Giving the Gift of Time

woodbury photographer



We all have it, yet we all want more of it.

Time’s a wasting, in short supply, and of the essence. We want to stop time. We want to go back in time. We want to bottle it up and keep it forever. No matter how much we have, we seem to never have enough.

Maybe this is a timely summary: There’s no time like the present for us all to spend our time wisely because in time we’ll all realize it’s only a matter of time before time runs out.

Um……. whoa! Time is a gift, it shouldn’t be something that stresses us out even more than we already are, right?!

At some point in life (I can’t say exactly when), I developed a new sense of urgency, a feeling that time is passing by so quickly, that there are limits on my time of which I am now acutely aware. I’m certain that it happened sometime after my first child was born, and I think it became amplified tenfold after the twins made their appearance. The kids are growing and changing so quickly. My parents and grandparents are aging. I’m getting old, too. I’m in my thirties now. What? When did that happen?

All of a sudden, time is just so precious. Time seems like the biggest gift we could receive – time to be with those we love, time to cherish the beauty around us, time to create, time to participate, time to really live and contribute and make the world a better place. That’s what so many of us want, right? It’s definitely what I want.

Like so many moms, I want to be there for my kids 24/7. I want to be home when my son gets off the bus, ready with warm oatmeal cookies and a stack of stories for us to read together. I want to volunteer at the girls’ preschool and host afternoon play dates with their friends. I want to take them to new movies and parks with huge playgrounds. I want to sing songs, do puzzles, play board games, push them on the swing, read them stories, snuggle, laugh, and just be present. I want to cherish the time I have with them. I want to constantly be mindful that I am alive, I am healthy, and I know true love.

Due to this strong desire to spend as much time as possible with my children and live in the present moment, I have been very purposeful in how I have chosen to grow my business. I have been slow, methodical, careful, and strategic. I have focused on gaining knowledge, developing my skill, and putting my heart into photography as an art form, all while raising three beautiful children and not missing a moment of this blissful time.

I have also been fortunate. I have had outstanding clients who have embraced my vision and let me have free reign to create images that I hope they will cherish. My family has been beyond supportive; they are always ready to celebrate my successes and lift me up when I’m feeling defeated. I have made wonderful friends with other photographers and bloggers all around the world who inspire me to be a better mother and photographer.

This post is an opportunity for me to say a heartfelt thank you to all of you who have supported me along this journey, both those of you I know well and those I don’t. All of the blog comments, Facebook likes, messages, and emails mean so much to me. That you all would take time out of your day to show your support in any small way really does mean the world to me. I have felt very loved throughout this journey and that has been such a tremendous gift, a gift which I do not take for granted.

To express my gratitude and say thank you to those who have taken the time to hire me, to write to me, to comment on my blog or Facebook page, or to show your support in some other capacity, I would like to offer you some of my time in return.


For Clients: I would like to thank supporters, friends, and clients by offering my time to photograph your family or children during the summer. Let’s get creative, have fun, and take some cool photos. After the session is over, the recipient will be given a CD with 20 high-resolution digital files and a personal printing authorization. You do not need to have been a client in the past to take advantage of this offer — it’s open to anyone. The fine print: Family photography session must take place within 20 miles of Hudson, WI and recipient must be willing to sign contract and model release. Session must take place during June, July, or August of 2012. This offer is not transferable and holds no monetary value. The concept, location, and time must be agreed upon by both parties.

For Photographers: I would like to thank photographers, both aspiring and current pros, by offering an hour of my time to do whatever you’d like. You can watch me shoot, I can be an open book, I can offer suggestions on your blogsite, critique your latest session, whatever. You can choose how we spend our time together (as long as it is reasonable and possible – nothing crazy!).

To enter: Simply comment on this post and let me know how you would like to spend our time together. I would be appreciative if you would “like” my Facebook page and share this with those who you think would be grateful for the opportunity, but it is not required. This is just one way that I can say thank you — no strings attached. I have been so fortunate, and just want to pass along a little joy to a few other people.

On May 9th, 2012, I will randomly select one client and one photographer to receive this gift of my time. Please include your email address so I can contact you if you are selected. If you have any questions, please let me know.

And lastly, thank you for your time.



May 9, 2012 Update: This evening, I wrote the names of everyone who commented on this blog post on little pieces of paper (I like the drama of the old-fashioned drawing) and had Evan randomly selected one from each pile. Evan chose…

Photographer: Sarah (Sarah – Oh! I am such an fan of your work. Would love, love some type of mentoring session or just to watch you shoot. What a generous give away!!!)

Client: Kelly (kelly – Amy-I treasure the pictures that you have taken of my boys! Thank you for capturing the bond they have with each other…as well as who they are as individuals. I continue to enjoy the images you took time to create! You are wonderful!)

Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to enter! Your very kind words were so appreciated and will be cherished for a long time. I really wish I could gift all of you with my time! xoxo

photographer lakeland mn

  • May 4, 2012 - 8:43 pm

    Rebecca - Wow Amy, this is such a generous offer. I adore your pictures. I wish I could take advantage of the free session. But since I don’t live in Wisconson, and haven’t had a session with you I don’t qualify. 😉

    If I get a chance to win, I’d love to do a critique of a recent session I did.

    Thanks for the chance, and thanks again for being so generous with your time. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • May 4, 2012 - 9:31 pm

    jessican - Amy you are so generous. I totally wish I could have an hour to meet you in person for a shoot but I would love to talk ‘shop’ for an hour as well. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • May 4, 2012 - 9:32 pm

    Cara - What a wonderful contest! I would love to pick your brain for an hour, maybe get a portfolio review (oh I get so attached to images, and I would love to have an unbiased opinion!)ReplyCancel

  • May 4, 2012 - 9:35 pm

    Lori Freeberg - Amy – Time given truly is the gift that is most rememebered above all others. Bless you for offering this gift of sharing your time and talents! Such a lovely and thoughtful idea for the fortunate person(s) who will benefit by your generosity.ReplyCancel

  • May 4, 2012 - 9:42 pm

    Jasmine - Wow Amy this is such an incredible offer. You already know Im over the moon about your work. I dont live in Wisconsin otherwise Id love to trail you for a day either working or just at home as I am in awe of your storytelling through photos. I want to see my own day in your lens, how the everyday can be so filled with wonder, beauty, and fun in such small moments and details. If I were to win this I guess I would just love to have an in depth chat with you through email, the phone, Skype (which I would have to download lol) anyway really and pick your brain about what a newbie like myself should be focusing on and learning to help me obtain what you have. I can shoot manual, I know no post processing, I know what I like but dont know how to get there and would love some kind of guide or steps to help me achieve what I want to. Thank you so much for this awesome opportunity!ReplyCancel

  • May 4, 2012 - 10:11 pm

    Courtney B - Beautifully written and all too true! It’s tempting to enter to win a family session since you’re just a scenic drive across the state from me, but I would love the chance to win a mentoring session with you! Thank you for this generosity!ReplyCancel

  • May 4, 2012 - 10:13 pm

    Jayme Franklin - So inspired by your giving heart Amy! Would love to have you critique my portfolio!ReplyCancel

  • May 4, 2012 - 10:25 pm

    Kristen Russo - I’d love a critique of some photos in my portfolio as well as insight to what makes a successful photography business. Thanks for offering such a great gift.ReplyCancel

  • May 4, 2012 - 11:14 pm

    Mechelle Yordy - What an amazing opportunity you are giving Amy! I would love to have the chance to possibly have you do a small portfolio review and let me know how I can make the most of my photos. When I look at your pictures, they are so breathtaking that I would love to see what advice you could offer to me. I also would love the opportunity to just have a chat with you, and maybe ask a few of the millions of questions that I have! Thanks for the chance and thanks for being such an inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • May 4, 2012 - 11:54 pm

    Kelly Bruckner - This is so generous of you! I would love to have both! 🙂 Seriously, though, I would love a family shoot from you as a client and love to shoot with you as a photographer.ReplyCancel

  • May 5, 2012 - 8:12 am

    Amy L Westerman - Hi Amy! Thank you for offering these two wonderful gifts! I would be uber excited about either. i would love the opportunity to have my family photographed by you. This spring our youngest son graduates from high school. He is off to Winona State University in the fall. My eldest son goes to UWRF in River Falls. I want to capture all of us together, one last time, before we get to the point where its too hard to get the kids together because they are too busy building their new lives. Its a monumental time in all of our lives! If I won the mentoring session, I’d pick your brain on creating images that are emotive, which I totally think you are a genius at. I strive for that!ReplyCancel

  • May 5, 2012 - 8:38 am

    Colleen D - Amy, what a wonderful gift you are offering (giving your own time) Although I am a photographer, I would enter here to have the opportunity for a family session. I do take the time to take photos of each of my children, but rarely take the time for our whole family to be photographed together. So this would be a treasured gift throughout a lifetime. Thank you again – what an inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • May 5, 2012 - 9:13 am

    Tiffany Hendrickson - I have been following you from afar as a follow aspiring photographer. I have come to know you through CM (even though you have no idea who I am…I am very guilty of lurking). I love your style and have noticed I have paid a little more attention to detail in my own images after seeing yours. I would love an hour with you to bump up my images. I am just in the portfolio building stage and have been on a few shoots where I have found myself saying “If I just had someone who could answer this question.” Hopefully that person can be you! I would be so excited…ReplyCancel

  • May 5, 2012 - 11:09 am

    Jessica Reischel - Tears Amy. Despite some of the craziness, difficulties, and reisistance….I love that every day I get affirmations that I’ve made the best decision to move home with my son. Your blog post was just that. I’d love nothing more than to document our transition home with a photo shoot. Much gratitude.ReplyCancel

  • May 5, 2012 - 11:09 am

    Erica Farwell - Wow, Amy! I have been following you for sometime now and you just keep on amazing me at how wonderful, caring and giving you are! This is a fantastic gift you are giving someone. I would be honored to have an hour of your time to go over what direction I should head in with my photography. I am feeling a bit lost in my journey right now. Anyhow, thank you for your time and have a great weekend.ReplyCancel

  • May 5, 2012 - 11:19 am

    Heidi Golz - You are such a doll. Time is precious and it is so generous of you to offer this opportunity. I am a hobbyist who loves taking pictures of my family. I have been trying to get in front of the camera more, but have never had anyone take pictures of my family. I live about 5 1/2 hours away and would be pleased as punch to drive to you if I was selected. I love your work! Whoever is selected is one lucky duck!ReplyCancel

  • May 5, 2012 - 12:07 pm

    Sarah Vaughn - Such a wonderful way to Pay It Forward! I adore your photography. I wish I was closer so I could hire you for a family session. But for now, it would be lovely to have you impart a bit of your photography wisdom to me. You are awesome!ReplyCancel

  • May 5, 2012 - 12:12 pm

    Dawn Shiree - Amy, you are correct that time is the most valuable thing we could give and so this just shows how generous of a giver you are at heart. As if you couldn’t be more inspiring, you just proved it was possible. If I lived closer I would definitely love to follow you for an hour or be photographed by you… it would be a hard choice! But since that’s not possible due to distance, I’d love to be considered for a long distance mentor session. I definitely know that two people are going to be blessed… this is so lovely of you to do. <3ReplyCancel

  • May 5, 2012 - 10:09 pm

    Bekah - I’ve already been a recipient of your generosity and talent so I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank YOU for sharing it with us. I love seeing your photos and reading your love letters. You inspire me to cherish the little moments with my kids, even when I feel like pulling my hair out!ReplyCancel

  • May 6, 2012 - 2:35 pm

    Dana Foley - Amy, you are so incredibly generous! Time is so precious…your offer to give your time and knowledge is beyond generous! I am a hobbyist at the moment, and I am not sure what the future holds for my photography…. That being said, I’d love to win either offer……..I would love to see what magic you would work with my children….And as a photographer, I would love to watch you shoot! I’d be so happy to head up to WI to watch how you shoot! Thank you again for being such a giving person!ReplyCancel

  • May 6, 2012 - 8:30 pm

    Angela Olson - You are an amazing photographer and person! I would love creative photos of my boys this summer especiallhy since my “baby” is going to kindergarten next hyear and I am feeling the twinge of time passing by so quickly!ReplyCancel

  • May 6, 2012 - 8:34 pm

    Krista Haubrich - I would love an engagement photo session with my handsome fiancée, done by the most talented photographer I know, cause I know she’ll make us look good. 😉ReplyCancel

  • May 6, 2012 - 9:07 pm

    Gina R. - What a fantastic post and a truly generous idea – love it! I would love to spend some time at Willow walking the paths -I often think of your artwork when we’re there and I notice the light filtering through the trees and shining down on Anna – want to capture those moments this summer.
    Love your work! Keep shooting and posting!ReplyCancel

  • May 6, 2012 - 10:23 pm

    Alison - Can I just take you out for lunch? 😉ReplyCancel

  • May 7, 2012 - 1:29 am

    Celeste Hill - What a kind offer! We would love to have you photograph our family again. They are my favorite images of us. Maybe we could plan a picnic at a park out your way, and we can bring the food. The kids always talk about getting together. Your pictures are so precious as they capture moments, personality and feeling so well. You are a weaver with light when it comes to pictures. I’ll keep my fingers crossed! I’ll post this to my FB page tomorrow when more people will see it.ReplyCancel

  • May 7, 2012 - 6:15 am

    Barb Paa - Amy
    I adore your work and have been a fan for awhile now. I would LOVE to spend an hour with you and watch you work. I am a hobbyist and want to take better pictures of my daughter and her activities. Thanks for this opportunity!ReplyCancel

  • May 7, 2012 - 6:34 am

    Julie Anders - Amy, such a well written piece and your pictures and layout are wonderful. I’d love to have a mentoring session with 🙂ReplyCancel

  • May 7, 2012 - 8:20 am

    Parikha - Amy, this post really hits home–I sometimes feel guilty about letting other things fall by the wayside so I can spend a few precious extra minutes with my fmaily, but at the end of the day, the other stuff just isn’t as important. This is such a generous offer from you; I would love to hear your thoughts on my portfolio!ReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 12:33 pm

    May - Amy – I would absolutely love to be able to shoot with you or be your subject but I live in Canada. I am inspired by your work and would love your feedback and advice on my site and portfolio. I am also a mother of a five year old and twin boys so I am always struggling with how to grow my business confidently without it impacting my family. Thank YOU for this lovely opportunity to get to know you better.ReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 1:06 pm

    Emily S - Oh Amy…I hope I made the deadline! I read this post while away on vacation and it escaped my mind for a bit! I have been a very quiet follower, admiring the way you love your children and fascinated by the way you capture their life – moments I would die to capture with my little one as well. I connected with you because I decided to leave my professional world behind to become a Mom wholeheartedly and I don’t regret it one bit. I would love love to chat and pick your brain about your processing. Nothing crazy, I promise 😉 Crossing my fingers…and toes!ReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 1:56 pm

    katie o. - It’s funny, I can’t even remember how I discovered you and your work, but I’m so happy I did. Because it’s not just your photography that has inspired me. It’s your beautiful, yet simple way with words. And it’s the love for your own kids that you so willingly share with all of us. This post is just one of many reasons why I think you are so special. Time is fleeting. And now that I’m a mom, I feel it more than ever. Time away from my son is something I can never get back. And truthfully, it makes me sad. I, like you, want to be able to wait for him at the bus stop when that time arrives, but sitting in this cubicle now, will never allow for that. So learning anything you are willing to share would be a game changer. As I work towards a goal of doing photography full time, I know that maybe, in a few years, I will, in fact, be there to welcome him as that school bus door swings open.ReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 2:53 pm

    Angie - This is such a generous give to give any aspiring photographer. I would appreciate an hour of your time (or even a few minutes)! I am currently a stay at home mom who has found a new passion in life with photography. I have done many different types of shoots (newborn, children, family, maternity, engagement, and just recently ONE wedding) for my friends and family. I would love to possibly progress my love for this new found hobby into a business, and would appreicate anything you can tell me to steer me in the right direction in order to make it successful. Your work is truly inspiring, and I would appreciate any time that you would be willing to share with me.ReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 2:56 pm

    Tessa Norgaard - Oh my goodness this is the opportunity of a lifetime! I found your work while browsing pinterest and I was so BLOWN AWAY. I spent about 2 hours reading in awe over your old blog posts before I realized you are right in my own backyard! I would be so so so PUMPED to get a mentoring session with you. Since we’re so close, we could meet in a field with our kids and you can teach me all about that golden light you are so AWESOME at using. Truly a Gift, Amy.ReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 2:57 pm

    Sarah - Oh! I am suh an fan of your work. Would love, love some type of mentoring session or just to watch you shoot. What a generous give away!!!

  • May 8, 2012 - 2:58 pm

    Breanna - I think you summed up the reality of time perfectly, & as much as I wish a lot of it wasn’t true, I’m thankful to capture so many of the daily moments my children & I have together, even the imperfect ones (moments & pictures, haha!). & what a wonderful gift you are giving- I’d love to have an hour with you, in-person would be amazing, but since Alaska is a bit far from Wisconsin, I don’t think that’ll happen 😉 Thanks for sharing your time Amy!ReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 3:02 pm

    Jennifer Canapp - What a wonderful gift you are providing! As a new aspiring professional photographer, I would love to hear your opinions on my portfolio and discuss different photographic techniques 🙂 Thank you!!ReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 3:07 pm

    Kara Key - What a great gift Amy! You know I love your photography and would love for you to shoot the girls and Hudson! So happy that your business is growing and you are doing so well with your passion!ReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 3:11 pm

    anne spires - hi, this is an amazing offer! i would love a mentoring session of sorts! wish i lived closer to come to you!! thank you!ReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 3:19 pm

    Gretchen Willis - Hi Amy. You already know how much I <3 your work. I've been a follower of your blog for a while. I've been seeing you in my FB stream forever, it seems. Your work inspires me.

    If we had an hour together, I would love to talk about how to find more emotion in my photographs. Sometimes I feel like my images are just pictures of things or people – I'm not sure how much or if they really communicate feelings. I know that how *I* define a good photograph is if it can make me feel something. My own images always make me feel something – because they are my own children. I want to learn how to make my images SING. And I can't imagine a better teacher than you.

    much love. xoReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 3:19 pm

    Nicole M - You totally hit the nail on the head here. Time. It’s the one thing we can never get back and it makes me sad that I haven’t taken the time to get in the photos with my own family. Every year as my son grows older I regret it more and more, but sports, activities, business and life get in the way. It’s hard when we are on the other side of the lens taking pictures of others so I would love the chance to get in front of your lens and have my family photographed! Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 4:05 pm

    Juli P - Amy, you inspire me in so many ways….your relationship as a mom is truly amazing! While I would absolutely LOVE to sit down and talk shop with you for an hour to learn more about this whole switch to Nikon, I would treasure photos of my family – with me in them!
    I take so many photos of my kids and try to document their everday life, but the photos of me with them are few and far between….
    You are so generous….ReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 6:02 pm

    Kelly Kendall - Amy – This is so generous! I adore your work! As a fellow Wisconsinite, I would love to have a family session with you near Hudson! Thanks so much for the giveaway.ReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 6:15 pm

    Rachel A - You are BEYOND generous! I love it when talent meets such a gentle heart. You continue to bless me and my family more than you know! Sundiata just turned one year and his baby sister is due in August. We have discovered that newborn photos are priceless 🙂
    Thanks for everything, Amy!!ReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 7:44 pm

    Erin Vandenbark - Amy, your blog, your work and your words are so beautiful. They always amaze me. My family would be blessed if you could capture our family “time.”ReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 8:16 pm

    Dan - A family photo session with you would be great. My wife likes photography, but she’s usually behind the camera, not in front of it. It would be nice to have us all in some pictures.ReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 9:08 pm

    kelly - Amy-I treasure the pictures that you have taken of my boys! Thank you for capturing the bond they have with each other…as well as who they are as individuals. I continue to enjoy the images you took time to create! You are wonderful!ReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 10:02 pm

    Jeannette Sheehan - Amy – My daughter, Kelly, speaks very highly of your work. A family photo session with you would be wonderful. We haven’t had one in almost 14 years!ReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 10:05 pm

    Leslie - Hi Amy! I just found out about your work from Mike at soccer last night. My son Gabe plays on Evan’s team. I immediately went home and started looking through the website and am so impressed! I’ve been doing photography (specifically kids) as a hobby but have frustrated by not being able to get the best shots. I’ve been looking for an opportunity to be able to learn more from another photographer and this just might be it 🙂 Keep up the good work and I’ll definitely be visiting the site often!!ReplyCancel

  • May 8, 2012 - 11:50 pm

    Nicole Eylandt - What an amazing gift you are giving away. I would love to have photos taken of my family. We have yet to have recent photos taken since my diagnosis with cancer a year and a half ago. Time…. Did not allow for us to do that. Thanks again for sharing your amazing talent!ReplyCancel

  • May 9, 2012 - 12:55 pm

    Carey Pace - I’ve wavered back and forth on whether I should enter… I adore you, Amy, and I’d love the opportunity for the mentorship with you. I wish so much I could spend an afternoon shooting with you, but our locations put a tad bit of a damper on that idea. I’d love some real critique of my images and where I’m lacking. What I need to take me to that next level. I feel stagnant but at the precipice of a bursting explosion of artistry.

    I am awed by your giving attitude. May this bless you even more than your gifts bless each of us!ReplyCancel

  • May 9, 2012 - 1:25 pm

    Jill Korinek - Amy, you’re beautiful both inside & out! I just love reading your posts & paging through your photos. Sometimes I imagine that my kids have captivated your lens for just a moment… God has truly blessed you! You’ve taught me so much through your inspiring words, unselfish heart, & love for the true meaning of life. Thank you for sharing yourself with so many!ReplyCancel

  • May 10, 2012 - 11:43 am

    Sarah - Eeeeek! I am so beyond excited! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!! Evan, you are awesome! 🙂

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