The Power of a Photograph

Last year, a wonderful man passed away. His name was Ken Haddix. He was my marching band director through college. He was a mentor. He was an amazing musician. When I started seeing all of my college friends’ profile pictures change to pictures of him and themselves, I was worried something had gone wrong. It had, and cancer is horrible.

I started searching my pictures. I didn’t have a single photo of us. He was a major influence in my life and the only photo I could find was one of a parade where I am spinning a flag and he is walking beside the guard. It’s not the greatest quality photo. It was probably captured by a cell phone. I was disappointed when I realized I never took a photo with him, but this is now one of my most valued photos.


In the past month, I have lost two members of my family. My Aunt Bobby and my Uncle Ricky. As a wedding photographer, I know that the most important pictures of the day are of the people. Don’t get me wrong. I love the details. The details allows us to see the personality of the bride and groom. However, it’s not the details that make a wedding beautiful. It’s the people.

So, what is the power of a photograph? Some photos are taken to invoke emotion. Some to sell products. Some to inspire. The beauty of photography is that one day those photos will become small and powerful memorials of our loved ones. When we take out our albums and picture boxes we’ll laugh, cry, and remember. We must remember.

This is when photographs truly take on a new meaning for people. They become memorials instead of pictures. So, cherish those moments. Hug your loved ones. Take a picture. Capture a memory. Life should never be measured in length, but in depth. Love deeply, and always remember.

-Kristen D.

Just Put the Pillow on the Couch


I know. Odd title, right? Well, here’s the story.

Carrie and I were watching Captain America and my son was jumping on the couch, which then caused a pillow to fall on the floor. I instructed him to pick up the pillow and place it on the couch. In all his toddlerness, he refused to do so. Crying, screaming, falling to the floor as if I had just insulted him to highest degree. He even picked up the pillow, walked to the couch, and dropped it on the floor. At this point, Carrie laughingly stated, “All you have to do is put the pillow on the couch.” Then I began laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation, and how much harder Gabe was making it on himself. After he finally put the pillow on the couch, we went back to watching Captain America and everything was peaceful.

How often do we make things on ourselves much harder than needed? All because we simply don’t want to do them? Here are a few of my “pillows”-

  • Laundry
  • Cooking (Paul usually cooks, or else we would eat out every day.)
  • Getting the oil changed.
  • Blogging (I am getting better!)
  • Managing money.

What about you? What are you making hard on yourself? My best advice is just put the pillow on the couch.

-Kristen D.

Trusting Him

Recently, we moved back to Kentucky. The financial strain of moving is there. The additional financial strain of owning your own business is there as well. I was praying Monday, asking for God to give me a client. My spring was pretty empty because of the move. May had only one booking at the beginning of the month, and then my June was full.

After I prayed and asked my sister-in-law to pray for me as well, I received a text that same day from one of my photographer friends. They needed a second shooter for a wedding in May. This was completely out of the blue. Tuesday (yesterday as of writing this post) I received a message on my Facebook page from a bride that needed a photographer the last weekend of May!

I just want to give praise to God for this. In two days I went from one booking in May to three. It is a comfort for me to know he answers prayer.


I have a family, a business, and the disorganization that comes with both. I read my favorite photographer’s blogs and admire their work as well as their organization skills. They have it all together. Beautiful studios, beautiful work, and have so much knowledge.

My dream is to have a beautiful home, with a dedicated room for everything. An office, a playroom, a home studio, etc. That would be wonderful. I also dream of having my own studio in downtown Lexington. A beautiful modern studio, with HUGE windows for  natural light. Also an area for sitting with clients and a receptionist area. Possibly a full-time assistant…

I’m not there yet, and that’s OKAY! I once saw a photo on Instagram that reminds me of this every time I sigh in discontent. Want to know what it is?


I am not there yet. That’s okay. It’s my dream. It’s my goal. It’s a journey. The journey is what gives us the wisdom and experience. Be focused on the steps you need to take, and the destination will come with time.

-Kristen D.




My Old Kentucky Home

We made it safe to Kentucky! I can’t wait to get started on my business! This year will be a game changer!


If you read my blog, you’ll remember I wrote a post about how meeting a man named Frank has inspired me to teach. I am currently planning out the curriculum that will be covered in this class. So far I know it will be between 6-7 hours with a lunch break, cover many topics for newbie photographers, and will take place in Lexington, KY in late May or Early June.


One of my goals is to get my work published in magazines and on blogs. I can’t wait to see my work featured. It’s going to happen, because I am going to hustle.


Another goal I have for this year is to travel to two new states. I have photographed weddings in Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee. I would love to add at least two more to this list! (Anyone want to get married in New York or Chicago? Let’s chat…)

This year will be amazing. I can’t wait to see what adventures lie ahead!

-Kristen D.

High Gear

My home has been invaded by boxes. Clothes are strewn everywhere. Toys have now been unpacked by my toddler. If you haven’t guessed… we’re moving.

I am currently in Alabama. With one week to get everything packed and ready to load onto the truck, I feel slightly overwhelmed. Especially now that I realize I forgot to rent a truck. I am sure everything will come together in time… maybe.

I am excited to be moving back home. I miss Kentucky. I miss my family and friends there. I miss the hills, the trees, and the dirt. Yes, even the dirt. When we do move back, there will be photography sessions, weddings, and my first ever photography class I will be teaching. All of this will be happening within three months.

I am in high gear, and probably won’t shift to low until next winter. I am excited. So many opportunities are ahead.

For now, though, I need rent a moving truck.

-Kristen D.

Inspired to Teach

I was waiting to meet someone at a local tourist spot in Kentucky. I had my camera with me. I needed to take a couple of test shots and asked a man to be my subject. I took a couple of photos of him, and I was satisfied with the light.

“Her’s turned out great!” A man named Frank was behind me and noticed my photos on the LCD screen of my camera. He came over and asked me what my settings were. I told him and noticed he was in a different mode than me. We started talking about manual mode and ended up talking about white balance.

“My pictures come out really orange sometimes.” I showed him a few tricks to fix his white balance in different situations. By the end of our talk he said, “It was nice to meet you. Thanks for the lesson.” I shook his hand and he went with his tour group while I continued waiting.

I was taken aback by the word ‘lesson’. I didn’t really think of our conversation as a lesson. I have taught flute lessons and taught color guard for years. This didn’t feel like a teaching experience. It felt like a fun conversation with a fellow photographer. He was right, though. I was able to teach him something new. It was really cool.

I am now inspired to teach a beginning photography class. I have no idea when or where. However, I am confident it will happen this summer, maybe even spring. Stay tuned for some upcoming classes!

-Kristen D.

Self Portraits


Yesterday, since I was snowed in, I decided to take some self portraits. I haven’t done a self portrait in about a year. It was time. So, I set up my bedroom into a mini-studio. I sat in front of my window and used the curtain as a backdrop. I had one flash and a reflector. My light stand and tripod where set on my bed. It was a funny sight to say the least. However, I like the results. What do you think?

In other news, today I have already put my son’s shirt on backwards. Prayers for the rest of the day are appreciated. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

-Kristen D.


Roots Run Deep


I have been sick for the past few days. Tis the Season! Both Gabe and I are on antibiotics, so hopefully we will be feeling better soon. I am writing today because I want to share with you something very dear to me.

I am a Kentucky girl. I will always be a Kentucky girl, no matter where I live. I have been in Alabama for a year now, and even though I love the people and the area, I miss Kentucky. There is nothing like seeing those hills when driving for hours. I missed the mountains, trees, and even the dirt! No, really, ask my sister-in-law/best friend, Carrie. We had a whole conversation about the wonderfulness of Kentucky dirt. I am so thankful to be in Kentucky for the holidays. I actually forgot to pack a coat, but I haven’t needed it. It’s been unseasonably warm here.

I was raised for most of my life in South Central Kentucky. However, my roots are in Eastern Kentucky. My entire family is from Eastern Kentucky. I love it there. When I photographed Beth’s wedding, I had the opportunity to get some photographs of the mountain near my Nana’s house. Kentucky is such a beautiful state, and I couldn’t imagine being from anywhere else.

Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast. – Psalm 36:5-6

I am moving back to Kentucky in the Spring, and I can’t wait to be back to My Old Kentucky Home! Thanks for reading! Tell me which is your favorite in the comments below!

-Kristen D.

Happy Birthday, Friend!

My sister-in-law has a birthday today! We have been friends since college and we married brothers. So, we became sisters!!! How awesome is that?

We always call each other ‘Friend’. Whenever we call each other by our names it sounds odd. It’s just not us.

Today we are celebrating her birthday! In her honor, I baked a cake. I like to bake… a lot. My husband cooks and I bake. It’s a great mix!


I am writing about Friend because she helped push me to move forward with wedding photography. One day we were discussing how I wanted to photograph weddings. I had been photographing babies, families, children, but I really wanted to do weddings.

After listening to me and my whole list of concerns about getting started, she looked at me and said, “You need to stop selling yourself short. Just do it.”

So simple, blunt, and exactly what I needed. That’s a mark of a true friend. Someone who will bluntly tell you what you need to hear in the love of friendship. Just a couple months after that conversation I had booked my first wedding and had multiple inquiries!


Here are a few concerns I had…

1. I didn’t have enough experience in weddings.
2. In order to get clients, I needed to charge crazy low, but knew I couldn’t afford to.
3. I didn’t have enough equipment.

Each one of those concerns were done away with once Friend pushed me. I second shot weddings to gain some experience. I sat down and decided what I would charge based on my time, skill, equipment, and what I offer in each package. Brides inquired about me. I started booking. I bought equipment once I booked. Thank goodness I did! My first wedding had a power failure that lasted the entire evening. Their first dance was done by acoustic guitar and I had a video light that gave me enough light to focus and capture those precious moments.

If it wasn’t for Friend it would have never happened. Happy Birthday, Friend! I love you!


Kristen D.