Sonya Stone is an on location photographer in Western North Carolina specializing in portraits of all kinds, especially children and families. You can see more of her work and find information about booking a session at her web

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ladies and Gents, we have a winner!

I am happy to announce that I have selected a recipient for my Holiday Giveaway! Some of you may have heard the story of this family already, especially if you subscribe to the Asheville Mamas list. It is truly a heart wrenching situation and this family so deserves to have this gift. As I mentioned, I do have something special in store and I'll tell you more at the end of this entry, but first, I want to share the message I received to nominate the winning family.

"My dear friend, Jennifer, whose 3 1/2 year old daughter was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in mid-October. Jennifer is an incredible woman. She is a single mother of 2 girls, Savannah, age 8, and little Miss Shayla, age 3 1/2. Prior to the diagnosis, Jennifer was a head start teacher at Weaverville Elementary school. With Shayla's illness, she can no longer work as she is either at the hospital with her daughter while she undergoes chemo or at home, unable to venture into public very often as Shayla's immune system is so compromised by the treatments. Jennifer & Shayla will be traveling to Duke at the end of this month for surgery to see if they can remove the tumor. Shayla has kidney cancer and neuroblastoma, a less than 30% survival rate. As a mother, I can only imagine how horrifying all this is. They don't have much but they have wonderful friends who are helping in as many ways as possible with babysitting for her oldest daughter while Jenn is at the hospital with Shay, with fundraisers, and with love and support. Undoubtedly, it would be a wonderful gift to have some candid and professional photos taken of the family."

I can't imagine finding myself in this situation either. The struggles that Jennifer, her daughter, Shayla, and her daughter, Savannah, are facing are tremendous. There is a web site that follows Shayla's progress ( and a fund established through Jubilee Community Church in Asheville to help the family with the many expenses.

When I spoke to Jennifer to let her know of the giveaway and my gift of $1000 in photography services and prints, she was so appreciative as I can tell she is of all the loving support she is receiving from her friends and community. I told her how hard of a decision this was, that many families were nominated and there are so many struggling this season. She asked if she could share her gift with them! Little did she know, I have already planned for that!!

In this process, I realized how blessed I am and how much I can give to others through my photography. I decided to honor each nominee with a mini session and a gift print. I will schedule a day for all the nominees to come for portraits as my gift to them. Thank you to everyone who emailed me with a nomination! I am honored to share with these people who all sound so wonderful.

I pray that you all are having the happiest of holidays and that you are blessed in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

last call for nominations

Here it is, Christmas Eve, the last day for nominations for the Giving is Awesome holiday give away. I have just reviewed all the nominations and I'm glad I have a few more hours to's going to be tough. You can still enter someone if I receive your email by midnight tonight!!

I'm in Hilton Head, totally enjoying my vacation...wondering why we don't get away more often! And when I return, it will be pedal to the medal. I have shoots both Sat. and Sun. after returning Friday!

I also took over 500 shots of my own family today. Something I don't always make time to do. So I'll be sure to post some of those images in the next day or so.

AND stay tuned, I'll make the selection tomorrow and give the winner a call. If they are agreeable, I'll post their story here and their images once we have their session.

Have a Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

a few tricks up my sleeve

This has been a great week. I can't even begin to recount the blessings here, but let me say that I am inspired by the outpouring of love, appreciation and empathy that I have seen as a result of the holiday giveaway that I'm doing. So inspired that you shouldn't be surprised if you see some special recognition and gifting for more than just the "grand prize" winner. I'll leave it at that for'll just have to stay tuned for more details.

I have been busy, busy booking sessions and I'm booked out for the next month. So if you are planning to book a session, look ahead to mid January, and call or contact me via the web site soon!

I am always surprised when someone says, "I was reading your blog today and ..." Oh, people are reading this?!? That's great! I don't bother with a traffic follower so I rely on the comments section to know that folks are following my blog. So when you stop by, please leave a comment!
And for those who were following my travel plans for the holidays, I am happy to say that we have made our Christmas beach trip happen! We'll be leaving for Hilton Head next week where today's high is 88 degrees!!!!! I am so excited! Now we just have to find someone to take on our sweet puppies while we're gone. Any takers?? : ) Maybe I should include some photos of them looking really cute and then ask!

Monday, December 15, 2008

word is spreading

Good news travels fast! The nominations are coming in. This is so exciting!! I am already seeing that this is going to be a tough decision, but I'm up for the challenge. SO keep spreading the word. Thanks to the Ashvegas blog for publicizing my contest and for giving some props to local businesses. Check it out:

Giving Is Awesome - Asheville Portrait Photographer

While checking out some other fotog web sites tonight, I was really having a mixed experience. Some work was fabulous and makes you want to get out and try some new things. Other sites were getting on my nerves, not because of the photography work so much, but of the amount of popular music that is playing. Of course, there are a lot of great songs that are sure to tug at the heart strings, but really, the music is licensed to the artist (and the record company and everyone else who might have an interest in it). And it should not be playing unless the photographer has purchased rights to use the song. Now, some of the sites I looked at could very well have gone that route and be playing that music that is legally their's to play, but I can't believe that they all have. The rights to play a popular song don't come cheap, my friends.

And then, I stumbled onto and it softened my heart and made me appreciate all the web sites I meandered through to get to it. It is not going to save the world. But it just might make a big difference in someone's life, it might show them that blessings can come just when you need to believe that the world is a good place. It is my contribution to making someone's holiday a little brighter.

Here's the deal...

You know someone. You know someone who's experienced a tragedy, is struggling to stay afloat, is raising kids while holding down more than one job, or is volunteering selflessly despite extenuating personal circumstances. You know someone who can't afford custom photography, but who would cherish it this holiday season. You know someone who deserves a year-round reminder of their family's spirit, love, and beauty.

You know someone. I guarantee it.

I want to know who they are, and I want to give them the chance to experience complimentary custom photography -- $1000 worth, to be exact. Whether it's canvas or albums, prints for Grandma, or a slideshow to watch over and over, it's in your power to give them the artwork they deserve this holiday season.

Oh, and another great part? The person who nominates the winner also receives a $200 credit. What better reason to show some love could there possibly be, people?

The rules:

* You cannot nominate yourself, and the person nominated must sincerely be incapable of purchasing my services. (Being unable to make mortgage payments for a two-million-dollar-vacation-home in Paris does not qualify as sincere financial need.)

* The nominee must reside in Western North Carolina. Tell me who you know, what they're experiencing, and why they deserve my artwork. Please include a way to contact both your nominee and yourself as well.

* You must e-mail me the full story :

The winner will be announced on Christmas Eve -- get nominating! I can't wait to read all of your entries!

Open your heart to someone this holiday season -- and thanks for giving me the opportunity to open mine.

With love,


Saturday, December 13, 2008

my soap box

Wow, I don't know how it happens, but here I am again, checking in on my own blog to realize it's been 12 days since my last entry! At least, I am comforted that I am not the only one...

I'm sitting here avoiding cleaning my house by contemplating the 1000 other things I have on my list. Really wanting to just get my camera out and take some shots of our cute new puppy, Bitsy. More on her another day though. Today I don't have any photos I want to share. Today, I'm going to take some liberty with my "other inspirations" my blog title includes.

I was in Raleigh yesterday meeting with the leadership team of NC Friends of Midwives. We are working on improving access to midwifery care through the legalization and licensure of Certified Professional Midwives. For those who don't know me well, I have had home births with both of my children and I'm planning another now with my third. (I bet you almost forgot I was pregnant, huh? Yeah, another thing I gotta blog more about!)

There isn't much outside the love of my own family that I care this much about! I feel passionately that a woman should be supported to learn about options for birth and free to make whatever choices she feels is right for her family. The idea that the only birth attendant who is required to have home birth experience is illegal to attend home births in NC is insane to me. Home birth is a safe option and is legal in NC. The state's limitations on who a woman can hire as her care provider make it almost impossible to find a legal home birth attendant.

We will introduce legislation in a few months seeking to license non-nurse midwives who have attained the Certified Professional Midwife credential. This is about women having a right to make informed choices about the type of care they receive, the environment in which they labor and give birth, and the care and experience their babies will have. It is an issue that reaches beyond the women who choose to birth at home and includes any woman who feels her rights to educate herself and make her own choices about her health care and her child's care are important.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association have placed on their agendas making home birth illegal and the only option available to birthing women a hospital or birth center. More can be found here:
The medical establishment has drawn a line in the sand making it clear that they will disregard women's rights in the interest of pursing their own agendas.

So I will continue to give my time and energy to promoting informed birth choices and to respecting the personal decisions of where and with whom families choose to have their babies. If you want to learn more, you can check out, or locally Asheville Area Birth Network, You can also voice your concerns to NC Legislators by going to and finding your elected officials.

Liberate Labor, Mandate Midwives!

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's the Holiday Season...

I just read Asheville's own Edgy Mama's blog and she posted this article from the NY Times. I will happily claim the label as a "slow blogger." What, never heard that term? Me either until today, but I am embracing it! Think "slow food" and all other aspects of taking things at a mindful pace rather than a hurried pace aiming for convenience. I really do strive to publish things that will be interesting and fun for you to check out. That may mean that the inspiration (and edited photos) come a little slower than a Tweeter thread, but hopefully, the content will make it worth the wait.

Here's a fun family I shot a couple weeks ago. We had one location in mind and it fell through at literally the last minute. So we made it work, but let me just say, this is the FIRST time I have ever longed for studio lights. Maybe Santa will bring me some! : ) Hopefully, he doesn't ask how many times I will use them, because I still love me some natural light and would only use them in desperation.

I wish I had one of these of my husband and me...where she looks great and happy and he looks adoringly at her. I love it!
And you may have already noticed this about me, but I am somewhat obsessed with blue eyes. I think they are marvelous, probably because mine are brown. Or maybe everyone thinks light, sparkling eyes are beautiful...I mean, look at this! Now, please do not share this with my own children who are blessed with the same brown eyes I have...damn the gene dominance! My husband has fabulous blue eyes, along with every other member of his family, except his children. Ok, back to the photos...

And I think this last one just might be my favorite. All she needs is a little elf hat! : ) And seriously, who's husband looks at them this adoringly multiple times during a photo shoot, with no coaching!