Terel Arnett-Dias Mini Session | Black Swamp Nature Preserve, Paulding, Ohio

One of the hardest days of my life was the day in 2016 that I found out that my husband, at age 28, had colon cancer. Our world seemed to start spinning and slowing down all at once, and we didn’t know up from down. Our daughter was only 18 months old, and I was fresh out of graduate school working part time trying to build up experience. He went through surgery and removal of part of his sigmoid colon at Lima Memorial Hospital, thirteen chemotherapy treatments at St. Rita’s in Lima, and months of pain – but we were lucky. Stage IIIA colon cancer did not wreck our lives as much as it could, and I am grateful every single day.

Fast forward to a few months ago.
My third cousin (who at one point felt more like a brother – you know those cousins – he lived across the street from me with his mom, two brothers and sister in Grover Hill, Ohio and we’d run around town like we owned it – and when they moved, my mom and I were at their new house all the time so it didn’t even matter that they moved but then we grew apart because teenagers…) married a beautiful girl and they had a beautiful daughter. I was even able to take portraits of them this Spring when I did family photos of all of the crew back in that hometown of Grover Hill in Paulding County!

It wasn’t long before the news broke that Devin and Terel were expecting another baby! How exciting for a young, growing family. Then we got other news:

At only age 29, 27 weeks pregnant, with a 2 year old and husband at home, Terel has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer. “

My heart sunk. I had just seen her, and she was fine and happy and healthy. But – as I know better than I’d ever like to admit to myself, cancer doesn’t care. So I knew that I had to do something to help this family out. I remember being in that spot. “How will we pay for our…” “What if…” “I can’t go to work..” “My spouse can’t work..”

I messaged my friend Andrea Schlueter – who is Terel’s bonus sister – and a photographer in Paulding County. I had an idea – let’s do a mini session marathon at the Black Swamp Nature Center in Paulding and give the proceeds to Terel and Devin. She was completely on board, and we were nearly fully booked within 2 days. We raised over $1200 for the family.
To those who booked a mini: you rock.

I wanted to write a blog post to be able to share some of these images, the GoFundMe, and the Facebook Page – where you can learn more ways to donate including t-shirts, magnets, and a poker run. But I also wanted to let anyone who may be suffering from this horrible disease – breast cancer, colon cancer, or any other type of cancer – know that I am here. I am here to talk to, cry to, scream in anger to, and I offer free family sessions to cancer warriors and survivors so that you can cherish time and memories.

GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/helpterelfightcancer
Team Terel Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teamterel/

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Investing in Family Portraits – Why It’s Important

Sometimes it’s really hard to budget for photography – I get that. 

I really do. That’s a huge part of why I ever picked up my first DSLR – I wanted to be able to take photos of my own daughter. But the one thing I really can’t do is take photos of my own family. Sure, my husband can take photos of me and I can take photos of him and our daughter but it’s really difficult (even with a tripod, remote, and timer) to do one with all of us.

So, I have made it my mission to get photos take of us at least once a year. I can’t be a photographer and not actually have photos of my own family.

Here is why I think it’s super important – when I am older, when my daughter is older, where will my presence in her childhood be? Will it be documented? Or will I be the one always behind the camera (or phone)? I think it’s important to have photos of myself and with her for her. These are images that my grandchildren will have and their children. These are memories

Sometimes it’s really hard to budget for photography – I know I said that already. But it is. But it really is an investment. These are things that will be cherished not only by you to be hung on your walls but by your ancestors. Woah, right?

So I challenge you, if you are on the fence because of money – start setting aside a few dollars a week. Message me. Set up something. I’m super flexible. I offer payment plans. I want you to have memories to cherish. I want your children and grandchildren to know you were present.

Okay, so just twenty more pounds and then you’ll book, right?
Let me tell you a secret – your children, your husband, your family – they don’t see those pounds.

Get the session. When you see your photos, you’ll feel beautiful. And, when you kick ass at the gym and lose those twenty pounds, book another session JUST FOR YOU and we will rock that one like a friggin’ hurricane!

Your kid is just way too out of control and you’re afraid it’ll be too difficult to get a good photo.

*inches glasses down on nose* Y’all need to take my kiddo for a day and then come back at me with this. I know she looks perfect in photos but I promise she is the WORST model. One shoot – the one with the 4 other girls that we did in Lima – she sang the entire shoot…about poop and butts. Poop and butts. I love children. I am a teacher. And if we start shooting and your kiddo is a little rambunctious, that’s okay.

 

I digress. Talk to me. Message me on Facebook about your hesitations. If there is a will, there is a way – I promise. I am in this to get your memories documented and on your walls – just like mine.

Yes – that is a toy hanging out on my wall decor.

Photo by Andrea Schlueter Photographer

So my kiddo painted that artwork in the middle. The photo on the right is a piece I won from mpix – I love supporting other photographers!

My doggos!

This photo goes to show that memories live on. This is my grandpa’s Navy photo from the 1950s. Your grandchildren will have your photos on their walls – think about that!