My 3 Father’s Day Gift Picks – Something big, something little, something WOW.

Do you ever struggle with what to get the guys that have it all? If the guys in your life are anything like the guys in mine, if they want something, they go get it … so when gift giving occasions come along I’m stumped. So, this year I have three gift recommendations for you that I hope help you and that might be a little outside the box too.

1. First up the ‘Spoil them’ gift… For the NEW dad who’s celebrating his FIRST Father’s Day or for those rock star dads who you’re dropping some coin on this year. This is the gift I know my husband would add to the list himself too: The Solo Stove.

Ok, so I’m not going to lie when Ryan first bought this for us I was pis*** uh, perturbed I mean. Because, really, you just spent HOW MUCH on a thing that every campground on the planet provides… a fire pit. But, begrudgingly after our first few fires I had to admit it was nice not to have every blanket and chair and US smelling like campfire.

It was nice to have the fire built in 2.5 seconds and easily done by myself if I wanted. Plus with the new heat deflectors they’ve fixed the issue of it not really dispersing heat around the firepit (which is GREAT in the summer when you don’t want to be hot but still want a fire, but not so good when you’re cold). Smokeless, easy to build, contained, burns down to ash, hot cooking fire, safe exterior are all reasons we love this and use it often so it’s my #1 choice for spoiling dads this year.

2. Next up… the ‘just a little something’ gift … I have a suggestion for the gift you don’t want to have to think too hard about and don’t want to spend a lot on. While this isn’t the mammoth gift it’s one that looks nice and will get a ton of use.

This pocket knife is durable, comes in handy, looks great and won’t break the bank. And I can tell you from real world observation of my own husband in the wild, it’s a ‘never leave the house without’ item which is always a great gift goal right?

3. Now, this last gift idea is the ‘SURPRISE’ make him blush gift. And it’s not for dad…. well your dad (unless your mom calls me, and then mind yo’ business haha). This gift is for WOWing your partner to thank him for all he does for you and your littles and it’s sure to put a BIG smile on his face. Boudoir portraits are most commonly gifted for Christmas, Valentine’s day, Birthdays and Anniversaries so I don’t think he’ll see this coming and I guarantee it will be the gift to top this Father’s Day.

Boudoir sessions are available both in Missouri (hotel & in-home) and Illinois* (in-studio, hotel & in-home) and Father’s Day gift sessions will include a FREE private image APP with your digital image purchase. Your session + professional hair & makeup (recommended) is just $280. And you can even choose to include him in the experience by inviting him to image-selection for the big gift reveal!

These sessions are intimate (obviously) so to get started you can book your zoom consultation here to set up your complimentary first meeting so we can walk through all the details with you, help style your session, talk through the feel of your session and even more…

*Illinois sessions pre-fathers day are limited and only a few session times remain open for Friday, June 3 and Saturday June 4.

It’s GRADUATION time (well almost) and we’ve got a few tips to make the most of your LAST few weeks of high school.

Oh EM Gheee. You’re just about DONE with all things high school. That’s kind of crazy, and exciting! But graduation feels busy, and hectic, and are you missing anything? Well, we’re here with a quick check list of a few fun additions to your graduation festivities….

  1. Grad Swag… 2020 took a lot of things from us but it also gave us a few things and a favorite of mine is grad swag. Yard/door/decor swag that is! We use our yards to celebrate political candidates and the folks who mow our lawns or paint our houses so why in the heck are we not using our yards to celebrate our grads?!!? Well, from now on, we are!

And new this year we’ve got 10 packs of signs so you can share the love with grandparents and celebrate and show off your senior from the beginning (go on, send over those baby photos!).

Oh, and front doors too…. these 3×6′ banners can include 1-4 images and are the perfect party decor. They include 4 grommets to make hanging easy. Having your party at an event center? We’ve seen seniors hang these horizontally in the yard to make finding your party easy and exciting for your guests!

2. Grad invites (but wait, don’t forget the thank you cards & stationary too!). It’s true, we usually think about and plan for graduation invitations or announcements. And those basics are key but what about custom thank you cards or even better, envelopes and return address labels. I LOVE making your cards a complete experience for everyone you receives them!

3. Cap & Gown Images! It’s a milestone, ya’ll. We have FREE cap & gown sessions available at the studio May 10th (BOOK HERE) and more availability with Lisa (bookable here) for just $45. Plus, all grad sessions include up to 50% off digital & small prints.

4. Party snacks. Ok a good party (and celebration) can’t be all about the swag, I know. So today I’m also sharing with you my two favorite party dip recipes. One, that’s literally two ingredients for a last minute addition and one that you’ll be snacking on before it even makes it to the table.

First up, when you’re out of ideas and need just something else on the table (or just aren’t a cook) you cannot go wrong with Harry & David Onion and Pepper relish over cream cheese. This ‘receipe’ is about as simple as it gets… 1. spread 1 tub/package of cream cheese all along bottom of plate/platter/bowl. 2. spread jar of onion and pepper relish on top. DONE

Next up, onion bagel dip! OMG I’m salivating just writing this. What you need (this one is a bit more involved):

  • Everything or Onion or Plain Bagels (cut into 1in ish pieces – for easy little dipping triangles)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayo (whatever kind you like)
  • Accent Seasoning (measure with your heart but taste along the way because it’s SALTY)
  • Chopped green onions (I like a lot – measure with your heart too)
  • 1 jar of dried beef (the single hardest thing to find at the grocery store for the one time you make this each year… not with the meats… tiny glass jar, blue lid, good luck)

Mix all that up, try not to eat it all before the guests arrive.

| Class of 2022 Senior Model Feature: Claire |

Today kicks off the first of all our Senior Model feature posts and starting with the lovely Claire! I’ve gotten to photograph her so many times over the past year or more and today you’ll get not only a look at her first senior session but also the fun we had at pop-up sessions leading up to her own session(s).

Starting with her very first session in front of my camera……..

And a few from our adventure to Starved Rock. I’d wanted to shoot there really since we moved to Illinois over a decade ago but it’s so VAST and a lot to explore/hike into so I had never taken the leap but this was the time to do it. This shoot was an extra surprise treat for our models and even our preteam models.

Illinois weather…. unpredictable at best! And while this can sometimes keep us on our toes for your senior session date (no one wants ALLL their senior portraits done in the rain or in 20-30 mph winds after all) but we try to have some fun with it with our models each year with sessions in rain/shine/sun and SNOW. Plus, we had some fun in the creek this spring and sunflowers this summer!

But the real deal happens for her senior session(s)… hair/makeup done (by the ever-talented Bre at Dali Bliss!) and all her personal style with a variety of outfits and locations for senior session day one!

And we’re not done yet! More pop-up sessions coming along soon for our 2022 models as well as another full senior session for Claire this fall (at SUNRISE which is going to be beautiful)!!

Decatur Illinois Families | Summer Portrait Sessions with Sarah Jane

Well SJP summers are usually chock full of the latest senior class (hey class of 2022, we see you!), but whew boy is summer 2021 all about these stunning Central Illinois (and Missouri…. yes, even though I said I wasn’t staring work in Missouri until 2022, oooops… I did!) families!

I’ve gotten to celebrate not one, but TWO, 50th wedding anniversaries this summer by creating brand new family portraits for these lovely couples and the generations they’ve grown. Plus, I created my first ever 4th of July ‘Christmas’ cards for a brand new SJP family.

First up, to share today are a few of my favorites from the Kuhn family. I am just so grateful and thankful for them trusting me over the years. They have two seriously great kids, who are I guess really not ‘kids’ anymore now! And they are always such a pleasure to work with and create for. We just put the finishing touches on their family album which we selected to match Alex & Lindy’s senior albums. Plus, I cannot wait to see their final canvas selection above their mantle soon.

I’m so excited for the three image collection we designed for this next family’s wall. My favorite part is the little surprise in the palm of the littest’s hand…. a daddy long leg she found got to join them for the session. Dad says she loves them so it was a perfect little dose of personality that only a knowing eye could find! And we ended up with almost perfectly mirrored images of both girls that worked perfectly on either side of the main family portrait.

Last up today I get to share the Anderson/Jones family! These guys were all laughs on session and their energy was infectious. I’m excited to get their whole family portrait framed up in the next week so it can make it to it’s home on their walls.

Central Illinois Pageant Headshots & More at Sarah Jane Photography

White sweater with ripped jeans pageant portrait casual wear smile

With the closure of this year’s Miss Illinois 2021 pageant last week, I wanted to showcase our most recent pageant queens. Alyssa’s up first as your 2020 Illinois Festival PreTeen Queen!

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White sweater with ripped jeans outfit pageant casual wear smizing. curled hair styles.
Pageant headshot sessions certainly aren’t all crown & sash or straight headshots. We always make time for some personality as well!

And up next, Brooklynn! She’s none other than the Jr. Teen Miss Central Illinois (oh and #bonus is one of our PreTeen models!!).

Oh and we cannot forget the elegant Miss Morgan who holds the title for 2020 Illinois Festival Junior Miss.

Not only do we have royalty on the PreTeam but also on the senior model team! Lula is one of our class of 2022 senior models and she also joined our team after her first session in-studio to celebrate her title as the 2019 Illinois Festival Junior Miss.

Last but not least though we have to give a huge shout out to one of the newest SJP assistants, former SJP senior model and long time pageant client who feels like a part of the SJP family at this point… Morgan who just compete last week for Miss Illinois and even landed herself in the TOP 11!!! #celebrity Congratulations Morgan, your community is so proud!!