Jen & Mike had a BEAUTIFUL wedding day, getting married at St. John’s Lutheran Church here in Decatur with their wedding reception at the gorgeous Decatur Country Club. We could not have asked for more perfect weather and as you can see they are an absolutely adorable couple.
For this wedding the SJP team was a little rounder than usual as their wedding date was only TEN days before my due date (9 days before #babyB made her arrival). And I wasn’t the only one with extra hands on deck as my second shooter, Elizabeth, was also around 7 months pregnant at the time too!
Well even if I did waddle a bit I was thrilled to be able to capture this couple’s special day! Here are some of our favorites….
Check out this lovely senior! I had so much fun with Carlie featuring not only her but her talent as well (check out that gorgeous instrument!). These are just a few of our favorite portraits from Carlie’s session so be sure to head on over to our Facebook Page and check out her gallery!
If you’re a long time follower of Sarah Jane Photography (which is probably only my mother, thanks mom) you may remember Maggi & Jay’s wedding a couple years ago. Well, I’m excited to share that their family is GROWING and I’m happy to introduce you all to their adorable new baby boy, Cam!
SO MUCH FUN! That about sums up Maggie’s senior sessions (yes, that’s right we couldn’t fit all this awesome into one session so we did TWO). I loved hanging out with Maggie and her mom who are both so fun and energetic. We had a gorgeous day for her first session at a beautiful location that gave us a little rustic country and outdoor look and then finished up her second session in the studio for a little more muted backdrops to really let Maggie’s stunning features shine.
Take a look at a few of our favorites here but be sure to hope over to our facebook page to see a lot more and give her a few LIKES (we have so much more to share from these awesome sessions!)
As you can see Andrew is one talented senior, achieving the highest level of scouting becoming an Eagle Scout. We chatted during his session about what all the patches he’s earned were for and there’s everything from cooking (which is one badge I sure wouldn’t be able to earn) to first aid, archery (AWESOME), camping, swimming and so many more! I was so excited to be able to include this big accomplishment and key part of who Andrew is in his senior session. And the best part was hearing Andrew and his very proud dad tell me about a few of their scouting experiences.
Check out a few of Andrew’s senior portraits here and be sure to head over to our facebook page to give him a few LIKES and see more!
Welcome to our monthly small business feature! Willow Branch Boutique kicked off this brand new project to feature area small businesses and their owners right here in the Decatur, IL area and the response from business owners has been fantastic! We already have businesses scheduled to be featured through the end of the year and are now booking 2014 slots so if you’re a business owner in Decatur IL or other surrounding areas and would like to have your business featured on the SJP blog, complete with complimentary SJP images (ya, that’s right FREE!) please call/email me to get reserve your month.
Without further adu let me present to you the amazingly talented Ms. Elizabeth VanHoutan of Punch & Sizzle! I have to start by giving this girl a personal shout out because I personally LOVE what she does. And what is that? Well, in my words I think Elizabeth really brings the highest end art/style/design to the everyday people like you and me. She has worked with me over the past couple years to design and create one-of-a-kind custom backdrops (some featured below) as well as combining her portfolio with mine to allow me to create digital art work products for photographers to enhance their images: BoxDrops by SJP. Well that’s enough from me, let’s Hear from Elizabeth and see some of her work (plus, a peak inside her home where the magic happens).
The Details: Elizabeth VanHoutan, owner/artist at Punch & Sizzle and Paint Like Me Parties | In business: 16 Years / 11 Years in Decatur.
Hours: By Appointment | Location(s): Consultations and Installations on site and parties in YOUR home!
Tell us about your business… What do you do? I design and install surface treatments for all interior applications ( and occassionally exterior ones too!) Decorative finishes, faux finishes, poured resin countertops, murals, and handpainted details to name a few. I also create custom artworks for many residentail and commercial situations. I have recently started teaching others to paint abstract paintings with my new business “Paint Like Me” Parties.
What makes your business unique/special? I have a unique point of view– I am drawn to color, bold pattern, modern finishes, sleek design, bling-bling….I tend to shy away from Olde Worlde Style (although if the situation calls for that, I will do it!) I always find a way to put a unique twist on my finishes and artworks. I encourage my clients to decorate for THEMSELVES, not the next homeowners.
What item/service on your menu or in your shop do you just LOVE and think everyone needs? I believe that every room needs a ‘smile’…a painted quotation, a funky colored chest of drawers, a bold and chunky feature wall…..
In what way have you gone above/beyond in the past for a customer? I know that what I do is not brain surgery, but I do bring joy to my clients. And that’s the funnest part of my job! I take a tremendous amount of personal pride in helping others enjoy the spaces in which they live. I spend hours researching ideas for them and create a number of samples for them to choose from. It is my goal to provide the most up to date, interesting and appropriate finishes for each situation. I bid each project by the job, and if something takes longer than I expected, I stand by my pricing. I believe in good customer service.
What is the coolest thing you’ve ever had a client do for you? Send me to their vacation home by myself with instructions to ‘do what I do’….I think that speaks to the level of trust my clients have in my tastes and abilities. I have been to several vacation locations, which ranks as the biggest ‘perk’ of my job!
What tool/equipment/or other vendor could you not imagine doing business without? Why? I cannot live without Faux Effects International Products. They allow me to create high end finishes with their unique textural products. They also have amazing topcoats and base coats. I am very loyal to this line.
What other local business do you just LOVE? Why? I sell my paintings at The Perfect Pair in Warrensburg, but I also love to go in there and just look around at the ‘eye candy’. I always see things I want to buy!
I feel like I could not do my job without the helpful staff at Sherwin Williams. Whenever I have questions about technical things , this is where I go for answers and the correct products for each situation.
Tell us about YOU… WHY did you choose to do what you do? I fell into this career quite by accident. I have a degree in Interior Design and began my career as a Textile Designer. After getting married and having 2 kids, I found myself suddenly in need of a creative outlet that would also help support my family as my ex-husband had gone back to college. I offered to paint a harlequin patterned powder room in my friend’s stationary shop, one of her clients saw it and Voila! A business was born. I learned most everything through trial and error and then later, through taking lots of product specific classes for Professional Decorative Artists. I call this business a ‘God thing’, I’m not sure I would have found this passion had I not painted that first powder room.
When did you know you wanted to go into this business? I always knew I’d be an artist of some kind. I’m extremely visual and love Interior Design. I also get bored easily, so I love the ‘every week is different’ nature of my job.
What are you passionate about outside of your business? Fitness and Clean Eating, My Spiritual walk, spending time with my 4 daughters , I love writing fiction and have been working on a book I’m sure I will never show anyone for the last 6 years!
^^^ Anyone else shouting ‘SHOW US!!!” in your head right now because I am! Ha
Describe your PERFECT day… A workout, some yoga, a massage…followed by a fantastic lunch in a street cafe in some interesting location. Getting a manicure and pedicure and hair style (I spend most of my life covered in paint and in a pony tail, so my perfect day contains lots of pampering!) Shopping and a musical event would round out my perfect day! Of course I would be accompanied by kids and my longtime boyfriend!
SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS: If you’d like to have your business featured on the SJP blog please visit the following link to download the information/questionnaire form which you can email back to email@example.com. We are not booking for 2014 features and showcase one business each month. Your feature includes FREE 20 minute location shoot by Sarah Jane Photography, blog feature and images to use on your online spaces (facebook/website/etc).
Mickayla did AWESOME on her session! Bet you can’t tell it’s like 1000 degrees outside?!?! Ok maybe not that hot, but in a huge prom dress with zero wind it sure felt that hot and this girl still rocked gorgeous expressions and I have to give a shout out to the talented Katie Fucinari at Salon 402 for creating a hair/makeup look that survived 2 hours in the heat perfectly!
Be sure to head over to our facebook page to see more and show Mickayla some love by LIKING her images so we can post MORE!
We all know it’s sometimes a rare occasion to get the WHOLE family together in one place after the kids leave the nest and start families of their own (often on other sides of the state/country or even world) so when you do have the chance there’s no better time for a family portrait session!
That’s exactly what Pamela had in mind when they got the whole family together a few weekends ago and I was so excited to get to spend a little time with them. Not only did we photograph the whole family together but why not take the time while we have everyone all spiffed (ya that’s a word) up for portraits to get family portraits for ALL! And then just the kids, AND moms/dads together too! We did it ALL!
It was a gorgeous day out at Scovill Zoo for the session too!
Check out more from this family session on our facebook page and be sure to LIKE their images so we can post even more.
Chase MADE that wall! Now that’s a keeper Charlee. I loved the look of this unique piece and the couple is even renting it out to others who want a unique country look for their big day. Imagine this as your outdoor wedding backdrop?!
Check out Grandpa with the ladies and our lovely bride. Charlee was breathtaking on her big day and from flowers to dress and every jewelry detail this girl thought of it all.
Can I make a request that all new husbands unexpectedly pick up their bride for the kiss?!?! It was fun, surprising and got a great expression from Charlee!
| Starr Wedding | Jefferson City, Missouri Wedding Photographer|
Perfect Spring Wedding…. Ya, that about sums up Pam & Doug’s April wedding! Beautiful weather, amazing couple, fun bridal party, my hometown … what more could you ask for? We work hard before/during/after wedding days for our clients but on days like these it’s hard to believe it’s work. Pam and I went to high school together and I was so honored when she called and invited me to share in her big day and after meeting Doug for the first time I knew this was going to be a BLAST.
My absolute favorite part of this wedding wasn’t the beautiful unique cake, the fun ‘star’ designed reception, the delicious kettle corn party favors, the stunning natural light in the church or even the amazing fun people we got to share the day with (though that’s a close second)… but above all else, the love between these two wonderful people made the day unforgettable. By the end of the day I had laughed and cried right along side the whole family.
Here are a few of our favorite images from Pam & Doug’s big day! Plus, be sure to head over to our facebook page to see more and give them a few LIKES. (This wedding will soon be featured on our new wedding site here: http://www.sjanephotography.com too!).
And what better place to photograph in my beautiful home town?!?!?! Of course, we had to hit the capital steps!
So photographers, do you ever feel like you work ALL the time? Husbands (and wives) of photographers do you feel like your photographer spouse works all the time?!?!
You know it’s because most of the time our job doesn’t feel like a J.O.B…. we enjoy it. (Scratch that we LOVE it!!) In our down time our mind may wander back to it. Inevitably when two or more of us get together, even on a day off, we will end up turning the conversation back to something photography related. We’re sick and we know it (and love it)!
Well as I’m sitting here (at 11:26pm on a Tuesday night), I’m unwinding from my busy day in the office by working on a senior album design, getting a few orders uploaded to the lab and finishing up a proof video (yup WORKING). Without even meaning to I often end up in front of the computer or in the office at the end of the day working on a few things I want to wrap up or if I’m feeling particularly inspired to design I’ll dive into an album/card project. It doesn’t feel like work, but I know it is
Balancing work with life is a popular topic with photographers as is the topic of profitability (how much do you really make per hour if you’re working SOO many hours?!?). Well last week I had the thought that surely ‘there’s an app for that!’ and sure enough there are a LOT of them. I basically wanted an app that would let me clock in and out of work every day. Why? I don’t make any more/less per hour by clocking in and out. I’m not paying myself by the hour and my clients aren’t paying me more for an album that I spend 8 hours on versus one I spend 4 on so I can’t exactly turn over my ‘time sheet’ for reimbursement. No, but I can get a really good and accurate perspective of how many hours I’m working each week/month/year.
So why the blog post about this? Why not!?! I’m taking you (fellow photographers, or just fans and blog readers) along for the ride of self-discovery. I know all us photographers struggle to fit our lives/careers/families/etc into the hours that work for us.
For me, my business is a full time Monday-Friday (and sometimes Saturdays for my wedding couples) and it’s 9:30-5:30 type business. For many photographers their businesses are evening/weekend gigs on the side of another job or their full-time family life. But so many of us feel like even when we work work work that we aren’t working enough. Those of us with day hours can’t always accommodate the clients who need evening/weekend appointments but we feel the need to try. And what about the opposite? Can an evening/weekend only photographer be full time? Well sure… but how many hours does that take and when are those hours?
With a husband in the gone to work most days 8-5:30 I always feel the pressure to ‘be at work’ during those hours… but what about weeks that I may work 12-14 hours on a Saturday too. Or the evenings I work with clients until 8:30/9? I often have to remind myself that sleeping in on a Monday or doing laundry/cleaning house on a Tuesday afternoon is okay because I’ve put in my 40+ hours already.
I’m very curious to see the reality of the hours I put in and to see if it’s more/less than what I think. Any guesses???? I figured 9-10 hours a day about 6 days a week so maybe 60 hours, anyone think that’s low? High? Let me know your guesses for the hours I put in this week… we’ll find out Thursday how many hours it’s been!!!
THE APP: I didn’t do a ton of research on the app I picked but it seems to be working fairly well so if you’d like to join in and track your work schedule I’m using an app called Worktime. My plan is to try to do this for a full month consistently and as accurately as possible. If I make it that far then I’ll commit further (I’d love to do a year but whoa that’s a while to stick to it!).
| The Terell Girls | Sarah Jane Photography Studio Portraits |
Check out these gorgeous girls! This family was a blast … a whole love of energy and color and personality packed into the studio and we loved it! Take a look at a few of our favorites from this session and be sure to head over to the Facebook page to give this family some LIKES to see more!
^^^ Can’t wait to see this one as a beautiful canvas on their wall!! ^^^
Check out the lovely Miss. Taylor!!! This girl is queen of awesome expressions… Tira Banks would be proud because Taylor can ‘smize’ (smile with her eyes for those of you who are not Top Model fans). Taylor rocked her beautiful smile and the serious, no smile, looks!
We had a great day for her session though it was just a tad soggy after about a week of non-stop rain. I think her session is one of 7 I had scheduled that week and hers was the ONLY one we were able to get in between the storms. And she had no fear of a little soggy ground, we were traipsing through weeks, tall swampy grass and even laying her down in the forest for these portraits (it’s senior portrait time, come on, we’re not going to hold anything back)!
| 2013 Warrensburg-Latham High School Senior | Blake |
2013 Seniors it’s definitely NOT too late to start your senior portrait experience with Sarah Jane Photography! Yes, we know graduation is right around the corner but in 10 years you won’t remember what month you had your session. This month we fit in Blake from WLHS and even though we didn’t quite have the greenery we were hoping for he did a great job and we created a ton of images for them.
Blake was great, wading through a bit of a swamp with me (have a muddy flash to prove it) and we even found a few ever green trees to give us that lush ‘spring’ look. Here are a few of our favorites from the session…
Check out some of my favorites from this awesome couple’s wedding! Their wedding was in Springfield, IL w/ reception at the wonderful Secret Recipes banquet hall (which is complete, of course, with the MOST delicious Secret Recipes food). Plus, awesome entertainment by the talented Matthew Stevens!
| Sarah Jane Photography | Elizabeth – Warrensburg-Latham 2013 SENIOR |
Take a look at the absolutely stunning Elizabeth! We did a really quick studio shoot this week and will be following it up with her full senior session on location very soon, but, of course, I couldn’t wait until then to show y’all what we created in the studio!
I was so excited to get the call from Elizabeth and to start her senior portrait experience. I’ve had the pleasure to photograph her and her boyfriend, James, at a number of Warrensburg-Latham High School dances over the past couple years so I was thrilled to spend a little more time with Elizabeth in the studio to create something special just for her.
AND guess what!?!?! She’s possibly a future photographer herself and plans to go on to college and study to be a photographer, whoop whoop! It is, after all, the best industry in the world so I’m excited to see her passion for her future and wish her the best of luck following her dreams!
Hey y’all! It’s my favorite time of year…. SENIOR SEASON! I LOVE photographing seniors because you guys are so unique, original, and just plain excited! You know you only get one chance to create an unforgettable senior portrait experience, to step into the spotlight and be the star of the show for a couple hours and I love creating that experience with you.
And, as always, our senior season begins with our amazing senior models!!! Hopefully you’ve already seen the beautiful Miss Kailey sporting her images on Facebook! She is our first model of the season from Mt. Zion High school. I’m so excited this year to be partnering with the lovely ladies of Headlines Salon who are providing hair and makeup for all our 2014 models.
We still have a few model spaces available (remember we only take ONE model from each school!) So be sure to apply today! Just click the link on our main website OR find the link on our Facebook page as well.
Our models receive:
FREE Model Session
FREE Professional Hair & Makeup provided by Headlines Salon
25 FREE Model Cards featuring 3-5 of your images and a great deal for your friends!
Chance to be featuring in 2013/2014 advertising for Sarah Jane Photography and Headlines Salon… become the face of these two local companies!!
Facebook images, bonus gifts and MORE.
Plus, you’ll have the chance to earn CASH, studio credit, FREE senior session & even fun prizes like an iPad mini, flat screen TV or $500 scholarship!!!
We only have space for one model per school but we do still have openings. Plus, all those who apply will get a free gift from their senior session AND have the chance to earn referral credits for any friends they refer even if you’re not one of our 2014 models!
I was across from a “Tom Boy Tools” – PINK tools girls, super cute! One of my favorite little girls, Haylei, was there rocking her booth with her momma selling the cutest bows, magnets, suckers, lotion and MORE (cute photo clips I had to buy!!). Purses, jewelry, salons, massages, even pizza!
I had over 50 ladies stop by the booth, register to win one of three amazing prizes and had the chance to chat with many of them as we booked and begin planning their SJP Portrait Experience! Those who didn’t win our grand prizes will still be receiving a little email gift (everyone’s a winner at SJP!).
Check out some images from my booth and all the awesome client products we were showing off.
| Cole | Sarah Jane Photography | 6 Month Portraits |
How can you have a bad day staring at this face?!?! Cole is growing like a weed and I think you’d be hard pressed to meet a happier baby. We had about a total of 2 tears during this session, not even enough to get a crying shot (I’m gonna have to start making scary faces to get those).
| Sarah Jane Photography | Balancing Live, Love, and Photography Career | Decatur IL |
In the spirit of full disclosure, this blog post is stemming from a bit of Friday afternoon un-productivity. In the past 45 minutes I have bounced between what feels like 100 different things including a bit of bookkeeping, facebooking, unpacking orders from the lab, designing an album page, sending an album to the printers, uploading part of an order to the lab, pulling orders to send to the retoucher and setting up for a premier…. uh, holy A.D.D up in here!
So, why not add ‘blogging’ to the crazy list of half done ‘to do’ list items for the afternoon right? Right! Welcome aboard (I promise this IS going somewhere… I don’t promise that it is anywhere important.)
Ok, back on track…. obviously most of you know I love my job and am passionate about photography and creating art for YOU. But, have you ever thought what a photographer does for FUN when their hobby/love/passion becomes their career? (Me too!) Well, 2 years ago when photography became my full time career it consumed my life. Starting the career in a new city from the ground up meant no guarantees, no past clients and for a long time no sleep! I was racing to make a name, get clients, create great work for current clients and didn’t take much time for anything else.
That pace isn’t a long-term sustainable option (especially with a hubby) so over the past year things like (semi) normal ‘work-hours’ were introduced into our home. In my down time away from my business I’ve discovered a fun ‘hobby’ and new passion… teaching. It’s no secret I LOVE photography and am passionate about making it a career and encouraging of anyone who wants to turn that dream into a career. But there are millions of photographers who try/fail to do so (sad).
Alongside the photographers trying to make a sustainable living in portraiture there are also many who just love the field as a hobby (and that’s AWESOME too!). But where can they learn all the finite details of creating create portrait art? Lighting, posing, natural light, flash, etc? No everyone wants/needs or has access to a college degree in photography so they attend seminars, listen to speakers and receive online education.
Last night I was able to share my knowledge and passion about off camera location lighting and even had time to do a live shoot demo! It was a blast and so exciting to share my knowledge of the subject with a room full of fellow photographers.
I hope to have continuing opportunities to help others grow their passion whether it be hobby/business by speaking at more events, continuing to offer one-on-one in-depth courses and through my blog (and recently started book!!).
Anyways, hope you enjoyed this Friday, kinda-lengthy, rambly, casual blog post. Haha, I’m now going to run off and start a few more items on my to do list.
Whoa, it’s a new week already and time for another blog post. New year’s resolutions one week at a time!!
So this week was all about album designs at Sarah Jane Photography (SJP). Albums are one of my absolute favorite items to create for my clients. When they fall in love with 20-50 images and want to take them all home a custom-designed album is the perfect solution. With everything from 12×12 to a mini 5×5, clients can make a statement in their home or their purse!
And at SJP albums aren’t cookie cutter. Here are just a few of the designs I’ve been working on this week. Alyssa | Senior 2013 Hawkins Family Ashley | Senior 2013 Caitlin | Senior 2013 Emily | Senior 2013
Ok, so let’s get real for a second…. time to admit it, here we go: I S.T.I.N.K at blogging! Whew, now that that’s out in the open (like ya’ll didn’t already know) let’s see what we’re going to do about it.
But seriously, I do and in 2013 one of my many goals is to be much better. No, that’s not a resolution, it’s a goal (really, there’s a difference – kinda). Every January I think about what I’ve done in the past year, what worked, what didn’t and what I’d like to accomplish (and often do better) in the new year.
So I’m putting it out there now to hold myself to it. In 2013 I will be posting at least 1 blog post a week beginning today! Fellow business owners I encourage you to do the same if you’re blogging is not up to par. Let’s do it together!
Anyone make any other goals this year? Share them here and we’ll all help each other stick to them!!
Some of my other 2013 goals/resolutions include
Being more organized.
Bettering my time management skills.
Losing some lbs.
And lots more!
(And since it’s a photographer’s blog – here’s a photo!)
It’s HERE! We’ve blown right past 1600 fans and hit 1700 earlier today. Great job clients, friends and fans for sharing SJP with your friends and family and helping us grow.
I get excited about the little things and I cannot wait to reach 2000 fans! Along the way I’m giving away some fun prizes just for you to show you all how awesome I think you are and how greatly I appreciate you helping my dream business GROW (both on and off the web).
So here we go: ONE DAY ONLY you can enter to win a BIG stack of 96 Wallets plus a $10 gift certificate to my favorite local coffee stop: Decatur’s Coffee Connection!
While most of my posts stay pretty centered on my clients, images and in general the world of photography when my cousin reached out to our family to spread their excitement and gain support for the Making Tracks for Celiacs Run/Walk I knew this is something I wanted to share with all of you.
First, I’d like to introduce you all to this beautiful, spunky little girl…
This is Sofia, my second cousin and also very soon-to-be out flower girl. Sofia has celiacs. Her mom, Staci talks more about their experience with celiacs and their excitement about the KC run/walk on her blog which you can find here.
Sofia has her very own team for the walk and would love to have you as a part of it! You can find out more about joining Sofia’s team for the walk and/or donating to the cause at www.celiacwalk.org. Though I am unable to participate in the walk since I’ll be in mid-Missouri photographing a wedding I would like to offer our love and support to Sofia and all others walking to raise money and awareness for Celiacs SO… SJP will be donating 20% of every session booked from August 20-September 20 to Sofia’s team!
If you’d like to help this cause please join Sofia’s team, donate to their cause and/or book your SJP session in the next month and we’ll donate 20% of session fee to the team!!! Spread the word.