I’m terrified to write this post because it means I’ll actually have to do it. Writing the words and putting it out there in the universe means I’m committing to it and part of me already thinks I’m going to fail. But, I still want to try.

If you’ve never heard of a Project 365, it’s pretty basic. One photo every day for an entire year. Over the years, I watched other photographers complete their project and say how much it helped their photography grow. I’m not much of a routine person so it always seemed so impossible to me. I start things and then never finish. Well this year, I’m trying again with the intention to finish, but the grace to let myself fall off the wagon every now and then. I recently read a great post by The Narrative Society with tips for completing a Project 365. Here are the first 5. Read the rest here.

Shoot early in the day

Educator Liz DeGroff recommends completing your shot as early as possible. It is easy for the day to slip by or for you to get distracted. Have a plan in mind for the following day or make one over coffee.

Upload when you can

I know one of my biggest hurdles is to actually get the shot uploaded onto my computer! Give  yourself grace. You don’t have to upload all your shots as soon as you shoot them. If you have a hard time remembering details keep a note open in your phone with the date and memory so you can be sure to have it all documented.

Don’t expect daily magic

Let’s be real, magic doesn’t happen every time you click the shutter. When educator Sandi Harkness shoots, she knows that not every portrait she takes will be her favorite but she keeps documenting because all moments are worth remembering. Not just the pretty ones.

Keep it close

Moments don’t wait for you, you have to be ready for them. Educator Jodi Buckles keeps her camera with her at all times. Whether keeping it on your body or close by in your purse, just be sure to have it! Can’t document the memories if your camera isn’t there.

Stick to a theme

Whether you decide to stick with a theme or not, remember you don’t have to stick with it. Educator Katie Brenkert recommends mixing up what you shoot with monthly themes. Find a group that you like and keep note of ideas that spark inspiration.

These tips help me feel like it’s possible. Yesterday I kept my camera out all day and waited for moments to arise. Even in one day I can tell that doing this will help me to see in a different light. To notice the little things. This time around I also told my kids and my husband about it so that they know I’m going to have my camera out more and that I would appreciate any and all cooperation. With older kids, I feel like that’s key! I promised I wouldn’t post anything that they weren’t comfortable with and that they don’t have to pose or smile for the camera. I’m just documenting.

So this is it. The first image in my first ever Project 365.

Starting my first Project 365. Tips for completing your own project from the Narrative Society. www.stacymaephotography.com

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It always amazes me how quickly Christmas comes and goes, especially after weeks and weeks of anticipation! All the shopping, baking, wrapping, decorating, and party planning and it’s all over so fast! This may be the last year that my 9 year old believes in Santa so it was bittersweet for me as well. Christmas is one of the last magical things about being a child and it kills me that it won’t last forever.

I’m so glad that I remembered to take out my camera this year. Here are some of the highlights.

Opening presents on Christmas morning. www.stacymaephotography.comOpening presents on Christmas morning. www.stacymaephotography.comOpening presents on Christmas morning. www.stacymaephotography.comOpening presents on Christmas morning. www.stacymaephotography.comOpening presents on Christmas morning. www.stacymaephotography.comOpening presents on Christmas morning. www.stacymaephotography.comOpening presents on Christmas morning. www.stacymaephotography.comOpening presents on Christmas morning. www.stacymaephotography.comOpening presents on Christmas morning. www.stacymaephotography.com

Opening presents on Christmas morning. www.stacymaephotography.com

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November has always been one of my favorite months. Not because it’s my birthday month (I’m turning 40 this year!!). Or because it’s close to Christmas. I LOVE November because it’s the perfect time to celebrate what you’re thankful for!

This year has been a roller coaster. I contemplated giving up! Walking away from the business that I’ve built over the past 7 years to sit behind a desk and collect a regular paycheck. I’m not sure if I was burnt out or just feeling the pressure of competition, but I felt depressed and my confidence level was at an all time low. Finally I decided that my business and the community I’ve built was worth fighting for so I got back at it with a renewed sense of purpose. I started to look less at what other people were doing and focus more on what makes me happy. It’s a work in progress, but I’m excited for the future.

To celebrate, all month long on Facebook and Instagram I’ll be sharing what I’m thankful for. The lessons I’ve learned this year and the little things that have had a big impact on my life and my business. Every day will be something new and I’d love for you to join me. Share what you’re thankful for and tag it #SMP30daysofthankful.

To kick things off, I’m sharing why I’m thankful for photographs. You might not realize it, but every time you take a picture you are documenting a moment in time so that it can live on forever. You are literally freezing time. How amazing is that? Isn’t that why we take so many pictures of our children? To slow down time and capture all of the things about childhood that make it so special. To celebrate family and togetherness. Photography is powerful. It’s a way to tell stories without any words. Ansel Adams once said, “When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs.”

Think about all the things you take pictures of on a daily basis. What makes  you click the shutter? What are you trying to remember? What will that image mean to you in 10 years? What will it mean to your children? When they ask about their home, their toys, their friends, their room, their grandparents or what they were like as a kid, what will you tell them?

Will the words come to you?

What if you could show them instead?

When the details become fuzzy in your brain, the photos will bring it into focus.

Do you have a photo that is especially meaningful to you? There’s one that is hanging in my mother’s house that I love and will cherish forever. It’s a shot of my dad and my daughter when she was a toddler walking side by side. They aren’t facing the camera. They are walking away, and even though you can’t see their faces, you can tell there’s a connection.

I’m inviting clients of Stacy Mae Photography to share their most meaningful photo with a few sentences about the moment that was captured and why it’s important. Doing so will enter you into a drawing to win a totally free, totally fabulous family session in 2017! You’ll have the whole month to dig through photos or maybe it’s one I took for you! I want to know why the photo is so meaningful or why photographs in general are important to you as a mom or parent. You can either email me or post the photo to social media. Just make sure to tag me so I can see it.

By entering the drawing you are giving permission to have your photo shared on social media. One winner will be chosen on December 1st and will be notified via email.

I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!!

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Halloween is one of my very favorite holidays. I loved it when my girls were little and would dress up. It was so much fun to watch them get excited about trick or treating! Now that they’re older, I don’t get to enjoy it the same way. They just want to be with their friends! So, this year I decided to bring back the Stacy Mae Spooktacular. I’ve hosted this party at my home in the past and it was always a big success. Kids would come in costume and play games, color, take a couple pictures and go home with a goody bag. Super fun!

This year I rented the shelter at Loantaka Brooke Reservation in Morristown. I figured it would be smart to have a location that we could use rain or shine. Well, wouldn’t you know it rained. But it didn’t just rain. It was COLD and windy and just a miserable day. Since Halloween is next week, there was no time to reschedule so we just went for it. I had a few people cancel, but the ones who did show up were such troopers!!! We still managed to play some games like Witch Hat Ring Toss and Skeleton Bean Bag Toss. The kids each went home with a bag filled with treats and their tummies full of snacks. The rain couldn’t stop us from having fun!!

I wanted to continue the fun so we’re going to have a Cutest Costume Contest! All you need to do is leave a comment telling me who you think should win. Look at all of these adorable munchkins! I don’t know how you’re going to pick! The winner will receive a complimentary print so have your friends and family vote!

Halloween mini sessions. Cutest Costume contest. www.stacymaephotography.comHalloween mini sessions. Cutest Costume contest. www.stacymaephotography.comHalloween mini sessions. Cutest Costume contest. www.stacymaephotography.comHalloween mini sessions. Cutest Costume contest. www.stacymaephotography.comHalloween mini sessions. Cutest Costume contest. www.stacymaephotography.com

  • October 25, 2016 - 8:30 am

    Stephanie - The pirate…but I’m partial to his cute face 💙

  • October 25, 2016 - 8:36 am

    Cynthia - Luca, The pirate.. he’s truly digging his costume!

  • October 25, 2016 - 8:41 am

    Maria Fattorusso - Pictures are great. I vote for the pirate. Best smile.

    Thank you.

    Maria

  • October 25, 2016 - 8:43 am

    Betty Holwitt - I think the pirate costume is adorable-that gets my vote

  • October 25, 2016 - 8:45 am

    Ryan DePersio - Pirate Costume is killer!!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 8:45 am

    Fee - The pirate gets my vote. Too cute!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 8:49 am

    Eileen - I’m voting for the cutest little PIRATE ever!

  • October 25, 2016 - 8:50 am

    Debbie DeFrancisci - The pirate is adorable!!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 8:52 am

    Barbara Walsh - I vote for the pirate’

  • October 25, 2016 - 8:53 am

    Samantha Reid - Definitely vote for the pirate!! So cute!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 8:57 am

    Grace Luongo - The Pirate for sure….

  • October 25, 2016 - 9:06 am

    Nancy DePersio - They’re all adorable but the Pirate is the cutest!!
    I vote for the pirate!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 9:07 am

    Tara Urbanovich - All of these kids are so cute! Only one stands out and my vote goes to the adorable pirate!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 9:22 am

    Marisa - Fireman and his Dalmatian get my vote!

  • October 25, 2016 - 9:26 am

    Ally - I vote for the fireman & dalmatian. These all came out so cute!

  • October 25, 2016 - 9:28 am

    Brian - Arrrrrrr, he be the cutest

  • October 25, 2016 - 9:41 am

    Andrea - Ahoy there Matey! Cutest pirate ever!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 9:47 am

    Silvia - I love the Pirate! He’s adorable!

  • October 25, 2016 - 10:22 am

    Steph - Superman has my vote!

  • October 25, 2016 - 10:33 am

    Lauren Ficara - Superman! 💪🏻💙❤️

  • October 25, 2016 - 10:49 am

    Helen Guarente - Pirate totally ROCKS!

  • October 25, 2016 - 11:18 am

    Ida Nicholas! - The Pirate.. love his smile!

  • October 25, 2016 - 11:26 am

    Nana DePersio - I vote for the cutest lil pirate…. So cute

  • October 25, 2016 - 11:34 am

    Melissa Florie - Love the pirate!

  • October 25, 2016 - 11:39 am

    Christina - Pirate adorable!!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 12:08 pm

    Michelle Vihonski - 💕💕Luca the pirate has my vote! Great smile!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 12:19 pm

    Karen - My vote goes to the one and only Superman!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 12:22 pm

    Amy Guido - The pirate is the cutest one !!! Grrrrrrr

  • October 25, 2016 - 12:26 pm

    Dana Cardone - All are adorable but my vote is for the Pirate!!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 12:30 pm

    Frank Cardone - Arrr Matie! Is the winner.

  • October 25, 2016 - 12:34 pm

    Alexandra Bougher - The pirate!!!!!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 1:13 pm

    Chrissy - Superman!!! (They are all too cute)

  • October 25, 2016 - 1:19 pm

    Jordan - The pirate is too cute for words!

  • October 25, 2016 - 2:00 pm

    Anne - Ooohhhh!!! The pirate is the cutest!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 2:33 pm

    Meredith Glazer - The pirate is the cutest!

  • October 25, 2016 - 3:10 pm

    Laura Jung - Superman has our vote!!!! But all the children are too cute!

  • October 25, 2016 - 3:22 pm

    Ed Jung - Superman has my vote!!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 3:31 pm

    Paul martino - The pirate est Pirate I ever saw

  • October 25, 2016 - 3:39 pm

    Marilyn Rosenfeld - My vote is for that adorable pirate!

  • October 25, 2016 - 3:55 pm

    Lena - The little dalmation!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 3:57 pm

    Tiziano - Hands down the Pirate!!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 4:50 pm

    Allison - Pirate all the way!

  • October 25, 2016 - 4:57 pm

    Kristina - Definitely Luca the pirate!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 4:57 pm

    Chris - I like the fireman and the Dalmatian they are the cutest and had a theme!!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 5:31 pm

    Sean omalley - The Pirate is my pick!!!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 5:32 pm

    Dana OMalley - Pirate is super cute!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 5:38 pm

    Kelly Hoekstra - The little fireman and his Dalmatian! Adorable!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 6:36 pm

    Mia - I think The pirate should win!! So cute!!

  • October 25, 2016 - 6:36 pm

    Barbara Walsh - I vote for the pirate! 😊

  • October 25, 2016 - 9:40 pm

    Maria Falzo - Luca… the Pirate! We are so sad we missed this day :(

  • October 26, 2016 - 5:45 am

    Mike Fattorusso - All pirates should be that cute.

  • October 26, 2016 - 6:05 am

    Wendy Fattorusso - The cutest little PIRATE has my vote!

  • October 26, 2016 - 4:17 pm

    Mariya - The pirate Luca! He is so cute!

  • October 26, 2016 - 6:03 pm

    Pasqualina addeo - The cute pirate!!!

  • October 26, 2016 - 6:20 pm

    Jen - Luca the pirate!

  • October 26, 2016 - 6:31 pm

    Walter franco - The beautiful pirate Luca

  • October 26, 2016 - 6:35 pm

    Sandra - Pirate has my vote 🎃

  • October 26, 2016 - 6:45 pm

    Nicole - The cutie pirate!

  • October 26, 2016 - 6:46 pm

    Dom - Pirate wins the vote! Hes too cute

  • October 27, 2016 - 3:55 am

    Angela iannitelli - The pirate is absolutely adorable!!!

  • October 28, 2016 - 5:17 am

    Nicole - The pirate has my vote ✔️

  • October 30, 2016 - 4:37 pm

    Emilie - I love for the fireman and his dog!!

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