Summer Fun

I will be real. Usually at this point in the summer, I’m all for the kids going back to school. Typically at this point, I’m way over the fighting and complaining. However, this year I’m not there yet. I don’t know if its just the different dynamics of my the kids at home now, or if its that they are different ages so the didnt get on each others ( or my) nerves the same as the have in the past but, this summer has gone by way too fast!

So I don't know that I heard the dreaded “I’m bored” once this summer. This could be that there wasn’t time for that to happen. We are often busy in the summer. We start with basketball camps running the entire month of June and then lead into family reunion in July with usually only a few weeks to get things back under control house wise, go through the the closets and make room for school shopping and then the county fair is here and BAM school is back in. ( super long run on sentence feels like my summers normally lol) This summer wasn’t a ton different but it felt very different.

This weeks blog is dedicated to this years memorable ( in a good way) summer. In the comment below please tell me about your summer. I want to know what you did and where you went. Who knows, maybe I’ll plan a trip to some of your favorite places and feature you in a future blog post. Anyhow, lets re-cap my amazing summer.

June: Like I said, BASKETBALL and more basketball. June for my family means you are either playing roughly 40 games this month, or watching about 80 games of their siblings games. Its exhausting, exciting and fun. We travel to different areas and cram as much in as we can.

I also managed to squeeze in a Wedding, a styled shoot, and 2 extended family sessions, fathers day and my daughters 7th birthday and we were so busy there was no time for boredom. So here are some highlights from June this year. I loved each of the families I got to work with and always love watching these boys play ball together.

Then of course July Rolled right on in without much warning or time to catch our breath. This year our big family reunion was held over the 4th of July weekend so we packed right up and headed off to Arizona which of course mean stopping at a few places on the way like Petrified Forest National Park, the Grand Canyon, and Flagstaff for car repair ( and Bearizona). We had a great time with family and then we headed home for more basketball, a trip to Antelope Island, Great Basin National Park , a few trips to the lake, my youngest sons 13th birthday, my oldest sons 20th birthday, and then it was over before I knew it. Here is a taste of what July was like for us.

August isn’t even quite half way over but its been full of amazing things too. We started out the month with a fun trip to the Meadow hot springs to play in the water, some more swimming at the lake, a trip to the county fair, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and a hike to Kannara Falls. Here’s to the first half of August.

Summer had been amazing and while I’m super sad that school starts tomorrow, I guess that will give me more time to plan my next adventure. Don’t forget, to let me know in the comments what some of your favorite things to do and places to go.

High School Basketball

Summer ball is one of my favorite things. I love watching my sons play so much basketball in such a short time. Watching the team spend time together and improve as a group is just about rewarding enough to make all the driving, hotel costs, and loss of the entire month of June worth it.

Here is a little secret, I am that mom. You know the one that yells a lot. The one that Referees know when I walk in the door and probably wish they had been assigned another game that night. I don;t like it, I wish I wasn’t that mom, but I am. I learned a couple years back that things like keeping stats helped me to focus more on that and less on getting too excited. However, then sometimes I’d be looking down and miss an awesome play. That’s when I started to take my camera to games. I can take pictures of game, it gives me something to do other than yell, it also leave a huge lens in front of my face which muffles the any comments as they leave my mouth. However, the biggest advantage is that now I’m not looking down and I dont miss things. I get to capture special memories of the boys for them and their moms.

I’m a momma bear and those boys on that floor are my kids family which makes them my family. While I know there are better ways to handle being protective, I’m also pretty sure I will never grow out of attack mode when I see my kids getting hurt. So for all you other momma bears out there, I feel you. Keep loving your kids, keep supporting them, and maybe find something that helps you to not embarrass them too much in public ;)

Snow Canyon Extended Family Session

Family session are always fun but challenging. Trying to get 3-6 people all looking the same way, sort of looking happy to be there and not blinking when the image takes is an art to say the least. Luckily we live in a digital age where we dont have to get every single shot perfect. Now, make that a family with about 25 people are we are talking a ton of fun, lots of laughs and a lot of clicks to get the image just right.

Personally I love extended family sessions. I know that it is going to be a lot of work but I also love seeing each persons personality during out time together. I love getting a feel for who loves to be on that side of the camera, who is the caregiver, who makes everyone laugh, and if I’m honest, who doesn’t want to be there. I love each and everyone’s different things they bring to the table.

This family was a lot of fun. The session started a little rough when a cute little one wasn’t feeling so well but every one did great! They were so beautiful and dressed beautifully. I was a great way to start off the Summer extended family season.

Southern Utah Weddings

I was lucky enough to collaborate with some amazing talent. Venue: @thespringsweddingsandevents // Styling & Host: @tiastoutphoto // styling & florals: @simply_by_shani // Jewelry: @littlesycamore // Calligraphy: @written.bybreck // Event rentals: @swoonvintagerentalco // dress: @oohlaladressrentals // cake: @sweetcakesbykaren // HMUA: @desertcatussalon // Invitation Suite: @thecrosseyedfox // Models: @saralyndiana @cameronjayce_39 // Models: @hessvlogs.

First let me say, the Springs Wedding and Events center in Toquerville Utah is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!! If you have an event coming up, check them out! Next, we have some gorgeous models in southern Utah and if you are ever lucky enough to get to work with them, make sure you take it. The Cake was very elegant and the flowers looked better than fresh flowers. Simply by Shani flowers and Sweet Cakes by Karen are both highly recommended.

Tia Stout Photography set up this beautiful shoot and there were 5 photographers and 1 videographer. It was perfect. There was just enough of us to keep it fun and interesting and not so many that it was crowded and overwhelming.

I used to be intimidated by getting together with other creatives. Photographers especially! That nagging negative talk that says you arent good enough to play with the big kids yet always creeps in. If you are in the same boat, tell that voice to get lost! I have learned so much from getting together and shooting with other photographers, and models. I can hardly wait for the next group shoot I get to attend.

Do you have an idea for a shoot? Maybe you are a creative that would love to collaborate? Have a clothing line you want to show off? If you would like to work together on a future styled shoot hit me up, I would love to see if it’s something we can pull off!

Dont forget to scroll through to see more from this shoot

Family Time

Ok so when you think of summer, what comes to mind? Personally, I think of swimming, the hot sun, basketball camps, and Family Reunions. The month of June at my house has been completely full with basketball camps and games for the past 6 years and probably the next 4. I love it, and there will be a future blog post about that. However, after June is over, its time to plan for and attend my husbands extended family reunion.

His reunion is held at different places each year and usually ranges between about 70 people to 200 people. Its full of all the good stuff that make reunions so much fun: seeing family that you don’t often see, playing games, eating yummy food, and of course camp fires!

When ever I have the chance to photograph an extended family who has all traveled from their homes to enjoy each others company, I think of how glad I am that my husbands great grandparents started the tradition of getting everyone together. I think of all the wonderful memories that are made each year and I think about how lucky I am that I can be a small part of that special time in history, helping to document the memories.

Here are a few images from my latest extended family session. I hope it inspires you to get together with your families and to make sure that someone is getting pictures of it!

Wedding Season

Summer means wedding! I had the honor of travelling to Vernal Utah to photography a beautiful wedding. The bride was the daughter of a high school friend. ( Yes, I guess that means we are that old ). These two lovebirds were so sweet and so in love. The had lots of family and friends attend their outdoor ceremony.

The details of this weeding were so beautiful. The cake was lovely, the dress was like something out of a movie, and the flowers were AH-mazing!.

Here are a few images from their gorgeous wedding. Make sure to use your arrow button to scroll through

The Journey Begins

My last senior of the class of 2019 has so much going on that it was hard to fit his session into his schedule and still get it done in time for announcements to be made but we did it. This young man live in my neighborhood so I get to see him often. He has a rather quiet nature about him but he is always respectful and responsible. After graduation, he is planning on going to Russia for 2 years to serve his Heavenly Father and the people of Russia. Big things are on the horizon for this guy.

Knowing that your child is off to do great things doesnt always make it easier on moms though. So to all your moms with a child graduating this year and off to explore the world. Big hugs to you all.

Senior Season Once Again

Have I mentioned how much I love getting to work with Seniors? What? About a millions times you say? Well here I go again. I LOVE SENIORS! All seniors are fun but senior guys are amazing to work with! A couple of weeks ago I got to take pictures for my last Senior Rep. He has been great and while our schedules didnt allow us to get together as much as I would have liked, the time we did spend together was so much fun. I loved getting to know him better. It was extra fun for me because I’m at that super fun age where kids I went to high school with, have seniors graduating now. I happened to go to school with this seniors dad and it was fun to see some of the ways the saying “like father, like son” applied but also how different they are.

Tanner is a smart, hard working, funny guy. He has his head on straight and knows what he wants and what he doesn’t. He understands responsibility and dedication and takes the lead when others wont. I can hardly wait to see where life takes him, or should I say, where he takes life.

Here are some of my favorites from his session. He couldn’t have been easier to work with. Congratulations Tanner and best of Luck in your next adventure!

Landscape and Wildlife

I recently added a gallery of some of my Landscape and Wildlife images to my website here. Honestly, from a business perspective, I know it is a bad idea to mix the two. They are obviously very different clientele that they will appeal to. However, they are both a huge part of me and of why I do what I do so I decided, I was going to merge even if it doesn’t make sense on paper.

Do you ever get tired of being told that you have to color inside the lines to be doing it right? I just get exhausted listening to all the rules about how to be successful and so I give up. I’m going to do it the way that i want to do it which is basically how I’ve been throughout my photography journey with how I shoot, where I shoot, why I shoot, and now what I shoot and who I show. There are so many really helpful tips out there for people trying to make it in this crazy Photographers world, and I in no way am trying to say they are wrong or that they arent helpful but right now, they arent for me ( at least this one that says keep your different genres separate or only stick to one thing).

I first seriously picked up a camera to capture my kids but I have always taken snapshots of the places we have traveled and have really loved any chance I get to capture wildlife. Next to getting those memories of my family, is my love for getting the memories of our trips and of the beautiful places we have been blessed to see.

I sometimes feel like there is so much negative energy in the world mostly promoted via the media. I wanted to capture the other side, the side we dont hear as much about. I wanted to be the one that looks and finds the beautiful things of the world of at least the beauty amidst the ugly. Anyway, I hope that you can accept my going against the grain and adding this new element to my page. If you ever are interested in seeing more of my landscape work feel free to check out my other galleries found at sarahjackmanphotography.shootproof.com where you are able to purchase prints and wall art.

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Senior Portrait Season

So as you all know, I love taking Senior portraits. I’ve said it before but I’m going to say it again. High School is wonderfully tough. Its an entirely different ball game today vs when I was in school. Social media is such a huge part of their world and while it can be a great tool, it can also put a ton of pressure on kids to post things that get “approved” by their peers. The comparison game is REAL. That means that sometimes, its hard to feel good enough, handsome enough, beautiful enough.

I love that I can play a part in taking images that they can feel like they are all of those things when they look at it. I love that i can give them something to share online that they are confident in. But mostly, I love getting to know them a little better and having a part in capturing their amazing and wonderful personalities that can show in their senior pictures.

Here are some more images from our last trip to WPPI in Las Vegas. Sometimes, I get to shoot at fun unique places but no matter where I shoot, my client is always the coolest thing about the session. If you haven’t booked your senior session yet, don’t put it off much longer. I know the weather had been rough and we have all been avoiding the rain but there aren’t many slots let so grab your while you can.

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Las Vegas Wedding

While I was down as the WPPI confrence a few weeks ago, A few friends and I were able to hold a wedding session in a super unique little wedding chapel at the Palms hotel. The chapel has a temporary spot in the Pearl Theater and it was amazing to be able to photograph an adorable couple there. I love to look for places that you dont see often photographed but more than that I love to find fun places that will make a memory have just a few more connections and highlights. This place was AWESOME and I doubt that any of us will forget the fun we had.

WPPI 2019

Each year there are multiple photography conventions across the country. I have huge goals to hit them all but as of yet, I have only attended WPPI. Its a huge conference held in Las Vegas where I can be re-inspired, network, and learn TONS. During the week not only do I get to hang out with dear friends, listen to successful artists talk about their journey and give tips but also i get to take a lot of pictures. I was luck enough to tag along on a maternity session with several other amazing photographers and capture a beautiful mom to be in her final stages of pregnancy.

Are there things in your life that you just absolutely love, maybe things that other people can’t quite understand? This week in Vegas is totally that for me. I totally nerd out at all the cool gadgets and gear at the expo ( which has everything photo related a person could want). I love all the speakers and keep notes like a 14 year old nervous about missing any tiny bit of information. But most of all, I totally am in awe during their print competition and live judging. I can sit for hours and watch them score and talk about these amazing photographs. I learn so much in those 2 days that it carries me right through the year until i can do it all over again.

Beautiful Birth Story, and Newborn Session so Sweet

New to my line up of services are Birth Stories and Newborn Sessions.  I wont lie, these two genres are a bit stressful.  They are so much like a wedding.  From being on call so that you can make sure you are there at the birth, to creating a relaxing environment for mom and baby during the newborn session, it's a lot of work!  However, it's so rewarding and such a once in a life time moment that needs to be captured.  I remember bits and pieces of each of the births of my children.  However, there is a lot I don't remember.  There is so much going on while you are in labor, and often some medication involved, it's hard to try to make a mental note of it all.  I love that I can do that for my clients so that they an focus on what is important, getting that baby here happy and healthy.   

Then there is the smell of a newborn baby, who doesn't want that job of capturing little fingers and toes while they are so tiny?  I absolutely loved working with this Rowan Family.  From the Maternity session, and Birth, and then the Newborn Session.  Each one was dreamy in it's own right and I love that I was a part of it.

Maternity Session, Adorable Child, and AH-MAZING Dress

The title really says it all.  I recently had a chance to meet the Rowan family.  First let me start with, their son is so adorable I about forgot I was actually working and not just playing with their family.  For this session I wanted a dress that would really stand out against our beautiful red rock scenery here so I ordered one from Chicaboo, a company who makes beautiful maternity gowns.  I fell in love as soon as I felt it and saw the color, YES!!!!   If all goes well, you will be seeing much more from this beautiful family as it grows over the next couple of months but for now, here are a few of my favorites from out Maternity Session.

 

Yellowstone National Park

Did you all know that I love Wildlife and Landscape Photography?  It's true.  I own an Art Gallery and would love people to come and see what I do on that side of my business.  Typically I keep this website and these posts to Portrait work that I do but, not today.  Today I would love to share with you some images from my most recent trip to Yellowstone.  I absolutely love this park!  If I was built a little more weather resistant, I might have to move closer but alas, I am a desert rat at heart.  

Anyway, when I need a break from life, this is where my sweet husband takes me.  Where is your "happy place"? 

 I hope as you click through the images below that you enjoy them, and don't forget to follow my facebook pages, and instagrams to see more of my adventures or stop by the Art Gallery located at 320 W. State Street in Hurricane Utah 84737

Senior Portrait, Golden Hour, and Spring. The Total Package

Last week I was asked if I could squeeze in another Senior session.  Of course!  I really do love Senior Portraits so much that if there is any way I can make it happen, I will.  Savannah is beautiful so that wasn't going to be an issue.  One concern some of my Senior clients have, and rightfully so, is that many senior portraits that are taken around here look very similar.  Every senior wants to have something special they can call their own though.  After talking about options for the perfect location we decided on a place I don't use much and actually had not been to since the fall of last year.   To be 100% honest, I was nervous.  As much as I love new places, I love the comfort of the known, tried and true places that I use on a regular basis.  

We arrived at the location and sweet Savannah had not been there so that was nice, it was all new and fresh and not exactly like everyone else graduating from her High School.  We took a few steps, rounded a corner and the light was PERFECT!  Right away we started shooting and I could tell that all my worries were for nothing.  This session was just about perfect from the location, the light, the girl, the amount of people that were ( not ) walking around.  The only thing that was a bit of an inconvenience were the pesky little bugs flying around everywhere.  

Here are a few of my favorites from her session although, I wont lie there were over 100 images from her session that I fell in love with so I am using the word "favorite" loosely since it was so hard to narrow it down. ( make sure to scroll through the images below)

Hurricane High School 2018 Prom.

Ok so I know its a sign that you are getting up there in age when you say things like this but, It seems like just yesterday that I was this age!  I remember how fun it was to get invited to a dance, not even because of the dance but because of the friends and the activities we would be doing.   This last weekend was Hurricane High Schools Prom ( and after looking at facebook and instagram over the weekend, clearly many around the country were doing the same thing).  I had the opportunity to photograph two different groups in two different locations.   

My first group had two cute couples, who brought their awesome masquerade masks to their shoot ( that was the theme this year).  We ended up at a very green park and they were the only couples there so it was perfect!.   Take a look at those masks though, seriously AWESOME!

My second group couldn't have been more fun, there was so much personality going on here it was had not to be laughing the entire session!  There were 3 adorable couples that you could just tell had had an amazing day together.  They shared with me that they had gone to shoot paint-balls, and the girls had the welts to prove it!  They were all smiles and laughter.

 

In the comments tell me what you favorite Prom Memories are?  I love to hear and connect with my clients and readers.

Senior Session at a Historical Landmark

Ok confession time.  I love it when my senior clients choose old buildings or amphitheaters for their session.  There seems to be so much character in old places.  When Becky reached out to me all the way from Kanab Utah, about getting her senior portraits done, I wasn't sure what to expect.  Becky obviously couldn't make it in to do an in person meeting before her session, and we had never met so I was nervous.  Is that strange?  I love to be able to meet my clients ahead of time so that there is none of that crazy "stranger danger" awkwardness that can happen.  Luckily through several emails and texts, we figured out when, and where her session would be and when she choose some neat old buildings, I just knew that it was going to be all ok.  

Becky was lovely, she was super pleasant and rocked her session!  Look at how beautiful she is, I can't wait to see what the future holds for this confident, and smart senior superstar!

Photography Studio Now Open.

This past weekend I held a Grand Opening to my new Art Gallery.  What a lot of people didn't know is that there is also a photography studio in the back portion of the Gallery.  I'm so excited to be able to offer a place in the Hurricane Valley where other photographers and myself can offer clients a place indoors, away from the heat, cold and that dreaded "Hurricane wind".  (I know we all love that windblown look but lets be honest, sometimes it gets to be a bit much here).  

Here is a little back story:

I had big dreams of having a back up studio where I would be able to control my surroundings a little bit along with this grand idea of having a place to display all of my wildlife, and landscape photography.  The challenge was in finding a way and a building that I would feel like they could work together and not against each other.  Along the way, it dawned on me that other Photographers would probably like the same thing but with all the costs of equipment, education, products and business costs, it probably wasn't a reachable thing for many.  This got the wheels really turning.

I brought the idea up to my super supportive husband and he was all for it.  He worked so hard transforming a building that looked nothing like a studio or gallery into what I envisioned and I'm so grateful the amount of patience he had with the whole project.

So, that's it.  I now run an Art Gallery filled with art from local artists, I have a Portrait studio set up to rent to fellow Photographers, and there is also a room dedicated to workshops and classes if people need a pace to hold their Artist in Training meetings.  If you haven't had a chance to come in and check us out please stop by, Tuesdays-Fridays 10am-2pm and say "Hi", and introduce yourself.  I would love to meet you.

 

Photography Competitions and Life Evaluations

Normally, competition and I are best of enemies.  I tend to be so competitive that I avoid most things that could open a door to my "ugly" side.  This goes out the window when we are talking about my kids sports, the avoiding thing that is, not the "ugly" side thing.  I am that mom who is screaming and yelling the entire game.  Don't get me wrong, I know better, I just get so passionate about it that I struggle to control myself.  When it comes to things like photography, I tend to also avoid competition.  I know that I have a long way to go to be the best photographer out there.  Sometimes I forget that its a journey and that the best in this industry weren't born with a silver camera in their hand but that they worked really hard for it.  It's really easy for me to look at my work and pick it apart so much that I end up thinking the entire thing is terrible, when others might not see the many faults in it. 

With all of that said, there is one photography competition that I love to participate in.  It's called Shoot and Share and its hosted each year where something like 400.000 images end up getting submitted into several different categories.  They randomly but 4 anonymous images in a block and you vote for your favorite.  It's that easy.  The images with the most votes move on to the next round and so on.  It's fun, it's addicting, and it's been a great way for me to get inspiration as well as build some amazing friendships with fellow photographers through our experience in the contest.  There isn't a judge telling you what you did right or wrong so it is sort of perfect for me.  

I have learned something about myself during this contest though.  I am too hard on myself.  I'd be willing to bet, you are too.  The image posted below scored 827 out of over 16,300 images.  Now, I had one that did better as far as results go but this one shocked me.  I really don't even like it.  I could tell you the many things I don't enjoy about it but it doesn't matter.  I don't like it because of my issues.  When I look at it, I see what I did wrong, and forget to see the beauty in what God did right, which is why I took the image in the first place.  

I am so much like this image, as so many of us are.  We are beautiful, we are likes, people enjoy being around us.  Other people see our value and are grateful and glad that we are in this world.  However, sometimes it's far to easy to think the worst about ourselves.  We don't like what we see, how we sound, what we contribute, and we find our value to be very low on our own scale.  I almost didn't enter this image.  It was a last resort image as I ran out of images and wanted to enter the max amount of 50.  I often treat myself just like this image.  I hide from challenges, thinking I'm not good enough.  I stand in the back of a crowd waiting for others to contribute since their contribution is bound to be more valuable than mine.  I offer my services as a last resort when I think no one else is available.

No more.  No more undervaluing.  No more last resort, and not good enough thoughts.  I am entering into a year of many, many changes, and I will need every ounce of talent and awesomeness that the good Lord has blessed me with, to bless others with.   Are you selling yourself short?  Are you letting the world see all of you?  What is holding you back from being the majestic and amazing person your were created to be?  Let go of it.  Let go of it all and shine.  I may never be number 1, you may not be either but, 900 out of 16.000 is pretty dang good enough if you ask me.

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