Keely Kessler | Infant Session

I always get a little nervous right before a newborn shoot, kind of like when I played soccer in college… you know, right before the game. I get zoned-in & start thinking through my execution strategy & try to make sure I relax & do what I am trained to do.

So… as I was headed to photograph 8 week-old little miss Keely Kessler, I had a ton of thoughts going through my head, “Will I be able to get the look I am wanting?” “Will she be too alert & more difficult to soothe?” “Is she in the development stage where she won’t lay still yet can’t hold her head up?” I was fairly nervous… I wanted to provide the Kessler family (Michael, Mindy, Nathan & Keely) with the perfect images. They are a wonderful family that I had the privilege of photographing this past December when Mindy was pregnant with Keely (their post here).

Sometimes you get worked up for no reason. Keely was perfect! I immediately went to work & had such a wonderful time documenting this stage of Keely’s life. Thanks Kessler family for letting me share this occasion with you guys!

Keely has the most gorgeous olive colored skin & beautiful dark hair (& a bunch of it I might add!).

Despite my best efforts to “pose” Keely, she resorted to the position of comfort… love it! I kept thinking, “What I wouldn’t give to be able to sleep that soundly!”

She was all smiles & giggles for her momma.The next few images are likely my favorite pics of the day… absolutely classic. Look at those eyes… wow!Could it be that I’m seriously jealous of this little girl’s hair?! She looks like a little rockstar.

Investing in What Matters | Personal Reflection

Wednesday mornings give life to me. Every Tuesday night I stand beside my bed & despite my weariness I set my alarm for 5 am. When the alarm sounds the next morning, I manage to escape the warm sheets & thus begin the routine.

Wednesdays are different. For well over a year now I’ve committed to meet with a group of men in our community weekly at 6 am as we discuss life… family… work… God. We spur one another along & remind ourselves of our priorities. We’re candid, sometimes painfully honest, accountable, & open. Some of us are teachers, some pastors, others principals, business men, doctors, creative types, an actor, musicians, factory workers, bankers, biz owners, etc. We are all from very different backgrounds: black, white, hispanic… wealthy, poor, & in-between… it doesn’t matter. It works. These guys have enriched my lives in ways unparalleled.

This morning I was reminded that the best things in life take time to develop. As one guy used to tell me, “A squash takes only a few weeks to grow, yet an oak tree takes a lifetime.” It was a great reminder for me to pursue & invest my life in things that will matter in the longterm. Rather than prioritize my schedule, it may be wiser to schedule my priorities.

What about you… what have you been thinking about lately? What is a lesson you were reminded of that came at the right time? Can you identify people in your life that help spur you on & remind you of your top priorities?

This pic I took the other day on a drive to a shoot serves as a great reminder of this lesson. Enjoy!

Brennan | 730 days

His name is John Brennan Finch; he’s the biggest of my little ones… the firstborn. Brennan is a blond-haired, big brown eyed, permanently tan little guy. He was named after a man who through his writings inspired me to be amazed at God’s furious grace & to risk loving others even if & when the affection is not reciprocated… a man’s man. My little guys seems capable of experiencing a breadth of emotions… from the height of excitement to the lows of disappointment… he’s been there.

I’m certain he’s taught me more than I’ve been able to instruct; being a Father often has that affect. Upon his arrival it seems I was given new eyes or at least new glasses through which I would see. It was almost magical that I cared less about myself & more about him… & her… our family. He’s reminded me to love fully, hurt deeply, to abandon pride… to care… to live!!!

On May 10, Brennan turned two… 730 days of life! It was an epic day! Banners were hung, cakes were baked, family/friends/neighbors came over, gifts were given… it was a great day. Brennan, I’m proud to be your dad! These pics are for you! There are so many people that love you son!

Brennan has some serious affection for Elmo.

Our good friends, the Princes, came over on Brennan’s b-day for hotdogs & hamburgers. Here is their beautiful little girl Ella Reese.

Lillian & Dean (aka Dean-O). Lillian is a fantastic photographer & artist. We have begun to take on several projects together & are shooting some weddings w/one another throughout this summer. You can check out her work here. Dean is one of the kindest little boys you’ll ever meet. We celebrated Brennan’s b-day with my family the day after due to work schedules. Here is our nephew Chase who is 7 weeks older than Brennan. This little guys has no fear… he is 100% boy!Here’s our nephew Hunter. Hunter is definitely one of Brennan’s favorite people in the world. My sister brought bubbles for the boys to play with… Brennan really got the hang of it. My little man, Knox. Gosh I love this dude… he is the happiest baby I’ve ever know. It’s rare that you don’t see a huge smile on his face; he constantly teaches me to be joyful. Knox & my woman!!Bailey was so excited… can’t you tell!This pic was just too perfect not to animate.Our fabulous neighbors, Phil & Judy (or as Brennan says, “Joo-Joo”) Anders. Brennan got a new bike but isn’t quite big enough to ride it. That didn’t stop Chase from giving it a go… he loved it!Knox & my mom (aka Meme).

The Brocks | Alan & Jennifer

Most of my memories of Alan go way back to when I was in high school & we went to Florida Camp with First Baptist Church. He was a few years younger but we shared the same enthusiasm for the annual 3-on-3 basketball tournament & volleyball. Fun memories!! And, he turned out to be an incredible basketball player. A few years later I saw Alan & he looked as if he were 7 feet tall.

Six years ago in July, Alan married Jennifer. Jennifer is from Sevierville, TN… home of the gorgeous Smoky Mountains & of course, Dolly Parton. After finishing college, they moved to Memphis for Alan to attend The University of TN’s College of Dentistry. After recalling history the other night we both realized that we lived in Memphis at the same time.

Alan now practices dentistry in Athens, TN & Jennifer balances teaching 6th grade while working on her Masters. As if they weren’t busy enough, they have a photography hobby turned biz & are doing a great job. Check out their blog here. Our session proved that they are equally as skilled in front of the camera as they are behind it. Great job guys!!! Thanks so much… we’re definitely hanging out again soon!

It was so neat being in their home. They purchased their house from my sister & her husband when they moved; it brought back some great memories. I’m pretty sure I painted several of the walls!

I love having dogs involved in shoots. Here are their two little ones, Beeson & Cooper. As soon as I walked into the house I was met with affection from these guys. Below is Beeson.

And here’s Cooper… Mr. Cooper is full blast!

We took a drive down the road to one of my favorite landscapes around. The weather was perfect, the field grass was high, & a beautiful couple to photograph… ahhh!

We found a nice shaded area around the corner.

Quick shoe change… what a guy… he’s a doctor, a photographer, a pilot… geez!

His & hers.

I named this their National Geographic promo shot.

Love it!!!

Clay & Megan | Knoxville, TN

It began with an email, “Is this Ben Finch from McMinn? Hey its Megan Watters! I’m getting married August 28th…” I was like, “Heck yeah… was there ever another Ben Finch from McMinn?” (I didn’t really say that). I think Meg was surprised that the Ben Finch she knew from High School was a photographer.

Last time I spoke with Megan was in High School when we all used to hang out after football games. Many things change in 10 years… aren’t we all thankful!!

Last Wednesday night it was great to meet up with Megan & her husband to be, Clay Prewitt. Megan & Clay recently moved to Knoxville from the Johnson City, TN… the area where they met & began their relationship. They’re two extremely talented people with a world of possibilities ahead of them. Meg transferred from an affiliate TV station in Johnson City to Knoxville’s WBIR Channel 10. Clay is an accomplished writer for the award-winning advertising agency, The Tombras Group. Additionally, they spend most weekends following Clay & his band, These Undowners.

We had such a blast Wednesday as we began our session at Sequoyah Hills Park in Knoxville before heading downtown for additional pics & a great Italian dinner at Oodles Uncorked. Meg & Clay are such a pleasure to be around, they’re personable, kind, & willing to trust me however I might lead. From the beginning, they assured me that they love my portfolio & they were up for anything! Can we say, perfect client!!! I am so eager for their wedding in August. Thanks again Meg & Clay!

I can’t get over this image… probably my favorite!

The trees at Sequoyah Hills are amazing… reminds me of little hobbit homes.

Due to Megan & Clay’s jobs that place them in the public quite often, we found the occasion fitting for a few headshots… love these!

One of my favorites of the day!

I had to resort to Clay’s super-skills to get us all in the picture using my 50mm lens.