Jessica: Time to Soar

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I photographed Jessica during a trip to Mississippi in 2017.

Since I’m able to show my clients their photos only minutes after a session, I can take my business on the road from time to time, so I did that during a trip to visit my family in May 2017.

Jessica’s mom wanted senior photos, even though Jessica had just graduated. We usually do senior photos starting the summer before senior year so we have them for things like invitations and yearbook ads, but occasionally I get families who have been busy and still want pictures before their son or daughter goes off to college. The quick turnaround is great for that scenario too, of course!

Jessica is her mom’s only daughter, and for some years (until mom Jennifer met her husband) it was just the two of them. Jennifer described perfectly for me the expression she loves, when Jessica just holds her head a certain way and listens. It was a time of big change in the family’s life, with Jessica launching into the world, and her mom and dad moving to a new town. We decided to celebrate the town she had just graduated in, Natchez, Mississippi, in the photos we took.

First stop was the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. “This is our beach,” Jennifer told me. After a few light and airy photos on the “beach” we went for a completely different look, and our fabulous location was a favorite tree. It took us a while to find it, but it was well worth the search!

Jessica loves to read so books figured in many of the photos. We celebrated her love of learning, something that is of course important for Jennifer, who is a teacher.

Instead of sharing just photos, I’m sharing the album spreads in this post, so click through the photos below and pretend  you are flipping through the pages of Jessica’s beautiful senior album!

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Nike and Dot

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Nike and Dot were photographed in 2016 at their home in Little Rock.

They are the fur babies of Libby and Aaron, whose wedding I photographed a few years back.

Going back even further, Libby and Aaron dated for nine years before getting married.

And Nike pre-dated their relationship.

In fact, she was with Libby way back in college, when she was tiny enough to crawl inside a tennis shoe … hence the name Nike.

Dot’s formal name is Persephone. She was fairly new to the family when we took photos. While Nike just wanted to sit in the sunlight and enjoy the comforts of home, Dot was more eager to chase a tiny fluff ball around the room.

When we photographed Nike, she was around 15 years old. She was healthy and thriving, but Libby was anxious to get photos because … well, you just never know.

The slideshow below contains all the photos they ordered for their beautiful portrait box, one of my favorite products of all time because it’s both storage and display at once.


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Love Grows: Bhakti and Rishi

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When I first talked to Bhakti her voice was full of joy, and that’s not a surprise. She considers herself one of the luckiest women in the world.

It seems strange to most Americans, but Bhakti and Rishi’s parents arranged their relationship and eventual marriage. They met and got to know each other, but also trusted their parents to know what was best. Both them are certain now that their parents were right!

Bhakti’s favorite part of the day is when the pair are home together at the end of a work day and Rishi makes tea or coffee and brings it to her. They sit together and talk, maybe read to the baby, and he reaches out and takes her hand.

Oh, did I say BABY? Yes, the couple are expecting a new addition to the family very soon, which is why they came in for photos. The photos show the tenderness that Bhakti told me about over the phone, as well as a young couple with a beautiful family life ahead of them.

Click any photo below to enter the gallery, and then below that, see the beautiful album they ordered. I’ve also included my favorite layout from the album, which tells that story of Rishi bringing tea at the end of the day.

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Roux: Will Jump for Treats!

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Roux got his name because he is the color of a light roux.

(Southerners know what this means. Others: feel free to ask!)

Well, seems Roux is getting older and Lisa, one of his people, realized it was time to get some great pictures of him while he was still active and healthy.

Active turned out to be an understatement, BTW!

Roux not only got a couple feet off the floor in the name of treats, he performed tricks he hasn’t performed in a long time.

Lisa calls Roux a “deople” — that is, a dog who is also “people.” He’s got personality for days. Roux has both a home and a workplace: he goes to work in an accounting office with Lisa every day. In fact, he’s known for sitting in her office like he’s the manager and everyone else works for him!

Clients and employees alike love Roux and are quick to greet him when they visit the office. In his off time Roux enjoys the relaxing at the lake.


Click any image below to launch the gallery and see how we caught Roux’s amazing energy and personality!

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Roux’s artwork is displayed at Lisa’s office where all his favorite people can enjoy it!

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The Powers Family

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Many life circumstances bring families in for photos. But it was a tragedy that landed the Powers family in my studio a few years ago.

What had started out as a fairly nice Sunday afternoon in Arkansas had turned suddenly dark and stormy. As the tornado sirens went off near their home in Vilonia, Doug Powers was doing everything he could to protect his family. There was no basement, so he brought his family into his study, where they huddled against the most interior wall of the house.

Hoping to protect them further, he dragged a mattress into the study and had his wife and two children get underneath it. Finally, he joined them as the tornado bore down.

When the noise and destruction were over, nothing remained standing of their house … except that one wall. Everyone was safe, but they would need to rebuild.

When the time came, they chose Robby Cole (then of Fairway Mortgage, now with Benchmark Home Loans) as their mortgage lender. When they closed, Robby decided a great gift would be a family portrait session, considering how many treasured family photos they had lost in the disaster.

It’s still one of the most incredible stories I have heard as a photographer. Many times as a photojournalist I have covered the other side of the story, the tragedy. What a privilege to get to celebrate with this family as they rejoiced in the most important thing: that they are together.

The featured photo is such a powerful echo of their journey. Dad, Doug, holds his arms protectively encompassing his whole family, while they nestle happy and comfortable within the circle of his arms. Their expressions are a celebration of life and togetherness.

What do you have to celebrate?

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Mika Being Beautiful

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My first session of 2018 was right after I got back from visiting my mom in Mississippi. Beautiful Mika came into the studio to do some of the same kind of glamour photos her mom had done last year.

The photos were to be a birthday present so she could see herself on the wall every day.

Mika’s mom, Yone, told me how proud she is to see her daughter’s accomplishments in running, and how determined she is to improve. Yone, herself a runner, is thrilled to be able to see her daughter working so hard at something, and to be able to offer support.

During our photo shoot, Mika was a natural in front of the camera. The confidence that her mom had told me about was certainly apparent!

Click any image below to launch the gallery and see how we caught Mika’s sparkle!

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Given so many beautiful photos, the selection and creation of Mika’s wall art took some time, but we finally settled on the collection above to grace her walls and be a daily reminder of how amazing Mika is!


Nimrod (“Nimi”) the Dog

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Nimrod was a puppy when he was rescued from a gas station near Lake Nimrod.

Only three days after he was found, he was playing on the rural property where his new family lived, and came back with a fish hook in his lip, requiring an extra trip to the vet.

So, he got the name “Nimrod.”

“But, it’s appropriate,” says dad Robert. “Nimrod also means ‘hunter,’ so it’s a good name for a dog like him.”

That was about 12 years ago. Robert says he has been a great dog — after a trip to obedience school as a rambunctious puppy.

“Nimrod loves everybody, especially kids,” Robert says. When he is with his dad’s running friends, he makes the rounds to get petted by anyone who will pet him.

“He’s protective. We had somebody break in the house one time when we were in the country, and he happened to be in the house. The door was partially open, and they took nothing, and Nimrod was sitting in the door when when we came home. He did not let anybody else come in, obviously.”

The first thing in the morning, and the first thing when Robert gets home, he has to have his hug. He doesn’t calm down until he gets his hug and a good scratch, but then he’s fine.

Now he and his dad are two guys living by themselves and Nimi is there every day at the end of the day to greet Robert. He’s a great companion. “He’s always got love for you, always got attention,” Robert says. “I love this dog to death.”


Know an amazing rescue dog that ought to be part of this project? Keep reading!

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Congratulations Heather and Brandon!

Congratulations Heather and Brandon! It’s a girl!

It was a long wait for this little one to finally make an appearance, and Heather found out she was finally expecting just as Brandon was receiving a long-term assignment to Djibouti.

Brandon is really excited to finally be an expectant father — excited enough to be persuaded to come along to a photography session. We incorporated some military themes, as well as the couple’s two dogs. Having two active puppies made for a fun session and lots of hilarity. We got both dogs looking in the same direction and sitting up, even though the downtown traffic was pretty distracting for them.

Best wishes to this couple as they get ready to welcome this little one into the world!




Kloee Visits the Studio!

This is beautiful Kloee. She is part of our Rescue Tails book project.

Part of the reason Kloee is special is because of her age. While most Great Danes live to be about six or seven years old, Kloee is a wise old 12 years! She’s a beautiful dog, but the story of her adoption starts with her being deemed “not up to breed standard.”

She’s a sweetheart, though, so the breeders decided to keep her. Unfortunately, her owners eventually got a breeding dog that Kloee didn’t get along with, so she was put up for adoption by North Mississippi Great Dane Rescue.

She was already advanced in age, but she was adopted by a sweet couple in Little Rock who figured they would give her a couple of good years before they had to say goodbye. Luckily, that didn’t happen!

Kloee is an old girl who knows what she wants, and how to get it! She will trick her owners into getting out of bed to check on something, only for them to come back and find that she is in their spot! On the other hand, she’s a big puppy who will still thinks she can sit in someone’s lap.

We enticed her with chicken and she got pretty excited about that. Her sweetness is beyond belief and we were so glad to meet her and create beautiful memories for her human mom and dad!

Popcorn Dog

Bo loves popcorn! Unfortunately it’s not good for him. Still, this photo where you can see his excitement over the popcorn the kids dropped is an amazing showcase of his very excited personality!


Sometimes in a photo session there comes a found moment that just defines both the session and the personalities of those being photographed. Bo (the dog) isn’t supposed to be eating popcorn, but he gets pretty excited not only when he hears it being popped, but when the kids are enjoying popcorn themselves. A little bit of unguarded popcorn on the kids’ table provoked this great expression that just says it all!

This photo was a great addition to the family album we created, that also included photos of the kids, their parents, and the entire family together, as well as individual photos of Bo and his dog brother, Kobe.