Beloved…from the Perspective of Steve & Alison

I asked Steve & Alison to answer a few questions after their beloved experience.  I am hoping it will give you an insider perspective to this style of photography.  Thank you, Hanscoms, for sharing your insight and experience with others!!!  Here are the questions & their responses:

What surprised you the most about your beloved session?
Steve: relaxing quickly and enjoying the moment
Alison: How easy it was to become comfortable once we got over the initial awkwardness of having our pictures taken while talking to each other!
How did you feel about your spouse and your marriage during the session?
Steve: It was a good opportunity to connect and re-live some of those moments that drew us together 10 years ago.
Alison: During the breathing exercise, I realized that I am willing to let him lead me, I just don’t always seek to understand the way he is leading and I jump ahead of him.  He realized the
 need for communicating his ideas and how he plans to do something, and not just assuming I know what he is thinking.
What positive things did the session bring to your marriage?
Steve: see #2 🙂
Alison: It reminded me of the importance of really listening and making an effort in planning time together. I loved remembering!  We remembered different things, so that was fun.
How did this style of session compare to other photo sessions you have done?
Steve: It was different.  We got better pictures, unposed, more real.
Alison: It was much more personal and meaningful.  Having conversation and memories to tie to the photos.
What did you like the most about the session?
Steve: The final product and how we can relive the stories and memories when we look at them.
Alison: Laughing!  Enjoying hearing the words of affirmation and the love letters!
Do you think the session deepened your marriage or impacted your relationship beyond the session?
Steve: Yes.  The letters were very impactful in making us aware of some areas where we take each other for granted.  This will hopefully lead to some positive change in our marriage.
Alison: Yes.  We are keeping in mind our HW for a date night soon!   Like I said in #2, God spoke to me about how I don’t appreciate or fully understand and submit to his way of leading our
relationship and our family.  I want him to lead, but I don’t always give him the space to do so before I jump in with my assumptions.  I know I will be more mindful of this and ask God to
help me slow down and really seek to understand my husband.
When you see the images, what do you think and feel?
Steve: the deep love of 10 years of marriage.
Alison: cherished.  happy.  loved.  beautiful.  blessed. thankful for the gift.
If someone asked you about your beloved session, what would you say?  
Steve: It was really good.  If you do it, relax and go with the flow!  Let your guard down.
Alison: enjoy the moment!  We loved it and recommend it!  Be honest about what you are comfortable with knowing that your photos will be posted for all to see!  🙂
In one word, how would you describe beloved?
Steve: different
Alison: playful
To see more photos from their session go to and also read the previous blog entry.

Brooke Snow Advanced Pro Class- Beloved Session

My thoughts:

I chose to do another beloved session this week!  YAY!!!  I tweaked some things based on Brooke’s answers to my questions. (Thank you, Brooke!  You rock!!)  I definitely felt more comfortable the 2nd time around, which is always the case!!  I didn’t go into it as scripted and felt like I was even stronger with discerning the couple and which way to go.  I didn’t do all of the invites I had planned and I stayed close to one hour.  I was very sensitive to the direction I should go every step of the way.  One hour seemed to be a perfect amount of time.  I was SOOO happy to be able to shoot 100% with natural light.  We went outside for half of the session, which was awesome because I was able to use my 85mm lens and give Steve & Alison some more privacy.  Plus, I love that lens.  It makes the background like butter and it made them stand out from the background more.  I LOVED using the 85mm lens for this type of shoot.  I tried a few new invites this time and was pleased.  I love the confidence I am feeling from all the preparation before each session.  Brooke, I’m so glad you have forced me to get back to the detailed planning.  SOOO worth it!  I worked really hard on perspective, posing, and cropping for a new look this session.  I loved using the bed posts and the door frame to help frame the shots a little and give more of a feel of me hiding/spying on them in the moment.  You can see some of those pics in the slideshow link I posted below.

What I enjoyed most:

I really love this style of photography.  I feel like I’m giving a gift to the couple.  I feel like I help to create a space with a breath of fresh air for the couple…and it feels good.  It feels life giving.  It is so cool to see the beauty of true joy, laughter, and also the soft side of both people come out and into the open.  Not only is it fun, but it is a space to remember.  I loved after the session was over when Alison said, “It’s so good to remember.  We don’t take time to remember enough.”  Beloved is a wonderful experience that draws to people to remember the beauty in the other person  and to stop and soak in the goodness right in front of you…to cherish and speak love into your marriage.  So honored to do this type of session.  LOVE IT!!!!!  I also really enjoyed hearing their perspective.  I gave them 9 questions to answer after their session.  You can read the responses on the blog here.

3 photos- same pose/different perspective:

Some of my FAVORITE photos:

To see a slideshow with more photos, go to

A Beautiful Moment of Celebration

Every now and then, I get to use my photography gifts for something so much bigger than myself.  It is in those moments that my heart melts.  My passion to serve explodes.  Love fills me to overflowing.  In those moments I feel that everything has been made right in the world…for that tiny glimpse of time.  I feel that I’m walking on sacred ground, and I don’t take it for granted.

Today, I want to honor Kristen Kelley, and family, Frank & Nick.  This past July, I took photos of Ry, the little boy they were caring for from Safe Families.  It was his 1st birthday and I wanted to make sure he had photos to have for later in life, but also for Kristen, to remember this special time together.  The Kelley’s had taken Ryan in and had him almost a year at that point.  Because he was still a part of that program, I could not post pictures of him due to privacy for him and his family.  Kristen has now granted me permission to post because as of this past Thursday, he is officially a Kelley!  They adopted him into their family and I want to celebrate!  YAY!!!  Hip hip hooray!!!  SOOOOOO happy for the Kelley’s and so proud of them for fighting for a little boy who couldn’t do so himself.  Kristen & Frank…I’m so proud to call you friends!!  Love you guys bunches!!!

Here’s a few pictures of this cutie pie and his Mommy!

Brooke Snow Advanced Pro Class- Intro to Beloved

3 pics in the exact same pose using different perspectives and techniques:

3 other favorite pics:

this particular photo was liked the most times on my FB page. 🙂

this one was too! 🙂

My thoughts:

I entered this beloved session with tremendous preparation especially since it was my first time doing a beloved session.  I had a script, which I’m not used to having, but for beloved sessions, I find it very helpful to create a purposeful order of the activities I will guide them through.  I didn’t stray from my plan, but I was happy to see Brian and Katie extend some of the invitations I gave them and make them their own.  It was super cool to see the spontaneous moments that evolved between the two of them so naturally through this approach.  At the end they said it was the most fun they’ve ever had taking photos.  It was the least stressful photography environment they’d ever encountered.  I did not exhaust my location for this session because I wanted to be more sensitive to the environment created between Brian and Katie than I did the backdrops.  It was a new location though!  We shot in about 3 different settings within the same hallway and I think it worked out really well to not hop around too much.  I also was trying to get some natural light shots and Indiana dreary weather makes that hard.  So I stuck to 2 spots that had the most light and as the clouds rolled in thicker I had to switch to flash.  I also did not love the location.  The walls where the best light came in clashed with the colors they were wearing so I had to turn most of the images black and white.  I went to this location without scouting it out fully since it’s a locked premises.  I only went blindsided because my friend could get us in and I figured I could make it work some how in some way.  I was struggling to decide between lighting (REALLY wanted natural light pics) and sacrificing color knowing I’d have to convert a lot to black and white.  I would try to scout it out first next time.  I took a total gamble.

What I enjoyed most:

-The extra preparation and intentionality beforehand made me have more ownership. My heart was more in it.

-The candid interactions between Katie and Brian…the gentleness and sweetness that shined through from both of them AND their playfulness with each other.  It was REALLY SUPER cute to watch them flirt and be silly.

-How much Brian was willing to participate.  With something like this I wondered if he would think the activities were kinda lame.  He was just as into them as Katie.  In fact, he was even more sentimental and thoughtful at times, which made me smile deep inside to see him share that part of himself with Katie.

-Watching Katie light up when Brian revealed something she didn’t know about him.  She was so touched you could see her melt before him.  She told me she almost cried.

-Capturing authentic expressions without trying to be funny.  Whew!  Took the pressure off to have a little toolbox to start from (Thanks, Brooke!)  I needed idea starters to help me.

-That I came up with at least half of the activities myself.  I know it’s probably different from the activity cards sold by Beloved’s originator, Jesh de Rox, but I had ownership in it and I loved the results.  I’m proud of myself for being brave enough to discover me…my own way of doing it. (Thank you, Brooke, for pointing this out to me.  I didn’t recognize my bravery in doing that!)  I think it is what has probably been the most impactful.  I’m not trying to fit into a box of what is…I’m exploring who I am and making this my own.  My heart is in it.

-I SOOOOO loved this type of session because I felt like I was giving a gift to them and their marriage.  Knowing them as friends and knowing some of their personal struggles, it was such a delight to see my plan executed successfully in a way that brought more love, joy, tenderness, thoughtfulness, laughter, and hope into their marriage.  It was so much more purposeful than a posed shoot.  I will most definitely intertwine the activities you shared with us, Brooke, with my own ideas into every session from now on.

-Passion is exploding within me.  I’m so excited for my 2012 sessions!!!

Beloved Sneak Peek & Session Giveaway!!!!

Yesterday I shot my first beloved session with my friends, Katie & Brian.  They will share their thoughts on the session later this week, but if you look at the images, you will see they had a really great time!!  I came prepared with a list of activities and conversation starters.  None of these shots were posed.  I guided them as to where to sit and stand (for background purposes), but all emotions, expressions, and interactions were authentic.  They were never told to smile.  They were guided through experiences together focusing on the goodness in their relationship and taking time to enjoy each other.  Beloved sessions intertwine fun moments with tender moments in a beautiful way.  Please see my previous blog post if you want to know what beloved is.

Here’s a slideshow sneak peek from their session.  I included about 40 pics so you can get a good feel of what beloved looks like!

Please enter the BELOVED SESSION GIVEAWAY by doing 2 simple things.  The winner will be selected randomly by and announced tomorrow on Tuesday 1/24 at 10pm!

1.  Like me on Facebook and share the following: “Raindancer Studios is giving away a Beloved Couples Session Tuesday at 10pm. Go to to enter!”  (Please link my facebook page in your post by using the @ symbol before my business name.)

2.  Leave a comment on the blog answering these 2 questions:  What are your initial thoughts on the beloved style of photography?  What photo captivated you the most during the slideshow and why?

See below for Rules & Restrictions:

-You must be available one of the three dates listed: Friday 1/27, Saturday morning 1/28, or Monday 1/30

-You must live in Indy.

-You must be married or engaged to be married.  (If you have children, you will need to find childcare!!)  This is a couples only session.

(This giveaway is in no way sponsored by Facebook.)