Kaitlyn+Peter|Engagement|Springfield, IL

This IT guy knew the way to his librarian’s heart by incorporating their shared love for Harry Potter in his proposal. Not only did he have custom wands made, but he also designed her a custom ring. Kaitlyn’s father passed away a couple years ago, so Peter used the stones from her dad’s ring to create hers. I absolutely love the thoughtfulness and meaning behind her ring and I loved watching these two interact even more. Peter put Kaitlyn at ease and made her laugh all throughout their session. I can’t wait to photograph all the smiles and laughter on their wedding day this coming fall.

And because…Harry Potter.

“Dumbledore would have been happier than anybody to think that there was a little more love in the world”

— Professor McGonagall, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


Washington Park Botanical Garden Engagement: Abigail+John

They both attended the same university, but it wasn’t until after they graduated that their romantic relationship began. John eventually moved up to Springfield and stated his intentions for Abigail and the rest is history. Washington Park was where he popped the question, so naturally it seemed like a great place to take engagement photos. We even took some photos on the very bench the proposal happened. Also, can you tell they are big Old Miss fans? These two made their session fun with their laughter, smiles and kisses and I am really looking forward to their wedding this upcoming December!abigailjohn-008abigailjohn-027-lowres1abigailjohn-302-lowresabigailjohn-212-lowresabigailjohn-208-lowres3abigailjohn-104-lowresabigailjohn-066-lowresabigailjohn-251-lowresabigailjohn-266-lowresabigailjohn-418-lowres2abigailjohn-349-lowresabigailjohn-352-lowresabigailjohn-363-lowres

Mapleside Farms: Kaitlyn&Zak {Illinois Wedding Photographer}

Incredible blue skies and a beautiful venue set the backdrop for Kaitlyn and Zak’s wedding day. Kaitlyn was as calm as a bride could be and Zak provided the comedic relief for the day. Between the two of them and their wonderful wedding party, they made the day pure fun. I even called the groom by the wrong name several times and he was gracious enough to laugh it off every time.  I loved getting to photograph the details of this day. Watching the sun go down over Mapleside Farms as the dancing began was breathtaking and somehow the dance floor stayed busy all night thanks to Jesse Webb Entertainment. Driving away at the end of the night with the barn still full of light and line dancing party-goers put a smile on my face. This wedding day was one of my favorites by far. K+ZWed-146-lowresK+ZWed-949-lowres13K+ZWed-227-lowres24K+ZWed-280-lowresK+ZWed-287-lowres5K+ZWed-882K+ZWed-873-lowresK+ZWed-951-lowresK+ZWed-902K+ZWed-1191-lowresK+ZWed-1263-lowresK+ZWed-1276-lowresK+ZWed-1311-lowresK+ZWed-1488-lowres6K+ZWed-593-lowresK+ZWed-396K+ZWed-413-lowresK+ZWed-432-lowresK+ZWed-1446-lowres7K+ZWed-1025-lowresK+ZWed-1048-lowres8K+ZWed-2010-lowresK+ZWed-2025-lowresK+ZWed-2013-lowresK+ZWed-2011-lowres9K+ZWed-2428K+ZWed-1728-lowresK+ZWed-2637K+ZWed-1731-lowresK+ZWed-2571K+ZWed-2607K+ZWed-2736K+ZWed-2772K+ZWed-2802

Buddy the Horse and the Sines Family Farm {Springfield Illinois Photographer}

Buddy the horse has been an exciting addition to the Sines family. Last winter they worked hard to fence in their pasture and turn their existing chicken coop into a barn. They had friends who needed to find a new home for Buddy and the three pigmy goats that have been his life companions. Lindsay and Scot have always wanted a farm, so this was the perfect opportunity. Since then, Lilli has been taking riding lessons with Buddy and it was fun to watch her with him. Their youngest son, Zeke was able to sit on Buddy for the first time while I was there and his reaction was priceless! In some ways its hard to remember what their place was like without the farm because they are naturals with all that goes into taking care of the animals and maintaining everything.


Just Married…Again! Senti & Zack {Springfield Illinois Wedding Photographer}

He was offered his dream job in Colorado. After dating for over three years, he knew they were going to last. So, on October 29, 2015 Zack and Senti got married at the courthouse with a small number of family members and moved to Colorado as husband and wife the next day. On June 4, 2016 they gathered again in downtown Springfield to celebrate and reaffirm their marriage vows in front of all their family and friends. Senti and Zack, may you enjoy a long life together full of laughter and adventures!snzwedding-623-2-lowressnzwedding-448-lowres-2snzwedding-011-lowressnzwedding-203-lowressnzwedding-204-lowressnzwedding-211-lowressnzwedding-213-lowressnzwedding-214-lowressnzwedding-216-lowressnzwedding-469-2-lowres3snzwedding-249-lowressnzwedding-247-lowressnzwedding-260-lowressnzwedding-271-lowres5snzwedding-545-2-lowressnzwedding-577-2-lowres

The day turned from cloud and rain to sun and heat. I turned around from pictures with the guys to witness the bridesmaids helping to air the bride out.



Ceremony and Reception: Central Baptist Church

Flowers: Hyvee

Catering: Hyvee

Hair: Jessica from Snips Hair Salon

Rodden Family Session: Springfield Illinois Photographer

This family is FUN! My job was easy because they let their individual personalities shine. I can’t believe how well the outfits each girl wore spoke to who they are and still complimented each other. Plus I love all the colors. Nothing makes me happier as a photographer to capture people just as they are! We met through a small group at our church, so I had fun talking to them and getting to know them better throughout the session. Thanks for such a fun evening, Rodden family!rodden-145-lowresrodden-270-lowresrodden-113-lowresrodden-136-lowresrodden-262-lowres32rodden-207-lowres1rodden-183-lowresrodden-196-lowres4rodden-246-lowresrodden-130-lowresrodden-385-lowres

Brookside Farms Wedding: Allison&Sean

Prepare yourself for one of my longest posts of images. Ally and Sean’s day was the most perfect way to end out the 2015 year for my photography business. When we arrived to the farmhouse at Brookside Farms, music was playing and everyone was relaxed and having a good time. I remember being really aware of how happy the vibe was. This sounds normal for a wedding day I know, but you would be surprised at the wide array of energy coming from people on wedding days. This particular group of people had an impact on me and I was so excited to photograph this joyful day. I honestly don’t even know how to put the whole day into words without sounding cliche. Ally and Sean’s wedding was incredibly special and everything from the material they chose for their rings had meaning. These two are incredible together and they will serve this world in a great way because of their hearts and their strong relationship with the Lord. Ally and Sean, thank you for trusting me to tell the story of your wedding day through these images. Congratulations and best wishes to you both in this life together. Enjoy!swanson-002-lowres1swanson-032-lowresswanson-057-lowresswanson-062-lowresswanson-064-lowresswanson-092-lowres3swanson-133-lowresswanson-124-lowresswanson-126-lowres4swanson-170-lowresswanson-171-lowres5swanson-186-lowres6swanson-258-lowresswanson-262-lowresswanson-304-lowres7swanson-050-lowres98swanson-677-lowresswanson-695-lowresswanson-705-lowresswanson-899-lowresswanson-888-lowres10swanson-813-lowresswanson-451-lowresswanson-487-lowresswanson-486-lowres11swanson-497-lowresswanson-499-lowresswanson-1118-lowres12swanson-1038-lowresswanson-1041-lowresswanson-1863-lowresswanson-1866-lowresswanson-1871-lowres

What’s in a Wedding Client’s Final Package?

Presentation has always meant a lot to me. You could give me rock and if it was wrapped in beautiful packaging I would think it was the greatest thing ever.  I get seriously giddy over beautifully presented things. Capturing people’s stories is such a gift to me and I want my clients to know that I am so thankful for their business, so it is important to me to create a final package that shows that. This year I have been adding to and tweaking my packaging in order to add a thank you gifts for my clients.  I absolutely love putting these together and sending them off to the happy couples.  Take a look at what’s inside.

Salted Caramel Truffles by Bittersweet’s

Chevron Paper Bag and Baker’s Twine by How Joyful

Wooden Engraved USB drive by Photo Flash Drive

Natural Business Cards and Custom Logo Stamp by Hello Cheerio

4×6 Prints by Miller’s Professional Imaging

White Shipping Box found on Amazon.com

Colored Notecards found at Jo-Ann Fabrics

Various Rubber Stamps from Hobby Lobby, Blossom Stamps and How Joyful


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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New Year’s Eve Wedding: Frank+Mary Lou

Let me just start out by telling you that New Year’s Eve weddings are a ton of fun! Everyone loves to party at a wedding and on New Year’s Eve, so it is just brilliant to combine the two events. The day started off at Primp Parlour in Macedonia (cutest little salon I’ve ever seen). Love, love, loved the robes the girls were wearing and it was fun to sit back and watch everyone get ready. Then we headed off to Signature of Solon Country Club to get ready. Credit for the beautiful flower arrangements goes to Baumann’s Florist of Stow. Once everyone was dressed in their wedding attire, Frank and Mary Lou delivered letters to each other before heading off to see one another for the first time. It never gets old watching a bride and groom see each other for the first time. Precious.

I loved that Mary Lou was going to get outdoor pictures no matter what, I mean, I’m all for it! We had pretty mild weather through Christmas, but New Year’s Eve was so cold it took my breath away. We worked as quickly as we could and then raced back inside to do a few more photos and we were off to Hudson for the ceremony at Christ Community Chapel. The ceremony was lovely and simple and then we were on our way back to Solon to celebrate the night away! Blessings to this incredibly sweet couple. It was such a pleasure to document your wedding day.          ~Jen   1234235687111213161514171819202122