Jake is Growing Up

It’s no doubt that Jake is growing up, and he’s becoming such a kind young man!  I love being able to witness these wonderful children grow and become their own persons; while seeing their parents peek through in certain mannerisms, expressions, sayings, and how they treat others.  It encourages me to stay hopeful for our future!

Jake Carter Reading ISU library big boy

Just like his momma, he has a love for reading and a soft spot for his good buddies.

Kind heart, big buddy, ISU Library, Jake Carter, Weapons & Warfare, Biography, Big Boy, Love the Babies, Kind heart

A man of action and humor, just like his daddy.

Weapons & Warfare big boy Jake Carter ISU library

But always a unique and smart person to be loved by all.

ISU library unique person Jake CarterNo denying it, Jake is becoming a wonderful young man!

Kind heart, big buddy, ISU Library, Jake Carter, Weapons & Warfare, Biography, Big Boy, Love the Babies, Kind heart

Thank you ISU Cunningham Library for not only educating a wonderful lady but for allowing your alum and guests to experience a beautiful campus.

Biography ISU library Jake Carter big boy

Welcome to turning 5 years old young man!

Newborn Bentley Moore

Welcome Bentley Moore!

Zoe Gallagher, Zach Moore, Holli Bell, Bentley Moore, Terre Haute, Indiana, Newborn Photographer, Hope Barker Photography, 2017

Don’t get me wrong, I have to run a legitimate and profitable business, but I LOVE it when I’m able to give to hard-working people.  Which is part of the reason why I was so excited that a friend wanted to gift her cousin a Newborn session for their first baby.

I loved her thoughtfulness.  She just bragged and bragged on this family.  And in our society today, it’s so refreshing to hear people be happy for each other, to be proud of hard-work, and to give so unselfishly!

Then I got to meet Zoe, Zach, and Bentley.  Zach and Zoe were so good to each other; helping each other care for their new pride and joy, Bentley, respectful of each-other, showing kindness and grace. They worked like a team, one solid unit. And you could tell, that even at only a few days old, Bentley felt comforted and secure in being cared by them.

Zoe Gallagher, Zach Moore, Holli Bell, Bentley Moore, Terre Haute, Indiana, Newborn Photographer, Hope Barker Photography, 2017

Every new parent feels a touch of anxiety when their new, first especially, baby fusses.  But Zach and Zoe showed such a calmness that Bentley was just a star at every stage of his session.  He’d let me know that I was interrupting his agenda, but then he’d hear his daddy cooing to him, and he would just calm right into place.

Zoe Gallagher, Zach Moore, Holli Bell, Bentley Moore, Terre Haute, Indiana, Newborn Photographer, Hope Barker Photography, 2017

He never got anxious, upset, inconsolable or mad.  He just cool as could be, let us know when he needed his mommy for a belly-fill-up and then he’d snuggle right back into work!

Zoe Gallagher, Zach Moore, Holli Bell, Bentley Moore, Terre Haute, Indiana, Newborn Photographer, Hope Barker Photography, 2017

Sessions like these……..  They make me so thankful for clients who let me be there to capture these moments.  They give me faith and hope for our world.

Thank you

Zoe Gallagher, Zach Moore, Holli Bell, Bentley Moore, Terre Haute, Indiana, Newborn Photographer, Hope Barker Photography, 2017

Time for a little education!

Good Morning!

It’s time for a little education Monday!  I get asked ALL sorts of questions but a few that I’m going to answer today pertain to why hire a professional.  Let’s look at two “before” pictures real quick.

Glamor Maternity, Hope Barker Photography, Terre Haute, IN, Fowler Park, Avery HuntTerre Haute, Indiana, Maternity, Fowler Park, Hope Barker Photography, Natural Light, rainy day

Looking at the first image, it may look pretty dark and uneventful.  What you’re NOT seeing are a bunch of behind the scenes equipment.

  • There is a flash behind the model, lighting up her outline.  You’ll see why I did this in a minute.
  • There is a flash in front of the model, bouncing off of a golden reflector.
  • The flashes are set to specific angles, power amounts, and positions.
  • The camera is set on detailed settings, to best optimize the darkening, rainy day while my lighting is made to compensate for the model.
  • Hope is changing positions from step stools and tip-toes, to down- low-squats.
  • The model is being directing on how to sit, stand, turn, position her head, arms, hands and feet in order to best enhance her natural beauty (Although, to be fair, she was a natural and barely needed direction!)

Now, looking at the second image you see a pretty bleary, washed out sky, you may recognize some heavier shadows and more blatant white spots.  You won’t see any flashes lighting up, etc.  That would be because I wanted a more natural feel, as opposed to the more glamorous feel of the first image.


As you can see, fancy and expensive equipment are not always necessary for your images.  It all depends on what emotion you are trying to invoke with your portrait.  I accomplished two different “feels” by changing the circumstances.

The equipment also does not determine the quality of an image.  You could have twice as many flashes as I do, a newer model of my camera, etc.  But tools are just tools!  Without acquiring training, practice, and even more on-going training, all of those tools would accomplish zilch.  This is what sets professionals apart.

Let’s take a look at the finished products, to emphasize how professional photographers serve you from start to finish.  How we perfect our art!

Glamor Maternity, Hope Barker Photography, Terre Haute, IN, Fowler Park, Avery Hunt

  • You now see that the flash behind her is giving her an ethereal quality.
  • That flash in front is warming her skin tone on the cool, dark day.
  • My experience with my post-processing equipment has balanced the two different environments (the dark, rainy day, and her spot-lighted figure) so that they work together to give her a god-like quality.

Terre Haut, Indiana, Maternity, Fowler Park, Hope Barker Photography, Natural Light, rainy day

  • And for our images where I wanted a more natural feel, a more “realistic” experience, I again used my skill to lighten the dark areas, and darken the lit areas so that the lighting and shadowing emphasize focal points. Their facial expressions and their snuggly hugs that are so unique between a mother and her children.


In closing, (Who else remembers speech classes?! ) I just want to leave you with the knowledge that when you hire a professional, it is a worthwhile investment!  You’re not JUST financially supporting a small business, *we all know how the government likes their cut*, but you’re investing in a top-notch experience from your pre-consultation to your delivered, high-quality prints!


I know I haven’t been blogging my sessions lately *tsk tsk* but I’ve been busy interacting with everyone. I know, what an anomaly in this digital age!

Any-who, I’m taking some “me” time and getting a much needed haircut, AND braving a new color. For those of you that know me, I’ve never died my hair before so watch out now! I’m going wild!!

I’m bringing this up because it gave me a great reminder. You ready? EVERY business is made up of PEOPLE. Hold your hats folks.

Being a small business means that I handle everything, but I sometimes forget this when dealing with big companies. Shame on me! And you know what, we are all human, we’re fallible.  We make mistakes.

I got pretty upset with a local company yesterday. I had to drive 45 minutes into town, arrange for a babysitter for four kids, etc.  Then when I got there, they couldn’t give me the promised service. So, I had to come back today. I was a little worried that the same thing would happen again.

You know what happened? I’m having a really great experience! The lady is friendly and attentive, she is doing wonderful work, giving good, sound advice (NOT just placating or trying to just sell me the most possible) and I’m enjoy my time.

So yes, they made a mistake yesterday.  But everything is working out even better than expected now.

Maybe you didn’t need to hear this. Maybe you’re unconditionally patient and forgiving. But with the holidays especially, when we’re all rushed and stressed, please remember that every interaction is made up of humans. We’re all doing the best we can and adding hatred only makes things worse.

Merry Christmas everyone,  and blessings for a new year!



*I went festive! *

daring, red hair, Harrold's beauty academy, Terre Haute, Indiana, Merry Christmas, be kind, interaction, human, me time, hair cut, style

Bring Me Your Babies

Holy Cow Folks!  Bring me your babies, because I can’t handle this!!!

Happy first birthday, birthday princess, one year old, purple dress, princess dress, crown, prairie creek park, fall 2016, indiana, november, growing too fast
My baby girl, my LAST baby, is now ONE YEAR OLD!

What happened?  Where did the time go?  I’m not ready for this.  Who gave my children permission to grow up so fast?  Newborns are my specialty, but now I NEEEED a baby fix!

newborn, baby feet, twinkle toes, details, 2016, indiana, foster baby, blessing

Sigh………I can breath now.

See?  Babies make everyone feel better.

Since I’m needing y’alls help because I’ve been living in denial about my children growing up, I’m going to throw-out a deal.  It’s first come, first caught.  One time only type thing.

The first person to pay their retainer fee for a newborn session, and signed contract, will receive that much back in print credits!  That means, pay your retainer of $50 dollars, remaining balance due by start of session like usual, and you will receive $50 worth of prints.

Who wouldn’t want $50 worth of personalized, keepsake art of their baby?

Can’t beat that!

newborn, baby girl, 2015, Indiana, growing so fast, where has time gone, bring me your babies

Don’t make me beg my husband for another baby and him have a heart attack!  I mean, you’re saving a life, you hero, you!  😀

Living Life

You may have noticed my absence, or you may have been busy living life. Which is what I’ve been catching up on, myself, so I hope that you have had a few enjoyable days lately, too!!

My sister came into town, from out of state.  So, as I’m sure you can guess, we exhausted ourselves trying to soak up every moment!  We squeezed in two birthday parties, our own family pictures, and every yummy meal possible.  And while this was all packed into 4-5 days (With 5 kids under the age of 3, what were we thinking?!?), I’m sure you can imagine the several days of prep before-hand, as well as the several days following of getting everything back to “normal.”

sitting pretty, sisters, fall family photos, terre haute, indiana, 2016,

****Whatever THAT is!  Can someone tell me what “normal” looks like? Because all I’m seeing is endless laundry……****

Any-who, while all of this catching up has been exhausting in its own way, it has been so valuable!  It made me slow down, get on my kids level, visit with family long missed, and think about myself, as well, when answering all of those “What have you been up to?” type questions.

It made me reevaluate what I’ve been working so hard for, and what is truly important.  You see, sometimes we get caught up in the things that we think should be important, and we miss out on the things that really ARE important.

grandbabies, meme, grandma, 2016, fall family pictures, baby loving, baby hugs, grandma's girls, terre haute, indiana

Family Time. Knowing oneself. Enriching the world.

It’s really that simple.  Stop looking at the catalogs to decide what gifts to give, and get to know your children, your spouse, your siblings, and parents.  Then give them something that inspires them, encourages them, challenges them.  Spend time with loved ones every chance you get, because you won’t have forever.  Stop trying to do everything yourself, and let your family members teach you something new or different.  Or go and do something for them that they struggle with.  Be the expert in your strengths, and work as a team to do amazing things in our world!

I’m going to be honest here, I don’t really know where I was going with this.  I have all of these little “aha” thoughts just swimming around in my head.  But I do know what started it:

I was a hypocrite.

I tailor all of my sessions with you lovely people so that they highlight your uniqueness.  And you know what I did Sunday?  I posed every single one of my family members, including myself, into stiff, boring poses!  You want to know how well it went?  It went HOOOOORRIBLY!!  Every child was crying or screaming at one point.  We all had strained smiles.  None of us were showing ourselves for the beautiful people we were.

fall family photos, photo bloopers, unhappy children, grandparents, grandchildren, grandbabies, 2016, meme, grandfather, terre haute, indiana

Why do you think I did that?

I can tell you why. I was trying to be the master of everything.  Photographer, mother, wife, daughter, sister, and Auntie.  I guess this is what got me really thinking on what is important.

So, I leave you with this.  Stop it!  Know what your strengths are, and they may be different depending on the situation, but stop trying to do everything.  Slow down and ground yourself in family time, take time to explore yourself, and work to your strengths.

I am a great mother, a kick-butt photographer, and a pretty rocking wife.  (I’ll let my family share their thoughts on my quality of sister-hood and daughter status.)  But, I can’t do it all by myself, and definitely not all at the same time! Surround yourself with a great team, and let the professionals work for you when needed.  *wink, wink*

deming park, terre haute, indiana, 2016, fall, family time, living life, instagram, happy girl, blue eyes(During a playtime at the Deming Park.  We love being outside! Follow us on Instagram for our “personal” side.)

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”  ~Mother Teresa

Our Fostering Journey

This will probably not be my only post about our fostering journey. It’s an indescribable adventure!

I’ve always known that I wanted to be home with my children until they reached school age.  I’ve also always had a calling to work with children.  So, of course I thought, “Why not add a few more to our home?” haahaa!  After MUCH prayer, seeking wiser counsel, and many discussions, we started fostering classes.

You hear what they are saying, see the slideshows, participate in the class interactions.  Then you get a placement.  Or, for me, it was, is, our second placement.  Don’t get me wrong, I still pray for and wish the best for our first placement pair!  But our second placement pair….Some days I’m out of words.  Some days the screaming never ends because they’re just little innocents that have seen too much trauma.  You feel like you’re going to rip your hair out!

“I can’t take anymore screaming!”


“I thought I ‘cured’ you of this?  Why does this still bother you?”


“I hope I never meet your parents for what they’ve done to you!”


But then, then you have “those” days.  The days when you have a breakthrough!  Or, they smile for the first time after two weeks of non-stop screaming.  Or they have their first laugh, ever.  This.  This is why you foster.  Because children need to be loved, need to know what it truly looks like.  And these are the days that fuel you, that show you that all of your patience is making a much needed difference.

Our second placement pair was in much greater need of love and instruction.  One had just become “besties” with our toddler when we heard that they, just one, would get to have a family placement.  Bittersweet news!  Another transition for our own children, a separation of half-siblings, but a wonderfully brighter future for the child in need.

My toddler may not remember all of the faces that will come through our door, but I hope that he retains all of the wonderful lessons that he has been learning!  Compassion, sharing, courtesy.  Our days have become so much …. MORE since starting this journey.  For them, for us.

Not all memories can be physically recorded, they can only be felt.  May they live on in our hearts forever.

fostering, son's feet, cuddle time, snuggles, last night together, daddy's chair, special blankie, bestieTheir last night together, and they don’t even understand.  :-(  But they loved snuggling in Daddy’s chair, holding hands, watching Justin Time, singing to the intro.  We’ll always have that. :-)

Mom Hair

We’ve all had “Mom Hair” days.

You may hide from everyone those days, or totally rock it out.  You may save those days for rainy days, when you can just snuggle up with your loves.  A good rainy Saturday maybe.  Or completely not give two toots and go to Church with it all over the place, taking comfort in the fact that people are impressed that you just survived the trip in!

Our home has started the journey of taking in foster children which means we now have FOUR children UNDER the age of three.  So, I may or may not fall into the second category more than I’d like to take pride in doing……

But you know what my children see?  They don’t see the crazy hair.  Well, unless I let them brush it out like they love doing.  No, they see their mom down on the floor teaching them names of fun animals.  They see their mom dancing with them in the kitchen to some good ole’ country.  Because, is there really any other type of music?!

Or maybe you’re a mom who works outside of the home.  You know what they are seeing?  They are learning the value of hard-work, delayed gratification, determination, and perseverance!  All wonderful traits.  Or maybe they are learning from you, the power and the confidence of striving for your dreams, all of you college and entrepreneurial moms.  Oh boy, do I know those difficulties and rewards!

So, whether you’re one of those “pretty” moms or not, take selfies WITH your kids!! Make funny faces.  See who can hold a serious face the longest.   Why?  Because what do you want your kids remembering about growing up?  And, does it reeeeally matter what other people think?

No one said you had to share them with the outside world anyway.  😀

Feel free to share your “Mom Hair” picture in the comments of the Facebook post, too, with confidence in the fact that you’re loving your kids like no one else ever could.

Mom hair, rainy days, confidence, love, beautiful, beautiful on the inside, good job mom, don't hide
Rock on Momma!

Planning for Christmas

I KNOW!  It’s October already!  Ok, so technically tomorrow, but close enough, right?!  So…… I’m planning for Christmas.
christmas lights, christmas is coming, planning for christmas, 2016

Do you buy things as you see them throughout the year? Do you rummage through the sales racks?  This is my personal favorite.  I looooove saving money, I love multi-tasking and working efficiently, and I love planning ahead as opposed to feeling rushed.

*I somehow am always late everywhere I need to go though.  hmmm…..*

Or, are you like my husband, who spends two days combing the shelves for the “perfect” gift, at the very last minute?  I honestly do NOT understand this but more power to ya, you power-shoppers!

Whether you’re a planner or power-shopper, you no doubt have some parents and grandparents in your life.  Those loved ones who have everything they need and/or want already.  What do you get them?!?!?!?  We love to get crafty.  But no matter what project we pick, it almost always centers around pictures of the ever growing children!  Over the next few months I’ll share some of our favorite craft ideas.

But NOW is the time to take advantage the beautiful weather to get your pictures!  Happy pictures are not to be rushed.  And for all of you sale-lovers, like myself, there are some efficient session opportunities this month.  Take advantage of them, and then keep following for some fun craft ideas to do with the kids for those I-Have-Everything loved ones.

Fall is beautiful, time for pictures, planning for christmas, 2016

The Good, The Bad, The To-Do List

There is the Good, the Bad, and then there is the To-Do List.

The good, the bad, the to-do list, crazy life, needs organization, never ending list, prayer list, grocery list, business list

I LOVE my lists.  Like, they are my safe zone, my comfort area.  I have at least two lists going at all times –  bare minimum.

I’ve got a list of Prayer Requests, I have my Business list, my Housewife/Mommy list, grocery list.  Sometimes I start a budget prioritizing list, or a Christmas list for the kids and family, and every now and then, a Dream Wish list.  Just for me.

I could go on.  I think you see my point!  I like my To-Do lists!

What do you have on your list?  Written or not, we all have lists.  Whether conscious or subconsciously, what are you making a priority as you go throughout your day, month, fall season, or year?  That is your mental list in action.

So I ask you this: Is making memories on your last?  Are you taking time to notice that Jr is 6 inches taller this year?  Is Sissy’s hair getting a little bit darker?  Can you remember how small they used to be when you first brought them home?

I’d love to hear about your early memories!

One of my children as a newborn, and then as a grown boy:

Christian Schlak, newborn, my first, my son, my oldest, my priority, on my to-do list, my love, my heart, fresh 48, in the hospital, Union Hospital, terre haute, indiana, 2006

Lists, prioritizing the important things in life, Christian Schlak, 2016, 10 years old, Prairie Creek Park, Prairie Creek, Indiana, The Good, The Bad, The To-Do, my priority


How do they do this so quickly?!