Tucked away on a hillside in Patrick County, VA sits a little cabin with a beautiful view of the mountains in the far off distance.  Inside, it’s chilly.  Outside, it’s freezing.  But inside, something magical was happening… little Ethan was digging into his first birthday cake.  It’s been a year since I first met Ethan as a precious newborn and have loved watching him grow this past year.  Every three months, he seemed to change so much!  And now, here I am shooting his 1 year session.  Since Ethan is a winter baby, we thought that the “Winter ONEderland” theme would be perfect!  His mom and I bounced ideas back and forth and decided that “snow” would be too cute…so this is what happened!

Snowman Winter Cake Smash Session, First Birthday ©Zehn Photography2015

Snowman Winter Cake Smash Session, First Birthday
©Zehn Photography2015


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I look back at photos from Christmas morning back when I was in high school and while I like to think it was like yesterday, it wasn’t.  Not even close…   That Vanilla Ice CD was at the top of my Christmas list.  That was in the early 1990’s… CD’s were the thing to have.  At the time, CD’s were used for music only.  If you would have told me then that someday my photos would be stored on them, I would have thought you were crazy.  I guess the technology was there, but in my house that just didn’t exist.  Our pictures were printed or found on a negative shoved in an envelope at the back of a photo album, or in a shoebox somewhere.  Our movies that we owned were on VHS.   As I type this, I am still trying to figure out how I went from loving Motley Crue, Skid Row and Aerosmith to wanting a Vanilla Ice CD, but whatever… Let’s fast forward 25 YEARS to 2015.  Let’s face it, CD’s are becoming the new “old” way of doing things.  Most music is downloaded now and Apple laptops are no longer made with a disc drive.  This should tell you something…. CD’s are outdated.  I’ve went back and forth on this issue for a while now.  When my clients purchase digital files to their images, what IS the best way to do this?  There are 3 options: CD’s, USB/Thumb Drives or Digital Downloads.  I will explore briefly each of these and then it will be very clear why I chose the method I did.

CD’s: They can be personalized with logos or pictures, but other than that…they are dangerous.  They are easily broken, scratched or damaged.  Their life expectancy even when stored properly can be 10-12 years.  Then what?  Everything on it is gone.  GONE.  Let that sink in for a minute…what do YOU have sitting in a drawer on a disc?

USB: It’s been around a while and many have replaced CD’s with USB’s for storing documents and images.  I still don’t trust it.  Especially not after a client of mine had her Birth Story photos completely erased by her unknowing teenage son who needed a thumb drive for school.  And he found one…that one.  He erased everything on it so that his school work could be saved.  Just like that…it was GONE.  Moments that can not be gotten back.  These drives can be damaged and because they are so small, they are very easily misplaced.

Digital Files: With technology being where it is, digital files have been the new way of transferring video and music data in the entertainment world for a while now.  Once the file is transferred, it can be 1. downloaded to numerous devices 2. emailed to unlimited persons 3. saved to an external hard drive 4. printed.  And they are instant!!  No waiting on the mail carrier…

SO…moving forward, I will absolutely no longer burn discs. I feel the technology has become too outdated, especially when my own computer doesn’t even have a drive for them.  All of my purchased digital files will be sent via digital download.  For my clients, this should make you extremely happy!!  Within hours of you purchasing your prints, your digitals are sent.  Waa laa!!  Easy Peasy :)

I will offer USB drives in addition to digital files for special events, such as weddings or upon request.  Until, of course… those are outdated too.

Don’t judge me…. but I STILL know all the lyrics to Ice Ice Baby.


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I am pretty excited to release the details of my 2015 Birthday Club!!


Membership fee for the 2015 year is due in January.  There are only four membership spots open per month.  Your membership in the birthday club gets you a 30 minute outside session for free ($75 value) in your child’s birth month as well as awesome print discounts.  This is open to established clients only, meaning that you will need to have booked a private session with me prior to being eligible for joining.  Membership to the club is open every January.  Skipped appointments, not scheduling or no-shows will not be eligible for membership in following years.  Web-sharable images are available with print purchase.  High resolution digital files with a release are not offered with these sessions.


Zehn Photography Birthday Club

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It’s always so bittersweet for me when my babies celebrate their first birthdays.  Yes, I said “my babies.”  So many of my newborn sessions turn into First Year Package clients, so every 3 months I grow attached more and more.  By the time the 1st Birthday session rolls around, I’ve learned their personalities and they are very familiar with me.  This little man was no different!  I got to know his entire family and I am surely going to miss seeing his sweet face every couple of months.  I look back at the pictures from his first year, and it seems not so long ago that he was brand new.  But now look… eating cake like a champ!!  And being oh so cute in his clown wig.  I loved this session SO much!  So many cute pictures, but that one of him grinning from ear to ear with the wig on is PRICELESS!

Adorable Circus themed cake smash session!

Adorable Circus themed cake smash session!

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This little doll is close to my heart.  I’ll never forget when she was just a teeny newborn who showed up with her mom & dad for her newborn session and for the past 12 months, she’s been teaching them everything they need to know about parenting a tiny human!  She’s always dressed in the cutest outfits and has the biggest crystal blue eyes you’ve ever seen.  As with many of my clients, I became friends with her mom, Ali.  Being friends led to becoming good friends and good friends led to “if you ever tell anyone that, I will have to kill you” friends.  She is someone that I know would be there for me, regardless.  I can tell her anything (and I do mean anything) and I know she is not standing in judgement of me.  She’s that friend who brings you a certificate for a mani/pedi for no good reason at all.  Just because.  I strive to be more like her in that way.  She’s so thoughtful of others and is just one little piece of her that I love so much.  We’ve shared many laughs and even a few tears over the past year.  I gained an incredible friend and got to watch this sweet girl grow through her first year.  I’m incredibly blessed to have both of them in my life.  My son, Nolan is a year older than Miss Harper…and I am already planning their wedding!  Happy Birthday Miss Harper!!  You are well loved

Happy 1st Birthday Harper!

Harper’s Smash Cake Session Zehn Photography 2014

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