Spina Bifida awareness, a free photo session & a photography update!

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

With  just over 36 days until the baby is due to arrive, I thought it was perfect timing to do something good. I don’t think words can really truly describe how scared, nervous, and overwhelmed I’ve felt since September when I learned the baby has spina bifida. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand and I suppose just trying accept what we have ahead. Back when we first learned of the baby’s diagnosis I recall as my mind went back and forth among all our options I kept saying to myself that there had to be a reason for all of this to be happening. One reason I’ve been told is that special children are only sent to special families…the ones that can truly  love and care for them. The other reason is that I was meant to do more…to do more to somehow help and make a difference…and not just for this baby, but to help all the families who are struggling with the same challenges that we’re about to face.

Yes, the ability to make a difference is the one thing I’ve taken away from the last year + since last year’s miscarriage. It’s caused me to volunteer and help others more in one year than I think I have in my entire life. It’s helped me see just how much each of us is able to help others when the will is there. This past year I was a little moved by how much you all helped me spread the word and raise money to help Relay for Life and also to help Baby Wrenn. So many of you stepped up to help me raise over $650 for Relay for Life and though I never learned the exact amount that was donated to Baby Wrenn’s family, I know based on the emails I received that so many of you generously gave to help her family as they faced having their little girl require a double lung transplant this past year. Yes, the act of generosity of my friends, family and fans of my photography is quite moving. And to think all it took was for me to offer to take photos…something I love to do.

So here I am again, ready to step up to do similar. Except this time the cause is so much more incredibly important to me as we embark on the final five weeks before our little one is born with spina bifida. Yes, it’s time to help create a bit of awareness about spina bifida. When I first received that phone call back in September from my doctor informing me that she suspected the baby had the neural tube defect, spina bifida, my heart sank and all I remember thinking was I knew I had heard of it…but I had no clue what it was. I didn’t know what it meant. I just knew it didn’t sound good and it wasn’t something I ever wanted to hear my baby would be born with. So here’s the deal, another Spina Bifida mother has created a t-shirt to help create awareness about spina bifida. She first sold it back in October and it gained quite a bit of popularity during “Spina Bifida Awareness month”. She’s since put the t-shirt back up for sale and is offering to donate a portion of the proceeds to the Spina Bifida Association chapter that sells the most t-shirts. I recall Kari was one of the very first mothers to contact me after I learned of the baby’s diagnosis so I’d love to help her raise awareness for something that definitely has a direct impact on our family. Here’s the t-shirt (the right side is what appears on the back).

So though I’d love you all just to run to her web site and purchase a t-shirt, I’d like to offer a little incentive. That’s right, it’s time to offer a FREE photo session to those who care to participate.

  • Go to Kari’s web site and order a t-shirt, bag or sweatshirt.
  • You must purchase a minimum of one item and include “Spina Bifida Association of Central Florida” in the comment section when ordering. This is how she is determining what Spina Bifida Association will receive the donation from the sales of her t-shirts…and obviously I want to offer incentive to those of you who are going to help the organization that will support our family!:)
  • Email me proof of your donation to amanda [at] amandakern.com – to do this either take a screenshot of the confirmation page or proof of payment.
  • When emailing me share with me your name, contact information and the ages and number of people of who you wish to be photographed so that I can get back in touch with you if you are chosen.
  • To be eligible for the free photo session you must purchase prior to January 23rd at midnight. The names of those who have helped me give will be put in a hat and I will let my two little blessings randomly help pick a winner. I will be having this baby soon so entries for a FREE photo session will be accepted until midnight on January 23rd, 2011.

If you’re chosen as the winner you will have two options. I figured it was about time to change things up a bit which I think may gain even more interest…


  • A free photo session with me that will last 1-2 hours for you, your family, or someone you wish to give the session to.
  • I obviously will hope to complete the photo session soon, preferably before the end of the first week of February 2011. If there are scheduling conflicts I will honor the session through December 31, 2011. (…but obviously would not be able to commit after the baby is born until we’re both fully recovered).
  • You will receive all unedited and edited photos in HIGH DIGITAL RESOLUTION format. Yes, I said FREE. That means I earn NOTHING from giving.
  • You will be given permission to print and share online all digital photos for personal use.

*By participating if you win you agree that photos may be used in my portfolio.
**You must be in the immediate Orlando area or willing to travel to Orlando if you win.
***The value of a custom photo session w/high resolution photos is $650.

I’ve received a lot of requests and inquiries in the last year or so for me to offer “mentoring” sessions. I’ve lost count of how many people have asked me “how” to I do something or if they could just spend an hour or two with me to see how my photography and/or editing approach. And for the first time ever I’m publicly doing that with this free photo session give away. If you are chosen as the winner you have the option to select the mentoring session and it will be customized to meet your needs.

  • A free photo mentoring session with me that will last 1-2 hours.
  • I obviously will hope to complete the photo session soon, preferably before the end of the first week of February 2011. If there are scheduling conflicts I will honor the session through December 31, 2011. (…but obviously would not be able to commit after the baby is born until we’re both fully recovered).
  • The mentoring session will be customized to meet your needs and could include tips on photography, editing or a combination of both.

*By participating if you win you agree that photos may be used in my portfolio.
**You must be in the immediate Orlando area or willing to travel to Orlando if you win.
***You are suggested to have a digital slr, photoshop and lightroom. If you don’t a mentoring session can still be offered but it may make more sense if you have access and/or a little previous experience to these things.

And last, but not least, I wanted to share a little photography update with you all. I have had a ton of people ask me “so are you going to keep working?” or “are you going to keep doing photography?” And the answer is YES to both! The great people at Valencia continue to give me great support and continue to stand behind me giving amazing support as we realize the months ahead are filled with a lot of uncertainty. I do plan to continue photography too. I have 2 newborn sessions planned before the baby is born and a potential five newborns already in the plans to photograph about 2-3 months after our little one is born. So I just wanted to make sure that you all were aware that…just as with my other two kids…having a child – even with special needs…will not cause the world to stop or for me to quit working to achieve my goals in life. Obviously the road ahead as I rebound from having a baby will be taken hesitantly and I will only return when I am fully capable and the baby and I are recovered.

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January 16, 2011 - 2:27 pm

Nicole - You totally rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for helping out the SBACFL by spreading the word! Look forward to meeting you in person very soon!

January 16, 2011 - 4:29 pm

Nicole Summers - That is very generous of you. We are in CA and actually bought a ton last year but just wanted to say thank you for spreading the word. We will be praying for you and your family as you await the arrival of you sweet little one.

January 21, 2011 - 6:59 am

Caroline Gallagher - Almost three years ago i was where you are now…. Relax & cherish every moment. It is a difficult and heartbreaking road for now but when you hold your baby in your arms you will become a bigger stronger person than you ever thought you could be. You will gain a perspective on the only important things in life from there on in. Best wishes from county donegal, ireland

January 23, 2011 - 10:31 pm

Aimee Alich - I just sent you an email. You are an amazing person and such an inspiration!

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