Love the Child Within

Want some relationship advice from a divorced mother of 3 who has “failed” more times than she can count? Then READ ON SISTER (or brother). The #1 thing that you can do RIGHT NOW to improve your current relationship is this simple. Find two photographs of yourself at a young age that best represent the child you were and are still today. Place those photos side by side (via a collage app) and print a few copies out. Place that photograph on your fridge, in your wallet, by your bedside - wherever you can look at those hopeful, innocent faces throughout the day.

Ok so how in the world will this help my relationship? First, if you are in a dark place in your relationship, this will not help one bit. Find help. But if you just need a bit of softness to help ease you out of the everyday, exhausting grind of relationship, try this. It will soften you towards the person you love. You will begin to see them through the lens of their childhood self. And when you begin to argue, you will see this image.

One of the best podcasts I have listened to in the last few years comes from an On Being episode with Krista Trippet interviewing Alain de Botton on “The True Hard Work of Love & Relationships.” He explains in the interview why we should see our lovers like children.

MR. DE BOTTON: One of the kindest things that we can do with our lover is to see them as children. And not to infantilize them, but when we’re dealing with children as parents, as adults, we’re incredibly generous in the way we interpret their behavior.

If you walk home, and a child says, “I hate you,” you immediately go, OK, that’s not quite true. Probably they’re tired, they’re hungry, something’s gone wrong, their tooth hurts, something. We’re looking around for a benevolent interpretation that can just shave off some of the more depressing, dispiriting aspects of their behavior. And we do this naturally with children, and yet we do it so seldom with adults. When an adult meets an adult, and they say, “I’ve not had a good day. Leave me alone,” rather than saying, “OK. I’m just going to go behind the facade of this slightly depressing comment...”

MS. TIPPETT: And understand that that’s actually not about me; that’s actually about what’s going on inside them today.

MR. DE BOTTON: Right, exactly. We don’t do that. We take it all completely personally. So I think the work of love is to try, when we can manage it — we can’t always — to go behind the front of this rather depressing, challenging behavior and try and ask where it might’ve come from. Love is doing that work to ask oneself, “Where’s this rather aggressive, pained, noncommunicative, unpleasant behavior come from?” If we can do that, we’re on the road to knowing a little bit about what love really is, I think.

Go & try it. If I can offer help to any of you out there doing the hard work of love, then this is my gift. And one more reason why photographs matter.

And here is a real life example of a collage I made that my dear love, Archie, printed off months ago and sent me a few copies. I keep this on the fridge and am reminded daily of the tenderness of the children within us today.


Friendship Photo Contest | Nashville Photographer

Friendship is what has carried me through some of the darkest moments of my life as well as some of the brightest.  I truly do not know where I would be today without a few constant, hard-loving friends that have stood by my side.  Yesterday I was reminded, once again, of this as one of my best friends came over to literally help me clean up my mess.  Sometimes my mess is figurative but yesterday it was literal.  In therapy this week, my therapist encouraged me to reach out to an organized friend who could come help me get my house a bit more organized.  For those who know me well, you know I am messy.  It's one of those things I wish no one could see.  The thing that Shame constantly whispers in my ear: "if only others could see this about you, they wouldn't love you."  That Shame is deep and heavy.  It weighs me down on a daily basis whispering that I am not good enough.  That I am just a mess.   Yet somehow those that know me in this intimate way (you know who you are), still LOVE me.  They walk in my messy house or ride in my messy car, and see ME.  

So this brings me to the idea of this contest.  I asked one of my best friends (who happens to love organizing and cleaning) if she would help me get organized.  She was over within a day sweeping, hanging hooks on my walls, and bringing peace to my chaos.  But the real miracle was that she saw the depth of my messiness and still had breakfast with me this morning.   She didn't leave.  She loved me through it.  That's what true friends are for: to love you even in the midst of your shameful, dark places.  But, not only to love you through them, but also to come in and help you get out of them.  We don't have to stay there.  And we can ask for help.  After this moment of experiencing friendship in this beautiful, vulnerable way, I knew that I wanted to give back.  So I had the idea of this contest.  And, let's be honest, it also helps me gain more followers and possibly more business.  But the true heart behind it is that I want to celebrate friendship.  


1) Follow me.  

2) Post a photo of a friend that has shown up for you in a hard place or time in your life.  One that has shown love to you when you didn't feel like you deserved it.  You don't have to tell the full story but if you feel comfortable, I would love to hear it!  And social media would be a better place if you showed that kind of vulnerability.  Make sure to tag them too, obviously. 

3). Use hashtag: #tronephotographyfriends  this helps me find all of the entries

4) You may also cross post to Facebook (or instagram) for an extra entry.

You and your friend will receive a free mini session, valued at $250.  

The contest ends Friday, September 14 at midnight.    The winner will be chosen by a random drawing.  This contest is not affiliated with Instagram.  

I can't wait to see your posts!  

Here's to friendship!


Help me Rhonda (or Gary or Sara) | Nashville Family Photographer

It's funny because I have been a professional photographer for almost 11 years yet this is the first year that I really feel like I am truly creating a career for myself.  So, I could pretend and act like I have my life all together but thats never really been my style, has it?  In true Misty fashion, I'm going to get very real.  And in not so Misty fashion, I'm going to ask for help.

So most of you know that I went through a divorce over a year ago, but I also went through some major life questions on what I wanted and who I really was.  I started to question, in particular, my profession as a photographer.  I got a bit burned out.  And so I took some time off this past year.  I have found that its best to ask those closest to you as to what they see me doing, listening well to their replies.  As I asked, I kept hearing them say- don't stop photography, Misty.  You have a gift.  I let those words soak in, marinate a bit.  And I came to the same conclusion.  Photography is what I want to do with my life.  

So here is where I ask for help.  And this feels super vulnerable & super scary.  And maybe a bit awkward, like I shouldn't be doing this here.  But that inner voice calls to me so here I stand.  I have been doing this business mostly part time for the past 11 years.  Mainly because I always had a child at home but also because I didn't financially need a full time job.  Well both of those things have changed for me.  My youngest just started kindergarten and I am now a single mother of three who needs more money.  Honestly, I hate money and if I could take your photographs for free, I would.  But I have to feed my children organic chicken so I need money.  

If you like my work & don't need photographs, could you please pass my name on to anyone that might need my services.  If you enjoy my instagram posts, could you share them?   If I take photographs of your family, could you post a photo online and give me a few good words of recommendation?  If you like my work & need photographs,  could you ask me to photograph you or your family?  UGH.  This feels so weird.  But I want to do this work.  And I can't do it without your help.  You are my people.  And I want to tell your stories.  

So, in short, I humble myself and ask for your help, in whatever way you can give it to me.  I need more business to survive.  And I want to survive.  I listened to a podcast the other day by Rob Bell and he told the story of Jesus healing the blind man while asking him, "What is it that you want?" And I have been asking myself that question too.  Misty, "what is it that you want?"  And here is my answer:  I want to help people feel not alone.  And I want to do that through photographs.   Give me the chance to fill your walls with the people you love so you can feel less alone in this lonely, hard, cruel world.  

I truly love all of you.  Thank you for supporting me all of these years and in the years to come.  

Love | Nashville Photographer

"love is not a victory march, its a cold and broken hallelujah." 

I found out that Leonard Cohen died last night while arriving at a friends house.  We immediately broke out the music and listened to his haunting voice.  I had never heard the original recording and was a bit surprised at how different it sounded.  I mean in all reality Jeff Buckley put that song on the map and it is pretty hard to be beat him.  But the words came out of the mind of Cohen.  And anyone that can create words that poetic and yet true will always be tops to me.  

And I think this is where we are as a people today.  Or at least this is where I am as an individual.  I have tried to win at love.  I have fought hard, given it all I had.  But I failed.  Or at least I thought I failed.  But as this song reminds us, love is not about winning.  It is about failing.  Love is about breaking open parts of yourself and allowing it to be seen.  Falling on the floor realizing that you have nothing left to give.  Crying yourself to sleep because you feel so alone in the world.  Watching your Muslim neighbors begin to have fear in their eyes as it breaks your heart wide open.  Seeing your child hurt when there is nothing you can do to help.  Cold envelopes, there is no warmth.  Brokenness seeps through the very inner parts of your being and makes you believe that you will never be whole again.  

Yet somehow (somehow!) in the midst of all these broken, bone-chilling places a light shines through illuminating what you know is true (in the words of gabe dixon).   And what I know is true is that even though love is not a victory march, it does remain.  It stays with you as a humble, thoughtful presence.  In the end, love does win.  But sometimes it is a win that no one sees.  It comes in quietly and takes up residence in those broken places.  Just as Leonard Cohen also once said: "there are cracks in everything, thats how the light gets through."  

Thank you Leonard for showing us beauty in words all these years.  Your words will remain with us forever.  

And this photo made me think of love as being broken and humble... This is Trent Dabbs, an amazing singer-songwriter in Nashville.  If you have not checked out his music, do so now!

Selfie | Nashville Photographer

Now I love a good selfie.  GOOD is the key word here.  And, trust me, there are some really bad ones out there.  You know what I am talking about... The girl with the duck lips trying to be super sexy.  The guy at the gym with his shirt off.  But the worst of all to me is when someone can look so much better than they look in their selfie.  Bad light and bad angles are the major causes for bad selfies.  So we need to stop this unnecessary dilemma now.  Below are my favorite tips on how to take a good selfie.  

1)  As I always say: FIND THE RIGHT LIGHT.  And, yes, I just screamed at you but you need to get that in your amazingly smart brain of yours.  Look for shade as close to the sun as possible.  But never stand in direct sunlight- that will only cause unnecessary dark shadows on your face making you look so much uglier than you really are.  Because YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL so let your selfie show it!  

2) MOVE AROUND.  The best way to do this with your iphone is to turn the camera around to face the screen and literally move your body around to see where the light flatters you most.  Now I love backlight with my subjects because I can control so much more on my camera but with an iphone selfies usually don't work well with backlight.  The most flattering is usually with the sun hitting your eyes while you are in the shade.

3)  YOUR CAR!  Your car is an amazing place to take selfies.  That is why you see so many girls with their seatbelts on looking amazing.  The light filters in through the windows creating a soft light that flatters anyone.  Now make sure you have your sunroof closed if the light is too bright from above.  Or open it if there are a lot of clouds.  The only rule here is to only take selfies while parked (or at a stoplight while your neighbor car watches on and laughs).  Who doesn't laugh at someone taking a selfie?  And who hasn't been caught taking a selfie?  Of course not me.  

4)  Go easy on the filters.  This is HUGE.  Many of you just pop a filter on your selfie and don't ease up on the opacity.  Always make sure you put the opacity at least to 50% or less.  Because you don't want to look like an orange.  

So, there are my tips for making yourself as beautiful as you really are.  I really do love seeing photos of you all on my instagram and not just your kids or dog or grandma.  It makes me happy.  So please keep posting and try these tips!  If you do let me know.  I would love to see!  Have a great weekend friends!!!  

This is a selfie(s) with my youngest boy... Love him so.