4 year old completes family photo |Katrina Lawton Photography

“If even just for a moment”

When I was asked to take this image I was honored and a bit nervous. Could I create what they really wanted…a feeling, a moment, a family photo?  I have a daughter close to Lani’s age, could I even get through editing it? I knew I had to, this is my job, to make people happy through my art.  I wanted to give this family something beautiful to remember their 4 year old daughter.
It was a very cold morning this spring when we went out to Salem Willows Park to take these images. It was a special place to this family. The session went quickly because the kids were cold but I knew we got the image. I will admit it took me a bit to edit the image because I had to be mentally ready and artistically ready to dive into it. Then once I did,  I knew it was done when I had tears in my eyes!

Here is their story:

(final images at the end of article)

Family Photo| Massachusetts

Written by: Elena (Lani’s Mother) 

God, life is funny…you can’t dictate your destiny but you can navigate your path….

When you are young you dream of the day your first baby is born. What will they look like? What will they be like? What will their name be?..it’s like every girls dream…And on September 12, 2008 my dream came true. It was the most amazing feeling in the world…

GOD granted Sal and I the most beautiful little girl in the world and we named her Leilani Lily Molina. I couldn’t believe my eyes when she was born, she was just so gorgeous. She had the most angelic face and the most amazing beautiful dark eyes. She melted your heart.

After Leilani was born, our family was complete, she was the center of our world. She was kind, charismatic, funny, loving and…Oh yeah, she made sure you knew she was there. I never really knew love until this little angel came into my life.

Let me tell you a little bit about Lani…She gave the most amazing hugs…she hugged you like it was her last, every time. Always so tight; you instantly felt LOVED.

Lani was a heathy, fun, loving, caring 4 year old little girl…I never imagined…not in a million years, that one day our precious baby (our first daughter) would be called to collect her wings. Why now? Why is this happening? We need her here!!

But on June 7, 2013, our daughter passed away suddenly. Our world, before we knew, it came to a complete halt.

I prayed and prayed to wake up from the nightmare we now had to face. Our little girl had so much more life to live! She impacted so many people in her 4 years here on earth…But God had another plan.

I always thought that the loss of a loved one was the worst feeling you could experience, but the heartache of missing her smile, her laugh, her sassy attitude, her sweet little voice, her HUGS is indescribable.

Where do I go from here? My life, as I knew it without Lani will never be the same. Every summer, winter, holiday, birthday…special moment just doesn’t feel the same for her Dad and I. We do our best but we always feel we are missing a piece of our family.

On June 7, 2016 it will be 3 years that we’ve been living without our precious daughter and, to be honest, taking a family photo was just never in the cards for us because our family portrait would not be complete without Lani.

That is until now…we wanted to have an image of our family and Katrina Lawton made that happen.

Katrina not only made sure that our Little girl was present in these breathtaking photos but she really put life into these images for us.

I can’t express enough how amazed I feel when looking at these images…Katrina gave to us, if even for just a moment, Lani life.


4 year old completes family photo

4 year old completes family photo



Please hug your children extra tight & thank God for all that you have! -Katrina Lawton

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