The first time I did this for our church, I spent 4 hours photographing and then 4 hours in my basement's recliner wrapped up in blankets to thaw from the chilly fall weather conditions.  What a rough morning that was and now, I feel that we have it down to such a smooth system.

This is either my third or fourth year doing our church's Upwards Sports team and individual photos. And each year, I look forward to it, not just because these kiddos are absolutely adorable and hilarious, but our church's volunteers are just as outstanding and serve with such great attitudes. I came home from the first weekend of photos (we split it into two weekends since we serve 700+ players) practically invigorated and on an adrenaline rush because I felt like I'd had a girl's day out. Spending time with other gals that I only get to see at this time of year makes it extra special in my book. But the antics that go on in between team photos makes it doubly entertaining.

Here is my Ode to the Volunteer and a Round Up of Awesome Photos for the 2014 Upwards season:

First, not only did we split into two weekends, but we had to have two locations on our first weekend, which meant we needed two photogs.

Austin Day

to the rescue:

Mentally preparing for the onslaught of children coming his way....

 Maybe she's praying? Yes, that's it. She's praying.

 Hacky-sack basketball:

 Delirium starts about half-way through the day:

 Yes, Sam, you can palm any ball with your best friend: Tape.

 Playing with the decorations from the middle school's cafeteria. Don't worry, they got back in their rightful places at the end of the day. :)

 I got my baby fix while spending so many hours away from my own babe...

 We always have willing models to test our light settings....:)

Ladies + Gents, it's always a pleasure working alongside you. Thank you for all you do for our church, seen and unseen and especially this Upwards ministry that has far-reaching affects on the Des Moines metro area. I know it's grueling, but the return for your work is SO worth it.

Finish strong!