Happy Sweet Sixteen!

Barbara Bell Photography will capture your birthday celebration to capture the memories for years to come.

I love to celebrate birthdays.  They’re a milestone like any other, and also so personal at the same time.  Through my years of teaching, photographing, working, living, laughing, hugging, and just being, I know that each person brings a unique set of talents, strengths, and fantastic ideas that can only be contributed by that person.  A birthday is simply a chance to celebrate the uniqueness of each person.

It was Ansel Adams who said,

“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”

People, photographs, moments in time…they are all built this way.  We are all built this way.  We bring to the moment all the images we have ever seen and encountered.  We bring to the moment all the books we have read, the music we have heard, and most definitely, the people we have loved.  A birthday celebrates all of that.  And so – it is official.  As of today, Barbara Bell Photography is 16 years and 1 month old today.  Sixteen years!  I have had the absolute pleasure of capturing your families, your love, your laughter for 16 years, and I couldn’t be more grateful.  Without those of you who trusted me to photograph your families and your milestone events, I wouldn’t be the photographer that I am today.  Your moments matter to me.  Preserving your families and your family celebrations has made me pay attention more.

Barbara Bell Photography celebrates 16 years worth of capturing photographs of families and events.

Over the years, you shared your stories about the role photographs and photography has played in your lives.  I have heard your personal records about the framed photographs of grandparents and great-grandparents that came before you, and how you have shared these ancestral stories with your children. This storytelling, this preservation of our own history, matters.  It teaches children where they come from, that they are a part of something bigger than themselves, and it encourages them to make their own mark in the world.  Printed photographs also have a way of encouraging each of us to tell the stories that are personal to us.

If a sweet sixteen is a sign of coming of age, I am grateful to arrive here in such good company as the children who have stood and smiled in front of my lens. May your grandchildren find those photographs and see what you were like at their age. May they see the resemblance of your eyes, your smile, and their world come together.  The first time I saw a black & white school photograph of my grandmother, I was shocked to see how identical we looked.  I understood then that I belonged to a long lineage of strong women who smiled great big joy-filled smiles.  I am grateful to capture the smiles of all of your children.  May their granddaughters find them one day and see their own resemblance in that.


Barbara Bell Photography encourages all families to have a record of who they are and where they came from.


I believe in the original mission I set out to do when I set up this company…

We create photographs to inspire families to share memories.


Barbara Bell Photography creates heirloom photographs to inspire families to share their memories near Chapel Hill, NC.