Blog

Take the photo….

Nowadays it seems people only want a instagram or facebook perfect image. If it’s not an image they would post on social media they aren’t interested in having it taken. Don’t get me wrong I’m guilty of not wanting to have my photo taken. I always feel and look so awkward when I’m on the other side of the camera so I avoid it like the plague.

In the past 2 months I have gone through catalogs of my images to pull files for 2 families who have lost loved ones much too soon. It is not a position I ever imagine when I am invited into families lives to take their photo. I am in the business of capturing fleeting, and usually happy moments. Unfortunately, life is real and raw and completely unpredictable. When I read an email that said-I’ thought I would have a lifetime worth of images’ it really hit me to the core. I find myself so guilty of this and I’m sure we all do at some point or another. We talk about how we know life is a precious gift but all too often we live it as if we are promised tomorrow and another days worth of memories.

Take the photo-no makeup, non matching outfits and print the memories. Fill albums (old school I know) with your images or print books from your iPhone photos, whatever it is you prefer, but take the photos and hold onto the memories. Invest in a family session at least once a year. I know it is stressful, trust me as a photographer I go through the same anxiety of what everyone will wear and how my hair will look (just ask my husband who every year asks why do you do this to yourself?!). This isn’t a sales pitch but an earnest plea from the heart of a mother. If you are a mama get a mommy and me session. You are usually the one behind the camera, treat yourself to a moment in front of it just playing with your kids. Memories are priceless.

 

I love my job more than anything, the connections and the memories I get to share in are beyond incredible. But now, more than ever, I see the true value of a photograph as everlasting memories for people to cherish.

Be prepared in session with me. If you are just tagging along during your childs senior session or just want photos of your kid I am going to insist on capturing at least one image of you with them. It’s not for social media-it is for you. Don’t argue, just smile and let me take an image that out of all of the ones I take for the day your  child will probably look back and appreciate the most.

 

 

I ask for continued prayers for these beautiful families.

Sweet Oliver

O sweet Oliver how you stole my heart! Every baby is a miracle. The entire process is incredible that such sweet and perfectness is formed inside a mothers womb after 9 months-little fingers, toes and a sweet heartbeat. Oliver is a true miracle and wonder. Before his birth his parents were told that he would be born with a condition where his legs would not move. The extent of the condition would be unknown until he was born.

When this handsome fellow made his debut he stole hearts (of course) and shocked the doctors. He was born missing a vertebra in his spine which in all other cases would mean he should be paralyzed from the waist down. However, Oliver was able to lift his legs up and had feeling in his toes. Everyday he is blowing doctors away with his progress and just overall state. He is a true miracle. The doctors don’t know what to consider his condition and waiting to see how he continues to grow and develop to best treat him.

I have dealt with a lot of babies and Oliver was by far one of the most relaxed and easy going. Just hours before his session both of his legs had been put in full casts but he was content and even flashed me a few smiles during his session.

Life itself is a miracle. But sometimes in life we get to encounter true, only possible through the grace of God miracles that are bigger than the medical world can explain, and they take your breath away. I am so thankful for the miracle of Oliver. Please continue to pray for him and his sweet family as they have a long road ahead of them. I cannot wait to see the amazing testimony God will create through this tiny little boy.

 

The residue of digital images…

I started my journey in photography what seems like a lifetime ago. I feel like I sound old when I say it was pretty much all film when I started. There was the thrill of wondering did I get the shot? Did it turn out like I envisioned it in my head? Then there was the process of waiting for the film to be developed. Two years of my college experience was spent hand rolling my own film and then smelling like vinegar for days  from countless hours spent in the dark room trying to see if I got the shot.  I spent time hand painting on my images to touch up dust spots, dodging and burning during processing to get the look I wanted and praying I was careful enough not to scratch my negative while I processed them. There was so much more to the image-there was a story and a long process behind it. Because of all the time pouring into a film image I have always felt like there is a residue that lingers with film images. I can’t pick up old images, even of people I don’t know, and not feel something. There is a story and emotion behind each photograph.

 

When I moved into digital, I of course, loved it. It meant no more smelling like vinegar and honestly, after the initial investment, it meant I could save money. I could shoot more images and not worry that I was ‘wasting’ film. What more could I ask for? The only difference was I always felt like the residue of the story behind each image was starting to fade. How can you feel the story behind a moment if you don’t touch it, hold it,  because lets be honest, so many images are just kept as digital files and never printed.

 

This was my first year entering the Shoot and Share contest. I was so nervous to put my work out there. It reminded me of how I use to feel before critiques of our photos in school. What would everyone think? I combed through a years worth of images and tried to pick the ones that I thought were some of my best work. When I came across the album from my nephews 3rd birthday session I  stopped and just smiled and cried. What a journey last year was from him and our entire family. This was one of my absolute favorite images. I entered it on a whim and thought-you shouldn’t enter that, it only means something to you, what you feel when you look at it is due to the story behind this moment and everything that happened leading to this point. I was convinced, even thought I loved it, that this image wouldn’t do well because people don’t know the story behind it.

kl-3

Fast forward to the end of the contest. This was my top rated image. It placed in the top 10% of the lifestyle category. It was #661 out of 19,330. I was blown away. When I voted in the shoot and share I realized something-I wasn’t voting for the most technically perfect images, I was picked the images that spoke to me, the ones I connected with. The whole process renewed my hope in the emotion that digital can evoke. I remember voting on a stack of pancakes (they looked amazing!) several times and they ended up being a top ranked image. Why did I vote pancakes over others? It reminded me of mornings and meals spent with my family which are some of my favorite moments. Photography is so powerful. It can convey so much in a glance to people who have never met you. When you take an image it can spark a memory in someone else that they connect with

 

The people who voted for this image don’t know Liam’s story. They don’t know that just 6 month before this we were in the hospital back and forth for days trying to save his eye after a terrible accident They didn’t see the confidence that started to return when he received his prosthetic eye in April. The joy in this image was felt world wide, connected with people I will never meet, without the back story. Despite the fact that this is a digital file my heart smiles knowing that the residue of Liam and his testimony lives in this image. People felt connected enough to him in this moment to choose this image over others.

Celebrating 30 Years

Who doesn’t love a great love story?! When you hear that a couple is celebrating 30 years I feel like that is a great story itself in todays world. This couple was seriously so cute. I love it when I only have to ask a couple to do one thing and then the giggles, snuggles and real connections instantly start. It didn’t take any time at all for this couple to show me how they have made it this long-they truly make each other happy. They are each others best friends.

They met and fell head over heels in love and were engaged within 8 months. After a 6 month engagement they will celebrate 30 years marriage on Monday. Happiest Anniversary Kim & John!

 

Katie-Senior Year

This girl-I don’t even know hardly what to say. I first met her during the Nu Revolution Dance Recital last year while I was doing the portraits and recital coverage. When her mom contacted me about a senior session incorporating her dance I was all in. Fast forward to almost a year later and I have worked with this girl numerous times. We have done countless sessions and now we are working on plans for her graduation party.

Photography isn’t just capturing moments for a set amount of time. It is about gaining trust and building relationships. When I know I am headed back to KY for a few sessions I am excited to catch up with Katie on how things are going and if she has decided where she is going after graduation. (if you go to Hawaii I’m totally up for first year portraits on location!) What started off as one senior session has turned into a connection that I love. By nature, I am a more reserved person and I have always struggled with putting myself out there. Photography has given me a way to connect with people in a way that I find hard to do when I’m not behind the camera.

Katie is so talented, beautiful, and hilarious. Most of her sessions I end up laughing but then when it’s time to take photos this is what I get-pure beauty, inside and out. This year has flown by and it blows my mind that in a few months I’ll be taking her dance portraits for the last time as a senior.

Thank you for allowing me to share in this year with you and your family and friends. I know your journey is just starting and I am so excited to follow to see where to road takes you.

 

Baby Adley

This sweet baby girl had such a testimony before she was even born! I remember when Chelsee contacted me about complications with Adley. As a precaution, we moved the maternity session up a month because the doctors were worried that Adley would arrive early. The diagnosis was that Adley would need surgery for a spot on her lung as soon as she was born.

As a parent I cannot imagine going through this, but Chelsee and Eric were always positive about the situation. When I would reach out for updates they remained steadfast in their faith and trust in God.  The morning of their sunrise maternity session I remember feeling like God was smiling down on this couple. The sky was filled with pink clouds and amazing fog. I felt like He was showing us the emense love He already had for Adley.

 

ChelseeMaternity-31

 

He moved in such a big way.  He is such an on time God. Adley arrived just about a week before her due date and didn’t need surgery. God is so amazing.  Every newborn session I do is so special because it means that the parents are trusting me with the greatest gift they have ever received. For me this session was so much more.  I was holding a miracle baby. I was able to spend the morning with a beautiful little girl who even though she couldn’t say a word, was speaking volumes to the world. I cannot wait to keep up with her journey.

2 weeks late on my New Years Resolution

kenna-34

So blogs are about being real and letting people really discover who you are through words-so it is only fitting that you really see who I am from jump. I am the one who is always a bit late. I have the best intentions but I cannot for the life of me quite nail the whole ‘on time’ thing down. Don’t get me wrong, when I have appointments with clients and work I am there but anything outside of that tends to take a bit of a hit.  So in line with that and being real, one of my New Years resolution is to start up my blog-so of course I’m 2 weeks late. This is the real Kenna.

Who am I/What do you do…..that question has really taken a hit in the last year. I know that they are completely different questions but for me they had become tangled into one over the past 10 years. I didn’t realize it until I was forced to see that I had started to define who I was by what I did. If you had asked me over a year ago who I was I would have said a Visual Merchandising Supervisor. I could tell you how many stores I had opened since the company started (from 5 stores initially to 80 when I left), how many stores I oversaw and all of the people that I had been privileged to meet and work with. I experienced so many things during my career with Garage, plus I was getting paid to spend every day in a new mall (dream job!). To say I loved every minute of it would be a lie because it was stressful and ever changing but I loved the challenge, the travel, the people, the company and of course the discount. It was a fast paced job and I was constantly busy and that is something that I craved. I based (past tense because I have finally identified this trait and I am working to fix it!) my worth on my busyness. Most days, by how I measured my worth, I was doing good and I was successful.

(by the way…why I am tearing up as I type this? truthful moment)

Que the life changing moment that God uses to shake things up and reveal truths about yourself that sometime aren’t the prettiest thing to look at. The greatest gift ever entered my life on April 9 2016 Brooks Allen Calhoun. All of a sudden I was a Visual Merchandising Supervisor and a mom. Brooks didn’t know I had a job outside of taking care of him and I couldn’t explain to him why I needed to answer emails for work instead of play with him when I got home, or why I had to be gone for a few days at a time after my 6 month maternity leave ended. It broke both of our hearts.

brooks-26.jpg

Photography has always been my first love. I was given a camera when I was in high school and was encourage to enter my images into the 4H contest (I’m from KY so this is fitting). I continued to pursue photography and decided to make it my career after high school. I went to an amazing school that offered a 4 year degree in fine art and digital photography. Life happens after graduation and I ended up working for Garage in New York. My plan to get an internships in the city for photography. The fear of rejection got the best of me and I only did photography for close friends and family. I poured my heart into Garage and I don’t regret it for one second.

With the arrival of Brooks I knew something had to change. But how could I give up who I thought I was to become a mom?? I know that sounds so terrible, I feel guilty typing it, but it was the truth.  I know being a mom is the most important job I could ever do or have the privilege of doing but I struggled with, and still struggle, with how to I measure my success. I am busy, all the time, every day with my little man so in theory I should feel successful since I crave busyness but since I can’t measure the success of how I am spending my time how do I know if I’m doing a good job? It’s a vicious cycle that really beat me down a few times last year.

Photography has allowed me do the most important job, be a mom, and still have a piece of my own identiy. Photography allows me to do what I love and not have to sacrifice so much of my time with my family. Life balance is critical God is so faithful in His promises of provision. The path hasn’t been easy but He has been with me through all of the steps. Am I were I want to be with my business-no. I want to continue to grow push my limit with every session. I would even like to start back with my original love of film this year! Most importantly photography allows me to give time back, something I missed so much of over the past 10 years, to families and to couples. I am able to capture moments in time, that disappear in an instant, so that you can look back and smile, cry or just reflect on where you have been.

It is a new year. I am so thankful for the journey of 2017 that has brought me to this point in my life. I am even more  grateful for a God who reminded me of who I really was in His eyes.