Summer Family Session in Rogers

A few days ago I was blessed enough to spend time with the gorgeous J family!  This sweet bunch came out with me to take some family portraits at a beautiful church in the Northwest Arkansas area!  We braved the heat and probably sweat away a few pounds, but this sweet mini session couldn’t have turned out any better!  The light was perfect, those summer greens are gorgeous, and this group was just so much fun!  I can’t wait to edit the rest of these, but in the meantime, here are a few of my favorites!

Judkins

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Lakehouse Extended Family Session

I had the sweetest session a few days ago.  I went out to Beaver Lake to visit with this sweet family while they are visiting Northwest Arkansas.  They rented a lake house and it was simply gorgeous there!  Since they all live in different parts of the world, they wanted to capture some memories while they were all here together.  It was a warm summer day to be sure, but this gorgeous family braved the heat and we got some super cute posed photos to start things off!Nix1

After a while in the heat, the kiddos were over being outside and posing, so we took it inside and got some cute candids as they baked chocolate chip cookies and had a dance party!  Candids are starting to become some of my favorites with kiddos.  These are true moments captured of kids playing with their cousins and spending time together.  While my love for posed photos will always be there, I’m really starting to appreciate the unique beauty of lifestyle photos as well.

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I had so much fun with this beautiful family!  It was a blessing getting to spend time with this bunch.  I’m so glad I was able to capture memories for them and I hope that these photos will be cherished by them always.  I can’t wait to edit the rest!

To see more sessions like this, click on a tag or category in the top left of this post and it will bring up sessions in the same tag-group or category!  To follow my work, please follow this blog, like me on Facebook, or follow me on Instagram.  For photography inquiries please contact me through my website.  Thank you for visiting my blog!

Blueberry Picking Photo Session

A few days ago I had the pleasure of visiting Rosete Family Farms in Garfield, Arkansas!  This sweet farm is the cutest little organic blueberry patch and I so loved spending time there taking photos, picking blueberries, and getting to know the owner.  This beautiful location allows us to photograph there for a small additional fee, so if you’re ever interested in using this location for one of your sessions, let me know!  The berry season itself only lasts about 4-6 weeks in June, however the bushes stay green and are lovely all the way up to Fall when they turn red just like a maple tree!  This sweet farm is also available to rent out for events, parties, and even weddings!  Me and a few other vendors will be doing a stylized wedding here later this year, so keep your eyes open for that as well!  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy some of my favorite photos from this sweet session!

BlueberryTo see more sessions like this, click on a tag or category in the top left of this post and it will bring up sessions in the same tag-group or category!  To follow my work, please follow this blog, like me on Facebook, or follow me on Instagram.  For photography inquiries please contact me through my website.  Thank you for visiting my blog!

Extended Family Session by the Creek

Recently I did a sweet extended family session with this beautiful family!  I love summertime because lots of families visit and I get to do some of these big groups!  Extended family sessions are always fun and I love seeing the unique family units blending together to create something beautiful!  I have known this sweet family for many years and it was such a blessing getting to capture some memories for them.  I hope you enjoy some of my favorites from this lovely session!

Crosby1Crosby2Crosby3Crosby4To see more sessions like this, click on a tag or category in the top left of this post and it will bring up sessions in the same tag-group or category!  To follow my work, please follow this blog, like me on Facebook, or follow me on Instagram.  For photography inquiries please contact me through my website.  Thank you for visiting my blog!

Intimate Wedding in Fayetteville

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite photos from the sweet Karstetter wedding.  This couple was so much fun to be around and the love they had for each other was simply beautiful.  From their wedding rings down the their cake selection (I think having Hurts Donuts instead of a traditional cake is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen at a wedding), everything was uniquely them, and I absolutely loved that!  As soon as I met Clint and Sara, I knew that I wanted to capture what made them unique as individuals and how that uniqueness strengthened their bond.  Their love is something special and I’m so blessed to have been a part of their big day!

I just love how these photos are coming out and I’m so excited to share them with all of you!  I can’t wait to edit the rest!  Congratulations to the new Mr & Mrs Karstetter!

Karstetter3Karstetter1Karstetter2To see more weddings like this, click on a tag or category in the top left of this post and it will bring up sessions in the same tag-group or category!  To follow my work, please follow this blog, like me on Facebook, or follow me on Instagram.  For photography inquiries please contact me through my website.  Thank you for visiting my blog!

The Greatest Birthday Party

I’ve always been told that my second calling in life other than photography should be party planning.  I have a tendency to go a little overboard with the details at all of my kids’ Birthday parties.  I love putting all the details together to create a bigger vision.  I think I may be addicted and my husband would certainly appreciate it if you planned an intervention for me.  Anyways, moving on….. Recently I posted about the obsession my son has with The Greatest Showman and all the craziness that has come about because of that obsession.  His Birthday party was this past weekend and it was so awesome seeing it all come together!

If you’re looking for tips to throw your own Greatest Showman themed party or just want to find out if Hugh Jackman actually showed up to the party, keep reading and I’ll take you through the different ways we turned the Rogers Police Department into a big top for the day and all the details that went into it as well as where we purchased things!

Starting off, the big circus play tent and the overhanging one both came from Ikea.  You can purchase a red and white version of the play tent still, however the red and yellow play tent and the bed canopy (blue one) were discontinued and I found one at a local yard sale and the other at Goodwill just with sheer luck.  I used red and white streamers to make the backdrop and the paper fans came from Hobby Lobby.

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We used a lot of tulle and balloons.  We used tulle to create the “tent” (like, 300 yards of it…..) and I put some puffy tissue paper pom poms to kind of hide the area where the tulle was tacked into the ceiling.  We also strung lights up to give it a bit of an extra circus-y effect.  I also used a lot of balloons because somehow it just doesn’t feel like a circus party without them.

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The tablecloths were purchased from Party City and worked very well for the theme.  We also got some basic blue plates, yellow napkins, blue cutlery, and red and white striped straws all from our local Hobby Lobby.  The red and white pinwheel plates were from Etsy.  Instead of cups we decided to get glass bottles of Coca Cola from our local Walmart.  Even though this was a bit more expensive, I thought it was more genuine to a real circus than paper cups would have been.

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For table decor I wanted to keep it simple, but fun.  I started with tossing some gold confetti on the tables (be warned, it looks AWESOME but it will get everywhere – I found it in my hair all the way to in my 1 year old’s diaper).  As a table runner, I spread some undyed excelsior moss (purchased at Hobby Lobby) to resemble hay (though straw or hay would work just as well).  I then scattered peanuts on the hay, which was multi-purposed because it served as decor, a snack for people at the tables, and it also filled the room with the smell of peanuts, making you feel like you were really in a circus.  I then added a few of these small top hats because it just helped make it more Greatest Showman vs just a circus theme.  I then placed popcorn buckets (purchased from the Target dollar spot but they aren’t available online) as centerpieces with balloons inside.  After putting the balloons in, I topped off the buckets with real popcorn for aesthetic purposes.  I also added a couple 4×6 photos in gold frames of my son in his PT Barnum outfit to tie in more of the movie.

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This next touch was really fun and I felt it really helped bring in so much of what Greatest Showman fans love about the movie.  I had an etsy shop custom make some “confetti” using quotes from the songs of the movie and I placed them here and there on the tables.  I think this was my favorite little detail!

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On the food and cake table, I set up these fun little letter lights to spell “Circus” next to an 11×14 photo of my son.  I also placed a stack of wallets of the same photo in front of it so guests could take one home (I do this at every Birthday party so family members can always have an updated photo of them).

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For the last couple of years, I’ve really loved making some fun food signs for my kiddos’ parties.  This party was no different and I put together these little signs.  I used wood materials from Hobby Lobby to put them together, painted them a metallic red, then added some gold stick on letters, the gems, the trim (which was a stick on trim for scrapbooking) and custom ordered tiny top hat confetti from this Etsy shop to add to the top of them.

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While at a street fair in my hometown I happened across a booth with some super cute cookies.  I chatted a bit with the owner and ended up ordering some for my son’s party.  They came out super cute and everyone loved them (my sister was stuffing them in her purse like an old man at Olive Garden with the breadsticks and had us all cracking up)!  They were made by Confections by Cunningham and although they are located in Arkansas, they do also offer shipping.

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Another fun touch was actually inspired by this blog post about hosting a movie night for The Greatest Showman.  We served some Barnum’s Animal Crackers and I made these icing holders out of toy elephants (I got mine at Dollar Tree because I’m cheap, but any kind would likely do) by gluing small plastic bowls to their backs, bedazzling their ankles to make them look a bit more circusy, and adding some tiny plastic top hats to their trunks (I used the rest as confetti here and there on the tables).

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As far as other details, we really just wanted it to feel like you were at a circus, so we kept the food and snacks as circus-y as possible.  We served hot dogs for the main “meal” and then had the animal crackers, peanuts, cotton candy, and popcorn as snacks/sides.  For the full effect, we even borrowed my dad’s vintage popcorn machine.

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The cakes were both made by the ever amazing Nichole with Cakes by Crazy.  She makes all of my kiddos cakes and is fabulous!  She made one cake look like a circus tent at the request of my son and the other one was a cute little top hat!  I made the cake stand out of a red plastic bucket (from our local Walmart, however they don’t sell them online – they are in the party section though).  I used felt for the yellow triangles and blue foam stars from Hobby Lobby to make it look like a circus elephant stand.  A little bit of hot glue and voila!  A circus cake stand!

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Finally, this awesome cake topper was designed by me in Photoshop and made into a reality by the talented Laura from this Etsy shop.  She can make just about anything you can dream up and I use her for pretty much every one of my kids’ parties!

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This party was just so much fun!  I really enjoyed putting it all together and watching my son light up when he saw that room turned into a big top!  Also, for those of you who have been following along with this story, Hugh Jackman didn’t show up much to my son’s dismay, however he is still over the moon with getting to be on the news in his outfit and he wrote Hugh the sweetest letter.  Hopefully he’ll get a response eventually (if you happen to know Hugh Jackman, help a girl out and send him this)!  Thank you all for coming along with us on this wild ride!  It’s been fun and I have to say I’m rather sorry that’s it’s over.  But we made some amazing memories that will last a lifetime!

A Million Dreams Are Keeping Me Awake

The Backstory

Capturing the magic of childhood is my favorite thing to do with my photography.  I love taking what is in a child’s imagination and making it into reality by turning them into a princess, or a fairy, or a ringmaster, or anything else they can imagine and capturing that magic.  If I could focus on doing portraits like these all the time, I probably would.  This session was just so much fun!  If you’re a fan of Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman, or just like seeing children dreaming big, this post is for you!

Oh what a ride this has been!  Recently I shared some photos on Facebook of my son dressed as PT Barnum from The Greatest Showman.  Afterwards, my son asked me if Hugh Jackman (who played Barnum in the movie) had seen the photos of him and if he liked his outfit.  I explained that Hugh Jackman is very busy and that he probably hasn’t seen them, but I’m sure he would like them if he did.  He then asked if I could please try to show him the photos and ask him to come to his Birthday party (I love how a little kid thinks something like that is so easy).  I told him I would try but that he probably shouldn’t hold his breath that Hugh will actually show up.  I tweeted Hugh Jackman and basically said that he is invited to the party, but that perhaps an autograph would be better since Australia and Northwest Arkansas are a ways away from one another.  Somehow the local news 40/29 got wind of my tweet and ended up posting about it on Facebook and doing a tiny little segment on the 6 o’clock news about Leo’s Birthday wish.  Since then I’ve had some people ask for more photos and details about how we perfected his outfit and the achieved the look in the photos, so I thought I’d post a blog with the details and a few more of my favorites.

The Costume

Putting together a PT Barnum cosplay outfit for a child was a bit challenging, but with lots of searching and some tweaking we made it happen.  To start, this amazing costume was custom made by the ever talented Regan Torres with My Inspired Princess and I am just over the moon with how wonderful it turned out!  After being horribly unsuccessful at finding a real top hat in a child’s size without breaking the bank, I finally gave in and settled for a basic top hat from a party store.  I was quite upset because it wasn’t authentic and didn’t look as good, but it photographed surprisingly well and it was only $10 so that is a huge bonus.  The pants and shirt were just basic dress pants and a white button up shirt.  The cravat that Regan made pulls all of it together perfectly.  The boots were a big tricky because we couldn’t find knee high boys boots that worked with the costume.  We eventually settled on a pair of girls boots by XOXO that had some detailing that fit very nicely into the ringmaster look.  Finding a ringmaster cane for a child that looked like the one Jackman uses in the movie was also a bit challenging, but we eventually settled on this one from Amazon.  It was a bit large for him (adult sized) and it’s pretty thin plastic, but we used a small table saw to cut it down and it looks pretty good when photographed.  It is also light for him to carry, and he has been throwing it all around and hasn’t broken it yet so I guess it’s sturdier than it looks.

The Photo Session

For the photos I really couldn’t pull off what I wanted to achieve (I truly wanted a real circus and to contact them and see if I could use their location before/after hours.  However I live in Northwest Arkansas and this isn’t really feasible as circuses here are few and far between.  I was also on a time crunch for his Birthday photos to be done and printed for his party.  So after a lot of grumbling that I couldn’t really create the vision I wanted I settled on doing a downtown area since the show is set in the 1800s in New York.  We went there and while I did like how the photos were turning out, they just didn’t feel right.  I decided to take a drive and see what we could find.  There were firework tents popping up for 4th of July everywhere and even though my previous search had come up empty (I had found some but they were the wrong colors or the location wouldn’t work), on the side of the road was the most circus-y looking firework tent I’ve ever seen.  Oh bless.  Thank you Jesus.  It was perfect!  I pulled in (rather quickly… If you were the person behind me at this moment I do apologize). and realized it was empty as well, which made it even better because I didn’t have to worry about bothering anyone and there was this awesome vacant field next to it that I could use and get the tent in the background.  All of that to say, if you are looking to do circus portraits, I highly recommend keeping an eye out about two or three weeks before 4th of July and you might get lucky!

I hope that if you are looking to do a Barnum cosplay for a kiddo, that this has helped a little bit, and for those of you who were wanting more photos, without further ado I present The Tiny Greatest Showman, Master Leo….

**And for those of you wondering, we never did get a response from Hugh, but my son was over the moon with the love he received from people literally around the world.  Thank you for your kind words to him!

AMillionDreamsTo see more sessions like this, click on a tag or category in the top left of this post and it will bring up sessions in the same tag-group or category!  To follow my work, please follow this blog, like me on Facebook, or follow me on Instagram.  For photography inquiries please contact me through my website.  Thank you for visiting my blog!