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You believe in your story. I surrender to it. Capture it. And hand it back to you in a way you can remember forever.

You're about to embark on the most wonderful of adventures. Because you're here that tells me you value epic, mind-blowing photography. Well done!

I'm fortunate, and sometimes I have to pinch myself when I think about how much I love what I do. I illustrate every story you trust me with.

Incredible photographs result from a trusted relationship between us. This comes from a friendship, and from time invested in getting to know you, and why you have chosen the different elements that will make up your wedding day. Think of me as a visual biographer of sorts, a narrator, telling your story through the images of your day.

I want you to be blown away by how beautiful you really are, by how beautiful I see you to be.

Lets get started!

+ you are beautiful

Holiday Traditions::Susanna Tanner Photography

by December 24th, 2011 No Comments »

It’s not my house. I can’t claim all the hours it must have taken to assemble everything. But it is part of my family holiday tradition. When the girls were little we would drive by it whenever possible, even if that meant six different times a day. Now, they’re older. Not as easily impressed. But we still drive by whenever we can. I’ve driven out of my way, by myself, at least eight times this season so far–clinging to our childhood tradition.

Everyone celebrates in such unique ways–baking bread, making a particular cookie, going to church, eating specific foods on Christmas eve…What’s part of your tradition?

Merry Christmas everyone and thanks for making 2011 a success!

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The Workshop

by December 7th, 2011 No Comments »

It was a place of solitude, creativity, escape, and yet togetherness. Quiet togetherness. Thoughts spoken, a question asked, then silence. The kind of silence that isn’t uncomfortable.

There was usually a pencil lodged behind his ear, quick access for writing down measurements or sketching. Sometimes he forgot the pencil was there until later either my mother or I reminded him.

Some days my ears would ring with the rip of the band saw going across wood. Sawdust would dance in the air until it landed on his glasses, his hair, or maybe even my hair. The smell of fresh cut wood permeated the air. He would walk back to his workbench and put down the piece of wood he had just cut. I would stared at it, wondering how it would fit in with the other pieces he had cut before. He could see the big picture. I could only see out of the eyes of a child.

I don’t recall our workshop conversations. Maybe he would if asked in an earlier time. What I remember is more of a feeling. Contentment, peace, safety. I would pull open the drawers of the workbench to find the familiar can of odds and ends nails, open the cabinets above the workbench to see a series of various size screwdrivers lining the inside door. I had seen it all a million times and yet each time I opened a door a new discovery was made. The workbench had a built-in vise I would crazily spin in one direction or the other. Most of the time, he never told me to stop.

He created in that space. Circus trains with elaborate wooden animals, a rocking chair, bedroom furniture, a table lamp that still sits beside my mother’s chair. Shortly after the diagnosis, he was able to create more small wooden animals and birdhouses with his granddaughters. And as the disease progressed, the space became his refuge. I suppose it was a place that helped him remember who he was and what he loved. The cabinet doors above the workbench were covered with memories. Photos of old army days, gatherings with friends and family, fishing trips, old school pictures of me, memorabilia from Germany, a note I wrote to him in first grade begging him to not go on a fishing trip. It was written on a pink piece of paper I found. I didn’t have the nerve to ask him not to go, so I left the note out for him to find. Later, it re-appeared as part of the cabinet door collage.

The walls of the workshop mirrored his cabinet door decorator sensibilities. A stuffed trout from a fishing trip with large looming eyes always watching. A stuffed squirrel from Germany mounted on a thick branch. This breed of squirrel had pointy sharp teeth that I imagined biting my finger each time I reached up to pet it. Photos, quotes, beer coasters from the homeland, and old tools lined the walls; but what I remember most was the large cardboard cut out photo of a little German man dressed in Lederhosen. This man, whom I’ve never met, is strangely a part of my childhood.

Recently, the workshop has become quiet. Another sign the disease has taken more of him away. Earlier, the cabinet door collage was changed and rearranged as he struggled to keep himself busy. It was a time when measurements and tools started to confuse him. Now, I haven’t heard the rip of wood being touched by the blade in years. Dust has gathered on the handles of the tools. The doors to his utopian space are now closed more than open. He doesn’t remember making the circus trains anymore. He doesn’t remember crafting the child size rocking chair that held two generations of children. Now, I’m left to remember for him.

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Susanna Tanner Photography: Thankful List

by November 23rd, 2011 No Comments »

I’m thankful for picking up that toy camera squirt gun eons ago, which led to a complete camera obsession today.

I’m thankful for a husband who has learned to give me the space I need to pursue my passion and the support to make it possible.

I’m thankful for my girls and the amazing women they are starting to become. I’m so proud of  you.

I’m thankful for each e-mail or phone call that comes in from engaged couples, new moms, and other business clients that allow me to keep my doors open, doing what I love.

I’m thankful for having the physical strength and health to haul around the heavy gear and all it takes to create images that make me proud.

I’m thankful, SO thankful for mastering Adobe Lightroom. It gave me my life back.

I’m thankful I still have my father and for that one lesson he still continues to unconsciously teach–Sometimes we loose our past. Sometimes there is no future. All we have is the moment. Make the most of it.

And I’m thankful for being able to follow and learn from so many great photographers who are willing to share their knowledge. Photograher Joe McNally writes, “I’m thankful I still need to shoot about as much as I need to breathe.”  I completely agree.

(BTW, this is my short list. I’ll spare you everything else.)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Watching a Slow Motion Car Accident

by June 16th, 2011 5 Comments »

We’ve been colleagues for years, but I just met Jerry. Our paths never crossed until last fall. I was working on IU East’s Alumni Magazine, Radius, and Jerry’s story was to be featured. The story immediately grabbed my attention: IU East professor in need of a kidney transplant due to Alport’s Syndrome – former student comes forward to donate his kidney to ex-professor. You would hope the story ends there. Or maybe there is an epilogue telling us about the success of the surgery and revitalized quality of life for all. But so far, it hasn’t happened that way.

Due to some health concerns of his own, this former student hasn’t been able to go forth with the transplant surgery; Jerry is still waiting. What a long wait it must be. He’s still teaching  (a full schedule) college students how to become amazing teachers themselves, he’s still a dad and a husband, still a colleague and friend, all the while going to dialysis three nights a week from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m so that he can continue to teach.

Jerry is working with James Barbre, a graduate studies director at IU East, to film a documentary of their evolving journey. They hope to document everything: the treatment, the challenges and a happy ending.

“It’s tiring,“ Jerry said to me. “I just feel like I’m watching a slow motion car accident and I can’t do anything to help.”

I captured Jerry during three different photo shoots for the story, but one of the locations in particular opened my eyes. Jerry allowed me to accompany him to an evening of dialysis. You don’t really understand what people go through until you observe it for yourself.

It’s the ambiance of the place and putting real faces with the stories that solidified it for me. Patients lay in a dimly lit room, hooked up through needles and tubes to a machine that sustains life. These people CANNOT miss a treatment. And they wait. Wait for a kidney, wait for a better quality of life, wait for peace of mind.

Jerry has a lot of life yet to live; to witness big dreams for his kids , to impact more education students, and to teach more people about organ donation. I wouldn’t ask something of the internet that I wouldn’t consider for myself. Yes, I was tested and I’m not a compatible match for Jerry. But you might be.

So here’s the 411: there are no medical costs to donors. If you are blood type A or O, you just might be the one that can help Jerry continue living his life. And here’s the thing, you can continue to still live your life too. Please call IU Health at 800-382-4602 and ask for Kelly to find out more.  You can also to go Donate Life America (www.donatelife.net) or the National Kidney Foundation (www.kidney.org) to find out just about anything on kidney disease, dialysis, or transplantation.

Jerry isn’t just a colleague anymore. He’s a friend. And he desperately needs a kidney.

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Susanna Tanner Photography: A Time for Tears

by April 7th, 2011 3 Comments »

She came to us quiet and unassuming. Her wavy blond hair was soft to the touch. Her brown eyes piercing. Her presence dignified but easygoing. She asked for nothing but to be loved. Not that she wasn’t loved before –that’s just how she was. She demanded nothing from you but to be touched; maybe a hug or your hand resting on her head.  And — of course a big bowl of food two times a day. That’s just how she was.

She came to us when she was almost six. We were to be her “retirement” home. She’s the only dog my kids remember. She helped my youngest get over her fright of big animals. She was a living pillow for their friends. She let the 4th grade class chinchilla walk on her back. She will forever be their childhood dog.

Yesterday I took her for one last walk, just she and I. It was our time to say a private good-bye. It was a sunny day, blue skies, and the spring winds were blowing her ears a bit. She stopped to take note of various scents. This time — on this walk — I stopped too. She walked carefully, slowly, as if each step caused discomfort around the area of her tumor. This time — on this walk — I slowed my steps instead of hurrying our usual walk, and followed her lead, smelling the various scents the spring winds blew in.

The rest is mere formality with a sense of humaneness. Even if you haven’t personally experienced it, you, my friends, know our story.

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Indiana State Fair:: Susana Tanner Photography :: Indiana Photographer

by September 9th, 2010 No Comments »

On a personal level, I have a tendency to capture a moment then file it away. I’m always thinking I’ll process the images LATER. Of course LATER never comes so I have lots of images waiting for attention. I went back through some of my August photographs and found a few I like and thought I would share.

I’m not a great lover of local fairs, but it seems rather unHoosier-like to not spend one evening at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis. Even though it was evening time, I love how the light from the midway shines through the windows of the barn.

And of course, my love of repeating patterns… ;-)

Deep fried BUTTER? Deep fried COOKIE DOUGH? And chocolate covered BACON? This image seems strangely ironic.

And to end the evening, what’s a trip the fair without riding the Ferris Wheel? Too bad it only went around three times.

More later

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  • Susanna tries to understand her clients’ preferences and then uses that understanding to create images that surpass her clients’ expectations. She guides you using her professional eye, so that you end up with images that ...Read More
  • A personal recommendation, the work I had seen, and the experience, quality, and ease of the entire process, from consultation to designing our wedding album afterward were just a few of the reasons we hired ...Read More
  • Creative, thoughtful, and professional—I could not be happier with my experience working with Susanna as she captured such a wonderful day for my husband Jon and me.Susanna was a great combo of professional and creative, ...Read More
  • After getting engaged, the first thing I knew I wanted to check off my list was to book Susanna Tanner as our photographer….and I am so glad I did! I had been a bridesmaid in ...Read More
  • Bold, beautiful, graceful, elegant, gorgeous, stunning, magnificent and lovely” are only a few of the adjectives we’ve heard used to describe the images captured by Susanna Tanner on the most special day of our lives ...Read More
  • I have known Susanna for about four years and when my husband and I first got engaged I knew she was the one that I wanted to capture our day. I was was so happy ...Read More
  • Susanna is an amazing photographer that started out with taking our engagement photos, ultimately becoming a photographer we call “ours.” I recommend her to everyone I know because I know she will deliver the exceptional ...Read More
  • Planning our big day was absolutely stressful. Trying to decide a photographer was difficult because of how many options are out there. I found Susanna online and from the moment we met her until the ...Read More
  • We randomly came across Susanna on theKnot.com about a year ago when we started planning. I gave her a call and things just clicked. She had such great visions of shots for our wedding and ...Read More
  • Susanna was absolutely perfect for taking our engagement, wedding, and wedding celebration pictures! She is a seasoned photographer that helped us realize what moments we wanted captured. When we first met with Susanna we didn’t know ...Read More

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