Happy Little Tree Photography: Blog https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog en-us Happy Little Tree Photography (Happy Little Tree Photography) Wed, 25 Jul 2018 20:17:00 GMT Wed, 25 Jul 2018 20:17:00 GMT https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/img/s/v-5/u290770645-o552895990-50.jpg Happy Little Tree Photography: Blog https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog 80 120 Match Maker! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/7/match-maker Caught your eye?

Thinking this blog was gonna be about Bumble or Tinder?

Well not quit!

I am trying to play matchmaker.........with bone marrow.

I have one friend. Yup just one.

Let's be honest, I'm very busy and kinda a b*itch so I don't know how she puts up with me.

Her sister developed cancer and needed bone marrow.

My first thought was, "Well she has lots of family, one of them must be a match!"

Nope, partial match.

Then someone half a world away donated to her without evening knowing her.

Then in the last year alone I saw it happen three more times.


These wonderful, beautiful souls waiting and waiting for a match so they could get better and live their lives.

So I signed up!

I knew nothing of the process so I imagined nurses, thick needles and sterile rooms.

Imagine my surprise when an envelope and a cotton swab end up on my door step.


That was all it took to sign up to be a bone marrow match for someone in need.

It was easier and less time then cooking, getting my driver's license, changing oil, painting my nails, washing my hair, calling my sister.

You get the idea.

It is pretty darn easy to do.

So just take one little, tiny minute and go to the website below and they will mail you a kit!

No paying for postage, no needles and big rewards.

Not only will this make you a better human being it will make another human being better!




Brooklyn 5yr-52Brooklyn 5yr-52



(Happy Little Tree Photography) be bone cancer marrow match omaha photographer the https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/7/match-maker Wed, 25 Jul 2018 20:16:46 GMT
All The Single Ladies...... https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/7/all-the-single-ladies Baby Animals

Day 7 & 8 of our 12 days of Christmas Giveaway was a photoshoot with a baby animal.

Spring came late and only lasted a week.

Then I was gone the month of June.

So we are finally getting around to the baby animals!

First I had to figure out how to get the animals.

Lots of my clients have farms and offered up there animals.

I just had Easter so I did not want to do bunnies, chicks or goats.

I had a lot of people offer their puppies but couldn't travel.

I called the Wonder Woman who comes to my studio with her bunnies and she had a solution.


I called up my clients at the last minute and they agreed on a spot!

Well I should of scouted the location before hand. There were two charity walks going on there that day.

We found a clear patch of green and made it work!

Of course the kids loved it.

I couldn't help but laugh. These tiny little fluff balls were stalking around the grass in full pounce mode trying to act much bigger then they were!

I feel like I should do kitten sessions every week they were so adorable!

The biggest lesson I learned was before the shoot though.

Chelsea and I were setting up across the parking lot, away from the charity run chaos.

We walked back to her vehicle to get the kittens.

As we approached the back of the open van there were no less then five extremely ripped, glowing, tanned, well muscled men that looked like they stepped off a firemen's calendar.

All of them in a semi circle around the van clutching a small kitten to their burly chests like they had found treasure.

You know that cartoon where they set a trap with a box and they pull the stick on a string when you reach for your prize?

It felt almost like that.

So all you single ladies I wish someone had told me in my twenties you just need to go to a random parking lot with a van full of kittens to snag a man!

You're Welcome!

xSummer 2018_-22xSummer 2018_-22




(Happy Little Tree Photography) 12 christmas days kittens men https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/7/all-the-single-ladies Wed, 18 Jul 2018 14:43:31 GMT
Pinterest Fail........Again https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/6/pinterest-fail-again I got exciting news that a long time client of mine was due with their first baby in a month!

I also knew that they have prayed for this and had heartbreak in the past.

I wanted to do something beautiful to honor their rainbow baby.

I saw this gorgeous maternity dress.

There were three different versions and a sash version floating around on maternity sites.

All of them sold out.

I tried Easy but it would take 6 weeks and 400 dollars.

I spent days emailing dress rental sites from California to Florida. All were booked out until July.

I posted on forums asking to rent it from privately from photographers. No one messaged.

So two days before the shoot I said screw it!

I went online and ordered 5 yards of each color of the rainbow in beautiful translucent chiffon.

The next morning I walked into the fabric store.

It was packed! There were at least ten older ladies waiting with arms full of fabric to be cut chatting away.

I pulled a ticket number and got behind them.

The kid behind the counter then called out, "42".

I looked at my ticket expecting to see 50 or 60.

The entire line got really quiet as they realized none of them had drawn a number.

I sheepishly smiled and got a sash cut to attach all of my chiffon to.

I am not skilled enough to make a dress so a sash it is.

I also picked up heat tape which just lets you iron fabric together because as you guessed it I also can't sew.

I got home and after Flynn went to bed that night I went to get all my supplies together.

No iron.

When had my iron disappeared? I don't know I'm a bad housewife!

So the next morning I borrowed an iron. 

I dropped Flynn off at Preschool.

I sat down on my living room floor and laid everything out.

I start pulling out all of the beautiful chiffon I ordered!

First the red, then orange, then yellow and then it went horribly wrong.

The next three colors I pulled out were not chiffon.

They were a thick, scratchy broad clothe I would not make a potato sack out of!

Ok I still had a few hours. I could do this! My session was not until the evening!

I ran to the store and cut 5 yards of each of the missing rainbow colors and drove home as fast as I could without getting a ticket.

I spread all 7 colors out in the order they were to be ironed onto the sash.

Then I reached for the sash.


The bag containing the sash and the heat tape was missing.

I swear it was right there on the floor next to the brand new iron all ready for me before I went to the fabric shop.

I searched EVERYWHERE for it!

By this time there is only an hour to go until the shoot and I still have to pack up my gear and drive out to the site.

I run to the cupboard where we keep gift wrap and pull out a Christmas holiday ribbon.

I then run downstairs to my husband's work desk and steal his stapler.

I line up the colors on the holiday sash and start stapling like a madman!

Half way through I run out of staples.

At this point I am pretty sure the gods are laughing at me.

My husband then comes home with a half hour to go and is treated with the sight of me running around opening draws and boxes looking for more staples!

He helps me find more, I staple staple staple and then grab my bag and run out the door to arrive for my session right on time.

I love the images we got.

I have used it twice already.

I will next week hire a seamstress to appropriately attach the material too a proper sash.

I also will never ever make another Pinterest project again!!!!!!




(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha photographer Pinterest rainbow sash https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/6/pinterest-fail-again Sat, 23 Jun 2018 05:12:19 GMT
Somewhere https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/6/somewhere My son likes poetry.

Since birth.

I do not.

Not just the New Kid On The Block and Where The Sidewalk Ends.

Garden Verse with Stevenson, Emerson, Poe.

It puts me to sleep before him.

It actually took me two years to completely understand and speak The Maldive Shark fluidly.

Some of them I dread him asking for.

Rossetti is one of them.

Until I found the following poem.

This year I have had more wonderful Mommas to Be come to me with Rainbow Babies.

For those of you that don't know pregnancy and birth following a miscarriage or child loss is a Rainbow Baby.

So when I read this poem it spoke to me not as a child's verse but as a Mom.

The Rainbow

By Christina Rossetti

Boats sail on the rivers,
And ships sail on the seas;
But clouds that sail across the sky
Are prettier than these.
There are bridges on the rivers,
As pretty as you please;
But the bow that bridges heaven,
And overtops the trees,
And builds a road from earth to sky,
Is prettier far than these.


(Happy Little Tree Photography) baby christina omaha photographer poem poetry rainbow rossetti https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/6/somewhere Sun, 10 Jun 2018 15:19:48 GMT
This Is Your Brain On Kat. https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/5/this-is-your-brain-on-kat Jekyll & Hyde

Day 12 of My Twelve Days of Xmas Giveaway.

Who would you want to be if you could do a shoot as that person?

I got a variety of answers!

Carrie Underwood

Lady Gaga

Michael Jackson

Wonder Woman

Jessica Rabbit and more.

But Katie won the session.

Katie wanted to be Kat.

Kat Von D

I did a little research. Black, black, black and more black. Ok got it.

And Tattoos. Everywhere.

Ok got it.

I shopped for some gigantic tattoos. Skulls and flames. Hearts and flowers. 

hmmm I'll just get some of both.

Tight black clothing. Well that was easy enough to find.

Now wig or no wig? 

No wig. I still wanted Katie to shine through.

Now for stunning makeup.

Well we called Shantel of course!

We took a few photos of Katie as she is everyday.

Then we stripped her down so that I could apply tattoos everywhere as Shantel gave her gorgeous Kat eyes.

I kept the exact same light as the before photos but with one exception I just added a hair light.

It was a blast! I had so much fun shooting something I normally wouldn't.

I have been trying to talk someone into doing this session for years! 

I am so happy with the results I want to do it myself now! LOL

Comment below and tell me who you would want to be!

Alive, historical, fictional anything goes!


(Happy Little Tree Photography) d hyde jeykll kat katie omaha photographer von https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/5/this-is-your-brain-on-kat Mon, 21 May 2018 00:49:48 GMT
SURPRISE!!!! Well Kinda! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/5/surprise-well-kinda Elijah contacted me two months ago well before Mother's Day.

"Tree do you think I can purchase a session for Emmy and Eden? What do you think she would like?"

He was going to keep it a surprise but some women want to actually prepare for these things. LOL

So after a day of pampering Emmy and Eden spent part of their Saturday in a field with me.

Singing, having tea and cookies and slightly praying the heavens didn't open up and drench us.

Eden is at one of the tougher ages to shoot.

18 month olds do not stop moving and aren't old enough to follow directives for long.

But with a shoot like this it doesn't matter.

The only thing you are trying to capture is the relationship between Mother and Daughter and how they interact.

I am not trying to get her sitting in a chair, looking straight at the camera and smiling.


I got something much better.

Her plucking dandelions and giving them to Mom.

Finding out Mom is wearing jewelry and trying to take it.

Walking down the path and exploring while still being safe and holding Mom's hand.

Making Mom think she was going to share a bite of her cookie and changing her mind and popping it all in her mouth at the last minute.

Why do I love these sessions so much?

Because Mom's are usually the ones taking the photos.

If they are even in the picture it is usually an arms length selfie that does not do them or their connection with their child justice.

So Significant Others out their take notice.

This is not just for Mother's Day.

This is year round love that needs to be captured.

Mommy & Me 2018-2Mommy & Me 2018-2

(Happy Little Tree Photography) and cookies me mommy omaha photographer session tea https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/5/surprise-well-kinda Thu, 17 May 2018 19:36:16 GMT
Music To My Ears https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/5/music-to-my-ears Winter is Strong.

Winter is Beautiful.

Winter is Fearless.

Winter is also the slender reed of a girl I have been photographing since she was one.

At the moment I am trying not to get whacked in the face by branches as she leads the way through the park.

She has spotted a part of the park she wants to photograph in.

So of course I listen to the seven year old on where to shoot.

She is really the one running the show. Not me.

As she plows on ahead through the thorny brush she starts humming.

Hmmmm I know that from somewhere.

After a minute she starts scatting.


For those of you that don't know Scat is like a crazy mix of onomatopoeia vocalized that sounds like it's own instrument. Think Louie Armstrong.

As I'm listening it hits me like a flash to my childhood.

I had that album.

I turn to her mother.

"Who taught her the scat to Minnie The Moocher?!!!!!"

Her Mom laughed, "Well she has an awesome music teacher."


I would like to thank her music teacher Mrs. English, 

for making my heart happy in the knowledge that out there is a little will of the wisp of a girl singing Cab Calloway instead of Kid's Bop.

Winter 7yr-121Winter 7yr-121

(Happy Little Tree Photography) cab calloway omaha photographer scat winter https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/5/music-to-my-ears Wed, 09 May 2018 14:28:37 GMT
Book It! Part Eleven - The Week Before https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/4/book-it-part-eleven---the-week-before Week of Prep-

I usually contact the bride and groom at the start of the week to see if there is any drama or changes to the timeline I should know of. 


I had one bride who just never got back to me about anything. The morning of her wedding I finally texted her. "So I show up at two at Lake Heron for your ceremony?" She immediately got back to me. "OH God no! We moved our wedding months ago to Blue Lake an hour away.” This is why communication is important.


Wedding is Saturday? Do not get your bags together Friday do it on Thursday. This gives you a whole day for if something is wrong to fix it. Your main lens won’t focus? You have a whole day to rent one or find someone to loan one to you. Where as if you are doing it late Friday night or the morning of you are screwed with time.


Go through your gear, make sure it is clean, functioning and you have backups of everything. Have it already to go. I put coordinates in GPS, my phone and also do a paper print out of directions and address and phone numbers. I can not tell you how many times on cloudy days gps had failed and paper directions have saved the day. I also make sure any assistants or second shooters have copies as well.


I had a wedding with a young lady as my assistant. I was two hours away in a small town shooting a wedding. Her job for the day was really to drive my car to the reception and man a Photo Booth that was a backdrop and a box of props. After the wedding I hopped on the party bus and she took my car. I left my phone on the bus while the bridal party and I were living it up in a field. Hop on the bus an hour had gone by and see twenty call to my phone. I call her back. She has been driving around in circles and can not find the place. She is screaming and crying hysterically at this point. I try to talk her down and give her directions. I hand the phone to a grooms men who tries to give her directions. After twenty minutes of trying to tell her how to get there. She texts me and says her boyfriend is driving out to come get her, she is leaving my car a half hour away with the doors unlocked and the keys in it. Luckily no one stole my car or my backup gear in it. I had to refund my couple the money they paid for a Photo Booth. I stayed until the very end of the night and made sure to captured extra fun shots to make up for this. We were in a small town in the middle of nowhere with no taxis. A generous bridesmaid and groomsmen took the half hour out of their long day to drive me to the town she left my car at. I gave them a free family photoshoot and am still friends with them to this day. When I later tel this story people immediately think to side with me and feel bad but I was not a good boss and should of had her prepped including a directions print out of all information.


You should also pack snacks and water. You will need them. You often don’t have time to eat until everyone is served at the reception except to steal in a granola bar here and there. These are long days and you do not want to pass out. There are also times when even though you discussed it you are not fed at the venue and have to make due.


Clothes- I usually wear all black or gray. The material is durable, needs to be easy to wipe dust and dirty off of. Most churches are really dusty. It needs to be clean, no tears and long enough to cover plumbers crack and high enough that you are not giving the groomsmen a show. This can be tricker then you think. You might think your breasts are covered but then you camera strap swings down exposing a whole boob. I love pants because then you don’t have to worry about the wind blowing your skirt up. During hot summers I do love a skirt but I do recommend shorts underneath. If it is a hot summer I know a lot of people and I even recommend it to bridesmaids and bride that you but deodorant on your thighs, no rash, sweat and grossness. I try not to wear jewelry or anything a kid or my camera can catch on and break. i do wear a watch so that it does not look like I am constantly looking at my phone for time. Comfortable sneakers are a must, there is not much off your feet time.  I really to believe you should fade into the background.


I once showed up to a Catholic wedding and the videographer was wearing combat boots, a tutu, and cotton candy pink hair. I actually liked her look and she was a good videographer, but people looked at her more then the bride and it was like a neon sign moving about the church and actually distracting during the ceremony. I believe in showing off your personality but I believe even more that this day is not about you and you should shoot for a neutral look like a guest not an attraction.


You should also keep extra clothes in your car incase you split a seam, fall in some mud or there was that lovely time my assistant showed up to a wedding in khaki shorts and a tank top so I had her change into one of my backup dresses.


Emergency Bag-

I use to carry a tackle box that had everything I thought might come in handy for the couple: double sided tape, pens, deodorant, wisp tooth brushes, a sewing kit and more. It rescued many a wedding but I had a bridesmaid walk off with it. After that I paired it down to the essential emergency items that were always used and keep them in my shooting bag. 


What in the bag!

I use to use a slingback bag but it didn’t have enough room. I now use a Think Tank Streetwalker Pro. Durable, lightweight, breathable. I like to be able to keep my bag on my back because sometimes we are moving fast across a field and I do not want to have to go back a lugg along a rolling bag. I actually pack lighter then a lot of wedding photographers.


In the bag (at least):


2 camera bodies- 2 zoom, 2 prime lenses, 8 camera batteries, 2 battery chargers, shooting cards in a weatherproof case (compact and sd), a set of macro filters, 2 flashes, 2 transmitters, gel pack, extra sync cords, rain sleeve, hot shoe video light, triple and double A batteries, loose cash, swiss army knife, scissors, pens, smarties, extra directions and numbers papers, tape light stand umbrella. reflector kept in car. On some occasions my card reader and laptop with an iPad.


Lets go through the what and why of each item.


2 camera bodies- you need at least two, you always need a backup it is not a matter of if but when a camera body will stop working at a wedding. I use Canon but am thinking of switching to Sony. I have not been happy with the shadow recovery and low light focus on Canon. I did look at Nikon and enjoyed the quality but not the camera design on button placement with the way I shoot.


I was shooting a wedding the next town over from my home. We did first look and I just snapped the last family formal shot when my camera came up with Error 99. It was 45 minutes until the wedding. I tried new batteries, lenses, cleaning it, turning it on and off, calling the local camera shop and calling my friends to see if anyone could drive me out a camera, all no help. i drove down the street crying and screaming like a maniac to the local Walmart. I had just enough money in my account to buy a Rebel camera body. I did and dove like the wind back to the church. The ceremony started 15 minutes late and the Bride's Dad was pretty sure I was a psycho on the verge of a heart attack but the rest of the day went by ok. I lucked out. It could have been far worse. I have never shot another wedding without a backup.


In fact I was shooting a wedding a few years later and was doing portraits in the church before the ceremony when my camera stopped working. My second shooter actually panicked and started freaking out saying, “What are you going to do?” I laughed and grabbed my backup from my bag. She breathed a sigh of relief and said she did not have a backup. It was the last time I used her. Ideally you should have 3 or even four because shit definitely happens.


Your camera bodies should be professional calibar with high iso range. Why? Because you can't reshoot and you get into some crazy spots. Almost all churches will tell you no flash no matter how dark they are.


I had a bride who moved her wedding date and I was not available. I called a friend who was open.  Two weeks after the Bride’s wedding she came to me and said, “Oh everything went great but is there anyway I could fix these images for her." The church said no flash. She was shooting with a Canon Rebel in Automatic mode. The iso did not go anywhere near as high as it needed to and in automatic mode it was trying to figure out light not movement. Every single ceremony shot was completely blurry and unfixable.


New Years Eve Wedding- gorgeous light and church all day, until sun set at 6pm. The ceremony was at 6:30pm. No flash and literally one tiny penlight at the front of the church, one of the darkest shoots ever. Even with my lens opened up to 2.0 my Mark II could not go high enough at 6400 iso. I had to pick up my Mark III and shoot the entire ceremony at 12,800 iso. I would have been screwed if I did not have professional gear.


You should always test your cameras out and get to know them before actual paying clients so you know what you are doing. Give yourself homework practice on friends. Something as simple as putting on the camera strap. I remember i opened up my new Mark II at a beautiful stone floor church. Did not take the time to set it uo as I should of before my client's big day. Put the strap on it, stood up and that beautiful new camera slid off the strap and hit that hard stone floor and slid. Extremely embarrassing and I deserved it, luckily the camera was ok but it was really dumb luck!


Lenses- You need fast lenses that can shoot at lower apertures and backup ones. I usually shoot with a 24 to 124 F4 L series lenses and 50mm prime. Why these? Well I would have the Zoom on my camera because it only goes down to F4. I forget to move up the 2.8 to 5.6 for family photos and have an entirely blurry back row of people. I love the beautiful Bokeh (blurry background) so I would shoot with a 50mm 1.4 for a lot of the getting ready. You really do need the 70-200 2.8  series lenses for when I was going to be in a church that would not let me near the front. This lense is actually the favorite of almost all wedding photographers. It is fast and has beautiful compression on the background. I bought a cheaper knock off Tamron for 800 instead of the 2 grand L series from Canon and I ended up selling it off because it was nowhere near as good.


Some people keep the lens hoods on to prevent flare and from anything touching the glass. I do not. I did put a protective filter on the from the startand call it good.


prime or zoom-

Some photogs would buy the 24-70 and the 70-200 and call it a day. Others would buy a 35, 50, 85, and 100 prime lenses and be happy. iIdo not like having to switch out my lens so I did not want to go the just prime route. I also love my shallow depth of field so I wanted prime. I discovered from looking at the meta data on my zoom photos that 90 percent of the time I was at the 50 mm mark anyway. So I would shoot with two cameras on my hips like an old west gun slinger, one zoom and one 50mm. This way when I need that wide gorgeous shot with the trees and sky I did not have to change lenses just grab the other camera on my hip then I could go back to my 50mm. 


Speaking of gunslinging your camera strap is important. Do not wear your camera around your neck. You will do permanent damage to the vertebrae there. If you can not afford a new strap yet wear it diagonal slung across your chest off your shoulder. Black Rapid and Money Makers make great camera strap systems. I did try out a handstrap but I can’t tell you how many times in my job I have had to just drop my camera to hang while I catch something a kid threw or give my bride my hands for help.


Video light- small compact, great for lighting details and cake also fun dancing shots.


Camera batteries- why 8? they go bad, don’t charge fully, run down quicker when shooting video like I do, or second shooters might need one, cold weather drains them. My no name brand ones died a lot quicker then my Canon ones but it is the difference between spending 60 dollars and 200. The extra chargers should be opbivious as a just in case. I have also have had wedding guests who are so upset because their camera battery died and I let them use my charger and they are grateful. One year alone I let batteries charging at 6 different venues and they were gone by the time I went back the next day for them. 6x200 for batteries and 6x50 for chargers and you have a $1500 mistake that year. This is why I love my Think Tank bag. At the end of the night when I open it up if there is an empty space I know I am missing something and grab it before heading out the door.


Shooting Cards- My camera uses Compact Flash cards, you will notice that in the above I mentioned I always carry SD cards as well. Just in case my second shooter needs one or sometimes the Mother of the Bride's camera ran out of memory and I will loan her one. My Mark III backs up to a compact flash card and an SD card which is great in case one fails!


The Compact flash cards are 3 times more expensive then SD cards. I do feel it is a lot easier to break and damage an SD Card. i have tried to save money by purchasing knock off brand cards and I have had a range of issues with different brands from, freezing to not being able to write the files fast enough, to corrupt files. i fully believe in Lexor and Sans Disk this is not something you want to take a chance with.


A strong durable case is important. When I use one card I put it in the case backwards as a signal that that card is used so my second shooter knows and so I don’t reach for it and reformat it. All of my cards are reformatted and ready before shooting. If I am working on a wedding I will not use those compact flash cards and will not reformat them until the wedding is out and approved of by the bride just in case something happens.


Macro filters- I love details shots but did not want to lug around an expensive macro lens for just a few detail shots. I bought a 10 dollar filter set off of Amazon that screws onto my 50mm and I love how easy is is to use and how little room it takes up.


Flashes- As always you need more then one for a backup and good light. I carry a transmitter for off camera flash for backlit shots. I spent 400 on a set of Pocket Wizards and was having problems with misfiring and humidity. I spent a 100 on a Phottix transmitter and have not had a problem since. I know a lot of photographers that like to spend the money on more expensive transmitters so they are able to change the flash setting remotely. I don’t feel the need to. Sync cords go bad so always have extra and I can’t tell you how many times groomsmen have borrowed them to hook their iPhone playlists up to the party bus. I also carry a small pack of gels so I can turn my flash a tungsten color to match the reception hall lights. Modifiers- there are so many out there from Gary Fong to MagMod. Everyone swears by something different try them out and find your fav. I like the Rogue benders, light portable and easy.


Rain sleeve- It is basically a big plastic bag with a draw string but you never know.

I was shooting a wedding at a field next to the Bride’s Grandmother’s house. Ten minutes before the wedding it starts sprinkling. The Bride looks up says “We are doing this,.” I slap my sleeve on and shoot the ceremony. 


Triple and Double AA batteries- lots! Flashes and transmitters take up a lot of batteries. I tried using rechargeable and bought several kinds from Energizer to Enloop but none worked well or stayed charged well so I went back to using regular batteries. There are different kinds of battery packs you can us but I have not had much success with them either.


Scissors, masking tape, pens, a permanent marker.

Scissors are a life saver and used none stop for things such as cutting tags off of Bridesmaids' dresses. Same with masking tape. I can’t tell you how many times my Swiss army knife has rescued a bottle of wine. I had an eloping couple have their wedding on the covered bridge from the movie Bridges of Madison County. So many couples signed the inside of the bridge. My groom was sad he had nothing to sign their names with until I pulled my trusty permanent marker out of my bag. Do you know how many times I have pulled out a pen for the marriage license to be signed? Such small things but they go a long way to making the day smoother and easier for your couples and they will remember your help.


Smarties- small colorless, easily concealed in the mouth, does not crush like cheerios and an instant easy bribe for kids!


Extra info papers for second shooters or bridal party or anyone else that needs one. 


Light stand and umbrella- The umbrella is usually only ever taken out for family formals and the stand for off camera flash and back lighting.


Loose change- parking meeting, tipping valets and bartenders, unexpected toll booths, dollar dance so many reasons to need money.


Wooden Hanger- because half the time their beautiful expensive wedding dress is on a cheap plastic hanger that looks like crap in photos.


Well that is the week before prep in a nutshell! Sure there is something I forgot! Comment Below if you think of something!

EA Wedding-398EA Wedding-398

(Happy Little Tree Photography) before gear omaha photographer prep week https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/4/book-it-part-eleven---the-week-before Wed, 18 Apr 2018 16:47:07 GMT
Life Edited https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/4/life-edited I usually am pretty proud of my little slideshows.

I can take a 15 hour day of shooting a wedding, condense it down to 3 minutes and feel like I captured it.

This is the first time I can truly say my slideshow is a lie.

I stopped shooting births since my daughter moved out of the house.

I can no longer just pack up and leave in the middle of the night and not have to worry about someone watching Flynn.

But when certain clients call you just say yes.

I had shot Brooke's Engagement, Wedding, 3 Maternity and Five Years of kids growing.

Oh and also the Births of her two other children.

So I can't say no right?

And start this third baby off with last child syndrome? No way! LOL

I watch the slideshow from last Thursday's events and it looks just like her other two children's slideshows.

Nervous waiting, Price Is Right, Pushing, Baby, Bath, Snuggles, Family.

Except I feel like it is a lie.

I have shot quite a few births, as well as having done it twice myself.

There was so much more going on then in the photos and it is not my story to tell.

I will just say this.

After witnessing Brooke's third child born I am convinced that not only is she Super Woman but that she is far stronger then I will ever be.

That she could quit possibly do Iron Man and Ninja Warrior at the same time and still come out the other side smiling and with her hair looking great.

To the beautiful little Fallon Gloria Hughes who I had privilege of documenting entering this world WELCOME!

You are already so loved!

In fact I am not sure your big sister has stopped hugging you yet and I know you have a Momma that will fight for you!


Fallon Birth-243Fallon Birth-243 Fallon Birth-375 copyFallon Birth-375 copy Fallon Birth-458Fallon Birth-458

(Happy Little Tree Photography) birth fallon hughes woman wonder https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/4/life-edited Tue, 17 Apr 2018 14:11:28 GMT
STD........ https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/3/std So here's a story for ya!

In my world STD usually stands for Save The Date.

Not this week!

Many of my clients are use to me babbling during sessions and have heard the story of my little mutant.

Flynn has a genetic mutation that cause not only missing teeth but they are shaped in sharp points like shark teeth.

Two of his front teeth are also missing which bring his long incisors to the front.

It really does add to the whole creepy leprechaun look.

Well my little mutant starts kindergarten in the fall.

We took him for his check up at the doctor's office.

Got his shots, eyes checked, ears checked. One healthy little boy.

I brought home his paperwork that I would have to give to the school.

I never read it. I was there. I know what it says.

As I tossed the papers on the table I noticed that under teeth it had a term I had not seen before.


At that moment my little sister called me.

"Hey Tree I have a friend whose child might have the same thing as Flynn. What is it called?"

I have never been able to pronounce the long a** name that his dentist calls it. So I figured Hutchinsons must be the short name for it since it was on his medical file.

"uh Tina it's called Hutchinsons."

A day goes by and my sister calls me back.

"uh Tree do you wanna talk?"

"Sure."   Eye roll we talk every morning.

"So you're ok?"

"Yeah why what's up?"

"Well it's just this whole Hutchinsons thing."

"Tina it's no big deal Flynn will need braces when he's older."

"Well the whole syphilis thing."

WAIT WHAT!!!!!!!!

I typed in Hutchinsons as fast as I could.

Turns out it is a teeth mutation also.................but it is caused by your mother having syphilis.

I called my dentist got the correct name and spelling for Flynn's mutation and have never driven to the doctor's office so fast.

I tried to keep my voice low why explaining at the front desk surrounded by waiting kids with their parents that yes indeed I did not have syphilis, never have, and there was a mistake on the chart.

My husband called me on my way home.

"So did you get your syphilis taken care of."

"Har har har very funny. Wait aren't you at the office? You turn around right now and tell all of your coworkers I do not have syphilis!!!"

I have a feeling that I have many years of bad jokes to come.

Flynn Imp-17Flynn Imp-17




(Happy Little Tree Photography) mutation omaha photographer syphilis teeth https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/3/std Sat, 17 Mar 2018 07:59:25 GMT
Fairies, Satyrs and Imps https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/3/fairies-satyrs-and-imps Last November my spawn was sitting beside me helping edit images.

As a side note when he does this quite a few of you end up with butterflies on your faces. These never make it into your galleries.

My Facebook pinged.

As I was typing a message my son was scrolling through my feed.

"WOW Mom! Look at that photo! That is an incredible photographer! Can I do that?"

The images he was looking at were from another local photographer offering fairy sessions.

I was not going to say no to him but:

A) He was calling another photographer incredible. Which made me jealous.

B) It was November and I am in the middle of the holiday photo-everyone-call-at-the-last-minute-to-try-and-get-the-entire-family-in craziness.

C) It was $250. Yes this photographer is worth it but we just got done paying for expensive college books with Thanksgiving and Xmas coming up.

D) His Mother is a photographer.

Photography is just like any other art.

Asking Picasso to paint like Caravaggio would be crazy.

I am not great with photoshop. I can edit skin and fly away hair, but making a magical scene look real was not in my wheel house.

I looked out the window.

The sun had almost set. 

We had maybe ten minutes tops before darkness. It was 45 degrees out.

This was my fault. I taught the boy to read and I have a love of A MidSummer Night's Dream.

I grabbed his hand and ran out the door with my camera.

We tromped through the park across the street for five minutes. 

He followed absolutely none of my directions which is why you don't photograph your own kids.

It was frustrating.

We got the shots and they sat on my computer for months.

I don't like to post a lot of personal work when I have client editing to do.

I finally opened up the files and Flynn helped me edit them, picking out which photos and what wings to use.

He loved them. I loved them. They were not what I had envisioned but they did seem to capture his mischievous side.

I was very happy. I do not photograph my own kids enough and I know I will regret that.

Last week I sat at lunch with my friend. I asked, "Did you see the Imp photos of Flynn? I......."

My lunch companion did not even let me finish.


"Oh well I posted them...."

"No I mean no I refuse to even look at them. That is the stupidest thing I have ever seen. Why would you even bother."

At this point I can tell you my mouth was hanging open in surprise and I was at a loss for words.

Not only surprised, I was a little hurt.

Yes they weren't your typical stand here and pose photos. Yes he wanted wings that some might consider a "girly" thing, but I really felt that if you looked at them you saw my son's personality and I love my son's crazy personality.

I feel bad that I did not have a response back.

I am still not sure what I would of said.

If I had a time machine or another chance that this is said again, what should I say?

What is a well mannered, educational response that will make another personal change their mind with feeling attacked or wrong?

Flynn Imp-8 copyFlynn Imp-8 copy Flynn Imp-5 copyFlynn Imp-5 copy Flynn Imp-6 copyFlynn Imp-6 copy



(Happy Little Tree Photography) fairy flynn imp omaha photographer response session https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/3/fairies-satyrs-and-imps Fri, 16 Mar 2018 21:16:16 GMT
Under The Weather https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/3/under-the-weather Last weekend I got to see so many happy familiar faces and many new ones as well!

They were all happy because they were holding cute fuzzy bunnies not because they got to see me.

Bunnies are some of the easiest sessions I ever do.

Everyone is happy.

The kids get to wear their Easter clothes more then once which makes Mom happy.

The kids get to snuggle fuzzy bunnies.

Plus let's face it I'm happy I don't have to do much work! 

The bunny wrangler moves the talent and keeps them happy.


Except something surprised me that I had never thought about before.

Half way through my sessions one of my regular clients walked through the door.


Round cheeked-big eyed-massive riot of red curls Paige.

I look up expecting to spend the next half hour gossiping and catching up with Paige's Mom and all I see is beard.

"uhhh Hi. Where's Becky?"

Paige's Dad had brought her.

Don't get me wrong he's a great guy but Dads usually only come out when forced into family photos.

"Her Mom is sick! She really wanted to come but just couldn't."

Well Paige rocked her session.

The biggest smiles. You could see the child's wonder at these small living creatures.

At the end of the session I turned to Dad.

"You know what I'm glad Mom is sick. Wait not that Mom is sick that she couldn't make it. Wait Wait Wait I love Becky but I am glad she gets to be surprised."

I had to stick my foot in my mouth a few times before getting the right idea out.

Becky was the only Mom in all of my bunny sessions that was going to be surprised by the images.

While I would never wish the flu on anyone I realized how rare it is for Moms to be surprised with photos.

I am going to make it my goal this year to try and reverse psychology all the significant others to think it is their idea to surprise their wife with photos after I harangue and sent subliminal messages through their Facebook, Youtube and email. New Life Goal.

Bunnies 2018-28Bunnies 2018-28





(Happy Little Tree Photography) bunnies flu omaha paige photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/3/under-the-weather Tue, 13 Mar 2018 14:36:55 GMT
Time Of Your Life! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/3/time-of-your-life Ok most people have never had to put together a timeline much less one for your big day.

This is why I love to help!


There are so many things that couples forget about.

Don't be afraid to ask for my help making one!


Things that are usually forgotten when making a timeline:

Sunset, travel times, receiving lines, corsets take a half hour to get into, big extended family photos take time, lunch just to name a few items.


Your wedding time is set and no matter what you have to be hidden the hour before the ceremony because guests arrive. 

After that we determine if you are doing a first look.

Family photos before or after the wedding? Does the venue allow family photos before or after?

A Family Photo List so your photog can help determine how long it will take.

Extended Family Photos? Should they be done with family or at the reception?


Receiving Line? Half hour

Travel Time to Venues?

Lunch and food times so that you aren't starving by the time you get to dinner!

When making timelines you do want to leave cushioning. Hair and Makeup artist like to take their time and do a good job, it almost always runs over.


After you have finished this timeline it is important that you share it the bridal party and family so they know where to be.

How many times are you going to get everyone assembled for the big extended family photos and you’ll hear, “Oh Uncle Jerry left for the reception already he didn’t know we were doing photos after the ceremony."

AS Wedding-1151AS Wedding-1151



(Happy Little Tree Photography) day omaha photographer timeline wedding https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/3/time-of-your-life Fri, 09 Mar 2018 06:41:11 GMT
Engaging Ideas https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/3/engaging-ideas Engagement Sessions are a great way for my couples to get to know me and my style before the big day!


When to shoot?

I usually try to shoot at least six months or farther away from the big day. More craziness and work happens as the big day gets closer.

Also it will make it a different season from your big day giving your engagement photos a different feel from your wedding ones.

Sessions usually take about an hour. We try to shoot during golden hours after sunrise and before sunset.


What to wear?

Matching color palettes not matching clothes!

Two outfits tops! If you don't like car camping style of changing clothes just go with one outfit with a cute scarf or jacket to take on and off for a different look!

Bring flats for walking so you don't wear out heels!


Where to shoot?

Depends on the look you are going for. Fields, forests, urban streets.

Or maybe you want to go with a theme? Reading at home, rollerskating, coffeeshop, place they proposed.

Basing your session off of something you two love to do will help you be more natural in front of the camera!

Make a Pinboard. If you notice that everything you pin is in a garden environment then maybe we should look for a garden spot.


What to bring?

Depends on the time of year but the basics are usually blankets and bug spray. I carry both of these in my car though. Also hairspray and touch up makeup.

Fur babies are welcome! If we do shoot with your fur baby I usually encourage you to bring a friend to help handle them with treats and walk them around as we shoot the two of you.


As always Love Your Beautiful Faces!

AS Engage-28AS Engage-28


(Happy Little Tree Photography) advice engagement omaha photographer session https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/3/engaging-ideas Fri, 09 Mar 2018 06:05:54 GMT
Fall In Love! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/3/fall-in-love Cheesy title right?

Fall Family Photos


When to shoot?

In Nebraska late September and October!

We are starting to get fewer daylight hours.

We try to shoot during golden hour before sunset. The mornings are starting to get to be too cold for kids and we try to stay away from the harsh sunlight between 11 and 2.


What to wear?

Do not wear matching clothes but matching color palettes! If you are not sure Pinterest has wonderful ideas such as these:



I usually say pick the outfit for the toughest family member to dress and coordinate from there.

I try to tell Dads not logos.

For outdoor photos we try not to do outfit changes but coordinate scarves and jackets for a different look so we do not have to find places to change in the cold.


What to bring?

There still might be bugs at some of the grassier locations but I always carry all natural bug spray in my car. I try to encourage my families to put it on before coming though because it works better.

Blankets. I keep quilts in my car but if you have a special family one bring it! Please don't though if you are worried about grass or dirt stains.

Bribery snacks that do not run color such as Smarties and Cheerios.


What to do?

If you don't think your little ones will focus maybe we should go to an orchard to pick apples or do a playground shoot or pumpkin patch. Simple games like Red light Green light and Ring around the Rosie will keep little ones busy.

What we do not do is start with leaves. That is the last thing we do! There is no coming back from the messy hair covered in bits of leaves.

Please do not bring distracting games or toys.


Can't wait to Fall in Love with You!

Family 2016-78Family 2016-78

See what I did there? LOL

(Happy Little Tree Photography) fall family omaha outdoor photographer sessions https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/3/fall-in-love Fri, 09 Mar 2018 05:15:58 GMT
Wink and A Smile. https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/3/wink-and-a-smile They traveled the hour and a half drive with two kids and Mom being pregnant to get their Spring photos.

Except everything was still muddy and brown.

So we hit the local greenhouse. 

I try not to go there too often since it is a business but the staff is always nice and it is warm on cold Nebraska days.

So after an hour and a half drive Barrett and Torryn emerge from their car.

Barrett is a natural flirt and the dimples started flashing immediately.

Torryn however was not sure about me.

I got the Side Eye from her from the get go.

As we got warmer inside Torryn warmed up to me. 

That age is tough when they only see you once a year.

At the end of our session Torryn had talked Dad into buying her this delicate flowering plant not even the size of her hand.

All involved were sure the plant was not going to make it home alive but for now it was causing the biggest beaming smile from her.

As I am getting ready to leave the three young teenage cashiers are watching us. 

Torryn and Barrett are actually arguing over who is going to get to run and kiss me first.

I crouch down and brace myself as these two small bodies come at me full force.

I give my best slow death scene as I fall to the ground and am smothered in kisses.

My heart is full.

I turn my head to the three cashiers who are obviously laughing at me, wink and say, "This is why you become a photographer."

Brooke Bump III-111Brooke Bump III-111


(Happy Little Tree Photography) barrett greenhouse hug kiss omaha photographer torryn https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/3/wink-and-a-smile Fri, 09 Mar 2018 04:28:50 GMT
Terrible Twos and Troublesome Threes In The Studio! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/3/terrible-twos-and-troublesome-threes-in-the-studio Ok this is the age were most parents insist on coming in for professional shots.

Because their child WON'T STOP MOVING!

or listen.

or throwing things.

or raspberry.

or even look in the general direction of a camera with something resembling a smile.

LOL I feel ya.

I own a studio and my own son does that to me.


Here is the thing though, it is all really just play time!

We turn on music and most kids love to dance.


I ask that you bring the things they love most: blankie, teddy bear, favorite book etc.

This way you capture something they love and they are more comfortable in the studio as well.


We pick things to do that they love like playing ball, tea time, gardening, reading. You get the idea.


Come a little early so they get use to the studio and we can sit and read and play a bit before the session.

Usually they haven't seen me for a year and might be feeling a little stranger danger.

If we just sit and talk for a minute and let them get use to me things go better.


If you must bring bribery please bring Cheerios or Smarties. These are small easy to hid foods that do not run color.

If you bring M&Ms I will not photoshop your child's mouth from blue to a normal color. That is right.

I will leave them looking like they ate a Smurf and it is your fault!


If it is the day of or after their doctor's appointments please reschedule. They will not be feeling their best after shots! 


Also we allow jumping on beds, tumbling off couches, yelling, screaming and running. Yup they might not be able to at home but if they feel like they are getting away with something the smiles are that much bigger!



Pippa 18mth-45Pippa 18mth-45


(Happy Little Tree Photography) olds omaha photographer three toddlers two year https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/3/terrible-twos-and-troublesome-threes-in-the-studio Fri, 09 Mar 2018 03:56:21 GMT
A Street Car...... https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/3/a-street-car Ok first off no matter how old they are if you name your child Stella I will be smirking as you say it because Marlon Brandon will be screaming in my head.

Now that you know that, what is this blog really about?


Last Saturday was my first shoot of bunnies for the year.

New bunnies, new bunny wrangler, new bunny sets and to top it off the first kiddo through the door was a new client.


I always get nervous with new clients.

Were they referred to me? Did their friends warn them?

It is almost like that first day of junior high. Will they like me?

Stella walked into the studio with freckles and a little black dress that made her look like she had stepped out of the pages of 1950's Reader with bunnies on the collar.

I had nothing to worry about. Stella had enough personality for the both of us.

If I gave her a direction she took it and ran with.

Ok you are happy. She was Barbra Streisand over the top singing happy.

Ok you are sad. I blinked and she morphed into a sullen Wednesday Adams.

It was fifteen minutes of talking, action and hilarity.

Except at the end. 

Ok Stella I just need you hop on the bed and cuddle with the bunnies.

The acting stopped.

Stella curled up with the bunnies.

The whole world shrunk down to this small little space as the bunnies crowded around her for attention.

These automatically became my favorite from the set. No posing, no acting.

Just a little girl very happy to be doing something so simple as petting a fluffy bunny.

Yup I think we will be doing bunny sessions ever year!

Bunnies 2018-59 copyBunnies 2018-59 copy

(Happy Little Tree Photography) bunny omaha photographer sessions stella https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/3/a-street-car Thu, 08 Mar 2018 16:12:42 GMT
9 Months And Counting! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/2/9-months-and-counting You've made it nine months!

Nine Month Sessions can be a minefield! 


First off this is where little ones usually start to have stranger danger.

I usually encourage clients to come early and let me just sit on the floor and play and read with their little one so they warm up to me.


Then there is a matter of teeth.

They usually start running a slight fever on and off, not sleeping well, having gum pain and getting rashes around the mouth.

Fun times huh. Have them wear a bib in the car if arriving in their outfit.


As with every session bring any items important to them. Bunnies, books, blankies etc


Two to Three outfits. Unless your child hates changing clothes! Don't tick them off!


We concentrate on what they are doing now pulling up, dancing, playing ball, bubbles, eating, etc.


These sessions usually last about 45 minutes.

We can shoot in studio with funky hats and chairs.

We can shoot outside in gardens and orchards.

We can shoot in your home with their best buddy (puppy) who eats their left overs.

Franklin 9mth-39Franklin 9mth-39



(Happy Little Tree Photography) 9 month nine omaha photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/2/9-months-and-counting Tue, 20 Feb 2018 11:43:47 GMT
Very Merry 1/2 Birthday! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/2/very-merry-1/2-birthday Your baby has made it through a whole six months!

Starting foods, big laughs and sleeping through the night....hopefully!

We can hit the studio with furs and blankets.

Shoot in home with book reading and kitchen sink baths.

Or outside with greenery and picnics!

Three outfits tops but if your kid hates outfit changes we can do one outfit and naked baby shots!

I usually say if your baby is not sitting up on their own yet delay the session by two weeks! Waiting until closer to 7 mths will get you better photos!

Bring any blankets, luvies, or items of importantance for photos!

Please do not bring your baby in if they just got their vaccinations shots. 

If you are trying to help get your little one to smile stand right behind me!

I don't care if you hit me over the head! This way baby is looking at the camera and not off to the side.

Peek A Boo, Baby Food, Bath Time what do they love to do?

If we are shooting in studio come a little early so baby can get use to me and the space.

Sessions usually take 45 minutes!

Also the more rolls the better so work on that!

Ellie 7mth-92Ellie 7mth-92

(Happy Little Tree Photography) 6 month omaha photographer six https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/2/very-merry-1/2-birthday Sun, 18 Feb 2018 14:33:29 GMT