Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Burnsed Family: An Outdoor Country Shoot

Let me begin by saying that this family shoot was more than just a photography opportunity.

Yes, I loved capturing the joyful faces of the children as they laughed and played in the autumn sun.

Yes, my heart almost exploded seeing the tender love between Iola and Jamie as they wrapped their arms about each other and kissed like it was their first.

Yes, the lightening and setting was perfect and I was in pretty much in dreamland during this country themed shoot.

But most of all, we continued a legacy. We built a milestone together, this sweet family and I, and I'm immensely honored that I was blessed to do it with them. Two years ago they felt the horrendous and tragic loss of their teenage son. Throughout the following two years the Lord has worked in awesome and amazing ways through their grief, struggle, and through their witness of the grace and power of Christ Jesus in that situation. My own life has been forever impacted by the strength and mercy displayed by this beautiful family. Their trust in the sovereignty of the Lord and their desire to bring Him glory in the midst of pain has shined His light into the lives of so many.

My joy was overflowing as we laughed together, walked and climbed into woods and weeds, and just embraced the joy of life today. {And the fact that they are awesome models and beautifully photogenic made my heart even happier. ;) }
Riding in and around their country dirt roads in their big ole' truck provided lots of time for talking and laughing, as well as somber moments of recollection and serenity.

We pulled into a location which held a small rodeo arena and a sunny meadow filled with wild flowers and weeds. We unloaded, started walking around a bit, and then Lacy Jo took the show. This little munchkin is one of the cutest darlings this side of Heaven. Her tenderness is so sensitive to the needs of those around her, while her jovial laughter can put a smile on any one's face. I remember sitting on the couch with her years ago, listening to her new reading skills as she sat on my lap studying her words, and just thinking about the sweet preciousness of this girl. She's stolen my heart. ♥

And the other adorable children we have here are Leah and Luke.
Leah is one hundred percent an outdoor country girl: strong, brave, energetic, sweet tempered, and so mature beyond her years. She is so much fun to be around, and sometimes I forget how old she is as we chat and laugh and talk about life. She's growing up into such a fine young lady, and I love watching how the Lord is working in her life. 

And then there's Luke. Ohhhh Luke. If I could bottle up his energy and enthusiasm I'd never need a cup of coffee again. Not only is he so very active and excitable, he's also got some of the cutest charm a little country boy can have. As we walked to a new location he stopped me and whispered into my ear asking if he could take a picture of his Mama. I couldn't help the smile that spread across my face as I helped him hold the camera for a shot. 

These kids are some of the sweetest children I know, and my life is filled with even more joy by having them in it.

Jamie and Iola.... their sweet marriage, Biblical testimony, and love of life is an inspiration to my soul.
Luke picked yellow wild flowers for his sister and then gently placed them in her hair.
 What precious tenderness! ♥

After spending some time in that gorgeous and sunny meadow, we went to an old boardwalk trail which wound through wild Florida swamps. It was like  another world in there.... mysteriously charming and gorgeously enchanting.

In between the hunter's shack {pictured above} and the trail head, there was this dreamy field of wildflowers, filled with the soft light of the fading sun and the warm colors of our Florida fall. Leah happened to be walking near it and happily obliged my excited request for her to wander through the weeds for a few shots. Her gorgeous outfit and delicate smile were perfect for the scenery.
           And then we have Lacy, who climbs up the tree and gracefully poses. A girl after my own heart.

As we were driving home, we suddenly made a sharp turn and pulled alongside a dirty, old, and abandoned farm shack. There was a certain photo set up which Iola really wanted to have taken, and she was hoping that somehow we could utilize the back of this random house. Well, as we pulled around to see the back, my heart leapt with joy. A faded and worn red exterior, an old window pane, and a setting sun all made this scene *perfect*. To say I was excited is an understatement. ;)

For our final few shots, the Burnseds wanted a more casual setting doing one of their favorite things. So, we drove back to their home, got their guns, and climbed up into the woods behind their house. I knew it would be an interesting hike when Jamie told Leah to grab me a pair of  her boots. hahaha. Though Florida can be crazy at times, its pine forests are one of those things which I love. Taking the Burnsed's family photos in their special setting was the perfect way to end our time together.

And so ended this beautiful family's photoshoot. I drove home along the long country roads with a gorgeous sunset in my rear view mirror and such joy in my heart. I'm so blessed by this sweet family.


  1. Gorgeous, Shannon!! Every picture seems to mean so much. You did such a fantastic job capturing each of their personalities, and I know they'll love these pictures for years!!

  2. Wow Shannon! You did a beautiful job....although I think you also had some very photogenic people ;) I love the website as well as the new blog! Looking forward to seeing how God uses your love for photography!

  3. Wow. These photos are AMAZING!! I REALLY like your style + coloring!