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.

Jackie’s Quinceanera Part 1: Formal Photos at Brentwood Country Club

Jackie's quinceanera at the Brentwood Country Club

In 2018, I photographed the Quinceanera for Jackie’s sister, Alicia. March 2020 was supposed to be Jackie’s turn for her quinceanera, but the pandemic had other plans. Her special day was rescheduled several times as her family tried to decide when would be safe to have the event. I am so glad that we finally got to celebrate Jackie this weekend at the Brentwood Country Club.

I actually got to know Jackie years ago when I coached her Destination Imagination team when she was in fifth grade, so it was extra exciting to get to share in her festivities.

I was a little bummed that it was raining and yucky out because the Brentwood Country Club is a beautiful spot for outdoor photos, but we were able to go out on the covered porch for some pretty shots. Jackie looked absolutely stunning in her dress. And my how formal masks have come a long way in a year.

I have so many photos of the event that I decided to split it into two blog posts. This one is just for the formal photos before the event. Stay tuned for another post soon on the party itself.

Congrats Jackie and happy sweet 16!

Spencer’s Bar Mitzvah | Nashville Family Photographer

Spencer's Bar Mitzvah at West End Synagogue

Spencer is one of my daughter Megan’s best friends. They met in third grade when they were grouped together in the school’s gifted program. They get each other, and challenge each other and are very much like siblings. So much so that when Spencer misses school for Jewish holidays, other kids have asked Megan why she wasn’t home too, because they thought they were really siblings.

Spencer’s Bar Mitzvah was supposed to be in March. They’d all been looking forward to it for years. Then Covid happened and the world shut down. They rescheduled for June, but then that wasn’t safe either. Finally, Spencer’s family and synagogue decided to set a date for August 8 for a modified version of the Bar Mitzvah, covid style.

Only 25 people were allowed at the service, so it was only close family and Spencer’s best friends. Masks were required and families were spread out through the synagogue. The service was live streamed so that those who could not attend could watch from home.

I personally thought that despite all the changes, it was perfect. I recently read an article about how the pandemic may permanently change weddings as people are decided that the smaller, more intimate weddings that Covid has required are actually better than the large events they’d originally planned.

I am sure that there are so many more people that Spencer and his family would have loved to share the day with, but there was something special about the service that came from being a more intimate group of people. Spencer & Erin’s speaches had us in tears and it was a beautiful celebration of an amazing young man. Mazel Tov, Spencer!

I want to note that cameras were not allowed at the service. All of my photos are from the Thursday before when I was able to take photos inside the synagogue. I added a few phone pics from the actual ceremony of Spencer, my daughter Megan and their friends.

10 Tips for Photographing your child’s birthday party

10 Tips for photographing your child's birthday party

I know not everyone agrees with me, but I’ve always enjoyed throwing birthday parties for my children.  They’ve run the gamut between elaborately themed parties that I’ve worked on for months, and more simple ones, and I’ve enjoyed them all.  This 10th birthday party of Kayla’s was one of the simple ones. We rented a room at Above All in Franklin.  Kayla actually wanted a S’mores Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory as her birthday cake.  The mommy’s at the party thought her selection was perfect, but as expected, not all the children agreed.  Good thing we also bought a cookie cake for her friends. Photographing your child’s birthday party can be intimidating so today, I want to give you a few tips.

Whether it’s a simple party or an elaborate one, it’s important to capture those memories in photographs so we can enjoy them for years to come.  Here are 10 tips for photographing your own child’s birthday party.

  1.  Consider hiring a professional photographer to capture the event.  This will allow you to enjoy the party without having to worry about capturing pictures.  Plus an experienced photographer will be able to capture moments that you will treasure for a lifetime. If you don’t have the budget for a professional, consider designating a close friend or family member as the event photographer so you can focus on your guests.
  2. If it’s a surprise party, be sure to have guests in location ahead of time so that you can capture some photos of them waiting on the guest of honor.  Make sure you know when and where the birthday child will enter the party location so you can capture that first moment of surprise. If there is a performer or entertainer, be sure to be in a position to capture the children’s reactions when they arrive or perform. 
  3. Remember to capture little details of the party decor and food.  It’s likely you spent lots of time and Pinterest research on all of these little detail so don’t forget to capture them. Some of this can be done before the party begins. (I didn’t spend any time researching this Cheesecake, but I’m glad I have a photo of it anyway. LOL)
  4. Don’t photograph little kids from your grown-up height…get down to their eye level for better images. This isn’t too hard when you are short like me.  
  5. But also, think of unique perspectives that will allow for interesting ways to photograph the party. Getting up high or down low can make some fun images.
  6. Make a rule that no one gets cupcakes or cake until you get a group photograph. This is a great way to encourage everyone’s prompt participation.  You will love having a picture of all your child’s guests in one shot.
  7. Put some thought into where the birthday child will sit for special moments like blowing out the candles.  Think about which seat has the best lighting (light coming in through a window is beautiful).  Also, think about where the person taking the pictures will sit or stand so as to be able to get pictures of the birthday girl without being blocked by other photo guests.
  8. If you have a numbered candle, make sure it is facing the photographer and not the child.  This may seem picky, but it’s great to have the number readable in the image – especially years from now when the grown child may not remember how old he/she was in the photographs. We didn’t have any numbered candles for Kayla’s S’mores cake, so that wasn’t a concern at this party, but all my friends know I want the number facing me. I’ve taught them well. LOL
  9. Be sure to get a few family pictures.  Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the party and forget, but you will appreciate having these milestone pictures of your family each year. If the party is not a surprise, its a good idea to get these family pictures a few minutes before guests start to arrive.  Apparently, I didn’t follow my own rule here, so big photographer fail. For some reason, I find that harder to remember to do when we are at a place for the party with a scheduled time, and not at home. So I will have to work on that for next time. 
  10. Get into the middle of the action and keep your eyes open for authentic moments.  The focus is obviously the guest of honor, but don’t forget to capture reactions from party guests and family members as well.

So that’s it…a few simple tips and you are ready to photograph your child’s birthday party. But if you’d rather leave the photos to a professional, contact me today to schedule an event session for your party. 

Hannah’s First Communion Portrait Session at Catholic Church of the Nativity

First Communion Photos at the Catholic Church of the Nativity in Spring Hill TN

Two years ago, I shot Haley’s First Communion Photos.  This time, it was middle sister Hannah’s turn.  

It’s always emotional for me to photograph special milestones for children I’ve known all their lives.  But for Hannah, it felt especially so.  I started this journey to becoming a professional photographer by photographing sessions for friends of mine who would ask. It just so happens that Hannah was the very first newborn I ever photographed.  Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing and if I were able to shoot it over again today, I imagine the photos would look very different (and I hope much better).  But most of all, I remember how it felt. 

I remember a moment where Hannah’s dad was sitting on a bench and holding her on his lap and talking to her as I photographed. She looked up at him with such wide, loving eyes and it was the sweetest moment.  Later, Brian said that he felt that was the moment he really bonded with her.  And I was able to be there and capture it in photos. It was really a milestone in my journey to becoming a photographer because it was the first time that I really felt like I was a part of something special, and not just taking snapshots. 


That was almost eight years ago, and now here she is looking like a young lady and celebrating her First Communion.  I just can’t.  Before I know it, I’ll be shooting her prom /graduation/wedding photos.  How do we slow down time?

But also, isn’t she absolutely stunning?  💕

Be Our Guest: Scarlett’s Beauty & the Beast Birthday Party | Spring Hill TN Photographer

Beauty & the Beast Birthday Party in Spring HIll TN - Event Photography

My longtime client & friend Nicole throws the most magical kids birthday parties.  Her attention to detail is superb, and she has a special talent for making everything look amazing.  

It’s so exciting to see how much fun Scarlett has at these parties and to see her grow each year. I always look forward to her events. 

When I noticed that Nicole had re-used the tables and teacups from Scarlett’s second birthday party,  I knew I had to recreate this photo from three years ago.  Are they just adorable?  

There were several extraordinary guests at Scarlett’s birthday party, including the Beast (played by Scarlett’s daddy) and Belle.  Belle came from Nashville Kid’s Parties (formerly Copy Cats Nashville Kid’s Parties, the same company Nicole hired Strawberry Shortcake from two years ago.)  Belle did a wonderful job entertaining the children and and played her part perfectly.

Nicole’s sister made the cake pops, cake, and tea pot and tea cup cookies. Her mom made all the food and flower arrangements. Nicole created the rest of the decor herself, as well as making the chocolate rose lollipops.  The hand mirrors came from the Dollar Tree and were Nicole decorated them after seeing inspiration on Pinterest.  They were a huge hit as party favors and I personally loved them as a photo prop.  The Chiavari chairs were rented from Southern Party Rentals

I have to say that my favorite part was watching sweet Charlotte play hostess to her friends. She was so sweet in serving them tea, handing out party favors and making sure all her guest had a good time.