CJ Wilkes

About CJ Wilkes Photography

Capturing Your Dance In The Rain is such a thrill and joy to me. Being able to look back on those special times through beautiful artistic imagery makes it a worthwhile challenge.
Learning to Dance in the Rain has been very easy for me. I am drawn to Water & Life! The exciting part for me is to teach you to enjoy your moment in the dance as I capture it from behind my camera.
Looking forward to Capturing Your Dance In The Rain
CJ Wilkes

Tag: ‘Children’



It’s a Family Thing

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Getting really “into” photography starts with family for me. It ends with family as well. I love the chances I have had to work with clients – But my true inspiration is Family. My own grandmother was never seen without a camera in hand. I remember Grandma Joy at family events snapping at anyone and everyone. People would snicker or cringe at the sight of the camera, but nothing stopped her. She has albums all full with family pictures and events. Her actions stuck with me. That and my love for capturing what was seen before me.

When Nathan and I married, we both knew we wanted children. After years of trying we were told we would never have children of our own. On our sixth year of marriage and trying to have children, I became pregnant. With no hope of keeping the baby (because of all the other losses), I went into the dr.s office to confirm and see if there was a possibility or if this one will mimic the past pregnancies.  They said the chances were very small but we would try. I had to inject myself with progesterone daily and take asprin for the first 3 months. There were a few scares in those months, but the baby stayed. I had to have shots in each hip for 5 months instead of 3 though. All the sudden I was at 31 weeks of pregnancy and my body said NO MORE! From 31 weeks to 35 weeks she threatened to join the world early. I was bed bound. After week 35 they told me they would not try to stop her from coming and I no longer needed to be on bed rest. Well, she decided she liked it there and stayed put until week 39.  My first child was born February of 2002; 7 years into our marriage.  If you think that was an adventure – we went on to have a set of twins and 2 other singleton live births after. My world changed forever! I was going to capture their lives the best way I could. I wrote journals, but pictures spoke volumes to me.

My 5 children have always known me with a camera. The funny thing is they beg for their turn to have mom shoot them. I ask them where they want their pictures, what they want the theme to be, and what they would like to wear. Although I have thoughts and share it with them – they expound on it and then allow me to be creative with it too. It has turned into a family project. So last year, the kids and I decided on Artistic themes. We have done just a few so far.  We have Halloween & Hands completed.

Halloween was intended to be quirky, fun, unique and Different. I think we did well with that.

Meet the Wilkerson Family

FAMbanner1Right to left we have Nathan (hubby), Samuel (bottom 4th child), Nathanya (top 3rd twin B), Jared (bottom 2nd twin A), Miriam (top 1st child), Edmond (bottom 5th child), and lastly – myself.

“Cross My Heart”

We all had so much fun in this venture that we were excited for the next one. In a small group I run we do a monthly challenge to help each photographer hone in their skills or just let loose and have fun. The challenge before us was Hands/Protection – Interpret as you will.  All the sudden my mind had some very specific thoughts and images that needed creating. This one was done only with my children and not with Nathan and I. However, I might rectify that down the road. To create this image I decided that it would work best in my dining room. I wanted the focus to be on the faces and hands. It was important to include the hands of all their siblings. I think that part was more for me than anyone.  My childhood was not the best and I have never had much support from my family. There are a couple of my own siblings that talk with me, but it has only been that since 2010. I know children will fight with each other – but developing a love and friendship with your own siblings is very special, at least in my mind.

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“Healing Hands”

Miriam is my oldest. We have found out this last year and a half that she is plagued by migraines like myself. Here her siblings all cradle her head in a show of love and empathy to her situation.

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“Speak no Evil”

Jared came up with the theme for himself. I had to laugh because he is my child that never stops talking. It was great though, because each of my children watch out for the other, and that sometimes includes censoring or discussing what is or is not appropriate behavior. I sit back in amazement at these children of mine!

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“Hear no Evil”

Edmond is the youngest of my children. In large families, the youngest often finds that every one of their siblings seem to act as parents. In this house, he turns it on them too, hahahaha. Anyhow, it is not uncommon to see the others sheltering him from hurtful, mean, or just bad words.

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“Lean on Me”

Each child has their own struggles or difficulties in life. Nathanya being a premature baby needed support medically as a baby with her twin brother Jared.  We all have our certain supports in life. What I hope my children learn is that they can each help to support each other. Not having had support I have grown in many ways, but to have the loving care of a sibling is something that goes such a long long way to making this life a better one than it can be at times. Lean on me has such a deep impact to me personally!

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“See no Evil”

Samuel opted for seeing no evil. It is funny that they chose themes that at first I would not have expected but match them perfectly. Samuel is a great kid who has a soft heart. He likes Legos, super heroes, and all boy things. The interesting thing is, he is not a fan of the gory and overly scary. When he asked for this it just clicked. I love his ability to get into character too.

Throughout the next few years I have several themes set up with my children. They each are contributing with ideas for themes as well. We are working on 2 others at the moment. If anyone falls in love with any particular theme, I am more than happy to replicate a theme shoot for you. Simply let me know which theme when signing up for a session. If it speaks to you I am willing to help make it a reality.

All in All it is a Family Thing and we are having a blast with it! Stay tuned for the next family project. We cannot wait to share it with you!

Thank you,

CJ Wilkes (Cindy)

 

Weekend Starting Spring Break 2014

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

March 30, 2014 ~ The kids are all home from school for spring break and they are taking turns being sick. Oh joy! The nice part though, is that they will sit and watch a movie with me while we do the folding of laundry. They will go in corners and read books. If the sun is out and no rain in sight, they will also find their way outdoors to lounge under the TeePee Poles. Moments like this are what makes the sick days bearable for me. Thank goodness, this day they allowed me to come up with my posse to go all Paparazzi on them. Hee Hee! Love my kids!

When my kids are sick they sport one to two favorite blankets. They lounge in their dad’s art shirts (adult size) with pj bottoms. Of coarse that alone is adorable – but then they go and treat each other like they are the best friends in the world ALWAYS! Reading, building, playing. I don’t deserve so much cuteness – but will take it!

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I love that my husband made them a TeePee. Unfortunately, the outer lining did not survive the wind and rain here. No matter, the kids will play with it still. Here they dragged out a bean bag and blankets, with a favorite comic book.

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Of coarse these guys knew we were about – but it did not stop them from their brother time, reading. So grateful for my kids willingness to assist me at all times. There is no way I could do it without some help. Since moving, finding assistants has not been easy. The wind here was CRAZY! Well, umbrellas and wind make a funny combination as Mimi found out here.

PS – I love my crazy huge umbrella! So awesome for sessions. It has protected me and my camera from downpours so many times! A must have!

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Shortly after the breeze started up and we knew we needed to go in. We settled in to watch Sunny with a Chance of Meatballs 2 when I saw something fly into a tree just out my window. It was an owl! I ran to fetch my camera with my 70-200mm lens. Got the settings where I wanted them, opened the door as silently as possible. Unfortunately, the camera is not all that silent. I was able to poke the lens out the door and take 3 pictures of the owl just outside my window. It then decided that the shutter release was too loud for its liking and flew off. But I got it! I got it! It was a lucky and fantastic moment for myself and the children. They keep telling me how they watched as the owl spinned it’s head around one direction and then the next.

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All in all I consider the day a successful day. So many moments captured to keep our memories alive!  Thanks for taking time to look.

 

 

 

 

Invites, Postcards, Announcements… and more

Friday, February 1st, 2013

We have options, options, and more options. The options are limitless. Christmas cards, Wedding announcements, Postcards, we even make bookmarks that are a hit at Valentine’s!  Here are just a few for you to look at. I will bring more to you in the near future. Although great to look at, it does not even compare to seeing and feeling them in person. Everyone that has examined these are wowed. Your images truly shine and are complimented perfectly in these printing formats. When you choose a card I will custom design the card for you. We discuss and I give you the option to switch it up or keep it as is. The goal is to make you happy with what you are getting.

I have to say that that Christmas card was one of my favorites. Not only are the kids cute – but the template works perfect for families or children. It is a definite favorite!

I have to say that my 4×9 wedding announcements have had the best feedback! Everyone of my couples have had the greatest response to how amazing these look! Each time I have opened up a new set for examination I just ooo and aaaa myself. What else is cool is that they fit perfectly in a legal size envelope. These cards make sending announcements quite affordable.

The colors are brilliant. There are other sizes and uses for the post card style. You can use them as High School Senior announcements or advertising.

I have also made calendars from these to hand out examples of my own work, made bookmarks for my children, I cannot say enough great things about these.

I am a perfectionist and I have to have my colors just right! I have to have my quality just right – after all, these represent myself as an artist. If you would like a sample of this sent to you feel free to contact us requesting an announcement sample with your address and I will mail it out to you.

10×10 Hinged Reception Book with Photo Cover

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Albums come in many sizes. That includes and is not limited to the hinged books. The hinged books are a wonderful alternative to the more costly flush mount albums. It is simple, the design is less complex making it much more affordable. The pages are thinner but not as thin as a regular paper book. The pages are a very durable card stock quality. The finish is gorgeous & the pages do lay flat.

This particular book is a 10 x 10 size. As mentioned – these can come in many sizes, however, I do not recommend going much bigger than this. The pages are thinner and not as durable as you would find with a flush mount album. If you are going larger you really should consider the sturdier album. The smaller books work beautifully as a hinged album. They are great at receptions for your guests to look through, for family albums, for  high school seniors, for birthing books. They are also nice because they do not take up much room in a bookshelf.

This album has a beautiful photo cover. When  you open the album it opens to a blank page to protect the actual album. It gives it a very polished look as well.

The pages start on the right with this album. I do have albums in the flushed mount options that offer starting on the left. It is all about preference. With the hinged books though, you will be starting on the right.

The pages for this album came with a pearl finish. It is one of my favorites for sure, but we do offer it in a luster or watercolor finish. Both gorgeous options as well.

I love the hinged albums we use. The quality is wonderful and they truly lay flat.

The hinge and the spine are not just functional – they look amazing. I often use the word polished, it is because that is what I look for in a product. I look for a polished, great quality, great look, professional product for my customers. Something that I trust and would use in my home too.

When you are thinking of a session with me you can be assured that you will not only get amazing images to treasure, but that I will have many options for you to choose from for show casing you and your photos from your session. I promise that your options are not just options, but the best there is to offer in the market. You will be so proud to display these in your home as your friends and family oooo and aaaaa over them :)

Thanks for checking us out!

New Spiral Bound Photo Books!

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Introducing our newest product. The new Spiral Bound Photo Books!

Why ~ I am not a fan of preview books for a couple of reason, one mainly being that they don’t look great to me. I like polished finished looks to all my products. This is a new product that can serve several purposes. It looks great, it presents beautifully, it showcases images perfectly, it can be used as an affordable alternative, and did I mention how beautiful these are?

The new books come packaged in a black box with tissue wrapped around it for protection.

As you can see the book has a custom designed hard cover with image on the front. The texture is linen. Angled just right you can see it. Gives it a wonderful polished feel. If you prefer no texture that is an option as well.

Both the front and back covers are made of hard material. This book is a 5×7 size. I chose that option because it shows off your images so nicely. Not too small and not to large.

I love how the book lies flat because of the spiral binding. This book takes up very little room, yet has big appeal.

The pages turn on the spiral binding quite smoothly. The picture quality is gorgeous. I would not choose a product that does not show well or that I would not want in my own home. This is definitely a product I enjoy in my home. This is a great gift item for parents or grandparents – family members.

The standard book comes with 10 pages (20 images). Up to 10 extra pages (2 images per page) can be purchased so  you can potentially have a total of 40 images. The Spiral Bound Photo Book I have here has the standard 10 pages.

One thing that I enjoy doing each year is making photo albums or books of my children. I would love to have one for each child. Having an affordable option is something that definitely appeals to me as a mom of 5 with many extended family members. This is also a wonderful option for all types of shoots: Model portfolio building, Children, High school Seniors, Couples, Parent books, Boudoir shoot, Trash the Dress shoots.  I am squealing at how cool these are!

The options are currently:

Spiral Bound Photo Books

Hinged Albums

Senior Session Albums

Layflat Albums

Ice Layflat Albums

Would love to have your feed back on any of these options. If you need information like sizing and pricing feel free to contact me.  Now off to work on editing some more sessions to bring to you! :)

It started with my kiddos…

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

Photography became serious because of my kiddos. I love and always have loved photography, but my kids are what helped me take it to the next level. I wanted great work of them on my walls and in books. So when I take time out to spotlight them, I don’t feel bad at all. My children are the reason I am able to do this all for you too. They are super sports willing to do anything for the perfect shoot.  ***I do not put my kids in danger, nor any of my clients. Everyone’s safety is my first priority*** Basically, the kids are willing to take their coats off and face the wind and chill to get the “look or shot”.
We live near a jetty that just adds a certain element to the beach shoots. I kept thinking – what a fantastic spot! I have to take my kiddos there. Christmas came and the kids received some awesome clothes – it was set! I had to take them there for pictures :)

Just before sharing the images I want to talk about clothes. People always ask me what to wear in a photo shoot. My suggestion is this… Matchy Matchy does not always work, but sometimes it does.  Sometimes I dress my girls alike and then my boys, but I mix it up slightly by having them in different colors than the other. So they don’t all have RED or all WHITE or all GREY. In the images below you will see that my boys all have 1/4 zip sweaters and the girls are in sweater dresses.  It worked out beautifully in my opinion.  I love that the sweater theme was the same, but the colors are mixed. I chose some colors that work really well with each other. Red, White, Black, Gray.  The boys all chose to wear the pants that they wanted. I think my oldest even chose to wear khaki’s LOL.  Usually I would say 3 or 5 main colors but a touch of white or cream  or black does not really count as a color all of the time.
In images words don’t always look great. Patterns are fine if you try to match it with a solid. If you don’t want anyone really matching like my kids do here – then choose Sunday dress, dress/casual, casual, PJ’s and then choose a set of colors…  Blue, Pink, Cream or Mustard, Gray, Black, with a touch of red or maroon.  Make sure that the colors are in the same family. You don’t want a Navy and a teal and an aqua blue.  Each blue is a different blue. Finding a color in the same tone is important. If you have to take a shirt with  you or a color swatch.

I am going to be posting some color ideas in the short future. I think  you will love the ideas. :)  Now some amazing picks of my babies.  Yes, I have mommy goggles. I know it and don’t care. You will see that each child has their own personality. Oh… and know that even my children (children of a photographer) are not easy to shoot. These kiddos made me WORK for these shots. LOL It is all part of being a kid and I love it!

You have to see this too. This was a highlight to our photo shoot. Look behind the kids in the water. There is a seal. Actually, there were 3 that kept bopping in and out of the water. The kids got a kick out of that.

I love to take pics of my kids looking at the camera of coarse because I love to see their faces… but the pics that thrill me are the ones that show their personalities or what I see on a daily basis. My one daughter is always in her own little world. She does not scream for the lime light ~ in fact, she is a quiet little soul most of the time. She is very difficult to photograph because I can rarely get eye contact from her. I don’t mind though because that is her. This next shot with her and her siblings happens to be a very favorite of mine.

When there are young kids I don’t like to mix the poses up very much. They are already out of their comfort zone with someone taking their pictures. Getting the shot is a big deal for these little guys. I do change things up though when I break into smaller groups or individual shots. It really all depends on the children and what they are telling me with how they respond to it all.  Actually, I find it is harder on the parents than the children LOL. Parents, even if your babies cry… it is ok. Your kids will never offend me. Crying is ok. Your caring for  your babies is ok. Never a need to apologize. In fact… those crying babies make for some cute pics too :) I have some arguing sisters in these next few pics that we totally get a kick out of here at home!

Funny thing is that we always tell them that one moment they are enemies and the next they are best friends. This was just one very small moment and we have it recorded for time. Hahaha. For the most part they are so good to each other. I like getting them in their element talking to each other or looking at the seals or watching their brothers. These are my daughters. They can look pretty at the camera… but it is all the other looks that as a mom mean something to me. As a photographer the different crops and angles are fun too.

My boys seriously crack me up! They each have such different personalities and are little goofballs. Samuel loves to cheese it up BIG time! LOL Edmond is a ham who loves to pose or be the center of  attention. The little man is definitely a youngest child. Jared is a young man. So responsible – but he does love attention too. He is not one for taking his picture so he does not always cooperate, but then he will let his personality shine. He is so awesome. Love that boy!

What is a photo shoot if each individual can’t shine for themselves? There is no way I could let these cuties dressed in their best get away without letting them each have their own moment. I usually ask where the child would like their pics or let them do their own thing while I go all paparazzi on them. This time Jared went and found a stick and was roaming around. Of coarse Samuel and Edmond had to pick up sticks too. Instead they were playing king of the mound LOL.  My girls were dancing, jumping, twirling in the wind. Nathanya is like a little dear bouncing and walking on air. Miriam loves to leap and just do her thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang.

Anyone who knows Jared knows that this is him! I am glad I spend time with each child waiting for the real them to pop out. This is the one I look on and think… now that is my boy! The boy who thrives on the smiles, laughs, and attention. The other images are cool, fun, and something to be proud of but this one is the one that touches my heart strings!

Samuel disguises himself as serious then changes in a split of a second. He just makes me laugh as I literally watch his brain in motion in each shot.

Sir Edmond! He begs me to get the camera out and go take pictures of him. He cracks me up!

Nathanya was not in the mood for a photo shoot today which is not unusual. She was not angry. She was not cooperative either. She kept her hands right inside her sleeves to keep them warm. In an image it is not ideal to have the hands not showing, but this is the way she likes to walk around every day. She has no body fat so any extra warmth she will take. The images are not being added to a contest… these are for me and our family.  I love that she is being her.  When we look back on it we can say – remember how  you always…. We still got some very fun shots from her playing on her own.

This is how she travels normally. She almost walks on air.

Ok mom – I think this is old news now! LOL

And last but not least ~ although in birth order she is first, is our Miriam.  All I have to do is ask her to go do her thing… and she does.

There you have it… My kids in our little world.

Cats and Kids part A

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

In our home we have 5 children.  My dear husband felt that was not enough and picked up 5 cats.  Now each child has their own cat.  The people we got them from have wondered how they are doing so this and the next blog are dedicated to them.  My children and their beautiful cats!

 

Here we have Nathanya and her kitten Pepper.  Each child named their own cat.  It is funny to see Nathanya with Pepper because they are both the smallest and skinniest.  Both so quiet and precious!

Next we have Dusty!  She is one of our first cats.  She is a great hunter and loves being near but not part of things.  She belongs to Edmond, but I take over until he is a bit more responsible.  I might just get him another cat and keep her for myself.

 

 

Charcoal came to us at the same time as Dusty.  He belongs to Jared!  He is so funny – we often call him Garfield.  He eats at our home then goes to neighbor homes and eats there too.  He is heavy as bricks but as sweet as a marshmallow puff!

More of Midnight will be coming in part B – but for now here he is.  Midnight belongs to my Miriam.  She used to have a Twighlight for a guinea pig.  She loves the dark cats.  We all are surprised at how passive and kind Midnight is.  He has his fun streak but he really loves to just be loved.  Edmond often will be found holding Midnight or any other cat he can get his hands on.

And last but not least is QT who belongs to Samuel.  He is our feistiest cat!  This cat loves to swat and growl at our kids but will come back to them and snuggle too.  He and Samuel are the perfect match.  Samuel does not mind being swat at and loves to play around with QT.

 

We have more action ones that I am sure you will all love, but this is the start.  Hope you enjoyed our babies :)

Samantha

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Samantha is so stylish and at the same time very refined.  She is reserved but full of life as well.  Seeing her blossoming into the most amazing young woman is very cool.  I think she will go far in this life with her attitude!  It was such a joy for me to do your school pictures Samantha.  Thank you!

Getting the smiles out are the challenge but oh so worth it.  Thankfully Samantha was so great at smiling I did not have to work hardly at all!!!

You did an amazing job Samantha!!!  Thanks again :)

Challenging Myself

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

I think that I was blessed with 5 children to help challenge me to be better in every way!  This is true in my photography too.  I was so grateful for my girls and my youngest yesterday when they allowed me to go all paprazzi on them!   A little about my challenge – there is a great group that put out the more natural look challenge.  I went full force and when the kids were in back they were giggly.  My challenge to myself was to find the more serene moments and capture them.  I will let you be the judge of whether or not that was accomplished.  Oh – and a disclaimer for my youngest.  He will be fully dressed, but if we are home he looses all but his undies.  I don’t get it!  But there you go – my little almost streaker is featured as well.

I tell you it was all giggles heee heee heee!

Then of coarse Sir Personality had to join the mix:

Of coarse Miss Mimi makes it easy for me with her cats being near by:

And Miss Thanya reading Anne of Green Gables – so sweet!

But the one set that blows me away and gives me happy chills; the one that I am having framed in a Modern Knot Frame and put on my walls is this!

It is awesome offering my services to other families ~ but when I get to taking pictures of my own then I say “This is why I do it and what makes me LOVE my job ever so much!”

In the near future I will post images of my other two boys.  Thanks for looking.

In the Green

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Nathanya is a child that has subtle facial expression changes – but makes for some extremely awesome dramatic shots.  She had decided that she wanted to have her pictures taken in the trees.  I was shocked since she loves the beach, but very excited because she is not one that does much more than make mud castles LOL.  So we went and played in the trees!  We had so much fun in the woods.

Here is what we came up with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to share what happened here on this last take from this log.  She was sitting there and says – There is a spider on me!!!  I asked if she could flick it off her so she says ok and just flicked it off.  When she did I see this HUGE thing fly from her lap!!!  This was no little spider – she did not scream at all, but had had it with that log.  LOL  Thus this lovely shot which is a personal favorite.  I actually have many favorites from this day.

 

 

 

I love the innocence of children – they make me smile whether they are on the beach, in the playground, or in the woods.  They are darling ~ and capturing them in their element fills my happy cup!

 

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