Erin Smagala

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Archive: ‘Personal’

Mr. Wilhite, The Yodeling Substitute {Middle Tn Portrait Photographer}

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

When I was in the second or third grade, our substitute teacher took his teeth out to play the harmonica for my class. All of the other kids thought it was either funny or cool. I, on the other hand, couldn’t believe that my grandpa did that in front of my friends! Since that day, he’s never stopped surprising, impressing, teaching, loving, and inspiring me.

My grandpa is known throughout my hometown as “Mr. Wilhite, the yodeling substitute”. He taught math for thirty years and then substitute taught for over twenty. At eighty-three, he’s a man who still counts everything and can tell you exactly how many thousands of church/summer-league softball games he’s pitched. He attends as many high school and college sporting events as he can and often sings the National Anthem for everyone. He still works in his garden and delivers turnip greens to anyone who wants them, and once a week, he sings to people at a local nursing home, just like he’s been doing for years. I’m fairly certain that I get my loves for people, staying busy, and singing loudly in church from my beloved Pa Gene.

He began leading our family in Christmas carols on Christmas Eve, and I was so happy to be able to capture him doing one of the things he loves. He even threw in a few other favorites: Rocky Top, God Bless America, Bill Grogan’s Goat, and my personal favorite- Grandfather’s Clock.



Cling tight to the ones you love.




Coffee for Two: a personal blog post | Nashville, TN Photographer

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Morning coffee is always better when shared with someone you love. My parents have shown this throughout my entire life. Whether on the front porch swing, the couch, snuggled with the entire family piled in bed, or at the kitchen table, they share a cup (or pot) of coffee together. I’ve heard them make plans, tell jokes, read articles, and reminisce. No matter what they happen to be doing while they sip, it’s time spent together. It’s a devoted moment, no matter how small the gesture.

I’m a coffee addict myself now, and have been for years, but I could never get Chase to touch the stuff. Despite my efforts, he would always opt for an energy drink…. that is, until this past week.

I know my excitement may seem silly, but there’s something special about sitting down and sharing a cup of hot coffee together in the morning. I will admit, we got so carried away with our morning coffee yesterday that we lost track of time and missed church. So, there are still some improvements to be made to our plan…. but I love it. I love the quiet moment with him to just be together. I love the feeling of carrying on one of my parents’ traditions that has kept them close for almost thirty years. When things get hectic, it’s just nice to have a habit that makes us slow down and just spend time together.

So, today I challenge you: slow down and smell the coffee. :)

“She’s taking pictures.”

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

“Oh, she’s not doing anything. She’s still on vacation.” Chase was talking to his dad as we drove home from an afternoon by the river. I’m guessing he felt me glaring right through him by the way  he quickly retracted his statement.  “Pictures! She’s taking pictures! Lots and lots of pictures.”

If he wasn’t such a supportive (and cute) husband, I would have been upset. I mean, I know I’m on summer break, but “nothing definitely wasn’t on my to-do list this summer. I’ve had six weeks to completely focus on my business and it’s been the best six weeks in Erin Smagala Photography history. Nothing? Pshhh.

I know you can’t tell by the looks of the blog (I’m still not good at blogging often), but things have been rocking over here. I’ve changed my branding look up a bit, added a few new products (still working on posting some), attended a few workshops and meetings, upgraded my editing software, and I’ve been working on new packaging. I’m also all booked up for the rest of summer break with nine sessions this month.

Speaking of bookings, I’ve made the decision to limit my shooting in the fall. I just haven’t decided what that number is. I want to make sure that I can really focus on my clients and give their photos the attention they deserve. During the school year, I’m leaning towards only booking five sessions per month. If this is what I decide on, I only have one session left for August. If you’re considering booking, please send me an email so that we can begin discussing possible dates.

Lastly, I’m still looking for senior spokesmodels in the Nashville area. If you know of any senior (Class of 2012) who would like to represent my brand and have the chance to earn free senior portraits, please send them over to my blog or have them contact me.

Check back soon for a blog about the cutest tea party I’ve ever been invited to! :)

The Last Muffin

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Don’t mess with this girl and her food. My poor husband has learned this the hard way. I get irritable when I’m hungry and I’m a very picky eater. What’s worse is when I go to look for something in the kitchen and he’s eaten the last of it. This happens fairly often and it’s never pretty.

“I was saving the rest of those strawberry muffins for my breakfast tomorrow!”

“Muffins aren’t good the next day anyway”, he insisted.

Though that argument was correct, I was too stubborn to agree. Instead, I ranted about how he always eats the last of everything and I’m always let down when I go to look for it. In hindsight, I know how silly and selfish it was… but I was hungry.



This morning, I made us muffins… blueberry. He brought me a few and a glass of milk to my desk. As I returned my dishes to the kitchen, this is what I saw…

Whether intentional or not, he finally left me the last one… and in a silly way, it made me love him a little bit more.


Now let’s get off of the computer and go enjoy a little sunshine with the ones we love.

Friday Five: Things That Make Me Happy…

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

1. Schoooool’s out for summa!  Yes, I still sing a little Alice Cooper every year when school gets out. I’ve been on “vacation” for a week and I’m in such a better place mentally. I’ve been spending my days cleaning and working on my business, but it’s been really good for my soul. Towards the end of the school year, I was trying to give 100% at work while shooting eleven portrait sessions and a wedding reception. Needless to say, the house work just didn’t get done. It feels good to be able to take care of my business and keep a clean house again! I’m sure Chase likes having dinner on the table again, too. :)

2. Lunch dates with photographer friends. My second one this week is this afternoon and I have more scheduled for next week. I love having such a great community of photographers to bounce ideas off of and learn from. I feel like these lunches and meetings that I go to always keep me inspired and motivated. It also doesn’t hurt that I laugh alot with them, either!

3. Canoeing (granted, I’ve only been once). We bought a canoe last week and took it out on the Harpeth with our friends, Mark and Danielle. This summer is all about pushing myself to try new things, so I was excited to go. It turns out that I loved it. I was never a big outdoorsy type growing up, but that seems to be changing. Now, if I could just learn to swim.

4. Small group/Bible study. Four years ago, I started attending church at Madison Christian Church. The “twenty-something” group was meeting on Tuesday nights, and my best friend and I started going. I’m pretty sure it was only the second time that we had gone when something came over me. I opened up and spilled my guts about everything going on with me. Here I am, sitting in a room with strangers, crying my eyes out. (My husband was in Iraq.)  Luckily, they didn’t think I was crazy and they didn’t kick me out of the group. Since then, our group has gone through countless studies together and I’ve grown to love them like family. Being a part of such a wonderful group of Christians has definitely been a blessing in my life.

5. S’mores. I mean really. Whoever thought of them was GENIUS.

*If you know me personally and how much I like to talk, you probably realize how hard it was for me to just pick five things that make me happy. Maybe I’ll do a “Friday Five: Things That Make Me Happy- Part 2” in the near future.

Since I know you come to my blog to see photos, but I can’t share this full post of this beautiful bride with you until after the wedding in August…


Bride with parasol, umbrella

Happy Friday, everyone!


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