Please take a moment to read their stories.

“I’m not gonna lie, I was incredibly nervous about for this photo shoot. I even thought about calling it off once or twice. I have never felt photogenic in my life. In family pictures, I can always hide behind my adorable kids, but this was just me. Nowhere to run nowhere to hide. However, DeAnn made me feel beautiful. Like a model really. As soon as I saw the pictures I was shocked at how beautiful I looked. My husband loved them too. It was totally worth all the stress because, in the end, I knew I was beautiful and no one could tell me any different.” -Jenae

“DeAnn has been talking to me about taking my picture for years.  I always agreed that we should get together and do it, and thought it would be great, but I never had any follow through and my mind would review a list of reasons why I shouldn’t do it/it wouldn’t work. I will share with you my concerns so you can see how lame they were (or how un-lame they were but how she put me at ease!)

It took me a long time to admit this was probably the biggest reason, but I never made myself a priority. There was always something else that was more important than taking pictures of me. Mom is always the last on the list of people and things that need attending to, am I right? (I mean, really, how self-indulgent, right?). There are far more important things to get done than pictures of mom!!! Maybe deep down there was a part of me that was just self-conscious of how those pictures would turn out – that they would reveal I truly was a frumpy mother of 5 that was nothing of the stunning girl that met a young man at a dance 14 years ago. (I’m not a spring chicken as I approach 40, and the baby weight has left its mark.  Let’s just say I also had my “white highlights” taken out of my hair the week before these pictures were taken!)

In politically correct terms, I would be called extremely “practical” or “frugal”.  I think I almost choked when I heard what professional photos would run for.  I figured for that price I could tolerate my 13-megapixel camera phone.  I was amazed at the breadth of difference between the two!

I had literally NO IDEA how complicated it is to take an AMAZING picture. Through a series of conversations, observation over the last several years, and having her take my pictures, I was blown away by how many things have to be worked out: lighting, equipment, location, body positioning, the difference jewelry can make, etc!!!  (I felt ridiculous with some of the poses or things she had me do, but those were some of the best pictures!

SHOCKED. SPEECHLESS. AMAZED. That is how I felt when she showed me the pictures.  It was a perfect mix of “Is that me?” and “I can’t believe how good I look!” to “Do I actually look like that??” I can see why DeAnn quotes that every woman should have one good picture of herself that makes her feel like a woman” (and I will add “not just a mom of 5 kids!”). My husbands comment when he saw it said it all:  “Wow!!!! Ouch, I think I just burned myself while looking at her because she is so hot!”

Ultimately DeAnn has a combination of talent, skill, experience, equipment, and creativity that won me over. :0)

Yes, I realize how lame my excuses are, so I am not sure why it took me so long to let her take my picture!!  Probably because I didn’t think they would turn out so amazing.  Now I am totally motivated to have her take pics of my kids and the family!” – Carla

“I had witnessed DeAnn’s energy and passion for portrait photography many times over the last several years. I envied the fresh look of the beautiful women in her photographs (many of whom I knew personally) because I knew their everyday work and worry worn faces had been given a day off. I knew her skilled eye could make a photo session transformative for the lucky participant – the layers of a tired mother carefully and respectfully peeled back to reveal the graceful, sensual woman inside. I intellectually comprehended what she was doing (I saw the results!), but I didn’t understand on a personal level how it felt to have my own neglected beauty revealed until I became her subject.

 Before we could take the pictures I had to magically transform into a sexy green dress wearing bombshell though…which I did with the help of DeAnn and makeup artist Veronica Spence. I felt like a million bucks when we left for Santa Fe, and that was all I needed to fall right into the role of a model when DeAnn focused her lens on me. She gave me tips on how to hold my chin, shoulders, butt, legs for maximum flattering effect. She’d ask for a smile, then serious, then laughter, then my “smolder”, followed of course by more laughter. I strutted and posed and tried to look DEEPLY into her lens (because as she kept reminding me, “it’s ALL IN THE EYES”) Now, all of this intimate exposure was definitely made easier because DeAnn is my sister-in-law of almost 14 years, not to mention one of my best friends. But even if we’d just met the day of that photo shoot, it would have still been a great experience because of DeAnn’s good sense of humor (which was contagious that night), and her expertise – she was SO GOOD at knowing where to have me sit or stand and what ordinary looking wall would look amazing through the lens of a camera. We spent hours soaking up the good lighting on the church steps, in front of the ivy-covered wall, and even in the middle of the road…and when the light was gone we were both disappointed to be done. The experience was magical because it made me feel beautiful – really truly beautiful. And feeling beautiful gave me the confidence to be sexy, be gorgeous, be bold. DeAnn captured all of that! I may not need 85 pictures of myself to hang in every room in my house, but I NEEDED to capture the experience of feeling gorgeous for a night. Funny thing, when I showed the pictures to my husband I expected him to be blown away…and while he really loved them (he couldn’t pick one favorite…he picked 12 favorites!), he said that’s how he saw me all the time. I guess I was the one who needed to see it. Thank you DeAnn!

– Keri Payne

Photography to me is about capturing people as their best selves. Having a consult and finding out what matters to them. Is there a dream there to fulfill such as a particular place or time period etc.  Or is the dream to simply look and feel beautiful in photos. I also love capturing those ever-evolving relationships that matter so much in life. Showing those loving ties, personalities, emotion, beauty, connection. I want people to be excited when they see their photos, like through the roof excited because they are finally “seeing” what they really look like…dynamic and beautiful. During the shoot people have repeatedly told me how comfortable they felt, no worries about weight etc crept in. They had fun and enjoyed themselves. Part of why they feel at ease because I tell them what they need to do to look stunning every step of the way. A models job is to work their body, that’s what they do, the other 90% of us have no idea how to do that, that’s what I am here for. Beyond that, being photographed by me is a real meaningful boost to one’s self-esteem. You will walk away feeling better about yourself, inside and out. It just happens that way.”  -DeAnn Payne

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