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I am by nature a reflective person.  I feel I can only really understand my heart and where I am heading if I spend time reflecting on where I have been and what I have done.  The start of 2016 has been one of deeper reflection for me as I am working hard at establishing in thought, words and imagery who I am as a person and as an artist and how I want to serve and bless the greater world.  Through all of this reflection I am learning and am becoming further confident who I am a Love Legacy photographer and I am excited to share my heart, purpose and passion again.  For me, I believe that I am called to:

Inspire love stories that become more beautiful with time.

As I reflect on where I have been and what I have done in 2015 I am so encouraged to know that I was able to fulfill my purpose and passion for the 17 beautiful couples stood in front of my camera as well as for the lovely engaged sweethearts and beautiful families that I had the privilege of working with too!  So below are just some of my 2015 highlights that inspired me as legacy artist and that I believe will inspire future generations to love greatly as they reflect upon the beauty and love shared in these 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“Let what you love be what you do.”

These words describe this beautiful family perfectly.  They are people who wear their kind, believing, and giving hearts on their sleeves and serve others so well in their friendships and in their careers. They love each other fiercely and their little family is so connected because of it.

I’m going to write to Miss Leona for a minute about her parents, and a little more specifically about her amazing mom.

I know that you might not know and understand this quite yet, but I believe you already feel and see it every day and I hope these photos will help you see and understand it in the future.   Your parents are some of the sweetest, kindest, very hard working and most giving people I know.  Case and point:  I left home without my wallet yesterday on a quarter tank of gas, wrapped up the session to fly off to a consult and they came to my rescue to purchase a full of gas for me to make sure that I would make it to my destination points and then all the way home without trouble – THANK YOU, thank-you, THANK YOU!!!

Your mom is a dear friend who encourages and inspires me so often.  She’s the kind of friend and person that after time spent with her you feel more full, focused, energized and fired up to take on the world and in my case, the many tasks of business owner and wife/mom/friend that can overwhelm me.

I hope that as you grow you inherit, learn from and become so much like your parents because your heart will always be in the right place – “letting what you love be what you do.”

Thank you so much Josh, Megan and Miss Leona for allowing me to be a preserver of your love and connection.  Thank you for giving me a fresh sense of inspiraiton at a time when energy and creativity need much replenishment.  And thank you so much for the creative freedom to be who I am as an artist – for trusting me to create and shoot honestly and to be fully inspired by your love for one another. As Bambi Cantrell says “Emotion will always beat technical perfection” and to me these images are a rich source!  Thank-you for encouraging me to” let what I love be what I do.” 

XOXO,

Carolyn

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  • Corinne Cameron - i am literally crying right now …..these are so beautiful!

  • Beverly Schafer - Beautiful pictures of a beautiful family! Your love for one another and your little girl shines through in these pictures!

  • Stacy Claeys Cooper - Way to capture some beautiful moments! Adorable!

  • Ralph Corry Smit - What a beautiful series

  • Samanta Gilbert - What I Love in the photos the most is that they can be remade for whatever we want. Even a picture of an old men can be transformed into an real alien! You can see how it can be done here http://www.bncreviews.com/learn-photo-editing-review/

  • Rhonda Bell - Oh my so many great photos of such a sweet loving family. Luv you guys Mama Bell

  • Cynthia Stevens - Incredible photos. And beautiful words affirming this wonderful family!

To begin, this is a post that I have been thinking about writing for a long time – actually for almost two years.  It was one I dreamed up with two sweet industry friends on an amazing weekend business trip away.   It’s a post (I’m going to turn it into two posts) where I want to share who I am as Carolyn – the vision, person, and relationships behind Love Legacies by Carolyn Bentum (“the who” – this post) and how “the who” and “the why” directly influnces my business and business practices (“the how” – part two).

I am Carolyn. I am a Christ follower, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother to four beautiful children (I know I’m a little biased), I’m a twin mom (yes – I am busy but doubly blessed),  I am a friend, I am a relationship builder, I am a business owner, I am a photographer, I am an editor, I am a writer, I am a goal setter, I am a reflector, I am a creative, I am a planner, I am a reader and book lover, I am an athlete, I am an introvert, I am more naturally shy and quiet, I am sensitive, I am particular, I am a hard worker.

I share these things, not to draw attention to myself, but rather I hope that by being very open with you that you will come to see me as a more “whole” person, rather than just as the one sided professional photographer that is represented in my work online.  You see there is a person that stands behind the camera; one that finds so much joy in preserving the love legacies of your family but that also has to spend countless hours behind the scenes on the computer, working hard by herself to edit and complete galleries, create and mail packages, run the business, answer emails, and so much more.  This same person needs to gently remind herself that I am human, I have limited time and can only give my best within reason.  I need to eat, sleep, play, laugh, fold laundry, clean my house, care for my kiddos, spend time in rejuvenating relationships and activities or else I will not be able to give of my time and talents to others because I will be an unhealthy shell of a person and a passionless business owner.

I have written and then rewritten and then rewritten again this post with all sorts of different content (16 drafts actually!).  I have laid out my many hats of running a business so you might be able to try and understand all of the things I am often doing on a daily and weekly basis, I have written about the impact of ill timed questions and comments and how they have left me questioning if I belong in this business, I have written about my struggles and my efforts of trying to do it all.  However, in the end what I have realized in my many attempts at writing this post is that what I really want to share is a few promises and expectations that you can have if and when you decide to partner with me to preserve your family’s love legacy.

When you decide to work with me, I promise to give you the best of my talents and my care. I will dedicate myself to creating photographs that your family will cherish for many years to come.  To me, these are big and bold promises in an industry that is filled with many talented artists and with business owners whose practices are all over the map.  However, it’s these promises that stand alongside my core purpose of preserving family’s love legacies that will inspire great love for the future that every decision and business practice I have or am working on establishing stem from.

For me, personal care of my clients is of highest importance.  I work really hard to deliver communication, galleries and packages that are personalized, thoughtful and filled with love. I find myself most disappointed when I feel a client feels not well cared for.  Because of this I am going to put it in black and white, in writing, that I am not going to be the fastest photographer out there.  For me care takes time.  I want my care to be evident in every aspect of my client relationships from thoughtful communication, not rushing through sessions, carefully editing of the photos, creating a final package that makes clients feel loved – to me it all matters and it takes me time.  By putting this “out there” I am now going to give myself the grace I need to put the care I so badly want into every single client relationship.  If I’m honest in my business reflections since I first started, this is something I have always known but have been fighting against because I feel as though I should be able to keep up with the photographer next door.  But I know now that this is not me.  For me, care is more important than speed.  Quality is more important than quantity.  Relationships will always trump deadlines.  How this will impact my business practices going forward will be listed more clearly in my next post so that when prospective clients want to know more about how I do what I do, they can read about my practices first and decide if they feel the same way about care and relationships before deciding to partner with me.  I know in a digital world where instant brings much satisfaction and happiness that the idea of time and depth of care might seem old fashioned, but I am okay if I am not the right photographer for you.  My clients will know who they are by valuing the same things I do and because of this your experience with me will be that much richer.

So in the spirit of openness and sharing, and because I believe that every blog post should include a few photos, I wanted to share a few of my weekend photos of the people I care for the most with you!  These are the people who I love more than life itself.  These are the people whom I’m creating a love legacy for and with and who I hope will learn the most from my struggles, challenges, opportunities, blessings and love.  These are the people that inspired me to start this business and why I stay in business even on the hardest days.  These are the people that I need to work harder at living more intentionally for, so that they never feel they have taken second place.  These are the people that fill my heart to the brim and that I will always choose first forever.  These are my people and I wouldn’t trade them for anything or anyone in the world.  And so when you become a part of the Carolyn Bentum family, because these are my people, they become a little of your people too.  So I hope that by sharing them with you you will be reminded of my heart for preserving love legacies and my reason why I do, and how I do what I do!

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  • Genevieve Falardeau-Amaral - Absolutely beautiful pictures of your babies and a very refreshing post. Thank you, Carolyn. We can’t wait to work with you again.

View More: http://carolynbentumphotography.pass.us/bergman-family

Hi Friends!  I hope you all have been enjoying my week of giveaways celebrating my new Love Legacies brand!  Every time a contest closes and the name is drawn from the pool comments I find myself wishing I could have it select all of your names and give you all prizes!   For all of have not yet won, the grand prize is here!  A free mini-session in the season of your choice!  Head over to Instagram to enter.

I’m so excited to share that I am now going to be offering seasonal mini-sessions.  These are the perfect way to capture a growing baby, celebrate your anniversary, preserve your beautiful baby bump, or to get your children’s beautiful faces on the front of your Christmas card!  These mini-sessions also a very affordable way to preserve some of your family’s life’s moments right now or in multiple seasons!

So don’t wait!  Spaces are limited, so grab one or two or four!  I’ll be updating availability here. To reserve your spot, email me at carolyn@carolynbentumphotography.com with a first and second choice time.  I will contact you with your secured spot.

Details: 

  • $150 (plus HST) – session fee to be paid just prior to session or upon arrival at session.

Your Session Includes: 

  • Styling advice via email
  • 25 minute session
  • 15-20 edited high-resolution jpegs delivered online with full printing rights
  • 10% discount on any printed products ordered (this includes personalized Christmas cards :)!)

**See dates, locations, times and availability below**
View More: http://carolynbentumphotography.pass.us/bergman-familyView More: http://carolynbentumphotography.pass.us/bergman-familyView More: http://carolynbentumphotography.pass.us/bergman-familyView More: http://carolynbentumphotography.pass.us/bergman-familyView More: http://carolynbentumphotography.pass.us/bergman-familyView More: http://carolynbentumphotography.pass.us/bergman-familyView More: http://carolynbentumphotography.pass.us/bergman-familyView More: http://carolynbentumphotography.pass.us/bergman-familyView More: http://carolynbentumphotography.pass.us/bergman-familyView More: http://carolynbentumphotography.pass.us/bergman-family

Summer 2015:

Thursday, August 27 (Hamilton Area- location TBD)

  • 6:00
  • 6:30
  • 7:00
  • 7:30

Fall 2015: 

Saturday, October 17 (Hamilton Area – location TBD)

  • 3:00
  • 3:30
  • 4:00
  • 4:30
  • 5:00
  • 5:30

Winter 2015: 

Saturday, December 5 (Hamilton Area – location TBD)

  • 2:30
  • 3:00
  • 3:30
  • 4:00

Spring 2016:  

Date TBD

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It is late and I’m awake.  I’ve been up for awhile because my sweet girls are going through this lovely we’re five months old, but we’re going to go back to waking up every other hour in the middle of the night stage.  And quite honestly, I just couldn’t fall back asleep in between their little cat naps because my mind is racing and my heart is full. I feel as though I am experiencing a bit of a burning bush time in my life and business right now (for those of you who aren’t familiar with this story you can read it here in Exodus 3) I am finally ready on this first morning of the rebranded blog to finally accept the call with no more excuses.

Since I began my business I have desired that it would have a great impact (what business owner doesn’t want this right?). Identifying my core purpose, the way I could meaningfully impact, has been challenging because I have felt that the photography industry could be superficial, unauthentic, and short-lived in terms of relational time with clients.  It was through my experiences of working with so many wonderful clients that during my time at Making Things Happen that I was finally able to understand God’s purpose for my business and how I could leave the impact I so desperately wanted: to inspire strong marriages and connected families to leave legacies of love.  But how to make this happen?

For the last year and a half I have had excuses, reasons and doubts (some legitimate {hello suprise twin pregnancy!} and some not) as to why I haven’t been or should be making this core purpose happen in my business just yet. How can I inspire strong marriages and connected families when I feel as though my own marriage is still a work in progress and my little family still needs so much tending? How am I supposed to find the time to really inspire and encourage when my calendar and schedule is already so full and beautifully chaotic? Who am I to think that I can inspire legacies of love and impact future generations?

With the launch of my new brand finally complete I’m declaring to you all friends that I’m done making excuses and will be quieting my doubts.  I am ready to step forward in a spirit of obedience because I want to actually live a life of impact and great love.  I would rather fail miserably in the attempt than not give myself in service as I seek to preserve moments that inspire great love, ultimately doing my very best to live out Christ’s second command to love others.

I hope you will join me in my journey of using photography as an instrument of inspiration and this space here as a space of encouragement where not only my clients, but your marriages, families, and friendships will grow in great love.

Below are some of the images from one of my all time favourite family sessions ever!  I love them so much because I feel I preserved this sweet family’s love in such a way that Tessa & Robyn’s great-grandchildren one day will see their great-grandmothers as little girls and know that they came from a family bursting with love and be so much better for it!

I hope you’ll join my week of Instagram giveaways to help celebrate the new brand!  The first giveaway starts now!  See you there!

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  • Marianne Vangoor - Well said Care!!!!!

  • Megan Huggins - Well I had tears reading this. Such an amazingly vulnerable post, love it Carolyn! And as I was looking at the images I looked at them as though I were the great grandchild and my heart exploded!

  • Michelle Woermann - Beautiful, Care! This was exactly what I needed to hear this morning!