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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: August 2008

Aug 31, 2008

A special day with my dad.

I wrote the title above.


I didn't even type anything yet in the body of this blog, and the tears formed up in my eyes. Yes, I'm PMSing, but that aside, my eyes have been filling with tears at random times so much more lately. Not sad tears. Just tears appreciating the simplest beauty of life.

Today was a special day with my dad. But nothing really special happened. It was just the little moments that made it special.

I stopped by my parents' house to welcome a new friend in our lives. Through my blog, and my mom's blog about my dad and everything he is going through battling cancer right now, an angel of a friend named Shannon appeared in our lives. Over time she has sent one beautiful letter and gift after another to my dad and our family. Having recently lost her own grandmother, she was so sweet to turn her pain of loss into reaching out to perfect strangers and giving of herself so beautifully through random acts of kindness. Shannon was in town for a friend's wedding, so my mom hosted a tea party, and we all met for the first time, even though it felt like getting together with a long lost friend.

Here's a few pics of our visit:

Shannon and I

Shannon and my dad and mom.

After Shannon left, I hung around and crashed on the couch, just chatting with my parents about life, and I read them a sweet email I had just got from my bride Alexis on my iPhone about just seeing her wedding photos I posted yesterday in the entry before this one:

Dear Scarlett,

As we knew they would be, the photos are so beautiful. I cannot thank you enough for all your hard work and passion for documenting such a special day for us.

I was flying up to Gainesville to see my family when you put the shots up. As you know, it is the anniversary of my father passing away and there were tears in the car not long after my sister picked me up from the airport. Sometimes the best cure for grief is grieving but when I got home and my mother, sister and I all gathered around the computer to look at the shots you really transported us away from that sadness. We were laughing and pointing and ohhing and ahhing. All the tears were happy ones.

So thanks for giving us that moment together and congratulations on being able to touch people with your work.



After I finished reading the email, my dad didn't say anything. He just got up from his recliner and came and sat on the couch with me. Then he leaned forward and grabbed the small bottle of "holy water" on the coffee table that their friends Donna and Richard had brought back for them from a recent trip to Jeruselum.

"Will you pray for me and then apply the holy water to the spot where my cancer is?" my dad asked. "Hearing that email, I see you're in good with the Lord right now, and I want some of that."

I was honored to even be able to pray for my dad. All this time, I have been praying "for" my dad during my own quiet time each morning, but I've never prayed FOR my dad in his presence. I kind of have been leaving that to my mom because she's an amazing pray-er. They have these cute little "holy healing sessions" as they call it, where she prays over him and then applies the holy water to his cancer spot.

As my dad went on to describe, "Now, your momma really gets into it, she's shouting at the devil to get out of my body and everything, and just all filled with the spirit praying like a preacher applying the water three times in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit." I just laughed and was like "Well, I don't think I can be as entertaining as mom, but I'll do the best I can."

So I grabbed my dad's hand, giving thanks that he was still here another day to hold his hand, soaking in the touch of how his hand felt in mine, and I just opened my heart in prayer the best way I knew how. I don't even remember what I said, but mom claimed it was the best prayer she ever heard. Ha! She has to say that, she's my mom. :-) One thing I've never felt I was good at was praying outloud. I've always kept a prayer journal as the way I talk with God, writing from my heart letter after letter to Him as if I'm writing to a friend, as He speaks to me in return through His word. So praying outloud is something I never feel comfortable doing, but at this point, I would do anything for my dad.

I applied the water to my dad's chest over his lungs, and as I brought my fingers away, his grey chest hairs stuck to my finger as they shed due to the chemo causing hair loss. As I shook off the hair on my fingers, I couldn't help but think of the story he's always told me of how when I was a baby, he used to lay me on his chest and how he never knew pain until my strong little baby hands would grip his hairy chest and hold on for dear life! We have a picture somewhere of me laying on my dad one of those times, but I think it's buried away in my parent's albums somewhere. Gosh, here I am teary eyed again just thinking of all of that, and how, now in a different way, I'm holding on for dear life again, for my dad's life this time, begging each day for a miracle that he'll beat this @!&#$*% cancer.

In my upcoming interview on F-Stop and Beyond, Ron asked me "What have you learned the most from your dad's situation?" And all I could think was "Don't wait to love. We're not promised tomorrow, so don't wait to love those who are most special to you. It's not until you think you are going to lose a loved one that you realize how important all the little everyday things are with that person." (Or my answer was something like that.) But today was one of those days that I soaked up every moment just sitting on the couch with my dad chatting about life, doing nothing, just hanging out being together with my two favorite people in the world, my heros, my best friends, my mom and dad.

Also today, I got an email from a bride of last year whose sister passed away yesterday. She was asking for a picture of her sister walking down the aisle to showcase at her funeral. My heart broke for her and her family, but reading her email just really made me stop and think, wow, this is why I feel blessed to have the job that I do, to be used to provide others with a memory of not only their wedding day, but of their loved ones as well. While a lot of photographers get caught up in all the accolades and awards in the industry, I honestly could care less and don't persue them because what is most important to me are the relationships and friendships I make serving others through my camera. That's the true success to me. While, yes, I am thankful for any success God has given me in my career, the reason why I am photographer is because I love documenting lives, love and family history. I feel so privileged to give my brides and grooms this amazing gift that they can one day look back on 50 years from now and remember why they fell in love... and the family that surrounded them to celebrate that love.

So it was just the kind of day where I'm reminded how fragile life is.

And suddenly, all the other things I worry about seem to not matter.

Because all that matters is the present.

Living life to the fullest each day we are given.

And loving others to the fullest each opportunity we are given with them.


Aug 29, 2008

Alexis & Gerardo are Married!

It must have been the hottest day of the year up at Jekyll Island Club, but Alexis thought ahead and brought the cutest fans for her guests to use at the ceremony. And despite an initial overcast and humid day, the sun always finds a way to break through by the time of the ceremony blessing the love between Alexis and Gerardo.

I just adore this couple for so many reasons and I had the hardest time narrowing down my favorite shots. They make every shot look hot! But my favorite part of the day was the reception. Gerardo is from Venezuela and apparently down there, they really get down for their receptions with a Mardi Gras style cotillon called the Hora Loca. Half way through the reception everyone got handed beads, hats, noise makers, feather masks, all getting down to salsa music. In the middle of shooting the excitement, I felt someone place a tiara on my head, and I looked in the mirror to see, awwww, it was pink. :-)

Congratulations Alexis and Gerardo!

Here are my favorites and their slideshow below!

Alexis had a gorgeous Romana Keveza gown, but a fun BCBG dress for the reception so she could shake her booty!

For those that keep up with my blog, you understand why this picture hits a tender spot in my heart. Alexis father passed away a year ago, but he was still there in spirit through the locket her mom wore.

Like in the movie 27 Dresses, this also is one of my favorite parts of a wedding day, seeing the guy's reaction as his bride walked down the aisle to him.

I love Alexis' expression here!

The sunlight was so radiating as they walked away!

I just blew up this photo to go in my new office!

She had such fun red decor!

I thought this was the coolest cake made out of berries!

I love how magical this shot is and the way Alexis is looking at her new hubby!

With half the guests from South America, there were plenty of cigars fired up throughout the night.

After Alexis changed dresses, I caught a few more shots of these love birds.

Let the cotillion begin!

It was a beautiful full moon out that night!

Having fun with the happy couple!

My, uh, third shooter of the day. Alexis' little niece was so cute how throughout the day she would take a picture of something and then run up and show me what she got. It's awesome to see her passion for photography at such a young age! Thanks to my second shooter Jackie Blair for the shot!

And the slideshow....

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Aug 28, 2008

Interview coming soon!

I was so excited to be asked to be interviewed on one of my favorite photography podcasts, F Stop And Beyond. I just got done with the interview with the fabulous Ron Dawson of Cinematic Studios, who is a great videographer that I met back in my video days. He said the interview will be posted September 26, so stay tuned and in the meantime, go check out the other awesome interviews he's done with some amazing top photographers. What I love most about his podcasts is how he doesn't talk about photography so much, he really taps into the heart the behind the photographer on a personal level.

So yeah, of course that meant he had some amazing tough questions that really make you think, but I loved the challenge! In starting the interview he asked if there was anything I didn't want him to ask, and I said, no, I'm an open book. Thank you to all of you here on my blog who embrace my open heart.


Aug 27, 2008

New Engagement Guestbook and Coffee Table Album!

It's like Christmas to me when a new album comes in the mail, and today I got TWO in the mail! I love the unwrapping of the box, then folding back of the tissue paper to unveil, oila, my client's albums that hold my photography! I think I get just as excited as my brides do holding their photos in my hands! Because I outsource my print fulfillment to the fabulous Pictage.com, it's rare that I see my photos printed out, unless I get an album order in the mail. As an artist, it's those kind of moments I love, seeing all my hardwork pay off in a beautiful showcase of my couple's love story!

First I got Caryn and Jonathan's Guestbook just in time for their wedding next weekend. Guestbooks have all the couple's favorite shots from the engagement session, leaving space throughout the pages for the guests to write personal messages vs. the typical one line sign of the name. It's always funny to see how guests get even more creative with this toward the end of the night if you know what I mean. ha!

Here's some shots of their album!

Click here to see the slideshow of the page layouts!

Then I also got Debbine and Mike's final coffee table album in the mail. It turned out so beautiful!!

Here's their album design!



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The images on this blog are the property of Scarlett & Stephen Photography. Images may not be reprinted without the permission of Scarlett Lillian.
However, you are welcome to use them for personal web sites such as MySpace, Facebook, etc with the link back to this blog, and keeping the logo on the photo. If you would like to use the images for any other purpose, please contact Scarlett Lillian at scarlett@scarlettlovesstephen.com. Thanks!

Jacksonville Senior Portrait Photographer also serving Ponte Vedra, St. Augustine, Amelia Island, Orange Park, Fernandina, Nocatee.
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