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  • Aloha!!!

    Hi! This is the photography and lifestyle blog of Sheena Bean of Photography In the Light. I am a lifestyle photographer based in Kauai, Hawaii. I moved here with my family in January of 2015. My husband is the youth pastor at Lihue Missionary Church and we are raising three little world changers, Noakea, Banyan, and Avenlea Wren. This is His story, our story, and little snippets of life on a 562 square mile rock in the middle of the Pacific.

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Eastern North Carolina Photographer {Teens: Grace Kelly}

As enchanting as her name sake, this beautiful teen and her bubbly personality made getting up early for this photo shoot totally worth it.  I have been wanting to do an early morning shoot for awhile, but since I mainly shoot young families, it isn’t always the most opportune time to get a big gaggle of kids up and going.  When I asked GK about doing our session at 8 in the morning, she didn’t wince.  We headed over to an empty lot just south of town and took advantage of the nice even open shade that was all over the place.  After the session, on my way to take her home, we passed this little pumpkin patch.  I did a pretty awesome 5-point turn in the middle of a country road and got a few pictures that actually feel like fall!  I think i’m going to have to go back to this little spot with our kids sometimes soon!


Eastern North Carolina Photographer {Families: The Whipples a.k.a. coolwhipfam}

I love shooting on-location.  While there are many benefits to having a studio (lighting control, no weather dependency, easy access to props), I love the challenge of showing up to a new location, figuring out the best place to shoot, and working with the lighting.  It may be a bit more difficult, but the payoff is so worth it.  Every time I get to test out a new location, I start envisioning all the things I could do with the situation at hand.  New environments mean new inspiration and it keeps things from getting repetitive.  I have shot well over 100 family session in last 4 years, but just the simple fact that I get to use new locations makes each session seem like a new experience.

For this session, the incredible Whipple family brought me to their family plot of land that has been theirs for generations.  A gorgeous tract of riverfront acreage with sweeping river views and stately pine trees make this location another favorite I will have to add to my file.

Our family met this awesome group in a total “God” way, and they have fast become some of our nearest and dearest.  In short, my mom called us one evening and said, “You guys have to meet this family I just met at church!  They are missionaries with dreams of sharing Christ’s love on a sailboat.  Here’s their number!”  It was one of those times where Austin and I just looked at each other and laughed at the absurdity of the whole thing.  After getting over the awkward fact that we were just going to be calling up total strangers and asking them to dinner, we dialed their number, and the rest is history.

Over the last 9 months we have gotten to know this crazy awesome family, we have been so blessed by their encouragement, friendship, and heart for God.  As we spend time dreaming, praying, and planning together, I feel so confident that their dreams and our own will someday and somehow collide and I can’t wait to see how God orchestrates our futures!





I try to avoid being on this side of the camera, but i’d be amiss if i didn’t take the chance to get a shot with this amazing mamma.

In case you couldn’t tell, they really love each other.  Like, a lot.

“Happy Day Hands!!”

This is what happens when you tell a toddler that Dora lives in the camera lens.

September 25, 2013 - 7:43 pm

Gretchen Stephens - Absolutely georgous photos of a beautiful family. Wow!

September 30, 2013 - 10:30 am

Carl Whipple - Loved it all. Grandpa

Eastern North Carolina Photographer {Maternity: Sabrina}

A couple years ago I saw a picture of a pregnant woman in a purple wrap and it stuck in my mind.  I filed it away in my “someday session” folder.  I knew it had to be the right person with the right features and coloring for the images to turn out like what I was envisioning.  My sweet friend Sabrina has 3 daughters and when she was surprised by a 4th pregnancy, I immediately thought that she was the perfect model for this special little session.

Sabrina’s oldest daughter goes to school with Noa, so we dropped the kids off to school and scooted down to the river to get these pictures before the morning sun got to high in the sky.  I have said in the past that doing sessions in the evening is ideal.  I still stand by that, but it’s worth saying here that, if an evening session doesn’t work for some reason, morning sessions can have really great lighting too.  We shot these pictures around 8 am (that time will change as the days get shorter), and I am pretty happy overall with the lighting.  One of the hard things about shooting near the river is that the sun reflects off the sky and the water, so there is really a lot of light coming into the camera and exposing for that kind of situation can be difficult (at least for me).

I really enjoy doing “out-of-the-box” sessions, and especially when shooting maternity stuff.  I feel like a lot of maternity sessions look the same, and while there is something to be said about traditional portraiture, doing sessions like this totally fuel my creative fire.  I have to give mad props to Sabrina for being brave enough to wade into the water (it’s so dark in the Pasquotank river, we couldn’t even see our knees) and for even being up to getting totally submerged.  She’s a trooper for sure!

This special mamma is due with her 4th (!!!!) daughter in just a few weeks, and if her past is any indicator of the future, this little girl is going to be a creative, intelligent, passionate woman like her mamma and sisters.  I am so blessed to call this mamma one of my dearest friends.  I can’t wait to meet her newest arrival and get some precious newborn shots of her too!  I think we’ll have to wrap the baby in that purple cloth for continuity.

September 12, 2013 - 3:04 pm

Annette Tate - I LOVE these!! Sabrina, you are a sport! Sheena, again, you’ve done such an awesome job!

September 12, 2013 - 3:41 pm

Heather - Love these! So excited for my maternity shoot this winter!

September 12, 2013 - 4:54 pm

Jamie Rogers - Beautiful!!

September 12, 2013 - 7:23 pm

julie - I love this!! The model is beautiful!!

September 12, 2013 - 10:06 pm

Sarah Sandusky - She looks great! The colors really lured me in.

October 3, 2013 - 1:22 pm

Amy Walsh - These are so awesome! What a beautiful vision Sheena!

Eastern North Carolina Photographer {Children: Day Family}

There was a time not very long ago when, if someone called me about photographing a large group of young children, I would have balked.  Not that it’s not a lot of work still, but I have really started to enjoy the challenge and interaction that comes with shooting more than 2 or 3 kids.  The first time I did a photo session with these cuties was a few years back when the girls modeled for the Maypole Session (see earlier post).  Since then, they have grown up so much and it is so sweet to see the love that permeates the friendship that is so obviously inherent with this little crew of cousins.

When my girlfriend called me at the last minute to see if I wouldn’t mind shooting a quick session of the kids, I was super excited and so happy that I had a free evening to do it.  She was gracious enough to stay at my home with my three crazies so I could walk these four down the street to the river for our little mini session.

I have yet to shoot a 4-8 year old boy who doesn’t want to show me his muscles.  Brody was no exception.

No head swaps required.  Someone is getting her hair pulled.

My fav shot from the session.  I love Cole’s sweet little face and how he is just drinking in all that big kid attention.

I love how, when you ask kids to make funny faces, they always resort to sticking out their tongues, bunny ears, or rolled eyes.  So awesome.

September 11, 2013 - 7:47 pm

Ally - Great pictures of some awesome kids!

September 12, 2013 - 2:59 am

melissa mitchell - Beautiful Kids! I don’t know how you get them to cooperate as well as you do but you always manage to get some beautiful shots! Love looking at your work :)

Eastern North Carolina Photographer {Teens: Moriah}

Since I already took the time to talk about my sweet subject in the previous post, I wanted to use this one to, of course, show you more pictures of Moriah, but also to talk about my approach to teen/senior sessions.  The majority of photo sessions I shoot are family sessions.  Probably because I have young children, and because most of my friends are in the same stage of family life as I am, most of my clients are young families.  Every so often, though, I get a chance to do an adult/teen/senior session and I really do enjoy them so much.  Part of it, for sure, is just being able to have a subject who can follow directions, sit still, ect, but I also really love the relationship and conversations I get to have when shooting older clients.

We did this session in the downtown section of Elizabeth City.  Living in a small town definitely has it’s perks, but one of the downfalls is that it can be hard to find new locations that haven’t been overused by every other photographer in town.  While going for a walk with the kids last week I happened upon a little alley that, upon further exploration, turned out to be a little hidden gem.  The setting sun just pours into it and I will definitely be using this spot again.  Besides all the poison ivy that we had to watch out for, it was a great place to shoot.  I also noticed last week that some builders had torn down a building and exposed this fun mint colored brick wall.  I filed it away in my “locations” folder and was glad that we were able to get some shots by it before it gets repainted or covered up.

I shot this session, as I do most of my outdoor sessions, in the hour or so before sunset.  Photographers (and maybe other people too) call this the “Golden Hour.”  It really is the best time to shoot pictures and I try to emphasize that to my clients when planning for a photo shoot.  While it’s definitely not impossible to shoot at other times, the evening light just has a way of bringing out colors and textures that you can’t get at other times of the day; if you are thinking about scheduling a photo session soon, keep this in mind, because it can be the difference between “ho-hum” and “incredible.”


The many faces of Moriah <3

As a general rule, I don’t hand my camera to clients at the end of a session and let them snap away.  Hey, rules are meant to be broken.  Thanks for this special shot, Moriah!  You rock!

September 8, 2013 - 4:26 pm

Alicia H. - Oh my gosh, Sheena! These are incredible. I love the work you do with teens and young adults – you always get such genuine facial expressions! And that blue wall is perfection with Moriah’s eyes!

September 8, 2013 - 5:57 pm

Kerry - Exquisite!

September 9, 2013 - 2:15 am

Anna - These are gorgeous as always, Sheena! I love the brick as a background, and the lighting is impeccable! Keep up the good work, and I can’t wait till you’re able to photograph me again! Can’t believe it’s already been 5 years since the ones we did together in Hawaii!! xoxo

September 24, 2013 - 3:38 am

Alyson - Hello, Model!! :) Gorgeous!!

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