Happy Little Tree Photography: Blog https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog en-us Happy Little Tree Photography (Happy Little Tree Photography) Tue, 29 Dec 2020 19:17:00 GMT Tue, 29 Dec 2020 19:17:00 GMT https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/img/s/v-12/u290770645-o552895990-50.jpg Happy Little Tree Photography: Blog https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog 80 120 Swinging with Tree...... https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2020/12/swinging-with-tree I usually shoot my Firefly Sessions at a local park that has a rose garden.

The high wall of pine trees behind the roses make for great light all evening.

As I sit and wait for my clients I often see college students come from across the street and set up hammocks in the trees next to the garden and read.

It looks like an completely indulgent act at my age.

I have always loved the sight of these utterly relaxed people, leg lazily hanging out one side, soft light filtering through the trees, just visible above a soft blur of pink and red rose petals in the bushes.

Well my In Laws bought me a hammock for Christmas!!!!!

Guess what we are shooting next summer!

Screen Shot 2020-12-29 at 1.08.11 PMScreen Shot 2020-12-29 at 1.08.11 PM


(Happy Little Tree Photography) https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2020/12/swinging-with-tree Tue, 29 Dec 2020 19:16:48 GMT
It's All About The Dress! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2020/6/its-all-about-the-dress So three months without work destroyed my studio budget.


I really did grow up watching way too much Willy Wonka.

A photographer friend gave me an amazing idea.

You, the client, buy the dress of my dreams, I give you a free mini session, then you gift the outfit to the studio!

Buy more then one outfit, you get a longer session! Buy an outfit over $200 you get a Full Portrait Session.

Message me with the outfit you are thinking of (make sure I don't own it already!) and the time and kind of session you want!

PRESTO CHANGO IPSO FACTO MAGIC!!!!!!  You get beautiful images, I get beautiful clothes!


Here are some recommended shopping places that I love most everything from:






http://janieandjack.com- swimsuits and formal dresses and coats




https://www.shopchicaboo.com- (If you find a dress through this one please message me first and shop through me, they give a photographer's discount)





(Happy Little Tree Photography) clothes family mini Omaha photographer portrait session swap https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2020/6/its-all-about-the-dress Fri, 26 Jun 2020 02:31:28 GMT
The Honor Of Meeting Beautiful Soul. https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2020/4/the-honor-of-meeting-beautiful-soul If Tomorrow Starts Without Me - David Romano

If tomorrow starts without me, and I'm not there to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes all filled with tears for me;
I wish so much you wouldn't cry the way you did today,
while thinking of the many things we didn't get to say.
I know how much you care for me, and how much I care for you,
and each time that you think of me I know you'll miss me too;

But when tomorrow starts without me, please try to understand,
that an angel came and called my name and took me by the hand,
and said my place was ready in heaven far above,
and that I'd have to leave behind all those I dearly love.

But as I turned to walk away, a tear fell from my eye,
for all life, I'd always thought I didn't want to die.
I had so much to live for and so much yet to do.
it seemed almost impossible that I was leaving you.
I thought of all the love we shared and all the fun we had.
If I could relive yesterday, I thought, just for a while,
I'd say goodbye and hug you and maybe see you smile.

But then I fully realised that this could never be,
for emptiness and memories would take the place of me.
And when I thought of worldly things that I'd miss come tomorrow.
I thought of you, and when I did, my heart was filled with sorrow.

But when I walked through Heaven's gates, I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me, from His great golden throne,
He said, "This is eternity and all I've promised you,
Today your life on earth is past but here it's starts anew.
I promise no tomorrow, but today will always last.
and since each day's the same, there's no longing for the past.

But you have been so faithful, so trusting, so true.
Though there were times you did some things you knew you shouldn't do.
And you have been forgiven and now at last you're free.
So won't you come and take my hand and share my life with me?"

So if tomorrow starts without me, don't think we're far apart,
for every time you think of me, please know I'm in your heart.


Logan NBLogan NB


(Happy Little Tree Photography) If Me Nicci Omaha photographer Starts Tomorrow Without https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2020/4/the-honor-of-meeting-beautiful-soul Sun, 26 Apr 2020 18:23:43 GMT
I Get Yelled At https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2019/6/i-get-yelled-at I'm in the living room.

Going on God knows how many hours of ignoring my family while I work.

My son walks into the room and freezes.


I froze too.

Involuntarily, like a kid who got caught sneaking cookies.

My son has rolled his eyes at me, back talked, whined, complained, squeaked, interrupted, harassed and every other manner of speech out there.

But he has never, EVER raised his voice to me.

"What? What did I do?"

"Why! How could you delete those! They are beautiful!"


***Additional Note to the client in the images- Yup my son wanted me to not delete a single one. He thought you were stunning in all and was horrified I did not have the time to edit every single one no matter how similar they were. LOL




(Happy Little Tree Photography) at Omaha photographer portrait waterfall yelled https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2019/6/i-get-yelled-at Fri, 28 Jun 2019 23:28:11 GMT
Mom Stays In The...... Yeah Yeah Yeah I get it! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2019/4/mom-stays-in-the-yeah-yeah-yeah-i-get-it In the last three years you see it all over social media so I don't need to go through explaining why Mommy & Me Sessions are important.

I will just explain the process.

15 minutes

Not very long huh?

Most kinds of photos you definitely need longer.

Why only 15?

Well it's not a about the posing.

It is about how your little ones express their love for you.

Ask a little one to sit and smile at the camera and it might take a whole hour to get a decent shot.

Ask them to hug and love Mom? 

The smile is immediate and each hug is different!

Do they come up behind Mom in the stranglehold move?

Do they wrap around the leg like a koala bear?

Do they curl up in Mom's lap and breathe in her scent?

Sometimes it's peaceful and a moment in time.

Others are fast paced, rib crushing madness that is your life.

The last Mommy & Me Session I did was with Lisa and Ridley.

Ridley can't run away yet she's under one so you think it would be a cake walk right?

Well at her age little ones usually have stranger danger, and I look nothing like Mom!

After she warmed up to the big, scary photographer (I usually tell my clients to come early so they get use to me and the studio!) we sat on the bed.

Ridley starts crawling around, talking to Mom.

I tell Lisa to lay back on the bed figuring I would get a shot of Ridley sitting on her while Mom kisses her fingers and toes.

Ridley had other plans.

She crawls over to Mom, lifts up her shirt and starts planting raspberries on her!

I stopped shooting and laughed so hard I was doubled over.

Not the loving, tender moment I was planning on, but something real and even better!

So come on in! I can't wait to see how you are loved! 

Mom  Me 2019-31Mom Me 2019-31


Mom & Me 2019-49Mom & Me 2019-49

(Happy Little Tree Photography) and Lisa Me Mommy Omaha photographer raspberries Ridley Sessions https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2019/4/mom-stays-in-the-yeah-yeah-yeah-i-get-it Wed, 17 Apr 2019 14:21:39 GMT
Why You Should Hire A Pro! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2019/2/why-you-should-hire-a-pro Gather round my children.

Today's tale has tragedy, tears and an unexpected happy ending!

It all starts one fine Sunday two weeks ago.

I have a fabulous baker that makes my smash cakes for me, Cake Creations.

They close at 2pm on Sundays. I got there at 1:45pm, just in time to pick up my smash cake!

As I was standing there talking to the owner Tonya, there is one lone cake left in the pickup fridge.

She goes on to tell me the photographer hasn't responded back and it looks like it would go unclaimed.

Smooth white frosting, Tiffany blue drizzle down the top, sprinkling of shiny bling candy and two mini donuts.

That is when I got the bright idea to buy it from her.

"Here let me take it. If the photographer gets ahold of you give her my name, if not I'll use it!"

The day wore on. The girls and I at the studio were thinking of ways to use it.

I thought I would call a friend of mine, pop some champagne and do a "Donut cha think I'm sexy!" Session.

Well no one called. I turned to my coworker and told her, "Hey if you can think of a use for it, it's yours."

I closed up shop and drove home. 

That is when my Facebook pinged.

"Hey Tree Tonya says you have my cake."

"Oh yeah, I might."


"Give me one minute!"

I immediately call back to my coworker.

"Hey you still have that cake?"

"Yeah we just ate it! It was awesome!"


I messaged back the other photographer, I am not sure why I said it either,

"Yeah come pick it up in the morning!"

I swung by the store. Blue drizzle, some bling, how hard could this be?

I was gonna buy an already made smash cake and redecorate it. The store was cleared out of cakes.

So I went to the baking section and bought all the ingredients.

I get home. It is now 10 o' clock at night.

I toss in an egg, some water and pop my box mix cake in the oven.

While waiting I go chop a piece of cardboard into a circle and cover it with foil to put the cake on.

An hour later after I pull it out and let it cool, I go to flip it over onto the plate to decorate.

It was undercooked. 

So undercooked that the middle of it fell out like it had been shot by a cannon.

Ok Round 2!

The next cake is so over baked I have a hard time sawing off the edges to get it flat.

I take my store frosting and try to extra whip it to make it fluffier.

By this point I have watched a hundred youtube videos on frosting and am pretty sure I got this. 

Dump extra on top and start to spread it around.

Add more, and more, and more why is it still crummy?

All I need is this flat tool, spin it around and it will be smooth right? Just like in all of the videos?


By now it is 2am, there is not a clean dish in my house, it looks like a war went on in my kitchen,  there is frosting on the walls and I am crying over a cake.

Screw this. I head to a different store. They too are all sold out of smash cakes but in the corner of the case I see a white cake, with white coconut frosting.


I buy it and head home!

This will be so easy! All I have to do is take off the coconut and decorate!

I scrape off the coconut and add more frosting to it and try again with the scraper thingy to make it smooth. 

Looking like the craters of the moon I decide that is gonna have to be good enough.

The blue drizzle on top? Well all the videos tell you to melt down white chocolate ganache over a bain-marie, color and drizzle.

Ain't nobody got time for that!

I open my container of white frosting, add dye, pop in the microwave for 45 seconds and dump over the top.

Kind of gloppy, not bad, could of been worse.

Bling? The store did not have bling, I even checked the candy section. But they did have shiny nerd candy in the shape of game controllers and Bunsen burners!

Who knows maybe this will inspire the tyke to be a scientist!

Throw on top.

Two donuts, all I could find were the large ones in the bakery.

Then my brain starts working and I head back to the store to the snack section. They have mini donuts!

I place them on top and TADA! DONE!!!!

It is now 5:30am. My husband is waking up for work. 

He looks in the fridge and says, "Oh honey it's cute. You did a good job."

At this point if looks could kill my husband would be a goner.

I mumble under my breath half laughing to myself, "Thanks, but you didn't see the original."

It looked like it had been so simple of a cake to make.  WRONG!

I get the kids to school.

The other photographer messages me and says her shoot is at ten, but she is not sure she will have time to drive over to get the cake.

"No problem! I will drive it over to you!"

I stop by the studio. I pull out everything I've got. Banners, stands, confetti, balloons.


As I pull out from the studio and start to head her way she messages, 

"Tree my client just cancelled. The little one is sick. I am so so sorry!"

"Oh no! That is ok! Just message Tonya when she reschedules to make you a new one. Have a good day!"

Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!!!!

I ended up giving the cake to my sister. In which she later told me it was so inedible my little nieces wouldn't even touch it.

A few morals to this story.

I later told it to Tonya and the girls at her store in which they all replied in unison, "Why didn't you call me?"

If you need help, just ask someone, even if they say no you are no worse off.

Second moral.

There is a weird psychological phenomenon that shows if you watch a video your brain tricks you into thinking you can do it as well as the Pros.

Please don't fall into this trap!

I am actually putting a link here to an article.

Along with a side by side photo I am posting this hilarious skit from Saturday Night Live that I related to way to much!

Now remember folks! These people have taken years, blood, sweat, tears and time away from their loved ones to hone their craft!


Oh and don't ever ask me to make a cake. LOL

Cake failCake fail









(Happy Little Tree Photography) Cake Creations Fail Omaha photographer Pinterest https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2019/2/why-you-should-hire-a-pro Mon, 25 Feb 2019 16:37:09 GMT
the days have worn away https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2019/1/the-days-have-worn-away Instead of just giving away sessions or products at Christmas I decided I was going to do something with a twist.

Yes I would give away sessions, but they would be sessions I have been dying to do that I could not get people to commit to!

Our 12 Days Giveaway was born and I have had a blast doing it for 2 years now.

Enter Miss Havashim.

For those of you that do not know her she is a character from Charles Dickens Great Expectations.

Also a spunky detective in the Jasper Fforde Thursday Next novels.

She is jilted at the alter and wears her wedding dress everyday for the rest of her life. 

I love Dickens and have been dreaming of doing a Miss Havisham shoot.

I have seen many shoots of her later in her life.

What if it is not so long after the tragedy?

What if she has no more tears and is going slightly mad?

Wandering the dark, moody manor you see winter and holiday cheer but you notice something slightly off.

The dress she is wearing is meant for spring and happiness.

Hair askew, pale and wandering.

I love how everything turned out!

You may recognize our model from our past charity events! The lovely and charming Syrah Andrews definitely had to "not be herself" for this shoot.

Model Perfect Airbrush, LLC - brought my mood board to life with HMU.

The incredible silk parachute dress was provided by Alice Andrews Designs.

Link to images: Miss Havisham Shoot

My only regret? When we arrived at the manor to shoot the docent informed me I should of been there one week earlier. The great-great-great grandson of Charles Dickens had been there giving a presentation and could of been in the shoot! My heart is forever a little broken!

"Break their hearts my pride and hope, break their hearts and have no mercy. -Miss Havisham" ~ Charles Dickens


(Happy Little Tree Photography) charles dickens dress havisham miss omaha parachute photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2019/1/the-days-have-worn-away Thu, 24 Jan 2019 21:09:11 GMT
Scary Times https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/10/scary-times A short time back I pulled into my garage and shut off my car.

I had the news playing through bluetooth on my phone.

Another shooting.

One of the Carolinas.

I just sighed, shook my head and started to get out of the car.

A there it was on my phone screen.

"Mom there is a shooter in the next room. Come get me please please."

It was a text one of the young students had sent their mother.

And then I lost it.

I spent the next twenty minutes sobbing in my car.

The light turned out.

Snot running down my face, hyperventilating until I couldn't cry anymore.

I got that exact same text a few years ago from my daughter. 

I was a lot more fortunate then this mother.

I was driving home from lunch with a friend when my phone went off and there was a text I had to read twice to believe.

"Mom there is a shooter in the next room. Come get me please please."

I drove as fast as I could.

As I passed a strip mall on the way to her school I saw dozens of police cars surrounding a parking lot.

I would later learn that was where the shooters life would end.

I sped past and pulled into my daughter's high school parking lot and got out.

My mind racing trying to think of a way to get past the police and to my girl.

I didn't make it inside.

I was herded with the rest of the parents into a church next door.

We waited so long. 

My daughter stopped texting me. 

I could feel my chest constrict.

Trying not to think of what this meant.

I would later learn that her Aunt had told her to turn off her phone and keep quiet.

I hear a bing from the lady next to me. She stands up and starts freaking out. 

"There's a second shooter. Oh MY GOD There's a second shooter."

There wasn't. This was enough to make everyone in the room nauseous though.

We waited.

Suddenly there she was.

They released the students as they went through the building room by room. 

Lives were lost and it was a truly horrific day.

As I type this I feel like I can't get enough air into my lungs.

I feel utter sorrow for so many parents going through this.

The one thing I didn't expect was to feel so much sorrow for the shooter as well.

As a teen I messed up A LOT. I remember not knowing who to turn to. 

High School Counselor? Yeah right that is just a phone call to my parents.

My Parents? No way. We don't talk.

My Friends? They had no life experience, were just as clueless as me and gave me truly terrible advice.

What was left? How do I get out of this? Is taking my life the only answer? 

Obviously it wasn't.

With luck and a family that rallied around me, I have led a truly wonderful life.

I have never forgotten how lost, desperate and hopeless it felt at that age though.

So when it came time for me to choose a charity for my Halloween Bash I had a few rules.

*They work with teenagers.

*It be a local organization.

*They accept everyone. Every gender, race, religion, LGBTQ etc.

(This last one was tougher then I though because quit a few charities are religious based and will not work with LGBTQ)

As always my son's godmother to the rescue!

She informed me about a wonderful group call YES- Youth Emergency Services that fit all of this criteria.

Please come out this Sunday!

Come tour the new studio.

Come say Hello to the Merida and the cool balloon artist!

Come in costume and get your photo taken!

Most important, come donate any amount to a truly worthy cause!

See you there and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Sunday October 21st 2018 at 3:30pm

 5701 South 108th Street
 Omaha NE 68137

***When asked what three things my daughter loved for her senior session she replied, "Japan, outdoors, my Grandpa." Below is a photo of my baby and her Papa Pete during her senior session a few years ago.


(Happy Little Tree Photography) emergency halloween omaha photographer services shooting yes youth https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/10/scary-times Wed, 17 Oct 2018 20:39:34 GMT
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
3 Months And Going Strong...... https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/2/3-months-and-going-strong Let's face it. They're not going anywhere.

They can't crawl, sit up, stand, walk, run or escape me!!!!

So why photograph now?

They have doubled in size!

They have personality in spades!

Now when they smile at you it is not "gas"!

They are actually happy to see you!

They are still little enough that you can put them in outfits that they will hate you for later!

Three month sessions are all about personality!

It is almost like modeling headshots for your munchkins.

If you want to wait until they are at least pushing off their tummy and lifting up their head that's cool.

If not we do laying down and interacting with parents poses.

I'd say three outfits tops! 

If you know that your child hates to change clothes we can just stick to the one outfit and we can always do naked baby time so I can get those chunky thighs!

Let's try not to tick off the talent with too many wardrobe changes!

I usually say please bib your child for the car ride over so they don't arrive with huge drool stains on clothes!

Even if you don't want to be in the shots I might borrow your hands to get photos of your little one holding you finger or you playing with their feet!

These sessions are shorter and usually only take half an hour.

We can rock it out in the studio, go for a natural look at home or head into the great wide open.

Love your beautiful faces and can't wait to see you!

Eden 3mth-33Eden 3mth-33




(Happy Little Tree Photography) 3 omaha photographer three https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/2/3-months-and-going-strong Sat, 17 Feb 2018 18:14:47 GMT
Home Sweet Home https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/2/home-sweet-home Myth: You need a clean Martha Stewart styled house to shoot a session.

Reality: I usually spend all of my time in a space the size of a small blanket near a window to get 99% of the shots.

Houses are a mess! You just had a baby! We shoot around it. No big deal. I might move some furniture but I promise to put it back!

In home is also easier for healing Moms and toddlers!



 We try to schedule the shoot between 5 to 12 days old.

A Session is usually two and a half hours long.


What is needed?

I love recommending in home. I brings wraps and blankets. We also get to take advantage of all that time you spent putting the nursery together.

Have a pacifier. Even if they don't normally take one. That little bit of extra suckling might be just what they need to get to sleep.

Try to keep the baby up an hour or more before the shoot and feed right before. I say this but I also know babies definitely make up their own schedule! I've had some parents get ready while I start with baby.

Bath time and naked time are great for keeping them awake before.

If Grandma made a blanket or you have your old stuffed animal that is important to you have it out! I will try to work them into photos.

I do love Pinterest but if you message me the night before asking for a giant moon instead of giving me a few weeks time, it's probably not going to happen but I will do my best.

If in home turn up the heat 30 minutes before the session!


What to wear?

Have the baby in something easy to get out of like zip up pjs. They will stay asleep longer when we undress them to shoot.

We usually do not do too many outfits. It just ticks the baby off going through a lot of outfit changes.

I usually recommend neutral colored clothes for family shots but not all the same, just the same color palette. Moms please wear what is comfortable for you! Simple tops and camis are great.

We know you just gave birth to a tiny human being. We don't normally do full length shots unless outside so wear your comfy pants!

That being said Mom if you want to pass the baby to Dad and go get your hair done and have a mani before the shoot I'd say you earned it!

We usually try to say no logos (Dads do that!)


Is This Normal?

If we need to take a break to feed baby during the session do not worry! Completely normal and means better shots. It just gives me more time to setup!

Try to have faces clean and little bodies lotion before I get there. Doing it when I arrive sets a not so good mood with kids.

You don't have to get peed on. We can just wrap baby. If you want completely naked baby shots though at least you are at home where you have easy access to clean clothes!

If you have more questions just ask!

Patrick NB-40Patrick NB-40

(Happy Little Tree Photography) home in newborn omaha photographer session https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/2/home-sweet-home Fri, 16 Feb 2018 14:54:57 GMT
Do You Remember the Times? https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/2/do-you-remember-the-times Hands in each others back pockets.

Dedicating songs.

Waiting for the laser lights to turn on.



For a lot of us it was our first experience mingling in a large group while you try to catch the eye of someone and not fall flat on our faces.

It's the pre-clubbing trial run.

Complete with disco ball, the one show off of the group that could wear inline and go backwards and cryptic song dedications done by what sounds like a a Barry White wannabe.

What does this have to do with photography?


My First Day of Xmas Giveaway!

I gave away a session recreating a couples' first date!

I waited until midnight as the voting continued to see whose first date would win: the zoo, movies, football game?

Well Chelsea and Cory's friends voted them to the top and I think you know by now what their date was.

Nachos and Skating.

This recreated date was a little different from the their first one. It included Averi and Eliana their two beautiful children who had never been rollerskating before!

So Saturday morning we got up and hit the rink first thing.

While we waited for skate lessons to end we hit the nacho bar.

I gotta say there were some cheesy lines as the girls looked on and giggled while mom and dad fed each other salty goodness and shared a slurpee.

We rolled up to the skate counter and had to figure out shoe sizes and get eight feet ready to roll. 

The girls did awesome!

They tried their best and then we went and grabbed one of those funky pvc pipe things so they could dance along as they got the hang of it.

When the girls felt ready I asked Cory and Chelsea to do a few laps alone.

Stealing glances at each and trying to impress his date, Cory only had eyes for his girls. I can see how a fox like Chelsea fell for him.

I wish we could say no one was injured in the making of this shoot but little Eli's finger's got squished and everyone left with sore calves.

All in all it was a success! Two beautiful littles girls got to share a piece of history with their mom and dad and see how one + one becomes four!




(Happy Little Tree Photography) date first omaha photographer rollerskating https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/2/do-you-remember-the-times Tue, 06 Feb 2018 16:22:17 GMT
Book It! Part Ten- Engagement https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/2/book-it-part-ten--engagement Engagement Sessions-

ESessions, Love Sessions, Beloved Sessions etc etc etc

They are a great dry run to see if you and your clients will mesh on their wedding day and if they like your style.

I have a lot of clients who like the same thing wheat fields or downtown alleys.

I go over their PinBoards with them to see if there is a place that will work, tell them it will take anywhere from one hour to two depending on what we are doing, suggest golden hour times for outdoor sessions.

I usually ask if they have a special date or proposal spot. If they have any hobbies they love to do together: books, dog walking, roller skating, movies, music, food etc.

Remind them to bring flats if we are walking a lot. 

Two outfit changes tops or one outfit with a great scarf or jacket to make it look like another one.

If they are doing a change of clothes and it’s outdoors, are they comfortable car camping changing? If not maybe one outfit is best.

Bug Spray and water in the car.

Double check a week out on meet up times and location.

If they are bringing their dog can they bring extra treats (or stock some yourself in the car but some owners are picky about what their puppies eat).

I usually start easy. A simple walking away and walking back shot.

It helps to find a narrative, give them a a character to play “Hey remember While You Were Sleeping? You’re Leaning…”

They actually sell decks of cards that are prompts for you to get real emotions out of your clients during the shoot.

I love to end hot sessions at an ice cream shop and cold ones with cocoa, but that is just me and why I gained 40lbs as a wedding photographer! LOL 


I once had a bride request her engagement session at the park near her house. Your usual run of the mill green park. I had met with her in person a few times and she always seemed comfortable and natural. Well for her engagement session she showed up in head to toe black club wear and so much caked on makeup her skin looked thick and chalky. This is why if a client wants to send me texts of their outfits for approval I say hell yes! 


A common problem is couples like places that have a photographer fee. So many times I hear, "Can we go shoot at the train museum or the botanical garden?" We can but they charge $150 for us to shoot there. If my couple will cover the cost sure, sometimes if they have booked my top package I will cover the cost.

Be aware of different venue's rules. Offer other similar suggestions.

The local park down the way actually has a beautiful garden and cobble stone pathways, how about that?

It took me time to find that park by the way. Scout locations, ask friends online their favorite spots. I will tell you that on photographers' forums that is the most asked question and the least answered. Most photographers guard their spots so they don’t get over run or end up looking like everyone else's photos.

Call ahead to places to check on rules. Even if it looks like an abandoned barn by the side of the road that is someone else's property. Make an effort to find out whose it is and ask permission. You’ll be surprised most people say yes. Sometime I even give a finder fee to the owner of 25 to 50 dollars as a thanks.


During your shoot, no matter what do not write on anything. Even if it is just sidewalk. Photoshop it in later. A lot of places will not let photographers shoot anymore due to lack of respect for property. There are turn of the century brick buildings that a lot of photographers in town use to shoot at that are permanently ruined by simple chalk. A newer photographer wrote 1 + 1= 3 as a maternity announce onto the wall of one of these buildings. This is old porous brick, it permanently stained it and the owner now will not let photographers on the property.


One of my first engagement shoots I roll up to the Train Museum, pay the entrance fee for all three of us thinking that was all that was need. My couple is beaming. I am excited by the gorgeous light in this Art Deco building. Five minutes into shooting even though we were quiet, out of the way and not using flash, we were escorted out. I did not know you had to call ahead and pay a fee. It was extremely embarrassing for all of us and did not leave a good impression of my skills with my couple.


I had an engagement session where my couple wanted something different. So we decided to make a day of it and drive out to a place called Carhenge. I googled it and it said it was a four hour drive. I figured 8 hours driving an hour shooting. Nine hours would be a long day but worth it. We hop into the car and turn on gps. It then informs me that the drive is 7 hours. I turn to my couple and they say lets do it! 5 hours into this drive across the plains in my small Yaris with bald tires I see a complete wall of white. A freak snow storm like I have only seen in movies. A vertical wall of white reaching up to the heavens with a strange mix go fog to make it seem like any moment the car is going to drive off a cliff. We somehow make it through with a white knuckle death grip on the steering wheel. We get there, shoot for 45 minutes and drive the 7 hours back. Altogether 18 hours for an engagement shoot and I got a speeding ticket.


I had one session with a couple downtown. We walked around in the morning. Great light, all different angles and poses. I gave them 300 photos. The bride got back to me. She didn’t like the ones where they did not fill up the frame, or the ones shot low, or the ones shot high or the ones where they were both not looking at the camera. Out of three hundred shots she did not like one of them. I met with them for a reshoot. Fifteen minutes in front of a brick wall with them both staring at the camera holding hands and filling the frame. I then informed them we were not a good match and tried to return their deposit. They obviously did not like my style. The bride refused and insisted I was her photographer. It was the first and last time I tried to tell a client we were not a good fit. Five years later they now bring me their kids to shoot!


One engagement session that I always talk about. My couple and I were shooting in a field near a new housing development. Nothing is around but a small ice cream shop. At the end of our shoot we look up to realize the sky went dark fast and a funnel cloud is actually dropping next to us. The owner of the ice cream parlor came out and shuffled us into his pantry. We ate ice cream and played 80’s Trivial Pursuit for the next hour. Which really was not fair since they were just babies in the 80’s. After that I changed the names of my packages to ice cream flavors Vanilla, Chocolate Chip, Mocha Almond Fudge and Triple Banana Split with a Cherry On Top. It was fun and easy for my clients to remember. It also was a great lead in to the above story to show how fun and crazy things get!


I was at a Getting to Know You Meeting and they are ready to sign. Mom was with them. We start talking about the engagement session and what they should do. The bride and groom both tell me they are avid skiers. The Mom chimes in with , “Well there you go! They love snow. You can do a snow shoot.” I laugh. Well there wedding is in four months, we will probably be shooting the engagement photos in July, we could go to an ice rink and do a skating shoot?” “Oh no we want a snow shoot. You can just photoshop all the photos right?”


Moral of the story: It is rarely just a simple shoot.

AS Engage-45 PinAS Engage-45 Pin





(Happy Little Tree Photography) engagement omaha photographer shoot https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/2/book-it-part-ten--engagement Mon, 05 Feb 2018 17:22:50 GMT
New Year, New Face https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/1/new-year Soooooo if you ignore my life and family and just focus on what I have to do for my business this next week: taxes monthly and yearly, headshots, new templates for contracts and emails, new pricing and structure for the year, finish Pinterest boards, redo website, work on marketing for the year, adjust new prices and shoots on top of all the usual shooting and editing that needs to be done.

You know what I am most worried about? HEADSHOTS!

I have not had them done in 7 yrs!

And I yell at people that do not have them updated every two years!!! Yes I am a hypocrite. 

To top it off I only know 500 photographers to choose from that all shoot with a different style.

I really do not like being the client. Who to go with. In studio or on location? What to wear?

Normally I make a Pin Board and figure out a style I like but not this time! Drawing a blank! Ideas?


***Picture because Barrett is farrrrrrrrr cuter then I! LOL*****

Barrett 1yr-80Barrett 1yr-80

(Happy Little Tree Photography) headshots omaha photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/1/new-year Thu, 18 Jan 2018 17:11:54 GMT
SWF https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/1/swf I was sitting in a coffeeshop, ease dropping on the table next to me as usual.

It was a lovely young woman and her friend hunched over her laptop.

She spoke out loud as she was typing.

Strong passion for what I do.

Happy, Loyal, Fun

I see the world a little differently and love sharing that vision.

As she went on typing I realized she was on a dating site, but not at first.

My first thought was she's a photographer typing out her About Me Page for her website.

Then it hit me.

That is just what the About Me Page is.

In a world of thousands of photographers at your fingertips to chose from I had the image in my head of the average client on their phone "swiping" left through us all.

So I went and spent an hour ogling other photographer's About Me Pages.

It was scary how many of them were similar. I have a passion for my job and drink a lot of coffee.

There were not very many that I felt a connection with. So I kept swiping.

Then there were some that struck a cord with me: Gia Canali, Aralani, Zielecki

So my new year resolution is to write a kick a** About Me page that will make you want to swipe right!

If you want to help share a thought, memory, idea or feeling you think About ME!

PC: Ana McClary



Tree019Tree019(C)ANNA MCCLARY 9705803896

(Happy Little Tree Photography) dating omaha photographer swiping https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/1/swf Thu, 11 Jan 2018 16:29:37 GMT
Chug Chug Chug Chug https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/1/chug-chug-chug-chug Januaury

My lush month.

No not the organic cosmetic line.

LUSH as in crazy soft blankets and throws with naked women on them while I slowly become a lush guzzling champagne.


I drink more in January then I do all other 11 months of the year combined.

Why you say?

I can't let my clients drink ALONE!!!!!

Being in front of a camera is scary enough.

Then to be asked to strip naked and look sexy!


I can't even look sexy when I am trying to be! Seriously have no idea how I landed my husband.


I have some women that do it for their Anniversary, Morning of the Wedding Present, SO's Birthday.

I have a few women that come in just for themselves and come back every year to party and document their strength, beauty and yes booty.

So yes we may drink a little much (thank you so much to the client that introduced me to Root Beer Vodka with Vanilla Ice Cream scooped in it!).

We may turn up the music way to loud.

We may get naked or just put on that sexy little black dress.

The one thing I can guarantee is that I will be just as awkward with you! LOL



(Happy Little Tree Photography) boudoir lush omaha photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/1/chug-chug-chug-chug Tue, 09 Jan 2018 22:09:29 GMT
Let Them Eat.......... https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/1/let-them-eat Ok.


Who doesn't love it right?????

Some men.....stay away from those ones.

Diabetics. Wise move.

Bakers.......cause you can actually get too much of a good thing.

And 1 year olds.


You are going to call me crazy but let me save you the experience of being disappointed.

When you come in for a cake smash some kids will dive in and devour,

some will actually just smash it and smear it everywhere,

most will freak out by the strange texture and overly sweet taste because they have never had something like that in their short young lives.

If you are dead set on cake we will do it.

I can not tell you how many times I have seen parents get frustrated smash their child's hand into the cake where said child then freaks out crying and runs to them to be hugged smearing frosting all over them.

You don't have to eat cake.

Applesauce, pancakes, cereal, ice cream, strawberries....

What is their favorite food?

Exhibit A


Not big on sweets.

Mom told me she LOVES waffles!

So instead of cake on the stand went four big, golden waffles.

I topped with whip cream and a sprinkling of raspberries.

I sat in front of the stand and the first five minutes she spent daintily picking off all the raspberries and eating them.

We then showed her that the whip cream was edible.

She hated it.

Hated it so much that the top waffle got flung off to the side.

Then she just stared at the stand.

There was one thing I forgot.

Evelyn only knew waffles as small flat discs the size of her hand. She was use to Lego my Eggo.

Well after careful examination dainty Evelyn realized what they were, picked them up with both hands and started to tear into them, with a slight growl and murmurs of yum.

It was hilarious.

So for your little ones' one year photos. Think about what will make them happy and we will make it fun!

Ev 1yr-113Ev 1yr-113 Ev 1yr-115Ev 1yr-115 Ev 1yr-123Ev 1yr-123


(Happy Little Tree Photography) cake omaha photographer smash waffles https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/1/let-them-eat Mon, 08 Jan 2018 15:35:49 GMT
Leader of The Pack https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/1/leader-of-the-pack Chris is a long time family friend.

I don't often get guys that contact me.

For headshots yes but to book a surprise session for their SO, Not often enough.

I drove out to his house outside of town.

It sits on a dirt road surrounded by hilly fields.

We are definitely shooting at his place because there are family members that do not travel well.

3 Large but Lovable Puppies who need hugs and attention! LOL

Enter Haak.

He is not that big. Dark hair, slender reed of a boy but he definitely makes up for it with big personality.

The imagination on this kid!

He did don a cowboy out at one point LOL!

How was this little boy going to stand up to 3 large dogs?

The answer?

He didn't have to.

They accepted him as one of the pack.

It was amazing to watch.

As the adults talked I watched Haak and his "brothers" roam over the hill. Criss crossing, running, jumping, rolling down the hill together as one unit.

It made me think every kid needs a dog! LOL

“…he will be our friend for always and always and always.” – Rudyard Kipling

Us 2017-85Us 2017-85


(Happy Little Tree Photography) dogs hack omaha photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/1/leader-of-the-pack Thu, 04 Jan 2018 19:06:58 GMT
Book It! Part Nine- The Meeting https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/1/book-it-part-nine--the-meeting The Meeting-

We love you! Can we meet up with you to ask you questions? 

Which they will immediately forget what they wanted to say and your 30 minute meet and greet will turn into two hours of gossip! LOL

This is why I always had a 10 minute elevator speech that basically went over the highlights of my contract, which you should have out for them to look at. Start with about me, my experience, what to expect, when things are due and when you would be contacting them, time needed, what happens if you can't make it etc etc etc.

I first met up at coffee shops and clients' homes. 

Then my in home office, but that was too much work to keep clean.

Then I got a studio space. I find you get more respect for a dedicated studio space and they tend to only keep you an hour instead of two when you meet up at their place or a shop.

You have lots of options now and days and special places with dedicated offices you can rent!

I usually offer beverages and snacks and have slideshows running in the background and wedding albums out for them to pick up and feel.

“How did you find me?” “Oh them! I LOVE them! I remember the priest at their wedding saying the wrong names!”

“How did you two meet?” “How did he propose?” “

“OH MY GOD that ring is gorgeous he could not have picked that out alone! LOL”

Let them get comfortable with you. Ask questions which will lead to the information they want from you. 

“You have six sisters! That makes 8 bridesmaids! Well you have to include all your sisters and anyone whose wedding you were in! Don’t worry 8 is nothing. Did I tell you about my party of 14 bridesmaids?” This lets them know you are interested and yes you can handle that many and more.

A mentor of mine serves beer and wine at his meetings so I thought I would do the same.

The one time I tried I brought out a tray of beers and wine and the bride turned out to only be 20. I never offered alcohol again. Coffee, juice and water it is!

*By the way those drinks and cookies you offer are a tax deduction save your receipts!

As they are looking through the albums it is easy to talk about how they are custom made, what an heirloom they are and easier to talk them into upgrading to one.

They usually book right there. Some leave, meet with a few other photogs and then come back, but once they are comfortable with you it is usually a shoe in.

Go with your gut feeling!

I had a consultation with a couple half way through the groom broke out hysterically yelling, “OMG they are gonna kiss! OMG! THAT IS SO DISGUSTING! OMG!” A slideshow of one of my same sex weddings had come onto the screen. I should of escorted them out right there and told them I was not a good fit for them but I really wanted money!

When they book I often ask them to send me their wedding website link or their invitation so I get the same info as the guests.

Cultural Differences- Some religions will not allow photographers into the church. Some require women to cover their hair. Talk to the couple, google what to expect. Post in your photography groups for advice on what to expect.

It is not always what you think! My couple warned me things get a little crazy when the boys come in from the field. I was in the middle of a one street town that Google and my GPS did not recognize as a real city. I actually found my way by accident. Day went great. Ten o’ clock rolls around and I am expecting to be leaving because everything has died down. The bride had warned me. 10:30 the boys that had been working the field all day came to the reception and all hell broke loose. Buckets of ice dumped on the floor, cupcakes flinging across the room. You never know LOL.

Check In with them!

Afterwards I send and email thanking them for coming up and encouraging them to ask questions. Every few months until the wedding day I email again to see how things are going, anything I can help with? It gives them piece of mind and they know you have not dropped off the planet and are thinking of them.

AC Wedding-1826AC Wedding-1826




(Happy Little Tree Photography) omaha photographer wedding https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2018/1/book-it-part-nine--the-meeting Tue, 02 Jan 2018 19:41:23 GMT
Book It! Part Eight- Stay Organized https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/12/book-it-part-seven--stay-organized Staying organized-

I started with lots of paper folders. I literally had a mountain of paper fallen of my desk.

I now use 17 hats, it lets me know where I am at with every step of the client process. A reminder will pop up that a client hasn’t paid or signed a contract by the deadline. Easy to use and can be done from my iphone. It took awhile to get the hang of it though. There are lots of option Studio Cloud, Honey Books etc. Look into the one that is right for you.

When Google was down the other day for some reason or another, I was able to log onto 17 hats and look at my calendar there and immediately tell a person if I was open on a date. 

I once had a client whose wedding date was on my calendar as February 22nd. February 1st I shot an out of town wedding with a five hour drive back home. As I am just getting undressed in the morning of February 2nd I get a call from my bride. “HI Tree” “Hi Sarah! Why you calling?” “haha Tree are you coming up to the hotel to do getting ready shots?” It hit me then my fat fingers typed in a second 2. Her weddings was today. Luckily I did not double book and I have extra cards and batteries and ran out the door. This is why you need a good organization system! I was darn lucky and the bride never knew!

Educating your client- this is where blogs and newsletters are great. I encourage my clients to ask me questions and also try to get them to sit down and make a timeline with me well before the wedding day. This is usually their first wedding. Do they know that you need 45 minutes for formals of that many family members or that their venue will let them on the roof top for photos? I know a lot of photographers get upset and annoyed when couples keep asking questions but the more questions the less confusion! Hopefully all of the information in your contract, blogs and newsletters does this for them and they will not have to ask you!

The first six months that I had 17 Hats I opened, looked at the screen for 30 seconds and closed it. Finally in my slow time I spent two whole weeks making templates and emails. I was a lot of work up front but worth it in the end. Now if I see that a clients of mine keep asking the same question I know I should add it into my template. In the end those two weeks spend save me far more time and sanity.  

They have an online market were you can buy templates so you don't have to spend as much time as I did making them but I'm a cheapskate!

New Year is coming what better time to get organized!

Referral Link to 17 Hats:


Erin  Ryan Wedding Album Pages3Erin Ryan Wedding Album Pages3

(Happy Little Tree Photography) omaha organized photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/12/book-it-part-seven--stay-organized Sat, 30 Dec 2017 21:41:49 GMT
Book It! Part Seven- Contracts https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/12/book-it-part-seven Contracts-

This is serious business. When I first started I had a one page contract I cut and pasted from Google. Over the years as I got more experience it grew. It stands at about six pages at the moment. Each state has different laws and you really should have a lawyer who deals photographers locally look at it. 

But where do you start? Google does help, ask a mentor to show you theirs. There are resources from the PPA and WPPI, you can purchase a templet from
Rachel Brenke a law photog. I purchased a template and added and changed a few paragraphs to it in the end.

It should cover every conceivable scenario you can think of: When and how many photos, model release, print release, acts of god, if you are ill, if you will be fed, turn around time, dealing with unreasonable requests, how long the files are held, retainer, cooperating with photos, protocol for if you can not make it, termination of contract for failure to pay, when and how much refunds are given, final payment deadlines, etc etc etc

I will say almost universally people say to use retainer instead of deposit in your legal contract. 

I at the moment have a digital contract which can be signed through email. When I first started these were not legally valid but are now accepted. I also make it a point to say Lovebird 1 and Lovebird 2 when requesting information since I shoot a lot of same sex weddings.

Speaking of. I love same sex weddings. After I booked one a few years ago I had a fellow photographer ask me, “Well what did you say to them?” “Yes?” It took me a minute to realize that she was assuming I would turn them down since I was a Christian. I was a little shocked. Sometimes my rose colored glasses get in the way and I can’t believe people still feel that way in this century. I will say this unless you want to be sued you either book them and treat them as you would every other client or just say you are booked. 

Make sure that anything important that needs to be stressed in the contract such as turn around time for images has to be initialed next to so they definitely see it and can’t say they didn’t know.

Cancelations happen. Specify in your contract what that means for the retainer and any money paid.

With the Contract I have them sign a Wedding Day Questionnaire with who what when where and why. I tell them it doesn’t need to be completely filled out because some clients panic. It is just a general idea of where and who I will be with that day.

I also see a lot of post about photogs being hounded by Mothers to get images and that are not happy with the images. Even if the parents pay. Have your couple be the ones that sign the contract so that you deal with them! 

You need a solid contract! No matter how much you prepare stuff goes wrong!

Rachel Brenke

Love your beautiful faces and stay legal.

ER Wedding-415ER Wedding-415


(Happy Little Tree Photography) contracts omaha photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/12/book-it-part-seven Fri, 29 Dec 2017 15:19:31 GMT
What's In A Name? https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/12/whats-in-a-name I didn't want a boy.

I know nothing about boys.

They get on my nerves.

Smudged, Noisey, Bodily Creatures that laugh like Beavis at Fart jokes and try to kill themselves jumping off of furniture.

When I became pregnant I actually started buying dresses and picking out girl names.

There were all girls in my family. No way was a xy chromosome in my future.

Then I had an ultrasound. I actually cried upon seeing the images. 

Not tears of joy. I couldn't help myself.

I already have a daughter but she grew up wearing overalls and green sweater vests and hung out with her Grandpa watching Three Stooges. 

I wanted a Girl!         Glitter, bows, tutus and purples and pinks. 

Fast forward five years.

Any of you that know me, know that I am now a firm champion of the mother-son relationship.

It is a completely different relationship then that of my daughter.

In fact when Moms To Be come into the studio now and say they are going to have a boy, I let them know they won the lottery!

Now that being said what is the point of this blog post?

Baby Names.

I am not having anymore children. 

Yet I am still in love with the baby names I chose!

So here they are for you to use!

If my daughter was to be a ginger like my husband I was going to name her Lola after the song by The Kinks! What can I say we got a thing for Transvesities! After all that is why Em is the Divine Miss M.

If my theoretical daughter was going to have my dark curls I was going to name her Moselle. I might have been reading too many Southern books with Creole characters at the time.

I've added Roxelana from the Ottoman Empire harem to my list this year.

I will tell you this. Name your baby one of these wonderful names and I will play favorites!!!!

The next Momma that uses these names and brings her baby to me gets half off her newborn session!!!

Hannah NB-49Hannah NB-49

(Happy Little Tree Photography) baby names omaha photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/12/whats-in-a-name Thu, 28 Dec 2017 19:07:02 GMT
Book It! Part Six- Marketing https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/12/book-it-part-six--marketing Marketing is home work that needs to be constantly done wether you are busy or slow. Have a color on your Google calendar just for Marketing projects that need to be done every week.

Say Pink is marketing on your calendar. Have standing dates for Blogs on Mondays, Facebook on Wednesdays, Brainstorming Thursdays etc.

That third year where I booked like crazy for the following year was also helped along by a wonderful bride with a very large friend group.

She was a hairdresser. She loved her photos so much that she told everyone and anyone who would listen about me. Business boomed.

This is why customer service and making your client feel wonderful on their big day is important.

Your greatest marketing tool is word of mouth. Friends tend to get married in clumps.

You do a great job chances are you will be seeing your bride again at one of her bridesmaids weddings because her friend loved you.

You can always push the inner bargain hunter in your bride too and offer say a 16x20  print of her favorite image for ever friend that is referred to you that books. Or a $100 credit for a boudoir or anniversary session.


We have a few different local Wedding Magazines you can spend anywhere from 800 to thousands to have space in. I have talked to several different photographers in different price ranges have tried this. Not one of them got a client from it. You can always give it a shot though, it is also a way to get your name out there in more places.

We’re CRAZY!!!!

You’ve seen the sale ads. A sale is a lure. Is there really a point to Black Friday? Posting a deal in a magazine, local blog, Facebook etc might just be the push your client needs. Free Engagement session with Wedding Booking. Wedding Album with Package purchase. What do your clients really want? Do an online survey, find out and give it to them! Give them a deadline only two days, give them a sense of urgency or this special goes away!


You meet new people, feel good for donating your time, can hand out cards, they often give you ad space in their newsletter, good PR, you look like a good person who cares about something other then yourself and it’s a tax deduction. For years I covered a local charity event for a national health organization. I had a blast it was one night every year, they fed me, there was no crazy relatives to deal with and I always got a wedding or two out of it. To be honest the only reason I stopped doing the event was because they changed managers. It is always easy to find a charity looking for a free photographer. Think of what you actually can relate to and care about and go for it, but when you do blog about it, post about and hand out business cards!


The local news often has little vignettes and interviews on morning shows. The trend of the TRex chasing bridal parties. Message them and say you will come on and talk about it and do a time lapse of how it’s done. Surprise proposals, see if they want to do a cover piece on how to go about it and offer to talk about your favorite ones! I will say the main local one in my town treats almost all interviews as ad revenue and wants you to pay $500 to be on the show. It is up to you if that is worth the marketing cost.

Stylized Shoots-

Business slow? Put together a shoot. You network with other wedding vendors which is good word of mouth, it is a controlled environment which means you get great new work to put up on your website and blog, participating vendors use your photos with your credit, Wedding Blogs and magazines LOVE to feature styled shoots. Your own brides will also follow you for ideas.

BillBoards Banners and Decals-

I love reading the ads on the back of cars. Why do I not have my business on the back of mine. There is a rash of thieves stealing gear out of photographers cars while they are shooting. Also I am a bad driver, I do not need to give my phone number to the people I cut off!

I rarely glance at Billboards and the photographers I know that do advertise that way are not use to designing pieces of such size and scale so the ad usually doesn’t look that great.

Silent Auctions-

At least twice a month I get approached and asked to donate some kind of gift to silent auctions. Think about if you want your name associated with this kind of business. If you do there are some guidelines. Donate Time not Money. Donating picture frames or products is an actual out of pocket expense that will always cost you.

Set restrictions- deadline for use, how long, how many poeple, non refundable, not redeemable for cash, how many images and when they get them, the more specific the better.

Once again it is a tax deduction usually and it gets your name out there.

I donate a lot to silent actions and rarely see a return.


Press Releases-

They are old school with the death of print papers but still a valid source of marketing.

Opening a new studio, running a charity event, win an award? Send a press release out by email to your contact list and to the local papers.



Half the people who follow my posts are clients, half are other photographers.

Post often. This is free advertising for you and helps people relate to you.

Post a variety- use the rule of thirds- work-fun-what you know

Yes post your photos, but also post about the fun new place you found or a new technique you tried with your camera.

People love to see themselves. They will share your blog posts about them. I usually say be careful though, this is an all or none kind of thing. I have had several people tell me that others photographers did not blog their sessions with them and they felt slighted. Like they weren’t as good as the other clients. 

Post links in your blogs. Who designed the bouquet, where was this taken etc. It drives more traffic to you and is good for SEO.

You hate writing? Ask a fellow photog to write a guest post or a past client about their experiences with you.


Join a gang. The PPA, the WPPI, local shooting club, wedding forum for your state on Facebook. They will inspire you and you will also have some one to fall back on. You are booked on a persons day already? Post to your local forum, see whose open who you trust. Refer the person to them. The client will appreciate the help, the other photographer will appreciate the extra work and next time they are booked they will refer you!


They are usually on a weekend and wouldn’t you know that is usually when wedding photographers work. You have to pay for a space, design it to fit your brand, order samples, spend a whole day setting up, spend a whole day trying to be upbeat and enticing people to use you and then several hours tearing everything down. This can get expensive but there are always ways to make it cheaper. 

These shows are usually oversaturated with photographers to warn you. Only some of them limit the number. You usually have to give something away in a raffle. The bride writes down her name and email and at the end of the day 5 brides names are drawn at the show and they when a free engagement session with 5 digital images given to them. Once again donate time not product. The trick is usually that everyone is a winner. Message their email and let them know. The clients that already had a wedding photographer would still do the session. They would love all the images and purchase more then their five and I have had them come back to me for family and boudoir later.

Your samples are important here. Yes I had my beautiful images blown up and plastered on the walls but when a bride would pick up one of my flush mount album samples that is when I would hear the oohs and ahhh and the “This is exactly what I want!”

Go easy, smile, don’t be all business. These brides start to feel like they are in a meat market. I was once stuck between a two cake vendors handing out samples and I was the only one who had a trash basket. A bride would finish her sample and be left holding a plate as she was walking. I would smile at her, say “Hey you need me to toss that out for you.” She would be grateful and thank me and I would strike up a conversation, did you try the lemon? This place is really better with chocolate and it would always turn into them looking at my work and talking to me and not feeling rushed.

Malfunctions happen, bring backup, extension cords, table covers etc.



It’s free use it! I know lots of people complaining because the new algorithms suck for business but once again IT'S FREE!

Use it to tell stories and post your favorite moments for clients to share.

ALWAYS ALWAYS check with clients first before posting!! Your bride might hate that image after you post it because she thinks she looks fat in it and wants you to talk it down immediately.

I have seen several newer photographers say in private forums, they signed a release in their contract I can post what ever I want. If some one did this to you you would be ticked! Do you really want a client who will then turn around and tell everyone she had issues with you to feel that way. Check first!

Stay Positive! Good karma!

Interact on Facebook. Like other peoples and photographers posts, don’t just hit like actually comment! This puts your name in their mind more!

Post images from a wedding you just did, link through to the image gallery as well it will drive more people to your website.


Todays Yellow pages are places like The Knot and Wedding Wire. The bridal sites have replaced the actually book of pages. I have had good and not so good experiences with this. It usually costs each month to have your name on these sites. I was paying about $150 a month. The first year I did not have one single bride book with me from the site I used. There were 60 other photographers on there as well. The second year they changed what you could upload to your “space”. Instead of just photos I was able to upload my fusion slideshows which is a mix of photos and video from the day and after that I was getting at least on inquiry a day! The next year they changed the way the layout looked and lots of brides did not know the photos were actually slideshows and it went down to one inquiry a month and I cancelled with them

On a different wedding website I tried that you could post for free I got a negative review and it to this day still bothers me. The Review- “We LOVED our photographer, she went above and beyond, we love our images, everything was great but the one draw back? We felt extremely rushed during formal photos.” I was livid, yes they were rushed, their officiant was 45 MINUTES LATE and they refused a first look which left me with 15 minutes of venue owner yelling at me to hurry up so they can serve dinner while I did family, bridal party and individuals of the them. As you can see I am still upset a decade later! I hold grudges. Negative reviews are tough to take down and unhappy clients try to hold the threat of a bad review over your head. Luckily with the exception of the review above I have not had issue with reviews.


I see them all the time on blogs and Facebook. Although Facebook does have some rules that are ever changing about what you can run for a contest so check those out!

As with Charity and Silent Auction work make sure the rules are clear, not redeemable for cash, must be used by this date etc etc etc.

These are usually not your target client and are people just looking for a deal. I see the altruistic spin sometimes with the nominate a deserving bride. You get a heart warming story and blog post and lots of people waiting to see who won driving traffic to your site to vote for them.


Wether book or blog form it is always a credit to your business to be published. I know several brides who actually design there wedding with dreams of getting it published. 

There are companies like Two Bright Lights that help with publishing. You pay a monthly fee and can submit easier to different business. You must have a thick skin you are going to hear a lot of NOs before you get a yes, just keep submitting and try to make sure you are submitting to the right kind of place. Weddings with neon hair and the bridal party is in a band? Maybe more Rock N Roll Bride or OffBeat Weddings then Ruffled.

Once you do get that yes you can not usually blog, post or submit that wedding else where unless specified but once it is published flash that baby everywhere on Facebook, your blog, in an email newsletter etc!

Competition/ Awards-

Having your work critiqued helps you to grow as an artist, just like publishing it requires a thick skin but keep submitting. It is good networking, improves your eye, your credibility, goes on your resume and you should also shout it out on Facebook, blogs, emails when you do well! Most of the time these are print competitions and it requires money to enter and make the print.


Work slow? Great time for you to do a personal project. I had been dying to shoot a bride running through the fountain at out local art museum. I paid the 75 dollar fee to shoot there and 75 dollars to a hair/makeup artist. It cost me 150 in expenses and hour to shoot, two hours to edit but my client who got married out of state now had something to show her friends, loved it and told everyone. I also got more work to post of something different that I wanted to do and I got new clients and PR out of it.

Give a Workshop-

Teach a class on how to shoot a sparkler shot or in mid day sun. This means more networking for you, your clients see you as a professional teaching other photographers, creates more buzz and is usually fun hanging out with people for have the same interests as you.


Getting on a wedding planners list usually helps with a steady stream of clients. Sometimes that means their clients get you at a discounted rate. This is great for referrals but can also mean that you are working with someone trying to control the show including how much time you have to do your work.

Target Market-

Who What When Where Why and How

You can not please everyone.

Walmart/Hermes- Some people only want a photographer based on price or the fact that they use a matte filter on all of their photos. Some value your work and know this day is important to capture.

Love vintage weddings with tattooed brides? See if you can donate a canvas with your name on it to the retro store in town where those brides shop.


Copy Cat-

Good Artist Copy, Great Artist Steal

You positively love the marketing piece another photographer put out. There is no one says you can’t make one just like it. As long as you are not taking their ad and pasting your info over theirs go for it. 


Back in my day they use to be called Mood Boards. Design a page for your business. Brides love to share Pins, it’s free and does not take long to make or do. That moment when a bride is telling you what photos she wants and pulls up your Pins instead of some other photographers work is an awesome one. I also make secret mood boards with my clients for their sessions. I warn them that I am still gonna shoot like me but I find it inspiring. I once had a client send me a mood board that was half filled with photos of the couples hands. I don’t normally shoot hands but I did take a few with this in mind and she loved it. We all have stories of the clients that sends you 300 Pins and wants them all done on her wedding day. Thank her for her ideas, let her know that you want to create something new and artistic just for her so that people will want to Pin her day.

*On a side note. I had a bride Pin everything for her wedding. She worked hard to create it. Two weeks before her wedding was her cousins wedding. Her cousin took her Pinboard and used everything on it for her wedding. Moral of the story: Tell your clients to keep their Pinboards secret!


Remember Anniversaries, Birthdays, Births etc. Post and email clients about them. One year I made inexpensive photos Xmas ornaments for my clients to celebrate their first christmas together. I still get tags, posts and thank you about them from clients and their friends see it! I love posting an extra beautiful photo of their day with a short but sweet sentence to my clients Facebook page, usually all of their friends then start commenting on the photo when they go to say happy birthday as well. Five minutes time and great word of mouth.

Local Businesses- 

Jewelry, Floral, Dresses, Tuxes, Venues you can offer to design promo cards or an album of their products with your logo and referral on it. You should try to get with the places brides usually book first Venues and Dresses. There are many places you can partner with though! Does not even have to be a specific wedding vendor. A personal trainer, vintage shops, spas etc. This may require a little time and a little out of pocket but is worth it! Please it is great to also know other vendors you can recommend to your bride! They will ask you for recommendations on everything from nails to DJs.


Make a monthly newsletter or private Facebook group for your clients with photo tips and specials that might be running on other wedding vendors. “Worried about a double chin. Go out and down not up! And did you see the $99 dress sale at David’s Bridal!” Make a phone App for your studio that will sent out the newsletters.


There are companies that will supply you with a mailing list and you can design a postcard to go out such as Marathon Press. I honestly don’t know any wedding photographers that do this. I know lots of Senior Photographers that do.

With everything above to don't be afraid to dream up something new! You're the Artist!

****Comment with some of the crazy ways you have Marketed!!!!


Erin  Ryan Wedding Album Pages2Erin Ryan Wedding Album Pages2


(Happy Little Tree Photography) marketing omaha photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/12/book-it-part-six--marketing Wed, 27 Dec 2017 16:53:14 GMT
The Rabbit Stays. https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/12/the-rabbit-stays "Is it alright if Bun Bun is in the pictures?"

Bun Bun

What the hell is a Bun Bun?

I look down at the little two year old with eyes too big for his face in front of me.

There in his arms is a rabbit.

It is stuffed.

In a moment of clairvoyance I see this creature's future stretched out in front of me.

Twenty years before in a past life Bun Bun was Bunny, the crocheted rabbit that my daughter could not live without.

Bunny went everywhere and my daughter was never without him.

By the time my daughter was four we had scoured the planet for a replacement bunny as we watched him disintergrate before our eyes.

When we found one I explained to Em that we had to take Bunny to the vet and the switch was made.

As the years went by Bunny's ears doubled in length from being carried by them.

My daughter is now in her last year of college, but if you go in her room and check under her pillow bunny is still there.

I was going through a box of photos and came across a portrait studio photo of Em and Bunny.

Em is three. Pale bruises all over her legs and forced into a dress for pictures.

We had tried to get the Bunny out of the photos but it just caused tears.

We came to a compromise. Bunny will sleep in a wicker pram pushed by Em for the photo.

I laugh as I realize staring at this photo that bunny use to be white not grey, and have a hat, and a dress, and eyes for that matter.

It has been so long living with disfigured bunny I forgot what he originally looked like.

As I stare down at this little boy dragging around his best friend I tell him, "Yes! Bun Bun is welcome in the photos!"

I smile and know that 20 years from now as he is in college his mother is going to look at this photo and smile a big smile as she says, "Oh look Bun Bun use to have a nose."

Family 2017-58Family 2017-58

(Happy Little Tree Photography) bun bunny luvies omaha photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/12/the-rabbit-stays Sun, 17 Dec 2017 17:40:19 GMT
Book It! Part Five- Pricing https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/12/book-it-part-five--pricing This is a hot button issue. Price too low and you get demanding budget brides who want everything for nothing. Too high and you hear crickets, unless you have the work, experience and business know how, quality and customer service to back it up.

My first few wedding were 300 to 500 dollars in price. My ego quickly inflated to 800 even though I really did not know enough about what went into shooting weddings. I then upped it to 1200. I had steady weddings, booked like crazy, but I was there all day 15 hours shooting a wedding.

I would have people say oh well that is still 80 dollars an hour! No it isn’t. The emails and phone calls back and forth, engagement session, editing, wedding, editing the wedding.

They say for every 1 hour of shooting is two hours of editing. So you have about 45 hours right there per wedding.

You then might say oh that is still $26 an hour.

No it is not.

From that 1200 you need to take out your business insurance, camera equipment, gear repair, gas, cost of goods for usb drives, packaging etc, and sales, state and federal taxes.

So if you take out the usual 30% in state and federal that is minus 360, 10% for sales tax is $120 so 1200 minus 480 in taxes alone is $720

Take out 30 dollars in insurance, 690, Cost of Goods, say very conservative $50 brings you down 640.

We say $45 in gas, 595.

Now if I divide the 45 hours by that we get 13.20 an hour. This does not include the money you paid into your gear, tax person, website, marketing.

And that is just business did you pay your mortgage, electric, medical? 

You can see why this is so tempting to just try to do everything under the table and not pay taxes. You will get audited.

They are following Facebook and tracking websites. When they catch up to you they will go through all of your emails and bank statements.

I have a friend who did not pay her sales tax, after one year they audited her and she ended up owing them 30,000 dollars. Scary yes!

Sit down with someone and figure your budget. Your living expenses, business expenses, taxes and how many weddings you need to book to make it.

I will give an example below:

Business Expenses-  *this does not include all the initial startup costs of equipment which around 8 grand.

Monthly insurance- 30


Website- 22

17Hats- 15

usb drives and packaging-60

client expenses- lattes and food- 50

gear cleaning repair purchase- 350

marketing- 200

Child Care- 400

Acct for taxes- 600




Mortgage- 1200






Internet- 40

Cellphones-220 (about 100 a month for just me and can claim mine on my taxes for business but put it under personal because I am also paying for two other family members phones.

Clothes/Birthdays/Household Items-400

Entertainment- 100

Totaling- 4855

*extras- gym membership, cable/streaming services, book addiction, Credit Cards, college fund.

Go through your last six months of bank statements and see where your money is going, 17 Hats can help with that and so can a program called Minted. This will help you budget.

There are 56 weekends in a year. You know that in colder winter months you book a lot less and warmer months you can book a wedding on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Some photographers like to keep their sanity and will not do a double header or back to back weddings.

12 months say six months you will only do one and the other six you shoot 3 a month which is 24 weddings.

If I times the grand expense total by 12 months it equals 58,260 needed to make it (this is before taxes too!), divide that by the 24 weddings you book is 2,427.50 for each wedding.

If that is the minimum you need that should be the cost of your lowest package.

There are always ways to upset too! Adding on a second shooter, or wedding album, or bridal session.

My first year I booked 3 wedding, the second year 7, third year 25, the next couple of years until I had my son and stopped shooting weddings was at about 45-50 weddings.


I had four packages-

3600- 12 hour 2 photographers, 12x12 30 page flush mount wedding album, custom engagement session, all images edited and given to you.


2700- 10 hours, 2 photographers, 10x10 20 page flush mount album engagement session all images edited and given to you on a usb drive. 


2000- 8 hours, 1 photographer, engagement session edited and given to you on usb. 


1300- 6 hours just me, files edited and given

*If you paid attention to COG you would see that the above prices are not high enough. Also know that I am a kept woman whose husband pays the mortgage! lol

My two middle packages were my biggest booker, but I still did quite a few elopements at my bottom package I would say 15 of the 45. A lot of the times my clients would buy my second package and then later buy the album at tax or christmas time.

Half of my brides would also add on a boudoir session as a day of present to their groom. Which would also lead to additional album and print sales.

I made an online pdf and flip book of my pricing for clients to go through. I will say do print it out on really nice paper though.

A lot of clients still like to look at and hold the physical pricing sheet.

I branded it with my logos and fonts. I included all of my ala carte items to tempt. I priced them descending in price order from highest package to lowest. People usually book your middle package. I left the lower package very cut and dry in description but expounded on the detail and luxury of what you get in the top two packages.

An Engagement Shoot in the lower packages became a personalized planned engagement session centering on what you lovebirds like to do!

I named each of my packages after ice cream I loved.

Which clients loved, they thought it was fun and the names were easy to remember. I also had a good story to tell as to why my packages were named after ice cream.

*I was shooting an engagement session with a bicycle in a field with a fun couple. Just as we ended the session we looked up and realized a storm was coming fast. We high tailed it back to our cars but nothing was around except a small ice cream shop. A funnel cloud was forming right overhead. Tornado season in Nebraska hits fast! The owner of the shop came out and got us and offered us shelter. We spent the next hour eating ice cream and playing 80’s Trivial Pursuit, which I won by a landslide because they were born in the eighties but I had lived through them! Kinda like cheating really.

At this point my clients laugh, say "No way!" and also feel like I will get through most any situation with them.

One of my favorite weddings had me booked for a year. It should of been the usual wedding. They lost their funding. Ended up having it in their backyard under an old oak tree with barbecue and cupcakes and personally made decorations. They spent 4000 dollars total on their wedding. $2700 of that was on me. Photos were important to them. Sad to say these clients are the exception and not the rule.

I will say research your market. You usually have to have the quality and experience to back up your pricing. There was one year I met with four brides that didn’t book with me. The next year I discovered that they all referred friends to me instead of the photographer they had gone with since the less experienced photographer they went with botched the job.

I also experienced what we call Budget Brides, it would seem like most of my brides who were below the 1400 mark where the most demanding, hardest to please and wanted the world for nothing. I had one bride come in who originally wanted my top package. She informed me that two months before their financial situation had changed and she would only be booking my bottom package but that she still wanted me all day and with a second photographer at my bottom package price. A sane person laughs and says no way and walks away. I was nervous, I needed the money so I agreed. I ended up not making a dime off of the wedding. Was it her fault? Nope it was all my own for not valuing my work and for letting a client walk all over me.

Stand your ground!


PG019-20 acopyPG019-20 acopy


(Happy Little Tree Photography) omaha photographer pricing https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/12/book-it-part-five--pricing Fri, 15 Dec 2017 19:11:42 GMT
Proof Is In The Pudding...... https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/11/proof-is-in-the-pudding I met the Johnson Family last year.

Our first meeting was in a hospital room.

Melissa had just given birth and had hired me to do a Fresh 48 Session.

For those of you that do not know what a Fresh 48 Session is I come up to the hospital and photograph the older siblings and grandparents meeting the baby for the first time.

Melissa and Luke had come prepared.

As their three older children bounced into the room they had presents from the new baby for them.

Each child received a bag with clothes, toys and books.

As the new baby needed tests I got to do the best part of my job. 

Sit on the floor and read to the kids.

I told them all about my son and his favorite book at the time, Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs.

The book was funny for kids and had enough adult sarcasm to keep me entertained as well.

In it instead of porridge Goldilocks eats three gigantic bowls of pudding.

Fast forward a year.

The Johnson Family shows up at my studio for family photos.

Not only do the kids remember me, they scour my book selection looking for the Goldilocks book I told them about!

What kind of an Aunt am I!!! It was not there!

After the session I went home and through the magic of Amazon I ordered not only the book to be delivered to their house but a package of chocolate pudding to make with it!

I then went about my day.

A week later I see a strange post on Melissa's Facebook feed.

"Did someone send me pudding?"

"Is this a thing now?"

Amazon had sent the pudding on ahead of the book which would arrive a week later.

I was about to explain but when I looked at Melissa's feed it was hilarious.

Her friends were having too much fun running with it.

I am sure after the book came she figured out the pudding was from me as well.

I now want to send random pudding to my clients to see what Three Stooges antics ensue. LOL

Family 2017-2Family 2017-2


(Happy Little Tree Photography) and dinosaurs goldilocks omaha photographer pudding the three https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/11/proof-is-in-the-pudding Thu, 30 Nov 2017 17:56:12 GMT
Book It! Part Four- Website https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/11/book-it-part-four--website I bought my domain name off of GoDaddy for a decade for $80. I was going to keep Captured By Tree forever!

I used the website builder that came with Go Daddy.

It was crude, amateur and boring.


I went on to try Wordpress, Big Black Bag, SquareSpace and several others to varying degrees of success.

When my business rebranded to TreeSnap I had a custom site designed and built for me.

Yes I did love it but anytime a problem arose I had to pay someone to fix it and I had to add on the shopping cart feature and order prints.

When my business changed again several years later I shut down the site and moved to Zenfolio.

Easy to design a simple site and photos could easily be ordered through several professional labs without me having to do the extra step of ordering.  


Make sure that the website you choose is easily navigable.

Have friends try it out and try out test markets like Peek by UserTesting which will send you a 5 minute narrated clip of someone going through your site and what they think. I believe you get three free uses. 

Peek Link: http://peek.usertesting.com


Do not add music.

It makes it load slower and you probably don’t have the copyright permission to use it.

Lots of people do it but if someone was using your images for free without your permission you would be p***ed off.

Don’t do that to another artist that worked hard to make that song.

Plus quite a few of my brides check me out when they are bored at work. Don’t make them get caught by the startup of cheesy music.


Don’t overdo how many photos you have in your portfolio galleries, more is not better! Just keep the stunning ones. 

Don’t have enough to fill a portfolio?

Borrow a friend and her dress. Take her out to shoot. Shoot your own wedding ring. Put your kid in their Easter clothes and go to town. 

If you love church weddings show photos with churches.

Love the serious romantic couple shots? Post that and those are the clients you will attract. 

People see your photos as a love story. They want to look at your photos and be the person in it.

So you want vintage tattooed brides? Post that. You are going to get the kind of bride that you show case.

I post a lot of funny outtakes and reception shots so I don’t get as many serious brides. I get ones that want a fun night to remember!


Make sure it has links to your blog, Facebook, Instagram and all of your other informative links.

About You Tab, Portfolio, Pricing, What to Expect, etc etc etc.

Do your homework! Emulate the sites you love!


Last but not least is it your brand style? Remember your brand is everywhere from website boarder to business cards!


PS- As I write this post my website is in serious need of an update, but that is what the winter is for!

AC Pg34AC Pg34




(Happy Little Tree Photography) omaha photographer website wedding https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/11/book-it-part-four--website Tue, 14 Nov 2017 15:15:44 GMT
Holy Haberdashy! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/10/holy-haberdashy New Client.

Wanted Session in their backyard.

New people.

Always that awkward Jr. High feeling.

I pull up and park.

Beautiful lawn, landscaping, tree swing.

Oh they must be those people on the other side, the "normal" ones.

Beautiful mom, handsome dad, little girl, bouncing golden hair.

Happy puppies running around.

Yup normal.

We start shooting.

Which is awkward enough when you have a stranger like me posing you around.

Mom is not afraid to get down in the wet, muddy grass with the puppies.

Dad is not too proud to climb up in the treehouse with his daughter.

And the daughter?


In the span of twenty minutes she jumped, climbed and leapt off of every surface and tree she could.

As I was saying my goodbyes in the front yard the little girl stopped me.

"Hold on a minute Tree."

She ran inside.

I waited, and waited. I made small talk as the minutes ticked by. 

After ten minutes Mom and I looked at each other and proclaimed that I had probably been forgotten about and forsaken for a toy or game.

As I walked slowly to my car just in case I hear the front door slam.

I look up and a vision in all black is running towards me with hydrangeas.

She had gone inside and transformed into Cat Woman.

Who then proceeded to hand me a bouquet of light blue hydrangeas that the villain had picked just for me.

It was one of the most perfect ways I've ever had a session end.

I might have misjudged them as one of the "normals".

Moral of the story- Don't judge a book by it's nicely manicured front lawn.

Double Moral- Always bring Tree flowers.

Family 2017-109Family 2017-109


(Happy Little Tree Photography) cat new omaha photographer woman https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/10/holy-haberdashy Thu, 19 Oct 2017 14:48:08 GMT
Book It! Part Three- Logos https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/9/book-it-part-three--logos  

Your logo can just be your business name, or it can have artwork with it, vines, graphics etc.

Very big right now is watercolor flowers and gradient gold letters or geometric prisms.

I've never been fond of using a camera or an aperture wheel instead of an O for logos.

This is where mood boards are great.

Back in the day I would look through magazines and cut out the ads I loved and glue them to poster board. Now we have Pinterest!

I make a secret board and Pin fonts and other logos I love.

I had a mind set with my portrait business that I was just going to do a font in teal and orange.

I was pretty broke so I posted on Facebook to see what acquaintances would come up.

A friend said she would design one for $20.

I bought it from her but everyone told me it kind of looked like the logo for a nursing home.

I then tried Fivver. Twice.

It is where you pick a graphic designer to make you a logo for anywhere from 5 to 50 bucks.

I spent $10 and hated it so much I didn’t even want to ask the artist for a revision.

I tried it again and spend $15 and I liked it but when I posted it for feedback everyone else hated it IMMENSELY.

What now?

Another photographer suggested an artist to me. I filed out her online questionnaire.

She said it was going to be $200 and six weeks.

I really do hate waiting but I completely get it!. DO NOT RUSH ART.

The one thing that I did not see coming was the questionnaire. I told her everything I wanted teal, orange, just my name, but she had me make a PinBoard of logos and fonts I liked.

It was at that moment I discovered everything I Pinned and was drawn to was the opposite of what I thought I wanted.

I had become what I always complain about. The customer who doesn't really know what they want.

The other graphic designers didn't fail. I could not really explain what I wanted. Which is why you go to a Pro to be able to interpret for you LOL.

Going online and looking at other business logos and styles was really an important step to actually realizing what I wanted. I had been saying the wrong things!

She got excited over the Pins and six hours later brought me back my new logo that I love.

Your logo designer will give you a palette of colors and two to three fonts to use that are your brand for website, business cards, welcome packets, thank you cards etc.

Remember to watch out for hard to read fonts!!!!

If on a budget there are lots of design shops online with premade logos where you just change the name to yours!

You can do it yourself but graphic design is a completely different beast from photography.

I find a lot of photogs who design their logo themselves end up with something that is just ok and not as polished as if a pro had done it.

I've seen it with myself in the past. You have on "Mommy Goggles" for how good it is because you put so much work into it.

Ask other photogs and clients for there opinion! Ask people who are your core demographic, "How does this make you feel?" "Remind you of anything?" "Easy to read and identify?" "Do you feel it represents my style well?"

When the new year starts and our busy season has ended is when most photogs redo their branding. 

Can't wait to see what new looks my friends come up with this year!

Logo MistakesLogo Mistakes




(Happy Little Tree Photography) branding logo omaha photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/9/book-it-part-three--logos Thu, 28 Sep 2017 15:20:03 GMT
With The Fall Comes Family https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/9/with-the-fall-comes-family It's that time of year.

The weather is starting to cool.

Back to school.

Crazy holidays are about to start. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and so on.

With this comes the craziness in my schedule.

My 20 side projects that are never finished.

Cleaning the house, studio and my car which has an embarrassing number of Ding Dong wrappers hidden in it.

Speaking of cars you know that school started and neither of my kids drive? The 21 year old or the 4 year old.

Can't blame them.

It does mean an extra 2 hours of driving around a each weekday at crazy times.

All of this craziness now means I only have time to shoot on Wednesdays and Weekends.

Even then I have a few full day weddings booked out even though I don't shoot weddings anymore.

Why am I babbling?

To put that little worm in your ear now so that I don't have you upset that you can't get your family photos done!

I have had clients on the books ready for this since last February. (Crazy huh! I myself am never that prepared)

Last week Franklin came to see me.

His mom had the session booked out for months.

"Tree what time would you like us? What to wear and where?"

Franklin is 9mths old. He goes to bed at 8am. 

So I was a little nervous about asking my clients to come out and shoot at golden hour at 7am.

Oh and drive an extra half hour out of their way to an apple orchard on a dirt road they have never been to just because their photographer wants it.

15 minutes.

15 minutes was all it took to capture one of my favorite sessions of the year.

We wandered among the apple tree, haystacks and the cool vintage truck on the property.

I am always nervous when you book, when we shoot and when I edit.

Will they love their photos?

As I am editing through them on my computer I start to smile. Why?

Because as I scroll through my brain starts to say, "Yes this is a photo I want of me with my own kids."

Then I know they will love them.

Then I get a little jealous that I haven't done my family photos yet.

Franklin reaching for apples in the grass. Dad nuzzling his neck. Mom kissing the top of his head, her fingers playing with the tiny curls by his ears.

Yes these are photos capturing one small moment of love in a great big world.....and my heart is so happy for it.


Franklin 9mth-92Franklin 9mth-92

(Happy Little Tree Photography) family omaha photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/9/with-the-fall-comes-family Fri, 08 Sep 2017 14:09:38 GMT
Cross The T's and DOT the I's https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/9/cross-the-ts-and-dot-the-i-s So Dorothy or Dottie if you will, has a lot to live up to.

I mean come on. Her older sister is Deborah.

Or Little Debbie if you prefer. Which I do for the obvious reasons.

Little Debbie is a pistol. Keeps me laughing, on my toes and is a big personality in a small package.

They are opposites.

Little Debbie with her dance movies and command of a room at such a small age ran away with my heart.

I tell my clients all the time, "Yes it is trying but trust me this is what you want. No one will steam roll over her. She will rule the world with a moose by her side."

Well you get the idea.

Along comes Dottie.

How on earth can you compare the two?

You can't I've come to find.

Yes Debbie will rule the world but Dottie will be the one to master it.

She glows.

Quieter, dare I say meeker?

She is only one but you see her paying attention to the small details before she reacts.

So how does the quieter little sister do when it comes to smashing a cake?

It does not go how most parents hope with cake flung to the high heavens.

No not even close.

Happy, smiling Dottie is set in front of the cake, looks up with a grin and then precedes to push every polka dot on her smash cake like it is a button.

She does not miss one!

Each and every polka dot is pressed slowly and precisely deep into the cake until they have all disappeared.

I have to say for a cake smash it is a first for me LOL.

Dottie BlogDottie Blog

(Happy Little Tree Photography) cake debbie dorothy dot dottie omaha photographer polka smash https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/9/cross-the-ts-and-dot-the-i-s Tue, 05 Sep 2017 17:28:20 GMT
Book It! Part Two- Business Name https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/8/book-it-part-two--business-name What’s In A Name?


Business Name

Your business name says it all.

Lots of photographers use their names for their business and just add photography onto the end.

It does make it easy to figure out.

If your name is really long or difficult for people to spell, it will also make it tough on the design aspect of things.

I’ve tried to Goggle some of my favorite photographers and it is impossible to find them because I am a bad speller.

I see female photographers who are not married yet but know they will be in the future and will be changing their last name. They will use their first name and their middle name instead. 

I started off as Captured By Tree.

I had it for several years and then noticed that almost every beginning photographer does that. It was not original and it was boring and amateur. 

One of my brides was a graphic designer.

I hired her and her coworker for $1000 to make me a logo and a new website.

She talked to me, had me make a mood board, asked questions and brought me three drafts of new logos.

First she pitched me the new name “Tree Snap”.  I loved it.

She showed me the logos. I liked them, they were all well done but I looked over at her sketch pad and she had doodled the new business name in a font that remind me of one of my favorite Shel Silverstein books. I said, “That! That is it!” and my new logo was born. 

Test market your new name.

More then likely your family will will hate it, your friends will all love it, but in this day and age you can post to Facebook and ask a populace.
Not everyone will love it, but try to run it by people that are you are in the demographic you are trying to reach. For weddings that is usually couples that are between the ages of 21 to 35 and see if it appeals to them. 

Is the font hard to read? Is the logo tough to fit on a business card? Will it age well or is it too trendy?

On that note, in a few years you may need to rebrand.

Your business changes, you change, the way you shoot changes, so why not throw a party and rebrand yourself!

Google the name. Make sure it is not in use already.

When Googled see what it is associated with, is it possible inappropriate subjects may turn up when Googled?

I had some friends go into business and open a studio space.

They were hip, young photographers with excellent work.

They named their studio Stables.

When we tried to Google their studio to get the address for their "house" warming you can guess what we came up with instead.

That being said you will have to register your business name. Are you going to copyright it? here is a link to help:


Choose wisely!

Some helpful sites:



PS- Below is one of my favorite wedding shots! It is so rare when you get to shoot the first kiss from the opposite side with the guests behind them!

KM Wedding-971KM Wedding-971


(Happy Little Tree Photography) business name omaha photographer wedding https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/8/book-it-part-two--business-name Thu, 31 Aug 2017 14:32:08 GMT
Book It! Part One- Getting Started https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/8/book-it-part-one--getting-started After dropping out of the wedding business I had started to write an ebook on all of my experiences in weddings.

It wrote itself very quickly.


Shooting the video tutorials and all of the images and editing to go with it never happened.

A year went by and it is just sitting on my laptop.

So I have decided to break it down by pages and post to my blog.

So here is the first installment at my failed attempt to be an author!

::Getting Started

I just went to a lighting class.

This was an advanced off camera lighting class. There were only eight of us in the room.

Three of the fellow photographers had never even turned on a flash.

They all said they were in the class to learn since they had several weddings coming up.

My heart stopped. 90% of weddings are shot in pitch black dark churches and reception halls. They cannot be reshot and are fast paced.

So what are you suppose to do? Not what I did.

Like the girls in class I just jumped in. Looking back at my first weddings makes me want to cringe. Yes someone actually paid me for them.

There are so many thing I should have been in command of and known that I did not in the beginning because I jumped in.

Shots I did not get. Moments I missed. 

Second and even third shoot for someone whose work you admire. Offer to carry gear, do it for little or no money.

Look at how they do everything from lighting to talking to the flower girl. 

The other thing you need to do. Practice, Practice, Practice!

I can’t tell you how many times I would learn something in a class or online and then not try it out until the day of a wedding and completely fail at it!

I would say you need at least a year of apprenticing with someone else.

How many jobs do you know of don’t require training before you go it alone. Wedding photography should not be any different.

Go online and message someone you admire offering to carry their gear in exchange for watching them do their thing!

There are many photography and wedding Facebook Forums geared to finding second shooters.

I will say that until your shooting skills are up to snuff do not market yourself as a second shooter. You are an assistant.

A second shooter can get the exposure right and does not need to be directed as much!

And may the Force Be With You!

Cool Links:


The Modern Tog


MK Wedding-902MK Wedding-902


(Happy Little Tree Photography) getting omaha photographer started wedding https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/8/book-it-part-one--getting-started Mon, 21 Aug 2017 15:48:21 GMT
Go Wide! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/7/go-wide I do not do generational photos.

Let's face it they are not easy to do.

Trying to get everyone in a family in the same place and time, in color coordinated clothes and there are always one or two sick or ticked off members of the family.

But hey that's family right? LOL

Every once in a blue moon I get roped into shooting one.

No one wants to look at me.

As I am making a fool of myself to try to get the baby to smile everyone is looking at her and not me.

Numerous head swaps.

Yes everyone coordinated in grey and blue except for that one Uncle that showed up in a Metallica shirt.

Your child just got vaccinations and is running a temperature but you can't reschedule because it is a big group shot and the rest of your family would kill you.

The teenagers looked pi**ed and bored beyond believe.

I placed everyone perfectly and the second I raise the camera to my face your one Aunt ducks behind someone so all we see is her eyeball poking out from behind someone's head like a creeper.

Yup you feeling the love too?

But the ones you love get older and it becomes tougher and tougher to find a photo of them.

I do try to take the standard full length -let-me-see-your-pasty-white-knees group shot.

And I DETEST them.

What I do love more is a wide panoramic shot of the family.

It takes a little more time editing but I love the result so much more.

I take the individual family shots and merge them photoshop.

The photos of just the small family grouping are easier to control and often look so much better. 

More comfortable and intimate.

I take those shots and layer them next to each other in Photoshop. 

The photo below is 8 siblings with their families and Mom and Dad. The usual big group shot is just that...usual.

But the layered shot I adore.

Yes I had to take nine separate family groupings and merge them but it was worth it!

You see all of your loved ones face so much clearer. They look happier and more relaxed. 

It is not a normal print size but I am a photographer.

I can tell you exactly where to print it and how to frame it.

That's my job.

So the moral of the store is that for your loved ones photos don't be afraid to step outside the usual 8x10 print size.

Go WIDE or Go home!

Bayer Family 2017Bayer Family 2017 Bayer Family Edit 2017Bayer Family Edit 2017

(Happy Little Tree Photography) generational omaha panoramic photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/7/go-wide Mon, 31 Jul 2017 11:58:46 GMT
Safety Net https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/7/safety-net I try not to post too many negative thoughts in my social media feed.

It does no one any good. I am a business and have to keep a lot of my opinions neutral.

Every time I have been mean or negative it has come back to bite me. Superstitious old bat that I am.

That being said last week broke that rule.

My driver's license and debit card were taken out of my purse and my accounts were drained.

It is a week later and I still have no answers or help, especially not from the Bank.

I do understand that these things take time though.

In the mean time I had zero money in my account with a household, studio and life to get on with.

Pay my rent? groceries? gas?

I did start to panic a little.

I was frustrated enough that I posted to my Facebook page about how the bank was a driving me crazy.

I went to bed that night and when I woke in the morning and logged into my studio manager my I had several accounting emails.

Without being asked several of my clients in the night went and paid in advance on their invoices even though they were not due for several months.

Several had also emailed to see if I was ok.

I held my head in my hands and teared up with relief looking at the screen.

It lifted that much more weight off my shoulders to not have to worry about another thing this week.

It wasn't a handout. I am too proud of a person for that as many people know. 

It was payment for services to be received in the future, but it was also a great show of love and support when I needed it!

I just wanted to say once again. How grateful I am to capture so many wonderful peoples memories and thank you for all of the love and support!

PS. Below is a photo from one of my trampoline sessions. Done without a safety net which seemed appropriate for this blog and all the crazy people who trust me!

Summer 2017-161Summer 2017-161

(Happy Little Tree Photography) account bank omaha photographer support https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/7/safety-net Mon, 17 Jul 2017 18:50:33 GMT
Where The Wild Things Are! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/7/where-the-wild-things-are I have been doing very simple live bunny sessions for a few years now.

EVERY time I do these sessions all of the older kids and adults comment that they are jealous.

They want to play with the bunnies and get their photo taken.

I always tell them they are welcome to, but they feel too old.

With that in mind I came up my Wild Things Sessions!

These are for older kids and adults!

Animals ranging from tarantulas and alligators to porcupines and boa constrictors!

Here is what a session is like.

It is a one hour long group session of 6 to 7 people.

We take one animal out at a time a photograph with them!

Everyone gets a turn. 

You do not have to photograph with every animal!

If you don't want a tarantula on your head that is just fine!

We use continuous lights with no flash for the animals comfort.

We have an expert on hand that shows you how to handle the animals and is wonderful to work with.

You will get to pet and feed the animals and make some wonderful memories which make amazing photos!

As far as what to wear anything goes!

I do try to say no logos since it is distracting.

Want to go all out in vibrant makeup and feather cape? Let's do it!

Want to just wear your jeans and a T shirt and be comfortable that is awesome too!

If you wish to change clothes you may do so while another member of the group is being photographed.

You receive all images in an online gallery edited and ready to download!

I will say this it was amazing to see who gravitated to which animal.

As the session went on and people got bolder I was able to get people cuddling with alligators and letting snakes kiss them!

It is definitely a one of a kind photo shoot!

Message me for details and days!

Wildlie 2017-26Wildlie 2017-26


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha alligators animals photographer snakes wildlife https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/7/where-the-wild-things-are Mon, 10 Jul 2017 15:54:20 GMT
It Takes 7 Years!!! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/7/it-takes-7-years For those of you that love the Harrison Ford version of Sabrina as much as I do the blog title was said in the Maid's voice.

For quite a few years now I post a bucket list for sessions I have been dying to do. 

I have been wanting to shoot a session in the Arts Center. 

No one has taken me up on it.

In the form of bellydancing, couples, headshots etc.

You name it I have been trying to talk someone into it.

I posted earlier this year about wanting to do a yoga belly bump session.

No takers.

Then through the Facebook grapevine I saw that Alyssa was pregnant.

I had so much fun shooting Alyssa and Jon's wedding I reached out to the couple to fulfill two long time bucket list wishes at once!

I would finally get to shoot in the Arts Center and do a Yoga belly bump session!

The light streaming in from the skylights was just as gorgeous as my glowing couple!

I was running late to the session. Not sure of my gear, the clothes, the poses but the second they showed up none of that mattered.

It was easy. Just move. Just talk. 

I can't not wait for their little one to arrive!

There is so much love for this baby already that I feel she will be truly blessed!

Thank you Alyssa and Jon! I will be seeing you again soon!

Link to image HERE!

Alyssa Belly Bump-127Alyssa Belly Bump-127


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha belly bump photographer yoga https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/7/it-takes-7-years Mon, 03 Jul 2017 05:33:57 GMT
Nobody Gets Outta Hear Without Singin The Blues https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/7/nobody-gets-outta-hear-without-singin-the-blues I am not the person one calls when they need a babysitter.

Everything that makes me good at my job makes me a horrible babysitter.

The candy coated, jet fueled, mud covered, flying off the furniture with a goose egg on their forehead does not inspire comfort in parents.

So no one asks me.....ever.

It was a first and kind of scary proposition I put to my client.

"So Liz why don't you just drop Toby off at my house and I will shoot his two year photos and you and Tom can go have dinner and come back and get him?"

I should say I have known them awhile. This is not common studio practice.

It was all inspired by damn Pinterest.

I ran across this photo of a little boy with a sword playing in a clothesline with the shadow of a dragon on one of the sheets.

That was it! Use my laundry and give him a sword in my backyard.

Walk across the street to Walnut Grove and lay in the clover.  

Then bubbles because come on BUBBLES!

Then watermelon because his mother loves Fourth of July.

Then finish with a ship on the pond at the park!

It was planned out, simple, easy and entirely NOT what happened.

Tom and Liz dropped off their first born child to me.

I was lucky Toby trusts me and didn't run screaming down the street after his parents.

He wasn't quite sure at first.

He didn't want to go to the park. He wanted to stay in my yard.

OK! I'll just make the background blurry with my lens. No one has to see my yard!

I brought out the bubbles.

The beautiful light with bubbles swirling around him and ..... skunk face.

He didn't want bubbles.

Ok! Give him watermelon! All kids love watermelon!

I cut up the triangles and sat them in the grass. Picture perfect.

Toby took one look at them and actually turned to me and said, "I got this."

He then proceeded to pick up each triangle delicately so as not to get messy and stack then neatly and perfectly back in to the Tupperware container.

Soooooo hmmmmm. Not quite what I had in mind.

We were no where near the water but he loved dragging the ship back and forth across my grass so C'est la vie. 

What he did find was a frisbee.

His face lit up. He was a natural.

Then I remembered several years ago taking his parents' engagement photos and playing frisbee golf! 

Ok then! Tom and Liz won't think frisbee photos are weird let's do this!

By the time Toby's parents came back he was literally rolling in the grass laughing.

If you have kept score so far you would have seen that I actually got none of the shots I intended to, except for the laundry shot.

When I showed him he could run through the clothes line like a matador cape he LOVED it!

One catch. He didn't want a sword. He found my son's Harry Potter wand.

We went with it. 

Instead of a knight slaying a dragon we now have a wizard slaying a basilisk.

And we all lived Happily Ever After.

The End

PS. Since half my clients are young pups the title is a reference to Adventures In Babysitting which you need to go find and watch immediately!

Toby BasiliskToby Basilisk




(Happy Little Tree Photography) babysitting bubbles wizard https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/7/nobody-gets-outta-hear-without-singin-the-blues Sun, 02 Jul 2017 17:12:29 GMT
You Look Better Naked https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/6/you-look-better-naked My curtains are always drawn.

It is not to keep the heat out. 

You know the guy across the street from the Friends apartment on TV?

Yup That's me. Naked Guy.

My kids are use to. They think it is completely normal.

My hatred of clothing has had a few positive impacts on my kids. 

They are not embarrassed of their bodies.

Changing in lockers rooms is no big deal.

Seeing the human form in art is not giggled at or made fun of. It is just part of life.

So I walk around naked. That is until my husband gets home.

I run for the closest robe, blanket, mumu dress on hand.

After a decade and a half together a lot has changed.

When we started dating I was a size 0. I am now a well rounded size 16.

I want him to remember the old me. 

I walk around and still feel skinny until I catch my reflection in a store window.

Then I freeze for a second. Trying to figure out if I really look like that or if the glass is just distorted.

Nope I really look like that.

My husband came home last week and I dashed over and grabbed a blanket.

He laughed.

He came over and sat next to me.

"Why do you do that?"

"You don't do that with the kids?"

"I would love if you walked around the house naked."

He kissed me on top of the head and went back down the hall.

I'm a photographer. I shoot naked women who want photos for their significant others every week.

These shoots usually have endless hours of questioning and outfits. Women who are afraid to show off their bodies but want to.

It inspired me to create Birthday Suit Sessions.

No fancy corsets, crazy heels you can't walk in, and hours sifting through Victoria's Secret or Fredrick's of Hollywood.

Just you. 

Bed head tousled, rolled up in sheets.

That sexy thought your lover couldn't get of of their head when you were first dating was not of you in a black nightie but of you tangled up in the sheet in the morning light on the pillow next to them.

These sessions are simple. Effortless. And HOT as hell.

Do I now walk around naked in front of my husband now?


I do let my towel slip a little more though when he is around lol.



(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha birthday boudoir naked photographer suit https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/6/you-look-better-naked Wed, 07 Jun 2017 15:13:03 GMT
PEEP SHOW https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/6/peep-show When I was off in the woods with my family I had a special run everyday on different kinds of sessions I wanted to do.

Most of them sold except for the Milk Baths.

So the day after I got back I grabbed our left over box of evaporated milk and decided to do it anyway.

It didn't quite go as planned.

First you never shoot your own kid. They don't listen.

I now have enough shots of him mooning the camera to last a lifetime.

I had to make sure the water level was high enough to cover naughty bits but not his face, but how to get him to stop drinking the bath water?

I ran to the cupboard to grab the big box of Fruit Loops and a giant spoon I had planned to use for the shoot.

They were gone.

Too late to turn back what else did I have in the cupboard?

Organic chocolate bunny cereal I thought might work but the water turning brown might be a little off putting.

Would Teddy Grahams float?

In the very back tucked away hidden because the only one who eats them is my Mother was a bright yellow box of Peeps.

The over sugary gelatinous hunks of yellow might work.

Flynn was over joyed to bathe with them.

I unfortunately did not get many shots as he quickly went about decapitating them all.

It was fun. 

It was silly and messy.

And I definitely can't wait until I can do it again.

Link to Slideshow.


(Happy Little Tree Photography) https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/6/peep-show Fri, 02 Jun 2017 14:22:09 GMT
Thick As Pea Soup! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/thick-as-pea-soup Every time I am at work I walk past them sitting on my shelves.

One of those three-am-do-I-really-need-this purchases.

Smoke Bombs

I have not had a single client request a smoke session.

So why did I purchase them?

Just In case.

Maybe someone just doesn't know that is what they want and I have to be ready right?

Funky Senior Sessions

Dramatic Day After Bridal Gown Shots

Foggy Ethereal Engagement Love Session

Just sitting there on my shelf.

Of course I picked up plenty of orange and purple because those are my favorite colors!

With that in mind the next type of session I am offering while away are called Through The Fog.

Want a little drama in your life?

Link to my Mood Board!

Link to purchase at my Online Store!


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha bomb fog photographer smoke https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/thick-as-pea-soup Mon, 15 May 2017 03:36:06 GMT
Tea For Two https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/tea-for-two Little cookies and sandwiches.

Pots and saucers.

Elegant victorian lace and gloves.

A field of flowers and your Dad.

Your playroom with your favorite dinosaur as you guest.

The last special session I am offering is Tea for Two!

Do you have the perfect dress to have tea with your teddy bear?

Or are you a little older and want a Mad Hatter Party with your friends?

Message me your ideas and lets start planning!

Take a peek at my Mood Board!

Link to purchase at my Online Store!

Mia 2yr-85Mia 2yr-85

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha party photographer session tea https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/tea-for-two Mon, 15 May 2017 01:43:08 GMT
Light Up The Sky https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/light-up-the-sky Another First!

I have never done a firefly session!

or is it lightening bug?

Fireflies are in some of my happiest memories.

The first time I took my son camping.

Dusk started to settle.

We were sitting outside our tent and the whole glen around us lit up like a Christmas Tree. 

It turns out that the fireflies were just born.

There were thousands of them but they were too tiny to catch!

It was something truly magical like a Miyazaki film.

Boys in jeans and suspenders, girls in big tutus!

Take a peek at my Mood Board!

Link to purchase at my Online Store!

Family 2016-88Family 2016-88

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha bug firefly lightening photographer session https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/light-up-the-sky Mon, 15 May 2017 01:21:34 GMT
Judge A Book..... https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/judge-a-book I remember the first time I realized that a headshot did not have to be squared off shoulders on a mottled grey background.

I was reading to my daughter Emily.

It was Where The Sidewalk Ends.

On the back cover was a photo of Shel Silverstein. 

Lounging back on a chair, dark shadow, foot up and in your face.

I felt like I knew the Author.

This picture seemed personal.

That photo made me want to create something more then just look at the camera and smile.

Last year I had the honor of photographing several photographers.

I tried to look at their personalities, their style of shooting and come up with photos that I hoped would portray their personality to the world.

Google is king and people do judge a book by it's cover.

With that in mind I want to offer First Impression Sessions.

Something a little more then just a mottled grey background headshot.

Photos that are seen on Link In, Facebook, Blogs, Websites, Tinder, Instagram.

Photos that make people go, "Oh that's who they are."

Message me with your ideas or let me dream up one for you!

Link to Mood Board!

Link to purchase at my Online Store!


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha first headshot impression photographer stylized https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/judge-a-book Sat, 13 May 2017 16:06:06 GMT
If I Had Wings I Would https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/if-i-had-wings-i-would Yet another birthday party at Defy Gravity.

You know the adults look more excited then the kids.

I had so much fun why not spread the joy?

I think it might be the coolest way to celebrate most anything.

Turned four? Let's grab a ton of balloons and go jump.

Got an insane prom dress? Lets rock the frock on the trampoline.

Your family doesn't do studio portraits? Let go jump until your sides are sore from laughing!

Jump For Joy Sessions!

Link to my Mood Board!

Link to purchase at my Online Store!


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha for joy jump photographer trampoline https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/if-i-had-wings-i-would Sat, 13 May 2017 06:08:41 GMT
Summer's Night Dream https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/summers-night-dream My favorite Shakespearean Play, A Midsummer Nights Dream.

Let's face it, it's everyones favorite.

The whimsical, magical, hilarious nature of it.

I have never done fairy mini sessions.

I have a Flynn.

He would model fairy wings for me but would probably insist on being buck naked and mooning me during the session.

I see little girls dancing through tall grass laughing. Long dresses and wings flying behind them.

I see women with dark and twisty horns with skin tight black dresses and fog. 

Not all fairies are good you know.

I see mischievous Queen Mab and the ethereal Arwen from Lord of the Rings.

I don't plan on ever growing up and neither should you!

So come create a little magic with me!

Link to my Mood Board!

Link to purchase a session at my Online Store!



(Happy Little Tree Photography) Dream Mid Night's Omaha Summer fairy photo photographer session https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/summers-night-dream Sat, 13 May 2017 05:42:33 GMT
I don't need Sunny Skies. https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/i-dont-need-sunny-skies Anyone who follows my Instagram will know my son, Flynn.

Anyone who knows Flynn knows that have the time he is in his rain slicker praying for rain.

When it thunders he wakes in the middle of the night, not scared but excited to watch from the window.

The soggier and muddier the day the better.

With that in mind you will understand why I want to offer Rainy Day Sessions!

Dancing-Laughing-Muddy-Scooping-Up-Water-With-Your-Umbrella-Rainy-Day Sessions.

Message me with your ideas and give me a reason to turn the hose on your kids!

Link to my Mood Board!

Link to purchase at my Online Store!

Nora 3yr-98Nora 3yr-98

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha photographer rain umbrellas https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/i-dont-need-sunny-skies Sat, 13 May 2017 05:00:18 GMT
Some Like It Hot https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/some-like-it-hot Sometimes it's a former Bride of mine.

A Mom who brings their kids to me for photos.

A Friend of a Friend who heard I could do this.

Boudoir Sessions

Women come to me for all kinds of reasons.

A gift for a significant other.

They worked hard and long to lose weight.

A reason to celebrate being them.

Each session is different.

Mimosas or whiskey?

Team jerseys or your birthday suit?

Vamp red lips or soft romantic gloss?

In a wildflower field or dramatic in studio lighting?

How do you see you?

Message me with your ideas!

Take a peek at my Mood Board!

Purchase a session at my Online Store!


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha boudoir photographer sexy https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/some-like-it-hot Sat, 13 May 2017 04:41:07 GMT
........I've Gotta Wear Shades https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/-ive-gotta-wear-shades Your friends are ride or die.

When your heart is broken it is shattered.

Take the dare. What do you got to lose?


Everything is heightened.

You feel deeper, love deeper, push the limits more because it is all new. 

Everything is well more....vivid.

With that in mind I am offering Vivid Sessions for Seniors!

A mix of in studio and on location, posed and unscripted, light and dark.

I'm a child of the eighties. The only advice I have to give this graduating class is this:

The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades.

Link to my Mood Board!

Lonk to my Online Store to purchase a session!


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha photographer senior sessions vivid https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/-ive-gotta-wear-shades Sat, 13 May 2017 04:23:12 GMT
When I Grow Up! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/when-i-grow-up Well I don't want you to ever grow up but I would love to capture your little ones dreams!

My son is four. he spent all last year wanting to be a Marine Biologist.

The year before he spent it wanting to be an Astronaut.

When he is my age will he be able to look back and remember those dreams?

Will I remember the year he spent wanting to be a Sperm Whale ten years from now?

Lets capture the fun and the big dreams in a When I Grow Up Shoot!

Does your little one want to be a chef? Lets bake in your kitchen!

Does your baby want to grow up to be a Painter? Let's hit the studio and paint the walls!

Does your sweet and want to grow up to be a Grizzly Bear? LOL Let's suit up and go shoot in the forest!

Message me with your baby's dreams!

Take a peek at my Mood Board!

Link to purchase a session in my Online Store!

Trevor 4yr-41Trevor 4yr-41


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha dream grow job photographer up https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/when-i-grow-up Sat, 13 May 2017 03:49:16 GMT
Wandering Through The Land of Nod https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/wandering-through-the-land-of-nod Lord of The Flies Bonfires, Lost Boys Hollering through Neverland, Rumpus with the Wild Things.

All images conjured to mind when I think of photographing my own son.

Ferral, muddy, imagination that happen when they are lost in play.

How long until they out grow that stage of life?

Bows and Arrows, Fox tails, Telescopes, Swords and Boats 

Tromping through the woods, jumping off rocks and buried in sandy shores.

Unscripted, unposed and full of imagination.

The fourth kind of session I am offering while I am away is called Wandering Stars.

Before you blink and they are all grown up capture this rare moment of mud streaked faces howling at the moon.

Link to my Mood Board!

Link to my Online Store for purchase!

Trevor 4yr-41Trevor 4yr-41


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha imagination photographer star wandering https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/wandering-through-the-land-of-nod Sat, 13 May 2017 03:25:35 GMT
All A Blur! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/all-a-blur You spend a year or more planing your big day and it goes by so fast.

Sometimes everything runs late and you don't have a lot of time for personal photos with the one you love on your big day.

Or maybe your Mother laid down the law and said, "No." to the red gloves and red birdcage veil you wanted.

You couldn't get any outside photos because it stormed all day?

The day of your wedding is mostly spent trying to keep that dress clean for as long as possible.

By the end of the night at least three people have stepped on it, a groomsmen went to hug you and spilt beer on it, the bottom is completely grey from the dance floor.

Before you get it dry cleaned and boxed away why not do a Day After Shoot!

The dress is already dirty lets go play in that field or alley that you couldn't on your big day!

You wanted big hair, a tiara and purple shoes? Let's do it!

My couple in the photo below did not have a lot of time after their ceremony for photos and they wanted to do something special.

The next day I drove out to the Bride's Parents house and took photos there. 

It was personal and fun.

We spent the shoot recapping all the crazy emotions from the wedding and laughing. 

Before you box up that dress message me with your ideas!

Here is my Mood Board!

Here is my Online Store for purchase!

Piles Edit (1 of 1)Piles Edit (1 of 1)

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha after day gown photographer session time https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/all-a-blur Sat, 13 May 2017 03:03:06 GMT
Happily Ever After........One Day. https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/happily-ever-after-one-day When I married Steve my daughter Emily was 11. 

I was told not to wear white.

I was told not to have a big wedding.

I was told that because I already have a daughter I should probably just go to the court house.

I ignored them all.

On a warm August day my daughter watched me walk down the aisle surrounded by 200 of our closest friends dressed in all white.

My heart is full knowing that she got to see what Happily Ever After looks like.

The ups, downs and love no matter what.

That being said the white dress is sitting in a bag in the back of my closet.

I had visions of my daughter wearing it on her wedding day, but by 13 she was already a few inches taller then me.

Maybe she can make a sash or veil from it?

I know that is not going to happen either.

After years of watching me shoot weddings I can tell you she already has her eye on this dress designer from Carolina who works in organic raw silks from a treehouse.

With all this in mind I would like to offer Wedding Dress Sessions to my clients while their little ones still fit in them! LOL

In studio with soft light and flowers.

In a gorgeous field lit by sunset.

Maybe your daughter is grown and already has a dress of her own but would like recreate your wedding photos in your dress?

All ages welcome to come play dress up!

Here is the link to my Pinterest Mood Board!

Here is the link to my Online Store for purchase!

Lennon 6mth-34Lennon 6mth-34

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha dress gown photographer playing up wedding https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/happily-ever-after-one-day Sat, 13 May 2017 02:32:58 GMT
Late To The Game https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/late-to-the-game It was all the craze this last year.

Milk Bathes

I did not have one single person request it!

I read up on what mixture to use in the water, how to get flowers to stay afloat, best angles and yet no takers!

I figure this will be my first special offered while I am away.

A beautiful pregnant belly surrounded by ivy.

A sexy goddess showing just enough curves over the porcelain water to tempt you.

A gorgeous backlit tub with Mama and little sweetheart splashing around.

A naughty impish boy smiling in a sea of Fruit Loops.

So many ways this shoot can go!

Here is my Pinterest Mood Board!

Sessions available for purchase HERE!

Message me if inspiration strikes you!

PS- below is my only previous bathtub session with a treasure seeking pirate.

Nora 2 1-2 shoot-15Nora 2 1-2 shoot-15


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha bath belly bump milk photographer pirate https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/5/late-to-the-game Sat, 13 May 2017 01:59:01 GMT
Qu'est-ce que c'est https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/4/quest-ce-que-c-est So once again I become sad as another Milestone Package ends and I go from seeing my wonderful clients every three months to once a year like a distant aunt to only be dealt with on the holidays because she pinches your cheeks and gives sloppy kisses.

Carly with the chubby thighs and chubby cheeks, who scrunches up her entire face when she is really happy, did not want her cake.

She took one bite and made a bitter beer face.

The cake was perfectly yummy. Trust me all adults in the room tried it. 

(By the way THANK YOU yet AGAIN to all of the wonderful ladies at Cake Creations for making my awesome cakes at the last minute my scatter brain remembers them!)

Most kids don't like their smash cakes. They are not use to sugar yet.

We got Carly to touch it by putting Cheerios on top of it.

I took a plastic knife and cut into the cake thinking she might like the inside better.

She very intently watched what I was doing.

Then very deliberately crawled over, picked up the plastic knife by the handle and copied what I had just done.

And then she went all Psycho Killer on that cake.

The cake was dead.

And Carly was happy.

1yr (92 of 107)1yr (92 of 107)

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha cake killer knife photographer psycho smash https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/4/quest-ce-que-c-est Tue, 25 Apr 2017 00:31:51 GMT
Rock The Bump! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/4/rock-the-bump I get asked this question all the time so I thought I would write a blog about it!

"When do I come in for Belly Bump Photos?"

There are usually only two rules!

Belly past the boobs and do not wait until the final month.

So ideally 7 and half to 8 month mark it is!

That last month your body usually starts to retain water in unusual places. 

You don't have as much mobility or ability to breath as well for that matter with a small child crowding your lungs.

Also that last month is all growth so there is a chance of you going into labour and delivering before you can even get to the shoot if you wait. 

"What should we do?"

The sky is the limit!

Come into the studio and shoot! Bring books you have bought for the baby. Schedule my makeup artist and one of my flowy dresses for a glamorous experience.

Want to shoot at the park you two met? or your fav ice cream shop you are craving?

We can do a lifestyle shoot in your home with the family pets and nursery!

Anything goes!

"What to wear?"

I do carry a few maternity dresses just in case but I want your style to shine through!

Boho dress, jeans and fav band shirt, get truly daring and show a little skin wearing just a sarong!

If we are outside walking you might want to bring flats and change in and out of your sexy shoes!

Let me know in advance if you want to show the bump off or keep it covered! It will help with planning.

"What do you need from me?"

I want to make sure you get photos you love so don't be afraid to speak up with what you want!

This is where Pinterest might help. Make a private board to share with me.

You might notice that all the photos you pinned are in home and decide to go with a lifestyle session. You might notice that all your pins are glamorous in studio with a wind machine turned on. Pinterest is a great tool in helping figure out the style of shoot you want!

Have no idea what you want? I always have a bucket list of shoots I want to do ranging from carnival to green house! Just ask!

"How long?"

It usually takes 45 minutes to shoot and two weeks to edit.

I tell all of my clients this story but my belly bump photos were the only ones on my living room walls for a long time and they are my son's favorite family photos. He always looks up at them and smiles. "There I am Momma! In your belly! Our first photo!" It makes me laugh at how much he loves them even though he is technically not visible in the photo LOL!

Let me know any other advice you think should be added here and I can't wait to see you and rub your belly!!!!

Bump II (44 of 110)Bump II (44 of 110)


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha belly bump maternity photographer pregnant https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/4/rock-the-bump Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:32:00 GMT
Nothing To Be Nervous About You're Gonna Be Great! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/4/nothing-to-be-nervous-about-youre-gonna-be-great When I first started photographing Gene Leahy Mall was the place to go.

It's free, easy to get to, and green.

I was there almost every weekend with a family, bridal party or senior.

With ten other photographers.

I have not been back for several years.

You learn to find small hidden gems about town or to shoot in your clients' home to capture more personality.

That being said for almost a decade I have had a certain shoot on my bucket list with no takers.

Growing up I had two idols- Audrey Hepburn and Richard Avedon

Wouldn't fate have it that I discovered Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire made a movie about Avedon!

To this day I show clips from the movie Funny Face in an Inspiration Class I teach.

There is one scene with Audrey in a black dress in front of the Arch in Paris with a bunch of balloons.

I always walk past the Arch in downtown Omaha and think of that scene.

Enter Kristin.

She too photographs and tries to find something off my bucket list when she shoots with me.

She is 8 months pregnant and has a two year old daughter.

If anyone can pull off the elegance and fun of Audrey Hepburn under those circumstances it is Kristin!

It was cold but they soldiered through it to create some of my favorite images ever!

Thank you so much Cece and Kristin for always running away with me!

Link to Gallery!

Bump II (11 of 110)Bump II (11 of 110)

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Audrey Hepburn Omaha face funny photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/4/nothing-to-be-nervous-about-youre-gonna-be-great Mon, 10 Apr 2017 22:14:01 GMT
A Vicious Streak A Mile Wide! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/4/a-vicious-streak-a-mile-wide Well we finished up another year of awesome Fluffy Bunny Sessions!

I do call them Spring Session but lets face it their so FLUFFY!

I always encourage clients to go to a photographer using trained bunnies!

A bunny just bought from the pet store will bite!

We had such a variety of ages and personalities!

Little Zach might be the sharpest dressed man ever and came in full tux with tails!

You know every single lady loves a sharp dressed man!

Hazel might have loved the balloons more then the bunnies and just wanted to play ring around the rosie with them.

Haasini who yawned through her session and then laid her head against me, fell promptly to sleep and left the studio with my heart!

It is such a fun experience for the kids to interact with these trained bunnies that will lean over and give them a little smooch and just

make Spring a little more special.

Thank you DiAnn and Country Dream Acres who actually offer spinning classes on how to make the softest yarn from their fur!

Already looking forward to next year! 001-002001-002

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha bunny photographer spring https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/4/a-vicious-streak-a-mile-wide Mon, 10 Apr 2017 20:56:38 GMT
I'll Eat You Up! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/3/ill-eat-you-up I always love seeing how creative my clients get with nursery themes.

I've seen some beautiful, should be on Pinterest nurseries over the years.

I couldn't think of a theme for Flynn's until half way though my pregnancy.

It struck me that it was madness having another child when the other one is so close to leaving.

We painted Starry Night across the wall and put a swarm of locust over his crib.

So as I am stalking my expectant client I see she has decided to decorate in one of my favorite all time stories!

Where The Wild Thins Are!

Who doesn't love it!!!

It was endeared to my heart even more after listening to an interview with the author where he says the Wild Things are fashioned after his relatives.

I immediately went online and was determined to buy the little dolls for the baby's newborn photos!


I could find a Chinese knock off of one of them for 35 dollars if I wanted to wait two months to get it.

They are all collectors items now that go for a hundred dollars or more.

I love my clients but that is pretty steep for one photo.

I was not sure what to do. 

I always want to do something a little special for my tiny new clients.

It struck me that very morning!

I am making all these books for kids I'm just going to drop the baby into the scene!

I am not the best at Photoshop but I do love that I was able to make it work somehow!

I hope he grows up and loves them too!

wildthings3wildthings3 wildthings2wildthings2



(Happy Little Tree Photography) Are Omaha The Things Where Wild photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/3/ill-eat-you-up Sat, 01 Apr 2017 00:02:07 GMT
hmmm? Hmmmmm? HMMMMm? https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/3/hmmm-hmmmmm-hmmmmm Each year my clients get younger and younger and I feel older and older.

I remember the first time it happened a few years ago.

I was in a hair salon with the wedding party.

The Mother of the Bride just finished.

I turned to her and said, "Oh my, you look so lovely like Grace Kelly!"

The Mom beamed, put her hand over her heart and turned to her daughter and said, "Did you hear that I look like Grace Kelly!


The Bride had no clue who that was. That was the first time I felt out dated. 

It has been steadily downhill from there.

My couples get younger.

They grew up with Blue's Clues, their kids are growing up with Daniel Tiger.

I grew up with The Dark Crystal.

Admittedly it might be too scary for some kids.

The main villains are a little frightening to behold.

A Jim Henson creation that I will force my children to grow up with and their children's children.

Even though puppetry is outdated and there is no CGI.

The Cookes came into the studio last weekend.

Their daughter Kinsley is a tiny, little thing with an impish face full of light, dancing and mischief. 

I immediately lost my heart to her.

As she danced in the window light I sighed, "She's such a Gelfling."

Her parents stared back void of expression.

"The Dark Crystal? Jim Henson? I hate your whimper? NO?"

Nothing they just smiled and nodded at me.

Yup, need new references and to become hip to the current scene.

In the mean time if I call your child a Gelfling it is the highest praise I have to offer. Trust me it's a good thing.

Cooke 2017 (62 of 67)Cooke 2017 (62 of 67)

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Crystal Dark Omaha gelfling photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/3/hmmm-hmmmmm-hmmmmm Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:30:28 GMT
Prop Me Up! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/3/prop-me-up As I chose the title for this blog that country song Prop Me Up Beside The Jukebox When I Die got stuck in my head.

It does not pertain to this article but I thought I would let you know what was running through my mind.


Mad Props

I like to say I am more of the lifestyle-in-the-moment-catch-that-emotional-bond photographer then a studio photographer. 

Why do I need props then?

Hats, cars, balloons, airplanes, basketballs, bicycles, pinwheels, bubbles, books, kites, rocking horses, blocks, trains, the list goes on and on.

I shoot two year olds. 

Sometimes having a baseball thrown at my head is the only way to get them to look at me.

We have the pedestal trick at the studio.

Grab a block, a crate or a tall chair and drop your manic whirling dervish of a child on it.

They can't get down right away on their own and they freeze for exactly two seconds not sure of what to do and you get the shot!

Tori just turned 2! 

Rosy cheeks, bounds of ringlets and sparkling eyes! This should be easy right?

It's early in the morning.

The studio is new to her.

She would rather explore then deal with me.

I set up my light and meter the spot because once we drop her on it I might have two seconds to get the deer-in-the-headlights-what-are-they-doing-to-me look that freezes her there.

Dad drops her on the pedestal and I start firing away. 

She has an older brother, Treyson.

Treyson adores her. He is sweet, gentle and helpful when it comes to his little sister.

"Hey Treyson, go over and hold your sister's hand."

I figure I will exploit this bond and it will get her to stay for one more second.

She is a whole foot taller then him standing on the pedestal.

He walks over and wraps his arms around her legs in a hug and looks up at her. 

Rather then push him away or scream or kick, which is what I would have done to my siblings, she reaches both her tiny hands down and cups his face.

Just looking at him and smiling with so much love.

Needless to say there was a collective Disney AWWWW by every adult in the room.

No props, no blinking lights, squeaking toys, hot dog hot dog hot diggity dog singing. 

Just one pure and truly lovely moment caught by accident.

It's those moments I live for.

Tori 2yr (38 of 150)Tori 2yr (38 of 150)




(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha love photographer props studio https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/3/prop-me-up Tue, 21 Mar 2017 15:09:09 GMT
Filter THIS! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/3/filter-this It is EVERY photographers' pet peeve.

It is the only time we are happy that you DON"T give us photo credit!

When you add filter to your photos!

It is so easy now and days for your clients to alter your photos to be "artistic".

Snapchat Instagram Pictage so on and so forth.

We cringe when we see the photos we labored over altered.

The worst offenses are the throw back to the 80's white vignette border or horrible selective coloring.

If you want to see a photographer weep real tears, send them a message along the lines of, "LOOK WHAT I DID!" to one of the photos they took with everything turned black and white but the kids' shirt, or eyes, or basketball only in color.

You get the idea.

As a photographer what we want to say is, "Why did you not hire someone who shoots like that to begin with if you didn't like the finished product I gave you!"

Everyday I see photographers posting that they had to remind their clients that a contract was signed stating they could not alter photos and to take it down immediately. 

Most of my client leave their photos as I delivered them.

When this does happen to me I smile my big-cheeks-hurt-never-reaches-the-eyes smile and just say, "Oh cute."

The "editing the photo yourself" thing just got taken to a whole nother level.

I shot photos for my Son's Godmother while her four Kids were actually in town all at the same time. 

Her son just send out a text saying he improved my work.

My eyebrows went up a mile and my jaw clenched until I opened the file saw this and spit out my coffee!

Yup there's one in every family! LOL

16522341_10211055866380026_828860448_o16522341_10211055866380026_828860448_o Family-233Family-233



(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha coloring photographer selective https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/3/filter-this Thu, 02 Mar 2017 00:05:23 GMT
Hidden Costs https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/2/hidden-costs Each year I get a little more judgmental eco-warrior.

Trust me I was the worst vegetarian who lived off of onion rings.

I recycle more, buy gently used, organic, local sourced products.

After all is my own business not a local sourced product? lol

My New Years Goal for 2017 was to make sure that everything in my household, that would go down the drain into my children's water supply is organic.

Dish soap, shampoo, laundry detergent etc etc etc you get the idea.

It means watching for sales and stocking up because of course healthier is usually synonymous with more expensive.

Where on Earth is this story going and how does it relate to photography?


I learned on my Canon AE-1 and fell in love with photography before digital was here.

Some of my all time favorite images were shot on film and developed with my own two hands in a dark room.

When digital came out I resisted. The quality was no where near what I could do myself.

But technology caught up.

In fact film is back!

Youngens are shooting film everywhere!

They scan it and throw it in photoshop anyway, but still it is film!

One thing that has stuck with me from over a decade ago when digital went big is an article talking about the water supply.

I had never thought of it but all of the dangerous toxic chemicals used to develop film are dumped into our water supply.

I saw articles talking about how much the water had improved around cities. Less silver and chemicals in dramatic amounts.

I was a little stunned.

I had never thought of all those chemicals that were too toxic to touch were going into the water.

It is almost exhausting trying to do good when almost everything has a hidden cost to the environment. 

I do love labs like Loktah who are environmentally responsible! 

Let me know your favorite eco friendly labs and any suggestions you have!

(Image from my film days)


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha environment film photographer supply water https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/2/hidden-costs Tue, 28 Feb 2017 15:45:48 GMT
Those That Can't Do..... https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/2/those-that-cant-do Last Spring I wrote a book.

After a decade of shooting weddings I wrote a Wedding Photography Workbook covering the Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

It has been done almost a year now.


I have been meaning to shoot the accompanying videos to go with each chapter.

Yup still hasn't happened.

It made me wonder if I should just start posting the chapters to my blog.

I don't think I should though. There are a lot of horror stories in there and these people are still clients.

What happened?

I was super excited! Wrote it fast! All last year I had a drive to teach!

I turned a year older.

In that one little year my mindset changed.

I somehow started to feel a generation gap with my clients.

Outdated. Like there is nothing current or relevant for me to teach.

So my book just sits. 

I made myself promise that I would either shoot the videos this month or just start to post to my blog.

Well I guess in two more weeks you will know which one I chose! LOL

(Photo below from one of my fav Friday the 13th weddings!)

S+J Shoot Shack-142S+J Shoot Shack-142


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha book photographer teaching weddings https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/2/those-that-cant-do Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:00:32 GMT
20/20 https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/2/20/20 I was Selfish. 

Self Centered.


And oblivious to the world around me.

In fact I often think back and wish I could reach through time and smack myself upside the head.

What changed? I became a Mother.

It wasn't overnight and I definitely was not a natural at it.

But having someone else need you so completely, changes you.

Would I have outgrown the pain in the a** I was? Maybe.

Becoming a Mother made sure I did though. I had to think of someone else. This caused me to think of the other people in my community as well. 

I now regret every huff under my breath and eye roll made in the direction of an embarrassed mother and tantrum throwing child.

I have definitely grown and still have a long way to go. 

No amount of book reading, blog trolling, well meaning advice prepares you.

In fact they are usually sugar coated and all wrong!

The poor Mommas to Be that come into the studio usually get an ear full of my "well meaning advice".

I will (without realizing it) reach over and rub your belly like a Buddha for luck.

I love all the ways my clients want to celebrate the new them.

Ice Cream, Dancing, Flower Filled, Song Filled, Paint Covered, Hugging, Kissing, Sitting in the Soft Light of New Baby's Room with So much Love and Anticipation, Confetti Throwing, Belly Rubbing Bump Sessions!

I will leave this post with one of my favorite quotes:

 “The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” - Osho-


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha belly bump maternity photographer session https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/2/20/20 Mon, 20 Feb 2017 16:43:08 GMT
Numbers Don't Lie! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/2/numbers-dont-lie Three years ago I attended a wedding photog class with a nationally renown photog.

He put together a chart of the USA showing all kinds of data by state. How much each couple spends per state on weddings etc.

There were two numbers that made want to cry.

The first one showed that Nebraska had the highest number of Photographers per population.

The second showed that Nebraska Photographers were the lowest paid in the nation.

The numbers have changed a little since then but it is still pretty depressing to see. 

So I decided to do a little informal number calculation myself!

These numbers are rounded and found by government sites online. This is just for knowledge not exact scientific data!!!

Omaha Population- 440,00

Women in their 20's and 30's (women shop more for family photogs then men do)- 132,000

Half of those women have families- 66,000

I took an online test that seemed legit about the number of people that would like me after meeting me. It said half. That now brings the number to- 33,000

In one, yes ONE of my online photography forums for just Omaha there are 1,300 photographers.

I am not including the fact that there are so many other photographers just outside Omaha in Elkhorn etc.

This number does not also include the fact that I know a number of people who just got cameras for Christmas and have messaged me about becoming a REAL photog.

This number does not include the insane amount of weekend warriors who have a "real job" and only do this for fun and a little extra cash on the weekend.

33,000 divided among just those 1,300 is 25 people for each Photographer.

I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING. I was expecting it to be a lot higher. 

Now if you look at another set of numbers. After figuring in my business insurance, 50% taxes, props, gear, website, laptop, gas and bare minimum to pay mortgage and live off ramen noodles my account says I need almost 200 families paying my full session prices a year.

That means I need to kill off at least 7 photographers in town! JOKING JOKING!!!!

This is why I hate math. It is truly depressing. 

That being said my business is still chugging along.

I want to thank all of my wonderful clients who have stuck with me through my selective coloring phase, how on earth do I work this flash phases as I have grown and changed with my business.

I am going to make it my goal this year to make sure that you get the images you dream of and love me as much as I love your families!

By the end of the year I hope they think the number of photographers in Omaha is down to One, ME! LOL

Now if you will excuse me I'm gonna go have a drink while I think about how to do this!!!!

Family 2016-155Family 2016-155

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha numbers photographer population portrait https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/2/numbers-dont-lie Fri, 17 Feb 2017 18:17:04 GMT
Searching....... https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/2/searching I have been shooting special sessions with the idea of selling prints for awhile now.

I wanted the proceeds to go to charity.

More specifically a charity that works with teenagers.

Who do teenagers turn to?

It is not their parents usually.

School counselors are often seen as part of the system.

Their friends usually give them information that is not the best.

Is there a safe place teenagers can turn to for advice and help without being judged?

This would be the kind of place I want to support.

I thought about asking the school across the street to let me poll their students for help, or a Facebook poll?

Ideas people? Talk to the youth and let me now what they think!!!



(Happy Little Tree Photography) charity help photo photographer youth https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/2/searching Wed, 15 Feb 2017 17:12:08 GMT
Like The World is Ending https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/1/like-the-world-is-ending I don't do many weddings anymore. 

As much as I love my couples, I have a little boy I love even more and want to be home more on the weekends.

At the moment I am redoing my website.

I am taking away my Client Page and making a Memory Gallery.

What the hell does that mean?

Well all my clients will get a private gallery link with all the sessions they have ever done with me in one spot. Easy to find and easy to download.

It is taking longer then I would like to do because some of my clients have been with me for a decade now through senior, wedding and baby photos.

I decided to do this after trying to put up my own family photos in my living room (See FISH-TASTIC Wall Post).

I wanted to make life a little easier for my clients.

As I am slowly messaging out the new links I am getting to say hi to clients I have not seen in a few years.

A few years ago gay marriage was not legal but in a few states.

It seems crazy for me to say that.

I could not believe little old Iowa was progressive enough to be one of the first to give equal rights to something that shouldn't even be an issue.

Over in Madison County is a small bed and breakfast called the Brass Lantern run by an awesome couple who would officiate ceremonies on the historical bridges. 

I would get the call every so often to come out and photograph these elopements.

Couples from all over the US coming to make their love legal.

I can't tell you how many of these ceremonies I was the only one in attendance or I was asked not to post on the internet for fear they would be shunned in their small town.

Why this long post?

I came across one of my favorite moments. I don't think I have even told the couple the full story behind the shot.

After their wedding on one of the historic bridges we were wandering through the park taking the Grooms' personal photos as the guests headed to the reception.

I was nervous. Could I make a couple look in love without a flowy white dress?

There was a small hedge labyrinth in the middle of the park.

I asked them to wander into it. I then proceeded to try to climb a stone column on the edge to get an overview of the maze.

After struggling my second shooter finally grabbed my fat *ss and pushed me up the column without even blinking. (Thanks Jakob!)

There was my couple hugging. What do I do now?

I finally yelled down to them, "It is the end of the world. This is the last kiss you are ever going to have."

Without another word my Grooms turn to each other and lay out one of the most passionate kisses I have ever seen on or off the screen.

It was so passionate that my mouth was actually hanging open and my camera was left by my side. Jakob finally hissed at me, "Tree get the shot!".

It is always one of my favorites. The shot I almost missed because of too much passion LOL!

Here is the shot taken a moment later. I am posting this one because it reminds of a heart with them facing each other. I also want them to keep that passion for themselves.

Gay Marriage is now legal nation wide. I don't get those calls anymore to come photograph couples from all over, flocking to the small town countryside of Iowa to commit to each other. 

Memories like this make me miss my wedding days!

jc hedgejc hedge


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Iowa gay kiss marriage photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/1/like-the-world-is-ending Wed, 11 Jan 2017 16:48:52 GMT
FISH-TASTIC!!!!! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/1/fish-tastic My clients have heard this story before.

I am a photographer. I own a studio.

And yet all of the walls in my house are bare.

With one exception. My Belly Bump Photo.

When I was very pregnant with my son and slightly hormonal I had a break down. 

I was sitting at home editing family sessions when my husband walked in. 

I started crying uncontrollably, and I am not a pretty cryer. I am a heaving-snot-running-down-the-face mess.

"StEEEEEvEEEEE all of these people have beautiful family photos and I have NOOOOOONNNNNNEEEEEE!"

So we took maternity photos. As a Christmas present my husband printed off a family canvas of us.

It has been the only photo on my living room wall for 4 years now.

Here is the truly sad part. 

My son for those last four years has looked up at that photo and adores it.

He smiles and says, "Look there we all are. That's my family."

Even though he is just a bump in the photo.

So that did it!

I stopped being a hypocrite, scheduled family photos and have been slowly ordering prints the last few months whenever I order my clients prints.

I put together a small video to show the result.

You can see how excited my son was to hang his photos on the wall.

In his words it was "FISH-TASTIC!"

Over the holidays my family and especially my nieces, got to look through the photos and see how important they are to me.

We sat and talked of the good times in the photos and loved ones that aren't here anymore instead of looking at our iPhones.

So that is my goal for 2017.

I want to make sure my clients leave every session with a FISH-Tastic piece of art for their own walls.





(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha art fish home photographer wall https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2017/1/fish-tastic Tue, 03 Jan 2017 17:08:46 GMT
BRING IT 2017!!!!! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/12/bring-it-2017 2016 brought so many changes to Happy Little Tree!

I stopped shooting weddings and generational photos.

I became a print based business so new clients never left the studio without art.

New Studio!

I want to keep pushing it and changing Happy Little Tree into something truly unique!

With that in mind every year I post a Bucket List of Shoot Ideas to keep me going!

I have some clients automatically see them and jump to come in.

Some clients it just sits in the back of their brain for a month or two before they take the leap.

Which ever you are I'm ready to leap with you!

A Pregnant Yoga Session

Dancing Mommas

Trampoline Session

I would love to shoot for a Kid's Line of Clothing

More Mommy & Me Sessions in Matching Clothes

A Shoot Based off of Howl's Moving Castle

More Wonderland Session with older kids based off of books- Alice, Peter Pan, Snow Queen, Little Prince, Bear Hunt etc

Audrey Hepburn Shoot at the Arch

Still have not had a family take me up on a Carnival Shoot for 4 years running!!!!

Bridal Session at Lauritzen Gardens Conservatory

Two Part Trash The Dress Session in Spring and Fall

In Home Baking Lifestyle Session

Little Boy Sailboat Session


Franklin NB-27Franklin NB-27



(Happy Little Tree Photography) 2017 Omaha bucket list photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/12/bring-it-2017 Wed, 28 Dec 2016 17:46:16 GMT
Double Trouble https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/12/double-trouble I don't get to do this too often.

Amanda and Dustin have been coming to me for years.

Sometimes I wonder why. lol

Pretty sure Dustin thinks I am a damn, liberal hippie but they still put up with me.

They asked me to recreate a photo for their newborn son. 

Anduin was named after a character in a book just like his older brother Zaknafein.

They are definitely not duplicate names in my client gallery. 

Why is this a request I don't get often?

I am not usually the one to shoot your newborn.

The average call I get goes like this:


(insert the sounds of a small tornado and a mother at her wits end) 

"My friends come to you and I've loved what you've done for them."

(insert random threats to tornado that Mommy is on the phone and they need to knock it off)

"Look my child is a brat who doesn't sit still and ran off the last photographer. I don't think your ready for this."

I laugh. I have a tornado too. I don't expect them to sit!

This means I usually meet my clients well after newborn photos.

So it is rare that I am asked to recreate a newborn shot for a sibling.

Of course my style, camera and studio have changed since so I am always nervous I won't get the shot!

Thanks for sticking with me from the start guys!

I love your faces!

Zak NB-159Zak NB-159


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha photographer recreate sibling https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/12/double-trouble Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:22:58 GMT
Naughty & Nice https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/11/naughty-nice It's that time of year where my clients are getting a little naughty for their loved ones who were nice this year!

Here is the tip list I usually send out to my clients. 

1. Do Bring Extra...Everything
I love options! We will get through about "five outfits" but I love options! Outfits can mean almost anything: motorcycle jacket, cowboy boots, his work shirt, team jersey, corset, little black dress, babydoll, feather fan, pearls, shawls, thigh highs, anything goes! Accessories like shoes and jewelry are  great! Please bring lip gloss for touchups!

 2. Do Wear Loose Fitting Comfy Clothes to the Studio
Skip the bra, skip the socks, skip the watch, and forget that belt, those tight jeans, and anything else which could leave an impression in your skin. It may seem like a small thing, but these lines can stay around for hours. Besides, you want to relax and feel confident, and tight clothes are only going to restrict you.

 3. Do Drink Plenty of Fluids
Three words: Water. Water. Water. And make sure to avoid alcohol and salt, as these will change the texture of your skin.

 4. Do Touch Up the Basics
If you dye your hair, get your hair done the week of your Boudoir Session. Shave or wax everything, the day of if possible, and spring for a mani-pedi. You are worth it!

 5. Research!
Go online to get a feel for what you are drawn to! Comfy- tousled hair- in his shirt look or the full Fifty Shades? This is where Pinterest is great! Make a board and send it my way!

 6. RELAX!
I will have music going and a bottle of champagne and water. Feel free to bring your own refreshments. Bring a friend if you need a little boost of encouragement!


(Happy Little Tree Photography) advice boudoir omaha photographer tips https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/11/naughty-nice Wed, 30 Nov 2016 18:00:33 GMT
Giving of Thanks https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/11/giving-of-thanks It's 5am.

My son woke up at 4am this morning. I heard his feet come down the hall in a sleepy shuffle. He crawled into bed with me taking all of the covers for his small body and then talked of many wondrous things such as dinosaurs and dragons while managing to contort me to the edge of the bed.

An hour later he is snoring in my spot and I am at my computer.

and my heart is full.

I would not have my day start any other way.

As he was laying across me diagonally, managing somehow to smother a woman five times his size, an odd list of things I am thankful for popped into my head.

Spiders- yes I am actually thankful for them. My daughter, in her last year of college, still runs and gets me to dispose of them. It is small but she still needs me for something! Every once in awhile I hear a shrill cry for help of MOM! and know I am needed. I hate them just as much as she does, but do not flinch and dispatch of the hairy beast since I am her role model.

I am still needed.

Lewis Carroll- I've always thought the man was creepy.

Unsure of his relationship with the real life Alice, especially after seeing his photographic work, it doesn't matter anymore.

My son is smitten with his literary work. He has not seen Alice in Wonderland yet. When he was one he received one of those cardboard one sentence a page books that you read to babies. Jabberwocky- A Nonsense Primer He loved it.

I bought the kid's Alice in Wonderland last year and the pages are worn from rereading.

He has now graduated to his actual works. He runs to me, curls up in my lap and spends hours snuggled in listening.

The actual poem of Jabberwocky is read as a full action play in my house with Flynn hands curling in to claws as he pretends.

Beard Balm- My husband has not shaved in two years. It is my doing. He looks younger then me when he doesn't have a beard.

Sometimes my tired husband will come home and walk past me down the hall to go change. I will immediately yell, "Where do you think you are going? Get over here and scruff your wife!" He comes back smirking with smiling eyes, grabs me in a bear hug and rubs his beard across my shoulders. It makes me feel like we are young newlyweds again.

A soft scent of sandalwood is left behind on my shoulder.

Ever once in a while I will catch the scent as I am doing something, stop, blush a little and know I am loved.

As I sit editing at 5am, thanks Flynn, my screen is filled with face after smiling face. Of loved ones locked in bear hugs. Of little ones tickling dad to get him to smile in photos.

I think of all of my clients whose hearts must feel the same as mine right now. Overflowing.

I am thankful that year after year they come back to me to try to capture that feeling in a photo. To trust me to know how to get those smiles to reach their eyes. 

I watch my clients kids grow along with my own and feel like I am a long lost Aunt at times. I get to give them so many firsts. First Oreo, first milk pod, and so many ways to make life just a little more magical.

This is my job and I am extremely thankful for all of you wonderful clients that keep me going.

It's 7:30am now.

My son has just run into the room squished my husband and I to tell us it is time to get up and be thankful!

He hops off the bed and runs out of the room.

I think he is heading for the kitchen but I hear my daughter's bedroom door swing open and the little leprechaun launches onto the bed and hugs and kisses her. He then snuggles back into bed with her under mountains of blankets. It is a whisper but I hear him turn to his sister and say, "Thank you. I love you sister."

For one moment in time the world is perfect.

Thank you wonderful clients and may your mornings be filled with leprechauns and dragons! 


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha Thanksgiving balm beard jabberwocky photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/11/giving-of-thanks Thu, 24 Nov 2016 15:24:32 GMT
Thanks Rodney! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/11/thanks-rodney Maren is smart, lovely, curious and............... the energizer bunny!

She is one of the fastest moving kids I have ever seen!

Over, around, through, under, what's behind here?  All at the speed of light!

I just need one, ONE photo of her with her 7 month old brother.

We tried singing, dancing, books, toys, funny noises, fairy wands, bribery, snacks, balls and all and any of the tricks I have gathered in my years of shooting.

Nothing worked. 

Then I had an idea.

An image from an old Rodney Dangerfield movie popped into my head.

It was the one where he coached the girls soccer team.

In order to get the daydreaming little girl to look at the soccer ball he put butterfly stickers on it.

I ran into my packaging cupboard and grabbed my butterfly stickers. 

I stuck two on little brother's back and scooped Maren up next to him and told her to grab them.


It is a simple photo of two kids on a chair but I am extremely proud of it! 

Thanks Rodney! LOL


Maren Outake

Maren 2yr-39Maren 2yr-39


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Maren Nebraska Omaha family photographer stickers trick https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/11/thanks-rodney Wed, 02 Nov 2016 16:36:33 GMT
Deja Vu https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/10/deja-vu My niece Audrey seems like the essential girl. 

Princess bed, pink everywhere, has to wear dresses.

Except.......she wants to be a superhero or super-villian depending on the mood.

Well that made it easy to decide what to do for her 4 year photos!

We played with the creepy SpiderMan doll in her room. We got blue glitter everywhere jumping on her bed in a Spiderman Tutu. (Yes that is a thing!)

We ran out into the sunshine and swung upside down until she was laughing so hard she couldn't breathe.

As my niece stood there, mask on, hair a whirlwind around her, I was stunned for a moment.

I actually froze and felt some weird burrito space time travel. (Think Peggy Sue)

17 years ago I was standing in my front yard.

Trusty Canon AE-1 in hand. It was a tank of a camera that lasted me forever. Pop in a roll of film. Not sure what to shoot.

My life was not adventurous. I was a single mom that never went out, but I needed to shoot so I could get back into the darkroom and see that image appear in the liquid tray like magic.

My daughter Em was playing with her binoculars, a rain stick and her scimitar. Batman emblazoned on her chest.

The wind picked up and her hair swirled around her like it had a life of it's own.

I quickly raised my camera and snap.

To this day it is still one of my favorite images of her.

I unfroze to see Audrey sticking her tongue out at me.

That kind of move needed retaliation by tickling.

As the tickling subsided into hugging, her small body curled up in my lap, I felt complete joy and a weird sense of pride.

I had somehow become the Gatekeeper.

I knew that I had taken something special and that somehow I could see 17 years into the future and know that this image was going to be one of my sister's favorite.

(And yes in one post I managed to reference Spiderman, Batman, Peggy Sue Got Married and Ghostbusters)



(Happy Little Tree Photography) Audrey Batman Em Omaha Spiderman photographer time travel https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/10/deja-vu Wed, 26 Oct 2016 15:19:18 GMT
I Need A Headshot! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/10/i-need-a-headshot Everyone needs a great looking headshot!

Bloggers, Lawyers, Relators, Photographers, Linked In, Instagram, Business Cards, Letterhead etc etc etc

(Do you know I like to put 3 etc's after my sentences due to watching The King & I too much when I was little lol!)

Here is what I usually tell my clients to make their headshot sessions go a little smoother!

1. Clothes-  Be you! Wear clothes that are you! Bring two or three outfits so we can mix it up. If these photos are going next to your business logo you might want to think about wearing colors that compliment your logo colors.

2. Hair/Makeup-  If you are doing your own makeup, apply as you might for a formal evening out.  If you “never wear makeup” you might want to at least use some for your photo session.
If you are doing your own hair, remember to bring some hair product (if you use it)
a hair brush or comb to the session.

If you would like my hair and makeup artist can come in. It will take about an hour for her to work. It is $100 for her to come in and do both at the studio and well worth it!

3. Glasses-  If you wear glasses most of the time, I recommend wearing them for your portrait.
Because of reflections, please be prepared to take out the lenses or to bring an extra frame without lenses. Do NOT wear transitions lens glasses to your session!

4. Speak up!- Please let me know if you have an area of concern. Your worried about your arms or chin. Let me know! I want to make sure you love your photos and will change your poses or lighting to address these concerns!

5. Take Care of You- Sleep and Water! These matter for your mood and the condition of your skin the day of the shoot!

That's it folks!

Josie 2016-26Josie 2016-26

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha headshot photographer portrait https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/10/i-need-a-headshot Mon, 17 Oct 2016 19:54:55 GMT
Tribal Beat https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/10/tribal-beat I kinda hate when photographers post photos of then/now work.

Sometimes I actually like the then photo more which makes me laugh, but I also know someone paid them for that before work.

So why am I doing it now?

Anyone who knows me knows this. I am a hobbit.

I do not want to leave my hobbit hole.

All I want in life is to be left alone with a warm blanket, a good book, cocoa....and Netflix.

Over four years ago I was on Facebook at one in the morning when I saw a cute profile photo. I messaged this random person just to tell her I liked it. She looked me up. No way Tree! Your a photographer! You are right across the street from me! Guess what we are trying to do! 

She had dumped her studio for a beat up school building and wanted to start a Co-op. Not a rental space but a Co-op. Where we all made decisions and chipped in to make things better. 

It's Nebraska 6 months are freezing and the other 6 are a hundred degrees with tornados. I needed a studio space for my clients. I jumped in.

It was amazing to watch the change. It started out as two rooms. Over the years more walls came down and it is now at seven rooms and an outdoor farm space.

If we had a problem all we had to do was put up a message on our forum and someone was there. Keys lost? Camera Battery died? You have 20 cheerleaders to photograph and need an assistant? 

More importantly were the classes. Yes I spent a ton of money on learning videos but nothing was as effective as having an actual human being there to show you on your camera.

We all chipped in with what we knew to help the other photographers in the Co-op. Lighting, posing, workflow. I learned a lot.

Sometimes it was not even in classes.

I was setting up for my session as another photographer was leaving. We had a really cool kid's car that all of the clients wanted. I walked over and dropped a blanket on it. She looked up and asked me, "Why did you do that?"

"Oh well all the kids love it but if they see it at the start it's in every photo and then there are tears when you try to take it away."

"OMG You just changed my life." LOL as you can see it really was just the little things sometimes. 

My business grew and expanded. I finally outgrew the studio. It was time to leave.

I miss the friends, advice, atmosphere and mostly the classes with pizza but it was time. 

Why this long rambling story?

I still have a lot to learn but if you look at my then and now you will see what a huge difference having a tribe of fellow photographers behind me has made. 

Getting out more has been on my New Year Resolution List for the last decade. I wanted to show you that if you take a breath and toss yourself out there the huge difference it will make in your life.

As it ends with all my son's fairytale books.

The Moral of the Story is get out there and find your Tribe!


(Happy Little Tree Photography) https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/10/tribal-beat Wed, 12 Oct 2016 17:31:29 GMT
Thee & Me https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/9/thee-me I was a single Mom from the start with my Daughter.

My husband Steve didn't enter our lives until my daughter Emily was seven.

She is now 20 and has one more year left to college.

It was extremely different in those beginning years. 

I was constantly stressed by court with my ex. Not knowing what to do with my life. Not knowing what to do with a child.

I was immature, bitter and impatient. Worst of all I was mean.

Every little thing would set me off. For those of you with young kids you know that can sometimes be a lot.

My response was yelling and blinding rage.

In my head though I was a superior mom. Pushing her to be better then me. No tv, forcing her to study this and that in her spare time.

I was too young to see it but all of my pushing was not giving her more knowledge.

It was giving her anxiety. She developed a stutter.

Steve came into my life.

I would like to say that I became a better person right away.

No, it was more of a fake it until you make it.

I faked being a better person while we were dating.

I could not let him see that side of me. Who would marry that.

Then a funny thing happened. I didn't have to fake it anymore. Happy and calm and loving was actually how I felt.

Our family of three worked. Em loved Steve and saw what a real father was suppose to be. Patient, loving, responsible. And I became the same. I had to be his equal.

I still remember the first time I caught my daughter lying to me. It hit me like a bucket of water. Not because she lied but because I realized in my head it was always the two of us against the world. In my head I was the only person she needed and trusted. In my head she was open and honest and came to me for help.

I don't know what Gilmore girl fantasy I was living in. In real life she never came to me with her problems and never talked. Typical teenager.

As most of you know our family grew by one more. I stopped caring about having the perfect child, obviously lol, and started caring about a happy child.

I have patience when my son takes my expensive Urban Decay eyeshadow and uses it to draw boats on the bathroom wall. They really are the best colors. With this patience is guilt that 17 years earlier I would have gone into a screaming rage with his sister.

Last week Flynn brought me an old photo album.

The first photo of my daughter and I was in the cover.

He loved seeing his sister as a baby. I flipped through it. Sad because we look so happy but I don't remember many happy times.

I decided to clear out the album and put the photos on the wall. I pulled the glossy 4x6's out of their plastic sleeves. The only one left is the first photo of us in the cover. I pop open the latch and am greeted with florescent pink, not the white fuji photo back I was expecting.

There tucked behind the photo is an index card covered with a child's wobbly penmanship.

It is from a kid's book I don't even remember reading to her.




I can feel the tears on my face before I even mentally realize I am crying. 

She survived having a selfish, bitter, mean mother. Not only that she loved me. 

I put the card back and shut the latch on the album. It will stay in it's spot. It will sit in the sunlight in my living for as long as I breathe to remind me.

It will remind me that there is always time to fix things. That I love my daughter even more for her imperfections that I had tried to erase. That she will love me no matter what, and when the time comes that she is over whelmed with her own children I can help. I can remind her that things get better and they will always love you. 

So once again todays blog was not about photography. I would love if you let me know your Aha parenting moments as well. If you don't feel comfortable sharing in comments, message me! I want to hear your stories too!

Blog CollageBlog Collage


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha card daughter forever index love photographer you https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/9/thee-me Wed, 28 Sep 2016 14:45:21 GMT
Where to Hide the Body? https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/9/where-to-hide-the-body Last week I was in the middle of my sister's beautiful home.

High ceilings, large windows, white carpet.

Martha would be proud.

I often come over in the middle of the day to let their 9 month old Labrador puppy out.

She's a love hound.

I turned the tv on. Supernanny

Just as I am staring at the screen saying in my head, "Poor bastards. What is wrong with them. So glad my life is not like that." It struck. Karma.

I hear uncontrollable sobbing from the bathroom.

Flynn? Flynn are you ok?

Door locked.

Answer me Flynn! More sobbing.

I get the door open to see a horrifying sight.

My son could not get the buttons on his shorts off in time and pooped. 

It's a linoleum floor. All you Moms out there are saying easy cleanup right?

No. The door was locked because my small mutant son decided to clean it up himself. He is covered and so is the floor.

I run and get the disinfectant. I shut the door behind us so the dog won't add to the mess.

Strip boy, stick in sink, scrub floor.

I finish and grab the small naked boy like a sack of potatoes and open the bathroom door. Crisis over!

The large love hound puppy runs up to us, but something is wrong.

Her mouth is dripping in florescent orange. I look down to discover it wasn't only her mouth. All of her paws are coated in florescent orange paint and leaving Scooby Doo sized paw prints everywhere!

I grab the dog and get her outside. I send the boy off to play with trains. I survey the damage.

In the span of the five minutes it took to clean up the bathroom disaster one of my nieces had left a tub of orange paint on the floor. 

The white carpeted floor.

The puppy used it as a chew toy. Split it open in the living room leaving a large glowing puddle and ran through it tracking everywhere. 

I sprayed everything down to keep it wet and started scrubbing.

An hour later and I am still scrubbing and getting more panicked. I had to be on Candid Camera. This could not be real life.

I call for backup.

"Torie, you remember how you said you would help with anything?"

"Where's the body?"

"My sister's living room floor."

"Be there in five, you need coffee?"

Five hours later, still scrubbing.

All of the paw prints are up. It is just the spot where the paint container left the puddle that is still there.

Stain remover, rubbing alcohol, Dawn, acetone, carpet steamer. You name it we tried it.

"It does look better. More pale pumpkin then neon now. Will they notice?"

I thought about not saying anything. It might be a day or two before they notice since it is dark when they get home. I can pass the blame off to one of my young nieces.

I didn't. I fessed up. As soon as my brother in law got home I told him. He ran out. Saturated the spot with Goo Be Gone and got up the rest.

Why am I telling you all of this other then to make you feel good about your own lives?

Two reasons.

First, always have an Auntie Torie in your life that will drop everything and hide a body with you.

Second, that was my editing day. I get lots of jealous friends who exclaim, "Oh you work from home. You can work whenever you want. Your job must be so relaxing!"

Really? When was the last time you had sh*t go down like this at your office?

So if you are ever wondering why a small business person is running behind, DON"T! YOU REALLY DON'T WANT TO KNOW!

Audrey 4yr (62 of 63)Audrey 4yr (62 of 63)

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha dog paint photographer poop https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/9/where-to-hide-the-body Tue, 20 Sep 2016 15:00:14 GMT
Flowers Are Red! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/9/flowers-are-red This is Rosie!

With a name like Rosie I wanted to take her to a garden for her 2 year photos.

I got smiles and laughs, dancing and giggles. I could feel my heart burst as she ran back to kiss me goodbye.

What I did not get was nauseous, sweaty, faint and fearful to the point of vomiting.

I have been doing this a while. I still get amped up and nervous before shoots.

I noticed that before certain shoots it was't nerves. It was fear and hate.

For the last decade I've said yes to every shoot people have asked me to do. 

Roller Rinks, Underwater, Births, Nudes, Horror Film Promos, Pet Iguanas, New Kitchens, Pagan Rituals and SO much more.

I have a family to feed. Bring It On!

I also think it is a challenge to push myself to do different projects as a photographer.

That being said this year I have started to say no.

In the last month I have had quite a few clients message me back that they don't believe me and still try to set up shooting dates.

A big one this time of year? Extended Family Photo Sessions.

20 or more people, all trying to match and be at the same place and time.

Last year one of my favorite photographers in town referred a family to me for a shoot.

They show up already irritated with each. Hey they are family! lol so I get it.

One little boy was so sick and running such a high fever he cried the entire shoot.

I understand why they did not reschedule. It is extremely tough getting 20 people together in this day an age.

After the fourth time I asked the parents to move or hold the kids. I honestly gave up trying to make the pose look good and just took the shot.

I shouldn't of. A year later I still feel bad about this. It is my job to control this.

After I sent off the gallery the mom messaged me. "None of these look good."

I didn't want to tell her she was right. I knew in my heart when I hit send they were not good. 

I did not charge her for the shoot. I was so heart broken at failing her, her family, the photographer who recommended me and lastly myself.

I noticed before certain shoots I was starting to get anxious and panic.

It got worse.

The night before one large shoot this spring was spent in my bathroom vomiting. 

So I decided no more. Specifically no more shoots where I would not be able to reshoot if something went wrong. Weddings, families, births.

I do love them. The rush of energy. Not knowing what is going to be thrown at you and the thrill of making it work.

But as BB King would say, "The Thrill Is Gone."

So no more. I do kinda feel like a coward. I do not feel panic and sick though!

If Rosie had been running a fever, or tired from no nap, or she had not slept well, or she was just not ready to be friends with me, I could easily turn to her parents and say, "Let's try another day! We have a whole year of her being two to capture that personality!"

I didn't have to though. She thought I was perfectly funny looking!

Now my biggest worry is where did my bubble guns go?

Family 2016 (64 of 149)Family 2016 (64 of 149)


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha extended family portrait sick https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/9/flowers-are-red Fri, 16 Sep 2016 14:39:53 GMT
Newborn Tips & Tricks! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/9/newborn-tips-tricks Here are all the answers to the Hows and Whats about Newborn Sessions!

We usually say bring baby in between 5 to 12 days old. Premies can be later. Life happens. We get it if you can't come in until after the 12 day mark!

We can do in studio, in home or on location if weather permits!

I love recommending in home. I brings wraps and blankets. We also get to take advantage of all that time you spent putting the nursery together.

In home is also sometimes easier for healing Moms.

Houses are a mess! You just had a baby! We shoot around it. No big deal. I might move some furniture but I promise to put it back!

A Session is usually two hours long. We always love if Grandma or Auntie wants to hop in for a quick photo too!

Have a pacifier. Even if they don't normally take one. That little bit of extra suckling might be just what they need to get to sleep.

Have the baby in something easy to get out of like zip up pjs. They will stay asleep longer when we undress them to shoot.

I usually recommend neutral colored clothes for family shots but not all the same, just the same color palette. Moms please wear what is comfortable for you! Simple tops and camis are great.

We know you just gave birth to a tiny human being. We don't normally do full length shots unless outside so wear your comfy pants!

That being said Mom if you want to pass baby to Dad and go get your hair done and a mani before the shoot I'd say you earned it!

We usually try to say no logos (Dads do that!)

If you were wanting the baby completely naked during family shots please bring a change of clothes in case the little one pees or poops on you.

More then likely blankets and props of mine will get peed on. Don't Worry! Everything baby touches is washed in non allergenic, organic baby detergent.

It's my job not yours to pick up!

Try to keep the baby up an hour or more before the shoot and feed right before or as soon as you come in to the studio. I say this but I also know babies definitely make up their own schedule! I've had some parents get ready while I start with baby.

Bath time and naked time are great for keeping them awake before.

If Grandma made a blanket or you have your old stuffed animal bring what is important to you! I will try to work them into photos.

I do love Pinterest but if you message me the night before asking for a giant moon instead of giving me a few weeks time, it's probably not going to happen but I will do my best.

We usually do not do too many outfits. It just ticks the baby off going through a lot of outfit changes.

If they have older siblings parents might want to drive separate so the other one can leave if the older child gets restless. We do have some books, shows and snacks to help.

18 months to about 4 can be tough on taking directions so we might have to wait and let them wander into the shots when ready!

We keep the room hot just to warn you! We provide water and some refreshment but nothing beats that giant mug they give you at the hospital!

If in home turn up the heat 30 minutes before the session!

If we need to take a break to feed baby during the session do not worry! Completely normal and means better shots. It just gives me more time to setup!

If you have more questions just ask!

Family 2016 (69 of 79)Family 2016 (69 of 79)



(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha Photo Session newborn portrait https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/9/newborn-tips-tricks Thu, 08 Sep 2016 00:56:02 GMT
Love You More https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/9/love-you-more I have small clients who come and see me for 2, 3, 4 or more years before getting a sibling.

In that time I see them every few months and watch them grow from being a bundle snuggled into the crook of my arm, to fully wrapped around me in bear hug as I swing them around as fast as I can.

They know when they see me the rules don't apply.

I will let them jump on furniture.

I want their clothes not to match.

I give them their first cookies and show them how Oreos twist apart.

My heart often grows three sizes as they leave the studio and ask if it is ok to call me Auntie Pizza just as my nieces do.

That being said I often feel bad when the new sibling comes along.

I have already developed a special way of being with their older sibling and fallen in love.

How on Earth can this new sibling possibly be as much fun, huggable, pinch-able and love me as much as the other?

I am not their Mother. I can play favorites. 

That being said the only thing Kristine asked for from her session was to get one family photo and one "school" looking picture of the girls. 


"That's what my brother calls it, when it's  just a picture of each of them. Like one you get from school and your mom puts in a frame on the wall lol. "

Not asking for much right.

Well her daughter Debbie is 2 and has my heart.

You may remember her from the painting shenanigans during her Mother's Belly Bump Session.

That is a tough age for photos usually but for some reason Debbie thinks I'm funny. Pretty sure it's the hair. 

Mom, Dad, Debbie and the new bundle Dottie come into see me.

She's got the chubby thighs and cheeks. I might be able to love this one as much as her sister. 

I get the family shot. I get the "school" shots. 

They are chilling so I decide to put Dottie on the bean bag and do a little dramatic side lighting for a profile shot.

As I am about to take the shot Debbie walks into the room, leans over and kisses her new sister on the nose.

Not planned! Not coerced!

But the real kicker is just as she is kissing her sister's nose Dottie reaches up and starts stroking her sister's cheek.

It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

My eyes are actually welling up all over again as I type this.

As a mother those are the moments you live for.

I have no doubt in my mind that Dottie will get her first Oreo from me.

That she will also want to call me Auntie Pizza.

That she will have just as big of a piece of my heart as her sister.

How do I know? She left the studio with it my heart already.

Family 2016 (68 of 79)Family 2016 (68 of 79)

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha Photographer heart kiss sibling https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/9/love-you-more Tue, 06 Sep 2016 15:10:01 GMT
To Be or Not To Be? https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/8/to-be-or-not-to-be It is only Wednesday.

I have received 2 texts, 5 Facebook messages, 1 email and made 4 house calls.

Business is booming!

You would think but no.

Not one of these communications was from a client. They were all other photographers. 

Not for lunch. Not to see how things are, but for business help and advice.

I taught a lighting class a few months ago.

In the middle of the class a young lady who had been photographing maybe a year so far, started asking many questions. None of them to do with the class. 

All of them to do with photography business. The rest of the students were interest so I answered them.

The young lady then sighed and said, "Thank you! You know D*** C**** tried to charge me 400 dollars for a mentor session just to get that information." 

I just stared at her a little dumbstruck. People always think photo work should be free, even other photographers. It happens a lot.

My best friend turned to me on Sunday and said, "Why are you helping that person out again? For free?"

I know I shouldn't. I know I have a family and business to run which are two full time jobs in themselves and then you add on someone else problems.

Here is the real crazy part.

I am not smart. I do not know what hell I am doing. I do not know how to fix my problems much less someone elses.

So why do these people still want my help?

At least that question is easy to answer. They just want to know some else has been through it and they are not alone.


That being said I can not tell you how many times I had no one to help. I had to spend hours or days figuring out a camera function or photoshop feature.

I can also tell you that every time I have been at my lowest or most in despair a guardian angel in the form of a friend, family member or stranger has come to my rescue.

I can honestly say I have not accomplished one single thing in my life alone.

Sometimes I feel ashamed by this fact.

Other times my heart is overflowing with so much love by the wonderful people who help me that my chest hurts.

So I am definitely not the highest paid photographer. Yes I should be running my business well... more like a business. 

I don't think I can though LOL. 

So many people that I know would be there to help me all because I spent a little time letting them know they are not alone.

My heart overflows today.

Summer 2016-6 copySummer 2016-6 copy



(Happy Little Tree Photography) Nebraska heart helping others overflowing photographer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/8/to-be-or-not-to-be Wed, 31 Aug 2016 16:11:33 GMT
Summer Lovin https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/8/summer-lovin That tree.

There is that one tree in my neighborhood.

Every year it changes color about a month before all the other trees. Well it started two weeks ago.

That can't be. It's the middle of August.

I feel like Summer is fleeing and Autumn is going to hit hard with a bang and disappear before I can blink.

Which then causes an extreme panic to set in. My book is not done, my website is not updated, my new studio samples are not ordered, I have not done any new marketing, my charity prints are not done, my face hasn't cleared up enough to shoot my promo video, I haven't shot my own kid's photos.

That is just the list off the top of my head. That list does not include cooking, cleaning, getting my daughter through college and being a wife and mom.


Ok so I honestly stopped typing in order to breath into a paper bag.  

Where was I going with this?

Oh yeah time. In about three weeks things will get crazy. After the Back to School Lull comes the Every Family for Themselves Fall Holiday Photo Card Sessions! So I have about three weeks to get my act together before everyone joins me in my madness. 

And yet.......

I am already dreaming of a documentary style session with a chubby 6 month old taking a bath in the kitchen sink.

A ballet dancer under the stars...

of a thousand origami cranes...

of steampunk corsets with parasols....

of carnival rides with cotton candy....

rooms filled with Edison lights and boats filled with Wild Things. 

My bucket list never stops growing.

I just have to find that client with the same vision that makes me forget the above panic and remember why I have the best job on the planet.

Summer 2016-51Summer 2016-51



(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha bucket fall list madness photographer summer https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/8/summer-lovin Wed, 24 Aug 2016 15:48:38 GMT
Again Mom https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/8/again-mom My Mother sometimes would have to stare at a photo and look for clues in the clothes and background to see which of us three girls it was in the picture.

My Daughter Emily is now half way through college. I specifically remember thinking as she was growing up, "I'm only having one. I'll be able to remember all of these moments."

I am regularly surprised by how many silly, crazy, huggable moments I have forgotten.

Fast forward. Well any of you that follow me know that the above statement of only having one child was a lie.

I was a single Mother with Emily. I had to take on all roles. So things are a little different with this one.

I am surprised by how often I hear, "umm Mom Daddy is going to take me to the park.....give me a bath.....fly me around the room....play Legos with me.....etc etc etc."

I sometimes have to remember this is a good thing, that my son prefers his his Father at times, well ok most of the time. In fact I sometimes feel like I am only a 911 call. Daddy is cooler and better at everything. What does Mommy get to do? "Oh Mommy will get my drink."

Except reading. I cannot tell you how many times I have gloated and rubbed it in my Husband's face when my son takes a book out of his hands, walks over to me and says, "Dad you really should let Mom read it."

Am I better at making the animals talk? NO

Am I better at pacing the words in the story? NOPE

Am I better at making all of those insane crazy onomatopoeias? POW REV CRASH BANG VROOOOM...hell no I actually suck at it!

(I had to Google how to spell that by the way.)

Why this? 

Who knows, and who cares why. At least I am better then Daddy at something!

Well it's started. He has been taking books out of my hands and reading them to me. Is my only starring role coming to an end?

Well yesterday morning before I got him ready for his camping trip with Daddy, I set my camera on a chair and recorded me reading one of the first books he fell in love with, "We're Going On A Bear Hunt!"

Classic, funny, easy to remember and he does like it because I am slightly abusive during the performance. (See Stumble Trip)

Did I mention my daughter is half way through college?

It took five minutes. Five little minutes out of my day to record the one thing I am good at.

As I uploaded it online so my son could watch it while away with Daddy I could picture Flynn in college talking to his Sister. "Omg remember that! Mom turned her hair purple! Oh and that tacky moo moo dress she wore everywhere!"

But what I know he will also see is the way he curled into me and rested his head on me. The kisses to the top of the head. The way he reads in unison with me because I have given in to the millionth in a row reading of the same book. That Mom could make him laugh. And last but not least the sound of my voice. Hearing my voice repeat the same story he has heard so many times. The love and laughter that being his Mother has brought to me. 

So I am giving my clients homework for the week. Take 5 minutes out of your day, turn your phone around onto you, record that one thing you do better then anyone else for them. Trust me when your baby is taller then you, you are both going to want that memory.






(Happy Little Tree Photography) Bear Hunt Mom book five minutes reading record https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/8/again-mom Tue, 09 Aug 2016 14:52:09 GMT
Mid-life Crisis https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/7/mid-life-crisis I showed a photo of the hairstyle I wanted to my sister. She laughed and said, "Are you going through a Mid-Life Crisis?"


A decade ago I went to museums on the weekend and watched local bands. I had asymmetrical hair with a big chunk of color in it.

A decade is a long time. I started shooting weddings. I wanted to blend in with the guests, not look like a neon sign in the church. So my hair was mousey and brown for a decade. This year I stopped shooting weddings. Why? The money is really good and I do love my couples but to be honest I hated dealing with a lot of their family members and began to hate the stress of trying to make a wedding look like I had hours to shoot personal portraits for the couple when really it was the five minutes before the reception starts. It did teach me a lot. Mainly that I could handle most anything. 

So yes I am a decade older and a mom. 

I brought my photo to Andi. She took one look at it and said, "Should we do matching toe nails?"

It really did not take long. I thought for sure with my dark hair it would take forever or several sessions. Or maybe time went by so fast because of our mutual love of GOT fan theories.

I looked in the mirror. Said I Love It! And went to leave. "Tree sit your butt down." She cut off all the dead ends and gave it shape. She then took out a flat iron and styled my hair. My hair shone like the top of the Chrysler Building! I thanked her and drove home.

I was beaming, it was just what I wanted. I turned up the music and twerked my way home.

I have not felt that beautiful, fun or young in quite sometime. Who knew all I needed was to get my hair done to get rid of the gloomy clouds that had been forming in my brain?

I walked in the door.

My son didn't notice. My daughter just said, "Oh." and went back to her laptop.

The real test was my husband.

He smiled so wide and hugged me. "I Love it." His face immediately fell and the next words out of his mouth were, "But your curls are coming back right?"

My husband is a little more traditional then I am. I am pretty sure he doesn't love it, I am one hundred percent positive he will never admit that. I do know what he does love is that it brought back the happy woman from a decade ago ready to drag him off on a date to see a local band.


If you click on her name it will take you to her Facebook page where then you too can spend an hour talking about Jon Snow while relaxing and getting your hair washed!

Hair 2016Hair 2016


(Happy Little Tree Photography) crisis hair mid-life photographer weddings https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/7/mid-life-crisis Mon, 11 Jul 2016 16:04:36 GMT
Walk In My Shoes https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/7/walk-in-my-shoes I am use to bossing people around.

You have to be here at this time, don't wear logos, try to match but not so much that you end up on Awkward Family Photos.

I changed the way my business works to encourage people to print their family photos. Yet as I look up from laptop my living room walls are bare.

I have one family photo from four years ago on my wall. To make matters worse I didn't print it, it was a gift from my husband. 

To make things even more pathetic it is my son's favorite photo. That's great except it was taken four years ago and he is three and a half.

He beams up at the photo, "Look that's my family! We are all there!"

Yes technically he is the massive bump on my belly and I cringe every time he looks up at it.

I had to stop being a hypocrite. I was going to get family photos come hell or high water.

It was a really great learning experience for me to go through what my clients do.

We were going on a camping trip to South Carolina. You would think in todays digital age it would be easy to find a photographer. It was not. Google was useless. I posted in several forums and got a lot of Craigslist photographers that give you 500 images for a 100 dollars. After much help from a photographer forum I narrowed it down to two.

We booked. It was scary going to someone I had not met or my friends had not used. 

There were some miscommunication, which happens a lot through email. There are two closely named beaches and she thought we would be at the other one. We moved our date and time so she would not have to be driving three hours to see us instead of one.

Next clothes. We had nothing that matched and we would be getting ready at a campsite so I needed clothes that travel well. Nothing was perfect, fit right, stayed ironed or went as it should. Heaven forbid if some wanted to put their two cents in and mess up my vision! 

We cleaned up at the campsite and trekked out to meet Stephanie our photographer. 

I was nervous, when I smile I get a double chin. I only had one small child to control how do my couples do it!

It went fast, did we get it all? was I making faces? did I forget anything?

A month goes by when the link to our images shows up in my email. I started stalking her page three days after the shoot. I would not call or email. I know that feeling of dread when clients do that to me. I did start using psychological warfare. Liking photos and leaving comments on her page so my name is in her mind. She would message me with updates. 

I should also mention that I told her not to photoshop me. This is what I look like and everyone knows it. My kids love me no matter what. Even if I don't necessarily love the way I look right now. 

I opened the images folder and was sad. Yup that is what I look like. I then went through them and saw each of my family members look at me with so much love and laughter that I loved the photos. It took a second look for me to fall in love with them and I am extremely glad I went through the process.

I will also admit that even though I told her no photoshop, there were three of the photos where I am holding Flynn that I moved my shirt in on. I just had to! I would not be able to live with myself if I did not. LOL

I now have a whole new respect for Moms trying to get outfits together, look good while dressing everyone, get everyone out the door on time and try to remember to smile while getting everyone in the photo. 

I will post again when my prints come in!

The Moral of the Story is an old one. You never know until you have walked in someone else's shoes. My best advice to a business person right now.

Go through your own process just like a client would and see how you feel!

Photo Credit: Stephanie Stafford: Fine Art Children's Portraiture



(Happy Little Tree Photography) Carolina South family photos https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/7/walk-in-my-shoes Wed, 06 Jul 2016 16:37:44 GMT
Masterpiece!!! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/6/masterpiece New studio means I need new products for my walls!

Canvas, Prints, Albums

As with all photographers my style had changed in the last year. I wanted fresh meat.....umm clients to put on the walls!

I hopped on Facebook and posted a model search for bellies. Success!

I had almost forty women respond. I sent each of them a long list of ideas I had been wanting to shoot.

Almost ALL of them came back with the same two sentences.

1) We would like to do the ice cream shoot! - completely get that it is a hundred degrees out!

2) We do not want to show our bellies.

I was a little shocked. All but two women said they would not shoot with their stomach exposed.

That knocked out a lot of list ideas!

Kristine was one of the two women who agreed to.

Can you also get your child up super early and have her fed and out of the house and wear clothes that will be ruined forever at a ghastly hour in the morning so I can catch good light?


I was not sure how this would go. Her daughter Debbie is at that age most photographers fear. Young enough to not listen, old enough to run very fast!

She could of not slept well last night, it could be too early, she could want to stay at the playground right next to us instead of shoot, she could not want to get anything on her hands......so many ifs. None of that mattered!

Bob Ross would have been proud of her!

I was in stitches! This little wisp of a girl was a most ardent and serious painter and even did her own belly to match Mommy's.

As the sun started to rise hotter in the sky. Mom and Daughter whipped on their sunglasses and strutted down the street like they were wearing Lagerfeld instead of Pollack. 

The quizzical stares of drivers and giggles from neighbors did not phase these two and I gained mad love for the duo!

Belly Bump-77Belly Bump-77

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Belly Bump Debbie Kristine Paint Park https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/6/masterpiece Wed, 22 Jun 2016 14:40:09 GMT
Perfect.........enough for me! LOL https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/6/perfect-enough-for-me-lol I love reflectors and fill light and off camera flash.

99% of the time when you see me shooting outdoors I am not using them. Why?

Oh assistants that don't show or are an hour late. My clients are usually between the ages of 1 to 4 and running after them with an off camera flash does not sound like fun. If you are a mom this is why you have hired me instead of doing it yourself because you know they do not stop moving...EVER!

So the next best thing is to shoot during golden hours. The hour after sunrise and before sunset. Did I mention that most of my clients are in bed by 8?

With all of these rules in mind for good light I try to shoot. 

It's 8:30am on a Saturday. The earlier the better the light right? Except sunrise was at 6am. Did I mention the I am a half hour late because I got pulled over yet again with expired tags and speeding?

My clients laugh at me thankfully. Forget perfect light we are going to have an awesome time playing in the splash park! 

Umm..Tree it doesn't turn on until 11?

We checked the website! It said 9 online!!!!!

Did I also mention that the heat index is saying 106?

OK! Lets just walk over to the playground.

Keep your cool! The gorgeous light is gone.

You were a half hour late which is extremely unprofessional. Your place to shoot at is closed. It is basically an open field with no shade, so harsh light is streaming in. Your young client has been outside in the heat with her pregnant mom in the hundred degree weather waiting for you. Did I also mention that their close family member is an awesome photographer so no pressure there right?

I get home feeling more then a little defeated.

I then upload the photos. It only takes one to make me smile again. It is not golden hour, everyone is not facing the camera and I could care less! I love it! 

Kaila Bump-2Kaila Bump-2


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Golden Hour Omaha Park https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/6/perfect-enough-for-me-lol Tue, 14 Jun 2016 15:11:18 GMT
I Carried a Watermelon. https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/6/i-carried-a-watermelon I am not very good at putting together elaborate sets for themed sessions. I don't enjoy it. It's not my thing.

But my clients love to celebrate the holidays with themed shoots.

I sit and stare at my laptop.

I ask on Facebook. "What do you want to see?".....crickets

I ask my sisters. Opposite tastes and answers.

I turn to Pinterest. I make my secret board and ask myself, "Are these the photos I would want of my son?"

We came back from the store and carried our loot across the street.

It was ten minutes of me saying:

"Flynn keep your shorts on. I said only the shirt."

"Do not stab your mother with that."

"No no no eat that over there."

All he wanted to do is sit in my lap and dribble sticky watermelon juice all over me.

A Pinwheel, a flag, a watermelon. Sitting in the grass under the trees. 

Didn't take hours of setup. In fact I had some baseballs too but the heavens opened up and poured down on us. I tucked my camera under my shirt and the boy under my arm and ran for it.

Nothing fancy but as I opened the files on my computer last night my heart swelled and answered my own question.

"Yes these are exactly the photos a Mother would want."

Flynn Summer 2016-2Flynn Summer 2016-2


(Happy Little Tree Photography) 2016 flag pinwheels summer watermelon https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/6/i-carried-a-watermelon Sun, 05 Jun 2016 13:10:28 GMT
There She Blows https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/5/there-she-blows I am not crafty. I am not a Pin Project Maker. Scratch what?

I buy box cake, prefer etsy to making my own and am most definitely not a gardner. 

It turns out though that my son loves being in the garden. Thanks a lot Auntie Torie.

Another thing my son loves is a classic book entitled, "Burt Dow- Deep Water Man". Thanks a lot Auntie Torie.

It looks like one of those quick paper cover reads but don't be fooled. It has been one of my son's favorites since he was 11 months old and it takes 45 minutes to read.

He has often tricked me.

"Ok Flynn one book."

Of course he pulls out Burt Dow and I can't say no. How do you say no to a kid that wants to read. Even if the read does take almost an hour and sound like a drunk old fisherman in a bar telling a whale of a tale!

My son also love pirates. He had a large plastic ship in the backyard until this last storm. It cracked the top sail part leaving jagged plastic shards. 

Well thanks to Burt Dow Deep Water Man what do you do when you can't sail a ship anymore? Why you plant it with geraniums and indian peas!

We hauled the top away and dragged the bottom boat to the corner of the yard, filled it with soil and did just that!

This might have sounded easy to do but with a three year old as Captain it takes a lot longer and a lot of mud pies before you finish.

We spent several hours at the garden center and putting the ship together. His older sister helped.

The day it took to make will always be one of my favorites. Both of my children despite the age difference laughing and helping me in the yard. With one baby wrapping up college and the other not far from starting school how many more of these days will I get?

It might have just turned this plant killer into a wanna be gardner. 

Tidely Idly-17Tidely Idly-17


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Burt Dow Flynn garder ship https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/5/there-she-blows Tue, 10 May 2016 16:11:37 GMT
That Is Not You https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/5/that-is-not-you I have been photographing this smart, sassy little wisp of a girl for four years. Towards the end of her shoots Mom would hop in for a photo or two since she is always the one behind the camera.

So when Mom called and asked for a few photos of just her I was all for it.

She was nervous the whole time. She doesn't wear makeup. She doesn't get dressed up. To top it off being in front of a camera is intimidating. 

I like to make fun of the newbie models on ANTM but get in front of a lens and you will see how fast you become a deer in the headlights. 

We talked, she got more comfortable. After four years it was more like having a friend then a client to talk to so things got casual.

As I was editing the photos I fell in love with them. Normally when I see her she is in full mommy mode toting bags and snacks and changes of clothes.

She was smiling, laughing, flirty. Even dancing, my idea not hers.

I was so happy when I sent her the gallery to view. If I love them she had to love them! 

I have my phone near by all day. Waiting to hear that ping. Waiting to see what she says. We photographers actually get sick to our stomach waiting to hear back. It is our validation that we captured a priceless memory. A small moment at the Oscars.

She loved them! She immediately changed her Facebook profile image to one of my favorite ones. If you are a crazy stalker photographer like me you like to go back to your client's page to see all of the praise heaped upon your photo of them. You pat yourself on the back when they tag you and scowl daggers at the screen when they don't.

I woke up this morning checked my messages and then went to peek at her page to see what people were saying.


Scrolling down through the messages i'm doing the head bob, ALLL RIGHTTTT!

At the bottom I see one that stops me. That I keep scrolling back to.

That is not you.

It hit me hard. This was not a friend saying, "OMG That is NOT you! You look so fabulous!" This was an older man saying the image was not my client but some kind of farce.

I have the sinking feeling that if I were to do a  photoshoot of myself like this and post it I would get the same response.

Here is the rub though. It would not be me. 

I work and have kids and a husband and family and chaos. 

I will be heading out the door in my sweats, hair in a messy bun as I am pleading with my son to get his shoes on so we can get his sister to school. I will catch my reflection for just a second in the mirror and the first thing that pops into my head is, That is not you.

I am running to the store 11 o' clock at night to get apples and peanut butter for lunches the next day because I did not have time to during daylight hours like a normal human being because I spent my day with my clients rolling in dirt and using my dress to wipe snot off of faces so I won't have to edit it out later. 

I catch my reflection in the store glass. That is not you.

To everyone else in the world this is me. This is always me. Messy, disheveled and on the go. I can't remember the last time I felt like the woman I was when my husband and I were dating. Put together, flirty, dancing. 

That woman my husband fell in love with is still me. The outside just doesn't match the inside.

So at this moment it is taking all of my strength not to troll this man and say, "IT IS HER!!! It is the same Beautiful Wonderful Caring Mom, the only difference is she actually had an hour to herself!"

But I won't. I wish someone would though.


(Happy Little Tree Photography) is mom not reflection that you https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/5/that-is-not-you Mon, 09 May 2016 16:16:16 GMT
Stand Up https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/4/stand-up I was trolling Facebook when I should have been cleaning.

The Mommy & Me Contests had begun. 

"Hit Like to Enter to Win A Free Mommy & Me Mini Session!"

"Vote for a Deserving Mom!"

Marketing, I knew I should be putting up the same posts to generate buzz about my Mommy & Me Sessions.

How do you pick a deserving Mom? 

I didn't need a contest I knew exactly who I wanted to bring into the studio.

Back in the day I was a single mom working as a waitress. I had been a waitress for 7 years in this particular restaurant. 

Once or twice a month these older business men would come in and always order the same thing....and send it back.

It was before dinner rush so there were only a few tables in the place. I walked over to check on them knowing what was about to come.

"Snow....(after 7 years they still could not get that my name was Tree) these kabobs are dry we need new ones."

I picked up the plates and brought them back to the cook's line to the restaurant owner and told him they needed to be remade.

I went back to the waitress station and a minute later the Owner walks over obviously mad. That's when he started yelling at me. Not quietly. In my face yelling at me with some language I would not want my customers to hear. 

I was a little shocked. This was not my fault. I was glad the place wasn't packed. I was not sure what I was going to say to my tables when I approached them next. Worst of all I just stood there and let it happen. I would never in a million years let anyone talk to my daughter like this so why was I letting it happen?

Mid rant my hostess, a young girl who I had worked with many years, stops him.

"What are you doing! Why are you yelling at her like that? It's not her fault. What's wrong with you?"

At that moment the owner turned his wrath onto her.

She took it for exactly ten seconds. Said a few sentences I can not repeat on a family blog. The Owner fired her right then.

I watched her walk out to the parking lot and drive away. I quietly took off my apron and left as well.

I could not let someone get fired over me and I could not stay.

I can tell you that in my decades on this planet I have never seen anyone stand up for someone else. Never. Only in movies. 

But she did. I was not family. The other employees did as I did and just let it happen even though it was not right.

Not her. She stood up for me. It taught me a valuable lesson. One that I hopefully have instilled in my own daughter. 

Every once in awhile I would see her pop up online. Three kids of her own now and happily married. Her oldest child a girl.

I invited her up to the studio not letting her know why I wanted her there. I wanted to thank her after all these years. 

It was wonderful to see her again. Her kids had me in stitches! Fun, creative and so interactive with each other. I could tell she had taught the same lesson to her own daughter. She was quiet in that my mind is thinking a million miles an hour way. So smart with such an imagination. I can't wait to see what she does in the world.

Well it is decades late but saying thank you is better late then never right?



(Happy Little Tree Photography) & Me Mommy fired thank waitress you https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/4/stand-up Mon, 18 Apr 2016 17:49:10 GMT
Something Beautiful https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/3/something-beautiful My daughter never knows when anyones birthday is. Even though she is in college. If you ask she still cannot tell you when my birthday is. It's just how she is. 

So I was slightly shocked when my son sitting in his car seat said that he wanted to buy Auntie Torie's birthday present. I didn't realize that he was picking up snippets of conversation and paying attention. I didn't realize he would care about it. He was adamant though. He had to be the one to do it.

I am ok with the fact the the first woman he wants to buy a present for is his Auntie Torie. A little jealous it is not his momma.

I should tell you that Auntie Torie is the one who gave him his pirate rain slicker so he could jump in puddles in fashion. Auntie Torie has bought half his library and allowed us to learn wonderful things about hermaphrodite worms and galaxies far far away. She has scolded me when she thinks I am being to tough on him and constantly sending me more information on books, preschools, nutrition and any other area that might better his life.

She also gave him his best friend. His blankie. The soft beautiful open blue blanket that was knitted with an open weave so he could breathe when it is over his head as he is being a ghost popping out from around corners. That was knitted to be just the right length to sleep with and carry around. That was knitted with durable, washable, yet the softest of yarns because she knew it would go through a lot of puddles and leaves yet also be sleeping wrapped around my son every night. That somehow it would become the physical manifestation of an imaginary friend who would have a big personality and need pancakes as well. Who was knitted with love. 

This is why I don't mind that Auntie Torie is the first person he wants to buy a present for.

He sat there. The most serious look on his face. After five minutes of my daughter and I waiting he spoke. 

"Something beautiful. A building or a monster. You give something beautiful when you love someone."

So we found a building and a monster for Auntie Torie, but what he said stuck with me. These were the things a 3 year old boy found beautiful and it was important that Auntie Torie knew that he loved her. May heart grew three sizes thinking about it. That there might be hope for my small mutant child.

The moral of the story is buildings and monsters make the best presents.


(Happy Little Tree Photography) https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/3/something-beautiful Fri, 18 Mar 2016 14:24:22 GMT
Death to The Mini !!! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/2/death-to-the-mini The way Mini Sessions usually work is they are 15 to 20 minutes long and you get anywhere from 3 to 10 digital files. 

They are themed such as Valentines, Xmas, Tea Parties etc. 

They are also shot back to back against many other families where you are hurled in and out of the set. If you show up early you are cramping in on another family's session. If you are late you have lost your slot. 

I had a mini session with two adorable girls. After 30 minutes, even though they were only scheduled for twenty, I announced that we got the shots and put down my camera. The Mother of the two girls looked up at me and, "What? They are just now comfortable and starting to really smile. You really should let clients come a half hour early and let the kids get to know you!"

What I wanted to say was, "Lady that is what full portrait sessions are for!" Instead I just thanked her for her suggestion and ushered them out for the next family to come in.

It is stressful and hectic. So I decided that I would do one last sale of my mini sessions and then be done with them. 

Technically you can still have a mini session. My twenty minute mini session with 5 digital files was $250.

With the new business model you pay the $100 Session Fee and then can purchase a small collection of files that come with prints of them as well for $125. So it is about the same cost. You can even just come and buy one file if that is all you need, but now there is no rush and you have more options and you always walk away with a beautiful print instead of just a digital file that will sit in a drawer on a usb drive. You can have all of the beautiful images or just the one you need for that Family photo update.

So I am excited by this new way of doing business and all the new options for my clients!

Amias 7mth-17Amias 7mth-17

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Omaha children mini photographer session https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/2/death-to-the-mini Mon, 29 Feb 2016 20:08:42 GMT
I WANT MOHR! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/2/i-want-mohr I work with Lindsay at the studio. I should say I worked. She is leaving for new job opportunities in Oklahoma.

She had just gotten these stunningly beautiful family photos done with another photographer.

So I was surprised when she came to me wanting a family session. She was sad. They were leaving a home that had left them with a lot of great memories. Where they brought home their baby girl. She wanted to capture those memories.

I have a lot of clients who feel a lifestyle session is not for them. That they will have to clean or get decked out in their Sunday best.

When I knocked on the door of Lindsay's house her three children came to greet me. Her feisty little girl had her shirt pulled over her head, her middle son was in footie pajamas and the oldest boy was stripping down to his underoos. I knew this was going to be as real as it gets.

Her daughter kept squinting at me suspiciously and then would just burst out with the biggest toothiest grin ever.

Her middle son was so tired by the end he wrapped his blankie around himself like a cape and rubbed his eyes as he went down the hall to find his bed.

It was her oldest son that caught my attention though. Not because he took my backup camera and wanted to shoot too, trust that was enough to make me love him. It was his relationship with his mom. Yes there was a stranger in the house that he wanted to show off for, but in the quiet moments as I was between shots he looked to his mom. 

It was something I was not quite use to seeing. Yes he laughed with his mom, played games, sang songs and ran to her for comfort just like his siblings.

This was different. It was a soft respect.

The kind of respect you give to someone who has shown you discipline with love. It was a kind of pride that you give to a person you look up to. I see a lot of boys that do not show their parents respect or they respect their father in a patriarchal way. This little boy had a respect and pride for his mom that shone like a light from his face.

I hope and pray to see that same look on my son's face when he is older.


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Family Lifestyle Mohr Nebraska Omaha Photographer Portrait https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/2/i-want-mohr Fri, 26 Feb 2016 04:01:21 GMT
YES YES YES .......NO! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/2/yes-yes-yes-no Just the right amount of chubbiness and and an inquiring look as little Toby stared up at me at the start of his session.

I look down at him and it took all of my strength not to scoop him up and squish him.

"Toby do you want to play with me."

He looks up at me and shakes his head yes and smiles.

I've never had a boy who is not quite one yet say anything but no to all questions. His parents stare at him surprised. That is a first.

"Toby can I take your photo?"  Shakes Yes!

"Can I hug you?" Yes!

"Do you want to dance?" Yes!

This was how sessions should go. He was happy, curious and engaging.

"Toby do you want some cake?" NO

This must be a fluke.

"Toby do you want a bite of yummy cake?" Shakes head faster. NO NO NO

The tough part was done. This was suppose to be the easy part. Getting a small boy to eat cake. His smile was gone. He wanted nothing to do with it. 

Toby stared at the lump of frosting before him. He grabbed a clump of frosting, reached his arm up and beamed. His smile came back! He realized he didn't have to eat the cake. Mommy could! He was happy and laughing once again as he fed his mom bite after bite. 

Unfortunately Mommy ended up with more frosting on her then he did.

Toby 1yr_-107Toby 1yr_-107

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Baseball Bear Birthday Pooh Session Toby's and https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/2/yes-yes-yes-no Thu, 25 Feb 2016 17:26:17 GMT
Bucket List 2016! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/2/bucket-list-2016 Each year I make a bucket list of photo shoots I would love to do.

Each year I get a few clients that feel inspired by it and want to book it.

It has ranged over the years from an underwater session to  birth sessions. 

My clients have trusted me and collaborated with me to try fun new things and to keep me going!

Like any other job photographers can get bored too. "Oh you want the exact same photo that I took of your best friend's family, ok."

Yes I do love that you love my previous photos so much that you want them too.....but so do all of your friends that come to me.

If you want something different don't be afraid to ask me for it!

With that in mind here is what I am asking for this year from all of you happy little trees!

More Rock The Frock Sessions!

MilkBath Session- Glamour/Belly Bump/Newborn

Swimming Pool Sessions

Trampoline Sessions

My Pet and I Sessions

Mother/Daughter Matching Outfit Sessions

Surprise Love You Sessions- where you kidnap someone they come in for hair/makeup and get photos with you because you love them the most-Grandma, Dads, Moms, Girlfriends, Teens etc

More TATTOOS!- I love ink and do not get enough!

Dance Sessions!- I love movement! Ballroom, Ballet, Salsa I want to see you shake your grove thing! As a couple, belly bump or head shots!

Carnival Shoot!- Family, older kids, senior, engagement so many options- this one has been on my list twice before!


Pippa 18mth-45Pippa 18mth-45

(Happy Little Tree Photography) https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/2/bucket-list-2016 Wed, 17 Feb 2016 16:10:26 GMT
SHINY! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/1/shiny Over the holiday I managed to watch the entire and only season of a show called FireFly. Then I went into a rage because there was only one season!

Anyway in the first episode they us the word shiny as a replacement for "cool". Which stuck in my head. If I used it in real life no one would get it, but I did have to come up with a theme for my Valentine's Day Mini Sessions!

I always see other photographers using their kids in the promos. Free labor right? After my shoot with Flynn I don'y know how they do it! 

He loved putting each scene together with me and had fun taking it down, but the actual shooting? I had ten seconds where he stayed still.

The first set was simple. Some banners and a box of chocolates, which I ate most of the night before.

It's simple but my very first real Valentine was a box of chocolates sent to me across the country by my first boyfriend after we had moved. Nothing says VDay best like a heart box right! I chose shiny gold letters and a shiny red box to stick with the theme.

The next set was heart banners and roses. This set actually turned out to be Flynn's favorite. My heart melted when he handed them to me. He had a blast tearing up the petals and throwing them in the air. I might warn parents they don't have to do this one though. Rose petals can stain clothes!

The next set Flynn and I covered the ground with silver foil. He tried to cover the walls as well when my back was turned. He then layed down and I dumped twenty pounds of Hersey Kisses on him. He thought it was hilarious. At clean up though he was no help and just tried to shove as many of them as possible into his mouth before I could get them up.

The last set is cheesy love song lines in gold, shiny letters with a microphone. Singing is how my husband got me. He also to this day tries to use the the corny Dean Martin, "Baby it's cold outside." line on me. I did envision little boys in suspenders and girls with boas but Flynn is more of a kilt then suspenders boy.

Excited to see what all of the Happy Little Tree kids think when they come up for their mini sessions!



(Happy Little Tree Photography) Day Kisses Shiny Valentine's https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2016/1/shiny Tue, 05 Jan 2016 17:26:21 GMT
Pod People https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/10/pod-people I always feel slightly like vomiting before I shoot for another photographer.

Will I be on my game? Will my brain freeze and not remember how to make the kids smile?

Jessi's two children are the whole reason I love my job. 

I work with Jessi at the studio. She didn't try to force the poses and knew to just follow the kids' flow. 

It took us through the field, through a drainage pipe, into the sand and into the leaves. We might need one of those Family Circle cartoons where it follows the kids path with the dotted line all over the map.

On our little journey I completely fell in love with Buster and Beanie. They have real names but these are so much cooler.

The coolest part of my job is I am often there for kid's first. First cake smash, first oreo, first bike ride.

On our photoshoot we found milk pods. A first for Buster and Beanie.

The squeals of joy and excitement over something so small made my heart burst.

Reckinger Family 2015-30Reckinger Family 2015-30

(Happy Little Tree Photography) https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/10/pod-people Wed, 28 Oct 2015 15:59:42 GMT
Happily Ever After........Finally https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/9/happily-ever-after-finally I've done Courtney's portrait from Engagement Session, Bridal, Wedding, Belly Bump and two children from newborn on.

She was also a bridesmaid in my wedding.

Three years ago she came to me with a simple request for her first child Juliet's photos. She wanted a fairy tale book with Juliet as the star. No Disney princess though, she would edit the classic Grimm Fairy Tales to go into the book.

Should be simple right? Take the kids photo and paste the story next to it! Easy!

It was my first month up at my School of Rock Studio. I really had not shot many newborns at the time. Let's just say the photos were less then stellar.

We did two fairy tales every three months that year. At the end I look at what I had shot and felt heartbroken. I was unsure of lighting, not good at sets, and did not live up to what was in my head. So I put off editing them. A year goes by and I show Courtney the Mockups and have her pick some out but I am not happy with any of them. I was use to photoshopping a woman's thighs not making a whole fantasy world and was in over my head.

I had pictured these gold scroll work squares and all the photos sitting pretty in them. Not even close.

Then there was the actually stories. Unless I made them font size 6 and you would need a magnifying glass to read it. There was no way they were going to fit onto one page. Have you ever tried to place long text in Photoshop. Hours and hours of trying to get it to come out even.

Another year goes by.

Guilt was getting to me. Then by chance I discovered a new program to deal with the text which made it so much simpler! That night I felt overjoyed. I was so excited I knocked out all of the pages. I also knocked down my own walls. I had put myself in a mindset that all of the photos had to be the same and I hated it. So I started over from scratch with each photo and loved the end result. That was it! I want to cry! 26 pages just how I had wanted them. 2 and a half years after conception I could finally give Courtney her album. 

I uploaded all of the pages to my pro lab. I wanted thick flush mount pages so that little Juliet could read her own stories without fear of tearing the pages. I wanted it to be beautiful. I am dragging and dropping the pages in when the program freezes and tells me that the album is only designed to allow 25 pages.

NOOOOOOOOO! There was no way I could edit out a page!

After searching and searching I found a company that would do 26 pages on flush mount!

I ordered the album and brought it over for Courtney's birthday. As Courtney unwrapped the album and open it. Juliet looked up at her mother beaming and instantly recognized that she was the princess in all of the stories. Then lost interest after sixty seconds and wandered off. lol

Oh well it was still worth it.


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Fairy Juliet Tale album photography https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/9/happily-ever-after-finally Tue, 01 Sep 2015 20:25:03 GMT
Where's Mommy! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/6/wheres-mommy Kelli has been a client of mine for six years.

I shot her Engagement session, in which I got stopped by a police officer for trespassing.

Her Wedding, in which her bridesmaid had to drive me back to town at midnight after my car stalled.

Her Family photos, in which I learned people do care if a tractor is red or green.

The birth of her daughter Lennon, in which I got to witness so much love and emotion between Kelli and her husband Brian I still tear up watching their slideshow. I also learned at three in the morning with them that there are whole shows devoted to covering up bad tattoos!

Lennon came into the studio last week to celebrate turning six months old. Kelli pulled out her wedding dress to get a shot of her with it. I have been dying to put a gorgeous gown on my dress mannequin and shoot with a little one! 

I love the end result! What you don't see is that mom is in the picture too! She is under the dress holding Lennon! Safety first! I love the fact that my clients will do anything for the shot!




(Happy Little Tree Photography) https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/6/wheres-mommy Mon, 29 Jun 2015 18:08:39 GMT
Brand Me https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/6/brand-me So I have a very unoriginal logo that is just a font.

I wanted something new. When I went full time with my wedding business I had a graphic designer, who was also a bride redo it.

I went from Captured By Tree Photography to TreeSnap Images with a website designed just for me. It was $1000 and worth it.

I still have the Inspiration Board she made me above my work station as inspiration for me. She captured me so well. Not only me but everything I wanted to be as a photographer.

So I wanted to do the same for Happy Little Tree. 

Well that dream went up in smoke. I had the money set aside and then had an unexpected bill go through my account. Because I didn't know it went through all weekend I was charging little things to the account. $6.00 for snacks for the wedding, $10.00 for batteries. Each charge causing a $35.00 overdraft fee. So all of a sudden that extra thousand is gone.

What do I do now!?!?

I still wanted a new logo.

I tried Fiverr.

The first was a total bust.

I tried it one more time. It wasn't what I expected but I kinda like it. I'm on the fence. I would love your opinion.

My sister thinks it might be hard to read. Thoughts? Should I try again?

file jpegfile jpeg

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Branding Logo https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/6/brand-me Tue, 09 Jun 2015 19:59:05 GMT
I'm Legal Now! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/6/im-legal-now I have so many changes going into the rebranding and opening of Happy Little Tree as I move out of weddings.

Becoming an LLC, different forms, taxes etc etc etc.

When I started I will admit I illegally downloaded everything, programs, movies, fonts, presets, actions. 

As I established my business I gained more experience and money and realized that if someone stole my work I would be furious.

I started to have people look to me for advice and I would tell them everything they should do.

There was one thing I was still doing illegally. 


I loved creating my own movies in iMovie. I would buy the song on iTunes so I wouldn't feel as guilty about not paying the artist royalties. 

Well that is now changing.

If I bought the music through song royalty companies for slideshows it would be anywhere from 30 to 50 dollars a song for the one time use. 

At what I am currently making a session I could not afford that.

So I made the jump to a slideshow program that gives you music they have paid for. 

I really didn't want to because so many other photographers use it and I didn't want my slideshows to look exactly like theirs.

Here's to hoping to staying original and new changes!

(Happy Little Tree Photography) https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/6/im-legal-now Tue, 09 Jun 2015 14:45:16 GMT
Pro.....Where? Who? Me?!?!? https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/6/pro-where-who-me I don't know these people.

It happens in my business, or at least it should happen a lot if you are a good business person bringing in new clients.

I've never met these people before. I don't know what they like, their personalities, what they expect. 

I sent out the usual questions, stalked the Mom on Facebook. 

They are going to pull up to Sonata any minute now.

Two young kids with a pregnant mother and their dad. Mom will hate every photo of her, the kids will give me dirty looks because I'm weird, and Dad will be ticked off the whole time because his wife dragged him out for photos instead of watching sports. This is how I envision the shoot.

When people haven't seen me work it worries me, will they trust me?

Then they show up Mom looks like someone hid a basketball under her shirt (not fair I was a whale at 9mths!), both kids are so good it makes me wonder if I am the only one on the planet with a naughty child, and Dad...well Papa Goose went after him with a vengeance! Poor Dad. 

Why was I so worried. My point to the story is even if you're as old as I am you get stage fright, but it's ok, it pushes me to do better!  Belly Bump-38Belly Bump-38

(Happy Little Tree Photography) https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/6/pro-where-who-me Tue, 02 Jun 2015 21:57:32 GMT
Shake It! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/4/shake-it Every couple of months I post a wish list in hopes that one of my clients will see it and want to do something on it. 

I made it out to Carhenge for an engagement shoot. (15 hours of driving THANK YOU HUTCH AND EMELEE)

I did an underwater maternity session even though I can't swim.

Well this next shoot knocked two wish list items off that have been on the list for 3 years now!

Henna and Bellydancing!

Aimee is a local bellydancer and due any day now with a baby girl!

She came up the night before to get henna done on her belly by the local artist Jaz. While she got worked on I got to play basketball with her son Asher. I am definitely out of shape!

The next day she came with several outfit options.

We started with family shots and right after dad left for work Aimee got into a beautiful blue circle skirt. 

Eight and a half months pregnant and she still moves with grace!

We moved on to a lace top I spied as I was passing Francesca's. We got Asher in the picture. I can't remember what we were talking about but it was serious. The photos of that little cherub face looking so serious are some of my favorite. 

We then pumped up some Shakira (the only thing close to bellydancing music I have on tap) and danced in a colorful kaleidoscope of a skirt to rival Joseph's dream coat. 

I wanted different. It doesn't get more different then that! Thank you so much for putting up with me Aimee!

Aimee Belly Bump-74Aimee Belly Bump-74

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Belly Bump Dancing Henna https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/4/shake-it Wed, 22 Apr 2015 00:13:57 GMT
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/3/winner-winner-chicken-dinner So last month I ran a contest. You tell me which font my new logo should be and one of you would be randomly picked to win a free mini session.

Emily won. I had never met her and do not even know how she found my page. I messaged her and she informed me the session was for her three year old Lucy. 

"Great when do you want to come up to the studio."

"Well would it be ok to do a Lifestyle Mini Session at the house?"


I am always slightly nervous with new clients, especially going into their home. I see visions of the Addams Family snapping their fingers in front of the creepy manor.

I pull up and sorry to say no bats, no lightening, no finger snapping.

I walk in and there are photos on every wall. Wonderful! Except I notice they are all beautiful and professionally taken. So I had to ask.

"Who is your usual photographer?"

"Oh Samantha Lupo is my cousin."

Damnit! Not only is she a good photographer, she is a good person too, so I can't even talk smack about her.

In the living room little Lucy is trying to convince Dad to read her a story.

"Where do you want to start?"

"Here, go ahead and read to her."

They finish the book and Mom had to join in because her voices are better then Daddy's.

From there she spots me. 

"Wanna see my room."


A whirlwind as Lucy deems me worthy to play with. Jump on the bed, crawl under bed to retrieve toy, talk to cat, show me book collection, show me My Little Pony collection, get buried in My Little Ponies the size of my car, must show me her bike, look at bubbles, look at camera, show me train set, show me her camera.

This is twenty minutes with a 3 year old! LOL

They might not need me as their photographer but I at least made a new friend!

People I'm telling you invite me into your home! ....like a vampire MWAHAHAHAH!

Lucy Spring 2015-17Lucy Spring 2015-17

(Happy Little Tree Photography) https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/3/winner-winner-chicken-dinner Fri, 27 Mar 2015 03:16:18 GMT
Roll Up Roll Up https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/3/roll-up-roll-up I've been watching too much Peppa Pig, or maybe it is reference to me needing to roll up my sleeves and get to work? Or maybe I am just craving that flattened sticky fruit from my youth?

Anyway, I blogged a month ago about the fact that this will be my last year in weddings and I will mainly be a portrait studio after this year.

I decided to blog the journey to becoming a full time studio. In my head this will pass by like footage of the Keystone Cops. This year of getting ready and the blogs that follow may make a wonderful cautionary tale to those thinking of doing the same as you follow my descent into madness! MWHAHAHAHA

My studio blog tonight was to right down my goals and ideas.


Love My Job - check that one off already!

Make the kind of images I would want of my own children.

Be able to work full time and not miss my kids growing up.

Streamline my business to get rid of reoccurring questions and hiccups.

Make enough money so that if something ever happened to my husband the kids and I would be ok.

Teach more.

Sell more products- I am proud to see my photos on client walls!

Outsource the stuff I don't love to do even though I feel like I have to do it all.

That's a pretty good start and each one will be a lot of work, but I think I can see a bright future. 

I will leave you with a photo of my husband and son in matching pirate pajamas. What other photo could I possibly pair with this post?

Flynn PJ's-8Flynn PJ's-8


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Business Pajamas Pirate Studio https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/3/roll-up-roll-up Tue, 24 Mar 2015 05:15:16 GMT
Little Star https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/3/little-star The birth slideshow I am about to post is a little different from all of my other ones.

I love the emotional roller coaster of a day photographing a birth, but my slideshows usually start with a sunrise at the hospital as my anxious couple's day is starting.

No this one starts 6 years ago when I first met Brook, Chance and the family for their engagement shoot, five years earlier with their wedding, two years earlier for her belly bump, newborn, cake smash and full circle to her belly bump photos for the second time just a month ago.

I think I should be at family reunions now.

The sun was rising when I got to Columbus. We spent several hours joking about names and Chance texting out false leads to his friends. 

Brooke is such a little thing. It was a tough enough pregnancy since her gallbladder decided not to function, then her epidural decided not to work. I just wanted to hug her. As if embracing her would somehow spread the pain out so it wasn't so intense. 

She rocked through it all with such grace and strength and brought little Torryn Rae into the world. All 7 lbs 11 ounces of her.

Daddy was in love immediately. Barrett....well I don't think he quite knows what he's in for. He will proudly tell you that's his little sister and kiss her head and give the pink bow a funny look. 

I, well I am already planning her cake smash!

Torryn Birth B&W-151Torryn Birth B&W-151


(Happy Little Tree Photography) https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/3/little-star Tue, 17 Mar 2015 01:24:08 GMT
Take Two! Action! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/2/take-two-action Baby Two Bump-53Baby Two Bump-53 I shot Brooke and Chance's wedding five years ago. The last two years I have photographed their son Barrett. So when Brooke tells me she was not going to do Belly Bump photos this time around I did not take no for an answer! 

"Please, please come to the studio. Just for fifteen minutes!"

"Ok, but do whatever you want."

That is one of the things I love about Brook. She completely trusts me. In a world of Pinterest she tells me to shut it off and just be me. 

You have to understand. Brook is one of those people that is beautiful inside and out. She has a big heart, is a wonderful mom, and doesn't take enough time for herself as most moms do.

I wanted a little bling and sparkle and makeup! So I tried out Light In The Box and couldn't resist this silver sequin gown! 

Brooke arrived at the studio fresh faced and ready to go, but my makeup artist did a disappearing act! 

We improvised and ran to the MAC counter down the street and left the boys playing trains. They did a great job and we scored some makeup out of it too! 

She slips into all the sparkles and of course little Barrett has to dance with such a beautiful lady even if it is mom.

I found a little off the shoulder dress that seemed a little country to me. A pop of color with flowers in the hair. Hopefully this is a little country, since her husband definitely is, I wanted something more earthy. 

Sometimes Chance shakes his head and looks at me with what I am sure is "This crazy hippie artist hasn't cut off her ear yet." But then he gives me this big, melt your heart smile and goes along with it. If I get that smile you should see the one he gives Brook and Barrett, complete love and joy. 

Last but not least and before I can wear out this pregnant momma, we slip into a pop of sunshine. It's been a cold, grey winter. I NEED COLOR!

Barrett needs one last dance before passing out while Daddy is a little too enthusiastic fanning us to get the hair blowing lol!

They bundle up and head home. Barrett is out like a light by the end of the street.

This is why I love my job.


(Happy Little Tree Photography) Belly Box Brooke Bump Chance Light The in portrait https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/2/take-two-action Tue, 17 Feb 2015 16:49:37 GMT
Quickest Way To Scare A Photographer? https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/2/quickest-way-to-scare-a-photographer What is the quickest way to give me a heart attack? 

This call:

"Hi Tree! I wanted to set up a shoot of all three cousins for Valentine's Day."

"Ok, cool! How old are they?"

"2 years old, 1 year old and a 1 month old."


I admitted to my client that I was scared. A one month old is still fragile and breakable. Most two year olds just want to push them as far away from them as possible. Throw a non stop one year old in the mix and things get hairy.

So imagine my surprise when the one year wanted to sit for the camera, and the two year old held the baby gently, and the baby? Didn't cry!!!!

Now this alternate bizarro world where kids cooperate does not last long! So we took advantage of it and got some wonderful shots for Grandma of all three kids.

Now why was I worried? LOL Cousins 2015-50Cousins 2015-50

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Cousins Omaha portrait shoot https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/2/quickest-way-to-scare-a-photographer Mon, 09 Feb 2015 18:25:34 GMT
There Can Be Only One! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/2/there-can-be-only-one I often tell people about my one friend.

Yup I only have one.

Is it because I am a bad person, maybe?

She knows I am a hermit who would stay in unbathed in my pjs for months if she didn't drag me out. I don't call, write, text, email. I am that friend. The ultra lazy one.

So what do you get your best friend for Xmas? She's a Gamer, but I haven't played since Final Fantasy 7 was out.

Well by some miracle the stars aligned and all four of her children were in town at Xmas and came to the studio. You have to understand, it's like seeing Hailey's Comet. Each of them is unique and far flung across this globe.

Her oldest Peter reminds me of Flynn. He looks serious but loves Conan as much as I do! (Classic Conan none of that new fangled stuff) Well he is leaving for Spain.

Sasha the model was actually in Omaha and not Japan or New York. Something told me she would be just fine in front of the camera LOL.

Susie the writer is just graduating NYU in the Big Apple! Crazy huh! She was my Elf senior session!

Last but not least Bo who tries to help me with my makeup, has put up with my camera the most since she is the last to leave the house and with hair like that really should have been my child, is home from Voodoo studies at Tulane!

So here it is. The unicorn of all photos. All four of these crazy kids in one room! Sorry Sasha I know how you feel about backlit photos!


(Happy Little Tree Photography) https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/2/there-can-be-only-one Mon, 09 Feb 2015 17:01:09 GMT
Livin' The Life! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/2/livin-the-life So before I had a studio I had to either go to my clients home or scramble to clean my home to shoot in the current location where my dining room is. I now have seven unique studio rooms to choose from and yet I find myself missing being in my clients' home.

Lifestyle shoots

Engagement, Newborn, Family Portraits, Day In The Life Shoots. I love taking all of these in my clients homes.

I shot Liz and Tom's wedding. Fast forward and there is a baby on the way! 

Liz tells me she wants her Belly Bump Session in their home. 

I always get a little nervous. What if they have orange shag carpeting or every room is lit by one tiny red pen light? It could happen!

It is always a surprise for me. Something different. They are more comfortable in their own space too.

I fell in love with the session as I was editing it. In my mind's eye I could see into the future to see their child looking through photos. Seeing how happy Mom and Dad look together on the couch they grew up with which now has no cushioning from being jumped on and quite a few stains. I see them looking at the photo and just one word comes to mind, Home. Liz Belly Bump-53Liz Belly Bump-53



(Happy Little Tree Photography) Belly Bump Lifestyle Liz Omaha Portrait Tom https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/2/livin-the-life Thu, 05 Feb 2015 02:42:31 GMT
Give You The Universe https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/1/give-you-the-universe It took two months to finish. Not because it is complex, not because it had to be perfect, please Saturn's rings are aluminum foil!

I bought the foam spheres in varying sizes. A month goes by.

My husband, my son and I spent an interesting evening painting the planets to the colors shown exactly on Flynn's beloved space cards. Along with a few Hot Wheels cars that will never recover. A month goes by.

We or I should say my very tall husband hangs the planets in order along with a string of lights represents the stars that spiral into the galaxy. Just like that my son is in love.

I go to wake him in the morning and the first thing he says to me is, "MOMMY IN THE BED!". A ridiculous sight my pleasingly plump figure getting into his toddler bed. He wraps his arms around me and whispers, "Turn on the stars please." We now spend a good part of the morning discussing the universe.

I knew I had done well when my artist daughter walked in the room and the first thing she says is not a sarcastic, "Nice paint job Mom" or "Did Flynn hang those?" No, she stops dead in her tracks and looks up and says, "The light" She's right it is soft and beautiful.

The point of this blog post? To tell you about how spoiled my son is? To tell you how to make a universe on your kid's ceiling? Nope to announce that this will be my last year shooting weddings. 

Two months this simple project took. Most kids have moved onto a different love my then, but I have a feeling he is head over heels for this one.

So TreeSnap will have it's last year. I will be announcing a special on the remaining Saturdays that I have open this year, and starting a special to welcome new people to Happy Little Tree! 

As much as I love weddings, I love my son more. Thank you to all of you wonderful brides who have trusted me with such an important day. Who now take the next step with me as they have children of their own and bring them to the studio for me to squish!

Let me know your thoughts and wishes to see with Happy Little Tree!

Lots of Love




(Happy Little Tree Photography) https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/1/give-you-the-universe Tue, 27 Jan 2015 00:39:04 GMT
They Come In Pairs https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/1/they-come-in-pairs I use to get really upset at children's sessions that quickly turned into family/sibling sessions.

Why couldn't they just focus on one child at a time? Isn't that a disservice to the poor kid!

Then I had Flynn. And yes there is a big age gap between my kids, but I finally got it.

You have less time and a lot more chaos going on. To save time is not why I don't mind anymore though.

That is your second child's life. They are never alone. This is their lifelong friend no matter what. 

I have known the Bachmans for several years. In fact I worked with Chelsea at Starbucks, and her husband worked with mine.

When she came to me with her second child to photograph I was honored and nervous. She is a friend after all lol.

Little newborn Eliana is everything you would want to photograph cute, round cheeked, and a head of hair.

Her older sister Avery never minded when I just focused on Eliana, but through the last year I found myself putting Avery into the shots more and more.

I could see there connection right away. It warmed my heart.

Yes I knew there were going to be fights, and hair pulling, and all the craziness that comes with a sister, but I could already see the love and friendship there.

So I couldn't help it.

That is Eliana, that is one of the major things shaping her, the love of her sister.

So I stopped minding when mothers bring along their sibling to the shoots and ask for pictures. It took me twenty years but I get it now.  Eliana 1yr-79Eliana 1yr-79  

(Happy Little Tree Photography) Bachman Eliana one year sibiling https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/1/they-come-in-pairs Thu, 22 Jan 2015 17:19:33 GMT
I would do anything for love, but I won't do that! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/1/i-would-do-anything-for-love-but-i-wont-do-that I am looking around the room in slow motion.

There is Nyla Rose, blond curls, big blue eyes and the sweetest girl.

Next to her is her Grandfather in a tiara dancing, her Mother in a boa, and her Grandmother holding a pair of sparkly shoes. All of them with the same raised eyebrow, big smile, you can do it face.

Nyla Rose doesn't want to.

Yes she has tried on her Mother's heels a hundred times at home. Yes she loves to play dress up.

Not today. Not for the camera.

Grandpa swings her in the air in a big circle making her laugh and tries to land her into the sparkly heels.

She does the splits on either side of them.

Her mom turns to me, "I swear she loves to wear them!"

I have to laugh. I have seen it a hundred times. So we don't get the picture we had in mind, but with a kid that cute does it matter? Nyla Rose 2yr-114Nyla Rose 2yr-114


(Happy Little Tree Photography) https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/1/i-would-do-anything-for-love-but-i-wont-do-that Tue, 20 Jan 2015 20:47:16 GMT
Imagine https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/1/imagine It all started four years ago in Crete with a crazy party celebrating the wedding of Kelli and Brian. I had a blast and gained life long friends after shooting their big day. Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I am pulling into my driveway when I see a number pop up on my phone.

"Hi Kelli! Why are you calling me? OH WAIT WHY ARE YOU CALLING ME!"

I was expecting to see her two days later when she was suppose to be induced. I drove as fast as I could to her hospital in Lincoln. I got there and it was the waiting game. They were thinking midnight. Everything was progressing normally.

We talked about their wedding. We watched the only thing that was on the TV Tattoo Nightmares. Which actually turned out to be hilarious. We talked about the names they had chosen. Kelli and Brian did not find out the gender of the baby. It was going to be a surprise. Everyone was betting on a boy. Brian joked that it had to be a girl because the baby was late. 

"Lennon, for a girl, wow that is different. I love it!"

I was secretly hoping for a girl after that just for the cool name!

Midnight came and went and things just kind of stalled. All I could do was watch the contractions on the monitor and Kelli grip Brian's hand. I have always thought they should give women in labor the mouth guards that they give boxers in the ring.

Morning comes, doctor walks in, takes one look and says, "It's go time we are taking the baby now."

Brian scrubs in and I have to set my camera to settings he can manage. Only one person is allowed in the delivery room. As much as I think Kelli likes me I kinda knew it was gonna be Brian. So the only thing I can do is hand off my camera and wait. As Kelli is getting ready to be wheeled to surgery a John Lennon tribute flashes on the tv. It's got to be a sign!  We all look at each and are just like no way! 

An hour later I am let in as Baby Lennon is placed on Momma's chest. Brian who has been one of the easiest going guys I have every met is overwhelmed seeing the love of his life with their new baby girl, both ok and just releases his emotions. It will always be one of my favorite photos and I get emotional looking at.  Lennon Birth-260Lennon Birth-260

(Happy Little Tree Photography) https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/1/imagine Thu, 15 Jan 2015 17:12:32 GMT
Look At That! https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/1/look-at-that My beautiful bride Amanda was hopping off the bus on the way to the reception to get a drink at their local watering hole in Columbus.

I was already inside.

Four older patrons who looked like they lived there were making comments as the bridal party came in. 

"Well they have already been drinking."

"It's about to get crazy in here."

As my bride entered the bar they kept commenting.

"Why would you were that tight of a dress."

"She looks beautiful, but can she breathe, move?"

As she walked right past the four patrons all of their heads moved in unison like straight out of a movie.

There was only one sentence spoken after that.

"My God look at that wiggle!"

"Marilyn couldn't have done it better!"

"Ok I get it now!"

I am pretty sure I died laughing! Trust me I saw Amanda drop it low, kick high and bend backwards in this dress! IMG_9197IMG_9197


(Happy Little Tree Photography) https://www.happylittletreephotography.com/blog/2015/1/look-at-that Thu, 15 Jan 2015 04:01:06 GMT