A Look Inside A Painted Portrait | Raleigh Portrait Photographer

November 20, 2017  •  1 Comment

At the beginning of the year, I created several resolutions to bring more unique and beautiful photographic art to my clients.  One of those resolutions was to start using and understanding a painting program called Corel Painter.  Corel is a bit different and more specialized than Photoshop.  It is basically a complete digital painter’s palette at your fingertips, opening up a number of creative possibilities.  I had never thought of myself as a painter of anything but light.  However, my inspiration has turned more and more to classical portrait artists and painting my own portraits is a natural progression.  As it turned out, the very first image I painted received a second place at the Professional Photographers of North Carolina’s print competition in the children’s portrait category.  

Because these custom painted portraits will be available to both newborn photography clients and children’s portrait clients in the very near future, I thought it might be a good idea to show you the detail and work that goes into a few of these paintings.  Painted portraits are both unique (because they’re custom designed and painted just for you) and classic (because who doesn’t love a gorgeous painted portrait) pieces of art to display in your home.  This week, I was looking at a photograph I had taken earlier in the year to showcase a new gown in Aurora D Photography’s extensive children’s wardrobe and found this image that I felt would be the perfect painting.


So, let’s break it down.  One of my favorite things to work on with paintings is hair.  This painting was created from a couple of images put together, hair-wise, because the primary image didn’t quite have the look I wanted (hair tucked back behind her ear), and of course, a few little flourishes were added.  I accented the little triangle of light on her cheek here as well, because those little highlights make all the difference in a painted image.


This image was an exercise in creating the correct background.  Originally, the image had a very light neutral background, nearly the color of her dress, but it looked like a picture cut out and placed on top of a paler background.  So, when I was nearly done, I tore the entire thing apart and went for a darker toned background based on the color of the shadows on her skin.



This gown is gorgeous – a children’s gown from Sew Trendy Accessories that is all ruffles and tulle.  One thing I particularly love about this dress is the satin ribbon look to the bodice and I wanted to keep a bit of that look here, but get a little more abstract in the dress than in the face and hands. 


Speaking of hands…  I find hands are the most difficult part to get right, but I’m finally getting the hang of it. I usually take out all the detail – my first draft is a collection of smudges – and then bring the details in as I like them. 

It’s coming along, and getting easier every time.  I’m looking forward to creating many more of these fabulous painted portraits and to bring them to you in 2018.  Contact us and book your custom couture portrait session with Aurora D Photography now.


A Look At A Session Slideshow | Raleigh Newborn Photographer

March 21, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

I wouldn’t be in this business if I didn’t absolutely adore newborn sessions.  From these sessions come some of the sweetest images that I can imagine.  And what better way to present them than as a video slideshow?  So, I’ve begun putting together slideshows for all of my newborn clients as a fun way to introduce them to their images. I just love watching my clients as they watch the slideshow and see their newborn photos for the first time.  Here’s one of my recent favorites!



Vacation | Raleigh Newborn Photographer

February 02, 2017  •  1 Comment

For the next week, I’m going to be off the radar.  I’m heading out on vacation (just wait, I promise I’ll tell you all about it).  I’m technically away for two weeks, but one week will be a true VACATION while the other one will be more of a working week out of town.  I’m excited.  I’ll be taking photos of my family and of nature and I can’t wait to share them with you! 

It’s been a long time – too long really – since I’ve been forced to be AWOL from the Internet.  Often when I’m on vacation, I try to take a bit with me, catch up on this or that or the other thing, and I end up sitting on a couch playing games or browsing Facebook and Instagram.  I mean, it’s really addictive, right?  Of course, I’ve taken ‘social media breaks’, but breaks in name only – I have a hard time truly walking away. 

I’ve taken some social media breaks, but I won’t really have a chance to check my phone, email, Facebook or Instagram for the next seven days.  I’m super-excited about this trip, guys! 

So, I’ll miss you, but I’ll have some fabulous things to share when I get back.  We’re going to be doing great things and taking great photos, guys!

(In the meantime, check out one of my two favorite models!)


Mommy and Me Mini Session! | Raleigh Family Photographer

January 26, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

This weekend I'm going to be photographing mommy and me mini sessions at Grow, the Family Boutique.  I often spend January gearing up for the spring season and getting my samples organized, my taxes ready and my ducks in a row for the year.  It's a time to focus on my goals, both personal and business, and try to get myself a bit more organized than I am (Um, in full disclosure, it's probably going to take me at least until February to get all the things done that I was hoping to do).  But guess what?  I still am a photographer and I still love actually doing photography best of all!  So, I was browsing my photos for my family's personal albums and noticing how few photos I was actually in.  I realized that I wanted to take some gorgeous images of mamas and babies and children all together looking beautiful.  And I couldn't quite wait until May to make this happen (hint hint - Mother's Day special spoiler alert!).  So I reached out to my fabulous friends over at Grow and we decided to set up this event.  

Mini sessions are unique because they only happen a few times per year.  These 20 minute mini-sessions are going to be twenty minutes long and come with a fabulous 8x10 image as well as a Facebook profile picture (because who doesn't want a fabulous photo on your social media accounts?).  I'm going to be offering a special menu featuring gift prints, and a few other fun items, and of course, my main product catalogue will be available as well.  I'm going to bring a few outfits along for people as well, and for girls ages 2-7 (trust me, I've got some great kids looks - have you seen the amazing lace and tulle on my Instagram feed?)  This is a great opportunity to come by and get in on the picture. 


Introducing Juanita | Raleigh Family Photography

January 19, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

If you've had a session with me, you may have met one of my fabulous occasional assistants, Juanita, who has been helping me with sessions for a little while now.  A while ago, I had a message in my inbox asking me if I was interested in mentoring someone.  This had been the first time anyone had ever asked me to give them advice in a professional capacity (I hope to have a more official mentor program by the end of 2017) and I told her that I wasn't sure what good I would be, but that she would be welcome to come assist with sessions and ask questions and I would do my best to answer them.  And just like that, we became friends.  Juanita has been around for many maternity dress tosses and newborn sessions, herding and posing children and spotting babies and there is a good possibility you might get a chance to meet her!

Juanita is a fantastic assistant as well as being crazy busy!  Not only does she work twelve hour shifts, but she’s also working on her Associates degree at Wake Tech.  And, most importantly of all, she’s mom to three beautiful girls and one angel baby.  Juanita is a photographer as well, and she particularly loves candid photography.  You can find her on Facebook at Eagle Eye Photography (although she hasn’t updated in a while, hint, hint!).  So when she asked me if I could photograph a family session, I was, of course, completely enthusiastic!  And thus this beautiful session was born.  

On top of all her amazingness, her middle child, Leilani, was born with microcephaly.  This inspired her to create a website called Miracles Happ3n, a website devoted to generating awareness of microcephaly, as well as supporting and connecting parents with children born with microcephaly and other special needs.  Microcephaly affects between 2-12 babies in 10,000 live births in the United States.  Microcephaly occurs when a baby’s head is smaller than expected, sometimes due to restricted brain growth or brain damage.  It can range from relatively mild to severe and can be linked to several medical delays and conditions.  There is no singular cause for microcephaly, but it is linked to a number of various factors.  Leilani is nothing short of a miracle, from her birth throughout her life, she’s broken down and surpassed every expectation that doctors have placed in her way.  Leilani’s joy in life is palpable and meeting her will brighten anyone’s day!  


So head on over to Miracles Happ3n to read more of Leilani’s story and connect with Juanita!