The Best of 2015

IMG_2467I had the pleasure and incredible opportunity to capture some very special moments this year.  I took thousands of photos for clients over the last 12 months.  Here is a small sampling of my favorites.

Thank you so very much to all of the clients who asked me to be part of their lives and tell their story.  It has been an honor.

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Dog Days

Dog Days

We are in the last few dog days of summer.  This summer we have been to the lake, pool, park, library, visited family, visited friends, and just simply run amok.  Aside from dropping the water activities nothing will really change come the fall.  We will just be running amok in different places.

Rather than just let this month slide into the next month, I made myself a list of goals.  Simple but achievable, here they are:

  • Read: three books
  • Home: plants outside
  • Knit: shawl & socks
  • Document: goals & photos
  • Personal biz development: ??

Just kidding on the last one.  That’s a cliff hanger for the two people who read this blog.  I have two projects I’m currently working on as a way to foster my small side businesses (my etsy shop and my photography work).  These are often slow moving because there’s the full time job, there’s the motherhood/wifey job, there the process of avoiding any cleaning and then there is the actual cleaning that eventually happens.  So when I have an extra thirty minutes – and the required energy – to devote to my small side business, I have two specific goals to help me continue moving forward.  They are only a couple inches forward but progress nonetheless.

Aidan says

Toddlers

In an attempt to catalog some of the hilarious things Aidan says at this age, I present to you this compilation of toddler comments.

 

Me: Aidan do you want a couple more [insert anything including milk, food, dessert]?

Aidan: No, just all of dem.

 

Me: Are you hot honey?

Aidan: No, I’m warm.

 

Aidan: Your pants grey?

Me: No, my pants are blue.  These are blue jeans.

Aidan: Blue jams!

 

Me: Are you going to say happy birthday to pop?

Aidan: No, too big.

Me: [Thinking, oh dear Lord, that’s exactly what my dad wanted to hear on his birthday.] Aidan, you can’t say happy birthday?!

Aidan: Cake!!

….. at least priorities are clear.

I want to remember {23/52}

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the easy mornings and the tough ones.

holding hands with Aidan during our walk into daycare.

the nights he eats more than me for dinner along with the ones where he eats nothing but fruit and milk.  
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our trips to the pool, the jump park, and to other states for visits with friends. 

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our family walks after dinner. 

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all the reminders to not hit Mackenzie and that he’ll survive when she licks his hands. and not to feed her too many cheerios please! 

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the adorable and ridiculous things he says including but not limited to, “what’s dat guy doing?” & “what number’s dat?” (when he actually means letter) & “you kidding me?” 

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his sweet kisses. 

his love of teddy. 

his love for the water color kit. 
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how happy I am every time I come home from work.

Life Lately

Plane wingSo here’s the thing, I hate hearing people talk about how busy they are.  Tell me your business is booming, your children are adorable and you just have to love on them all the time, or admit that after your commute, a full date of work, dirty dishes, and post bath/pre bed time child wrangling,  all you really want to do is vegetate on the sofa while staring at the wall.  In full disclosure, these situations all apply to me and not you dear reader.  I think, however, you catch my drift.

But life is full in whatever fashion you are filling your time.  For me lately, that has involved a lot of travel.  From Williamsburg, VA to NYC to New Orleans, LA to NYC again to Scottsdale, AZ and then Holicong, PA – all in the course of four weeks.  It was a whirlwind and it taught me a couple of important lessons:

1. Pack like a minimalist.  Not having to check a bag is a crucial time saver and while you do have the same 24 hours in a day as Beyonce, you do not have her entourage to pack/tote/fetch said bag.  So pack a little less and save a little time.

2. Always and forever have a book to read on planes because while I love to go places, my aptitude for thinking rationally while a plane is taking off or hitting excessive turbulence is minimal.

3. Make small talk better.  Seriously, please skip the weather and talk about something deeper.  Whether you are an introvert or extrovert we can all appreciate a better conversation.  I met a lot of people in the last few weeks and without a doubt, the only ones that truly stick out for me do so because I took something away from the conversation – something resonated with me and I appreciate that.

4. If you are like me and you work full time, have a family, are pursuing a passion on the side, and still like to get seven hours of sleep each night, realize that busy seasons will come and go.  You will still be on the path to pursuing your dreams but the path might take a little longer for you than others.  Just stick to the path – you’ll get there over time even if it takes you a little longer.

5. Write it down.  It would be amazing to be able to control time, to just slow down the good stuff and relish it for longer.  Until that becomes a possibility, write a note to remember how you felt, what you thought, or just how adorable your child was yesterday.  I am trying to document more this year because looking back always helps me appreciate the journey – turbulence and all.

#aidantheanimal

Laughing

When we were pregnant and trying to decide on a name, we always paused to think about nicknames.  Ones we liked or didn’t.  We even ruled out names because of potential nicknames that we just didn’t love.  (Because a parent can never be too prepared or fearful when having their first child.)  Case in point, I loved the idea of Aidan James Sinks.  James is my father’s name and we both agreed the middle name had to have a family origin.  But the idea of AJ just didn’t fit for us.  So when Alan suggested Ward, a shortening of his paternal grandfather’s name Howard, I was sold.

So there we had it – Aidan Ward Sinks – the perfect name for our little guy.  Never in a million years did I think we would end up with a bunch of nicknames for this child.  In fact, I think we only call him by his first name when we are warning him about eminent danger such as cars or his propensity to climb to the top of his high chair and then just teeter there for a few seconds longer than my heart really requires.   But I digress.

Alan’s favorite nickname is Chubster.  Yes, chubster.  Because you can add an -ster to anything and make the word more interesting.  Also, because our very slim child deserves a nickname that is quite the opposite of his physique and hopefully will not add to any future self doubts.

For me, I love Aidan the Animal.  Although I never actually call him this and only really refer to it in writing.  The real origins of this came when I misunderstood something in conversation on Friday Night Lights and loved what I mistakenly heard.  Since people were clamoring to hear the reasons for the hashtag I’ve been using on Instagram , I just had to comply and give an explanation (#jaytothekay because exactly no one asked me about this but I’m over sharing anyway).  So if you’re curious for more, you can find me @cadysinks where I am a professional overgrammer of all things knitting, Aidan, and made up nicknames.

Listen to Daddy Mall kiss Smiles Sunglasses Target

Photos taken with my Nikon D750 & 50mm lens.

Mother’s Day Minis

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I love photographing children.  They are sweet, shy, and sometimes silly.  And because of that, I love capturing their adorable expressions.

But moms.  Oh moms.  You ladies hold a special place in my heart.  You work hard to make sure everyone has what they need, does what they should, and minds their manners along the way.  You encourage, you hug, you love.

Dee Dee + Kennedy

So often moms are the family photographers, the ones to document milestones and achievements.  They can’t jump into photos because they are busy orchestrating them.  This Mother’s Day, I really want to celebrate moms.  Because moms are beautiful, incredibly special, and deserve their moment.  It’s time to capture them in front of the camera, rather than behind it.

Jess & Easton

To make that happen, I am offering Mother’s Day mini sessions on May 23 & 24th starting at 6:30 pm in Alexandria, Virginia.  These sessions are exclusively for moms and their children (dads are welcome to hold purses and other stranded items but will not be featured this time around).  Photo sessions will be approximately 25 minutes, cost is $99 (plus tax), and will provide 10 fully edited digital images.

Rain dates will be the following weekend.

If you are interested, please shoot me an email at Cady.Sinks@gmail.com

Tips for getting better photos of your kids

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I am frequently asked what camera I use and what tips I have for getting better photos of kids.  I’m working on a post about what equipment I use and that will be posted in the very near future.  In the mean time, I have a handful of tips to help you better capture those precious little people in your life.

this post does contain affiliate links.  thank you for supporting Cady M. Sinks photography & blog 

1. Get low.  Depending on your height and that of your child, you are most likely a few feet taller than your subject.  Rather than taking a photo standing and looking down, get low.  Crouch, sit on the floor, or lay down.  However you choose to do it, get low and photograph their perspective rather than your own.  In the photo above, I tried sitting down first and then decided to lay down in an attempt to get even more on par with my son.

2. Let them play.  Without a doubt, I love Aidan’s smile.  Those few moments when his huge blue eyes stare at me through the lens and he gives me his sweet grin, well, those are the moments that make your heart burst into exactly one million tiny little pieces.  And this happens only once a year when all the stars align and unicorns show up on my doorstep.  I’m not saying give up on making that shot happen.  But if you are trying to capture what your child does on a daily basis, if you are trying to become a better photographer, if you are trying to capture milestones realize that not every one of those requires a smiling face.  In fact, some of the most simple photos can be the most beautiful.  So let your child play and capture the moment.DSC_3670 - FINAL_w logophoto details: nikon d7100 // nikon 35 mm f/1.8 lens // iso 500 // f/2.0 // 1/500 ss

3. Find the light. There are certain areas of our house that provide more light than others.  Light pours into Aidan’s play area in the morning.  In contrast, our basement gets only a sliver of light and is not conducive to getting great photos.  Rather than torture myself, I have adjusted.  More photos are taken in the areas where I have better lighting.  So find the spots in your house that allow great light.  And don’t underestimate bathrooms!  Our master bathroom has a massive window and gets a great deal of light throughout the day.

4. Work with what you have and make what you have work for you.  I will be sharing more about what equipment I use but over the last year I have been using a Nikon D7100.  If I could toss my budget out the window and get anything I wanted, I would absolutely upgrade my camera body and current lenses.  I would also add a couple more to my camera bag.  Until that day comes, I continue to work with what I have.  I have studied my camera, I have figured out what settings I prefer, and I can make adjustments without delay.  It is important to really master the equipment you have currently before upgrading because until you do that, you may be upgrading without really improving.  So my advice to you is that you learn the intricacies of your current camera and when you have truly hit the ceiling with what you currently own, then make the jump to the next level.DSC_3686 - FINAL_w logophoto details: nikon d7100 // nikon 35 mm f/1.8 lens // iso 400 // f/2.2 // 1/400 ss

5. Practice.  I posted about this recently.  The more photos you take, the more photos you edit, and the more photos you analyze, the better you will get.  Nothing can replace this.  Aidan is a terrible model and is constantly on the go.  I also work full time so for three months of winter time, I rarely have good light.  I can easily use these as excuses – and admittedly, sometimes I do – but that won’t change things.  So I practice.

I would love to hear if these tips help and good luck in capturing better photos of your kids!

Meag’s Last Stand {10/52}

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For Meaghen’s last stand (or dance as some people mistakenly called it 😉 ) we headed out to Pennsylvania wine country.  Despite snow on Friday and bumpy roads Saturday morning, we had a great weekend.  Friday night was all sushi and wine, Saturday was all wine and cheese, and then we capped off the weekend with brunch and shopping.  Of all the wines we had during the weekend, I have to say that Va La Vineyards was tops.  They were gracious, knowledgeable, and paired their wines perfectly some incredible cheese.  Our pocket books are thankful that we don’t live too close to this beautiful spot.

Meag I am so happy for you and Doug.  We can’t wait to celebrate more in May!

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The Art of Practice {9/52}

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 People often tell me, “you are so creative.”  This is an awesome compliment to receive but  one that doesn’t taken into account the whole picture.  Why?  Because I know how much practice it takes to be creative.  Creativity is simply a skill that is developed through consistency, through effort, and through trial.  There is an art to creativity and it looks a lot like work.  And honestly, anyone can do the work.

When I was a five year old mini with ribbons in my pigtails I loved to make friendship bracelets.  Fancy ones with lots of colors.  I had a special box that housed my tools and constantly had a bracelet in the works taped to the cover of the box.  These friendship bracelets combined with massive amounts of crayons were the origins of my creativity.

Fast forward to ten years ago when my roommate taught me the very basics of knitting.  Laura knew how to cast on and knit and then one day after a trip home, she taught me to purl.  We made very simple scarves and had to completely rip them apart if we made any mistakes.  One night – probably after too much wine – she held up her work in progress and showed off a piece that looked more like the shape of California than an actual scarf.  I’ll never forget how hard we laughed.

I owe Laura a huge debt of gratitude.  Not only was she an incredibly fun and easy roommate (exactly 2% of women fall into this category!) but she taught me a craft that I fell absolutely and totally in love with.  Over the last couple of years as my knitting has become more serious, I have made sweaters, hats, socks, and at least a hundred scarves.  In 2014 I taught myself to crochet to expand my yarn wrangling skill set.  This year my goal is to expand my color work abilities from simple stripes to fair isle.

If people think I’m creative today, it is only because I have practiced.  Just like a musician practices scales.  Just like a marathoner runs miles after timed miles.  I have practiced because I love it and that practice has rewarded me ten fold.  So the next time you think, I’d love to learn to knit but I’m not creative.  I challenge you to change that line of thinking.  Because with just a little practice, you will surprise yourself.