Becca Carmichael Photography: Blog en-us (C) Becca Carmichael Photography (Becca Carmichael Photography) Sun, 22 Nov 2020 16:58:00 GMT Sun, 22 Nov 2020 16:58:00 GMT Becca Carmichael Photography: Blog 96 120 Bless the seniors  


I love finding a tiny few moments that make the world seem not so strange. Look at this one, y’all!  THIS is a high school senior still doing her thing.

DSC_0289DSC_0289 DSC_0318-2DSC_0318-2 DSC_0357DSC_0357 DSC_0362DSC_0362


Earlier in the fall, Anne Preston and her lovely momma spent two hours wandering with me around Belle Isle.  We caught the most beautiful evening and also a dozen other seniors, couples, and families who had the same idea!  It was an incredibly neat feeling to be among other RVA photographers working the evening sunset and the beautiful river backdrop. 

AP is bright and beautiful and shared so much perspective with me as we chatted about the new version of a senior year. I’m continually impressed by students lately.  If we, the grownups, ever have a second, or 5,000 seconds, when we pause and think “how is this happening,” just imagine the almost-grown ups.  This is not quite what they imagined. 

But AP gives me hope.  Seeing her in her SWEET Monacan gown filled my bucket.  It screamed to me that life is still propelling forward.  I have to admit; however, my favorite shots of this gal were when she changed into what I imagine is her usual attire. Denim and a cozy sweater.  She is ready for the real life. 

DSC_0403DSC_0403 DSC_0383DSC_0383 DSC_0394DSC_0394 DSC_0416DSC_0416 DSC_0447DSC_0447

Let me take a moment to wonder, how do the seniors look so grown up these days?  I considered inserting a high school picture of myself here, but nah.  I’m pretty sure I looked 12 years old all the way through graduation.  Does anyone else have high school pictures of your grandmas or great-grandmas?  Also dashingly gorgeous grown up looking women.  Skipped a generation maybe?

DSC_0557DSC_0557 DSC_0565DSC_0565 DSC_0627DSC_0627 DSC_0653DSC_0653 DSC_0672DSC_0672 DSC_0676DSC_0676 DSC_0698DSC_0698



Seniors, we see you.  We see your senioritis that has started earlier than usual.  We see your uncertainties, and we see you carrying on anyway.  We see you figuring out where you stand and tuning out when you need to.  For whatever reason, you were designed for this moment, and we’re here for you.


Teachers, bless our hearts.  I know it’s a hustle right now.  Never before has it been more apparent to me how different of an experience is sitting behind each desk space in our classrooms (or online).  What a big job to teach the fractions and also protect from disease and also cultivate good and fair and kind humans.  But hang in there. Building an airplane while we’re flying it?  Yup.  But somehow, we’ll do it.  We always do. For AP and all her friends, hang in there.  Pre-K teachers and all the way up, hang in there.  As Hamilton is playing in my head...history has its eyes on us.


Parents.  Whew.  Oh, I’m with you in this boat, too, but I’m thankful that my babies are mostly too young to understand it all. I have no wisdom here.  Maybe give more love than usual?  Be more patient than usual?  Keep breathing. Pray a whole heck of a lot.  To my sweet friend and mom of this beautiful gal, Jane you’re amazing. Write us a book, please.


AP.  You GO, girl.  We are cheering for you!



Stay safe, my friends, and say a quick prayer for our high school seniors today.  Lost for words?  None better than a tradition still dear to my heart...

May the road rise to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

the rain fall soft upon your fields,

and until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of his hand.




(Becca Carmichael Photography) Sun, 22 Nov 2020 16:24:45 GMT
Family First DSC_0313DSC_0313

It's Halloween.  And a Saturday! I checked some boxes on my school to-dos this morning.  We ate donuts. We painted pumpkins.  I'm sitting by the fire on the porch, and I've got about 30 minutes to spare before naptime is over and the costumes are due to come out of the closets! I'm SO excited to share some of my favorite photos with you from a recent family session!! I've been waiting for this!  Enjoy :)

I've known Chris and Kaitlin as part of the Randolph Macon crew in my life for many years now.  Time has flown by over the past decade and now the crew is sprinkled with little babes and big babes and new adventures all over the place.  Kaitlin reached out for a last minute family session when their sweet little lady was turning one a few weeks ago and lots of folks happened to be in the same place at the same time. I SO appreciate how hard it is to arrange a gathering these days, and so I committed to making this happen, regardless of the pesky weather forecast.  With a quick venue change to the Science Museum of VA for possible shelter if needed and armed with my fancy new umbrellas from Target for just this occasion, we spent a really fun hour together. This family was amazing, and the results were worth it all!  Take a peek!

First up...Grandpa photos. SO sweet!


Mom, Dad, & baby feet! Oh, how I wanted this sweet girls outfit for myself! DSC_0228DSC_0228


DSC_0260DSC_0260 Never were there ever more photo happy preteens! :)

DSC_0268DSC_0268 DSC_0282DSC_0282 DSC_0291DSC_0291 DSC_0296DSC_0296 DSC_0360DSC_0360 DSC_0480DSC_0480 DSC_0481DSC_0481 I can't take credit for the next two - It was ALL the kids' idea!

DSC_0484DSC_0484 DSC_0500DSC_0500 Thank you, sweet family! I would spend a session with you all anytime! :)


Becca's time for costume.  Happy & Safe Halloween, everyone!

(Becca Carmichael Photography) Sat, 31 Oct 2020 19:06:28 GMT
Serena & Andy DSC_0219DSC_0219

Had you asked me at the beginning of my photography journey if I would ever commit to a wedding, I would have said HECK NO! The stakes are too high and the brides are scary and the mothers-of-the-brides are terrifying.

I don’t know if it’s due to the current state of the world or just a different personal mindset, but I’m starting to leave space to surprise myself. I’m trying really hard to replace some “what ifs” with some “why nots.”  And so, when Momma Beth called pre-pandemic to ask if I’d capture her daughter Serena’s wedding day, I said yes, and oh bless their hearts for trusting me! Serena and Andy joined the many couples to have to rearrange plans and get creative with their special day. They stayed true to their April wedding date, but made it tiny and safe, and I sent positive vibes from afar. My heart was SO happy when they contacted me a few months later to ask if I’d capture a wedding celebration instead. 


This family.  From the moment I arrived at this beautiful location in my own hometown of Disputanta, I felt so welcome.  Look at this home/venue!  Just gorgeous.  I shook off my nerves pretty quickly and headed straight to the upstairs master bedroom to see the lovely bride getting ready with her momma.


DSC_0569DSC_0569 DSC_0476DSC_0476 DSC_0520DSC_0520 DSC_0523DSC_0523


I snuck away to intrude on guy time and had some pretty great memories of my own wedding photos showing a group of fellas trying to get those ties on.  These are just the best.  I also got to have my first peek at a very special member of the wedding party, fur-daughter Stella.  Serena already told me how special this pup is, and I vowed to try my best to capture her, too.  HUGE relief when I scrolled through my camera post-wedding and saw lots of clear shots of the happy gal!

DSC_0409DSC_0409 DSC_0428DSC_0428
DSC_0452DSC_0452 DSC_0468DSC_0468

Though I didn’t get to see them walk down the aisle and say their vows and share their first smooch, I was thrilled to see all the beautiful details of a wedding reception as if nothing else in the world could rain on their special day.  From the gorgeous (and delicious!) cake to the personalized koozies, Serena & Andy thought of it all plus more.  They got their wedding tacos.  And most importantly, I think, they got out of those wedding clothes and dove right on into the pool. (Thank you, Andy, for coming back out to get cake photos in half wedding attire/half swim trunks.  You’re the real MVP.)  CHEERS to these two who let me boss them around for multiple shots on a HOT August afternoon. Love abounds here.

Let's pause for some of my favorite moments:

DSC_0495DSC_0495 DSC_0691DSC_0691 DSC_0739DSC_0739 DSC_0797DSC_0797 DSC_0798-2DSC_0798-2 DSC_0672DSC_0672 DSC_0672-2DSC_0672-2 DSC_0808DSC_0808 DSC_0877-2DSC_0877-2 DSC_0855DSC_0855 DSC_0905DSC_0905 DSC_0910DSC_0910 DSC_0113DSC_0113 DSC_0973DSC_0973 DSC_0930DSC_0930 DSC_0948DSC_0948 DSC_0209DSC_0209 DSC_0993DSC_0993 DSC_0890DSC_0890 DSC_0006DSC_0006 DSC_0079DSC_0079 DSC_0960DSC_0960 DSC_0009DSC_0009 DSC_0018DSC_0018 DSC_0029DSC_0029

...By the way - Serena & her momma melt my heart.

DSC_0154DSC_0154 DSC_0126DSC_0126

DSC_0092DSC_0092 DSC_0103DSC_0103  

... And finally, the shot that I was praying to nail! Look at this gorgeous dress change for Mrs. Matthews! Sparklers, smiling much good.  

DSC_0185DSC_0185 DSC_0193-2DSC_0193-2 DSC_0193DSC_0193 DSC_0200-2DSC_0200-2 DSC_0203DSC_0203

So, would I do a wedding again?  A small-ish one with a family as fun as these folks?  Absolutely!


(Becca Carmichael Photography) Sun, 11 Oct 2020 15:57:38 GMT
Happy Birthday, Jules! DSC_0005DSC_0005

There is never a dull moment when you’re in the space of a tiny person navigating social interactions and emotions.  Some specific milestones even get their own moniker: terrible twos, threenagers. Enter the precious four year old.  No nickname that I’m aware of, perhaps because we’re all just catching our breath after coming off the heels of years two and three.  Four is so good. Mid-August, I had the pleasure of spending some time with a newly four year old, lovely birthday girl Julianna just ahead of her special day.



A month ago central Virginia was stuck in a pattern of daily rain or storms.  I’m SO grateful that mom Annmarie was patient with the forecast (and me!), and together we waited and watched, adjusted our session by just an hour, and miraculously were able to walk one loop around a beautiful lake before the heavy rain made its way in again.  Jules arrived in all pink accompanied by her big sisters, who made her cute little sign.  The girls shared with me that it’s a family tradition to have special photos taken every birthday until you turn ten.  How awesome is that?  It’s no wonder why big sister Isabelle was an absolute pro at helping pose everyone and scope out the best photo spots that caught her eye.  



The park provided new scenery for Jules.  After taking about three minutes to warm up to me, she was bright-eyed and full of wonder.  The variety of park features along our walk kept her moving forward: tunnels, bridges, and the possibility of ducks or geese.  Magic.  Just one short-ish loop for tweens and grownups.  Magic.


DSC_0106DSC_0106 DSC_0049DSC_0049 DSC_0066DSC_0066 DSC_0071DSC_0071


On the last stretch of the walk, Julianna, armed with her magic stick wand, was finally willing to run ahead of us to check out the bridge. I caught this shot as she took off and knew it would be a special treasure. Parenting is such a balance of hand holding and letting go on repeat.  I hope this photo with this specific perspective captures just how great you’re doing right now, family!



And can we talk about raising THREE sisters? Nope, I sure can’t. I have my hands full with just two. But Annmarie and her hubby?  They were able to coordinate these girls for Friday evening photos. Once more - three color coordinated gals for photos on a humid Friday evening in August. They MUST have all the secrets. :)  Well done, family! And many kudos to you for keeping your tradition alive!



Happy 4th year, Julianna!  I very much hope to see you again!


(Becca Carmichael Photography) Sat, 12 Sep 2020 12:04:09 GMT
Hello, Baby! 24D5F848-0B7B-4476-8F4B-E93E184692F3_1_201_a24D5F848-0B7B-4476-8F4B-E93E184692F3_1_201_a In the midst of uncertain times and nerve-wracking preparations for school, August still brought absolutely beautiful photos to my camera! I am full of gratitude for the opportunities I’ve had to peek in on life and miracles and celebrations of love.  Reflecting on each gallery reminds me that God is still here and still good.  And what better way to begin a period of photo sharing than with the miracle of new life?


Michelle and Will are superheroes (as are ALL you mommas and daddas bringing babies into the world during a pandemic)!  Michelle reached out weeks ahead of sweet baby Addison’s arrival since baby hospital photos have been paused for now. Inspired by her commitment to freeze time with her tiny girl anyway, I agreed to keep a little distance and capture a lifestyle view into their world of being mom and dad for the first time.  



One week old Addison Rae absolutely took my breath away.  I found myself trying hard to remember how gently I cared for my own firstborn in those first few days of life, long before you’re able to toss a toddler up in the air for giggles, or tickle attack and chase around the house, long before time-outs are needed.  Addison’s room was so peaceful and quiet.  Sleeping away in her tiny bassinet, she was an absolute dream.  It was such an honor to watch Michelle tiptoe around the room, gathering special hats, bows, and mementos to include in the photos.



My favorite thing Michelle and Will have figured out already?  Baby Addison loves to be warm. This sweet girl snoozed the entire time because Dad knew exactly how to snuggle her back up each time she moved. Another rockstar Dad move?  Taking care of Mom.  The dim nursery lighting could not hide how smitten Will is with his ladies. 



Can we peek at this momma?  Who is this lovely after recovering for just one week?  Michelle, you are magic. 



Baby Addison is now ALREADY one month old. Yes, sweet new parents, time is cruel.  But there is SO much fun ahead. Each and every phase brings something even more sweet.  Each challenge you conquer will lead to the next one right on its heels.  And you will do it all because you were made for it. I pray that these photos will remind you (and all of us) that blessings are abundant, even now.

8F3A34B2-EC2A-40B8-A70C-074FB3586030_1_201_a8F3A34B2-EC2A-40B8-A70C-074FB3586030_1_201_a 18677CCB-E3CA-4BB5-BDA9-A84F8284D0BF_1_201_a18677CCB-E3CA-4BB5-BDA9-A84F8284D0BF_1_201_a

Congratulations, sweet family!



(Becca Carmichael Photography) Mon, 07 Sep 2020 14:23:40 GMT
Time with the Cowells  


We (all the people) have missed out on quite a bit in the past three months. Really special milestones, opportunities to say hello and also goodbye. Our relationships have been challenged, our priorities rocked, finances may be scary, even traditions uprooted. But I wonder, as many have, could we also note a few things from this season that we wouldn’t mind keeping around?  For one - time.   “I just don’t have time to____.”  Fill in the blank: read that, explore that, figure that out, hold you, go there, address this, face that, take a nap, roast the veggies.  I know this much time in this teacher household won’t literally stick around forever.  But what a worthy challenge to be so careful with how we choose to spend time from here on out. 

Last weekend I had the incredible opportunity to photograph a beautiful family taking advantage of just such a time together.  Charmaine, the lovely momma in pink, inquired about these photos several weeks back, but it took a while to get all of her people safely home. (What does it even mean to have GROWN children who don’t live in your house or even your state?  In the midst of diapers, I cannot imagine this.)  With hopes of great weather and an outdoor space to keep a bit of social distancing in place, we set out to the VMFA.  It could not have been a more perfect session.  It was obvious that Charmaine and Ed were soaking up every second they had with their kids. 

7385B283-83A9-438A-AEF4-84E6F6AAFF20_1_201_a7385B283-83A9-438A-AEF4-84E6F6AAFF20_1_201_a 18F83A82-23F6-4E1E-8C97-F1E3B69C4C85_1_201_a18F83A82-23F6-4E1E-8C97-F1E3B69C4C85_1_201_a

They were loving, and funny, and strong all at the right moments.  Somehow, nearing a cloudless, direct sunlit, almost noon hour -yikes!- we even found a few places that made our photos look like they have a golden sunset glow.  I’m not sure I can give credit to luck or to skill.

DA3EAE0C-BFD8-4D56-A074-3E66F6B6E130_1_201_aDA3EAE0C-BFD8-4D56-A074-3E66F6B6E130_1_201_a 122041DF-8F37-4C51-9944-79345A57E10D_1_201_a122041DF-8F37-4C51-9944-79345A57E10D_1_201_a

I’m just counting this session as a huge blessing.  I know that these photos will hang on Charmaine and Ed’s walls and remind them of a really rare weekend during a really strange time when everyone chose to come home, to love on each other, and stand together.   

Later that same evening, fueled by all their weekend represented, I hustled to complete their gallery in hopes that they would be able to view it together before everyone parted ways again. It’s a great honor to share some of their moments here.  This little slideshow includes a recap of my very favorites. 

Whatever you choose to prioritize right now, whether it be one or hopefully combinations of working, listening, reading, marching, watching, praying, meditating, exercising, napping, or folding your laundry -  may you fill your time with what keeps you moving forward. This is good, and this is work.  While I pray for healing in so many areas, I do also pray that we continue to look up and care and learn and be together for a long, long time.


Last thought, if your mom calls on you to take pictures, get dressed and go take the pictures. :)


Thank you, Cowells! Y’all are THE best.


With so much gratitude,



(Becca Carmichael Photography) Thu, 18 Jun 2020 02:05:31 GMT
For the Love of February EBB6C00A-5243-4FF2-9252-2C8A3A66EF0D_1_105_cEBB6C00A-5243-4FF2-9252-2C8A3A66EF0D_1_105_c

If January 2020 was record-breaking for longest month in history, feeling like 32 weeks at least, February 2020 must have its own superlative beyond literally being the shortest.  Did a whole month even happen? Perhaps it is simply the juxtaposition that’s to blame for my current state of whiplash, or the gazillion meetings that popped up last week. Perhaps it was that ONE disappointing almost snow day that broke my heart.  (Have you ever been a teacher that has faced your students on a day when you prepared them to be out for snow? Scary, y’all.) Alas, here we are on February 29, getting an extra day to hang out with the w i n t e r months. 

One of my favorite songs from a few years back popped into my head this week.  I like it when that happens and tend to think it’s not coincidental. The songwriters Lisa and Michael Gungor wrote,

All around hope is springing up from this old ground/ Out of chaos life is being found in you/

You make beautiful things/ You make beautiful things out of the dust/

You make beautiful things/ You make beautiful things out of us/

Quite a bit of dust has settled over January and February.  Loss and pain have touched all sides of the people around me in a relatively short amount of time. Unfair on top of unfair.   Layers of dust on top of dust. But in the middle of it, I have seen resounding strength reverberate in the darkest of places.  For the love of community and family and the promise of Jesus, perseverance keeps happening. Healing keeps coming. Spring keeps coming.  So, I am waiting with anticipation for the beautiful things for all of us - the new things we don’t know about yet, the present things that we don’t always notice, and the old things that might have been swept under the rug.   

I’m going to start here:
With beautiful family…beautiful new love...beautiful bravery.  The dust is good.


May you find so many blessings in March. 


Much love,





(Becca Carmichael Photography) Sun, 01 Mar 2020 01:14:39 GMT
Slow-it-down Sunday 8A8C71E6-B74A-49BD-B910-0494072757AB_1_105_c8A8C71E6-B74A-49BD-B910-0494072757AB_1_105_c

Today is slow-it-down-sister Sunday. I named it myself. Sunday is getting a bad rap in my house, and I’m sad about that. So today I’m going to start fresh because the little motivational sign in my kitchen says “Believe in fresh starts and new beginnings.”  But as we all know, believing in something is one thing; putting it into action is another. Today is a commitment to slowly doing the laundry throughout the day, going for a walk, making grocery shopping enjoyable (somehow), and doing a little around the house here and there - just enough to sleep peacefully on a school night - maybe, just maybe, push off those Sunday Scaries.  More importantly, in a season for me when there is so much new, I’m claiming a day, maybe several actually, for taking a look at what has always been there. It’s in this place that I believe I can find reassurance that where I’m going is good and right. 

So first, I’m zooming in on a family that deserves way more of my gratitude than I openly give to them. This crew, starting with Julie JOHNSTON & Richie, would not take no for an answer when I arrived in their lives in 2009, single and with an empty social calendar. They took skeptical me along, wearing my zebra print cardigan, to watch a dodgeball game.  I vaguely remember the drive over to the court.  I was sitting in the back seat, listening to them wonder if one or the other blew out a candle before we set out to the court.  A couple street blocks and several worries about new pup Wyatt later, they agreed to turn around and double check.  I remember thinking, huh... this is adulthood.  Oh, how that was the beginning of so much more. These two taking a chance on me would set the stage for countless events in my life - marriage, careers, first marathons, first babies and more babies.  Step classes and tanning beds were even back in there somewhere.  These days, the Olivers, party of five, are still dragging me out of what’s comfortable, pushing me to my limits, dishing out the tough love, and in general, caring for me as one of their own.  Not a thing has changed. (Well, with the exception of the step classes and tanning beds.  None of that.)  I’m struggling to come up with a repayment plan for the many ways they show up for me and my Carmichaels. A tangible thing doesn’t seem quite right, and no matter how often I offer to babysit their squad, they manage to keep telling me it’s not necessary.  And so, I just keep coming to their door with my camera and occasionally a batch of vegan pumpkin pie fudge. It’s just about all I’ve got, apart from these words which are long overdue.

My camera love started around the same time as sweet baby Elizabeth’s personality started to shine through.  Eli’s baby blues were and still are mesmerizing, but I could not for the life of me figure out how to take the pictures that were forming in my head, mostly because shutter speed and I were strangers at the time and that baby was on the move. I tried to bring a cute teal Christmas tree for Eli and big sister Sadie to decorate. Again, the picture in my head never quite happened.  For some reason, Julie humored me and kept on letting me show up and try.  Today’s update:  Eli is still incredibly on the move, but I’m getting pretty darn close to catching up with her. 

This is Eli. 


This joy?  Her very special 3rd birthday, complete with magical unicorns and the best of friends and family.  Now I have been to my fair share of tiny child birthday parties, y’all.  Never has there ever been such an ecstatic guest of honor.  I think this is what happens when the spotlight shifts to the middle critter, and she’s finally old enough to put the pieces together.  There’s something special about Eli though.  She spent much of her little party wandering around calling her little cousin Esley and my little Evie Mae princesses and guiding them around her house.


I adored watching her talk to her favorite school buddy, “Char Char, I need you in here!”  and stopping to grab her mom and dad’s necks periodically for birthday girl snuggles.  What a dreamy little lady.  Note the curls. 

F770B98F-990F-4568-A6D7-E7479D03B615_1_105_cF770B98F-990F-4568-A6D7-E7479D03B615_1_105_c 6B566E25-574F-4DDA-85B8-008851BAF1B9_1_105_c6B566E25-574F-4DDA-85B8-008851BAF1B9_1_105_c

E is sandwiched between the best of siblings: Sadie and Patrick. 



Sadie is equal parts sensitive and bold and brave, and perfect in my eyes, though I realize I might be a biased godmother. Patrick is the baby boy we’ve all been waiting for.  Truly a miracle, it’s unbelievable that he's only been in our lives for five months.  Together, these five Olivers make quite the tribe.  They grace our greater community through their friendships, full-time professions, dance and gymnastics classes, dodgeball STILL, volleyball, football, and running teams - j u s t for f u n and f i t n e s s.  They call out Sunday suppers and host all the playdates.  Meanwhile, they deal with the challenges of being a part of this generation and at this stage of life - just like the rest of us, and on top of all of that, they deal with little ole me. :)  If you’re looking for someone to speak truths about balance and living with authenticity - The Olivers will have your covered… (I mean - keep looking because they’re all mine!!)  



Love you, Olivers.  Endless gratitude for investing in me and always helping me figure out which way is forward.


Cheers to the many, many birthdays to come. 








(Becca Carmichael Photography) Sun, 26 Jan 2020 19:43:41 GMT
SiftRVA 6B6DBE19-8949-4EF4-990B-7C021F4DE7FF_1_105_c6B6DBE19-8949-4EF4-990B-7C021F4DE7FF_1_105_c

Of all the rooms in my house, I probably spend the most time in my kitchen.  This is the place where the nurturing happens. It’s the first stop of the day, everyday: specific coffee cup selection and the morning fill up.  It is here where the meals are cooked and plated or packed in lunch bags.  The pet fish lives on the counter.  The dog’s food and water dish are here. The narrow pathway in front of the fridge is the main thoroughfare of our downstairs.  No matter which of the three external doors we choose to pass through several times each day, we must traverse the kitchen. The bags and coats and dirty socks are tossed here. The wine is poured here. We trip over each other and over the toys here. The 5 second rule is strong and the Clorox wipes rampant, but never mistakenly swapped for the baby wipes, at least not yet or to my knowledge. Homework has even become a thing at the tiny four-person breakfast table.  The first books are being read independently here in front of a messy craft-adorned backdrop. When I go home to my parents’ house, my favorite thing to do is sit on a bar stool in the middle of the kitchen while my mom cooks and my sister chops and I catch a breath and slurp coffee while the kids do laps elsewhere. Same applies in Connecticut while the Murphys dish up their favorite Blue Apron concoctions and I try to identify ingredients and memorize how the heck you prepare them or if they even sell those things down here.  Same applies at the Olivers: valuable kitchen time strategically placed between a football game in the living room and at least 4 kids in the playroom.  Your coffee creamer is my coffee creamer, my guacamole is your guacamole.  Kitchens speak a common language. 


My love of a delicious, cozy kitchen made it extra exciting to spend a couple of hours catching up with Laura in her kitchen, home of her new adventure SiftRVA.  I have been drooling over Laura’s Insta-goodies, gorgeous gluten-free sweet treats, for months.  I thought I noticed she was getting extra crafty over there, and then suddenly, SiftRVA came to life! Thankfully, Laura was willing to let me take a peek into her world of decorating and capture her craft in action.  Her kitchen provided the perfect comfort for both of us to settle into rhythmic conversation about cats, education, marriage, and the difference between frosting and icing. She graciously allowed me to meander the downstairs and get all googly-eyed over the furniture in her dining room hand-crafted by her father-in-law. 


AND - you know how you always sample what you’re cooking along the way?  WELL - to my very sweeeet surprise - this holds true for the photographer as well.  That’s right, friends.  I sampled those beautiful Buttercream Valentine Cookies currently displayed at the top of the blog on Fret not and don’t feel left out. There’s an “order here” link, so get on over there and get you some! 



Laura - because she’s legit - also has a ton of treats all over her kitchen just for the sake of perfecting her own recipes and making sure her people have the most fresh eats!  And so, I was sent home with the sampler platter.  Bless this woman.  I am starting to understand why her hubby Josh wakes up at the early morning hours in the middle of winter to go running.  Much to the happiness of my own family, I unveiled the platter, and we stood around the kitchen island and ate it all. All of it.  The geodes, the buttercreams, and the cake.  I felt it was the best strategy and the healthiest to just go ahead and eat it all and be done with it, you know, for the good of the people. 


I’m so proud of Laura.  If you hop on over to her lovely website,, you’ll find her story, which she tells so humbly and honestly. Her recipe for success encompasses all the hard things that would give her justified permission to throw in the baking towel and set up camp on that ridiculously cozy sofa under the painting made by her mom. (What a talented family, by the way!)  However, add a generous handful of determination and a dash of passion, and here we are with a little taste of heaven coming right out of a local neighborhood cul-de-sac. 


We’re all cheering for you, Laura! Get it, girl.



(Becca Carmichael Photography) Sat, 25 Jan 2020 01:56:08 GMT
Om Grown Yoga 4F87DB69-A64F-418A-A7A1-EECF5AC772B7_1_105_c4F87DB69-A64F-418A-A7A1-EECF5AC772B7_1_105_c

I like to think there are pivotal moments in life that propel us forward into new stages and phases that we didn’t quite predict would happen, especially not now - especially not me.  I have those classic moments in my life, as do you: college acceptances, equal parts of both gained loves and lost loves, lost loved ones, first careers and homes, marriage, babies. However, sometimes less obvious moments sneak past, unappreciated until much later, or maybe never recognized at all.  It takes hindsight and a few good knocks in the head by a few good, honest friends to realize - oh, that’s when I should have picked my head up and looked around. Sometimes, hopefully, it’s like walking back the steps of a really good surprise, counting all the moments and details you somehow never noticed.  I was lucky enough to catch one of these pivotal moments just last week, fully present and aware, hyper-aware even, when I traded my regularly scheduled Sunday afternoon school-prep hustle for a date with seven yoga instructors. 


It was a privilege, honor, and all-around magical opportunity to design a photo experience for the amazing crew at the newly opened Om Grown Yoga at the Richmond Wellness Center.  For weeks on end, I studied the bios of these instructors, researched how to best photograph this practice; showing beauty, grace, and strength (while also honoring their bodies and making sure they warm up properly and don’t pull muscles for the sake of cool pressure).  For weeks on end I felt like I might throw up. No lies here, my people.  Nerves me.  But, for the love of all things adventure and bravery, I wrangled my lighting kit just in case and also threw my husband’s ladder in the back of the car for good measure. Vertically challenged photography is real. As usual, it took a text from my gal Julie and this time physically present Claire to get me out of the car. (Have I blogged to you yet about loving your people that kick your butt out of the car? Future blog, I swear.)


8B14CE2B-0A34-4BA7-A547-5B8F957724DD_1_105_c8B14CE2B-0A34-4BA7-A547-5B8F957724DD_1_105_c 8D2F19D9-FFD7-47FD-9494-47C0DF605F23_1_105_c8D2F19D9-FFD7-47FD-9494-47C0DF605F23_1_105_c

It won’t surprise you that I didn’t need a bit of the worries that kept my palms sweating and slipping right past my exposure wheel.  Do you see the faces in these pictures? I FLEW on their energy for two whole hours and wanted to sob with joy and pride when the shoot came to an end. Their story? Through many different paths, seven beautiful souls divinely made their way to Humble Haven yoga teacher training at the same time last summer.  Their connection to each other, love for yoga practice and community, and general bad-assery formed Om Grown Yoga just a short season later, a come as you are, pay as you can endeavor.  I didn’t need to know the details of their journey when I met them.  Their narrative was alive in the pride on their faces and in their jittery unpackaging of cork blocks.  While I busied about adjusting lights and dials, their presence was not lost on me, deciding where to store the mats and what extra hospitality supplies should belong in the restrooms.  This was their home-stretch, the eve of a grand opening, the culmination and also beginning of so much. Pivotal indeed.


Do you see their matching shirts?  From Left to Right: Claire, Kali, Emely, Michael, Taylor, Tori, & Cristin


Oh, I wish you could hear them cheering for each other.  Did you know that there is cheering in yoga?  I didn’t.  Bless my heart.  Each instructor took turns achieving the most difficult and beautiful of poses.  They directed one another and supported one another like champions.  I cannot express with words how blessed I felt to be a part of what you see here.  Vulnerability. Trust.  Encouragement.  Bravery. Over and over again.  

Look. at. this. magic.













Dear Om Grown, I am forever grateful for sharing this pivotal moment with you.  I hope you know the experience is mutual.  I am struggling to even believe that the girl sitting on the ladder is me.  Thank you. Thank you.


Richmond, you are in good hands at Om Grown.  Would you go check it out for yourself?  Find them on Facebook @omgrownrva or view their schedule here:



P.S. I tied a bow on this beautiful experience by coming on back to Om Grown with my mat instead of my camera bag. I cannot say enough about how friendly and welcoming Claire’s class was for a girl who is NOT flexible at all.  I have trouble being still.  I’m squirmy, and my brain is busy.  Enter Claire at Om Grown.  She calmed me down, made me cry, and made me laugh.  I can’t wait to get back on the mat! Meet me there?





(Becca Carmichael Photography) Sat, 25 Jan 2020 01:45:01 GMT