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family and newborn photo session in green hills

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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.

unapologetic chaos of a family in 12 south Nashville

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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!

maternity and family photo session in east Nashville abandoned airfield

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its year two getting some memories in print for this family and i couldn’t be more honored.  i met julia and justin through our mutual friend, and we have a million more now in common. the first time i shoot for a family i dont know well, is always a little experiment.  year two, i see what makes them tick.  julia is a friend so i know her now, but as a client i love her bc she’s up for anything.  she’s always smiling.  she’s obsessed with her son and being a “boymom”.  and she and justin have a doting, loving, and happy marriage that you see daily in her hilarious and sweet instagram stories with her boys. she’s a mom who values documented moments, building a gallery wall in her stairwell. and so this year, i really wanted to do something different and out of the normal places they visit. we went to one of my favorite spots to capture this growing family, right before field becomes a brother.  and give that boy a football, and he’ll play…for hours on end.  + sunset light magic + abandoned airfield = dream shoot.

mini studio session for the fall Nashville photo win

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after a few weather glitches and issues scheduling our hour weekend session together, debbie threw in the towel and we knocked out a holiday card photo session in my tiny home studio at my house in 12 south part of Nashville.  not romantic or all the feels of an in-home shoot, but these studio sessions are really great options for getting some shots of the kids together, sweet portraits, and offer opportunity for clean colorful photos in which we can still get sweet personalities in print.  the “cora” sessions are short and sweet, 15 minutes and include all the files.  so they are a budget friendly way to get updated photos year round.  i thought id share what we got that morning in those few minutes together.  stay tuned for a studio mini sessions this spring in march, and a few in the fall too!

designer family gets updated fall photos in home session

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i was so excited to see tori’s new digs, especially since i knew she’d have it designed down to every last detail.  last year we had a french horn that made for one of my fav spunky photos of her girls, this year we had a scenic back porch swing, tea for two in their room, and a cavapoo that i almost stole and made the latest dawkins family member.  tori is a super talented designer with a california luxe esthetic, and her girls are some of my favorite sisters out there.  no lacking of personality or cuteness, which makes for great posing and tons of fun candid moments too. i think we captured a cohesive look in keeping with her cool design…she may have even inspired the dawkins to finally go for that furry member of the family….

short and sweet weekday session - the "tate"

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

road trip tips with kids...survival mode

so if you can tell from the above picture, I'm by no means the expert on travel.  but i do have some experience - good and some not so great - that i thought id share my favorite one stop shop for mommies out there headed for the highway this summer and also some our favorite car activities that have gotten us through half of our travel so far this summer. i'm currently on a 6 week road trip solo with my three girls (2, 5 & 7 years old), and its an adventure...but we are all better for it.  trying new foods, adapting to crazy daily schedules, finding new activities, and exploring cities to make the most of our days together.  its not easy being without my super involved and helpful husband, but its certainly been bonding time not only with my girls, but with our family and friends we are seeing along the way.

for the road tripping families out there this summer, my first recommendation is hit up the Dollar Store.  you are in and out for under $30.  first thing on your list there: a trashcan. no matter if you are in a minivan (me) or a fabulous suv, kids are messy, gross, and eat constantly - (why did we have them again??) - and a trashcan is your first essential to a road trip.  second, a great recommendation by my dear friend (thank you amy!), a plastic caddy - these have handles at the top, a drink holder built in and a side to put snacks, or lunch in....and when they are finished eating, you can fill it with a new activity... bringing me to #3.  ACTIVITIES.  the Dollar Tree has awesome activities that will most likely at some point get strewn among the car, but cost $1, so you can clear the floors and trash them all at the end and not think another second about it.  from figurines, to puzzles, play doh, art activities, to tea sets - my kids are always thrilled to have a new shiny object to play with.  and lastly no brainer but - snacks, snacks, and snacks.  maybe a big lollipop or two :)

and then there are the family games - our favorite is road bingo - you can get the cards at any toy store or amazon.   another fun idea that my genius friend came up with (christie & emily I'm looking at you!), the jelly bean taste test.  get different flavors of each jelly bean, kids close their eyes and get to taste one and guess the flavor.  books on cd are awesome and you can check them out at your local library or get cute disney ones at target too which my girls love.  alphabet game, name things you see outside in alphabetic order or just grocery items, and the always class i spy game.  lastly, one of our FAVORITE new things is to the WOW in the world podcast - its produced by NPR and is chock full of science and learning in a very fun format for kids.  my girls look forward to them every week.  just download them all before you leave town and if you've got bluetooth, you'll be in business for several hours of entertainment.

happy trails friends, and good luck out there.  safe travels with your littles.  i LOVE seeing all your adventures through instagram! below are a few from our recent adventures....xoxo

the tie that binds us

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

at home with baby lamar (and apache)

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.  

soon to be three

i dont do a ton of maternity shoots, they aren't something i seek or even on my radar...but more and more moms are requesting them and if the timing is just right (26-30 weeks max into the pregnancy), we'll meet up and play for a morning to capture these moments in time.  and i didn't do maternity photos myself, but of course i wish i did.  those moments are long gone for me now, and i love thinking back to those intimate times with my unborn girls.  and also the time with my husband, moments built on anticipation for the next chapter, growing our family.  my morning with this sweet couple brought all those memories flooding back, and i can't wait to meet their little bundle this summer.  

xoxo