The Best Time to Hire a Photographer

Communication is a practice I not only hold dear to me in my personal life, but in my Photography business as well. I recognize that hiring a Professional Photographer is not something people do on a regular basis, but that each business is often run so differently that the ‘rules’ can easily change.

A very common question I receive is, ‘When should I hire a Photographer?’ No matter if you are looking for a Photographer for maternity, birth, newborn, baby, children, or family, my answer is pretty much the same across the board.

The Baby Whisperer - Alexandria Newborn Photographer

The Baby Whisperer - Alexandria Newborn Photographer

I think the best way to look at this is before you hire anyone, first jot down some basics:

  • What am I looking to have photographed?

  • When?

  • When I look at photos of a similar photographed people, are there similar things I love? Black and white, lots of style, candid, etc?

  • What is my budget?

  • How important is this to me?

You don’t have to spend much time on these questions, whatever comes quickly to mind. It’s no secret that there are a many options to choose from regarding photography, so knowing a little more about what your specific desires are will help you narrow down your options right off the bat.

After that, reach out to a few Photographers you like, share your list if you’re comfortable (they should be able to honestly agree if they can meet your expectations), and then ask to speak with them a bit more. If you have children, does that Photographer seem to be good with kids? Are you a private person that needs your Photographer to have a calming presence? If you have a million questions, will they be happy to patiently answer each one for you or are you simply part of an assembly line of other clients?

Infant Snuggles - Alexandria Birth Photographer

Infant Snuggles - Alexandria Birth Photographer

Going back to the original question, I would say it’s never too early to being looking for, talking to, or meeting with the person you think is best for you. Once you are comfortable and you are confident your needs will be met, that is the best time to hire your Photographer.

If you think you may be hiring a Photographer in the future and would like to chat more, please reach out to me! I’d love to talk about what you have coming up and how you can best be served.

Xo

Teresa

The Power in Thank You

When someone gives you a gift, after it’s been unwrapped and before you put it to use, you typically:

  • Recognize the gift

  • Pause

  • Recognize the thoughtfulness that went into the gift

  • Thank whomever for the gift before putting the gift into action

So as women, mothers, children, sisters...why aren’t we doing this with the gifts we’ve been given at birth, our own creation?

Like anyone, there’s only so much to see of me; we can only project a certain amount of our abilities and personality, while the rest lies deep inside. However, it was around this this time last year that I hired a fellow Birth Photographer, Ashley Diamond Siegert of Fig Mint Photography, as a mentor. I’m sure she said it more than once, but it is one specific instance that she said to me that stood out more than anything else: ‘Teresa, you need a break. Like, a serious break. You need to get out, disconnect, and reset. Now.’

Kids in Action - Alexandria Children Photographer

Kids in Action - Alexandria Children Photographer

Of course I had friends and family say similar things to me from time to time but I think the reason why this felt different to me was because rather than someone in my industry trying to encourage me to do better by doing more, Ashley was telling me something more important - and, to be honest, difficult. By pausing, resting, I could do more - because I was about to choose to do none of it.

Ashley was right, but resetting decades of the fight just to keep my head above water wasn’t going to be easy. Then, suddenly, Oahu came calling. A gift that consisted of forcing myself to be still, breathe, appreciate the magnitude of ‘small’ details that went into my day as a business owner, Photographer, and Artist.

I realize now just one of the many ways I have been disrespectful to myself, my energy, and my birth given gifts has been underappreciating it all, almost intentionally. Just like I was raised to be appreciative of others, a learned process, I need to extend the same gratitude not just to myself, but to what created me.

So, women, sisters, mothers, daughters, teens, and caretakers, I invite you to begin appreciating yourself with me. Write down your ‘gifts’ and when you recognize yourself using them, give the same gratitude you would give others:  

  • Recognize the gift

  • Pause

  • Recognize the thoughtfulness that went into the gift

  • Thank whomever for the gift before putting the gift into action

xo

Teresa

Slowly recognizing to instill confidence and knowledge into my children also involves allowing them to take breaks and ‘breathe’ from day to day stresses.  Kids in Oahu

Slowly recognizing to instill confidence and knowledge into my children also involves allowing them to take breaks and ‘breathe’ from day to day stresses. Kids in Oahu

Less is More

In Hawaii, one of my biggest impressions on the culture is the magnitude and importance of details or small acts. This was refreshing to me, not as a new concept, but rather one that I feel was organically ingrained in me, only to be ‘taught out’.

Having been on the mainland for several weeks now, getting back into my work has felt different in both good ways and bad; on the one hand, I am able to celebrate accomplishments of the creative work I do, understanding the significance in acts I before felt were not making me ‘busy/working hard’ enough.

Prepping Maternity photos into prints from an order before matting and framing them. Baltimore, Maryland

Prepping Maternity photos into prints from an order before matting and framing them. Baltimore, Maryland

On the other hand, recognizing the amount of effort, intention, intellect, and energy that goes into my work (a stark contrast to people who simply assume I pick up a camera, click the shutter, upload images, edit, and then call it a day) leaves me to understand the cost of what I do. Not just the physical cost of equipment, paper, and resources; but also the cost of education, research, passion, and ‘know-how’.

Going into the New Year, I’m grateful for this perspective. A time of year to evaluate not only what I give, but what I receive that makes me give my best. I think this comes at a time where I’ve been on the brink of considering how important, or not important, my work is, if my contribution to others is as valuable as I hope it to be, and if it’s all been in vain.

Artists don’t simply ‘have a knack’ for what they do. We don’t just think something will ‘look pretty’, slap something together in 5/50/497 minutes, and call it a day. Just like you, I read books on business, take classes to further educate myself, calculate each step to consider how it will benefit the bottom line, and strive to succeed.

I hope, in saying all of this, you find similarities of value within yourself - or, recognize some of the intention and accomplishment that had perhaps been overlooked in others. For those of us who work hard, I think it’s safe to say that the desire for or quality of what we produce may be up for debate, but that our drive to get there is unquestionable. If we seek to understand a little more of the journey others have taken, we can not only learn from them but help others succeed along the way.

Not often seen when completing a order from a pregnancy session. Baltimore, Maryland.

Not often seen when completing a order from a pregnancy session. Baltimore, Maryland.




Birth Photography: Is It Right for You? (Part III)

A Three Part Series Part III

To conclude this short series on Birth Photography, I would love to address some of the (many) questions we receive in the industry. If you think I’ve missed one, I would love to know - let’s keep the conversation going!

Birth Photography in Maryland, DC, and Virginia

Birth Photography in Maryland, DC, and Virginia

Birth Photography, Newborn Photography, & Hospital Photography: What’s the Difference?

There are certainly a lot of choices when it comes to Photography, no matter the occasion; to be honest, it can be pretty overwhelming and unless you are ‘in the know’ you may not even be sure what you really want.

To put it simply:

Newborn Photography would be having someone photograph your newborn(s) shortly after birth, usually between 5-10 days old (we will cover why that young in a later post). These session can be in a studio or in your own home, posed or not.

Hospital or ‘Fresh’ Photography generally refers to a Photographer coming to where you have given birth at within 24-48 hours. If you are interested in capturing documentary or ‘lifestyle’ images during these first precious hours, this may be a good choice for you.

Birth Photography often captures the time when active labor starts, through the birth, and a short time after the birth. Contrary to initial thought, it may or may not involve photos of pushing, depending on what each client wants. Strength, love, and bonding tends to be the focus of these photographs.

Doulas, Midwives, and Family during a home birth in Maryland

Doulas, Midwives, and Family during a home birth in Maryland

Why Would Anyone Want Birth Photography?

There are MANY reasons why people choose to hire a Birth Photographer, there are just a few:

  • Some people would rather have a more intimate birth experience without family or friends in the room, while some may want their family and friends to be free to focus their energy on supporting you.

  • Similar to a wedding, this may be a be a special, emotional, or spiritual moment for you and your new family.

  • You would like to make sure, after all of your hard work, that you are able to look back and see what your birth journey really looked like and the beauty of it.

How is Birth Photography beneficial?

Birth Photography can be extremely beneficial, not only as a reminder to yourself how amazing you are but also to remember the positive experience of having given birth.

Birth Photography in Times of Distress

Unfortunately, not every pregnancy will progress the same. If you are experiencing a pregnancy that has complicated circumstances surrounding, please know that you and your baby are just as important. I encourage you to reach out to your birth team as to how Birth Photography may be beneficial to your healing process.

Laboring in Annapolis, Maryland at a Birthing Center

Laboring in Annapolis, Maryland at a Birthing Center

Will having a Birth Photographer make it feel as though my room is too ‘crowded’?

That is something only you can decide but also one of the reasons why I insist on spending a good amount of time getting to know my birth clients before the birth. If I feel that my presence is going to be anything other than subtle, calming, or positive, I may even suggest another Photographer in the industry that would bring a different energy to your environment. At the end of the day, you having a positive, healthy birth is my top priority.

How much does Birth Photography typically cost?

It really depends. Experience, talent, and time are just a few items that go into how Photographers price themselves. I once had a client say to me, ‘It’s like you’re a Wedding Photographer - but on call for weeks at a time.’ Which is so true! Different regions will also present their own range of cost but I would generally expect to pay between $1,200 - $3,000.

* * *

Have more questions? I would love to answer them! Never hesitate to reach out to a Photographer to simply discuss what your options are, how you may be able to work together, and see who may be the best fit for you. There are many of us who truly want to see you well taken care of and have your best interest at heart.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series and follow along with future posts.

Birth Photography, like the actual maternity and labor, has less to do with one specific moment and more about a story of strength, surrender, and everything in between.

Birth Photography, like the actual maternity and labor, has less to do with one specific moment and more about a story of strength, surrender, and everything in between.

Written by Teresa Robertson of Robertson & co. Photography. Teresa has a degree in Photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design, is a Certified Professional Photographer of the Professional Photographers of America and has been an active Volunteer for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep since 2015. https://birth.robertsoncophoto.com/

Birth Photography: Is It Right for You? (Part II)

A Three Part Series Part II

Birth Story, Annapolis, Maryland

Birth Story, Annapolis, Maryland

One of the top three questions I receive in regards to Birth Photography (especially from soon to be Dad’s) is, ‘Who in the world would want to see these photos?! I’m certainly not posting these on our Holiday Cards!’

If you promise to keep reading and allow me to explain, I’ll tell you a little secret: Maybe you will post a few photos for family and friends to see.

But let’s back up a bit.

Labor and Delivery can be beautiful. Birth Photography in Maryland

Labor and Delivery can be beautiful. Birth Photography in Maryland

First and foremost, whatever you choose to do with your images is up to you (and no, I will not be posting your intimate moments for the world to see. I can assure you, I would not still be in business if I made a habit out of breaking that kind of trust with my clients). Contrary to school pictures and formal wedding portraits, these moments are a gift to yourself. No one else. This is an opportunity for you to focus on what your body needs to do during labor, your partner to focus on your needs, and for you to look back at it all with a clear mind and a positive outlook of your own, personal miracle.

Whether you have a vaginal, c-section, hospital, vbac, or home birth, your mind is going to be on strength of your body and the health of your newborn baby - it is by no means a selfish or ‘weird’ desire to remember the details surrounding the love you have created.

Now, having said all of this, let me get back to posting your Birth Photography images on your Holiday Cards (yes, we are allowed to have a sense of humor in the Birth World).

When it comes to how you give birth, you have an abundance of choices: Give birth at home or hospital? Medication or no medication? Doula, Midwife, OBGYN? Water, woods, or bed?


That is why it is important to know when hiring a Birth Photographer, you also have many choices.

Family bonding after birth. Birthing Center in Maryland

Family bonding after birth. Birthing Center in Maryland

Do some of my clients want every single detail - and I mean, ALLLLLLLL the details - of their birth story documented? Yes; and they are beautiful. But do I also have clients who simply want the labor and immediate post delivery photographed? Absolutely; and they are beautiful. The bottom line is, everyone’s birth journey is just as important and special.

Because there are so many choices, feelings, and ‘backup plans’ involved in birth, is one of the reasons I spend so much time talking with my clients before hand. We discuss comfort levels, birth plans, expectations, and boundaries. I also make sure your birth team - especially your partner - is supportive of my being there.

Whether you are new to the idea of Birth Photography, considering if it is right for you, or simply curious to know more, I encourage you to reach out to multiple people in the birth world (such as Maryland State Doulas), on your birth team, or myself. In the meantime, please join me on FAQ Fridays where we will be discussing Birth Photography, in addition to newborn, self care, and other life topics surrounding women and motherhood.

Written by Teresa Robertson of Robertson & co. Photography. Teresa has a degree in Photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design, is a Certified Professional Photographer of the Professional Photographers of America and has been an active Volunteer for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep since 2015. https://birth.robertsoncophoto.com/


Birth Photography: Is It Right for You? (Part I)

Birth Photography: Is It Right for You?

A Three Part Series

Doulas during birth outside of Baltimore, Maryland

Doulas during birth outside of Baltimore, Maryland

PART I

Birth Photography has been creating a lot of buzz lately but did you know it’s actually been around for a number of years?

It was almost a decade ago when I was preparing to give birth to my second child. Another Photographer friend of mine (B. Billick Photography of Kentucky) mentioned the possibility of photographing my daughter’s arrival. I had never heard of the concept before but I knew I was in, always willing to try something new in the name of art.

The concept was fresh to both of us and with her living 6 hours away we weren’t quite sure how to iron out the logistics (my husband was in the Army at the time, deployed through the pregnancy, and we were nowhere near family or friends). I adored my OBGYN at the time and had no qualms bringing it up to him: “Would there be any issue with my friend coming in to photograph the birth?”

It was almost an instant, “Sure.” Then, “Wait...is this a friend you want in the room who will happen to take photos? Or are you actually hiring a Photographer? This definitely isn’t the time for that - you aren’t going to want to document what is going on down there.”

Oh.

Looking back, it’s certainly not as though I think his reaction is odd or inappropriate; I know many people have the same initial thought. Having said that, do I regret not going through with it? 110%

How I birthed my three children is another story for another time (hint: I would do it differently) and what I wouldn’t do to have that moment documented when my daughter and I saw one another for the first time. The expression of joy on my husbands face. How we smiled at one another when it was confirmed that everyone was healthy.

Postpartum and happy. Baltimore, Maryland birth center

Postpartum and happy. Baltimore, Maryland birth center

Just like the birthing process is so much more than pushing, Birth Photography is much more than the initial thought of medical styled pictures being published for the world to see. In this series of posts, we’ll talk though the thought process, appeal, and myths of Birth Photography. Maybe you are simply curious, maybe your spouse isn’t on board just yet, or maybe your a health provider who would like to learn more. No matter who you are, I hope this topic is both informative and thought provoking.

Written by Teresa Robertson of Robertson & co. Photography. Teresa has a degree in Photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design, is a Certified Professional Photographer of the Professional Photographers of America and has been an active Volunteer for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep since 2015. https://birth.robertsoncophoto.com/

Encourage, Empower, Embrace, Enlighten

I’ve never been one to be big on New Year’s resolutions. But as I’ve spent the last several days focusing on organizing, purging, and refocusing on what’s important to me, I can’t help but be excited for what this new year is about to bring. Certainly influenced by my time in the Hawaiian culture, it’s been wonderful and refreshing to see positive changes organically happen rather then going against the grain.

While many focus on change with each New Year, I am resolving to do the opposite: Embrace myself.

Birth Photography isn’t always the medical documentation that people initially think of. D.C.

Birth Photography isn’t always the medical documentation that people initially think of. D.C.

One of the biggest lessons I learned through the community, island, and people of Oahu is that I’m not alone in my passions, my thoughts, or my dreams. I’ve actually been trying to mold all of what makes me ‘Me’ into everyone else’s ideals, rules, or standards. I’m starting to wonder if this has been the broken link the entire time.


Having said that, I have started each new project over the last several asking myself:

  • Does this involve a quality product?

  • Does it empower, embrace, or enhance women?

Bonding with Baby after Birth. Washington, DC

Bonding with Baby after Birth. Washington, DC

Commiting to these two goals is my own sort of project, and yet one that never was absent. It shows in my Birth Photography, Newborn Sessions, Breastfeeding Portraits, and Child Photos. In the next several weeks, I’m excited to collaborate even more with both Maryland State Doulas and Newborn Sleep co. Come March, you’ll see me at the Maryland Families for Safe Birth expo Baltimore Birth Festival (keep up do date on the event with this link), showcasing the gentle side of Birth Photography you may not have seen before. Fingers crossed I’ll be making an appearance in Oahu again this spring.

Like I said, I’m not usually one to mark January as a ‘time for renewal’...but coincidently, I think it fits well this year.

See you soon!

xo

Teresa

Island Living | Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu

Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu is a personal blog series written by Maryland Artist and Photographer, Teresa Robertson. Gifted the opportunity to reside in O‘ahu with her family for 3 months, Teresa wanted to provide herself and others a way to not take this gift for granted and ensure that her experience was one to learn from, reflect on, and teach others. Through these words, she hopes to do just that.


Someone recently asked me why I haven’t been posting as much about our time in Oahu as originally promised.  The truth is, it’s often on my mind but because I’m not a ‘Writer’, part of the reason is my intimidation, knowing I won’t do the island, and its people, the justice deserved.

Jen Dombrowski speaks during the first annual  Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month Walk  on Magic Island, Oahu.

Jen Dombrowski speaks during the first annual Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month Walk on Magic Island, Oahu.

We’ve been fairly busy out here, much more than I’m sure I give us credit for. Pretty on par for what I would be doing on the mainland. The first few weeks were honestly a bit hard for me to get my footing, as I wrestled my unrealistic ideas of what daily life would be like here with 2 additional people depending on me, trying to tackle my personal goals at the same time, and live a bunch of life in as little time as possible, only to be stalled by limited transportation and my own frustration that I haven’t been ‘enough’.

The biggest reason for not keeping up has been forgetting my who my audience is and why I intended to keep up this blog in the first place. It occured to me shortly after we arrived that what I would be doing here is exactly what I would be doing at home - mom-ing, working, volunteering, investing in human interest stories, finding out more in regards to people’s culture, how policies and laws have protected and destroyed precious land, resources, and heritage.

Basically, everything that I am asked, told, or ignored for talking about. So why continue a series of writing that no one will read, anyway?

Locals strike for reasonable pay and healthcare.  https://www.unitehere5.org/

Locals strike for reasonable pay and healthcare. https://www.unitehere5.org/

Because someone will. And it matters. If there is one thing I am becoming aware of here is how much I belong and my voice is still needed, my children will be able to do more than me if I guide them and we deserve to feel nurtured in our calling to love and support others. Maybe one of you would like to join us, as well.

xo

Teresa

Lei making class with the talented Meleana Estes http://meleana.com/

Lei making class with the talented Meleana Estes http://meleana.com/


Aloha au ia ‘oe
— I love you

On the Island | Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu

Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu is a personal blog series written by Maryland Artist and Photographer, Teresa Robertson. Gifted the opportunity to reside in O‘ahu with her family for 3 months, Teresa wanted to provide herself and others a way to not take this gift for granted and ensure that her experience was one to learn from, reflect on, and teach others. Through these words, she hopes to do just that.


Portrait of the evening sky on the west side of the island.

Portrait of the evening sky on the west side of the island.

Someone once said to me, ‘Ah, the battered soul of an Artist.’ I totally get that.

If you’ve read along with my previous posts, I was genuinely (not forcefully) looking forward to multiple things we’d return to in Maryland. We have long searched for a place we loved, found friends, appreciated culture, and could be proud to raise a family.

But this feels like home.

Our family, with it’s travels, doesn’t really ‘do’ vacations. Last time we were in Oahu, we never even had a ‘beach day’. Read that again. No pedi’s, no rental gear, no shopping sprees, no massages.

Hikes, public bus transportation, local grocery stores, and hideaways? Yes.

In my first 24 hours, I’m not sure what to do with these feelings. I know what I’m ‘supposed’ to do: relax, have fun, carpe diem; But I know the heartache of leaving people and places I love all too well and the instinct to dive right in to places and learn day to day life routines is too strong.

In addition to learning the heartbeat of the island, it is such a welcomed relief and sense of peace to feel like I am in a place with like minded people with similar values vs. going against the grain. Desire to protect this land, assume good intentions in others, honor their roots are pretty common themes and understandings.

Yesterday one of my favorite quotes was from an older gentleman who was educating us after snorkeling, ‘Ah! You saw Parrotfish - male and female. Interesting fact: If the dominant male Parrotfish dies, the dominant female will turn herself into a male within days. In order to protect the nature of breeding and ensuring the community survives, she will turn herself back into a female if no longer needed. None of them gets all up in arms about it. They don’t have political debates. They just let each other be and work together.’

Like I said: Home.

xo

Teresa


Fast or speedy
— Wikiwiki

Set. | Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu

Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu is a personal blog series written by Maryland Artist and Photographer, Teresa Robertson. Gifted the opportunity to reside in O‘ahu with her family for 3 months, Teresa wanted to provide herself and others a way to not take this gift for granted and ensure that her experience was one to learn from, reflect on, and teach others. Through these words, she hopes to do just that.


Sunset on the west side near Pōkaʻī Bay Beach Park.

Sunset on the west side near Pōkaʻī Bay Beach Park.

Only 2 more days of school! Only 2 more days of work! The countdown to the adventure begins!

Let’s GO! GO! GO!

xo

Teresa


Fast or speedy
— Wikiwiki

Ready? | Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu

Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu is a personal blog series written by Maryland Artist and Photographer, Teresa Robertson. Gifted the opportunity to reside in O‘ahu with her family for 3 months, Teresa wanted to provide herself and others a way to not take this gift for granted and ensure that her experience was one to learn from, reflect on, and teach others. Through these words, she hopes to do just that.


Hiking through the island. O‘ahu, Hawaii

Hiking through the island. O‘ahu, Hawaii

Today is the first day it has really started to hit me that we are leaving and the ‘how am I supposed to sleep from excitement?!’ feelings have started creeping in. I find myself planning my work and social life beyond our leave date in Maryland, only to back up several steps to remember what is about to be our new normal.

I am hoping to be able to work a bit while we are on the island and plan some Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Q&A sessions to recruit a small team while I am there (side note: for those who have been following along, I am secretly thrilled that our New York City, DC, Atlanta, and Orlando speaking commitments for NILMDTS has been pushed to spring, which means I can still attend!).

What I haven’t done is stay true to my commitment to start learning more about the culture of Hawaii. I know I should give myself a bit of grace that I’ve been wrapping up clients, last minute birth and newborn sessions, prior commitments, packing, and...life. But even one word a day shouldn’t be so hard. Joining a local social media group, finding some hidden gems, local shops, etc.

It’s not the end of the world or even something to stress about. I do think it’s worth noting, however, how easy it is to be so wrapped up in our own sense of ‘normal’ to forget to be educated on what exists beyond our bubbles.

Note to self: Remember to find out where the ‘Native Lands Matter’ shirt originated.

xo

Teresa


Good fortune, blessing
— Pōmaika`i

Suck it Up, Buttercup | Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu

Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu is a personal blog series written by Maryland Artist and Photographer, Teresa Robertson. Gifted the opportunity to reside in O‘ahu with her family for 3 months, Teresa wanted to provide herself and others a way to not take this gift for granted and ensure that her experience was one to learn from, reflect on, and teach others. Through these words, she hopes to do just that.


My current favorite place on O‘ahu, The Kukaniloko Birthing Stones

My current favorite place on O‘ahu, The Kukaniloko Birthing Stones

3 weeks to plan a 3 month ‘move’ may seem like a short amount of time, but It’s officially sunk in that we may be spending twice as much time actually planning this that we end up being allowed to stay.

October 1st is when the government has a good chance of shutting down because of the disagreement over the border wall. And if the government shuts down, we will be required to come back home.

I’ve certainly been preparing myself for this but it comes with heartache, perspective, and humbleness. If we arrive in O‘ahu for 8 days and have to return, I need to remember that 8 days is far more than I ever would have anticipated having. Actually, now that I’m writing that out, I realize that my initial plan to ‘ease into things’ is not the way to go about this, but rather take a 8 day 'carpe diem' approach.

First week plans = No sleep it is!

I will be sad if our trip is cut short but need to remember that we have so much waiting for us back in Maryland. There is still a world of opportunity, love, and adventure to be grateful for.

 


But I really, really want to stay.

xo

Teresa


Ancestral spirit, family or personal gods
— ‘Aumakua

I'm with the Band | Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu

Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu is a personal blog series written by Maryland Artist and Photographer, Teresa Robertson. Gifted the opportunity to reside in O‘ahu with her family for 3 months, Teresa wanted to provide herself and others a way to not take this gift for granted and ensure that her experience was one to learn from, reflect on, and teach others. Through these words, she hopes to do just that.


Rocks and Lava off the coast of Oahu

Rocks and Lava off the coast of Oahu

We are a family on the go. This has always been a part of our identity, engrained in both my husband and me. Our son moved schools every year until the 7th grade and the home we currently reside in is the longest I’ve ever lived in. I moved 5 states away when I was 17, so when it was college time for our first born it seemed totally normal that he go off and explore life a plane ride away.

Through our journeys as a family there have been times we’ve been together and times we’ve been apart. We’ve broken each others hearts due to distance, only to heal through inevitable reunions.

I’d forgotten that heartache.

I’ve been asked the last 3.5 months how things have felt with my son gone - was I sad? With many moves come many new friends, many of which don’t know most of our story. Sad? Three months in? That’s not a thing in this family.

Until my boy told me he was homesick 11 days before I was to leave for Hawaii.

My life has made a major transition since we’ve moved to Maryland. It’s been stable. It’s been consistent. And that has been a little (a lot) uncomfortable. It does seem a little ironic that as soon as we chose to make our life here more permanent, one of our children would pick up the pieces we had dropped and move on.

I never thought Hawaii would bring me a sense of belonging away from the island but maybe that’s the plan.

Tomorrow I'll be miles from here

Ain't nothing to me

Lord I was born with a suitcase in my hand

Living in a life that few could understand

Sometimes it gets so confusing that I don't know where I am

But I always know who I'm with

I'm with the band

xo

Teresa


Ancestral spirit, family or personal gods
— ‘Aumakua

Messy Blessings | Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu

Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu is a personal blog series written by Maryland Artist and Photographer, Teresa Robertson. Gifted the opportunity to reside in O‘ahu with her family for 3 months, Teresa wanted to provide herself and others a way to not take this gift for granted and ensure that her experience was one to learn from, reflect on, and teach others. Through these words, she hopes to do just that.


Hawaiian Lei

Hawaiian Lei

I swear, I’m not complaining. I’m not unhappy. But the last several days have been a rollercoaster of emotion and I feel like it’s ok to say that.

When I first envisioned this blog, I wanted to make sure I was mindful to write about the emotion of our experience in Oahu, not just the technicalities. If each day brought challenges related strictly to our adventure, I’m sure I could find time to do that; however, when you throw the ‘move’, The Hubs government work, my photography business, first day(s) of school, college kid drama, car breakdowns, and Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep...it’s hard to find that ‘best moment’ to write.

So, I will say, emotions fluctuate greatly throughout the day - and if my words sound a little more like a manual, it was a day I was grateful to write at all. If you can feel the emotion in my voice, the day was a bit more calm.

Housing has been a little more challenging than we anticipated. If it were just The Hubs and I, living arrangements would be less of an issue. Living in Hawaii with limited budget, limited time, and The Girls makes for some slightly fine-tuned planning. Again, I will stress, nothing bad, we just want to be smart.

As for my feelings on leaving, I’ve been a bit surprised at myself. Getting back into the school routine has felt good and I find myself thinking through the day, ‘Aw, I think I’m going to miss this.’ As I mentioned previously, it’s such a welcomed feeling, though, knowing that I will be returning and making a mental note to myself to look forward to these things later down the line.

I can’t help but wonder if part of our purpose in leaving is to really know how much we belong where we are at. Which is awesome and unique and an extremely generous gift to have been given.

xo

Teresa


I am fine
— Maika‘i no au

Finding Purpose | Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu

Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu is a personal blog series written by Maryland Artist and Photographer, Teresa Robertson. Gifted the opportunity to reside in O‘ahu with her family for 3 months, Teresa wanted to provide herself and others a way to not take this gift for granted and ensure that her experience was one to learn from, reflect on, and teach others. Through these words, she hopes to do just that.


Tree Branch in O‘ahu

Tree Branch in O‘ahu

The last several years have been a conflict of parenting, spous-ing, providing, and creating. While I am constantly trying to be mindful in life, I am simultaneously working to extremes just to simplify, and what love is leftover from my children, to my husband, to my volunteer work leaves my artistic soul depleated.

But Oahu.

This is my chance. This will be my breath. My rejuvenation.

xo

Teresa


Smart, Clever, Intelligent
— Akamai

72 Hour & Counting | Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu

Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu is a personal blog series written by Maryland Artist and Photographer, Teresa Robertson. Gifted the opportunity to reside in O‘ahu with her family for 3 months, Teresa wanted to provide herself and others a way to not take this gift for granted and ensure that her experience was one to learn from, reflect on, and teach others. Through these words, she hopes to do just that.


Hiking through the Manoa Falls Trail. Honolulu, Hawaii.

Hiking through the Manoa Falls Trail. Honolulu, Hawaii.

I either fell asleep last night or woke up this morning thinking, ‘I wish we were there already.’ While there is certainly enough to take care of before we leave, I feel like I wouldn't mind knocking this out fairly quickly.

Mentally, I am fighting from checking out of our lives here completely; though, I will say, it’s been incredible to see some seeds already being planted for when we return. Lately I’ve been replaying the idea that God often will provide rest before work and have seen this at play in other scenarios. I wonder if the coming three months are another one of these gifts and look forward to resting, with purpose.

After our last visit, I’ve dreamt of volunteering in a way that would teach me more about the customs, land, and/or history, should we ever return to Oahu for a lengthy stay. One of the places I assumed I would spend time is the Bishop Museum, which would cover all of these. However, since it looks like we will be staying a considerable bus ride from that location (Drew will be provided a car to get to work but The Girls and I will be relying on The Bus, Oahu’s phenomenal public transit) I have tried thinking of other options.

We’re anticipate living near Hanauma Bay and therefore, being frequent visitors. With The Girls being such passionate lovers of the environment and my passion of the ocean, it seems to make sense to reach out to the Friends of Hanauma Bay where we can help care for a place I’m sure will feel like our backyard.

I’m also relieved to see that there are not one, but two, YWCA’s (yes, ‘W’...if you are not aware of this organization, please, please, please, just visit their main page) on the island. (No, there shouldn’t even be a need for this organization, however, since there is a need, I’m thrilled that there is a presence.)

Having said all of this, it’s been such a welcome change to not only look forward to what immediately lies ahead of us but also what awaits our return. For the first time, it feels like I’m not running - I’m being purposely guided. What an honor and exciting time.

xo

Teresa


Land, especially Hawaiian ancestral lands
— ‘Āina

48 Hours with Aretha Franklin & John McCain | Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu

Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu is a personal blog series written by Maryland Artist and Photographer, Teresa Robertson. Gifted the opportunity to reside in O‘ahu with her family for 3 months, Teresa wanted to provide herself and others a way to not take this gift for granted and ensure that her experience was one to learn from, reflect on, and teach others. Through these words, she hopes to do just that.


Rainbow, sandwiched between water and sky. Māmala Bay (off of Waikiki Beach), Hawaii.

Rainbow, sandwiched between water and sky. Māmala Bay (off of Waikiki Beach), Hawaii.

  • Home found.

  • Home partially secured.

  • Family and friends notified.

  • Clients contacted.

  • Packing begun.

  • Volunteer opportunities recognized.

  • Birthday weekend started.

  • Stevie Wonder and Jennifer Hudson live.

I am amazed at the amount of people who have stated, ‘I am so excited for you!’ As we’ve notified them of our sudden change for the next few months. Enough to make me question in the past if we’ve had this much support in general or my anxiety/skepticism from previous relationships still haunt me. Regardless…

Nesting, (non pregnancy related), is thriving and well. We think that we’ve settled on a home that will meet my desires of living near locals, learning more about the culture and environments, having easy public transportation while Drew is at work, be flexible with our ‘city’/residential/private adventures, and volunteer as a way to give back to the island and its people.

One thing that struck me this morning was talking to a friend who said, ‘For completely selfish reasons, I already can’t wait for you to come back!’ To which I reminded him of our last week-long stay in Oahu and how the after effects haunted me for months. Coming back to a project is both welcomed and appreciated.

While I have longed to return to the island, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at my security knowing I will return to our Maryland home. Despite previous yearly moves (and this specific house being the longest tenured I’ve yet to live in my life) this move feels different; needed, but not without ending. We will take advantage of and enjoy our stay, we will come home, and we will feel secure.

This weekend holds the funeral of Aretha Franklin in Michigan (my birth state), John McCains arrival in Annapolis, and my ‘baby’s 6th birthday. As Miranda Lambert sings from our southern home, we got roots, though far apart, and we got wings.

 

xo

Teresa


No problem, no trouble.
— A‘ole pilikia

24 Hours | Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu

Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu is a personal blog series written by Maryland Artist and Photographer, Teresa Robertson. Gifted the opportunity to reside in O‘ahu with her family for 3 months, Teresa wanted to provide herself and others a way to not take this gift for granted and ensure that her experience was one to learn from, reflect on, and teach others. Through these words, she hopes to do just that.


Surfers off of Waikiki Beach in O‘ahu

Surfers off of Waikiki Beach in O‘ahu

  • Homeschooling options? Check.

  • Washer and Dryer accommodations? Check.

  • Clients cared for? Check.

  • Public bus route confirmation? Check.

  • Colleague and Industry peers accounted for? Check.

48 hours ago I had been working on what I felt was one of the biggest compliments I have ever received: being asking to teach a Photography and Lighting workshop on behalf of Now I Lay Me Down to sleep in New York City, D.C., Atlanta, and Baltimore. What an honor. What an amazing opportunity!

Fast forward - or, at this point, backwards - 24 hours: My family has been gifted the chance to go and live in Oahu, Hawaii for three months. In two weeks. 10 days into the new 2018-2019 school year.

It was just like that: Ahola came calling.

 

xo

Teresa


Gift, present
— Makana

Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu

Aloha Calling - A Limited Life in O‘ahu is a personal blog series written by Maryland Artist and Photographer, Teresa Robertson. Gifted the opportunity to reside in O‘ahu with her family for 3 months, Teresa wanted to provide herself and others a way to not take this gift for granted and ensure that her experience was one to learn from, reflect on, and teach others. Through these words, she hopes to do just that.  


Manoa Falls is a 150-foot waterfall located in the Manoa Falls Trail in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Manoa Falls is a 150-foot waterfall located in the Manoa Falls Trail in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Aloha and welcome to my journey. It feels like a dream that we will be 'moving' (though only for three months) to O‘ahu, I am hoping to make this trip much more than that. There must be a reason God is calling us back and I want to honor this gift that's been given to me. I hope to use this blog as a way to remember our time, learn from our actions, and inspire others to do more. 

xo

Teresa

Love of the land; to nurture and care for the land.
— Aloha ‘āina

When the Best Isn’t Good Enough

Typically I sit on my blogs for a bit before posting, just to make sure I’ve put my thoughts into words the best of my ability. This post, however, is being typed and presented with only moments to spare before I pack up my truck and head to Columbia, MD where I will be handing in my first ‘Print Case’ for our Professional Photographers of America state print competition.

I have such an amazing bundle of nerves and excitement, just like back when I was submitting for finals, back in my college days. Is the paper right? How about the image? Did I edit it correctly? Should I have entered something else? What if it doesn’t score well? What if it does?! 

I’ve had plenty of people ask me, ‘What does it mean to enter a competition? What does it do for you?’ That’s actually a bit of a loaded question and I’m sure. You’d get a different answer with everyone you asked. 

For me, I wonder, ‘Why win anything? Why be the top of you class or the first chair in band? Why be the team captain or try for that chili cook-off?’  Personally, because I want to be The Best I can be - and then be better. I want to be challenged, I want to learn more, I want to pick myself up when my ‘All’ wasn’t good enough, only to prove to myself I had it in me. And if that can be passed along to my clients in the work I provide them, I want them to be proud that they’ve acquired an intentionally perfected piece of art, reflecting their life. 

Well beyond the click of a shutter, image, paper, and presentation selection are incredibly important in print competition.

Well beyond the click of a shutter, image, paper, and presentation selection are incredibly important in print competition.

So, as I run out the door, that’s my ‘Why’. I’m sure I’ll think of more later (as I always do) but for now, wish me luck, some thick skin, and an open mind. 

I’ll keep you posted! 

Xo