Why Not Pinterest? A Photographer’s Views on Pinterest

I LOVE Pinterest.  I probably have 50 boards on Pinterest.  I pin recipes, home decorating ideas, hair styles, clothing inspiration, vacation locations, and more.  I love Pinterest so much, I have to cut myself off so that I don’t spend hours pinning things.  BUT when it comes to newborn, baby, maternity, and family photography inspiration, I want MY site to be your Pinterest.  Why you ask?  Well, Pinterest is full of beautiful photographs. You can get so much inspiration from it.  However, Pinterest pictures are not my pictures.  When you choose me as your photographer, I want you to choose me for my work and style.

If you have already booked your session with me, you have seen my little note about Pinterest in my Client Agreement.  When you book your session, you complete a client agreement and planning guide.  This is your chance to tell me colors, props, and poses that you like.  You will also see a note that requests no Pinterest pictures.

Sooo…… why not Pinterest?  Here are 3 things you should NOT use Pinterest for when planning your photo session.

#1: Poses

You can find thousands of posing ideas on Pinterest.  From maternity and newborn photography to wedding photography.  Some poses are beautiful, and honestly some are pretty cheesy.  However, Pinterest is not the place to find posing ideas.  As an artist, I have invested thousands of dollars in training and workshops.  I spend hours each month catching up on posing techniques and safety practices.  After 8 years in business, I have fine tuned my newborn workflow.  I have tricks and games I use for maternity and family sessions.  All of these things come together to create photos and beautiful sessions, and I want this to be the reason you hire me.  I don’t want you to have to put together a pinboard of poses and ideas.  That is my job.  When you come to me, you are trusting me so that I do all the work, not you.

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Although froggy pose is one of our most requested poses, not every baby will pose in this position. I will never force baby into a pose where he or she is not comfortable.

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Specific poses don’t work for every family our couple. I want to capture you being YOU.

#2: Props

You can find newborn pictures online with all sorts of props.  However, when you book a newborn or baby session with me, you don’t have to bring a thing.  If you have been to my studio, you know my problem.  I am a self-confessed prop addict.  It’s a problem.  Seriously.  Oh, and I have 2 boys.  So I never got to do the girl thing.  So the girl props are a little out of control!  I have hundreds of props, layers, blankets, swaddles, bonnets, and headbands galore.  With that said, ALL of my props are specifically sized and designed for specific ages.  My newborn props are all hand knit pieces in newborn sizes.  They have come from all of the world.  They are beautiful colors and so soft you could snuggle up and sleep with them.  My headbands, tiebacks, and floral crowns are all made to fit a small newborn’s head.  I do not recommend crochet items.  Crochet items tend to be bulkier and don’t fit well.  The are also uncomfortable to put on baby.  I also do not recommend store bought items or clothing.  Store bought items just don’t fit baby the way we need to fit for newborn pictures, and clothing takes away from newborn poses.

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The studio is stocked with props from around the world. Each bonnet, hat, and headband is designed and sized to fit a newborn perfectly.

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All of our newborn accessories are handmade specifically to fit a newborn.

#3: Locations

I have probably said this a million times, but I don’t think I can say it too much.  I choose ALL of my outdoor locations based on light.  Yep, that’s it.  Light.  I always say I would pick a junkyard with great light over a beautiful botanical garden with terrible light any day.  Now, I can’t always guarantee a gorgeous sunset, but even on a cloudy day, light guides my sessions.  Each week I drive around town looking locations with beautiful light.  If you’ve read my previous blog post about Maternity Sessions through the Seasons, you see that locations change by the season.  They change even more frequently in the spring and fall.  But one thing that all of my locations MUST have in common is beautiful light.

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I drive around town weekly looking for new locations with beautiful lighting.

Inspired by the Season

So….. where do I find my photography inspiration?  Lots of the time, it’s by the season.  In the spring, I love using pastels.  In the fall and winter, I love using deep colors and jewel tones.  I get inspiration from colors in your home and baby’s nursery.  I even get inspiration from my beautiful prop vendors.  I love walking through antique shops and finding unique pieces.  I walk through Pottery Barn, Homegoods, and other home decor shops to keep up with the current trends in homes.

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I LOVE getting color inspiration from the seasons.

Unique props and setups

One of the biggest reasons my clients choose me as their photographer is for my unique setups.  My style is natural and rustic.  I love using earth tones, items from nature, greenery, flowers, and textures.  I try not to follow other photographers with styles similar to mine so that I don’t feel tempted to copy them.  I want to come up with my own setups so that my style stays cohesive and consistent.  AND I try to never use the same setup twice!

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Many of my clients book a newborn session with me specifically for my unique setups.

How CAN You Use Pinterest?

I still think Pinterest is a great resource for planning your photo sessions.  In fact, I send all of my clients boards that I have pinned for their photo sessions.  These include What to Wear boards and First Birthday Inspiration boards.  Pinterest is a great resource for pulling together coordinating clothing.  I have boy and girl clothing boards as well as a maternity board for brands of clothing I think photograph well.  My First Birthday inspiration board does not have other photographer’s work.  Instead it has current trends in birthday decor, smash cakes I love, and even wedding cakes.  I love using Pinterest as a tool to plan, just not copy.

I hope this gives you a little insight into my vision for my sessions.  I want to do ALL of the work, so that all you have to do is sitback and enjoy the process.  If you’d like to chat more about a photo session, I’d love to hear from you.

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  • Linda Bainter - You are a true artist!  Your ability to pose a curled newborn, is what makes you stand out from other photographers. Knowing what a baby is capable of and what they are able to do, comes from your years of experience.  As I have followed your work, I love the natural sense of style you have in how you build a session.  It shows in how you pull together pastel or rich colors along with natural fibers and textures to compliment your babies.  Your work is elegant and timeless.  Pinterest should be full of your work. ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Hartigan - You images are pure perfection! I love everything about your style.  I have been following you for a few years and I look forward to each and every blog post.ReplyCancel

  • Katie - Love!!! Absolutely LOVE this post! Clients choose you and trust YOU based on your expertise and that you will provide the beat possible product to them. You have a gift of capturing these beautiful moments uniquely for each client??ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay - This! I love everything about this post. I think a lot of times clients tend to forget that they’ve hired someone who has years of training and experience with this. It really is important to allow the photographer creative control, after all, your creativity is what drew them to you in the first place, right? Great blog! Beautiful work!ReplyCancel

  • Natasha Wiening Photography - I love that you offer the full package. You are a true artist!ReplyCancel

Seasonal Maternity Photographs

Seasonal Maternity Photographs

Outdoor maternity photos have my heart.  Through the years I have tried different looks and trends.  I have taken workshops with fine art maternity photographers.  I have tried stocking a maternity gown closet.  Nothing quite clicked or felt right until this year.  I feel like this is the year when I truly found my niche.

My maternity sessions are real.  They focus on your connections.  They are full of love.  I am not a fine art photographer.  I don’t do a lot of posing.  Instead I gently guide you into poses, and then watch you make it your own.  I have found my love and my place for maternity photography in outdoor photography.  Just like my family photography, maternity photos take place outdoors at sunset.  I choose locations based on lighting, and sun drenched fields are my jam.  Really there is nothing better.  Maternity sessions are the only sessions that I offer outdoors year round.

I’ve also realized that every woman is different.  Our bodies and tastes are different, and a maternity closet full of photo shoot gowns just doesn’t work for everyone.  So I do not stock maternity gowns.  Instead I send clients an inspiration board and list of brand recommendations.  That way mommies can chose their own outfit and wear it several more times.

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Erin’s maternity session was schedule late September. Since this is the end of summer, you still see rich greens and golden tones from that warm summer sun.

Winter Maternity Photography

Since maternity photos take place during weeks 30-34, you don’t have much choice on the season for your pictures.  I’ll be honest.  Winter shoots can be difficult to plan.  The weather is unpredictable.  It’s probably going to be really cold.  But if you can stand it for a short time, they are most definitely worth it!  There are lots of browns in the backgrounds of winter shoots, but the golden sun at sunset can make it magical.  You also have to prepare to dress in layers.  I LOVE maxi dresses for all maternity shoots.  When it’s cold, you can layer a maxi dress with an oversized sweater.  AND if you are lucky, it may snow in time for your session!  I love the leftover snow in Jamie’s winter maternity session.  Two years ago, we lucked out with one of our biggest snowfalls, and I photographed these gorgeous snow maternity photos.  My fingers are crossed that we get that chance again!

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Jamie’s maternity session was in the winter. We even lucked out with some snow on the ground!


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This is another winter maternity session. I usually use fields for all winter maternity sessions. I love the brown tones. But last winter I discovered this patch of pine trees. I love the deep golden pop of color that it adds.

Spring Maternity Photography

The weather is really unpredictable in the spring.  Everyone is ready for spring clothes, but usually the temperatures don’t cooperate.  Adults can handle being cold through a photo session, but if you have other children, you will need to plan outfits with layers in case it is cold the day of your session.  Trees and bushes are just starting to turn green, but there are still lots of browns in the background.  Spring colors look great this time of year.

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Lindsay’s maternity session took place in early spring. You can see there is just a peek of green on the trees. Everything is still pretty wintery looking in March and early April.


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Sabrina’s maternity photos were late spring and early summer. I LOVE this transition season. The weather is still nice and things are turning nice and green.

Summer Maternity Photography

I LOVE the deep vivid colors in the summer.  I love long days and late sunsets.  There are SO many options for summer maternity shoots.  With that said…. summers in Tennessee are hot, muggy, and full of bugs.  Summer photo sessions are kind of like child birth.  Once you see the end result, you forget about everything else!

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The middle of the summer is full of deep greens. And humidity, heat, mosquitoes, and ticks… oh my!

Fall Maternity Photography

Fall is the most sought after season for photography.  Dates book up QUICKLY in the fall.  If you are due during this season, I recommend scheduling your maternity session several months in advance.  The weather is beautiful in the fall, and the colors are gorgeous.  Clothing in rich jewel tones and neutral shades look beautiful.

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Can you guess the season? Yep, that’s right. In the fall, the fields have those beautiful deep browns and golds. Sometimes we even luck out with yellow flowers. (Otherwise known as ragweed! Achoo!)

You probably have figured out that there are pros and cons with photos in every season.  The best piece of advice is to be prepared.  Dress for the weather, and come to have fun.  If you do both of those, you will have a successful shoot.  With maternity sessions you don’t get to pick your season, but every season is beautiful in it’s own way.  I am currently booking maternity photo sessions for 2019.  I’d love to chat with you about yours!

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Don’t Say Cheese | My Philosophy for Family Photography

This post has been sitting on my mind for a year.  It has taken me a full year to find the words to say, and even now I don’t know how well I’ll be able to say them.  It was exactly one year ago from today, that I was given the task of getting pictures together for my dad’s funeral.  I was 36 years old and couldn’t believe he was taken from me so soon.  As I dug through pictures on my computer, photo albums, and photos I had taken of photos, I found one thing in common.  Every.single.picture that I was drawn to, every.single.picture that made me tear up, every.single.picture that I wanted to share, that brought up a memory, that made me smile, EVERY.SINGLE.PICTURE was not a “cheese” picture.  It wasn’t the pictures where we were staring and smiling at the camera and goodness we had tons of those.  My high school graduation, our summers in Florida, fishing trips… they were all documented.  But those weren’t the pictures that tugged at my heart.  It was the picture were he was looking at me that made me break down.  The love in his eyes when he looked at his baby girl.  I don’t remember this moment, but gosh I can see how much he loved me.

THIS my friends, is what it is all about.

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Last year I sat in a cold hospital room holding my dad’s hand and looking at this picture. I just wanted to see his smile one more time.

Why I don’t want you to say “cheese”

Several years ago, I decided to stop focusing on family photography and specialize in newborn and baby photography.  I wasn’t enjoying family photography anymore.  I felt pressure for posed family photography, and I didn’t love it.  So I focused on what I loved.  However, every now and then, I’d take time to photograph a family for fun.  I’d do “my” thing and LOVED it.  I wouldn’t move from pose to pose.  I played with my clients.  I watched them interact together.  I took the pressure off of them to stare and smile at the camera.  Family photo sessions started to be more fun.  (For me AND my clients.)  I fell back in love with family photography.

In this age of social media, all of our pictures seem to stay digital.  We want beautiful pictures as our profile pictures.  I get it.  But anyone can grab a camera and tell your family to smile.  I want to capture moments.  I want to document love.  I want to freeze your emotions at this moment.  The things you may be too busy to see.  Your kids may be too young to remember these moments, but one day they will look back at your photographs and know your love for them.  They will see how you looked at them with amazement in your eyes.  You can’t just grab a camera and say “cheese” to make it happen.

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One common factor that I want you to see in ALL of my family pictures is emotion.

My Family Photography Philosophy

I want each and every one of my family sessions to be laid back and fun.  If you are stressed, you will see it in your pictures.  Yep, your hair may cover your face.  There may be a hand out of focus.  A collar may be wrinkled.  A shirt may come untucked.  But these things?  You aren’t going to focus on them in 10, 20, or 50 years.  So sit back, relax, play with your kids, and love on them.  That’s what memories are made of.

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Rhett didn’t want to smile when he was sitting by himself. He was happiest in mom and dads arms.


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I just love how you can see the love this family has for their newest baby girl.


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Her hand on daddy’s face just melts me.

Our Family Photography Experience

I know everyone has different tastes and styles.  That is ok!  If you are looking for a formal, posed portrait, I am NOT your girl.  After 8 years in business, I have learned that I have to do what I love, and THIS is how I love capturing families.

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This is one of my earliest memories. I still remember sitting on the sink in the bathroom while my dad put shaving cream on my face.

Do you see this guy? Do you see the laughter and happiness in his eyes? I wish I could hear that laugh again. But until then, I have pictures to hold the memories.

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  • Katie - Oh… Shannon. This. ALL of this. My heart. I remember when your dad passed. You are so, SO right about every single point. It’s about the MOMENT, the love captured, the emotion. All these reasons why I love photography and exactly how you capture each image. So beautiful, friend<3ReplyCancel

  • Natasha Wiening - Shannon, this is beautifully written and I couldn’t agree with you more. I too love photographing in a relaxed style which shows love and laughter, they are true images and creative a positive vibe in a home. The photos you have with your daddy are so special, I am sure he is watching you feeling very very proud xxReplyCancel

  • Krystal - This is my favorite post you’ve ever done. I couldn’t agree more and you put it into words so perfectly!! Wonderful read and gorgeous images!ReplyCancel

  • Linda - The interaction between your families shows the love and fun they have together.  Beautiful work!ReplyCancel

Nashville TN Newborn Photos | Parker

Nashville TN Newborn Photos

Meet baby Parker.  He has big round cheeks, dark hair, pouty lips, and a mommy, daddy, and big brother that love him.  You may remember his family from his mommy’s maternity shoot a few months ago.  Well, he’s here and oh so adorable.  I LOVE the neutral color palette that we used for his newborn photos.

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I love the neutral palette that we used.

Newborn and Sibling Photos

My Classic, Deluxe, and Heirloom Newborn packages all include family and sibling photos.  These are always a favorite for parents.  Older siblings can be pretty unpredictable.  Especially with toddlers, so I can’t guarantee complete cooperation.  But they are always fun because you never know what you are going to get.  Parker’s big brother is a little older, so he stayed still just long enough to capture this beauty!

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Big brother is SO proud!

Nashville TN Newborn Photos

If you follow my work, you know that I LOVE natural, organic props and colors.  I think these deep browns and greens are beautiful and gives a little touch of the fall season.  It may not feel like fall outside, but I love incorporating it inside!

?pp_route=%2Fimage-resize&path=L2hvbWUvc2hhcC9wdWJsaWNfaHRtbC93cC1jb250ZW50L3VwbG9hZHMvMjAxOC8wOS8yNS01MzMwLXBvc3QvMjAxOC0wOS0yNV8wMDAyLmpwZw%3D%3D&template_id=8121822e-8812-421e-9bad-5c4d326b4073&width=768 Nashville TN Newborn Photos | Parker

These earth tones give a beautiful, rustic feel to Parker’s newborn photos.

Thanks for visiting our Nashville TN Newborn photo page.  We are currently booking December – March 2019 due dates.

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  • Katie - GORGEOUS!! I love all the earth tones and neutrals used in his gallery! What a beautiful work flow. Stunning work!!ReplyCancel

  • Kandi - Every single image is just beautiful! ! You capture the love so beautifully in each image! What lucky clients you have ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay - I love how rich all of your images are. The colors are just perfect and so natural. Big brother looks really proud too!ReplyCancel

  • KRYSTAL SANDEFUR - I love every image!!!  That last shot though with those warm fall colors just gets me all in the feels!! So talented Shannon!!!! Beautiful images as always!ReplyCancel

Nashville Fall Family Photography

Nashville Fall Family Photography

Fall is in the air!  Well… I think.  At least it’s getting close.  And mini sessions with Shannon Payne Photography are getting even closer!  I offer Nashville fall family photography sessions in September – November.  These sessions are scheduled outside just for family pictures.  Since I specialize in newborn photography, I have less spots year round for family portraits.  This is the time of the year that I offer the most family photo session spots!

You may be surprised that I don’t pick my locations based on leaves changing.  Yes, fall in Tennessee is beautiful, and the colors are the main reason.  BUT I choose each and every one of my locations based on LIGHT.  So each location is hand picked because of the lighting situation.

Besides location, clothing selections are super important for family pictures.  The family below was one of my very favorites from my fall mini sessions last year.  I just LOVED their outfits!  The coordinated without being too matchy matchy.  The color palette is neutrals with a little punch of fall color.  And the layers… They are everything!  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!  If you have a Nashville fall family photography session coming up, make sure you visit my What to Wear Inspo Board on Pinterest.

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This was one of my absolute favorite sessions from my 2017 fall mini sessions.

Nashville Fall Family Photography

We only have a few spots left for Nashville fall family photography sessions in 2018.  All remaining spots can be booked online at our booking site www.shannonpaynephotography.bigcartel.com

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