As we hit the one year anniversary this week of covid descending on our nation and changing all our lives in various ways, I have been thankful as I reflect on the people God knit around me in my life as a single lady, so that even in the changes and ebb and flow of covid isolation, I have not felt alone! The Days fill me up and hold a special place in my heart as wonderful, dear friends from my church who have the most crazily wonderful growing herd. Their family has been built through foster and adoption, with eight kids and counting, ranging from 1.5 to 22 years old. Katie & Steve are people I want to be like, embracing dreams and pressing into the hard by God’s strength, going after good works that display His beauty and love to others. I have loved watching how covid has brought GOOD on their homestead, as they’ve done immense work to their property and their familial relationships, and also brought others of us in, throughout covid, in safe ways, to be blessed by their land and animals and food. Enjoy some of my favorite images of their wonderful crew, including some extended family as well!
Last night, I got to meet and hold the little newborn man who is one of the stars in today’s photoshoot… how fast time goes!! (Though for preggo Mamas, I know things can often seen slooowwww… that was Sen during this session, just eager and waiting for baby Judah to get outta her belly!) This family is one that makes me thankful for life, laughter, rawness, and being real a humans and Christians. They teach me so much about the power of prayer and the power of a good meal (preferably Puerto Rican cuisine!!). I loved capturing their growing crew last month and am so thankful that I don’t only call them clients but dear friends. 🙂 Enjoy a few of my favorite images from our holiday-y shoot in Newport News, VA!
There are moments in photography when you pull your camera from your eye to look at the shot you just captured and can’t help but grin exuberantly, shriek with glee, and freak out your client in the excitement their beauty gives you. I consider it such a privilege to capture people in all their differences and loveliness, and I especially love doing so with people I know deeply.
Shooting the below photos for my bestie and roomy Ruby (some people call her by her actual name… RACHEL….. but not I!) was one such session full of those “oooooooooo!!” moments. She is a beautiful soul!!! Living with her and walking through life with her, I know well her compassionate heart, her stunning face, and her eagerness to help others when it comes specifically to cooking and eating in ways that help, heal, and give happiness to the tastebuds and body! She is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, passionate to show others how powerful food is and how much it matters what we put in our bodies. I have learned so much from her, and continue to pester her for cooking wisdom as I’ve become more accustomed to the kitchen in 2021 through my keto journey!
Ruby has big dreams, big goals, big plans in how to bring hope and healing to bodies and souls through food and farming. She uses her blog, Alimentary Roots, to share thoughts and wisdom as she walks towards these passions, hoping simply to serve others well. Please head over and give her writings some attention! They’re fascinating and fun to read!!!
Rubes, I love you and am so thrilled for what is to come. You and your beautiful self inspire me daily and I love getting to show you some love in this blogpost today!
Have you ever gotten to a location near where you live and wondered how in the world you had never ventured there before??? That’s how I felt pulling into Hermitage Museum & Garden last weekend. I could have shot there for HOURS!!!!! Next year, I will definitely be scheduling a day of mini-sessions around the gardens!!!
The Milstead posse was a fun bunch to capture. Our time together held the normal 5-year-old boy rebellion and one-year-old escaping shoes, but that’s real life, is it not??? And we still got some wonderful photos of Heather, Ryan, and their three beauties. See some of my favorites below!!! And let me know if you want to schedule a session at Hermitage — my time with the Milsteads couldn’t even capture all the venue had to offer!!
Oh. My. Lanta. How I love these photos and these THREE people!!! Beth is a sister from my church who I have walked through life with more closely these last two years. She is one of the kindest people I know, so full of compassion and sincere care for others. Her husband Will is also a man of character, hardworking and genuine, so eager to serve others. Walking with Beth through her pregnancy has only amplified how much I see this couple’s trust in God, awareness of His grace, and declaration of how much we all need Him. I am so eager to see how God will continue revealing Himself to them and through them as little baby boy Palmer enters the world in February 2021!! We had a great time waltzing around downtown Norfolk a few Saturdays ago… enjoy a few highlight shots of our time together!!
Anyone else miss the pre-covid wedding days? Celebrating with friends and family, sans face coverings and social distancing? While I know our current circumstances and the various regulations upon us are limits we all just have to accept as reality for right now, I still peruse weddings I shot in 2019 with such awe and glee, seeing mask-less faces and guests cozied up next to one another! I pray we get to be there again soon. Until then, enjoy some highlights from a wedding I shot back in May of 2019 for a dear couple from my church, Hampton Roads Fellowship! Watching their little blended family (Sharon & MJ, Eric & Cameron) become one surrounded by our HRF family was such a relaxed, joyful celebration!
(Note: I’m still shooting weddings in this season, maneuvering covid restrictions and seeking to bless couples as they deal with these crazy times! Message firstname.lastname@example.org to get wedding packages and booking details!)
Thanksgiving is tomorrow and tonight I am sitting on the couch with some of my sisters, at home in Northern VA, bouncing between Hallmark movies and Say Yes To The Dress while I edit photoshoots. I know we all say this annually, but the holidays definitely snuck up on me this year. Life is so full, so fun, and so go go go… I feel like I blinked and I’m home now, smelling my Mom’s Thanksgiving Eve cooking and wondering why I keep deciding it’s a good idea to kick off Thanksgiving with an early morning Turkey Trot run (tomorrow’s race route I’m doing this year is SO HILLY, and I’m hoping the wings on the turkey onesie I’m wearing will give me umph to soar up and over all the inclines!!!).
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, a brother at Fellowship Group (my church‘s version of small groups) prayed last night that God would help us recall the many things this past year that we have ignored or forgotten to thank Him for, and that He would help us to remember and praise Him. I was so humbled by that prayer because I often plow through life without spending much time reflecting specifically on God’s past grace to me, not often being still and thinking across the span of months/years with thanksgiving. In light of this, I am looking over 2019, and tonight I’m particularly humbled by God’s provision of business for Debbie Dean Photography.
A few months ago, I had no idea I could have this life, making a living doing childcare and photography (while learning and studying biblical counseling on the side in the process). Yet, God has opened door after door and I find myself floored at what each day holds! Strangers and friends alike have blessed me to serve them with photo sessions this fall. Reflecting on all the couples and families I’ve captured is stirring great thankfulness to God for the gift and experiences with photography He’s given over the years to bring me to this place. I pray He continues to grow me and show me His purposes for Debbie Dean Photography, and look forward to how I can keep serving others with photo experiences down the road!
In light of all this… enjoy a fun autumn family session I did recently, featuring Marcell, the brother in my Fellowship Group who’s prayer I referenced above! I have loved getting to know him and Hillary and their little guy, Max, since coming to HRF last year, and I hope you enjoy their session from Cullipher Farm in Chesapeake, Virginia!