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UPDATE: I'm now documenting Jacksonville high school senior portraits.
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Serving clients in Jacksonville, FL, St. Augustine, Amelia Island, Ponte Vedra and surrounding areas.


Jacksonville Senior Photographer // Scarlett Lillian Seniors: May 2008

May 30, 2008

A temporary break up.

It started like any relationship.

From the moment I laid eyes on him, it was love at first sight. We spent a lot of time together and I began to love how I saw the world through his eyes. He felt incredible in my hands. He wooed me and encouraged me to expand my creative gifts. He took me around the world and through him, I built so many beautiful relationships and friendships that I would have never met had it not been for him. With the click of a finger, he was always there for me exactly when I needed him, never missing the most important moments of life. He was always reliable, always on time, always the one thing in life I could count on.

Until that Saturday.

He needed a break.

He was burned out.

He had things in his memory he needed to wipe clean before he could move forward with me.

He needed time to go away and get some therapy and work out the personal issues he was having.

In a time when I needed him the most, he let me down.

I was heart broken.

I was disappointed.

But I trusted God had a purpose in everything, even this.

So I sent him away.

I went through withdrawal, but I let him have his space to work out what he needed to get done.

We had a big event to attend this weekend, and I didn't know if he was going to be back in time, but I kept trusting that he would return when the time was right.

I missed him.

But, to my surprise before I expected his return, he appeared at my door, ready for a fresh start.

I jumped for joy.

I ripped open the box and embraced once again the greatest love of my life. My Canon 5D.

It was at my last wedding that I was changing memory cards quickly right before the cake cutting, and realized I was jamming the card in the wrong way. So I took it out and tried it the correct way. Suddenly, it wouldn't go in at all, so I tried another card. It wouldn't go in. I didn't have time to freak out, so I grabbed my back up 30D camera and continued shooting the night away. But it just wasn't the same as my 5D. I was spoiled with the wide frame format. I was spoiled with how smoothly it focused. I was spoiled with how easily my fingers flowed over the buttons. When I got home and tried to disect the problem, I finally was able to shove a memory card in the slot. But that's when the error message appeared on his screen. "This card needs to be formatted". Ok, easy enough. So I went to the menu and tried to format it. "Can not format card." Um, that kind of defeats the purpose? So I tried the same card in my 30D, and it read it fine. That's when I realized, it wasn't my memory cards that were the problem, it was my 5D and I needed to send it away.

I have to say, I have been super impressed with Canon's warranty service repair. Through the website, they make it so easy to submit a repair request and I always get everything back within a week. I have previously sent in a lens to get repaired, and it has been nice to get things back in a timely manner before the next wedding. Another reason I love Canon products so much!

I am so glad to be reunited with my 5D! Hopefully, from now on, we'll live happily ever after.

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Congratulations Sarah & Brian!

What I love most about weddings are the families. It's the way weddings bring families together for one reason only, to celebrate love. The love of a man and woman joining as one. The love of a father and daughter and the tears that fall in their dance. The love that began with a father and mother who put Christ in the center of their own love. The love of a great grandmother holding her fragile 8-week old great grandson. The love of a dog who serves as ring bearer. The love of two families from two different states becoming one.

By the time I met the Crews family, I already felt a part of it and how welcoming they are into their circle of love. Having kept up with my blog regularly, I would periodically receive sweet emails from Sarah's parents with the kindest words of encouragement and prayers about my personal lilfe, as well as such joy-filled words of how excited they were to have me shoot their daughter's upcoming wedding. Sarah would forward me pictures of family members so I would know them at the wedding, including the recent birth of her sister's son, appropriately named Crews, serving as the first grandchild of the Crews family. So though the wedding was my first time meeting this sweet family from Nashville, it really felt more like a reunion. Being so close to my own parents, I enjoyed celebrating and documenting how close Sarah was with her family, as well as Brian with his parents.

I couldn't have asked for more perfect weather on Sarah and Brian's day at the Amelia Island Plantation, and I adored getting so many juicy shots of them with God's gorgeous sunlight shining in the backdrop backlighting their love. Below are my favorites from the day and their slideshow at the end!

It was fun working with my friend Kacy who was the make up artist for Sarah and the girls.

Like mother, like daughter.

So many shoe changes, so little time.

I loved this perspective of the bride putting her finishing touches on.

Such a supermodel! Her ruffled dress was stunning!

Sarah had the most beautiful blue eyes!

Sarah got the girls these cute gold flip flops for the beach ceremony.

Go divas!

Girls just want to have fun!

The flower girl completely stole my heart!

The ring bearer stole my heart too! I'm so making Rhett my ring bearer one day!

I so love the emotion in this pic. Sarah and Brian's friends were singing "God Blessed The Broken Road" and I loved catching Brian getting choked up. Tears were streaming down my face too!

Such a happy couple!

I loved how symbolic this photo was having just had the "broken road" sang at their ceremony!

These cute flip flops imprinted "Just Married" in the sand. Check out the slideshow to see it in action!

I adored the little girl google eyeing the cake!

I couldn't help but laugh at myself in this photo that my fabulous second shooter, Lauren, caught of me while I was waiting on the ceremony to begin!


May 29, 2008

The empty spaces.

Oh. My. Gosh.

Tears can really catch you off guard. Mascara is completely running down my face right now.

I was writing in my prayer journal yesterday about how numb I feel to everything swirling around me. Everyone has been saying how hard it must be what I am going through, but honestly, I've almost thought something has been wrong with me because I haven't felt much of anything, other than walking in circles trying to wrap my head around everything. I think I've gotten so used to putting up walls around my heart when I feel pain coming on. It's like a defense mechanism to close off my heart emotionally so that I can think logically with my mind how to handle a crisis situation and be strong for those around me.

My mom called late last night after having her first real cry about the news about my dad. She has been going 24/7 tending to his down spiral the past 8 weeks, that it finally hit her last night as she laid in bed by herself. Without my dad. The emptiness set in. And her tears came flooding out.

I hung up the phone wondering when it would really hit me. Like, yeah, I had an initial cry when I heard about the mass they found on his lungs, but once the news became official that it was indeed cancer, I've been in my problem solving head trying to be strong for my mom, while trying to plug away at my photography business and distract myself from the realities of the battle ahead helping my family fight the cancer attacking my dad's body. The emptiness hadn't set in for me yet.

Until now.

I was editing these father/daughter dance pictures to get ready to blog tomorrow from Sarah's wedding.

Seeing how tightly Sarah's dad held her while Sarah cried holding her dad in return, that was it, my tears flooded out.

Suddenly, the emptiness hit me.

What if my dad isn't there for me to hold on my wedding day?

Also at the moment when I was editing the picture, one of my favorite Jeremy Camp songs came on my iTunes in the background. It's called "I Still Believe." He has always been one of my favorite Christian artists for an incredible testimony he has that I was lucky enough to interview him about in my journalism days. The song that was playing was the song he wrote after he lost his first wife to cancer just a month after they were married. As he held her hand in the hospital when she passed, he finally let go of her hand, and raised his hands to God praising Him right there in the hospital room, despite His sadness, despite His loss, knowing that in the hardest times of life, this is what Jesus died for, and He is still worthy of praise at all times.

That story has always stuck close to my heart and left me questioning, would I have the strength to do the same?

I still don't know the seriousness of my dad's cancer, he just went in for the biopsy today, and he could still survive the treatments living with his own amazing testimony. I guess the worry wart in me is just also being realistic about the other possibility as I wait in this gap before I know more answers from the biopsy. Though I don't know all the answers right now, I am still choosing to raise my hands and praise God knowing He can fill the empty spaces.

Thank you sooooo much to everyone who is praying with me. I am blessed beyond measure to have your support and strength and friendship!


May 28, 2008

Cardboard testimonies.

I love how this video shows us that we are all hot crazy messes, but with God's love, we can be restored, healed and forgiven. My Texas friend Dixie sent the video to me in response to the news about my dad, and of course the tears poured down my face when the cancer fighter was wheeled up the stage with her cardboard testimony.


It's official.

The results are in.

My dad has lung cancer.


He is admitted into the hospital for a few days and is still going through a series of tests to determine how serious it is so the doctors can determine the best way to fight it. More than likely he will begin chemo and radiation as soon as possible. We'll know more after his biopsy.

Last night my mom and I went to see him in the hospital. Despite everything he is going through, he still was able to flash a smile for his photographer daughter and her camera. He has amazed me with his positive attitude and his continued faith in a time when I know he could easily be doing the opposite.

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who has been leaving comments and writing emails and calling and texting. Your prayers are keeping me strong in this scary time. I told my dad in the hospital last night that my blog world was praying for him and it meant a lot to him knowing your circle of your prayers were surrounding him.


May 27, 2008

Daddy's little girl.

It's funny how God prepares our hearts to receive the next thing in front of us.

This morning I went on a walk with my dog, Rhett, around the lake, and Bethany Dillon's song "Hallelujah" came on my iPod.

"Whatever's in front of me, help me to sing Hallelujah."

At that moment when that line hit my ears, my eyes closed, and for a moment the world stopped as I felt a strong breeze cool my forehead. I couldn't help but think how much the breeze reminded me of God's presence. Just like how we can't see the wind, it doesn't make it less real. Just like how we can't see God, doesn't make Him less real. Just like how we can feel the breeze embrace our skin and travel through our hair, we can feel God's breeze in our hearts living in us, through us and all around us. That is the beauty of faith, knowing to be true what we can not see.

I listened to the song reflecting back to the first time I heard it last year, and how much my world has changed since then, yet how sometimes I feel back in the same place with all my questions, all my uncertainties, all my prayers that I daily try to understand His purpose in.

"Here we go again, Lord," I said as the song continued on.

"Who can hold the stars and my weary heart?
Who can see everything?
I've fallen so hard, sometimes I feel so far beyond Your reach.

I can climb a mountain, swim the ocean, do anything.
But it's when you hold me, that I start unfolding and all that I can say is...

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me, help me to sing Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Whatever's in front of me, I CHOOSE to sing Hallelujah"

After the walk, I unleashed Rhett and plopped down at my desk to see I had a voicemail waiting from my mom.

"Hey Scar, we are at the hospital and the doctor took an Xray of daddy's chest. They've found a large mass on his lungs, and they are taking him in now to get a CAT scan to try to see exactly what it is. They said the wound he had on his back that he had been taken to the emergency room for a few weeks ago was not what is causing his problems with the weight loss, etc, apparently it's whatever this mass is on his lung. Please keep him in prayer and I'll keep you updated."

I immediately burst into tears. The same kind that dropped me to the floor when I found out my mom had breast cancer 4 years ago. The same kind that dropped me to the floor when I thought I had breast cancer last year. But this time, it was my dad's turn and the thought of losing him hit me like a truck and out came flooding my tears.

With the tears came fears. Fear for the possibility of his life ending. Fear for my mom losing him and having to live life on her own. Fear of losing one of my best friends and the first man I ever loved. Fear for him not being here to walk me down the aisle one day. Fear of him never knowing his grandchildren. Fear for all the medical expenses that are going to continue to drain my parents on top of the ones they are still trying to pay off for my mom's 4 years ago. Fear of not understanding why God might take my dad as such a young age.

My dad has always been a heavy smoker, so I knew deep down this day might come. I just feel paralyzed now that it is actually here.

But as 1 John 4:18 says "There is no fear in love." So I am choosing to cling to that and to sing Hallelujah despite all the uncertainties in front of me right now with my dad. I know that God is a gracious Father and that He will take care of my own father.

I wanted to share this with you because I believe in the power of prayer where two or more are gathered. I know it's still early and we don't know for sure yet if it's cancer, but either way, please lift him up in your prayers. Whatever God's will is in this situation, please pray for our family to feel His comfort and peace and strength as things unfold. I will keep you updated with the news when I know more. Thank you for your friendship in Christ and for your prayers!

Pretty in pink.

What an amazing surprise I got in the mail! Last week, I received an overflow of encouraging emails and phone calls from so many wonderful friends, but over the weekend, my sweet friend Cheyenne sent me the most pink-a-licious box I have ever seen! Not only was the outside of the box hot pink, inside was filled with even more pink goodies such as pink candles, pink lip gloss, pink notepad, pink gum, pink thank you cards, and even pink chocolate. Cheyenne also wrote the sweetest note about our friendship and how much fun it has been shooting together, while also reminding me of Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'

On the same day, I also received a beautiful hand written card from my diva friend Crystal, the card also fabulously adorned in pink. I am overwhelmed with all the sweet gestures! (And a congrats to Crystal who just got engaged!)

I have been so blessed at how my camera and blog brings so many amazing people into my life. Whether other photographer friends or the clients I shoot who then become friends, my life is truly rich with the love of friendship.

Here's a peak at all my fab new goodies! Thanks Cheyenne and Crystal!


May 26, 2008

92 years young.

This new season in my life has been a rebirth of sorts. God is giving new life to who I am as a single again and all the things He's not finished doing with me yet. He is giving new life to goals and visions I had for my career and business that I can't wait to reveal to you all soon. He is giving new life to friendships and other relationships I had been neglecting. He is giving new life to the foundation of my love for Him and where it all began.

Yesterday, I went to church with my mom at the church I grew up in. Though I started going somewhere different after college, my mom continues to go there and gives a ride every Sunday morning to our favorite oldest girlfriend, Frances. She is the youngest 92-year-old you will meet, and has always been close to my heart because she was the person who lead me to getting baptized when I was 13. I am so grateful now looking back at how God used her to encourage me to accept Jesus into my heart, then beginning the rebirth of my new life as a Christian. Yet, with how important Frances has always been in my life, I realized, I've never had a picture of her.

After church, Frances came over to my parents' house to celebrate and grill out for Memorial Day, and I snuck her outside to take a few pictures of her. Here are some of my favorite shots and a slideshow to her favorite hymn! I just laughed when she showed up in hot pink and how perfectly she would match my blog!

Happy Memorial Day to everyone!

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May 22, 2008

Email down.

My email, scarlett@scarlettlillian.com, has been down all day. My web host is currently working on the problem, so if you have tried to email me at all today, please try to resend tomorrow. Thanks!

EDIT: I've been going through work email withdraw all day, but my sever is finally up and running now and new email is starting to come through. So please resend your email if you sent one earlier!

May 21, 2008

What goes around comes around...

I got an awesome email this week from my recent bride Kellie who is now... a wedding planner! When I was shooting her wedding, I was watching how involved she was with helping her own wedding planner and my friend, Terrica of Fabu-Luxe Events, take care of every detail with her gorgeous Tiffany blue designs she crafted together. At the time I was thinking what a great wedding planner Kellie would be herself. She was so sweet to share in her email how I helped inspire her, so I just had to share her great story of dreams come true!

"Want to know a funny story? I got a job as an assistant wedding and events coordinator! I always wanted to do this, but everyone always told me I was crazy! One day I was reading your blog and it reminded me about how you decided to JUST GO FOR IT with the photography. So I sat down and wrote a letter from the heart to go with my resume and sent it to the ONE place I would love to work. They called me not even a week later and hired me 2 days ago. I am thrilled! In a way, you helped me get there."

Congratulations Kellie on landing your dream job!

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