Family Portrait Session For Hometown Friends

This gorgeous family traveled from my hometown, Elizabethton TN, for their family portrait session, and I am so glad they did! Whitney is the best friend of my amazing sister-in-law, which kind of makes her like extended family. You might recognize sweet Zoe from photos I’ve taken at my niece’s birthday parties and other such events.

But this is the first time I’ve been able to do an actual family portrait session for them. They combined our session with a weekend family getaway to the Opryland hotel, which I thought was a fantastic idea. They were able to visit the ICE! at Gaylord Opryland and all the holiday fun at the hotel. Then, before returning to East Tennessee, they met me at Winstead Hill Park in Franklin for a fun fall family portrait session.

The weather was gorgeous, which was my one fear… I wasn’t sure how we would reschedule if the weather didn’t cooperate, considering the 5 1/2 hours they traveled to get here. But we couldn’t have asked for a better day, and they were so much fun to photograph. Zoe is a natural in front of the camera and so much fun to be around. As a side-note, I love the rose pink color of your outfit and think it worked perfectly for fall photos.

Spring Hill Family Portrait Session with 10 Month Old Baby GirL

I can’t believe I took these photos just three days ago. It feels like a whole different season ago, which really it was. Sunday was the absolute perfect Fall Day, and my favorite day of the year for fall family portrait sessions.

I’m so glad that Lauren was able to book the session. I met this wonderful family at an in-home portrait session in May, and was so happy to have them book another session. Babies grow so fast during their first year. I love capturing all of the stages as they grow and change, but if I had to pick, I would say that I love photographing older babies the best.

Lauren had contacted me before the session to ask if I thought an outdoor session would be appropriate for a 10 month old. I said that it absolutely would be! Even babies who are too young to walk tend to be fascinated by the beautiful world around them, and I love capturing that fascination and wonder.

Isn’t she just the most adorable little girl? I am in love with the purple color mom chose for her dress. It contrast perfectly with the gorgeous yellow leaves.

Too bad those leaves are probably gone now. Fall is absolutely my favorite season, but I’m happy to photograph beautiful snowy portraits too, so we will see what the winter holds. Fingers crossed that we get at least one good snow.

When to book Family Portraits if you Want Fall Color

As I sit here on the super cold morning, I miss the perfect Fall day we had just two days ago. I wanted to take the chance to talk about when to book a family portrait session if including fall colors on the trees is important to you. I wrote about this last year, and none of that information has changed, but if bears repeating. I still have many clients who assume October is the best choice for Fall color.

First of all, I want to say that any time of year is perfect for a family portrait session. The important thing is to get them done, and to do it regularly, preferably at least once a year as our littles ones grow so fast and are constantly changing.  Beautiful memories can be captured any time of year. I’m now booking January photo sessions, and those can be absolutely beautiful (you just need to dress warmly!)

With that being said, lots of my clients really want that gorgeous fall color, and ask me when they should schedule family portrait sessions to get that color.  I always hesitate to answer because mother nature is unpredictable and I cannot promise you we will get beautiful fall color at all.  Sometimes, an early freeze or drought conditions or other things can put a damper on that beautiful autumn color.  

But I can tell you, after some experience and actual forecasts, when to schedule your session to get the best chance of gorgeous color, and that is the first or second weekend of November (the last weekend in October is a good second choice).  That’s when our fall colors peak here in Middle Tennessee.  I find a lot of clients who assume it happens a lot earlier than that, and that’s probably because it does up north. Our friends in Michigan saw their autumn peak several weeks ago (and now they are getting snow!). 

I said all of that same information last year, and here, as further proof, is one of my sessions from Sunday, November 10. I adore this family and loved getting to hang out with them again. I’m thrilled they were able to book this session and indeed did get gorgeous fall color.

Spring Hill TN Fall Family Portrait Session

This lovely family just moved to Spring Hill from Chicago and found me on Google when looking for a family portrait photographer.

In my client questionnaire, Justine said that the family was a little homesick, but was enjoying getting to know Spring Hill and Middle Tennessee. What tips would you offer them for acclimating to our area? Any favorite businesses or outings? When I moved to Spring Hill 16 years ago, there wasn’t much to this tiny little town, but now there is a ton to explore and do. In the comments, tell me your favorites. Be sure to tag your favorite businesses, so she knows where to find them.

Justine also mentioned that her fear for the portrait session was that Nolan (like many toddlers) was pretty squirmy, and she was a little concerned about getting a family picture. That wasn’t an issue at all. I would say this was one of the easiest portrait sessions I’ve photographed in a while. Nolan did a fantastic job. My other portrait sessions of the day both included two very young siblings. One toddler is generally very easy to photograph. It’s when you start trying to get two or more of them together that it gets more challenging.

🍁 Great Opportunity if you haven’t booked fall photos!

I’ve had a client who had to reschedule a session, leaving an opening for a family session at Chapman’s Retreat Walking Trail (shown below) on November 10 at 3:15 (magic hour!!).

I also have a 1:15 spot open for that day. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

In case you haven’t heard me preach this before, contrary to popular belief, October is NOT the best time for fall color in Middle Tennessee. Early November is. Of course, I can’t promise anything, but there is a good chance this might be one of the best weekends of the year for Fall photos, and I have two spots open. Don’t wait.

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: In Memory of Super Sophie

This one is really hard to write. If you’ve been following me, you know that September is childhood cancer awareness month.  I am a volunteer photographer with an organization called The Gold Hope Project and I’ve been blogging about all the amazing fighters I’ve met over the past year. So far, I’ve introduced you to Kelly, Hattie & Amelie. Today, I want to tell you about Sophie.

Sophie’s Story:

Sophie was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma in 2016, the same kind of cancer that took Finn (the wonderful little boy who partly inspired my seeking out the Gold Hope Project). She battled like a champ for almost 4 years, when she was called home on August 1.

Our Time Together:

The first moment I met Sophie, she asked me if I knew Finn. She had seen the avocado I have pinned to my camera bag in his memory. The question took my breath away a little. I told her yes, I was definitely a Finn fan. She said “me too” and then went on to tell me how he was her friend and she missed him.

I spent the next hour photographing Sophie and getting to know her family. Her mom, Mary, was so easy to talk to and I so enjoyed the time talking with her. Sophie’s little brother Gabriel is an adorable, energetic toddler who was so much fun to photograph, and clearly adored his big sister.

It was only an hour, but let me tell you, Sophie had an impact on me and I will never forget her.

She told me about her horse and how much fun she’d had with Angel Heart Farms. I was so impressed with her knowledge of 80s movies. We were goofing off and singing songs and I learned that she loves Weezer and we sang the Sweater Song together. Now I think of her every time I hear that song. She was funny, and interesting to talk to seemingly beyond her years, and super strong, and in the words of her amazing mama, the most badass little girl ever.

As I sat in my room crying the day she went to heaven, I thought about how I’d only known this amazing person for one hour. I cannot imagine how her friends and family must feel, and my heart breaks for them. 💔

I knew what I was getting into when I volunteered with The Gold Hope Project. And it is so hard sometimes. But also, I feel so incredibly lucky to have had the chance to meet Sophie, and I feel the same way about Finn. These kids have taught me something I’m not sure how to put into words…that you can find joy in the tough moments, that it’s ok to be vulnerable, and that being able to experience something truly beautiful is worth being afraid of getting hurt.

I’d like to think that Sophie and Finn are together now, taking care of each other. 💪🥑

Where to Read More About Sophie:

Sophie’s Gold Hope Session Blog

Super Sophie Facebook Page

Pediatric Cancer Foundation

The mission of The Gold Hope Project is to gift families battling pediatric cancer with a free portrait session. Photos from the sessions are then used to raise awareness & funds for pediatric oncology research and treatment.

Through my work with the Gold Hope Project, I have had the honor of meeting some truly amazing little fighters, and their families. The short amount of time that I have spent with them has changed me for the better. I want to share a little about them with you.

If your child is currently fighting childhood cancer, or is a survivor under the age of 18, click here to apply for a free Gold Hope Session.

I still have a few Fall Portrait sessions left. What are you waiting for? Book yours today.

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: Amelie’s Gold Hope Project & The Secret Her Parents Shared with Me

In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness month, I’ve been blogging about my work with The Gold Hope Project and featuring all the amazing fighter kids who I’ve had the honor to meet over the past year.

The mission of The Gold Hope Project is to gift families battling pediatric cancer with a free portrait session. Photos from the sessions are then used to raise awareness & funds for pediatric oncology research and treatment.

If your child is currently fighting childhood cancer, or is a survivor under the age of 18, click here to apply for a free Gold Hope Session.

If you are photographer who would like to volunteer your services, click here.

Amelie’s Story:

Amelie was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma in January of 2018. She had port insertion surgery, tumor removal and bone grafting surgery and chemotherapy as well as transfusions of blood and platelets. After a very long, scary year for her family, she finished up her treatments in December 2018.

Our Time Together:

I met Amelie and her family in January, shortly after she had finally finished her treatment. I had the best time with Amelie and her little sister, Eloisa, on an unusually gorgeous January day at the Park at Harlinsdale Farms. The weather and the light were both beautiful, and we spent time running, playing, and giggling. Amelie’s mom, Alyssa, had the fantastic idea of bringing their favorite dress-up clothes, so at the end of the session, we were able to capture some really magical images of the girls playing in the sunset.

Before our session, Alyssa had let me in on a little secret that not even the girls knew at the time…Alyssa and Naph had just found out they were expecting baby #3! They had shared their first two pregnancies with family and friends using photographs made with a large frame to highlight Alyssa’s newly pregnant tummy and wanted to use our session as an opportunity to do the same with baby #3.

They weren’t quite ready to tell the world yet, and since the girls were so young, Alyssa wasn’t sure they could be trusted to keep such a secret, so even they didn’t know at the time of the session. But we took the “framed belly” photos for the couple to use when they were ready, but the girls didn’t know why we were doing that.

Now it’s been about nine months since that beautiful January evening, and I checked in with Alyssa to get an update on their growing family and on Amelie’s recovery. Amelie is in remission and doing great, but her trials aren’t over. She may possibly have to have another surgery on her arm as the original bone replacement she had because of her tumor is not growing correctly as she ages. She might possibly have to have several surgeries as she grows.

Another thing the family is still dealing with is all the medical costs associated with fighting childhood cancer. They had to switch to different insurance this year, and the out of pocket maximums are much higher. Many of their providers are out of network, making expenses even higher. The 4 scans a year Amelie has to have for the next several years will cost them $3500 each time. The family’s GoFundMe is linked below if you’d like to help contribute to those costs.

Baby girl #3 is due at the end of this month and is doing great!

Where to Read More About Amelie:

Amelie’s Gold Hope Session Blog

Amelie’s Website

Amelie’s GoFundMe