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!
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!!
Oh hi there. Hmm, it’s quiet around here. Wait, actually it’s SILENT around here. Where’d all the pretty faces go?!?!?
The SJP blog was one of the many casualties of the “year that must not be named” … the truth is when March 2020 hit I had months and months of blog content outlined and on the schedule. Like really look….
But then, like all of you, our world stopped. We kept our kids home, I rescheduled sessions out a couple weeks, and we waited. And then, even when the wheels started to slowly turn again MONTHS later and I went back to the studio it felt like a cog in the blog wheel was missing. I just couldn’t get the machine rolling again here. As I sat down with plenty of time on my hands to schedule out the posts as planned, to finish up and fill in the content I had right at my fingertips, I just didn’t have the words…. should I show up chipper and positive when we were all feeling sad and run down? I surely didn’t want to add to the bummer vibes we felt as we saw more and more things canceling around us. So I just stayed silent.
This was a space I couldn’t get my creative juices to flow back into so I just stopped completely. I didn’t try to phone it in just to fill the space. Instead I guess I sort of needed the silence… The big gaping 1 YEAR silence. I needed the permission to take a deep sigh and just NOT do it.
But as we are now officially one year later. I’m here. I’m taking a deep breath as the hint of spring sunshine beings to feed my soul and I’m ready to come back to the blog. I’m ready in so many ways to show you the beauty I was surrounded with this year, because it was here. I’m ready to shower love on the clients who showed up for me in a year that could have been SO much harder without them.
I’m thankful to have been able to see smiling faces when so many work mask to mask all day every day and it’s time those faces show up here again. Thank you for giving me the time for the silence here and I hope you’ll come along for the really epic journey that we are in store for in 2021 and beyond <foreshadowing hahaha>.
Here’s a look at just a bit of the beauty we found in 2020….
Today on the blog we’re going to pop in a bit of an introduction. It’s something I work in from time to time on our instagram but haven’t done here for awhile! And I’m thrilled today to be getting around to not only another peek at ME (Sarah Jane), but also to introduce you to the two newest members of the SJP team, Lisa and Kat! That’s right, it’s not just SJ around here anymore.
But to start, how about we take a page (literally) out of our new catalog to introduce you to ME!
Next up… I’m thrilled to bring on two team members who have honestly been vital in getting us transitioned into the new studio space and keeping you all well taken care of. On the image side of things SJP has almost always been a one-woman-show. I’ve had some great production help in the past (the lovely Ms. Payton being our longest running box-opener, product-packager and project-doer!) but when it came to getting your images done and your designs made it’s always been me me me. It’s a hard thing to let go of as a creative but to take the absolute best care of you all I needed to bring in a couple in-house hands (to maintain SJP quality and style) while also encouraging and inviting in outside creative perspectives too.
Kat is a seriously dynamic talent. She’s like me in that she’s an idea person. I LOVE our conversations about anything from bees to murder to podcasts and space… there are really no topics we can’t seem to spin some wild ideas about and it’s super interesting to see her wheels turn on something. She’s a really great connector and was honestly pivotal in getting SJP off the ground in Decatur and me out into the community. As she and Jay (who were team Thrive Entertainment Guide at the time I moved to the area 10 years ago) were my first YES in a series of cold calls trying to get some freelance work and meet new folks in this brand new place! It’s an honor to have her hands on deck now at SJP and I hope for another decade of involvement in each other’s projects whatever they may be (guys do we have some ideas hahaha).
Kat’s working now on a lot of our design work, website updates, album designs, catalog design and plenty of studio projects too!
Lisa has also come on board to take on much of our image processing work. She’s owner of her own photography business and came on for a few assistant jobs for me in the past and the universe kept us in each other’s circles in various ways via church, local photographer groups and more and as we transitioned into the new studio I was thrilled to bring her onboard to help get your images delivered faster (without sacrificing quality, of course).
Lisa will be working a lot on preparing your image Premiere’s, perfecting your final images (getting rid of those pesky fly aways or heaven forbid blemishes #theyhappen!) and she may be popping in here on the blog soon so we can share/show off more of your images without waiting on me to be free to blog!
**Fun side note to add to Lisa’s headshot… her fiancé and I schemed a bit for that session and told her I needed to grab a couple headshots of her and could use a family model for our Christmas set last season so we got her in the studio photo-ready and AJ had a surprise question to ask. Spoiler alert #shesaidyes !!!
I’m so thankful to have these two talented women working alongside me to help continue to bring you the best possible portrait experience with top quality without delay. I am beyond thankful for each of you wonderful clients of mine who’ve been with me through the last decade from my small little basement in our sweet west end home to our Oreana home studio to our new studio space here to bring you more in every way that I can. You will never know how much you mean to our family when you trust me to create for you and I hope you’ll help me give these two ladies a very warm welcome to the SJP family as well.
I had the opportunity to meet and photograph Jennie last year for a quick turn around headshot session. She’s a thriving business woman on the Rodan Field team (if you don’t know R+F, girls this is next level skin care and I’m a fan and user myself!).
Under deadline to get the company an image (for life-size banner’s!) we had to get her in quick and that’s the thing I LOVE about how we do our executive portraits because it’s always under a deadline of like yesterday isn’t it?!? None of us (even me!!) are good about having consistently updated images of ourselves. Then, when we hit it out of the park and get featured in a magazine article or land a platform event, we have to scramble a bit to create an image we love to put our face/brand/personality out there to the masses.
Well, the good news is, that’s 100% my job! Our headshot sessions are 15 minutes in-studio with IMMEDIATE (yes like right NOW) viewing/selection on our 106″ Premiere screen. We make sure you LOVE that image life size (even if the final destination is an email-signature) and you walk out of the studio without any items on your to do list… no proofs to view/choose, nothing to wait on except your final image delivered often in 24-48 hours!
And since I know putting this off is easy and we could all use an update, I’m making it even easier this year with a two-day executive portrait event right here in the studio. Thursday, February 13th and Saturday, February 15th you can join us for your choice of:
Quick 15 Minute Headshot Session + Immediate viewing & selection of 2 digital artist files. Regularly $285, just $95!
Full in-studio one hour Branding Session + 20 Web Images & 2 digital artist files (artist selection). Regularly $575, just $295!
Today I’m excited to share the 2020 graduating class of 2020! You guys, you’re halfway done!!!! One semester left of your high school careers and that’s something to be really excited about and proud of, well done.
While we spend most of our year creating more unique portraits that really show off the personalities of our seniors, I also think the yearbook portraits are an important detail of their final year of high school. Afterall, these are the ones that will be in your yearbook… in the homes of all your classmates for DECADES. These are the portraits your kids and grandkids will pull out to giggle at and for you to look back on friendships of those closest to you right now.
If your school is looking for a new way to think about senior yearbook portraits be sure to send them our way, we’d love to create for your senior class as well!
Congrats on your accomplishments thus far seniors, enjoy your Christmas break and your very last semester of high school.