| Miller Family | Annual Family Portraits | Lake Decatur |

I’m thrilled today to share with you another family who I’m honored to say has been with me for a number of years for their family portraits. We started when we were still over in our small west end home where we created family portraits when Grant was just a tiny little thing.

This year I’m excited to say we had a much better day for photos compared to last year’s very cold and extremely windy session day where it was all any of us could do to keep our teeth from chattering.

And for something a bit different this year we held our Limited Edition session date at Nelson Park / Lake Decatur and as these guys are boaters we decided to showcase the lakeside more than the park, which is great since many people love boats, some even go to places as Miami to rent yachts as you can see in this link right here. Even though our locations are preset for Limited Edition sessions I love that our town has such variety that we can even customize these sessions in small ways by utilizing different areas of the same parks. After all, these are their family portraits and I definitely don’t want them looking just like someone else’s. (Check out Lisa & A.J.’s session just minutes before the Miller’s and the unique looks we created for them at the exact same location!)

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One of my favorite things about the Miller’s sessions is we always create a brand new Christmas card design for them, which gets a little tricky when you’ve designed them for multiple years but check out what we created for them this year.

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Big news in the Shorthose household (Behind the Scenes at Sarah Jane Photography)

If you follow us on facebook you’ve seen our latest announcement/surprise… We are Pregnant! We’re both shocked and excited and terrified and thrilled, etc etc …. Not long after we found out the news we talked about how we would tell the world. I wanted something unique and unexpected but the ideas I was coming up with were anything but and then Ryan pulled up the Knocked Up movie poster on his phone with a big ol’ smile on his face, and this project began. I just wanted to take a second to share this with my SJP clients, fans and followers… I’m excited about our next adventure and so thankful to all of you who have and continue to support my dreams which help me support our, now growing, family. Though I will have some new challenges in the work/life balance arena, I don’t expect you to feel the change on the SJP side of things. I will, however, be taking off most of April and all of May (not accepting new clients or booking any new sessions for those months). Not to worry, I WILL be available and here for all my 2015 seniors who will be in need of announcements and last minute orders and such as we prep for graduation! We’ll keep you posted on the arrival of our new little one next spring!!! knocked up baby announcement photo

Daddy Daughter Family Session | Decatur IL | Sarah Jane Photography

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This adorable little gal had a birthday this week so in honor of her big day I thought I’d share a few from her session on the blog! Jason wanted a fun session to show his little gal she’ll always be daddy’s little girl even though she’s growing like a weed. They were both so sweet and so fun to photograph. I know the album Jason chose is going to be something very special for her for years to come.

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Amber | Senior Class of 2014 | Decatur IL

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We are right in the heat of senior portrait season for the class of 2015 and before we officially kick off the 2014-2015 school year (in like a month… AHHH) I wanted to let the class of 2014 have a little more time in the spotlight.

To start with, here’s Amber (Mt. Zion High School Senior, class of 2014)… If you follow me on instagram you may remember this from Amber’s session:

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Check out some of the senior pictures we created for Amber this summer:

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Seth Godin ROCKS… Steal his/my/your/everyone’s ideas!

Today I read a great article by Seth Godin talking about the ‘theft’ of ideas… You can read it here: http://ideas.ted.com/2014/02/03/the-big-mistake-we-all-make-about-ideas/

In my industry I see this all the time. People get hurt/bitter/mad/etc (‘butthurt’ as my husband and other workaholics fans would call it) when another photographer ‘steals’ their signature pose, lighting style, location… but really unless your Amazon (who apparently invented and recently patented the idea of photographing on a white background) you more than likely didn’t invent the idea of posing someone in that way. Nor is it likely that you are the first to photograph on that brick wall or patch of grass.

BUT instead it’s more likely that one of two awesome things happened 1) someone was INSPIRED by you to push their own style and create images using your style as an inspiration. Your work opened up a world of new possibilities for them and encouraged them to push their work farther, outside their comfort zone and to try something new.  And yes, they may even do it BETTER than you (ooo I know that burns sometimes). OR 2) (as unbelievable as it may be) they in their unfailing creativity may have thought of the same idea that your genius mind did (ever hear ‘great minds think alike’?!?).

In either case, the theft of these ideas is leading to a growth in the industry. And I would wager that you yourself have ‘stollen’ an idea or two and with a spark of a stollen idea you may have added your flare/flavor/style to that idea to grow an even bigger/better one. In our industry I think it’s VERY important to find your own voice (as a popular blog post I shared on my facebook page this week said: http://dedpxl.com/essay-i-hate-wedding-photography/) but I think the taking/sharing of ideas is the foundation of creating a well-rounded aesthetic.

I’ve seen this in my own work and that of those in my market too…. A year ago I photographed nearly ALL (99.5%) of my work with off-camera-flash but greatly admired the work of others in my area who worked nearly exclusively in natural light. SO (while I’m still at about 75-80% flash work) I have branched out and work to create at least one or two looks per session using only natural light to create a variety of style for my clients.

Conversely, I taught a class last year to other working professionals in this area on how to shoot with OCF and have seen recent work by some of those natural light photographers using ‘my’ techniques for OCF to create BEAUTIFUL work ‘like mine.’ These techniques aren’t mine and their work is completely their own, I’m happy they found value in what I had to share and have taken those ideas and run with them… often creating work I admire greatly!

So to any photographers who read this, jump in, explore the blog and STEAL away!