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Documenting stories of hope around the world: Rwanda : Laura Duggleby Photography


Documenting stories of hope around the world: Rwanda : Laura Duggleby Photography

Stories of Hope 

As you may have heard me mention a time or two now, I deeply strive to advocate rich stories of hope, making extraordinary of the seemingly ordinary throughout my work.  Every story matters, every story is important.  Every story is rich.  I know that stories also contain much heartache and trials and strife.  However, I truly believe that photography can be a part of the healing process.  To bring value and light to the dark and lonely places.  To help us to see beyond the messy and into the chasms of grace.  And, once experienced, the view of life becomes a much different story for us to tell.


Every Life Matters

I believe every life matters.  Every life is important.  The homeless, abandoned and cast aside matter.  The broken, bleeding and bruised matter.  The deserted, targeted and attacked matter.  
Every story matters and every story deserves to be fought for and told.  It is within the broken pieces that others are able to relate and come to find hope and healing as well.  

And with this every culture matters.  From China to India to Africa to the States and everything in between.  People are important and so are their stories.  These images are from my trip this past Thanksgiving to Rwanda with KEFA Project as I was able to document some of the incredible families there.  These families have endured hardship and pain to be sure, but the joy the was felt throughout my entire time there was beyond measure.  There is so much beauty in forgiveness and healing is an incredibly powerful thing.  I so long to have the courage, wisdom and hope of many of the individuals I met.  

To learn more about KEFA Project click


Stories are Powerful

Stories are powerful.  Stories build emotion and can create change.  Think about watching a movie that moves you to change a piece of yourself, or reading a powerful book or poem.  Stories can be told through words, but also through images, and a combination is even moreso.  This is what I strive for.  To create something so much more than pretty images for you to cherish, but rather to tell your story through images.  To capture a moment in time and allow you to breathe life into the image over and over again.  To use each story of hope to encourage another story to rise from the ashes and step into wonderful purpose. 


Will you Join Me in Spreading Hope?

As embark on this journey, I simply ask, is this you?  Are you a family who longs to advocate for hope?  Or do you know someone who is actively living this out?  Maybe they have adopted a child, maybe they are rising from a divorce and learning to hope again, maybe it is recovering from a drug addiction, or aiding in putting an end to sex trafficking.  Maybe it is loving toddlers well as a full time mother, or even more a full time mother also pursuing dreams through a small business.  Maybe it is aiding the homeless or being a light on the soccer field.  The opportunities are endless.  I simply ask you this, is it worth documenting?  Is it worth remembering the value you are holding?  For I know that these images are more than just a pretty picture.  They tell your story, your story that is making a difference in this world, one step at a time.  They are valuable and worth so much more than words can tell.  So, please do not rob yourself of having these beacons of hope surrounding you, on your walls, in your hands, on your screens.  Surround yourself with the hope you are fulfilling so on the rough days you can remember all the good.  And, to go one step further, maybe allow your story to be told to the world.  I can guarantee someone can benefit from your story.  

Your story is powerful.  Let's walk forward to spread hope together! 




Would you like continued encouragement and hope each month?  I would love to have you join my newsletter! 


Stepping into Adventure: Lifestyle Family Photographer: Northwest Indiana


Stepping into Adventure: Lifestyle Family Photographer: Northwest Indiana

Stepping into the Adventure: 

Life is an adventure, 

Each new smell, 

New Feeling, 

New Taste, 

It brings us into curious living, 

A place full go richness and beauty. 

For here there are no limits, 

No boundaries. 

Simply an open mind, 

A kind heart, 

And a curious mind to soak it all in. 

Here lies where the ordinary become the extraordinary, 

Where we are willing to reach beyond the simple that we see 

And step into the extraordinary set before us. 

It is right here, right at our fingertips. 

Greatness surrounds us constantly. 

But we must slow down, 

Learn to pay attention. 

For though the moments pass quickly,

When we slow down we have the opportunity to enjoy them in their full richness, 

And that is the greatest thing there is. 

So, today, choose the adventure, 

Even it involves sitting in your office sifting papers, 

Or changing another diaper, 

Folding laundry or making dinner. 

Choose to live in the adventure of it all, 

Soaking in the beauty within the mundane. 

And every once in a while do something out of the ordinary, 

Just because, 

Well life is a beautiful thing, and let's not miss it being too busy living in the mundane. 


Blueberry Farm Adventure: 

Last weekend, on a whim, we decided to jump in the car and go pick blueberries.  Thankful for country living in that we didn't have to go far.  And with the sun on our faces, juice on our fingers and full bellies, we were as content as could be.  Slow down the moments friends.  There is radiant beauty within them.


Your Favorite Memories 

What are some of your favorite memories as a child?  And are you still stepping into adventures today?  What does that look like for you?  I know it can be a beautiful chapter within your story. 




You are enough! 

Don't let these moments slip by without getting some of them documented.  You are adequate, you are doing a great job as a parent.  You are enough.  Let's create something wildly beautiful together, breathing life and extraordinary to your story! 


How to Prepare for a Family Session: Laura Duggleby Photography: Northwest Indiana


How to Prepare for a Family Session: Laura Duggleby Photography: Northwest Indiana

First Steps: Mental Preparation: 

So, you have family pictures on the books and have found an amazing photographer to capture some amazing images for you and your family, but how do you prepare so that you feel ready to go and relaxed?

  • List out activities that are important to you and your family 

Let your photographer know what you like to do with your family, what comes naturally to you, how you and your family hang out, whether that be, hanging out at the park or watching movies.  This will help your photographer know what is normal and typical for you and your family and how to relate well to you.  

  • Think about details you love and want to remember in this season with your family

These seasons of life fly by so quickly so think about things your little ones are doing or traits you never want to forget so that your photographer makes sure to pay special attention to it during your session.  For example:  does your little one have some beautiful curls that you want to remember or are they crazy attached to daddy in this season of life?  What are personalities that you see within your children that you love?   For my sessions it is incredibly important to me that I capture these things that are special to you, because every story is unique, and every family has their own story.  And, life goes by so quickly.  I know that you are trying to balance it all, between raising your children, loving your husband, growing a business, and having a somewhat social life on the side.  I get it, life is hard to manage it all, so let me, or your photographer make sure you use this session to capture every beautiful piece of it! 


Deciding Time of Session

  • Sunrise- Are you a morning person?  Do your young ones wake up super early in the morning?  If so, this might be a good time to shoot to stick with the natural rhythm of your family. 
  • Sunset- Are you a night owl?  Do your children go down late and sleep in in the morning?  Then, if your photographer is able, sunset might be the best time for you and your family to shoot. 

It's best just to think about what might work best for you and your family.  Keep in mind, that either way things might get a little off from the norm, and that is completely fine, but keeping it as close to normal as possible if you have little ones tends to work best. 


Picking Attire

It's wardrobe selection time!! Here are some tips I like to give people for choosing what to wear. 

  • Mommas, choose your outfit first.  You want to make sure you are in something that makes you feel lovely and beautiful, and yet that is also comfortable.  The last thing you want is to be constantly adjusting yourself during a session.  
  • After your outfit is all set, dress your little ones and your husband.  Make sure they are comfortable as well.   
  • Coordinate, don't match!! Make sure you coordinate your colors, but don't match everything together


Day Before Session: 

  • Pack bag of “Extras”- Change of clothes, toys, diapers, wipes, snacks, blankets, soothers, etc. 
  • Set an alarm to wake up for sunrise session or to start getting ready for sunset session. 


Day of Session:     

  •    Give extra time for preparation! 
  •    Try to leave early. 
  •    Wait to dress baby or small children until you get there in case of spit-up or messy snacks in car on commute
  •  Breastfeeding: 
    • 1. Either feed beforehand if you would not like to have it documented within the session, OR 
    • 2. Make sure to try and plan the feeding schedule to have a nursing during the session
  •    Bring soothing tools, blankets, favorite toy, or snacks to help calm child in case of a meltdown
  •    Extra change of clothes for you post session should baby spit up or anything on you! 
  •    Don’t forget baby necessities- diapers, wipes, clothes, etc.  (An extra outfit is always great with little ones)


Final Thought: 

  • Enjoy the Session!  Once you are there, make sure to just let things be and enjoy the time you have with your family all together.  Soak in the moments as they are happening.  Love those close to you well.  These moments are ever passing and these memories matter.  Your photographer will capture your family beautifully!  Enjoy the amazing story that is being written just for you! 



Ready to Start Planning your own Family Session?