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.