4 Qualities to Look for in a Family Photographer

March 09, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

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"

10 Things Your Doctor Never Told You About Giving Birth | Traverse City Birth Photography

February 09, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

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

What to wear at a headshot session

January 11, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

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: https://www.pinterest.com/crackerjackphotographystudio/womens-headshots/


What is Birth Photography?

November 16, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

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


A Maternity Session at Brown Bridge Quiet Area

May 26, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

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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Welcome to the blog of Crackerjack Photography Studio and photographer, Jamie Kirschner.  I'm a portrait photographer based in Traverse City, Michigan who loves learning and retelling the stories of others. I practice this through birth photography, family portraits, headshots and event photography.



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