Jessi Casara Photography: Blog en-us (c) Jessi Casara Photography / Logo design by Kelly Fly (Jessi Casara Photography) Wed, 12 Jul 2017 17:06:00 GMT Wed, 12 Jul 2017 17:06:00 GMT Jessi Casara Photography: Blog 120 25 Parham Family Beach Session | Orange Beach, Alabama The Parhams are one of my favorite families to photograph. I've had the pleasure of photographing them several times, from wedding days to family beach vacations, and I love seeing their family grow each year. Here are a few of my favorite moments from our session this summer. Can't wait to see you guys again when we've added three more to the mix!! 

To see more from this session and to order prints, click here, and be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more updates!!

If you or your family is looking for someone to document some of your special family time, please give me a shout! I'd love to help you capture some memories you will cherish for years to come!




]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) alabama baby beach canon casara photo children digital families family film foley gulf shores jessi casara photography maternity medium format photo photography portrait southern vacation Wed, 12 Jul 2017 17:06:19 GMT
Emily Mann | Fashion Blogger | Fairhope, Alabama I always have a blast photographing this girl. She was one of the first people I ever photographed professionally, and we've both come a long way since then. We've been from the beach in Gulf Shores, to the cityscapes in Atlanta, but somehow we had yet to take advantage of Emily's quaint little hometown of Fairhope, Alabama. Wanting that Italian vibe so she could showcase her new dress from boohoo, we went to the Wine Bar at Pinzone's, and it was absolutely perfect. Shout out to Louie for the fantastic wine and bread sampler - we will definitely be back - and, as always, thank you to Emily for inspiring such a fun and beautiful session!


To see more from this session and to order prints, click here. Also be sure to check out Emily's website,, and her Instagram for more fabulous fashion and home decor!




Check me out on Facebook and Instagram for more!

]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) alabama blog blogger boohoo canon casara photo emily emily mann fairhope fashion italian italy jessi casara photography photography pinzones portrait roman rome wine bar Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:28:25 GMT
Carter Family | Perdido Beach, Florida I can't tell you how much fun I had photographing this beautiful, blue-eyed family. I was a little worried I wouldn't get to, the weather being so unpredictable this time of year, and they were only here for a few days, but thankfully we were able to make it work, and I couldn't be happier. They were so much fun to work with; I hope we get to do it again for many years to come. Thank you, Carter family, for letting me hang out with you and document your time at the beach! Here are a few of my favorite images for our session.


To see more from this session and to order prints, click here. If you would like to have someone document special moments like these with your family, I'd love to help, so please give me a shout!




Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more updates on future sessions!

]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) alabama beach canon children digital families family film gulf shores jessi casara photography medium format orange beach photo photography portrait southern Tue, 20 Jun 2017 14:00:00 GMT
Arthur Bosarge | I Am Me | Artist Promo & Headshot Session | Fairhope, AL I remember my grandmother trying to teach me how to play the piano when I was a little girl. We got as far as Yankee Doodle before I called it quits. It is absolutely mind-boggling to me, the amount of patience and skill that goes into learning the piano. I mean, you basically have to read two different languages, and interpret on two different hands, AT THE SAME TIME. Combine that with the ineffable ability to tell a story without words, to bring a feeling to life that you didn’t even know existed. And if done right, it seems effortless, though you are fully aware it is not. It’s simple and impossible at the same time. 

There's a unique power that comes with certain types of music. I’ve watched seasons change just by listening to someone play the piano. I've felt anger and despair, joy and hope. I've understood what someone was saying without ever hearing any words. Maria Cristina Mena once penned, “Piano keys are black and white, but they sound like a million colors in your mind.” It doesn't make any sense, but it does. And the people that bring these colors to life are special. They are patient and hard-working and diligent and passionate. They have to be. And like his instrument of choice, Arthur Bosarge has created a life both grand and bright. 

I first met Arthur in my hometown of Foley, Alabama while working at the Banana Republic outlet. No offense to any of my other co-workers, but no one could put together an outfit quite like Arthur, which makes sense, seeing how his favorite childhood memory is going to the mall with his mom. It always amazed me the way Arthur could bring to life a pair of outlet chinos with an cardigan and a neck scarf. Try as we might, none of us could pull off a look quite as well as Arthur.

Fast forward five years from our time at BR, and I am finally pursuing my career as a photographer and writer, while Arthur is living his dream as a professional pianist and music director for The Prizery in Virginia. He gets to spend his days playing piano and directing music for other talented singers, an inevitable occupation choice for him, since his reason for becoming a pianist in the first place was because he loved “the sound of unamplified singing” - plus, “the literature is wonderful.”

When Arthur came into town a couple of months ago for a visit, he asked me to take some new headshots for him. I happily obliged, not not only because I love photographing other artists, but because I knew Arthur would be the quintessential mix of sass and elegance and give my photos the type of depth only an intriguing personality can bring.

I was excited to find that his fashion sense had expanded even farther beyond his already impressive eye for style. He walked into Kudzu, our beautiful venue for his session, with a vintage, faux-fur coat and retro, round sunnies (which I woefully did not get a photograph of), and I knew I was in for a treat. We kept the outfits simple for the sake of his headshots, but you can’t deny the magic this man brings to film.

As thoughtful as he is witty, you really can’t spend time with Arthur without wanting more. He has a way of keeping you on your toes while making you feel like a friend, a solace for us socially awkward types. If he were to have a dinner party, the likes of Quentin Crisp, Tennessee Williams, and RuPaul would be at the top of his guest list (just below me, I’m assuming), and I know he would find a way to relate to them all, to make them laugh, make them think, and, if he were to play piano, possibly make them cry. I would love to photograph that dinner party, if I could.

I do hope I get the opportunity to photograph Arthur again one day, maybe another five years from now. Maybe I'll get to catch a show at the Prizery, or maybe he'll be playing on Broadway. Maybe he'll be in France. Whatever he is doing, I know he will be working hard to keep the art of piano alive and appreciated, and the world of fashion on its tip toes. Either way, I'm glad you've had a chance to meet him here.

If you'd like to find out more about what Arthur is up to next (trust me, you do), check out the Prizery's Facebook page here. And if you also regret the fact that I did not snap a photo of Arthur making his grand entrance at Kudzu (which I will literally regret for the rest of my life), you can see some of his epic selfies on his Instagram.

Thank you for the chance to photograph and spend time with you, Arthur. Keep doing what you're doing. And keep looking this good doing it. 


To see more from Arthur's session,  click here. If you are an artist in need of new headshots or promotional portraits, please give me a shout! I'd love to hear from you!

Last but not least, huge thanks to Megrez Mosher for opening up her studio to us! Kudzu Aerial is a gem, and for those of you who have never been to an aerial class, you should give it a try. Check out their website or Facebook page for more.



Check me out on Facebook and Instagram for more updates and future sessions!

]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) alabama arthur bosarge artist fairhope film headshot jessi casara photography kudzu photography pianist portrait promo Fri, 16 Jun 2017 17:03:43 GMT
Jason + Janine | Wedding | Muscle Shoals, AL I've known Janine since my clarinet-playing days at Gulf Shores High School. Back then, we called her "NeNe," and one of my favorite memories is when she was my Freshman for the day...I made her wear this incredibly tacky outfit and she had to sing a song I made up for her whenever she was asked. 

Janine is one of the smartest, kindest, and funniest people I know, with the kind of beauty that lights up a room when she walks in. Quiet and humble, but full of that joy that can only come from one place. I am so happy she met her match in Jason, another kind-hearted, sweet soul who obviously adores and respects Janine. I was so honored to get to be a part of their special day. Here are a few of my favorite images from the day, and more can be found here. Enjoy!


To see more photos and to order prints, click here. If you are looking for someone to document your special day, please give me a shout! I'd love to hear from you!

Have a great week!



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]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) alabama canon digital families family film florence jessi casara photography medium format muscle shoals photography portrait sheffield wedding Mon, 22 May 2017 18:31:24 GMT
Kobiec Family | Silverhill, Alabama I had such a great time photographing this fun, beautiful family! We found a couple of beautiful spots near their home in Silverhill, Alabama and had so much fun capturing these sweet relationships. Here are a few of my favorite shots of the day. You can see more from this session and order prints here. Enjoy!

]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) alabama canon families family jessi casara photography photography portrait silverhill Tue, 09 May 2017 17:23:12 GMT
Whitney + Corey | Wedding | Robertsdale, AL It is such a joy to watch the love two people have for each other, and an even bigger honor to get to document it. I loved having the chance to spend the day with these two lovebirds. They were married outside, under a beautiful blue sky, at the PZK Hall in Robertsdale, AL last month, surrounded by family and friends. Here are a few of my favorite shots of the day. To see more, and to order prints, you can check out their gallery here.

To see more photos and to order prints click here. If you are getting married and would like to talk about having your special day documented, please give me a shout! I'd love to hear from you!

Hope you all have a great weekend!



]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) alabama bride canon digital families family film groom jessi casara photography medium format photo photography portrait robertsdale southern wedding Fri, 28 Apr 2017 20:18:43 GMT
Arabella Rain | Model Promo Session | Foley, AL It can be hard to photograph children sometimes. They might not want to be there, or maybe they are camera shy, or just easily distracted. Not the case with Arabella Rain. This mini model was born to be in front of a camera. Every shot shines with her personality, which she isn't afraid to show. She is a bright, beautiful, and hilarious young lady, and I can't wait to see where she ends up! Thanks again for letting me capture your beautiful spirit, Bella! Hope we get to do it again sometime ;) And another big thanks to Copper Kettle Tea Bar for giving us the perfect location to have a tea party...

To see more images from this session and to order prints, click here.

If you are a creative professional (i.e. model, musician, actor, etc) and are in need or promotional photos, I'd love to help you out! Send me a message and let's talk!

]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) alabama canon copper kettle tea bar digital film jessi casara photography medium format model photography portrait promo promotional tea party Wed, 12 Apr 2017 16:15:41 GMT
The Bundys | Family Session | Portland, OR I had the pleasure of photographing this beautiful family while I was in Portland back in November. They were a part of my Follow The Bluebird tour, and the mom, Beth, is also a friend of my good friend and college roommate, Calla Maria. And (small world!) she is originally from Mobile! We had a blast playing on the beach, and we even caught a rainbow! I hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed taking them!

Be sure to check out Beth's amazing artwork at or on her Facebook page.

If you are an artist and need headshots or have other photography needs to help support you and your work, I'd love to hear from you. Please give me a shout!

Happy Monday everyone!



]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) beach canon digital families family film follow the bluebird jessi casara photography medium format photography portrait Mon, 06 Mar 2017 19:37:51 GMT
GLACE | Couple Session with Glennellen & Adrian | Los Angeles, CA "The best love is the one that makes you a better person, without changing you into someone other than yourself."

I absolutely loved getting to photograph these lovebirds when I was in LA back in November. You can't help but smile when you're around them. Plus, they ain't bad to look at ;) You may remember Glenn from the Inspired By session I did with her last year, or maybe (like me) you are a Stranger Things fan and noticed her as the tattle-tale red-head, Nicole. Either way, I am sure you can see what a talented human this person is, whether it's acting, singing or modeling.

And her new beau, Adrian, is another talented actor making a name for himself. She met him after her move to LA, and the two of them together are a bar-none power couple, plus they're just some of the nicest and funniest people you are likely to meet. They are such a great match, and I am so lucky I got to hang out with them and photograph some of our time together. Get ready to see a lot more of these talented folks in the near future, but in the meantime here are a few of my favorite photos; I hope you like them!

To keep up with Glennellen you can follow her on Instagram, and follow Adrian on Instagram here. You can also keep up with #GLACE here.


Hope you guys have a great week!! Keep up with more of the goings on at Jessi Casara Photography on Instagram and Facebook, or if you'd like to book your own session, feel free to contact me. I'd love to work with you!





]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) canon couple digital engagement love photo photography portrait session Mon, 30 Jan 2017 15:00:00 GMT
Emily Mann | Fashion Blogger | Atlanta, GA "Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak" - Rachel Zoe

I loved getting to photograph this beautiful woman while I was in Atlanta a couple of months ago. Stylish and elegant, Emily is becoming one of the Southeast's fashion icons. I got to stroll the streets of Atlanta with her and check out some of her favorite spots, while sporting some of her favorite looks. Here are a few of my favorite images. Can't wait to work with her again!

Thanks again for letting me hang out and photograph you, Em! You can see more of Emily's looks and fashion tips on her Instagram (@emily_nicolee).

If you are a fashionista, model, musician or other creative professional and would like to work with me, I'd love to hear from you. Just send me a message here. Keep up with more of my work on my Facebook page and Instagram. Have a great week everyone!




]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) atlanta blogger canon digital emily mann fashion film georgia jessi casara photography photography portrait Mon, 09 Jan 2017 15:00:00 GMT
Smith Family Session | Mobile, AL One of my most memorable family sessions from last year was with this beautiful family. They made me feel like I was a photographer for Vogue, capturing the cover image of some fabulous celebrity family. They dressed in all black and brought their own chaise with them. Yeah. They are that awesome. Here are some of my favorite images from their session.

Thanks again, Smith family, for giving me the opportunity to photograph you and feel like a rock star!

To see more from this session and to order prints, click here. If you would like to schedule your own family session, please send me a message! I'd love to work with you.

Keep up with more of my work on Facebook and Instagram

Have a great week everyone!



]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) alabama baby canon children cover daphne digital fairhope families family film jessi casara photography medium format mobile photo photography portrait southern vogue Tue, 03 Jan 2017 17:38:41 GMT
Christina Christian | Musician Promo Session | Fairhope, Alabama A few months ago I had the immense pleasure of photographing the lovely and talented Christina Christian. This woman has one of the most contagious smiles I've ever seen, and a talent that makes you want to stop and listen. Christina has been writing most of her life, and starting putting it to music at 16 when she got her first guitar. Over the last three years she's had the opportunity to share the stage with other talented performers including Maggie Rose, Jana Kramer, Cassadee Pope, Tyler Farr, and The Henningsens. Nowadays you can catch her on stage regularly at the Flora-Bama and other venues along the Gulf Coast. Here are a few of my favorites from her session. Hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them!

Christina's debut album, Silent Sea, is now available for pre-order here. You can also check out more about her and her music at, and keep up to date with where she'll be performing next on her Facebook page.

I'm very excited to continue helping other artists do what they do best. I'll be focusing more of my work on other musicians and artists in the coming year, and will be announcing a new book project soon! Thanks again to everyone for all of your support. If you are a musician or artist and you'd like to work together, I'd love to hear from you, so give me a shout!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! Love you all :)



]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) alabama americana beach canon christina christian country digital film gulf shores jessi casara photography medium format music musician orange beach photography portrait rock southern Thu, 22 Dec 2016 18:55:55 GMT
Christy | Artist Promo Session | Nashville, TN "I was called to write this book. I was called to tell my story. Bare my ugly for all to see. Because my story isn't about me anymore. My story is for all those hopeless women who feel they are messed up and beyond repair. Who don't know how to forgive themselves or don't know if they ever can. I am willing to be the voice I so desperately needed to hear all those years ago." - Christy Neal

I am so proud of my cousin, Christy, who is releasing her book, Don't Ever Tell, later this month. Through her story she is empowering women to forgive themselves, accept grace, and live a life that's worth living. I had the honor of taking her author head shots for the book, and I'm so excited to see them in print! Here are a few favorites from my session with her at her home near Nashville.



Thanks again Christy for giving me the opportunity to work with you on this project! If you'd like to learn more about Christy, her ministry, and her new book, please check out her Facebook page, Choose Different Ministries.

If you are an artist and need some new promo photos, I would love to hear from you! Please send me a message and let's talk!




]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) author canon casara photo choose different ministries christy digital don't ever tell film jessi casara photography medium format nashville nature outside photography portrait tennessee Mon, 03 Oct 2016 14:00:00 GMT
Roggendorff Family Session | Nashville, TN I had so much fun spending some time with this beautiful family while I was in Nashville. We hung out in East Nashville at a couple of their favorite spots, then watched the sunset at a nearby park. I still can't get over Violet's sweet smile and Noah's "model" faces. These guys love each other so much, I hope these photos show it. Can't wait to see you guys again!! 



To see more from this session and to order prints, click here. If you would like to book a family session of your own, please send me a message. I'd love to work with you!! Happy Friday!




]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) canon casaraphoto digital family jessi casara photography medium format photography portrait Fri, 09 Sep 2016 15:58:04 GMT
Abraham | Lifestyle Editorial Session | Nashville, TN This session was easily one of my favorites to date. I got to work with model Abraham Hutcheon out of Nashville, and let me tell you, this guy is going places. He is not only gorgeous, but incredibly talented and so wonderful to work with. The session was originally just going to be a head shot session for casting, but we decided to make it into something potentially print-worthy. Abe found a beautiful, light-filled room and a dusty old chair, and let's just say we made some magic happen. We ended the shoot with a walk down the pedestrian bridge during golden hour, and again, magic. Can't wait to make it back up to Nashville so we can work together again!

Here are a few of my favorite images from the day. If you'd like to talk about making some magic of your own, I am currently offering discounted sessions for other creative professionals (models, musicians, actors, etc.) to help you do what you do, so please contact me!  

]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) canon casting digital editorial film headshots lifestyle medium format nashville pentax photo photography portrait tennessee Sat, 13 Aug 2016 18:21:33 GMT
Jacobs Family Session | Mobile, Alabama You know those families that are like, so adorably goofy and happy and like each other and laugh at each other and you're just like, "Can I please keep hanging out with you even though we're strangers and I'm just supposed to be taking pictures?!" Yeah, that's the Jacobs family. I had so much fun just being around them, let alone capturing such fun moments of them together on Meghan's graduation day. We blew bubbles, climbed trees, hung out on the front porch. It was truly a good day. Here are a few of my favorite moments. You can see the rest of their session here.

To see more from this family's session and to order prints, click here. If you are interested in doing a family session with me, I'd love to hear from you! You can contact me here so we can get it set up. Have a great day y'all!!
]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) alabama baby canon digital families family film medium format mobile photo photography portrait southern Tue, 26 Jul 2016 17:53:10 GMT
I need your help. Not gonna lie, I hate asking for help. I'm a big fan of doing things on my own. I like to accomplish things. I like to feel productive, like I'm making a difference. I like to be able to say, "I did this." And I think we are kind of conditioned to think that way. As if we can carry the world by ourselves. As if it means more if we do it ourselves. But I'm about to get real honest with you, because there are big changes a-comin. And I can't do this on my own. 


So...drum roll please...

Two weeks from today, I will officially be a full-time photographer.

Let's just let that sink in for a minute.

Because for the last four years I have been working nearly every night after coming home from "work", and nearly every weekend, marketing, editing, shooting, networking and doing what I could to pursue this dream of mine. And I would not be here without you. So for everyone who has supported me, encouraged me, hired me, pushed me to do this - I mean you're literally making me cry right now - thank you. You know who you are.


In order to really do this thing, I will be stepping away from the amazing, full-time job I've held for the last four years at Bob Chatham Custom Home Design. I'm thankful I will still get to work with this amazing team of people as a subcontractor, but it won't be the same not being in the office with them everyday. They are really more like family to me, and I can't begin to explain the amount of love I have for these special people, and for Bob Chatham especially, who is one of the most gracious, humble and talented men in the architectural design world. I've learned how to be a better businesswoman from him. I have learned how you should treat clients and employees and people in general. I have learned that it is better to be kind than to be greedy. And I will carry that with me always.

I get to do this because of you guys. Because of the ones who told me to keep going even when I didn't think it was possible to do this full-time. Because of the ones that give me that shout-out every time they post one of my pics on Facebook. And the ones that told their friends about me. This is because of the ones that chose me to document their engagement, their wedding, their baby's first year, or capture their modeling portfolio or album cover. This is because of the ones that followed their dreams and inspired me to follow mine. You are all so important to me, and I seriously can't thank you enough.

I wanted to post some of my favorite images (my favorite moments really) of the last few years as a reminder of how much we need each other. These moments matter because they represent something important - love, life, growth, beginnings, endings...and I feel so lucky to get to capture them for you, so you can look back and remember that moment forever...This is both an ending and a beginning for me. And it is important for me to also realize that I need you. I wouldn't be a photographer if you didn't give me the honor of photographing you.

So this is where the scary part comes in. I'd be lying if I said I felt 100% confident that come January I'll have booked enough sessions to get me through the next year. Now I know God's got my back. I trust that He is in this thing too. I'm not worried. But I also know I gotta work. I no longer have a steady paycheck. I am self-employed. And, I'll say it again, I need your help.

Here's the deal: I need to book 12 more sessions by the end of the year. That's two more a month now through December. That may not seem like a lot, but it really is. As much as it pains me, I would like to ask you a favor. I know that you all can't hire me, and that's fine. But even if you can't, there are some other things you can do to help, if you want.

1) Tell your friends about me. 

This could be as simple as sharing my page on Facebook, or just saying, "Hey, do you need any photos made? Cause I know a girl..."

2) Write a review on Facebook or Google (if you've actually worked with me before). 

It only takes a minute, and it helps boost my search engine standings (not to mention my morale!)

3) Share one of your favorite photos that I've taken on social media and tag my page.

I love seeing people share my work. My biggest goal through my photography is to capture moments that really mean something to you and make them last forever. I would love to see the ones that have meant the most to you.


Lastly, I plan on traveling quite a bit over the next few months, and would love to see you in one of these cities!!


July 11-15 - Nashville

July 25-27 - Auburn/Atlanta

November (Dates TBD) - Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle


Otherwise, I am here in southern Alabama, waiting to hear from you!! 

You guys, seriously, thank you for all you do. I am so excited to see where these next few years take me. I can't wait to document more incredible, life-changing moments. I can't wait to keep photographing other creative professionals so I can help you do what you do. All of the people I get to meet, and places I get to go...and I know that I'm doing what I was created to do. You can't beat this feeling. Thanks again for your continued support everyone. It really means the world to me.




]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) Jessi Casara Photography bluebird family followthebluebird medium format photography portrait Sat, 25 Jun 2016 16:59:54 GMT
Inspired By: Glennellen, the Performer without a Backup Plan I've had my life planned out since Mrs. Davis' second grade class. Since the age of seven, I knew where I was going to college and what I was going to be. I had a plan, and by golly I was going to stick to it. I graduated high school ten years later with the same plan. I was accepted to Auburn University, which was good, because I didn't apply anywhere else. I declared my major in education because I had no intention of doing anything else.

It didn't take long to realize everything I had planned for myself was not going to turn out the way I had imagined. I found myself twenty-one years old and had changed my major three times. Apparently, I needed a backup plan. I needed like eight of them.

I first met Glennellen Anderson when we worked together at Juicy Couture (I think I was at backup plan number six at this point). I didn't really get to work directly with her very much, but I heard a lot about her from my roommate at that time, who was also a mutual friend. I knew Glenn was an actor and a musician, and had already seen some success. Even as a newborn, she found herself gracing the cover of the phone book, of all things. Then at two years old, she started crying during one of her parents' performances, not because she wanted them, but because she wanted their microphone. She sang "You Are My Sunshine" to thousands of people, and loved every second of it.

The spotlight felt natural to Glennellen, and for the next several years she gravitated to it whenever she could. At eleven years old, with the encouragement of her parents, she tried out for her first play, just to see what this theater thing was all about. She landed a lead role. By nineteen years old, Glennellen had been in a number of theater productions and even starred in an ION Channel movie called Mandie and the Forgotten Christmas (now streaming on Netflix!). 

Her next stop was American Idol. 

She almost didn't try out for American Idol. It honestly wasn't on her list of priorities. But, everything seemed to be pointing her in that direction. Even with her crazy summer schedule working retail over 60 hours a week, she was somehow off the weekend Idol would be in a neighboring city. So she went. And she got that golden ticket. As Glenn told me, "This is what I had been working towards my entire life, and didn't even know it. From musical theater to voice lessons...I had always gravitated towards music, but had also thought that acting was what I going to do." After making it through to Hollywood, she finally realized, "Yes, I can act, I can dance, I can do all of that, and even get praised for it, but when I sing, it touches people more than anything else ever did." And that was the difference. 

Glennellen was eliminated that first week in Hollywood, but that didn't stop her. In fact, it only propelled her into the making of her debut album, Perspective, which was released in October of 2015. Nothing seemed to keep her from moving forward. She turned every obstacle into a stepping stone.

Through her journey from American Idol to the making of Perspective, there was one thing that Glennellen kept saying that really didn't sit well with me. Her mantra: "Performer for life, no backup plan." It annoyed the crap out of me. I could only think how naive it was of her to think that way. My own experiences had taught me a very valuable lesson - you have to have a backup plan. Sometimes you don't get what you want. And you have to live with that. 

It wasn't until earlier this year that I began to see things a bit differently. That maybe this precocious, twenty-one-year old red-head was onto something I hadn't thought of before. Which was also annoying. Because I hate being wrong.

When Glennellen announced she would be moving to Los Angeles in February to pursue her music career, she also started offering affordable photo sessions as a way to raise money for the move (oh yeah, add "photographer" to her list of talents). I decided to take her up on that, since I really needed new head shots, plus I thought it would be a great chance to hang out with her one more time before she moved. On top of that, the girl is gorgeous and I had been dying to get her in front of my lens, so we ended up making it a double photo shoot and made some portraits for each other.

That decision was probably one of the best I've made this year. 

I didn't realize it at the time, but life had made me jaded. My photography was not going in the direction I wanted, I wasn't pursuing a career I enjoyed, and my relationships felt stagnant. My life was not being lived. My dreams were not being followed. My goals were not being achieved. I was just standing here, holding a camera while doing what I thought I had to do to pay the bills and forgetting that THIS WAS JUST SUPPOSED TO BE A PLACEHOLDER.

I felt like I was spitting in the face of my Creator.

But then this session, with this girl who is clearly doing something she is passionate about, reminded me that I have a passion too. I love photographing people. I love capturing their spirit, their emotion, their relationships. And I am pretty damn good at it.

Enter the epiphany: I went to Auburn because my second grade teacher, Mrs. Davis, went to Auburn, and she loved it. I wanted to be a teacher because my second grade teacher, Mrs. Davis, was a teacher. And she loved it. It was never my passion that made me want those things, it was someone else's passion. I had yet to find my own. 

You will never truly succeed doing something you are not passionate about.

Sometimes we do things because it looks so good when someone else is doing it. Like the time I bought that dress because it looked so good on the mannequin, but when I went home and put it on, I was utterly disappointed. Not because it was an ugly dress, or because I was ugly (fingers crossed), but because we just weren't a good fit. The same applies in careers, as well as relationships. You can't choose something or someone because someone else loves it. You have to figure out what you love. Because when you find that thing that you know you're good at, or could be good at, that thing that makes you want to keep trying, over and over and over again, you don't let go of it. Not everyone has what you have. Not everyone wants what you want. And that's a beautiful thing. The world won't work without it.

The reason Glennellen vehemently refuses to have a backup plan is because, "Mindset is everything." She tells me, "If you believe you can't, or let other people tell you you can't, then you won't be able to...Always keep your passion in it, cause that's whats gonna make you want to continue, through all the hardships and hard days..."

"Persist without exception," as Andy Andrews says. It's one of Glennellen's favorite quotes, which makes sense, because year after year, I keep seeing Glennellen do one thing: Try. 

Act. Try. Relationship. Try. Heartbreak. Try. Move. Try. Fall. Try. Get Up. Try. Sing. Try. Try. Try. And try again.

It's the try-ing that's the thing of it. You'll never know what you can do if you don't try, right? That's the first step. And what I've learned from Glennellen is that the second step (and equally important step), is to figure out that thing that you want to keep trying even when you fail the first (hundred) time(s). 

And you know what else? If you don't want to keep trying...then maybe you shouldn't. Maybe it's time to move on.

Not to say that it hasn't been a hard choice for Glennellen to keep doing what she's doing. Don't let the mermaid hair fool you. She is, in fact, human.

As for all of us, there have been times when she has fallen victim to humanity at its worst. She was bullied as a kid, which is why she started homeschooling. Of course, that homeschool community led to her meeting life-long friends, and gave her the freedom to travel and eventually pursue music.

Then at 14, some girls started spreading rumors about her. Which was when her parents taught her that you can't let others define who you are. "You write your own story, you don't let others write it for you," She says, "You should be proud of who you are, and if you aren't then you need to figure out why." You need to be your biggest fan, but you also need to have a reason to be your biggest fan.

Then of course there was the time she starting dating one of those "bad boys" all our mommas warn us about. He shook her faith, her confidence and even her career path. It took two years for her to realize that he was doing nothing but hindering the person she was meant to be. "I realized I almost changed myself for one person because he thought I was wrong", she told me. "God instills some part of you from the time you're born, but it's up to you and those around you to help that flourish, or not." She knows now, "If you don't have confidence in yourself, these things really can change you. I've just used them in my writing, in my music. You have to rise above the influence, and stick with what you believe in."

There's a silver lining in those dark clouds if we let there be. Sometimes we just have to get our pretty silver pencil out and draw it ourselves.

There's a scene in the beginning of Batkid Begins (a documentary about the entire city of San Francisco coming together to create Gotham for a little boy named Miles with a terminal illness) where little Miles is sitting on the couch with his parents, and the reporter asks them, "So is this what you guys expected?" Miles immediately responds, "Mmhmm!" while his parents laugh with a confident, "No."

It's a familiar scene to me.

It seems that the younger you are, the easier it is to believe in your dreams. As we get older, we get our hearts broken. We encounter disappointments and letdowns. We have what adults like to call a "reality check" and begin to assume that dreaming is "just" for children. Somewhere along the line, we stop believing in ourselves. We conform to the idea that our dreams aren't worth pursuing, especially if we end up failing. But hasn't history taught us that the greatest dreamers failed thousands of times before their dream was realized? Doesn't that mean something? Isn't it worth failing if in the end we create something no one else ever could?

The wisdom gained in every failure is valuable. We need to be more careful about not letting those failures stifle our potential, convincing us to live a life less than that which we were created for. As R.S. Grey wrote, "She believed she could, and so she did." There is something to be said for having a "child-like faith." God even asks us to become like children before we can enter the kingdom of heaven. So, I mean, it's got to mean something.

Though ten years my junior, I can honestly say I have learned a lot about life from Glennellen Anderson, just as I have from the other incredible women in this portrait series. As Hannah has helped me to be grateful, and Robin has helped me to dream, Glennellen has helped me to be brave. This is what a woman can do if she sets her mind to it. If she believes she can. If she is committed, and passionate, and fierce. The hardest part is finding the thing that makes you want to fight for it. But once you find it, maybe it's ok not to have a backup plan. Maybe it's ok to believe that "somewhere over the rainbow" really does exist. And maybe, just maybe, it's the fighting and the getting there that's the best part.

I have no idea what tomorrow holds. I have no idea if this will work out the way I expect. I have no idea how successful I'll be or really even what success is supposed to look like. But I do know this: I sure as hell am gonna try.


Thank you again Glennellen for letting me share your story. I would love to hear more stories of dreamers and failures and believers and, well, humans, so please share yours in the comments below.

To see more photos from this session, please click here. To keep up with Glennellen's journey, you can like her page on Facebook, and if you know what's good for you, you'll buy her album too.

As always, I would love to invite you to follow my journey by liking my Facebook page and following me on Instagram. I appreciate your support. You guys inspire me every day.





Photos and story copyright Jessi Lambert of Jessi Casara Photography. For inquiries, please contact me.

]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) American Idol actor alabama canon casara photo digital film glennellen glennellen anderson inspired by jessi casara photography la los angeles medium format model musician perspective perspective album perspective team photography portrait singer southern Mon, 23 May 2016 13:46:43 GMT
Christy | I am Me Session I always love photographing moms with their kids. It's a special kind of relationship, and a special kind of love that is so special to capture on film. When Christy won the "I Am Me" portrait session giveaway, I was so excited, because I already knew that a big part of who she is, is being a mom. It wasn't until I had the opportunity to hang out with her and photograph her though that I was able to really understand what that meant to her.

When I asked Christy what her favorite things to do were, she said she enjoyed doing crafts and projects and going to the beach, but "My favorite of all is being a mom." And it shows.

Since she loves the water so much, I suggested we do her session on the water, and I asked her to bring her daughter, Samantha. It really struck me, the way Christy let Samantha be the bold, brave little girl that she is. She wasn't afraid to climb over the rocks in search of a waterfall, but she also wasn't afraid to ask for help when she needed it. Christy encouraged her the entire time we were together. She told her "You can do it!", and she answered every question Samantha had. And she had a lot :)

This is a woman of strength, patience and character, and it shows up best in her love for her daughter.

When I asked Christy about her favorite memories as a child, she told me that her favorite memories are those with her childhood best friend, whose namesake her child now bears. She lost her friend in 2009, and now those memories are all that she has. How fitting to name your child after someone who made your childhood so worth remembering. I know it honors her to see little Samantha growing up to be such a bright-eyed, energetic, fun-loving adventurer.

I could tell when I asked Christy about her favorite more recent memory, it was easy for her to answer. She said it was her wedding day. "My favorite day," she says. "The day I married my best friend." Her husband, Tyler, is currently serving our country and has been deployed for the last few months. I can't tell you how grateful I am to him, and the men and women like him who so selflessly protect us all, but I have to say, I am also incredibly grateful to the men and women, like Christy, who support our soldiers, and give them a loving, safe home to come back to. 

I never really know what I'm looking for when I start photographing someone. I know I try to capture who they are, what they love, and why they love it. Christy was not hard to photograph, because she knows who she is, and she loves what she does. She is a mom. She is a friend. She is a beach babe. She is a military wife. She is an athlete. And her favorite color is glitter.

All of these things together, and so so much more more make her Christy. And that is pretty special.

My goal with these sessions is to bring to light the special things that make you, you. Christy, I hope you know that your love is seen, and that your hard work is recognized. And that it is appreciated. I hope you know that you are seen. I hope you realize that you are you. And that is absolutely wonderful. 


To see more from this session and to order prints, click here. To schedule your own "I Am Me" session, please contact me. I'd love to hear from you and have the opportunity to tell your story!


(c) Jessi Lambert of Jessi Casara Photography

]]> (Jessi Casara Photography) I Am Me Jessi Casara Photography alabama beach children christy fairhope families family film medium format mom photography portrait Tue, 12 Apr 2016 01:16:53 GMT