• Hi there, and welcome to my blog. Feel free to take a look around. Check out the galleries or just scroll down to see some of my recent sessions. If you like what you see, shoot me an email or give me a call. I'd LOVE to meet you and photograph your belly, your baby, or your adorable family!

Fall Family Portraits | Durham, NC Family Photographer

This was one of those sessions that tried really hard *not* to happen.

Janette was the winner of a giveaway I hosted over on The Dating Divas blog a few months ago. When we discussed her session over the phone, we immediately hit it off. She had such a great vision in mind for her family portrait session, and it coordinated well with the type of portraits I love to capture – a bit of a vintage flair but with lots of focus on the family interacting with one another. And she specifically requested the tent that my awesome hubby constructed for me.;)

The day of our session dawned bright, clear, and warm (without being too warm or humid). I was about to start packing up the car to get ready for our session when I received a phone call. Her family drove all the way from Charlotte for their session, and since they had a little extra time on their hands, they had decided to go to the park to play before going back to a family member’s house to get ready for the session. Well, her son accidentally ran into a pole, and he hurt his nose pretty badly – it wasn’t something that I could “Photoshop out” of their portraits, even if he had been in the mood to have his portrait taken after spending part of the afternoon at the hospital. I felt so bad for her little man! Luckily, since they were driving so far for their session, we had set aside a second weekend as a rain date, so we bumped her session back a couple of weeks.

The day of the new session arrived, and it was COLD. Not just cold, but windy, too. We decided to proceed with the session, and I’m so glad we did. It took a while for the kiddos to warm up to the camera (sorry, I just had to throw that little pun in there), but once they did, we had so much fun! I provided most of the vintage props, but Janette brought along the gorgeous quilt that coordinated perfectly with their outfits and the apples (she wanted to include apples in the quilt setup because her daughter LOVES to eat apples).

And speaking of coordinating, I ADORE the outfits Janette put together for this session. She started out by choosing a gorgeous patterned dress for her daughter, and then built the rest of her family’s outfits around that. This is exactly what I recommend you do when choosing clothing for your family portraits – start with a statement piece for one family member, and then coordinate the other outfits accordingly.

I’ve decided to start doing something new to help with the “what should we wear for our session” question that many families ask when planning for their portraits (I ask this question too when planning for my own family portraits). The first image I’m sharing from this session has a block of colors next to it, which emphasizes the color palette used for the clothing, and should be able to help when choosing outfits for your next family portrait session.

Boy giving mom a flower
Couple Photography NC
Dad and Daughter
Durham Children's Photographer
Vintage Tent Portrait
Family Portrait in a Tent

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I Heart Faces Hugs & Kisses | Cary NC Baby Photography

I just love love LOVE this image, so I was super excited to discover that this week’s challenge over at I Heart Faces is Hugs & Kisses!!

Photo Challenge Submission

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Calling All Moms!! | NC SpokesMama Contest

Calling all Moms!!

I’m looking for a few energetic, super social mamas to help me spread the word about Shadeleaf Studios in exchange for some AWESOME free stuff! Are you SpokesMama material?

Would you like the opportunity to earn free custom portraits? Are you social media savvy and very involved in your community? Do your friends constantly ask you for recommendations for restaurants, classes, and local events because you’re always in-the-know? Do you consider yourself a trendsetter? Do you love to spread the word about your favorite new finds? Then you just might be the mom I’m looking for!

What is a SpokesMama?

A SpokesMama is a mom who loves her children and is passionate about documenting their lives with professional portraits. She loves my fresh, contemporary portrait style and the emotions and moments I capture with my camera. She’s very social and active in her community and has lots of opportunities to talk with other mamas at playgroups, daycare, work, religious meetings, dance/gymnastics/sports, and online. She’s actively involved with Facebook, Pinterest, parenting forums, and neighborhood list-servs, and she might even have a blog of her own. And she loves Shadeleaf Studios and is excited to talk about her portrait experience with everyone she knows.

What Does a SpokesMama Do?

It’s simple! A SpokesMama’s job is to spread the word about Shadeleaf Studios to her family and friends. She will essentially be my spokeswoman by sharing the images from her sessions with Shadeleaf Studios. She promotes Shadeleaf Studios in person and online through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, parenting forums, blogging, printed materials, and email to refer other moms and families for a portrait session with me. (I will provide referral cards and other printed materials.) She will represent Shadeleaf Studios exclusively and will not have her family photographed by any other photographers during her year-long tenure as a SpokesMama.

What Does She Get in Return?

This is the best part! A Shadeleaf Studios SpokesMama will receive some fabulous perks!

  • A FREE portrait session for 1-2 children ($125 value)
  • $150 print credit to use towards images from her free session
  • Printed advertising material including Mommy Cards (perfect for scheduling playdates) to help promote Shadeleaf Studios
  • Watermarked, web-sized files in a Facebook gallery to share with friends and family
  • Mini brag book to keep in her purse
  • 50% off any additional sessions scheduled during her year long term as a Shadeleaf Studios SpokesMama

So… Do you have what it takes to be a SpokesMama? Fill out the application below before March 3rd, 2012 if you would like to be considered. I’m looking for 5 SpokesMamas for 2012 in the following age groups:

  • Newborn (Mama must be due during the month of March and session must take place within 10 days of baby’s birthdate)
  • 6-9 Months
  • 1-3 Years
  • 4-6 Years
  • 8-13 Years

The winning SpokesMamas will be announced on March 5th, 2012.

Click here to fill out the 2012 SpokesMama application.

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Charlie | Durham, NC Newborn Photography

Charlie was my first newborn of 2012. What a great way to start the new year. This was one of those sessions that confirmed to me that I’ve chosen the right path for my career. Newborn photography is truly my passion for so many reasons, but part of it is the opportunity to create images like these. There’s just something so pure and magical about capturing a family while they’re still marveling over this new little being who has entered their lives.

Charlie has two older siblings – a brother and a sister. They were so sweet and well behaved during the session and followed direction beautifully, allowing me to create poses that I’ve been visualizing for quite a while. And they’re both so in love with their baby brother – it was so much fun to watch them hold him and interact with him. Makes your heart melt just a little bit.;)

I have so many favorites from this session and it was difficult to narrow them down, but here are some of my very favorite images from Charlie’s newborn portrait session.

Newborn with siblings
Newborn with older brother
Newborn with older sister
Newborn with mother
Newborn with father
Newborn in basket with eye candy overlay
Newborn sleeping in basket
Newborn on yellow backdrop
Newborn chin in hands pose
Newborn Macro shot

If you are looking for a Durham, NC newborn photographer or a family photographer in Cary, NC please visit Shadeleaf Studios at www.shadeleafstudios.com for more information about scheduling a portrait session. Shallyse Gastelum is a professional photographer with over 9 years of experience. Shallyse has two conveniently-located studio spaces – one in Durham, NC and the other located inside Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique in Cary, NC. In addition to standard sessions, Shadeleaf Studios also offers a Belly to Baby (maternity and newborn) collection, as well as a Milestones (Baby’s First Year) portrait collection. Shallyse’s portrait specialties include maternity photography, newborn photography, baby photography, child photography, family photography, and high school senior photography both in studio and on location. Shadeleaf Studios offers portrait sessions in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Apex, Cary, Morrisville, Wake Forest, and surrounding areas.

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A House Full of Love | Chapel Hill Newborn Photographer

I first met the “G” family at Lynelle’s maternity session. I had such a great time getting to know them – they’re such a happy, loving family, and there’s just such a light about them when they’re all together. I never had to force anyone to smile – you can tell that smiling is a natural expression for everyone in the family.

I was a little nervous about Joshua’s newborn session – Lynelle wanted a few family portraits for their Christmas card in addition to the traditional newborn images, and various circumstances led to Joshua being 3 weeks old at the time of his session. Generally, I prefer to schedule newborn portraits within the first 10 days, because babies are sleepier and “squishier” within that timeframe and the session tends to run much more smoothly.

Well, I shouldn’t have worried. I met the family at their lovely home in Chapel Hill, and Joshua was a perfect little subject. He did great for family portraits, and then took a little break while I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and surroundings in the family’s backyard to take some portraits of the older siblings with their dad (we had SO much fun playing in the leaves!!).

Then it was Joshua’s turn to be the center of attention. Once we had the space heater running, he snuggled right down into my baskets and slept perfectly. I didn’t even have to break out the white noise machine.

Large family portrait in Chapel Hill

Father and son playing in the leaves

Fun and silly family portrait

Big brother kissing baby brother on the head

Sleeping newborn Portrait

Newborn Macro Shot

Newborn boy with blue blanket

Black and White newborn Portrait

Newborn in egg basket

Newborn with green swaddle wrap

If you are looking for a Chapel Hill, NC newborn photographer or a family photographer in Cary, NC please visit Shadeleaf Studios at www.shadeleafstudios.com for more information about scheduling a portrait session. Shallyse Gastelum is a professional photographer with over 9 years of experience. Shallyse has two conveniently-located studio spaces – one in Durham, NC and the other located inside Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique in Cary, NC. In addition to standard sessions, Shadeleaf Studios also offers a Belly to Baby (maternity and newborn) collection, as well as a Milestones (Baby’s First Year) portrait collection. Shallyse’s portrait specialties include maternity photography, newborn photography, baby photography, child photography, family photography, and high school senior photography both in studio and on location. Shadeleaf Studios offers portrait sessions in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Apex, Cary, Morrisville, Wake Forest, and surrounding areas.

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