because the mountains are good for the soul | Mobile AL family photographer

So one thing about our family is that we really like to be outside. And we specifically like to be outside in a beautiful spot where we can hike. And if you want to be REALLY specific, I personally like to be outside in a beautiful spot where I can hike in temperatures that are not hot.

The truth is, I endure summertime because it's the only path that leads to fall. That first slight chill in the air every year makes me almost cry happy tears I love it so much. I try to tell myself I can enjoy outside as much when it's hot as when it's cool, but nothing in my brain or body goes along with this plan. Fall is just the very best! You know how hibernating animals wake up after the long dark winter? Well I kind of feel like something awakens in me when the summer finally passes and fall shows up. 

So when we had the chance to spend a few of the early days of the boys' Thanksgiving break in the mountains of North Carolina, I couldn't get my bags packed fast enough!

During our time there, we hiked every day from mid-morning to mid-afternoon, stopping about halfway on whatever trail we were on to eat our packed lunches. Then we'd find something else fun to do for later in the afternoon like a movie or putt-putt. Our evenings were back at the house with an easy dinner and lots of game playing. 

Our weather was perfectly glorious. Nice and cool but not freezing, although we did get to see some spots of snow during our drive through the National Park. We of course had to pull over and give everyone some time to make and throw a couple snowballs!

We also saw waterfalls and made it to the top of Clingman's Dome on our final day. I was worried the view might disappoint because it was cloudy that day. But as you'll see in the final two photos, the sun's rays peeked through in the most awesome way, and I think it was more impressive than a clear day would have been.

Obviously I brought my camera along, and when we're on these family adventures, I try really hard to find ways to get myself in the frame at least occasionally. Sometimes I'll hand my camera to A and let him snap a few frames. I dial in the settings (I shoot in manual mode), and I've taught him how to focus. Other times I'll set the camera on a rock or somewhere, get everything set up with exposure and focus, and start the interval timer. I have mine set to take short bursts of photos over about a 30-second timeframe. This is how I got our eating lunch image you'll see below.

This trip was good for the soul in so many ways. Family time, reminders of God's bigness and glory displayed throughout His creation, and a slower pace. A reminder of my smallness and yet the great care He still holds me with. We loved all of it. (And my family enjoyed not hearing me complain about heat!!)

Here are a few of my favorite photos from our time in the mountains!

family at Great Smoky mOuntains sign | Mobile al photographer
hiking in the mountains | Mobile AL family photographer
family on a bridge | Mobile AL lifestyle photographer
little boy playing with stick in the woods | Mobile AL family photographer
family hiking across a bridge | Mobile AL photographer
little boy hiking in woods | mobile al child photographer
dad and sons throwing rocks in a creek | Mobile AL family photographer
dad and sons playing at creek | Mobile AL family photographer
boy playing with stick in the woods | Mobile AL child photographer
family eating lunch in woods | Fairhope AL photographer
boy standing on bridge over creek | Mobile AL family photographer
dad and son hiking | Mobile AL family photographer
brother throwing snowballs | Mobile AL family photographer
boy standing near creek | Mobile AL family photographer
dad and son crossing bridge | Mobile AL family photographer
boy sitting on log over river | Mobile al family photographer
little boy holding big leaf | Mobile AL family photographer
family hiking in woods | Fairhope AL photographer
little boy holding onto rock | Mobile AL family photographer
couple at Great Smoky Mountains | Mobile AL family photographer
brothers playing game at table | mobile al family photographer
waterfall at Great Smoky Mountains | Mobile AL family photographer
family hiking in woods | fairhope al photographer
Clingmans Dome | Mobile AL photographer
Clingmans Dome | Mobile AL family photographer

I'd love to help tell your family's love story through photos!

because the photos are for them, too | Mobile AL lifestyle family photographer

I get emails from moms around this time of year looking for an updated family photo to use for Christmas cards. You know the one where everyone's dressed up and looking nicely at the camera? 

Or another type of email I receive frequently is the one where mom wants pics of "just the kids." And I try SUPER HARD to talk her out of this one that doesn't include Mom and Dad. Here's why.

Yes, time is moving so quickly. The kids are growing so fast. And documenting THIS age is so valuable.

But here's the thing:

The reason I photograph families is not just so that PARENTS can look back and remember how cute their kids were. 

I also photograph families for the kids.

I want to document for them the way they looked in their Mom's arms when she was still able to carry them.

I want to capture for them how Dad grinned just as big as they did when he chased them.

I want them to see that even when they were a BIGGER kid, that Mom still hugged them tight, that Dad thought they were hilarious.

I want them to be able to look back and SEE how much they were loved and what it looked like for them all to laugh together.

When you book a photo session with me, you're getting more than a documentation of what everyone looked like dressed up on that particular day.

You're getting an experience of being together, what you already do perfectly well, and then you (and your kids!!) get to SEE it in photos that you can keep and treasure for years and years to come.

Think about it . . . how many photos do you have showing you how your mom looked at you as a child? Or of how your family looked all snuggled up together talking or being silly?

These are the ones that your kids will treasure in the years to come. 

This. This is why I photograph your family. It's a little bit for you and a lot a bit for the kids. Because the photos are for them, too.

Wanna give these memories to YOUR kids? Click here to book your session!

family photo of three | Mobile AL lifestyle photographer
portrait of 3-year-old boy | Mobile AL child photographer
dad and 3-year-old son | Mobile AL family photographer
dad carrying 3-year-old son | Mobile AL lifestyle family photographer
dad kissing mom's head | Mobile AL family photographer
family of 3 playing in field | Mobile AL lifestyle photographer
mom sitting in grass with little boy | Mobile AL lifestyle family photographer
little boy running to parents | Mobile AL family photographer 
little boy peeking over mom's shoulder | Mobile AL family photographer
3-year-old boy in field | Mobile AL child photographer
3-year-old boy blowing dandelions | Mobile AL family photographer
family of 3 laughing | Mobile AL lifestyle photographer
mom and dad hugging | Mobile AL lifestyle family photography
dad throwing son in air | Mobile AL lifestyle family photographer 
dad with 3-year-old son | Mobile AL family photography
mom holding 3-year-old son | Mobile AL lifestyle family photographer
little boy holding onto dad | Mobile AL family photographer
mom holding little boy | Mobile AL family photographer
family of three walking in field | Mobile AL lifestyle photographer
mom kissing little boy | Mobile AL lifestyle family photography
3-year-old boy in gray sweater | Mobile AL family photographer
family of three sitting in field | Saraland AL lifestyle photographer
3-year-old boy portrait | Mobile AL family photographer

because we've just said hello | an in-hospital Fresh 48 newborn photo session | Mobile AL fresh 48 photographer

A Fresh 48 photo session has to be one of my favorite types of session!! This new little person has joined your family, and you're exhausted but overjoyed that he or she is FINALLY here. 

But the thing about the few days you'll spend in the hospital is that you likely won't remember much of it! The sleep deprivation kicks in soon after, and those first few days become a blur. Having a photo session there is such a beautiful way to remember the space where you first got to know each other.

Where you counted all the fingers and toes. 

Marveled at the hair.

Decided whose eyes she got.

Though you miss your own bed, it's almost a little cocoon of refuge before heading out into the big world. And I can help you document it before it's gone by faster than you thought.

For a short time, I'm offering a complimentary Fresh 48 Session when you book an in-home newborn session. Contact me to get started.

Then you can enjoy just a few of my favorites from this precious Fresh 48 Session.

fresh 48 photo session | Mobile AL newborn photographer
newborn baby girl in hospital | Fresh 48 session by Mobile photographer Laurie Hatfield Photography
newborn baby girl feet | Mobile AL fresh 48 hospital photo session
mom holding 2-day-old baby girl | in-hospital newborn session by Mobile AL photographer Laurie Hatfield Photography
2-day-old baby girl with hair | Fresh 48 Session with Mobile AL newborn photographer Laurie Hatfield Photography 
new mom and dad admiring newborn baby girl | Mobile AL Fresh 48 photographer
newborn baby girl | Mobile AL in-hospital Fresh 48 photographer
baby girl 2 days old in-hospital photo session | Mobile AL Fresh 48 photographer
dad holding newborn baby girl | Mobile AL in-hospital Fresh 48 photographer
mom holding baby girl in hospital after birth | Mobile AL newborn photographer
dad holding new baby girl | Mobile AL fresh 48 photo session
mom kissing newborn baby girl | Mobile AL in-hospital photo session

because she said yes! | 5 tips for a successful proposal photo session | Mobile AL engagement photographer

So obviously I'm not a guy and have never had the experience (or stress) of planning the perfect proposal. But let me just tell you that this groom-to-be thought of everything, including the fact that his girlfriend would love having the moments documented by a photographer.

If hiring a photographer for your perfect proposal is something you've considered, you'll find the following tips helpful for how we pulled off this session so flawlessly! Or if you're a girl WAITING on that perfect proposal, maybe you can drop a hint or two about how amazing it would be to have a professional photographer capture the amazing moments!

Here are my tips:

1) Plan ahead on a different day

Michael planned the date specifically as one that would surprise Charlotte (and it's pretty obvious from the photos that he was successful there!) But we met at the location the week before at the SAME TIME the proposal would occur to scope it out and clarify our game plan.

As the photographer, meeting at the time it would happen was vital. Your photographer will want to see how the light hits the location and should be able to help guide to an ideal spot where the actual proposal should take place based on that light.

We also had an optional spot we decided to use in case the weather was bad, so I highly recommend this if rescheduling is not an option (which is was not in our case.)

2) Be specific in how it will all go down

We decided the priority was to see her face at go time. So we actually had Michael go during our pre-planning meeting and kneel down in the exact spot where we agreed on so he could get a feel for it. (I won't include that photo here of him proposing to the fence, haha!)

Being specific helped ensure we got the just right angle we were looking for when it was time!

He also told me what they would be doing the moments before the proposal. This helped me immensely in knowing when to be in position. He also had my phone number and texted me what she was wearing and when they were heading outside.

3) Figure out how to keep your photographer secretive

Our first thought during our planning session was that I'd sort of hide behind some bushes so Charlotte wouldn't suspect anything. But as we were walking around our location, we actually met up with an employee who assured us photographers are around all the time, and that I could be out in the open without anything looking suspicious.

That employee ended up being totally right. The night of the proposal, there was actually a wedding rehearsal going on at the same time with another photographer. So I didn't feel the need to hide. After asking Charlotte later, she said she assumed I was with that group and thought nothing of it!

Obviously this won't always be the case with every situation. So you'll have to think through how to keep the photographer either out of sight or at the very least, not suspicious looking. 

4) Think through things that will make the girl happier for photos

Since ideally she is going to be totally in shock and not expecting to be photographed during that time, you'll want to think about what she might wish she had with her. Does she keep lip gloss in her purse? Extra mascara in case she wants to reapply after the tears? If not, you may have to be sneaky to have these things on hand for her. A mom or one of her girlfriends can help out with this!

5) Plan on going ahead and having more photos taken after the "yes" occurs

I can say I don't know if I've ever photographed happier people than after a proposal. It's such a joy to capture more moments of the couple being together so incredibly happy about this amazing life-changing event. 

This could happen in so many ways. Some couples like to include family in these after photos. Some couples just want the time to themselves for more photos just of them. Either way, take advantage of the joy and plan for more photos!

Now on to this sweetest couple's images. It was a total joy to be invited into this precious space of their lives! I am so happy they have these memories in print to share for years and years to come.

man proposing on one knee | Mobile AL proposal photographer
boy proposing near water | Mobile AL proposal photographer
girl surprised at engagement | Mobile AL proposal photographer
couple kissing after engagement | Mobile AL proposal photographer
couple hugging after engagement | Mobile Al proposal photography
couple looking at ring after engagement | Mobile AL proposal photographer
couple embracing after engagement | Mobile AL proposal photographer
couple laughing together during engagement photo session | Mobile AL proposal photographer