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.


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