I just loved this session. I had several detail images that I didn’t include in the session blog post, but thought it might be great for a blog on details from styled sessions.

If you’re interested in scheduling a styled session, contact me at

{what is a styled session}

A styled session with The Whimsy Tree means that there is some sort of feeling, emotion, story, or theme, that you’re wanting the images to contain, and thus requires my artistic vision and pre-planning to create a sort of “scene”. For instance, if you’re an engaged couple and love the feel of the movie The Notebook, we would incorporate elements into the session that would create that feeling. Something like vintage clothing, hairstyles, prop elements like an old quilt, fishing poles, coca-cola glass bottles on an old crate, and of course a specific location like a grassy bank next to a river… all of these as components build a sort of “set” to tell a story. And lighting of course! I almost always photograph around sunset time for best lighting. These elements are all things that we discuss, and plan prior to the session. Styled sessions often cost more than regular sessions because many times you’ll need to purchase clothing to create the look you’d like, or specific props that are beyond what I have in my ever-growing collection. Sometimes it’s really simple styling, and sometimes it’s more elaborate depending on specific style and theme.

View a few more styled sessions here:


shabby chic baby_01 shabby chic baby_02 shabby chic baby_03 shabby chic baby_04 shabby chic baby_05

Today I was preparing to ship a cd of images out and had to capture another aspect of why I love my job. I think of it kind of like Christmas, and the experience of unwrapping a gift. You’ve invested in custom portraiture, and I believe every aspect of your experience should be delightful, and be a reflection of The Whimsy Tree! I love details!

the whimsy tree

This DIY project could be great for families who are on a tight budget. There’s no need to spend money on new clothes for photography sessions. I’ve had several moms mention that they’ve found their kids super cute outfits at resale shops. I found my top at a local resale shop in Valparaiso called Bethesda. I bought it for $2.50 including someones pit stains. I then went to Michaels and bought a box of pink dye for about $3. I’ve been seeing an Ombre trend so I thought I would try my hand at it.

Here’s what I did: Using a wash tub and a bucket, I rinsed the top in warm water. I filled the bucket up about a quarter of the way with warm water and sprinkled just a bit of the dye in to get a pale pink. I mixed that in with my hand (no, I didn’t use gloves and no it didn’t dye my hands) and then I put the entire top in and swirled it around for a couple of minutes. I then lightly squeezed the top out and set it aside while I added more dye and mixed again. I then took the project outside under the clothes line (less to clean up). I shook the top out a bit and then submerged about half of the top into the bucket and raised and lowered it in the mix for a few minutes. Then once again I squeezed the top out and set it aside while I added more dye and stirred. I then put the bottom quarter  of the top into the darker pink and dunked it for  several minutes until I saw a noticeable difference in color. I gently squeezed the top out once again and put in on a hanger and then clipped it to the clothes line to dry. Once dry I put it in the wash machine, and then the dryer and voila- my Easter top was finished and pit stains gone. I also dyed a couple dingy tank tops to give them new life since I had left over dye in the bucket. I think next time I might try a couple pairs of socks! There are probably lots of online tutorials for this but this is what worked for me.

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I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to photograph grandparents day at a local private school. While studio lit formal portraiture is not something I regularly do, I enjoyed it. I wanted to play it safe with the background color, BUT also incorporate a bit of my style. The backdrop idea is originally from this pin, however she must have changed her link, and it seems to have disappeared all together. These simple paper fans are made from inexpensive white paper towels, around 50 sheets of them. It seems like the cheaper the paper towel is, the better, since softness isn’t something you want for this project. This is an extremely budget friendly backdrop at a cost of around $4.00 for the paper towels and glue sticks for the hot glue gun. We had everything else. I simply made various sized paper fans and pinned them all over the white fabric I use on our backdrop frame. While this project was a tad bit labor intensive, I think it’s still worth it, and if your well organized, you can carefully stack and store the paper fans in boxes for the next use. You can also make them with colorful scrapbook paper and insert popsicle sticks where the two pieces of paper meet, this will allow them to fold up and store more easily – like traditional paper fans. I used the paper fans again for the testing session below with Sarah. If they happen to be used again sometime, I’m thinking of spray painting some for a touch of color. For more details, just check out the last image – an animated gif. Most images were photographed with our Canon 5d mii and the Lensbaby Composer Pro with Double Glass.

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