What exactly is a lifestyle session anyway?

This is what the scrupulous editors at Wikipedia have to say about lifestyle photography.  To quote,  "Lifestyle photography is a kind of photography which mainly aims to capture portrait/people in situations, real-life events or milestones in an artistic manner and the art of the everyday."  Technically, we could stop there.  It's a nice, succinct description, but is severely lacking in personal impact.  

(Click any photo in the post to see the full size version)

Let's face it, these days a cell phone is capable of capturing stunningly high definition images.  They'd certainly appear to have the "real-life" portion of the above description covered.  What sets a lifestyle photographer apart is artistry - your investment is in your photographer's ability to see little moments unfolding in our lives which make us who we are at any given time, then to beautifully preserve them.  As an East Tennessee family photographer, I'm blessed to have an abundance of beautiful places to capture these moments!

So, does that mean that a lifestyle session is total pandemonium - kids running here and there, no organization, never any posed shots?  Not at all.  It merely means that the feel of the session, and as a result, the photos, will be more natural, more like real life.  It means that there will be a combination of the posed and the moments in between, to remember the experience.

The lifestyle photographer's role is equal parts artist and documentarian.  I am privileged to create timeless photos that unearth the joy of the everyday, moments that might otherwise pass us by.

3146 Scarlet Oaks Drive, Cleveland, TN

Doing a relatively short post this time around, as I focus on Cleveland real estate photography!  I had the privilege of shooting a few highlights of this gorgeous Tennessee FSBO nestled in a quiet, beautiful subdivision in Cleveland, TN.  Convenient to downtown Cleveland, I-75, and less than 45 minutes from downtown Chattanooga, this home feels miles away from the hustle and bustle, but affords all that these cities have to offer. 

(Click any photo in the post to see the full size version)

Spacious rooms, beautiful hardwood and tile floors throughout, custom cabinetry, granite counter tops, and more amenities adorn this all-brick home at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac.  A large mud room and laundry area are conveniently on the main level, right inside of the garage entrance. 

The attention to detail is obvious throughout, as evidenced by the gorgeous granite, custom sink, knotty alder cabinets, and beautiful back splash in the kitchen.

The stone fireplace, vaulted ceilings, custom wood mantle, and built-in bookshelves in the living room accent one another beautifully.  Open to the formal dining room and entry, it provides a warm and inviting welcome to guests.

The master bedroom windows allow gorgeous light in, and a walk-out porch provides a wooded retreat.  Complete with his and her vanities, a beautiful, private soaking tub bathed in natural window light, and an ornately tiled walk-in shower the master bathroom is everything one could want.

The lower level offers a spacious entertaining area, media room, bonus room, two more bedrooms, and two full bathrooms!  The beautiful tile and granite continue, as do custom wood cabinets and built-ins.

Listed at $489,900, this custom home boasts nearly 5,000 square feet, six bedrooms, and five bathrooms on one acre with wooded views.  Anyone looking for a beautiful family home in the Cleveland, TN, area should definitely give this a serious look. 

Brown Family Shoot

I've always loved and admired amazing photography.  As a father, I started by taking pictures of my own family.  One of the primary motivations was my desire to capture them as they are in the moment, to preserve the memories. 

So, when I got the opportunity to do a family shoot for these dear friends, naturally I jumped to it.  They were about to have their third child at the time, so we did a few maternity-esque shots, some random family time, and documented their two little girls' immensely contagious joy.

 If you don't smile while looking at this picture I'm not sure what to tell you.

If you don't smile while looking at this picture I'm not sure what to tell you.

I've been around long enough to know that time passes quickly.  All of those fleeting moments when our beautiful little idiosyncrasies are on display are precious - they make us who we are at any given time.  Left uncaptured they can easily be long forgotten as the next season dawns and we enter a new stage of development, maturation, and growth.  Clich√© as it may sound, time truly does fly by. 

Okay, so that's a pretty intense bit of philosophical introspection for a family photo shoot blog post.  But, because I am blessed to actually be friends with this beautiful family what I love about this shoot is how much the personalities of these precious little girls and their parents came through.  It makes me happy to think that in 10 years they'll be able to look back at these photos and vividly remember some of these moments. 

So, without further ado...

 Just lounging in the grass on a sunny day...

Just lounging in the grass on a sunny day...

 The joy is overwhelming!

The joy is overwhelming!

 Where in the world did all these bubbles come from?

Where in the world did all these bubbles come from?

 Look at those curls!

Look at those curls!

 Holding on to Daddy...

Holding on to Daddy...

 Snuggling with Daddy...

Snuggling with Daddy...

 Some kisses for baby brother.

Some kisses for baby brother.

 Awwwww... sweet, happy couple.

Awwwww... sweet, happy couple.

 And, a little silliness, for good measure.

And, a little silliness, for good measure.

 Never a dull moment!

Never a dull moment!

Source: http://www.erichphoto.com/blog/2017/1/31/b...

Florida Family Fun at Flagler

Greetings all.  Now that winter is in full swing, I thought I'd share some warmth and joy from last summer's trip to St. Augustine, FL.  If you've never been, it's an amazing little city with wonderful history (the oldest city in the U.S., in fact) and culture.  In particular, St. George Street is a pedestrian street that has a great deal to offer in the way of restaurants, shops, and a variety of entertainment.  Among the many lovely places to indulge one's sweet tooth is Kilwin's Chocolates, right there on St. George.  They've got everything you could imagine, and their ice cream is second to none. 

It was on a particularly hot and humid summer night (What summer night in St. Augustine isn't hot and humid?) that my wife and I, tired after a long day of exploring the city, decided to throw caution to the wind and fill our children with sugary goodness right before bedtime.  So, at roughly 8:30pm we purchased one Kilwin's cone for each walking kid thinking we were providing a nice, leisurely treat for them to close out the day.  We had no idea of the creamy carnage that would ensue.  Well, okay... perhaps we had some idea.

 Our older boy, despite the ice cream goatee, made pretty short work of his cone.

Our older boy, despite the ice cream goatee, made pretty short work of his cone.

 Our middle daughter, affectionately known as the Sugar Queen, devoured hers with gusto.

Our middle daughter, affectionately known as the Sugar Queen, devoured hers with gusto.

 After enjoying her cone, our oldest daughter took on baby duty... she's quite the big sister, even when the little one is not the happiest of campers.

After enjoying her cone, our oldest daughter took on baby duty... she's quite the big sister, even when the little one is not the happiest of campers.

As we stood outside Kilwin's enjoying our cones (or babysitting), it became apparent that one member of the family was fighting a losing battle against his ice cream. 

 Simeon appeals to his mom for help, but to no avail.  "Is there any way to keep this  inside  the cone?"

Simeon appeals to his mom for help, but to no avail.  "Is there any way to keep this inside the cone?"

It appears that Simeon has his own theorem, and it goes something like this:

Heat2 + Ice cream cone + Small boy = Mess3

Despite his best efforts, he couldn't keep up with the meltdown occurring in between his hands.  Initially, being the clean freak I am, I began to put the camera down to go for napkins and attempt a massive clean-up effort.  But, it quickly became apparent that it was best to allow the creamy chaos to unfold and document it all for posterity.  And, so I did.

 Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more... with some ice cream gloves.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more... with some ice cream gloves.

 Yep, that's ice cream  in  his nose, and a chocolate chip perched on the edge.  I wonder if that enhances the experience...

Yep, that's ice cream in his nose, and a chocolate chip perched on the edge.  I wonder if that enhances the experience...

And so, once he could do no more damage to the cone (or once it had done sufficient damage to him... I'm not sure which), my wife bravely took him into the rest room and proceeded to bathe him in the sink.  Then, we went on our way toward Flagler College campus. 

All in all, it was a lovely time and I'm certain we'll remember it fondly for many years to come.  You'll also be relieved to know that Simeon's ice cream eating prowess has improved markedly since this harrowing experience.

The Why

Welcome to story time... sort of.  I'm going to presume a bit here.  The presumption is that if you're here, you at least have a modicum of interest in me, my photography, and my story.  So, here's 'the why' behind erichphoto in 90 seconds, give or take.

(Click any photo in the post to see the full size version)

I'm a bit prone to nostalgia and introspection.  I've never been terribly open about that, because in my mind it doesn't connote appealing attributes like strength and vision.  Additionally, I've been drawn to artistry my entire life - in particular writing and music, although I've always had a great appreciation for visual arts like film making and photography.  The undeniable common theme here is the resounding impact stories have on me.  Nostalgia, after all, is simply a longing for stories of times past.

This created a bit of a quandary for me.  Growing up intellectualism and pragmatism were prized, while artistry appeared whimsical and impractical.  For as long as I can remember, I've innately believed that creative pursuits are perfectly acceptable hobbies, but careers are made of "serious" endeavors - law, finance, medicine, politics, science.  You know, respectable occupations - something you can be proud to share at a cocktail party.  Obviously this reveals something about my insecurities and an unhealthy concern for what people think of me.

Enter many small children.  A few years ago, as my wife bemoaned our lack of family pictures, I thought, "I've always loved photography; I should buy a DSLR and learn how to use it."  At the time I had a lucrative job (which was slowly sapping my will to live), some disposable income, and the desire to do something creative.  Simultaneously, as I observed my oldest daughter (nine years old at the time) and her unabated LOVE of writing, I was reminded of my penchant for it in my youth.  For more on that, check out my About Page.  She is perpetually concocting stories, both written and oral.  Her creativity and wonder knows no bounds.  The joy it brings her siblings when she begins weaving a yarn for them is as ubiquitous as it is infectious.

So, I gathered courage to leave a career track that would eventually dead-end in my own mediocrity.  Learning to harness the nostalgia, the desire to hear or tell a good story, and combining it with vision, direction, and action I've embarked on erichphoto.  I've had to question how this intertwines with the skill sets I've acquired in other fields.  I'm currently overcoming a heck of a lot of fear as well.  In the end though, I've determined that I'm more afraid of not trying than I am of failing.

So, time to ride off into the sunset; there's no looking back now.