Monday, September 20, 2010

Pic of the Day - Saturday, September 18th

I snapped this as we were walking to the car after a long day. I had been shooting - my friend Daniele Anthony's reception and then Super Cooper's Race and Family Fun Day. Mel and the boys had been to the UNC v G. Tech game. And everyone was wiped. The light was beautiful and I love the way Baby C looked back at me over dad's shoulder.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pic of the Day - Corey WIlliams - Chapel Hill Portrait Photographer - Babies, Kids, Seniors

Pic of the Day for Monday, September 13th. Can you tell what's going on in my life? Even after a dose of steroids, Baby C is still bummin' hard. So, it's back to the pediatrician for more. After last time's in-office dose, he's ready to make an escape.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pic of the Day - Chapel Hill Baby & Family Portrait Photograph

So, I didn't do so well the first time I tried my thirty day project. I was sabotaged by croup. First, Mr. B got it. We woke with him gasping, turning blueish gray and freaking out. We went straight to the ER where he was admitted and kept until the next morning. Now, Baby C has croup. We've been taking him in and out of the shower (his isn't nearly as bad), but he's worked his way into a dose of steroids too. This is all to say, that I've been so obsessed with fundraisers, sick babies and birthday parties that I did not adhere to my plan. So here it is, take two.

Every day for the next 30 days, I'm going to take and post a new pic of one of my kiddos. Tonight, it's Baby C. Who is so miserable, due to croup. But - trooper that he is - he tried so hard to play today. Here he is, playing with a ball outside and looking up at me as I experiment with my new lens. (Thanks Ash!!!!!).

In Love With the River - Chapel Hill Baby, Child, Family Portrait Photographer

My kids are in love. With the Eno River. Ever since our short frolic last Sunday, it's all they can talk about. "Mom, can we take Gigi to the river." "Mom, can I bring my friends to the river." I love it! Give them some bug spray, a net from the dollar store and a bathing suit and they're happy. I couldn't stop snapping away. So, here are more photos than you ever wanted to see of my kids frolicking in the river.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pic of the Day - Corey WIlliams - Chapel Hill Portrait Photographer - Babies, Kids, Seniors

There are three major problems with being the child of a portrait photographer.

#1. Your photographer parent experiments on you. This can mean that you're forced to try on/work with new props, stand in front of backdrops, try out new poses/stunts, etc. This work is not rewarding at best and dangerous (as it's untested) at worst.

#2: The camera is constantly turned on you. Determined not to miss moments when our own children are adorable, we take our cameras EVERYWHERE and drive our kids crazy with them. Sadly, this doesn't result in actually having finished portraits. See number three.

#3: You have very few portraits of yourself. Counterintuitive I know. But compared to when I was photographing as a hobby, I have scary few photos of my own children. It's not that I don't take them. It's that I rarely edit them and I never print them. I know, horrible. I plan to fix that.

That's where this blog post comes in. For the next 30 days, I'm resolving to turn my camera on my own children. I'll post one photo that captures them just doing what we do each day. Some of them may be less than spectacular, but they all have to be from that day! At the end of thirty days, they are going in a book. I'm serious this time. It's really going happy. I have the blogging universe to hold me to it.

Here's today's pic: Taken at the Eno River when we were celebrating Mr. B's fourth birthday. They kids had a blast playing in the creek. Can you believe they'd never done that?!?!?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Keeping Promises to Little People - Corey Williams, Child Baby Portrait Photographer - Chapel Hill, Durham, NC

My middle son, Bennett, is obsessed with fairness. He has been since he was little. He wants to know why adults can drive cars, drink wine, and raise their voices. When he was little he didn't understand why his sister got to wear glittery things and go to school. And of extreme importance to Bennett is keeping promises. If you say that you will do something, Bennett wants - no needs - you to follow through. For him, the world order is upset and life doesn't make sense when adults don't keep their promises. And so I am very careful about what I promise. His reminder of all my birthday promises to him this morning brought me back to a promise to another little boy that I had not kept.

A few weeks ago, I photographed a little boy who came to our session straight from school. His favorite toy was clutched in his little hands. He didn't want to let it go. This toy was really important to him and he wanted it in the pictures. He, frankly, didn't understand why we didn't want it in the pictures. So, I agreed to take some photos with his toy - a transformer - in the photos and even some portraits of the transformer alone. But when I processed the images, I left them out, thinking that the parents don't really want a bunch of transformer images. But that's not fair - as Bennett would remind me. Those were promised to him. And so here I am, delivering on that promise. These are for you, Kai.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dawn Williams, Pianist - Chapel Hill Portrait Photographer Corey Williams

One of the things I love most about being a photographer is that I'm always doing something different. Today was a case in point.

My kid's terrific piano teacher, Dawn Williams, asked me to take some photos of her for an upcoming demo CD and her website. One thing led to another, and we had Jami Svvay involved, a terrific makeup artist and hairstylist involved in the project. Jami brought along Effie, our stylist, and suddenly, we're in business. The day went something like this.

Jami and Effie left Charlotte this morning at 3am. By 6:00am, Dawn was getting into hair and makeup. Shortly after, I rolled out of bed and put on my shooting pants (more on this in a later blog post). And headed for Dawn's house.

There she was, in fresh makeup, jeans and a sparkly tank and of course, I just want her to lay down in a ravine (read - ditch) and look (ahem) comfy. From there, we were shooting in neighbor's yards, an empty field next to a church (on a Sunday morning), in downtown Durham (with an audience of homeless guys), in the street and (wait for it) IN the Eno River. 9 CF cards, 44 gigs later, 8 and a half hours, and one pair of very wet shooting pants later, I was home. Exhausted, but very, very happy. I have LOTS of editing in front of me, but I can't believe how much fun I had.

So, here's a great big thank you to all the people that made today possible. Dawn's terrific friend Emily, who held the reflector in all kinds of uncomfortable positions, her husband who guarded the camera bag and laughed at us when we were sitting in the river. Jami, who banged some hair and makeup. Effie, who brought amazing clothes and boots that I'm still thinking about. And of course Dawn, who not only had the confidence to hire me - but the confidence in me to roll around in ravines, change clothes in a sheet in downtown Durham, and even lay on her belly in a river just because I told her it would look good on camera. Who could ask for a better model?

Here's a sneak peek of some of the things we did.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mr. B is a Green Belt! Corey Williams Chapel Hill Baby Child Portrait Photographer

My son, Bennett, is as lovely as he is challenging. I often remember things that my mother in law used to say about my husband as a child, and think about much they make me think of Bennett. And in many ways turning to Tae Kwon Do was about two things - keeping him engaged and teaching him some self discipline. My friend Trinity suggested Master Missial at Chapel Hill Hapkido and Tae Kwon Do and it was a wonderful, wonderful choice. He is terrific with young kids. He gets my child, who generally can't stop making explosion noises and jumping on me, to meditate. I mean, seriously, he's like the wild boy whisperer.

So, today, we took him to his very first belt test. Actually, now that I'm blogging about it, I realize that this may be the first time B really performed in front of a crowd. And it was great. I was so proud I thought my heart would explode. When he answered the question, "How long have you been taking Tae Kwon Do?" His answer, "A month." (The crowd giggled, which he loved). "What do you like about Tae Kwon Do?" His answer, was to dramatically assume the "body focus" position. More giggles. A smirk from B.

He did all his kicks. All his blocks. And he even broke his board. My little man. Not a baby anymore, a kid. A fun, big, wild, capable, learning, kid. I have a feeling it's going to be a wild, wild ride with this one.

Here is B posing with the WG and Gabi (who was so sweet to come on her day off at 9am!). It was a great, great morning!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Baby Is Growing Up - Chapel Hill Baby & Child Photographer Corey Williams

I find that my kids grow up in big leaps. Maybe that's not really how it happens. But that's how it feels to me. I feel like I blink, and all of a sudden, they understand irony, make adult jokes, and ask me if I "get" things.

I desperately want to give my children the gift of growing with my blessing. I want to cheer on their changes, their successes, their failures - each and every step. But it's a fight with my darker, truer nature. The part of me that wants to hide them away and keep them little, purely so they can be mine forever.

It's whenever I turn my lens on them that I see them as they really are. The way I see the other children I photograph. The other day, after my cousin Christi left, I photographed the WG. Her brother has been doing a fair amount of modeling lately, and with the permanent teeth in (gap and all) I thought we'd update the portfolio with her agent.

And there she was. Dancing and twirling on the backdrop. Looking right into my camera, with great intensity. So spunky, saucy and full of joyful play. She's a tween, though she's just seven, feeling out what it means to be a girl. She's an individual, full of giggles and bright dancing eyes.

I love her so, so much. More, in fact, every day.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Corey Cooks! My Bananas Foster Cupcakes

So in addition to photography and planning parties, I love to cook. Thanks to my BFF, my husband, and Le Cruset, I've been working on Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. But for years I've been a subscriber to Cook's Illustrated, Gourmet and Bon Apetit. It's taken me a long time to get comfortable just "riffing" in the kitchen, but I am really loving improvising. Take the other day....

It was a weekend afternoon and I wanted to make cupcakes for my kids and the neighborhood kids that were over. I started with a cake mix (which I love to do for kids cupcakes) and started doctoring it up when I realized, I had no eggs. No problemo! I substituted two ripe bananas (a vegan baking trick) and my bananas foster cupcakes were born. I've monkeyed with the recipe since then to get it just right, but I'm pretty happy with it. They always disappear in just a few hours. Let me know what you think.


1 package yellow cake mix
3 heaping tablespoons instant bannana pudding mix
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/4 cups of milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla

Makes about 20-22 cupcakes.

Preheat your oven to 350. Place cupcake liners in muffin tin.
Combine cake mix, pudding, banans, milk, oil and vanilla in mixer on low until ingredients are well mixed - about 2 minutes. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop mixture into lined muffin tin. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. While cupcakes are still warm, make frosting.

Quick Set Drunken Carmel Frosting

1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk or cream
1 tsp rum (or vanilla, for the kids)

Melt butter and brown sugar over medium high heat in a large saucepan, stirring to prevent the mixture from burning. Once mixture comes to a boil, add the milk. Return the mixture to a boil. Whisk in powdered sugar and rum. Remove from heat. Immediately dip the tops of the cupcakes into the icing mixture and place on cake server. Icing will harden slightly. Serve immediately or keep up to a week at room temperature.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cousin Christi is a Beauty Queen!

So my cousin, Christi Lee, has been selected to compete in the Miss Georgia USA pageant! I'm so, so excited! She came down today so we could take some headshots and brought her BFF, Marc, with her. We had a blast, styling hair (and using some fake hair), setting up backdrops and romping around Chapel Hill shooting. Here's the shot we ended up with.

And here's Christi and Marc Wiley cutting up after we finished! It was a blast.

Stay tuned for my photos of the pageant - November 18th and 19th!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Super Mario Brothers Nintendo Cupcakes

I'm working on Bennett's fourth birthday party. And it seems that he's stumped me again with his theme. He wants a video game party at Frankie's. Now, how am I supposed to make that cute and non-commercial? I guess I'm not. I'm going to do what the boy wants. I found these cupcakes though. Think I may make something like this for him.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Father's Day Mini Sessions - Chapel Hill Portrait Baby Photographer

Mini Portrait Sessions just in time for Father's Day

June 14, 2010
Duke Gardens

20 Minute session includes 2 8x10s or 8x8s of your choice
(You must choose your images by noon on Wed, June 16 to have them by Friday, June 18)

Only 8 sessions available!
Email or call me now to book your session.
201 Montclair Way, Chapel Hill 27516

Monday, May 24, 2010

Crazy Carmen & Jamar - And the Best Wedding Ever

So, my cousin Carmen is, well, crazy. She may be the funniest person I know. She definitely has the best laugh. (Followed closely by my husbands wild cackle and my friend Jen's deep giggle. Both amazing!)

Her wedding was seriously, one of the most amazing events I've ever been to - and I used to plan wedding for a living.

Here's why:

1. My girl had a serious theme. She's a HUGE UGA fan. She even considered a tailgate, stadium-side wedding. And though she got married at an Atlanta hotel, she brought the tailgate right to us. The centerpieces featured little UGA helmets. The table cards were photos of the scoreboard (all games that UGA won) and were named for the opposing team. The seating cards were tickets. The aisle runner was astroturf with yard lines. The bar was under a UGA tent. It was serious.

2. She came ready to have fun. When the bride is ready to have rockin' party, everyone is ready to have a rockin' party. And Carmen has a way of making friends with everyone! Rich, poor, black, white, (and yes, some black and white) fat, skinny, gay, straight, you name it. If you like UGA football, you're good. If you like a good party, you're good. If you're family, well, you were still invited.

3. She played a HUGE mix of music. Journey. Usher. Curtis Blow. Some hip hop so new that this mom of three doesn't know it. Etta James. It was all there, and it got everyone on the dance floor.

So here are a few of my favorite pics from that awesome night. Congrats, Nikki! Love you and Jamar!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Seven Year Old - Chapel Hill Photographer Corey Williams

I can't believe it, but my WG is really seven. Seven. She's all missing teeth, sassy voice, frizzy hair, romping in the backyard big kidness now. I can't believe that my baby is gone. But for all of the things that I'll miss about her babyhood and even her little girlness, I really like the person that she's becoming. She feisty, but loving. She's fiercely loyal, but able to back down when she needs to. She's a fashionista that's not afraid to sweat and play "boy games." She's all rock and roll spunkiness. And I just love her to death. Here she is as we walked through the parking lot at the Chapel Hill mall. She was in regular clothes, her hair was a mess and she looked....well....perfect.