Fall Family Photos in Spring Hill TN with Margot and Mia

The last time I blogged about this beautiful family for their Fall family portrait session, I left out some information. Mallory had told me before her session that she was in the early stages of pregnancy. I wasn’t sure if that was public knowledge or not, so I didn’t’ mention it in the blog post.

But here we are, not quite a year later, and this lovely family has an adorable new addition. I’d been following baby Mia and big sister Margot on Instagram, and was so excited to be able to finally meet her. (If you aren’t following me on Instagram, please do! I’d love to interact with you there.)

These girls were just the sweetest and did a great job at their photo session. We ran into a little trouble with my location being over-crowded but we moved around a little and made it work.

Last year, Margo had brought her baby doll and carried her for the entire session, which was perfectly fine with me. This year, she brought a different doll…Rapunzel to our session. For me, if a beloved toy helps a child to be more comfortable at a session, then I say let them bring it. My favorite part was when Margot broke into songs from Frozen. I’m also a big fan of Elsa. ❄️

If you haven’t booked your Fall family portrait session yet, please don’t wait. I have a couple of openings for November but they won’t last long. One fantastic spot just opened up because a client needed to reschedule for December. Book your session today!

Here are Some Pretty Pictures.

Y’all, I’m editing my booty off, and I’m running out of words to put in my blog previews of my family photo sessions.

It’s the height of peak season. We were gone all weekend to my beautiful nieces birthday party in Ohio. But someone I still managed to shoot 5 sessions in the past week, with one more tomorrow, and another three on Sunday (please pray it doesn’t rain on me.)

I’m keeping up, but if you need to find me, I’m probably at my computer. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I know it sounds cheesy, but I really love being a part of shooting these moments for families, especially when I get to see the same ones year after year.

For example, It makes me smile to think about how much little Jace has grown since I first started photographing his family three or so years ago. I love meeting and photographing new families too, but I especially look forward to seeing repeat clients each year. ❤️

If you are a procrastinator, I do have two November spots open…once just recently opened up because a family needed to move their session to December…it’s a magic hour session too! You can book your portrait session online from my scheduling calendar or contact me if you have questions!

The Good Memories

I’m really struggling with how to start off this post, so I’m going to jump right into it. 

This is my beautiful friend Chelsea and her daughter Molly.  Chelsea is one of the most kind hearted and loving people I’ve ever met and would literally give the shirt off of her back to anyone who needs it. And my heart is hurting for her.

I’ve been photographing Chelsea & Molly for several years now.  Last year, she wanted to include her parents and her brother Chris in their session. Chelsea’s brother, Chris, had recently gotten out of jail.  He had struggled with addiction for years, but at the time, was clean and doing very well and the family was full of hope for his future.  We met at Harlinsdale Farms and it was a gorgeous evening full of laughter and love, and of course photographs.

On Saturday, I photographed this session for Chelsea & Molly.  They are one of my favorite families to photograph always, as the love and connection between these two is truly something special to capture.

On Sunday, Chelsea’s brother Chris lost his long battle with addiction.

Chelsea and her parents received the heartbreaking phone call that he had been found unresponsive at home and it was later confirmed that he died of an accidental overdose.

They loved him so and his loss is is heartbreaking for their family.

I sat with Chelsea last night and listened to her talk about her brother & how much she loved him. It has been years of heartbreak for her family, but she wants to focus on all of the good memories she has of him.  I didn’t really know Chris at all, but I do know that he looked at his sister and his niece with such admiration and love. 

As they mourn the loss of his precious life, Chelsea and her family hope that Chris’s story may help someone else to seek the help they need to overcome addiction.  And to seek help again, and again and again, until they beat it, if that’s what is necessary. When lost in addiction, a person might believe that their life doesn’t matter.  But I promise you, it matters.  Addiction impacts so many people and has reached epidemic proportions. Below are the beautiful faces of people who have been heartbroken by this disease. 

Chelsea & her family are asking that anyone who would like to honor Chris’s memory do so by making a donation to the Dismas House of Nashville.  The Dismas house believes that second chances saves lives, and their mission is to provide a safe haven for offenders transferring out of prison to aid them in beginning a new life. 

If you need more information about addiction resources, check out Bradford Health or call 1-888-577-0012.

Photo Session Location Selection – Light & a good dose of Imagination

Sometimes, clients already have an idea of the type of location they would like to use for their family portraits, and other times they come to me for suggestions.  Sometimes, my suggestions sound a little crazy and not like a “normal” place that you would want to have photos made.

You have to use your imagination.

Lucky for me, if you are a client who is also my friend, then you trust me when I say “meet me by the U-Haul place off the side of the street. That’s exactly what Erin did without blinking, and I love her for it.

I happened to notice the spot when I was scouting for light before our session, and it just called out to me.  I snapped the first two photos below with my cell phone, just so I could show you how ridiculous it probably looked as a location option.  It’s really kind of a dirty, uninteresting stretch of road with a broken down old building, a billboard facing the interstate, and a parking lot full of U-haul trucks.

But on this particular day, the light, the clouds, the wildflowers, a little fence and the way the weeds were growing caught my eye.  Now, if I go back in a few weeks, I might find the place completely uninspiring, but for Saturday, it worked.  So I wanted to show it to you as an example of how it might look to you, versus how it looks through my camera.  

For when scouting out locations for a portrait session, the most important factor is the light, and then a healthy dose of imagination to see what it might look like through the lens of the camera. 

What to do in case of rain at your family portrait session

“A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.” – Marion Garretty

This session had to be rescheduled due to rain last week, but oh my goodness, did they get a beautiful day on Saturday.  There just isn’t more perfect weather than that.  Too bad it didn’t hold out for Sunday…when I had to reschedule another family session. I loved playing with these sweet sisters in the gorgeous sunshine for their family photo session. 

I often get the question about what happens if it rains on the day of a scheduled session, or if there is other types of bad weather.

First of all, if it’s just cold (or even snowy!), I would suggest we go ahead with the session as planned and you make sure you have warm clothes, toboggans, gloves, etc for your family.  These can be lovely in photos.

If it’s raining, there are a few options we can consider:

  • We can reschedule to the closest available session date convenient for both your family and myself. In the fall when it’s busiest, I usually have a few dates designated as rain dates.  Other times of the year, I can typically fit you in pretty close to your original date.
  • If it’s not raining horribly, I have been known to shoot in the rain.  I have lovely clear umbrellas and this can be a fun, different take on a session.
  • We can change the location from an outdoor spot, to somewhere indoor.  A great option is always your home, as that highlights your family’s life at this moment in time.  Another option is the Factory at Franklin, though they charge a $50 permit fee that you would be responsible for paying.

So there are a few options, but most clients end up rescheduling if there is rain and that’s perfectly fine.

The only thing I ask is that we wait fairly close to the day of the photo session to make a decision.  The weather around here can change so suddenly…I don’t want to reschedule a session too early just to have it turn into a beautiful day.  

Too bad the weather can’t always be as perfect as it was for this session.

Treat your photo session like a fun family outing

I prefer children (and parents) to have fun and be carefree at our photo shoots….often thinking of them more like playdates than photo sessions.  I believe that the memory associated with family photos should be a fun one, and not a memory of a stressful experience.  To me, creating a pleasant experience is just as important as the final product. 

Lana understood this vision completely and decided to bring along a picnic basket to their family session, and I absolutely love that idea. 

My style is very candid and natural, and I’m not really into props in the traditional photography sense. I do bring a variety of blankets for clients to sit on, but you won’t find me with much more than that. 

But what I do love to include in sessions is anything that a family would naturally have or do at an outing.  As a lifestyle photographer, my goal is portray your family in everyday situations, being together as you naturally would.  So a picnic is a great idea of something to include.  To me, the difference between this and a “prop” is that the picnic basket is something you would truly do in your ordinary life.  Unlike, for example, an choreographed backdrop or scene.  

There are lots of ideas of things you could do to add some fun to your family session. I’m going to list some ideas below, but the big thing is that whatever it is, it is something that fits YOUR FAMILY….something you’d normally enjoy together.

Ideas to do during a family session:

  • Bring a picnic (like Lana did!)
  • Bring a cooler of popsicles to enjoy at the end of the session…perfect for summer fun.
  • Have me to your home at your outdoor pool for a fun family session. 
  • Invite me to your family farm to capture a day in the life.
  • Do an at home lifestyle session and bake Christmas Cookies (or your Grandma’s favorite recipe) together as a family
  • Decorate the Christmas Tree at an indoor session
  • Bring a football, or other sport you enjoy together, to an outdoor session
  • Have an indoor session in your game room 
  • Bring your bicycles to an outdoor family session

The options are endless.  And of course, you don’t have to bring anything at all other than an open attitude about having fun at the session and enjoying the time with your family. 

What a difference a year makes

You might remember this gorgeous family from one of my most popular blog posts last year. Jenn had the adorable idea to announce her pregnancy to their daughters, Ella & Sol at our photo session.  It was such a fun and special moment to be able to capture as these girls found out that they were going to have a little brother or sister.  

So here they are one year later, and their secret gift from our last session has grown into the most beautiful baby boy imaginable.  It is so obvious how much the family is head over heels for baby Santi.  And who wouldn’t be…isn’t he just perfect?  

So lets talk for a minute about nursing at a photo session, in case you are curious about how that works.  If your baby needs to stop and take a break at a session to nurse, that is absolutely 100% fine, and what happens during that break is totally up to you.  If you prefer privacy, I can spend the time photographing your other children, or just relaxing. But if you’d like me to capture that special time with you and your little one, I would love to do that too. And it is your choice as to whether you would like those shared or if you’d like them to remain private, but I am so happy Jenn decided to share these gorgeous images of her with Santi, because that bond between mother and baby is just beautiful.  

Filled with Joy – Capturing Childhood in Portraits

I photographed this family about a year and half ago, but it was an extended family session with grandparents, cousins, etc.  While I do enjoy extended family session and capturing that love, I honestly prefer smaller groups for the pure reason that it allows time for capturing more of the types of images that I love…the less posed candid shots.  In a large group, there are usually just so many combinations of people to try to photograph, that it definitely requires more directional posing time.  When it’s just immediate family, we can quickly get some posed, looking at the camera shots out of they way and then move on to what I really love…capturing a families true personality and creating memories together. 

Most of you know that two year olds are my favorite age to photograph, and how can you not look at these photos below to see why?  This kid is just PURE JOY.  You can’t even look at him without smiling.  I want to be Jace when I grow up because he is doing it right.  He so much reminded me of one of my favorite quotes:

“Welcome each day with the joy & wonder of a child.”

That joy & wonder is something that I try to embody in my photography and are words that I strive to be associated with my work.  That’s why we play lots of games at family session, do lots of tickling, running, jumping, just being.  That’s why playgrounds are often included, because what is the wonder of childhood without playgrounds.  And it’s why I love capturing toddlers because they look at life with so much wonder. I want to capture some of that wonder and joy in my photographs.  Kids like Jace make that pretty easy.  He’s just being himself, enjoying life.  

I have to say that his big sister Karley did a fantastic job as well. She is such a beautiful young woman and was so easy to work with.  I loved watching her interact with her baby brother.  You can definitely feel the love between these two.