maine portrait photography

Lexi - Little Dancing Bird

Let me count the ways I love this girl. She is so totally full of life!! I would sum her up as 'on fire'. She is at that great age where she is still young and silly, yet also confident and strong. She is an amazing performer and a sweet soul. I loved working with her strong spirt and goofiness. 

It was so great that she used her fashion to show how she does not fit in the usual dancer box. She wanted to wear her sneakers and plaid shirt with a beautiful pink dress. And she sported overalls and a crazy patterned shirt for some of her time as well. 

I wonder what it's like to be able to move with such grace? To feel as though you are floating. This may be as close as I will ever come to knowing, but I have a deeper appreciation for the hard work and how easy she makes it seem. I can't wait to work with more dancers! If you know one...have them give me a call!

Lexi tirelessly jumped and flipped through my studio. These are just some of the results. I have a lovely 40x60 canvas of the first portrait below in my studio. It reminds me of a soaring bird. This image encapsulates freedom and grace. I find it calming and inspiring. I am so grateful to get to work with girls (of all ages). 

In dreams - Jen


I have been a reptile girl since I was 5. I used to catch blue belly lizards in California and keep them as pets. I moved onto frogs, and snakes in West Virginia and would make my step dad pull over in the car so I could rescue the turtles that came out to walk on the roads during the rain storms. 

I have no clear idea why reptiles have been my thing. And to be fair I really love all animals. I used to think I would grow up to work in a zoo. I'm a sucker for anything with a heartbeat really. 

For some reason I have had snakes on the brain in the last little while. They came up repeatedly for some time and suddenly I knew I needed to do self portraits with snakes. I have never attempted to do self portraits nor been interested in them previously. 

The irony that snakes represent the duality of good and evil is not lost on me. Growing up in a very strict cultish religion and having recovered from that, I have long felt that duality in myself. Snakes are also symbolic of both wisdom and death. The argument has been made that as the only significant predators of primates snakes were the symbol of danger and death that so many humans still are terrified of. Also they are therefore the symbol of death and rebirth.

That rebirth and transformation symbolism is where I found myself drawn in. As someone who identifies with the idea of rebirth, from leaving a religion I grew up in and then in other ways since then, it seemed an appropriate symbol for me to use. 

As a, do I dare call myself, "creative" I have found myself torn. Torn in looking for more time, for relationships, making a living, trying to be a good mother and finding a creative outlet. I feel many others must know this feeling too. Anyone who wants to create in this world and also needs to be a mom first, have friends, cook dinner, pay bills, watch movies, paint the house, and shop for sneakers...feels torn. How do I find the time and energy for what I want to be and how I want to create? I feel resentful at times for the lack of time and all the demands on me. So I jumped into this session headlong, like most things I do. I followed the Nike slogan to " Just do it ". 

It was way harder that I could have imagined. First I was terrified. Not of the snakes. In fact once I was holding them I relaxed completely. A nice side effect. No, the idea of taking portraits of myself was way more intimidating that I had expected. Also, everything was outside my control and moving fast. Tripod. Tethered camera to computer. Stylist. Snake wrangler. Friend to push the button every time I said so. There were about 500 photos of me talking or laughing or generally looking like a goob.  Which is fine since I decided the out takes are some of my favorite shots! They crack me up. (: (I will post those soon too)

But the session taught me a lot. I learned that shooting with animals is a whole different ball game. It's all outside your control and you have to roll with it. That portraits with snakes can look cheesy really easily. (I have to work on that one) And that just doing something is the way to go. Because now I am so proud that I did it! That I did something that I wanted to but was intimidating. And now my head is full of ideas for further sessions. I want to work with more animals and more clients that want to do this with me. I feel inspired all over again. I know what I would change and what worked. Working with snakes was awesome. And I'm ready for the next venture. Whatever that may be. So... screw having too little time. I'm just going to plan the next project. Who's with me? (;

PS- A huge thank you to Dominic Kane who breeds snakes and brought them to me and patiently helped out. And my stylist and friend Stephanie Dudley of

Diva on Broadway

who is an amazing stylist and just rolled with the snakes!

                                                                          In life and love - Jen

Brown Eyed Beauty- Glamour Session for Courtney

I grew up wanting dark shiny hair and brown eyes. You know because it's the opposite of what I have and it was what my best friend when I was young did have! A serious case of the grass is always greener. Fast forward to being a grown up. I have finally hit the point in my life where I am happy with who I am and the way I look. But I still have real 'wow' moments when I work with someone who has eyes like this. I mean jeez. Totally amazing.

I also really love that Courtney is a bit shy and maybe even not clear yet on how gorgeous she is. Well, I showed her. (:

Why choose custom photography?

Why choose custom photography?

When you make an investment in photography, you want it to last a lifetime. Custom photography is an experience and an end product in which you get to choose the style and final look of your portraits. There are many factors that ultimately make up your final portraits. These may include the photographer’s style, location of your portrait session, clothing, props, lighting, mood, your vision and the final products you desire.

Photographers that offer custom photography have many different options available to you that fit your style. Most custom photographers have a very distinct style that helped you decide to chose them. They have the ability to make your experience tailored just for you as opposed to the chain store time limits and crowds.

Imagine getting your family dressed and ready for your portrait session. Usually that is the most stressful part of any of my sessions. Then you come and meet me and I am ready to go. With family sessions, we are usually done in less than an hour. I have had many dads tell me that was pretty painless and thank me for making it sooo easy and not stressful. Mainly, this is because we have talked before the session and I know what direction we want to go and have it mentally planned out.

Custom photography requires a level of commitment, an investment in time, money, and planning on the part of the client and requires a larger time commitment for the photographer as well. 

Next month : How to choose your custom photographer.

smith family photos

nadra photography hosted a fundraiser she calls 'day at the beach' every year at least once and sometimes twice. this year the funds went to the maine cancer foundation. most all of us know someone who has personally experienced the effects of cancer so this money will go to further cancer research right here in maine.

the smith family wanted to do some traditional family shots and then some fun stuff as well. i did photos of everyone in groups for a little more formal photos (not stuffy though) and then playing together. we decided to change it up and not do it on the beach. here are a couple of my favorites.



with the grandparents...who don't look like grandparents!