Susan Dixon Photography » Blog

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These past few months have been a little….crazy/busy/awesome! OK….A LOT crazy/busy/awesome!!!

I was blessed to be able to go on four major trips this summer. They were each unique and absolutely wonderful.

And then I came home from my last two (back-to-back) trips and went STRAIGHT into teaching. And coaching cross country. And being a soccer mom. And all of my other “normal” things.

Yes…I am definitely in my busy season. People are starting to book their fall portrait sessions. And I have a couple of out-of-the-ordinary sessions that I am REALLY, REALLY excited about for September!

So even though I’m busy, and my friends ask my how I do it, I’m still happy. And blessed. And I know that this is where God would have me be. Right here….right now. So it’s good.

I firmly believe that God equips us as we need things. And I’m so glad He does because I am almost always needing something–> strength, guidance, patience, discipline, and (at times) rescuing. And I know this also: I wouldn’t trade this season for anything.

So….hopefully soon I’ll catch up on my summer blogging. And file those papers. And clean up the clutter on my desk. But, until then, enjoy these figs. I picked them from the fig tree in my own backyard. :)


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I love ring shots! And I especially enjoyed these particular ring shots. I’m excited to share my new wedding ring with you!

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My husband and I recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Yes! 25 years!!!

When we got married back in 1991, I really wanted a diamond wrap for my wedding ring. Back then, our funds were a little tight, so I settled for this pretty sapphire wrap. (JC Penney catalog) Our original intention was for me to have that first wrap for a few years, and then we would upgrade.

As you can imagine, time went by. We had kids. We moved around. We changed careers. As the years crept by, we never got around to replacing that ring.

As our 25th wedding anniversary approached, we decided that NOW is a great time to update my wedding set. We kept the original diamond, but we had it reset in white gold. Troy and I went to Faith Jewelers on Edgewood Avenue (Jacksonville, FL). They were extremely friendly, helpful, and PATIENT! I chose a gorgeous diamond wrap set in white gold.

I love my new ring! And I love that my husband was so supportive of me picking out something that I really liked. Oh, and he took me to New York City for a week, too. So we had a pretty awesome anniversary. And it proves that good things really do come to those who wait. :)

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Not too long ago, I realized something about myself. And it wasn’t pretty.

I was pretty much killing myself to do all of the “shoulds” that a professional photographer is supposed to do. And it was exhausting.

I blogged three times a week. I posted on Instagram multiple times a day. I updated my Facebook page often. I was active on Pinterest. I even tried to be active on Twitter. All of this was on top of all of my other daily responsibilities.

I bought into the false assumption that, if something works for _______ (enter whatever celeb photographer you want), it will work for me, too. I should have known better. I’ve experienced that same phenomenon in other areas of my life. Why did I think it would be any different in my photography business.

You see, I forgot one of the most important rules of owning your own business: BE YOURSELF. In other words, YOU BE YOU.

Say YES to getting advice.

Say YES to making changes.

Say YES to improving.


But say NO to becoming a carbon copy of ANYONE else. It doesn’t matter how popular they are or how successful they are. Or how much money they make. Or how much money they promise that you will make. They are not you, and you are not them.

Say NO to listening and blindly following someone else’s directions without filtering this new information through YOUR business model and YOUR lifestyle.

Say NO to letting someone else define success for you.


I mentioned before that I’ve gone through this in other areas of life. I’ve seen it in parenting. And I’ve seen it in the running world. And I’ve seen it when it comes to “growing” a church.

It seems like so many popular people have their own keys to success—–> things that have worked for THEM. And that’s awesome! But their situation is not the same as yours. They have a different personality. A different skill set. Different resources. And so many other things……

That’s when the concept of YOU BE YOU becomes so important. You have to filter what everyone says through your own priorities, situation, and experiences. And that’s OK. And you will make some mistakes. And that’s OK, too.

One of my mistakes was trying to blog three times a week with my crazy schedule. The thing was, the content I was putting out wasn’t really helping me that much. (And, sadly, it wasn’t really helping anyone else, either.) I really should have gone with once a week. Or maybe twice a week. Less content. More substance.

The great thing about owning your own business is that you can learn from your mistakes. You can reset. Restart. Renew your vision. We each travel a different road. Our journeys are much different from each other. And that is absolutely OK.

This concept extends beyond those who own their own business, too. Most of you know that I am an avid runner. I read  A LOT of blogs and information about running. (Yes, there really is that much info out there!) And I’ve learned to filter this information. For what works for me and my lifestyle. For what’s going to actually help me meet my OWN running goals. And that makes me much happier (and healthier) than jumping on every bandwagon that comes along.

I would love to hear from you. What do you think about the importance of filter information for your personal situation?

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I guess I take a lot of things for granted.  I expect the chair I’m sitting in to hold me up.  I expect an unopened bag of cereal (that’s in date) to be fresh. I know it’s going to be hot in Florida in July.  A freshly washed towel should smell clean and fresh.  And the list goes on…..

One thing I’ve [mistakenly] taken for granted is that the beauty and hygiene products I purchase are safe.  Maybe it’s because our food is so heavily regulated.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve never thought much about it before.  But somehow I’ve been lulled into a false sense of security that the lotions, cleansers, and makeup I use are all safe.

The truth is, many popular products contain some really questionable things in them.

Things like formaldehyde.  It’s often used as a preservative in cosmetics and other products.  Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity.  Companies often hide it by listing the chemicals quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol), etc. instead.  These formaldehyde-donating preservatives are often found in shampoo, body wash, and bubble bath.

Things like parabens.  (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others)  These preservatives are commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold.  Unfortunately, parabens are hormone disruptors, which means that they alter key hormone mechanisms in our bodies. Specifically, they mimic estrogen. In addition, they may trigger breast cancer. Shampoo, facial cleanser, body wash, body lotion, and foundation often contain various parabens.

Things like retinyl palmitate and retinol (vitamin A).  This nutrient may actually damage your DNA and speed up the growth of skin tumors. And we typically use it to make us look younger!  It can be found in moisturizers and anti-aging skincare products.

These are just a few of the dangerous chemicals that often hide in products we use daily.  Pretty scary.

A good friend of mine, Trisha Tracht, tipped me off to this.  Surprisingly, other countries regulate the ingredients in skin and beauty products MUCH more heavily than the United States.  While we have strict rules about food, there are very few regulations as to what goes into skin products.  Yet many chemicals are absorbed easily into our skin.

When Trisha’s first child was born, Trisha religiously checked the ingredients in the products she used on her baby. This continued as her little one grew and Trisha’s family expanded.  Now pregnant with her third child, she became curious about what’s actually in the products she uses on HERSELF.  Researchers are learning more and more about how chemicals in a mother’s system pass to her unborn child. In addition, Trisha wants to be as healthy as possible.  Making a few product changes can help tremendously.

It didn’t take long for Trisha to realize that most of the products she had in her bathroom were, in fact, NOT very safe.  So she began searching for companies that are committed to providing products that are free from harmful chemicals.  And she found out that there ARE some out there.  Trisha was referred to Beautycounter by a friend.

Beautycounter is a company that was launched by a mom in response to all of the harmful products out there. This company offers an array of products that are both safe and effective.  Trisha first began using their products as a consumer, and she soon became a distributor for them as well.  She has seen first-hand the benefits of using products that are both nontoxic and naturally flattering.

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Trisha (who is expecting her third baby very soon) had the fun idea of doing a Beautycounter makeover.  Olivia (who is also expecting) volunteered to be our model.  Trisha began by applying Tint Skin foundation in linen. She also used Touchup Skin concealer pen. Trisha set Olivia’s foundation with Mattify Skin Finishing Powder.  Olivia’s eyes were accented with Beautycounter eyeshadow in pearl and malt. Trisha applied Lengthening Mascara and finished Olivia’s look with Lip Sheer in Twig, followed by a bit of Lip Shine on top.


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Not only do Beautycounter cosmetics look good on Olivia……they look cute, too!  And, more importantly, we know they are safe.  :)

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And, of course, a mini photo session was in order to showcase Olivia’s new look!

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makeup:  Trisha Tracht, Beautycounter

model:  Olivia Amos

photography:  Susan Dixon Photography, LLC

If you would like to learn more about Beautycounter products, visit Trisha’s website HERE.

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I’ve had the privilege of photographing this adorable family when Chance was born. And then again for Christmas pictures. When they wanted to do an extended family session this summer, I knew the perfect place. While I usually do portrait sessions during the hour before sunset (that glorious golden hour), we needed to do the session at 1 pm because of travel plans. As you can imagine, it was a bit warm that afternoon. But this family was wonderful. Chance was fantastic! You would never know from looking at the pictures that it was around 90 degrees Fahrenheit that afternoon. Fortunately, San Marco Square has several shady spots. Perfect for a cute afternoon family photography session. Between locations, Chance’s mom told me that they shop in San Marco often. I love that, because it makes the images even more special to the family.

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