Photos of late

It has been a busy season for all the hats I wear. Teaching, writing, photography – these things come in waves. Sometimes they all converge the same week and I wonder what I’ve done to myself.

I don’t advertise for photography outside of this blog and Facebook, mostly because I accomplish photo sessions during free time, so that means I’m not booked solid with one session after another. (Since it’s a hobby and not a career, this is key.) Yet, I still love doing them. I especially enjoy kids because they aren’t self-conscious, they mostly don’t care what they look like, and their smiles are so… pure, especially once I get them laughing. 

Newborns are my favorite, by far. This segment of time is so short and it passes too quickly. A yawn is still novel.

Engagements aren’t bad either, y’all. Particularly in autumn.

That tongue!

And at six months old, when babies can finally respond to your crazy sounds and hand-waving, you occasionally get a good snapshot of a real smile.

Clearly he gets eyelash extensions.

Let me know if you want some photos taken in December. I have a little time.

Newborn sessions are my favorite

I adore taking photos of newborns. They’re squishy, sleepy, easy to move around and put in cozy positions. I love the all the possibilities of themes and outfits, all the creative editing one can do. The options are endless.

But I also love the simplicity of fingertips, toes, eyelashes, and pouty lips. Those are the things I miss about my boys’ infancies, so ultimately they become the things I want to capture for new moms who want to remember how little their babies used to be.

In a couple of weeks, she won’t sleep this much. She won’t lay this still or be this quiet.

In no time flat, this little one will be sitting up, blabbering, and grabbing small objects to put in her mouth. She will be crawling, then pulling up, and attempting to walk from the couch to the coffee table.

But now, right now, she is this small and this sweet, which is why I needed to capture it.

Hibernating in the editing cave

In between freelance writing, class prep, and raising kids, I’m editing photos from the wedding last weekend. It was a beautiful evening, magical and sweet. It’s easy to be the photographer with all those smiles. I’m not sharing a ton of photos here because that’s not what I do, but I couldn’t resist sharing a few.

Things are coming along nicely.

Can we take a moment for a shared freak out that it’s almost August? I already miss summer.

A baby, a birthday party, and three graduates

While writing is my deepest passion, I am grateful that photography can be a creative outlet. I am also grateful so many people continue to trust me with their most important people and occasions.

Like the birth of a baby…

Or a three year old’s birthday party…

And when three daughters graduate…

Thank you to my friends and family for trusting me with these moments. 

The flawless faces of beautiful children

I am a lucky girl. When “playing with my camera” takes me to a sprawling property, situated in front of these beautiful faces, I cannot complain.

It’s not hard, really. Engage the kiddos, chat with them, be silly. I’m not scary or overwhelming, so they don’t mind when I require a little of their time. For these siblings in particular, they are used to me and my lens in their faces.

And now, I’m getting to know their friends, which is a treat like none other! When a friend connects you to another friend, it is the dearest compliment.

I sit here with a ton of gratitude, not only because people trust me with their family’s photos, taking up their time and a little bit of their money, but because what started as a hobby (and continues to be a hobby) has turned into a gift I’m able to give others. I love it. My work doesn’t stand against the work of professional photographers whose creativity is their livelihood, but it’s good work. It’s beautiful. It’s honest.

Thank you again.

If you’d like to book a photo session, do let me know.

Sofia as Belle

When someone wants to do a themed photo session, you don’t say no.

Sofia is nearly three and I’ve been photographing her since she was an infant. For her first birthday, she was Snow White. Last year, she was Ariel, sans red wig.

This year there was only one Disney princess that made sense.

Toss in a few books, a tea cup, and a rose… It doesn’t take much.

If you’re ready to book a fantasy/themed photo session, email me here.

Oliver turns one

“Serious baby is serious.” This is indeed Oliver. He is an observant child, ever-watchful and curious. He does smile, though, so I caught several sweet grins and giggles after lots of adult silliness.

Those eyes, though. The eyes are everything.

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Autumn Engagement Session

I love, love, love when people are adventurous. I’ll be photographing this couple’s wedding in November, so when it came to scheduling their engagement session, I asked if they’d be open to a little mountain climbing.

So glad they said yes.

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The Cutest Little Mermaid

Last year I had the privilege of photographing Sofia as Snow White for her first birthday. This year, she’s The Little Mermaid.

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When you live in a land-locked state, finding a beach can be tricky.

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We worked it out though, and it was lovely.

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After getting used to me (again), Sofia was cheerful and happy to be in front of the lens. She doesn’t have to do anything but be herself.

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As a mermaid, she was gorgeous. I mean, I don’t think there’s anything I need to do here. Click and done.

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Happy Birthday, Sweet Sofia! Who do you want to be when you’re three?

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Birthday Party for a Busy Little Bumble Bee

I photographed a two-year-old’s birthday party on Sunday morning, which is a wonderful idea, if you ask me. This alleviates the pressure a parent feels to plan, execute, and host an event successfully and still capture every pivotal moment in perfect focus. I work in the background, slipping in and out of scenes, snapping away and getting all the photos Mom and Dad want to have.

For this little one, her parents don’t want a lot of photos made public, so I’ll only share a few.

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Mom is a Pinterest Queen and should be planning parties for a living. Not even kidding.

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What little girl doesn’t love a couple of new best friends?

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Little Girl Shoes = The Best

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She won’t remember her Bumble Bee Birthday Party, but she’ll have plenty of photos to cherish when she’s older. 

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Just a little bit busy

The summer started with an out-of-town wedding with friends. Happily and graciously, I was hired to be the photographer, and I spent the solid week prior in fits of worry over it. The perfectionist in me cannot handle the thought of broken equipment, a faulty SD card, event calamity, or any other problem that’s out of my control. If all things aligned, the photos would be beautiful.

Thankfully, all things aligned. I am in the middle of editing 300 beautiful photos that I cannot wait to share with the grooms and their family and friends. Here is the tiniest sneak peek:

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What made the weekend extra lovely was that I got to spend it with these ladies:

The girls at Joseph and Joe's wedding

Together, the four of us tended to a million tiny details, from hanging string lights to stacking hand-painted martini glasses, and I couldn’t imaging doing the work alongside anyone else.

In between editing photos, I’m still doing math with Jeremy, still trying to read through a stack of books, and still trying to finish writing my own book. The monastery retreat is just two months away and it’s my goal to finish the manuscript there. Additionally, we’re hiring for a new position at UKirk. So yeah, I’m just a little bit busy, and I couldn’t be more grateful for it.

The De Gracia Family

About a million years ago, I lived in Atlanta and went to middle school. We had just moved from West Germany (a few months before the Berlin Wall came down) and my parents bought a house in a quiet subdivision in Clayton County. It was a lovely lot situated around a small pond that was shared by the neighborhood. Next door lived Nortasha and her family. She and I were in the same grade and rode the school bus together. Despite being neighbors, we ran around in different circles, so we actually didn’t know each other very well.

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Fast forward those million years and we became friends on Facebook. Our kids are the same age. We share similar values and appreciate the same sense of humor. I like things she posts, she likes things I post. We keep an eye on each other in this way.

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For all the reasons Facebook is annoying and intrusive, I can’t foresee leaving this online community. Army brats can’t nail down a hometown. For us, there is no such place. When you move every three years, home is where the Army sends you, and in 1990, the Army sent us to Atlanta, next door to the Graves family.

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We go to Atlanta once or twice a year to visit friends. Some time last fall, Nortasha and I started messaging about family photos. Nothing concrete, just something like, “Hey, next time you’re down this way, let’s figure it out.”

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Of course! There’s no question. This is life coming full circle. Photograph your children? Absolutely. 

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We met at a park Sunday morning. It was chilly, not as warm as it had been all week, but the sun was shining and the sky was a perfect shade of blue. We hugged, made introductions, and got started.

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Nortasha and her husband, Adolfo, are adorable. Lovebirds, sweethearts, the whole nine. All I had to do was click the camera.

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Their children, Gigi and Gabriel, were great sports – teeth chattering, but smiling and doing their best, despite the cool temperatures.

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This photo session was a gift to me, a valuable reminder that paths can cross again, new memories can be made, and people aren’t ever really forgotten.

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Thanks for carving out some time this weekend, De Gracia family. I hope we can do it again.  

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Images for Sale

First, a bit of housekeeping:  I’ve finally connected with a photo lab so folks can view their images online and place orders. Slowly but surely I’ll be uploading photo sessions from this year and a few from last fall (but not sessions prior), so if I’ve taken your photos in recent months, please take note. Access to full collections are password protected for now. If folks are okay with them being public, I’ll make them public.

Moving forward, this is how I’ll give clients access to their images. Downloads are free if you want to use a different photo lab, but for ease and convenience you can order prints and such directly from the site.


Now, onto the sale.

Many of the photos I take aren’t of people at all. I love landscapes and scenery and seeing something beautiful in the ordinary. To make good use of these images, I’ve decided to make them available to everyone for personal use.

Crevasse

Now available for download is a small collection of images from various trips over the last few years to the Pacific Northwest, Santa Fe, Chicago, Charleston, Washington DC, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Prayers of the People

It’s a diverse collection of photos that would be lovely for canvas prints, desktop wallpapers, or some other use that you find appropriate. Someone you love may enjoy one as a gift.

Spring

Though I often find it difficult to put a price on anything I create, I am determined to embrace some level of worth here and not be that person who gives everything away.

Weight of Water

Therefore each image is $15, payable through PayPal.

Garden Fount

I will continue to upload additional photos over time, so check back often to see what’s been added. If there’s something specific you are looking for, let me know.

Library of Congress

For now, follow this link (JennieCreates at Pixieset) to view the full collection. By offering the images as a download, you can use the photo lab of your own choice. If you encounter issue with the site, please let me know immediately.

Thank you for indulging me, readers, and to those who’ve encouraged me in this creative realm, a thousand thanks go your way.

Photographer to the rescue

A handful of folks contacted me recently saying they needed a photo for their Christmas card STAT! Either another photo didn’t pan out or nothing from their cell phone’s photo album would work. Sure thing, I said. Name the place and time.

This last one was a real treat since it was a referral. (Referrals are the BEST, by the way.) I remember hearing our Aunt Benny talk about taking care of little baby John Charles in the early 2000s, and now little baby John Charles is 14 years old and he has an 11-year-old brother. Time flies when we aren’t looking.

Enjoy!

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Big families, babies, and bagpipes

The season is winding down since the fall foliage has faded, but it was a busy October and November and I couldn’t be more grateful. Thanks to all of you who trust me to take your family photos.

Here are a few examples from recent sessions with three different families:

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Morgan McCulla Family

I’m related to this bunch, so the session was pretty laid back and easy. We met on a beautiful patch of East Tennessee land on the outskirts of the Great Smoky Mountains. As soon as the sun tucked behind the trees, the temperature dropped so I moved swiftly.

Thank you, family, for trusting me with these.

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Sophia sure loves her Papaw!

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After so many boys in the McCulla family, Sophia has stolen the show.

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Brothers never miss an opportunity to goof off.

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Am I right?

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Newlyweds 

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Our cousins brought some stunning women into the family!

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Let’s do this again in a few years, shall we?

Big group with big smiles

To say this session was a long time coming would be the truth. Scheduling ten people plus a photographer is already a challenge, but the weather has been a real bear. When we finally had a break from the rain, we went for it.

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The sweetest little wedding

When a former high school classmate of mine mentioned on Facebook that she was looking for an inexpensive wedding photographer, I threw my name in the hat. Since I work alone, the small, intimate weddings are just right. I can dart around discreetly and tend to the details. Bigger events require two and three shooters, so as long as it was going to be small, I could do it.

So I did.

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I went nuts with my camera, so there are eight million more to edit, but it’s a good problem to have. I’m grateful.