Family Portraits at Winstead Park with Epic One-Year birthday Watermelon “Smash”

Family of 5 Portrait Session at Winstead Hill Park in Franklin TN

“The laughter, the fun, the hand-holding, the love.”

Things get pretty boring and lonely for a mostly outdoor family portrait photographer in the south in the month of July. For some reason, most people don’t think first of July as the best time to book family portrait sessions.  I get it.  It’s hot.  SO HOT.  And there are only so many clothes you can take off before it’s a different kind of photography all together.  But it was perfect for this family session combined with a One-Year Cake Smash birthday session. ☀️😉


But this portrait session shows how perfect a July photo session can be, and I am so excited about sharing it with you.  I generally love all my sessions, but once in a while, I get one that just feels like magic. 


If you’ve followed me for a while, you can probably guess that those sessions almost always involve young children.  It’s no secret that the 1 – 6-year-old crowd is my favorite to photograph and this beautiful family had an (almost) one-year-old, a four-year-old and a six-year-old. I had taken their photo with Santa last year at Spring Station Middle School’s Holiday Marketplace, and they loved the Santa photos so they booked a family session. (Yes, Santa and I plan to be back at Holiday Market this year.)  July was chosen in order to celebrate sweet baby Reya’s first birthday with One-Year Cake Smash photos.


It is so important for me to get to know my clients because taking photos is such a personal thing for me.  The first step of getting to know a client is an online questionnaire they fill out when they book a session with me. Casey did a fantastic job of giving me a head start in getting to know her beautiful family. The answers don’t have to be too long…just enough information to give me a feel for each family member and to help me envision how to capture them for who they are. 
Before each session, I study those answers and make notes for myself as I plan out the session in my head. I note things like the fact that Monroe is very outgoing and loves soccer and dancing, while Everly can be shy and loves unicorns and all things pink and glittery.  These little things may not sound like a lot, but they help me get a feel for the girls, and to guide how I connect with them at the session. 


But the thing I loved the most about Casey’s answers, is that when asked what she wants to remember about her family right now, she said “the laughter, the fun, the hand-holding, the love.”  I wrote that at the top of my notes because it just seemed to perfectly sum up my desire for every family session. I hope that she can see all those things in the photos below. ❤️

Watermelon instead of cake for a one-year cake smash? Yes, Please!


Oh, and I just LOVE Watermelon as a replacement for a one-year cake smash.  Reya seemed to dig it too because she was LOVING every single bite of it.  There is just nothing cuter than a naked baby eating watermelon.  I enjoyed getting big sisters in on the watermelon eating fun as well.  Do you think it would be weird to bring along a cooler full of watermelon to every summer family session from now on and hand them out instead of my usual suckers? 🍉  

If you’d like to schedule your own summer fun family session, you can book online now (and feel free to bring watermelon!!).  I can usually fit in a summer session pretty last minute.  But please note, if you are like the other hundreds of people that really want Fall instead, those are selling out fast so don’t wait toFamily Portrait Session at Winstead Park with Epic One-Year birthday Watermelon “Smash”If you’d like to schedule your own summer fun family session, you can book online now (and feel free to bring watermelon!!).  I can usually fit in a summer session pretty last minute.  But please note, if you are like the other hundreds of people that really want Fall instead, those are selling out fast so don’t wait to

A Christmas Gift to Last a Lifetime – Photo Session for Mom

Franklin TN Family Portrait Photographer - Family of 5 with Teens at Aspen Grove Park in Franklin TN

Isn’t it funny how a smell can take you back to a time 30 years ago?  That’s how I felt at this session at Aspen Grove Park in Franklin, TN this week when I arrived early (like I always do) to take a walk before my clients arrived.  It was an absolutely perfect spring day, and as I walked down the trail, I was overwhemed with the scent of honeysuckle.  Honeysuckle is one of my favorite smells (I even use this in my kitchen), and it takes me back to my childhood in the mountains of East Tennessee when me and a neighborhood friend use to spend hours and hours walking through the hollows and back roads just talking and enjoying the sunshine.  

It was the perfect day for a family session for this handsome family.  Dad had purchased the session as a gift for mom this past Christmas, after she had hinted strongly that what she wanted was to capture her families special memories in a portrait session. This was especially important now, because her oldest, Porter, is graduating from high school this week.  

We all know how quickly time flies.  A portrait session gift certificate is a perfect gift for moms who want to freeze time forever, if only in photographs.  

Baby Evie: Capturing the Uniqueness of Each Family at a newborn portrait session

Nashville Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

Every client is unique, and it’s important to me to capture that uniqueness in my portrait sessions.  

If you’ve ever booked a session with me, and you’re the type of person who actually does read a contract before you signed it, you may have noticed this paragraph in my client agreement:

 Each session is as different and unique as the beautiful families being photographed and I do not aim to copy or recreate Pinterest images.  Before booking a session with me, I want to make sure that you are familiar with my style, and that my style is what you are wanting for your images.

This statement isn’t just arbitrarily in my contract.  It’s there because I want you to understand that our goal with a session is not to recreate some scene that you saw on Pinterest, or even to copy a photo you saw on my website that I took.  Our goal is to create images that are as unique and beautiful as your family.

Finding what makes families special and unique is especially fun when I get to photograph clients in their home.  Details like a baby’s nursery, knick-knacks or books displayed throughout the house, cherished toys, and a family’s pets are all items that can be photographed that tell part of a family’s story.  I look for those types of things as I am photographing.  For example, both of Evie’s parents are Chemistry professors at Vanderbilt.  So when I saw a set of Science Board Books sitting on the nursery table, I knew I wanted to include one in the photos.  Mom and Dad said “Quantum Physics for Babies” was their family favorite, so I asked them to read to baby Evie for a few shots. 

Other things I made sure to include in photos were the cat and dog (who Lauren had said were a huge part of the family), a blanket made by Grandma, & the stuffed Bunny Evie got for her first Easter.  

And I’m convinced that in 20 years when families look back on these photos, they will be glad to have those details captured instead of someone else’s idea of a pretty Pinterest scene. 😍

Yes, Bring the Dogs

Harlinsdale Farms family photo session with Dogs

I welcome clients including their pets in family portrait sessions. After all, they are a part of the family too.

Robin & Miles wanted to include their dogs Harley & Cassie in their portrait session, and the Park at Harlinsdale Farms was the perfect spot for including pets.  Robin is originally from Kentucky and wanted a location with a rustic feel, so Harlinsdale was perfect and a welcome spot to bring dogs. 

One reason I love to include dogs in a session, is I think it helps the clients to feel more relaxed.  It’s easier to capture candid moments when there are sweet doggies to play with during the session. Some clients worry that the dogs will be a distraction. I haven’t really found this to be an issue.  Assuming the dogs are friendly, I am generally able to include photos both with and without the dogs. For this session, my 10-year-old “assistant” actually joined me at the shoot was able to help with the dogs when they were not being included in photos.  If you would like to include your family dogs in a session, just let me know ahead of time and we can choose an appropriate place, and I can even bring my young assistant if you think that will be helpful.

Harley and Cassie were the sweetest dogs and I really enjoyed getting to know them and their lovely owners on this gorgeous day.

Haley’s Magical Dress Session

Spring Hill Children's Photographer

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  I’m going to be honest and say that I booked a lot of sessions this past week and have tons of editing to do, so instead of spending lots of time writing this post, I’m just going to let these gorgeous photos of Haley speak for themselves. 

Let’s talk about aspect ratio and cropping photos

Middle TN Family Photographer

You all know that I pretty often get excited about beautiful light or a gorgeous sunset, but I have to say that this is the first time that a rainbow has shown up for a photo session, and it couldn’t have happened to a more beautiful family. My friend Christy and I had planned a combination family session with Hannah’s First Communion Photos, which I blogged yesterday. We had just finished up inside the church and let Hannah change out of her Communion dress when it started to sprinkle. I was a bit concerned at first, afraid it would start to rain hard and ruin our family portraits.  But it only rained for a few minutes and then suddenly the girls noticed a rainbow nearby.  How lucky can we get?  It was only there for about 45 seconds, but that was enough time to get a few pictures.  🌈

I thought I would take Christy’s session preview as a chance to talk about a slight change I think I’m making in my photography, and why I’m making it.  

Christy has been one of my closest friends for like eight or nine years now, and I’m in her house fairly often. Her home (which is gorgeous, btw) is filled with many photos I’ve taken. One thing I really love about her is that she appreciates photos and she does a fantastic job of getting them printed.  However, my one complaint (and I can say this cause she already knows it and loves me anyway) is that in several of the photos she’s printed there are feet cut off in the print.  And it’s not just her.  Most of my friends have sad, chopped off limbs in their printed photos that I’ve taken.  *cue sad music here*

Many of you are probably thinking ‘so what?’.  Well, as a photographer, one of the cardinal sins is to chop off limbs in a weird way. Photographers put a lot of thought into composing photos in a pleasing way, and none of those ways includes people floating on stumps without feet.   

But I don’t blame Christy or my other friends for the floating people. I blame whoever decided that standard print sizes would be a different aspect ratio than most camera’s shoot in. 

You see, my camera (and most others) takes photos in a 2 x 3-inch ratio (same as a 4 x 6 ratio).  That means if you take the image as it was shot, and print it as a 4×6 inch print, you get the entire picture as it was taken in the camera. But 4×6 prints are where it ends as far as getting exactly what you see in a print. 

It seems that the most common size photo that people print and frame is an 8×10 (4×5 ratio).  That is significantly more square than a 4 x 6.  So if you can imagine trying to make a very rectangular image into more of a square, you definitely end up chopping off a decent portion of the image on each end. And that’s how the prints end up missing feet…because it did not crop well as an 8×10.

So I’ve been thinking, perhaps it’s just easier on clients (and on myself since I’m admittedly a bit of a control freak) if I just go ahead and make them 8x10s myself before delivering the gallery to you.  That way, you don’t have to worry about having to crop the images for the sizes you print most often. This means that if you print an 8×10, a 16 x 20 or a 20 x 24, there will be no cropping required.  5×7’s and 11×14’s will still need to be cropped a bit, but much less so and I believe you are less likely to destroy feet in the process.  

If you wanted 4×6 prints, that will require more cropping, which it did not originally. But you know what?   You can get 4 x 5 prints that I think are really cute and won’t require cropping from this new aspect ratio.  

So what do you think? Will this be helpful to you or do you prefer the original aspect ratio of 4×6 in your galleries? I’d love to hear your feedback.

Combination Family & Senior Portrait Session in Thompson Station TN

Nashville Senior Portrait Photographer

A few times, I’ve been approached by a mom who needs to book a senior session for her child (or in this case, children) for graduation announcements and all that fun stuff.  But then she’ll also say that it’s been a long time since they’ve had family portraits done and that she’d like to get a few photos with everyone in them. 

I’m sure that other photographers may disagree with my approach to this, but I am 100% OK with combining a senior session with a family session.  I charge a set fee for a one-hour photo session for up to 6 people, so it is really up to the client on how they would like me to prioritize that hour. I always do individual shots of each child at a family portrait session, so it is pretty easy to combine the two types of photo sessions. 

Combining sessions might not be the best option for you if your senior is very shy and maybe might take a while to relax at a session, allowing me to get natural images. But that wasn’t the case for Sarah and Jacob.  It also might not be best if your other children are very young toddlers and may need extra time for getting family shots.  But Eli was just old enough to be pretty easy to work with, so this was an excellent option for their family. I feel that we easily got enough photos for the twin’s senior portrait needs, and also the typical family sessions shots. 

Beth had let me know that she had these adorable shirts that she wanted to get a photo of the kids in at the beginning of the session. So we planned to get these in first and then let them change for the family session. Aren’t these just so cute?  

Baby Azure’s At Home Newborn Portrait Session in Spring Hill

Middle Tennessee Spring Hill Newborn Photographer

I first met this lovely Spring Hill family a little over two years ago at big sister Scarlett’s newborn session. I was excited when Mikaela contacted me to tell me that she was pregnant again and wanted to schedule a second newborn portrait session. 

It is so much fun to get to come back to a family and again witness such a beautiful time in their lives.  I loved seeing baby Scarlett, now 2 1/ 2, doting over her new baby brother. I was able to see what used to be her nursery, recently turned over to baby brother.  And she showed me her new big girl room and all her toys. 

It’s a different vibe to the house the second time around when I get to photograph repeat newborn sessions.  Mom and dad are no longer newbies, but seasoned parents who know better what to expect from both parenthood, and the photo session.   And then there is an energetic giggling big sibling there to liven things up…one of my favorite parts.  

I feel fortunate to have a job that lets me be a small part of such special memories for a family. I know every time I leave a newborn session, I end up reminiscing about when my girls were that age, and what a magical time it was.  I know it was tough too. I haven’t forgotten that completely, but it was also so special. I’m glad that I can create a little something to help them remember that time, which is so fleeting. 

And as a bonus, I got to spend a morning hanging out with two pretty awesome little humans. ❤️

Share the Love Instagram Contest Family Portrait Session Part 2

Spring Hill, TN Family Photographer

Tuesday, I shared with you the first short portrait session from my Share the Love Instagram contest, and today I am excited to share a preview of the second session with you. 

I photographed Katie and her family about a year and a half ago when Maria was only four months old. They are just the sweetest, so I was so excited when she won the contest to be able to see them again. Maria is just the sweetest little girl and she was SOOOO easy to photograph. 

In case you missed yesterday’s post: in February, I hosted my very first contest on Instagram in celebration of Valentine’s Day. For my “Share the Love” contest, I asked people in or around Spring Hill to nominate a friend and tell me why that friend was terrific, and they both had to follow my Instagram page.  Then I randomly chose a nomination to win a free portrait session for both the person nominated and the nominator to share.  I loved reading all the comments people made saying sweet words about their friends, so I wanted to share them with you. 

I shared some of the comments yesterday, but here are the rest. I just love hearing about all the amazing women we have in our community. 

acbrinker826

@katiebramcamargoshe’s such a sweet friend and awesome mama! She deserves this!

mrsjladd

I’m nominating @ginamolsen! She is such a beautiful person inside and out, a fantastic mother, and an amazing friend. ❤️

michellebrownlee

I’ll nominate @rlcard– she was a great boss, a lovely lady, and Mom to 2 almost grown girls.

emilykalisz

I would like to nominate @summerssweetshoppe . She is the wife of a high school friend and has built her own business here in Spring Hill.

myersfamfive

I would like to nominate @mommamadorin. She is SUPERMOM, in every sense of the word. She is an amazing mom to three beautiful girls and an incredible friend.

katiebramcamargo

I would like to nominate @mirrayray8 as she deserves beautiful photos with her previous daughter Savannah. Miranda is the most caring, selfless, outgoing, beautiful inside and out mom there is❤️

katiebramcamargo

I would like to also nominate @ginamolsen ! A mom of 5 whose kids are always smiling and having a blast! she is a true hero. Gina is a busy mom but always takes the time to care for me, check on me during my lows, love on my daughter, celebrate my achievements and nurture my faith

mandysuttles

I would like to nominate my SIL, @joannaheck_4 When she and my brother got married almost 22 years ago, I was excited to finally have a sister! I remember forcing her to go get her nails done with me so we could bond. ❤️ Over the years, she has listened to my stories enthusiastically, offered me advice, and taken care of me and my family. Joanna is a fantastic mother of 4 awesome children and someone I go to when I need parenting advice. She has the best laugh, and she laughs a lot! There were many times when she and I stayed up late, laughing until we cried, on the back porch of their old house. I am so lucky that she said “yes” to my brother and joined our family. I know she would love family photos with her children since they have grown up too fast!

kendallnewsom

@acbrinker826 as if being a mom to a three-year-old isn’t exhausting, she has a six-month-old baby girl with special needs. She had to wait 6 long weeks for her to come home. She breastfeeds her round the clock, manages to care for her big brother, works two part-time jobs, one of which is getting up at 4 am to teach English as a second language. She takes her new baby to multiple therapies and doctors visits with very little sleep. I’m not sure how she’s managing it all but somehow she does. She deserves to win this 🥰

Share the Love Instagram Contest Family Portrait Session Part 1

Nursing Baby - Spring Hill, TN Family Photographer

In February, I hosted my very first contest on Instagram in celebration of Valentine’s Day. For my “Share the Love” contest, I asked people to nominate a friend and tell me why that friend was terrific, and they both had to follow my Instagram page.  Then I randomly chose a nomination to win a free portrait session for both the person nominated and the nominator to share.  They could decide to each take 30 minutes of a one-hour portrait session, or they could do the session all together as a big group.  

I designed the contest the way that I did because I was really feeling the need for some positivity and wanted to see what people would say about other women in their lives, and I was not disappointed.  

Katie, a fantastic client who I have photographed in the past, was the winner of the contest who nominated her friend Anna. This is the preview of my 30-minute session with Anna and her family.  I will do a separate post of the 30-minute session with Katie and her family.  In the blog previews, I want to include some of the inspiring words that women wrote about each other for the contest, including the winning nominations.

Here is what Katie said about Anna:

“I’d also like to nominate Anna! Mom of two that rocks it as a momma!! She deserves pictures of her adorable family. 💖”

In return, Anna said of Katie:

“Katie is such a sweet friend and awesome mama! She deserves this!”

Anna was also nominated by another friend, Kendall, who said:

“As if being a mom to a three-year-old isn’t exhausting, she has a six-month-old baby girl with special needs. She had to wait 6 long weeks for her to come home. She breastfeeds her round the clock, manages to care for her big brother, works two part-time jobs, one of which is getting up at 4am to teach English as a second language. She takes her new baby to multiple therapies and doctors visits with very little sleep. I’m not sure how she’s managing it all, but somehow she does. She deserves to win this!”

Even though it was my first time meeting her, I would have to agree with Kendall and Katie…Anna is a rock star momma with a beautiful family.  

I also want to share some of the nominations that didn’t win, because these rock star mamas are also deserving of praise.  Here are some, and I will include more in part 2 when I show you Katie’s beautiful family.

lotsofweavers

I nominate @theelizabethtaylor 
She is a giving and kind friend who goes out of her way to help and love others. I know she would greatly appreciate pictures this year with her husband and kids. It would be a great year to mark change and new beginnings. 💕

cborrello4224

Thank you @crystalfreemonphotography for hosting such a meaningful giveaway. Pictures capture a moment in time to be treasured forever. Your talent allows treasured keepsakes. I would like to nominate @amylynncanaday she is kind, considerate, and always goes above and beyond while she herself is suffering from 2 diseases and is praying a doctor in Michigan can help regain her life back.

emilykalisz

I would LOVE to nominate @anothergirlmom ! Not only is she an amazing mother of 4 beautiful girls, but she manages her husband’s business, her work schedule, and ALWAYS remembers when her friends have appointments. She has selflessly driven me to doctor appointments and helped us with our children when we needed assistance. She is one incredible woman!

tinalynnmartini

I would like to nominate @rhondaschmitz!! She is amazing in so many ways❤️! I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone as selfless and loving as Rhonda. I’m continually inspired by her commitment and love for others. She asks nothing in return and gives everything!

acbrinker826

@kendallnewsom my better half, she’s the most selfless friend I know and goes above and beyond to help my family, especially with my sweet Fisher girl. She deserves beautiful pics with her family!

bandteachergirl

I would like to nominate Kellie Olson @nellieisme777 . She is an amazing woman! She is a selfless, single mom that works full time to bring the best out of her students. She loves completely and never gives up on those she loves! This would be a chance for her to see the beauty in herself and her family. #sharethelove

myersfamfive

I would like to nominate @lyndtodd12 She is an amazing mom to a beautiful daughter, twin boys-one with special needs, a full time teacher, and a great friend. She is one of the strongest women I know and is absolutely the kindest. She is constantly thinking of others despite having her hands so full. I feel honored to be her friend. ❤️

William’s First Birthday Portrait Session at Harlinsdale Farms in Franklin TN

Franklin TN Children's Photographer Cake Smash Session at Harlinsdale Farms

I cannot believe that it’s already been one year since this sweet boy was born.   It seems like I was just photographing his newborn photos last week. I wish that the weather would have cooperated better for this session, but we made it work.  Isn’t William just the cutest thing in those little suspenders and button up shirt?  And oh my gosh…those eyes!  I could photograph those eyes all day long. 

This session was the last in William’s milestone package.  My milestone package is intended as a great way to document a baby’s first year of life and includes four portrait sessions with all the digital images of your photos from each session. You can learn more about it on my pricing page.  I just love being able to capture multiple sessions for a family after a baby is born.  There are some many huge changes that a family goes through during that one year and it’s such a magical time of growth and wonder. 

And aren’t their outfits adorable? I love the colors, the textures and of course, Charlotte’s boots are to die for.  The coats are great too, which is definitely something to pay attention to for portrait sessions in March when the weather can be so unpredictable. I cannot wait to see how these two beautiful babies grow over the next year. ❤️