Fort Smith Engagement Session | Fort Smith Wedding Photographer

Brandi came to me with the exciting news that she was getting married! She asked me to take their engagement photos. It was kind of last minute and we had a very small window of time to get them done, so we were praying the weather would be nice. The last session I did with Brandi was at a nature park. (You can see that session here.) She wanted a different setting for her Fort Smith engagement session, so we headed downtown. The weather turned out better than we hoped. Maybe a little too good. It was quite hot and we were all sweating. Prayer works! I happen to think God has a great sense of humor. We walked around the downtown area using some of the murals from The Unexpected project and some of the other fabulous backdrops that the area has to offer. There is so much to choose from within a short walking distance here. It allows every session that takes place in this area to have its own unique look and feel.

During the session, I got to hear their story. They went to school together when they were kids. Brandi moved here from Utah a few years ago. They reconnected over social media and hit it off. He decided he would move here to be with her. At the time of their session, he was still living in Utah trying to finish things up there and looking for a job here. They were like teenagers the way they were together! It was really quite sweet. Happy Valentine’s Day, Rob and Brandi!

Fort Smith Engagement Session
Fort Smith Engagement Session
Fort Smith Engagement Session

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5th Birthday Photos | Fort Smith Child Photographer

I know. I know! She isn’t turning 5. That was two years ago! But I never posted her 5th birthday photos…or 6th birthday…or her sister’s… But I am REALLY trying to play catch up. I often put my own family’s photos on the back burner not only with regards to posting on the blog, but pretty much anything else that’s going on in our lives.

For this session, I wanted to feature the active, fun-loving, and sassy part of her personality. So we chose to go to the park and let her play freely. At one point, I thought it may not have been a good idea because that sassy part of her caused her to keep running away and she would never look at me. But I love the candid shots I was able to sneak in. I think it really achieved my goal better than had she done everything I asked of her. We also found a pretty field and went to downtown Alma to get my more typical shots. It’s interesting to see how my approach to sessions has changed in the last couple of years.

To see more of this sassy pants check this and this out!

5th Birthday Photos
5th Birthday Photos
5th Birthday Photos
5th Birthday Photos
5th Birthday Photos

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Barn Wedding | Fort Smith Wedding Photographer

I am going to be a little bit candid here. Before this beautifully rustic barn wedding, I was fairly adamant about not being a wedding photographer. Don’t get me wrong. I had done a few in the past for family members and LOVED it. I love looking at wedding photography and can’t help but pin it on Pinterest. I guess I just thought it would be too difficult to get the “the shots.” But once I am on location and get in the zone, it just comes. Just happens. Even if that hadn’t been the case here, Layton and Rocky made my job so much easier.

The Kindred Barn is such a beautiful location, built specifically for weddings. The white walls are ideal for photography because they bounce light so well. There is an outdoor ceremony area with rustic wooden benches and you can use the barn for the reception, like my brother did in 2016. Or you can do what Layton and Rocky did and choose to have both the ceremony and reception indoors. Either way,

a barn wedding here will not disappoint.

I may have been more excited than I should have been when Layton told me they were going to do a first look so we could do all of the bridal pictures before the ceremony. First looks are such an intimate moment between the bride and groom. Conversely, going the traditional route and waiting until the processional for the groom’s first sight of his lovely bride is much less intimate. There is so much pressure and nervousness in that moment because there are so many other things that both need to think about. A first look takes all of that extra stuff away and they can just appreciate and enjoy the moment.

I am honored that I was chosen to be a part of this special day and capture this stunning barn wedding for this sweet couple.

Bride and Groom on front porch for barn wedding
Barn wedding
Barn wedding
Barn wedding

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Mommy-to-be | Alma Arkansas

This first time mommy-to-be was perfect for the session I had in mind.

When we first decided that our time in the military was over and we’d be moving to a small town in my home state near my parents, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t have the relatively quick access to nature and outdoor activities like I did in Virginia. There, a short walk from our house gave me access to an enormous park full of soccer fields and awesome playgrounds for the girls complete with a 2 mile paved trail with 1/4 mile markings perfect for exercising. Just off of the park was a trail that led to a river with beautiful scenery. A short drive led me to a charming nature park surrounding a lake with seemingly endless trails and countless activities.

Compared to that, a tiny little town of less than 7, 000 people surely did not have much to offer, right? Boy was I wrong. I quickly discovered a challenging hiking trail around a lake and a recreational park built for working out along a creek, both of which I now hold dear to my heart. They may not be out my front door, but it only takes about 7 minutes to drive there. The trail is now one of my favorite places to be. Every time I hike it it’s a different experience. And every time I visit the recreational park, new photo ideas present themselves. Over the summer I spent a lot of time at these places. Once, when I was headed to my usual workout area, I gazed down the creek toward one of the bridges. The light filtering in through the trees was magical as it danced across the water. Right then, I envisioned a glowing mommy-to-be in a long, flowy dress wading in the trickle of water. Shortly after, I was at the peak of the trail and admired the way the light playfully peeked through the leaves and knew I wanted to include this in a maternity session as well. (Don’t worry! There is a separate entrance to the trail that leads right to this location. The mommy-to-be did not have to hike…although I have no doubt that she could have if she’d wanted to!)

When I expressed my ideas to Taylor, I wasn’t sure how she’d feel about getting barefoot in a creek. Little did I know what an active, adventurous soul she is. She was willing to try anything and was even excited about wading through the creek. She already had a wardrobe ideal for my vision. It was like it was meant to be. They had already decided on a name for their baby girl. Everest. How perfect is that? Such a lovely name. Thank you, Taylor, for being such a willing and laid-back model. Your sweet Everest is beautiful and precious!

First Time Mom
Baby Bump


First time Mom

Taylor made it into my Best of 2017 list. Check her out with the rest of my favorites images from 2017.

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Best Photos of 2017 | Fort Smith Photographer

I have never done a “best of” before, and I thought the best photos of 2017 would be a good place to start. While these photos may not necessarily be the best as far as technique and photography “rules” are concerned, they are some of my favorites! There are a couple of reasons why. One is because of the connection that exists in them–connection between subjects, connection between the subject and the viewer, and the feeling I get when I look at each one. The other is because of the growth I see from the beginning of the year to the end. I learned and grew so much as a photographer this year. New opportunities arose and opened doors for me. I am excited to see what this new year holds for me! Please enjoy these!


Best photos of 2017

This first one is of my girls. It was the first snow we’d gotten in a couple of years and their first chance to try out their sled. I wasn’t about to miss this opportunity to capture them enjoying it! I had gotten a new camera for Christmas and was just learning how to use it.

Best of 2017 Sledding
For the next two, I wanted more practice with my camera and I wanted to do a session on the Square in Fayetteville. My brother goes to the U of A, so I asked him if he knew anyone who would be willing to model for me. I had also gotten a new version of Lightroom for Christmas. I had never tried to learn Lightroom before, even though I had an older version, because I was too scared to move away from Photoshop. I didn’t want to waste this gift, though, so I dug in. And this is where the growth really began.

Best Photos of 2017 Maternity
These next two make my heart ache. My niece had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer the summer before we took these. She was recovering and her hair had just begun to grow. The images are so soft and sweet. They couldn’t match her personality any better. I cling to these photos even more because a couple of months later we lost that Bradford pear tree. I am so grateful we were able to use it for these lovely images before the storm destroyed it.
Best Photos of 2017 Child Cancer Survivor

Being a photographer has made me more appreciative of what nature has to offer. I see things I didn’t before and recognize beauty in the details. I love taking nature and macro photos whenever I have the chance. This one is of our wisteria. I may have had to battle hundreds of bumblebees (okay, maybe just 25 or so) to get it.

Best Photos of 2017 Nature

I may be a bit biased about the next two. They are my babies!

Although I took this in the spring, I didn’t edit it until the end of the year when I was designing the photo books I give to family for Christmas. I can really see here how much my editing style changes from season to season.

Best of 2017 Sisters

These sisters make my heart smile!

It was so, so difficult for me to narrow down photos of these two lovebirds. They could seriously be models.

Best Photos of 2017 Prom Mini Session

My neighbor had this blue VW bus in the front yard and I was dying to use it in a session. I put out a model call and Madeline was perfect for what I had in mind!

Part of the reason I love this one so much is because it was my (then) 8-year-old’s idea. I also love it because of its symmetry. 🙂

There were so many great ones from this wedding. I couldn’t narrow it down any more. This was the first wedding I photographed that wasn’t for one of my family members. I had never really wanted to be a wedding photographer, but this wedding changed my mind! I had so much fun! I absolutely adore the connection among all these ladies in this image. The simplicity of it also stands out to me.

I chose this one because I value the personal touches that my clients add to their special days, whatever they may be.

I seriously smile every time I see this one. I love it so much!!

This is a proud moment for me. To be able to pull this huge wedding party together and manage to get a good photo of them is not an easy feat.

When I first saw this photo, I was struck hard by how grown up she looks. I am not ready for this.

Despite their many arguments and disputes, they still manage to be sweet to each other occasionally. This was their first day of school — 1st and 4th grades.

I had a vision in my head of a maternity session I wanted to try. Taylor was willing and brave enough to try whatever I brought up! It turned out better than I imagined!

I am not really sure why I like this one so much. Maybe it’s the bokeh. Maybe it’s the colors. Maybe it’s the pose. Or maybe it’s just the gorgeous model.

By this time, I had learned much, much more about Lightroom and its many abilities. It is now pretty much all I use. I love it!

Love the light. Love the connection. Love the couple.

Seriously. That look is so intense. And that hair! Gah!

Best of 2017 Senior

This was the very last photo we did during the session. It was her idea and we all adore how it came out!

Again, these last two probably need no explanation. I just love that my girls have such close relationships with their cousins!!

Best of 2017 Christmas Tree Farm
Best of 2017 Tweens

 And that wraps up my best photos of 2017. Were there any images you have seen me post throughout the year that you loved? Photos evoke a different feeling for each viewer. I would love to hear your thoughts!

May 2018 bring you more joy than sadness!

Happy New Year!!

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Mommy-to-be | Alma Arkansas » Amber Zeigler Photography - […] made it into my Best of 2017 list. Check her out with the rest of my favorites images from […]January 14, 2018 – 11:15 pm

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