Nikki Golden Photography: Blog en-us (C) Nikki Golden Photography (Nikki Golden Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:22:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:22:00 GMT Nikki Golden Photography: Blog 120 80 Live Oak Plantation: A Bride's Dream Come True

I've been shooting weddings for years now, yet I've never had the privilege of shooting at Live Oak Plantation until just recently. 

I've followed the venue on social media for some time, seen images taken there by other photographers, and so on. 

I knew the location was beautiful.

Large oaks offset by a quaint pond, bricked walkways, twinkling lights with chandeliers hanging from the trees.

It is a bridal dream come true with far too many details to pinpoint in one short blog. 

I could spend paragraphs alone simply discussing the beauty of the woods, offering just the right amount of privacy for an epic First Look. 

In short, it was a privilege to shoot at Live Oak Plantation. To see a bride's vision come to life, the joy on her face as she prepared for her big day in the grandest of all bridal rooms... complete with individual vanities and plush seating areas.

Just as fun, was watching the groom as he relaxed outdoors with groomsmen by his side, engaging in some friendly competition.

From start to finish, I was impressed with the beauty held within this venue. 

Inside. Outside. All of it. 

If you're a bride looking for a venue, look no further.

If you're a photographer being asked to shoot here, rearrange your calendar and make it happen. 

Neither of you will be disappointed. 


Oh, and if you're a bride LOOKING for a photographer FOR this venue--

I know a girl. ;) 


]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Wed, 10 Oct 2018 17:48:25 GMT
Lucas [My Little Fisherman] Each year I take birthday photos of my boys, prior to their birthday. 

I'm THAT mom. The one that still sends out a real invitation, complete with birthday themed photo,  when life would be so much easier if I just opted for the Facebook party invite. Believe me, I want to. I've even negotiated with myself, saying I'll just do the print invites until they are each 5... then I'll go a simpler route. I have no idea if I'll be able to hold myself to that or not, but I'm gonna try! 

So here we are. FIVE. Well... we're not technically there until a little later this month, but still. FIVE!?!?! 

This kid has no idea what he means to me and his dad. He is our sunshine. When our world went completely dark, following two miscarriages, he brought joy back into our lives. He is the BEST big brother to our little Asher, and he's waiting on pins and needles for the arrival of Ethan. 

He's such a genuine kid. He laughs with his whole belly and his sparkly blue eyes will make you smile without even realizing your doing it. 

He is my Lucas.

He is his daddy's best fishing buddy.

He is Asher's greatest fan. 

And THIS is my all time favorite photo session with him.

Being a photographer, I typically come home from sessions with my kids and quickly scan to find a favorite. I slap a quick edit on it and share! That picture is typically the one I'll use for the back of the real-deal party invitation, leaving the rest of our session to sit on my "to-do" list for months. Yes, months. It's sad. But at least they eventually DO get edited and I have these precious memories to cherish. 

Today, I just couldn't do it. I was glued to the screen, and my little boy's face. I weeded through our session, found ALL of my favorites, and got to work. I don't know that I've ever shared a full session of my own kids before, but here it is: Lucas' 5th birthday shoot. 

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Sun, 01 Oct 2017 23:59:41 GMT
Eric [Senior Portraits] Senior sessions are always a good time. If I'm being honest, senior girls are typically a little easier to photograph than senior boys. Obviously, that's due to the fact that the senior boy probably never wanted to be there in the first place. ;)

Luckily, in this little town...those senior boys were raised right and do what they must to appease Mama. 

Eric was super easy to work with, all too eager to keep his Mama happy and just do as he was told. 

Posing fresh off a win under the Friday night lights, his buddy was along for the ride- graciously toting around my camera bag and providing some behind the camera antics that produced genuine smiles from Eric. 

I love to shoot senior portraits at actual high school locations and seeing kids in their element. Eric's second location was equally important, a piece of family property that holds a special place in his heart. 

Here are some of my favorites from this fun senior session:


]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Sat, 30 Sep 2017 22:36:22 GMT
Meghan [Senior Session] Dimples. 

I love dimples on anything... senior beauties, little boys, baby butts; any way, shape, or form. I love dimples. 

Meghan has those gorgeous, perfect dimples that all girls want but select few have. I read once that dimples are actually extremely rare. This lucky girl certainly puts them to good use. 

Meghan is graduating in just a few short weeks, leaving her cheerleading pom poms behind and heading off to college. I'm so glad I had a chance to meet her and document this exciting portion of her senior year! She is poised, polite, graceful and unique. I know her family must be extremely proud of the beautiful young lady they have raised, I certainly would be. <3 

Here are some of my faves from Meghan's senior session! 


]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Tue, 25 Apr 2017 00:14:46 GMT
Nevels Family [Joseph is One!] Each time I do these blogs it gets harder and harder to choose just a few favorites for sharing.

With the Nevels family, I had my work cut out for me. I LOVE every image from this shoot. 

What I love even more is that this Mama picked some of my absolute favorites that many people would look right past...

-a candid moment dressing her baby

-a perfectly imperfect shot with eyes closed

-an adorable "stink face" as I like to call it

...and so on. 

Hailey even sent me a text while going through her proofs saying "Why do I love this one so much?" I think my response was something along the lines of "Because it's real life and someone captured it for you. I love that one, too." 

I'm all for posed pictures with the family. I want a nice posed picture of smiling faces on my own wall, so I get it. And the Nevels family got that shot too.

I just really think that we are so trained to look for those perfect shots, that we sometimes look right past the tender moments caught on camera. 

I'm so glad that this Mama didn't. She looked right at them, and chose them. And I think it was a good decision. ;)

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:52:13 GMT
Lacee [Senior Session] Lacee's senior portraits were taken back in the fall, but I never did a blog post...and there are so many great images to share!

Her senior softball season has kicked off to a great start with an 8-1 record so far. I think it's safe to say that her entire life has centered around softball. I know my husband (her coach) will definitely have a hard time letting this one go. She has such an amazing support system. I've rarely attended a game when her parents, grandparents, aunts, sister, and cousins weren't there...cheering her on. That's something. 

It's easy to understand why people flock to support this young beauty. Not only is she dedicated, passionate, and super talented--she's also genuine, caring, respectful, and kind. She's the type of person you want your kid to be like. The girl you want your son to date. The bestie you want your daughter to have. The student you want to teach. 

I could easily go on and on about this sweet girl, but most of the folks who see this blog post already know her and love her. They're scrolling past my words, silently nodding their heads in agreement with all that I've written. So let's jump into some of my favorites from her senior session! As always, I try not to share everything, so these are just a few of my faves!

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Fri, 03 Mar 2017 14:59:13 GMT
Jessika + Cole [Engagement] Jessika + Cole really deserve an awesome blog post... because they're, well... awesome. 

However- the seven month old that runs things around here says otherwise. We've been fighting a little cold and this little fella does NOT want my attention on anything else! As I type, his older bro is acting a fool to keep him occupied so I can get some images out to the future Mr. and Mrs. Goolsby. 

I can't wait to shoot their wedding in April. They were so easy to be around and work with. Anytime you have a fella THIS cooperative, it's a dream come true. Cole will make a wonderful husband, already suffering for his future wife...because we all know guys hate photos (mostly). ;) 

Jessika is simply stunning and I'm sure she's going to take more than just Cole's breath away when she walks down the aisle. These two lovebirds have a beautiful baby boy that sorta stole the show with those big blue eyes during our shoot. Here are some of my favorites of this sweet family! 



]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Fri, 03 Mar 2017 01:10:56 GMT
Annalise is FOUR! So...that title is a little misleading. Annalise isn't four, yet! But it's quickly approaching and her sweet mama wanted to make sure that this milestone was documented. :)

I've known sweet little Annalise for about a year now. She and my oldest son, Lucas, are in the same Pre-K class. For months after starting school all I heard was Annalise this...Annalise that... my child was obsessed with this beauty and it's easy to see why! 

Annalise loves all things Paw Patrol, tea parties, and her stuffed bunny Snowflake! She was an absolute doll during our shoot, running and playing without a care in the world.

We lucked into some blooming flowers at this location and captured some of my favorite images to date! Moments like these really make me proud of what I do. I know her family will cherish these pictures always and proudly display them in their home. Here are some of my faves!


]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:49:11 GMT
The Marshalls [Mills is ONE] I have adored this sweet family since our first meeting, when baby Owen entered the world! I was privileged to shoot his newborn photos in a laid back, lifestyle shoot at the Marshall home waaaaay back in 2015. ;)

Fast forward a couple of years and we've taken that same sweet boy's one year photos, as well as another newborn shoot of baby brother Mills! 

I think my favorite thing about this family is just how easy they make it all seem. I've never once seen mom or dad get flustered during a shoot. And that is REALLY saying something for two newborn and two first birthday sessions!! Justin and Jennifer are extremely easy to be around and their love for one another is refreshing... in a non-mushy gushy way. 

I was so excited when Justin reached out to me to plan this shoot as a surprise for Jennifer's birthday! I mean, how sweet is that?!?! So technically this was a family session with a little highlight on Mills, because turning ONE is sort of a big deal! 

I love sharing some of my favorites from each session on these blog posts, but I try not to spoil all the fun by sharing everything. That proved to be really hard with this uptown shoot because I LOVE THEM ALL!!! 

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Fri, 17 Feb 2017 19:43:13 GMT
Asher [6 months] 6 months.

1/2 a year.

The downhill side of my maternity leave.

Doesn't matter how you slice it, for this's a little sad. :( We've all been guilty of that age old phrase "time slow down!" when it comes to our kids. I'm no different. I'd love to freeze him, to stay home and live in our little bubble of drool soaked bibs and splattered baby food forever. 

I could get really depressed thinking about how quickly the past six months has flown by... or I could reflect happily on my many blessings:

1. A wonderful, supportive husband who was always on board with finding a way for me to stay home for a full year.

2. A healthy, happy son that has morphed into the best big brother you could ever dream of.

3. A second healthy, happy son with the biggest eyes that could turn even the meanest soul to putty. 

4. That year off that became reality and has enabled me to fully enjoy these past six months and look forward to the next. 

5. A flourishing photography business that has helped bridge the gap left by my missing salary. 

...this list could go on and on. Family, friends, church, etc. I have SO much to be thankful for. And I try really, really hard to remember that in times like these. Times when I want to throw a pity party for the 6 months of maternity leave that have already passed by... when I know there are others that would love a full 6 weeks! Or when I want to cry over how quickly Asher is growing...when I know there are couples praying for the opportunity to watch a baby grow. 


You're either a glass half full or half empty kind of gal (or guy). I'm guilty of being both.

But this time, when I have all of these precious images to look at and swoon over... I feel like God is thumping me in the head saying "Really? How can your glass possibly be half empty?" 

And I really don't have a comeback. Because it can't. 

So, my friends, prepare for oversharing. Because there was a whole lot of cuteness in Asher's six month shoot and this was as far as I could narrow it down! 

*shout-out to my hubby for getting me in the focus...more than once* ;) 

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Fri, 10 Feb 2017 22:10:31 GMT
Valentine Cuties While I have really enjoyed my laid back January, 

especially the extra time spent catching up edits of my own kids...

it's always nice to get back to business!


I don't know what it is about Valentine's Day. 

I know most photographers don't waste their time with this sort of mini.

Truthfully, it's not very lucrative. It's just fun!


So while I might not gain much financially from this set, 

I gain plenty in time spent with cute kiddos and their sweet parents (usually moms).


This year was quite fun,

from babies sticking their hands in shaving cream cupcakes (my husband's genius idea)...

to kids running around playing in my front yard after their sessions (Lucas' favorite part),

a good time was had by all.


So I can't just keep these sweet faces to myself-- here are some of my favorites!

(and while it's not currently scheduled, I'm happy to set this up again if you hate you missed out)

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Sun, 29 Jan 2017 18:46:02 GMT
Abby + Brannon [Proposal] I don't market myself as a beach photographer.

It's not that I don't love the beach, the beautiful sunsets, and the airy nature of it all...

because I do. 

It's really just logistics. I live an hour away, and most of my clients prefer a woodsy, country scene. 

So I don't really get a lot of beach inquiries, and I don't have a lot of beach sessions to showcase. It's sort of a vicious circle. 

And then this happens.

I'm handed this GORGEOUS couple, radiating with joy, living in the pure bliss of their exciting decision... to spend the rest of their lives together. And all of this is taking place on.the.beach.

So yeah... worth the one hour trip, and then some. 

Brannon and Abby made this so easy. He asked her. She said yes. Then they just basically sat around being themselves, looking adorable. The only thing "off" about this whole situation was the creeper with the Nikon, all up in their faces while they enjoyed their afternoon at the beach. 

But seriously, I'm pretty sure Abby was happy about the fact that all of this was frozen in time...even if I was crashing the party. I certainly hope she enjoys these images as much as I do. 

And hey... who says I'm not a beach photographer after all? ;) 



]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Mon, 19 Dec 2016 23:10:48 GMT
Laney [Newborn at Home] All babies are beautiful.

And we all think that our own baby is the *most* beautiful.

We can't help it, we wear mommy goggles. 


And then sometimes you meet another baby [that doesn't belong to you] and there is no need for mommy goggles.

They're like automatically built in, because he's just so.stinking.cute.


I messaged Hannah while I was editing her images. I wanted her to know that I literally could not walk away from my computer. Kudos to my awesome hubby for letting me hide out in my office ALL afternoon. I don't know that I've ever turned newborn images around this quickly, but I was addicted...

to Hannah (gorgeous new mom)

to Todd (super proud dad)

to Eli (precious, beautiful, perfect baby boy).


If you have to have an addiction, it might as well be one that allows you to look at beautiful people all afternoon. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!



]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Thu, 08 Dec 2016 02:02:00 GMT
West Family Before my week hiatus in Alabama, I had the pleasure of meeting back up with the West family to take their family photos! 

The first time I met Russell, he was small enough to fit inside my favorite bucket. 

Now he sits on top!

Big sister Amelia is always camera-ready and just as beautiful as ever. 

Here are some of my favorites from our shoot...

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Mon, 28 Nov 2016 17:37:43 GMT
The Smith Clan Genetics. 

There's definitely some ridiculous genetics at work here. 

I mean, have you ever seen so many gorgeous children in one photo before?

When I first posted a sneak peek of this crew several weeks back, folks were commenting on what a great job I did, catching that many smiles in one shot. Well... I'd love to take all the credit, but literally plopped down in the grass and started clicking. 

These kiddos were very well behaved and their parents were providing some epic dance moves, [behind the camera] resulting in those smiles. 

The hardest part of this shoot was narrowing down the images to provide proofs! Mrs. Susan had her work cut out for her when it came time to choose her favorites. But now that all the work is over, I wanted to share a few more from this session!



]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Thu, 17 Nov 2016 21:14:52 GMT
So This is Christmas... [Asher the Elf] Long gone are the days spent thinking about MY Christmas wish list. 

Once you become a parent, you already have the greatest gift. You get a front row seat to flying paper, buzzing toys, smiling children... and the JOY of Christmas. 

When Lucas was 1 month old, right around Thanksgiving 4 years ago, we put the Christmas tree up and I snapped a picture of him. I was just learning how to work my camera and he was my favorite subject to practice on. We received a darling Mud Pie Christmas frame from one of our cousins that year. This image of Lucas has remained in it- taken out every year- as a reminder of the joy we felt on that first Christmas as parents. 

Fast foward to this year, and we have a rambunctious 4 year old with a Ninja Turtle wish list about a mile and a half long. Santa is a nonstop topic of discussion in this house! Lucas even received a little note from him earlier in the week and it seems that "Santa" has convinced our big boy to start eating more carrots. ;) Needless to say, we will not have any problems shopping for Lucas. 

Asher on the other hand, is only 3.5 months old and is oblivious to all things Christmas... except the twinkling lights of the tree. 

Those, he loves. 

So, there I sat... just a few days ago, putting all of the Christmas decorations up in our home. Let it be noted that I've NEVER had my tree up this early before, but our schedules are looking a little crazy in coming weeks and Lucas was more than ready. So alas, it is up. But back to the point...I'm decorating away when I come across that Mud Pie frame with Lucas' one month picture in it. I melted. That sweet little boy... he's growing up so fast. 

Then I realized, I, MUST HAVE... a similar picture of Asher in a cute Christmas frame in order for my decorating to be complete. The thought crossed my mind to just swap out the picture of Lucas for an image of the two of them together... but I just can't. That one month picture means too much to me. 

Our first baby.

Our first Christmas as parents.

My first decent shot on a camera I knew nothing about. 

So, it stays. And Asher's frame will be placed close to his brothers so that I can admire both of my babies by the light of the tree, each and every year. 

Which brings us to today- when Asher and I had our little photo shoot in front of the tree. My mom found this adorable knit hat during a recent Hobby Lobby trip. She and my sister were searching those ridiculously expensive ornaments for the perfect addition to their trees, while I hunted down props for my upcoming Christmas mini. I think it's safe to say- after hundreds of dollars in ornaments and props... this cap was the best purchase of the day. 

Now, I know a lot of these look similar, but with my mommy goggles on, I couldn't part with those seemingly small differences in each little face. Now the hard part... which one to choose for Asher's frame?!?!

So... this is Christmas, in my home. Naked baby, twinkling lights, crazy toddler, barking Yorkie... and of course, my Nikon, capturing it all. ;)

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Thu, 17 Nov 2016 16:55:58 GMT
Thornton Family Each year I donate a session to be auctioned off for missionary work in the Dominican Republic. 

I know it's not much, but it brings me great joy to know that I'm helping in some small way. 

It also brings me joy to meet the recipients of that session, the ones who showed up at the auction to support the same cause. Before I even meet them I know we have one thing in common: 

We love the Lord. 

Sessions like these remind me to "count my many blessings" and be grateful for what the Lord has provided. 

For one, he has placed his hand on my photography business and allowed it to grow beyond what I ever imagined...also enabling me to spend a year at home with our sweet Asher.

By growing my business, he has also allowed me to meet families such as this. The Thorntons. Their hands and hearts are full with two littles! They were so sweet and full of energy...but I've yet to meet a one year old or three year old who isn't. ;) The best part of this session was how easily amused these two babies were by a fake sneeze! 

Here are a few of my favorites:

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Wed, 16 Nov 2016 20:21:45 GMT
Pannasch Family [Parker is TWO] A highlight of this job is watching families grow. 

I first met the Pannasch family last year, when Kim contacted me for Parker's one year photos. 

Each year they travel home to visit their Florida family, and I am blessed to be a part of that yearly tradition.

Parker was decked out in his baseball gear last year, tearing into a smash cake. This year he was rocking some wavy curls [LOVE] and talking up a storm! He was so adorable, sniffing the sunflowers and watching for bees! He particularly loved the old trucks at Holland Farms and did not want to stray very far from them. His mom and dad were so patient with their little one, giving him time to explore and recognizing when he just wasn't ready to take a picture. 

I remember taking family pictures when Lucas was two years old... and let's just say, Parker was a ROCKSTAR! I look forward to watching him grow from behind the lens and want to say thank you to his parents for allowing me the opportunity! 

Here are some of my favorites from our Holland Farms photoshoot:

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Sat, 12 Nov 2016 16:16:22 GMT
Holland Family Since I first launched my photography business, few people have been as supportive as my best friend. 

I look back at some of the pictures I've taken for her over the years, remembering how she sang my praises- loving everything about the images I delivered to her. 

And I see allllllllllll the things I did wrong and how much I have improved. But I smile, remembering how positive and supportive she was and has always been. She is one of my biggest fans and I hope she knows how much I appreciate her positive presence in my life. 

As is our yearly tradition, I took family photos for her, her hubby, and sweet Miss Taylor just last week.

Here are a few of my faves!

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Wed, 09 Nov 2016 21:01:27 GMT
Smith Family [Cotton Field] So, I haven't blogged for a bit. Ok, a little longer than that. 

But I'd like to get back to it and share more of my shoots here on my website.

My beautiful friend and her ridiculously gorgeous family seem like a good place to start. 

We took these lovely images right in front of their home, in Smith Family cotton. 

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Thu, 03 Nov 2016 15:56:33 GMT
A Little of This, A Little of That... MAY.

May was the month when my world got a little crazy. This girl was wearing one too many hats and had to put one on the shelf for a while. That hat was "blog writer." Now I know this was heartbreaking to my millions of adoring fans...but something had to go. 

May was also a very exciting month for my little family. We finished construction on our forever home, moved in, and closed out the school year... which meant I could take off another hat for a short while [teacher]. 

I might not have been writing over the summer...but I was definitely shooting. Maybe not as much as last summer...but there are still some blog worthy shoots I would like to share with you all. I chose to ration my photography shoots this summer in order to get our home put together and spend more time with my family. My little is growing up way too fast and will be THREE in two weeks! GAH! Times like these I am so glad I am passionate about photography. I have more pictures of Lucas than I know what to do with. It's also why I feel so privileged to capture images for you and your families...because I know how important photos are. 

This summer I reconnected with past clients and formed friendships with new ones. So if you're up for it, take a quick trip with me through the months of May, June, July, and August... and see what I've been up to. :) 


I'm gonna kill two birds with one stone here. I met Preston, Jenny, + Amelia in May when we took maternity/third birthday photos at their beautiful home. Fast-forward a few weeks and we're taking newborn pictures in June. :) So here are some of my favorites of this beautiful family [before and after Russell's arrival]!

Next up is a gorgeous gal that stole my heart. Brittney was a senior at Central School last year, and one that I became very close to. She is now playing ball at college and living the life! Before she ran off to start her life, I captured some of my favorite senior portraits with this beauty.

Moving right along to the last session I missed in May- the super sweet Turner Family. Another crew that I recently met and just adore! This family of four is so sweet and I was lucky enough to capture a big moment for them- Miss Claire's first birthday pictures. :)


June was definitely an exciting month for me because I shot another wedding. If I'm being honest, wedding photography is where I REALLY want to take this business. So with each wedding I do, I feel like I'm getting a little closer to achieving that goal. But before we get to the "I Do's" there are a few other important sessions to look back at. 

The Moye family is slammed with handsome fellas and one gorgeous (and outnumbered) mama! I adore this group and have known them for many years now. I feel very blessed to call them friends and honored to capture images like these for them!

June was also an exciting month for the Smith family, as baby Tate turned 3 months old. Oh how I adore those piercing blue eyes!! Lucky me, I have known Brittany (mommy) my whole life and attend church with this beautiful family... so I get Tate snuggles on a weekly basis! 

Another little one celebrated a big milestone this summer, too. Miss Audrey turned one and I was privileged to be present at her big birthday celebration, capturing memories for her precious family. Since my first session with the Harrington family they have probably sent me close to a dozen new clients. They are so very sweet to me and I cannot thank them enough for believing in my little business and helping me pursue this dream of mine. 

And finally... the wedding. Levi and Emily said "I do" this summer and I was fortunate to be there and see it all go down! As I mentioned earlier, one of my goals for this business is to break into the wedding scene more. I really enjoy the craziness of it all. Weddings are stressful, but they're fun. Spending the whole day wrapped up in the commitment that two people are making to one another and God makes it all worth it to me. 


July was probably my slowest month. I tried really hard to stay out of the heat lol. Not really, but I did have less inquiries because of said heat! No one wants to take pictures with pit stains... gross. I was able to do a lot of decorating and organizing in the new house, but I also met a precious baby boy in July. ;) The Joiners welcomed me into their home to capture some images of sweet little Tennyson. This was super special to me because I work with Tennyson's mommy at school. It's always a nice compliment when people you know trust your work and choose you. So here are a few of my favorites from their session...

This next session was very exciting for me... because it leads to another wedding! Elizabeth and Devin are super sweet and crazy in love! They're getting hitched this weekend on the beach, so it seemed fitting to do their engagement pictures there as well. 


First up is a beautiful bride that wanted a rustic, country shoot. Samantha was gorgeous in her lacy gown as she strutted her stuff through the fields and woods. I'm always impressed by brides that aren't stressed about getting their gowns dirty. I personally never had bridal portraits made, but I think I would have been a hot mess, worrying about every speck of dust that hit my dress. Not Samantha, she was cool as a cucumber... or as cool as she could be in 90 degree Florida heat, while wearing a big puffy dress. :)

Bridals were followed by baby... Baby Marshall to be exact. I attended school with Brady's dad [Jonathan] so I was excited to meet his little bundle of joy. Brady and his beautiful mommy [Shelby] came to my home for a studio type session. He wasn't too sure about being away from his house and made us work for these cute little images. 

Next up is a beautiful new Mommy, another former classmate of mine. Erin recently delivered a beautiful baby boy and I could not be happier for her and Rod! Here are a few from her maternity shoot, as well as the little stud muffin himself. :)

Babies were all over the place in August! One maternity session followed another... but I'm going to jump ahead a little here and share some September images too, because this baby already made her appearance! Amy, Ben, and Noah are a precious little family that I was privileged to meet in August, before Rose made her appearance. I was so excited when we ended our maternity session with booking Rose's newborn shoot. I love building a relationship with my clients and even more, watching their little ones grow up! So here's a few pre-Rose and a few of the little princess herself. 

Continuing with the baby trend... my darling niece is up next. I cannot believe that I am a great aunt! Shyan just delivered a healthy baby boy and our family is smitten! Here are some of my favorites from Shyan and Kenneth's maternity session + some newborn hospital photos of sweet little Zander!

And FINALLY- the last of my summer sessions... Mr. B! Bryson helped me close out summer with his second birthday shoot. This little country boy just wanted to play in the dirt with his tractors, but we managed to snag some adorable photos in the process. :)

Well... there you have it folks, my summer in high resolution. :) I cannot begin to thank my clients enough, I absolutely LOVE this job and the people I have the pleasure of working with. 

Now then... there's a wedding to blog about. 

<3 Nikki





]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Tue, 13 Oct 2015 18:13:43 GMT
Senior Beauty

I remember a lot about high school. 






The list goes on and on. High school is where you make some of the best memories of your life. Of course, we don't believe that or listen to ANYTHING our mothers tell us when it's actually all taking place. All we want is to get out of that place as quickly as possible!

But fast-forward a decade or so and dear old mom is making a lot of sense, those memories are some of our most cherished... and oh how we wish we could just go back for one more day. 

When I do a senior session the teacher in me really comes out. I want to give life lessons to these kids and all they want are pretty pictures. Haha! I have to take my teacher hat off and just focus on the subject in front of me. Well, these "subjects" .... these seniors.... they are so stinking gorgeous (or handsome) these days! I'm looking at them through my lens, thinking of all the things I DO remember about high school. BUT- the one thing I don't remember about high school is looking this awesome. Kids these days have such awesome style. Geez. I know they are coming all dolled up for senior portraits, but really? I was so excited about LEI jeans and a Gap shirt back in the day... and these kids are looking flawless in their boutique clothes. Do you see where I'm going with this?

---> I'm JEALOUS! I want a do over. I want to go to school my senior year, looking as super fly as Kortney. Hello! Look at this gorgeous girl. And I also want someone to tell me to take senior portraits... not those cruddy ones with the fake backdrop that you shoot in the cafeteria while smelling mystery meat and stale sweet tea. No, no... I want to flash back and have someone tell me to take REAL senior portraits like this.


I am so old. But Kortney is so young, and very very beautiful. So I will live vicariously through her and allow all of you folks to see just how stunning she is. Soak it all up Kortney... in a decade or so you'll be glad that you did. ;) 

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Thu, 10 Sep 2015 21:50:10 GMT
Let's Catch Up... My poor little blog. It has been so neglected. :( When I started this in January my goal was to blog every session. I was right on track until late spring. My plate got a little full with designing our forever home, moving in, and setting I had to step away from the keyboard momentarily. 

Although my blog slowed down, the shooting did not. Weddings, newborns, expectant mothers, seniors, birthday boys + girls .... you name it, I shot it this summer! And it was a blast. I'm hoping to do one big blog post soon and share my favorites from all my summer shoots. 

Until then, I wanted to jump back in with a handsome little fella I met last week. 

[[[[Meet Easton]]]]

This squishy little guy is only a few weeks old and already has Mommy, Daddy, and Big Bro wrapped around those tiny fingers. ;)

Of course no one is surprised to hear that a mommy is smitten... but this tough Army dad and teenage brother turned to putty with Mr. Easton in their arms. It was such a joy to watch these fellas cater to mom and baby throughout the shoot. AJ (big brother) was an awesome helper and will be a great role model for Easton!

I love going to a client's home for newborn pictures. Seeing the family in their element makes my job more meaningful. It also keeps the family relaxed because the baby has everything he needs readily available. Of course for Easton... all he needed was Mom. This guy was a superstar! He fussed at me just a bit when I started to swaddle him but once he was cozy and bundled up, I think he started to like me. :) Other than a couple of short breaks with mommy, he bounced from one setup to the next with no trouble at all!

Easton, I am so very glad I met you and your sweet family. I hope I have the pleasure of capturing memories for you in the future!

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Thu, 27 Aug 2015 13:44:13 GMT
That Moye Boy Busy. Busy. Busy.

I have seriously neglected my Facebook page and my blog! 

For those who do not know, my little family just put down roots in our forever home this past weekend. So this teacher/photographer/mother/wife/semi professional mover... and newly added/sod layer- has been a little overwhelmed lately! 

I am beyond excited about summer beginning so that I can catch up on some much needed family time and get settled in our forever home. God has been good to the Golden family and we are blessed to have a couple of months ahead to just soak up the sun and enjoy one another. 

--> Having said that, my calendar is basically full for the month of June and I made the decision to shut things down in July and August (aside from one wedding already booked) to just focus on my role as mother and wife. I have a feeling that folks won't miss me too much seeing as how outdoor shoots aren't in high demand during the summer with our Florida heat! I'm looking forward to a fresh start in September and have my calendar open for the fall! Feel free to message me at anytime if you would like to go ahead and set up your fall sessions!

I'm excited to round out the spring season with an upcoming wedding and newborn portraits, but there's still one very handsome, talented guy that deserves a moment in the spotlight. About a month ago I met up with Russ and his mom in downtown Pensacola for his senior shoot. I can say that hands down, this has been the funniest shoot ever. Talk about a personality! I've know this family for many years through my role as an educator...but Russ was already headed for middle school at that time and I've never really had the chance to get to know him until now. 

Let me tell ya, after that shoot I feel like I wasted a few years by NOT knowing this "Moye Boy" a little better. From a photographer standpoint, he was a dream to work with. Automatically posing himself (snap, snap) flashing a megawatt smile (snap, snap) straight to serious (snap, snap) and ready to move to the next pose. Cake walk. 

From one human being to another, he was just a joy to be around. Russ is extremely personable, easy to chat with, and quite hilarious (especially when posing for a "butt shot"). And let's not forget... he's handsome to boot! That's why I just had to take a minute to share some images from this guy's senior session. Take a look!

Earlier I mentioned that this young man is extremely talented. I asked his mom to give me a rundown of his future plans that I could share with you all. Russ was accepted to AMDA (American Music Dramatic Academy) in LA. They offered him a National Merritt Scholarship. He was scored on a level from beginner to professional and scored two below professional as an intermediate-high. The folks at AMDA said they loved his energy, his look, his voice, and his skill. This young man is LA bound on June 22nd!

If you've never had the pleasure of hearing him sing, I highly suggest that you check out his Facebook page, RUSS MOYE MUSIC. The link will take you straight there so you can like his page and follow him on this journey. This local talent is one to watch and I would like to personally wish him the best of luck in all his endeavors!!

<3 Nikki

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Senior Portraits Fri, 29 May 2015 16:52:54 GMT
Burgess + Adkinson = LOVE So I'll start by saying that I'm a little [haha- a lot] behind on my blog updates! Over the past few months I have been greatly blessed. This time last year I was doing maybe 2-3 sessions a month, and now my calendar is full... all.the.time.

This has been such an exciting time for my family, with the building of our forever home and a growing business. I can't think you all enough for the amazing support over the past two years, since I launched NGP. 

I've always loved taking pictures and those who know me can attest to the fact that I love to talk and consider myself a people-person. This photography adventure started out as a way to make a little extra cash doing something I love, but it has turned into so much more. I get very attached to you [my clients] and your stories are important to me. That's why I decided to start blogging and it has brought me so much joy! 

Having said all that... this little photog is falling behind on the job. So you'll have to excuse my next few posts if they aren't as elaborate as usual, but I really want to share some extra images with you that didn't necessarily make it to Facebook. 


Taylor + Shelton [not Sheldon like on Big Bang... just saying] ;)

I've known Taylor for most of my life ((Jay girls)) and have a connection to Shelton through his mom, who I had the pleasure of working with for three years at Chumuckla Elementary School. Yet, I didn't have a clue that these two were even dating... let alone getting married!! What?!?!

Imagine my surprise when Taylor contacted me for engagement pictures. :) I love working with couples and these two were no different! Their chemistry and love for one another was epic, I could feel it radiating from them throughout the whole shoot [even when Taylor was getting on to Shelton for his shirt being untucked...which he happily fixed for his woman].

These two were super laid back and happy to pose any way I asked, stare at one another lovingly, and of course... kiss on command. I think you can tell a lot about a couple from a photoshoot... that's just my opinion as a photographer, but I bet a lot of other photographers would agree with me.

Couples either "work" or they don't. 

It's forced or it's real.

Love is epic or ordinary.

I'm sure of two things for Taylor + Shelton. First, their love is REAL. Second, their married life will be extraordinary! In true Taylor fashion... I know this pair will live #happilyeveradkinson [gotta love their hashtag].

<3 Nikki

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Tue, 05 May 2015 19:24:01 GMT
Tater is Three! Yes, Tater. 


Because that's how my two year old says it. And Taylor [Tater] happens to be his very best friend. 

These two have been buddies their whole lives and it's so exciting watching them grow. But before we get into Miss Taylor's upcoming birthday ((tear)), here's a little flashback of our two sweeties from the past couple of years. 

I hope they always love each other like they do now. 

[Their very first kiss]

[A little summer time fun]

[Their first drive together]

[Valentine Sweethearts]

Just looking back through these images gets me teary eyed. I'm so glad we have these moments documented of our two littles growing up together. And boy are they growing up fast! This Saturday ((April 25th)) Taylor will celebrate her THIRD birthday! Ironically enough, Lucas will celebrate his half birthday [2 1/2]. 

Yes, each year when one celebrates a birthday--the other is celebrating a half birthday. So either way-- our kids get to party and celebrate together!! 

This year- Taylor got to choose her theme. Mama was pulling for Frozen but little miss put her foot down and got The Little Mermaid instead. You know what that means... photo shoot at the beach! 

What little girl doesn't love to play dress-up? Well, Taylor loves it too. So she brought her Little Mermaid princess dress along for the ride and proceeded to strut her stuff on the beach. This next one was just my test shot before we got going, but both Melinda and I thought it was adorable. She's such a ham. 

[Her favorite pose]

Here are some of my favorites of Tater on the beach ((and in the water)), working that princess dress. Meanwhile, Lucas ran around like a crazy man with his Granny chasing after him! Needless to say, between Lucas and Taylor, the beach goers were entertained. 

[Simple + Sweet]

[Sandy toes...what's not to love?]

[It's all about that crown]

[The water was chilly, but she'll always smile for her Mama]

[A little playtime in the sand]

What can I say about Taylor? Aside from the fact that she's obviously adorable?!? I might as well be wearing mommy goggles when I look at this girl, but I think anyone who knows her would agree...

>she's smart [like reeeeaaallllyyyy smart...she constantly amazes me]

>she's kind [most toddlers don't do sharing, and they all have their moments...but Tater always shares with her Lukie Pookie]

>she's faithful [yes, at 3 years old she will proudly tell you that she is a Christian... ask her babysitter Juju]

>she's silly [this kid can bust a move in the car and get more giggles than a stand up comedian]

>she's compassionate [she cares about her friends, a little bump or fall and she's right there making sure everyone is ok]

The list goes on and on... I could sit here and gush all day about this beauty because she has stolen a little piece of my heart. <3 So before I start tearing up again... here's a few more of my faves from our shoot ((after a quick wardrobe change)).

Knowing how amazing Taylor is at the tender age of three makes me melt at the thought of watching her grow. This kid is going to move mountains. But for now, let's let her be little. After all, it's time to celebrate. 

Happy Birthday Tater! Mickey loves you VERY VERY MUCH!!




]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Pensacola Beach birthday children Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:07:31 GMT
Lauraree is ONE! I'm a little behind on this blog... but I couldn't let Miss Lauraree be ignored. A child this sweet and adorable deserves her moment in the spotlight.

And for good reason! This little cutie just turned ONE! 

I've been photographing this beauty since she was 6 months old. She is so lovable! Always smiling and happy. :) Here's a little flashback to Lauraree's 6 month shoot. She's growing up so fast!

That face.

How precious is she? 

And so easy to get a smile out of. At least it was for me. I just sat back, camera ready, and let Dad do the work. Haha! For her one year old session Daddy did a lot of singing, and in return he got a lot of smiles. :)

I just love this next one. So silly!! [GRRRRRR]

My absolute favorite part of this shoot was the smash cake. My son [Lucas] didn't care much for smashing his cake...bummer. So I get really tickled when I see a one year old dig in and just have a ball tearing that thing to pieces. Lauraree definitely did just that. 

And to wrap things up... my personal favorite. I couldn't decide which I liked better. Clean or black and white? Feel free to comment and let me know what you think!

And although it's already passed us by... Happy Birthday Miss Lauraree! 

<3 Nikki

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Birthday Shoot Children ONE Wed, 22 Apr 2015 18:19:02 GMT
Meeting Miss Avery What a joy it was to deliver this gallery.

I remember the emotions I felt when I finally met my baby boy. Nothing compares to the immensity of that love. 

It was evident from the time I walked through the threshold of the Lindsey home that both Carrie and Jay [and their protective pups] were feeling it too. 

Avery was a perfect little model during our Friday morning shoot. She made my "Good Friday" really great. :) I had such a blast hanging out with this family, getting to know them. As it turns out, we have quite a bit in common. 

Both Carrie and Jay are teachers, like Nick and myself. Carrie teaches first grade while I teach second in Santa Rosa County. Both of our husbands are sports junkies, holding head coach positions at their schools. Which brings me to another exciting piece of news... aside from welcoming home a precious baby girl, Jay was also named head football coach at Tate... talk about a busy week! 

It's unreal. Watching new parents, at home, with their newborn baby.

Seeing the love in their eyes, the way they hold her with the utmost care, looking into a gorgeous nursery that they poured their hearts into. It's such a privilege to watch it all unfold. 

Avery. So tiny. I think her Daddy was afraid she might break. It was precous. <3

Carrie, the exact opposite. Couldn't get enough lovin' out of this child to satisfy her need.

And isn't that what it's all about? Watching them swoon over this baby was [melt my heart] perfection. I wouldn't have thought that I could see anything else as wonderful that day.

Then Jay announced that HE was going grocery shopping. Hold the phone. What?!? Carrie and I got busy on Avery's portraits... then Daddy reappeared and started cooking. And I'm talking about COOKING. Literally squeezing juice out of fruit and chopping vegetables!! 

I love my husband. Dearly. And he can make a mean chicken alfredo... but GAH! A man holding his teeny tiny newborn girl is enough to make anyone swoon. Toss him in the kitchen, whipping up a feast and it's like watching the best chick flick ever--in real time!

[unfortunately I did not get a picture of Dad in the kitchen, sorry ladies]

But- his beautiful wife and I did get busy wrapping, posing, and snapping some great shots of Miss Avery.

I love it when parents have something special in mind. Seeing as how Avery was born right before Easter, we had to incorporate the holiday in her very first photo shoot. We followed that up with Mommy's old ballet slippers [so sweet] and my very favorite... the wedding accessories. This was beyond special to me. Little Avery, wrapped in lace from Mommy + Daddy's wedding day, complete with the sash Mommy wore tied in a neat bow. I just love it. 

And of course, a newborn shoot isn't complete without those little hands and feet. :) 

[To Carrie + Jay] Thank you for inviting me into your home. Allowing me to capture these priceless images for you and your family is a big deal to me. I hope I get the pleasure of watching this little one grow from behind the lens. Before I go, I will leave you with two of my favorites for our session. One jumped out to me because of it's simplicity, the other because it was just real, and in the moment. 

<3 Nikki

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) at home baby children family love newborn Mon, 13 Apr 2015 17:15:34 GMT
The Mathews Crew Is there anything better than growing up with a house full of siblings to play with? How about growing up with a house full of siblings, two super fun parents, AND living on one of the county's best farms??

Yep. These kids have it made. I'm sure they don't know it yet, what kid does really? But as they get older I imagine they will cherish their childhood that was full of love, laughter, and dirt. 

The Mathews crew is my kind of family. Laid back, beautiful, and as friendly as can be. Growing up as a "Jay Girl" I never imagined a life for myself surrounded by members of the Allentown/Munson community. Yet here I am, teaching at Central School and making new connections every day with lovely people I would have never come to know otherwise. I am very grateful for those connections as they are some of the most genuine, caring people I have ever met. 

The Mathews family is beyond adorable. Sharon + Trent have their hearts and hands full with four amazing kiddos! Those two littles [front and center] were as silly as could be while simultaneously cooperating 100%. The bigs? Well, I enjoyed a nice little ride in the back of Trent's pickup with those two while we drove around family land, searching for the perfect location. Being a teacher, I obviously inquired about their grades and how school was going. The answer..."I do ok I guess." Their definition of "ok" being straight A's or A/B honor roll. 

Yeah... I'd say they're doing "ok." ;)

We wandered all over that beautiful land, and have some lovely images to show for it. Here's a few more of my favorites from the day. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed spending time with this family. 

<3 Nikki

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Children Family Family Pictures Love Mathews Crew Spring Family Session Tue, 07 Apr 2015 13:06:22 GMT
#mcmahonofherdreams Oh how I wish I was the clever gal [or guy] that came up with that hashtag. But I'm not. My money is on a bridesmaid. 

Regardless, it couldn't be more fitting for Ms. Ashley Phillips. She has found her soul mate and welcomed both family & friends into her beautiful home to celebrate their upcoming union. 

Classy with a hint of southern charm is the best way to describe the event, held at Ashley's home in Destin, Florida. It was a beautifully relaxed evening full of smiles and congratulations for the future Mr. & Mrs. Brendan McMahon. 

I was lucky enough to attend the event both as family + photographer. Ashley is my husband's first cousin and both she and her amazing family have always treated me with the utmost kindness [even when I was mere girlfriend status].

I was honored to stroll around her home and beautifully landscaped yard, capturing the memories of her engagement party for her. 

The big day is mere months away for Ashley + Brendan, who plan to tie the knot in California this October. Like the rest of our family, I am thrilled for Ashley and know that she is going to make one STUNNING bride. 

[To Ashley] I know this goes without saying, but we [Nick, Lucas & I] love you and wish you all the joy and happiness your heart can hold.

<3 Nikki


]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Destin Florida Engagement Love couples Mon, 06 Apr 2015 19:11:53 GMT
Momtography We all want cute pictures of our kids, right?

Well... I think that desire is amplified by about 1,000% for me. 


Everywhere we go. Every first that Lucas experiences. I

Luckily, I have a very supportive and loving husband that only makes fun of my complex on occasion and NEVER utters two very scary words "no camera." He has given me a wayward look or two in the past...but we're married so I just ignore it. ;)

Some of you might assume that I'm spending too much time behind the lens and not living in the moment with my child. If you're that person, well... you're just wrong. Sorry. I do not take over every outing and turn into a raging photog mom looking for the perfect shot. Last week's spring break adventures prove that. I would estimate that I spent a total of 45 minutes behind my camera, capturing some wonderful shots of my little guy. Moments that I want to remember, forever. 

Take a quick stroll with me through a few of our spring break outings. If by the end of our time together you're thinking...

>"I want pictures like this of my kids"

>"I have a nice camera, I can do that"

then I have good news for you. But you have to suffer through my spring break photo album to get there (unless you are a cheater pants and scroll straight to the bottom)!


I am a teacher, so yes... spring break was GLORIOUS! I love my school kiddos so much, but it's nice to get away for a while and just focus on my little man without distraction. We got off to a great start at one of Lucas' favorite places...the zoo!

I love those last two. My kid is sort of infatuated with birds right now. Something I'm sure will pass before I know it, and I will completely forget about it. Until ten years from now, when I flip back through our family pictures and see this. I'll remember that he was listening for the birds...and that confused little look on his face when he pointed to the sky but didn't see any birds?? 

((Because they were in the aviary behind him. Precious.))

Which obviously meant that the Budgie Aviary was our next stop. I'll admit I was a little disappointed to not get a picture of Lucas with a bird... he went right to them last year. My how things change from one year to the next. Talk about a scaredy cat! Yes, he loves birds... as long as they stay away from him. 

Gotta give the hubs an A+ for trying though. On to the goats! What a Jay boy... of course he loves the goats!

And that's it... from the zoo. Total Camera Time: 15 minutes.

To the beach!! Nick and I- geniuses that we are, chose St. Patrick's Day for our beach excursion. We made it about 1/2 mile up the road before changing our plans from Pensacola Beach (where we knew we would get stuck on the bridge and crowded on the sand) to Navarre Beach.

Bingo! It was PERFECT. There were very few people there and Lucas had plenty of room to roam. Best part? It took almost exactly an hour to get there, as opposed to the hour and a half (or more) trip to Pensacola. 

Why the picture of little toes? That's to remind me of Lucas' reaction to all that sand after a one year hiatus. He nearly crawled on top of my head when I attempted to let go of him, after walking him down the boardwalk on my hip. I'll admit, Nick and I got pretty tickled. The quilt seemed safe, so I dropped him off there. Then we watched... little toes scurry to the edge, then back away...scurry to the edge, then back away. This continued for about 5 minutes until he finally couldn't stand that mom and dad were playing with his sand toys without him! 

Before tucking my camera safely away, I grabbed a few more shots of little man having some fun in the sun! He thought he was such a big boy, walking down the beach (10 feet away from us) by himself. 

Of course no beach trip is complete without bubbles. I don't know why!?!? They are impossible to catch on the beach! But it was pretty funny to watch him try! Lucas was so excited when he finally made bubbles by himself!

And to round out our beach trip... we FINALLY got Lucas in the water! Like the sand, it took a little while. Once he figured it out, he loved it... until his shirt got wet, then there were tears. He got over it pretty fast and went right back to enjoying his beach trip. Toddlers are so bipolar.

That'll do it for our beach trip. Total Camera Time: 15 minutes.

The night of our beach trip was a biggie for Lucas. At almost 2 1/2 he was still sleeping in his crib. He has never tried to escape it, so we weren't in a rush to change things. We decided spring break was a good time to introduce a new bed, just in case we went without sleep for a couple of nights.Not to mention, we're only weeks away from moving into our new we thought it best for him to get accustomed to a new bed prior to a new house, new room, new everything else! There's nothing SUPER special about this image from a photography standpoint. I tiptoed into his room after he had been asleep for a while, turned on the closet light, and clicked.

 Lucas' first night in a big boy bed. Which he totally rocked by the way... thanks to being exhausted from the beach!  

The final stop on our spring break tour is Russell Harbor Landing! After a successful Easter Mini here the weekend before, we decided to go back with Lucas and catch a few spring shots of our handsome guy, rocking a bow tie. Since this trip was per my request... we followed it up with pizza and toys at Boomerang Pizzeria and General Store in Downtown Milton. Great place if you haven't been yet! Here are some of my favorite shots from Lucas' shoot. Call me crazy but I send Valentine and Easter cards like most people send out Christmas cards. Needless to say, I have envelopes to seal and stamps to buy so I can share these images with family and friends.

The one below is probably my fave... for those who think Lucas is a perfect little model. I'll admit, he was on point for this shoot. However, this specific shot was after his Daddy and I told him not to touch the blue egg... THREE TIMES. We didn't help our case when we busted out laughing as little toes reached for said egg. Scroll back up (first image) and notice how far away we put the eggs in subsequent shots (we showed him).

Lucas was on a roll and didn't seem to mind a camera in his face, so we brought him down to the water to test our luck. He didn't seem too interested until his Daddy started throwing rocks into the water. I'm telling ya... when it comes to taking pictures of your kids, it's great to have a supportive spouse (or friend/family member)! Nick is responsible for 99% of our smiles at photoshoots. He jumps around like a fool so that I can stay focused on our little subject and wait for my shot. I cannot thank him enough for accepting my love of photography and being a wonderful "assistant."

So that's it. Our own little mini shoot at Russell Harbor Landing. Total Camera Time: 15 minutes.

Which is where I got my average of about 45 minutes total spent behind the lens over spring break...and some priceless images to show for it.

Now, I'm not saying that these are all perfect pictures, but they're perfect to me. I don't always spend a lot of time on my edits of Lucas because I take WAY too many pictures of him to dedicate that much time to nit picking my edits. But if you're like me, then you would probably agree that it's about the moment with our kids. We just want to remember them; how little they were, what made them laugh, what made them cry, all of the little firsts that we never get to redo. 

Which brings me to this...

Over the past month I've had several friends contact me about hosting an affordable workshop to help them learn the ins and outs of their DSLR cameras. I imagine many of you have nice cameras that you paid $500-$800 (or more) for...but you're still stuck on auto. Right?!? 

I am not claiming to be an expert in the field because I still learn new techniques all the time. However, I am a teacher by trade and I can promise you that you will leave this workshop with a basic understanding of your big fancy camera. You WILL get off auto and learn how to capture adorable images of your kids...while they're still kids.  If you're interested in a seat at this workshop please email me at for more information!

<3 Nikki


]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Beach Easter Family Lucas Momtography Russell Harbor Landing Spring Break 2015 Zoo mini shoot Wed, 25 Mar 2015 18:14:02 GMT
Bridal Beauty It didn't take long for me to figure out a title for this blog post.

My initial contact with Rebekah came after speaking to the vendor handling her wedding decorations. 

Mrs. Ruby Bagley of La T Da Events told me that she was a beautiful young lady and very pleasant to work with. She was right.

Being a teacher in Santa Rosa County... it only took a hot second for me to recognize Miss Gilmore's new last name. :)

The new Mrs. Wyrosdick is not in the business of education though. She is in fact, a nurse. I love nurses. Anyone who dedicates their life to helping others is A-OK in my book! 

Being the nerd that I am, I struck up a full fledged Grey's Anatomy discussion with the good nurse. She totally crushed my little fantasy world with the cold hard truth that playing a real nurse ((and a cardiac one at that)) is nothing like the world of Grey. 

I was feeling like I had lost major cool points with Rebekah, until she giggled and said she was addicted to Grey's Anatomy too... followed by instructions to rush home and watch the latest episode I had yet to see (thank goodness for DVR).

Between our talks about married life, the beautiful property we were shooting on, and Grey's Anatomy... I managed to snag some awesome (in my opinion) shots of this beautiful bride! It was such a pleasure to meet Rebekah and help capture such an important time in her life. Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of it! 

>>Keep scrolling to see more of the beautiful Mrs. Wyrosdick<<

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) bridal portraits wedding photography Sun, 22 Mar 2015 00:15:07 GMT
Life as a Becker... Ever wonder what it's like to be in someone else's shoes? 

Just for a day you think... "I wish I had her life" or "Man, it must be nice..."

We've all done it. We quickly forget about the abundance of blessings in our own lives because we're too busy comparing what we ((don't)) have to what someone else ((does)) have. Tisk, tisk. We should know better. But- we're human, and so we will likely continue down this path in the future. 

Where am I going with this?? Well, it's not to say that I don't appreciate the blessings in my own life. Because I do... oh boy I do! However, the Becker's have something I don't. 

>>A little girl. 


My own family is not yet complete ((my plan)) and both Nick and I hope that it is in God's plan to add another little one to our family in the future.

So, I lived vicariously through the Becker family for one day.

>What would it be like to have two children?

>What would it be like to see Lucas as a big brother?

>What would it be like to enter the world of all things girly?

My conclusion??

>>>it would be chaos

>>>it would be fun

And I think both Kristen & Kyle would probably agree with me on that. 


I remember meeting Chayce almost two years ago, when I took Kristen's maternity pictures. He was so silly and lovable! I was shocked at how small he was when looking back at our maternity session. These days with our children move so swiftly, don't they?!?!


Chayce was so excited about having a baby sister back then, and it is still evident today. My favorite moment from this shoot was when both kiddos got comfy on the ground. Before each picture I snapped, Kaylen would just stare up at big brother with the cutest little grin. 


So I just wanted to say {thank you} to the Becker Family. You have given me something to look forward to ((scratch that)). You have given me something to PRAY for. Nick and I both grew up with siblings and know how special those childhood memories are. 

>>Even in all the choas and madness, remember to soak up these moments. Our babies are only little for a short while.<<

And I'd say the Becker Family is doing just that. Especially with their big trip to Disney just around the corner. Oh and I should also mention that this shoot was scheduled around an important milestone. Miss Kaylen is almost ONE!! Thank you for including me in this special time...and have a blast at Disney!!

Of course, I couldn't end this post without sharing a special shot of the two lovebirds who created this beautiful family... and a couple more of my favorites from their family shoot. :)



]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Becker Family Children Family Session First Birthday God's Plan siblings Wed, 11 Mar 2015 18:54:11 GMT
Hospital to Home Privilege.

That's the word that comes to mind when I think about this "hobby" turned side profession. 

What a privilege it is to capture the special moments in your lives.

>the laughter in the eyes of a one year old, smashing that cake to pieces

>the love ((felt)) in the image of two sweethearts

>the bashful smile of a brand new bride

>the giggles produced by the tickle monster at a family shoot

>the tears of joy on the faces of a new mom and dad

I get to experience all of this. Repeatedly. Yes, privilege is the best word to describe my "job."


And what a privilege it was to help welcome baby Tate into the world last week. Although his mom and dad are not "new" to parenting, they are experiencing a whole different world with the birth of their first baby boy. A baby boy they've dreamed about. A baby boy who is loved beyond measure, who has made their family complete. 

I was lucky enough to experience that new baby smell when I met Tate at his "Fresh Baby" shoot. This type of shoot is typically done within 24 hours of birth to capture those special moments shared as a family, while still at the hospital. While these shoots are trending right now, I think it's important to recognize why... because you'll never get those moments back.

For the rest of your life, you will reflect on those first moments with your sweet baby. Those days are ((typically)) spent at the hospital. Those drab colored walls, uncomfortable cot for dad, and sterilized bathroom are going to be burned into your memory for the What a gift it is to have images of those days that you can cherish forever. Here are some of my favorites from Tate's Fresh Baby shoot.

Tate is so beautiful. He was wide awake throughout our hospital shoot and a perfect little model...until Mommy had to change that poopy ((see first image in above set)). Even crying, this baby boy will quickly steal your heart. I am so fortunate to know his parents personally. I grew up with Brittany, attending school together from K-12, with her hubby leading the way a couple of grades above us.

We now attend church together, Brittany being the one who brought my family to Century Church of Christ over two years ago. Words cannot express how dear this family is to me. I'm not sure if I ever verbalized how grateful I am to both Brittany and Travis for "holding our hands" ((saving us a seat)) for those first few visits we made to their I'm saying it now, thank you. Because now it's ((MY)) church, and my family's >>>>which I could write a whole book about because I love it so. 

But- this blog is about their family, so I'll do my best to stay on course. :) I followed up with this little sweetie for an "At Home" shoot within his first week of birth. Again, this is sort of the trend right now...and for good reason. It's so much easier for the parents and baby. There's a lot to be said about studio photography, but there's something beyond special about capturing those first days when baby is welcomed to his new home, at his new home. 

This Smith family has a beautiful home + two gorgeous girls who made this shoot a piece of cake. Here are more than a few of my favorite images from their home shoot.

Priceless right? Especially those toes! They will NEVER be that small again...which can be a little sad for mommy and daddy. But not when you think about the years they'll spend watching Tate, Leah, and Lexie grow up together. That same word comes to mind yet again. Privilege. 

Brittany, Travis, Leah, Lexie, and Tate- thank you so much for welcoming me into your hospital room + your home. I love you all so much and feel blessed to call you friends. 

To all the other new and old parents-to-be out there, I just might have found my favorite thing to photograph. If you're on the fence about newborn photography, at the hospital or at home, just remember that you will never get these moments back. I've put together a little package that I'll share with you all now. Fresh Baby and At Home sessions can be booked separately, but I wanted to create a sweet little deal for those cherished first moments with your sweet little baby.



]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Fresh Baby Hospital to Home Newborn Photography Smith Family Mon, 09 Mar 2015 17:30:13 GMT
The Day I Deleted My Facebook App My name is Nikki. And I have a problem. 

Now, before you read any further understand something>>>

I am not here to condemn you for using/viewing/or loving your Facebook app. 

This is about me. My problem with social media. 

A problem I realized I had a while back, but chose to ignore. Why? Because I LOVE keeping up with all of my old friends, seeing everyone's adorable children, laughing at your throwback Thursdays, etc. I adore the simplicity of it all. How easy it is to get in touch with family and friends that live hundreds of miles away. I started blurring the line between Facebook messaging and text messaging a long time ago. They're the same thing, right? I mean I rely on them both to the same extent. I can't live without either one! 

...or so I thought. 

My "to do" list was growing. An actual, physical list of things I needed to do at home. Yes, I'm a full time teacher, wife, mother, and a part time photographer...but I should have time for these things.

My "want to" list was growing. A mental list of things I felt like I should have time for. Simple things like, take more pictures of Lucas just playing around in his room, work on that photo book I've been putting off, clean out my dresser drawers!!!

Am I really that busy? No. The answer is no. The problem is time management.

And how did I get myself into this? I'm great with time management. I'm a teacher for goodness sakes!! It might as well be part of the job description ((my teacher friends know exactly what I'm saying)). Truth? I've always prided myself on how well I manage my classroom time. And my time at home for that matter. Until recently...

It wasn't like I had this sudden "ah ha" moment, realizing I spent waaaayyyy too much time scoping out Facebook. On the contrary, I have known for quite a while. But I made excuses for myself. 

>It's ok that I wake up and check Facebook like the it's the morning newspaper, it's how I stay in the loop.

>Who cares if I sneak a quick peek at my newsfeed while I'm in line at the grocery store? It's not like the line is moving.

>So what if I take 15-20 minutes of "me" time to watch that Jimmy Fallon video that ALL my friends shared! Everyone else does it. 

The list goes on. Yes, I woke up looking at Facebook. I found myself looking for my phone at any "slow" time of the day. When I came home from a long day of work, it's how I would unwind. I just needed a few minutes to see what was going on in "the world." My nightly routine was starting to include a last minute scan of my newsfeed...just in case I missed something the other 2,596 times I looked. 

Then it hit me. I mean literally hit me. My phone, square in my face. How? My son.

My beautiful, precious gift from God. My Lucas.

Snuggled in nice and cozy between his daddy and me, we were watching some cartoons in our room before bedtime one night. Lucas was zoned into Toy Story. He's right between us, we're all here as a family... no big deal if I sit back and scan Facebook while he enjoys his cartoon, right?

WRONG> my child turned on me. He actually turned around and caught me RED handed. And his mother's temper came out of him. I do not condone hitting, and Lucas has never been one to hit anyway. But I must say, I'm quite proud of my son for the right hook he sent flying straight to my phone...knocking it into my face. Talk about a wake up call. 

Yes, we addressed the hitting part with a small scolding...yadda yadda. He gets it. But the bigger point is that I GET IT. 

I was not living in the moment with my little family. Who cares if I've seen Toy Story 200 times. I'm a mom, it's part of the gig. I thought he was too little to realize that I wasn't attentive to the movie. Boy was I wrong. 

Which means I was wrong at the grocery store. Someone did care. Lucas>>sitting in the buggy watching me. 

And it's not ok that I took 15-20 minutes of "me" time to watch the Jimmy Fallon video. Because that was after school, when I should have been on the floor building a Lego tower with my son. The son who I already have limited time with due to my full time job.

Checking Facebook in the morning? Yes, that's a problem too. For one, it's not even close to informative. I've completely lost touch with what's going on in the middle east. Thank you Facebook. Secondly, there's a real problem when I can't drag myself out of bed to get ready for a day of shaping young minds...but I can roll over to see my screen light up. 

Truth? Lucas has always hated our phones. Even if we're text messaging one another... he tries to sneak up and snatch them. And who can blame him? The attention should be on him. Not my phone. 

So, the day I deleted my Facebook App:

>my son stopped beating me ((kidding... sort of))

>my "to do" list didn't seem so difficult ((almost completed it ONE day))

>my "want to" list went from mental to reality

>I watched the ((actual)) news

>I built the most amazing Lego tower ever...and watched Lucas knock it down

>Lucas and I watched Toy Story ((the WHOLE thing))

>and the best part... I found that my life is actually much more interesting than the goings on of Facebook. 

Did I delete my account? Of course not. Facebook isn't evil. I still want access to my friends and family. I have to share all my adorable pictures of Lucas with someone! Just in moderation. ;) Here's another truth: I've done this before. Deleted Facebook, I mean. What drew me back in? Well, I'm a photographer so you guessed it, pictures. It was so much easier to share my Iphone pictures with access to the app.

So why will it work this time? This time I'm praying. I told God all about I get sucked in and lose all track of time. I told Him about the mother I want to be. I asked Him to open my eyes and help me enjoy the fun parts of social media, without allowing it to monopolize so much of my time. As always, He answered.

Seeing as how this is a photography blog and all, here are a few pictures I captured of Lucas on a lazy Sunday afternoon ((part of my "want to" list)). And I'd like to end by saying that I judge no one. That's not MY job. I took a long, hard look at myself and realized I wasted too much time on social media. Deleting the app was the right call for me. I've found my happy place with Facebook>>still connected, just not as often. 

<3 Nikki


]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Facebook God Lucas mother social media time management Wed, 18 Feb 2015 19:39:08 GMT
Lucky in Love I recently did a photo shoot with my oldest niece and nephew + their significant others. 

These kids never ask me for anything. They're growing up so fast and we all know what that means. Less time for the family, more time for the friends. So I was excited to spend the afternoon with them and capture some special images at the same time. 

I adore my niece and nephew, but the focus of this blog will primarily be Shyan. The reason is simple. I've never seen her this happy before. 

I met Kenneth at a family Christmas gathering. I'm not going to pretend like I love those tunnels in his ears... or the mohawk hiding beneath that cap ((thank you for wearing said cap during our photo shoot)). But what I do love is how he treats my niece. 

Shyan is a tough girl. Always has been. But I've seen her heart broken before and I don't relish the idea of witnessing that again. Since I've seen her heartbroken, that obviously means I've seen her in love before...right? Wrong. 

>>She thought she was in love. She wasn't. 

Now? I believe she truly is. It's in the way that her eyes light up around this boy. He's stolen our little girl's heart. So he better be careful with it.

>>Just in case Kenneth missed that last part, I said... HE BETTER BE CAREFUL WITH IT. :)

I'm thinking this guy is a keeper. The fact that I've never heard Shyan's mother complain about him... not even once... ((whoa)) tells me so. I am so happy for my niece. My wish for you is to always be this happy. With or without a boy. 

>You are unique

>You are beautiful

>YOU are worthy of a great love

and let's not forget...

>You have uncles to call if Kenneth acts up

In closing, here are a few of my faves from Shyan and Kenneth's shoot. Maybe one day I'll be shooting their engagement pictures, wedding pictures, baby pictures ((Kenneth is running for the hills right now)). But for now, it's just their "in love" pictures. And that's A-ok with Aunt Nikki. <3


]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) dating love photo shoot young love Wed, 18 Feb 2015 16:29:39 GMT
At Home with The Marshalls January 24 was a rather chilly day. So there were no complaints from me about having an indoor shoot. 

<<especially when that indoor shoot centered around one brand new, handsome little man>>


The Marshalls ((Justin + Jennifer)) welcomed me into their lovely home

to capture images of their sweet baby boy ((Owen)).

When I arrived, Owen was snoozing away in his daddy's arms. Being that he's just a grunt past the newborn stage, we took that opportunity to get those dreamy, sleepy headed images. We moved about his room, in whispers, getting to know one another while I drooled over his adorable nautical themed nursery. I managed to grab a few sleepy poses and some detail shots of those tiny hands and feet before Mr. Owen opened those perfect blue eyes. 

I remember my first photo shoot with Lucas ((as a family)). My dear friend Julie White of Julia White Photography captured some very special images that I will always cherish. But I also remember being a sweaty, hot mess.

Lucas was asleep, then wide awake; dry, then wet; eating, then spitting up; content, then crying;

The list goes on. I was beyond flustered and I'm sure it showed.

I would bet that almost everyone has a similar experience with baby's first photo shoot. As a photographer, I was so very pleased with how Jennifer and Justin handled themselves when we entered that portion of their photo shoot. I gave them a few soft reminders that we were in no rush, and to just go with the flow. If Owen is hungry, feed him. If he needs to be changed, change him. We have plenty of time.

Now, if I had told myself this... I'm sure I STILL would have been a sweaty, hot mess. But not Jennifer and Justin. They were very relaxed, tended to Owen's needs, and we carried on with the shoot. There were a few more "bumps" that required some mommy + daddy soothing techniques, but this parenting team knew just what to do. We had to give up on a pose or two that Owen just wasn't feeling, but as they moved about their home, we captured some sweet memories that I hope they will always cherish.



Luckily, the Marshall home was located nearby one of my favorite shoot locations.

Thanks to some midday sunshine, it warmed up just enough to grab a few quick pictures outside. Owen was very intrigued by all that was going on around him ((rustling leaves, the sound of passing cars, sticks on the ground)). I imagine it was a bit of sensory overload for such a little guy, but he certainly seemed to enjoy it!



To the Marshalls-- Thank you for welcoming me into your lovely home.

It was a pleasure to meet you and your little bundle of joy.

<3 Nikki


]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) baby family home shoot indoor newborn Mon, 02 Feb 2015 23:36:36 GMT
My Funny Valentine

I am so thankful that God blessed me with an adorable little HAM for a son. 

I'm also thankful for my best friend, Melinda, and her equally adorable princess, Taylor. 

Melinda and I became pregnant at the same time, ending our summer breaks with

exciting news to bring back to the new school year (as we are both teachers). 

>>>>That was the summer of 2011.<<<<

We made our announcements to our coworkers and prepared for the exciting journey ahead. A journey that forever changed my life. 


Nick and I received the heartbreaking news that I had miscarried only 9 weeks into our pregnancy. We were destroyed. Melinda was destroyed. How could she face me everyday with her growing belly, knowing that it tore me apart inside to acknowledge what I had lost?

We cried. A lot. 

Nick and I traveled through a lot of darkness before God's light pulled us through. We miscarried again before becoming pregnant with Lucas. When we found out we were pregnant in February of 2012, Melinda was only two months away from delivering Miss Taylor.

I felt like I had "missed" so much of her pregnancy. I was here, watching her belly grow every day but I was too wrapped up in my own self loathing to truly experience it with her. She picked me up so many times during those months. Months when I should have been focused on her and the life growing inside of her. I knew I had found a remarkable woman to call my best friend. There was no getting rid of me at that point.

Although Lucas would be born exactly 6 months to the day after Taylor,

I knew they would be great friends as well.

Melinda and I have called them boyfriend/girlfriend since before Lucas was born.

We are already planning their wedding. :)

We have more kissing pictures of these two kids than you would believe! They have always loved one another. Taylor is quite a bit ahead of her "Lukie Pookie" in most areas, but they both certainly understand that they are stuck with one another!

It's no surprise that they are my two favorite models when I want to try out a new camera technique or advertise a special. What's not to love about these two faces? 

We had a blast this weekend while we took photos for my upcoming Valentine Mini. Taylor was her perfect little self, smiling and posing each time we asked. Lucas was his normal wild self, running around laughing and hamming it up the entire time. He really enjoyed photobombing Taylor. 

When I look at these pictures it's hard for me to remember how sad I was. Nick and I have reflected on those days surrounding our miscarriages many times. It's still a sad memory by all accounts, but we try hard not to put too much energy into those thoughts. We have too much to be thankful for, too many happy memories to reflect on instead. Still, we will always wonder what could have been. 

Seeing my little man in that bow tie and suspenders... well, the only way to describe that feeling is through Sinatra...

"My funny Valentine

Sweet comic Valentine

You  make me smile with my heart

Your looks are laughable


Yet you're my favorite work of art"


I'm sure all moms feel that way about their kiddos. I'd feel safe in saying Melinda feels that way about Taylor. I just wish I could keep him this small forever. It's unbelievable how quickly they change.

He's stolen my heart, and I'll never get it back. 

"But don't you change one hair for me

Not if you care for me

Stay little Valentine stay

Each day is Valentine's Day"


If you're loving these images of Lucas and Taylor, I have a mini shoot scheduled for Sunday, February 1st. Yes, Super Bowl Sunday. I know, what was I thinking? Well, I was thinking it was my only free weekend day prior to Valentine's day. :) But I promise you this, the shoot will be early enough that you can still get your appetizers ready and on the table for friends and family. Plus, you'll have some delicious photos to boot!

They won't stay little forever, capture these moments while you can.

<3 Nikki



]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Children Kissing Booth Love Valentine Tue, 20 Jan 2015 19:52:52 GMT
Count Your Many Blessings... From a photography standpoint, 2015 started off with a bang!

I remember this time last year. I felt like I was a total and complete failure.

No one was calling. No one was scheduling. My camera was collecting dust. 

That must mean that I'm really terrible at this and no one wants to do business with me, right??

The truth of the matter is, this is just a slow season for photography. I mean, duh. It's stinking cold outside! Tons of people just had family pictures made in the fall, and we're all broke from Christmas. Why didn't this occur to me?

Well, it didn't occur to me because I was still building my confidence as a photographer. Any little bump in the road could easily knock me down. Fortunately, I like to think I'm past that. I still have my moments. But for the most part, I'm past it. 

I understand that this is a business. It will have its ups and downs. I really took the time to appreciate all the business that came my way in the fall of 2014. I thanked God daily for the blessing of supplemental income that my family was fortunate enough to have. I know the holidays are expensive for everyone...but our little one has a late October birthday, followed by his daddy's Christmas birthday. So we have some added expenses during an already expensive time of the year. 

So I'll say that again...I'm VERY thankful that my hobby not only brings me joy, but provides for my family as well. The hymn "Count Your Many Blessings" comes to mind here. And I do. I count them all the time. I name them one by one in prayer as I thank God for all of my many blessings. 

Recently, one of those blessings was a family of four. The family that brought with them more than just a change of wardrobe. 


Felecia contacted me only a short time prior to Christmas. She was interested in a family photo shoot. 

Honestly, my heart stopped right about here during our first contact. How in the world can I squeeze her in and get her images finished in time for Christmas??? 

Luckily, she wasn't asking that of me. Though I'm sure I would have stayed up waaaayyy past my bedtime in an editing frenzy if she had asked me to make it happen. :) 

Instead, she wanted to schedule for after the holidays. Family pictures weren't about gift giving for her. It was more than that. She found herself surrounded by a beautiful family that she cares immensely for, and she just wanted it documented. Something to hang over the mantle. Something to make her smile when she walks through the living room. 

Well, Felecia didn't realize it but she made me smile that day. With her scheduled shoot, I recognized that my business is growing. I may be taking baby steps to get there... but it's growing. I don't ask people to share my page on Facebook or do big giveaways in exchange for page likes. Every like on my page is out of true interest in my work. That makes me happy. 

This time last year, I'm not sure that I had even one scheduled shoot in January. Today, I find myself reflecting on a shoot that's already in the books while looking ahead to a precious baby boy I get to meet and photograph in just a few short days. 

So today when I count my blessings, I count Felecia. I count her lovely family. I know she isn't a magical fairy that graced my business and made me super successful. She's just a girl who was looking to have some pictures made. But I do believe that God placed her in my life during the cold, slow month of January for a reason.

He's whispering to me, you're on the right track. Be of good works. Have faith in me. 

And I do. Today I thank God for Felecia & her family. I thank God for business in January. I thank God for being ever present in my life. 

I'll leave you with some of my favorite images from my shoot with Felecia's family. While you look them over take a minute to count your many blessings. Name them one by one. It might surprise you what the Lord has done. :)

<3 Nikki


]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Blessings Faith Family Love New Year Mon, 12 Jan 2015 22:45:10 GMT
Five Photography Tips I Learned From My Toddler Yes, you read that correctly. My toddler. My two year old toddler, taught me five very important things about photography. 

Before I jump into that list, let's make sure we're on the same page. You see, I didn't realize my toddler was teaching me these things as they occurred. The realization came after many disastrous photo shoots with my little man. I had no idea he was schooling me the entire time. And let's also note that I first learned these lessons from a mommy perspective, not a photographer's. 

Believe it or not, we adults can be pretty dense sometimes. We try to make things harder than they really are. We often set our expectations WAY too high when it comes to our kids. So, it was quite a while before I realized my "Lucas Lessons" could benefit me as a photographer and not just as his mother. 

Ready for that list???

Well, I would love to tell you that you will be one enlightened individual after reading this post. Unfortunately, all five items are pretty simple. The problem is that we (adults, parents, teachers, etc.) already KNOW these things, but we don't apply them in our everyday lives. So follow me here. Read the list. Then take a moment to reflect. Would life with a toddler be easier if you applied these five items daily?


1. Be Patient

For the first year of Lucas' life, he was a dream to photograph. Once he reached the age of sitting up, it was a pretty simple process. I just placed him where I wanted him, made sure his daddy was behind me making silly faces, and clicked. Done. Everyone gets to go home as one big happy family. :) Then he learned how to use those legs to go where HE wanted to go...and it all went downhill from there. Most of our shoots ended with daddy sweating after jumping around and acting like a fool, and mommy nearly in tears because I didn't get that one perfectly posed image I had mapped out in my mind.

Well, it took me a year of stressing out over his shoots to realize that I just need to be patient. He's a toddler. He's curious. He wants to explore! What was a I thinking, taking him somewhere new and expecting this magical moment of photographic bliss??

You know those V8 commercials? The ones where they slap someone on the forehead and say "you could have had a V8?" Yeah, you all know what I'm talking about. The day I finally realized that I needed to lower my expectations and be PATIENT with my toddler was one of those moments.

We (Nick and I) took Lucas to a family owned pond about 20 minutes from home to take a few late summer shots. Honestly, he had the most adorable Polo shirt that I just wanted pictures of him in. On the way there I told Nick that I just wanted to let him walk around and play and see what I could get. Well... those are some of the best images I had captured of him in almost a year. I didn't rush him out of the car and start pushing my camera in his face, clicking away like a maniac. I watched him, I let him run free, and I patiently waited for that magical moment. You only need one. Just one, to get that wall hanger image we all strive for. We were literally there for 15 minutes and I had a plethora of images to choose from (insert my V8 moment here).

In a nutshell, my toddler schooled me that day. It's like he was saying, "hey mom, just let me play for a minute and I'll give you that picture you want" the whole time. Prior to this shoot, I didn't think I had a minute to spare. If I didn't get that "money shot" immediately it was a travesty!

So often I want to tell my clients this... just be patient. Sure, your little one is fussy now and you're seeing dollar signs, fearing that you've wasted your money on this shoot. But give him or her a minute. Children need time to take in their surroundings. If you arrive at the shoot with this rule of thumb in mind, I promise you'll be rewarded with those dreamy images you desire. Here's one that my little man gave me on that very day.


2. Be Prepared

Oh boy. This means more than one thing. For starters, if you have all these special props you plan to use (typically happens with first birthday shoots in my experience) then have them ready to go. You cannot expect to arrive at your shoot and THEN put together your happy birthday banner... it's not going to turn out well for you. Here's why: kids get bored. Now, every kid is different but it's been my experience that children under the age of 10 can usually hold out for about 30 minutes of great photo shoot behavior... then you just have to cross your fingers and hope for the best.

Another angle on this is to be prepared for catastrophe. Hey, it happens. You go right ahead and plan out those amazing beach portraits with your three year old. Warn him real good not to get in that water... see what happens. I would place a hefty bet on it that your little one ends up in the ocean, splashing about and having a ball, before that shoot is over. I would also bet that THOSE pictures are the ones you will cherish forever.

Lucas taught me this lesson during a stylized Halloween shoot. First of all, I broke my first rule. I was NOT prepared. I needed a good 5-10 minutes to set up my little scene. Being the genius that I am, I already had Lucas running around in his Halloween costume... complete with candy bucket (what was I thinking?). Once I got everything set up, I was ready for my little Frankenstein model to do his thing. Too bad he wasn't. He ran around like a little crazy monster and did just about everything except sit in front of my scene like a good little toddler and smile for mommy's camera. He knocked over my pumpkins, sat on the wrong prop, ate the candy in the bucket... the list goes on. '

I finally sat back on my haunches and accepted the chaos in front of me. I chose to appreciate the adorable little booger running around so full of life in front of me, and snap THAT picture instead. The result: one of my all time favorite pictures of Lucas to date.


3. Keep it simple

In this day and age of Pinterest, it's easy to set high expectations for photoshoots...especially ones involving your kids. I'm guilty of it too. I've done my fair share of pinning, followed by multiple trips to the craft store where I spent way too much money, all in an effort to recreate the image I saw online. And that's perfectly fine. I'm not here to tell you that it's a waste of time because it's not. I've captured some adorable images of Lucas that I felt like made all of my hard work, stress, and money spent worth it.

So where am I going with this? Well, what I'm trying to say is that you don't NEED all of that "stuff" to get an image that you love. In fact, when I scour through the multitude of images I have of my fella I find that it is the simpler settings that I prefer. Those are the ones I want on my wall. They are less distracting. More of the focus is on him instead of everything going on around him.

Everyone is different. Do what you feel will make you the happiest when it comes to your child's shoot. I've had parents show up with nothing, fully depending on me and my props to make it happen. I've had parents show up with a carload of items they wanted to use. The end result for both was satisfaction. Both clients knew what they wanted and they were happy with their images. That's great! But- the key point I'm trying to make here is that both sets of parents were happy because the subject in the images...not the props that were used. 

You see, what we really want are priceless images of our kids. To achieve that you don't need to break the bank or spend half an hour setting up an adorable, pinterest motivated scene. It took me a while, but I learned this lesson too.

Lucas' first birthday was Dr. Seuss themed. We're a little book crazy over here. I spent weeks planning out his birthday photo shoot. We literally had to drive my husband's truck to the location because of all the props I demanded were necessary. Don't get me wrong, I love all the images from his birthday shoot including the elaborate ones. But you know what? My favorite image was the simplest. All it took was that cute little smile, a monogrammed birthday shirt, and a Dr. Seuss hat. Bingo! That's the wall hanger. THAT is the image that immediately comes to mind when I think of his first birthday shoot. Not the ones with all the balloons, the special ordered Dr. Seuss banner, the matching chair, etc. They're all wonderful (to me) but it wasn't necessary. I see that now. Maybe you will too, have a look and decide for yourself. 


4. Rewards are OK!

I don't know about you, but I'm TIRED of all the media attention focused on "good parenting" by way of organic foods or kids having to earn their cartoons. Give me a break. My child just finished his supper of fresh fried fish (straight out of the river) and sweet potato fries, followed by a Scooby Doo marathon. Why? Because it makes him happy. He doesn't have to earn his cartoons by picking up his toys. He picks up his toys because I tell him to. Period.

Did you eat candy growing up? Mmmm hmmmm. And I bet you turned out alright. So why do we feel so guilty for giving our kids a cookie, or a piece of candy once in a while?? News flash!! It's not going to turn them into raging candy machines that never eat another vegetable for the rest of their lives.

I wanted to crawl into a hole and die when I gave a client's son a dum dum after a very well behaved photo shoot. His mom was not happy with me. It never even crossed my mind. It's a dum dum. Kid's love dum dums!! Long story short, I still bring suckers for the kiddos but I'm sure to always ask parent permission first. And that's the right thing to do... it's your kid, so it's your decision. But- sometimes kids need a little motivation for photoshoots that they could really care less about.

In the grand scheme of things, is that sucker really going to hurt (assuming their not allergic of course)? You scheduled your shoot months ago, spent your hard earned money on a cute new outfit, plus the session fee. You plan to spend more money when you purchase prints for yourself, family, and friends. You arrive at the shoot and "uh oh" little Johnny isn't feeling it. Do you really think you can bully him into faking happy? "You're going to smile because I told you to" probably isn't going to work. Sorry. But you know what will? That's right.... a dum dum. Tell that little stinker there is a dum dum (or other favorite treat) waiting for him after the shoot and BAM! You have yourself a model in the making folks.

If candy or another treat doesn't work for your kiddo, that's fine. Maybe you can reward your child with a trip to the park? A new coloring book? Play time with your phone or Ipad? Whatever works for your kid. What I'm saying is this... the photographer is not judging you for "bribing" your child for a smile. You shouldn't feel like a terrible parent for offering the reward. That photo shoot you planned out and spent who knows how much money on was not your child's decision. It was yours. He or she could probably care less. So what's it going to hurt? Give the kid a treat. :)

This lesson didn't take me very long to learn. Go figure. I caved pretty fast and learned that a dum dum goes a long way with my kiddo. I could insert any number of images here, because Lucas has a camera in his face more often than not. Oh yeah, and he's two. So yes, most of our shoots end with a giddy little boy receiving his sucker or other goodie for a job well done. 

Take this image for example. I interrupted a perfectly good zoo trip and asked one hyper little boy to smile for the camera. Telling a toddler to stop feeding the farm animals to go stand near the beautifully landscaped coy pond for a picture?? Atrocious! Um no, not really. It took about 3 minutes out of our fun filled day. Lucas got a slushy. I got this.


5. Have FUN!

Yes, it really is that simple. Take a chill pill and relax. If you relax, your kid will relax. When your kid relaxes, you get the images you want. This was probably the hardest lesson for me to learn. If I was my husband, I would have sat me down a long time ago and had a talk about realistic expectations for a toddler photo shoot. Being the ever patient man that he is, he didn't. Instead, he jumped around like a crazy man behind me in an effort to make Lucas smile in my direction. This worked 99% of the time for us. When it didn't work I found myself being short tempered and irritated with my child. 

What are those images worth? If all I remember when I look back at them is how frustrated I was? Those aren't the memories I want to make. So it took a little while for Lucas to teach me this particular lesson, but he persevered. With each shoot he grew more curious, his little explorer side itching to come out. I really had no say so in the matter. I could not physically make him smile for a picture. That left me with only one option. Let him go and see what happens.  

What happened was phenominal. My child was smiling non stop. All I had to do was move around and take the pictures. And you know what else? I was having fun! I wasn't stressing out because I was too joyful. I got down on his level. I stopped towering above him, barking out commands. You see, toddlers find joy in the simplest things. Their joy radiates from them in megawatt smiles. Those are the smiles that you remember for a lifetime. And you remember the way you felt when you saw them. 

That's how I feel about my latest shoot with Lucas. I wanted an updated portrait to print for grandparents, aunt, and uncles as Christmas gifts. We chose a simple setting, a short walk from my mother's house. Lucas was familiar with his environment, but he had never been to this particular spot which happened to be a trail I rode my horse on as a teenager. As we walked toward the path, Lucas took off, ever eager to explore. Nick and I simply followed behind. I took a lot of great shots in about 15 minutes. The only direction we gave Lucas was a mere suggestion to sit down in the leaves. He didn't do it. He walked around and explored some more. I snapped some more. Then, he decided he would sit down after all. Oh boy...leaves! 


Then, something really amazing happened. I let go of my camera. I let it hang from my neck- in ready position- but I let it go. I talked to Lucas about the sticks and leaves he picked up. We chased him down the path. We trudged through the woods on our little family nature walk. Those 15 minutes became more about his enjoyment and less about photos. We had fun. 

If you only take one thing from this, let it be my final point. Arrive at your next photo shoot planning to have some fun. Let your child have fun. I promise you'll be glad you did.

<3 Nikki

See more of my work and posts like this at Follow me on Facebook at


]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Children Fun Patience Photography Tips Preparation Wed, 07 Jan 2015 13:35:12 GMT
resolutions... let's get real Resolutions. We all have them. Most of us fall off the wagon by February. 

We start with grand intentions but life gets in the way, right???

I have a repeat resolution this year, because I too fell off the wagon in 2014.

My 2014 resolution was to read the entire bible. I'm ashamed that I didn't conquer my goal. :( I strive to be closer to God. I want my family to know Him, truly know Him and His word. 

We are a busy family. Nick and I both teach, he is the head coach of two sports at our school, and oh yeah... there's that two year old that sort of runs things around here (kidding... kind of). So, I let life get in the way and did not read the entire bible in 2014. 

During the last week of the year I started talking to Nick about this and being the levelheaded, box of wisdom that he is... he gave me some good advice. We decided to use our Bible App and set a more attainable goal for ourselves, as a couple. Following a one year plan, our resolution for 2015 is to read through the New Testament by the end of the year. 

I know many of you probably have the same Bible app on your smart phones. If you strive to be closer to God, this might be something worth looking into. There are many different "plans" already embedded in the app to help you attain your goal of daily/weekly Bible reading. Nick and I chose this specific one for ourselves because it's more of a five day plan, allowing you to catch up on the weekends if you missed a day. 

So that's my personal goal for 2015. I'm not stressing over my weight, my family budget, or trying to kick a nasty habit (this would be chocolate for me). Instead, I want to get closer to God. I want my family to be closer to God. I want to do this together. 

(I feel like it's necessary to insert a picture in this post, so here's one of me and my handsome hubby- the man who is going to make me stick to this resolution and conquer the New Testament with me in 2015)

**photo credit: Julia White Photography**


Being a business owner, I have a business resolution as well. Obviously I want my business to grow in 2015. 

To accomplish that, I plan to advertise more, offer more mini shoots, and get connected to my clients.

Here's the big goal: I want to blog about each session I do, here on my website. 

Photography is more than pictures. Those pictures tell a story. I learn so much about my clients from the point of inquiry until the finished product is delivered. If they will allow me to, I would like to share their stories.

Obviously this won't mean a three page blog post for every session. Some sessions will be short and sweet, while others will require more attention. One of my first loves was writing. So I figure, this is my chance to connect with my clients. It's also my own little outlet, a moment of "me" time to just write. 

Now, session blogs aren't all that you'll see here. I plan to write about my family as well. After all, Lucas was my very first model and the one who inspired me to start a photography business in the first place. Capturing him, documenting his life for the past two years has been a joyful experience for me. So, you can bet on seeing more of him on these posts as well. 

With all that being said, I hope you'll all go along with me on this journey and enjoy my photography blog as much as I plan to in 2015!

God Bless!

<3 Nikki

>>>>Don't forget about my current mini shoot!<<<<

I've already shared it in a previous blog post, but here it is again. I'm hoping to offer more deals like this in 2015. I chose to offer one in January for folks who missed out on family pictures leading up to Christmas. I know it often gets put on the back burner because there are so many gifts to buy. Here's your chance to get those pictures taken that you missed out on in 2014.

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Blog Faith Family Mini Shoot New Year Resolutions Sun, 04 Jan 2015 18:49:45 GMT
Downtown Pensacola----->> #swoon This is his "take the picture so we can have some fun mom" look

Wow. Just wow. 

I've lived in this area my whole life. I've been to downtown Pensacola plenty of times. 

Today (after being stuck inside after three days of rain) my little family ventured to downtown Pensacola to visit the Children's Museum. We had a blast. Lucas was in heaven. If you've never been I highly suggest that you make plans to go. 

Captain Lucas

Nick and I were discussing on the way home that there is so much to do in our area that we've never taken advantage of. Parenthood has definitely opened our eyes to all that is available close to home. Our little field trip today cost a whopping $12. Adults are $6 each and children under three are free... $3 per kid if that doesn't apply to you. 

Aside from just enjoying our family time and getting some much needed fresh air, I really took the time to scope out the area from a photographer's point of view. Living in Jay, I don't advertise Pensacola shoots because I don't do them very often. Beach portraits aren't really my thing but I've done them before and I'm more than happy to do them again. 

I'm a sucker for country scenery, fence rows, rustic paths & walkways, greenery, and old buildings. I never really thought of downtown Pensacola as having all of that. Today I realized that it does and it's oh so beautiful. I have never taken portraits in downtown Pensacola for anyone. After today's visit I am eager to go back and check that off my list!

I typically charge a $50 travel fee for anything that far out. After all, it is a two hour round trip for me! But, if this sounds like the perfect location for your next session I've got good news------> I am waiving the $50 travel fee for anyone who books a downtown Pensacola shoot through the end of February!

How dreamy would this be for a senior shoot?

A couple of lovebirds with some old school bicycles?

A family playing on the lawn in front of a historical building?


If this sounds as perfect to you as it does to me, let's talk. 


<3 Nikki

See more of my work and posts like this at Follow me on Facebook at

Lucas looking soooo little next to those big ole' doors Can we go back to the train now?

]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Beauty Children Children's Museum Downtown Pensacola Exploring Family Scenery Fri, 02 Jan 2015 23:34:46 GMT
Happy New Year I set a goal for myself. I wanted to have my website up and running by the new year.


Ok, so maybe I should have done this back when I first established my business...but give me a break. Have you ever built a website? Whew. I hope I never have to do that again! I am super excited about this new component of my business though. There are several changes coming to NGP in 2015.

For starters, I'm getting with the times and moving to digital images. That means that your images will be delivered to you via download from my website. I do understand that some people will still want a CD and of course you always have the option to request one for $15.

Another big change is how many images you get. In the past I spent countless hours editing every image I took and delivering CDs with anywhere from 30-70 images to my clients. Editing that many images came with several drawbacks. On a personal level, it took entirely too much time away from my family to sit and edit for that amount of time. From a client perspective, it meant that you weren't getting the best of what I have to offer. By lessening the number of images I deliver, I can spend more time on each one and give you the very best edit. Here's the really great news- you will PICK the images you want prior to editing. 

What does that mean? Well, it means that you will receive a proofing gallery from me. From there, you will choose your favorite ten images and give me that information. Then, I will edit those images and deliver them to you!! If you find that you can't narrow it down to ten and you want your entire gallery... we can do that too! You have the option to buy your entire gallery for $50 and have all of your images edited. Once you've made those big decisions, your gallery of finalized images will be released to you for digital download.

At this point, you probably already know which enlargements you want and you've already picked out the perfect wall space. Right???

Ordering professional images just got easier!  From your gallery you can add items to your cart and order professional quality prints directly from me.

So simple. So exciting. :)

That's the rundown of how images will be delivered. What about pricing? You can find everything you need to know about that by clicking the "Investment" tab. 

The good news is: regular sessions are still $150, no change there!

The better news is: you can now schedule your own mini sessions!

So with all that being said, I'll leave you with my current New Year's special. Contact me today to book your slot!


]]> (Nikki Golden Photography) Business Growth Goal Mini Shoot New Year Resolution Website Thu, 01 Jan 2015 19:30:00 GMT