The Wharton Family- A 24 Hour Legacy Session: A Day in the Life

Last week I announced the official launch of these “Legacy Sessions” and I am absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude by the response! Thank you all so much for taking the time to read about my vision for these sessions and my heart moving forward with this business. If you missed that post, I would love for you to go back and read through it and enjoy lots of images of my time with the Warlick Family.

Todays legacy session holds such a special place in my heart. I got to live life along side the Wharton family for a full 24 hours, and what a perfectly FULL 24 hours they were. I arrived around 9:00PM and got to spend a couple hours with Rachel and Heath just getting aquainted and sharing more of my heart and why I believe in these sessions so much. We had talked a lot more the session, and I had actually photographed their family almost SIX years ago, but this session was going to be different and we all knew it walking into it. I watched Rachel fight back the thoughts of “what is so special about our home? what kind of great photos could she really get here?” and i knew that this session was going to come at such a perfect time for their family. They are getting ready to pack up their home, load their favorite people (and one sweet dog) into an RV, and have an adventure this summer on the way to their new life in Colorado. They are taking a big leap, and it’s so encouraging to see their faith in every step. Every season looks SO different than the one before, but I knew for Rachel and Heath that this session was coming at just the right time. To document this particular season for their family before it changes.

They explained that they start every morning with a coffee date before their little ones wake up and the day really begins. Rachel homeschools their 5 children and somehow manages to cook, clean, fold laundry, read books, teach lessons, fix hurts, play games, and spend intentional time with each one of them on a daily basis. I have no idea how she balances it all with such ease, but I am surely going to be a better wife and mother one day because of my time with her. The thing I noticed all day long was that no matter the task at hand, she constantly had a smile on her face. She was the perfect example of what it means to serve and love with a JOYFUL heart. Whether she was getting a snack for someone (again) or going over math problems, she did it all with a joyful attitude. It was so beautiful to witness.

and Heath is clearly the hero of their family, his children and his wife could not adore him any more. He explained to me that he has learned that his boys especially really need to both wake up and go to bed with a laugh. That it helps to set the pace for the day. So he sets an alarm to make sure that right at 6:40 on the dot, that he is able to go in their room and wake them up with a laugh, pray with them, and help them start their day right. That just shows you the kind of dad he is: present, loving, and intentional. Some of my favorite photos from my time with them are of Heath with his children, specifically snuggling with his daughters and praying with his sons.

Nothing was staged, nothing was directed, everything was simply observed. They allowed me to come in to the real moments; the moments of joy and the moments that are harder than the rest. The moments that make up their lives together, and the values they are instilling in their children. It was an honor, to say the least.
Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton01Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton13Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton17Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton21Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton31she’s developing more and more of her mama’s servant heart every day… Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton43Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton57Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton61each of their children truly have such a love of learning…Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton68Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton76Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton80Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton87Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton97Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton98Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton102Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton110Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton113meet Mason, the newest baby of their family and the recipient of 1291388123 hugs each day :)Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton121Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton138Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton140Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton144we made a quick trip to the library, since these kids speed through their books! I think Hannah had already finished her new stack of books about an hour after we got home!
Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton151Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton159Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton161whether they were learning how to read or how to make pancakes, each day is packed full of “new” for each of them:Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton173Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton181Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton192I got to see each of the kids really in their element; doing the things that make them truly come alive:Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton204Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton220Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton227Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton229Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton234Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton263I absolutely love this portrait of Hannah. She brings such an element of calm and peace to their family. Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton264one of the things Rachel said they love best about this house is the back porch, and even more specifically the sweet conversations and heart-t0-hearts that she is able to have with her older kids:Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton266Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton274think she’s excited that her daddy is home from work? :)Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton279man learning how to ride a bike with no training wheels is tough work!Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton289Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton296Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton311Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton321Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton328thankfully we got the warmer evening we had been praying for so they were able to have dinner as a family in their favorite room of the house:Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton340the kids were beyond excited to show me their new RV and home for the summer:Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton346Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton353Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton358this was the one item that they asked we incorporate into the photos, as it means so much to their family. whenever they experience a big answered prayer, they write it on a rock and keep it in this basket, as a constant reminder of ways that God shows up for them on a daily basis. It was so sweet to see each one of the kids pull on their own rock (or two!) and explain to the rest of us how God showed up and provided for them personally. Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton387Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton398Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton399Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton414Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton417Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton430Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton439Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton444Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton456Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton472Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton476Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton488Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton489Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton491Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton492Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton500and their day ends just the way it began: a cup of coffee and the love of their life.
Northern_VA_Family_Photographer_Wharton506Below is a slideshow of almost 200 images from my day with them, the images above don’t completely do these 24 hours justice. I would love you to take a look, and read a few thoughts from Rachel and Heath after their session…

“When we first heard about Jessie’s Legacy Sessions idea, we didn’t think photos of our day-to-day life would be that compelling because most people are accustomed to perfect settings with perfect poses and perfectly dressed kids when they think about family photos. We sit still for a few moments, hope everyone smiles, and then hang these sanitized images of our lives on the wall or on the web.  However, we’d never considered the idea of opening up our home for a day to allow a professional photographer to capture the real essence of this time in our lives. 

On any given day, our time is full of action and adventure, quiet thoughts, deep sorrow, and wonderful victories.  It is amazing how we lose touch with the true beauty and meaning that exists every day–the carefree play in the backyard, little girl giggles and preteen smiles, the homeschool chaos or first rides without training wheels.  These moments are more precious to us than sanitized images, so why not trust them to a professional photographer for a day?  With Jessie’s help, we overcame the sense of vulnerability–and saw these intimate family moments in new light and in new ways. 

She brought to life the real beauty that is our legacy, our life.  It reminded me of a quote I once heard that went something like, “The way you live your life every day, is how you live your life.”  That’s what we wanted to capture–a keepsake of our family legacy, distilling all the character and chaos that is our family in this moment…at this time of great transition.  As with every great risk, there is great reward, and we couldn’t be more pleased with this collection of photos and the video that Jessie produced. These still pictures–the essence of our days– will become a masterpiece in our home and a great reminder of the legacy–the struggles, worries, and victories–of our lives during this season.”

-Heath and Rachel Wharton

To help celebrate the launch of these sessions, I’m offering 25% off the first FIVE legacy sessions booked!!

Sessions can either be a half day or the full day like you see here! If you’d like more information on scheduling a Legacy Session please drop me an email and we can connect!

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  1. Brooke Brame says:

    Jessie-loving the Legacy session with this beautiful family. You have an amazing eye and you are truly an artist. Thank you Wharton family for sharing.

  2. Rebecca Barton says:

    I am Rachel’s older sister. This I just WOW!
    I so wish you could be a fly on the wall here. It is such a special, eye opening way to appreciate the little moments we so quickly forget. Amazing job and a perfect idea for special life time moments!!!
    If you are EVER in Florida- look us up!


  3. Holly says:

    Ahhhhh Jessie! I am just loving these!!!! I can’t wait to see more!

  4. Rachel wharton says:

    With tears in my eyes, I have watched this video many, many times. A time capsule for our family from this season, a reminder of what our days looked like while they were young, a glimpse at the ordinary that God sees as beautiful, and photos that capture the emotion of those beautiful gifts God gives us everyday. Thank you Jessie.

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