Favorite Photo Friday

I love taking pictures of people…the happiness, the joy and love, the funny.

But I also enjoying capturing nature be it the beach, a flower or a sunset.

For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made…

I can’t help but see God in the physical world around me and when I start nosing in with my camera, start focusing and really paying attention, I am astounded and left amazed at what He reveals to us of Himself…the beauty, the strength, the grace.

The way a flower blooming hints at the divine unfolding right before our eyes…the story of life, death and resurrection told over and over again and again bearing witness of hope.

Today, look around you at the natural world and marvel that everything was made through Him and for Him.

But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
the birds of heaven, and they will tell you;
or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
~ Job 12:7-9 

A Special Senior Session

One of the things I really love about being a photographer is becoming a family’s photographer…the one they call when they want/need pictures. It doesn’t even have to be a yearly event but the connection gets made stronger each time I have the privilege of capturing moments for the same people over time. I love it.

I met the Barnes family through the school our kids attended. Cameron hired me to take pictures of the kids for Christmas in 2009 and that was the first time I photographed sweet Jenna.

A year later I did mini sessions as a fundraiser and Jenna and her siblings were in front of my camera again. (How adorable was her little brother?)
After that it was family pictures and a 50th anniversary and then a 95th birthday party. I was super delighted when Cameron called back in the spring about doing Jenna’s senior pictures. (And surprised because hello? How had time flown by that fast?) They were living in Birmingham but wanted to come home on spring break and also have her pictures done. 
Jenna has grown into a lovely and talented young lady. Not only does she play the cello but she also sings and acts. She plans to attend Samford in the fall and pursue a degree in the arts.
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I loved including her instrument in some of the pictures. 
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And her dress?! Oh my stars, it was fabulous and you probably recognize it from last Friday’s Favorite Photo but you couldn’t really see the gorgeous shoes she paired with it.
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She didn’t spend her whole session in that though. She also went a little more casual in some of the pictures but still with that lovely elegance and poise.
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We headed to Ft Pickens to finish up her session. That is a pretty popular and well known spot for local photographers but we took some of my absolute favorite senior pictures there.
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We decided she should change back into the dress again and I am so glad we did! 
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Cameron and I had the same thought at the same time and wonderful mama that she is she hustled back to her car and brought the cello to us. It was a perfect end to this fabulous senior session and if I ever have a studio this is going to be a giant canvas hanging on the wall.
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All told this session reminded me just how special it is to be invited into someone’s life again and again. Cameron left this comment on my facebook ~ It was just so much more than a photo session, it was a refreshing experience, and just filled up my soul with the goodness that being at home and with friends brings and it means more than I can say that the time I invest in taking someone’s pictures is about so much more than just the pictures.
So thank you, Cameron, for your sweet words and I can’t wait to see you guys in October for that 100th birthday celebration! 
Jenna, I pray that you will find much success as you seek to hone and develop your skills and talents. Also, that you will continue to use them in such a way as to bring glory to the Giver of those gifts.
The life of faith is lived one day at a time,
and it has to be lived-
not always looked forward to as though
the “real” living is around the next corner.
It is for today which we are responsible.
God still owns tomorrow.
Elisabeth Elliot

The Reason Why

If you hang out a round the blog at all you might have noticed more pictures being shared. There’s a reason for that.

There has been a long going debate about whether a photographer should blog every session or just some sessions. I was a blogger before I really became a photographer though and so for me I would share the occasional picture but that wasn’t the point of my first blog. As my confidence grew behind the camera I started a side blog where I did a weekly photo project. It ran into a glitch after a few years and eventually went away all though the project continued on other platforms.

Then there was this weird overlap between a lack of words on my part and more picture taking. I decided to start a whole brand new blog and Life Through My Lens was born. It didn’t take long for me to realize I don’t live my life divided up into neat little boxes and my photography spills over into my words and my words spill over into photography. But oddly enough I still never shared images from sessions on a regular basis. No particular reason why it’s just been the way it has worked out and I still don’t have an answer for the all or some question as far as which ones to blog.

However I have recently joined an online photography community and we’re encouraged to share more of our work so we can learn from each other, to get feedback and constructive criticism, and maybe show off a little. And I decided that I want to share more of the wonderful people I get to photograph. I don’t really have a reason not too. So you’ll probably start seeing more of my work on here along with the regular recipes and my own thoughts. And if I’m having a slow season I just might pull up some past sessions and share those.

All that being said, today I am going to share some of my favorite images from a newborn session I did back in May. It was pretty special for a couple of reasons. First, it was twins. Adorable could-not-be-any-more-precious twins. Second, it was the first time I have ever attempted any sort of fandom portrait and it actually turned out really, really cute.

The twins have one beautiful big sister and she was willing to get in a few pictures. This one was just so sweet!


And the boys themselves…oh my goodness they were just the cutest!


They were angels and it was one of the easiest newborn sessions I’ve ever had. Mom and Dad were both really laid back and the whole time was low key and pleasant.

Ollie is the oldest although his little brother beats him on size by a few ounces. He is quite possibly going to be a redhead.


Mom made these cute little hats for each of them.

Like I mentioned, Teddy is the younger but bigger twin. He is also as dark as his brother is fair.
I keep up with mom on facebook and it is such fun to see them growing and getting bigger.
Mom and Dad are fans of Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings and they brought some neat things to incorporate into a photo. It also happens that people in my house are fans of both series and so I had some things that would help make this set up come together. I might have squealed a little when I saw it on the back of my camera.
I really enjoy newborn sessions and this one was just about perfect. And, pun intended, practically magical.

Test Kitchen #96 ~ Lemon Tart

I think this has become my absolute favorite dessert right now. For reals. It’s cool and smooth and tart and with just enough summer tanginess. It comes from a Taste of Home cookbook my mother gave us and my youngest daughter actually picked it out (along with about ten more but this is the only one we’ve tried so far.)

I have found that opinions can run pretty strong on the matter of lemon flavored desserts but I am solidly in the go for it camp. I think it taste like summer and is so yummy.

This tart is delicious and bonus…you get a great arm workout.

What you’ll need:
1 pastry shell, baked
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup milk
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter
1 TBS grated lemon peel
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup sour cream
What you’ll do:
Combine sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan.
Gradually stir in milk until smooth.
Cook, constantly stirring, over medium-high heat until it thickens.
Reduce heat and continue to cook and stir for two more minutes.
Remove from heat.
Take a spoonful of the hot mixture and stir it into the eggs yolks.
Return all of it to the sauce pan and return to burner.

Bring back to a gentle boil, stirring the whole time.
Cook for two more minutes.

Remove from heat.
Stir in butter and lemon peel.
Gently add in lemon juice.
Cover and cool completely.
Fold in sour cream.
Pour into pastry shell.
Refrigerate for at least two hours before cutting. 
Garnish with whipped topping.

It really is the perfect dessert for these hot summer days.

Wherever You Are Be All There

She turns twenty-two today.

I’ve got a million things I could say about her.  I could share funny stories or brag about how she lives her life with steadfastness and grace. I could talk about her accomplishments and servants heart. But I think one of her favorite quotes by Jim Elliot sums her up pretty well.

Wherever you are be all there.

You don’t live twenty-two years, however few that may be, without experiencing some kind of disappointment and heart ache. But she has chosen to find her place, to dwell wherever He has lead her…to be all there. Not looking back wishing for what might have been or starring off into wispy day dreams. And if she reaches a closed door then she moves a little slower until the path becomes more clear and then she goes forward with all that is in her, holding nothing back out of fear or uncertainty.

We decided sort of last minute to do birthday pictures yesterday afternoon. Of all things she wanted to go to Graffiti Bridge and leave a mark on it, her mark, if only for a short time. That quote seemed the perfect declaration as she heads into a new year full of more responsibilities and challenges as she starts the nursing program.


After we got started we realized choosing white as a back ground color was probably a mistake. (We’ve tucked that away for future reference.) We were still pretty happy with how it turned out and we gave an extra can of spray paint to a family visiting from Wisconsin so her birthday shenanigans became part of someone’s vacation story.

We enjoyed taking some more casual pictures wandering around Aragon Court.


We chased the sun a little.

We might have gotten a little silly too.

But the real fun came when we got out the balloons.

All of a sudden the breeze that everyone in Pensacola had been longing for all this hot humid day decided to show up.

There was nothing to do but roll with it.

The only thing left was to throw a little glitter and dance.

Happy birthday, sweet Sarah. You are a blessing and a joy.

The will of God is always bigger than we bargain for,
but we must believe that whatever it involves,
it is good, acceptable and perfect.
~ Jim Elliot

Vince And Kait

Sometimes last minute things just work. One day in the beginning of June my friend Mel (of Our Blessed Arrows fame) sent me a text asking if there was anyway I could possibly photograph her oldest daughter’s surprise engagement that afternoon. She and her about to be future son-in-law were plotting and planning and while Mel figured she could probably get a few pictures with her cell phone she decided to see if I could be there.

Now I have photographed all kinds of events from family, children, and senior sessions, a 95th birthday, engagement pictures, weddings, 50th anniversary celebrations, gender reveals, maternity and even a birth. I’ve also been blessed to have the privilege of recording some of life’s more difficult moments when friends lost their one month old baby and another said goodbye to her husband too soon. I had never ever photographed an actual proposal though and for that reason alone I would have been excited to do it. But this was also some of our dearest friends and I was beyond excited to have the opportunity to photograph this special moment.

Turns out I am a stinkin’ ninja. They never even saw me and Vince was kind of looking for me when he wasn’t down on one knee asking Kait to spend the rest of her life with him.

Last week I got together with the happy couple and we had such a great time in downtown Pensacola shooting their engagement pictures. I love how diverse the downtown area is with so  many varied backgrounds all within walking distance to take advantage of. We started near Plaza Ferdinand and just meandered around Palafox Street before ending our time together on the pier.


Vince is completely smitten with Kait and it was so sweet to see the way he looks at her.
Of course Kait is equally smitten with Vince. 
I love Pinterest and I encourage my clients to make use of it when preparing for sessions. Everything from planning what to wear and picking out favorite poses. I make sure to explain that it is for inspiration and that we won’t be making exact recreations. I mean, we live in FL so that gorgeous California mountain light just isn’t going to happen here and unless you and yours are the exact same size and shape as the people in the photo logistically it’s just not going to look exactly the same. Knowing all of that we pulled up the Pinterest board we had created for their session and found a few that we really liked. I think it only took us about nine or ten times to finally get this shot the way we liked it. 

There was a bout of Rock, Paper, Scissors and a few rounds of thumb wrestling and even a game of arm wrestling.
I don’t think Vince was worried about loosing.

This was one of my absolute favorites from their session. I’m not sure exactly why…maybe the way they’re looking at each other, so completely sure that they’re each other’s other, the part that fits and connects like no one else has or will. Whatever it is or however you describe it I hope they always keep looking at each other that way.
Vince and Kait, I am so excited for you both and cannot wait for your wedding. Until then may you both jealously guard and protect the love God has so generously given to the both of you. 
And I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetimes,
in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality,
I’d find you and I’d choose you

Just The Thing

Today is July 3rd which means for most of us that tomorrow is all about family and friends, grilling burgers and hot dogs or any red meat, pool parties or beaching it. Shrieks of laughter, the smell of sun screen and bug repellent. Some of us will take our place in the crowd to ooooh and ahhhh over city fireworks and then we’ll join the crazy lines of traffic and slowly make our way home hoping to get in our beds before the next day starts. Some of us will decide it isn’t worth the hassle and we will delight and fascinate the neighborhood with loud kabooms and light up the sky from our drive way while children run around the yard with a flaming sparkling wand. The joy of celebrating independence day in America.

So while you are making the grocery list for tomorrow’s feasting go ahead and add this delicious corn salad. With the purple onion giving it a kick and the Fritos adding the perfect crunch it’s just the thing to pair with any cook out menu.  (There’s also a bonus snicker salad recipe so if you what a little more sweetness on the table you’re covered.)

Happy fourth of July, y’all! Stay safe and have fun.