Photography by Stephanie Kay Blog

Thank you so much for visiting my little corner of the web! Photography by Stephanie Kay specializes in child and family portraits, high school seniors, engagement and maternity portraits in Raleigh, Cary, Morrisville, Apex, Holly Springs, Atlantic Beach, Pine Knolls Shores and Emerald Isle, North Carolina. I shoot on location all over the Triangle and the Crystal Coast. I focus on natural outdoor photography sessions.

Archive for 'Carteret County'


You’re going to get a chance at some point to make your life they way you want it to be. Every day, week and year  you make choices that continuously lead to the shaping of your life.

For me, the past 7 months have been life-forming. My dad was diagnosed with a horrible and deadly cancer on November 1st. My DAD. My dad was never sick, tough as they come. Unrelated to this, the days before his diagnosis were heart-wrenching due to a major fall-out with people who I thought were my friends. I spent the 3 days leading up to my dad’s diagnosis talking to him non-stop about how I had been done wrong by these women, and how they hurt my children (their hearts, not their bodies) and I lost sleep over it. I thought what these women did was the absolute worst thing. I was so wrong. The absolute worst thing was that my dad was diagnosed with a horrible and deadly cancer and my time with him was coming to an end.

I woke up early on November 2, after barely sleeping at all. It was pitch black. I went downstairs and watched the sun come up. The sun was bright that day, the sky was bluest blue. I noticed it because my dad was in the hospital getting treated for low hemoglobin due to internal bleeding from his esophageal tumor, and he would not feel the sun that day. I realized how important it was to be able to stand in the sun and appreciate the beauty of the day. Because that could get taken away at any time.
My dad and I talked so much during the last six months of his life. We talked a lot about his declining health and all of the complications he faced along the way. But he also gave me life lessons. He talked to me about things that were important to him. Things he wanted me to take with me through my life.

Now I am VERY IMPERFECT. Very. I have said and done things in my life that I am not proud of. But lucky for me, and for all of us, life is filled with second chances. And third chances. It is never to late to start making choices to start shaping your life the way you want it. My dad told me how to do it: value your heart and soul enough today to say this bold statement: I actually deserve to be happy and have a good life.

For once, I shut up and listened.

I want you to know, whoever you are, that your life is valuable. Your happiness is important and should be the biggest priority. Don’t waste your time, time is limited. Make the most of your life. It is something you will never regret. Buy the beach house. Spend time with your kids. Let go of people who do not fill your life with good. If someone doesn’t understand you, doesn’t “get” you, treats you badly, makes you feel “less”, then move on.

Be happy. You owe that to yourself.

Last weekend we went to the beach. We have a little condo in Atlantic Beach, NC. The weather was amazing. The sun was bright, the sky was the bluest blue. My husband was listening to Jack Johnson and watching the ocean. My son was skim boarding into the waves. My daughter was playing in the sand with her friend. I was with a true friend, talking about our kids and our schools and dinner and Disney. We were doing simple things and all of us were so happy. My dad would have been really proud. Because we are living the life he wants for us.

A life that’s good.

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Photography By Stephanie Kay

Our beach season is in fast approaching! I am so blown away by all the beautiful families that we have met, and the beautiful beach sessions that we have had. I get so many emails from clients asking about what are the best ways to prepare their kids and family for this type of session.
So with that being said, there are a few things that I have found that really help prepare your family for our time together.
  1. Talk with your family about the session before hand: It’s always a great idea to chat up the fact that you are having family pictures taken while on vacation. That this is really important to capture memories for your family while at a favorite spot. I recently had a amazing session with a family with two young children and it went so well. Mom said that she had been telling the kids for a while about the session and they were well prepared and even looking forward to it
  2. Show them my website so that they are prepared for the types of things we will do. We will do some posed shots, they will be close together, we will be on the ground, in the sand, we might be in the water at the end. So many things, and if they have an idea of what’s coming, it will help them look forward to it.
  3. Make sure everyone is rested: I can not stress this enough! I know you are on vacation, but we shoot late in the day, and that’s often a hard time for little ones, so please make sure they get a good nap in. Even for parents, take a rest so that you are not stressed. It really helps.
  4. Well fed kiddos (and adults) make for happy ones: Again, we are shooting late in the day, and often my family’s go out to eat after the session because they are dressed up, but make sure snacks have been eaten so that we are not grumpy because we are hungry! You can even bring a snack (not messy one) to your session.
  5. Don’t Stress: The beach is supposed to be relaxing and fun…and that is what I will aim to capture. It helps tremendously if you are relaxed and see it as fun. I will get the shots…I promise, so concentrate on having fun with your family.
  6. Connection: I have said this over and over, but connection is what it’s all about for me. So, please talk to dad and your kids….I will have you close, hugging, connecting, touching etc. It helps if they know this ahead of time.
  7. Bring something for long hair: if you don’t you will regret it and so will I. I have had so many “great shots” that I can not use due to hair across the face. I can edit some of this, but when it’s blowing huge strands of hair, it’s nearly impossible to edit. Remember we are on the beach…it’s windy, sometimes really windy and so having headbands, clips or something that we can use to pull hair back really helps! I would plan for it to be windy….and if it’s not then yeah! But most of the time it is!
  8. Please put the phones away: It makes it very hard, if you are trying to take a picture with your phone, and I am doing the same …the kids will look at you because that is what they are use to, and I won’t get them to look at me. So if I see them out, I will ask you to put them away. I want to get the best shots possible, with the least amount of distractions.
  9. The flow: I use the same flow with most of my sessions. I shoot everyone sitting, standing; I will do individuals of kids, of families etc.  I will have you on the ground, in the sand, so just be prepared.
  10. Have Fun! The more fun you have the better your images will be! I promise, if you look at this as a “fun thing” your images will reflect it! So there are my tips for helping your family prepare for our time together. Please at anytime, if you have any questions…ask me! I’m always here for you to help you! I want this to be as successful as possible!

Photography by Stephanie Kay photographs on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina in Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Pine Knolls Shores, Morehead City, Beaufort and Newport.

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Photography by Stephanie Kay

I love lights in the background of my photos. And I love this high school senior’s highlights and the outfit she chose for her senior pictures.

I shot this in Lafayette Village in Raleigh, NC.

I am a professional photographer who photographs in the Triangle area and the Crystal Coast. I photograph in Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Apex, Morrisville, and Holly Springs in the Triangle area. On the Crystal Coast, I photograph in Atlantic Beach, Pine Knolls Shores, Emerald Isle, Morehead City, Beaufort and Newport.

Photography by Stephanie Kay is a licensed and professional photography business and provides digital images as well as print packages to her customers.


Lafayette Village Photoshoot, High School Senior, Raleigh, NC

This is my best friend and her family at the Oceanana Pier in Atlantic Beach, NC. The Pier is a popular spot for photos because it adds an architectural element and cool colors to contrast with the ocean. This was a windy day and the ocean was really kicking up. This made for a really great background.

I photograph in Atlantic Beach, Pine Knolls Shores and Emerald Isle on the beaches of the glorious Crystal Coast. I also photograph in Morehead City, Newport and Beaufort along the Intracoastal Waterway.

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I came across these two beautiful mermaids at A Place At The Beach. They were just relaxing and enjoying the view.

Shot at A Place At The Beach in Atlantic Beach, NC.

I photograph in Atlantic Beach, Pine Knolls Shores and Emerald Isle.

Click here to see more of my work.

I shot this in Atlantic Beach to showcase CY Design Studios jewelry.

Shot at A Place At The Beach in Atlantic Beach, NC.

A lot of my clients tell me that they have not had a photo together since they got married. So I asked this couple to pose in a romantic way, and while they laughed the whole time I got this great shot which they absolutely love.

I photograph in Atlantic Beach, Pine Knolls Shores, Emerald Isle, Morehead City, Beaufort, Newport and other towns on the Crystal Coast and Carteret County, North Carolina.

In the Triangle area, I photograph in Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Morrisville, Apex and Holly Springs.


See more of my work here:

I love how the pier adds an architectural element. These two definitely enjoyed hanging out under the pier.

Shot in Atlantic Beach, NC at the Oceanana Pier.


For beach photography, I shoot in Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle and Pine Knolls Shores on the Crystal Coast. I also shoot in Morehead City, Newport and Beaufort in Carteret County. In the Triangle Area I photograph in Cary, Raleigh, Durham, Morrisville, Apex and Holly Springs.

See more of my work here:

This was an awesome family that I photographed in Atlantic Beach, NC at A Place at the Beach. I love the photos they chose for this photoshoot. I photograph in Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle and Pine Knolls Shores on the beach and Morehead City, Beaufort and Newport on the Intracoastal Waterway.

I also photograph in Raleigh, Apex, Morrisville, Durham and Holly Springs, NC in the Triangle area.

I would love to photograph your family reunion! Call me for details.

Family reunion in Atlantic Beach NC