Samantha+Connor: Springfield, IL Sunrise Engagement Photography

We met early as the sun was coming up. The sky was beginning to show its colors and nature was singing its songs. The setting was beautiful as we walked around the lake and got to know each other during their engagement session.

They both played sports at Lincoln Land and met through mutual friends/roommates and spent the majority of their college days together. They both knew together they wanted to be together forever and she thought she had a good idea of when the proposal would fall on the timeline of their story. He was able to surprise her and proposed earlier than she expected.

She loves art and had really been wanting  a “Bob Ross” day. He called upon his sister to help him plan such a day. They both worked on their own paintings and when he turned his around to reveal it to her, she was surprised to see his proposal painted on the canvas!


We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful morning or setting. I’m so looking forward to capturing their wedding celebration next year.

Here’s to many more beautiful sunrises together!

~ Jen

Cleveland Engagement Session: Kristen+Billy

They both grew up in Northeast Ohio and were set up by a mutual friend after she moved to California. They hit it off and she moved back. While most people would think its crazy to want to live in Cleveland instead of San Diego, a gorgeous night like the one below definitely doesn’t hurt the pros vs cons list for Cleveland. Not too mention they are getting married at Mapleside Farms this coming October and Autumn in Northeast Ohio is nothing short of gorgeous. But really, wouldn’t you live just about to be with the one you love? Congratulations, Kristen and Billy, I’m really excited to capture your wedding day!


Engagement Session: Courtney+Rick

Engagement sessions are just so fun for me. I love getting to know a couple better before their wedding day and these two are so relaxed and fun to hang out with. We started out at a Fireside Book Shop, a place Rick and Courtney frequent in downtown Chagrin Falls. After exploring the bookstore we headed to the wonderful Chagrin Falls Popcorn Shop and had fun getting some casual shots enjoying ice cream and popcorn before exploring more of downtown Chagrin Falls. And you just can’t leave this area without checking out the waterfall below the shops. I can’t wait for their wedding this September!C+R(engagement)-043C+R(engagement)-014C+R(engagement)-004C+R(engagement)-029C+R(engagement)-080-lowresC+R(engagement)-074-lowresC+R(engagement)-082-lowresC+R(engagement)-091-lowresC+R(engagement)-149-lowresC+R(engagement)-138-lowresC+R(engagement)-130-lowresC+R(engagement)-100-lowresC+R(engagement)-275-lowresC+R(engagement)-264-lowresC+R(engagement)-207-lowresC+R(engagement)-213-lowresC+R(engagement)-296-lowres

Willowdale Lake Country Club Engagement: Katie+Dan Engagement

They grew up in the same town and even though he was friends with her neighbor, they did not know each other. He was two years behind her in school and they just never crossed paths. It wasn’t until they met in college at Ohio State University that their love story started. Now this kindergarten teacher and civil engineer are getting married in less than a month.  We met at her parent’s house and I got a tour of the little community around Willowdale Lake that she grew up in. We even ended our time together (well, they did 😉 with a splash in the lake off of her grandparent’s dock. I’m looking forward to photographing this laid-back, fun-loving, risk-taking couple’s big day on June 20th, 2015.


Engagement Session: Sean+Ally {Why Engagement Sessions are Important for Your Wedding Day}


This coming Saturday I kick off the 2015 wedding season for jclaytor photography, so I thought this week I would blog about wedding topics. Today I want to discuss engagement sessions because this should be the first step in your whole wedding photography experience.  Engagement sessions are included in my wedding package because I believe they are really helpful in creating your best wedding day pictures.  If you are going to invest money into capturing memories that will last a lifetime, don’t you want them to be the best they can be?  Let me explain how your engagement session can help you and your photographer (yes, you are a team) create wedding day images you will happily look back on for years to come.

Many times I’m told a couple does not want to do an engagement session because one of the individuals (most often the groom) does not like to have his picture taken. That’s right, I said ‘his’ because it is rarely the bride that does not want pictures.  I’m here to tell you that if this is the case for you, then you are the couple that most definitely needs an engagement session! Not just for your own sake, but for the person photographing your wedding. If there is ever a way to get over insecurities of being in front of the camera, it is absolutely being in front of the camera. My job as a photographer on a wedding day is to capture who you are as a couple, but it is also my job to help you feel as comfortable as possible.  When I meet a couple at their engagement session I get to see what they are like together and also their individual personalities, quirks, insecurities, etc. I get that not all people like being in front of the camera, so if I get to figure out what your style is and what makes you comfortable before your wedding day, then we are one step closer to creating those natural and beautiful images you desire for your Big Day.

Then comes the question of, “What if we had another photographer do our engagement pictures already?” I understand this happens, but if your photographer includes the session in the price, I highly recommend taking advantage of the session because:

1. Why wouldn’t you want more pictures of you as a couple?

2. You will allow your photographer to have a much better idea of how he or she wants to direct the two of you on your wedding day and what you are comfortable with.

3. You have an idea of who you are working with.  Is your photographer able to give direction? Is your photographer easy going, maybe a tad bossy or difficult for others to work with?

Personally, I love the time I get with the couple during their engagement session because I have time to get to know them, their story, where they both grew up and how they came to be a couple. This is absolutely one of my favorite things because I love to tell stories with my pictures and it is so much easier to do when I get to know my subjects.  I guess I am one of those people who feels awkward in front of the camera and I am shy when attention is on me, so having someone I trust and know behind the camera is important to me.   You see, how you and your photographer work together is just as important as the final images that will be created when it comes to enjoying your wedding day to its fullest.  My goal as a wedding photographer is to make a couple feel at ease on their special day and allow them to enjoy every moment the day brings while capturing the story of Them.

Before I sign off I would love to share some images from my latest engagement session with Sean and Ally in downtown Hudson. I had a great time sitting in Open Door Coffee Co. getting to know them and the breezy walk we had together around the downtown area after.  Enjoy!

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