Gunter {Family} . Jewel Box

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Once in a while you get stunning light, mixed with  bright fun outfits, and add a dash of giggles. A photographer can only smile and beam with the joy when that perfect recipe is created.

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Those sweet smiles that are exchanged between a husband and wife who actually have a second to embrace are the most real and relaxed moments they might have all day.

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But the star of the show is this sweet girl. She rocked her 4 year old session. Each expression she shared was filled with joy, kindness, and a bit of sass. Which is everything that makes up a little girl.

You can tell that she loves being the sole attention of each of her parents.

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Happy sweet 4 years, dear girl. I wish many more years of family snuggles and joy filled laughter.

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6 Winter Best Buys from Amazon {series}

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I’m fairly certain that Amazon prime has taken over my life at times. The convenience is overwhelmingly amazing, but sometimes I want someone to tell me that “wow this product is incredible” so this is me telling you the items that have rocked my winter.

CD organizer : I got rid of all of my dvd cases and pared down to this tiny guy. I can’t even begin to tell you how nice it looks on my shelf and how much space I got back. Mind you, I don’t usually put on a movie this days, so I can’t speak to those who would get into this organizer often.

Mario Bedescu Face Spray : I saw this face spray on some list that had amazon items that people are crazy about. And after buying and trying it, I’m joining the crazy train. It is so refreshing and I use it after my shower and before bed. It can also be used as a makeup setting spray, but I’m not that fancy.

Frother : While I know nothing about frothing, I love this little guy for making my evening dessert. I decided to try a keto diet in December and the one thing you can’t have is sugar. So each night I mix up a sugar-free jello and heavy cream dessert and it could not happen without this little frother.

Humidifier : I don’t own this specific one, but I have kept a humidifier going this winter and boy do I notice a difference. This one is cute and perfect for small spaces.

-Dry Shampoo : This is a game changer! I’ve never really used dry shampoo because I couldn’t find one I loved. But this one smells so amazing. Like I want to use it everyday on my hair just because it smells good.

Floral Floor Length Dress : Want to wear socially acceptable pajamas to work? This dress is perfect if you have that mentality. I’ve received a ton of compliments on it. Which I was a little leery about as I’m typically a black and grey clothes wearer. But if you want to spruce up your winter/spring wardrobe and be complimented, grab this dress.

What did you buy recently that you are loving?

30th Bucket List {Personal}

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This year is going to be fierce (insert the above finger snap)! Last year was such a hard year, that I knew that I needed my 30th year to be incredible. Yes, turning 30 might be hard, but not when you have a year of fun planned. Without further ado, here is the list!

  • Ride a Riverboat
  • Go to a Chocolate Factory
  • Climb a Water Tower
  • Go see Hamilton
  • Update my Passport
  • Paddle Boat in Forest Park
  • Graduate with my Masters
  • Read 3 Books for Fun
  • Enjoy my Hammock
  • Go Camping
  • Travel to 3 New Cities
  • Plan a Cruise
  • Pare Down all of my Clothes

Now is where I need your help! Keep me accountable, I already have some of these plans in the works- my tickets for Hamilton is bought and I graduate in May! But ask me how these are going and I’ll make sure to update you all when I accomplish them.

Spring Travel Dates {business}

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One of the goals I had for my 30th year was to travel. I want to see 3 new cities this year and this spring I will have the honor to get 2 of the 3 done!

While I travel, I love the opportunity to connect with locals and photograph their family/couple sessions. it is thrilling to find the cool photo spots in new locations.

If you have family in Chicago, Michigan (specifically near Kalamazoo or Gaylord), Indianapolis or South Padre Island, let them know I will be in the area as I would love to connect with them.

One of the best parts of these sessions is that they are discounted… up to $75 off a session!

Also… if you love these locations and have suggestions on places for me to visit – food or fun – let me know by leaving your tips in the comments!

Most popular posts from 2017 {recap}

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Hello Lovelies!

I always enjoy seeing which posts you click on the most. Here is a list of last years most loved blog posts:

  1. Top St. Louis Photo Locations
  2. Birth, Bravery, and Giveaway
  3. 30 & Fabulous Cake Smash
  4. Big News for 2017
  5. Ben & Chelsie – Christmas Proposal
  6. Rising Tide Society – Co leader
  7. Laura & Jared . Engaged
  8. Creve Coeur Camera Photopalooza
  9. Celebrating Sister
  10. Siddens Twins . Newborn

I am so thankful that many of these top posts are personal posts. It makes me want to tear up and exclaim, “They like me, they really like me.” So thank you for investing in my life and helping me celebrate other families in their lives.

Why Do Business Owners need a headshot? {business}

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Creative Entrepreneurs often feel like they are hustling alone. Day in and out, writing emails and sending invoices. Yes, there is time to hone your craft, but it seems like most of the time spent is on the business side of their small business and not the creative side.

As a small business myself, I get you, friend. And I want to hustle along side of you.

Recently, I had the pleasure of hanging out with a friend of mine, Libby. I met Libby in college and as our lives changed after college we both started small businesses. Myself, with Sweet Sarah Marie Photography and Libby with Confections by Libby. The incredible desserts that are coming out of her kitchen are spectacular. I was so excited to collaborate with her multiple times and provide some of her desserts for my clients. (If you have tried some of Libby’s desserts, show her some love in the comments!)

I wanted to encourage her and spend some time with this rad lady so I suggested a lifestyle shoot that would help gain some stock photos for her business. And boy, was I blessed.

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Being able to be creative with a fellow creative was so natural. Both of us trusted each others expertise and bounced ideas along with desires off of each other.

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Libby shared a few words with me about our experience:

“Working with Sarah helped open my eyes to what branding and professional photography could really do for my small business. I initially communicated to Sarah the basic visual identity of my business from my perspective, and she took that concept and perfectly captured it in her photography.”

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One of the best times, I believe, to book a session is right before you are about to do a big push. This push could be for a new service, new product, or new presentation that you are now offering. Libby was prepping for her Valentines day push where she created these delectable cupcake bouquets. She so graciously sent this home with me, and friends, if you order this – I promise you that you will put a smile on your face or a loved ones face.

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I mentioned that the bouncing ideas off of each other was so beneficial for the both of us, and when I mentioned getting a bit messy, Libby was immediately on board. Doesn’t she look so adorable with a bit of flour on her beautiful face. I’m sure this is exactly how she looks when she is in the middle of an all day baking session.

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After the session, Libby had some time to reflect and these are some of the kind words she said:

” The photos that Sarah took give me another way to share my brand with others in a clear and beautiful way. I would strongly urge any small business owner to consider investing in lifestyle headshots and product photos with a photographer like Sarah. Having professional photography to share with potential clients not only communicates that you take your business seriously, it shows others the attention to detail that you put into your craft. Thanks Sarah!”

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The Crain {Family} 2016 + 2017

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One of the greatest joys in being a photographer is seeing families grow. Photographing engagements, then weddings, and then babies (and sometimes multiple babies). I had the honor of photographing the Crains last year and then again this past December. However, there were some major changes in a year… and I believe you will love the change. I’ll give you a hint : he is a 10 lbs, adorable, and cuddly. Keep on scrolling to see!

2016:

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2018 (and the big change):

Stunning Emily and strong Stephen became PARENTS! I loved that they continued the plaid trend and I even got a few baby snuggles in = Big Win!

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One thing I adore about these two is the ability to look so natural as a couple in front of a camera. I told them to go be cute, and this is what I got. Perfection.

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And this little guy is the big surprise…

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I was thankful to steal a few snuggles from this happy guy at our session. Seriously, babies are the best. Can I get an Amen?

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Word of the Year {Personal + Business}

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There are lots of posts going around in which people are choosing their word for the year. This big picture philosophical concept is incredibly difficult for me to understand. See I’m a small detail practical person. I like making steps and sub steps to meet a goal. I prefer breaking things down and am immediately turned off when I hear people discussing lofty ideas and concepts. But I know I need to grow and expand my preferences. So I jumped on the train.

My 2018 word is : Flourish

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Originally, I was between the words flourish and bloom. So I looked both of the words up, and when I read flourish and specifically the part of “especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment” I knew that had to be the perfect word. I have made huge changes over the past year (see some of them in this post) with the concept of creating a favorable environment. I am so excited to embrace the word to “grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way”.  (BTW, the photo above I blew up and put on my living room wall- got to have those visual reminders!)

As I said above, I am a wildly practical person so here is a brief list on how I want to embrace the concept of flourishing:

Personally

  • Building deeper friendships – this is so essential as I am an introvert to the core.
  • Finishing my Masters – that’s right, friends, I will officially have my MBA in May!!!
  • Church Community – that introvert in me always pushes against me in making new friends but this past year has taught me that your community is what keeps you going.
  • Experiencing Life – this means creating a list of places I want to go and actually going, even if I have to do it alone.
  • Family time – I am a time person and I have loved growing closer to my family this past year and plan on doing more of it this year (hear that mom and dad- be expecting me over more weekends this summer!)
  • Organization – I am lousy at organizing things- I am an expert in organizing people and events- but things baffle me. So I am learning and plan on growing in this area.
  • Health – I’ve really taken my health for granted and over this past year have had a few health scares. This makes me realize that God has given me one body and I need to take better care of it.

In Business –

  • Blogging – Sharing stories visually is what I do, and I must get better and blogging regularly (at least two times a week).
  • Knowing the client – Honeybook (Client Management System) has been stellar for me this past year at organizing client documents, payment and communication. However, it also has the ability to send surveys so that I understand exactly what each client is looking for in their session. I plan on creating more so that I know more about the person/family before I go into the session.
  • Collaboration – There are so many cool businesses out there that I want to work with. If you are one of them, send me an email and lets create something spectacular!
  • Specialization – I’ve loved photographing a variety of types of sessions and events, but I am passionate about families and high school seniors. I still love newborns, couples, and weddings but feel much more in sweet spot with families and seniors.

2018 will be wildly exciting as I already have great plans in the works including seeing Hamilton (insert all of the heart eyes) and going to the RESET conference. Now I want to hear about your word! What word do you want to represent your year- tell me all about it in the comments below!

A Year from Now {personal}

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If I look back at myself a year ago from today I would be amazed at the changes.

A new home.
Monthly counseling sessions.
A new car.
A new church.
Consistent budgeting.
Considering dating again.
A new position at work.

I’m fairly for certain I wouldn’t recognize myself. It is incredible how a year can change so many components of a person. I’m sure you might feel the same!

What big changes have you worked through this past year?

A new stay at home mom?
A recent major sickness?
A tougher boss?
A parent who passed away?
A child diagnosed with a learning disability?

I want to share that you are not alone in your struggle. There are people all around you that care for you. There are people all around that have been through similar situations that can help guide you and encourage you.

This time in your life might be so hard, but there is beauty in the tough times. Don’t just hold on to the pain as you will miss out on the beauty.

I can honestly say that I am stronger, happier, kinder, and more patient then I was a year ago. I know each year has their own struggles and I am so excited to see where God has me a year from now. Where will you be in your life journey a year from now?

For those who have walked with me through this beautifully tough past year, thank you. I deeply appreciate the long walks, kind words, glasses of wine, big moving muscles and most of all your friendship. Thank you clients for your patience and encouragement as you see the business change and adapt with me.

I’d love to hear more about your story in the comments and encourage you no matter where you are at in your journey. We should celebrate with one another whether you are on top of the mountain or deep in the valley.