Susan Dixon Photography » Blog

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Jonathan and Cristina are both seniors in Jacksonville, Florida. Because they attend different schools, they also got to attend TWO proms! And, of course, they needed prom pictures for both. Would you expect anything less???

Jonathan’s prom came first, in April. Eagle’s View Academy held their prom at the beautiful Garden Club of Jacksonville in historic Riverside. Since his school rented the venue for the prom, we had access to Garden Club’s gorgeous courtyard. [It’s normally gated to the public.] We happened to be the only people there at the time, so it made the photography session so much easier than trying to work around other visitors in a local park.

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Cristina’s prom came next, in May. Douglas Anderson School of the Arts held their prom at Everbank Field, which is the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. We wanted a location near great restaurants that also wasn’t too far from the football stadium.

We originally planned to take those prom pictures in Avondale. One of my favorite parks is located there near St. Vincent’s Hospital.

However, looming rainstorms caused us to change locations. Seriously, we were so fortunate to NOT be soaked with rain during this session! In fact, it rained on our way to the session……plus a little at the beginning. But, on the bright side, I finally got to use the clear umbrella I’ve been saving for just such an occasion.

When I realized that rain was NOT going to be avoided, I suggested a new location: San Marco Square. The main reason for this is that I knew we could deal with the ground being wet better HERE (rather than a grassy/muddy park.) There are so many sidewalks and paved areas. Plus, San Marco is absolutely A D O R A B L E! I’ve shot here several times, and it never disappoints!

ONE sweet couple…..TWO completely different looks.

THREE cheers for great prom nights for Jonathan and Cristina!

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Tomorrow, my son will walk into the doors of Eagle’s View Academy for the last time as a student. It’s so hard to believe that he’s a senior and about to graduate from high school! Jonathan entered EVA as a small, wild-eyed fourth grader. He’s always been our mischievous child…the one with whom we never knew quite what to expect…the wild card. Oh, and the brilliant one, too!

Our wild card has grown up into a handsome, curious, compassionate man. Jonathan is full of life and questions and answers and pursuing God. I love him so much! He’s so very different from his older brother and younger sister. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

After a [much too short] summer, Jonathan will pack up and move into a dorm room at Florida Polytechnic University near Lakeland, FL. He’s wanted to go there for the past two years, and we’re so happy that it’s working out for him to attend his #1 choice! He plans to study some sort of computer science. Exactly where will that take him? Only God really knows!

While searching through old pictures for his senior video (an EVA tradition), I ran across a scrapbook album that I created for Jonathan when he was just four years old. And I found the sweetest note that I wrote to him fourteen years ago:


                                   We are so glad that God chose you to be a part of our family. At the completion of this album,

                   you were four years old. But you are growing so fast that you will be all grown up before we know it!

                   No matter how tall or how old you get, you will always be our precious little boy. We love you!                 

                                                                                                                                                                                        -Mom and Dad

Oh, I wish you could see the whole scrapbook album! Those baby and toddler years were so cute!

Another section that I found particularly meaningful was a page that listed our hopes for Jonathan. Here are a few:

                   There are so many things to wish for in life, but some of our biggest HOPES are that Jonathan will…..

                   …..come to know Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord.

                   … deeply.

                   …..have great faith.

                   … day fall in love with and marry a Christian girl with whom he will share a family.

                   … and follow God’s will for his life.

                   …..choose a career that he truly loves.

… blessed with many true friends.

Those hopes for Jonathan were written fourteen years ago, and I still agree with and wish for each and every one! As my boy steps out of this chapter of his life and into the next, I know that many of these things are already true. And I pray for God’s great blessing on his life. My heart is full, and I’m so happy for my son! So this last day of high school is a happy one. A job well-done. A future full of hope!

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Beau and Tessa live in the area between Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina…….Low Country, as it’s called. The landscape around there is is dotted with beautiful, intriguing salt marshes. You’ll also find many beautiful historic sites, such as the Old Sheldon Church Ruins. Originally built in the mid-eighteenth century as Prince William’s Parish Church, the structure was burned by British soldiers during the Revolutionary War. It was rebuilt in 1826, but now just the shell of it remains.

I live many miles away in Jacksonville, Florida. I stumbled upon pictures these historic ruins a couple of years ago….probably on another photographer’s social media account. As a lover of antiques and all things vintage, I immediately added a visit to the Old Sheldon Church Ruins to my bucket list.

And, this past spring break, I was able to check it off!

My husband needed surprisingly little twisting of his arm to plan to go there as a mini getaway for two. We ended up staying in Beaufort, South Carolina, which is one of the cutest little towns I’ve ever visited. (I need to do a whole separate post on our trip!!!)

Once Troy and I decided to go, I knew that I wanted to photograph a COUPLE at the ruins. So I researched and then took action. When I posted about a photography session in a local Low Country group on social media, Beau and Tessa responded. And their story is absolutely amazing!

Beau and Tessa got married last October—–the SAME EXACT WEEKEND that Hurricane Matthew came through the area. As you can imagine, this was quite problematic! (And I thought losing electricity at my house in Jacksonville because of the hurricane was bad.)

Long story short, the couple had to move the location of their wedding. Their original photographer was unable to come because of the severe weather/travel conditions. They made emergency arrangements for another photographer to cover their wedding. Unfortunately, they never saw any of the pictures and have been unable to get in touch with her. So, basically, Beau and Tessa ended up getting married on their original wedding date, but they don’t have any professional pictures from their big day.

I really enjoyed photographing these two at the Sheldon Church Ruins. They are so sweet and friendly in person! As the session went on, I found out more and more about their story. And I’m so impressed with their strength together and love for each other! This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: “A wedding is a party, not a performance. If, at the end of the day, you are married to the one you love, then everything went perfectly.”

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Meet Jasmine. She’s expecting her second child in May, and she is amazing! Not only is she gorgeous on the outside, but she is beautiful on the inside as well. I first met Jasmine when she was a student in my classroom. I think she took both my physical science and my chemistry courses. As a college student, she has worked hard to do well in her classes….as well as care for her young daughter. In addition to being pregnant, that is no small task! I really admire Jasmine for pushing herself to continue her education. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most. (Augusta F. Kantra)

We all benefit when we push through hard stuff to accomplish our goals!

And….in case you can’t tell….Jasmine absolutely rocked this maternity session! I recently found a [new to me] location, which I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!!! I’m debating about whether to keep its exact whereabouts a secret. :)  I don’t really believe in magic; but, for lack of a better word, it seems magical. Like fairies could pop out at any moment magical. And I can’t wait to get back here on a foggy morning. I didn’t actually see any fairies, but I spotted a nice, friendly grass snake before Jasmine’s maternity session started. He even posed for a picture. No smile, though. :( We hit the lighting just right. I love how the golden hour sun peek s through the trees with delicious, warm light!

As a photographer, my take-away from finding this new location is to ALWAYS keep an open mind about your surroundings. You never know when that field you pass by or that back road will lend itself perfectly for an upcoming photography session. So keep an open mind. Always be thinking. Always be learning. Always continue perfecting your craft. Life-long learning!!!

dress: Sew Trendy Accessories

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Kelcy and Colby have been friends for YEARS….but they didn’t start dating until after they both graduated from the same small high school. Their families are intertwined because they both attend the same church. So they found themselves around each other a lot. And one day they clicked….and kept on clicking! :)

Their gorgeous wedding ceremony was held at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. Day passes were issued for those without military IDs (including me.) If you’ve never had the privilege of going on base at NAS Jax, you probably don’t realize how big it is! And there are some absolutely gorgeous trees on base!

Kelcy and Colby got married at 2 pm, and the weather was bright and sunny. And it was VERY windy! But no one was hot, which is definitely a blessing for an outdoor wedding in Florida. The ceremony took place on the lawn behind the Officers’ Club, facing the St Johns River. What a gorgeous view!

Kelcy was escorted down the aisle by both her father and her grandfather (who happens to be Colby’s best friend!) It was great to see this happy couple united in marriage among so many close family and friends.

The reception took place in the Officers’ Club, right next to the ceremony site. My favorite parts of the ceremony were the dances–Colby & Kelcy’s first dance, dances with the parents, and especially the last dance. The DJ cleared the room so the newlyweds could savor one last dance together quietly. I LOVE that!

It was a great day for Kelcy and Colby! I’m so happy for them!!! And I’m so excited to see what God has in store for them in this new chapter of their lives!

venue and caterer: Naval Air Station Jacksonville

florals and wedding coordinator: Pat Cyrus

DJ: Josh Asencio

dress: Vera Wang


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