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A fellow photographer friend posted an awesome blog post today about why she created a personal Instagram account — you can read about it here. I have gone back-and-forth on this because while I certainly still want to post my personal life on my business Instagram account to build more of a connection with my followers… I also don’t want to overwhelm people with over-sharing baby pictures of Michael! Nor do I want to stress about curating the best-of-the-best perfect images from my iPhone to ensure my grid is pretty to look at 24/7. I also love the idea of easily creating photo books!

SO! I caved and created a new personal account where I’ll be posting daily shenanigans. Of course, being the OCD type-A mom that I am… I have already uploaded 126 posts to get my account caught up from Michael’s birth to now. HA! My phone is always running out of room with countless photos/videos so I’m excited to have a place to store and share them online. Some days it might be one post… other days I may post a dozen times… it just depends on what we’re up to! Some images might be perfectly exposed and in focus… while others might be blurry… but it’s our beautiful story nonetheless. While of course this account is for friends and family to follow along… this account is mainly for me. A digital home to store our memories.

If you need a daily dose of baby boy cuteness or you want to be entertained by our daily shenanigans… then give us a follow! 🙂

Follow @shumatefamshenanigans

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YIKES!! It’s been almost 1 month since I last blogged something… That doesn’t mean that I haven’t tried!! I have several blog posts still in draft status that just never got around to getting published… but they will be soon! It’s been a busy, busy time this last month and now my family is gearing up for birthday season in March/April (we have EIGHT birthdays in our immediate family during this time!). We have lots to celebrate this year since my Mom is turning 60, my sis-in-law is turning 35, and I’ll be turning 30!! Big milestones this year!!

SO! Let me catch you up!! In the last month we had our Keswick Hall getaway, Michael was baptized (blogging about this next week!!), I attended several photography webinars, photographed several families and babies, enjoyed a relaxing trip to Denton Abbey, and hosted a Mom Prom! And of course, lots of baby snuggles and family time in between all of that! Virginia has had some crazy weather with it being 70° one day and then snow flurries the next… Soaking up all of this sunshine is getting me SO excited for spring!! » OPEN POST »

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This family is the absolute sweetest! I was grinning from ear-to-ear as they arrived for their session and I saw the two sisters in matching dresses. Aren’t they just the cutest?! And little James, what a handsome boy! Had so much fun being my goofy self and making these kiddos laugh. Loved getting to know them as we strolled the grounds of Tuckahoe Plantation during my annual Holiday Mini-Session Special. All of their smiles are just contagious! Enjoy browsing some favorites from our time together! 🙂 » OPEN POST »

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Hi friends! Happy Monday! If you follow along on Instagram then you know that we took a family trip this past weekend. It was an adventure that I will always cherish. December 1st was our real anniversary (4 years!). We had a romantic dinner at home and Ryan surprised me with a getaway to Keswick Hall! With the hectic hustle and bustle holiday schedules and still getting into a routine with Michael, we decided to postpone our trip for mid-January so we could really relax and enjoy it. Then Virginia got hit with a crazy snow and ice storm… So… we postponed again! We booked it for Valentine’s Day weekend (and the 1-year anniversary of finding out we were pregnant!). After much anticipation, this past Saturday morning, my little family packed up the car and scooted to Charlottesville for our belated celebration! Aside from going to the rivah, this was a our first family vacation! » OPEN POST »

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So! Be honest… in looking at this photo, does your heart skip a beat? Does this place put a smile on your face? I have a confession to make… When I’m not shooting, my perfect Saturday or Sunday afternoon is in comfy clothes with my family and strolling the aisles of Costco. Anyone else yelling, “Amen, Sista!”. I know it might sound strange but for almost 7 years now, my hubby and I love going together! Now we have a Bob Stroller in tow with Michael tagging along. I remember Michael’s first time to Costco, LOL. He was wide-eyed in his stroller as we shopped around. We try to limit our trips to once a month (because it’s like Target, we can’t leave Costco without spending several hundred dollars). You could literally walk into Costco because you initially needed the jumbo box of k-cups and a book of stamps… and end up walking out of there with a canoe! HA! We purposively have a monthly budget for Costco to ensure we don’t overspend and go crazy in there. It’s probably a good thing that we can’t log online like Amazon (PS… How did I just recently find out about Honey?! Where have you been all of my life?!) to view all of our previous transactions. Bet it would be a pretty long list.

Between the huge red shopping carts, their gigantic pies, the wine selection, ready-made meals, awesome prices, the yummy food samples, amazing customer service, the ability to return things without a receipt (cash back!), stylish clothes, or the delicious Chicken Bake…!… what’s not to love? If you’re thinking to yourself, “Allison, what’s a Chicken Bake?”, then you need to stop what you’re doing and drive to Costco and order this for lunch in their food court (for only $2.99!). It’s seriously like a hot pocket on steroids, good! » OPEN POST »

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You guys! I cannot believe that February is already here and busy as ever! This past week I was on-the-go!! If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve seen some of my daily adventures. I photographed 2 newborn sessions, 1 maternity session, and 3 Smash Cake sessions (one being in Northern Virginia) all while coordinating with Ryan or my Mom to watch little Michael… meanwhile, I went to 2 different coffee play dates, continued voting with the Shoot & Share contest, had a pedicure with my bestie, spent quality time with family, hosted a firepit happy hour with 18 my amazing neighbors (+ all of their kiddos!), attended Thrive (a weekly women’s morning bible study that I recently joined and I love it!), cleaned the house, enjoyed a day trip adventure with Ryan and Michael to Northern VA, and went to 2 Super Bowl parties… Michael and I had a fun-filled week together to say the very least! Above is a snapshot of the sneak peeks I’ve posted from last week — Gosh, my heart is so full!

I was SO ecstatic when this past January was the biggest month ever for my photography business! I’ve welcomed 12 new clients into the ASP Family and I’m up 777% in income from this time last year!! Y’all… that is such a confidence booster knowing that January was when I took the leap from leaving the corporate world to be a full-time stay-at-home-mom and continue to run my photography business. I couldn’t be more appreciative of my ASP Family for their investment in this dream of mine. It’s an honor to document their stories and motherhood journeys. I can already tell that 2017 is going to be an EPIC year! » OPEN POST »

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You may have seen on my Instagram page that I’m in the “All-In Club”! So, what does that mean you ask? Every year I submit my work in the Shoot & Share Photo Contest – “the only free and fair contest in the world.” Photographers from all over the globe are allowed to submit up to 50 images (to be considered “all-in”) into 25 categories. When voting opens up (February 1st) anyone can vote! We’re the judge. The best part about this contest?! Voters do not know who submitted which images — it’s totally random — and you pick your favorites. Here’s how it works… four images will pop up on your screen and you choose your favorite out of those four… then your screen will automatically refresh with four more images… and so on! I will fully warn you that it’s addicting! Hours will go by (sometimes into the wee hours) and I’ll find myself still voting! I’ve seen some folks that have the contest up on their PC, laptop, phone, and iPad so they can vote on multiple devices at a time! Now that’s commitment! » OPEN POST »

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So you want to start a photography business?! Awesome! When I started my business, I was constantly scouring the web and absorbing as much information as I could. My brain was a like a sponge! I would easily stay up until 4AM watching YouTube videos and reading blogs. I was passionate… fired up! I joined local and nationwide Facebook groups, subscribed to newsletters, attended webinars, went to socials, and took my camera outside to practice, practice, practice shooting in Manual mode.

If you’re eager to start a photography business of your own then you’re likely feeling very overwhelmed with where to even start! Trust me… I’ve been there! Still today I can get overwhelmed. BUT! Lucky for us, there are so many resources out there to help educate, organize, and set yourself up for success! » OPEN POST »

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The adorable Oliff family is featured on the blog today! If you haven’t already seen their baby #3 pregnancy announcement or gender reveal photos you must check those out before scrolling down. It has been such a JOY to capture their growing family! Around the holidays I met them on the University of Richmond campus (Emily’s alma mater) to capture some maternity portraits. Emily was glowing! This session was particularly special for this family because Baby Behl is their final child to complete their family. So grateful that they knew the importance to document this season in their lives. Finley and Tripp couldn’t be more excited to meet their sweet little brother. Below are some favorites from our time together 🙂

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OH! I just love this family to pieces! Not only are they dear friends of mine but they are also my neighbors! Our family’s have grown so close over the years and I’m so grateful for their friendship. Missy and Tim have 3 handsome boys! Jacob, Judah, and Josh have smiles that will seriously melt your heart! Leading up to their Holiday Mini-Session we were chatting about outfit ideas and my hubby, Ryan, suggested they rock out wearing blazers. So glad they did! They looked awesome and mighty dapper I must say! It is such a joy to capture their growing family as the years go by. So many favorites from our time together.
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