Chico Love

If you follow me on social media at all, you know my beset friend is my puppy Chico. He’s 7 years old, but he’s only 7lbs…so he’ll always be a puppy. We go on coffee dates, we hike to watch sunrises and sunsets (definitely the latter, because we don’t do many mornings!), we share a detest for mornings and would rather stay in bed than get up and face the world, we road trip together, and we spend LOTS of time cuddling (he’s actually currently under the blankets in my lap under my computer).

This is his favorite way to cuddle….I got nothin’

His favorite treat is whip cream, whether he’s eating it from the can, from a bowl, or from his favorite coffee shop. He can clean out a grande pup whip from Starbucks in the time it takes to get out of the drive thru lane…

I can’t imagine my life without my Chico, even if he hates to pose for the camera (what kind of photographer dog IS he?!). He’s shown me what unconditional love is, and he’ll always be my favorite! Happy 3rd, ‘gotcha day’!

Dogs Have Birthdays Too

1 year ago Cat said “look at our new puppy we’re getting!! His name is going to be Milo!” And a few weeks later…we (yep, totally just added myself to their family as far as Milo is concerned) welcomed Milo home with a newborn puppy shoot!

It’s a…..Milo!

A year of adventures ensued including baseball games, lots of time in the creek, hours at the dog park, hiking trails, playing tug of war, Christmas snuggles and a bad haircut…

So naturally there was also a birthday party!

Happy birthday, Milo! Make a wish!

Thank you for letting me be your personal photographer, Milo!! Can’t wait for another year of adventures!

I’m #btownlocal

The softest, comfiest, best Branson shirts are made by B-town Threads. I LOVE this company, I love what they stand for, and I love their shirts! I’ve partnered with them several times doing shoots for their newest t-shirt designs, and it’s ALWAYS a great time! (They also designed my TGC Photography shirts that I wear allllll the time!)

Me’Lissa runs this company, creates all these designs and has a vision for bringing out the best in B-Town as well as bringing light to the entertaining quirks of living in a tourist town (hello round a bout!)!

This shoot was full of amazing models who were willing to try anything (including standing in the middle of the street, sitting on ledges and climbing through parking garages!)!

What I love most about B-Town Threads is that they truly believe in giving back to their community. A large portion of all their proceeds are given back to non-profit organizations within the Branson community. “We believe that communities shine the brightest as we serve and share with one another.  We value faith, family, giving and connection. It is our hope that B-Town Threads will be a beacon of love and commitment to our community and through our interactions that we inspire others to do the same… Shine On! “

You can check out B-Town Threads on ALL social media platforms and shop all their designs on their website!

“Just Casually Walking Through The Snow…” For Instagram

I love how so many photoshoots are born from the thought “wouldn’t this look cute on Instagram?!” I’m not gonna lie. It’s just the honest truth. If the comment “I’m going to caption this with…” doesn’t happen during a photoshoot (from either the photographer or the model), is it really even a photoshoot?!

It’s January. It’s winter. And my social accounts and definitely are lacking in snow pictures. Because we haven’t had any yet this season (hello, I ran in a t-shirt and no jacket yesterday)…so when it snowed for 4.6 seconds today there wasn’t even an option. It was time to updated the ‘gram.

I love putting together shoots with Catherine (WITH A C!), our minds are always on the same page for pictures and her creative mind and artistic eye means we have ideas coming from everywhere! She didn’t even bat an eye at hanging out in the 27* cold with blowing snow and trapping through a creek.

Cat captioned these pictures (below) as soon as she saw the back-of-camera image. That makes a photographer heart happy!!

“In a world cold and grey, her should bloomed anyway” ~ Stacey Martin
Casually walking through the woods…in the snow…for the Instagram picture…

Of course I’m being slightly sarcastic, but I’m also being 100% honest. Shooting with Instagram in mind isn’t a bad thing, and honestly, I have brainstormed a lot of shoots with people for the ‘gram, and loved every single one of them! Here’s to you, Instagram content shooters! Let me know, because I’d be happy to help you out!

“When snow falls, nature listens”

My feelings about Instagram filters…that’s another story.

When It’s 65* In January

Ozark weather is weird. We often experience all 4 seasons in 1 day. Sunshine, rain, tornados and a snowstorm all in 1 week. And the weathermen are usually wrong. And sometimes, when it’s a beautiful weekend in January…you have no choice but to take advantage of the sunshine, the sunset and the lake and go shooting! (With willing models like Emily, of course!)

The off season may be my favorite because I get to shoot solely for the fun of it. I get to let my creative spirit be a little adventurous; and I don’t feel the pressure of an arranged session. If not ONE picture turns out how I planned…that’s ok! And it makes it even sweeter when some of my ideas turn out even better than I planned!

I’ve always been a natural light photographer…and one of my goals for 2019 is to better my on/off camera speedlight skills and combine natural ambient light with flash lighting, especially when shooting outdoors. Stepping away from ETTL (auto) flash mode and controlling the light vs letting it control me!

All three of these images (above) use on camera flash…all resulting in different feeling images due to different combinations of lighting!

One of my favorite magical powers of adding flash to ambient lighting is the power to capture vibrant sunset images…even when it’s almost totally dark outside!

Sunset images WITHOUT flash provide their own magic as well

If we’re voting…I’d gladly welcome a few more 65* days before winter is over!

They Didn’t Teach Me This in Nursing School…

If you would have asked me growing up, or in high school, or in college, or after college if I would ever own my own photography company… I would have said nope. I had my Bachelor of Science in nursing, was working my dream job as a Labor and Delivery nurse at the same hospital I was born at and personally delivering about 100 babies a year…and I knew zero about photography…OR running a business!

Enter September 2010, and my 1st trip to Branson. Point and shoot camera in hand, I captured my mom being sung to on stage and thus began my passion for capturing memories and moments, especially in the magic of a theater. Dozens of trips to Branson and hundreds of images later, the passion only grew. Hours of reading photography blogs and photography articles, investing in my 1st entry level DSLR and learning about this thing called “manual mode”…simply by asking the question “I wonder what this button does?”

I followed other theater photographers in Branson, I reached out, I asked questions, I shot, and I shot, and I shot! Shutter speed, ISO, aperture, white balance! Why are theater lights such funny colors? Why do performers move so fast? Why are spotlights different than other theater lights? How does it look so bright on stage and not in my camera?!

And then one day…someone asked me to take pictures of their family. And it was totally different. I remember planning shoots at noon and moving clients to shoot in open sunlight…because more light is always better, right?! So the learning began alllllllll over again! Shadows? New white balance settings? Aperture really DOES make a difference?! I have to move instead of just sit in a seat and let performers move around me?!

Months, weeks, years later, I was shooting on all my off days, traveling to Branson almost every weekend, I even had my 1st billboard on Hwy 65 at the Branson exit! I left my hometown of Kansas City and moved to Branson: and it was the best decision of my life. I took a part time nursing job at the hospital and thus embarked the official beginning of TGC Photography.

Since moving to Branson, I’ve learned a WHOLE lot (more!) about photography, I’ve learned even MORE about running a business…and I’ve made more friends and had more adventures than I EVER thought possible! I’ve shot in Puerto Rico, New York City, Pigeon Forge, all over the midwest…all because of a camera and a dream. I’ve hung out of airplanes, climbed on ferris wheels, shot on speed boats, shot on rollercoasters, shot leaning out of helicopters and shot on stage during live performances. I’ve learned that if there’s a dream, a willingness to stretch your comfort zone and a determination to work hard for it…you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible!

Can’t wait to see where this journey leads next!

“The only photographer you should compare yourself to is the one that you used to be”

The Girl (and the Dog) Behind The Camera

Behind every photography company is a photographer holding the camera. And behind THIS photographer holding a camera…is a very cuddly puppy named Chico, and a whole lot of coffee!

Expresso Branson is my absolute favorite coffee shop in Branson…and Chico likes it a lot too. They spoil him just a little! But he always has to check out Mom’s coffee order as well…

I picked up my 1st DSLR camera in the summer of 2014, and the passion has been real ever since! I have a passion for capturing all the candid moments that lend themselves to lifestyle photography. I love capturing the hugs, the giggles, the smiles and the perfectly-imperfect moments that make family memories unforgettable! I also love capturing the magic that presents itself at live events. Branson shows and the performers are near and dear to my heart and are where I started my photography business. I love the music, lights, special effects and energy that bring the stage to life!

My editing buddy Chico came into my life almost exactly 3 years ago and he’s been my best friend ever since. He’s 7lbs of cuddles, his favorite place to be is taking one of his multiple daily naps in my lap, or sitting on the porch in the sunshine. This is a pretty typical view of my lap during editing sessions…

Chico’s a pretty typical photographer dog…and getting him to pose for the camera is worse than a 2 year old. But when he does let me take his picture…he’s pretty adorable.

Besides Chico snuggles, TGC is fueled by coffee, coffee and more coffee. I LOVE checking out new coffee shops and going on coffee dates with friends. If I’m working and not cuddling with Chico, you can bet that you’ll find me at a coffee shop with my laptop!

One of the things I’ve fallen in love with on my photography journey is all the different places I’ve gotten to take my camera. Puerto Rico, New York City, hanging out of helicopters and airplanes…the adventures are endless!

Chico, Camera, Coffee….my life in 3 words!