Susan Dixon Photography » Jacksonville wedding & portrait photographer

San Marco Christmas Family Session | Jacksonville, Florida

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I did several family sessions this holiday season, including this fun family session in historic San Marco. Although I’m a wedding photographer, I always get a lot of requests from clients needing Christmas card photos. The best time to do these sessions is in October, November, and VERY early in December.

And, although these sessions are always great, I usually can’t SHOW the pictures. I don’t want to spoil my client’s Christmas cards by posting their images all over social media. That would be terrible! So I only post a Christmas session if I have special permission.

this sweet session

I had the BEST time photographing this sweet family!!! They contacted me after being referred to me by another client of mine. [Word-of-mouth referrals are wonderful, by the way!] This couple met and married a few years ago, and now they have an absolutely A D O R A B L E son! I kept telling them that they should audition him for modeling/acting jobs! Seriously, he has that sparkle in his eyes that make his whole face light up. Amazing!

their story

As I photographed their session, I discovered the amazing story of how this couple met, fell in love, and got married. They are both from Nigeria. However, they did not know each other in their home country. Separately, they ended up in different parts of the United States. They were introduced by a mutual friend who knew that both of them were from Nigeria. They developed a long-distance relationship, and their love blossomed. Now they are together in Jacksonville, and they have a cute son to complete their family.

the location

As we discussed the location for the photography session, we talked about many different options. We finally settled on San Marco. There were a couple of reasons: (1) It is near the family’s home.  (2) We needed to do the session at 2 pm, and San Marco offers a lot of shady spots…..even in the middle of the day. And, you can’t really tell it from the images, but the weather was PERFECT that day! Not too hot….not too cold….and a gentle breeze. In addition, I tried to do a mix of images that were clearly in San Marco (like with the theater in the background) + nondescript images that focused solely on my clients.

Get tips on choosing the location for YOUR next photography session HERE

their outfits

Did you notice how adorable their outfits are? When I posted one of these images on Instagram, one of my followers commented that their outfits are “Christmas card perfection.” I think that’s a perfect description!  I love that their outfits compliment each other, with out being exact matches. So festive!

 

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See more family sessions HERE and HERE.

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Last weekend, the 2017 Eagle’s View Academy Homecoming Court took over Stinson Park for a quick afternoon photo session before the big game. And they looked absolutely stunning! I can personally testify that this is an amazing group of young people–both inside and out!

Underclass Representatives

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Our three underclass representatives looked amazing!

Freshman Rep: Vanessa (left); Sophomore Rep: Meg (middle); Junior Rep: Hayley (right)

Senior Homecoming Court

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Five gorgeous Eagle’s View Academy seniors made up the senior homecoming court. (Left to right) Tee, Sydney, Kasey, Breanna, and Hannah represented their class well.

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Homecoming Queen and King

Just a few hours later, Sydney was crowned queen during half time at the EVA homecoming game! She joined Evan, who earned the title of Homecoming King in a hard-fought contest held earlier that week. Our senior guys competed against each other in a variety of events. We already knew that Evan is Mr. EVA, but he won the homecoming king contest, also!

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Crowning the Queen at Half Time

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Mr. and Miss EVA

Each year, Eagle’s View Academy honors two outstanding students…one male and one female. Unlike homecoming queen, which is decided by students’ votes, Mr. and Miss Eagle’s View Academy are selected by a vote by the teachers. It is a very special honor to be considered by the teachers as the best male/female representative from your senior class. A good character, a strong spiritual testimony, excellent work ethic, extracurricular involvement, school spirit, and  leadership skills are some of the many qualities teachers consider when voting for students for these two positions. This year’s Mr. and Miss EVA are Evan and Tina!

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Group Photos

If you think homecoming photo shoots are boring….think again! We definitely had fun with the group shots. Even though the grass was a little challenging for those wearing heels. The girls did great! The weather was perfect….not too hot, not too cool, and definitely not too windy. This was a great start to a wonderful 2017 Homecoming Game evening!!!

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Carrie and Chris’s fairy tale wedding at Bowing Oaks Plantation was nothing short of AMAZING! So much thought went into planning every last detail of this fabulous event. It was the perfect early-fall wedding!

Some might say that Chris and Carrie met by chance. They just happened to work at two [very different] side-by-side stores. Chris works for a sporting goods company, and at the time Carrie was a sales associate for a premium make up store. On her breaks, Carrie often “shopped” at Chris’s store….. And that’s how it all started! Of course, nothing really happens by accident!

When you spend time with these two, it’s easy to see that they are made for each other. They are both friendly and fun, and it is so evident that they are best friends as well as in love with one another. That is definitely a recipe for a happy marriage!

Carrie and Chris chose to have both their ceremony and reception at Bowing Oaks Plantation. I love shooting weddings there because it is so beautiful and also very well-thought-out. The “getting ready” rooms are spacious and amazing. In addition, Carrie and Chris were blessed to be able to have their ceremony outdoors under the covered pavilion.

As it turned out, the weather was NOT very cooperative that day. In fact, it rained on and off for most of the day. Looking at these pictures, you would never know it……but it absolutely poured during their actual ceremony. A nor’easter was to blame, but it couldn’t put a damper on Carrie and Chris’s big day!!! They still had a beautiful wedding and were able to celebrate with their close family and friends. It was the perfect day to start this newest chapter in their lives!

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photographer: Susan Dixon Photography

venue: Bowing Oaks Plantation

florals: Aime Peterson Flowers and Event Design

linens: Connie Douglin Specialty Linen & Chair Cover Rental

dj: Down Town Donna Brown

caterer: Davoli’s Catering

cake: Bliss Bakery

hair/makeup: Mendy & Co.

bride’s dress: Alfred Angelo

bride’s shoes: Keds | Kate Spade

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Last summer, my family and I went to New York City. We were celebrating the high school graduation of my middle child (Jonathan.) Naturally, I took a lot of photos. When I first edited them, I did them all in color. However, I am a sucker for monochrome. I knew several of my favorite images from the trip would look great in black and white.

Ted Grant penned one of my favorite quotes. “When you photograph people in colour you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls.”

If that’s true about people………..

What happens when you photograph a city in black and white?

As you look through these images, you can tell that we did a wide variety of things. The State of Liberty, the World Trade Center, Chelsea Market, Rockefeller Center, and the Brooklyn Bridge all made the highlights. While we were there, we went on a food tour and a dinner cruise. We had so many great experiences of that trip!

One of my favorite things, though, happened on our last day in Manhattan. We were scheduled to check out of our hotel and leave for JFK around 10:30 am. That didn’t really leave us much time to do anything that morning. Plus, the other people I was with were EXHAUSTED.

Instead of just hanging around the hotel, I got up early that morning and walked around lower Manhattan, just shooting some street photography. I loved it! It was a very peaceful activity for me. I felt like a quiet observer. Even though I clearly don’t “belong” in NYC, I felt totally free to observe and create my shots. People paid me no mind. As I wandered from street to street, I felt totally at ease as I photographed real Manhattan–people on their way to work…..a man wallpapering a street sign (There are SO many street signs!)…..a family of tourists that were obviously lost….so many things to see!

This inspires me to get out more in my own city. Jacksonville, Florida has a lot of places that would be great for street photography.

How about you? What city do you call home? How would it look in monochrome?

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When my new lens arrived, it happened to come JUST before Hurricane Irma steamrolled over Florida. I live in Jacksonville, and it got pretty intense. Needless to say, it wasn’t exactly the best time to test out a new lens on my camera. Finally, when everything cleared up, I knew it was time. My daughter was my model for this bespoke woodland photo session.

Jacksonville offers SO many different types of locations for photography sessions. Of course, there’s the beach. But we also have lush, grassy parks, lakes and rivers, historical urban areas, rustic grassland parks, and [MY personal favorite] gorgeous woodlands.

There’s just something about being in the forest that makes one feel close to nature. The fresh air, the birds, winding paths, and fresh air all combine to make the perfect setting for portraits. You can view another [pre-Hurricane Irma] photo session that I shot at that same location here.

Hurricane Irma brought lots of wind, rain, and flooding to our area. So many of my go-to photography spots were flooded. And, unfortunately, my favorite woodland park did NOT make it through the storm unscathed.

When we arrived at the park, we thought it might be OK. However, as we made our way down the trail, we realized that we were wrong. Several trees had fallen, blocking the path in at least five different places. We had to climb around the trees through the woods. My daughter was OK with that. She said that it made it more of an adventure. That made me proud.

In addition, debris was pretty much everywhere. Even so, the woods were beautiful. As always. :)

This woodland photo session took us a little longer than we planned because of all of the fallen trees we had to maneuver around. But we ended up having fun, anyway. My husband came along with us, and it was great to be out of the house on a Saturday afternoon instead of cooped up inside our house.

In case you’re wondering which lens I tested…….it’s the Canon 70-200 mm f/2.8 IS II.

It’s hard to find a negative review of this lens, and I’ve been wanting it for quite some time. It did NOT disappoint!!!

Normally, I’ll shoot a photography session with a couple of different lenses. But since I was specifically testing this lens, I kept the 70-200 mm on my camera the entire time. It was important for me to see how it did at various distances.

I’m so excited to add this lens to my kit!

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