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First Birthday Cake Smash by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FL

Watch Kayleen Grow Part 2 | First Birthday Photos

As I was writing the first post in this grow series, it started getting really lengthy… so I said what the heck, I’ll just make it a 3 part series!

Kayleen’s 1st Birthday Photo Shoot

Kayleen's 1st Birthday Photo Session | Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FL

1st Birthday Photos by Christina Z Photography, Bradenton Florida’s High School Senior, Couples, & Family Photographer

Kayleen's 1st Birthday Photo Session | Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FL

1st Birthday Photos by Christina Z Photography, Bradenton Florida’s High School Senior, Couples, & Family Photographer

Kayleen's 1st Birthday Photo Session | Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FL

Kayleen's 1st Birthday Photo Session | Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FL

1st Birthday Photos by Christina Z Photography, Bradenton Florida’s High School Senior, Couples, & Family Photographer

Kayleen's 1st Birthday Photo Session | Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FL

Kayleen's 1st Birthday Photo Session | Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FL

Kayleen's 1st Birthday Photo Session | Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FL

Kayleen's 1st Birthday Photo Session | Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FL

1st Birthday Photos by Christina Z Photography, Bradenton Florida’s High School Senior, Couples, & Family Photographer

Sock Monkey 1st Birthday Party

We thew Kayleen a sock monkey themed first birthday party, to go with her monthly grow series photos. Of course I took photos of all the little details, and even captured her cake smash. Who needs a cake smash session when your momma’s a photographer? Haha! This was really fun!

Sock Monkey Themed First Birthday by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FLSock Monkey Themed First Birthday by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FLSock Monkey Themed First Birthday by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FLSock Monkey Themed First Birthday by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FLSock Monkey Themed First Birthday by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FLSock Monkey Themed First Birthday by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FL Sock Monkey Themed First Birthday by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FLSock Monkey Themed First Birthday by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FLSock Monkey Themed First Birthday by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FLSock Monkey Themed First Birthday by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FLSock Monkey Themed First Birthday by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FLSock Monkey Themed First Birthday by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FLSock Monkey Themed First Birthday by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FLSock Monkey Themed First Birthday by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FL Sock Monkey Themed First Birthday by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FL

First Birthday Cake Smash

What’s a first birthday with out some cake smash fun?! She was hesitant about it, that’s for sure.

First Birthday Cake Smash by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FLFirst Birthday Cake Smash by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FLFirst Birthday Cake Smash by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FLFirst Birthday Cake Smash by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FLFirst Birthday Cake Smash by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FLFirst Birthday Cake Smash by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FLFirst Birthday Cake Smash by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FLFirst Birthday Cake Smash by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FL

Stay tuned for part 3 in the Watch Kayleen Grow series… Next up, my favorite moments through out the year. Here’s a peek…

First Year Moments by Christina Z Photography - Bradenton, FL

Until next time…

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Christina Z Photography is located in Orlando, Florida. Christina Z Photography specializes in High School SeniorsFamilyCouples, and Wedding Photography. I’m a natural light photographer serving Central and Southwest Florida.
East Orlando | Avalon Park | UCF | Oviedo | Chuluota | Longwood | Altamonte Springs | Winter Park | Lake Mary | Ocoee | Hunters Creek | Doctor Phillips | Oak Ridge | Celebration | Walt Disney World | Titusville
Senior Photographer | High School Senior Photography | Senior Pictures | Maternity Photographer | Family Photographer | Family Photography | Portrait Photographer | Bridal Photographer | East Orlando Photographer | Beach Portraits | Headshot Photography | Glamour Photography | Beauty Photographer | Beauty Photography | Engagement Photography | Couples Photography | School Portraits | Orlando Photographer | Walt Disney World Photographer | Senior Photography | Custom Portraiture | Natural Light Photography | Outdoor Photography | Outdoor Photographer | East Orlando FL Photographer | East Orlando FL Photography | Photography Orlando FL
Cake Smash | © Christina Z Photography | Bradenton Children Photography

Aiden | CAKE SMASH | Christina Z Photography – Bradenton Children Photographer

Aiden’s turning ONE! Are you ready for some cake smashin’ fun? There were so many new sensations for him to enjoy, the most fun being the cake and balloons! Mom Becca made his adorable cake, she is starting her own bakery business. I am excited to team up with her for future cake smash sessions! Ready to see some of my favorites? Continue reading

10 Things I've Learned About Being Out Of the Military (by a spouse) | Christina Z Photography

10 Things I’ve Learned About Being Out Of the Military (by a spouse) | Christina Z Photography

10 Things I've Learned About Being Out Of the Military (by a spouse) | Christina Z Photography

Life really changes when you get out of the military, even for spouses. My husband got out of the Marine Corps officially on May 1st, but went on terminal leave in April, so we have been living the civilian life for going on 2 months now. In this short time I have noticed so many changes, BIG & little. Getting used to being in the civilian world will take a bit. Here’s a list of the 10 things I’ve learned about being out of the military.

10 Things I've Learned About Being Out Of the Military (by a spouse) | Christina Z Photography

  1. Laundry. It has doubled! Now my husband picks out his clothes every morning, and then I have to wash them! He doesn’t wear the same uniform everyday anymore and my washing machine notices! 
  2. Grocery Shopping. It’s a strange feeling to walk into the grocery store to see there are hundreds of carts available, the aisles aren’t bombarded with families, and best of all no check out lines!
  3. Insurance. We may have taken TRICARE for granted before. Insurance isn’t free and there are way too many options.
  4. 1st & 15th. They are just days out here in the civilian world. Not days to avoid going shopping or eating out either. Just regular days.
  5. Traffic. It’s not all going the same direction at the same time, for the most part. People complain about traffic, and I just think to myself… try to get off base at 4:oopm.
  6. Dress Code. No more worrying if I’m covered up enough (not that I want to bare all). I can go to the convenient store in a bathing suit if I wanted (living in Florida now, this is acceptable). My husband doesn’t need to worry about a change of clothes if he wants to grab dinner on the way home or do anything on the way home for that matter.
  7. Hair cut. I used to wait in the car on Sundays while my husband ran in to get his hair cut. I did this one afternoon while we were running errands in our new civilian life. I was waiting for over a half hour! What used to be quick 15 minute trips to the barber have been replaced with an hour of pampering, but at least the barber now knows my husband’s name. Oh, did I mention the cost is nearly double! $18 for a hair cut! Good thing it isn’t mandatory to get one every week.
  8. Neighbors. We moved into a cute neighborhood, in a college town. Not one of our neighbors have introduced themselves, without reason. We’ve met 2 of our many neighbors out of necessity. We’re not in base housing anymore (clicking my heels).
  9. MOS. Huh??? Out in the real world, they don’t use acronyms for everything! You actually have to ask someone, what’s your job or career? No more military acronyms, terminology, and slag. I can’t say that I’m sad about it. I will say, it will take some getting used to.
  10. Last names. People have first names, too??? Who  knew! Calling people by their first name is a new one. Or better yet, not having name their last name on everything (uniforms, gear, equipment, even underwear).

These are just a few things I’ve noticed so far. Care to add your own to the list? Comment below, I’d love to hear yours.

10 Things I've Learned About Being Out Of the Military (by a spouse) | Christina Z Photography

Semper Fi. xo
Christina Z Photography

PS. I know this isn’t photography related, but I’m sure you won’t mind.

Photography Posing Tips | © Christina Z Photography

Marissa & Dalton | PAINT WAR

What’s more fun than throwing some paint at your boyfriend? Taking pictures while doing it! DUH!! I saw this idea going around on Pinterest and just had to try it out. Of course I had to volunteer my beautiful little sister and her boyfriend! So when I was visiting in Bradenton, Florida we set it up and it was a great time! Lots of paint, giggles, smiles, a big mess & beautiful photos, it’d say that sounds like success! hehehe. Enjoy!

Couples Paint War Photo Session by © Christina Z Photography

Couples Paint War Photo Session by © Christina Z Photography Couples Paint War Photo Session by © Christina Z Photography Couples Paint War Photo Session by © Christina Z PhotographyCouples Paint War Photo Session by © Christina Z Photography

Couples Paint War Photo Session by © Christina Z Photography Couples Paint War Photo Session by © Christina Z Photography

Couples Paint War Photo Session by © Christina Z Photography

Couples Paint War Photo Session by © Christina Z Photography

Couples Paint War Photo Session by © Christina Z Photography Couples Paint War Photo Session by © Christina Z Photography Couples Paint War Photo Session by © Christina Z Photography Couples Paint War Photo Session by © Christina Z Photography Couples Paint War Photo Session by © Christina Z Photography

Couples Paint War Photo Session by © Christina Z Photography Couples Paint War Photo Session by © Christina Z Photography

Couples Paint War Photo Session by © Christina Z Photography

A paint war photo session would be awesome for engagements, families, or a rock the dress photo session. If you love this, contact me to book yours! I promise you, it’ll be loads of fun!

Christina Z Photography

Tips for Photographing YOUR Children | © Christina Z Photography

Tips for Photographing YOUR Children | Christina Z Photography

This is a bit of a continuation of my 10 Posing Tips. As a new mom, I have yet to put my camera down. Even if it’s my iPhone, I swear a day (maybe even an hour) hasn’t gone by that I haven’t taken a photo of my precious daughter. I know so many moms are the same way. So here are some tips to really capture great photos of your children. Photos that you will want to have printed and hanging on your walls, instead of just sitting on your computer or Facebook.

Tips for Photographing YOUR Children | © Christina Z Photography

  1. First and foremost, get on their level! You don’t want all your photos with your kids always looking up at you. Lay on the floor or grass, get down to their level to see things their way. I promise, just by doing this one simple thing you will instantly see better results in your photos.
    Tips for Photographing YOUR Children | © Christina Z Photography
  2. Leave the cheese in the fridge. Candid moments are so much more beautiful than that forced cheesey smile. Make it relaxed and you are likely to capture their natural expressions. Natural is OK, you’ll want to look back on those memories not just the smiling pictures.
    Tips for Photographing YOUR Children | © Christina Z Photography
  3. Be silly, and engage your children. Make funny faces, jump around, sing a silly song. You’ll be more likely to get a natural expression when they are having some fun with you.
    Tips for Photographing YOUR Children | © Christina Z Photography
  4. Turn the flash off. PLEASE, I beg you! Using flash washes out and discolors everything in your photo. Your best bet is off not auto.
    Tips for Photographing YOUR Children | © Christina Z Photography
  5. Find natural light. If your indoors try moving towards a window with soft natural light. When outdoors, the best time is the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. If the sun is too harsh you will get squinty eyes and bad shadows. Overcast days are perfect for taking your kids out for some pictures.
    Tips for Photographing YOUR Children | © Christina Z Photography
  6. Focus on the eyes. Especially on close-ups.
    Tips for Photographing YOUR Children | © Christina Z Photography
  7. Get a little closer. Often, we get so caught up in the scenery that the children will get lost in the picture. Getting closer or zooming in will make a huge difference.
    Tips for Photographing YOUR Children | © Christina Z Photography
  8. Be aware of your background. Keep it simple and clutter free. I practically clean the room mid-photo, just to keep my background simple.
    Tips for Photographing YOUR Children | © Christina Z Photography
  9. Know when to stop. When the kids start getting cranky and you start getting frustrated, your times up. Try again another day.
    Tips for Photographing YOUR Children | © Christina Z Photography
  10. Take a gazzilion pictures! It may take you 100 to get that one amazing photos, but it’ll be in there. That’s the beauty of the digital age.

I hope you find this helpful and share it with your mommy friends. Now get out there and capture those precious moments of your munchkins!

Christina Z Photography

(Ties pictures by My Crafty Wednesday)

Love by Christina Z Photography ©

LOVE by Christina Z Photography

Happy Valentine’s Day lovely! One of my most favorite thing to photograph is LOVE! It really warms by heart to capture two people in love, and I have had plenty of opportunities to do so. I thought I would share some of them with you on this day full of love! Prepare to say “awww!”

Love by Christina Z Photography ©

Young Couple in LOVE Paint War Photo Session | Love by Christina Z Photography ©

Engagement Couple in LOVE Photo Session | Love by Christina Z Photography © Couple in LOVE Outdoor Beach Photo Session | Love by Christina Z Photography ©Maternity Couple in LOVE Outdoor Maternity Beach Photo Session | Love by Christina Z Photography ©Couple in LOVE Outdoor Beach Photo Session | Love by Christina Z Photography ©Military Dress Blues Couple in LOVE Outdoor Photo Session | Love by Christina Z Photography ©Valentine Theme Couple in LOVE Photo Session | Love by Christina Z Photography ©Maternity Couple in LOVE Outdoor Photo Session | Love by Christina Z Photography ©Maternity Couple in LOVE Lifestyle in home +  outdoor Photo Session | Love by Christina Z Photography ©Military Couple Pre Deployment Photo Session | Love by Christina Z Photography ©Couple in LOVE Outdoor Photo Session | Love by Christina Z Photography ©Gender Reveal / Military Homecoming / Couple in LOVE | Love by Christina Z Photography ©

Christina Z Photography

Christina Z Photography What to Wear

What to Wear: Valentine’s Day

I’m so excited about Valentine’s Day! I have Valentine Sessions coming up, and wanted to share some ideas on what to wear!

Christina Z Photography What to WearChristina Z Photography What to Wear

Hope this is helpful! Enjoy!

Christina Z Photography

Couples | © Christina Z Photography

Jesse&Danielle | COUPLES

Jesse & Danielle were awesome to work with! A spunky, fun, young couple who are incredibly in love (is what I gathered from our session). They have been in the Jacksonville, NC area for a short time, and Jesse is off to deploy soon. I know how important pre-deployment photos are, it’s something they each can hold on to while being a part. I’m so lucky to be able to capture this important time in their lives and we had a great time doing so. Danielle had a couple ideas for her own, thank you Pinterest! Danielle’s only request was to have amazing light… I think I gave her what she asked for. What do you think?

Couples | © Christina Z Photography
Couples | © Christina Z Photography
Couples | © Christina Z PhotographyCouples | © Christina Z Photography
Couples | © Christina Z Photography
Couples | © Christina Z Photography

Couples | © Christina Z Photography
Couples | © Christina Z Photography
Couples | © Christina Z Photography

Enjoy each moment together! Hoping for a quick & easy deployment!

Christina Z Photography

Gender Reveal / Military Homecoming | © Christina Z Photography

Why don’t you have any kids yet?| ASHLEIGH & BILLY’S STORY

It was a very special moment for a really good friend of mine to have her husband come home from a long and emotional deployment. Ashleigh and Billy were reunited, but it gets sweeter. To put the icing on the cake, Ashleigh revealed the gender of her baby to her husband once he arrived. Everyone was waiting to find out, and as they say “the tankers curse lives on,” it is a girl! I am so excited that my baby girl will have a sweet bff this summer!

Gender Reveal / Military Homecoming | © Christina Z Photography
Gender Reveal / Military Homecoming | © Christina Z Photography
Gender Reveal / Military Homecoming | © Christina Z Photography

Ashleigh is such a good friend to me. When I was pregnant she offered to throw a baby shower for me, but instead I asked her to travel with me to my out of town showers. Without hesitation, she was ready to road trip! During our 2 weeks of traveling there was an abundance of pregnancy and baby talk. I witnessed on several different occasions complete strangers, to Ashleigh, ask the dreaded question, “Why don’t you have any kids yet?” I’d cringe every time, knowing my friend’s journey. Luckily, my witting friend would kindly educate them. Knowing what Ashleigh and Billy have been through to conceive made me skew my own words during my pregnancy, because you just don’t know the struggles someone may be going through. I asked Ashleigh if she would be interested in sharing her story, I knew the answer already, she was eager to educate. Enjoy her story and please when asking someone, “Do you have any kids?” If the answer is “no,” stop there.

Christina Z Photography


Gender Reveal / Military Homecoming | © Christina Z Photography
Gender Reveal / Military Homecoming | © Christina Z Photography

At least 7 of you who read this and are in a relationship will never experience the journey my husband and I shared for the past 2 years. For the first 7 years of our relationship we tried our hardest to prevent pregnancy, and for the past 2 we have done things many wouldn’t dream of having to go through to conceive. 1 in 8 couples suffer infertility. These past 2 years have provided real lessons to the way in which we live our lives and our speech. I hope that our story provides you a different set of glasses to help you look at life much differently, if you will. I hope what you take besides shock from our story, is the ability find the joy in your life experiences, even if that experience seems more negative than positive. Our unfortunate events in this journey have provided many things, but the most revealing has been humility and the ability to laugh even when we want to cry.

If my husband hasn’t left me yet, it’s pretty unlikely he never will. I’d like to think for the past 2 years I haven’t really been myself. This idea was confirmed when after a year of trying to conceive, we finally revealed to our family what we were up against. It was in this moment my family confirmed my suspicions, I was so moody and they couldn’t understand what my malfunction was. Fertility drugs were my malfunction. Then add in the emotions and side-effects that come along with infertility and its crew of drugs, and I was a 20 car pile-up. My life consisted of calendars, peeing on sticks, taking medications, some of which came in the form of shots to give myself, and avoiding ignorant people. People wondered why I didn’t have a job, my answer for you now, infertility is a job. It consumes your entire life! In one week, I put 800 miles on my car driving to doctors to be poked and prodded by every tool imaginable, by strangers who have the title doctor. When we tell people what our malfunction was during the conceiving process, they feel sorry for my husband. I’m sure it’s a hard pill to swallow that your swimmers don’t move, but he has pretty much skated through this entire process without tools shoved up his privates by strangers. Here’s a funny story, yes I am able to laugh and so is he. The most medically invasive part of his process in this came from him having to make love to a cup. Big deal! But to him, this was a HUGE deal!  As he was having his first moment making love to a cup the only thing I could do is laugh hysterically, internally, while I waited for him in the car. Ever hear that Usher song, “I want to make love in this club?” I finagled it a bit, “I want to make love in this cup!” I laughed myself stupid. When you enter into a relationship, I’m sure the possibility of these real life moments never cross your mind. I never in our 9 years imagined we were the 1 in 8 couples who are faced with infertility. But here we are!

34 pregnancy tests, 100’s of ovulation tests, 2 sperm analysis, 5-6 cycles of fertility medications,  1 round of IUI, 6 vials of frozen sperm, 1 round of IVF with injectable medications, 1 HSG,  2 transferred embryos, thousands of miles traveled, $13,000 out of pocket medical costs, and we are pregnant! Oh what fun it is to ride, the crazy infertility journey!

Gender Reveal / Military Homecoming | © Christina Z Photography

Just out of curiosity, how many of you would walk up, to what appears to be a cancer patient, and ask them, “why don’t you have hair yet?” I’m assuming, none of you. So my question to you is, why would you ask a couple, “why don’t you have children yet?” I hope you realize the question you ask, you may be asking to a couple who is now fighting the urge to cry while they answer your ridiculous question. And should this couple eventually reveal they may be suffering from infertility, please refrain yourself from making pointless statements. If I heard, “just relax it will happen” one more time, I think I would have voluntarily checked myself into a mental facility. No part of relaxation would have given my husband’s swimmers a boost. So please refrain from saying useless things. These past 2 years, I have listened to women complain about the most priceless gift. Nobody gives a hoot that you’re having morning sickness or that your unborn child is playing soccer, keeping you up all night. That’s pregnancy, and there are woman out there who would gladly take your place. They would pay $13,000 to throw up on the toilet all morning, and they would do it with a smile on their face. They would find the joy in the life experience you can’t seem to stop complaining about. And for those inquisitive minds who wondered how it was possible for me to get pregnant in October even though my husband deployed in July, your assumptions were right. I cheated on him, with a needle shoved up me, by a stranger called a doctor. Semper Fidelis!

– Ashleigh


Gender Reveal / Military Homecoming | © Christina Z Photography