my family – by Heather Maynard

Dear Sweet Heather,


6 years ago I held my precious baby girl in my arms and I cried.  I wanted every last moment of her life to be documented – and yet – we didn’t even have extra in our budget to go to Wal-Mart to have her picture taken.  (And I just personally wasn’t a fan of the tan backdrop…)  So I figured I had to learn how to take a better picture.

That pushed me to discover one of my greatest loves in life and I’m forever grateful.  But we still had never had the ability to have our family’s picture taken and it was so important for me for it to be with the right photographer.  Someone who got “us”.

I remember when I met you at WPPI in Vegas.  Gosh you were adorable.  Inspiring.  A few days later, I held your business card in my hand, looked at your website and lost all track of time for approximately an HOUR.  The way you saw people.  The way you brought out who they really were.  The joy.  And don’t even get me started on the way you document newborns.

I knew that one day I wanted to have you document my family.  (Even though we lived in Chicago and you lived in Georgia at the time.)

Heather – when I looked at these pictures from our session with you, I cried.  These are so us.  I look and I see all the things about them at this moment in their lives.  J’s scraped up knees.  Asher’s deep bellied giggle.  Ted’s intense love for these little ones.  Hannah’s PERSONALITY.  And I see me.  Loving them.  Completely me because you allowed and helped me be just that throughout our session.

You have given me the most incredible gift and I’m forever grateful.  These will be adorning my walls and reminding me of just how much I love them.  Every day.  The mom that I want to be.  The mom I am.  And the dad Ted is.  Our time together and these memories are simply one of the best investments we’ve ever made as a family.

And personally – thank you for showing me what we give our clients.  And why it’s so very important and worth every last moment.  Because these pictures?  They’ve changed me.  Inspired me.  Made me giggle.  And cry.  Thank you doesn’t even begin to cover it…


And to anyone reading – would you mind taking an extra moment and telling Heather a big thank you?  And a huge “you’re amazing”?  Thanks!

PS: Two weeks after our session, Ted had an emergency appendectomy.  Though everything was fine – I just kept thinking…I’m so glad we didn’t wait any longer.  These pictures are what life is all about…


Here’s a glimpse into our time with Heather of h&m photography:

(PS: This one gets me EVERY TIME.  Like when I think of her walking into her first day of high school.  This is going in her room.)

I love everything about the photo below.  His face…and her obviously “moo”ing to the cows nearby.


This is so perfectly this boy.  This stance.  This encounter with a donkey.  SO.VERY.HIM.

She had us group up for a picture together.  Instinctively, J decided to show off his “downward dog ninja moves”.  We rolled with it…

Heather let Hannah take this picture.  I may have to let Hannah start second shooting at weddings soon…not bad.


Might as well poke my little brother with something…

I love this picture and I love that this happened…

Truthful moment: (and reward for reading this far)  Ted worked all weekend and then joined us en route to the photo shoot.  During his work weekend he must have eaten something that spoiled.  By the time we got there, he needed to relieve himself.  However – we were on a farm/in the woods.  No restrooms around.  So…he trekked out into the woods to potty – with Hannah trailing right behind him begging “I want to GO WITH DADDY!!!”  This is when he told me the whole story.


Another confession: I have crazy hair.  Thick, has a mind of it’s own, go-big-or-go-home hair.  The fact that it looks good is COMPLETELY due to the EVER so AMAZING Ivy.  Promise.  My hair has NEVER been this long in my life and EVER looked this good and I owe it all to her and her mad hair cutting skills.  So if you live ANYWHERE near Naperville, IL – go see her.  You’re welcome.  And you’ll probably hug me the next time we see each other.  I honestly schedule photo shoots and weddings in Chicago JUST to go see her.  (Okay…it’s a combination of amazing clients AND getting my hair done…)


If you made it all the way to the bottom – thank you!  And in the next few days I’ll be sharing a few things I learned about how to prepare for your photography session.  Stay tuned!

  1. shannon says:

    I LOVE every one! From Hannah’s hello kitty earrings, to J’s scratched legs – your adorable outfit – Ted’s tie – Asher’s perfectness…this is one beautiful family!!!! So glad to see you on the other side!

  2. Judi says:

    Great pictures that totally capture your fun family!
    (love the stories too)

  3. Mandy says:

    These are fantastic!!!!!!!! Made me cry – how I ache and miss you guys. Thanks for the pictures!! Love you

  4. Erin Wright says:

    Oh my gosh….these are absolutely adorable. It is so fun to see your WHOLE family in pictures. I really liked the one with Asher upside down. 🙂 And Amy, you look great!

  5. Alaina Bos says:

    The photos are absolutely adorable. You guys look so happy! And your outfits are perfectly coordinated!!!! Love, love, LOVE!!!

  6. rachel devault says:

    Your family is amazing and h&m photography is a dream!!

  7. Yep, you made me cry. 🙂 Love you, love your family and so honored to shoot this session!

    • amypaulson says:

      Shannon – I love YOU. Judi – thank you SO much! We had a blast. Mandy – we get to see you soon! Erin – you are such a sweetheart… Alaina – thank you so much, lady! Rachel – YOU are amazing and she is a dream. And Heather – I just spoke truth…

  8. Joyce says:

    First of all, Amy, you have the most beautiful family! Secondly, Heather, what wonderfully great pics!! Love them all! So cute, so you guys!
    <3 Joyce

  9. Jess says:

    These photos are GORGEOUS! I love you and your full-of-personality family!!!

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