Gosh, you guys. This year has been so good to me. When the year started, I was still on maternity leave, still employed at my corporate job, and still VERY much in the thick of the newborn fog after the birth of my own daughter, James, back in November of 2016. I went back to work for several weeks before finally deciding that the best thing I could do for myself, and more importantly for my daughter and my family, was to put in my notice and pursue photography and design under Courtney Malone Company full time.
When I left my full time job in April, I was nervous, excited, and full of so much hope for what this decision could mean for our family. I am SO overwhelmed by how much this little business has grown, and so very grateful that I get to call this my work. Over the last several months, I have photographed 85 families (and quite a few of them several times this year!), 112 kids, and 24 newborns. I’m just in awe that so many of you have invited me into your life, and trusted me with documenting memories for your family. I love my job so very much!
The year has been full of so many joyful moments, far too many to pick just a few favorite images from the year, but I thought I’d share some of the favorites that most easily come to mind when I think back on 2017!
Earlier this year I was hired by the Make A Wish foundation to document Anna Leigh’s wish come true. Her greatest wish was to be Rapunzel for a day, and they granted her the most beautiful wish day fit for a princess! What a joy to witness this little girl’s dream come true as she rode through Furman on her white horse, and was rescued from the Bell Tower by the one and only Prince Charming.
I’ve been a part of so many beautiful maternity moments, but being a part of this sweet couple’s gender reveal was SO fun! After graduation, they moved to Arizona, but on a quick trip back to SC for a wedding, they invited me to meet them at Clemson to help them document their pregnancy with a baby… GIRL! I loved being a part of their gender reveal story!
You guys – this Fall was UNBELIEVABLE. So many sweet families, so much gorgeous light, so many memories captured forever. This post would get REALLY long if I shared snippets from each and ever session, but guys, just look!!! This was really my first Fall in the photography biz, as last year I closed my calendar off in September because of my own growing belly. The year before was the year I started my business, but not until late November when I had sort of missed the crazy Fall rush. My first real Fall was wild and crazy, but worth all of the crazy hours.
This happens to be one of our personal family photos, but it is still one of my top photo moments of 2017. The moment my daughter met her great grandmother, my Nana, for the first time. What a gift to have these photos. I pray that as James grows, she loves hearing stories of Nana, and how she used taught me to cook Sfinges and Scachatta and spoiled me absolutely rotten as a little girl.
This is one of my favorite images of the year – big brother Edward looking down on his brand new baby sister. So much tenderness and innocence in this image, and I love it so much. This image actually sparked an idea for a big project I am working on and hope to launch next year.
There is so much to savor about watching your baby grow and seeing her personality develop, but one of my favorite things to witness over this year has been watching her love for her pup grow. He is truly her best bud, and they are inseparable.
This was one of those sessions that was such a reminder that what I do is so much more than pretty pictures, but a way to celebrate, to stop time, and to honor moments in our lives that change us forever. Everett Pope was born 10 weeks early, and spent the first 6 weeks of her life growing big and strong in the NICU. Her twin brother, Henry Christopher, was welcomed into the arms of Jesus after being held and loved by his parents during his short time on Earth. Everett’s newborn session took place on the babies’ due date, with mama in the dress she wore to Henry’s service. We celebrated sweet Everett who was finally home sweet home, and savored the sweet tokens adorning their nursery that celebrate Henry’s life that Everett will undoubtedly grow up cherishing. It was such an honor to be invited into this family’s home and to help them capture these memories.
Watching this baby girl take her first breath will always be a top 2017 moment, if not top life moment for me. What an honor to be invited into the delivery room to stand along side my clients during one of the most sacred events in life, the birth of their first born. Birth is beautiful, and absolutely nothing short of a miracle.
Christmas has been so much sweeter this year now that we are celebrating my favorite time of year with our sweet baby girl. I can feel the magic, the joy, and the anticipation more than I can remember feeling it in a long time. Christmas pajama sessions were SO much fun, and so very sweet. I hope this becomes a Courtney Malone Photography Christmas tradition, not only because it was so adorable and SO fun, but also because we were able to help some children right here in our community through donated gifts thanks to each of you that came.
I saw so many babies GROW this year. I’ve had the privilege of capturing so many milestones this year, watching families grow from bump to baby, to walking and talking little toddlers right in front of my eyes. It is one of my most favorite things about this job. One baby in particular (ahem, one baby who happens to be my daughter!) grew quite a bit this year! I treasure each and ever picture from her first 12 months. It’s so hard to believe that the same babe we were loving and caring for around the clock in January is now a walking, babbling, adventurous, loving, nurturing little girl!
2017 has been so wonderful to me. So many special stories, amazing clients, and countless photographs that I truly pray will become treasured family heirlooms. I hope that the images from this year will find their way into the hands of your children, your grandchildren, and beyond, and that the moments we captured this year are relived again and again! This year has reinforced the power of photographs for me more than ever as I’ve watched my own daughter grow right in front of my eyes. I’m so grateful for each moment frozen in time, each one a unique part of her story.
Thank you so much for all of the trust you’ve placed in me this year! I can’t wait to make more memories with you in 2018!