My great photography

Welcome! I am an on-location, natural lighting portrait and lifestyle photographer specializing in family, individual, and pet photography serving the Jacksonville and St Augustine areas. I specialize in photographing small, intimate weddings.

If you would like to contact me please fill out my request information page.  From there I will be glad to answer any questions you may have about my photography and packages that start at $50.00.  In the meantime, feel free to add me as a Facebook friend or follow me on Twitter.  Talk to you soon!    

~Carmen

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{Mikhaela & Takiya’s Natural Life Inspired} Photo Shoot

July 14th, 2015

I had a wonderful photo shoot over the weekend with two beautiful young ladies. Natural Life graciously donated some of the girl’s wardrobe for our shoot! If you click on the Natural Life logo above it will take you to the local store. Please send

 

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I had a wonderful photo shoot over the weekend with two beautiful young ladies. Natural Life graciously donated some of the girl’s wardrobe for our shoot! If you click on the Natural Life logo above it will take you to the local store. Please send them love and support for being awesome…because they truly are. Speaking of awesome, so are these young ladies!

MJ

MJ

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MJBlog11

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MJBlog9

MJBlog10

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Takiya

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MJ2

Takiya

Thanks for viewing! I promise I’ll try to have some shoots in the future that don’t involve Big Talbot. :-)

~ Carmen

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{Jess & Penny} Photo Shoot

May 8th, 2015

Last weekend I had the pleasure of photographing the sweetest girl and her pup at Big Talbot Island State Park. Jess and some of her friends rescued Penny. She was found on the side of the road and had been hit by a car. You can still see the scar


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Last weekend I had the pleasure of photographing the sweetest girl and her pup at Big Talbot Island State Park. Jess and some of her friends rescued Penny. She was found on the side of the road and had been hit by a car. You can still see the scar on her leg.

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C-CWP9PvcVGC2yx0XbB2zjV6UffXyGZNHY41XjITGJUPenny would do just about anything for a treat.

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This ^. So cute.

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Jess wants to give Penny the fullest life she can while she’s a part of her family. It was discovered that Penny has Stage 4. Even though she’s being treated for heart worms the future isn’t certain. Penny and Co. are headed on a cross country trip this summer and she even has her own hashtag…

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I also feel the need to tell you that when we were setting these up on the rocks the tide came and washed them away but we saved them all!

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<3, Carmen

 

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{Jenning’s State Park} It’s Personal…

March 7th, 2015

Had a lovely day exploring Jenning’s State Park. The place is HUGE and not clearly marked. After driving around for about an hour we found a map. There are several really nice trails and it’s very peaceful and quiet. All you can really hear is the

 

Had a lovely day exploring Jenning’s State Park. The place is HUGE and not clearly marked. After driving around for about an hour we found a map. There are several really nice trails and it’s very peaceful and quiet. All you can really hear is the wind blow.

Jenning's State ParkI had  to add this cute picture of a donkey we met along the way.

Jenning's State Park

Below is a shot that shows the unpaved roads and paths to peacefulness.

Jenning's State Park

Also, what the heck?!?

Jenning's State Forest

Sunlight shining through trees.

Jenning's State Park

Jenning's State Park

There were many acres of land that had been burned.
Jenning's State Forest

Jennings

#yearofexploration

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{Lili Rose} Photo Shoot

February 1st, 2015

Lili Rose is a beautiful woman from France who lives here now and works at the Mayo Clinic. She’s a Ph.D student! I asked her what she does and she mentioned Alzheimer’s and genetics. I think. {I’m right brained and don’t remember all the details}

 

Lili Rose is a beautiful woman from France who lives here now and works at the Mayo Clinic. She’s a Ph.D student! I asked her what she does and she mentioned Alzheimer’s and genetics. I think. {I’m right brained and don’t remember all the details} Anyway, the bottom line is she’s awesome.

She brought enough clothes for several different looks. We raced the sun.

 

The flowers (Camilla’s) are from my yard. They are always so pretty but such a strange flower since they lay flat on the stem. You can’t just put them in a vase.

Thanks for peekin’!

Love,

Carmen

P.S. – These photos were taken at Big Talbot Island. If you haven’t been you should definitely go because it’s beautiful!

 

 

 

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{Joe, Tori & DJ} Photo Shoot

January 26th, 2015

Hi folks! Thanks for visiting. I recently had the pleasure of taking the family photos for this handsome family. It’s been pretty darn cold (cold for Florida) and the day we took photos the weather was pretty close to

 

Hi folks! Thanks for visiting. I recently had the pleasure of taking the family photos for this handsome family. It’s been pretty darn cold (cold for Florida) and the day we took photos the weather was pretty close to perfect!

Also, they are adorable in black and white.

 

These are the clothes DJ wore home from the hospital. 

DJ turns “1” this month!

 

Cake is still this fun. Thank you guys for letting me capture your sweet moments!

Love, Carmen

P.S. – I used some different layouts this time and I like them when they aren’t against a white background but here they look strange. What are your thoughts?

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{Confessions 101} Part 3

January 1st, 2015

It’s been a while since I’ve posted “my confessions” (thank you, Usher) and I figured the first day of 2015 would be a fantastic time to do so! Here’s what my 2014 looked like… 1. I turned 39 this year!! Eek! Almost 40! I went to Savannah, Ga.

 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted “my confessions” (thank you, Usher) and I figured the first day of 2015 would be a fantastic time to do so!

Here’s what my 2014 looked like…

1. I turned 39 this year!! Eek! Almost 40! I went to Savannah, Ga. for my birthday and had birthday cake at Lulu’s Chocolate Bar. Okay I had 2 kinds of cake AND some chocolate covered strawberries.

39

2. I built a raised bed garden at work. We grew (and are still growing) tomatoes, eggplant, carrots, broccoli, collard greens, lettuce, strawberries and a bunch of herbs.

Garden

3. I went hiking on a section of the Appalachian Trail {in Georgia} and fell down Springer Mountain. I ended up having to hike 5 miles {back down and up another mountain} on a sprained ankle and I was out of work for 2 weeks! I took the pic below at the podiatrist’s office. Luckily I didn’t break anything!

Fall

4. I made a Christmas tree out of bamboo cut from my backyard. I used reclaimed strands of Christmas lights that someone left on their Christmas tree and set out by the road for the city to pick up.

lights

5. This is me as a wee babe in a cool zipper outfit.

weebabe

6. I think I’ve run out of interesting photos to post on this blog.

7. Seriously though, I have more interesting things to report. <—-does this count as a confession?

7 (a) For real though, I dubbed 2015 The Year of Exploration. And then I wrote some things & drew some things that make me happy on my door. What? I had extra paint from my chalkboard wall. {see #8}

chalk

8. Okay, how about this. I made a chalkboard wall! It’s really cool!

chalkboard

9. I got to see my sister this year! She lives in North Carolina. {Oh, P.S.-she got engaged in December (the one that was 1 day ago)}!

sis

10. I made bread pudding for the first time ever. With bananas & chocolate chips in it.

bread

Thanks for listening and Happy 2015!

Love,

Carmen

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{Chris & Kallie} Photo Shoot

November 25th, 2014

These two are A D O R A B L E They just celebrated their one year anniversary and in a few months they are leaving for the Peace Corp! The will be working in Ghana. I work at a school for high risk youth and that’s where I met Kallie. She

 

These two are A D O R A B L E

They just celebrated their one year anniversary and in a few months they are leaving for the Peace Corp!

The will be working in Ghana.

I work at a school for high risk youth and that’s where I met Kallie. She was an intern while working on her MSW. We’ve kept in touch since she completed her internship. Kallie & I started a garden together at our school!

These two celebrated their 1-year anniversary in North Georgia (the same time I was hiking at Springer Mountain and Three Forks}. We were camping about an hour away from one other. Kallie and I both fell and sprained our ankles on our trips! Craziness!

I feel lucky to be the one who gets to capture the light that just radiates out of these two before they leave on their journey.

^ I love hanging bulbs from trees. I also love this pic in black & white…

And WHO had the crazy idea of wrapping them in Christmas lights?

I’m so excited for you guys! I can’t wait to see photos and hear of the awesome work you’re doing in Ghana! Let’s do this again when you get back!

xoxo Love,

Carmen

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{The Funeral}

November 13th, 2014

Photography (especially photographer websites) usually highlights the good stuff like weddings, engagements, happy couples having babies, etc. but sometimes photography captures events that aren’t normally considered happy. I don’t consider funerals

 

Photography (especially photographer websites) usually highlights the good stuff like weddings, engagements, happy couples having babies, etc. but sometimes photography captures events that aren’t normally considered happy. I don’t consider funerals happy and I’m sure many people think that even talking about it is “morbid” but I don’t think so.

I didn’t grow up with my biological father but as I got older our relationship grew into something very special. On July 4th of 2013 my father, Randy, was vacationing at Holden Beach in North Carolina and got caught in a rip current. He was the 4th person to die on the beach over a 3 day span due to the rip current in that area. Five people died in total. The day my sister called and told me what happened I kept hitting “refresh” on this website to see if my dad’s name was really there. It finally showed up the next morning and I knew it was true.

The following photos are photos of my father’s funeral. I’m not posting this to make anyone sad. I’m posting these here because I recently realized that this is my photography page {and blog} and I can {and should} sometimes write about things that are personal. I haven’t done anything with these photos in over a year and I recently revisited them. At time time, it seemed sort of awkward to be taking photos at my father’s funeral but looking back…I’m glad I did it. I don’t look at them and feel sad. Instead, I look at them and feel connected. I feel happy for good memories and being close to my brother and sister again.

The above photo was from the viewing. It was tough being there and I didn’t want to move from the spot I was in.

My brother says his last goodbye’s

…and helps carry our father to his final resting place.

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“End Of May”

Golden haze,
Another morning feels like yesterday.
End of may..
Now you’re gone and there’s still bills to pay.
And you know it doesn’t help to make believe, you’re sitting next to me.
It doesn’t help, to make believe that you are right behind me
Saying it’s okay.

Longer days,
More time to sit and watch the pendulum sway.
In quiet rage I’m staring at this empty notebook page.
In times like these you feel like you are done with feeling,
You feel you want to stop the pain from healing
Because you feel like you’re the only one,
Who’s ever felt this way.

Some days in a daze, there’s brighter days.
Funny how the feeling never stays,
But I know I’ll have to come to terms when I’m awake,
Thinking about you is the icing on the cake.
Makes me realize the fact you’re gone for good for goodness sake.

Golden haze, another morning feels like yesterday.
End of may, a year is gone and I still feel this way,
When we meet again, I’ll ask you how you’re doing
And you’ll say fine and ask me how I’m doing

And then I’ll lie and I’ll say ordinary, It’s just an ordinary day.

It’s just an ordinary day

It’s just an ordinary day

– Michael Buble

Lots of love,

Carmen

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{Holiday Mini-Photo Sessions}

November 9th, 2014


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{Ryan & Jess} Engagement Shoot + A Conversation About Depression

November 9th, 2014

You know the movies that start at the end? That’s what this post is about. Sorta. Ryan & Jess are married and they have been for over a year but I’m just now getting to creating this post. Bet you are wondering why. Well, the “why” isn’t that

 

You know the movies that start at the end? That’s what this post is about. Sorta. Ryan & Jess are married and they have been for over a year but I’m just now getting to creating this post. Bet you are wondering why. Well, the “why” isn’t that easy but let me try to explain. Some of you that follow this blog and those of you who know me personally may know I’ve suffered great loss over the past few years. The debilitating kind. The kind you don’t understand until it happens to you. The loss of a parent, a significant relationship, a job, most of my personal possessions and my personal freedom.

I tried very hard the past couple years to pull myself out of this funk. I tried natural remedies, I went outside, I spent time outdoors. I took photos (when I didn’t really feel like it), I spent time with friends (didn’t really feel like doing that either), I went for long bike rides and combed beaches for shark teeth. Sounds a little bit like a dream, huh? The truth of the matter is I was suffering from a deep depression and no matter what I did I just couldn’t pull myself up far enough out of the hole to see some sort of light.

I tried very hard (and for a very long time) to avoid medication. I hate Big Pharma. I secretly judged people on anti-depressants as weak. I didn’t take depression seriously because I’ve always been impatient and I’d tell myself things like: “I don’t have time for this”, “get over it” or “I’m not one of “those people” and “just hang on a little longer because it will pass”. But, no matter how many walks I took on the beach I just couldn’t seem to feel better. At the behest of a God-sent couple I like to call my “Jacksonville parents” I committed to talking to a therapist and, of course, he asked me to obtain an evaluation from a doctor. It took about 8 months for me to make the decision to try medication.

The day I had to pick up the medication I sat in the parking lot of the pharmacy for an hour sobbing uncontrollably before I could go inside. I was still angry and resistant. It wasn’t easy. It took a few weeks for me to get used to the new medication and even though I was given the lowest dose, because of my sensitivities to medication, I cut the script into 1/2 and it’s helped a TON!

The reason I am sharing this is I want to be someone who doesn’t hide. I want to be transparent about my suffering, if anything to normalize depression and possibly help save a life. Nobody should be judged for wanting to feel better, but more than that you do not have to suffer needlessly if you don’t have to. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and loved ones if they are depressed. Have a real conversation with people. Don’t judge how they are feeling by what they post on Facebook. A year ago I met a friend for lunch that had recently moved out of the city. He asked how I was doing and I was honest with him. He said he couldn’t tell I was depressed by my Facebook posts. The flip side to that coin is I had a friend tell me she knew I was depressed because when I’m sad I only post links to music. That was actually insightful because I realized she was right! Nothing to say? Here, I’ll just post this sad song to express my mood.

So back to Ryan & Jess. These two were really patient with me and even though they may not have been able to tell I was suffering they saw the light in me when I couldn’t. They also trusted me to photograph their wedding, which I also did. I recently started looking at photo shoots I’ve done over the past two years and I realized there are a lot of very special, beautiful photos that have just been hiding on my hard drive. Jess worked really hard on ideas for this photo shoot and that’s why I want to share it, even though this adorable couple has been married over a year and is expecting their first child!

Without further adieu…

J&R

These two cuties met in the Navy. They have very special job titles that my silly civilian brain cannot remember. :-)

J&R

J&R

I’m sure it’s something top secret anyway and I’m not supposed to remember. I LOVE that ^ banner. It says “Better Together”.

J&R

The colors they used in their outfits are perfect.

J&R

And I L O V E this Scrabble idea!

J&R

The date was saved and all is well. Here’s proof…from one of my favorite photos on their wedding day.

Thanks for reading.

Love, Carmen