On the Farm

Every three months I head out to a small town in Illinois called Walsh.  Most people haven't heard of Walsh, me included until Kelsey and Joel moved there.  They restored/renovated/loved his grandparents house make to life. 

 The drive out to their house is one of my favorites. I live in a small town in Illinois as well (Smithton) but the drive to their farm is so peaceful and relaxing. It takes me about 45 mins to an hour depending on how many farm vehicles I get stuck behind!

farm living

I head out to walsh to take their adorable son pierces' pictures.  This visit was no exception on how i not only love this location but how much i love this little family.  As a family photographer you fall in love with your clients that you see throughout the year.  I have known Kelsey & JOel for 8 years I believe,  I was their wedding photographer. THIS VISIT WAS FOR PIERCES' 9 MONTH SESSION.  I CAN'T BELIEVE HE IS 9 MONTHS, I FEEL LIKE IT WAS JUST YESTERDAY WE DID HIS NEWBORN SESSION AT THEIR OLD HOUSE IN COLLINSVILLE AND KELSEY ASKED ME TO BRING MY VACUUM CLEANER BECAUSE THEIR BROKE!!

Kelsey is great, always up for a more casual lifestyle type session. 

To say that I love their kitchen would be an understatement.  The natural light, and the farm house sink, is a lifestyle photographers dream!  Add a cute kid and it's a photographers playground!  I am pretty sure I could have just taken pictures here all day!

Pierce179(9 months).jpg
The whole scene in ONE image.  Farm equipment out the window give the complete picture. 

The whole scene in ONE image.  Farm equipment out the window give the complete picture. 

You can just smell the fresh clean baby in this photo!

You can just smell the fresh clean baby in this photo!

I look forward to next time....he will be a year!!!  Man how is that possible. 

Love you guys!

Rainy Day tips


 Well here in the St.Louis, MO metro area...Smithton, IL to be exact it's been raining for what seems like for weeks.  I had to reschedule 6 sessions this past weekend. Do to all of this rain. 

 So what does a photographer do on rainy crappy days that were suppose to be filled with photography.

  Of coarse I spend time with my family.  My two kids Jack, age 6, and Olivia age 3..and my husband Jim age not important!!!!  But of coarse I have to still force them to be models.  So let me tell you sometimes as a photographer photographing your own kids is a disaster of monumental portions.  Today....not to bad but not overly wonderful!

 I started with setting up.  Found myself a good clean wall, so I wouldn't have to Photoshop out any wall outlets or switches.  Something to think about when you are photographing your own kids.  Check your walls for a plan solid surfaces without any distractions.  Because, even if you don't plan on photo-shopping you don't want to worry about a random outlet sticking out from the side of your kids head.  So take the time and look around for a clean wall. 

After you find your wall if working with kids under 6-7 (I would say) find something to sit on, a box, chair or stool.  It helps kids have a spot verses just telling them to stand in a random spot.  It also give you some structure and depth.

 So in my case I have a box I use all the time.  I pulled my box out about 3 feet from my wall and put a small blanket under it so it just didn't look like a box on carpet, gave it a more polished feel. As you can see here this is NOT my kids, but my 7 month old kitten Stickers. 


Having a spot allows your subject to claim their spot, and feel more relaxed.  I have never really attempted feline portraits!!! But seemed to work.  Here is my other 7 month old kitten Marshmallow (aka Arshpillow my 3 year old can't seem to get it out correctly) I was able to get some really good closeups. 

cat photo2

The box isn't always visible but it's always helpful.  And Yes she is in her jammies....hey you get what you get on a lazy rainy Saturday morning.

kid photography

And sometimes the box becomes very helpful to use as a prop as well.  My son and husband have the rc car bug bad.  if it has wheels we probably own 3 of them!

kids and rc cars

i always try and capture my subjects personality.  so the next rainy day try out some of these tips on your own kids.  



My First Time

My First Time

 When I first started out I was working for Home Decorators Collection in St.Louis.  I was assisting another photographer with weddings and had a decent very little group of family clients.  My step-father Don had given my boring basic white business card to his brother (my uncle) for his daughters friend who was getting married.  if you followed that you get a gold star! 


I was on lunch break from work when my cell rang and I answered it as I always did...."hello!"  The lady on the other line was like "hi is this Layne the photographer? my friends dad, David, gave me your name."  I remember it like it was yesterday, I was stopped at the light at Pershall and Lindberg in St.Louis and my heart sank, with excitement and with terror.  I knew who this was, this was what could potentially be my first solo bride.  Still typing this I get goosebumps just like that day.  I had gotten calls before for family sessions but I mainly got emails.  But it was my first time hearing the words Layne the photographer and it was a moment a will never forget. That brides name was Jessica.

Jessica & Steve
July 2006


   Her wedding was a ways away, and I did end up doing one small wedding before hers. But Jessica will always be what I call my first bride because she was the first one I communicated with.  Staci was technically my first bride.  Jessica lives in Kansas City now but when she comes back to Breese, IL she calls me and we update her photos.  Hey Jess, we need to get new ones speaking of it!!  And Staci & her husband Alex are two of my fiercely local clients turned friends. 

 Both these couples have kids, and I love that I have gotten to watch them grow in front of my lens.  And Thank heavens they stuck with me, cause I was just going through old images to put on this post...and man I have grown a lot as a photographer in the last 10+ years.

My first technical couple, Staci & Alex and their kids Nicole & Zachary this past Christmas at my annual Santa event


   Thanks Jess and Staci for being my firsts!  haha.  And to all the other fiercely loyal brides AND grooms that have stuck with me for so many years.  I have loved every minute of it. 

My Journey in short

The Early Years

I will continue to look for some of my FIRST photos I ever took.  I know I have them somewhere.  It's a picture of my care bears lined up on a couch I believe their heads might have been cut off...the tops at least. I was probably 7.

My mom got me my first FILM SLR camera when I was 16-17. And I took it everywhere I went.  I played soccer but was often sidelined due to knee issues and surgeries.  I still wanted to be part of the team so I took pictures...LOTS of pictures. 

I graduated Merrimack High School, in Merrimack NH and moved to Belleville IL where my mom decided to move. I went to college at SIUE (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville) for not Photography....but Pscyhology.  I didn't think my mom would approve of a photography degree.  Though she would have supported it, because she has always been my biggest supporter.  But psychology has actually helped in my photography career.  It's taught me understanding and how to listen during my shoots, how to read a group of people and best photograph their needs.


Love & Marriage

I met my husband in 2002 and we married in 2004.  I never worked in the psychology field but I think every job I have held has some use for my degree.  I held mainly office type jobs from working at the St.Clair County Court house and Home Decorators Collection to French Gerleman and Data Unlimted.  Through most of those jobs I did photography on the side, after work and on the weekends. 

In 2008 I had gotten so busy with my side business I quit and opened up my first location in New Town in St.Charles, MO.  I had a small 200ish sq/ft free standing structure in the theater district there.  It was a great place to meet with clients and get work done.  New Town provided lots of great places to take pictures, and there was always something going on.


New town office

I left this cute little office in July of 2010 and moved my little business to St.Peters, MO.  I moved to a bigger space that I was able to use to do some studio shooting in.  A week after I signed my lease in St.Peters we found out we were pregnant with our first born, Jack.  I stayed in that location just a year and I was spending more time working from home and taking care of Jack than I was taking care of Jack from the office.  So I closed that shop and since I have been working from home.

Working from home is great, but not so great.  More on that another day.

We had our daughter on New Years eve 2013.  And we moved to Smithton, IL in July of 2016.  My photography continues to grow and I love what I do.  I have a fiercely loyal clients that have turned into friends. I love my job, the highs and the lows...those lows often come in winter when the world hibernates.

That me in a quick of a nutshell as I can manage.  I am going to try and blog once a week.  They will be about photography, my life, crazy kids stories, recent and past sessions.  Might even throw a giveaway or two in the mix just see who is reading!