Hi friends, I’m Tara! I currently reside in Brentwood, TN with my husband, Ben, and our 2 children. I love to dance. I love to sing even though I can’t hold a note to save my life. I love candy and coffee. The smell of fresh coffee beans has to be a favorite of mine. I’m a total homebody, but I also love to travel. I love the sense of adventure I get while traveling, but there is nothing better than coming back home and sleeping in my own bed. My love language is quality time, which is a huge reason I love to travel with my family. It’s “forced” quality time for everyone and that makes my heart happy! I am a total girly-girl even though I grew up as a major tomboy. Now, I love everything pink, sparkly, and leopard print. HA! I love my Dad to pieces but I have always been a mama’s girl. My mom has always been my role model and best friend. She is strong and selfless and I try to be more like her every day.
I am originally from Texas, where I grew up on a large farm. I think this is where my imagination came into play as a child! We had so much open space to run, play, and pretend. All of my favorite memories occurred on the farm. I got a horse when I was just 5 years old and I can still remember the joy I felt when I met him for the first time. He was a Palomino. I named him Old Yeller and we were best buddies.
When I was in elementary school we moved to Alabama and that’s where I stayed until I left for college. I attended a small private college named Lipscomb in Nashville, TN. I had always wanted to be a nurse growing up. In 2009, I graduated nursing school and got my first job in the hospital. I worked in high-risk labor and delivery for a year before I realized that my passion was taking care of the babies. I transitioned to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where I worked until my son was born in 2014.
This is where my photography journey began. Like many photographers, I simply started taking photos to preserve the memories of my baby’s childhood. I was a stay-at-home mom now, so I wanted a hobby that I was passionate about. I started learning how to use my camera by watching YouTube and practicing. I got pretty good quickly and friends started asking me to take their family photos, so of course I did! I had a small business now and was very content. In retrospect, during this time I had no style, direction, or distinctive voice. I was imitating what I had seen other people doing and simply trying to please my family clients. I would only shoot outdoors at golden hour.
In 2015, I got pregnant again when my son was only 10 months old. The pregnancy was “high risk” from week 20-28. My daughter Halle was born at 28 weeks via C-section. She fought a hard battle in the NICU for 11 days before she passed away. After this tragedy I was frozen. I couldn’t imagine picking up a camera again. I had made all these plans to photograph Halle in adorable tutus. I imagined she would have long dark hair that would swing as she twirled. All the precious sibling moments I was supposed to document…gone. I honestly wasn’t sure if I would ever pick up my camera. After months of grief counseling and tons of support from family and friends I came out of the black hole I was in and decided to move forward with my life and be thankful for the child I still had.
I decided to start 2016 with a 365-project so I could focus on my son, Anderson. I was feeling so guilty for not spending more time with him in the 6 months prior. About 4 months into my 365 project we were playing in (what would be) Halle’s bedroom and the light was pouring through the window. It was streaming directly onto her crystal chandelier which sprayed tons of tiny rainbows onto the wall. My son was mesmerized by them and THIS was my turning point in my photography journey. I had been struggling with how to represent this child that no one could see in our family photos. I wanted her memory to live on, for people to know that she existed, and that she was well loved.
It was in this instance that I felt peace and knew that as a photographer, I could represent her using light. After this, I was very aware of light. I studied how it moved around my house. I experimented in harsh light, soft light, backlight. This was such a cathartic time in my photography career because it was all for me. I slowly made the transition from outdoor family photographer into lifestyle photographer for my own children and brands. No longer do I take family clients at this time. I still love them, but I just do not have the passion or time for them at the moment. Maybe I might revisit them once my children are older.
When people view my images, I want them to feel hope, positivity, love, and a sense of magic. I want them to feel the desire to get in the frame more with their babies! I am very inspired by light, but also by my son’s big imagination! I would describe my style as whimsical, creative, energetic, and ethereal. I technically have a photography business but I am terrible at the business side. Luckily my husband helps out in that department. I make the bulk of my income now through sponsored posts on Instagram and through commercial shoots with brands. My photography goal this year is to learn how to use artificial lighting, teach more, and document my family’s travels. Photography is such a great stress relief for me. I never want to lose the joy I get from it.
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