Aimee's Magic Hour Foundation Session and Story |Breast Cancer awareness

Meet Aimee. Isn't she beautiful? Aimee was my first session with Magic Hour If you are unfamiliar with them, go check them out now! I'll wait :)   ....

It's ironic that I am just ready to blog this session, and it just so happens to be breast cancer awareness month. Or maybe it isn't :)

Aimee showed up to her session a bit nervous, but she totally rocked the session like she was born to do it. I'll show you a few pics from our session, and I will close with Aimee's story in her own words ... I hope that her story leads others to get their mammograms early! I know it's got me thinking ...

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Now ... Aimee's story

July 2012 was just like any other month with the exception of having a free mammogram screening. I had thought about having a mammogram since I was about 34-35 years old since my grandmother had breast cancer about 33 years ago, that resulted in a mastectomy and removal of all your lymph nodes on the left side. I felt like the timing was right and really didn’t think any of it. I would receive a letter once the tech looked at the film. Two days later, I received a phone call, not what I had expected. The film came back with irregular shape and it could be nothing but since I did not have a baseline mammogram the technician wouldn’t know what was normal for me. I went in for a 2nd mammogram along with ultrasound. I walked past the light box and glanced at the first film. I noticed a spore (a star like design) looking white spot on the hanging film. I knew instantly that shape didn’t look anything like the smooth spots which were cysts. It sparked new meaning to the following exams. On my drive home, It hit me even before the results came back that it was Breast Cancer. A had a MRI with dye, needle injections with radioactive material to locate the lymph nodes, ya know the WORKS.
What I had was Invasive Ductile Carcinoma. Stage one. It measured 1.5 x 1.9 cm. (it had been growing for the past 5-8 years)
I had a biopsy that is supposed to be practically painless but in my case, I busted into tears because I instantly felt pain in the middle of the procedure. The doctor performing the procedure said it was not a good sign because “cancer cells” reject or repels the numbing agent that is used to gather tissue samples. He tripled the dose to numb me and then asked for a bigger needle. It wasn’t final yet but being told upfront made me tougher. Three days after the biopsy I received a call that changed everything. The nurse did in fact say it was cancer. My response caught her off guard. I said, “Ok, What do I do now?” I really wasn’t afraid or scared because after seeing it first hand on the film, I had time to adapt and process what I was seeing. I felt strong and positive, for the moment. I had to be strong to get myself through this. We scheduled the surgery for October 5th. That gave us time to run the BRAC1 and BRAC2 tests to investigate if I was a gene carrier for breast cancer. I researched my family tree and I leaned I had relatives who had Ovarian and Uterine Cancer. If I carried the gene then that would give the surgeon and myself the option of an elective mastectomy surgery. The weight of those tests weighed heavily on my whole family’s mind, especially my mother. I had started to prepare for the worst, which losing my hair would not be the end of the world but being reconstructed and healing is a longer process. Having long hair I told myself I could go short and do things that would be out of the norm for me. I would try to see the brighter side of things. Being in constant contact with the lab after 6 weeks we finally got the results back and I didn’t carry the gene but we learned that it was estrogen fed type of cancer. The results were good and what the doctors wanted to hear.

I had more doctor visits and I was scheduled for surgery on October 5th 2012. I have never seen so many doctors in my life. I was anxious for it to be over. Surgery went well. There was a drainage tube in my side, which kept me up for a week until I had it removed. I loathed it and it was no picnic. I missed going to my routine Zumba classes but still kept a positive attitude. Next, after surgery, they sent a sample to a lab to make sure there were clear margins. That means when removing the cancer site the pathologist wants to see good tissue on the outside of the cancer site. Mine came back positive so I would need another surgery to gather more cells around where the cancer took root. November 6th - the appointment for the second surgery. I voted then off to outpatient surgery. The waiting game began again. 5 days later, No need for a third surgery. Thank goodness.

A couple weeks later, I went in for a follow up, and it was good news. I could finally heal. However, I still had Radiation treatments to go through. The party wasn’t over yet. I did try Zumba a couple of times in December, while fun and missed it; Not a good idea. ;)

During my journey, I blogged about my ups and downs on FB . I was an advocate for early detection.
The 4th week of radiation I found out that I had melanoma on my nose and cheek. Therefore, my face was a blistering mess and my chest felt like it had been lit up with gasoline. Great.
Into the top of the 6th week, radiation was a little tougher. I woke up one morning with my skin on fire and the tears just flowed. I just couldn’t make the drive one more day. I still had 6 more visits or so but the burning sensation was just too much. That Wednesday was the only day where I truly had pity for myself. I felt that I had let my guard down. It affected my head. Nevertheless, I had church groups and an army of prayer warriors on my side and I vowed to get myself together and get through this. It’s known that having a peppy attitude and positive outlook makes for a quicker recovery. I was going to prove this to myself. The last 5.5 months was a long journey. I didn’t want to stop now. I finished my radiation and I really couldn’t wait to just rest from all the driving. I started to feel tired, not motivated or determined to get anything done. I knew from other patients that this was the battle. I tried to follow their advice and just laid around and didn’t care. I’m a busy body and I don’t like to be kept still. Well, I rested. Then my old Zumba gal pal picked me up for class one day in March. It was great to be back but I was not feeling it. It’s mid-march and I knew if I didn’t get moving, I wouldn’t get “Me” back. So after a few weeks of just going to one class I bumped it up to 2-3. I had this renewed energy to get in shape. I was exhausted. I went to the hard class…Boot Camp. Two months into classes and I felt like I was getting stronger. I participated in the Komen cure race that my Zumba team built in my honor, and in August, I participated in the Warrior Dash. There was one wall that I couldn’t climb due to my arm weakness but I finished the race. I accomplished many feats and felt like I had a great come back. I walked with my daughter in the color run and I have not stopped Zumba-ing.

I just had my check up and I am in remission up to date. Awesome news. I am on frequent visits with an oncologist, and we are still trying to work out the kinks with medication that agrees with me to cut down the producing of estrogen so I don’t have it come back. I’m looking forward to each new day with a new outlook on life. I am a woman with a mission, and it’s not sitting on the sidelines watching life pass me by.

There are many support groups out there and you have to find the one that fits your needs. I joined Indy SurviverOars- paddle team. It is a dedicated group of breast cancer survivors and supporters that race and practice in a dragon boat on Geist Reservoir. All these women know what you are going through and of all ages and stages of fight.

My doctor told me I could wait until I was 40 to have my first mammogram. At age 35, I should have one a mammogram done or the option to have one but it wasn’t a factor. Now, I urge all my girlfriends and strangers to have a test performed at a young age so when you do reach an mature age the doctors will know what a healthy breast looks like compared to any irregularities they might see in the new film. It’s never too late.

Softball Photos | Indiana Sports Photographer

Did you know I do sports photography? I shoot some for our local paper "The Daily Reporter"  but I also do some team photos and I do game coverage as well! My team photography is a bit more custom than most, so I don't do huge groups like little league. I prefer to do private photos for travel teams. Here is a mix of sports I have done recently!

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Senior Megan | Indianapolis Senior Photographer

A Greenfield Central Senior on the canal. Had a great time with Megan for her photos in Downtown Indianapolis! Here are a few faves from her session :)

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8th Grade Dance | Indiana photographer

The blog is going to go crazy today. I have so much to catch up on! This was back in May before the 8th Grade formal dance at Greenfield Central Jr. High. I held mini sessions before hand. A lot of these girls are athletes and they wanted to showcase that. I love what we ended up with! This will totally be an overshare, but I had to show all of these! :)

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Newborns! News and new photos | Indianapolis newborn photographer

As usual I am behind on sharing on the blog! I am sure 90% of my blog posts start out this way! Ha! This one will be jam packed I have a couple adorable newborns to share here and NEWS! I posted on my Facebook fan page (Please go like if you don't already! ) that I am really wanting to focus on my newborns this year. I want to really expand that part of my portfolio. Normally my newborn sessions are $125 if you come to me and $200 if I come to you. My first 20 newborn sessions that I sell this year are only $50! That is a HUGE savings! I have sold many of them already, but there are still some up for grabs, so be sure and book ASAP! Your baby doesn't need to be here yet, in fact booking while you are still pregnant is the best way to do it! It's also a GREAT shower gift if you are looking for something different! There are 3 stipulations to this price. ONE : You must bring the newborn to my location. TWO : Newborn must be 10 days old or younger! THREE : You must sign a model release so that I can use the photos on my website and social media.  That's it! What are you waiting for?

Now ... here are a couple of the little beauties I have had recently :)

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Engagement Session | Indianapolis Photographer

I hardly ever get the chance to do engagement sessions because I don't do weddings, but I got the opportunity recently and I jumped on it! I forgot how much fun these can be! This couple is adorable and I had the chance to try out some fun things I had been saving up for the next chance I had to do these. Here are some of my absolute favorites! Sorry for the overload. It was a really tough choice!


MOVIE POSTERS from your Senior Portraits | New product

Just wanted to let everyone know that Shawna Marie Photography has a new senior product! This is so much fun! Picture YOURSELF on a Movie poster! What a great fun thing to hang on the wall in your dorm or apartment after senior year, or even in your bedroom if you're not moving out! These are unique and fun!

You won't seem them on the price list until I get everything updated, but these will sell for $350 a la cart OR you can save a TON and add them to the ELITE Senior package for only $150! That's a $200 savings! I am also considering making it possible to earn these with referrals! Let me know if you're interested and we'll talk!

Senior Session Give Away | Indianapolis Senior Photographer

So at some point every day I try and have a little quiet prayer time. With 4 kids, it's usually hiding in the shower or something, but I sneak it in whenever I can! haha. This morning I started my usual prayer session thanking God for all he's done for us lately, when it hit me how every day lately I've been asking, begging, pleading for something ... be it my daughter's health, financial stuff, and of course just the general health and wellbeing of all of my kids and family members. Today I stopped myself from asking for any of that, and I asked ... what can I do for you today? How can I bless someone else? Well, admittedly, most of the time when I am praying, I start out praying, then 5 minutes later I realize my mind has gone to the softball game from the weekend, or the bills waiting to be paid downstairs, or the bathroom that needs cleaned... you get the gist. So this morning after I got that out I found my mind wandering to gosh, wouldn't it be cool if I could donate a session to a senior who really needed it? What if I could make it even bigger than that, and get them styled before the session, have a cute outfit donated? My thoughts were going crazy trying to plan it all out... Then the smack on the head.... HELLLLLOOO you were praying remember? But wait? This time, maybe my mind wasn't just wandering. Maybe I was actually hearing what God was saying? Yep, I definitely believe that I was. So here you have it!

I am going to put in a call/email to the school guidance counselors to see if they have any recommendations, but I also want my family, friends, clients and facebook fans to nominate kids for me! I know God didn't ask me to do this without someone in mind. I know I'll find out who it was. Once I have the submissions, they will be carefully prayed over to choose my winner. Submissions will be taken until Oct 25th and I will contact the winner by Oct 27th to arrange the session! I would like to have it done in the first 2 weeks of November.  I want to make this big for this kid, whoever it may be, so if you feel like you'd like to donate a hair/makeup session or a gift card for that, or a gift card for clothing for the session, or if you are another vendor and would like to donate something to give them... Anything! Let me know! You can email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. !

I am so excited about this! Can't wait to make it happen! Please SHARE this post all over Facebook, Twitter etc to help me get the word out!

<3 Shawna


Chiari Malformation ~Inspiration Through Art~ |Indianapolis Photographer

As many of you know, volunteer photography is a big part of my business. One of my favorite organizations is Inspiration Through Art . Through them I have met some incredibly inspiring children. I never thought one of my own children would be eligible for an ITA shoot. As far as I knew, I had 4 very healthy children. Then things changed. Back in January my 13 year old daughter was at basketball practice and she got hit in the back of the head with someone's airball. She saw stars, got a little dizzy and had a headache, but carried on with practice. She came home later that night and told me about it and that her head was still hurting. I was like well yeah, I'm sure you do have a headache. Take some motrin and go to bed. She woke up the next morning and said her head still hurt. I was a little concerned but she wasn't showing any concussion like symptoms so I had her take more motrin and sent her off to school. When she got home her head still hurt, so I called the doc. We got in the next day and she said she had a mild concussion. She gave her no restrictions and told her to keep medicating with motrin and or tylenol as needed. For about 3 weeks she had a constant headache. Then it subsided to only when she was active, playing in her basketball games, practicing and when she practiced hitting and pitching for softball. She is such a tough kid. She still did it all with the help of motrin before she would go to practices/games. We let it go for awhile thinking it was post concussion syndrome, but when it didn't go away and started happening more intensly so back to the doc. He thought the same, that it was more than likely post concussion, but he ordered an MRI to be sure all was ok. The MRI came back and they told us she had a chiari 1 malformation. This is something she was born with, but she didn't have symptoms until she got hit. We were told by many "oh that's nothing, a lot of people have them, nothing to worry about" ... etc etc. So I was starting to feel better, but then our doctor wanted us to go see a Neurosurgeon at Riley. That's when I got scared. I read everything I could get my hands on and by the time we saw the neuro in May, I pretty much knew everything she ended up telling us about it. After examining Makayla, she said at this point we could wait and watch as her symptoms weren't all that bad, but she recommended surgery because it did seem to be affecting Makayla's quality of life. She was right. It was. My once very athletic kid was coming out of the pitcher's circle in tears in the middle of games. Her coaches were needing to ask her before games if she was going to be able to pitch or not. Did she have a headache, how bad was it etc. So we opted to go with the doctor's advice and set up her surgery. We held off til after the world series so she could finish out the season with her team, but it was evident there that she really needed the surgery. The last few weeks before her surgery I was having to drive her to and from school (she usually walked) because her backpack was too much for her back. So what is Chiari? Here's a little thing I put together with some basic info.

There are many other things that can go along with Chiari, but this is basically what we are dealing with with Makayla so far.

When we started going through this, the photographer in me decided we were going to document through photos and create an awareness video. I am still working on putting that together, as I want more information included. Plus, I want to add an "after" story for her.  So a few weeks before the surgery I applied for an Inspiration Through Art shoot. Only I specified that I wanted to do the photos myself. The only reason I was signing up is because ITA features their Heroes and tells about their illnesses. It helps spread awareness, and that is what we are looking to do. This isn't well known, and the information you can find is very conflicting, as well as the fact that it's hard to find success stories out there. My request got accepted and then I took her out and did phase one of our story.... Here are a few of my favorites from that session.

This kid is such a fighter. She is so strong. I can't imagine doing all of the things she did with constant head pain and dizziness and neck and back pain. She is an inspiration to me.


She never let it keep her down. She got out there and pitched some of her best games. When she wasn't pitching, she played short stop. A position she's never played before this past season, and she did it so well. This kid likes to win, and she'll do what it takes to make that happen. That's how I know she's going to win the fight against chiari.

 Look at that smile. She's got this! :)


Did I mention she's tough?

Through all of this, my one constant has been God. I have grown so much in my relationship with him during this time. In fact, his faithfulness during this time led me to take the next step and be baptised last week. I hope that Makayla and my other children are learning by my example to lean on Him and trust in Him. I have gone back and forth between thanking Him  and pleading for her health and asking why, and then realizing how many people have it so much worse and thanking him again that this is something that we can manage and find treatment for. I have prayed for full healing. I have prayed for her ability to cope with whatever she is dealt, and mine as well. I prayed for her surgeon and her nurses and anything and everything I could think of that would help her. Facebook was an amazing tool for creating prayer chains. I am pretty sure there was someone in every state and in a few other countries praying for my girl. It was humbling and overwhelming. Her softball team was incredible. We have been a part of some great teams (great as in the players, coaches and families have been wonderful) and some not so great ... but this team. The Indiana Diamond Batz   has exceeded our expectations. They are a good solid Christian based organization. They do great community service projects and teach our girls more than just softball. They are shaping them and becoming family while they are at it. Nearly every girl on the team made it to the hospital to see her, as well as her coach who also made a point to come up during her surgery to support us as well. Our families of course were amazing, but we are spoiled with great families and that was to be expected!

So on our surgery day of course we were nervous! VERY Nervous! Here's Makayla getting her mask all smelling like Dr. Pepper for when it's time to be put out. I think it just hit her here what was about to happen ...

sending her back for surgery had to be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I gave her her hugs and kisses and we both cried... and then when they wheeled her down the hall I turned to the hubby and bawled some more. And then when we saw the fam up in the waiting room ... AGAIN. lol.

Here we are FINALLY reunited with her :)

I have many many pics of all the family and friends who came to see her, but that would take way too much room on this blog. At the end I will include a link to our full album on Facebook. I did want to post this one though... what a precious moment. Her best friend came in the room and that was the first time she opened her eyes and smiled after surgery :)

The first thing she wanted to eat was about 24 hours after surgery and it was McDonalds Chicken nuggest. lol... whatever it takes to get her to eat!

She did really well after surgery. She slept a lot the first night, but the next day she was awake all day. It was probably her hardest day, but she mainly complained about not getting a regular room. Apparently we hit one of the busiest weeks ever at the hospital and they didn't have a bed for her on 9West so she was stuck in ICU longer than normal and she was not happy about it!

Here she is out of bed for the first time after surgery :)

and I did want to show the pic of when most of her team was up... a couple of them came up the night before, but this group was there all at once, so we got a group shot. Such wonderful kids and families! :)

and of course we need a photo of the scar ... isn't that amazing? Dr. Jodi Smith is wonderful and I highly recommend her! She did a fabulous job.

Makayla's surgery was Wed afternoon and the following Sat morning we were on our way home. I am amazed at how fast the recovery has been so far. I know we may not be through all of the rough days, but she is doing very well right now!

She had a hard day the day after she got home from the hospital, but it was my fault. I let her go too long between meds. Once we got her back on track it was all good. She spent the first week hanging around the house, resting on the couch mostly, but near the end of the week she made it out to 2 school football games, then she did a community service day with her softball team, went to church on Sun and this week less than 2 weeks after surgery she has returned to school half days. It will be 2 weeks tomorrow since her surgery! She says she feels like she never had brain surgery. Her head hasn't really been hurting other than some minor sinus headaches a time or two and she said she can carry her backpack again without pain in her back. I can't wait to see how she does when she's allowed to get back to her sports. I know it's all in God's hands and all I can do is trust that he's got this and no matter what happens, it's all part of his plan. I am so happy we went through with it though. Her surgeon said it was much worse than she had thought it to be and it's a very good thing we got her in. Again, lots of prayer led us to that decision.

I plan to do an update at 6 months and a year post op. In the mean time, if you'd like to see ALL of the photos from this journey, go to the album on facebook here :)

Last 2012 Senior of the year | Indiana Senior Photographer

As usual, I am a bit behind on blogging. This was my last 2012 Senior. It's now time to book your Class of 2013 senior photo session! Make sure you scroll down and check out my new "Ipad for referrals" program so you can earn your own free Ipad! But before that, enjoy LOGAN. Logan asked for a unique Vintage processing on the weight lifting photos. They turned out really great and fun! Loved this session. He had his own ideas and it was very unique :)



Earn a NEW 32 Gig wifi enabled IPAD! |Indianapolis High School Senior Photographer

So we all know that word of mouth and referrals are the biggest way small businesses get their business. Shawna Marie Photography is no different! I rely on your referrals to keep my business running! In the past I have used a Senior Rep program to bring more awareness to my senior offerings. This limits the referrals to people my reps know though. So NOW EVERYONE is or can be a rep for Shawna Marie Photography! Right now, I am working on building word of mouth for my NEWBORNS and my HIGHSCHOOL SENIORS so this is how you get your FREE, BRAND NEW 32 GIG IPAD ...  Get 10 Newborn OR High School Seniors booked/paid with me within a 30 day period. I will keep track from the date of your first referral. That is what will start your 30 days. All 10 bookings must be Newborns or High School seniors and ALL 10 of them must choose their date and PAY FOR THEIR SESSION in the same 30 day time frame. Just make sure they give me your name when they book! That's IT! That's all you have to do! This is a limited time offer. I am not sure how long I am going to run this promotion (however, be assured if you start, I will honor your 30 days regardless).  Anyone can win one. You don't have to be a High School Senior to make the referral. Just make sure your referrals have your full name, and if you are sending me referrals, be sure to fill out this short form so I have your contact information should you reach your goal! :)


NEW PHOTO SESSION TYPE | Indianapolis area photographer

I have had a lot of demand for a smaller, less customized session than I usually offer. I offer a boutique style brand, with a custom photo spot, custom editing and your own ordering session either online or in person by your choice. My typical photo session lasts at least an hour, if not longer and I deliver 20-30 fully edited proofs for you to choose from in your gallery. I am finding that some of you just want to capture a moment in your child's life, but don't necessarily need the full session. So Capture the Moment sessions are born. Playing a sport? Want a more custom photo in your uniform than the dime a dozen team sport photos? Graduating preschool, Kindergarten, 6th grade, 8th grade? Just want a quick shot or two for remembrance? That's where these sessions come in! These are for ages 4-18 and One child per session only. Sessions will last no more than 20 minutes in one location in the Greenfield area. I will deliver up to 7 proofs for you to choose from. You pay $50 for the session and 2 digital images with print release. You may upgrade the session to $75 for the session and 3 images or $100 for the session and 5 images. These sessions will be available on a first come first serve basis as I will only be fullfilling a certain amount per month and they are not available on weekends.  Schedule yours today!

I am also adding GAME DAY Sessions! For $200 I will come to your child's ballgame and photograph them playing and you will receive a disk of all of the 4x6 images with print release. Again, these sessions will be on a very limited basis, so schedule yours ASAP to make sure you get one! You may share this session with one other person on your team if you like.

H Family | Indianapolis, IN family photographer

What a wonderful, fun evening we had! I just love this family... I am so happy I had the opportunity to do their photos! Now of course, narrowing them down to share is going to be REALLY hard because I am in love with pretty much all of them. Sorry in advance for the large share :)


A little gift for my photographer friends

Needed to make a template for an order the other day, so I decided to share the template.   (Photos not included;) ) Feel free to use for personal or client use, but please do not sell! Thank you! :)

Here is a sample of the template with photos on it! Just uses clipping masks so drag your photo on top of the layer and use a clipping mask... scale as needed to fit



Beach Session| Panama City, FL | Indianapolis family photographer

So I don't think I ever blogged my beach session. Being from Indiana, this is something I only dream of for my clients, but my daughter is a softball player and last summer her team went to Nationals in Panama City, FL . As much as I LOVE watching her play softball, I was most excited about getting my kids out on the beach for a photo session. Now all of my fellow photographers know how difficult it can be to photograph your own children, and in the back of my head, I knew it would probably be tough, but the excitement of trying something new kept me optimistic. I took them shopping to find the perfect outfits and perfect color combinations for the photos. I am actually really proud of the way I coordinated their outfits. They looked so great together!

So the day comes that we are going to do photos. I researched the area to find the best beach and everything. Meltdown #1 happened because my daughter wanted to hang with some friends instead of going on our photo shoot. Meltdown #2 the daughter again, didn't like her dress... melt down #3 ME. In tears because nothing was going as I'd hoped and we hadn't even hit the beach! ha! So we finally make it there, and of course I get the typical photographer's children response. No one wants to touch each other or stand close, kids making funny faces, the little one was obsessed with the ocean waves and kept running out in them *sigh*  after about 30 minutes they were all DONE and I felt like I got absolutely nothing ... buuut they don't call me a photographer for nothing! I got home and was pleasantly surprised with what I had to work with. Yes, some of them are silly, but they are all "MY KIDS" and I can't wait to get these on my walls because THIS is how I will remember my children when they are grown ... fun, silly, fighting, laughter, chaos and I wouldn't miss a second of it ... So here are a few of my faves from that crazy day! *Oh, and all that being said, I would LOVE to do a beach session with a family that is not mine, so if you are looking for  destination photographer, definitely get in touch with me!


New Year Baby! | Noblesville Newborn Photographer

This little guy was the first New Years baby at his hospital and my first newborn of the year 2012. He was such an adorable little guy with a wonderful family! I had such a great time photographing him! How can you not want to squeeze this cuteness?


Christmas Photos | Indianapolis Family Photographer

Had the pleasure of photographing these little cuties for their Grandparents' Christmas gifts. Everyone knows how I LOVE the little babies! This was double the fun :) Great family!

T Family| Indianapolis Family Photographer

Did this session Thanksgiving weekend. What GREAT weather we had! I couldn't believe how warm it was... perfect :) And these guys were lots of fun too:)

The C Family | Pendleton Family Photographer

This was another beautiful fall day at Falls Park in Pendleton. Such a great location for photos!


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