Jaimee & Steve’s Historical Bradenton Wedding

Jaimee and Steve got ready for their wedding day at The Hampton Inn in downtown Bradenton, Florida. The hotel is a historic building, which was renovated several years ago with many of its original charming features kept intact. It was the perfect setting to showcase their subtle vintage style. The ceremony took place at the Manatee Village Historical Park, which is the sweetest place for a wedding, with it’s brick paths, tall old trees, and  collection of white wooden buildings, including a beautiful little traditional chapel. We had a lot of fun utilizing the surroundings such as the brick and iron gated entry, the old train, the general store, and more. The Riverhouse Reef and Grill in Palmetto, Florida, was the reception venue, which provided a glorious view of the water and sunset. The bride created most of the decor herself, which was pretty impressive. It was an honor to watch this little family celebrate their union and we wish them a lifetime of happiness!

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Reva & Steve’s Sarasota Engagement Session

When I arrived at Phillippi Creek Estate in Sarasota and started making my way through the grounds, I knew the light was going to be perfect for an engagement session. Then, I saw the bride-to-be, Reva, walking towards me with her fiance, Steve. She looked ethereal in a long light pink floral dress, the golden sunlight passing through creating a beautiful glow and backlighting her hair. This was photographer’s heaven. Things only got better from there, as the Reva and Steve turned out to be super awesome people that were a lot of fun to hang out with for a couple hours. When engagement sessions go this well, the wedding becomes even more exciting to look forward to!

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Boudoir Sessions Make the Perfect Last Minute Gift

GET MORE INFORMATION OR PURCHASE NOW

It happens to the best of us…life gets crazy and time flies. Next thing you know, Valentine’s Day is…well…tomorrow. Thankfully, you aren’t stuck with generic last minute gift options like flowers, chocolate, of a gift card. You can purchase a Boudoir Session and print the Gift Certificate today. She will be so excited that you not only got her something unique, but that you want to see her looking gorgeous in photos every day. Feel free to email tara@taratomlinson.com with questions, or click the link above for more info and to book!

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Jordan & Stephen’s Longboat Key Wedding

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Jordan and Stephen’s wedding is how NICE and FUN these guys were! I have never gotten so many hilarious photos of the bride and groom partying it up at the reception as I did at this wedding. It was heartwarming to see a couple so obviously in love and totally making good on the recommendation to “marry your best friend”. The wedding took place at the bride’s parents’ home in Longboat Key. The ceremony overlooked the water and the reception was set up in the yard. As always, NK Weddings did an incredible job bringing everything together and making sure that the day ran smoothly and stress-free. The classic decor and color scheme of soft greens, blush, and navy was timeless and elegant, as were the florals provided by Flowers by Fudgie. The string lights floating over the party added a magical ambience, thanks to US Tent Rental. Fete Catering  served up some of the most creative and delicious food I have had the pleasure of tasting at a wedding – the mini tacos with fresh, crispy shells were my favorite. Bryan at Lucky Lemon Films was an absolute pleasure to work with – we ended up having a great time collaborating on some shots, which was super fun. Clint Wiley Entertainment provided the live music which was perfectly done and kept the party going all evening long. One of the highlights of the night was the sparkler exit leading to the couple’s exit on a boat. When I say this wedding was amazing, I mean it – and the proof is in the photos!

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Best of 2016

Here it is, folks, my favorite images of 2016 all in one post! I want to thank the guys on my team who have helped to create some of these images: Michael Bartley, Jake Bibler, and Michael Zawadzki.

It was so incredibly difficult to narrow it down, and I still have way too many. 2016 was an incredible, transformative year for me. It was the worst of life and the best, all rolled into one. It’s actually hard to believe that everything that happened took place in the space of one year. In terms of photography, I continue to be amazed and grateful that I get to do what I love every day. I regularly think about sitting at my desk in a law office, knowing I wasn’t where I was supposed to be and dreaming of the day I could pursue my dream. I was kicked out of the nest before I thought I was ready, but I set my eyes forward and didn’t look back. On days when I feel overwhelmed or like quitting (yes, that does happen sometimes, let’s be real!), I think about how 2009 me would be in awe of 2016 me, and I feel better. Perspective is what keeps us grounded! I have had the honor of photographing the most incredible people this year. Some of my families have returned several times in one year, and some come back every year on vacation and I get to see their families and babies grow. If you think you feel old watching your own kids get big, imagine that multiplied many times over! I’ve seen newborns turn into big kids and become big brothers and sisters. I’ve seen babies enter this world that are now such grown up little people! My heart is full.

2016 was also filled with loss and transformative changes – some of which did not come easily. In March, within the span of 48 hours, my mom’s fiance passed away suddenly, and I lost my dad to cancer at only 58 years old. He never stopped fighting to live – his zest for life and rugged determination never wavered. The last vivid memory I have of him was sitting with him at golden hour (my favorite time of day) in my aunt’s front garden. He looked around with a mixture of deep appreciation and sadness in his eyes. He had his leg propped up, but it was swelling and he knew he would have to say goodnight to the sun, to the breeze, to the flowers and birds and people with their dogs walking by. And he wanted to keep taking it all in. The perfect mirror of the bigger picture. He knew his time was short. But he didn’t want to leave. In April, my sister came in from CA for his service and we went to Myakka State Park and spread his ashes in the place he loved so much, where we fished and canoed with the gators and where he pushed us on swings. In that moment, I felt him all around me and knew he would always be with me because I am made of him, made from him – my memories, my personality, my way of seeing the world…is because of him. I’ve included some images of the last time we were together as a family, the last time he looked like himself. Losing my dad made me realize that our time is too short to live a life that is not authentically ours. That biding time in hopeless hope that things would get better was a terrible, wasteful tragedy. Within months I had made a life changing decision that was, hands down, the hardest thing I have ever done. I learned that just because something hurts doesn’t mean it is bad or wrong. That the old cliche is true – “the only way around it is through it”. And when you are on the other side, it can be pretty beautiful.

Now to the happy part! One of my biggest dreams and desires is to travel, and travel I did this year! I spent some much needed time with my teenage daughters, as we became pseudo-groupies of our favorite band, The 1975. We saw them in St. Augustine, Charleston, Tampa and Orlando. After having the last 4 years of my life dictated by a nursing baby and then toddler, this was seriously what the doctor ordered for all three of us. And here I learned that taking time with your family and yourself is just as vital as working like a maniac. 😉 We also got to spend 10 days in Joshua Tree, CA with my sister’s family. That place is pure magic, and so are the photos I took there! I worked in NYC more than once – a place I had not been since 2002 (and then only for a day, with a double stroller!), and I took the kids there the week before Christmas – that was amazing. I love NYC and I would spend as much time there as I can manage! In October I went to Moab, Utah for continuing education with The Photo Rehab. There, I met a dozen or so friends I had only known online and recharged before season hit. The end of 2016 through the New Year was spent in Tromso, Norway. My first time in Europe! Seriously, a dream come true. With the guidance of some very special people, I stood underneath the Northern Lights, overcome with wonder, and photographed them.  You know you’re crazy lucky to talk astronomy with someone when you ask a question and they say “well, once I was talking to Carl Sagan and…)! Traveling so much in the fall and winter was very challenging work-wise. I cannot thank my sweet clients enough for being so awesome during this time. It was a fitting way to end the year….learning about the universe from an expert, staring up at the multitude of stars, and contemplating our oneness with nature and with each other – for we are all made from stardust, after all. {Scroll to the bottom of this post to see a surprise}

We’ll see creation come undone
These bones that bound us will be gone
We’ll stir our spirits ’til we’re one
Then soft as shadows we’ll become
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