| Jen & Mike | Central Illinois Wedding | Decatur Country Club Reception | Sarah Jane Photography |

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.

Decatur Illinois Wedding, Decatur Country Club Reception, Sarah Jane Photography, Decatur IL Photographer, Wedding Photographer, Wedding Portraits, Sarah JaneFor 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….

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Decatur Illinois Wedding, Decatur Country Club Reception, Sarah Jane Photography, Decatur IL Photographer, Wedding Photographer, Wedding Portraits, Sarah Jane

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Decatur Illinois Wedding, Decatur Country Club Reception, Sarah Jane Photography, Decatur IL Photographer, Wedding Photographer, Wedding Portraits, Sarah Jane

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Decatur Illinois Wedding, Decatur Country Club Reception, Sarah Jane Photography, Decatur IL Photographer, Wedding Photographer, Wedding Portraits, Sarah Jane

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| Decatur IL Small Business | SoundCheck Music Center|

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It’s time to feature yet another amazing small business right here in Decatur, IL: Sound Check Music! I was introduced to Sound Check a couple months ago when an assignment for Thrive Entertainment Guide called for me to get my hands on some music equipment. I posed the question to my facebook friends/fans to find out who they recommended and Sound Check and their staff received raving recommendations and I can see why. Everyone I encountered at Sound Check was helpful, polite, professional and inviting. I felt right at home and was very well taken care of and was honestly blown away by the selection they offer.

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The Details:  Bill Cunningham, Owners at SoundCheck Music Center | In Business: 25 Years

Hours: Monday – Friday 10:00-6:00, Saturday 10:00-5:00, Closed Sunday | Location: 1481 W King St, Decatur, IL 62552 Phone: (217) 422-4455

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Tell us about your business… What do you do? We offer Decatur area musicians a wide variety of services including sales, service, rentals & lessons. Our Showroom has a large selection of items including: Guitars (Electric & Classical), Drums, Amps, Keyboards, Digital Pianos, Band Instruments, Pro Audio & Video Recording Equipment, Software, Lighting, Sheet Music, & much more. Private lessons are our specialty with comfortable waiting areas for parents!

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What makes your business unique/special? We are family owned and care about each and every customer that comes through our doors. 

That care is absolutely felt when you walk through the doors at SoundCheck. Every time I walked in I was greeted with a smile, welcomed and helped promptly. They provided GREAT customer service even when I wasn’t purchasing a thing! 

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What item/service on your menu or in your shop do you just LOVE and think everyone needs? Keyboards!  We are the largest keyboard dealer for miles and we are a one-stop shop for musicians.   We teach, sell and care for the musicians of Central Illinois.

In what way have you gone above/beyond in the past for a customer?  As a store we have tried our best to always put our customers first.  This means making home visits for sales to making sure that a customer is happy with the service from SoundCheck.  I remember times some of our associates have come in after hours for customers so that they are able to buy a cable for a gig. 

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What tool/equipment/or other vendor could you not imagine doing business without? Why? We have a great relationship with some of the leading manufacturers in the industry but one of our favorites is Craig from the Music People.  He assists us day in and day out with a large list of different companies.  He is a great friend and a great mentor for us and we would not know where we would be without Craig.

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What other local business do you just LOVE? Why?  The Brass Horn in Downtown Decatur, we try to have the same mind set on customer service.

Introduce us to your STAFF… 

Bill Cunningham, Owner

Adam Cunningham, Bass Instructor/Sales Associate

Alex Kidd, Sales Associate

John Patrick, Sales Associate

Tyler Bethard, Sales Associate

Graig Statsitcky, Drum Instructor

Terry Ledbetter, Guitar Instructor/ Sales Associate

Gay McCoy, Voice/Piano Instructor

Kristi Crawford, Violin Instructor

Alex Manfredo, Commercial Voice

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What are you passionate about outside of your business? 

SoundCheck would not be successful if it was not for our extreme Christian beliefs.  We are a Christian store and many of our employees are passionate about a church in the central Illinois area.  

Describe your PERFECT day… 

My perfect day starts when a new musician comes in our store and decides to begin a new instrument.  This means taking lessons from one of our highly trained instructor and picking out the instrument of their dreams.  I love these days because it is a day where we have discovered a new customer and most importantly we found a new musician.  At SoundCheck we are developing our customers to be successful musicians.  This could range from playing on the big stage to learning to have fun and be a musician!

 sarah jane photography small business feature, soundcheck music, music store, music supply, decatur il, central Illinois,

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 mail@sjanephotography.com. We are now booking for 2014 features and showcase one business each month. Your feature includes FREE 20 minute location shoot by Sarah Jane Photography, blog and facebook feature and web images to use on your online spaces (facebook/website/etc).  Our business features are now also being published monthly at www.redecatur.com!

Download the information here:https://www.dropbox.com/s/urr7zdkh64szon7/MarketingBusinessFeatures.doc

Maddie | Decatur IL Senior Portraits | Sarah Jane Photography

 

Stunning! That about sums up Maddie … just look a those features!! I had a fabulous time photographing Maddie’s senior portraits and am so excited to share some of our favorites with you. Be sure to stop by our Facebook Page and view her gallery to see more. senior portraits decatur il, maroa-forsyth high school, class of 2014, mfhs, maroa-forsyth, sarah jane photography, sjp, sjanephotog, outdoor senior portraits, senior girl poses

Carlie | Decatur IL Senior Portraits | Sarah Jane Photography

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!

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Naill Family Portraits | Decatur IL | Sarah Jane Photography

 

This family is so fun! Even in a short 20 minutes for their mini session we were all laughs (as you can see). This year was my very first year to host mini sessions for families looking for quick, easy family portraits and Christmas Cards! I can’t wait to get cards designed for these guys.

Be sure to stop by our facebook page to see more from this session and give them a few likes!

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Lisa | Mt. Zion High School Senior 2014 | Sarah Jane Photography

 

 

Check out a few of my favorites from the lovely Lisa’s session! This girl is flat out gorgeous… add in makeup by Katie at Salon 402, a gorgeous day and even Lisa’s boyfriend Cole and it made for a fantastic session! She rocked every pose and look and I cannot wait to show off MORE so head over to our facebook page, check out her gallery and toss her a few LIKES so I can get to posting!
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Stewart Family | Newborn Portraits | Sarah Jane Photography

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!

Be sure to stop by our facebook page to view their gallery and give them a few likes so I can post more!

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Maggie | Maroa-Forsyth Senior Portraits 2014 | Sarah Jane Photography

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!)senior portraits decatur il, maroa-forsyth high school, class of 2014, mfhs, maroa-forsyth, sarah jane photography, sjp, sjanephotog, outdoor senior portraits, senior girl poses

Kelly & Josh | Decatur, IL Wedding | Sarah Jane Photography

There are a few churches in Decatur that when I hear are wedding venues for my lovely couples I start to salivate a little (too much information)… like seriously, these are the stop in your tracks gorgeous ‘could shoot inside all day and never get tired of this’ type churches and First United Methodist is one of those churches. Not only is their sanctuary simply stunning but their bridal room is breathtaking and when you add in a beautiful bride dressed to impress you can’t miss.

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And that was just the start to my day with Kelly & Josh (and the amazing people they call family and friends). Take a look at what we created on their lovely day….

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Why did you choose Sarah Jane Photography? | “We loved your style of shooting. You were very easy to work with as far as helping plan a timeline for the wedding day and getting the shots we for sure wanted.”

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What would you tell another couple thinking about booking SJP for their wedding? | “Every couple has their own taste for every little detail when it comes to wedding planning and the photography is no exception. I would tell them to ‘go with their gut.’ and if they do choose SJP they won’t be disappointed.”

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Would you choose SJP to photograph your wedding if you had to do it again? | “Yes. The pictures you took were beautiful and you helped me organize the whole day.”

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Who made your event unforgettable?

1. The DJ, Justin Ford. We were very specific in what kind of music we wanted played during dinner and dancing. All country during dinner and all upbeat dance music after.

2. Sweet Life Bakery (Now called Mowery Baking Company). Our cake/cupcakes were awesome looking and tasted amazing. They have recently moved into a building downtown as their business is expanding.

3. Shirley’s in Mt Zion did a great job of helping me design a bouquet that looked beautiful and would withstand the August heat! They will work with any bride on a budget but I thought they were very reasonably priced anyway.

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Get the inside look at Kelly & Josh’s big day:

Vendor List:

 

 

Jessica | Senior 2014 | Sarah Jane Photography

Jessica is AWESOME! Obviously, she’s gorgeous but we had such a great time on her session and she was up for anything, including taking a little dip. We did crash a couple guy’s fishing expedition and tried hard to scare all the fish away from us!

Be sure to check out Jessica’s gallery on our facebook page and give her a few LIKES (she’s already rocked through 25 likes on her first 5 posts so there will be more coming so soon!) senior portraits decatur il, maroa-forsyth high school, class of 2014, mfhs, maroa-forsyth, sarah jane photography, sjp, sjanephotog, outdoor senior portraits, senior girl poses

2014 SENIORS we are now booking for late fall / early spring (and even taking 5 winter ‘wait list’ clients if you want some SNOW) so do not wait to book your session! Only sessions booked on/before April 15th will be included in the 2014 senior posters. http://www.sjanephotography.com

Kiersten | 2014 Senior Maroa-Forsyth High School | Sarah Jane Photography

One of my favorite locations for high school senior portraits is AT the high school! Why not, right??! That’s where you spend your high school days so what better place to have senior portraits taken?

Kiersten was my first Maroa-Forsyth High Schooler to choose the high school for her session so it was a brand new location for me, which is always a blast. My favorite spot of the day ended up being the greenhouse which had amazing light and texture. We, of course, had to spend a little time on the field to rock her cheer look (CLICK here to see her full facebook gallery including these portraits on the field)

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Punch & Sizzle | Decatur IL Custom Paintings | Small Business Feature

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).

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When I arrived for the shoot, Elizabeth was working on this painting for her next Paint Like Me class. I’m trying to get Ryan talked into one of these classes and love the idea of spending a fun and unique evening together not only learning how to paint this but DOING it together and taking home our own pieces to remember the experience and decorate our homes. You better believe he’ll be tagging along to one of these classes soon!

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.

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One of my favorite characteristics of Elizabeth’s style is the depth her work has. She layers multiple types of materials and layers of paint to create paintings that have a 3 dimensional quality.

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…..

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And this is where the magic happens! Even her table is amazing!

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!

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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.

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Even the neutral walls in Elizabeth’s space had a little flare. Check out this subtle pattern texture.

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.

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Thirty seconds after walking in the door I did not want to leave! Look at this space; I felt like I could curl up with a book and a glass of wine and stay forever. (Which I do believe is exactly the feeling Elizabeth creates for her clients).

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.

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Elizabeth creates these unique letters and what better way to show off your own mantra, encouraging words or maybe family name?!? Elizabeth can help you make the space more YOU!

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 mail@sjanephotography.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). 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/urr7zdkh64szon7/MarketingBusinessFeatures.doc

Raychel | Warrensburg-Latham Class of 2014 | Seniors | Sarah Jane Photography

Rachel is a senior at Warrensburg-Latham high school and was SO much fun to photograph! The day before her session I called to confirm her locations and asked her if she was up for an adventure and willing to try out a never before used location and she jumped at that opportunity.

I was so excited to try something new at a location I’d driven by about 1000 times but never stopped to photograph at. We had gorgeous weather and Raychel did a great job rocking her poses and with great expressions.

Check out a few of our favorites here and see more on our facebook page.

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CLICK HERE to view her full gallery on facebook! 

** Noticing my two day in a row blog post this week?!?! Well over the weekend I realized that I’m a little behind on posts. This year, yet again, we’ve had more clients than ever before! I cannot thank you all enough for entrusting your special moments to me and helping continue to grow our business bigger and better than ever. So to catch up with all the features of my awesome clients (who REALLY each deserve their very own post) I’ll be posting one a day this week! Yes, that’s a whole lot of awesome people coming your way, get ready!

Mickayla | Taylorville High School Senior 2014 | Sarah Jane Photography

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!

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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!

Anna | Maroa-Forsyth High School Senior 2014 | Sarah Jane Photography

Have I told you how much I LOVE senior sessions?!?! And Anna’s session was no exception! Though we had a hot/humid day for her session she completely rocked it even in a sweater and scarf in 90 degree heat!

I have to thank the lovely Hannah Shaw for a gorgeous job on Anna’s hair & makeup too. Check out a few of our favorites from Anna’s session and be sure to head over to our facebook page to see her full Gallerysenior portraits decatur il, maroa-forsyth high school, class of 2014, mfhs, maroa-forsyth, sarah jane photography, sjp, sjanephotog, outdoor senior portraits, senior girl poses

Family Portraits Decatur IL | The Davis Family | Sarah Jane Photography

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.

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Rachel + Patrick | Engagement Portraits Jefferson City MO | Sarah Jane Photography

Even though we’ve now been in Decatur IL for 3 years now we are still Missourians at heart (sorry Illinois, home will always be home) so I LOVE the opportunity to go back and photograph Missouri weddings, especially when they are in my hometown!

We had a beautiful day for Rachel & Patrick’s engagement session at Binder Park and these two were a blast to work with. Aren’t Rachel’s eyes stunning?!?! You’ll be seeing more of these two in October after the big day, but here are a few from their engagement session to enjoy NOW.

Be sure to stop by the facebook page to see more and give them a few LIKES.

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Decatur Illinois Wedding | Charlee & Chase | Country Wedding | Sarah Jane Photography

Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Chase Dickey!

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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?!decatur il wedding, wedding photography, mt zion conference center, country wedding, barn wedding, outdoor wedding ceremony, sarah jane photography, sjp, sjanephotography, decatur il wedding, wedding photography, mt zion conference center, country wedding, barn wedding, outdoor wedding ceremony, sarah jane photography, sjp, sjanephotography,

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. decatur il wedding, wedding photography, mt zion conference center, country wedding, barn wedding, outdoor wedding ceremony, sarah jane photography, sjp, sjanephotography, decatur il wedding, wedding photography, mt zion conference center, country wedding, barn wedding, outdoor wedding ceremony, sarah jane photography, sjp, sjanephotography, decatur il wedding, wedding photography, mt zion conference center, country wedding, barn wedding, outdoor wedding ceremony, sarah jane photography, sjp, sjanephotography, decatur il wedding, wedding photography, mt zion conference center, country wedding, barn wedding, outdoor wedding ceremony, sarah jane photography, sjp, sjanephotography,

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! decatur il wedding, wedding photography, mt zion conference center, country wedding, barn wedding, outdoor wedding ceremony, sarah jane photography, sjp, sjanephotography, decatur il wedding, wedding photography, mt zion conference center, country wedding, barn wedding, outdoor wedding ceremony, sarah jane photography, sjp, sjanephotography,

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Get the inside look at Charlee & Chase’s big day:

Vendor List:

Who made your event unforgettable?

1. The DJ! He came to us multiple times throughout the reception to see if we needed anything or to ask if the music was okay with us or if there were any requests. He was AWESOME!

2. Sarah Jane Photography knew our vision and make it perfect! They did any pose we asked or showed and made them look amazing. I loved all our products!

3. Christy Hood & Tami Richmond! I told them my vision and they made it happen. Everything was how I pictured it to look on my wedding day!

 

Why did you choose Sarah Jane Photography?

“I saw SJP at the Crowne Plazza Bridal Expo not long after I got engaged and the moment I saw all the work and amazing albums/prints I knew I had found our photographer. I love your style!”

What would you tell another couple thinking about booking SJP for their wedding?

“Wedding pictures are timeless. You want quality; quality, style and uniqueness are what you get with SJP!”

 

 

 

Kelsie. High School Senior Portraits 2014. Decatur, IL. Sarah Jane Photography.

| Kelsie | Senior 2014 | Central A & M High School |

I LOVE photographing at brand new locations (that was one of the best parts about relocating to Decatur 3 years ago – EVERYTHING was NEW to me!). Well, Miss. Kelsie wanted a unique session at a very unique location; one that no one else would have… her home!

I showed up on session day having never seen the location and it was like going to Disney!! The gorgeous possibilities were endless; barn, lake, weeds, trees, weeping willow tree, wooden swing, corn, road, and then down the street… SUNFLOWERS! Boom! I don’t think I could have asked for one more thing. 🙂

Check out a couple of our favorite images from her session and be sure to head over to our facebook page to see even MORE! We have so many to show off be sure to give her some LIKES so we can get to posting. http://www.facebook.com/sjanephotog

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Jefferson City, Missouri Spring Wedding. Sarah Jane Photography. Pam & Doug Starr.

| 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!).

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And what better place to photograph in my beautiful home town?!?!?! Of course, we had to hit the capital steps!

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www.facebook.com/sjanephotog | © Sarah Jane Photography

Katie. 2014 Senior Portraits. Maroa-Forsyth High School. Sarah Jane Photography.

| Decatur IL Senior Photographer | Sarah Jane Photography | Maroa-Forsyth 2014 |

Just a little peak at what we created for Katie’s senior session. This girl was crazy good in front of the camera; great smiles, great laughs and even great serious looks! Although it was a little buggy out at Rock Springs Katie was a trooper and even got asked to prom from a little boy scout, haha. Ya, we had fun! Take a look at a few of our favorites and be sure to head to our facebook page to see more and give her a few LIKES so we can post more.

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WorkLife Balance. Tracking the hours you work. Photography business.

| Decatur IL Photographer | Work/Life Balance | Worktime App |

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!).

 

app_store1THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT!!

 

Decatur IL Family Portraits. Sarah Jane Photography. Garrett Family.

| Garrett Family Portraits | Sarah Jane Photography | Charity Auction Winner |

I was thrilled to photograph the Garrett family! Kendra and I met when she stopped by our booth at the Neuhoff Media Lady Palooza shopping event. Kendra loved the work and we got her booked for a session right away, then just a few weeks later she saw our Pennies for Jenni facebook auction and she messaged me to say she’d love to bid but she’d already booked a session. Well, of course, I told her she could bid and win our auction and she WON!!

I have to give a huge thank you to her for her generosity in donating over $600 with her winning bid. This money went directly to help my best friend who is fighting for her life battling Lupus. You can view more about Jenn’s story here: www.facebook.com/pennies4jenni 

I got to spend 2 hours with Kendra’s beautiful family and O.M.G. were they awesome! I was fairly certain Kendra had lost her mind when she wanted to do the full 2 hour session with two young boys, but I’m always up for an adventure and WOW were Tristan and Tanner awesome?!?!! These two could have future modeling careers for sure. They were ‘working it’ for the camera with some awesome ‘attitude’ looks and perfect natural smiles. We even got some brotherly love images with a few hugs (that I’m sure they will hate in 5 years). 🙂

The session was definitely an adventure with a quick shower to kick it off downtown (even though there was 0% chance of rain) and then bug attack at Rock Springs to finish it off. Check out a few of our favorites from the session here AND be sure to hope over to the facebook page to view more.

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Family Portraits. Decatur IL Photography Studio. Sarah Jane Photography.

| McCoy Family | Decatur IL Outdoor Family Portraits |

I have to start this blog post with a ‘thank you’ to the McCoy’s for participating in the online auction we posted to support Brooke, a little girl fighting Leukemia. Lori bid and WON our prize package and her donation went to help Brooke’s family get through this tough time.

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Now, how about we see some of this adorable family!?!?!? They did amazing on a VERY chilly day. In between takes grandma and grandpa were on hand to give snuggles to the little ones with a load of blankets! Every image was like a big unveiling as we untucked all the covers and coaxed out the smiles. Poor Lori told me at her premier she was so afraid they wouldn’t even find a couple good ones because she knew it was so cold and windy, but we not only found a few she liked but a total of 30!!! Plus, a beautiful collection of their ‘LOVES’ which will be soon decorating their walls as a stunning canvas collage.

I loved working with this beautiful family and can’t wait to do it again.

If you’re ready to see MORE from this session head on over to our Facebook Page and see their full feature. Be sure to give them some LIKES and we’ll post even more. 

Puppy Portraits!!! Decatur IL Pet Photography. Sarah Jane Photography.

| Millie & Bo’s Barkery | Pet Clothing | Pet Portraits |

O.M.G. super cuteness is coming your way…… ready? Check out these adorable pups I had the chance to photograph.

First up is Hailey…. Isn’t she gorgeous! She was workin’ it. Just check out this stoic stare. The pretty dress we brought for her model shoot wasn’t quite her style so we let her rock her shoot nudie – because she’s naturally lovely don’t you think?!?!

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 How about a little smile….

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Next up is Biff! One of my awesome 2013 seniors volunteered her handsome little man to model one of the outfits from Millie & Bo’s! You may have seen Biff sporting his look (which was my favorite too) in last month’s issue of Thrive Entertainment Guide. ImageImage photo, pet photography, dog photography, pet portraits, dog portraits, sarah jane photography, decatur il, central illinois, illinois, springfield il, sjp, sjanephotography, decatur il portrait studio, studio photography, millie & bo's barkery, millie & bos, barkery, pet treats, pet clothes, pet store

 …. and now some fan support and a little over the shoulder sas! Work-it Biff.

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 And finally, may I introduce Greg! I have to give props to this little man because he not only rocked out the jock look but also showed that men can be pretty in pink too! Image photo, pet photography, dog photography, pet portraits, dog portraits, sarah jane photography, decatur il, central illinois, illinois, springfield il, sjp, sjanephotography, decatur il portrait studio, studio photography, millie & bo's barkery, millie & bos, barkery, pet treats, pet clothes, pet store

 Thanks Greg, you really were adorable. 😉Image photo, pet photography, dog photography, pet portraits, dog portraits, sarah jane photography, decatur il, central illinois, illinois, springfield il, sjp, sjanephotography, decatur il portrait studio, studio photography, millie & bo's barkery, millie & bos, barkery, pet treats, pet clothes, pet store

Thanks to all our awesome models and be sure to see more on our facebook page (Greg gets nudie too!).  And if you haven’t been in to Millie & Bo’s Barkery you are missing out! They have homemade pet treats that look so yummy I’m a little jealous they aren’t for me. Plus, adorable clothing in all shapes/sizes/styles for your pup!