Susan Dixon Photography » Blog

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One of my favorite things in the world is absolutely free. Wildflowers are everywhere this season, and they can be enjoyed without spending a dime. I love the way that God blesses us with these beautiful treasures! It’s important to slow down and take the time to notice them.

This is an image of one of the most humble of all wildflowers–clover. It can be found pretty much anywhere in Jacksonville. And all over much of the United States. I know it’s a weed. And, although I really don’t like it growing in my yard, I think it’s quite pretty.

This is a macro shot I took while waiting for my daughter’s soccer game to start. I made this image using my Canon 5D Mark III with a 50mm f/1.8 lens. I also used a macro extension tube. This particular set comes with three options: 13 mm, 21 mm, and 31 mm. It’s designed to allow your camera to auto focus when in use. (Cheaper versions that require manual focus exist.)

For this particular shot, I used the shortest (13 mm) tube. I’ve found that it’s best to use a small aperture when working with macro extension tubes. I shot this on f/11.  In addition, adding a macro tube automatically makes images darker, so you have to account for that. The macro extension tube attaches to the camera, and then you attach the lens you desire to the extension tube.

I almost always use my 50 mm lens for shots with macro extension tubes. I’ve found that it works best. I’m sure that you could use other lenses if you desire. I just prefer the 50 mm. I think I’ve gotten used to it, and I’m able to predict how things will look with the different competitions.

Back to wildflowers…..my favorite one of all is the black-eyed Susan. I bet you can guess why. :) They are so cheerful. Once, when I was little, a very nice lady made and decorated a black-eyed Susan cake for me. That made me feel really special!

Some of my other favorites are dandelions (just NOT in my yard) and wisteria. What are your favorites?

 

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I guess you can say I have a love/hate not so much love relationship with Instagram. OK….so maybe I picked the lamest title EVER. But it’s how I feel about Instagram. Truth.

I love it because…….

(1) I can post my work/things that inspire me and share these with my followers. In my photography business, I focus on wedding photography + custom engagement and maternity images. It’s great to be able to share my work on a daily basis.

(2) I can follow other photographers I love. I gain so much inspiration from their work! It helps me see what’s possible and expand my own creativity.

(3) I can follow my friends and family. This lets me see what they’ve been up to. And comment/like their photos.

(4) Other photographers–even very well-known ones–will often interact with me when I comment on their posts. That’s pretty awesome!

(5) I can search for specific things–like #Jacksonville–to know what’s going on in a certain place or person or event or idea. (Such as #gastrofest or #prom2016 or #campmilton.)

(6) It’s really encouraging when other people like and comment on my work. People that would never see it were it not for Instagram.

 

And I don’t like Instagram so much because…..

(1) Comparison can be SO horrible. You know it. I know it. Yet it still happens. All. The. Time. It’s one thing to get inspiration. It’s another thing when you find yourself feeling bad and/or depressed because your work just doesn’t measure up.

(2) People unfollow me all the time. And I just have to wonder WHY? Did they suddenly decide they don’t, in fact, like my work? Is it because I didn’t follow them back? (I HATE that game!) Is it because I’ve been posting too often? ….not often enough? Is my work not consistent enough for them? Did I post a quote/Scripture that offended them? I will never know. But it seems like I hover around approximately the same amount of likes, yet I gain and lose followers all the time.

(3) The worst is when I post an image of myself….and then get unfollowed. Ouch.

(4) I sometimes find myself spending too much time on Instagram.

(5) It’s really easy to fall into a pattern of simply mimicking others–instead of being creative and putting my own spin on things.

 

So…..I really do mostly like Instagram. And some of the negative things about it are either things that I CAN control (like limiting my time on it) or things I can control by responses to. Instagram doesn’t define me. It never should. And whether I have 50 or 5000 followers, that’s not where I should ever look to for my self-worth. Ever. So I’m going to keep posting away. And enjoy Instagram, all the while being aware of and trying to avoid the negative aspects of it.

And, in case you’re curious…..you can view my Instagram profile HERE.

What about you? How do you feel about Instagram. And, more importantly, how do you handle the negative aspects about it? Please feel free to comment below or send me a private message.

Happy Instagramming!

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Happy Monday to everyone! Today, my weekly “favorite things” post is all about the DETAILS! …….wedding details, that is.

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These gorgeous supporting pieces were part of an intimate wedding I photographed in a local park earlier this year.

I think “supporting pieces” is just the right term to use because that’s what they do. The bride (and/or wedding planner) starts with an overall theme in mind. Or maybe it’s a FEELING that she hopes people will experience at the event. And every single detail works together to support the theme.

This involves much more than picking out colors that go well together.  The details above come together to help create a light, airy, romantic theme. The bride actually styled the flowers herself for this stunning mini bouquet. It was carried down the aisle by her beautiful daughter, who served as her flower girl. I adore the colors she chose–the perfect amounts of blush and green mixed in with creamy white. Perfect!

The boutonniere was sported by her son, a ring bearer. It’s unfussy and classic. And just right for a little boy.

You can see a bit of the bride’s bouquet in the top left image. The focus, however, is on the ring. (Which, by the way, is absolutely GORGEOUS!!!) I added a couple of things to this setup. (1) A real silver tray (found at a local thrift store) polished up nicely. It adds to the romantic theme of the day. Also, it’s classic and timeless. Also, you probably really noticed (2) the vintage ring box. I found this treasure in an Etsy shop at Zoom Vintage. Again, this adds a timeless, romantic feel to the details.

These and other details come together to create the overall theme of a wedding. This one in particular was romantic/timeless.

Some weddings are modern. Some are vintage. Some are off-beat. Others are fairy tale. Maybe even steam punk.

The great thing about planning a wedding is that it’s YOUR day. YOU get to choose! It’s a reflection of you. Once decide on your theme-the direction in which you want to go-the details should all come together to support that theme. And that will make for a gorgeous wedding!

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Well, typical Florida weather strikes again!

I had a photo session planned for tonight in San Marco. I was really excited about it, too! I don’t want to give away the surprise right now, but it’s going to have a special theme to it.

I don’t mind a few clouds. Clouds can actually be really good during a photography session because they let me shoot in places that would have been too bright on a bright sunny day. But this weather…..

Dark clouds. Imminent threat of rain at any moment. Actual sporadic rain. Periodic gusts of high wind.

Unfortunately, that’s typical Florida. And so I rescheduled the session. And that’s OK. That’s part of being a professional natural light photographer.

I know that there’s nothing good that comes from being upset or worrying about it. Just roll with it. I tend to do much better when I remember not to let things that are out of my control bother me. That’s true with photography as well as many of the other areas in my life.

I’m grateful for the extra rest tonight, and I’m still looking forward to the unique session I have ahead. I know it’s going to be great!

 

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I love prom season! For many juniors and seniors, it’s the first time they’ve ever dressed up (and had some place to go!)

My middle child is finally a junior in high school. It was such an honor to photograph Jonathan and his beautiful girlfriend, Cristina, before their first prom. We decided to do it at the site of the event. (They ended up going to dinner with friends and coming back to the venue.) This was a lot of fun for me, but the “mom” part of me kept wanting to tear up!

If you’ve never been to the Garden Club of Jacksonville, you should know that it is absolutely gorgeous! Located on Riverside Avenue, it sits right on the St. Johns River. The front of the building boasts stately columns. The main part of the building is a grand hall with beautiful curtains and chandeliers. There is a tall stage at one end. There are two kitchens, a small and a large one. But my favorite part is the beautiful garden in the back. It has a large fountain in the courtyard area and paths leading down to the river. I love the gorgeous trees on this property! To gain access to the garden, you actually have to rent the venue. (Which was OK for us because Eagle’s View Academy rents it out for the prom each year.)

Cristina’s beautiful wrist corsage was designed by Dinsmore Florist. Since her dress was black with silver accents, we decided to add in some hot pink for a pop of color. They did a wonderful job!

I could tell that Jonathan and Cristina were a little nervous at first. Prom is one of those special events that you remember for the rest of your life! But they did a wonderful job posing for their pictures. They had such a a great time that night! It was really hard to choose my favorite images to show from this pre-prom session. There were just so many!

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