Family Photography with a touch of Chaos

Family of Five Portraits at Yanhali Park

I have this theory that if someone uses the word “chaos” in my portrait client questionnaire, then I’m going to adore them and love photographing their family. First of all, you’d be surprised how often that happens. And secondly, I’ve been completely correct so far. (See also “wild” and “hot mess”.)

One of my survey questions asks how you want to remember your family at this stage. This mom wrote, “How precious these years are as we watch all 3 kids’ unique personalities unfold. I want to remember how we all love each other deeply, even if it’s chaos sometimes!”

Yes, please! You have no idea how much I’d prefer to read something like that, rather than a list of specific poses or Pinteresty backdrops you’d like included. My number one goal as a photographer is to capture those unique personalities, oftentimes with a little touch of chaos.

And really it’s not really chaos at all that these families bring, but a sense of fun, adventure, and embracing the moment. And for me as a family photographer, that’s everything.

Bonus points if they mention “beautiful light” as their main desire for a portrait location. Because I tend to also prefer simpler backgrounds with beautiful light that make the people in the portraits the main focus. This is the second time I’ve shot at Yanhali Park in Columbia, and I’m definitely adding it to my favorites list.

Looking for a photographer in Spring Hill, Franklin, and Columbia in Middle Tennessee? I photograph families at all stages, from newborns to seniors. 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.

Behind-the-Scenes: Senior Pics in Downtown Columbia

Behind the Scenes Senior Pictures in Downtown Columbia TN

It’s always a special treat to photograph Senior Pictures for a family I’ve known forever. So I was really excited when my old friend Ellen booked me for her son Will’s Senior Portrait Session. She wasn’t sure where they wanted to take the pictures but said they loved textures and cool walls. After some discussion, we settled on Downtown Columbia, which is one of my favorites that few people ever pick.

While I was shooting, I didn’t realize that Ellen was taking a few photos of me. She shared them with me, so I thought it might be fun to show you a behind-the-scenes view of a portrait session by sharing her pics side by side with the ones I was taking when she captured me.

I discovered the backside of this strip of buildings the last time I shot in Columbia & wanted to shoot there again. The sky was pretty cool so I got some close-up shots and some wide-angle views. This is not an angle I would use for a grown person, but these young kids can handle it.
I love this big textured wall in Downtown Columbia but wish there weren’t parking spaces right in front of it. It’s a really cool spot to capture a lot of different angles.
I once took photos of a guitar player in front of Variety Record Shop. Since Will plays the Trumpet, I thought it would be fun to photograph him there too.
I just loved how the brown door, trim, and bricks worked with what Will was wearing, and his red hair. The colors were fantastic. Also, you’ll notice I did not include any black & white images in this blog preview. I just couldn’t do it. The colors were too perfect.
This photo, in particular, did a great job of showing how the beauty of a session location really is in the eye of the photographer. This was literally some back alley construction site with garbage all around. But the texture of the stack of bricks, the stone and brick walls, and the ivy growing in the background got my attention. And I thought the colors worked great.
I’m a little obsessed with chasing the sun.
Here we were joking about all the positions photographers find themselves in and how I’m often literally rolling around in the mud. Anything for the shot. It’s a lot more tiring with little kids I’m trying to chase and then diving to the ground. At least the teens follow directions.

I made Will play for me while taking these because authenticity is key. It felt like we were on Bourbon Street. I got a sneak peek of the theme for the Summit High School Marching Band show for this year. I’m not going to give it away, but I am STOKED. I can’t wait to see them perform.

And then here are a few more I don’t have behind-the-scenes shots of, because I am horrible at narrowing down my favorites from a session. Especially one I really enjoyed, like this one.

Thanks so much to Ellen for sharing these pictures with me so I could share a behind-the-scenes perspective of a photo session.

Looking for a photographer in Spring Hill, Franklin, and Columbia in Middle Tennessee? I photograph families at all stages, from newborns to seniors. 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.

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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.