Kismet Photography: Blog en-us (C) Kismet Photography (Kismet Photography) Tue, 17 Jan 2023 19:59:00 GMT Tue, 17 Jan 2023 19:59:00 GMT Kismet Photography: Blog 120 120 Meant To Be

Nature has a design? You mean it isn’t completely random? Have you ever turned the page on a new chapter of life and it just felt right? You can’t always trust your “gut” but often times there are scraps of information that your subconscious is picking up on because it is just “meant to be”. 


That is the heart and soul behind our logo and our business name. Two people from vastly different backgrounds coming together to build a business. There was nothing and one dreamer added another and the multiplier effect of two people pursuing a dream that inexplicably felt meant-to-be despite gut wrenching heartbreaks and setbacks. 


Originally we were going with Serendipity as our business name. Formulated with surging anticipation on late night phone calls from extreme distances. Only to find the name lane way to crowded thanks to the popularity of the movie by the same name. Pivoting to Kismet with it’s middle eastern origins had a similar meaning of destiny, fate, or meant to be. For us there was elements of faith and and designed by a greater power. 


As a former graphics designer I knew we need a strong and memorable logo that we didn’t need to redesign multiple times losing traction and recognition in the process. Being extremely short on cash with the intention of self funding the start up and growth of the business. It meant there just wasn’t funding to hire outside help despite casually consulting with the best  creative people who would give me a listen. 


The search was on and countless sheets of paper and redo’s on the computer just didn’t feel right. Searching for just the right meaning behind the logo seemed monumentally important. I just couldn’t throw up a “K” a cool font and call it a day. 


Previously on a trip to Africa I had become enthralled with fossilized nautilus shells. I had purchased a large one that had been made into a board game. In a deeply creative time of sorting through options and discarding pictures and illustrations online I became fixated on the nautilus shape and began to study its origins and suddenly lights and sirens went off in my head knowing I had just “accidentally” stumbled into exactly what I was looking for. 


The simplicity of Fibonacci’s sequence/formula and it’s logarithmic spiral was perfect in both it’s aesthetic and the deeper meaning as well. Just take a look at the pattern it creates and you can instantly recognize how this sequence works in nature like an underlying universal grid. A perfect example of this is the nautilus shell, whose chambers adhere to the Fibonacci sequence’s logarithmic spiral almost perfectly. This famous pattern shows up everywhere in nature including flowers, pinecones, hurricanes, and even huge spiral galaxies in space.


I could barely contain my excitement as I shared it with anyone who would listen. So many looked at me, and blankly nodded with a “He will be OK as soon as he calms down” dismissive look. 


Even the large font we used for “Kismet” in the logo was architect inspired and chosen to communicate creativity by design. But there is a sense of using it in a unpolished form. Intentionality doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. 


Our daily lives have been chaotic at times through several dizzying pivots and shattered dreams and intentions. Through it all the sense of purpose and design from an outside source of power and inspiration has inspired faith. That holds like an undeniable anchor through seismic upheavals, hurricane storms, and paralyzing cold. I am reminded of it every time I put on a leather patch hat or a logo’d shirt… Today I am dream chasing with a purpose that has an intentional and inspired destination and process.  Kismet: meant to be.


(Kismet Photography) Faith Fate Kismet Kismet Photography Photographer Purpose Serendipity Tue, 17 Jan 2023 19:58:20 GMT
What you see is what you get

These photos make me giggle. What do you get when you book with Kismet Photography?

You get two crazy, down-to-earth, people loving, adventurous photographers. We are excited and eager to capture shots that you can share for generations to come and that you are proud of.

What allot of people don't know, is that most of the time we go beyond being your photographer. If we see something that needs done, we do it. From helping decorate, tying a tie, ironing bridesmaid's and bride's dresses, food prep and setup, hair styling, even emergency seamstress when needed. We end up being baby whisperers, pet wranglers, light and sound techs, and full on posers. 

One way I break the ice with clients is to tell them that Gene poses really good like a girl. They always laugh and sure enough when he breaks into his mirror posing direction I'm never proven wrong. They always think it is hilarious. Yeah he loves me for that, LOL.

We will climb mountains, drive over rough terrain and Canadian potholes , climb trees, even dive into an ocean, lake or river to get you shots that will be unique and fun.

Mostly though you will get two people with a passion for photography. We've faced loos and heartache and understand the value a simple photograph can have to someone. Some think they don't need them, until it's all you have left and the value shift is dramatic.

We do what we love and love what we do. We couldn't be more thankful for the many people we have met in our business. You all have a huge part of growing our business and getting us to where we are today. We are forever grateful.

(Kismet Photography) Brunswick Family Kismet New Photographer Photography Portraits Portraiture Wedding Wed, 17 Mar 2021 01:04:31 GMT
Rossiter Wedding A gurgling brook headed to the nearby Bay of Fundy meanders across their home-place. They capitalized on their rural location to have an open space wedding and an on location photo session. Joining hearts together in covenant on their own land was the ideal way to plant roots in the red sandy soil. We wish you all the best John & Victoria.

Rossiter WeddingGone With The Wind in New Brunswick Canada...

PromisesPromises to love and protect, provide and nurture unending commitments... "Forever is as far as I go."

Promises to love and protect, provide and nurture unending commitments... "Forever is as far as I go."

Details The beautiful details of each wedding are as unique as a fingerprint. So much time and thought, money and effort goes into making each day uniquely personal and deserve time and attention to capture and preserve just right.

The beautiful details of each wedding are as unique as a fingerprint. So much time and thought, money and effort goes into making each day uniquely personal and deserve time and attention to capture and preserve just right.

Legacy of LoveThe greatest contribution to the next generation is a legacy of love and commitment that provides stability and lives out the foundation to grow on.

The greatest contribution to the next generation is a legacy of love and commitment that provides stability and lives out the foundation to grow on. Three generations of love and commitment. Beautiful rings proudly shared on this midsummer's afternoon.

HappinessCapturing the moments that make life worth the living.

The love and laughter, the moments captured. As the years tumble by like wandering rolls of sagebrush it is the moments of memories cherished that are the fences upon which life pauses and gives the pleasure and purpose in this passage through time. We are honoured to be commissioned to capture those times.

(Kismet Photography) Canada Canon Fredericton Hillsborough Hopewell Kismet Kismet Photography New Brunswick Photographer Photography rural wedding Wedding Wedding Photographer Mon, 03 Aug 2020 14:41:15 GMT
R&R: Racoons & Radiators The plans were set and the early morning rise was offset by the anticipation of a fun day together. We had a wedding consultation scheduled out on the coast. Then plans to hang out and find a place for great sunset pictures before heading home. 

Arriving at the clients house feeling prepared. We discussed our passion with two potential and recently engaged clients. Easy flowing conversation set everyone at ease and before we knew it a couple hours had slipped by. In the midst of the back and forth they brightly invited us to go see where they wanted to be married. 

Packing up and starting the fifteen minute drive. Jen was a chatter box of excitement telling me "We got this!" and "I do think we are going to shoot this wedding. I feel it, I feel it, I feel it..." my slightly exasperated response, "OK, OK already" . I was less than convinced and remained quietly optimistic that... OK I was pretty certain it wasn't going to happen. 

As we drove into the narrow road of Green's Point both of our jaws dropped and immediately understood why they would want to get married here. It was the kind of location we have dreamed of photographing like all those big time magazine photographers. Then my insides tightened because I REALLY didn't want to lose this one. They were a great looking couple in a dream location and I could already see the magazine submissions and now I was nervous and babbling like a school boy headed for ice cream.

We surveyed, talked details, suggested times, located sunset direction and gleefully realized the sun would set between the lighthouse and them on their wedding evening. Then discussing "First Look" choreography and in the midst of that they just asked when they could pay the Save-The-Date deposit. I stopped mid sentence and in a daze heard "Yeah we have decided we are definitely going to go with you guys."

Trying to mask the surge of happiness we glanced at each other and did our best to be casual and not give in to the overwhelming urge to fist pump and punch the sky. "Soooooo... What do you think about an engagement shoot on the fishing boat your family operates? A sunrise or sunset or..." Blair's eyes lit up and he said "That would be great! Do you want to see the boat?" Ummmm let me think "YES!!!" And we were off... 

Jen's eyes were glowing with overwhelming excitement as we toured the boat and discussed shots and possibilities. When they mentioned we would probably see a whale and or seal she almost melted on the spot. I was excited but she confessed as we climbed back into the car her butterflies all fluttering and she almost cried... ok so she did cry. Wiping tears with joy. 

But we weren't done as we paused in Saint George to get a shot we have wanted for some time of the Gorge...

A hearty meal of scallops and clams and a pause for some fantastic sunset shots and we were on our way incessantly chatting about ideas and plans.

Rolling happily along with the cruise set to keep us under the speed limit. The flurry of movement caught my eyes on the edge of the darkness. Hitting the brakes hard and evading before a loud whump and the sickening sound of what felt like the underside of the car being torn apart. Soon followed by the flashing warning lights and the nauseating sweet smell of coolant/steam. Pulling over to see coolant dripping everywhere and the front end looks like we hit a deer and not two racoons. This is when I wish for my truck or big SUV. 

Through a cascading jumble of thoughts, options, questions and phone calls came the sense that it would be better to wait till morning to figure where to have it towed. And it was comfortable, it is August and I have slept many nights in a car. We started settling in and discovered that in the interest of having a car that wasn't cluttered with unnecessary things I had removed the typical neck pillows and the posing blankets that usually travel with us. Still undaunted we dropped into a fitful sleep. Finally at 3:00 am we determined that it was too cold in the car to sleep. After several calls it was determined that no towing services were available where we were at. 

Finally a little after 4:00 I had the idea to see if I could drive slowly enough to keep the oil temperature down I could at least get the car into the range of being towed. Also if the car was running I reasoned we would have some heat, not remembering till later that heater core draws it's heat from the coolant which we had none. So at a pedestrian 15mph we started towards Saint John. This wasn't so bad we thought as we periodically stopped to let the engine cool. Once in the city though we realized the dealership was across the bridge and the shoulders of the road were very narrow. And Monday morning traffic was picking up, whizzing by us as we, with hazards blinking rolled along at our snail like pace. After several "Oh no, here we go." moments we crept into the dealership. 

They inspected the damage, while we frantically attempted to get our insurance company on the phone. Finally a live "Canada expert" talked with me and explained the difficulties. "Could I get the car across the border?" There were no adjusters in Canada and may take upwards of 3 weeks to get a contracted one to look at my car and on and on the difficulties mounted. Forty five minutes later I resolutely marched into the dealership to discover that the parts list for my car was right at $1800. Plus the labor would push it well over $3000. Not an amount I was prepared to pay and then hassle with my insurance company for reimbursement. Could they just put in a new radiator and repair the supports enough to get me back across the border? Sure they could and with such kindness we were buoyed and felt like we had a plan in place. Could they shuttle us to a restaurant to get some breakfast while we arranged for a rental? Certainly, Off we went. 

During breakfast Monday morning, finding a rental car proved futile except some extremely expensive ones. I declared we should get a motel. After all the service agents felt confident they could get the radiator in the morning and we would be on our way by Tuesday evening. Then we discovered that oddly enough the Hotel rates were all escalated to unbelievable rates and selling out fast. We secured one at a rate that left me fuming and muttering about price gouging but it was within walking distance so we walked in. Jen was feeling the pain of her heels that she had elected to wear to breakfast and leave her flat boots in the car. I was voted the one to walk a couple miles to get the rest of what meager things we had in the car and get the cameras. I made it back to the hotel a little worn out but ready to go get a later supper and see what tomorrow would bring. 

Tuesday morning at breakfast downstairs I checked on rental cars and to my dismay not a single car was available for any price. We learned the culprits were two cruise ship in the harbor that had released 6000+ tourists, spending money all willy nilly and stranding us. Another couple phone call let us know that the part had definitely not arrived on the morning truck and it would be at least another day. 

"YES!!" I loudly exclaimed and with relief I clicked the "BOOK NOW" button. I had located a suite at the Hampton for less than what we paid at the now booked out Best Western and it was just up the hill, an easy walk that kept us close to the dealership. I was a genius and wondered why I had never used Expedia before or even considered a career in a field I clearly had unparalleled skill in. We stepped out to merrily work and discuss business strategies while waiting for the appropriate time to check in. Puzzlement came over me while sitting at a late lunch when the Hampton emailed me and inquired when I would be checking in and I realized I had booked the Hampton B&B almost 30 miles away and there were now no motel rooms to be had. Maybe I wasn't destined to be the next great travel agent after all despite my recent bragging and swaggering around. Inquiries revealed we were a $40 cab ride from our accommodations. 

Accepting our fate we obligingly paid the fare and were pleasantly rewarded with a lovely and peaceful place for the night. A delightful walk amongst the lovely duck and beaver ponds, we later discovered were sewer treatment ponds but Jen was undaunted as she merrily clicked away and we discussed the beautiful rising moon and the really nice and clean little town of Hampton, NB. What a nice evening because tomorrow we would, of course, be on our way and this adventure would be over... right?

Breakfast Wednesday morning was fine affair of crystal and perfectly prepared breakfast by an obviously skilled cook. The view on three sides of a well manicured back yard was devoid of the frequented and hoped for deer but the scampering squirrels and the pleasant surroundings and new friend were company enough. We packed our stuff and checked out to go next door to the Tim Hortons and await the afternoon bus to go pick up our car and head for home. Only to learn that no the part hadn't arrived but the service agent would assist us in acquiring a car. We resignedly called the B&B and secured a room for another night and the car is still nonexistent... I sit here typing away with yet again the faith that tomorrow I will once again have back my battle scarred wheels to hit the road and catch up on the shoots that we have been rescheduling... Maybe, hopefully, possibly... Here's hoping.  

(Kismet Photography) Canada Collision Gene-N-Jen Kismet Photography Lighthouse lighthouse wedding New Brunswick Photographer Racoons Saint Andrews Saint George Volkswagen Wedding Wildlife Wed, 14 Aug 2019 23:03:09 GMT
Bankruptcy & Burnout Marketing ideas, concepts, and campaigns. Perfect promotions,  wonderful workshops;  Can’t-miss mini-shoots, stylized Sessions that tie in to promotions and create a marketing buzz on a shoestring budget. The success is overwhelming and the resulting stress-free life of photographing ideal clients with problem free kids who are so magnificently thrilled that they back armored trucks up to our newly remodeled and perfectly modern studio in a vintage building in a downtown with a small town, uptown vibe…. Beep, Beep, Beep Beep… The incessant alarm rips me out of my slumber. I am still groggy and not nearly as ready to bound out of bed as I envisioned last night when I ambitiously set my alarm. 

“If we can just stay busy we will have it made. Don’t worry that much about the pricing, just make a profit and we will be set. If we can just hold on for a little while longer." Chasing perfectly concocted plans with nebulous hopes that social media buzz and exposure will miraculously translate into the needed income to pay the mounting bills.” 

The mindset of a photographer in the midst of the “early years” accepting the common fate and mindset of a starving artist. Scared to death that if you dare to charge a living wage no one will hire you. So instead you trade away all semblance of a personal life or financial security. Editing all 267 photos for that free promotional shoot. Desperately hoping the organizers will be so blown away that they will flock to your web page booking shoots. Then demanding 40x120 canvas prints, while eagerly sharing how they have dreamed of spending multiple thousands on personal art for their walls... Thats the way it works in the training classes. In the real world its just crickets and silence except for the incessant phone calls from bill collectors. 

We have been thrilled with the connections we have built with our clients. It has been immensely fulfilling. Unfortunately despite the satisfaction the realities of life have left us both drained and frazzled. Wondering what happened to us and our dream. 

We have sat numbly staring at the numbers and realized that photographing for the suggested “going rate” is costing us. We are in the end paying people to allow us to slave away for embarrassingly meager pay. Our family has suffered. We have chalked it up to our uniquely difficult situation but we have had to stare blankly into the face of the truth. This isn’t sustainable… So. What is the answer to this long preambled dilemma? 

Finally, we accepted sound teaching and advice and are on track to build a sustainable business. One that invests back into itself and to those who operate it. That is an easier said than accomplished dream in and of itself. 

A paradigm shift, changing business models to align with some truths in the marketplace. #1 Photography is a luxury! It isn’t food, or shelter, or any of the essentials of life. Not everyone can afford it and while we truly have a passion for it for everyone, we have to make some difficult choices that will positively affect our family and offer a lifeline to our fledgling business. The mandate: Make it work by the numbers. 

#2 Photography is art! As an artist we have the unbelievably inspiring opportunity to create family heirlooms that will make and strengthen the core and cultures for those who value what we do. We will passionately love and pursue those opportunities to make life art with those families. We aren't trading our lives to produce USB drives that litter junk drawers with aging and corrupting files that have almost a 0% chance of ever being displayed on a wall. 

We have dreams of taking our photography skills and investing them into the causes of changing our world. Providing the opportunities for our family to witness the possibilities of a living and vibrant world. Crossing continents to pursue purpose and having handshake moments with destiny… We believe it is meant to be so much that we named our company after that synergistic concept of Kismet: meant to be. 



(Kismet Photography) Aeos Canada Canon Centerville Family Horses Kismet Kismet Photography Love NB New Brunswick Rotolight School Pictures Summer Thu, 08 Aug 2019 13:42:38 GMT
Send My Room

We are thrilled to be able to announce another expansion of our capabilities in serving you as your boutique photographer.

Our newest app walks you through all the steps necessary to get great photos of the walls in your home where you might display the results of your session(s) with us.

Going through this app will get the pictures to us so we can calibrate the room to the photos and show you the options that are available to you.

From large format collages with more traditional frames and mats or gallery wraps, acrylics even metal artwork. You are sure to love what it looks like on your specific walls deciding what sizes would be best. 

Included is a screen capture of the personalized email you will receive with a short, really nice video you can watch to make certain you are able to get it right. Even if you are the "non techie" in the family. All you need is a cell phone that can take and upload pictures. Warning: This can be addictive and incredibly fulfilling. 

Even if you are a past client, let us know and we will get you in on this exciting new app. 

This is a huge advancement in assisting people with visualizing their art in their homes. There is something so experiential and grounding about having those you love being the ultimate personalization of your space transforming a house into a home.

(Kismet Photography) artwork Family Grads Graduates Home Decor Kismet Kismet Photography Photographers Photography Portraits Weddings Wed, 07 Aug 2019 22:48:41 GMT
JFest Tennessee 2019  



This weekend we drove the bus for the youth of Pentecostal Worship Center in Spring City, TN.  Taking them to JfestTN 2019 in Chattanooga, TN. I don't know the official count but I heard there was somewhere around 12,000 people on the grounds.


The prevailing memory was it was HAWT!!!!!!! Miserably, crazy out in the middle of the desert HOT!!! OK, so maybe I am exaggerating a wee bit but the sun roasted us and made life almost unbearable. But we endured and enjoyed the music and the festival atmosphere. 


Everyone smelled of sunscreen and the flushed faces were wilting in the blazing sun. We did our best to not have too much envy for those who had the foresight to bring tents to shield from the blistering sun. Vast quantities of fresh squeezed lemonade and iced tea was consumed.

I knew I was in the middle of a different generation when despite their desperation to cool down, one is required to take a picture of their food before it can be consumed. Right Leah?


Riley Clemmons was the first performer with some really good songs and song writing. While trying to bring energy in the mounting heat. A young talent with a desire to go somewhere clearly.


Following Riley was Ryan Stevenson living just down the road in Nashville. His song "No Matter What" struck a chord in hearts and they reached up into the heat to connect with heaven. I actually really liked "The Eye of the Storm".


Building 429 was next up and I will confess as an "Old" guy I had never heard of them but they clearly were a seasoned and talented band that knew what they were about in taking the splintered and spread out crowd along with them on a journey. Some serious abilities there. I resonated with their song "This Is Not Where I Belong".


While the music was going on, kids world and rides was happening in the midst of the fair like atmosphere.

_W8A9077_W8A9077 I confess my favorite artist of the day was Tauren Wells. A talent after the mode of Bruno Mars with a flavor of MJ in the early days... His talent didn't need to be autotuned and his energy was infectious as he took us to church in the midst of a festival.

_W8A9535_W8A9535 His songs "Known" "God of the Hills and Valleys" and "God's Not Done With You Yet" really moved the field of people.

_W8A9473_W8A9473 Seriously is there any instrument he doesn't play? What an amazingly anointed talent.


Following that dynamo was another incredibly talented musician/singer in Matthew West. Unfortunately I was drained by the summer sun and had to go get some sleep in the bus so I could drive the kids home. They were all adamant they wanted to stay till the very last.


I wasn't there for the last act in Lecrae. I am not a huge rapper fan so it was the one I was least interested in but kids were very moved by what he had to share and had glowing comments about him.


Fireworks were the nightcap on a wonderful day full of memory making and good times.


Despite the painful sunburns and the worn out bodies. The weary smiles were genuine.


That was JFestTN 2019 and we were all happy we went and experienced it together.

(Kismet Photography) TN Building 429 Chattanooga Fireworks JfestTN JfestTN 2019 Kismet Kismet Photography Matthew West photographer Riley Clemmons Ryan Stevenson Tauren Wells The Young Escape Fri, 24 May 2019 00:54:00 GMT
Cutting Horse Show I opened the car door to the rhythmic but muffled sounds of loping hooves, the smell of horses and cattle with a twinge of leather hung in the air with the fine dust and the sense of contentment settled over me. I was anxious because I didn't know what to expect and I really wanted to do a good job. Tenatively making my way towards the center of the arena, spotting Frank, the only face I knew and that was because I looked him up on Facebook. Mustering confidence I didn't feel, I strode up stuck out my hand, offered a card and a handshake. Casually and in no huge hurry I was directed to a place for my table.

Unloading and hauling my gear I had trouble concentrating on setting up because I was literally surrounded by gorgeous horses and that pervailing sense of contentment for me. I just wanted to go lean on a fence and talk or swing into a saddle and join the circling riders warming up.

Then I was eager to get out my camera so I rushed to set up quickly and figure out some workflow process. I wanted to be professional, though inside I was a mess of nerves and strain. With no one to turn to for instructions, just winging it like the newbies I was. Struggling to import files correctly as everything the announcer was saying was so strange and new. Along the way figuring how to separate out the classes in the future so everyone isn't all lumped in together. 

Finally I grabbed my "baby" and settled that familiar weight of a camera around my shoulders, now here was something I knew how to use and I was eager to use my skills so lets go!!! 

Not so quick. First the National Anthem, "Ohhh say can you see..."

National AnthemHats off, salute to Ole Glory.

Followed by prayer for the riders. I do believe these are my people.

I knew the action would be fast so I meticulously went over my settings and swung up my big lens for some test shots. Ugggh color and lighting is different all over the arena. Scramble down to the camera bag for an Expodisc and voila, fixed.

Soon though, I realized my aperture was to high and and the noise in my photos was unbearable.  I knew I couldn't achieve the sharpness with this lens set up. Quickly diving back into the camera bag, switching out gear I scrambled back into position. Now this is better. But wait, I am getting motion blur. Into camera setting to bump up limits and conquer that.

RRRR, tracking this lightning fast action is hard to hit correctly. Ahhh wait there is a setting for focusing on erratic subjects... now go find it buried deep in the menus. Ohh and one more thing lets tweak that exposure setting so it can account for the hugely different lighting all over the arena... Ahh there we are and YES!!! Now this looks much better and this is what we came here to shoot!!!

It took me most of the day on my knees propped on the railing straining with concentration. But out of the blue Vicki the announcer said "And that is the last contestant and this concludes this horse show." Suddenly my stomach felt like my throat had been cut and I was starved to death. 

I know as a professional I am supposed to act like I have it all together and be confident but I was anything but. Vicki gave me tips through out the day for shots riders would want and Frank was so patient in going over how cutting events are scored.  Everyone smiled and was incredibly kind when I swung the camera their way.

I managed to capture some really good shots and some people kindly purchased so some of the expenses were offset. I learned soooo much on my first day at the horse show. What I learned most was this was fun!!! And I love watching highly trained horses and expert riders do something that harkens back into another place in time and I felt at home. Happier than a pig in mud.

I have been pretty transparent because I desperately want to do this some more. At the same time I know that I need to make sure I get the killer pictures that take people's breath away. Capturing those critical moments when the countless hours of training pay off and that crouching horse is locked in eye to eye with that cow in that moment of victory. But I also need to make it worthwhile as a professional because I might be addicted...  

(Kismet Photography) TN Canon cutting Cutting Horse GeneNJen horse Horse Show James E Ward Event Center Kismet Kismet Photography Lebanon photographer photography ranch show Tennessee western Wilson County Fairgrounds Thu, 23 May 2019 04:26:07 GMT


Delivering framed prints to clients is such a joy. Seeing the glow of happiness in their eyes as they look at their images ready to hang on the wall is so much fun. By the time we reach this point with clients we are usually personal friends and it is an easy going fun time. Somewhere in there the client-turned-friend usually is talking about their thoughts and plans for future shoots or friends they have talked with about one for them. 

Some other photos from our session together... Lisa-6941-2Wrapped UpThey were clearly enjoying being together and getting comfortable in front of the camera.

Wrapped Up - They were clearly enjoying being together and getting comfortable in front of the camera.

Lisa-7192Go Big Orange!!! Tennessee girl and her orange spotted horse...

Go Big Orange!!! - A Tennessee girl and her orange spotted horse... 

Lisa-6975AffectionShared affection makes the world all OK. Stress and life's issues all melt away and peace replaces anxiety.

Affection - Shared affection makes the world all OK. Stress and life's issues all melt away and peace replaces anxiety. 

  Lisa-6976You OK?Sharing those quiet moments makes the world all go right.

You OK? - Sharing those quiet moments makes the world all go right. 



(Kismet Photography) 5D MKiii affection Canon cow horse cutting Cutting Horse East Tennessee horse love Kismet Kismet Photography Knoxville love Morristown Oak Ridge ranch Tennessee working horse Wed, 15 May 2019 18:05:41 GMT
Comfort Zone Our recent client Megan said "Agreeing to this shoot was wayyy out of my comfort zone, but Kismet Photography did not disappoint! I’ll treasure these memories with the two mares I’m so blessed to call mine. #SmartKindel #AhhMommaMia 

Later in comments on a Facebook post she confessed that she was so anxious she almost cancelled the day of the photoshoot. Especially since she is more comfortable in jeans and boots than in a flowing dress and heels. We thought she rocked it and apparently 550+ likes/loves and comments later maybe she is getting the message that we are not alone in that estimation.

We had a vision for this shoot that included pictures like this:

Collaborating together helps everyone climb out of the ruts of our comfort zones and produce artwork that we can be proud of for years to come. 

She visibly relaxed when we communicated that we mostly wanted to get images of her interacting with her two "babies". Her two horses are athletes and they have all trained together for endless hours in the heat and cold. The shared love between them was visible and translates through the camera. 

She isn't alone in getting anxious and awkward about being in front of the camera. We have found though that with directing and tips and explanations that our clients began to really enjoy themselves and anticipate rather than dread the final results as our time together progresses. Then you get accidents like this when the flash trigger malfunctions:

And then magic moments when a high strung and ahtletic cutting horse performs like an actress on a stage and you get captures like this. and you smile so hard your face hurts.


Our heart message to those of you who may read this and be thinking "Yeah but..." Step over any fear, push aside anxiety and breathlessly take the plunge. We will do our best to make sure that you will have a great time and the resulting Oohs and Awws make you so happy you got out of your comfort zone.

(Kismet Photography) AhMommaMia Canon cutting horses East Tennessee equine photography GeneNJen horse pictures horses Kindel Kismet Kismet Photography Megan Megan Pine Megan Skinner Pine Mia MKIII quarter horse smartkindel Tennessee Tue, 07 May 2019 10:10:00 GMT
Reunion 2019 ~ Grace Family

The conversation as recalled went something like this: "You know we haven't seen each other in a very long time." "Well, why don't we plan when we can all get together and have a family reunion?" "That sounds like a great idea!" "We could do it when Robert & Marion come down from Canada. On their March break to Mom's in Oak Ridge." "We would need a hall or something." "Everyone bring something potluck." "Wouldn't it be fun if we brought some instruments and sang some of those songs we used to." "The kids could get to know each other and not be strangers." "I am super excited about this." "So am I" "Me too" "Me three"... And the Grace Family Reunion was begun 40 years ago. 

Gathering in for the 40th time from all points on the compass. Everyone has changed dramatically over the years. Grandma and Grandpa Grace as well as Robert (sibling) have finished their earthly journey. We pause at the start of each reunion to remember them and all the others in the past 4 decades who have gone on and the marks they left on our lives. 

"To the outside world, we all grow old.
But not to brothers and sisters.
We know each other as we always were.
We know each other's hearts.
We share private family jokes.
We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys.
We live outside the touch of time."
~ Clara Ortega

This was the first year the Kismet photography team was asked to set up and take portraits. Over the years we have always taken a boat load of not-so-flattering candids and action shots. We still did that we but we also captured some family portraits that we were able to make available. 

Here is a fusion video of some of the shots we were able to capture...


We got as many as would together for a group shot with all of its challenges. 

Even a crazy version which is probably a more accurate portrait of our family. 

On Friday night 28 family members gathered at Calhoun's in Oak Ridge for a pre-reunion meal.

Opening with the "Star Spangled Banner" 

A moment of silence for those who have "gone on".

Then it was time to dig into the grub. 

The line formed quickly and exclamations and murmurs of "Mmmmm this looks good," "David this BBQ is amazing!" as some couldn't wait to get to their seat before popping in a tid bit of the savory morsels. "I have been waiting all year for some more of this..." NO one left hungry. 

Hugs for ALL because we are a "huggy" family. 


Phyllis and Don Bell's portrait. 

Some were excited other's were coerced by family members who were heard to say "I want pictures!!!" Cynthia was a vocal supporter, advocate and sales person. LOL

Roger & Debbie even aquiesced a got in for a minisession. 


Some were a little more reluctant than others about getting in front of the camera. 

Serenaded by seven Spanish angels, my sibling Sherri & Robert even got in front of the camera. 

I had to take advantage of the oportunity to get a photograph with my Mom. 

And what Nanie lets her girls get away without a couple of shots. 


Thanks so much Grace Family for the honor of photographing you guys this weekend and for the joy of being a part of this great family. Through heartbreak, loss and pain we have weathered and learned to laugh at our own dumb mistakes and joy in each other's triumphs and blessings... Till next year, "Fare thee well" ~ Eugene 


(Kismet Photography) 40th Family Florida Fortieth Grace Grace Family Kentucky Kismet Photography Love Pentecostal Worship Center photography portraits Reunion Spring City Tennessee Fri, 03 May 2019 21:48:26 GMT
What helps you be creative? What fuels your fire? Ignites your flame? Gets your creative juices flowing? 
Is it talking with a certain person? Going to a certain location? Having some quite time? Or simply watcing a class online. Maybe all the above. 
For me, I find I am most a peace and able to focus more on my creative side when I am with nature. Being in nature tends to reduce my fear, stress, and helps me to breath and find things I am thankful for. When that happens, I become very creative. I can write blog posts forever by simply seeing a butterfly land on a flower, hearing the water ripple through the rocks, or the birds chirping. I become thankful and can find things to be thankful for. Even the struggles that seem to leave me so stressed seem to disappear. 

We want to hear what fuels you. What helps you on those days where getting out of bed seems like a struggle and nothing seems to be going right. 

Whatever or whoever it is, go to the those people and places that set a spark in your soul.

"The smallest spark ignites the fire that lies deep inside you, and suddenly everything is possible"

(Kismet Photography) 5D MKIII Canon Creativity East Tennessee Fall Creek Falls Ideas Inspiration Kismet Kismet Photography Muse Nature Peace Photographer Photography Soul Healing Spencer Tennessee Spencer TN Tennessee Tranquility Water Waterfalls Wed, 01 May 2019 17:45:00 GMT
WHY? Priest 60th Anniversary

“Start With Why” ~ Simon Sinek

“Thanks Rocco, now my brain is on fire.” I drank in the words of the Australian Photographer.  Replaying them over and over, dissecting each part and getting happier by the minute. He was verbalizing what is in my heart. The answer to the question people have in their eyes when they find out I am a people photographer. One of their eyebrows goes up and they just look at me oddly and sometimes mumble one word, “Why?”

I once had a family member say to me, “Well you know photography doesn’t pay the bills.” It bounced around in my head and became an accusatory mantra that plagued me and swelled the self doubt. The struggles of acquiring the necessary equipment and hammering out the skills needed to “go to the next level” seemed to be proving those words to be accurate. But the joy that made the world level out was undeniable when I squeezed the shutter, glanced down at the screen and fist pumped the sky with an explosive “Yes.” Watching the tumbling jumble of emotions on the faces of those photographed as their images materialized in front of them is priceless and strangely stilled the torturing echoes. 

The answer to “Why?” is found in what my mission is as a wedding photographer. The first goal is to accurately document the history. I have always been fascinated by history. It’s epics, the anecdotes, and the catalyst moments that triggered monumental events. Sometimes the narrative gets blurry in the retelling but I would sit and stare at the photos until they came to life with all the chaos and noise. Those photos unfolded dramas, they were the anchor points, the undeniable and the indisputable.  

Those images memorialize the heart of the people captured in them. Now we can go back to that point in time and know something of their existence. Births and baptisms, birthdays and funerals, graduations and weddings all monuments to the milestones of their lives. Legacies preserved to share lives and loves with the next generations. 

I can’t fully explain why these things speak to me as they do. I may have been deeply affected by the loss of my Dad at such an early age. Or maybe it is something hard wired in me. It is undeniable and authentic whatever the source or motivation. The unadulterated joy in capturing the founding of a family or memorializing the finishing of a tough education process even the preserving a new miracle of life. Often times I am fairly certain when everything is aligned and I have prepared with all the skill I possess, that moment I squeeze the trigger, cha-chunk, that’s the photo I came to get. 

Each and every continuing education class I take and every skill I acquire, gives me one more tool in my toolbox to access. Increasing my accuracy in documenting the history. Memorializing the life in front of me, enabling the lives and loves to be passed on to the next generations. Artworks of people’s lives hang in their homes forming connections to the past where legacies are not forgotten.


(Kismet Photography) 60th Anniversary Brunswick Canon Celebrate Celebration Family GeneNJen History Kismet Legacy Memorialize Milestone MKIII New Party Photography Priest Wed, 20 Feb 2019 16:14:41 GMT
If I Could Make Every Day Be Like Yesterday You don't have to be full on crazy to be in this family but a dash of pshyco will help.

You don't have to be full on crazy to be in this family but a dash of psycho will probably help. 

Yesterday I had the opportunity to have all my kids together which is very rare. Everyone showed up and we spent the day laughing, eating and spending unplugged quality time together. The smiles were contagious from one kid to another as they chatted and goofed around with each other. 

I watched them and all I could do was smile. My heart was so full and so proud of these seven babies I have been blessed with. I looked back on our life and thought “Wow! Look at us. The fact that we can smile is nothing short of amazing”

Life has not been the one of the greatest rides for us. We have watched drugs and alcohol destroy our family, and tear us apart. We have been first hand witnesses to what poor choices and rebellion can do, and we know what it’s like to live with regrets. Yet, we still smile. 

I made the statement that “if I could make everyday like yesterday, I would” 

Then I started thinking...

Happiness isn’t a one day thing. It isn’t just having my kids all together, and it certainly isn’t in the activities and fun events we do. 

Happiness is within. It’s learning to let go of what we cannot change. Leaving the past in the past and working towards a better future. 

Happiness isn’t things going our way all the time, but it’s being content and trusting God when things get tough. 

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens,
but often we look so long at the closed door
that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.”
~ Helen Keller

Campfire and some music... everyone laughing, even some impromptu dancing and of course the Cha Cha Slide... there are no pictures of that since everyone got in on it. 


I don’t want to WISH that I could make every day like yesterday. I want to MAKE every day like yesterday. 

The smiles, the laughter, it’s all up to us how we handle situations and how we let them impact our lives. I don’t want to wish it to be different when I have the opportunity to make it different. 

“Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life
in which chance has placed us,
but is always the result of a good conscience,
​​​​​​​good health, good choices,
occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.”
~ Thomas Jefferson


(Kismet Photography) Bar-B-Q BBQ Bonfire Campfire Camping Canada Cookout Dancing Debec Family Food Good Life Well Lived Love Music New Brunswick Quarry Siblings Smiles Wed, 27 Jun 2018 23:06:39 GMT
Photography Is Truth

"A snapshot keeps the moment from running away"

I can't express the sentiments I feel when I look at these pictures.

Being a photographer, its our job to preserve these moments. The capture of time to experience the same emotions at the split second of a flash and the click of a shutter.

These photos remind me time and again as I look at them, of the pride and overwhelming joy. Watching these guys happily spinning across the dance floor. These are moments I want to freeze. Misty eyes fogging up my camera at the smiles and laughter. It's Tammy and Mike's wedding day. Their overriding wish is that all their guests have a great time celebrating their special day. Enabling them to look back on their photos, and laugh, or cry happy tears at the preserved slices of time they cant get back but they can replay. We did it!!!!
One thing that I have learned as photographer, is that I fall in love with the people I photograph. It's not so much looking, as it is feeling. Connecting in the moment with the emotions our clients are feeling. Shianne, you look so incredibly happy! These captures pull me into your heart, happy that your mother is marrying such an amazing man. A man who is going to take on the role of a step father to you and your sister. It's priceless, truly. Pure emotions are captured through my lens in that moment. A flash of realization, "Photography IS truth." It is a truth that can now be printed and put in a frame for them to walk by and look at everyday, and smile as it washes away the grit of a tough day with the smiles of yesterday.

As David Alan Harvey says...
"Don't shoot what it looks like, shoot what it feels like"



(Kismet Photography) 24-105 5D 70D Atlantic Canada Canada Canon ceremony Dance Family food Fredericton Friends Kismet Kismet Photography laughter matrimony Mike Mike & Tammy Mike Roberts MKIII Moss N.B. NB New Brunswick New Maryland Roberts. Siblings Sisters smiles Tammy Tying the knot Wedding Mon, 18 Jun 2018 22:56:10 GMT
Heartbreak & Triumph

Gene: My excitement spiked as I looked at the details, almost giddy I shared it with her. 

Jen: "OKKKKK... Soooo why so excited? It looks pretty small. Why are you going nuts?" 

Gene: "This is a game changer in photography. You cannot make great pictures without great light. It is the singular greatest factor in the capture of great portraits. And yet only incremental changes have occurred in lighting for a very long time. But there it is...  A continuous LED light that is also a flash." The possibilities began to daisy chain in my mind and elation exploded in me. 

Jen: As I learned more of what this little light could do my questions change to amazement and wonder. How can something so small, do so much? And then I caught the fire and couldn't quit looking at it and the videos of what it could do for our business. I simply HAD to have it! 

Gene: Uhhhh Ohhh, I may have created a monster here. She is even more excited than I am. 

Jen: Business took off and I became exhausted with the overflow of work so set my desires for a new light on the back burner. Then the unthinkable happened. One evening in the middle of a shoot our Mr. Dependable lighting system began, shooting sparks, and smoking. My horror was indescribable as struggled to keep my composure and finish the shoot with smiles and professionality. 

My horror became almost outright panic at the next shoot. When despite careful troubleshooting my second light and my only back up, burnt up before my eyes. 

Gene: When I found out about the lighting system burn up my stress spiked to stroke levels and a sense of helpless frustration engulfed me. I scrambled to figure out a solution. I was elated to learn the lights could be repaired and if we did it ourselves the cost would be cut in half. 

Jen: The panic and shaking in my hands as I reached to take the first screws out was horrible. I was literally sweating and breathing like I was going into labor. Handling it so carefully. "Sssshhhhing" the kids and acting like I was about to perform surgery. Then I did it! I fixed the light and suddenly I went from panicked breathing, to dancing around the kitchen shouting "Who da boss, oh yeah, girl power!!" Knowing that I saved us a pile of money in fixing them myself was a HUGE proud moment for me.  

BUT the best part was realizing I had enough money now to buy the new light myself. I had worked so hard doing my job at the care home and then heading straight to photoshoots to be able to save money to get these lights. It felt like everything was coming at me when my older light system "went up in smoke". In a panic, I had to learn to shoot using natural light again. I kept pushing and finally had enough saved up to get this new light system.

As I was hovering over the "checkout" button, I was seriously so excited I thought I was going to be sick. My tummy was doing flip flops and I turned into this giggly, big sparkly eyed child who was let loose in a candy store. I literally closed my eyes and squealed "I'm doing it, I'm doing it" and "Click" that little sound echoed through me as I stepped into a new place for me. I had earned the money to make my first big photography purchase and the rush that surged through me was the best feeling in the world. 

Gene: What the new light gives us for capabilities is secondary to seeing the accomplishment glittering in her eyes. The swell of triumph tightened my chest. I can't wait for her to show off what her new toy can do in moving us forward in our pursuit to be the best people photographers. 

(Kismet Photography) 2 dreams elinchrom flash high speed synch kismet kismet photography led lighting neo photography portrait portraiture quadra rotolight Sat, 28 Oct 2017 16:54:51 GMT
Down & Dirty

What do you and your clients do for the perfect shot?

I have had people say to me "Your job is so easy. You just stand and point a camera and take pictures. It's not a real job."

Ummmm, Say what?

Anyone that's been on a shoot with me can tell you that it is no simple small task to take pictures, nor am I just pointing and shooting.

“If you want something you've never had.
You must be willing to do something you've never done.”
― Thomas Jefferson

This applies to photography. To get that unique shot, that unique location and unique pose, you have to go to places where others don't want to. I always warn my clients that they will leave the shoot sweaty, messy and sore… If it's not painful, it's not pretty.

This client, in particular, was willing to go to those unique places. She climbed waterfalls, was freezing cold, stepped on jagged rocks in her bare feet, but was a complete trooper and was eager to take on the next task. She even submerged herself in the water with just her floppy hat visible. Funniest thing ever. 

It's these kinds of things that believe it or not make shooting so much fun. To see the clients reaction when they look at the pictures and their mouth flies open saying "Omgosh, that's so pretty”

We don't want to be like other photographers. We want to stand out, and we want our brand to be recognized by someone simply seeing our pictures and say "Hey, that's Kismet"


We love what we do and will go anywhere to do it. Even in freezing cold water in the middle of the winter. We may be a little side of crazy but it's the unseen places I want to see.


“The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.” 

― Albert Einstein

(Kismet Photography) barefoot camera crazy dirty funny kismet mud photographer photography unseen places waterfalls Fri, 29 Sep 2017 15:21:14 GMT
Share Your Flame

"A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle” ~ James Keller


As of late, I have had many people ask me why I would help other photographers build their business. Why I would share with them poses, lighting, and locations etc. 

Why would I want them to be good and take from my business? 

One thing I have learned in this business, is that everyone, even the greatest started at the bottom of the totem pole, and didn't have two sweet clues what they were doing. They simply had a passion for photography and wanted to learn. 

Thats me! 

I looked at my very first family photo shoot I did the other day and cringed. I remember at the time being so proud and thinking it looked amazing. Knowing what I know now, after studying, doing seminar after seminar, spending countless hours watching Sue Bryce, Luigi Fedeli, Sal Cincotta, Doug Gordon, Kelly Brown and so many other photographers and having my fiancé coach me till my eyes glazed over. I realize that I too, still have so much room to grow. Even the greatest of the great are still growing and learning.  

The photography world comes out with a new invention and creative ideas everyday. Someone has to test them and get to work using them as tools to create new artwork. 

If I didn't have the help I had when I started this journey, I may not be where I am today. I have made friends with some of the industries greatest influencers. In my naiveté I just started talking with them (there are some humorous stories that shall remain untold here) unaware at the time how little I actually knew. Instead of them disdaining me and refusing to speak to me, they were gentle and responded with kindness. Now they are among my best friends and I feel the open, unthreatened warmth from them. 

Just last week I finally had a lightbulb moment with getting my lighting to the place I have been pushing for. I'm still working on it and haven't perfected it yet, but the excitement when that light bulb went off was something I talked about for days. I would tell Gene "I'm certain your tired of hearing this, but I am just soooo happy." He would smile and say "I know you are babe, and that makes me happy.”


Why wouldn't I want someone else to feel like that?


Lifting each other up by remembering where we all begin is going to bless you more than tearing each other apart. For me, it's not a competition. It's about learning, changing lives, hearing the young girl who was having a panic attack over being in front of my camera say "you made me feel so beautiful and you made it so easy" is what it's about. 


A flower doesn't watch the flower next to it.. it just blooms. To all you who are starting out in a business whether it be photography, training, baking, whatever. Keep blooming in the direction your heart wants to go. Don't look around at others and how good they are. They worked hard to get to that point. Cheer them on. Remember a rising tide raises all boats and business is dynamic and not a static pie in that I have to jealousy guard my slice.


I will continue to strive to get better and more accomplished in my skill set. That isn’t to angrily protect my “territory” but to answer that creative drive for the pure joy of expressing the artist within me. 


Don't look down on the ones starting out. Offer them tips and advice to help build them up. Remember there are always those above you and below you no matter what level you are at. In the end, you will be blessed by being the candle that lit another candle.

(Kismet Photography) #genenjen camera empower enrich fulfillment grow growing impart inspire james keller kindness kismet kismet photography life memories mentor motto photographer photography satisfying share shine synergy teamwork Thu, 28 Sep 2017 23:39:36 GMT
#GeneNJenSetSail Eugene: Hey guys!!!! The news we have been working on!!!! Super pumped!!! Excited!!! Jennifer and I have set a wedding date, June 16, 2018 and location, Bar Harbor, Maine. It all hinged on the photographer we wanted. I know huge newsflash there huh?

Jennifer: One of the most important things around our wedding is having a great photographer. I have followed many and there are so many fantastic ones out there. I know that when our special day is over, and I have nothing left of our day (flowers have wilted, expensive dress that will never be worn again, and the fun and entertainment of the venue is long passed). I will have show stopping photos and and an amazing experience to look back on. That is what is important to us.

Eugene: She had a dream. There were several more convenient options and even conservative thoughts of holding money back to start a new life and expand our business in a new location and… So many things and all of them require money. That is just the cold facts of life isn’t it? In the end while driving through the darkened night hours talking it through from every possible angle I knew we would regret it if we didn’t push hard for our dream.

Jennifer: We want our day to be about making, capturing and preserving our memories. Ones that we can't do a "redo" on. To insure that happens, we have chosen one of the best photographers out there. One that I admire and have a ton of respect for. Not just for his work, but for his heart and passion for what he does. Luigi Fedeli, I could not be more proud and honored to have you as our photographer for our special day.

Master Collection 2016 - Wedding Fine Art 2016 from Luigi Fedeli on Vimeo.

Wedding FineArt 2015 from Luigi Fedeli on Vimeo.

POST WEDDING ROMA - A Memorable Shoots from Luigi Fedeli on Vimeo.



Eugene: The awards he has won are virtually endless but it's that his art often makes me stop breathing. This is the artist I wanted and we are soooo excited to share with our friends and family the joyful merging of two life paths and our families.

The practical discussion… the cost of this announcement is staggering to us. We are NOT wealthy or even close to it. This is the second wedding for each of us so no bank accounts but our own to tap to cover it. The ripping reality of that made this a heart rending decision and in the end we have decided that this is central to our dream of our day and we want it captured magnificently. 

Jennifer: For Eugene and I, this is a dream. We know as photographers how very important pictures are. We have heard so many people say "I wish I would have spent the money on a photographer!” Above my dress, our venue, music, location and all the other details of our day, our photographer was the top priority. Luigi, your friendship to Gene and I through this process has been so rewarding. I am more excited now than ever and can breath so much better knowing that our day is going to be captured the way we want it to be.

(Kismet Photography) #GeneNJen #GeneNJenSetSail #GeneNJenTieTheKnot Bar Harbor Canon Kismet Kismet Photography Luigi Fedeli Maine Photographer affordability can't afford costs dream expensive family price wedding Wed, 22 Mar 2017 17:11:39 GMT
Caylin and Ally

Being a girl is cool, but everyone knows that being a teen girl in today's society can be rough. Trying to discover who you are, your likes, dislikes and growing into your own body while your baby face vanishes and you take on a more mature look. It can awkward and sometimes scary. Some hide away, others embrace it!  Yesterday, these two girls embraced it.
It was so awesome for us as photographers to watch their confidence grow with each capture. They both had been worried about it being awkward being in front of the camera and having a stranger take their photos.  As time went on and with each pose and smile, their smiles got bigger.
That is what Kismet is about. Making people feel beautiful and confidant with themselves. Capturing lifelong friendships and empowering young girls to love who they are and be the best they can be while building each other up. Seeing the excitement on not only their face, but watching Mom and Dad's excitement and pride as they tried picking out favorites. Then our joy comes, when they say "We want all of them!"
We had a blast with you girls and despite the freezing cold temperatures, you rocked it! I hope you both continue on the path you are on. Smart, beautiful young ladies getting ready to take on the world!

"You have what it takes to be a victorious, independent, fearless woman"- Tyra Banks

(Kismet Photography) 24-105mm 70-200mm Awkward Canon Comfort Friendship L-358 MKIII Photography Teen Teenager and blond blonde braces brunette cold curls early elinchrom ezybox flannel freezing girls golden hour plaid quadra sekonic smiles snow teen Thu, 05 Jan 2017 01:00:52 GMT
Ordinary Days, Slipping Away We ThreeLiving with regrets & Missed opportunities.

Saturday November 11th, Kismet photographed our first church fund-raiser. We had many people come and go and each impacted our lives in very different ways. One client we had though, really touched our hearts... 

As I called her into our temporary photography studio at the church, she said in a quiet voice "I have an unusual request", to which I responded "sure." She proceeded to tell me about her husband's passing due to cancer in April and wanted to know if I could get a picture of her and her daughter with his picture.

I remember looking at her tear filled eyes at just the mention of his death. It smacked me in the chest like a ton of bricks. My automated but emotional "Yes, I can do that" slid out. I was immediately grateful for every bit of constructive criticism I endured and every detailed lesson on posing and lighting and camera operation they worked on autopilot in the background as I struggled to hold back my own tears to capture this moment for them. 

As we were viewing the pictures, she told us how they had always wanted family pictures done but kept putting it off with comments of "Wait until we lose some weight" and "When we aren't so busy." He was diagnosed with cancer, and 8 weeks later passed away. Tears flowed as she spoke about how they thought they had so much time. They never expected for their life to take such a tragic turn.

Now, all she has left is his closely cropped picture and she wanted to include him. I couldn't help but weep with her.

In my own life, my kids would take pictures and I would respond with "ewww, delete that, I look horrible" not even thinking that it could be the last picture of them, or of myself. It made me realize that in the end, people don't care what you look like, if you're hair is a mess, you're a bit over weight, or if your smile isn't perfect. They care about the memories. The moments of laughter and joy in the capture and what you were feeling.

When our time on this earth is up, they will look back on those moments and wish them back more than anything in the world...even the goofy selfies. Don't wait to capture your moments. Take pictures, love fiercely and make memories, because in the end, the memories are all we have left. Bits and pieces of the time we've spent together. No matter how long that time was, it'll never seem like enough and we can never get it back.

(Kismet Photography) Kismet don't wait grief loss memories missed opportunities opportunities photoshoot portraits regret sadness today Mon, 21 Nov 2016 15:39:28 GMT
Orchestrated Moments

On our way to Jackson Tennessee to meet family, Gene and I stopped in Nashville at a McDonald's to grab a quick bite to eat and shoot a file over to a client.


As I was coming out of the bathroom to pick a table to sit at, I noticed an African American lady ,probably early 60’s, dancing to the music and singing along. She looked beautiful. Her hair looked pretty, she was wearing a really nice blue top with a pretty blue scarf that had silver specs through it. I remember thinking to myself "Awwe, God love her, what a sweetheart." 


I don't know what it was, but something inside of me pushed me, and I went over and grabbed her hands and started dancing with her. We both laughed. And I sat in the booth I had picked and I looked at her and said "That was awesome. Stay young, I love it”.....


She started asking me all sorts of questions "Where are you from, Where are you headed" and she wanted my whole life story. I shared some with her as Gene joined us with the food. She talked to him a bit, and then excused herself and said she was going back to her table. 


Instantly my heart loved her, and I told Gene how sweet she was. We ate and sent the file and headed back out to the bike after saying goodbye to her. I watched her as she stood in the window watching what she called "Two love birds on a journey". I motioned to Gene to look at her as she had her faced pressed as close to the window watching us and waving. 


"A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal." ~ Steve Maraboli


I put my helmet on and said again "Oh babe, she was so sweet, I just love her." Gene came over and quietly said "You know she's homeless right babe?"  I looked up at him in shock and said "No!! How do you know?" He pointed out that she had her little bag that she carried of clothes beside her, and her newspaper was all over the table with some belongings. I was shocked as I looked back at her still waving. "But she was dressed so nice and her hair was so pretty", I stated. Still shocked and feeling so hurt for this lady. I couldn't handle it, I took my helmet back off, fighting the tears and told Gene "I'll be right back"


She watched me as I ran back in the McDonald's and met me at the door. It was a moment I'll never forget. It was like the world paused as she stood there holding the door open for me. In that moment, I noticed her messy hair, that was standing up straight and had pieces of fuzz and what looked like bits of tree leaves. I noticed her beautiful blue shirt was stained and had dirt all over it. Her scarf that I thought was so pretty was ripped and  had matted strands of thread hanging down. I looked at her hands which were covered in dirt and her nails were ragged. 


Then I looked at her face. Such a beautiful face with the biggest brightest smile. It was rough and dirty as well. Then the pause ended and she was in front of me with the biggest smile saying "You came back, did you forget something?"....I grabbed her dirt stained hands and said "Yes..I forgot to hug to you. You are so beautiful and carefree, and you made my night. I just wanted to let you know how special you are, and that Jesus loves you and cares for you." 


She didn't move nor say anything.  just stared me straight in the eyes as tears started to fall. I continued and I don't even know where the words were coming from, but in that moment, they were spilling from me with such a urge for her to hear.

I wanted her to know she had a purpose. "I don't know you, but I do know that by you being so kind, and having such a sweet spirit, you have impacted my life and I couldn't leave without telling you.”


She let go of my hands and opened her arms for a hug. I grabbed her, and there we stood, in the middle of McDonald's hugging and crying. "You just made my night honey" she said as we loosened our grip. I smiled and said "No, you made mine”


"I just have a question for you you know what the weather is supposed to be like. Is it going to be sunny or raining" she asked. I knew why she was asking and my heart felt like someone was squeezing it. "It's supposed to be nice tonight, really nice" I said with a smile. 

"Oh that's great" she said as she threw her hands excitedly in the air. 


I knew the next night was calling for rain, so I gave her a little squeeze hug and said "But guess what?” I asked. “What’s that's" she replied. I looked her in the eyes again. My heart was so full of love for this lady that I didn't even know. "No matter what the weather is, It's always sunny in your heart if you let Jesus shine through” 


More tears fell as she squeezed my hand and said "Honey, Jesus sent you to me. You are an angel" 


"I'm no angel, I just think you are special. I hope you have such a great night." I said fighting tears. 


I gave her one last hug, and left as she pressed herself up to the window once more to wave goodbye. 


I can't recall how many times Gene kept asking me if I was ok on that bike ride to Jackson, but I could not stop crying and kept praying for God to protect her and look out for her.  


If she can stay so positive through everything, what did I have to ever complain about. I'm certain she cries when she's alone, but she made the effort to make other people smile. People more well off then her that have reasons to smile, and she did it with everything she had. 


It made me thankful for the many blessings God has given me. My children, My home, my family, an amazing boyfriend, and so much more. 


If we just stopped looking at all of our problems and stop playing victim to the pain of the past and started counting our blessings,  we would realize how much we have. 


As Steve Maraboli said "The problem that we have with a victim mentality is that we forget to see the blessings of the day. Because of this, our spirit is poisoned instead of nourished"


Don't poison yourself by looking at what you don't have. Find beauty in what you do. You can choose to be angry that the rose bush has thorns, or you can be thankful the thorns have roses. 

(Kismet Photography) Homeless compassion connecting connection gratitude heart love orchestrated reaching tears time-stands-still touching Mon, 29 Jun 2015 23:34:27 GMT
Truth Hurts "Do I have broccoli in my teeth?" "Does this shirt make me look fat?" "Does my breath smell?" The feedback we often seek is from people who care about us and they are very cautious in their response to our probative questions. If we are truly honest we are not expecting a negative response or it is something easily remedied. As things get closer to our center of well being we become more and more defensive and easily offended. 

We love our friends because they tell us what they know we want to hear. And while encouraging us to continue to excel so often their constructive criticisms are watered down and seasoned with an overdose of reinforcement.

I am reminded of an American Idol episode where a clearly terrible singer was auditioning and Simon Cowell stopped them to ask, "Who told you you could sing?" The quick response was "All my friends and my family have all been so encouraging and supportive..." Simon's reply was cutting and harsh in it's brutal brevity and telling truth. "They lied." And dismissed the would be contestant abruptly.


"That which can be destroyed by truth should be" ~ P.C. Hodgell


The sad truth is, most of our friends and family will lie to us hoping to not shatter our self image. The most honest people in our lives are often our enemies. We get so angry when we hear some of the things they say to other people in their estimation of us. The untruths and outright lies we brush off without a backward glance and a curt reply of "Haters gonna hate."

Sadly there are those who are jealously angered by our successes and the outpouring of love for who we are and what we do. Those people have their own issues and it is immediately clear to most others. We can dismiss most of their nitpicking and fault finding.

What I have come to learn though, is a difficult pill to swallow. Truth hurts and when someone offers up evaluations that are painful there is some indication that we know there is at least some measure of truth contained therein or it wouldn't hurt so badly. Those are the things we mull over and chew on. The challenge is to not allow those things to stop us but change us. Our approach, wording, actions, appearance, grooming, intentions, and motivations, the list goes on and on. These are all things that we have the power and ability to to take stock of in self assessment. And affect change for the better.  


"Pretty words are not always true,
true words are not always pretty;
and yet, they are still true.

Aiki Flinthart, The Yu Dragon


It has been accurately said that iron sharpens iron. And finding those with whom we can trust to speak into our lives with difficult direction and course altering advice are hard to find. My thoughts are: Seek those people out who possess the skill to assess and direct without killing the dreams and aspirations. Carefully craft your personal "Board of Directors" and intentionally populate it with those who have proven success and values that matter most to you. It is they who are able to cut through the noise to core issues and help us establish our foundation and footing to withstand the coming storms and successes of life. 

(Kismet Photography) Aiki Flinthart Hodgell The Yu Dragon development growth pain painful personal development personal growth pretty words true truth Fri, 26 Jun 2015 20:52:02 GMT

As a startup photography business with extremely limited funds Kismet has pursued Social media as a primary form of marketing. Constantly learning and pursuing training with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and an insatiable appetite for tips and methods of other successful photographers. It has become clear that one of the things to pursue is building a growing and thriving online presence. Both Jen and Gene have added their individual contributions in attempting to make first of all our Facebook page a fresh and dynamic place for prospective clients to see samples of our work as well as collaborating with other photographers. 

We are over the top ecstatic that in just 9 weeks we have gone from 0 to 1023 likes on our Facebook business page. This has been accomplished organically without spending any money in promotion. Accomplished by hard work in trying to move forward in launching our business. We would like to extend our heartfelt thank you to all of you have come on board by liking our page and making us a part of your Facebook world. We will continue to strive to bring you great content and keep you posted on the growth of our business in the coming weeks, months and years to come. Thanks again for joining us on the journey to our dream. 

(Kismet Photography) Facebook Likes Milestone Fri, 03 Apr 2015 02:47:52 GMT
Lost & Found

“Life is 10% of what happens to us, and 90% how we react to it.” ~ Dennis P Kimbro


Two years ago, my life was a mess. I was in an abusive relationship, and my marriage was falling apart. It seemed like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. I became very withdrawn and cut myself off from all my family and friends. I went months, without even stepping outside my door. I was so depressed the only thing that made me feel better was eating. I remember feeling so trapped inside myself. 


My inner voice was so afraid to speak, screaming for help, but I couldn’t speak out loud. Day after day would go by in a hopeless loop, where I would tell myself “Tomorrow I am going to make changes, start eating right, and taking care of myself.” 


Somehow, in all the distractions and issues of life, my tomorrow never came. I became adapted to my way of living, and it became the norm, my comfort zone. Many nights, sitting up awake and in tears at the mess my life was in, I would chow down on ice cream, or whatever I could grab to help ease the pain. It didn't ease the pain, and day after day I felt worse and became more insecure. 


After my husband and I ended our marriage, and I was raising 7 kids alone, it got worse. I would always make excuse of "I can’t afford to eat healthy, I'll just grab what I can find", or "I don't have time to exercise". 


I remember looking in the mirror one day standing there, staring at myself.  What I saw was not pretty. The pain in my eyes, was enough to bring me to my knees in uncontrollable tears. I didn't want to be this person. I was tired of hurting, tired of being hurt, and tired of making excuses as to why I was almost unrecognizable to myself. I could have pointed the finger at so many people, and things that have happened. But that day, something stirred up inside of me. I realized, only I could determine how I respond to what life has thrown at me. This wasn't the way!


The next day, I started out with a mission to walk every day. It didn't seem like a big deal, but I even made excuses to why I couldn't do that. I would fight with my mind and will power daily, but I stuck to it. Another day, I decided to add a workout routine. I went to Google and found a Jillian Michael’s video and added that to my daily walking routine. 


I became tough on myself, and told my kids to hold me accountable if I tried to quit. It's amazing how the brutal honesty of your children can motivate you. My seven and 10 year old became my toughest critics. It was actually quite humorous at times, and there were other times I wanted to ground them for life. They would take my water bottle and hide it, if I didn't complete my workout. Shouting "You can do it, Don't you quit! GO! GO!! GO!!!” 


There was something about knowing they were watching me, that gave me that extra drive and determination. I couldn't disappoint them, and I knew I needed to be the best person I could for them. 


I chose to take all the hurt, anger, frustration, and turn it into something positive. I begin working out like a mad women. I didn't let anything stop me. If it rained and was cold, I would walk around my house, climb my stairs and do as much as possible. At the end of every day, I began feeling accomplished. Stepping on the scales five weeks ago, and weighing in at 160lbs, was the best feeling in the world. I haven’t reached my final goal yet but the transformation has pushed me to step out and brave the scary place of being transparent in a chilly world. 


Not only has my weight loss helped me get healthy, it's given me so much confidence. That 210lb girl, who didn't have a voice, and held everything in, now has a voice, and I'm able to express myself. That girl who used to let people use and abuse me, now see's my worth and I know that I don't deserve to be treated like that. That girl that was hurting and so lost, has found an inner happiness, and has come to the conclusion that, I really like who I am, and who I'm going to be. 


It's been by the grace of God, and the support from my friends and family, that I was able to find myself after years of being lost. 


If you are struggling, to make a difference in your life, STOP IT! Make today the last day you make excuses. Make this moment the last time you let someone misuse you, and make yourself accountable from this day forward. It won't be easy, and you will have days where you want to give up. It's ok to have those days, but don't stay there. Get back up, and start your fight again. 


Every choice you make has an end result, so make sure that choice is one that is going to be positive. Believe in you and who are, and make it a point to be your best. 


As Henry Ford said, "whether you think you can, or can't, you are right". Don't be afraid of the changes, even though they may seem scary. Take it one day at a time, and only be afraid of standing still.

(Kismet Photography) abuse alone conquering depression diet exercise fears losing weight passion self image transform transformation weight weight loss weightloss workout Wed, 11 Mar 2015 23:40:45 GMT
Baby Bumps I climbed out of my truck to a blast of wind off the waterfront in downtown Louisville, Kentucky it was February 10th and freezing. I am pretty crazy and virtually impervious to the conditions when I have my eye in a camera. However, it is rare to find any subjects who are willing to brave the chill let alone pay for the privilege. Babies however are going to make their appearance on their own timetables irregardless of what the weather or season is. So we all grimaced and trooped out into the wind leaving the warm Starbucks behind. 

Carlton Maternity-65High FivesWe did a series of shots of them walking towards the camera framed by the cityscape behind them like an urban canyon. It turned out very well as several of the pictures made the final cuts. In this picture I loved that Bug was in the air to make this high five.

We did a series of shots of them walking towards the camera framed by the cityscape behind them like an urban canyon. It turned out very well as several of the pictures made the final cuts. In this picture I drawn to Bug jumping to make this high five. 

Carlton Maternity-220On The BoardwalkI love getting the whole family involved in the experience. Quality photography is not an end in itself. I feel like the whole experience should be something everyone in front of my camera should enjoy and at the same time be willing to commit to the posing that showcases them in their best light. I absolutely loved this capture of these two. I love getting the whole family involved in the experience. Quality photography is not an end in itself. I feel like the whole experience should be something everyone in front of my camera should enjoy and at the same time be willing to commit to the posing that showcases them in their best light. I absolutely loved this capture of these two. 

Carlton Maternity-309The Clothes AwaitThe starkness of winter with the barren trees and empty flower beds contrasts the growing life that make his grand entrance in a few short weeks. These three will then be four... Everyone is eagerly anticipating the little man that will fill out those clothes with shouts and laughter, throw bread to the ducks and give Mom a heart attack trying to climb in the river after them. The starkness of winter with the barren trees and empty flower beds contrasts the growing life that will make his grand entrance in a few short weeks. These three will then be four... Everyone is eagerly anticipating the little man that will fill out those clothes with shouts and laughter, throw bread to the ducks and give Mom a heart attack trying to climb in the river after them. 

Carlton Maternity-273Celebrate LoveIn the end of the day a maternity shoot is the celebration of the love shared between two people. The resulting family isn't about biology or DNA but it is about building a protected place where tiny bundles can grow in their own individuality into their own person. Life isn't always as ideal as we would like it to be and sometimes it gets a little messy, and the lines get a little blurry. It is my incredible honor to be invited as the storyteller into those life changing moments that redefine who we are and everything in our world is forever irrevocably changed.

At the end of the day a maternity shoot is the celebration of the love shared between two people. The resulting family isn't about biology or DNA but it is about building a protected place where tiny bundles can grow in their own individuality into their own person. Life isn't always as ideal as we would like it to be and sometimes it gets a little messy, and the lines get a little blurry. It is my incredible honor to be invited as the storyteller into those life changing moments that redefine who we are and everything in our world is forever and irrevocably changed. 

Thanks Jamaal, Jessica, Bug and Baby Carlton for allowing me to be a part of preserving these magic moments in your lives. I am grateful and so honored as well. ~ Gene 

The slideshow of the photoshoot gallery:



(Kismet Photography) 100mm 5D 70-200mm Babies Baby Baby Bumps Bellies Bokeh Camera Canon Chilly Cold Expecting February Kentucky L L Lens Louisville MKIII Macro Maternity Memories Mom Momma Moms Photographer Pregnancy Waterfront Fri, 20 Feb 2015 20:16:30 GMT
Don't Let It Die Don't Let It DieEveryone has a dream, Don't Let It Die!!!

Everyone has a dream. As a child we all had plans of what we were going to be when we grew up. I recall listening in school, to students say they wanted to be everything from doctors, lawyers to rock stars and artists. I always loved photography, and was always a nature nut. I'd macro the life out of the little lady bugs, worms and house flies. Sometimes though, in the midst of dreaming, life throws us curve balls. 


I met my High School sweetheart in grade 10, and fell completely in love but I made some choices that left me a teenage mom at 17 struggling to simply get my high school diploma. I inherited some grit and determination trait from my parents and despite leaving my baby crying in the morning while I stepped on that bus with tears streaming down my face... I did it! I graduated with pride. 


I got married and 7 kids later I had pushed my dreams aside to completely focus on being the best housewife and mom I could be. My husband had a great job so I was fortunate to be able to be home with my kids and devote all my time and life to them. I loved it, but the dream of being a photographer was always there. I would practice taking pictures of my kids, and for the longest time I'm sure the Facebook world was wishing I would just put that camera down. There were tons of pictures of me saying how adorable my daughter looked in my shoes, or how proud my son was of his first fish. I was pretty post happy but that was my life! My family and my photography always came first. 


In March of 2013, my world fell apart when my marriage of 16 years ended. It was like the life was sucked out of me. I couldn't eat, sleep and spent a lot of days crying on my couch. One day my daughter, who was 7 at the time, came down the stairs as I as laying on the couch. She walked over to me and patted me on the back, walked over to the window, yanked open the curtains and said "Mom!! Look, it's a beautiful day. The sun is shining and we should be outside playing”... 


I am not certain what happened in that moment but it was like her words just spoke to me. I realized the time I was losing with them by feeling sorry for myself. That was time I could never get back. I got up, got dressed and we went outside. 


We ran around our yard chasing each other. I had tears streaming down my face but not from being sad anymore, it was tears of thankfulness that I was so blessed with these children who needed a mama that could be there for them. 


I made it a point from that day on to only improve and not waste any moments. I've moved us out of our old house that held many haunting memories, into a big house where I can have my own studio, and finally pursue my dreams. 


I didn't want to be the single mom on social assistance and I wanted to teach my children that you don't give up....EVER...No matter what life hands to you! You don't have to give up on what is a part of you. If you have a dream, you go for it, and pursue it. 


Don't get me wrong, life isn't always a picnic and we have our struggles. I still have days where I feel like I could sob my eyes out in the corner curled up in the fetal position. I also have days of pride and joy which far outweigh the bad days. My kids are watching their mom fight all alone against all odds against criticism and doubt by others. Watching me overcome every hurdle even if it is with tears streaming down my face some days. I am determined and doing it and I won't let them see less of me. 


Photography is my dream, my children are my passion. They deserve the best life I can offer them and they deserve a happy mom. It's not all about the housework and homework, kissing bo boo's and mending broken hearts. It's about showing them that they have a place in this world and there is nothing that can stop them if they believe in themselves. 


Most days are spent praying "Thank you God for your blessings" while other days are spent praying "it's me again God, I could really use your help right now" God has always provided for us and seen us through. He has guarded my heart from negativity, and protected my mind from self doubt. He created each of us with a purpose and dream that we are to live out in the best way possible. It's never too late to start new. It wont always be easy, but I promise you, it's worth it. Pursue your passion and Dare to live your dream.

(Kismet Photography) Broken Children Dreamer Dreams Forgotten Kids Life Mother Photographer Rebuild Restart Restoration never to late Thu, 12 Feb 2015 17:12:34 GMT
Learning To Love Ourselves Learning To Love Ourselves

Self love is a beautiful thing and something a lot of us lack. The world we live in, portrays it's own image through the media, even children's toys suggest that the "perfect" lady, is slim, blonde and beautiful.  Is beauty really only appearance? Don't get me wrong, all of us desire the perfect body, face, and hair.  How often are we so focused on the outer flaws, that we never ask "How perfect is my heart"

 For starters, I don't believe anyone is perfect. Everyone has flaws, makes mistakes, and finds something about themselves that they don't like, even if they are being praised for being "flawless".

The definition of perfect is: having no mistakes or flaws, being completely correct or accurate, having all the qualities you desire in that person, situation, etc.

As much as we would all like to think we are perfect, not one of us is completely flawless, accurate or correct, nor do we have all the qualities we want. The sad part is, these feelings of what "perfection" is, are not just being passed on to the average mom, the well dressed career woman, even Grandma who hates her silver highlights. It's being passed to our children. I have watched my 7 year old (who is truly a diva and loves fashion) take an outfit off, because it makes her look fat. How heartbreaking it is for a mom to witness that at such a young age. Yet when asked why I changed an outfit, when my kids thought it looked good, my response was "I thought it made me look fat"...I am guilty of teaching my children MY definition of fat. I'm not huge, nor a stick, but in my mind, I was "fat". Now no matter how much they praised me, and said, "But mom, you're beautiful, you looked so good in that", it didn't change my mind. My point in sharing that, is to say, what one person thinks is beautiful, another person may not. We are all unique individuals. We have our own taste, preferences and things we find appealing and not appealing. 

For example, I met a lady once. A curvy lady, who others defined her as "out there" She wore the blue eye make up clear up to her eyebrows like Mimi, off the "Drew Carey Show".....Everyone's first reaction when seeing her, with her bright clothes, big heels, and mile high bleach blonde hair, was "whooooa, she needs to calm it down". What we didn't know, and I only found out because I looked beyond what I thought was a whole lot of crazy, was that she has a sweet but broken spirit, because of things that had happened to her in her past. Horrible things that would break most people. Yet she smiled. The makeup, hair, heels and flashy clothes were her protective covering. In her mind, she felt that if she could attract peoples attention to all the "bling", no one would see her shattered heart. If I chose to judge her based on what others said, and on my first reaction, I would have missed out on meeting one of the most courageous, strong, BEAUTIFUL, kindest souls, I could ever be blessed to meet.

Perhaps we all need to take a step back, look in the mirror, and find our beauty within our hearts, so we are able to find it in others.

The definition of beautiful;  having beauty; possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc.; delighting the senses or mind: a beautiful dress; a beautiful speech.

Beauty is attainable, Perfection is not.

Let go of anything that darkens your heart, or causes you to feel "not good enough." Find the beauty in everyone, and in every situation as hard as it may be. Beauty is NOT perfection. It's letting the light that God gave you, shine from the inside out and learning to love yourself for who you are. Does that mean sit on the couch and eat a bag of chips, because you think your fat anyway, so your just going to love all the extra padding you have. NO! It means improving what you are not happy with, it means being the best you that you can be, in mind, body and spirit and being Christ-like. Not without fault, because we will all fail, but accepting our failures, brushing ourselves off, and trying again.

We were all created equal in God's eyes, and we need to love ourselves despite what others think, just as God loves us. We need to let our light shine out of our smiles, and pass it on to those we meet. Choose positive thoughts, take back the shine that others may have tried to take from you, It's yours to own.  When you start that little flicker of a spark, it will ignite into a flame, and the world will see it. God loves you, so love who you are :)

(Kismet Photography) Average Beauty Courageous Cover Fat Flawless Flaws Hide Honesty Love Mom Perception Perfect Perfection Perspective Self Love Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:00:00 GMT
Creating Your Artistic Legacy Chasing The ChillChasing The Chill When working on a business one has to define who you are going to be and what differentiates you from others out there in the business. It is an extremely laborious and time consuming process to do it correctly. We wrote a blog to share some of our thoughts behind our company's new slogan catch phrase. We thought we would share it as is speaks from the Why of our passion as photographers. Maybe you can grab a cup of coffee and join in the discussion.

"Creating Your Artistic Legacy"

We know that a picture can say 1000 words. We've all looked at pictures of our parents, or grandparents, and laughed at the big hairdo's, and Elvis style suits. Though these pictures bring us much laughter and joy, it brings us so much more than that. It's what connects us to our heritage. We can look at them and find resemblances to ourselves, our children, even grandchildren. How many times have we heard the words "you look just like your Father", or "your daughter is a spitting image of your mother when she was that age". It happens all the times while looking through old photographs, and because of that capture, the legacy of Grandma and Grandpa is passed down from generation to generation. It's pretty amazing when you think about it.

That's why we do what we do.

We know that your brand new baby, will never fit in your arms this way again. That their first birthday, will be the only "first" birthday they will ever celebrate. That all these "first moments" from the day they were born, right through to becoming a great grandpa themselves, will never happen again, and that is where we fit into the picture. We want to create your artistic legacy, through your emotions and capture them so that you can cherish them forever.

Almost anyone can TAKE a picture now-a-days and grainy, blurry cell phone pictures abound everywhere. They get posted to social media in mind numbing numbers. It takes a photographer to MAKE a picture. The truly great captures happen when an artist captures a memorable moment clearly and with quality that will stand the test of the mantle portrait. An artist is someone who sees the world in ways most never do. They get awestruck over the glint of the setting sun in the eyes of a senior, they huddle freezing over a cup of coffee waiting for the first rays of a sunrise, without a second thought laying prostrate in a mud puddle to capture the angle no one else sees. Those are the people who shoot for the passion of what they create and those are the people you want behind the camera to capture your legacy. 

It is after all yours. No one else in the world is that unique mix of you. Wether you like your family nose or hate your lazy left eye. That familiar slope of your shoulders and the split in your center teeth may not be Hollywood perfect but they are completely you. You've earned everyone of those gray hairs Dad. Mom each and everyone of those wrinkles, you labor so hard to conceal, are all testaments to sleepless nights and chaos filled days that birthed and raised those babies. 

Someone who sees you as you are but sees that just over there in the corner of the maternity suite would be perfectly organic place to capture the moment you hold your first grand baby. That waiting 15 minutes for the sun to drop just a bit more will silhouette you perfectly as the bride on a bridge to a new life. That dropping down and shooting through the litter on the first birthday table will allow there to be perspective as your firstborn plunges face first into a captured moment with you cheering wildly at their side. Just as you will when they hit the winning ball for the city little league championship, walk across the stage to make their valedictorian speech, smear cake all over the face of their soul mate, when their firstborn makes their grand entrance and you become a proud grandparent... at each and every milestone. We want to be there and be your recorder that sees your world as an artist and preserves your memories.

Your legacy is when your grand babies show their kids the moments that define them and their family roots. It gives perspective to the glitter in the eyes of what they see as just an old person in their sunset years. When they are shocked to see proof that grandma was once the belle of the ball and great grandpa was once an all star. Life is a circle and it does turn swiftly through the seasons and the years fade so quickly along with the memories. But your legacy of memory moments that changed your life can be preserved as the mark of your passage.  

(Kismet Photography) Artistic Brand Slogan Branding Byline Camera Catch Phrase Catch Slogan Create Differentiate Fredericton Knoxville Legacy Memories Moments New Brunswick Oak Ridge Passion Personal Photographer Pictures Tennessee Why Fri, 23 Jan 2015 13:55:09 GMT

Gene & Jen


Navigational markers and maps,

Longitude and latitude, 

Smooth sailings and smashing storms, 

Tides, low and high, 

Bathed in sunshine 

Drenched in brine...   


Life takes us through so many ups and downs and the landscape is dotted with roller coasters of emotion. Everyone has a story to tell that is far more fascinating in it's twists and turns than any writer could ever conceive. Those "You'll never believe this!" moments, seasoned with the "I can't believe I made it!" moments, against a backdrop of "You've got to be kidding me!" moments. It's your life and it truly does deserve a voice, a recorder, a storyteller... An artist who transfers your life to a canvas of your own personal work of art. 


That, is who we are and what we do. 


Our own story is irrelevant but so typical... 


Jen ~ As Albert Schweitzer once said "Sometimes our light goes out but is blown again into flame by an encounter with another human being. Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light." I always dreamed of being a photographer, but a failed marriage and raising 7 kids on my own, caused me to push my dreams aside. 


Then I met Gene. One online conversation, led to the greatest friendship I've ever had. The day he placed a camera in my hands and looked me straight in the eyes, telling me to keep pursuing my dreams and not give up because he believed in me, was the day my life changed forever. There was something in the way he said it, that caused me to believe in myself, and strive to be the best photographer I could possibly be. He rekindled that light inside of me and I am forever thankful for his place in my life, and that fate gave us a story. 


Gene ~ My life was mapped for me from childhood and it was a storybook one filled with elevating levels of Norman Rockwell like idealism. That all ended one morning at the breakfast table when like the screech of a needle ripped across a record player my world plunged into darkness. It was in that dungeon of my life I met a friend who miraculously gathered the shattered fragments and meticulously reassembled me. Then gently nudged me back into the sunshine again. So here we are embarking together on a dream that has organically and naturally just happened. We think it just might be a destiny that was meant to be... it's our Kismet

(Kismet Photography) About Albert Schweitzer Art Artist Artwork Biography Camera Canvas Friendship Kismet Norman Rockwell Photographer Poet Story Storyteller Fri, 16 Jan 2015 19:37:46 GMT
Power Of A Picture Cell phones with wonderful cameras, point-and-shoot, mirrorless and wireless. Big lenses, small lenses, wide lenses and tiny lenses, what are lenses and who cares lenses. What camera should I buy? If I get one big enough can I be a photographer too? Where, oh where should I buy? Online or specialty shop, big box or little box but maybe Walmart or Target will do. 


It’s all so very confusing so most of the time it is usually a choice that is embarrassingly close to random. Despite our best intentions it rarely comes out of automatic mode no matter how much money we spent or how great the camera was or wasn’t. So often it ends up collecting dust and we resort back to the cell phone camera or none at all because pictures are a pain and we all know there is never any convenient time to take them. We all dislike the person who is always snapping away and getting people together with “Now smile and look at the camera.” Wow, yes that didn’t look forced or painful or anything. 

circa 1968Robert & Marion Grace circa 1968Robert & Marion Grace

According to Buzzfeed an estimated 3.8 trillion photographs have been taken. In 2014 alone 880 billion, or more than 10% ever taken. The numbers continue to escalate at a mind blowing exponential rate. So, in that tsunami of pictures there is without a doubt an overload of amazing captures correct? I mean even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while right? The sad truth is that as the proliferation of photographs continues to explode, the quality of the pictures continues to sharply fall off. The intentionality and careful capturing of life’s great moments is replaced with complete randomness, shot at the speed of an assault weapon on full auto. The instantaneous gratification of split second pictures has become the rule of the day and the shelf life of a photograph is how long it takes you to get bored and replace your profile picture with another mindless blurry selfie. 


Recently my family experienced the loss of a loved one to cancer. In the process of healing we went through immense volumes of pictures. The telling and retelling of family history and the emotions it carried with it was amazing in binding up the wounds of a fractured family. One of the most arresting pictures featured my parents. Twenty three years ago Dad was tragically taken in a car accident. The thing most moving in the picture was his striking resemblance to my son, who never had the opportunity to meet his Grandfather. When he saw the photograph he was stunned and said “I have never seen a picture of them that young.” The connection to the legacy of his grandfather was incredibly powerful, a kinship I now share with him. Across the decades of time a young man starting his own fledgling family is now profoundly rooted to where he came from, thanks to the power of a picture.

Colton Grace 2011After cutting the cake at his reception...


Time has a way of indelibly stamping our lives with change bringing to us pain, loss and heartache, offset by accomplishment, joy and love. I cannot predict precisely what tomorrow holds but I can most certainly and with unwavering accuracy tell you it will bring irreversible change. The value of capturing life as we know it with all it issues and struggles will never be exactly like it is today.  Especially in those life changing moments why not be intentional and plan to capture and preserve your story for those that will follow? With your own personal works of art instead of the weirdly distorted cell phone selfie or the shadowed captures in front of the bay window in the living room? 

(Kismet Photography) Buzzfeed Family Grandfather Grandson Legacy Memories Photography Portrait cellphone death funeral good intentions loss preserve selfie Tue, 13 Jan 2015 17:49:43 GMT
The Day Before You "Sunshine, On a Cloudy Day." After a homegoing service for a lon"Sunshine, On a Cloudy Day." After a homegoing service for a lon So many places I could begin to tell you about this man, but there are so many Im not sure where to start. So I'll start here....

In the middle of all my brokeness and the nights of crying myself to sleep, when I thought love was lost and I would never know what it felt like to be loved completely, he came along...

Every girl dreams as a child of the man she will end up with. Of course, movies and story books always make him out to be the prince who rescues the fair maiden in distress, the lady who is being held captive or the one who cries out in song wishing for "dreams to come true"

I had lost all belief in my fairy tale ending, thinking I would just have to suck it up and settle for some nut case wearing tin foil for shining armor....I was wrong. This man came into my life and truly did rescue me. Night after night, day after dayand when I was grieving over a broken heart, he was there. Even through his own heartache he took the time to be there for me, and every time rescued me from my own tears that I shed so many nights before him. When I was feeling like I didnt amount to anything, he made me feel like I was the most important person in the world. When I stopped dreaming, he gave me a reason to not only dream but dream bigger than any dreams I could ever imagine. The respect, love, and care he showed me, made me realize that I am worthy of being loved...(hang on, I need to grab a tissue)....

The days I felt like everything was going wrong and I was drowning and being held underwater, he tossed me the life ring. By quoting scripture after scripture, doing something silly to make me laugh or getting fired up and being very firm with me refusing to let me play "victim" of my circumstances. I remember thinking "who does he think he is" and voiced it to him once, as he came back at me with "I'm someone who cares". He's been my best friend and even though neither of us know where this journey is going to take us, we are enjoying where we are at.  He's been there through everything, and one thing I am certain of, is that no matter where we end up, I never want to wake up to a world where he doesn't exist and I never want to take his friendship, love and loyalty for granted. Gene, you are my "Prince", my hero and even though all this seems so crazy and there are many miles between us, the distance means so little when someone means so much. You mean everything to me, and I thank God every day for your place in my life. I never want to go back to ........"the day before you"

"Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses." Ann Landers

(Kismet Photography) broken brokenness day before you dream dream come true friendship love love story loved pain prince princess rescue rescue me victim Wed, 07 Jan 2015 00:25:00 GMT
Does Gear Matter?  

Does Gear Matter Does Gear Matter?


In the middle of the night, the house is silent except for the sounds of a sleeping family and the occasional click of a mouse. The red eyed face of the figure hunched over the blue glow of a computer monitor holds an oddly mixed expression of excitement and agony. As the images and the words slip across the screen. The long awaited and highly anticipated camera has just been released. Every review fans the fevered flames and the consuming need for the camera as the key to unlock the door to the magical world of prize winning photography. 


It is sad to say that this is a scene repeated over and over again. Each piece of gear, lighting, lenses, modifiers, and filters magically fill countless bags and boxes. Seemingly there is always a next critical piece of gear to be scrimped and saved for that is the “difference maker.” Then one day you are looking back at some old pictures taken with the shunned old gear and you realize that those are amongst the very best shots you have ever captured.


When asked for advice on great photography and improving the quality of the shots captured. So many are quick to spout the “It’s not about the gear.” mantra. Speaking of artistic vision and harnessing great light and capturing the moments and composition and, and, and… The discussion is convincing and gleefully some leap up and go out to capture the next award winning photo. Sadly that experiment often leads to a disheartening failure as well. 


So what is the truth here? Does the gear matter? Is the person shooting the difference maker? Is the quality of the picture in the size of the camera, the digital sensor, the aperture, the lens, the light… What is the answer to this question? I will answer it in a short quote that I have heard and salted away, ruminated on, and concluded it is the most accurate answer to the most disturbing question. For a photographer or a Mom wanting to capture her children growing up… Wait for it… Here it is.. The deepest and most illuminating nugget ever shared…


It’s not about the gear, until it is all about the gear.


The most critical part of the equation is the natural ability and developed skill of the the eye behind the lens. Experience is the best teacher of what makes a great photograph. It is a pursuit that will inspire a consuming passion of those that will become its greats and an addicting drug for the scrapbooking Mom alike.


One conclusion is quickly made, there is no right or wrong way, no matter what the rules or the books say. There is only learning to see what you want before you squeeze the trigger and figuring a way to make it happen. The advice is myriad and bewilderingly confusing from a thousand different voices all seeming to tell you the opposite… So do you turn the subject to face the setting sun our do you put the setting sun behind them? Both is the maddeningly correct answer… 


There are the times though that one has to learn the limitations of the gear they are shooting with and learn to work around it. Figuring ways to get those pesky and rebellious subjects to turn into a light source in low light conditions, creatively convincing them to pose so you can get the light just right in their face… All in a valiant effort to hide that you don’t have the newest camera that captures those amazing low light shots with ease.   


In the end there are times when you simply have to say, “I can’t capture the Sports Illustrated looking shot of my son running in for a touchdown in the championship Middle School night game. I just don’t have the gear to accomplish it.” Instead look for the opportunities to make the most of the gear you have until you have better in the future or gasp, you might consider hiring a professional if it matters deeply to you. Wink… Keep shooting because: “It’s not about the gear, until it is all about the gear.”



(Kismet Photography) 5D 70-200mm Canon Lenses MKIII Modifiers Photographer Tue, 28 Oct 2014 00:56:02 GMT
The Difference-Maker Part 2 My philosophy when I first started dabbling in photography was, "If I take enough pictures some of them have to turn out." That philosophy actually works as in, "Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes." It is when I started wanting to make sure I "nailed" certain shots and blurry and horrible shots were unacceptable that I got serious about figuring out lighting. Once I discovered off camera flash so many of the issues were solved. Redeye went away, I got the catchlight in the eyes, the backgrounds became more dramatic and so much more was fixed. So how do you make this magic happen for you?

This all gets a little technical and hence boring for some. Below is a list of basic equipment one needs to make off camera flash work. It is solely based on my learning and current experience level. I will do my best to show you what to do with all of the components in the next article. 

List of Recommended equipment:

1. Flash Unit $70-500

2. Trigger - Cable or Transmitter & Receiver $50-200 

3. Stand, or Monopod $20-40

4. Light Modifier $150-199

5. Light Meter $350

Flash Unit

First things first, you need a flash. My choice was a Canon 580EXii. It has proven to be a durable option even when the wind smashed it repeatedly into the concrete. I have even put a new screen into it following a crash with some rocks. And it is still reliably working. 

There is a strong case to be made for the reliability and dependability of either the Canon Speedlites or the Nikon Speedlights. However, when budget constraints force you to, there are several other brands that will provide good light for a reasonable price. Bottom line is it is difficult to tell the difference between one from the big two or an "off" brand like a LumoPro, Vivitar, Yongnuo, Metz, or Sigma, just to name a few. 



In order to have the camera talk to the flash you will need at least one of a couple options either a TTL-Off-Camera-Flash cord which you can purchase in all sorts of lengths.

Or, I found I preferred the radio signal wireless triggers from Paul C. Buff Since I purchased them several new triggers from RadioPopper and Pocket Wizard have come out that look very attractive. 

Stand or Monopod

I found I liked the freedom of having a stand to practice with and shoot alone. Since the speedlite is not heavy a light duty highly collapsible stand was the most desirable. Here is one from a reputable dealer: It collapses to a mere 19.25" long and only weighs 2.6 pounds. 


I have also found that a monopod is both useful to use on my camera when I needed added stability and to function as a "light stick" allowing an assistant to quickly position the light optimally just out of the picture. The results have been exciting.





Light Modifier

This is a highly recommended addition to the excursion into the magic of off camera flash. There are more ideas for this than you can count and opinions galore. I am not going to debate the technicality of any of it but instead will just share my favorite.

This is a hybrid of a durable umbrella and a beauty dish. While many of you may not know what those things are just let me explain that this produces a beautifully flattering light that wraps around the face and makes the skin have a nice smooth glow. Not all harsh like it tends to be from a bare bulb light.

One of the secrets of great light is the larger the light source the more flattering the light and while this is only 20" or a 26" across both easily fit through most standard doors. It renders a flatteringly smooth light.  

This can be purchased at:




Light Meter

This light meter, the L358 from Sekonic has been such a time saver and helps me be a efficient professional. Once I set up my light I then test the light by stepping to where the subject is holding this at their chin, squeezing the black button on the side and triggering the flash to get a reading for my settings.

This allows me to shoot in manual mode which keeps my settings stable and allows me to focus on the creativity of the shoot. At this point I can forget about my settings for the most part because once they are "dialed in" unless the ambient light changes Ie: the sun continues to set or  goes behind a large cloud. Afterwards when editing this saves a huge amount of time since the exposures and white balance tend to be more accurate. This particular model has been discontinued but can still be picked up on Ebay. It is the only one I have much experience with and seems to function very dependably. 


Further Info:

There is a whole online community of photographers who are heavily committed to the philosophy of small off camera flash. They are usually known as "Strobist" because many of them find their roots back to David Hobby of, a site which promotes lighting techniques, such as off-camera flash. Lighting 101 is a more in-depth teaching article. A web site that caters to this active group is Midwest Photo Exchange 



(Kismet Photography) 580 BH Photo Box Buff C. Canon Cybersynch David Hobby EXii Flash Lighting LumoPro Metz Midwest Photo Exchange Off Camera Off Camera Flash Paul Rapid Sekonic Sigma Speedlite Strobist Vello Vivitar Westcott Yongnuo strobie Sun, 03 Aug 2014 22:59:43 GMT
The Difference-Maker The racing mind filled with "what if" scenarios, the butterflies the size of B52 bombers buzzing about in the pit of your stomach, sweaty palms and stress headaches. Are all just a few of the signs I am about to go do a photoshoot. The angst comes from the unknowns and attempting to prepare to be that professional the client needs me to be.

One of the difference makers that has helped my confidence in handling virtually any situation is off camera lighting. When I started out this subject scared me because of the seeming complexity of it. Then it was broken down simply for me and I will attempt to pass on what I was taught combined with what I have learned.

This picture is from a recent bridal shoot. I did not mask the bride and drop a Photoshop background in behind. The goal was to accomplish the lighting in camera and reduce the post editing time. A few minutes after this shot was taken the skies opened up and we were diving for vehicles in a driving thunderstorm. How do you make this sort of shot happen? I will attempt to show and tell. 

Bridal Shoot-134_MEBridal Shoot-134_ME

The use of flash allows one to capture a perfectly exposed picture of the focus subject, in this case the bride, while intensifying the color of the background... Here are some illustration pictures...

The "behind the scenes" capture of the capture. Lots of people on the beach and a dying flat light. 

Graduation 70D-137Graduation 70D-137

Below is the exact picture I captured when the above picture was taken. With minimal editing with the spot removal tool this is the stunning results.


The difference-maker is the use of a local light source that allows for the darkening or underexposing of the background. 

At this point I have to share a side bar mini story or a Paul Harvey-esque "rest of the story"... Earlier somewhere up the beach my trigger for my brand new Elinchrom Ranger Quadra light system slipped off the shoe of my camera and into the sand, never to be found by me again. Although I was REALLY upset I realized that I was losing the absolute best light we had all driven 1400 plus miles to shoot, so I let it go, did my best to pretend that sort of thing happens everyday in the life of a photographer and not the catastrophe it really was.  I went to my bag and pulled out my back up old system of my beat up Canon 580EXII flash with cybersynch triggers, handed it to Dad and hurried to capture the light before it all disappeared over the horizon.  Without the benefit of a softbox to diffuse the harsh bulb light and make it pretty. We got the shot and life goes on. Chalk it up to the cost of experience and life is still good. 

I will continue on in part 2 with more details on how to accomplish the above magic. 

(Kismet Photography) 5D 70-200mm MKIII Photographer bride wedding Tue, 22 Jul 2014 19:15:00 GMT
Flashing Etiquette

Don't you just hate the obnoxious photographer who seems to always be spoiling everyone's view and interrupting the event with the annoying flash popping off every few seconds? So do I and I am a photographer. 

This post is both a request and an expression of unwritten etiquette... Please everyone don't interrupt and disrupt the beauty and the sacredness of the wedding ceremony. Flashes from tiny point and shoot cameras from 5o feet away are pointless except to annoy everyone around you. Even large DSLR cameras with their huge flashes mounted on top are extremely disruptive.

We make it a point to purchase and use only cameras and lenses of the quality level to enable us to shoot in the often low light settings of a wedding without the blinding lightning strikes that leave everyone seeing spots.

The above picture is of a recent wedding as the attendants walked down the aisle. One thing that is also quickly recognized is the long and heavy lens we use during the ceremony so we can remain at a discrete distance. 

Some of it is gear and some of it is being positioned correctly to get shots but we take a sense of pride in capturing the magic moments as unobtrusively as possible.

Our request on behalf of the bride and grooms is please put away the iPhone and the point and shoot camera and enjoy the ceremony. Pictures afterwards are fine and you will have ample opportunities following the ceremony but please respect their special moments as witnesses to the proclamation of their love.



(Kismet Photography) 5D 70-200mm Canon Etiquette ISII MKIII Photographer Tips Tricks Wedding f2.8 Fri, 25 Oct 2013 16:24:09 GMT
The Road Not Taken

With a wrenching tear and fingers that grasp I stepped out of an old way that was all I had ever known... 

There are times in life when we stand face to face with choices to be made. Choices mean change and not something arrived at easily but continuity requires change. To be present requires a continuous adjustment to stay current with our world and our lives. Sometimes our station in life remains static while change happens incrementally on the inside. Often it isn’t until something moves in upon us and forces change from the outside, that we recognize, we are no longer the same internally.


To walk away from a career that was both employment and a way of life for as long as I can remember has necessitated an ongoing transition. The transformation has left me alternately disconcerted and galvanized. The pendulum swings revealing to me more and more of who I am and am not. 


"To thine own self be true" ~ Shakespeare

  Polonius's last piece of advice to his son Laertes


There is almost an overwhelming sense of trepidation as I have embarked on an odyssey that probably won’t be understood by many of my friends and quite possibly my family. Self discovery has revealed many things to me that I won’t discuss here and now and maybe never. What all of this leads me to is that there burns a relentless passion to be the best people photographer that money can’t buy. Capturing the stories of people’s lives through the eye of my lens. Then revealing and retelling them through the digital mediums and canvasses that technology would present us with making memories unforgettable


Below is a lifelong favorite poem of mine that sums up sooooo many of my thoughts of life’s journey to this point.  


The Road Not Taken

by: Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;


Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.


I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.


(Kismet Photography) Brevity Change Choices Landscapes Living Midlife Nature Pastorals Purpose Time Tue, 22 May 2012 19:15:00 GMT