brooke and i had a fun little DM friendship prior to me showing up at her house. i love those. you have mutual friends, mutual respect, and the similar banter. so when she opened the door ready for me to capture her two daughters, one a fresh newbie and the other a spunky 3 year old, i knew were were in for some awesome moments. sometimes the toddlers direct the shoots, and that makes my creative heart sing because those are the real moments. they creatively lead us through life amiright? so thats truly the only way to get the fun real shots. and brooke has amazing interior style and eye so her house was stunning, playful and had great light upstairs where did most of our shoot. a festive and colorful “newborn” shoot making all the elements of a happy family of four.
i met hayden last year under different circumstances. she was a homeowner and client of parkes and lamb interiors, and i spent lots of time crouched over her half bath toilet finding that perfect shot - a strange introduction probably. i knew right away when we walked in the door, a little hurried to get her kitchen and stunning master bath ready for my camera, that she was fierce. a attentive, caring, strong mom and loving wife. she had an eye for what she liked, and she went for it. and thats why she worked so well with blair and susan, and why we had so much fun capturing her relationship with her two girls (with her hubs mixed in there too for a few, ha!). we talked about struggles and triumphs within our few hours together. she shared her secrets for sourcing her kids creative and colorful clothes and her dinosaur tree topper too. i felt connected to her right away and loved that she was such an open book, so comfortable with me, the camera. no apologies came out of her mouth which i also appreciated. so often we apologize CONSTANTLY - for the state of our house, the toys, the cranky moments of our kids, our messy cars, dirty dishes, hectic schedules. none of that with hayden. her family is chaos and colorful and beautiful all at once and thats how we all should love and accept life.
thank you to the fulmers for opening your doors to me so many times last year, and showing me your love and spirit!
brave bo -
I had the honor of capturing this sweet family a few months ago for the second time. i first met them when bo was itty bitty and mom had found out she was pregnant with Hampton, so we did a few "big brother" looks for their big announcement. and life is all about timing, and we all couldn't be more thrilled we captured these most recent moments at home with bo and hampton. this week I got an email from mom, that bo has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after three days at the children's hospital over the weekend. my heart breaks for what they went through this week, but my hopes couldn't be higher for bo. he has the most incredible parents, whose love for their two sons needs no direction when I photograph them. mom is a former teacher and knows how to meet their every need and feed every curiosity. dad is always home for our shoots and plays a huge role in their growth and play. they may have a new journey ahead of them, but one that they will navigate together.
loved my time with this sweet family. they booked a weekday 30-min "tate" session and when I showed up, they were ready to play. mom and dad couldnt have been more laid back about our little shoot and lily and annabelle were dream girls to capture in their heirloom dresses. we picked a couple rooms inside, and fit in a few outside shots before I hit the road. it was short and sweet and exactly what this family needed to document the end of summer and new baby Annabelle.
the weekday "tate" session is availAble on mondays, tuesdays, thursdays and fridays from. 9-12 am. you can book yours at www.marycraven.com/fallsignup
when i met margie in november 2015, baby boy byers was a fresh newborn and i showed up ready to get all the pretty little announcement photos and some of big sister with her new brother. what i didn't expect when i showed up, was to meet someone who would later would support me in some of my most difficult moments health-wise id had in years. just prior to us meeting in november, margie had been diagnosed with bells palsy. sounds scarier than it is, bells palsy is a neurological nerve condition that causes temporary paralyses half of your face. yup, weird shit. id never heard of it before, and she'd mostly recovered so i honestly didn't notice it at all. fast forward seven months later, im diagnosed with the same condition and the first contact i made leaving the doctors office was margie. its a physical health condition that is scary and isolating. she was constantly checking on me, offering advice to all my questions and concerns, and recognizing my tears and sadness in dark times. more importantly she was my beam of light at the end of this dark tunnel; that i would get better, it would go away and its only temporary. and she was right, it did get better.
special thanks to margie. a lifelong friend, in sickness and health, in happy days and sad, and in capturing many memories through the lens for her sweet family - the original tie that binds us. ill always be thankful our paths crossed at just the right time.
my little piece of advice for the day, reach out to the ones who you love, or who have loved you...supported you and given you the lift in life when you needed it most.
happy memorial weekend to you all...xoxo
my favorite part about my "job" are the new people i meet. and no better way to get to know new friends fast is to show up on their doorstep with a bunch of camera gear and ask to look around in the first 2 minutes. how's that for intimate right off the bat?? houses are cleaned up of course, but i want my families to be themselves. so shoes off, casual clothes, and a sunny normal day at home with little ones is my preferred way to go. its the closest to real life i can get to them without spending an entire day shooting the life of that family documentary style (which I've contemplated doing...any takers?).
and this family couldn't have made a warmer welcome to me on saturday afternoon. it was a gorgeous day, and apache the dog was a total gentleman and on his best behavior as we took TONS of pictures of his baby brother, lamar, and mom and dad. i couldn't help but be distracted by the gorgeous decor. between the vintage rugs, mid-century wood pieces, and amazing light fixtures and art around every turn, it was a dream shoot with this family.
this family was SO easy and fun. dorothy is a laid back mom, and we have several mutual friends, so this was a breezy newborn session with sweet little baby harry along in tow. big brother, boone, was on the move throughout the session. he wasn't so sure about me at first, but after some time he settled right in smack dab in front of my lens and i had a blast channeling his boy energy into all sorts of fun activities with dad around the house. and then harry, he's settled right in with this family in their gorgeous home in nashville. loved getting some moments with just mom and then with dad too. but our prize for the day were the sweet connection between brothers that you know will only grow and deepen.
i spent a friday morning with the brookshire family and it couldn't have been more gorgeous and sunny. baby dean came into their lives a little earlier than planned, but he's made every day since complete for this household. i loved my time with them as they settled into life with a growing three month old - we started outside with fresh air and sunshine, and made our way through a day with dean - morning talk and laughter around the breakfast table, and cozy moments in their bedroom where he spends most of his time. yet another morning with a new client, i never would have met before my photography days, and i couldn't be more thankful to be putting these memories for this sweet family in print.
after a few chats and emails with mom, i was so excited to meet this sweet family of 5. lauren designed baby hadden's nursery in soft pinks and lots of textures and layers, and finally a gorgeous iron crib from restoration hardware. her attentive fur-brothers, rollie and charlie, were there for every minute of our little session, and were so loving and gentle with their new baby sister. our breezy session with little hadden awake and taking breaks to nurse a bottle every few minutes, a trooper throughout the hour. little sips and then sweet smiles - we even found a dimple - it was a dream in their beautiful three story home. can't wait to watch her grow and what life brings this sweet family next...
loved my newborn shoot with this sweet family in their new home, but this shoot felt like a refresh. new year, she's three months older now, and her big sister is in the routine with her little sister. they are a family now, and bailey is in her little three month groove. after a busy, BUSY fall this shoot was a kick start to a 2017 full of fresh shoots. some of the same families, but we know each other better now. we have a groove too, and its my job to capture these families in the way i know they want to keep in print forever. its also my job to exceed expectations, find these new beautiful moments when a family is in a new stage of family life. and this shoot felt like i accomplished that. little details, cozy moments, and a family ready to take on the first year of sweet bailey's life together.
its not often i leave a session feeling inspired and refreshed. with new ideas, and new dreams for my own personal family growth. and this was a two hour double session with multiple families, a LOT of people to coordinate and corral. but this was different. i spend most of my days in the fall months with younger families (who i dearly love with all my heart) with kids the same age as mine. its SO fun bc they AREN'T my kids...so i can relate, play, get messy with them and it comes so easily since i have my own at home and know those preschool ages so well. but this time around i had a bunch of "kids" who were all my height and some were drinking beer. so yea....took me a minute to figure out what "games" we should play. ring around the rosy probably wouldn't work. admittedly i was a little nervous and thrown off my game for a minute. how do i organize 10 teenagers/20somethings to be natural in front of the camera?? well it took a few mental minutes on my end, but they made it so easy for me. these young adults....siblings, cousins, step-cousins...they are obsessed with each other. ive never seen anything like it! they were playful, cooperative, happy, adjusted and respectful....to each other and of course to me. we joked about ring around the rosy, and then they thought it would be fun, of course at a high speed that led to most of them catapulting into the woods...but they were up for anything and everything. and they wanted it all documented. piggy back rides, holding hands, playing animal games, lining up for an updated portrait, even kissing significant others in front of me! it was a magical end to my fall season of over 70 family shoots. the cherry on top? the vintage vw van owned by abbie, a dear friend of one of the sons.
the overall message i gained from this shoot. these "kids" couldn't be more different from one another - and these parents have embraced, cultivated, loved each of these kids independently from the others. they see big dreams in each of them and have allowed the space for them to grow and that example has given their siblings and cousins to gift each other the same thing. leaving the 2 hour shoot, they were all still taking pictures of each other - jumping around, dancing, on one another's back, cartwheels, playing in the vw van. i saw LOVE and RESPECT and a HOME. that home has no direct road or set path, it always evolving and dynamic and flowing. and im still captivated. couldn't be more proud to know these people, and to have the images in print for them to cherish.
two of my favorite brothers, in blue, on a gorgeous farm in brentwood. and it was so much FUN. smith, hibbs, mom and dad - all together and i was so thankful dad could take off that afternoon at work to explore with us and get in the memories. i love this sweet family and so thankful that heather has asked me to capture her boys in these fun stages. hibbs now in big boy kindergarten and smith still in toddlerhood, it was a brotherly love that is just beginning. soccer, roaming through the fields, and exploring hand in hand with mom and dad. there's nothing better to document. its the ordinary moments. maybe in a new place so that makes it interesting. but just a regular afternoon of family. and i loved how the story unfolded that early afternoon before a 4 pm sunset (thank you daylight savings!).
yet another very fun shoot with this family. i feel like we know each other pretty well now after three little shoots together. this particular GORGEOUS fall day at radnor lake was just as easy as the others...with a final bang to end the session. our sweet little nature walk ended with ross and moss - lake water moss that is. thankfully he was a trooper about it, and more importantly mom was a total trooper too. mess. life. kids. the greatest plans never go as they should with little tikes and those are the memories we'll keep from this day.
and for those of you needing custom designed cards next year for the holidays, or newborn announcements, vance is your go-to girl. stay tune for more on that front....
i was SO honored when rory asked me to capture her family. she wanted FUN, real photos of her little clan and so we picked a park close to our neighborhood. an iconic park in nashville, but one where they could spread their wings, literally in some cases and be playful in a gorgeous sunset park evening. i try not to play favorites, and loved each little foster's personalities, but evie stole my heart and the show pretty quickly. she LOVED the camera, and i loved her for it. she also reminded me SO much of my little middle child, tate. beats to her own drum.
this family is the epitome of natural...free...kind....and loving and glad i was able to capture these memories.
thanks to rory for trusting me. xoxo
when emily called about a session, just a few days after i closed out my fall shoots, we had a little chat about exactly what she was looking for. i whole heartily admitted to her that i was in need a break. after over 70 family sessions this fall and a gorgeous wedding in belle meade, my creative inspiration tank was running on fumes. she got it right away. we postponed a few days to a weekend slot, and i got a solid 5 days off to catchup on a few work items (hello, accounting...) and be with my family.
by saturday, refreshed, i was eager to meet another new family and since we'd chatted by phone about our plan for the morning, it was a breeze. it doesn't always happen, but talking by phone or in person about expectations for a family session is really important. i want to know your goals, and i want to meet them. i also want you to know it will be fun, easy and casual with trust and a little free will.
the steffens were open, willing to share and love, and i was so thrilled to be the fly on the wall for and hour with this family. another "pinch me" session in the books. thankful for each and every one of you that lets me in your home and lives.
this session was particularly meaningful for me this year. blair and i have been friends for a few years now in nashville, and blair has been one of my biggest cheerleaders in building my craft over the past few years. it all started with a wild and free sunset adventure on the beach in rosemary, and i feel like it has come full circle as they are now settling into their gorgeous home in belle meade after many years of moving for cregan's school and work and renting. on top of that, blair and i collaborated together on a gorgeous wedding in november ant our shoot fell just a few weeks before the big event. blair and i have worked so closely together this fall and im thrilled about her building her own brand and business.
kate and monroe are so thick as thieves. kate, whimsical and spunky, and monroe, sweet and gentle - they balance each other perfectly and they love each other hard. when i showed up, they were ready to play, dance, swing and show off all their favorite spots in their new home. while mom and dad got dressed, true personalities of these two in action unfolded and loved being a part of the everyday life of this family in their new stage. Blair and cregan are still putting the finishing touches on their new nest, and i can't wait to photograph it when it's finished. my favorite current piece, cregan's heirloom vintage leather sofa.
dream sessions. ive had so many amazing sessions with families this year y'all. somehow i've lucked into this glorious "job" where i get to photograph families in real moments. and this session was a big one for me. jocee generously bid on my donated session to a local pre-school, so i had never met her family prior to her contacting me for a fall session. i had no idea what she had in store for me. and then a week prior to our session, she sent me a PINTREST board. that's in all caps bc i was completely THRILLED. the minute i saw it, i called her and shared my excitement over the phone.
i guess i can consider myself an artist now, right? sounds a bit precocious, but i think people now rely on me for vision. but i also want to collaborate with a family (or mom) on what they will cherish, frame and put in albums in their homes. and i love creativity and input so we can create magic together. i can move people around, go through the motions that i do with every family, direct everyone...and i've gotten more comfortable in that role in helping create the moments between your loved ones. it doesn't always come easily when someone is right in your face with several cameras. but always know that ahead of time you can give me your ideas too, your vision. and we can create a plan of capturing your family together.
once i saw jocee's board, we connected on a few details - we needed to change the time of day we met for the shoot based on the location we'd picked. we worked together to find a time that would work and it was worth the extra effort and schedule hopping. i think we created something really beautiful, natural, loving....together.
when mom mentioned her sister-in-law was renting a farm near franklin, tn and it might be the right spot for our family session, i couldn't wait to see it. note to all of you families out there...a farm is ALWAYS a good idea. this was the perfect spot to capture these two siblings in fall, their friendship with each other, their sweet dynamic with each parent, and of course their quirky little personalities.
best of all, we had a wild and free backdrop for this family of four and i loved capturing the love they have. my goal is always to start with mom and dad first, and layer in the kids. its important to start the family at the heart of the home - the parents. and the kids can join in organically and bring the giggles and cuddles. audrey and foster were experts in this sweet addition to the family photo.
and finally, i hope to capture the mom. im usually hired by moms, and we rarely have photos of just us. it is so important to have a beautiful image just of her. because after the day to day grind of loving on your kids and balancing your family life, you deserve it.
happy thanksgiving to my clients. sending hugs and love your way. so much to be thankful for, its all around you!
the family unit - the heart of the home.
i photograph lots of families in nashville and beyond. my joy behind the camera comes from the kids. people say all the time, "how do you deal with other people's kids? isn't it exhausting?" - and its not at all. they are all so great, so much fun and they all have their own ideas and energy that they bring to each session. i also love it when the moms and the dads are both able to be there - or even just one of them and are ready to play, get in the frame and love on their kids. and there was a lot of this with this beautiful family on this gorgeous fall afternoon. cami and wes have a clear vision to parent organically and be an active part of their kids lives. and even more importantly, they are connected...to each other and then to jones and sophie. im so lucky to find this hidden gem in SO many of the families i get to capture and am thankful they open their private moments to me.
loved meeting this family on sunday afternoon. they live in the heart of a gorgeous neighborhood in nashville and between caroline, a nashville native, and teddy's mom, the house is decorated in a stunning contemporary style. i was immediately drawn into every detail, right down to the modern birdhouse hanging in the front yard. bo is a precious 8 month old little boy and had perfected his handsome stoic stare for me. he is scrumptious and this family was such a joy to be with on this gorgeous warm fall day.