Just a normal, lovely day photographing this family in Holly Springs. Surrounded by sensational skulls, beautiful bats, sublime serpents, spirited skeletons, gorgeous gourds, and breathtakingly “restored” babydolls, I set about photographing this family with all the whimsical trimmings of the Halloween season. The kids went on a hunt for the elusive seasonal pumpkin eggs, containing treats and occasionally cash. The family decorated their beautiful black tree, adorning it with vomiting jack-o-lanterns and zombie unicorns, all while being watched over by a charming 8′ skeleton who eternally places a giant eyeball on the tree top. Melanie and Ryan celebrated the season by opening a box of “aged” cereal that they were letting ripen until the exact right moment, and grimaced with what I can only assume was sheer delight as they ate hardened bites of expired food from ~2018. Their cat Chloe participated by dressing up as a bat and modeling in the most adorable way in front of a black tea set. Finally, a killer clown emerged with an enormous, glimmering pair of scissors and chased everyone around – presumably to give them free haircuts, how nice. I love this family and their love for Halloween, which continues to live in all of our hearts 365 days a year. And always remember, if you can’t summon the flames directly from Hell, store-bought is fine.

These folks (and their cats) are near and dear to my heart! I met them back when they were a husband and wife photography team, photographed them after they had changed careers and before they had Julian, then photographed them most recently in early 2020 when Julian was just learning how to walk. Now Sara has grown her astrology business into a super successful career and has published books and planners, Sam works for a major company, and Julian is not only walking but flying between rooms. It’s been so fun to see the changes in all of them throughout the years. Their adorable cats, though, have held steady and are exactly the same and still very adorable. Biscuit and Miss Poofy (see if you can determine who is who) made appearances in exchange for treats and head scratches and were very good models. Julian is a little wild ball of 4 year-old energy that is friendly and sweet and LOVES cats. He also loves making tea in the backyard out of sand and water from the swimming pool, gardening, and reading. He’s a super successful reader who just picked up on reading himself – one day his parents just found that Julian was able to read – and I imagine that one day they’ll wake up to find that Julian has also picked up on calculus by himself, or maybe astrophysics. He’s just that sort of kid. He gave me lots of hugs when I left and asked if he could get in my car so I could take him to Marbles.

I last photographed Sara and Sam back in May of 2015! So much has changed for them since then: different jobs, a different house, and now they have a darling son named Julian. The things that have not changed are Sara’s love for cats, Sam’s love for board games, and that both of them are still two of the nicest people in the world. Julian is busy keeping them on their toes: adorably yet intentionally dropping sweet potato on their beautiful kitchen rug juuuust off his plastic mat where it would be okay if food landed, making them drive him around in his sweet orange convertible race car wagon thing that inexplicably yet awesomely makes engine revving noises when you push the horn, and enjoying listening to his parents read him books about role-playing games. He’s a fast kid – on the verge of deciding whether he wants to walk or crawl everywhere but is fast at both, and clearly a cat lover at a very young age. Cats Biscuit and Miss Poofy (technically titled Lady Esmeralda von Poofington) made appearances: Miss Poofy living up to her dramatic name by suddenly jumping up and walking on the piano and then lounging on the piano bench. And we took some updated headshots of Sara while we were at it – she has a gorgeous new office where she works on astrology. It was so nice to see these guys again and to photograph their clearly very adorable and spunky young son! Also their cats… obviously.