Susan Dixon Photography » Jacksonville wedding & portrait photographer

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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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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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