Posted on June 7, 2012

I haven’t entered a challenge at i heart faces for a long time…but I felt like I had a great photo that I wanted to share during the “all boy” challenge. I was able to photograph Matt while he and his family were on their way to Indiana for vacation. They drove from Texas and stayed with us in Tennessee (my longest traveled photo shoot) before heading to Indiana. This photo shoot was a lot of fun and we had a great time checking out new spots around my little downtown. Here’s one of my favorites from his session. More from Matt’s session can be seen here.

Go to i heart faces to see more “all boy” photos!

Posted on June 5, 2012

{Jackson, TN senior portrait photographer}

Even though I have “hung up my shoes” so to speak I am still available for photo sessions. My goal is to stay on top of my skills and hopefully improve them as well. When people ask me to photograph them I jump at the chance simply because it is something that I LOVE to do. When friends of ours from Texas inquired about me photographing their soon-to-be senior (last year) I was excited about the opportunity…but logistically we didn’t know how it would work since we had moved to Tennessee. In January our family took a little vacation to Texas and we thought that would be the perfect time to get Matt’s senior photos done…but God had other plans. So, when Matt and his family talked about their family vacation in Indiana they decided to swing through Tennessee, stay with us for a night and have me photograph Matt. I was honored to have Rebecca tag along on Matt’s session, two years ago it was her turn for senior portraits, (you can see her session here) so she was able to help Matt, get him laugh and show us his “real” smile!! We had a great time exploring downtown Jackson and all the fun little quirks that it has to offer. Matt was the valedictorian of his class and will be headed to Valporaiso in the fall. Congratulations Matt!!

Thanks Matt for traveling 12 hours so I could take your senior portraits! You are officially the “furthest traveled” client I’ve ever had!! yeah!!
I hope you had a good time at the session and that you like the end result! And you may think you’re not photogenic but I don’t agree!

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Posted on March 8, 2012

About a week ago everything in life was going on at a normal pace, with normal activities and day to day tasks. Then our lives got shaken around a bit, rearranged and just changed altogether. The changes that have come our way are very good changes and welcome changes. Although these changes are coming about much sooner than we had planned we rest in the fact that our lives are not our own and that God has His plans and His timing. We were told on Friday of last week that we need to vacate our rental home by April 1st or sign a new 12 month lease with a price increase. Panic set it. Where would we live? Would we have to put everything in storage and find someone to put up with us for a month…or more? What were we going to do?

Back story: We had put an offer on a house the turned out to be a short sale…and if you know anything about short sales they are anything but short. We asked our landlords if we could get out of our rent a month early if need be, or rent month to month after our lease was up if need be. They misunderstood this and thought we bought a house and just wanted to stay one month longer, so they secured a renter for when our lease was up. There’s more to what went on but it doesn’t really matter so I’m not going to get into it.

We decided in February to continue looking at houses in case the short sale did not come out in our favor. We found one or two that we thought would work for our family. One would be perfect for me to have a studio with a seperate entrance and the other would be a great home for our family but without much room for my business. When we found out that we needed to vacate our rental home by April 1st we had some serious discussions. One of those discussions lead us to put an offer on the home that would be great for our family but without a lot of room for my business. The offer was countered and we accepted. Part of the offer was that we would be able to occupy by March 30th and that was accepted as well. Praise God that He has lead us this whole way and that His timing is perfect.

On Thursday night while attending Financial Peace University at our church I had many thoughts running through my mind. “What can I sell? What kind of job could I get to help supplement the family’s income? My business is stressing me out and not going anywhere.” When I got home that evening we had the discussion about which home we could/should buy since we knew we needed to make a decision quickly. When it came time to talk about my business and my offering to get a waitressing job a couple of nights a week it all came out. I no longer wanted to deal with the stress of trying to re-start/run my own business. No longer did I want to have the pressure of finding the right clients who understood my passion and desire for great photography. No longer did I want to feel the pressure of having to make sure I made enough money each month to help put my children in private school. Trying to raise three small children and raise a business was getting to be too much for me. I just couldn’t handle it.

When the time to talk came the tears came as well. I wanted to be free of the stress from running a business but I never wanted to stop capturing priceless memories for my friends and clients alike. I know that right now I can’t handle the business side anymore so I’ve decided to hang up my JT Photography shoes. At least for a while. The statistics of new photographers starting out and how quickly they fail came into my mind and I felt like another statistic. I felt like I’ve failed at my dream. I felt like I would be labeled. But I remembered that I have been working part-time as a photographer for over 10 years. I remembered my dream of being a mother, my dream of being a stay at home mom. I remembered my dream of doing something I love because I LOVE it and not because I need to help put my kids in private school. I know that I’m not a failure. I know that this is a season in life and that while I may feel I’m giving up my dream I’m really just putting it on hold. I will not be putting my camera away. I will still be photographing my family and my friends’ families. I just will not be persuing new clients. I will shoot limited sessions when family time allows.

This website will remain online. I have the domain name and I’m not going to loose it. I have just renewed my website too, so I’ll re-evaluate keeping it or not when the time to renew comes up again. I am not sure what I will do with my facebook page…I’m still praying about that one. On my personal facebook page I had “liked” so many photography related businesses to enter contests and giveaways and I’m pretty sure that I have “unliked” most of them so that I am not constantly reminded of the business. I still have my few favorite photographers whose pages I will always like and that won’t change. This is painful for me and makes me cry just thinking about it. But the stress relief that I feel from not having to produce big bucks for my family is a HUGE weight off my shoulders. The relief that I won’t have to spend time a ton of time editing late into the evenings, that I will be more present in the moment with my kids and not worried about how I’ll get my next session booked is a HUGE relief. I look forward to when photography becomes new to me again and not just something that has to be done in order to make money. I know I still have a lot to learn about photography and I will use the time away from persuing my business to learn and learn and learn.

I will be looking for a part-time waitressing job (like I stated earlier) in order to help with the family finances. I actually enjoy waitressing and feel that a couple nights a week of waitressing will not be stressful to me but will be a time to let Greg hang out with the kids, let me meet some new people and earn some money for the family. And that’s the kind of job that I can leave there. No work to take home. No photos to edit, sales to make etc. But I do look forward to still having my camera handy, and photographing my loved ones. I hope to start regularly blogging again soon too…but probably not until we have made the move at the end of this month to our new home!!!!

Lots of changes. But we know that one thing remains the same and that is Jesus Christ. He is the same yesterday, today and forever!!!

Posted on August 23, 2011

{Jackson, TN wedding photographer, family photographer, child photographer}

I am by NO means a fashionista. I wear yoga pants or jeans and t-shirts most days and my shoes consist of flip flops, tennis shoes and two pairs of “church” shoes. There are many reasons for the way I dress but that’s not what this post is about. *whew* thank goodness I’m off the hook this time…

This post is about you and what you’re going to wear. You’ve researched the best photographer to fit your style and that you are confident will “get” you and do a marvelous job. You’ve gotten a hair cut that you actually like (but not too soon before your session…more on that later). You’ve saved your pennies so that you can invest in the art of this particular photographer that you love. You’ve inquired about the availability of that photographer and got your session on the books. Then you begin to panic. Your palms start sweating and you begin to dial the number again to cancel your session, but before your scared, illogical self can dial the number your mind takes over and you put the phone down. You have a session and you’re going to capture some great memories whether or not you have something appropriate to wear. Because really, you DO have something appropriate to wear. You just need to take some time to figure it out.

Consider the time of the year -There is always seasonally appropriate attire. You wouldn’t wear a sundress and flip-flops in the fall or winter and you wouldn’t wear a big cozy sweater and cute boots in the summer. It’s painfully obvious but it just has to be stated. Consider the colors of the seasons as well. A bright lime green and pink dress may be perfect for that beach session but it will not look the best in front of a gorgeous fall colored background.

Consider the decor in your home – If your home is filled with traditional furnishings you may not want your photo session to happen downtown or in an alley while wearing bright colors and loud prints. If your home is modern and edgy you probably don’t want your family all dressed the same and standing in a field of tall grass. So think about what your photos will say about you when you proudly hang them on your walls.

Coordinate your outfits - I know that “matchy-matchy” used to be very popular and it is still okay in some circumstances but is not necessary and just not natural (for most families, I do have some exceptions). Pick a color scheme that goes with the time of year and your home decor. Pick one or two colors and at the MOST three that will coordinate well. It’s okay to think outside the box. If no one ever thought outside the box we wouldn’t have the great color combinations that we have now. If it is a color combination that you LOVE and it works for you then it will work for your photo session. You will look great because you feel great in what you are wearing.

For summer think coral and olive, red and teal, yellow and gray, the options are plentiful. For fall think cranberry and cocoa, plum and navy, deep orange and gray. The great thing is there are so many different shades of each color that you can work in those different shades without having to pick a whole different color scheme. Scour the internet, your favorite stores, and the ads in the newspaper to get ideas for your coordinating outfits.

Let’s have the “matchy-matchy” conversation. Personally I love to make outfits for my kiddos that match. I think it’s cute. But I probably wouldn’t have them wear matching outfits for a photo session because it simply does not represent us. The kids do not wear matching outfits on a regular basis, so to have them in matching outfits for a photo session just wouldn’t be real. I want their individual personality to shine and if they’re all dressed the same that gets lost a little bit. I have a dear friend from high school who has six beautiful children (5 girls and 1 boy) with another boy on the way. She dresses her children in matching clothes a lot more than I do. They have many options when it comes to matching outfits. So, when doing a consult with her for a photo session would I tell her “don’t put them in matching dresses”? No way. Because that’s what they do and they do it well…so like I said, I do have some exceptions to the “matchy-matchy” rule of thumb. “Matchy-matchy” CAN work so don’t be totally scared away from it. If it’s done right, and in the right situation, it’s beautiful.

Prints and Patterns - You may think that prints and patterns are a “no no” when trying to coordinate your family session. But prints and patterns are great when they are used appropriately. The size of the print should be in scale with the size of the person wearing the print. A small child should not wear something with a HUGE print on it, it makes them look even smaller. A grown person should not wear an all around small print as it will make them look even bigger. Does that make sense? A proportional size print for the person is great! That being said, everyone that is in your photo session should not have a different print on. That will look confusing and will distract the viewer of your images from seeing your family. They will only be looking at the patterns that are all over the place.  Pick one or two patterns that go with your color scheme and stick with that. If more than one person has the same kind of pattern on (eg. stripes) that’s okay, it can work quite nicely.  For family sessions it’s great to have the little ones wearing the pattern and then the grown ups or older siblings find solid color clothing that goes with the color scheme of the patterned piece.


Textures – Textures photograph well and add a lot of depth to a photograph. Think about layering your clothing choices. Don’t forget to add jewelry, scarves, hats, whatever suits your family and your taste.

How to start… My advice would be to pick the hardest outfit first… if someone has a limited wardrobe and you don’t want to purchase new clothing for your session go through their closet first and pick something out that fits the parameters of what you are looking for in your session. My friend Anna told me that when she was thinking about her family session she started with her daughter’s dress that she loved and then put everyone in coordinating outfits to go with that dress. It worked out beautifully. Usually dads have lots of solid color shirts so it’ll probably be easiest to pick dads outfit last. Lay all your choices out on your bed so you can see what you’re working with. Ideas in your head sometimes look very different in reality.

You can even take it a step further…grab your digital camera and snap a shot of all the outfits laying out so you can get a good idea of what it may look like from the cameras perspective. I know that you’re not a professional so the image will look different than what your photographer captures but it will give you an idea if something is really off or if it looks good together. I even did this before my families mini session a couple of weeks ago.  I couldn’t decide which shirt to have Micah wear so I laid out all the clothes on my bathroom floor and took some photos…the lighting was bad, the image wasn’t great but it made it painfully obvious which shirt he should wear. The camera sees things differently than our eye so if you have time and are concerned about how something might look this is an option…but please don’t feel like you HAVE to do this. IMG_0584Consider the details - Ladies, remember to have the correct under garments on…no florals under white shorts/pants/skirts if you know what I mean ;) . If you wear a watch and lots of jewelry every day by all means make sure to wear it for your session. If you’re like me and hardly own any jewelry consider borrowing something small for your session, it’s like the icing on the cake. Accessories can really add a finishing touch to your photograph. Make sure to have your nails taken care of for your session and don’t forget your toes if it’s a summer session or if you’re going to wear open toed shoes. Don’t get your hair cut right before your session…just not a good idea. What if you hate it? Then you’re stuck and you’ll always remember that bad haircut in those beautiful photographs. Even for the guys, I suggest that if you’re going to cut your hair do it a week or so before your session. Otherwise a trim a few days before is just fine. It’s all about the details.

The most important thing!!!! Be YOU!!  You are unique, an individual, God picked each of your traits, characteristics, and qualities just for YOU. He also picked your family just for you…so embrace who you are! Don’t try to be something you are not. Don’t dress in a way that is completely different from how you’d normally dress. Sure you can dress it up a bit more but don’t go too far out of your box. My job as a photographer is to capture who YOU are…not who you think you’d like to be. So be YOU!! And be proud of who you are and what you have to offer and your session will reflect that.

Here are a few samples of well styled family sessions!

Anna did a great job of styling these two photo sessions that I did for her family. She picked a color scheme and didn’t go crazy with prints and patterns. See how all the boys are wearing stripes in the bottom photo, it’s the same pattern with different shades of the same color so it works…and besides it’s sorta their unofficial family uniform ;)whattowear
JT Photo_Anderson_-0379


Some families will choose to go with one color for boys and one color for girls and that can work out really nicely also. Here are a few examples.
JT-Photo-Kingl-family-0307I hope that I’ve helped  you with some ideas for your next photo session and that I didn’t scare you away from getting your family photographed. Just remember to be you and that will shine through clearly in your photographs!

Posted on July 17, 2010

{San Antonio Senior Portrait Photographer}

I had the great honor of meeting Daniel yesterday.
He’s a soft spoken, kind, young man!
I’m so excited to have him as one of my Class of 2011 Reps!!!
Yay Daniel!

Before the session even started I realized that I locked my keys in my car,
(what a way to start a session)
but Daniel’s mom Karen called a mutual friend of ours and he came out to help.
In the mean time, I got Daniel in front of my camera!!!

Here are a few of my favorites from his session
at Brackenridge park!




JTPhoto-DanielD-2117Thanks for the fun photo session Daniel!!
Thanks also for helping Aaron pop the lock on my car!!
Still can’t believe I did that!

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