It was an absolutely gorgeous afternoon for this Sweet 16 / family photo session at McFadden’s Farm at Stone Rivers National Battlefield in Murfreesboro. I think that as a society, we do a great job documenting family photos when our kids are young, and then again for their senior year. But we often miss getting photos of that in-between time that is also so important. So I am always so excited when someone wants to do a photo session for their teen or tween before their senior year.
Sarah wanted to document Mason’s Sweet sixteen with a photo session, and I just think that is a wonderful idea.
This was the second time I have shot at Stone River Battlefield in Murfreesboro. My friend Jennie had recommended it last year for her family portrait session. Sarah had hired me after seeing Jennie’s pictures and also lives in Murfreesboro. I’m really loving this location and may start suggesting it, even for my Spring Hill and Franklin clients. It’s really not that far away and is such a gorgeous spot for family photos.
I joined the MOMS Club of Spring Hill in 2009, the day after I left my job as an Engineer at General Motors. It was during the big recession, GM was bankrupt, and the plant was closing. I had a new baby, a toddler, and no desire to be transferred to another facility, so I was out the door. Honestly, I was pretty excited about it.
Since I’d had the girls, I’d been pretty torn about working full time, but also nervous about living on one income. It all worked out for the best.
I had a friend from work who had told me about his wife’s involvement in the Spring Hill MOMS Club. I’d met her a few times, and she seemed nice. I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands, and a toddler who needed to get out of the house sometimes, so the day after I left GM, I showed up at one of their meetings.
It turned out to be a fantastic decision for me. It’s where I spent the next five years, eventually becoming president for several years. It’s where I met my mom tribe and the women who still get me through the hard days of parenthood. It’s a club meant for those with small children, so eventually, I “graduated” and left officially, but the women I met there are still a massive part of my life. Some I see often. Others I see rarely but follow along with their lives on social media. All of them are important to me.
These women were also hugely instrumental in me becoming a photographer. I joined around the same time I became interested in photography. And I photographed EVERYTHING…Playdates, holiday parties, and everything in between. The other moms encouraged me and let me practice. They made me feel like I was capturing something special, and not just the annoying woman who always had the camera out. My Facebook Timehop is filled with those memories, and I am so glad to have them.
At some point, it moved from just me casually taking photos at events, to friends asking if I would shoot their yearly family photos. I was grossly unqualified and had no idea what I was doing, but they encouraged me anyway. That’s when I really started to figure out my style, what I loved to photograph, and that photography was indeed something I was passionate about pursuing. Those sessions helped me practice and learn, and eventually, almost five years ago now, I turned it into a real business.
Jennie was one of those moms. I photographed a session for her family seven years ago. There are a lot of photos from that period that I look back on and cringe at, but I like looking at that session. I feel like I’ve improved a lot since then, but I feel like I can start to see my style emerging in those. They moved to Murfreesboro years ago, and I haven’t seen her in years, so I was excited when she asked me to photograph a combination Senior / Family Session.
I had not looked back at that session in years, but after I got home from shooting this week’s session, I wanted to go back and look at them. I was surprised to see that a lot fo the pics I took this week lined up nicely as a side-by-side comparison from seven years ago. They say time flies, but there is nothing like looking at photos like these to make it hit home. Was that really SEVEN years ago? And how did these babies turn into beautiful teens, with McKenna ready for COLLEGE???
We used to joke about how someday, maybe I would photograph Senior portraits for the kids. But now it’s happening already. I’m not sure I’m ready for that. I swear, last week, we were handing out juice boxes at the Giraffe Age Group Playdates.
Anyway, that was a lot of rambling. Mostly I wanted to say to all my MOMS Club peeps…thanks for encouraging & supporting me all these years. And to Jennie…dang you did good, mama. You raised three amazing babies.