Crackerjack Photography Studio: Blog en-us (C) Crackerjack Photography Studio (Crackerjack Photography Studio) Fri, 01 Dec 2023 04:02:00 GMT Fri, 01 Dec 2023 04:02:00 GMT Crackerjack Photography Studio: Blog 80 120 Capitalizing the Potential of Your Professional Headshot: 9 Creative Uses Unique headshot of a business woman balancing books on her head In today's digital age, a professional headshot is an essential tool for anyone, from business professionals to artists and creatives. A well-crafted headshot can speak volumes about your personality, professionalism, and brand, but it's not just for your website or LinkedIn profile. In this blog post, we’ll explore seven creative and versatile ways to use your professional headshot to make a great first impression.

Mallory sitting and smiling while typing on her grandmother's typewriter. 1. Online Profiles
Your LinkedIn profile is just the beginning. Use your headshot on all your professional social media accounts, such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. A consistent image across platforms helps in building your personal brand.

2. Business Cards
Incorporate your headshot on your business cards. It adds a personal touch and helps people connect your face with your name and business.

3. Email Signature
Including your headshot in your email signature makes your messages more personable and helps recipients recognize your face. This is particularly valuable for networking.

Headshot of a business woman
4. Professional Website
If you have a personal or professional website, your headshot is a must-have. It adds a human element to your online presence, building trust with your audience. Having a variety of images and expressions lets viewers know more about you and your personality.

5. Marketing Materials
Your headshot can be used in brochures, flyers, and other marketing materials. It puts a friendly face to your business or services and makes your content more relatable.

6. Guest Blogs and Articles
If you contribute content to blogs, magazines, or news articles, your headshot can be included alongside your byline. This adds credibility to your work and helps readers connect with the author.

Businesswoman headshot in Traverse City 7. Speaking Engagements
If you're a public speaker, use your headshot in promotional materials for upcoming events, making it easier for attendees to identify you. It also adds professionalism to your speaking engagements.

8. Social Media Stories and Highlights
Incorporate your headshot into your social media stories and highlights to engage your audience and create a consistent
brand presence. People love to learn about YOU! I guarantee if you have a business page some of your most engaged-with posts will be the ones that have photos of you.

Your professional headshot is a versatile asset that can be used in many ways to enhance your personal and professional brand. Make it come alive by embracing these creative uses, and your headshot won't just be a static image – it'll be a dynamic force that helps you connect with your audience.

Are you ready to have a professional headshot, but aren't sure what to wear? Check out my other blog post: What to wear at a headshot session.


If you're ready to schedule an inquiry call to dream up your our portrait session you can schedule a call here: Schedule a call

(Crackerjack Photography Studio) headshot session Northern Michigan Headshot Photographer Professional Headshot tips for professional headshots Traverse City Traverse City Headshot Photographer Traverse City Headshot Photography Traverse City headshots Mon, 13 Nov 2023 16:05:45 GMT
Is Birth Photography Worth the Cost? Mother holding newborn baby after a home birth Birth photography

Are you interested in birth photography, but you're worried about the cost?

I get it; birth photography can be expensive, and it's important to understand why. 

Let's talk about it! 

Honestly, birth photography was the best investment I have personally ever made in photography. When my son was born at home 5 years ago, I had it ALL documented. My dog, my daughter and my husband were all there and nothing was missed! There were even photographs of things I didn’t even realize were happening like my dog staying by my side the entire time! I am so grateful for the images and beautiful album that my photographer created.

Birth photography requires a specialized skill set and experience.
As a birth photographer, I'm not just a skilled photographer, but I also have a deep understanding of childbirth and the birthing process. I know how to work with low light situations, respect your privacy and intimacy, and most importantly, I know how to capture the moments that matter most.

Birth photography takes a lot of time.
Births can last a few hours or even up to a day or more. As your birth photographer, I'm on-call 24/7 leading up to your due date, and I'll often spend several hours editing and processing the photos after the birth to ensure that the final product meets my high standards and your expectations.

The cost of birth photography includes more than just the time spent at the birth and editing the photos.
It also covers the cost of professional-grade camera equipment, including cameras, lenses, lighting, and editing software. Sometimes a birth photographer may have to forgo other work or personal activities due to being on call for your birth. Additionally, as a birth photographer, I invest in ongoing training and education to improve my skills and stay up-to-date with the latest techniques and trends.

How much is birth photography in Traverse City?
The cost of a birth photographer can vary depending on experience and the services and products offered. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 for a birth photography package that includes digital files with a print release (which means the ability to print an unlimited number of images at the lab of your choice). 

Birth is a life-changing experience that you'll never forget, and having professional photos to look back on can help you remember all the emotions, details, and love that surrounded you during that special time.

These photos are not just for you; they're a gift to your child. They'll show them how loved and welcomed they were from the very beginning, and these images will be cherished by you, your child, and your family for generations to come.

I want to make sure that everyone who wants to capture their birth story through photography has the opportunity to do so. That's why I offer payment plans to make the investment more manageable. Additionally, I'm open to bartering services occasionally, so it never hurts to ask about these options. I'm committed to making sure that you can have access to the beautiful, timeless images that you deserve!

Birth photography may seem expensive, but it's an investment in preserving memories, celebrating life, and honoring the birthing process. 

So, if you're considering birth photography, know that it's worth every penny and more!

Don’t just take my word for it ;) Here is what some of my clients had to say about their investment: 

"It's empowering to see yourself go through something transformational. When you're going through it, you're in it. When you look back, you can see yourself stronger than you thought and more capable than you knew." -Christina G.

“There are few things in life like giving birth to a child so by documenting that moment you can always look back and remember it. You take pictures of your kids first baseball game, this is a little bigger than that!” - Reese G.

Click here to see more of my birth photography in Traverse City!

(Crackerjack Photography Studio) Birth photography birth photography traverse city birth story cost of birth photography Traverse City Traverse City birth photographer Fri, 11 Aug 2023 19:10:50 GMT
Decoding Photography Styles: Which is Right for Your Next Family Session? Family portrait of a mother, father, two daughters, and son in a park. Family photography stylesFamily portrait photography
Have you ever heard photographers use terms like “Fine Art” & "Lifestyle" and "Day-in-The-Life?” Maybe you’re vaguely familiar, but also not too sure exactly what these terms mean? 

Allow me to clear things up! By the end of this blog, you'll be able to identify each photography style and select the one that will best preserve your family's precious moments!

Although photographers frequently use jargon like "Lifestyle", “Fine Art” and "Portrait," it can be hard to truly understand what types of images these terms will produce. 

So, what does it all actually mean?

Just like you wouldn't wear a tuxedo to a beach party, some styles just work better with certain moods and moments. 

First up, let's talk about the Classic Style also known as Portrait Photography.

Classic Photography is timeless, a little more formal, and almost always more posed. This style usually has a lot of emphasis on the pose, so you would expect to see more rules than creativity. 

Picture your grandma's vintage photo hanging on the wall - that's a perfect example of traditional portrait photography. 

Generally, this is the “holiday card photo.” You can clearly see everyone’s face and everyone is looking at the camera and smiling. 

Candid photograph of a father and a son in fall. Creative portrait photography.Father-son candid portrait Next, we have Candid Photography, or some call this Lifestyle Photography. 

It’s all about capturing spontaneous moments - the giggles, the funny faces, the sudden burst of dancing in the living room. 

Usually this is done on-location or in studio, but your photographer might use more casual prompts and poses in order to get laughs and reactions from those being photographed.

This style is perfect if your family loves a more casual look to their photos. You might not be able to see everyone’s faces and some people’s faces might look goofy, but that’s the point of candid photography! 

It's less about perfection and more about authenticity.

Canvas fine art portraits of a couple and their two young children.Fine Art Photography One you might not hear too often is Fine Art Photography. This is a style that emphasizes beauty, creativity, and artistic expression. 

It's a genre of photography that's often compared to a fine painting or sculpture, with each image carefully composed and thoughtfully designed. 

The photographer may use lighting techniques to create a certain mood or emotion, and the subjects may be posed in a way that highlights their form and beauty. 

The goal of fine art photography is to create a work of art.

If you’re looking for a unique image to display, this style is for you! 

While it may not capture the spontaneous moments of candid photography, it offers a different kind of beauty and depth.

Home water birth, with mother holding newborn baby and young sons looking on. Day in the life photography style.Birth photography with the whole family Finally, for those who love activities, “Day-in-the-life” Photography could be your perfect match. 

This style aims to capture real-life events or milestones or activities in a storytelling manner, often set in personal and outdoor spaces. 

So if your family loves to hike, camp, or picnic, lifestyle shots will catch those special moments. 

With day-in-the-life photography, there is generally no posing or prompting at all. The photographer really is a fly on the wall while your family participates in an activity you all love doing together. 

I particularly love day-in-the-life photography for families with toddlers because it’s so much more fun to do an activity they love than trying to ask them to sit still and smile for a more classic type of photography session.

Birth photography definitely falls into Day-in-the-life photography! It’s capturing one of the biggest days of your life, right? The day you meet your baby!

Now, here's the fun part: deciding on the best style for your family! 

This isn't about choosing 'the best' style out there, but rather what's best for your family (and this might change depending on the season of life your family is in).

If your family is a lively bunch that's constantly on the move, candid or lifestyle photography might work best. For families that love tradition and formality, portrait photography could be the way to go.

But hey, who says you have to stick to one style? Now that you know the terms photographers use for these types of sessions, feel free to ask your photographer if they do these types of photography and if they’re willing to mix and match. 

For example, I generally include both “classic” and “candid” in my portrait sessions because my clients like a mix of both. I bring in the fine art aspect by guiding clients through the process of turning their images into works of art through printing large wall pieces for their home.

As you ponder over your next family photo session, let these styles play in your mind. 

You don’t have to choose just one style, but it’s always helpful if you can let your photographer know which way you’d like to go with your session.

I can't wait to see you and your family in front of my lens, capturing those moments that will become treasured memories! 

For more tips on how to find the best Traverse City photographer for you, read this blog post: 4 Qualities To Look For In A Family Photographer

(Crackerjack Photography Studio) best photography styles creative photography family photo ideas family photography styles Michigan portrait photography Traverse City Traverse City Family Photographer Traverse City Family Photography Wed, 12 Jul 2023 14:11:43 GMT
Mom Friends Unite! How to Build Lifelong Friendships with Other New Moms Mother and daughter cuddling and smiling for a family portrait on a bed.Mother daughter family portrait

You know what they say, "It takes a village to raise a child." But what if you're a new mom, and you're not sure where to find that village? Don't worry, I've got your back! I've been in your shoes and know how crucial it is to have a support system during this incredible journey. In this post, I'll share my best tips for finding new mom friends who totally get what you're going through. 

Before we get into the practical ways to find new mom friends, rest assured that it is completely natural to feel a little awkward when you intentionally seek new mom friends. It might not seem like it, but countless moms are in the same boat, searching for connections and support as they navigate their new roles. So, embrace the process and know that reaching out to other moms is a positive and empowering step in your parenting journey.



The easiest way to find new mom friends is through local mom groups! These groups are a fantastic way to meet new mom friends—even if you're an introvert!

Now, where can you find these groups? 

  • 5 to One is a local organization that facilitates playgroups and more for northwest Michigan families.
  • TC Holistic Moms is a group started by Dr. Lea Piche for creating a community of like minded holistic moms.
  • Elk Rapids Schools offers the Way to Grow Program which offers play groups at both Lakeland and Mill Creek Elementary to provide opportunities for parents to connect with each other, children to socialize and play and information to be shared.
  • Traverse Area District Library offers a variety of programming for parents and children.
  • The Whole Woman Collective is growing an empowered & inclusive community of women and Mind/Body/Lifestyle wellness providers to help ALL women feel more WHOLE! They host events every other month and this is a great place to meet other moms!


And don't forget online resources!

  • UpNorth Kids is an online resource for the best of Traverse City's family-friendly events, kids activities and classes.

If you’re thinking about exploring these options but you’re worried about stepping out of your comfort zone.. no problem! Just remember, you're not alone—many new moms feel the same way. 

TIP: Ease into it by engaging in online discussions first, then gradually attend in-person meetups! 

During the pandemic, I made a lot of friends via Instagram just by engaging with people regularly. Once the world opened up again, I eventually met them in person it and it was a really fun experience. I also have one good friend who I now trade childcare with who I met through a Facebook contest I hosted on my business page!



For this one, think about checking out the playground or storytime at the library. 

But let’s be honest - approaching other moms without feeling weird can be a bit of a challenge! 

I want to give you a few tips to help you strike up a conversation that feels natural and enjoyable. 

First, keep it casual and friendly. Start with a compliment or a light-hearted comment about something you both can relate to, like your kids' activities or the chaos of motherhood.

For example, you might say, "Your little guy is really cute! How old are they?" This opens up the conversation without putting too much pressure on the other person. Make sure to listen actively and ask open-ended questions that encourage them to share more about their experiences. 

If you find common ground, don't be afraid to suggest exchanging contact information or planning a future playdate. You can say something like, "It's been so great meeting you! Would you like to exchange numbers and maybe get our kids together for a playdate sometime?" Or, “Do you guys usually come here around this day/time? I know our kiddos had so much fun playing together!”

Remember, many moms are also looking for new friends, so don't be too hard on yourself if you feel a little nervous.

Just be yourself, show genuine interest, and let the conversation flow naturally.



Social media can be a fantastic tool for connecting with other new moms outside of your current friend group.  

There are so many options out there, so I pulled together my experience with the experience of my clients and friends to give you the best Facebook groups for moms around Traverse City.

Once you find the right mom groups or online communities that resonate with you, jump in by asking questions, sharing your own experiences, or even offering advice to moms.

One of the great things about leveraging social media for mom friendships is that in addition to finding Traverse City mom groups, you can find groups based on your specific interests, values, or parenting style. 

For example, if you're passionate about eco-friendly living, there are groups dedicated to green parenting where you can connect with like-minded moms. Or, if you're navigating the world of attachment parenting, you can find communities that share your outlook and offer support.

One group that I utilize all the time is Food Allergy Moms which is a resource for those who have kiddos with food allergies.

This targeted approach makes it even easier to find moms who share your outlook on life and parenting - you already have something in common! All you have to do is a simple search in Facebook for your interests and you're sure to find your people.

Remember that building these connections takes time and effort, but it's truly worth it in the end. These connections not only provide a support system during challenging times but also enrich your life in countless ways.

Be patient with yourself as you embark on this journey. Embrace the process and stay open to new friendships, whether you find them in local mom groups, at child-friendly locations, or through social media.

Did I miss any of your favorite resources or groups for Traverse City or Northern Michigan? Let me know in the comments!

I consistently share events and activities for families in the Traverse City area in my newsletter. If you'd like to receive my monthly newsletter, please sign up here.


(Crackerjack Photography Studio) local mom groups Michigan mom friends motherhood new moms Traverse City Tue, 02 May 2023 18:15:13 GMT
How to get your house newborn-ready in just two weeks | Traverse City Birth Photographer AmundsenFresh48-4796AmundsenFresh48-4796 Are you expecting a new baby in the next few weeks? I totally get it, the anticipation can be exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. But don't worry, I've got your back! As a Traverse City mom who's been through the newborn phase twice, I've gathered some unique ideas and tips that you might not have thought of before! Here are six tips for getting your home ready for your new arrival in just two weeks.

1. Declutter your home

Decluttering your home can sound like a daunting task, especially when you're expecting a newborn! But it's easier than you think to get your home ready for your newest addition. Honestly decluttering has always been overwhelming for me, but I feel SO much better when I declutter my space. It is always worth the effort for me! I truly believe that you need to make space in your life and mind for new things to grow and when I do this I'm able to move forward in ways I never imagined.


Here are some steps to follow to declutter before the baby arrives:

Step 1: Choose two or three rooms that you frequent most often (most likely this will be your living room, kitchen, and bedroom).

Step 2: Start by noticing where things tend to pile up. For me, that’s always been the kitchen counters and our mudroom. Find a new place for these items to go so they stop piling up!

Step 3: Let’s “Marie Kondo” your stuff! Let’s clear out what you don’t need or want anymore. Go through each drawer, cabinet, and shelf and ask yourself, “Do I still need/want this item?”

Step 4: Make 3 piles, “Keep, Donate, Toss” and put everything into 1 of those piles.

Step 5: Organize the “keep” items, throw away the “toss” items (or recycle if possible) and give away the “donate.”


Turn on some music and make it fun! Ask a friend to come over and help. I asked for a decluttering course last Christmas and I got it! Whenever I want to do some decluttering or even when I'm just doing my daily chores, I listen to it and get motivated to clean things out! If you're interested in learning more about that course, you can do so here:

By spending a little time each day and being consistent, you can create comfortable, newborn-ready environment in your own home.


2. Batch cook

The thought of cooking a ton of food in one go can be intimidating, but batch cooking or delegating cooking to another friend or family member is a lifesaver, especially when you're getting ready to welcome your newborn into the world. You'll thank yourself later!

Here are a few simple steps to follow to get started:

Step 1: Plan out your meals. Choose recipes that are easy to make in large quantities, and make a list of all the ingredients you will need.

Step 2: Go grocery shopping. Try to do this a few days before you plan to start cooking, so you have everything you need on hand. You can even send dad or grandma to the store. Or when someone asks what they can do to help you, give them the list! Grocery pickup is super convenient these days too.

Step 3: Set aside a block of time to cook. Depending on how much you want to make, you may need several hours or even a full day to get everything done. Consider getting the help of a friend or family member to make it more fun!

Step 4: Cook in batches. Prepare one recipe at a time, and portion it out into individual servings. Use freezer-safe containers or bags, and be sure to label everything with the name of the dish and the date it was made.

Step 5: Freeze your meals. Once everything is cooked and portioned out, place the containers in the freezer. They will keep for several months, so you can have a variety of meals ready to go whenever you need them.


By following these steps, you can create a stockpile of nutritious, homemade meals that will make the first few weeks with your newborn a little bit easier!
Psst: wanna skip the cooking? Getting a postpartum doula is something I wish I would have done as a new mom. They provide emotional, mental and physical support including cooking! Some postpartum doulas I know are Julia Wheelock with Joy of Becoming Real and Gold Coast Doulas.


3. Stock up on essentials (& not just baby essentials)

You’re likely already thinking about things like diapers, wipes, bottles, etc.

But have you considered stocking up on regular household items like paper towels, toilet paper, dishwasher soap…?

My best tip would be to set these items up on Amazon Subscribe and Save so they’ll show up on your doorstep and you never have to worry about running out those first few months with your newborn!

I always made sure (and really still do) that I have nutritious snacks for myself like protein bars that I can grab quickly and eat with one hand! Especially if you are breastfeeding, that mama hunger is the worst feeling if you don't have some food on hand.


4. Put together a baby care basket

A baby care basket, sometimes called a “downstairs” basket, is a lifesaver during those first few weeks home with a new baby. Oftentimes, you’re in one space with the baby for most of the day and find yourself “trapped” under a sleeping baby without the supplies you need!

A baby care basket can solve that for you. Basically, it’s a container you can keep in each room of the house that has all the essentials for the baby so you’re not running around from room to room getting the things you need.

Usually, the baby care basket includes diapers, wipes, burp cloths, extra clothes, pacifiers, and anything else you might need for the baby frequently.
I also like to think about including things for mom like nipple cream, breast pads, chapstick, etc. and special toys/snacks for older children to occupy them when you have your hands full.

In addition to keeping you from running from room to room, a baby care basket will help you stay organized and keep your home clutter-free.

Another great tip I heard as a 2nd time mom was to designate a bottom drawer of your refrigerator and your pantry to snacks for toddlers or preschoolers so when they are hungry they can get their own snacks. This takes one less task off your plate.


5. Light your home the right way

Maybe this is important to me because I’m a photographer, I don’t know 😉 but lighting is one I don’t see talked about too often!! Proper lighting can help create a calm and comfortable atmosphere for both you and your baby.

First, look at the rooms you’ll spend the most time in (typically kitchen, living room, bedrooms). You'll want to consider the type of lighting you have in each room.

  • Do you want to add a lamp option (yes, even in the kitchen)?
  • Under cabinet lights?
  • How about a dimmer switch for the overhead lights?
  • What about small wall plug-in lights to help light the way in the halls for the middle of the night?

The right lighting can help frustrating or overly stimulating situations feel much more calm and peaceful.

Planning to have a space to nurse the baby during the day where there is natural light can be wonderful for your mood. And don't forget you'll be spending more time up at night than you normally do so thinking about where you'll need a little extra light now will save some frustration when you have a baby in arms.

Finally, safety is also a consideration when it comes to lighting. Make sure that all cords and outlets are safely tucked away and secured to prevent tripping or electrical hazards.


6. Prepare YOUR wardrobe

Of course, we’re thinking a lot about how to prepare for the baby, but don’t forget about yourself! I don’t know about you, but when I feel good nothing can stop me! And that starts with getting dressed in the morning, right?!)

Preparing your wardrobe for the first 2-3 weeks postpartum is an important step in getting ready for the arrival of your new baby. My babies were born in the fall so I bought sweaters and robes that I could cozy up with my baby in.

Comfort and functionality are key during this time! You'll want to focus on loose-fitting, comfortable clothing that can accommodate changes in your body shape and allow for easy breastfeeding access if you plan to breastfeed.

Consider investing in a few nursing bras, loose-fitting pants or leggings, and comfortable tops that are easy to pull up or down. Some women also find it helpful to have a couple of nursing-friendly dresses on hand for a dressier option. I LOVE BRAVADO! DESIGNS nursing bras and I would buy one today even though I'm not breastfeeding!

Another thing to keep in mind is that you will likely still be bleeding for a few weeks, so having a few pairs of comfortable and absorbent underwear or postpartum pads on hand is a good idea. With my 2nd baby, I actually loved wearing Depends for those first few days and even while I was in labor - which no one told me about for my first baby!

Remember, the key to preparing your wardrobe for the first few weeks postpartum is to prioritize comfort and practicality. By doing so, you can focus on bonding with your new baby without worrying about your clothing or physical discomfort!

Which of these tips are you going to do first? Did you learn something new today? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t forget to download my free New Parents Guide to learn about other community resources for new parents in the Grand Traverse area.


(Crackerjack Photography Studio) Maternity Photographer new baby newborn Northern Michigan Northern Michigan Birth Photographer Traverse City Traverse City Birth Photographer Traverse City Birth Photography Mon, 10 Apr 2023 14:47:08 GMT
4 Qualities to Look for in a Family Photographer Family of four photo on the beach in Traverse City, MichiganFamily portrait at the beach   

1. Preparedness -  There are so many elements to consider when setting out on a photographic mission: location, lighting, equipment, relationships between subjects, knowing the end goal for your images and so much more. A few of the ways I make sure I come prepared to serve my clients are:

  • A consultation before the session to get to know you, your family, AND your expectations.
  • Having backup equipment in case something should fail. I always carry multiple lenses, camera bodies, memory cards, batteries, and flashes.
  • I know the location or arrive early to scout around before we start shooting.
  • I always look up the sunrise/sunset calendar to plan accordingly and know how the light will be on the day and time of our session.
  • We will discuss how you plan to display your images so that when I am photographing, I have that in mind. We will even mock up some frames or canvases on your walls to see what they would look like!

2. Flexible and patient - When making family portraits we deal with many personalities and someone is bound to be in a bad mood. Patience is one of my superpowers! With all the patience in the world, I will wait for the kids (or dad) to come around to the moment at hand so we can capture beautiful memories. I also do my best to be flexible around scheduling with the weather in mind as well as your family’s specific needs (naptimes, bedtimes, happy times, etc.).

Mom and children laughing family photo in Traverse City, MichiganFun and relaxed family portrait

3. Loves children - I started babysitting as a teenager, nannied in college, and have two young children of my own. I’ve always loved interacting with children and have a passion for honoring each individual child as they are. I often hear my clients say “That photograph really captures his/her personality!”

Gallery portrait wall of family photos in a living room, Traverse City, MichiganLiving room gallery wall of family portraits

4. Professional - From the first inquiry phone call to the delivery of prints, I strive to provide the best service possible so that your experience is stress-free, joyful, and ends in high-quality artwork in your home. Communication is very important to me and you will always know what stage of the process we are at.

If you want to see if I'm the photographer for you, click here to schedule a consult. Want to learn a little more about having family photos taken? Read this blog about my "Top 5 Most Frequently Asked Family Photography Questions"

(Crackerjack Photography Studio) children family family photographer family photography family photos kids Michigan photography portrait Traverse City Thu, 09 Mar 2023 20:06:33 GMT
10 Things Your Doctor Never Told You About Giving Birth | Traverse City Birth Photography Midwife with newborn Traverse City, Michigan, Birth Photography, 10 things your doctor never told you about giving birth10 things your doctor never told you about giving birth: Birth photography in Traverse City

Hey there mama-to-be! So, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed with all the information (or lack thereof) about giving birth. But don't worry, I’ve got you!

Here are 10 things your doctor probably didn't tell you about giving birth that will help you feel more prepared and in control.

(And hey, if these pique your interest, bring these up to your doctor at the next appointment!)

You don't have to give birth in the hospital.
Giving birth at home or in a birth center can provide a more relaxed and intimate setting for the birth of your baby. It allows you to have more control over the birthing process and can provide a more personalized experience. This option is safe for low-risk pregnancies and has similar or better outcomes compared to hospital births.

There is a new birth center opening in the Traverse City area so we now have another option in Northern Michigan!

Question for your doctor/midwife: Would he/she support you and work with a home birth midwife if you decided to go this route?

Epidurals are not the only form of pain relief available during labor.
Epidurals are a common form of pain relief during labor, but they are not the only option available. Other forms of pain relief include nitrous oxide, spinal blocks, and natural methods such as hypnobirthing, acupuncture and massage. These options can provide a more natural and less invasive form of pain relief.

My midwife told me that water is nature's epidural and I loved being in the bathtub or birthing pool during my labors.

Question for your doctor/midwife: What other pain relief options do they see often that’s effective other than epidural?

You can bring your own music or sounds to the delivery room.
Music can have a powerful impact on our emotions, and it can help create a calm and soothing environment for you during labor. You can bring your own playlist, a sound machine, or even your own voice to help you relax and focus during labor.

Question for your doctor/midwife: Can I bring music to the birthing room?

Birthing pool delivery, Traverse City Birth PhotographyBirthing pool Traverse City Michigan

Birthing pools can help you feel more comfortable and relaxed during labor.
Warm water can help ease the pain and discomfort of contractions, and it also allows you to move around more easily, which can help the baby move down the birth canal. Birthing pools can also provide a sense of privacy and intimacy during labor.

Question for your doctor/midwife: Are there birth pools available or another way I can use water to relax?

You will probably poop during labor (and that's okay!).
It's a normal and natural part of the birthing process, and your nurses and doctors are used to it. Don't let this concern hold you back, it's nothing to be embarrassed about.

Birthing positions - there are many different positions that can help make the birthing process easier.
There are various birthing positions that can help make the birthing process easier, such as standing up, sitting down, on your hands and knees, or even lying down. Experiment with different positions to find what feels most comfortable for you.

For my first birth, I spent almost the entire time on my hands and knees. This got tiring, but it was all that felt good at the time. For my second, I had a birth pool and it provided so much relief to be able to float and move my body with contractions.

Question for your doctor/midwife: In what positions are you willing to help me birth my baby?

Doulas are a great support and aren’t only used for birth.
A doula is a professional trained to provide emotional and physical support to a woman and her partner during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum period. A doula can help you with relaxation techniques, provide emotional support, and advocate for your wishes during birth. They can also help to make sure other children are cared for.

I felt so much safer and supported when my doula arrived for my first birth. And she even took our dogs out for us while I was laboring so my husband didn't have to leave my side!

For a list of local doulas and other maternity, birth, and postpartum providers check out my New Parents Guide here.

Question for your doctor/midwife: Do you work with doulas often? Are there any you recommend?

You can eat and drink during labor, if you want to.
Having a light snack can help keep your energy levels up. It's important to listen to your body and your healthcare provider during labor, and to make sure you are well-hydrated and nourished.

Question: Under what circumstances will I not be allowed to eat or drink in labor?

If you will not be allowed to eat once you arrive at the hospital, this is something to keep in mind. You may want to labor at home a little longer.

Midwife homebirth birthing pool, Traverse City birth photographyMidwife homebirth with birthing pool

The power of the mind - visualization and other relaxation techniques can help during labor.
Visualization and relaxation techniques such as hypnobirthing, yoga, and meditation can help you stay calm and focused during labor. It can also help to lower stress hormones and increase endorphins, which can make labor more manageable.

Prenatal yoga was the best thing I did to prepare for my births. I could hear my yoga instructor telling me to breathe my baby down and out as each contraction came. It kept me calm and focused on bringing my baby into the world. 

Question: Is there anything I can do now to learn how to cope with labor?

Cesarean sections are a common form of delivery.
They can be planned or unplanned. It's important to remember that a c-section is a surgical procedure and there are risks associated with it, but it can also save the lives of both mother and baby in certain situations.

Question: In what circumstances do you perform c-sections?

So, there you have it, mama. I hope reading "10 things your doctor never told you about giving birth" has armed you with some new information about giving birth in Traverse City that will hopefully help you feel more confident and excited about your birth! If you’re still looking for a Traverse City Birth Photographer, click here to schedule a no-obligation inquiry call with me: Schedule a Call with Jamie

Do you want a little more info about birth photography? Check out my "What is birth photography" blog post here

(Crackerjack Photography Studio) 10 things your doctor never told you about giving birth in Traverse City Birth birth photographer Birth photographer near me birth photography birth photos Michigan Traverse City Traverse City birth photographer Thu, 09 Feb 2023 15:19:44 GMT
What to wear at a headshot session Jen Martin professional headshot portraitProfessional headshot session

What should you wear for a headshot session?

Let’s keep it simple:

Consider what your background will look like. If it will be dark, maybe wear something lighter to stand out or vice versa. If we will have a green background, perhaps don’t wear green!
Business professional headshot session Business professional headshot

Be careful with black. Sure, it might be slimming in real life, but in photographs, it can make you look like a big black blob if not worn correctly. A black jacket over a different colored top can be ok. Pet hair and lint also show up great on black so bring a lint roller if you're going to try it!

Avoid bold patterns. I recommend solid colors or muted patterns that won’t distract from your face. The photograph should be about YOU, not your clothing.

Let’s try one with a jacket and then one with just a shirt or sweater so we can see which feel you like better.

professional headshot sessionWhat to wear for business headshots

Use jewelry to accent your outfit or bring in a pop of color.

Avoid scoop necks or asymmetrical necklines.

If you want to have some full-body shots to choose from, please consider your pants and footwear.

Artist headshot sessionWomen's professional headshots

I am always happy to help you select your wardrobe. As you start to plan, feel free to email or text me photos of what you are thinking and I will kindly give my input!

Here is a Pinterest board I created for inspiration:


(Crackerjack Photography Studio) headshot session tips for professional headshots what to wear at a headshot session what to wear for a professional headshot what to wear for business headshots what to wear for headshots what to wear for headshots business what to wear for linkedin headshot what to wear for professional headshots what to wear in headshots what to wear to a headshot session women's professional headshots Wed, 11 Jan 2023 21:17:54 GMT
What is Birth Photography? Shepler Birth-8775Shepler Birth-8775 Why Birth Photography?


Empowering and transformational...birth is a life changing event.  Shepler Birth-8464Shepler Birth-8464

Birth photography captures all the moments you might not even know happened, let alone remember when it’s all over - the way your partner held your hand and smiled in awe of you or the expression you made when you held your baby for the first time. A birth photographer will make sure that all of these moments are captured so that you don’t have to worry about it and neither do your support people. You will all be free to enjoy the moment fully.


Birth photography shows:

  • the strength and determination parents express when they bring their baby into the world.

  • the family dog never leaving your side although you may be oblivious to their presence. 

  • the dignified way your partner is able to balance supporting you and older children.

  • the look of awe in your child’s eyes as they welcome their new sibling into the family. 

  • your body performing like a trained athlete to complete the marathon of childbirth and the unimaginable expression of joy as you hold our baby in your arms for the first time. 

Shepler Birth-8855Shepler Birth-8855

What is birth photography?


Birth photography captures the event of your baby’s birth just as you likely hired a photographer to capture your wedding day. The birth of your baby is monumental and there will be so many moments, emotions, actions and breakthroughs that you may not be able to comprehend or remember because there is so much happening at once just like a wedding day... except that there will probably be less guests attending!  Shepler Birth-8922Shepler Birth-8922


The goal of birth photography is to capture the joy, determination, wonder, admiration, strength and miracle of the birth day. We will tell the story of your baby’s journey into the world in a way that words and memory alone cannot.


A typical photographic birth story starts during active labor and includes everything you want it to up until about two hours following the birth. We will photograph every moment that you are comfortable with and stay at your side after the birth to capture the first hours as a family.


What other questions do you have about birth photography? Post them in the comments or send me an email at [email protected] Shepler Birth-9114Shepler Birth-9114


(Crackerjack Photography Studio) Birth birth photography children crackerjack crackerjack photography expecting family home birth Jamie kirschner kids Michigan mom mother newborn photography pregnant traverse city newborn photographer Tue, 16 Nov 2021 22:34:26 GMT
A Maternity Session at Brown Bridge Quiet Area 2G7A2099-2 hair edit2G7A2099-2 hair edit When we were planning for this session, Tayler and I were unsure of where to go. Early spring in northern Michigan isn’t the most beautiful time of year and we were afraid of too much brown and the possibility of snow. 

I’m persistently leaning into my belief that everything always works out and this session was a great example of that. It was the
most beautiful April day we could have asked for! And it’s my job to make beautiful
photographs any time of year. 
I met Tayler and Joe in 2020 when I hosted a family portrait contest on Facebook. I shared tips for photographing your own family and then challenged my followers to post photographs of their own family. Through voting by friends and family, Tayler won the contest! We planned their family session for the fall of 2020 at the Highrollways in Buckley, Michigan. If you haven’t been there in the fall, it’s a must see!


2G7A2218-2sky2G7A2218-2sky Tayler and Joe got engaged at the rollways so the location was sentimental for them. We even captured a family photograph in the exact spot where Joe proposed. 

This spring I had the honor of capturing the Harper Family in a maternity session as they were expecting their second babe and then again couple days after their second daughter Isla June was born for a Fresh 48 session. I absolutely love building relationships with my clients and it has been so fun to watch this family grow.

Freya, Joe and Tayler’s oldest daughter, was very shy in our first session with most photographs of her being sweet, yet serious. During our second session at Brown Bridge, she was more outgoing but very focused on getting to the river! When I visited them at home for their Fresh 48 session she was a ball of energy bouncing on the bed and sprinting across the room. It is a joy to get to know each family I work with and an even greater honor to continue building relationships while capturing significant life events like this. Thank you Tayler and Joe for letting me be a part of this precious season of your lives.  2G7A1689- light2G7A1689- light

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(Crackerjack Photography Studio) Boardman River Brown Bridge Quiet Area children family family photo session kids maternity Michigan photography portrait Traverse City Wed, 26 May 2021 18:34:36 GMT
A Visit to Saugatuck, Michigan Moonlight Villa January 2021-0051Moonlight Villa January 2021-0051 A few months ago I connected with a lovely woman who owns an Airbnb in Douglas, Michigan. Douglas is a quaint little town just outside Saugatuck which was voted one of the “The 25 Coolest Town in America to Visit in 2021” by Matador Network.

It always amazes me how relationships can be formed via social media! Some days I want to swear off “the social” but I’ve been able to make some really great connections especially via Instagram! The conversation started around headshots when I was talking about that on my own account and turned into a discussion about photography to capture the Airbnb she owns and available activities in the area. 

Moonlight Villa January 2021--3Moonlight Villa January 2021--3 My husband, Josh, and I visited Saugatuck mid-January of this year and stayed at Moonlight Villa Airbnb. I think it’s only the second time we’ve visited the little tourist town and we constantly wondered why we had never spent more time there! We both went to school in southwest Michigan but didn’t venture to Saugatuck until after we had moved away to Oklahoma post-college. 

As parents of young children, we were just happy to get away for the weekend without kids! As part of my agreement with Louisiana to capture photographs of any activities we did while we were there, we had to make sure we left the house and explored the area. 

Moonlight Villa January 2021-9913Moonlight Villa January 2021-9913

When we arrived, Josh stated “Man, this makes me want to have a house like this!” I was a bit confused and maybe even a little offended! What do you mean? Tastefully decorated and free from clutter? He replied with “A vacation home that we just visit.” Nice save buddy!

Moonlight Villa January 2021-9940Moonlight Villa January 2021-9940 The house was cozy and had plenty of space with two bedrooms upstairs and another one downstairs. The open concept living room, dining and kitchen would be great for larger groups or extended families. The two of us just enjoyed being able to sprawl out on the couch and relax! 

We arrived Friday evening and picked up takeout from Everyday People Cafe in downtown Douglas. Saturday morning we headed to the Blue Star Cafe and picked up biscuits and gravy and fried eggs. This was super exciting for us, because our son has an egg allergy and we never get to eat eggs! The biscuits were great too!

IMG_4263IMG_4263 After breakfast and a couple of hours photographing the interior of the house, we got ready and headed to Mount Baldhead Park to climb the famous stairway up to the top of the dune that looks over Saugatuck on one side and out to Lake Michigan on the other side.

It was surely the largest wooden staircase I have ever climbed. I was surprised at the number of people making the climb up the stairs in the middle of winter. We had to stop at each little rest bench to breathe! Being the dead of winter, I wasn’t quite in shape for that kind of climb. 



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Following the hike around the dunes, we headed into Saugatuck. I photographed the downtown shops as we popped in and out of a few of them. Things were quiet with it being winter and with COVID keeping people from traveling as much as usual.

After a little exploring, we started to look for a place for lunch. Most places were only doing takeout, as restaurants were not able to be open with COVID restrictions. We decided to try Wicks Park Bar and Grille because they had a patio with heaters available for seating. They even supplied blankets to keep warm! It felt so good to be dining out as we hadn’t in a very long time. We had probably only visited one or two other restaurants in the past year due to the pandemic!

After lunch we headed to Saugatuck Dunes State park on Lake Michigan for a hike through the woods that leads out to the beach. I was surprised at how many people were out hiking in January but with the pandemic it’s one of the only things you could do! Plus, seeing the water is such great therapy during the winter and the sun was out! Moonlight Villa January 2021-0035Moonlight Villa January 2021-0035

We spent the late afternoon relaxing and decided to order pizza for dinner and stay in. We settled on Back Alley Pizza Joint after reading their reviews online and it did not disappoint. We ordered the Caprese Bread which was even better than the pizza - highly recommend - and the Goat Cheese and Spinach Pizza. The wait for that pizza was a little long but a testament to how good it was!

In the morning we packed up to go home! We are excited for an opportunity to visit Moonlight Villa in the Spring or Summer and explore the outdoor activities more and the shops and restaurants that were closed for the off-season. To learn more about Moonlight Villa click here. You can also follow them on Instagram @moonlightvillami.

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(Crackerjack Photography Studio) Michigan Airbnb Douglas dunes Mount Baldhead photography Saugatuck travel vacation rental Sat, 20 Mar 2021 12:10:09 GMT
What is a Fresh 48 Session Gagnon Fresh 48 2020-7192Gagnon Fresh 48 2020-7192
What is a Fresh 48 Session?

Having a baby is a monumental event in your life, one that you will never forget. There are so many emotions and new experiences that happen in those first days. Time does not exist and nothing else in the world matters. It's just you and your new love. After that, time never stops. Baby continues to grow and you continue to create new memories with them. Soon, you may not be able to remember how tiny they really were at birth. A Fresh 48 Session is a lifestyle portrait session that takes place within the first 48 hours after your baby is born. We capture the wonder and awe of those first days with your new little one.

AmundsenFresh48-4686 This session is different than birth photography in that it does not capture the drama and anticipation of the birthing process, but rather the peace and love that is felt when everything is settled and you have your baby in your arms. Fresh 48 sessions are unique from other newborn sessions in that they may take place at the hospital or at your home and capture the whole family interacting with the new baby.

Baby primarily stays in your arms, but we may capture events like dad changing a diaper, breastfeeding, big sister adoring her new sibling and other firsts happening at this time. We won’t be dressing the baby up in cute outfits and posing them on bean bags! These images portray the family experience of welcoming a new life. 



What to expect:  AmundsenFresh48-4704AmundsenFresh48-4704

To plan for a Fresh 48 Session, we will schedule a consultation call where we discuss the details of your birth including location, due date, any specific photographs you’d like, who will be present, etc. From there we will make a plan for contact and how you will notify me of your new arrival. With effective communication, I will be able to arrange my schedule and come meet your baby! The session will be about one hour long. You just had a baby! You may be tired and overwhelmed and I am very cognizant of this. I work to be efficient in capturing the must have images of your new family while being respectful of your space and physical and mental state.


AmundsenFresh48-4673AmundsenFresh48-4673 How to prepare: 

I keep Fresh 48 Sessions very laid back. We capture genuine and authentic emotions and details of your new baby. You only have to get as ready as you want! If you want to stay in your robe or PJs then by all means, stay in your PJs! The whole point of this is to capture your first hours together in authenticity. No costumes or makeup needed. If you feel more comfortable putting on a nice outfit and a little foundation AND have the energy to do it, then go for it! 

The last thing you need to worry about after bringing a human into the world is how tidy your hospital room or home is. All we need is one area that is decently lit and picked up - like your bed or your couch. We will discuss this in the consultation so that you do not have to stress about it after baby arrives. Baby can just be in a diaper, maybe a plain onesie and swaddled in a blanket. A solid color t-shirt and jeans is just fine for dad and any other kiddos. 

Gagnon Fresh 48 2020-7222Gagnon Fresh 48 2020-7222 I am going to ask you to handle your baby. I know what it feels like to be a new parent and I had a hard time even letting grandma hold my precious baby in those first few days. I’m also very aware of keeping any germs I might be carrying away from your little one.

We are on baby’s timeline. If we need to change a diaper, feed, snuggle, bounce, change clothing or anything else we will do it. I will try to capture little snippets of these activities in a visually pleasing way. Remember, this session is to capture those first days as they truly are.


Where do we go from here?

If having photographs to remember the first blissful days of welcoming your new baby to the world sounds like something you’re interested in, please reach out! You can email ([email protected]), message, text or call me (405-406-2734) with questions and we can set up time to chat more!                                            Gagnon Fresh 48 2020-7107Gagnon Fresh 48 2020-7107 Gagnon Fresh 48 2020-7158Gagnon Fresh 48 2020-7158
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(Crackerjack Photography Studio) 48 baby family fresh newborn photography Thu, 14 Jan 2021 16:49:51 GMT
The Top 5 Most Frequently Asked Family Photography Questions Buller 2018-4900Buller 2018-4900

  1. What should we wear?

    Building the family wardrobe for a portrait session can become stressful, especially if you are an overthinker like me. The bigger the family, the more complicated it gets. 

    Don’t worry though, this is one thing we always talk about in a consultation before the session. I make myself available via text and email to send images of your selections back and forth.  Together, we make small tweaks until we have a cohesive, yet varied set of clothing for everyone that is visually appealing. 

    The first piece of advice I give is to start with one item that you know you want someone to wear, whether it’s for yourself or someone else, then build from there. If it’s a dress with blue, yellow and green, try to find something in all of those colors for everyone else. My second piece of advice is to mix patterns and solids. Too much solid is boring, but too many different patterns can get a little crazy.

  2. How much does it cost? 

    Consider your photography an investment - an investment that brings you and your family joy for years to come. With that in mind, I will tell you it’s priceless! If you lost a family member today, how much would you pay for just one more photo of them or the two of you together? Bouwhuis2019-9709Bouwhuis2019-9709

    Now, more practically, you can find family photography for everywhere from $50 to $50,000. When you hire a family portrait photographer, you are hiring an artist to make a personalized piece of artwork of your family, just for you. You are paying for years of experience, education, equipment, time, shooting and editing skills, prints and products and the service that they provide. While my session fee is $100 to get started and you only purchase what you love, most of my clients spend $750 and up. 

  3. Where should we go?  A professional photographer can make exceptional photographs in almost any setting. However, I do have a few recommendations when choosing a location.  StephensFamily2019-1171StephensFamily2019-1171

    I love to chat with my clients about places that are meaningful to them. The photographs will tell a better story if the background is something you can recognize and tie meaning to. Oftentimes, your backyard is a wonderful place to make family photographs. A few other things to consider when choosing a location are the lighting in the location (i.e. shade vs direct sunlight), will there be other people there, are there multiple areas to serve as different backgrounds, is there water, playgrounds or other things to distract the kids? We will discuss all of this in the pre-session consultation.

  4. How long does it take? 

    My session fee covers “one hour of shooting”. However, once I get going, I get really excited and sometimes we go a little longer. If the kids get tired after 30 minutes, we might have to wrap it up at 45 minutes. 

    The most important thing to know is that it takes the first 10-15 minutes for everyone to warm up. It might feel a bit awkward at the beginning, but we will all settle in and the best shots will come in the middle of the session. Everyone will start to get tired and we might push for just a few more, but there is always a definite moment when the session feels complete. I am always sure to ask if there is anything else you would like to do before we call it quits.

  5. How do I get my images? 

    Each photographer is different in how they deliver final images. Some just send you a flash drive with all the digital files. At Crackerjack Photography Studio, we schedule an ordering session about two weeks after your shoot to r 63688675-A26C-403F-B214-6ABD28CB18FA63688675-A26C-403F-B214-6ABD28CB18FA eview all of the images and select your favorites for purchase. This is a service that I provide to my clients to see the project through to the end. Selecting your favorite images can be exhausting and overwhelming on your own, but I am here with my professional expertise to guide you through the process. Those images will not rot in digital purgatory! Prints and products will be delivered to your home and digital file products can be downloaded from my website.So tell me, what other questions do you have? I would love to hear them in the comments below or send me an email at [email protected]


(Crackerjack Photography Studio) children family kids photography photography tips Portrait wardrobe what to wear Thu, 24 Sep 2020 17:33:43 GMT
Portrait Play Dates In August, my little assistant and I hosted "portrait play dates" in our home. These play dates are something I do for fun but also as a service to my clients and friends.  With a backdrop and lighting set up in our living room, we invite friends with little ones over to make a few portraits with us and then play.  I started this event last February after making a small setup for Valentine’s Day photos to photograph my daughter, Ellamae. When I realized how much work we had put into the setup for just a few photos, I invited friends over to make a portrait too.  I offer one free digital file for them to use however they want. At that time I suggested using the image to create personalized Valentine’s Day Cards. 


This August, with Ellamae home from Mother’s Day Out for the month, I struggled to balance time with her and time spent working on my photography business. To combine work and play I invited some friends with kiddos over to make photos again.  We had five photo sessions/play dates and they were a blast! We captured some fun images of the kids and then spent time playing and chatting.


The first date was with Micah. He is a busy little two year old, but we managed to catch a few good smiles. He really liked our tiny rocking chair! After photographing, we went outside and chased some bubbles. 

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Next we had the Castillo family over. It was the day of Jacob’s 8th birthday so we got to make fun birthday themed photos with him and his sister Jonah! Their mom took my suggestion to bring fun props along for the photos and had several different options to make fun and interesting portraits! They brought playdough and Ellamae got hers out. These two are a photographer’s dream and so great at making portraits! I would love to photograph them every day. Castillo Playdate-1Castillo Playdate-1 Castillo Playdate-2Castillo Playdate-2 Castillo Playdate-6Castillo Playdate-6 Castillo Playdate-13Castillo Playdate-13 Castillo Playdate-14Castillo Playdate-14 Castillo Playdate-18Castillo Playdate-18 Castillo Playdate-19Castillo Playdate-19 Castillo Playdate-24Castillo Playdate-24 Castillo Playdate-26Castillo Playdate-26


Miles and Levi are regular photography clients and a little older than our other play date guests but we had fun with them too! They brought Ellamae a fairy garden and after our photo session we went outside and planted flowers in it. I loved the way the boys showed Ellamae each step and helped her to complete the project.

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Edith brought her newborn, Julian, and seven year old, Nicole, over Thursday afternoon. Nicole immediately told me when she walked in the door that she did “not want to take pictures!” She had fallen asleep in the car on the way over and was less than happy when she arrived. However, after hanging out, chatting and seeing Ellamae for a bit she joined her mom and brother for a few sweet photos. I was honored to preserve a few precious moments during this delicate time that passes so quickly. Lonigro Playdate Final-5Lonigro Playdate Final-5 Lonigro Playdate Final-7Lonigro Playdate Final-7 Lonigro Playdate Final-11Lonigro Playdate Final-11 Lonigro Playdate Final-12Lonigro Playdate Final-12 Lonigro Playdate Final-15Lonigro Playdate Final-15


Last, we had Andrew come to visit. Andrew was nearing his first birthday so we tried out a few themed props that I had around the house. Then we got some shots with his favorite toys so his family could look back and remember this precious phase of his life. Always smiling, Andrew exudes joy and always keeps me grinning!

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Portrait Play Dates allow me to practice my trade, see some of my adult friends, and our kiddos get to play together. I can’t think of a better way to spend a week!  

If this sounds like fun to you and you might want to host portrait play dates at your house, please let me know. As a play date host, you will receive 10 digital portraits for free. This is a good excuse for your friends to get photos made of their little ones in a laid back atmosphere, play with friends and have some adult bonding time too.


Oh yeah....and a few portraits of my own kiddo....


(Crackerjack Photography Studio) child portraits children kids oklahoma city photography play date portraits Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:50:09 GMT
Balloons, Bubbles and Tea at Kite Park Symantha “dated” my brother at church camp, back when dating meant calling someone your boyfriend or girlfriend and sitting next to them at the campfire. Although we lived in towns almost three hours apart, somewhere in the next few years I discovered that she was the cousin of one of my closest high school friends. It always amazes me how people weave in and out of our lives, popping in and out with serendipitous timing. 

About a year ago, a Faceook message from my high school friend (and Symantha’s cousin) informed me that Symantha had moved to Edmond, OK and she suggested we meet up.  We both had little girls and might be able to reconnect. Knowing the isolation I felt as a newcomer to Oklahoma City, I was eager to reach out to Symantha. I also have a great appreciation for spending time with people who relate to my roots. There is an understanding between people from “home” that you can’t find in others. 

Symantha and I started meeting up for play dates and our daughters got along great. Even though Symantha’s daughter, Holly is almost two years younger than my daughter, Ellamae, they have a great time together.  We hold a lot of parallel views on parenting and I wholly enjoy our time together. Chats about Michigan and things only Northern Michiganders understand help ease the pain of living so far from our families.

After Symantha asked me to capture their family portraits, we got together to discuss ideas for their session. We met at Starbucks, but only after attending a pregnancy event together, because we both happen to be pregnant right now also!  I asked Symantha what she had in mind and what kinds of things Holly is into at this phase of toddlerhood.  What would she like to remember about this age and phase in the years to come?  Symantha mentioned baby dolls and a bubble machine! What fun! She also said that her husband Randy really likes willow trees. Pulling all of these things together, Symantha brought along the adorable tea set, blanket and bubble machine and we agreed on Kite Park in Nichols Hills. This park has a large, well kept willow tree and lush green landscaping, perfect for family portraits! AND….a wonderful playground for celebrating with family fun after the session, because FUN is always number one on my priority list for family photos!

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(Crackerjack Photography Studio) 2 years old family of 3 family photography family portraits kite park maternity nichols hills oklahoma oklahoma city photography pregnancy tea party toddler Thu, 20 Jul 2017 04:09:57 GMT
A Super Family Session in Automobile Alley Moots Spring 2017-7Moots Spring 2017-7

I first photographed Jennifer and Charlie for an engagement session in 2010. Somehow I convinced them to let me photograph one of the most important days of their lives and captured their wedding day a month later.  They have made me a part of numerous important occasions in their lives over the last seven years.   We now schedule a date each spring to commemorate their son Kendall’s birthday.


This year, when I talked with Jennifer about current interests and loves, superheroes topped the list. Kendal’s mom tells me “Some days all he plays with are his superheroes!  Sometimes they even go into timeout for pushing and hitting their friends!” Moots Spring 2017-16Moots Spring 2017-16



I always say family photo sessions require planning, preparation and packing and this session involved all three.  Jennifer ordered some new superhero masks and capes and anxiously awaited their delivery – hoping they would arrive in time for the shoot.  On the session day we toted a bucket of superheroes and costumes around downtown Oklahoma City.  The extra luggage was totally worth it!  When we first arrived, a group of women making senior portraits expressed their jealousy of all our cool superhero gear.  They wanted to borrow it!


Even the best planning needs flexibility, so when I saw thunderstorms in the forecast for our scheduled session in Automobile Alley, I texted Jennifer asking if they wanted to try to head out earlier and avoid the storms. We were able to beat that weather without any worries, by just making a small change to our plan!


As Jennifer and I very carefully lined up Spiderman, Captain America and their buddies for one of the shots, Kendall shrieked, “Are they playing with my superheroes??” Of course we were! Everybody gets a chance to have fun making photographs with Crackerjack Photography!


A couple weeks after their session, Jennifer and I met up to review their final edited images and place a print order.  She stated that so many of the images showed Kendall’s personality and different parts of it.  This is one of the things I always strive for.  "I loved them! They brought tears to my eyes because you captured Kendall's personality perfectly," replied Jennifer in a follow up survey.


I can't wait to see how this family changes in the next year and I hope they continue to include me in capturing each new stage of their lives!

Moots Spring 2017-1Moots Spring 2017-1 Moots Spring 2017-4Moots Spring 2017-4 Moots Spring 2017-9Moots Spring 2017-9 Moots Spring 2017-10Moots Spring 2017-10 Moots Spring 2017-15Moots Spring 2017-15 Moots Spring 2017-23Moots Spring 2017-23 Moots Spring 2017-25Moots Spring 2017-25 Moots Spring 2017-29Moots Spring 2017-29 Moots Spring 2017-30Moots Spring 2017-30 Moots Spring 2017-31Moots Spring 2017-31 Moots Spring 2017-33Moots Spring 2017-33 Moots Spring 2017-38Moots Spring 2017-38 Moots Spring 2017-36Moots Spring 2017-36

(Crackerjack Photography Studio) Automobile Alley Family Oklahoma Oklahoma City photography portrait super hero Tue, 13 Jun 2017 01:22:05 GMT
One Night in Sulphur, Oklahoma  

One Night in Sulphur, Oklahoma - March 2, 2017


“This is kind of exciting, huh? A mini getaway!” said my husband (who plans trips all over the world including adventure activities like ocean fishing, rainforest tours, whale watching, etc.) as we were driving to Sulphur, Oklahoma! Sometimes I’m just not sure how his mind works. After a 90 minute drive to the hotel, filled with planning of other trips including Disneyland, Los Angeles, Montana, Michigan and Austin, Texas, he was excited to be staying one night, in a hotel, in Sulphur, Oklahoma!  Don’t be mistaken, I was excited too.

We were planning a long weekend trip to Lake Tenkiller, but then noticed the weather wasn’t looking quite so awesome all weekend. With Ellamae asking to go swimming for the past week and a coupon for a free night’s stay at the Artesian Hotel, we decided to make a quick one night getaway to Sulphur to get our swim on, a massage for mama and some fishing for daddy.  I got the car all packed up on Thursday, picked Josh up from work at 5:00 and we were checked in and swimming by 7:15 pm! 

As we approached the hotel entrance, Ellamae observed “It smells like a stinky pool out here!”  She was so excited to go swimming. We had a family swim for the evening and then Josh slipped down to the casino to play some Blackjack.  Ellamae and I got ready for bed so we could do more swimming in the morning.

The beautiful pool at the Artesian has an indoor and outdoor section.  It was a little cold for swimming outdoors, but still fun to look out there and dream of coming summer.  There were a group of teenagers in the pool who were in town for a competition.  Two girls watched and giggled at every move my daughter made, making her dad and I feel ever so grateful for each smile, giggle and thrill of excitement over something as simple as “kick, kick, kick”- ing her legs in some chlorinated water.

Friday morning Josh got up early to go fishing on the Blue River.  I received the infamous texted photo of a “huge” trout at 10:40 am so I knew he would be satisfied with the trip. 

Ellamae watched cartoons while I did a little writing (this blog post J) and checked my email.  Then we wandered downstairs for breakfast at the hotel restaurant, Springs at the Artesian.  The food always impresses us here and this time Ellamae gave the approval saying “XXXXX’s (my personal favorite breakfast venue) pancakes were not tasting as well as these pancakes!”  She said her bacon had “too loud crunch” so she “ordered” (ate) mine.  The one plate was plenty to share between the two of us.  As 80’s disco music played in the background, the new Snapchat filter was so fitting! 

After breakfast, we headed to the pool for round two of swimming.  We visited the “Bath House” this time and it was lovely!  The “Bath House” (hot tub) at the Artesian serves as “a nod to the past” as the City of Sulphur was historically known for the area’s natural springs. Its generous size prohibits the standard awkwardness of sitting in a circle with a bunch of strangers playing footsy and the kiddos can move around in it without disturbing anyone.  This hotel feels serene and elegant, but at the same time maintains a family friendly atmosphere! 

Josh returned from fishing in time for me to shower and pack up before heading down to the Sole’renity Spa for a massage.  My therapist, Rhonda was great and explained some things about massage therapy that no one has ever taken the time to talk to me about.  I’ve decided I might need to start getting regular massages so that I can be more comfortable!  Rhonda talked about visiting her son in Hawaii and I shared about the time we vacationed in Hawaii and there was a Tsunami (more on that later). 

Even though, on this day, they were running behind and my appointment started about 20-30 minutes late, the staff has been very professional in both my visits to this spa.  I wanted to use the Eucalyptus steam sauna after my massage, but Josh and Ellamae were finished with lunch and heading to “play the piano” in the hotel lobby.  I’m not sure if that is allowed.  I wanted to stay at the spa longer, Josh wanted more time to fish and Ellamae would have loved to swim more. The important thing is that we all got to do something we enjoy.  No one was forced into too much of anything not their style and we all went home before we were too tired.  We spent the drive home dreaming about more adventures together and what’s next in life… but not without a walk in the park and ice cream first!



(Crackerjack Photography Studio) Artesian Hotel Sulphur, Oklahoma family fishing travel trip Sun, 16 Apr 2017 15:47:31 GMT
Beginning of a Blog!  My daughter, Ellamae, is 3.4 years old (as described by my husband, the geologist).  At her ripe age, she has traveled more than most adults have in their lifetime.  Before birth, she toured at least 11 states and has currently traveled in as many countries as she has celebrated birthdays!

People ask me regularly about two topics: travel (with my family including a 3 year old and often an 80 lb. goldendoodle) and photography.

I hear “You travel so much!” or “You take really great photos.” For families, these activities both require lots of planning, preparation and WORK!  I ask myself “Is this really worth it?!?” every time I’m running around the house for an entire day (ok, maybe three days) packing before a trip (even if it’s just for the weekend).  But, you know what? It’s always worth it – for the experiences and memories made.  Family portraits involve planning, preparation, work and maybe even packing – snacks, props, outfit changes, etc., etc. - but in the end - the images and memories you cherish forever are worth it!  Nicholas Sparks said “Nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy. Remember that.”

Today I’m committing to sharing my experience with the world through words and pictures.  I’m starting a blog!  I have so many unshared images overcrowding hard drives!  In an effort to liberate some of these images, you’ll be seeing some blog posts about past trips.  Hopefully, I can inspire you to pack a bag, plan a trip (or maybe a family photo session) and create some memories.  In the meantime, I hope to make connections for myself through sharing and reliving these experiences.  My husband is the planner, I am the historian.  Consequently, my apprehensions are always about the future and my partner always wants to talk about how we should have done things differently.  Today, I seek to live more in the present. Perhaps revisiting these experiences will encourage us to focus on the NOW in a spirit of gratitude. 

Ellamae's first trip to Charleston, SC in mommy's belly! June 2013

  Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, Charleston, SC, April 2014. Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, Charleston, SC, April 2014 Family road/camping trip to Colorado, August 2014. San Juan Mountains, CO, August 2014 Camping at Molas Lake, Silverton, CO, August 2014 Post attempted hike to Highland Mary Lakes near Silverton, CO, August 2014. We didn't quite make it there. September 2014

The road trip to Colorado in 2014 remains one of our favorite family trips. It is possible to enjoy long road trips with infants...and pets! National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, July 2015 Visiting Uncle Zach and the White House, Washington, DC, July 2015

Sanibel Island, FL, April 2015 Castaways Beach Bay Cottage, Sanibel Island, FL, April 2015

Touring Monte Verde Cloud Forest and checking out hummingbirds with our guide, Donald. Monte Verde, Costa Rica, May 2015 Embarking on the Don Juan Coffee & Chocolate Tour. Monte Verde, Costa Rica, May 2015 Exploring the grounds of Monte Verde Lodge & Gardens. Monte Verde, Costa Rica, May 2015 Balcony view at La Mariposa Hotel. Maunel Antonio, Costa Rica, May 2015 This pup, owned by the people where we stayed, La Posada Private Jungle Bungalows, followed us everywhere! Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, May 2015 Hanging Bridges at Selvatura Park. Monteverde, Costa Rica, May 2015 Chabil Mar Resort, Placencia, Belize, May 2016 Foot washing. Chabil Mar Resort, Placencia, Belize, May 2016 Playing and fishing. Chabil Mar Resort, Placencia, Belize, May 2016 Sunrise. Chabil Mar Resort, Placencia, Belize, May 2016

(Crackerjack Photography Studio) blog family portrait photography travel trip Sat, 25 Mar 2017 02:52:40 GMT