nashville child photographer

Selfie Tips | Nashville Photographer

As soon as I walk into a room, I notice light.  What it illuminates, what it hides.  And sometimes I can't help but take a selfie, without shame.  But my favorite kind of selfie is when I get to include this pretty girl.  You beautiful, exhausted Mothers of the World: GET IN THE PHOTOGRAPH.  You will never be this young again.  And, I promise, your children will want to remember you like this.  Regardless of the bags under your eyes.  Regardless of the few extra pounds you may carry.  And I am here to help you take photographs of yourself in the most beautiful, true way possible.  I want to teach you to find beauty in yourself naturally with the right angles, with the right light and with the best editing possible.  

So, let's get started!  

First step:  Find the light.  Start noticing where the light hits in your home at certain times of the day.  If you have a blank wall where the light hits in the afternoon, you are golden!  (no pun intended). I usually am drawn to late afternoon light that comes through my kitchen window.  

Second step:  Walk towards the light.  No you are not entering into eternity but you are going to shine like an angel when we are finished.  And bring a child with you, if you dare.  

Third step:  Move around.  Put your phone on selfie mode and then click on your face to get the exposure correct with the light.  Move around to find what looks best on your face.  Don't worry about what is behind you right now.  Just find the light that makes you look most beautiful.  

Fourth step:  My secret for the best selfies ever: put your phone on the 3 second timer.  You have so much more control and can move your hand further away from your face which will make you look slimmer, naturally.  Up and away.  

Fifth step:  Just keep shooting.  If you don't like it, try something different until you do.  Even something as simple as putting your hair up can make a huge difference.  

Final step:  Edit.  But edit lightly.  One of my favorite apps for editing iPhone photos is Facetune.  Mainly because it allows blurring of the background.  I will go over editing in detail in a later blog post.  


The image below is one of the first photos we took together in this series.  Notice the light hitting the wrong areas.  Our eyes are completely in the shadow.  I usually try to always highlight the eyes.  And the light here just seems to accentuate all of my wrinkly parts.  A BIG NO.  

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The next image goes in the complete other direction.  The light is way too bright on our faces.  How do you change this?  Click on different areas of your face and the exposure will change accordingly.  Or you can manually change the exposure by sliding the exposure up or down by clicking on the sun icon.  

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The one below was my favorite of the group.  I like how the light gently hits our eyes and the soft expression on both of our faces.  

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Below is the fully edited image.  I edited everything on my iPhone.  I blurred out the background and lightly brushed my face, specifically on the place the sunlight directly hits.  And, of course, put a filter on it.  But the real secret is with editing is to NEVER use the full power of the tool.  Always move it down in intensity.  

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Feel free to ask me any questions!  Hope this was helpful!

McDonalds & Smiles | Nashville Photographer

When I tell most people that I have worked at McDonalds, they tend to not believe me.  But it's true.  I worked at Mcdonalds in Clearwater, Fl in the summer between my sophmore & junior year of college while on a summer project with Campus Crusade.  I was able to work with several friends but also made a lot of new friends as well.  One was nicknamed "Shorty" and we started out as the "hospitality" staff, aka janitors.  The manager took one look at me and my little silver Mazda Mx-6 in the parking lot and put me in charge of cleaning the restrooms.  To this day, every time I walk into a McDonalds bathroom it takes me back to that summer.  The all smell exactly the same.  Unfortunately Shorty did not stay the entire summer due to a police car pulling up and taking him away in the middle of our work day.  I stood there crying knowing that I would probably never see him again.  I then convinced my manager, Lori, that I was ready to work the drive through.  Now Lori was not the typical McDonalds manager- she ran this place like a tight ship.  It was one of the busiest McDonalds in the south and she had us on timers.  So when a car would pull up in the window she would yell, HBO, HBO!!!  I was like "we don't have TV here, Lori!"  Then she explained that it meant, "Hand Bag Out the Window!"  So literally my hand would have the bag out the window as the car pulled through.  It was quite fun.  She saw my potential so eventually moved me to the first window where I was able to take orders and receive money.  I made up a little song for our customers that I am glad I can't sing to you but just imagine: "welcome to McDonalds, can I take your order pleeeeeease?"  Most customers loved it but a few just rolled their eyes at me.  Oh well.  The one thing I was terrible at was dropping change as they handed it to me.  Thankfully there was a really tall guy that worked with me and he would grab me by my feet and drop me out the window so I could get the dropped change as the blood rushed to my head.  

So, yes, that is a lot of stories.  But I have a point.  The other day I was driving through McDonalds with my 3 year old.  YES I go to McDonalds, Go ahead, call DCS.  But I still love their fries.  And if you don't then who are you?  Anyways, every single time I drive through McDonalds, I look right into the workers eyes and smile with a big thank you.  Why?  Because there is a small part of me that knows how they feel behind that window.  It's hard being stuck behind a window while watching everyone else enjoy their so called freedom in their car.  I would look at those people and just want to jump in.  And some people were just down right mean.  So even though I can't identify fully with the person behind the window, I have stood where they stand.  I know what it feels like to have someone smile at me and say thank you.  It changes things.  Those little things make a difference in your day when you are doing something so mundane and at times, really smelly.  

I guess what I am trying to say is that we really can't fully identify with anyone but there are ways we can feel a bit of their story.  I am thankful that I had the chance to work at McDonalds coming from my life of privilege.  Honestly I think it changes me more now than it did then.  Though I will say putting on that turquoise hat and pleated black pants was definitely a bit humbling at the time.  And my kids are really going to hate me when I make them go work somewhere that is out of their comfort zone.  But I still have the nametag so I have proof that if I can do it, so can they.  And just maybe it will make them smile at someone and really mean it too.  

Finding the Light | Nashville Photography

I needed a bit of a break from my super intense personal blog posts so I thought I would start sharing with you all a few of my photography tricks.  If you follow me on instagram then you saw many of them in my video posts a few months ago.  I took them all down so thought I would write a lot of them out here so you can have them for reference if you want!

One of the first questions (besides what to wear) from my clients is usually, "where do we need to take the photos?"  In the beginning of my years as a photographer that was also a very important question to me.  I would spend hours scouting out the perfect locations and trying to find the exact right field or barn-like door.  Now I feel like I can go *almost anywhere and get the exact shot that I want.  How?  Looking for the light.  

The first thing I look at when I arrive at a location is where the sun is located in the sky and any area that is shaded in the vicinity.  Then I decide on which shaded area I want to try first.  I usually look for an area that has the sun behind it and is partially blocks out the sun if the sun is high in the sky.  If the sun is lower then I just find an open area and shoot with the sun behind me.  That gives my photos the dreamy, sun-washed look that you expect to see from me.  Now the one thing you must be careful of is the sun-rays can impact a photo by blocking out part of a head or an entire person.  So I always just move around until I get the exact right light that I want to fall on my subject.  MOVE AROUND- even with an iphone.  It makes such a difference!  

So next time you are taking photos with your camera or iphone, try looking for the light.  When I see beautiful light, I cannot help but take a photo.  Just ask my patient children!  Please feel free to ask any questions that you may have...

Here are a few photos that I took in the middle of Sevier Park with a tree and the sun behind my subjects.  There were many distractions behind the tree but the sun was able to wash those things out so the focus could fall on my subject and the beautiful light.