Gold for September | Pediatric Cancer awareness through beautiful imagery

Gold for September | Pediatric Cancer awareness through beautiful imagery

Each day, 42 families in the United States will receive the devastating news that their child or teen has cancer.

This month we teamed up with Cynthia Dawson of the Gold Hope project and many other Instagram communities who are sharing from the hashtag #teamup4goldkids Originally we wanted to feature just images from the hashtag but it felt a bit empty without bringing attention and sharing the beautiful souls and faces of those who have fought, and are currently fighting this monster.

Cynthia’s Words ;

“When I hear about a family struggling with an ill child, as a mom I know all too well what they may be thinking, feeling, and experiencing; and as a photographer, I know all too well how important pictures mean to them. As both a mom and a photographer, I know how important my own photos of my children are since suffering the loss of a beautiful child, my first born, Ava. As we try to figure out life without her, one thing always brings me comfort . . . The photographs I have of her. Because of the way photographs bring our family a dose of comfort, we brought together like-minded photographers from around the country to help us provide that gift for other families who sadly have a child with cancer. The Gold Hope Project was inspired by my Ava and is a special place where her memory can live on. Many families with ill children are emotional, physically and financially strapped; it is the heart of The Gold Hope Project to take at least one worry off their shoulders and gift them something magical – the smiles of their children frozen in time. The Gold Hope Project’s goal is to make sure that these already over-burdened families have an everlasting documentation of the joy and whimsy of their children while simultaneously raising awareness of and funds for pediatric oncology research and treatment.” 

Photography has great power. Join The Gold Hope project in this amazing cause.


Micah; photographed by Joy of Life Photography for The Gold Hope Project

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Julia Crim

Mitchell-photographed by Molly O. Photography for The Gold Hope Project

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Camila; photographed by Karyn Olsson -Photography for The Gold Hope Project

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Whitney Chardoulias


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Parker ; photographed by Karyn Olsson Photography for The Gold Hope Project

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Maddy; photographed by Crystal Hardin Photography  for The Gold Hope Project.

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Daniel; photographed by Photo Works  for The Gold Hope ProjectThe Gold Hope Project 07.jpg

 Marilou Cote

Carlie; photographed by Charlie Little Photography for The Gold Hope Project.The Gold Hope Project 08.jpg

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Lily; photographed by Kelley Deal Photography for The Gold Hope ProjectThe Gold Hope Project 09.jpg

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Charlotte; photographed by Jessie Hearn Photography for The Gold Hope Project.The Gold Hope Project 10.jpg


Ariana; photographed by Lindsey Rabon Photography for The Gold Hope Project.

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REDEFINE | Shadows featuring Kelly Jacobi Photography

pinnableredefinekjp“There is only one sun. We can’t all claim to only have one way to use the light, but we can REDEFINE how we choose to express it.”

Why are you passionate about this topic?
I started to really see shadows before I saw light. Looking to the shadows helped me find my voice. It helped me explore and better see and understand the light.

“Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby.”

– Ruth E. Renkel


When did you first learn this technique? Or, when did you first realize you liked this topic?
I was using light in all of the typical, well exposed ways that you are taught in the beginning. But something was lacking in my work. I felt like it fell flat more often than not. I didn’t feel anything that transcended my images, there was very little emotion of feeling besides the obvious. Then I hit some bumps in the road; some hard times for my family and for my health. I kept trying to put on a strong face that everything was fine, but I felt anything but fine. I started to let those feelings trickle out in my photography, gravitating towards the shadows or where the light and shadows met in a hard contrast because that’s what I felt inside. It was so emotionally cathartic , I saw my work change dramatically.

As the road smoothed out I found a way to work with those shadows I loved so much in a way that did not feel weighted with sadness and uncertainty. There can be joy and surprises and calm in the shadows.

What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to achieve this technique?

  • Start by noticing the obvious shadows. Shadows cast by the human shape, shadows on the wall through the blinds, the shadows cast on buildings from the trees. Notice these and play with how to work them into your story.
  • Use shadows as leading lines to draw the eye into your photo.
  • Strategically place shadows (and light) to draw emphasis to a certain area.
  • When you see the kind of light you are drawn to, take time to notice the shadows. There cannot be light without some kind of darkness or shadow, it’s there. Take note of how the light and the shadows play with each other. What are the shadows doing that makes the light so great. Start to appreciate those properties.
  • Dappled light are some of my favorite shadows to incorporate into my photos. I feel like they create their own art within my own.
  • Deep shadows make for beautiful pockets of light. Sometimes it’s not always obvious, sometimes it’s subtle so look close, even when there is just the littlest light available.

What were the challenges for you in the beginning?

I think the biggest challenge was to realize that shadows and darkness are not always ominous or sad. There are so many emotions, so many stories that can be told with shadows. Take the time to explore and reflect




Kelly Jacobi is a natural light photographer based in Wausau, Wisconsin. Together with her husband and three wild boys, they love exploring and finding their own adventures no matter how big or small. She believes beauty lies in the simple things of life. She is passionate about where life and art meet; documenting life as it is and at the same time creating beautiful art in the unexpected.

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Flickr | Twitter 


BE INSPIRED Session featuring Elyse Rowland Photography



Is this personal work or client work?
This is sort of a mix of personal and client work. Erica, the gorgeous mama pictured, is a close friend of mine and a talented family and newborn photographer. She completely ‘gets it’ when it comes to lifestyle photography & had zero expectations other than just to see her family through my lens. I knew she was up for anything and we have similar taste on location, so when we chose my own field for her photos, it all felt very personal.

What about this session was most memorable?
Seeing Erica with her babies, loving on them and them loving on her. She patiently waited for each of her pregnancies and God gave her the most beautiful family, so capturing their bond and the season of life they’re in gave me such great joy.

Were there any hurdles?
About five minutes before the session, the sun completely disappeared. At first I was bummed & considered rescheduling — I love backlighting and it’s something I’m known for. But the autumn tones and raw emotion we captured somehow seemed even brighter on that gray day.

Your best photographer/session advice?
My best advice is to have a plan, but be flexible. I always spend 5 or 10 minutes the day or two before a session just closing my eyes and picturing the family, their names, and what I know about them, and I sort of daydream about the different things I want to accomplish during their session. For this session, I knew I wanted to get plenty of shots of Erica snuggling her sweet boys and precious girl, because as a photographer, I know she doesn’t get to be in the frame very often & she deserves to have these precious moments documented.

What gear was used to achieve these?
My Canon 6D body and Canon 35mm 1.4L are my go-to pieces of gear and are all I used for these images. I love the flexibility I have with this focal length – wide angles or detail shots, I feel covered.



Elyse Rowland, of Elyse Rowland Photography,  is a lifestyle + documentary photographer in Kalamazoo, Michigan, specializing in family, maternity and newborn. She focuses her energy on creating organic, authentic and emotionally charged images. In addition, Elyse enjoys living the simple life on her family’s homestead, raising two rowdy little boys, and documenting their sometimes peaceful, but mostly chaotic, everyday moments.

Website | Facebook | Instagram 


BE INSPIRED Session featuring Christy Morgan Photography

pinnablebeinspiredcmp-2Is this personal work or client work?

Client work
What about this session was most memorable?

This session! Ahhhh! Well, we live in a small town. Everyone either knows you or knows of you. I have known for several years who this woman was.. this insanely strong superhero of a Mother and Wife. I approached her a few months after they officially learned of her Husband’s diagnosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease or commonly referred to as ALS. I only knew a cliff note version of their reality, and on Mother’s Day.. I finally reached out to her- and asked her if she would allow me to capture their new way of life. Their beautiful mess. Their happiness. Their struggles. Their love.

And that’s exactly what I set out to do.

The morning I showed up on their doorstep, I was nervous. This was a day that I finally meet the most inspirational family I now call my friends. I am a lifestyle photographer, but I felt this morning in particular took it to a higher level. What can I do to do this justice? Their world has absolutely been rocked and to such an extreme that I was literally letting tears fall slowly behind that camera as I shot. Witnessing such devotion, beauty and happiness left me speechless. A day in the life with ALS. I left my heart on their doorstep that day.
Were there any hurdles?

This was a sweet family. We did all of the session inside their larger kitchen that had plenty of natural light where they spent a lot of their time. His large motorized wheelchair could squeeze ever so perfectly and snuggly through every entry to where he was still able to move among their home. I don’t think they will ever finish adjusting to the changes in their daily life, however, having faith and believing has been a huge staple. Perhaps it was the way his wife handled everything with such grace, but I felt like hurdles were nonexistent.
Your best photographer/session advice?

Pay attention. Keep shooting when they think you’re not. Don’t be afraid to show up on someones doorstep and document their life to show the world their beauty. It’s made me a better person.
What gear was used to achieve these?

Nikon D810, Sigma 35mm ART, Nikorr 50mm 1.4




Christy Morgan is a self-taught natural light photographer from the KY/OH/WV tri-state area. After years of working at a CT tech, she decided to chase her dream and capture the happiness of others through her lens. She is the wife to her devoted husband, Tim and a gorgeous baby girl, Aspen. Traveling with her family & showing her baby girl the world is at the top of her bucket list. Photography isn’t just a job for her, it’s her passion. She hopes to be able to continue to grow and evolve as a photographer and capture the memories of her community for years to come.

 Website | Facebook | Instagram 


DP Visual Collective 2016 Highlights featuring Wild Prairie Photography

DP Visual Collective 2016 Highlights featuring Wild Prairie Photography


I am proud to say that some of my “internet photography friends” are now my real life, we got to hug and giggle and be super awesome friends. Adri and Jesica, the founders of Dear Photographer made this possible by hosting the Dear Photographer Visual Collective 2016 in Chicago!

When 30+ photographers get together…fun things happen! It was a weekend that grounded me and made me soar at the same time. Flying into Chicago from Denver was pretty cool AND I got to Uber (my first one!) with another sweet lady, Ms. AnneMarie, that came for the collective from Canada!

The collective was two days of camaraderie, learning and good food. Oh my gosh. The food. Seriously. The local ladies that attended did not steer us wrong. Famous donuts, tacos, hot dogs, Chinese and even Hooters. Haha. The leaders that showed us their style of shooting were amazing. Each gave us insight into how they get the beautiful images that call to their own hearts. It is so lovely to see that in others. Everyone that was there, you could see the love for photography in their souls. We got to do it together and it was amazing!

We did a female model shoot hosted by Jasmin of Sugar and Lace Studio, a lifestyle family shoot hosted by Meg of Meg Loeks Photography, an environmental portraiture session hosted by Karen of Karen Osdieck Photography and a documentary session hosted by Lisa of Solas Images. They were all amazing! I shoot documentary/lifestyle so shooting the model was my favorite because it really challenged me. I LOVE the way the turned out!

We also had a chance to explore the city a little bit! Cyndi, myself and a few other ladies ventured downtown on foot toward the water and got a little lost! We had killer donuts at this famous donut shop (they had a bacon one, nuff said). We went to Portillos and had their world famous Chicago Dogs! It was super yummy and fun. A group of us explored the area down by the “bean” and even took the L-Train (which I had never done before). I had never been to Chicago so this was a great adventure for me as well as a great photography event.

We used our time together to take lovely head shots of each other. When you get to hang out with other pro photogs, you get epic head shots. It was beyond anything I could have imagined. These girls were sweet, smart, funny and so kind to me. Everyone was. It was a love fest.

I can’t wait for next year!

Check out these images that I took during the collective. Photo sessions, head shots and a few behind the scene photos too!

My favorites from the leader taught sessions!


Head shots!


Behind the scene fun!

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My name Sandy Fales and I am owner of Wild Prairie Photography based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I am a natural light documentary/lifestyle photographer that loves black & white conversions and organic emotion in my photographs. I have two children that take up 130% of my heart and I love my life. You can check out more of my work at Wild Prairie Photography and follow along with me on Facebook and Instagram. I would love to have you!