My Top 25 of 2017

Yes, this is as hard as you'd imagine for me.  Clients know how I pour myself into the creative process and everything that's behind the scenes...so choosing my top 25 of the year, from thousands of portraits...no easy task! 

What may be even cooler than the portraits we've created together, is knowing that your portrait dollars are making a difference around the world!  We are so excited to partner with organizations like SIS (she is safe) and Hope for Justice to help rescue girls from being used as sex slaves.  Organizations like Hope for Haiti and Compassion International are also near and dear to our heart because of the children we sponsor!  You are world changers right along side us!

Client Faves 2017

Wow...what a year!  When I pause to reflect on 2017 I am amazed by what we've partnered to create together!  You all are brave and beautiful.  You are willing to step outside the box to make a little magic with me and I am soooo grateful!  I look forward to an incredible 2018 that lies ahead with unlimited potential for us!  Tomorrow I will make live a blog of my personal top 25 Unveil your Cinderella portraits of the year!  xo

Nordic Princess Julie

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 "Don't be offended Jennifer, but today photographers are a dime a dozen.  But when I found your work I saw something different.  I was immediately intrigued when I saw the art you were creating from the lives of everyday people." 

Pure music to my ears.  I made a decision a long time ago to create portraits that compel me, that pull me in, that reveal things about a woman that she longs to see in herself and proudly show the world.  Just so happens there happened to be an audience of people who that resonated with and that's where Unveil your Cinderella was born.  I am so grateful!  

Julie prepared for her session in a way that astounded me!  She adored what she had seen of my work and wanted to actively participate in creating scenes unique to her experience.  We pulled in her Nordic heritage with these gorgeous pieces you see.  She loves hats (girl after my own heart) and she shared with me pictures of several generations of cheeky women in her family wearing hats jauntily--it was clear the sass runs deep in her veins! 

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Julie is an attorney for the federal government and she also own a jazzercise franchise--her 'side hustle' as she affectionately calls it. This keeps her active most nights of the week and in shape with still enough time to snuggle in for Dateline at the end of the night!  

I've had 100's of conversations with clients over the last 7 years--getting to really know my clients is a integral part of the portrait creation process for me.  I don't think I'll ever forget what Julie shared in her pre-consult.  "When you aren't married and don't have kids, no one takes your picture, I guess they don't think there's anything to celebrate about you."  Wow...that...should...not...be!  It's not often I'm stopped dead in my tracks...this certainly did.  Julie just said this matter of factly and continued on in our conversation...I was stuck there in my mind. 

That any woman would think she's only worthy of being recorded and celebrated because of her relationship to other people just makes my heart heavy.  I'm not sure why our culture has passed on that message, but I'm so grateful Julie stumbled across my work and was brave enough to stand up and be counted.  She is more than worthy of being celebrated for her wit, her kindness, her fantastic sense of humor & snark, her intelligence, her love of her family and most obviously here, her beauty.  I look forward to the day when I'll have a gallery exhibit of my work, featuring more fine art solo portraits of women and Julie's first portrait in this blog will be included!

Julie has plans to create a wall celebrating the generations of women in her family and now she'll have fantastic portraits to include herself in that collection!  Such a pleasure to get to know you Julie and create along side you in this process!  Next time you are in Westminster, let's plan for an encore at O'Lourdans complete with an espresso martini! 

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What Mom wants for Christmas

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"The tears just streamed down. How beautiful! You truly understood what emotions I had that day and gave me the most precious gift of a lifetime-my children and grandchildren immortalized!!" Sandra Martin.  I've heard this time and time again...it never gets old. 

This time of year the line wraps around the Goodwill with moms dropping off things that have lost their luster.  Why not give the gift that will grow in preciousness to the woman who has been your champion?

Princess Angela & Ava

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Angela wanted a special Unveil your Cinderella day with her daughter to celebrate the mother daughter bond they share.  Ava is the first girl born in her husband's side of the family in 7 generations!  That is something to celebrate, along with the fact that Ava must be the cuddliest little girl I've ever met! 

Ava was brought to the portrait time as a surprise by her grandmom who happened to be in town.  When grandmom saw what we were up to she sat back to admire the whole process with admiration and love--truly a beautiful thing to behold.  Wasn't too long in before grandmom mentally began making plans for when the three of them could do this together. 

Angela was so sweet when she realized just before the portrait time that her mom would be in town and wanted to be included.  She said, 'we will schedule a time for all of us to go through the whole process together.'  She explained she didn't want to just tack her mom on, but instead, she wanted her to be a part of the joy she had in our pre-consult planning meeting where we selected outfits and cast a vision for what we would create that day.  "I want her to have that special time too," Angela told me. 

As a parent, the historian in me is always wondering, 'which of these days will our kids remember?'  Pretty sure this is going to be on Ava's top 10 of her childhood memories! She kept nuzzling her Momma and going in tight for hugs.  What a precious time to record in their mother/daughter journey.  How fondly they both will look back at this slice of time captured!  What most women wouldn't give to have something like this of them with their mothers! 

Such a joy to create with you both and I can't wait to see these portraits adorning your walls!

Isabella's Tea Party

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The transition from little girl to young woman is one that most fathers would choose to deny at all costs, all their live long days.  They want their little girls to stay just that.  Just ask most dads, they can hardly look at their young adult daughters and not tear up remembering the days that passed too quickly in the haze of life's greedy demands.

I've talked with many a father who'd give anything to go back to the days their little girl played happily in her world of make believe.  Yet we are all too well aware how time marches forth and little girl ways are abandoned too soon.  So sometimes time has to stop, the dolls come out to play, Great-Grandmom's tea set and tablecloth are brought out and a party ensues. 

Momma wanted to mark down this time in Isabella's life to cherish all the sweetness of tea parties and make believe before these days are done.  Izzy loves her dolls like they are her own children.  She has created intricate story lines and lives for each one of her precious little ones.  She can't bear the thought of parting with any of them.  When it's suggested she should consider passing some on, she looks on with horror at that suggestion, as would any good mother at the thought of giving up her children.

So dream on Izzy with your little girls and make the sweetest of memories that you may one day share with your own little girl!  You'll tell them all about the time you danced in the wildflowers and sipped tea from Great-Grandma's tea set with your girls and Momma.

Karen

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Don't you just love it when a gift comes full circle?  Kent surprised Karen with an Unveil your Cinderella portrait experience for Mother's Day and then she surprised him with portraits she knew he would love. 

We were able to time it out perfectly to incorporate this Lithuanian clover into Karen's portraits.  I created her Cinderella skirt to complement the colors in bloom and she brought a bottle of wine significant to her and Kent.  A recipe for perfection!  Shine on girl--you rocked this! 

Princess Gigi & Lily

Princess Gigi and Lily could not have been more of a delight during their portrait time together.  The sound of little girls laughing and spinning in tutus in the wildflower meadow is one that mom and dad will likely log away in their minds for a very long time. 

Every parent knows how fleeting the time is for kids to be kids...this is why portraits like this resonate so deeply with my clients.  And not just my adult clients apparently.  Gigi just kept running over to hug me through the portrait time to tell me how much fun she was having. 

As I would suggest an idea for the next set of portraits, Gigi said, "oh I'll do anything you say, just tell me what to do Ms. Jennifer."  She was an expert helper for her little sister Lily too.  They bring sugar and spice to the Witt household which makes for a perfect combination! 

Perhaps most priceless (beyond all the excited hugs of delight) was Gigi's telling me, "I wish I had brought $25 with me tonight."  I asked her why.  "Because you did such a great job and I had so much fun, I want to pay you!"   That's one I'm going to log away!  Spin and laugh your way through this life girls--the world awaits your joy and your wonder every day!

Emily's Quinceanera

Milestones are a beautiful thing.  They are a chance for family and friends to gather to cheer you on through life in a way you will always remember. 

That's exactly what Emily's Quinceanera was.  A Quinceanera is an important Latin American tradition to celebrate a young woman turning 15, which marks her passage to womanhood.  It's also a time to give thanks to God for His blessings and present a young woman to the community. 

Emily's mom Amy was in full blown party prepping mode when I arrived to begin coverage.  She was all over the big and little details of the day to make sure it was a day Emily would never forget.  She poured herself out in love and devotion for her girl in a way that was beautifully sacrificial and tender.  After seeing how tirelessly Amy worked to bring this all together, I told her Emily's wedding would be a piece of cake! 

The party was an absolute blast and Emily laughed and danced the whole night away with her family and friends!  Click through below to see family that joined Emily's celebration.

Click through below to see friends who joined Emily on her special day to celebrate.

Sweet baby

Jayd is preparing to welcome a 2nd blessing into her life.  She's regularly astounded by how much love beats in her chest for her sweet little Taelynn.  And now she's preparing to give Taelynn a brother in the very near future.

The focus of these maternity portraits was the bond between Jayd and her babies.  Jayd is my niece, so I was overjoyed to mark this time to celebrate new life with her.  She's a gentle and patient mom who is chasing after the best for her babies.  This is no easy world to navigate the parenting journey in, that's for certain.  But Jayd is pouring her whole self into her babies lives and glowing with determination and love while she does.   

Diane Alexis

Blog followers may remember Diane from an Unveil your Cinderella session a few years ago.  Diane celebrated turning 50 while living an authentically owned life and owning her silver hair in a gorgeous portrait session.  Who knew then this next phase would involve a need for acting headshots?  You never can tell what the next phase of life will bring you!  Who knows the roles we'll see her in--but she's ready!  Currently you'll see Diane as an extra on House of Cards and she's getting calls to test for commercials!

Jack + Lisa

"I'm so busy, I don't know how I used to fit a job into my day!"  That's how Jack describes his newly retired status.  Leading his motorcycle group on charity rides he organizes, spending time at the beach, golfing, it's the way most of us envision retirement will be and Jack's actually making it happen!  No rocking chair on a front porch for Jack and Lisa!  Lisa has not retired yet.  She's worked over 30 years as a PA but she's not ready to step out just yet.  She smiled widely as Jack talked about how much he's loving this next phase of life.

These two were so stinkin' adorable throughout their session--I dubbed them Malibu Ken and Barbie's parents!  However, their beauty goes beyond skin deep...if you could have seen the way Jack looked at Lisa when I began their presentation of portraits...it was the stuff of a great romance movie!  The admiration as they each melted over each other's portraits was so tender. They both reached for the tissue box as soon as the presentation started.

With tears in his eyes, Jack said, "she's just so beautiful...and those eyes...that's how she's always looked at me."  He relayed the story of how they met back in 1998.  Jack was actually a patient of Lisa's because of a badly broken hand.  He had weekly appointments with her for 8 weeks and worked to summon the courage to ask her out.  He said she was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen and felt he didn't have a shot.  He tested the waters by asking an x-ray tech if Lisa was available. 

The x-ray tech said, 'yes, ask her!'  Jack's nerve was failing...this gorgeous woman, whose beauty radiated from deep within, would never say yes to him.  The tech continued to urge him, 'ask her, ask her!' as they all walked out together, moments before parting ways for potentially forever.  Lisa overheard and turned to say, 'ask me what?' 

Jack bolstered the nerve to ask her out, but Lisa didn't know if she was allowed to date him since he was a patient.  A patient just released from her care, but a patient none the less.  She said, 'you can look me up in the phone book, I'll be home later.'  Jack did, called and got her answering machine.  Not a good sign.  Lisa forgot she had plans to go to a baseball game that night!  Jack kept up his nerve and tried one more time...3.5 hour phone conversation later their first date was set.  One year later they were married!  Their love story continues strong into retirement and what a gorgeous tribute to their marriage!  Just can't wait to see these portraits on display in their home, bringing smiles and tears of joy all through the years!

Elena & Sienna

Want to see behind the scenes of this beautiful Unveil your Cinderella portrait time?  Click here! 

Mom could see her little girls weren't staying so little.  She wanted to capture this sweet time in portraits to celebrate in her home so she could always return to this tender time.  She drove several hours to have me create these stunning pieces you see before you and I am so honored she did.

Elena and Sienna were intrigued and enthralled because they got to be princesses for the day!  They laughed and danced and marveled at their portraits when I showed them on the back of my camera.   Watching their reaction to their portraits in print was priceless!  Click here to see their behind the scenes fun! .  Just love that this time period in these sisters lives is locked down in ways that will bring perpetual smiles to everyone who loves them! 

JDP senior model trio

This trio of JDP senior model beauties joined me to create in studio.  Kasey, Brittany and Corey were naturals! 

I had received quite a few gorgeous flowers for my birthday and decided I wanted to incoporate them into a shoot while they were still alive...then they'll be used in future shoots in their dried state.   The models closed out our time with some epic selfies! 

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day--to all you late night warriors, tender hearted boo-boo kissers, stern trainers for the long haul, mess demolishers, teachers, detectives, doctors, judges and chauffers who keep their eyes on the prize for their family!  You rock and this blog is to honor your faves from the last year in portraits for Unveil your Cinderella!  Enjoy clicking through! xo