Kiddo Personality Portraits: Part 2 {franklin, tn family photographer}

Last week, I kicked off a 5-part series called “Kiddo Personality Portraits” that stems from the power portrait minis I did several weeks ago.

You can check out Part 1 HERE!

The only thing people had to do to get some photos was to purchase one of Kate T. Parker’s books “Strong is the New Pretty” or “Heart of a Boy,” and they’d get a 5-minute mini session for one kiddo. I know 5 minutes doesn’t seem like a lot, but we got a TON of pure gold.

Kate’s books are all about celebrating children for who they are, just as they are. I fell in love with the images, story and heart in “Strong is the New Pretty” and wanted to share it with others. In keeping with the sentiment behind her book (and in keeping with how I prefer to work with children, anyway), I told parents to let their kids dress themselves. That meant that some came in bathing suits, some in pajamas and even one girl came in a swim cap, goggles, rainbow tutu and mardi gras beads! It was perfect!

This week we’ve got a sister & brother, another sister & brother and then their adorable new-big-brother cousin in a cape!

A shoot like this can be purchased as well if you want something similar for your children. They make great images for playrooms, kids bedrooms and common areas!

girl in swim cap
three photos of swimmer girl
close up of girl putting on goggles
swimmer girl pretending to dive
boy smiles
young boy side eyes camera
funny boy jumps from bench
blue-eyed boy looks up at camera
black and white portraits of young boy
girl holds pink polaroid camera
girl poses with sunglasses
girl with double french braids spins
black and white close up of girl with french braids
young boy with ball cap and baseball mitt
black and white image of close-up of boy with baseball mitt
boy holds out baseball
black and white image of young boy with baseball cap
young pitches baseball
toddler redhead boy closeup
black and white image of toddler boy with cute cheeks
boy toddler wears big brother cape
cute little boy in cape
toddler big brother runs around in a blue cape

Kiddo Personality Portraits: Part 1 {Franklin, TN Lifestyle Photographer}

A few weeks ago I had the BEST time doing the BEST shoot for 3 hours in the heat and I didn’t get paid for any of it.

The only thing people had to do to get some photos was to purchase one of Kate T. Parker’s books “Strong is the New Pretty” or “Heart of a Boy,” and they’d get a 5-minute mini session for one kiddo. I know 5 minutes doesn’t seem like a lot, but we got a TON of pure gold.

Kate’s books are all about celebrating children for who they are, just as they are. I fell in love with the images, story and heart in “Strong is the New Pretty” and wanted to share it with others. In keeping with the sentiment behind her book (and in keeping with how I prefer to work with children, anyway), I told parents to let their kids dress themselves. That meant that some came in bathing suits, some in pajamas and even one girl came in a swim cap, goggles, rainbow tutu and mardi gras beads! It was perfect!

Before each kid got their photos, they had to show me their favorite page and tell me WHY it was their favorite page. This part was amazing & heartwarming. So many kids connected to so many of the kids in the book. And parents who had never heard of these books before were telling me that their kids pick up the book and look through it on their own, and that it created dialogue among parent and child that had never been before! How beautiful!

I’ll be sharing some of the images over the course of several posts. For Part 1, I have one boy who was by himself and then I had a brother and sister. As I’m sure you’ll be able to quickly tell, I’m really partial to the black & white images!

First, let me show you their favorite pages, then on to their images!

And, don’t forget, you can always book a regular session with me and we can do something like this!

three kids hold up their favorite pages from Strong is the New Pretty
boy in swim cap in black and white
boy in swim cap smiles with braces
color and black and white of boy outside in swim cap near trees
girl in pink shirt holds soccer ball
black and white image close up of girl with freckles
girl in pink dress jumps for joy
girl closes her eyes and feels the breeze
girl in pink top crosses her arms
girl sits on soccer ball
young boy shows his elbow scrape from rollerskating
boy holds his skateboard overhead
little boy sticks his tounge
boy with curly hair jumps
black and white of young boy skate boarding

Birthday Photos for Three Siblings with Really Cool Tradition {Family Photographer, Franklin, TN}

This is my FOURTH year doing birthday photos for this set of cuties! Well, technically, fourth year with the oldest two and second year with the youngest. Last year the baby turned one and we did a smash cake session along with all the usual photos, and it was ADORABLE.

Their mom does the neatest “show their growth” thing that I have ever seen a mom do. We all know that many moms will document baby’s first year month-by-month with a onesie that says the number of months or maybe a nursery blanket, but this mama captures each year in a very special way. She has her daughters “wear” her wedding dress (“wear” in parenthesis because it’s a loose term when you’re putting it on a two year old - haha!), and she has her son wear one of his dad’s white button-down shirts. As they grow, they begin to fill out these items more and more.

It’s a sentimental and magical way to document the inevitable passing of time.

It’s also kind of hilarious to document how their personalities change over the years because THIS year big brother and sister were not nearly as amused by me! They’re getting to that stage of being more self-conscious and they were definitely not as into smiling readily, but more into giving me all kinds of anti-smile faces. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t crack ‘em! Haha!

The littlest one was just the sweetest. I have always had the oldest girl grab the sides of the dress and spin from side-to-side, so this year the two year old was old enough to stand up and try the same and she LOVED IT! She just spun and spun and threw the dress in the air. It was the sweetest. It’s a perfect way to capture a birthday milestone in photos.

After we finish with the dress & shirt looks, we always move on to something a little more fun! We do a different background each year. This year, for their 2nd, 6th and 7th birthday photos, I did a background of all different color streamers. It looked so festive!

This type of shoot isn’t a traditional lifestyle session like I normally do, but I’m all about customizing my shoots to what works for my clients so that’s what we do here every year!

big brother wears dad's shirt for birthday shoot
black and white image of african american boy on his birthday
7 year old boy wears dad's shirt and laughs for birthday photos
close up of boy in white shirt on green background
boy wearing dad's white button down shirt looks out window
black and white photos of 7 year old boy wearing his dad's shirt
triple photos of african american 7 year old boy on his birthday black & white images
close up of birthday boy pulling shirt up to his face
birthday girl age 6 wears her mom's wedding dress
african american 6 year old girl wears her mom's wedding dress for birthday photos
close up of 6 year old on her birthday with blue green background
birthday photos of 6 year old in franklin tn
6 year old birthday girl in her mom's wedding dress
black and white photo of young african american birthday girl in mom's wedding dress sitting down
birthday girl in black and white age 6
two year old spins in mom's wedding dress for her birthday
two year old birthday girl in black and white photo wearing mom's wedding dress
adorable two year old poses for camera for birthday photos while wearing her mom's wedding dress
two year old spins in mom's wedding dress for birthday photoshoot
birthday photoshoot for little girl who spins in her mom's wedding dress
little 2 year old african american girl gets her birthday photos
streamer background for 2nd birthday photos
close up of 2 year old hands holding  a tutu for birthday photos
hair bow for 2nd birthday photos
african american 2 year old girl laughs during her birthday photoshoot
adorable girl laughs during 2nd birthday photos
2nd birthday photo of girl in tutu dress with colorful streamer background

3 siblings for their birthday shoot
three african american siblings smile for their birthday photoshoot with colorful background
black and white images of three young siblings
siblings hug necks for sweet birthday photo
photo of 2 year old, 6 year old and 7 year old siblings
black and white photo of three young brother and sisters
pink shoes of little girl sitting on chair
2 year old girl sits in chair with head in her hand
7 year old birthday boy swirls streamer
set of three closeups of 7 year old birthday boy with colorful streamer background
7th birthday boy smiles with streamer background
portrait of birthday boy on 7th birthday
black and white photo of 7 year old african american boy being silly
photos of 7 year old boy on the floor laughing
6 year old birthday girl makes a kiss face
6 year old girl does the floss in a series of 3 photos
birthday girl smiles for her 6th birthday photos
cute 6 year old does frog pose for a birthday photo
black and white images of birthday girl on 6th birthday
birthday girl portrait colorful backdrop
Brand Shoot for Jewelry Maker Who Doesn't Like Her Photo Taken {Personal Branding Photographer, Nashville, TN}

Lindsay Stafford, the owner of Prickly Dame, mama to two adorable kiddos & wife to the original guitarist of the band Train, makes some dang cool jewelry. She started woodworking in 2015 and now makes jewelry out of reclaimed wood.

She recently launched her business online and wanted some photos for a “creator card” that she’d be putting with each purchase as well as having some new personal branding photos for her website.

In our current online consumer world, potential customers and clients want to see your face. They want to feel like they have a general idea of who you are, and having a variety of photos on your website - especially where you are looking directly into the camera (basically, virtually making eye contact with your customer) - can help achieve that. If you’re not a recognizable giant brand like Target or you don’t have that personal connection point, people are simply not as likely to purchase from you as they are from someone willing to share a bit about themselves.

Now Lindsay, like most women and business owners I’ve worked with, came to me going, “I HATE getting my photo taken.” She’s obviously very photogenic, so it’s not about whether or not “the camera loves you.” For anyone who is camera shy, it’s about feeling awkward, feeling like you don’t know what to do and like you don’t know how to relax and be natural so that the camera can capture the real you. So, how do we overcome this?

It’s all about your photographer, truly. You’ve got to make sure that whoever you choose to do your branding photography is someone that you feel comfortable with. It helps if you can laugh with them and even feel like the two of you are friends. A photographer doesn’t just hold up a camera and snap photos. A photographer’s job is to help you shake off your camera anxiety and have some fun. For this shoot, Lindsay even asked if my neighbor - a friend of hers - could stop by to help her loosen up! OF COURSE I said that’s fine! I’m always game for anything that can make my clients feel less self-conscious!

We blasted some music that she loves, had her friend there, laughed a lot and maybe poured a small glass of champagne (not me, ladies, I need to keep my wit’s about me when shooting)! And we did the whole shoot in about 30 minutes.

The result? Photos that she LOVED and that are getting tons of Instagram love and that are now all over her website. Why? Because they accurately represent who she is and also show off her awesome jewelry!

redhead with short hair smiles at the camera to show off her jewelry
personal branding photoshoot in Nashville tn for jewelry maker
brand shoot on white background shows wood bangles
nashville tn personal branding photographer shoots wood jewelry maker
examples of brand photo shoot for jewelry
redhead with short hair on white background
female jewelry maker poses for brand photographer wearing all white
black and white image of back of jewelry maker wearing her wooden bangles
close up of handmade wooden necklace
jewelry maker shows off wooden jewelry while wearing white tulle skirt
personal brand shoot of woman in white tank and black ripped jeans
woman in black jeans and white tank and wooden jewelry
redheaded female jewelry maker poses for personal branding photos in white tank top sitting on white stool
brand photos for wood jewelry maker show close up of bracelets
jewelry maker in franklin tn does branding photos with her wood jewelry
closeup and full body shot of wooden jewelry maker in nashville tn
Sisters Maternity Photoshoot {Pregnancy Photographer, Nashville, TN}

When I realized that my sweet pregnant friend, Kristina, had a look-alike (not twin) sister and that they were both pregnant only a few weeks apart, I just about BEGGED them to let me photograph them! At first I was thinking a drone shot of the two of them lounging on pool mats in a fancy pool would be AH-MAZING, but they were feeling too “pregnant-y” for that (you mamas know what I’m talking about) so we scrapped the swimsuit idea.

We ended up going to Kristina’s house and her sister brought over some dresses and we did a very casual maternity photoshoot with the two of them that probably lasted maybe 30 minutes.

My vision was to have them on the front porch together, shoes off, just enjoying each other’s company. The image I had in my head was to give the photos a current-day take on the photos we see now when we look back at our grandparent’s images - not a lot of background blur because that wasn’t really a thing yet, black & white and simply showing daily life.

We did some maternity photos like that, but then her sister also had these matching lace kimono things and I was like OH. WE NEED THESE. I pictured them with backlight pouring through, accentuating the feminine designs of the lace & the obviously feminine lines of two baby bellies.

BUT FIRST - haha! - I got there before her sister arrived, so we just hung out in her bedroom looking for good light and chatting, so I had to snap some images in there. The painting above her bed is her own! Her artwork is amazing and you can see more of her work HERE.

If you’re looking for maternity photos, let’s chat!

pregnant mom sits in chair in her bedroom
pregnant mom in chair
series of photos of pregnant mom wearing black in her bedroom
black and white image of pregnant mom
pregnant woman relaxing in chair
pregnant mom
pregnant mom relaxes
pregnant sisters say hello
pregnant sisters sit on front stoop steps
maternity photoshoot for sisters
pregnant sisters hanging out
black and white image of pregnant sisters outside
maternity pictures of sisters pregnant at the same time
maternity photoshoot black and white
pregnant sisters back-to-back
maternity shoot of pregnant sisters standing back-to-back
black and white image of pregnant sisters in cotton dresses
maternity shoot of pregnant woman in her doorframe
pregnant woman in striped dress in doorframe
maternity photo of woman in her doorway
pregnant sisters stand belly-to-belly
black and white maternity image of pregnant sisters
maternity photoshoot of sisters in backlight with lace coverups
black and white image of pregnant sisters
maternity shoot of sisters in backlit doorway
sister pregnant bellies together
maternity pictures of sisters
maternity photoshoot of woman wearing tight black dress and lace kimono
black and white image of pregnant woman
black and white maternity photo door reflection
sisters maternity photoshoot
maternity shoot of pregnant sisters black and white
pregnant sisters maternity shoot close up of bellies
How to Take Amazing Photos of Your Summer Vacation {Nashville, TN Lifestyle Photographer}

Your vacation was awesome. But your photos are…only okay. Or maybe you got home, looked back at your photos and went, “Oh! How did we miss taking a photo of that bird that came and sat on the deck every morning?!” Didn’t you love that bird? You know you named him.

Amazing vacation photos aren’t just about great light and beautiful beaches (but that helps!), it’s about capturing the routines, details and unexpected surprises that happen so that you can always look back and spark that same joy that felt ON that vacation.

Have you ever had a family vacation that was less than you’d hoped? Maybe it rained too much or the kids fought too much or you missed getting on the sunset cocktail cruise, but then, months or years later when you look back at your photos, you find yourself feeling nostalgic? You think, “That was a good time.” You laugh about the rain and the fights. You’re painting over your initial memory with these good feelings. It’s so important to have photos of summer vacations!

Let me give you some tips. I’ll do some here and then - I normally don’t do this - I’ll comment between photos as you scroll down to talk about specific tips relevant to some of the images. So, scroll to the bottom for more tips!


    • Even if you’ve never been to this place before, you have a routine. You have an unpacking routine, a “let’s go explore” routine, etc. For us, the girls always run around the rental house, choose their rooms and then immediately head to the beach with Papa (we vacation with my folks a lot).


Part of our routine is to assess the shell situation for shell-hunting adventures!


Ugly bags of snacks are normally not our routine, but it simply shows that we were fresh off the airplane because they were eating their airplane snacks!


I love when my girls first investigate the water. They check the temperature and feel the ocean water on their feet reminding themselves of what it’s like to be at the beach.


Back to the house to unpack and get on some bathing suits!


Husband’s routine: Immediately unpack in a very orderly manner while girls explore with Papa. Then, put on his vacation hat, grab a drink and head down!


Nana’s routine: Unpack all the groceries and put them away neatly while girls explore with Papa and husband (mine) unpacks. Change into something beachy, grab a glass of wine and watch everyone swim!


Enjoying that first ocean dip!


Typically, the houses we rent also have a pool, so the girls will dip in the pool before drying off and getting ready for dinner.


Night One: We all watch Jeopardy! hahahaha!


Night one sunset beach walk.

  • TIP: Your photo will automatically make a shot like this way too bright because it thinks you want to see all the details of your gorgeous child’s face. But you don’t. So, on your screen, darken your image by dragging down with your finger until your subject is silhouetted!


Our rental at night. I just thought it looked so cool.

  • TIP: Back up further than you think! This was our little spot on the beach every day. It’s so easy to take a “normal” shot of it, but if there’s something you can stand behind that will act as a frame, then try it!

  • DETAILS: Don’t be afraid to chop people’s heads and limbs off like it’s the French Revolution if it means getting some good detail shots.

  • ABOVE: I just loved her little turtle tattoo - so perfect for my beach girl.

  • BELOW: Papa ALWAYS makes sandcastles and he always finishes them off using this technique. A detail shot is great here - this will be a Papa move that the girls will remember forever and they’ll always have this image to remind them.


Can’t beat enjoying the water.

  • TIP: I LOVE beach photos in black & white. Try using an app like Color Story or Afterlight to turn a few your photos into black & white. Images with a lot of sun are the best!


My oldest always makes these sand balls and starts a collection of them. Who knows, but it cracks me up!

  • TIP: Put your phone camera in Portrait Mode so that the background is blurred and focus on an object in the foreground while the people in the background are blurred! Both the ABOVE & BELOW photo show this.


Morning seashell walks with Papa before everyone else is up is a standard.

  • TIP: Most of us shoot all kinds of photos as the sun sets over the ocean, but don’t forget about that lovely morning sun! Try to catch it just to the side of your subject!

  • TIP: Try different perspectives. Shooting down at the pool from the top of the stairs shows way more of the scene than had I taken it from the ground. Great way to remember our little home for the week!


I just love that they’re both getting ready for the boat trip in their own way - opening snacks and figuring out the map! He’s always our navigation guy!


Papa drives & the girls get to steer!


Boat silliness. Love shots like these because boat sillines will change as they age, so capturing this kind of stuff is like creating a mini time capsule.

  • TIP: Give someone else the camera! I know you can’t see my face, but getting in the frame with my little one and my husband is so important! My kids need to remember I was there, too! haha!


More black & white. Doesn’t it look so timeless?

  • TIP: This is the kind of shot that most people remember to take all the time, “Everyone look at me and smile!” But it’s actually the shot that I have to remind myself to take or I’ll miss it! I absolutely think there’s a place for everyone to snuggle up and look at the camera! It creates a wonderful connection to the outside viewer, and in a few years it will be you looking in and younger versions of all of you looking back.

  • TIP: Everyone knows to capture the goofy stuff, right?! It’s the best!

  • TIP: Capture other parts of the scene to better tell the story.

    • I could have just focused in on my girls actually getting along and being all squished up and adorable, but I also included my husband navigating in the background. With his back turned, his focus on the sea in front of him, it makes the world of my two girls even more secret feeling.


Because when you kid actually looks at you and smiles without you begging, you take a photo!!


Goggle shots, you guys. Goggles for the WIN.

  • TIP: Capture the scenery when no one is around, but make sure it shows evidence of your vacation.

    • No one is in this photo, but when we were done swimming we’d hang up our towels to dry. Lets us remember what our rental looked like and the towels are like writing “We were here,” in wet cement.


Always a tradition of Paper looking for fish with my oldest!

  • TIP: Be sneaky. Reading always means that you’ve got a moment to yourself. A moment when no one is bothering you and you can focus and get lost in a great story. Capturing my husband in his vacation hat (he seriously brings it on all our vacations) reading, and doing so from behind - lends itself to that quite time when no one is bothering you.

  • TIP: I know you’re at the beach or in some exotic land, but don’t forget about the moments that happen in the in-between. The downtime when everyone is resting or gearing up for a new adventure. So much love, connection and even rest and renewal happen during these in-betweens.


You’ve always got to write in the sand.

  • TIP: Another great way to use portrait mode is for something like this image with the heart-shaped shell. Have your subject hold it out toward you at arm’s length so that your subject is blurred.


WATERPROOF CAMERA - So, I have a special case for my big girl camera so that I can bring it in the water. There are also tons of very affordable options on Amazon for waterproof cameras (though I have no idea how good they are) and even options for iPhone waterproof housing. I have to say, being able to take my camera into the water is one of the BEST ways to capture a great beach vacation!

  • TIP: Having everyone repeat the same action is fun way to create a mini photo series!


Again, hand someone your camera. I love that I have a few when I’m just loving on my big girl.

  • TIP: Have your husband wear a Hawaiian shirt and drink whiskey and pretend he’s talking to a big crowd. haha!!


Again, don’t forget the indoor in-between times.


I love to end all my beach photo collections - and albums - with people walking away. It’s like they’re saying goodbye for now.

Colorful Self-Portraits {Nashville, TN Creative Photographer}

There’s an amazing group of photographers from all over the world that participates in weekly self-portrait challenges, which I am proud to be a part of. It’s for all of us to push ourselves creatively, to make sure that we are IN the frame and not always behind the camera, never showing up in our own visual histories, and way to take time for ourselves without the timelines or pressures of business & simply create.

Each month there is a theme and although we are encouraged to shoot within the theme weekly, not a lot of us do (but some do!). I’ve actually gone a few months without participating, but I’m fine with that. I kind of jump in here and there when the inspiration strikes!

“Shouty Color” was one theme from last year, and it was a blast. I bought this dress and that loud-ass hat from Target, along with some colorful wrapping paper that I tapped to one of my foamcore backgrounds. Then, I flung my hair a lot. haha! I had one or two lights set up, and that was it!

Each month, the creator of the group, Adri de la Cruz, chooses a collection of images to share on the Dear Photographer blog. The first one in this series was chosen for the Shouty Color month! It’s an awesome collection, and I highly encourage you to check out.

So, here’s what us creative photographers do when we have a few minutes of downtime:

Looking for a creative shoot for your personal brand or just some creative fun?

creative and colorful self portrait
shoulders down self portrait shot
colorful self portrait with pink dress
collage of self portraits in pink dress on colorful paper
self portrait of brunette with hair flip

Smash Cake Session Gone Wild! {One Year Birthday Photographer, Franklin, TN}

Oh, my goodness, this was the BEST smash cake session! If you’re not familiar with smash cake sessions, they’re when a baby turns one year old and they get a small cake that they are thoroughly encouraged to SMASH and eat all for the sole purpose of capturing adorable photos to celebrate baby’s 1st year!

This is Miss J and I took her older sister’s smash cake photos a few years ago. I was worried I wouldn’t get to do Miss J’s because her family moved to Atlanta last year, so I was thrilled with mom texted me and said they wanted to come up for photos!!

Her older sister’s shoot had a lot more color, but this year mom wanted to go with a more neutral palette, which I thought was just lovely. Now that we’re in our new house, I have a room up front for my studio and I finally have a space that has wood floors, so I can do smash cake sessions in my in-home studio now!

We always do at least 2 setups and we start out without the cake - obviously! I loved the way the background I had complimented her little purple paisley outfit. I edited these just a little more softly than I typically do. I tend to alter my editing styles just slightly to match the mood of the shoot and the people in it. I don’t think there’s a one-edit-fits-all!

The last cake smash session I had was a while ago, and she was NOT into her cake, which is more typical then you might think! But Miss J was ALL ABOUT IT. She even tipped over the entire cake stand at one point! It was hilarious and so perfect!

one year old girl in paisley dress
one year old girl fingers
little baby toes
closeup of eyelashes on baby girl
happy one year old
one year old baby pouts in her photoshoot
one year old baby holds onto stool
one year old girl tries to take off her bow
close up of one year old feet
baby pushes stool on first birthday
first birthday photos of girl in paisley dress
first birthday photoshoot with neural colors
one year old girl gets happy about her birthday cake
first birthday girl ready to eat her cake
one year old girl about to touch her smash cake
smash cake in vanilla and white
happy first birthday girl in white eyelet dress
birthday girl turns one and plays with her toes
baby girl tries cake on her first birthday
one year old girl put vanilla cake in her mouth
three photos of girl on her first birthday trying cake
chunky cheek girl tastes cake on first birthday
little girl looks to her mom after tasting cake
overhead shot of girl smashing cake
one year old girl cake smash photo session
one year old girl hands smashing vanilla cake
girl on first birthday with hands covered in cake
girl smiles big after trying cake on her first birthday
first birthday smash cake girl white dress
one year old girl tips over cake stand during cake smash session
cake smash session gets funny when girl topples cake
first birthday girl in white dress white backgroun
little girl so happy with her smash cake on her first birthday
cake stand upside down on girl 1st birthday cake smash
first girl birthday cake smash creams and white colors
closeup of one year old girl's face during cake smash session
little one year old girl covered in vanilla cake for first birthday
one year old girl in white dress played with cake-filled toes
cake smash session for one year old girl with neutral colors
adorable one year old girl with blonde hair and white dress sits in cake
happy girl on her first birthday
overturned cake stand from cake smash session
back of eyelet dress on one year old girl at her cake smash session
6 Tips for Taking Amazing Candid Photos of Your Kids This Summer {Nashville, TN Lifestyle Photographer}

Warm weather is HERE and it’s time to pull out the sprinklers and pop-up pools! Summer is so ripe for photos with it’s long days of sunlight, colorful palettes and large, popsicle-stained smiles!

We want to be able to capture that summer magic in photos. It’s so fleeting and the years move on too quickly, so having memories of our summers is so important. While I love gathering all the kiddos in one big group and asking them all to give me a crazy grin, I’m REALLY a fan of candidly capturing these hot-day & warm-night moments.

Now, I am always available for a summer lifestyle session - which I fully believe more people should do!! No one ever thinks to have a summer day or night professionally captured and it’s just THE BEST!!! But, since I can’t be there for you allllll the days…

…I want YOU to be able to be the best memory keeper that you can be for your family, I thought I’d share some of my top tips when it comes to taking candid photos of your kids!

And what would photo tips be without photos?! haha! DUH.

I’m often not far from my camera, and when we blew up this darling little MiniDip pool from Target for the first time, I KNEW I had to grab it and capture the first dip of “summer!” (Summer in quotes because it’s technically still spring.) And it has shows just about all the tips I talk about!

That brings me to my tips:

  1. Capture the FIRSTS. First dip in the pool this summer. First steps into the ocean. First lick of an ice cream cone. First one to cannonball into the pool without even feeling the water beforehand!

    In these images, it was our FIRST time in this adorable pool!

  2. Capture the LASTS. The last one out of the pool. The last one left cleaning up. The last one to fall asleep. The last neighborhood gathering before school begins again.

  3. Never ask anyone to look at you. That’s the whole point of CANDID! You don’t want to bring anyone out of the moment - it’ll stop the moment and ruin all the candid fun. Try to be a fly on the wall so that you can truly capture your kiddos all caught up having a good time (or maybe pouting in a corner - haha!)

  4. Move around. Stand up. Lie down. I talk a lot about changing your point of view when shooting the same scene. Most people simple stand there at the normal height they normally and shoot normally. Normal is no fun! haha! Get high and get low and move all around!

  5. Take photos of DETAILS. You don’t always have to see everyone’s face to tell your story! Don’t you love baby butt cheek hanging out of a swimsuit?! It’s the best! Take a photo of it! Wet hair, grass-covered feet, little fingers and little toes, even details of the objects that you’ll probably forget about years from now.

  6. Make it so no one can see you. If it’s possible to get completely hidden, but still get some photos, this is the BEST for capturing candids! On this day, once my girls started inviting some neighbor kids over to play, I went inside and shot through our kitchen window. They had no idea! haha!

BONUS TIP: Use a black & white filter on some, especially ones that you took in bright sunlight. They look amazing and it will add a “moment in time” feel to your photo!

So, take a look at my little backyard shoot and see if you can see my tips at play!

sisters in backyard pool
little girl swimming in lemon mini dip from target

5 year old in lemon pool
goofy face girl being silly in a pool
girl sitting on the side of a lemon blow up pool
candid photo of girl in backyard pool
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sisters playing in minidip lemon pool
little girl being silly in a blow up pool
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sisters play in lemon pool in backyard
sisters jump in blow up pool
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5 year old splashes in backyard pop up pool
neighbor kids play in pool
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older sister sits on porch playing with slime
black and white image of girl on porch
friends eating dinner on porch
Fun Creative Professional Headshot Session {Nashville, TN Personal Branding Photographer}

A single subject and a white background. I’m such a sucker for this look! It’s so clean and classic, and puts all the focus right on your subject. It’s hard to go wrong with this, especially for some personal branding fun.

Caitlin here proves my point. The undistracting background lets viewers and potential clients focus completely on her and get an instant sense of her personality and what she might be like to work with - fun, bold, trendy, sassy and personable.

We laughed a lot through our session, which is always a goal of time in order to help my clients relax and feel like themselves. Whenever I showed Caitlin some sneaks on my camera, her response was always, “Oh, yeah, that’s so me,” which is how I want everyone to feel! And, bonus, she had her bestie come by for the last half of the shoot. If that’s something that will loosen someone up and not make them feel self-conscious, then, I’m all for it!

This Work ‘n’ Play shoot was mainly for Caitlin to have some images to use on her new website for her graphic design business and some for social media posts. She’s got tons of great options for her landing page, about page, how it works section, and just about any other kind of section she could want!

For those influencers and online entrepreneurs needing more variety of branding photos and a consistent stream of images for social media, a personal branding package would make more sense, but this type of shoot can absolutely be integrated into that!

Are you looking to uplevel your branding game?! Click the button for a free chat with me!

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Triplets Graduate High School {Nashville, TN Senior Photographer}

2014. TPAC stage. A woman with brilliantly curly hair reads her story of being pregnant with and the early months of having triplets almost 14 years prior. A photo flashes on the large screen behind her of three barely-toddlers in yellow Fisher Price swings - all of them fast asleep with their arms limp and necks hanging in those funny ways that only babies’ bodies can when they’re exhausted. The woman reads that this was the only way she could get them to fall asleep at the same time.

That show was called Listen to Your Mother, and I got to share the stage with that amazing mom and many more as we all read stories of motherhood. (If you’ve got 10 minutes and want a laugh, this is mine! haha!)

Four years later, she called me and said they were graduating high school and wanted me to be their senior photographer. I was honored!

We shot in downtown Nashville, where the family likes to spend time together. I pretty much fell in love with all three of these kids during this shoot - they’re all so different and smart and creative and so open and ready for the next step in life. My friend and her husband have raised three beautiful humans with three beautiful souls and it was awesome to photograph them. Unlike my other senior sessions, shooting triplets was definitely a first!

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Fierce 8 Year Old Rocks Her Birthday Shoot {Unique Nashville, TN Family Photographer}

Ah, my favorite Miss Gia! I have been shooting her birthday photos for three years now, and her mom and dad always want something unique, which I LOVE! We met originally because our kiddos used to attend the same school in Franklin, TN, but now I love being able to call her mom, Corbi, a good friend AND a stellar realtor. ;)

This year Corbi wanted to incorporate some of Gia’s love of all things kick-ass, namely, her jiu jitsu skillz. Oh, yeah, with a “z.” She is one of the only girls in her class and she totally thrives on beating up guys! haha! If she were my kid, I’d be like YOU WALK IN FRONT - haha!

The photoshoot is really about her as her mom always uses it to create an annual album for her grandma, but Gia still insists her parents promise that they’ll hop in a few with her & make it a little family shoot. Isn’t that adorable?! My kids are so over photos that they just want it all to stop!

We knew we wanted to do a little face paint to make her look even more fierce, but I was a little nervous! Normally, my hair & makeup gal, Brittany, is all over that, so I had to bring out my face paint skills (no “z”) for this one! Thankfully, it wasn’t too difficult. ;) And, it only made sense that we head to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere to utilize their amazing property and jungle-like jungle gym! Such a fun shoot! I have to imagine Gia will show these at her wedding, RIGHT?!

8 year old girl warrior
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black and white photo of girl spinning in white dress
young girl leans on fence and kicks up her shoes
cute little girl leans on her arm and smiles
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young girl in karate uniform goes across the monkey bars
girl stands on giant stone snake looking fierce
8 year old girl in jiu jitsu outfit
young girl with facepaint climbs on jungle gym at nashville zoo grassmere
fierce little girl climbs jungle gym nashville zoo
young blonde girl in jiu jitsu outfit crouches down on wood playset
girl climbs on ropes in cool jungle gym
little girl in face paint looks fierce
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black and white photo of young girl with facepaint looking tough

Only Child with Her Mom & Dad {Franklin, TN Family Photographer}

Love this sweet family! Their daughter and my oldest used to go to preschool together, and each kid learned everyone’s first AND last name, so our daughter would come home talk about each kiddo using both names, so I will forever think of lovely Miss V here as both her first and last name together! haha!

Now, they wanted a family session, but they really wanted a lot of focus on their daughter. They’d done a shoot with me a few years back and hadn’t done anything since then. I have to say, I adore shooting this age. She, like my oldest, is 8 and they have this very interesting developing sense of self where they are not game to simply smile and giggle at you anymore! They want to be serious and they want their serious side seen. And I LOVE Miss V’s serious side! Could she be any more gorgeous!

Since the focus was mainly on V and since the family wanted some more traditional “looking at the camera” shots, this went a little differently than my usual lifestyle sessions. It was a little more posed, but nothing too stiff. And V was kind of in model mode for a while, so I just embraced it!

It’s always sweet to me to photograph mom and daughter and then dad and daughter. Each relationship can be so different, but still so special. I love making sure that moms and dads have those. And having just one child makes it easy!

How is your relationship different with your kids than your spouse’s? Let me know!

third grade giri in pink sweater
family of three close up
third grade girl in pink sweater and jeans poses
family of three hangs out outside ice cream shop
brunette girl in pink sweater and glasses
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family of three poses for photo on black bench
mother and daughter hug and smile for the camera
mother and 8 year old daughter in pastel colors
young girl with her mom hug and laugh
dad and daughter pose for camera
8 year old girl whispers into her dad's ear
daughter in pink sweater poses with dad
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adorable girl in glasses, jeans and pink sweater sits in front of double doors
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How to Choose Photos to Print & Display

You have photos, right?  Dumb question, I know.  I personally have over 12,000 on my phone alone – that doesn’t take into account all the ones from my “good” camera, of which I have plenty, being that I’m a photographer. (And a mom. I think my kids are over the camera in their faces).  

I get it.  I get photo overwhelm.

I also get the desire to want to print some photos!  And *gasp* maybe even FRAME them?!  Haha!  Isn’t that the dream? Gorgeous Pinterest-worthy walls of adorable vintage-filtered square shots with giant white mats and skinny frames?!  (Um…I want a wall like that.)

But what about something starting somewhere easier, like a frame on the mantle?  A canvas in the hall?  Something to replace the years-old photo of your family – the one that doesn’t even include your youngest – sitting on your husband’s desk at work?  And hasn’t Aunt Donna been asking for some updated photos forever?

Oh, and let’s not forget that professional family photo session you just had!  Love, love, love the photos, but now you have to decide either which images you want to purchase from the photographer, or maybe you got ALL the images (go you!) and now you need to pick a few to print.

Picking photos to print and display is not as hard as it seems.  I promise.  It’s just because we have too many dang choices.  

Let me help you get those images off your phone and into your home with a few questions to ask yourself.

1. Who wants a copy?

This question is especially useful after a professional photo session or if you feel you just took some really great photos of everyone on your phone.  Go through each family member, even really close friends who are like family, and think if they would appreciate any printed images. For example, grandma & grandpa on both sides, what do they want? An 8x10 of each kid? And then another, smaller, 5x7 of the kids together? Ok, check that.  Do you have sisters and brothers who would like some?  Go ahead and text people, too! “Hey, I’m finally printing some photos of the kids! Do you want any to frame?” 

Make sure to ask, too, which kind of image they prefer – a standard, looking at the camera smiling one, or one that shows more personality?  My mom always picks at least one where my girls look grumpy! Haha!  She says they make her laugh!

Here’s my biggest tip on this point: ask your kids to pick a few.  So many times parents pick photos, print them and put some frames in the living room.  But, you know what?  Kids LOVE photos of themselves and their families in their own rooms!  They love to giggle at silly photos, feel all warm and fuzzy with family photos and, best of all, they feel so confident when they are surrounded by images of themselves that they think they look great in.  Have them sit on your lap, and go through and see what they want.  Then, create a little space on a dresser or on the wall where they can display their memories!

2. Where are the photos going?

Take a look around your home.  Is there a wall you’ve always wanted to decorate with glorious photos?  A few spots on your built-in shelves?  Maybe something in your bedroom or even in the bathroom!  You know, a really funny or sweet photo can be great in a laundry room.  Now’s the time to walk around and look at shelves and walls and think about some places that could use some style!

I feel like there’s always a need for an updated photo in someone’s office.  Even a home office – treat it like an “away” office!  I like to keep a couple of frames on my desk in my home office, and my husband does the same in his “away” office.  Maybe twice a year or so, we simply print some new images and swap them out!

Like I mentioned above, don’t forget kids’ rooms, their bathrooms and their hallways.  It makes kids all kinds of happy to see faces they love around them! (Especially silly ones!)

Here’s the small hallway that leads to our master bedroom. We had a photoshoot done last April during our 10 year anniversary trip to NYC. I thought this was the PERFECT place to put photos that were just of my husband and I - without the two of us together, we wouldn’t have a family! So, I decided to make it kind of a like mini art gallery and hang some of my favorite photos in frames all at the same height.

ideas for how to hang frames and photos

3. Which do you simply love?

You know you’ve got ‘em.  A few photos that you just LOVE.  You’d show them to the checkout guy at Kroger if he wasn’t 17 and talking to his friend who’s bagging. Aw, heck, you’ll show them to him anyway! 

Even if you have no idea where you’d put these photos in your house, print them.  Print them in a standard size and then look for frames.  Or, print them on a giant canvas.  OR, make an album out of all your favorite images from the last 3, 6, 9 or 12 months! 

Especially print them if you have some images of YOU that you love.  You deserve to have some photos out of you looking super fab also! 

That’s how I was with this project. I had found these frames MONTHS ago at TJ Maxx HomeGood - if you find something you like there, you have to snatch it up fast! I bought them before we moved into our new house and only knew that I loved the frames. Then, after our trip to the lake in October, I had some photos that I also loved, especially the one with my daughter’s hair blowing in the boat wind

It didn’t make sense for me to blow these up really big, but I just love them as a clean collection in my living room. They sit on either side of the fireplace and make me so happy! And, it’ll be super easy to change them out seasonally!

NOTE: These work because there is a cohesiveness to them. The frames are the same style and the prints are from the same location with the same editing style. :)

frames with photos in living room
frame ideas for home
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how to display photos at home

4. Now go forth and print!

Hopefully, you’ve got some good ideas to get your photos off your phone and into your home!  For prints and canvases, I highly recommend  For great albums and other photo products at a great price, I recommend Shutterfly.

Good luck!  Come get inspired & share on Instagram with me @lizahippler or on Facebook if you get some photos up!  I’d love to see!

Happy Work 'n' Play Headshot Session {Nashville, TN Headshot Photographer}

In February, I attended the inspiring ClickAway Conference in Dana Point, California. I made friends and recklessly flew my drone far, far away (I got it back), and I learned tons of exciting things that I could instantly apply to my business.

One of them was the concept of the “Not-So-Corporate Headshot” by Sarah Deragon where she offers casual & fun headshot sessions designed to not only get a great shot for work, but also a great new profile photo! It’s the complete opposite of stuffy, sit-there-and-don’t-move-and-smile-awkwardly headshots, and it’s great.

Everyone deserves a photo of themselves that they love, and this is a great way to get it without a lot of pressure.

I instantly adopted her idea (she shared so much!), and am so glad I did! It’s like the Universe knew I was supposed to let go of traditional corporate headshots and embrace this new lighthearted style because right away I got emails asking for this exact thing - before I had even advertised it!

I call mine the “Work ‘n’ Play” Headshot. I thought about calling it the Mullet Session - business in the front, party int the back! haha! But then I vetoed it.

So, here’s one of my first Work ‘n’ Play sessions with the adorable lady! I think she ought to find a job AND some good dates, don’t you?!

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Sweet Mommy & Me Session {Franklin, TN Lifestyle Photographer}

This was my 3rd time photographing this adorable cutie pie and her mama! I wholeheartedly love these two ladies and cannot express my gratitude enough that they keep trusting me to capture their special bond.

Miss H is everything and more in a little girl, from her fluffy skirts to her “why won’t you listen” behavior! Haha! What parent among us has had a kind who behaves well at this age?! They’re expected to explore and push their boundaries, and I don’t mind a bit. That’s all part of their story right now. And so is their undying love and care for each other. The shared side smiles and cuddles, how she looks at her mama and curls into her neck - it’s all part of who they are right now and it could not be sweeter.

I love Franklin’s Harlinsdale Farm for kids. There is so much space to run free without too much worry of injury! It’s definitely a fav for sunset family sessions, and senior sessions! Kids can be kids here, and parents can relax, which really lets me document the story of each family, and what’s unique to their family unit.

By the end of the shoot, Miss H and her mama were singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” together and it was too cute! Then, she ran away with her dress tucked up into her diaper! haha!

So, without further ado, let’s get to fancy Miss H and her mama!

redhead toddler gives her mom a kiss
little girl in blue dress runs around
little girl and her mom against white barn
blonde mom helps her toddler girl climb a fence
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mom and toddler girl laugh together
blonde mom sits on stone wall while talking to toddler daughter
black and white image of mom carrying thumb-sucking daughter
daughter looks out from under mom's sweater
redhead toddler in blue dress stands on dirt road
curly redhead little girl is super cute on dirt road
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black and white images of mommy and daughter hugging