Mommy Tidbits | Sneads Ferry, NC Maternity Photographer

For those that missed my UPDATE post, I’ve since moved to a little town called Sneads Ferry, about 20 minutes outside of Jacksonville, NC…. in other words, we were stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC.  I am not currently taking clients but will be shooting to build my portfolio and skill.  I am also going to work on blogging and getting into showing emotion via text with the aide of photos.

With that being said, the area in which I live, I would consider it to be a rural community.  There is basically one stop light, a food lion, and a CVS surrounded by mom and pop type restaurants and businesses.  I find it perfect.  I do live in a neighborhood community, that supports a natural wooded feel.  In fact, I have woods right next to my house!  Since I’ve lived here I’ve had the pleasure of observing countless bugs, such as spiders, wasps, beatles, palmetto, and lightening bugs.  We experienced a wild box turtle, fed him strawberries and watched him wonder back to his home.  I’ve even seen a real life not in a cage snake!  eeeeeeek!  Between all of that, I’m trying to push myself in my current neighborhood.  To find and explore little places to shoot, where I could walk to/from the session from my home.

I put a casting call on a local yard sale page, where I was messaged by a sweet young mama to be.  She really rolled with my spontaneous desire to shoot that night and what I captured I hope that she enjoys and looks back on with a pleasant smile.  I asked this mama to be a few little tidbit questions so you can get to know her a little better.  Keep these in  mind when viewing her photos.  You can really use the answers along with the images to get a feel of who she is as a person.

I was not named after anyone in particular.

My favorite lunch meat is definitely ham!

I would absolutely bungee jump but only strapped to a professional!

My favorite cereal would have to be lucky charms. They never get boring.

If I were a crayon, I’d be Caribbean Green from the 120 pack.

Mountain hideaway any day.

The last movie I watched was Frozen. I’m happy to see Disney changing the norm and having a female character being the heroine and not the typical ‘saved by a man’ stereotype.


I’m not currently reading any books.

My car is burnt orange.

2014@CrystalBelle Photography

2014@CrystalBelle Photography

2014@CrystalBelle Photography

2014@CrystalBelle Photography

2014@CrystalBelle Photography

2014@CrystalBelle Photography

2014@CrystalBelle Photography2014@CrystalBelle Photography

2014@CrystalBelle Photography

2014@CrystalBelle Photography


I will be exploring a lot in the coming weeks around my area/neighborhood. Please make sure you are a fan of my Facebook page CrystalBelle Photography to get updates on what type of model call I will be looking for in the near future.  All model calls answered will receive digital files and low res watermarked images.  (Unless otherwise noted, subject to change at anytime.)


…and then we were here…

It has been awhile since I’ve last blogged.  Truth is getting ready to speak here.  I closed my photography business when we got our hard copy orders to  move out of beautiful Pensacola.  Here comes the truth part.  My heart was just not in it any more.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved everything about  photography.  I love watching my images appear in LightRoom for the first time from my camera.  I love seeing all the smiles and joys of families seeing their images for the first time when I did in person proofing.  It was amazing.  It was my dream, and it was coming to life.  I was shooting out of a glorious studio share in the downtown area, doing in person proofing and ordering, actually throwing a profit here and there, but still, my heart was gone.  Another truth.  This business is way more cut-throat then you can imagine.  I am talking about people being just straight out rude, ruthless even.  Yes, I have found some amazing life long friends who are also photographers, but I’m the kind of person, who through all the good and positive lets one small negative knock me down.  I threw in the towel.  I gave up.  Can you imagine?  Giving up on something you really like doing, no love doing?  Just because someone “better” then you made a rude comment not even meaning to upset you, or to hurt your feelings, but it did.  I am sad to write this.  Even as these words pour out of my heart, my head screams, don’t say that, you know you will start shooting again soon.  Just give it time to heal.  This maybe true.  I may heal from the bump, but right now I can not imagine dealing with this ever again.

What a perfect time to close up shop and work on my style and sense of self esteem.  I need to believe I am worth something and not get frustrated that no one is booking.  Understand that I am not going to work for pennies, and realize that is ok.  When others appear booked and successful learn how to be happy for them instead of feeling jealous and snide.  It is a horrible feeling.  Emotions such as jealously are not easily processed under my kind and caring soul.  Such emotions swallow me up and consume me, make me bitter and angry.  It is ugly.  Until I can learn to be supportive, I will not shoot for business.  Until I can allow myself to be happy about whatever happens in my life, I will not shoot for business.  I will take this time and learn to write, learn to pose, learn to process.  Learn to be me.  I’ve a lot to say, but I am of few words.  Letting those words out, explode within my head and onto a blog, in written form over photos, it won’t happen.  I will always need imagery to translate what I’m feeling.

Realizing that it is going to take more then a streaming “free” class online to get my mojo back.  Understanding that I can listen to how much I’m worth until the cows come home, until I believe it, I might as well be listening to Justin Bieber lyrics on repeat….  eeeeeek!  There is no template I can buy, there is no editing webinar I can watch, there is no gear I can upgrade, that is going to make my business, or lack thereof, any better, if my soul and love for that part is missing.  I can’t buy motivation or self esteem anymore then you can buy a magic pill for skinny.  It has to come from within.  There has to be a want, a desire, a drive and most importantly an understanding that in order to get positive results you have to surround yourself with positive events and people.  I am going to have to realize I am a positive person, the feelings of jealousy and want are ok, but how I deal with them and process them in my heart is what makes or breaks my drive to run a business.

So, if you’ve read this far, what this means for CrystalBelle Photography is that I am NOT shooting for business.  I am shooting for pleasure.  This means I am being very very selective in what I shoot when I shoot and whom I work with.  I won’t be talked into family photos if I have a desire to shoot a maternity session.  And I will learn saying no is ok.  SAYING NO IS OK!

It also means accepting that my website is now hosted on a free wordpress template.  Again there is no magical template I can buy that will make my business successful.  Over time and with more positive feelings the desire to upgrade for better hosting and layouts will come back, I hope, but right now, if you can’t accept my free wordpress theme, then so what.  Your loss.  I have to look at whats best for myself, not because I’m trying to be selfish or rude, but because I’m trying to find the happy place in my heart and how that relates to photography.  Accepting that my images are what they are.  Not bad, but not OMG amazing.  Having that be ok.  Distancing myself from contests and weekly challenges, where I was in it for the wrong reasons.  Realigning my vision to enjoy others art, instead of looking at it and comparing it to mine.  I’ll get there.  I do need your help.

Over the coming weeks I will try to shoot at least one non family member session a week.  One a week.  My choice, it maybe maternity, family, newborn, who knows, maybe a pet or two.  But it will be from the heart and I will enjoy doing so, instead of being forced into what I think someone else wants to see, if that comes across as selfish or rude I apologize.  I am not a selfish person, but in order for me to find peace within myself I need to take this time for me.

So in short I leave you with this.  I shoot to remain active in photography.  I will write from the heart, no censorship or concern about what I think people want to read…  I hope to grow the rest of this year, to come back into my business strong and confident.  We will see what happens….. Life is a journey.

Life is a Journey

Sweet Emma.

Little Emma came to me as a newborn.  I can’t express how amazing it is to see these sweet babies grow into toddlers.  To turn into their own person, with smiles and opinions on things such as shoes, cake, and props.  :)

Enjoy these sweet smiles.

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Hey Jude

I forgot exactly how I came to photograph Jude.  His mama was on my Facebook friends list and I can’t exactly remember why.  Isn’t that funny how it happens?  Then you grow to know these families even though you’ve never met them in real life.

She answered a casting call I put out to get some babies in my new simple shooting style.  I hope to continue this simple, condensed, session when I move to North Carolina.  It really makes it easy on the parents, as well as myself, with just a few set ups, no pressure posing, and keeping it clean, fresh, and classic.

Enjoy these photos of this little guy.  He’s almost walking now, I see updates often on his mama’s Facebook!  I love it!

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Little Man O…so many smiles!!

I never blogged this session.  I’m not sure why.  I feel horrible for not showing off these amazing smiles and so much cuteness.

Get ready for your heart to melt right out of your chest in 3, 2, 1


Mommy Goggle Overshare | Pensacola Family Photographer

Have you ever heard the term Mommy Goggles?  Do you ever wonder exactly what these mommy goggles are?  Well it can mean different things to different people, but my definition is when someone, mom, dad, brother, cousin, whoever, loves a photo because of the emotional attachment to the subject in said photo.  Technically, the photo can use some improvements but these technical flaws are over powered because of the viewers blinders.  Usually it is said about a mother/child.  The mommy loves the image because the child is hers in the image.  However, take that emotional connection away and the photo is bad. Technically.  You see this all time time, people posting blurry images of their children on Facebook and grandma replies “I love this photo”  What grandma really means is she loves the child in the photo.  Its an easy type of goggle to pick up, because we tend to be connected emotionally to photos we are looking at.  When is the last time you picked up a strangers family album? See what I mean…..

So with that being said, please excuse this intense over share of basically the same image.  They are images of someone I am emotionally attached to.  I’ve got my mommy goggles on.  I can see huge differences in each of these photos whereas you, the viewer probably only needed to look at one of these images and understand what was going on.  :)

Do you think you have mommy goggles?  If so, do you believe it is a bad thing? Why?

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…another Baby Plan graduate!

I had to modify my baby plan a little bit for this family.  They were moving and so we swapped out a maternity for the year and pushed up the sitting age a bit so we could work her into the baby plan package!  I’m so glad we did because again, to see my clients turn into mothers, and newborns grow into little people I can’t even begin to tell you how it warms my heart.  This is not just a line, this is the truth.  To see everyone grow, to see families being made, it is just magic.  I will leave you with some of my favorite images from the last session with this little cutie!  Mom brought a very special item, a necklace.  I’m so glad we were able to photography this item for her!
I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

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…another one grows up | Pensacola Child Photographer

It seems as if all my little ones are growing up!  This little girl you may remember from her in home newborn session which can be found here.  I also photographed her nursing, here… and now she is all grown up.  Ok, so maybe not grown but def. out of that “newborn” stage and onto her life as a toddler.  She has so much personality already, I saw that from 5 days old, but it is really coming out!  Her and her big sis are really special together and I hope you all enjoy these images as much as I do!



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What a difference a year makes | Pensacola Child Photographer

…My goodness where to begin?  This little lady is very special to me, she is one of my first Baby Plan Clients.  I met her when she was still growing.  Her mom, just glowing, so beautiful.  Her Dad, so strong a supportive.  I can’t believe she is already a year old!  Where has the time gone?  It really makes me stop and think about the past year, what it included and it also makes me so excited for another year!  I hope you enjoy these images from little Miss M!



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Baby Blue Eyes | Pensacola Child Photographer

So I first met this little girl when she was still growing in her mommies belly!  She came back for her newborn session and now can you believe it!  She’s 6 months already!  This is the part about my job I am in love with.  This is why I do what I do and this is why I am so passionate about it.  Seeing these families grow, these babies grow into their own personalities, it is just amazing.

Little G is very serious.  She really takes it all in, very aware of her surroundings, and every so often will let a little smile creep in.  I can not get over her gorgeous BLUE EYES that is for sure!

I hope you enjoy these images of her, I certainly do.