in your 2nd trimester to make sure we leave room in our calendar for your due date.  

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Virginia Beach Senior Photographer / Urban Senior Session

August 28, 2013

It has been so great getting to work with Imajae'.  Her genuine spirit shines through in all of her pictures.  Also, God gave her some amazing eyes.  She has her mama to thank for that.  We had fun playing around at the Va Tech Arboretum doing some garden style poses and some urban poses.  Crazy mix, I know, but they turned out awesome!

I wasn't kidding about the amazing eyes.  She pushes herself to be the best as she is active in her Senior Fundraising Club and also on the Varsity Cheerleading squad.  

I have had the pleasure of photographing Imajae's awesome family, as well as using her as a model on several occasions.  She is an amazing girl and I know she has a bright future ahead of her.

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2 kids 2 and under/ Chesapeake Children's Photographer

July 28, 2013

As a mom, you want to cherish every second of your child's life (except for the melt downs).  However, it is not always easy to capture those sweet traits on camera.  For some reason a signal goes off in the child's brain as soon as the camera comes out (act crazy or be stubborn).

It's not often that I bring out my big camera to photograph my children (shocking I know).  Phones have become such a great tool in keeping memories, however, they are really not the best quality.  The only really good thing about phone cameras is that kids are now becoming more comfortable in front of a camera.

I recently got in the studio with my two kiddos and just had fun playing around.  I had no set agenda and even let Abigail pick out her first outfit.  She is obsessed with fairies right now.  I've done sessions before with them where I wanted specific pictures and ended up getting frustrated.  I've learned that you just have to go with the flow with kids.  Let them get into a position and then you slightly tweak it to your liking.  So let me introduce you to my 2 little loves.


This is my sweet Abigail.  She is such a little diva.  She loves all things princess and fairy.  She is also convinced that she wakes up the sun each morning.

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Having a little boy is so different.  Emory is all boy and I love him for that, even if it does drive me crazy.  He is definitely a mama's boy.  He gets into everything possible and does not understand the word "No."  Right now he is obsessed with shoes and hats (especially his sister's).

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Little children in a blue rocking chair, Chesapeake Children's PhotographerJust shy of 19 months apart and they love each other like crazy.  Sharing toys is another story.  She loves "showing" him how to do things and he so adores her.  I think I can't love them anymore, but I love them a litte more everyday.

Little children playing fairy wings, Chesapeake Children's Photographer


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Baby Sister / Virginia Beach Newborn Photographer

July 9, 2013

Just a few months ago, I got to spend the morning with her big brother who was turning 3 years old.  Now I get to present his brand new little sister.

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Sweetness all wrapped into one tiny sweetheart.  

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"My heart is, and always will be, yours." – Sense and Sensibility

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A doting big brother!

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Grateful Wedding / Virginia Beach Wedding Photographer

July 3, 2013

Melanie and Brandon were a beautiful couple.  Full of love and excitement.  Their Big Day went smooth as can be.  We started at a sweet Methodist Church on Old Kempsville Road in Virginia Beach.

The colors, the vibrance, the details, it was all perfect.  After the ceremony we headed to the beach near Alexanders on the Bay Restaurant for some fun, impromptu photos.  

We finished our night at the Aberdeen Barn.  The candlelight, the ambience, it was beautiful.  


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Carter turns 3! / Virginia Beach Children's Photographer

April 28, 2013

Warning... An explosion of cuteness all packaged up in one little boy about to be displayed. I had the chance to photograph sweet little Carter as he turned the BIG 3. I think we may have a future J Crew model in our midst.



He loves spiderman, but wasn't quite ready to show the world his awesome super powers and cool suit.  He traded it in for a more sophisticated look with a little bit of casual cool.

I'm not sure who had more fun.  We played hide and seek in the awesome "Fun Forest" playground at Chesapeake City Park.  I couldn't ask for a better background as most of it is ornately carved wood.

He's a little character and a big sweetie.  Did I mention he's about to be a big brother to a sweet baby girl?  Pictures of her are soon to come.  Be on the lookout!

Did you see what an awswome jumper this little guy is.  My vertical height is pitiful, so he easily outshined me.


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