nashville photography

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!


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.  


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.  


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.  


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.  


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

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.  

Enneagram Project | Nashville Portrait Photographer

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” 
― Brené Brown

I can remember the day like it was yesterday.  I was sitting in a comfy chair in the front, sun-lit sitting room of my beautiful home that I had dreamed of for years.  I had it all.  A family.  A home that we built in the perfect Nashville neighborhood.  A dream job.  Really good friends.  And here I sat, lonely and sad.  Really sad.  I was seeing a therapist at the time that suggested for me to read this book by a researcher named Brene Brown called "The Gifts of Imperfection."   Another "one of those kinds of books" I thought to myself.  You know what I am talking about:  the self help kind of advice that motivates you for like a day and then you forget about it the next.  I didn't need another reason to feel like a failure.  But, like I always do, I ordered the book and started to read it.  And, sitting in that chair, with my sad, heavy heart as the sunlight tried unsuccessfully to cheer me up, something in me awoke.  It was one of the first times in my life that I thought, YES, YES, YES, this person GETS IT.  They get me.  I felt seen.  I felt heard.  And I no longer felt alone.  

Brene gave a voice to my heart.  She gave me permission to step into the vulnerability that I always desired.  She named this dirty, ugly thing that I had been carrying around for way too long: shame.  And she also pushed me to be honest about my story.  To truly delve into the deepest, most shameful places and live there for a bit, to tell the truth about who I really am.  Now, let me tell you, it SUCKED.  It was not a fun journey.  To "explore your darkness" is a slow, painful exploration.  It was as if I was only given a scalpel and a very, small flashlight to find my way out of this hole I had buried myself in for years and years.  But the beautiful thing was that I had help.  And the honest thing is that I could not have done it alone.  I had the help of a professional therapist that sat with me in my tears and questions.  I had the help of my dear friends that did not give up on me, even when they had every reason to give up.  And I now know that I had help from a God that loved me regardless of my darkness.  

So, years later, I sit here in the light.  Am I happy?  Sometimes.  Am I lonely?  Yes ,a lot of the times.  But do I know myself?  Hell yes.  And that is the greatest gift of all.  And it is a gift that I want to give to others.  One of the tools that I was given to help me better know myself (besides therapy, Brene Brown and wine) is the Enneagram.  If you don't know much about it, I would suggest heading to the Enneagram Institute website  for a better description than I can give you and a test to take that can help you know your type.  

For those of you who know your Enneagram type fairly well, I would love your help.  I am going to start a project this month on vulnerability and the Enneagram.  I would love to photograph one or two people for each type, men and women.  If you are interested, please email me at with a current photo, your type and a brief explanation of what your type has taught you about yourself.  

My hope is that we can feel less alone.  That we can encourage those who have not "explored the darkness" to step in with brave hearts because the journey is painful but damn worth it.  And that there is LIGHT on the other side.  Love and peace to all of you!  

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.  

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!

Fall | Nashville Photography

I've been thinking a lot about seasons lately.  Honestly, I have always hated it when someone told that it was "just a season."  Especially when it came to my babies not sleeping.  It just seemed to diminish my painful sick exhaustion to mere seasonal allergies.  But the word "seasons" has been coming to me in a new way lately.  Fall has always been such a beautiful, yet also strangely aching time for me.  There is so much beauty in the smell and feel of the air yet there is so much loss experienced as the colorful leaves slowly fall to the ground leaving bareness all around.  

And my life seems to be in the midst of Fall itself.  Letting go of what I have held on to for so long through the Spring and Summer of my life.  Yet in the midst of the letting go, I am also learning to hope.  Knowing that Winter is coming and that the bareness will soon turn to beauty once again.  And isn't there some sort of odd beauty in the bareness as well?  You can see a bit more, right?  I am always amazed at being able to see things that I didn't see when the leaves hung on the trees: a neighbors house, the trail wrapping around the river, the sunset, the moon appearing a bit earlier through the bare branches.  And in this falling away of what I have known and held on to for so long, I am slowly learning to see a bit more.  More of myself.  More of my family.  More of God.  And the seeing isn't always pleasant or easy but it only gives way to growth.  And growth always leads to beauty.  Always.  

So, here I am on this path towards Winter and longing for Spring.  Yet I will stay in the falling away with my hands open knowing that this is where I am suppose to be and that soon my hands will be filled once again.  But I must keep them open and ready to hold whatever comes.  For it is in the openness that I can blossom.  

May wherever you are give you peace today.... 

The photo below is from one of my favorite places on earth, Onsite in Cumberland Furnace, TN.  If you are at a place that you feel like you need to hit a reset button on life, I would strongly suggest you looking into going here for a week.  It changed me and continues to change me today.  I am also happy to talk with anyone about my experience there as well.  Feel free to reach out.  

Blackbird | Nashville Photographer

[i needed to give a preface to this blog post.  this feels very vulnerable and scary for me to share but i am finding that writing lately is therapy for me.  so i am putting myself out there in this weird online world to be judged or to be loved.  if you don't enjoy vulnerability and realness then maybe just stop reading now.  otherwise, read on and hopefully you will find some sort of companionship in your own story as well.]

The last 10 years Halloween has mainly been about making sure the kids had the right costumes and then raiding their candy after they go to bed.  I will usually put on some cat ears and call it a night.  But this year some friends and I decided to dress up and go to an actual adult party.  After changing my mind about 4 times, I finally settled on being a blackbird.  My kind friends at Fruition Salon wanted to help me with my hair and makeup so we spent the afternoon gluing on feather lashes and creating my bird-like hair.   Because, truth is, if I was left to my own devices then I would have looked like a bird nest instead of a bird.  So I was very grateful for their help.  

I want to say that I chose to be a blackbird for some deep, meaningful reason but honestly it was because I absolutely HATE birds.  I mean I like to watch them but if they get near me, I FREAK out.  So I couldn't think of anything more frightening to be than a black bird.  And Halloween is all about being scary, right?  So I head out feeling great looking forward to a night out with some of my closest friends.

I felt so happy that night, sitting around the fire with some truly kind, generous, thoughtful people.  All was right in my world.  And then it hit like a ton of bricks while sitting in a room with a handful of dear friends that are loving me so well these days.  My happiness turned to weeping.  I have been finding lately that when I find myself truly happy then a deep sense of sadness also rushes through me as well.  So I sat there and wept.  And I was loved.  And held.  Then one grabbed a guitar and started strumming "blackbird."  I didn't really understand the significance at the time because I was just in the midst of releasing so much feeling.  And the releasing was not just sadness and pain but also my happiness.  It was a cleansing, holy moment as the party thundered on downstairs.   And both of those were with me- the thundering happiness and the gentle sadness.  

The next morning I woke up with "blackbird" singing to me in the back of my mind.  And then it hit me.  My costume did mean something so much more than I realized.  And the words of that song could not say it any better...

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free

Blackbird fly
Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night

Blackbird fly
Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

And maybe next time when I see a black bird flying towards me, I won't be so afraid.  For it brought about my release and showed me the strength in my own brokenness.  

Happy Halloween to all of you friends.  


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.

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.