photography

Danielle's Journey: Cochlear Implant/St. Charles Photographer/Jheart Photography

I met Danielle when she hired me to capture her wedding day in 2015. The day was beautiful filled with family, friends, and so much love. With their laid back personality’s and Deven’s ridiculous humor, they quickly became a few of my favorite people and friends. At their one year anniversary shoot Danielle shared with me, she could not hear out of one ear and only half of sounds in her other due to a genetic condition. I was shocked. I had many conversations with Danielle and had no idea. I mean, I was with them for 8 hours on their wedding day! She told me she is a master lip reader. Talk about being impressed!

In January 2017 I got the amazing message all photographer’s want from their wedding couples, Danielle and Deven were expecting their first bundle of love. On Friday the 13th of October, adorable sweet Harrison joined the world. Harrison was perfect. After a long pregnancy of gestational diabetes we celebrated his arrival with donuts! One of the greatest gifts about having children is getting to hear all the sweet sounds they coo, first words, and cries when they need you, Danielle was missing this. She could hear him cry in the opposite room or at night. As a mother of 4, I couldn’t imagine this. As a new Mom, Danielle decided she needed better, for her son. So she sought out on a cochlear implant journey.

“I couldn't hear my son cry in another room. I couldn't have conversations in various social settings. I'm an autism teacher. I couldn't understand my students when responding to questions. I couldn't hear police sirens, tornado sirens, rain hitting the roof, thunder, insects, and so much more.”

Dante, Danielle’s Dad received his implants in July 2015 and April 2018. Growing up with the obstacles of having a parent that couldn’t hear, Danielle knew she wanted different. His journey inspired her to go for the cochlear implant. Despite the unknown and possibly long recovery, Danielle this to have a better relationship with her son.

“On my wedding day, 6/13/2015, I picked out a song for my dad. The lyrics were perfect. As we danced, my dad couldn't hear the words to the song. The song that I picked out just for him. 

My dad and I didn't have a close relationship, due to his hearing loss. We couldn't communicate well with each other and have deep, meaningful conversations.

My dad is in his mid-50's and just now experiencing the hearing world. I didn't want to wait 30, 40, or 50 years to hear. 

This is my reason. My son. I want to hear my son as he learns to talk. I want to hear him cry. I want to hear him say "mama." I want him to come to me to have conversations about his day, his friends, and his love life. I want to hear the words to the song he chooses for his Mother-Son dance.

Harrison is my reason for this journey.”

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 Danielle went in for her surgery. Everything went perfect, she felt amazing, and she rocked recovery. On November 28, 2018 she was activated. Bringing along her biggest supporters, Hubby, Harrison, Mom, and Dad, (plus a news crew so she could share her story with others.) When she reached out to me, I knew I couldn’t miss this. Getting to see her hear Harrison talk for the first time, was a moment I will not forget. There were definitely tears and lots of smiles of joy. Dante stated, “This is a great journey for her to be on and I know she will do well”.

On day 2 of being activated, Danielle started to hear things she never heard before.

“I was sitting in my classroom. All alone. I kept hearing the strangest noise, but couldn’t figure it out. After 5 minutes of looking around my classroom trying to figure it out, I realized it was my clock ticking. A sound I never heard before. "

Today included hearing the ticking of a clock, hearing the keys on my laptop as I typed, and leaves crunching underneath my feet.”

How amazing is that? The simplest sound like crunchy leaves, brought her joy!

I love that I was asked to be apart of this journey and these three amazing people’s lives. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes Danielle.

Danielle is sharing her journey publicly to hopefully inspire others to have the courage and strength to have better. You can follow her journey on Facebook here. Below I have posted the news article on Danielle as well as some information on cochlear implants.

KMOV story: Here

Cochlear Implant information: Here

Danielle’s Surgeon: Here

St. Charles Wedding Photographer/Wright City Wedding Photographer/Pogrelis Wedding

This season is causing me to majorly fall in love with intimate backyard weddings. Whitney & Ben's property was the perfect spot for them to say "I do!" I had so much fun with them and their entire wedding party. 

Have you ever seen a more stunning bride? Whitney in her gorgeous dress that she personalized to her style and the attention to details she put into the whole day really made this wedding beautifully unique. 

Thank you so much Ben & Whitney for asking me to capture these for you. It was such a blessing to be apart of your forever. 

St. Louis Wedding Photographer/St. Charles Wedding Photographer/Sparks Wedding: The Corner Gates

Jen messaged me through a mutual friend in regards to shooting their wedding day. Their wedding day was the first time I met them or worked with them. Upon finally getting to meet them I was instantly put at ease. Their smiles were HUGE the entire day, they went with the ultimate flow of a crazy wedding day with grace and Jen even stated at one point, "Today is already amazing, because I am marrying this guy". Does it get any better than that? 

The Corner Gates is a perfect hidden event room off Cherokee in St. Louis Mo. The intimate feel as soon as you walk in really sets the pace for a romantic wedding. I have to confess when I go to wedding I always seem to remember the meal, and the food was outstanding! 

I know that Jen & Mike are going to celebrate a great life together and I really can't wait to see what this life brings them.

Dress: The Ultimate Bride

St. Charles Newborn Photographer/Newborn Photographer/Jameson Patrick

Erika & Mac finally got to meet handsome Mr. Jameson Patrick after waiting a few days past due. I believe he has been nicknamed "Buck" by family and it is perfection with his adorable nursery. Austen is so proud to be a big sister that she did a sweet dance for me! We also got to hang out in her room and look at all her toys. Where when I asked if I could move it, she said, "You should just stick to your house." HAHAHAHA I love kids.  While shooting Austen cuddling her brand new baby brother with so much love, admiration, innocence and protection my gushy heart melted. It's going to be such a blessing to watch these two grow into best friends over the next year. 

Congrats Cormier family. He is perfect & I just adore your amazing family. 

St. Charles Wedding Photographer/How do I chose a wedding photographer?

Yep, I am doing it. I am going to break down the most important points of choosing a wedding photographer and what to think about for your wedding day regarding pictures! This piece of the wedding day is going to last the longest, yes even the dress ends up yellowing, so really taking the time to chose the right photographer is important. There are so many brides that I have personally spoke with that had no clue what they were getting into when they started this part of wedding planning. Knowledge and confidence is key to not feeling left in the dark and taken advantage of.

Most brides seem uneducated(WHICH IS OK!!!) and a little terrified when it comes to choosing a wedding photographer.

So let's start with the obvious...

1. BUDGET

Before you start to research photographers, think of an ideal budget you have for this aspect of your big day. Photographers usually price their work per hour and then bring in the add ons like albums, canvases, engagement shoot, and second shooter. All of these things will raise the price of your package. $1500-$2500 is a decent budget and can get you a really good photographer with a few package options.

-An entry level photographer - one who is trying to build a portfolio with charge around $150 an hour. This photographer may have only acted as a second shooter with only a few Lead shooter weddings.

-An experienced photographer - one with at least 50 weddings under their belt as a LEAD shooter will charge anywhere from $225-$250 an hour. Usually has a few key second shooter they prefer to work with.

-A senior photographer who has at least 100+ weddings can charge anywhere starting at $300+ per hour. They are going to come with a whole team and offer major package incentives. 

So know your budget and then you can start to look at the right category of photographers. Not sure of the photographers level of knowledge? Ask for their wedding count! This number will tell you how many weddings they have done as the Lead photographer. Which means they can run your wedding day with knowledge and experience.

2. STYLE

What is your ideal style? When you flip through Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram what style get's your attention most? Do you like the sunny open feel or do you before dark with a little bit more emotional feel to it? Make a Pinterest board and share it with your potential photographers! Know that they won't duplicate this board but know where your personal inspiration for you wedding day is coming from. I love seeing bride's boards!

I will put some examples below:

Light & Airy v. Dark & Moody

Can you tell the difference? Jheart Photography uses the Left side look for all images. I am definitely a light and airy photographer!

Can you tell the difference? Jheart Photography uses the Left side look for all images. I am definitely a light and airy photographer!

Also in style, do you like candid portraits or more formal posed? Ask to look through a few potential photographers portfolio to get an idea of their individual style. No style is right or wrong, it's ALL about personal preference.

3. REFERRALS

Now that you have those 2 things narrowed down. Ask around to friends and family photographers that they have worked with. It is ALWAYS comforting to know someone that has had a great wedding day experience with their photographer. Some also offer incentives for being a referral. (I know Jheart does!)

4. What do you WANT?

Photographers will offer more than just day of service hours. Here are a few add on shoots you may want to consider! Outside of these add on shoots some photographer offer albums, canvas, and other prints options. 

Engagement shoots are my favorite way to get to know a client. It really helps me prepare for the big day. Every couple interacts differently so to know what to expect ahead of time is a huge bonus!

Engagement shoots are my favorite way to get to know a client. It really helps me prepare for the big day. Every couple interacts differently so to know what to expect ahead of time is a huge bonus!

Engagement Shoot - A great way to announce you are getting married! It is also a fabulous way to get to know well you & your photographer work together. It also helps add a personal touch to your special day!

 

 

 

 

Bridal shoots are a perfect chance to get to wear that stunning gown one more day!

Bridal shoots are a perfect chance to get to wear that stunning gown one more day!

Bridal Shoot - This is a session prior to the wedding where you just take pictures in your dress! It can be scheduled when you do your hair & makeup trial so it looks like they were all taken on the same day. Plus you can display them at the wedding!

 

 

 

 

Obviously these images are to private to post, but if you are interested I would love to send you a private gallery!

Obviously these images are to private to post, but if you are interested I would love to send you a private gallery!

Bridal Boudoir - I LOVE boudoir sessions. Not only is it the perfect gift for your new hubby, but it's shocking how beautiful, confident, and sexy it will make you feel as a bride!

 

 

 

 

 

5. QUESTIONS TO ASK

Now that there is a budget, preferred style, and  possibly have a few photographer leads to start with, let's talk about great questions to ask potential photographers. No question is a stupid question! Honestly the more questions a Bride asks me the better I feel. 

1. What would you say your style is?

2. Do you always work with the same second shooter? Can we only use a second shooter     for the ceremony or do we have to hire them full day?

3. When should we expect photos back after the wedding day? When do you provide a preview or blog post?

4. How many weddings have you done as LEAD shooter?

5. Do you organize a timeline for our day to best suit your photography needs to get all the shots we are looking for?

6. Do you set up consultations so we can meet and chat?

7. How are the pictures delivered? Digital? USB? Both?

8. Do you make packages special to weddings or do you only offer set packages?

9. Do you have a back up shooter if you are ill and can't shoot the wedding? Do they do the editing too?

10. Do you have a contract?

11. Do you have insurance?

12. Can I contact a previous bride and ask her experience working with you?

I know there is quite a few questions but all of these details are important. You will figure that out when it gets closer to your day and even after the big day. You will be glad you asked these questions! Any great photographer will be able to answer all of these questions for you to help make you feel comfortable with how your day will go, what you are paying for, and what to expect after the day is over. 

6. THINGS TO JUST KNOW

Sometimes it's just easier when someone points out the obvious. So here are some obvious details to remember:

*Having more than one PROFESSIONAL photographer at your wedding is not necessary. Each has their own style and flow to structure a wedding day, so trust me, just using one company is better! Of course family can shoot as long as they do not interfere with the work flow of the professional. 

*No photographer is going to allow Brides to personal edit or filter their images. Yes, this includes Facebook and Instagram filters. We take a lot of pride in our work and when a filter is added it produces an image that is no longer ours. 

*Professional photographers do not give out RAW images. Most clients would not even be able to open and view a RAW image, you have to have special editing software. Also, as a client you probably don't want the RAW image. Personally my back of camera is really dark so that I don't loose details and highlights.....as a client, you wouldn't want to hang that image on your wall. 

*Professional photographers do not offer Copyrights to the images. They will however offer print release. These two things are very different. Print release gives the client privileges to print the images as they see fit. Copyright signs over all right from the photographer to the client over the image. We don't really want to give up the rights to our artwork.

*Photoshopping "Aunt June" into pictures because she wasn't there, isn't an easy task. So unless you want to pay big money to have her added, you might just have to let that go. 

I really hope that this helped some Brides decide the best photographer for their big day! Choosing your photographer in the giant ocean of photographers can be so overwhelming, but going into the process with confidence and knowledge is the best place to start. 

Jenny

St. Charles Family Photographer/St. Charles Photographer/Autumn & Summer

Autumn & Summer were a wonderful twin sister duo session at Quail Ridge park in St. Charles. Immediately I knew we were going to have so much fun because they way they interact with each other can make anyone giggle and have a good time! I loved the way they made each other laugh!

St. Charles Engagement Photographer/St. Charles Wedding Photographer/Maggie & Catie Engaged

Maggie & Catie are in the 2018 Jheart Wedding Line up. Upon speaking with Maggie I immediately knew this was going to be a great relationship. As soon as I saw them interact with each other I had no doubt this session was going to rock. I asked Maggie a few questions prior to the shoot and one was asking to tell me the story of your proposal and let me tell ya...Maggie did not miss a beat when planning this....

Maggie sent Catie on a scavenger hunt through family and friends. She had cards and flowers delivered to Catie by amazing friends and loved family. She chose all the most important people in Catie's life to present this next life step in all the important places of their relationship. Like the spot where they first met and that is just so beautiful. It really shows why when asked what Catie's favorite thing about Maggie is her big heart. 

Then, after 2 clues, and a lunch with her family here is what the third clue read:

"#3 - You've gone from 1st, to 2nd and now 3rd.  Where do you go from here? Run home! Meet me downtown at our favorite venue.  The home plate from Busch Stadium 2, is where I'll be waiting for you"

Catie then was proposed to with Maggie down on one knee and of course she said yes! 

These two really have an amazing love and being in front of the camera didn't phase it one bit. They really made my heart full after shooting them and I think it really shows in these pictures. 

St. Charles Photographer/St. Charles Maternity Photographer/Waiting for Baby McKenzie

I love the Doggett's. This family has been with Jheart since the very beginning. I have been around for the engagement, the wedding, Baby Annie, and now Baby MacKenzie! I am so excited that their family is welcoming baby girl #2 in November. Annie is the cutest little girl and absolutely hilarious. She is so full of character! She is going to be an outstanding big sister judging by the way she loves her new kitty! These pictures are one of the reasons I love Quail Ridge Park in St. Charles. The back drops around golden hour are just so beautiful and when you add a baby bump you get dreamy pictures. 

St. Charles Photographer/St. Charles Maternity Photographer/Chuck, Brooke, & Jasper + Baby

Brooke is one of the cutest pregnant women I have got to photograph and I think the best part is, she is kind of shy in front of the camera. Plus she picked my favorite colors for their outfits and my favorite location Quail Ridge Park in St. Charles. In October she, her fiancé Chuck, and their first born Jasper will be welcoming Sonny, a nice little brother for Sir Jasper to play with. I hands down think Jasper is going to be the BEST big brother ever. As soon as I told Jasper to run for a minute while I shot Mom & Dad, he took off so fast and did NOT want to come back!! HAHA But then he would shoot that million dollar cutest little boy smile and my camera would go crazy. 

This growing family is definitely now one of my favorite families to shoot. They were sweet, they laughed, they played, they hugged, they are everything a photographer wants to shoot. Thank you so much Chuck & Brooke for asking me to capture this special moment in your life.

St. Charles Photographer/Hilton Head Island Family Vacation 2017

It has taken me entirely too long to blog this, but here it is finally......

Wow. Our first family vacation as a family of 9. That's a lot to take in. First and foremost though...we survived. We actually did it & survived, plus we had an amazing time. We wave jumped, we shopped, we ate seafood, and we laid by the pool. All for which makes for an amazing vacation. 

I did blog our visit to the Coastal Discovery museum...check it out HERE!

My family owns a beautiful home on the coast of Hilton Head Island and they are amazing enough to offer it out to us for a whole week to stay. Of course as soon as we reached the house we took a walk on the beach...after the crazy storm had passed. Beach storms can be intense and in a matter of minutes!

The second day we enjoyed a beautiful dolphin cruise where we not only saw many dolphins but BABY DOLPHINS! Everything is better in baby form. The girls as you can see wore out easy and got a litttttle hot. So naturally they melted on the boat. The Island Explorer on the Hilton Head salt marsh was a wonderful experience that I encourage anyone who visits the island.

One evening for dinner we ate at a delicious seafood place called The Crazy Crab, which on some evenings they have a lady come and do crab racing! Another than that they also have a TON of homeless cats that come to eat your crab left overs! We only got to see one, but from what I was told there is usually a lot more that hang out around there. The older kids decided to try crab for the first time! Some enjoyed it but Parker was not a fan. Across from the restaurant in the parking lot there was a place with the funniest statues that Gabby decided we needed to do a photo shoot with. You can tell she is my child!

On Wednesday before we left we spent the evening shopping at Coligny Plaza. The kids got to spend their spending money on gifts to bring back home and for Hunter's birthday that we celebrated the 3 older boys (including my husband) got skim boards to try out on the water! Hunter was a natural! He did so good. Parker is more of a perfectionist so it was harder for him to grasp the concept and to give it time. But watching my husband work with him and be patient with him really reminded me of why I love him. My kids are so lucky to have an amazing father as a Step-Dad. 

Hilton Head was an amazing spot for our first family vacation. We really enjoyed our time together and the adventures. I can't wait to book next summers adventure on the beach and adding new excursion to the list. I am seriously DYING to go shark fishing!