Little Fighter; Lucas | Photographer in Batavia NY

Meet Lucas! 

You see that cute little face? That's the face of a fighter, a survivor; a baby! He has overcome so much more than many adults have in their entire lifetime, and he's ONE! 

I met Lucas's mom in a social media mom's group. I won't go too much into the story of how because I don't want to lose track of the real story here, but needless to say, a couple of other moms were being very rude and selfish. Lucas's mom in-boxed me to share kind words. This was just before Christmas, and so our family was doing our annual Christmas donation. It was Christmas trees to families in need. She shared with me that her son had, had three, THREE brain surgeries that year and that she was just thankful he was alive! She was appalled to see these woman acting the way they did. I was so touched by her story that I just knew I had to meet her and her little guy. So I sent mom a little surprise in the mail; a gift certificate to have her family photographed.  

Here's Lucas's story:

"3 days before he was 4 months he was rushed to children's hospital because he couldn't eat without choking and wasn't breathing right. He had lost movement in his arms. After 5 hours of being there he was put in picu on a ventilator to help him breathe. After numerous tests and MRI's they found chiari malformation and syringomyelia myelia. He had emergency surgery at 4 months old to help treat his symptoms. We was there for 2 weeks in picu. Little did we know our journey had just begun.

A few days before his 8 month Birthday he showed all the symptoms and signs again and was rushed back up to children's where they found he had hydrochephalus and at 8 months had emergency surgery yet again and had a shunt placement. After this surgery he showed improvement again but was hospitalized twice for a week each for high fevers and had to have his shunt tapped and antibiotics each time. We finally got home and was okay for awhile, but at his 11 month checkup (MRI) they found his csf fluid was blocked and the fluid in his spine had grown and he would require another decompression surgery.

So, at 12 months, he had another brain surgery. He did well the next few months and in November we got great news that his MRI showed fluid was flowing and the fluid in his spine had gone down. He has good days and bad days. When the weather changes it is really rough on him. His shunt was just checked recently and is working great. He will have the shunt for life and it does require revisions as he grows so everything is checked every 6 months. His next MRI is in May and we are hopeful for good news as this is an incurable disease and treatment is the only option.

He continues to grow and is the happiest kid. We got lucky and he has no motor skill delays but does require pt to keep on it as the syringomyelia affected his left leg for a bit. He will continue to have MRIs every 6 months and if I think he's acting off. It's been a rough road for our family but looking at him you would never know.

He will need revisions in the future and possible surgeries are unknown as he grows. He also will never be able to play contact sports, no roller coasters and no bounce house or trampolines he's going to give me hell when other kids can. I feel so bad about it but his life is far more important than any sport." -Mom

Mom, thank you for sharing Lucas's story with me, and now the world, but most of all, thank you for sharing your little guy with me. I had a blast! He is definitely a happy, spunky little boy. I can't stress it enough that just because someone appears to be happy, healthy, or on top of the world, doesn't mean they actually are. We all lift our heads and put on a happy face when in public, but the real story of each person lies deep inside. 

Give me scars, give me pain
Then they’ll say to me, say to me, say to me
There goes the fighter, there goes the fighter
— "The Fighter" (feat. Ryan Tedder)
Photographer in Batavia NY
Photographer in Batavia NY
Photographer in Batavia NY

Mom asked if it was okay if we could get a photo of Lucas with his Easter basket because he was in the hospital for his 1st Easter. My response- OF COURSE!

Photographer in Batavia NY

Here is an image of mom and big sister. I only added this one because I love the emotion and connection this image offers. You can see the love they share, and the strong woman that mom is. My only wish for this image is that Lucas was present, too. He was done by this point.

Photographer in Batavia NY

Spotlight: Age 6


Challenging yourself is important, you will never advance if you don't try new things.  As a photographer I have chosen to challenge myself in learning new ways to light my subjects to make for a more dramatic outcome.  Lighting plays a huge role when photographing anything, more than you might know.  The light a photographer chooses to use plays a huge role in their signature style.  This challenge is called Spotlight: 0-100, I chose to highlight ages 0-100 to acknowledge that no matter the age, everyone has a purpose.  Technically this has a double challenge for myself because I don't photograph all ages, I specialize in capturing childhood.  This image above is my 6 year old son, he literally just turned 6  within a few days of taking this photograph.  He was laying in my bed on the ipad, I immediately turned off all the lights and this image is lit solely from the light of the ipad, he is whispering something to my younger son who cannot be seen in the image because he was not being directly lit like my 6 year old.  I took a few images but this one really spoke to me because he tends to tell quite a few secrets to his brother.  


If your are interested in seeing the other images that I have so far taken for this challenge you can see them here and here.  I encourage you to try something to challenge yourself.  It doesn't have to be photography related, anything in your life that you have always dreamed to do, but have feared the outcome due to lack of confidence.   

Featured Photographer

I had the honor of interviewing such an amazing photographer, I found her work some time ago and when I look at her work I have to remind myself to pick my tongue up off the floor and put it back in my mouth.  She was a joy to interview and her passion for photography is evident.  

I think one of the things I connect most with Anelle Richardson Photography work is not the obvious, it's beautiful no question, but she specializes in the same type portraits as I and her approach to photographing kids and families is just like me, so when it came to asking her a few questions I knew exactly where to start.  


Me:  You do a beautiful job with everyone you photograph from sweet little newborns to stunning head shots. If you had to photograph just one particular niche, what would it be?    

Anelle: " What a lovely compliment, Marie.   I think it would have to be families.   I love photographing families, whether they  are brand-new families with itty-bitty newborns or families where kids are already growing like weeds.   I always remind moms that they should get out from behind the camera and in front of it – these photos are for us, but also for the generations to come."

Me: How long have you been a photographer and what in your life has inspired you to be a photographer and to then do it as a means of income?

Anelle: "  I hate to use the whole since-I-was-a-child but My dad is a serious nature photography hobbyist and he fostered my passion for this beautiful and diverse form of art early on in life.   
After school I studied journalism with photography as one of my majors.   Those were the days of film and darkroom.  I wish I could reminisce with the old timers about "the good old days" but truthfully, I don't miss the chemicals, the wait or the smell.  I love digitalWhen I had kids my focus obviously changed and I started dabbling in photography again.  I must admit that getting used to digital was hard in the beginning.   Moving from hobbiest, to serious hobbiest, to business was kind of a natural progression.   I’m very grateful for those photographers who took the time to teach me and show me that there is now need to rush into business:  To make sure that you’ve got the basics covered, to get your business ducks in a row, and then to GO FOR IT!"

Me: Every photographer has a different approach to how they handle photographing families and kids, especially when it comes to small children.   How would you describe what it's like to be photographed by you?

Anelle: "A photo session is supposed to be fun!  I aim for no-one to ever feel stressed.  I have a lovely young assistant who helps me out with my family sessions.  The antics, puppets and our singing (it is terrible  but we get real laughter) all help for a relaxed experience.   I want kids to run and play.  I love dad’s swinging their kids up high, mom’s cuddling and tickling.  I love brothers and sisters laughing together.   These sessions are all about memories – capturing them, but especially making them."

Me:   I really love your studio sessions, the light is so clean and the main focus is in the subject rather than all the props, the one thing I struggle with in my natural light studio is the ever changing light, do you use artificial light or natural light in studio and can you elaborate on your lighting choice (why do you like natural over artificial or vice versa)? 

Anelle: "  Thank you!   I’m fairly new to studio work.  And I’ve always been a bit of a “natural light snob” but I’m actually loving studio lighting.  It is easy and reliable and I love that I can move it where I want it to be.   The sun doesn’t obey me!   I shoot with an AB400 in a Westcott 50x50 Softbox.   I’ve been playing with more dramatic maternity and I am thinking of adding some kind of hairlight in the mix."

Me: Going back to becoming a photographer, how long did you shoot before you actually started to charge and what is the best advice you can give to anyone looking to get into portrait photography. 

Anelle: " I probably shot for a good 2 years once I started shooting again, before I started charging.  In those days I was on a forum called I Love Photography and there was a huge emphasis on having decent technical skill, artistic vision and business basics in place before charging.  I’m very glad I went that route.  I believe that photography is a symbiotic relationship:  Shooting from the heart and solid technical skills.  One without the other is simply not complete!"

Me: Of course the question everyone always wants to know, what's in your camera bag and if you only had one lens to use which would it be?

Anelle: "   Canon 5D markiii, a 85mm 1.8, 50mm 1.4, 28-70mm 2.8, a speedlight, some lens hoods, batteries, lots of memory cards, and a partridge in a pear tree….   I’m looking at getting the 135mm, but I’m a little undecided.  If I could choose only one lens, I don’t think I’d be able to.  I use my 50mm most in studio for newborns, and my 85mm outdoors."

Me: Marketing your business for every photographer is always a challenge, whether it be lack of funds, lack of confidence, or just lack of know how.  What has been the best marketing strategy for you business?

Anelle: "  Definitely word of mouth and then Google.   I also a few marketing strategies planned for 2014, I’ll let you know how it goes!"

If you would like to learn more about Anelle Richardson Photography you can visit her website here.  Follow her on Facebook here, check out what she is pinning here, and see what she has to say on Google+  here.