2013 has started off more strongly than any past year of photography thus far for me. In four sessions, we covered new ground, shot in a new location and worked with props I've never done before-all with awesome results with which I'm really pleased. So, I thought today we'd recap those sessions and celebrate the small successes along the way.

You'll recall

Lindsay gathering

up her favorite adult and children's classics to create a perch for Nora to snuggle on. The backdrop is the front and the back of a beautiful quilt that Lindsay made herself!

 I love the challenge of newborn sessions: I walk in with a few of my props but inevitably, Mom & Dad have something in mind that reflect their family more truly. It makes each session so unique and interesting! As was  also the case for Baby John:

 Zac & Becky play in our church's softball league, so it made sense to put their newborn son into Zac's glove. Also, Zac plays in the worship band for church, so we tried this idea that I'd seen including his guitar. Small Success: John didn't want to be without his pacifier, so we balanced him on the guitar's side, Becky holding him from behind and Zac steadying the guitar on the right of this shot. Gradually, John worked the pacifier out of his mouth on his own and in the brief second before he started crying for it again, I snapped the shutter.

 The next session used a new location: part of our

Walnut Creek Downtown's

building is unfinished for office space and has amazing natural light coming through the windows. We were able to sneak in two sessions before things got pretty hairy from construction, but our session with

Laura's girls

involved two things I've never used before: a tea party set and a wedding dress to play dress up.

Obviously, having done weddings, I've dealt with wedding dresses before, but to watch Laura's girls put on their mother's dress and feel absolutely gorgeous in it was so fun!

 And rounding out January was

dear, sweet Abigail.

We met at the same location, but when I walked into the room we intended to use, the floor was covered in a black sandy-like soot from painting the exposed ceiling above. Challenge: keep a 7 month old clean for her photos without getting covered in black soot. Definitely never had this challenge before! Photographer colleagues I've worked with in our church had previously purchased some fake flooring for a clean look to a set and I grabbed it out of the spare room. Abigail's mom and I kept her corralled on that 7'3' fake floor board the entire time!

2013 is going to be a fantastic year photographically. (is that a word?) With each challenge, new prop, new location, I feel better equipped to handle the next step. And with a start to the year like this, I'm so excited to see what the rest of the year will look like!

Next Challenge? 12-16 hour weekends of Upward Basketball Team and Individual photos! The longest weekend is behind us and one more weekend to go of adorably funny tykes in cheer uniforms and basketball jerseys. I love being able to serve my church in this way. Highlights to come in the following weeks. :)