Susan Dixon Photography » Blog

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When a brother and a sister get together and plan a secret photo session for their family……..great memories are made!

It was so much fun to plan this session! We chose Camp Milton Historic Preserve, and the weather was absolutely perfect! One of the blessings of living in Florida is that we can photograph outdoors pretty much year-round.

I really like the fact that their outfits aren’t “matchy-matchy.” Instead, they COORDINATE. Various shades of blue + neutrals are flattering to everyone. Another great option is to go with all neutrals. Allowing family members to choose their own clothes in a certain color family really helps people feel at ease during a session. And that’s a good thing, because photography sessions should be fun!

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I’ve known Allen for a long time. I think we met when I moved back to Jacksonville about nine years ago. A that time, he was in the third grade. :)  So it was an honor to do his senior session because I’ve watched him grow up over the years to become an awesome young man!

After much thought, we ended up settling on nearby Boone Park in Jacksonville for the location of most of these shots. It was really important to Allen to have a set of football images as well as images with his truck. There’s a short road near the park that worked with his truck…..and plenty of space for the football pictures. We also featured Allen’s cowboy hat. And check out his class ring! It’s camo!!! I didn’t even know they could do that!

Another important aspect of this session was to get several shots of Allen with his drum set. With the help of his parents, we set it up at another nearby park beside the Ortega River. It was the perfect spot to showcase one of Allen’s main hobbies. When I heard that they wanted to set up the drum set, that’s actually the very first place I thought of. There’s a round, brick platform that was absolutely perfect for keeping the set level and clean. I’m not sure what the original intention of the builders was….but it worked great for us!

I LOVE the fact that Allen and his parents put so much thought into planning this session. You’re only a senior once….and it’s great when your senior pictures reflect who you are as a person. I know that Allen has images that are “him” and reflect his unique personality. It’s the job of a senior photographer to dig in and bring out those emotions and expressions that make a senior unique. As a bonus, we had tons of fun between shots! We laughed so hard and so much during the time I spent with Allen and his family. This was such a fun session!!!

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I want to share with you one of my FAVORITE mini sessions from the end of last year. [It got just a little bit crazy during the Christmas season, and I’m really just now recovering.] I’ve done lots of mini sessions, but this was my very first MOTORCYCLE session!

When Yvonne wanted to surprise her husband (who is also very into motorcycles) with custom pictures of her and her bike…..I knew it would be a big hit! In fact, it was so great that she ended up giving him the pictures a little bit early. :) It’s OK because he loves them!!!

Yvonne began riding along with her husband several years ago. She has since graduated to her own bike, and she currently rides this fantastic 2014 Harley Davidson Fat Boy Lo. She enjoys riding with her husband, and she also joined the Orange Park Chrome Divas a little over a year ago. Whether she’s riding by herself or with a group, Yvonne has grown to love riding! Later, after she retires, she would love to get a touring bike and take lots of long rides.

This session was really interesting for me because I honestly don’t know that much about motorcycles. In fact, I used to be absolutely terrified of them when I was a little girl! So photographing this session was a huge step for me. :) One thing about being a photographer that I really love is meeting new people + telling their stories. It makes me happy that Yvonne has found something that brings her great joy in life. And she can share that joy through these images. I love that she surprised her husband, too!

I think everyone should have something like this that they enjoy in life. For me it’s both photography and running. How about you? What is your passion???

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It’s always a pleasure to discover a new place to shop! I wandered into Flaire Celebrations last month while shopping for Christmas gifts. I was so impressed by this locally owned boutique!

Laura Lineberry opened her Riverside shop in November of 2010. Her mission is to offer a variety of unique items that shoppers cannot find at a large chain store. She stocks a wide variety of seasonal items, as well as merchandise for other celebrations-birthdays, weddings, baby showers, etc. Flaire Celebrations has an amazing selection of gift items! And you’ll probably find something for yourself, too.

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Laura has a natural ability to stock her boutique with fun, unique products. In addition, she sews the adorable aprons in her shop herself! You’ll also find a wide selection of jewelry, candles, and bath/body products.

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One thing that really impresses me about Laura’s business is that she seeks out companies with a mission when she orders new stock. For example, you can find a large selection of A Cheerful Giver candles. They employ special-needs adults in their production line. In addition, she carries jewelry lines from women entrepreneurs in countries such as Costa Rica, Equador, and Uganda. Also, Laura sells ornaments from women entrepreneurs in the Philippines and a company based in Jerusalem. Hand-painted eggs from a family in Austria and greeting cards from Vietnam are also featured in her store.

I absolutely love this! When customers purchase these items, they are indirectly helping people who need assistance. I think that’s great!

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If you love personalized items, be sure to use the touchscreen station to completely personalize a variety of items, including cups, pens, luggage tags, phone cases, and more! This system allows you to choose your pattern, colors, and initial (or monogram or full name). Once you finalize your design, Laura prints it on-site and inserts it into the product. It’s easy to do one item or a matching set.

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Flaire Celebrations is also home to Mammie’s Attic. You will find antiques and vintage/painted items selected by Barb Adams in two of the rooms of this adorable 1925 bungalow. Barb joined Laura in 2016, and they have a great partnership! Barb’s items are styled in an inviting, uncluttered way. It’s easy to imagine bringing her pieces home!

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Another awesome aspect of Flaire Celebrations is the Fern Garden in the back! It is available for rent for events. It has hosted parties, showers, and even small weddings.

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Flaire Celebrations is located on Park Street in Riverside near King Street. The address is 2762 Park Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32205.

You can also visit the shop online HERE.  But you should really go in person. It’s worth the trip!

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After much thought, I have decided on my word of the year for 2017.

Last year, my word was INTENTIONAL. I wanted to focus on living a purposeful life. This meant identifying my big goals AND taking action steps to achieve those goals. I used Lara Casey’s Power Sheets, which were extremely helpful. And I’m happy to say that many of my goals were met……or at least a lot of progress was made. Some of my goals changed, and that’s OK, too.

Another aspect of living intentionally was that I wanted to take more control of how I spent my time. When I filled out the Power Sheets, it became very apparent that a lot of my time got wasted watching TV and scrolling mindlessly through social media posts. I still have a long way to go. However, I have gotten a better handle on my time. And that regained time has helped me achieve some of my goals! Win – win!!!

So…..for 2017……………

I’ve thought a lot about it and prayed a lot about it. And I’ve realized that one of my big problems is negative comparison. I was listening to a podcast a few months ago, and something very real was brought to my attention. I’ll look at Well-known Person A doing X, and I’ll think, “I need to be doing X, too.” And then I’ll see Well-known Person B doing Y, and I’ll think, “I need to be doing Y, also.” And then there’s Well-known Person C, looking all perfect and doing Z. Now I think I need to be doing X, Y, AND Z. And that’s a problem. Because I’ve made an impossibly perfect amalgam out of all of these different people. And this imaginary perfect person does X, Y, Z….. AND Q, W, T, S, B, D, and F. And that’s just CRAZY!!!!! I’m trying to live up to someone that doesn’t even exist!

So, for my word for this year, I’ve chosen EXPLORE. Because I need to just be me. And I kind of need to figure out what that looks like. I think I’ve been trying to be someone else for a long time–even if it’s a perfect, made-up person. I want to give myself permission to explore more who GOD wants me to be, rather than who I think or who others think I should be. I want to explore what my photography business is meant to be….not just imitate others. I don’t want to look back at the end of my life and think I put myself in a box by doing what the ideal person I’ve created would do all the time. I want to be the wife and mom I was meant to be.

This post is very personal, but I think that’s OK. Maybe someone else is struggling with similar things. 2017 has come in like a breath of fresh air for me. I’m hope to do a lot of exploring this year!!!

 

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