My great photography

Welcome!  I am a pet and portrait photographer located in {usually} sunny Jacksonville, Florida. I specialize in natural light and outdoor settings.

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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{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.

 

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


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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.

F6

“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


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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

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{The Pratt-Forte} Photo Shoot

November 8th, 2014

I love this sweet family! Baby Liam and his daddy were so sweet with their matching caps. Adria used to be my boss! Luckily she had Liam and decided to stay home and take care of him…because now we can be friends outside of work and we


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I love this sweet family!

Family

Baby Liam and his daddy were so sweet with their matching caps.

Daddy & Liam

Baby!

Adria used to be my boss! Luckily she had Liam and decided to stay home and take care of him…because now we can be friends outside of work and we don’t have to worry about those little things called boundaries. :-) AND we are working on creating a business together using art therapy!

Adria

Cute Liam

Liam is Billy & Adria’s first little one!

Adria & Liam

I saved the best for last…

Family

Thanks for checking out this sweet shoot!

Love, Carmen

P.S – I’ll be offering holiday mini-sessions starting November 17th and ending December 14th. Details to follow!

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{The Lafferty’s}

September 26th, 2014

Hello all! It’s been so long since I’ve posted anything. There have been so many changes in my life in the past year but I’ll get to that in another post. For now I wanted to show you a few photos from a shoot I had with this beautiful family.


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Hello all! It’s been so long since I’ve posted anything. There have been so many changes in my life in the past year but I’ll get to that in another post. For now I wanted to show you a few photos from a shoot I had with this beautiful family. Hailey is a local photographer and her hubs is a local youth pastor. It’s always fun to collaborate and share ideas and the location of this photo shoot was fantastic if you want a soft, woodsy vibe to your photos.

HFFBa

HFFBd

HFFBc

HFFBeAdorbs.

Thanks for taking a peek.  ~ Carmen

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{Katie} Photo Shoot

September 16th, 2013

Meet Katie. She’s beautiful. She has an awesome smile. She has a great sense of humor. She’s a great friend. She loves God and her life’s work involves being a missionary. She works with women involved in the sex trade. You can read more about


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Meet Katie.

KatieFl

She’s beautiful. She has an awesome smile. She has a great sense of humor. She’s a great friend. She loves God and her life’s work involves being a missionary. She works with women involved in the sex trade. You can read more about her on her blog. I can say with 100% certainty that Katie appeared in my life just at the right time and I thank God that we met! She leaves for Spain in one week!

Katie

Between her textured scarves, colorful clothing and unique jewelry she had so much going on I just wanted to keep taking photos of all the details.

Katie

Another thing about Katie is she has these awesome scarves that she’s collected from all over the world. The one below was handmade by women coming out of the sex trade. Rethreaded is a local company, here in Jacksonville that…

“…provides a four-month holistic training program for women in the Jacksonville, Florida area who are coming out of lives of addiction, violence, human trafficking, and prostitution. Many of these women leave prison with felony records, creating significant challenges to employment. Rethreaded is a safe place where women are paid a living wage to become artisan seamstresses and “upcycle” donated t-shirts into new creations for sale.”

Katie

You should “like” them on Facebook! Okay, now back to Katie.

Katie

I have to tell you that when Katie arrived on scene her car looked as though she was in the process of moving. Probably because she had stuffed 8 rugs, 25 pillows and one lamp on the inside. Oh, and clothes. Lots of clothes.

Katie

We spread it all out on the ground and made it look like a living room. In the middle of the park. So it looked a little something like this.

Katie

We got some funny looks. But, it was fun.

Katie

Katie

~ Carmen

P.S – Katie, I am sooooooo sooooooo glad you’re now a part of my life. (Even if it IS when you’re going to be 10,000 miles away). You’ve also touched every one of my friends that were able to meet you and we are all going to miss you! Can’t wait to see you next time! I’ll hold down the fort. ;) I made this picture for you with your favorite Bible verse. Love you!

Verse

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{Liana & Cara} Photo Shoot

September 12th, 2013

I was so happy when Liana contacted me about a photo shoot of her daughter! This little girl is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! She was great to photograph. During the photo shoot Cara had a visit from two little friends…Madison and Kielei. And


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I was so happy when Liana contacted me about a photo shoot of her daughter! This little girl is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! She was great to photograph. During the photo shoot Cara had a visit from two little friends…Madison and Kielei. And now for the many faces of Cara…

Glasses

She looks so serious! LOL I love it.

Cara

And here’s Cara with her mom, Liana.

Cara

Madison, Kieleiand Cara played and eventually I pulled Cara and Liana away to take this photo. What? The sign in the background is fun.

Cara

I love this little bear. Cara’s daddy is in the Navy and is currently stationed somewhere in the Mediterranean. If you don’t know about Operation Gratitude you should check it out. http://www.operationgratitude.com/

Cara

And then we found this little path.

Cara

And we were REALLY grateful that Madison and Kielei’s mom, Jordan, brought this rocking chair with her to our photo shoot! And then we played in the field!

Cara

and then I tried to get all of the girls to pose in the chair…

 

 

 

Cara

But Madison didn’t have time for the rocking chair. She did, however, have time for bubbles. (and a grumpy-ish face)

Madison

And here is what Kielei had for us.

KieLie

The thing about Kielei is she will try anything once. If only for a minute. She will also eat anything. Well, except for blueberries. She doesn’t like those. Here is her daddy giving her a flower. Her mommy (Jordan) is holding her.

Flower

Cara’s mom, Liana, knows Jordan and Kielei because she works at the daycare on the Navy base. Liana is one of her teachers. :-) The next two photos need none of my drab commentary. But *sniff* how sweet (and sad) are they?

Cara

There were more pictures but I’m seriously overwhelmed by all of them. I hope this collage of photos tells a story and makes sense. As soon as Andrew (Cara’s daddy and Liana’s hubby), gets back from deployment we will do a family photo shoot! Sending prayers and blessings to this sweet family and all of our service men and women serving our country.

Awe

~ Carmen

P.S. – Note to self: When you tell a client to meet you at “the field” you should probably have a landmark. Like, other than just “the field” off Roosevelt. You know, the field. *lol*

P.P.S – See below for the “after photo shoot” shenanigans. They were all beating on the back of Alex’s truck. Good way to end the night.

LOL

 

 

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{Holly & Alberto} Are Having a Baby!

July 3rd, 2013

Well, actually they’ve already HAD the baby. This post is just late. *-* Better late than never…?       Look at these little shoes! Here is Holly with her sister, Stephanie. These guy kept my laughing. Dad’s a


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Well, actually they’ve already HAD the baby. This post is just late. *-* Better late than never…?

 

 

Baby

 

Baby

Look at these little shoes!

Baby

Here is Holly with her sister, Stephanie.

Baby

These guy kept my laughing. Dad’s a firefighter and mom is a nurse.

Baby

Baby

Baby

This was a great spot to take photos! So many trees!

Baby

Baby

and…haha!!

Baby

Love you guys!

~ Carmen

P.S – Holly’s sister, Stephanie…she’s my BFF and Holly was the photographer in these! Thanks, Holly!

Dorks

 

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{The Hernandez Wedding} Shhhhh…they eloped

April 2nd, 2013

Rick & Krystal met in the summer of 2011. She was a server in a restaurant at the beach and when he walked in it was pretty much over. Krystal says “you know how people always tell you that “you’ll just know”, well this was definitely one of

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Rick & Krystal met in the summer of 2011. She was a server in a restaurant at the beach and when he walked in it was pretty much over. Krystal says “you know how people always tell you that “you’ll just know”, well this was definitely one of those “you just know” situations”.  One of the first romantic trips they took was to St Augustine so they decided it would be the perfect place to return as a family and exchange vows. They decided to get married at The Love Tree.

LoveTreeBlog

Apparently if you kiss underneath the “Love Tree” your love will last forever.

Also, as I was editing these sweet photos I found I kept listening to this song {which you should listen to right now}

Hazy

Krystal

Man this is such a beautiful family!

Augustine Gate

…and back at The Love Tree

Hernandez Family

Seriously?!? The look on Ezra’s face…so adorable. He was so sweet and friendly. Here’s what I totally love about Krystal…she pays attention to the details. Just look at this awesome banner! She went crazy on Etsy. {and even bought me a gift! How flippin’ sweet is this woman!}

Just Married

I’m glad we took photos early because it started raining as soon as they exchanged their vows!  I really really really loved the banner and the colors she chose for her wedding details couldn’t have been more perfect! Below is Ezra’s little pin for his outfit.

Details

A few more details…”YAY!!!”

Details

The exchange of vows ceremony was sweet with just a few people stopping to watch.

Ceremony

I love black & white edits at weddings. They have a certain feel to them that the color versions do not. I like to add a little grain to them so it seems like they were taken with my old school Canon 35mm

Bride

This is what passerby’s saw

Ceremony

And in the end, this was such a beautiful wedding that I feel very grateful to have been a part of. Thank you Rick, Krystal & Ezra for letting me capture this special event.

~ Carmen

P.S. – Krystal gave me a gift (a beautifully wrapped one)! It was this beautiful bag that has little cameras on it. I’d never received a gift from a bride before!

Gift

P.P.S – A photog friend of mine, Fred (I call him FredD), came with me to St Augustine to help me photograph the wedding. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about FredD in the future!