A Wedding Photographers Little Secret

Just over a week ago I had the honor to shoot Daniel and Melissa's wedding at the Club Continental in Orange Park Florida. It was a gorgeous day, and the outdoor decor was breathtaking. (I am saving the color shots for when they return from their honeymoon in Ireland but knowing a photographer, he needed to see some!) 

I have known Daniel and Melissa for about 5 years now when they came in for a holiday session (I had a snow machine in Florida. Still one of my favorite  shoots I have done to date) Daniel was just starting his photography business so it has been amazing to watch him grow as  photographer. 

Photographing any wedding can be emotional if you know the couple as I do, but it was especially emotional for another reason. A reason I have not told them up to this point. I have been referring all incoming brides for any dates after theirs, back to Daniels company. Why?

Because their wedding was my last. 

Or at least a very long break. With my underwater, boudoir and writing taking up all of my days, I knew that for weddings it was time to pass the torch so to speak. Daniel has shot along side with me in many weddings. We even had the chance to spend many months preparing and shooting Gainesville's Fashion Week. Melissa and I have worked on projects together such as the "one size fits all" dress blog post. She even brought her grandmother in for me to shoot some glamour work (which by the way, her grandmother is kick ass). This decision to make their wedding my last was decided long before they even were engaged. It just felt perfect to have their wedding always be the last vision of a wedding photographer in my mind.

(now don't get me wrong, if you are planning a wedding and want to take me to Italy to shoot, I will delete these words and be on the plane in a jiffy). 

They probably did not realize that their vows might be the last I will ever hear while photographing. They probably did not see my eyes welling up behind the camera as I shot their first kiss as husband and wife. And they most certainly did not see me turn back around one more time and look at them partying with their friends, knowing I just closed an amazing chapter of my life in which they played a huge role. 

I love you guys and looking forward to watching your family grow! 

The Time to Get Your Little Ones Into Modeling- in the Palatka Studio

Yes. Your your baby is adorable. Yes your mother keeps pushing you to get your baby into modeling. And yes, you know they would be perfect for modeling. 

But is it the right time? 

As a mother myself, I know how much you want the world to appreciate your baby as much as you do. And whether the look is right for the agency or not is not what I am here to write about. That is for the agency to decide--and there are many out there--one might be the perfect fit for you.

But I am here as a mother to talk about your baby.

  • Is he ready for that spotlight?

  • Sure he may sit for you to photograph him, but is he wiling to shoot with a stranger?

  • Is your baby stressed easily with new situations?

Before you push your little one to be the star, think about if HE is ready. Is your child just is not enjoying the time in front of the camera, take a step back and wait a little bit to make sure your child really does want to be in front of the camera.


Lincoln here is a prime example of a child who is ready to be modeling. As soon as his mother Laura placed him on the backdrop, instant smiles. He was enjoying the clicks of my camera, he was laughing with me as I bopped a stuffed monkey on my head, and he was engaging with me with many facial expressions.

The clothing was a perfect fit as well. Laura purchases Lincolns clothes from a company called Goat Milk NYC.

The clothing set the scene for Lincoln and I for a perfect organic natural feel for our shoot. Lincoln is ready for the big scene.



The Natural side of Boudoir

I have been shooting for many years in the boudoir industry. As a studio owner in downtown Palatka Florida, I have evolved into different ways of shooting, adapting to the new trends, new techniques, and especially the new emotions I am learning to express. 

If anyone knows me well, I do not enjoy outwardly expressing my emotions in conversation, however i have found a way to do so, allowing others into my world. 

Through words and imagery. 

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Melinda, through a mutual friend who recommended me to her during her search for a boudoir photographer. She drove  and told me during our consult that once she saw my work, she was instantly connected to me and the studio. 

I routinely will look over my potential clients as they talk. Watching how the light will fall on their hair, how their eyes sparkle when they describe how they wish to see themselves, and especially how they smile. No no no, this isn't some creepy photographer thing. It is practice I do sometimes to appreciate the woman in front of me, before she gets "glammed" up. I want to see that natural beauty within. 

When Melinda took her hair down for the makeup artist I instantly ran over to the chair. Her hair was so thick, so curly, and SO incredible just as it was. I told my artist to not worry about the hair portion. I had a vision. I wanted to express an emotion of natural beauty, mixed with an empowering confidence. All to many times I see boudoir in a way to express the sexuality of it. Instead I wanted to capture the pure confidence of a woman in her own skin. And Melinda did just that. Her bold stares, her positive postures, and her all to amazing natural hair. 

Model Walk in Confederate Park Jacksonville

The first model I EVER worked with was Amber. I was so new to the craft, and contacted her on Model Mayhem. I was so nervous to work with a professional model being such a newbie in the field. When Amber came into my makeshift home studio, I just fell in love with her from the start. We connected immediately and that shoot is still one of my favorites till this day. 

We have shot so many more since that first day, boudoir, underwater and fashion. This past January we hooked up again for yet another amazing time just walking around Confederate Park in Jacksonville Florida talking about anything and everything. 

Working with Amber is fluid. We move from one pose to the next, anticipating what the other is thinking. She brought me to this park, knowing I would just adore the scenery. I left behind the posing I normally have to instruct, and just shot Amber dancing freely. 

Big Changes From Little Moments

On site location in Palatka Florida with JT Noir Studios serving Gainesiville Florida, Jacksonville Florida, St Augustine Florida and Surrounding areas. 

I have always been a sucker for documentaries. I love watching them on TV, submerging myself in stories that shaped the person in the story.
When Tanner's mother Kathy approached me for a shoot with their horses in Palatka Florida,  I was excited. I photographed Tanner when she was just old enough to hold her little birthday number sign. Now I was about to photograph this little lady on her horses but there was a twist.

The first part of this amazing shoot would be Tanner with her long, flowly curls that reminds you of a little girl. Then my makeup artist Devan Hodges would do something for her that would not only change Tanner, but a very special little girl she never met.  Tanner was cutting off her long locks to donate them to another fellow child, who was suffering in ways children should never know. I followed her face as it changed from a little nervous cracked smile, to having fun holding those locks in her hand. Right up to that moment when she saw her new look for the first time - and she grinned so big I got teary eyed. For in that one instance you saw a child grow up in a small but significant moment in her life.

Tanner - always remember - every little moment that you selflessly give the way you do--you are changing this big world for the better.  YOU ROCK!