Jackie’s Quinceañera Part 2: the Party

Quinceanera at Brentwood Country Club

Yesterday I posted part one of Jackie’s Quinceañera – the formal photos before the party. Now is the fun part – the Party at the Brentwood Country Club. It was so great to see these kids let loose and have fun after a crazy stressful and weird year. The party was absolutely beautiful. Jackie’s mom did such an amazing job planning everything, especially with the added stress of rescheduling everything multiple times because of Covid.

The gorgeous cake was made by Pink Blossom Bakery and the stunning floral arrangements were from Belles & Buttercups. Osborne Studio & Sound kept the party going and made sure everyone was having a blast. The photo booth was from Booth by Mail and Jackie was styled by Go Gorgeous by 931.

5 things Toddlers can teach us about life | Franklin TN Family Photographer

As a family photographer I've observed many things we can learn from toddlers

I love photographing families of all ages, but if you’ve followed me long, you know that my true passion is photographing toddlers. One of my favorite things about being a family photographer is what I have learned through really observing two year olds.

You see, I think it’s the two-year-olds who really have everything figured out. And somehow as we age, we lose all of that wisdom. Here are a few things I think we could learn about life from toddlers.

Assertiveness

Toddlers are really finding their voice, and they are not afraid to let you know what they need. Whether that’s a snack or a hug or they are “all done,” they aren’t afraid to let their person know. Often times, we adults are too afraid to let people know what we need. We aren’t always very quick to take care of ourselves and our own needs. A lot of our problems could be taken care of if we just learned to let others know what we desire like toddlers do.

Wonder

As a family photographer, this is probably the characteristic of toddlers that I love the most. They have not yet lost their fascination with the world around them. Everything is new and exciting and beautiful. The dog in the park, the pretty rock they just found, the snowflakes falling – all these things are a miracle to the toddler’s eyes. If only we could all hold on to that childlike wonder and be more aware of the awesomeness around us.

Only those who look with the eyes of children can lose themselves in the object of wonder.”

– Eberhard Arnold

Mindfulness

How much time do you spend regretting things that happened in the past or worrying about what might happen in the future? I don’t think Toddlers do this. They are the masters of mindfulness. Whatever upset them a moment ago is long forgotten with the current moment’s distraction. They live in the here and now, fully present always. We have a lot to learn from that.

Authenticity

This is another reason I love to photograph toddlers. They only know how to be themselves and no one else. Authenticity means “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.” This is something I strive to capture in my photographs. I am trying to get authentic, natural expressions from every child. I want photos that really reveal who they are at that moment in time. Not fake cheesy smiles. This is easier with toddlers because they are always, always being true to themselves. I love capturing all of who they are. Whether that is a sweet apprehensive expression when they first meet me, complete joy when we are being silly or a thoughtful expression when the notice something new.

As early as 6 or 7, I find that kids have already put up a mask and I have to work harder to photograph their authentic selves. That makes me sad.

Love

Is there anything better in this life than the pure love one gets from a toddler? There is no judgment there, no conditions or holding back. Whether it be with hugs & kisses, holding your hand or maybe even sharing a like of their sucker with you, toddlers know how to love their people.


I am now booking Spring Family Portrait sessions, or as you can see above, am happy to book you now for a winter photo session. See my website for more information or to book a session from my online calendar. I would love it if you would consider following me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

Click here to read post I wrote about what you can expect from a Lifestyle Family Photography Session.

New help choosing what to wear for Family Portrait Sessions

If you followed my blog for long, you probably recognize my friend Christy and her beautiful family in this family portrait session I shot yesterday. Christy had never had family portraits shot at the Park at Harlansdale Farms, and it was a perfect choice for this fall portrait session. The weather and the light were perfect and the girls had so much fun roaming around the farm.  Christy and I have been friends for years, so I’ve known Haley since she was a toddler, and Hannah & Emily since birth.  I actually photographed Emily being born.   They are some of the easiest children I ever photograph and we always have so much fun. 


Since Christy is often my guinea pig for trying new things, I was excited to have her be the first to try out a new service I’m offering to my clients to help them decide what to wear for their family portrait sessions.  I don’t know about you, but for me, deciding what to wear is probably the most stressful part of planning a portrait session.  I’ve never felt particularly good at it, even as the photographer.  I often have an idea in my mind what I want, but actually finding the pieces in all the correct colors and sizes to purchase never seems to be easy.  So I wanted to find a way to make that process easier on my portrait clients.  I’m happy to announce that every client will now have access to the Style & Select tool.  Style & Select is an interactive style guide and outfit coordinator on the web. 


When you book a portrait session with me, you will be sent a link to the Style & Select questionnaire and a password to use the service. You will then fill out the survey based upon the needs of your family.  The questionnaire will ask you the number of people being photographed, their ages, and your styling preferences along with what color scheme you would like to choose for your portrait session wardrobe.

The quick results page will show you photo-approved clothing pieces for each family member and you can view outfits side-by-side while favoriting items. You can play around with it until you have selected the perfect outfit combo! Click the email button to send yourself the selected items or shop for the clothes right away by clicking the shopping cart buttons. You don’t have to purchase the items recommended.  You can also use them as inspiration for shopping at your favorite store, on Amazon, or even in your own closet. 


Christy’s thoughts on using the Style & Select Tool


“The Style & Select tool was an easy way to get coordinated outfits in the style and colors I like. I was able to come up with several family outfit selections without spending a ton of time scrolling online or actually shopping! I love that it offered several price points and at stores I frequently  use (aka Amazon). I was even able to upload a couple of dresses we already had to make sure it all coordinated. I just love how everything came together. It was so easy to use and fun too!”


And I am just thrilled with the results. Emmy’s dress, recommended by Style & Select, is one of my favorites.  They look so gorgeous and coordinated without being too matchy.  I’m very pleased with the first session to use the service and hope that all my clients find it to be a helpful tool to make planning portrait sessions less stressful.

If you haven’t booked Fall Family portraits yet for your family, I still have a few spots left, so book yours today! I also have two spots left for Holiday Mini Sessions at Country Cove Farm on October 11. The Mini Sessions are great for small families, older kids or kids who are used to working with me. If you have a large group or think it may take some time for the kids to warm up to me, you may want to book a full session.

Love and Portrait Sessions in the time of Coronavirus

Wow, what a week. I hope that you are all finding some peace, love and toilet paper in this time of coronavirus, and above all, staying safe and healthy.

I know you have already received emails from every business you’ve ever associated with on how they are handling things during this time of quarantine, so I’m going to refrain from sending emails on my thoughts. But I will outline them here in case you have a session coming up and are wondering what will happen.

For my portrait sessions, these are generally done in outdoor parks or in clients home where close contact with other people is minimum. I do plan to take extra care in changing the way I do sessions temporarily in that I will rely on my words to guide you into position rather than touching you or your children to move you into the position I would like. This goes for newborn photo sessions as well.

But, if for any reason you are uncomfortable proceeding with a session at this time, please know that I will allow you to reschedule for any date in the future. Please just shoot me an email and let me know and we can postpone your family portrait session until things have settled down.

I was happen to get out into the sunshine and photograph this beautiful family of four at the Park at Harlinsdale Farms in Franklin this week. Little Chase just turned two, which is my favorite age of children to photograph. Look at that adorable smile!

Extended Family Portrait Session at Aspen Grove Park in Franklin, TN

I first met this beautiful family a little over 2 years ago when they booked their first extended family portrait session with me. Sherri had booked the session and wanted to have a big family portrait session with all her grandbabies. I remember that she had said in her booking paperwork that she wanted to capture “”love, happiness, grand-babies & family.” 

Now it’s been over two years, and there is still plenty of love and happiness, and even more grandbabies to include. One of my favorite parts of this job is that I am able to witness families like Sherri’s grow and change over the years. What a beautiful family they have created. I love being able to capture a little of that beauty for them to keep.