Pleasant Hill Vineyards Wedding :: Meagan and Jason

Love the idea of a vineyard wedding right here in East Tennessee?  You definitely need to check out Pleasant Hill Vineyards located in Maryville, TN!!  This was a gorgeous location (and I had a pretty awesome bride and groom to boot!).  Meagan had a lot of beautiful fall touches in her wedding decor.  Orange and Lavender colors topped her list of fall inspired wedding colors and it turned out oh so lovely!!!





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Clinton TN Family Photographer :: Baby Clay at 12 Months

Lately my focus has been all over the place.  There are so many things going on:: exciting, hum-drum, new, old, rejuvenating, and draining.  As I have been learning to give it over to the One who makes all things possible, I’ve been praying for doors to close, doors to open, and the knowledge to know which is which.  It seems as if there has been a shift in what I feel matters more.  While it isn’t much different than what I’ve thought was important all along, there is now a burning desire to get there.  To make it happen.

As quickly as that desire reaches my heart, fear slides in and begins to tell me lies that I foolishly believe.

Then He reminds me what I’m capable of because He made me.  Imperfectly perfect.

This session was a reminder for me that I can do it.  I could make what matters more happen.  There was such joy to hear a little one giggle, to see mommy and daddy smile with pride, and to be able to document such a special time in a family’s life.  Happy birthday, Baby Clay!

Knoxville Family Lifestyle Photographer
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Now offering Mini Wedding Collections!

In the last couple of years, I’ve done a handful of weddings that really and truly didn’t need the whole shebang.  I could completely relate to their reasoning.  Some were shoestring budgets, but wanted a photographer they LOVED!  Some were marrying for the 2nd time and wanted great photos but were not going crazy with an all day event.  Some were even eloping or having a pop up wedding (which is so much fun and ridiculously romantic!).  I created the Mini Wedding Collection price menu just for them.

Affordable Knoxville Wedding Photographer

For a few years, I put off advertising these because I wanted every bride to have a full day documented.  At the beginning of this year as I was goal setting for 2015, I began breaking down the parts that I loved about photographing a wedding.  It came down to 3 things:: The bridal portraits, bride and groom formals, and the wedding ceremony.  I do not need 6+ hours to photograph those 3 things, and many times I only get a total of an hour to do so!  Of course I love family portraits and bridal party photos but I also know I can complete those in this time frame, as well!  These collections help us to intentionally plan your photography, not feel rushed, and still get you those most important moments of your wedding day.

Not only that, but I know what it is like to plan a budget wedding and feel completely overwhelmed with the mounting dollar amounts of every contract signed and deposit paid.  These mini collections help my brides and they help me (I get to snuggle my babies much sooner!)!!  If you are planning a mini wedding and would like more information about the Mini Collections, feel free to contact me above or email me at




How are you?

No, really.  I want to know how you are.  How is your heart?  Is it just beating slowly or is it pounding away with joy and excitement?  Is it hurting or is it full of love?

Mommy Monday

How has your goal planning for 2015 going?  I know.. We are almost in February.  I was done with that after the first week of this year!  I hear you loud and clear, but I have to tell you something that will completely upset what you have written.  You see.  I made MY list of goals as well.  I wrote down one by one what I wanted to accomplish for 2015.  Then I put it away and started to work on a few of those items.  You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time, right??  Turns out I was trying to eat the wrong elephant.

You see this year I decided to let someone else decide which of those goals I would accomplish.  I decided to hand everything over to God and let Him decide which was more important.  THEN impatiently (after only two weeks hahahaha!!) I started to get upset that all of the goals I had set were not seeing any progress.  Where are my extra January bookings?!  What can’t Sean and I find time to spend together instead of always working?

Two totally contradicting statements if you look close enough.  I wrote down I want to be busier and I want to slow down so I can spend time with my husband.  One was answered, but I was expecting the other to be answered in which later I would probably complain about not having any time with Sean.  Vicious cycle I set myself up for!  But I didn’t see it as answered until yesterday.  I didn’t see the door that was being opened before me because I was staring intently at the other door.  You can only enter one door in a hallway at a time.

Then I was God-smacked.  (Yes, I totally realize that is a 90s term, but I’ve been listening to a TON of 90s Christian music lately.  Don’t judge.)  I began my day yesterday with coffee and my devotional trying to center my mind on what I needed to accomplish before having a few gorgeous ladies over at my house for dinner, conversation, and a reality check on goal making and how to balance life.  I was about to tell them all of the things that I do that keeps me sane while burning the candle at both ends and in the middle (Thank you, Lara Casey, for that line!  It describes me perfectly!!!).  I was about to tell them the wrong way to do it.  I had prayed and wrote in my journal that I wanted God to speak through me and give me peace about what I was saying.  Then I opened up my Jesus Calling to January 19th.  If you haven’t read it, go now and do so.

Why do we make goals??  Because we are looking for something.  We are looking for success.  We are looking for happiness and maybe if we reach that goal we will finally be happy.  I’ve done it time and time again and once I get there I’ve already got another goal that I want to get to.  It’s never good enough.  It never fills my heart and make me content.  The goals I make are temporary joy and then I have to find something else to work my tail-end off because then that will FINALLY make me happy.  The struggle is real folks.

The first sentence of the second paragraph answered my prayer.

I am the goal of all your searching.

My goals are temporary.  My goals are short term.  He is my long term goal and the only one I should be pursuing as hard as I had been trying to pursue the ones I created for myself.

I’ll go ahead and ask again. How are you?




They said dreams this big don’t happen

I sat at my desk looking at my computer with a head swimming in things that I need to do.  And I sat a little bit longer not taking any action because I thought, “I’m not good enough to do this yet.  I need more time.”  Then the self doubt filled my mind, “What am I thinking?!  I CAN’T do this!  I’m not nearly good enough!!!”  Then fear set in, “What will people think?  Will they laugh?  Will they make jokes about me??”

I sat paralyzed at my desk and began to tear up at a dream that I thought could never happen for me.  No one could POSSIBLY understand how I felt.  I’ve been there before…  with dreams bigger than me.  With naysayers who said I didn’t stand a chance.  Naysayers who were friends and family.  Broken hearted and discouraged from something I loved, I remember weeping on my bed and being told that I needed to do something with my life more practical.  More mundane.  Because that’s just what people do.

Those words still pierce to this day.

All the what ifs and could haves flood my mind when these thoughts start creeping in.  Why didn’t I do this?  Gosh I wish I would have been smarter with my time.  I shouldn’t have listened to myself and pursued my heart’s passion.  Yes, I’ve been there.  I am there.  And to some extent I will always look back saddened and wonder what if.

Sound familiar?  Surely I’m not alone.  I can’t be the only person who wasn’t given a fair shake when it came to big dreams.  Those fears and self doubt and worry?  That’s what Just Start is all about.  It’s about breaking down those tasks one bite at a time.  It’s about growing.  It’s about gaining confidence.  It’s about forgetting those lies and pursuing the truths of what you are 1000000% capable of doing.  Are you ready?  I am.  Let’s prove them wrong.

Learn more and sign up here –>  Just Start





Two huge announcements!

It’s workshop season!  Are you ready??  I’ve got two really great programs in the next month that I think are fabulous!  I have noticed that in the past I would always have a mix of individuals attending a workshop.

There’s the mom who only really wants to know how to take all of those in-between pictures of life.  She loves having family sessions done, but let’s face it… You can’t really have one done every week!  Sometimes she has even received a DSLR for her birthday or Christmas and wants to learn more about how to work the camera instead of the camera working her.


How did you choose your camera


Then there is the budding photographer who just needs some guidance, motivation, and to fine tune some of her skills.  I get it.  I’ve been there and probably always will be because I LOVE learning new techniques and growing.  That is what drew me to photography (and the fact that I was the mom above, hahaha!!!).  I want to be in control of situations and create moments that are also natural.  I want to know how my images are going to turn out instead of letting my camera decide for me and having work that is all over the place in style.  I want to do as much as I can in-camera and at that moment instead of slaving away in front of a computer screen.  Why?  Because I’m a photographer, not an editor.  Editing drains me big time, so anything I can do to minimize that gives me MORE time to do what I love.  ( Side note:: I’m not a good editor.  I don’t want to be a good editor.  I want to be a good photographer.  Give me an “AMEN!!!” if you understand.:))

Just Start :: A Beginner Photography Workshop

Below are the two workshops for February!  One for the mom and one for the new photographer.  Ready to get your learn on???

1) Mom’s 101 Photography Workshop – January 31st, 2015 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

This is for the mom who wants to know how to take better photos of her child(ren)!  No need for fancy cameras, any will do, but I will be going over the basics of how to work your DSLR camera!   You will receive all kinds of tips and tricks on how to grab those wonderful captures, organizing the digitals into easy to find folders, editing apps for both computer and phone, and how to get the best prints for your money!  This workshop will be $99.  The early bird rate is $49!  Sign up with a friend and the ticket price for both is $129.  Early bird rate for signing up with a friend is only $69!  

Sign up here –

2) Just Start :: A Workshop for New Photographers – February 21st, 2015 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

This workshop is for the beginner photographer who needs just a little guidance in basic photography (posing, camera functions, and cropping), editing and workflow (get pretty and ORGANIZED!), and website help (Showit or WordPress).  We will have a model for a session and each photographer will get 3 head shot photos for use on your website and social media!  I know you are waiting for everything to come together perfectly before you put yourself out there when all you REALLY need to do is just start.  This workshop is $250.  The early bird rate is only $175!

Sign up here –


For more information feel free to email me at  More details coming soon!!!!





Top 3 Tips to be Budget Savvy with Your Wedding Photography :: Part III

Happy Monday!  I hope each of you had a wonderful weekend full of lots of wedding planning!  Today I am going to tell you the 3rd tip I have on being budget savvy with your wedding photography.  Are we ready ladies?!!!


Cut out some of your reception time.  There is no way it will take 4 hours for a photographer to get all of the reception photos you will need unless there are still some ceremonial events to happen.  Dance photos will begin to all look the same.  True story.  In my experience 2 hours tops is all you really need for reception pictures.  If you want grand exit photos, I will just go ahead and say your best option is to do a grand entrance with the same idea!  Everyone will be there and it looks fabulous to have your first dance at the end of the grand entrance.  The excitement is so very evident!

Why is this budget savvy?  Well.. it could be the difference between paying for 10 hours of wedding coverage vs 8 hours and that could be substantial savings!!!






So yesterday you learned that the #1 way to make sure you are spending your wedding photography budget wisely is by taking advantage of your engagement session.  AND you’ve got killer everyday pictures with that handsome fella to boot!  Smart girl!!!

Today’s Tip is going to be about a little thing called a first look.  Now we all know where the tradition of the bride and groom waiting to see each other until the bride comes walking down the isle don’t we??  No?!!!!  Oh, honey…  it’s kind of tragic.  The tradition stems from cultures long ago where marriages were arranged and the bride and groom wouldn’t even MEET until the wedding ceremony.  This way the groom wouldn’t have a chance to back out if she wasn’t what he was expecting looks/personality wise, because ultimately the bride had NO say in the matter.  Doesn’t seem so romantic now, does it?  I’m not going to say you MUST do a first look, but let’s look at the benefits.

First Look

1)  You guys have known each other for months or even years and this is your big day.  Why not spend most of the time with each other and make MORE memories?!

2)  The first look lets you recreate the moment of him seeing you for the first time.  Bonus – you get to hug and talk and spend more time with each other instead of being cooped up in a tiny, hot, room worried and stressed that someone might see you instead of being relaxed and actually enjoying yourself.

3)  The time between your ceremony and reception when you would be taking pictures has decreased drastically meaning you get to go enjoy your guests sooner and they don’t have to wait an hour before you even get to the reception.

4)  You will have time to get WAY more photos of you and your groom than waiting after the ceremony.  On average, my brides receive about 70% more bride and groom photos when they do a first look.  That’s really making your photography dollars count!

Let’s see.. you’ve got your engagement session and you are choosing a first look to stretch your wedding photography dollars…  You are on your way to a terrific, less stressful, and budget savvy wedding day!




Top 3 Tips to be Budget Savvy with Your Wedding Photography :: Part I

It’s engagement season and the emails of freshly born brides-to-be have been coming in with questions and a sense of uneasiness of how this whole wedding photography thing works.  Of course until you are engaged you don’t realize the cost of your best friend’s wedding and then the stress begins to set in.  You might even turn to a magazine or two to look for questions that you feel you should be asking prospect photographers for your big day.  Just say no to the magazine question.  Put it down.  Walk away.  There.  Feel better?  I do!  I’m going to be completely honest when I say some of those questions are legit questions.  Asking what happens if your photographer gets sick or hit by a train is a GOOD question.  You should ask ALL of your vendors that.  Asking a photographer what brand of equipment they use is unnecessary.  If you’ve seen them work, like their portfolio, and you click (no pun intended), then you’ve found the photographer that you will want by your side ALL day long at your wedding.  One of the most important days of your life.

As a wedding photographer, I’m going to walk you through three ways that you can be budget savvy with your wedding photography and get everything you need.  Ready for Part I?!  Let’s do this!

The Engagement Session

Fall University of Tennessee, Knoxville Engagement Session

Do we really have to?!!!   In my opinion, yes.  If you don’t then you will never know how your photographer works.  What if you hate the way the photographer poses you, or their personality behind the camera?  Do you really want to be annoyed the whole time on your wedding day?  Nope.. didn’t think so.  Some photographers will let you purchase the engagement session, and then use that towards your collection if you decide to book them for the wedding.  On many of my collections, the engagement session is complimentary so you haven’t spent extra dollars.  Just smart ones.  If you decide that isn’t the photographer for your wedding day, then you have saved heartache of being bound to a contract and possible cancellation fees.  If you do, then you know you’ve found your true match!

The downside…  Photographers don’t hold dates without a contract and retainer.  We have bills to pay and kids to feed and it just isn’t possible to hold a possible date if you are not sure about whether you want to book or not.  SO with that being said, your wedding date might get booked if you wait too long to decide.  I will give the first bride that contacts me 24 hours to decide if she’s going to book and get a contract and retainer to me (we do it online so it is quick and simple!).  After that 24 hours, the date can then be booked by bride #2.




Happy Engagement Season!

I love this time of the year! Sweet (and sometimes sneaky! I’ve seen your videos!!!) proposals with the fresh new year that gives hope and promise to a wonderfully amazing future! This is just the start to your beautiful story.

And now… it’s time for the fun of wedding planning to begin. It’s time to prepare for an incredible marriage. It’s time to tell your story.

Booking for 2015 and 2016. Email for more information.

Knoxville Wedding Photographer