• It's Our Passion To Capture Your Story In A Way Only A Photography Can...LINDSAY & BRANDON

We adored Julianne and Jake from the first time we met them. Even if Brandon spilled hot tea in Jake’s lap (which may or may not have really happened!) they were still so incredibly kind to us and were genuinely excited to work with us for their engagement session and wedding. Though we met too late to squeeze in a fall session, we planned for an adorable snow session at the family cabin where Jake proposed. The first snow of the year fell during a time we planned to be out of the country so this sweet couple had to keep waiting, and when the buds began to show, we finally reserved to the fact it would be a spring session. But guys, it worked out so perfectly. Jake’s family has property in Rickman and portions of it he hadn’t even explored before, so when we popped out there to start shooting, we mentioned the large tree-filled field with green ground-ferns and the lovely stream that accompanied it. It was the perfect addition to their adorable cabin and these guys were precious and so willing to trust us with a vision.

Here are some favorites from their early spring engagement session, and to say we are anxious for the wedding would be an understatement. We’ve met their family and are in love already! Can’t wait!!

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As we planned for a trip to the Dominican Republic last fall, I stumbled upon a local photographer on instagram whose photos made me swoon. I began stalking, as one does, and became enamored with this idea of doing an anniversary session on the beach. Brandon and I rarely have photos of ourselves. Beyond quick cell phone snaps, we have only had two photo sessions done of us. With each one, I learned what I liked and didn’t but still didn’t feel entirely comfortable in the role of “subject.”

Since we were traveling in a foreign country, we were at the mercy of others for nearly everything. Gaston with Punta Cana Photographer picked us up from the makeup artist’s home and as we arrived to the first location, we hit a snag. Even having called three times to plan for shooting at a lovely resort and paying additional fees, they wouldn’t allow us in. Gaston rescued the day by quickly thinking of a secondary location that fit with the style I had hoped for, and we sped there as the clouds began to form. I’m not going to lie, I was panicking in the back seat: the clouds meant rain was likely, sunset would be less spectacular, and that our session could be cut short. Already off to a late start and not being able to shoot at the luxury hotel we planned on, I was setting myself up to be disappointed.

But as we arrived to the beach that Gaston chose for us, we found that not only was it more beautiful than any other we’d been on, but there was no one else to be found. We had it all to ourselves. Shooting on the beach really has one downfall: the wind. So, while my hair is not as perfect as I had hoped, Gaston and Brandon constantly reassured me that it was looking great.

Brandon and I aren’t a very PDA type of couple. We are lovey but generally don’t get that way in public. So as we began posing and holding each other tight, Gaston encouraged kisses, snuggles and hand holding. As he shuffled along the beach finding new angles so we wouldn’t have to move much, he constantly shouted out words of encouragement and praise for how well we were doing. Whether it was a flat out lie or not, it helped me to relax and trust that the images were actually working (looking back now I can see that he was loving the composition and background of these shots too.) Though he didn’t show us any back-of-the-camera shots (this control freak was not in love with that), I could tell he was loving his time creating these images and that made me at least have hope that I wasn’t screwing them up.At one point, he asked us to get in the water. The ocean. In this expensive suit and skirt we’d purchased. Slightly hesitant but trusting he knew the effects of salt-water more than we did, we waded in and faced a beautiful sunset bursting through the clouds. As Brandon snuggled me tight and we simmered in the romantic moment, he joked about how all we needed was some fish jumping. Gaston was squatting to get our reflection in a small water pool when all of the sudden……FISH JUMP!!! I couldn’t help my reaction and the squeal just came out. I mean, what are the odds! And that he pressed the button in time to catch them in the air! So lucky!That sunset was magic, but as quickly as it came, it left and with it rolled in the rain. Gaston wasn’t phased, and as we made our way back to the car, he came up with a plan to extend the session. He broke out his flash, positioned us near a palm tree, and lit up the raindrops around us. Now I’ll tell you, we’ve never had a drama shot like that before, and it was so fun to be the ones “up for the challenge” of shooting in the rain. All I could think was my hair was a wet mess and I had to look awful, but I had to trust our precious photographer who hadn’t let us down yet. He knew I was worried about my looks, so he shot wide and the result was perfect.

Overall the experience was a really great one and we couldn’t be happier with the photos! Even considering some hair issues, Gaston did an amazing job and we plan on a really big canvas, or two or three, for our home! Being on the other side of the lens provided us with a lot of insight into how our couples feel during our sessions. I’m excited to share what we learned and how it impacts our business in an upcoming post.

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Randi and Jonathan are an adorable Cookeville power couple – Randi runs a successful Wedding Attire and Makeup business with her mother and serves hundreds of clients a year there in addition to having her own Wedding Planning business.  Her husband Jonathan is a commercial airline pilot. Together they have remodeled a home in Cookeville and have adopted an adorable kitty since their marriage three years ago. So, when they mentioned needing new fresh photos of themselves as part of an annual tradition, we couldn’t wait to spend time with them (more than the 5 min we’d see each other at Lowe’s every month or so).

Keeping in line with our weekly marriage series, I asked Randi to share some of her best marriage advice. Here’s what she had to say:

“My husband and I have been married three years in June and have been together seven years this December. The best advice I remember on our wedding day was from our sweet guest, Ms. Becky. She encouraged us to take photos together every year to have for our Christmas card. Christmas is my favorite time of the year because that is the month we started dating.

This is one of my favorite traditions and we have kept true to it. As I look at our photos we have had made this past year with Lindsay and Brandon, I could not help but smile. They captured all of the emotions I have for my husband, Jonathan, and then some. We are always smiling, laughing and cutting up with one another.

I loved getting phone calls, text messages and letters letting me know how much the recipients loved our Christmas card photos. Remember, traditions never fade and neither do pictures, so cherish each other and hold on to the photos that you can look at as the years go by.

Love is always in the air, Randi Barksdale”


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When Brandon and I were newlyweds, I tried my hardest to be the perfect wife. I now know that’s an unattainable standard, but only months after the wedding I was spinning my wheels to be everything and then some. We both worked full time jobs, I was attending law school, he was teaching a Sunday school class, and we had a passion for photography that used up any spare time we actually found. It was utterly exhausting, and it wasn’t because Brandon wasn’t putting in his fair share, it was simply because I was trying to do and be everything…perfectly!

I thought I could create delicious dinners each night (without any prior knowledge of how to cook). The meals were my weak area, but it was a non-negotiable for me. Any good wife surely could at minimum cook a nice dinner, right? Well, as the months and years passed and I continually failed recipes and became discouraged with my efforts, what we began learning is how great of a cook Brandon was. Time after time of him swooping in to save my disastrous meals, we found out that it was something his brain was wired for: creating meals with no recipe, inventing new ways of preparing delicious foods. And he made it look effortless. I hated it and loved it all at the same time. Still do.

But I’m finally beginning to accept that he’s just going to be the cook in the family. It hurts my wife heart to know that I’m ill-equipped for such a task, but we have decided to quit the fight and let us each do what we are best at instead of struggling to be what we are not. Cooking just isn’t a strength of mine. I can bake without much trouble and my sweets are delicious, but something about that stove top – sautéing meat with garlic and onions, the sizzling olive oil, causes me a mini panic attack.

My point? In a marriage, in anything, you’ll have strengths and weaknesses. And though I’m not at all saying you should give up trying to learn new things or better yourself in certain areas, I do think that constantly suppressing your partner’s gifts will eventually result in exhaustion. If your spouse is great at something, you might want to give them room to shine. If we are too prideful to let our partner show us a better way of doing things, it can lead to resentment.

Sometimes it’s ok to humble ourselves and admit that certain roles might not be for us.

So, while Brandon cooks, I’ll clean. We finally found that rhythm and it’s working much more beautifully than my nightly crying fits in the kitchen. So when it’s dinner time, we venture into the kitchen together. I help him gather the ingredients and then I’ll unload the dishwasher while he heats up the stove top and gets that pan sizzling. After dinner, he puts away leftovers while I finish up dishes. It has been a saving grace to our marriage. It keeps the peace. There are still times I’ll make my grandmother’s meatloaf or I’ll whip up some dessert, but I’ll usually leave the pots and pans to him while I just clean up the mess.

It’s helpful to change those roles up every once in awhile. It’s also helpful to encourage or help your partner along the way. But my point is, find your rhythm by using your skills to the advantage of you both, and even as you try to better your own skills, don’t fight what’s clearly not working. Love each other by humbling yourself and letting your significant other do what they enjoy, maybe even teach you a better way than your way. What areas are you fighting to make something work that simply isn’t worth it? Love each other by finding your peace.


P.S. Isn’t this tea towel the cutest? Brandon and I ordered several as Christmas gifts to each other and this one’s my fav because it’s so fitting. We are adoring all the new stuff Paris Chic Boutique lately! Follow them on instagram if you are interested!

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When Brandon and I were in youth group together, we had a pretty tight group of friends. We were with all of them a lot, so naturally we’d tease. There were times that someone would go too far and accidentally (or not so accidentally) hurt someone with their words. When that happened, our amazing youth leader was always quick to jump in and make us apologize, then we’d have to say two nice things to help heal what we had hurt and boost the esteem we had just knocked down. You said something mean about someone’s appearance? You’d have to apologize and say two nice things about their appearance. Insult their character jokingly, you had to come up with two good qualities they possessed. You know as well as I do that just saying nice things after a hurtful comment doesn’t make it go away, but somehow it would start the healing process a little faster. Kind of like neosporin does for our skin when we get little cuts. Those uplifting words sped up the natural ability to heal the hurting heart.

We all like to hear nice things about ourselves. Some people crave it more than others (I’ll admit, I need some words of affirmation up in here!) but speaking life and goodness into others will cause anyone to feel loved. It’s one of the five love languages, and for some people the daggers of hurtful words can wound deeper than others, especially if they are the kind of person (me, me!) who needs those affirming tones to build them up. Words are so much more important than we sometimes give them credit for!

The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. – Proverbs 18:21

Like the rudder of a boat, your tongue has power to steer the direction you’ll go in. And don’t forget your spouse is in your boat too! It’s so easy to respond out of emotion, to want to be right, to want to prove something with your words. How much better, though, to keep quiet even if you think you’re right rather than to spout out and hurt someone for no reason, or for a wrong reason. Sometimes you didn’t even mean to hurt them, you were too focused on yourself to realize how your words could have pierced them. There have been many times that in trying to be funny or clever, I’ve inadvertently hurt someone simply because I didn’t think about how they would perceive what I had said. Even unintentionally we can bring pain to those we love by being quick to talk. Words are hard to take back and hard to heal from.

In a culture that’s always talking, it’s almost a lost art to be quiet and thoughtful before responding. But oh if we truly thought about how we speak to others.  I truly believe that words can hurt and words can heal. Sharing words that lift up others can cause them to actually see that good you pointed out in them. How important this is in our marriages! Our spouse is supposed to be someone who makes us feel loved, who makes us feel safe. The world gives us enough of what we’re not good at, so let us use our marriages to point out the goodness we see in our spouse.



So, this week my challenge to you is twofold:

1) Let’s be mindful of others and take a minute before we let words come out of our mouths. (You can always add words later, but you can’t take them back once they’re said.)


2) Add in some nourishing words to build your partner up! You never know what the world told them today (or what they told themselves), so give them something positive to think about!


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