Micanopy Portrait Mini Session

What is a Portrait Mini Session you ask? Mini Sessions are exactly what they sound like: smaller versions of the portrait packages I offer.

Micanopy Area Portrait Photographer https://tuscawillaphotography.com

Normally, my makeover portrait experience lasts 2-4 hours. But a Portrait Mini Session will only last 30-45 minutes. You may think “But that’s not long at all!” You’re right – it’s not! That’s why it’s mini!

Portrait Mini Sessions are designed to give you a taste of what I do.

Outdoor kids portrait mini session
Kids at La Chua Trail


Think of it like this: you know those sample platters you get at the restaurant that has a few small portions of several of the menu offerings? Mini portrait sessions are kinda like that. So, It’s not free, but you get to try a couple things to see what you like best. And it is a limited time offer. It won’t be available year round.


I am offering mini sessions during the cooler months here in Florida. I mostly do studio work because Florida is HOT! And it has lots of BUGS! And You can’t look your best in a photo when you’re sweating & swatting mosquitoes! I have a controlled environment in my home studio.The temperature is controlled so you won’t sweat & I control the light so we don’t have to depend on the sun. And we can keep the mosquitoes at bay!

with the cooler temperatures we are having now, I want to get out & do some natural light outdoor shoots too!

outdoor family portrait mini session
Family Outdoor Session

View my Facebook & Instagram to see my work!

So, if you are looking to have family portraits, portraits of your children, high school senior portraits or pet portraits, take a look at my work & get a sample session by booking one of my mini sessions! Just click the link below!


portrait mini session indoor natural light
Indoor natural window light portrait

Want to get a free Portrait Mini Session?? Host a mini session party!  Contact me to schedule a date, invite 3 or more families either to your house or a pretty location close by, and I’ll do the rest! This is a great way to get all the extended family together for individual family shots and also a big family shot too! Contact me to book your date or get more information!


It’s Back to School Time!

Makeover High School Senior Portraits in Gainesville FL

Back to School. School pictures. For some that brings anxiety. For others it brings excitement! High School Senior Portraits should be captured in a special way! Have you thought about your senior portraits for this year?

I remember my senior portraits. My mom spent a lot of money on them. And quite frankly, they were pretty boring, standard studio shots just like everyone else’s in my class. In fact, they are pretty embarrassing to look at now! Remember the look of the late 80’s & 90’s? Those hair lights! Yikes!


Senior Portraits That Stand Out!

I want to give your high school senior beautiful images that you will both treasure for a lifetime! I want to make them look their best! Plus, it’s just a lot of fun! They get to play dress up with me! My sessions are individual & stylized. They will feel like a model for the day!

Look & Feel like a model!

My portrait sessions include an in person consultation, styling advice, professional hair & makeup & access to my fun wardrobe! After the session, I will edit the best images. And then we will schedule a reveal session to pick your favorites! I offer wall art with beautiful frames, a folio box with matted images & I can create a magazine featuring you!

Check out my magazine here to see what I can create for you!


Ask for the Parachute Dress!

Do you want something REALLY special for your senior portraits? Be sure to ask about my parachute dress during your consultation!

high school senior wearing my parachute dress
The Parachute Dress!
image of a high school senior girl in my parachute dress with dress thrown behind her and the dress encircles her frame looking like a peacock
Another beautiful way the parachute dress can be thrown

High School Senior Portraits in Gainesville, FL

Contact me now to set up a consultation. I want to hear how your high school senior wants to be photographed! https://tuscawillaphotography.goodgallery.com/contact-investment?PreviewTemplateID=8974553b-20cd-45d2-b7b2-2145ddadc567

High School senior in outdoor shoot in Micanopy FL
High School senior portraits- indoor & outdoor options!

View more of my teen & high school senior portraits here: https://tuscawillaphotography.goodgallery.com/portraits/teens-high-school-seniors?PreviewTemplateID=8974553b-20cd-45d2-b7b2-2145ddadc567

Right now I am running a special! Click the link below to check it out!


Tuscawilla Photography is an award winning Gainesville, FL & Ocala, FL area photographer. Aimee specializes in makeover portrait sessions, headshots & High School Senior Portraits. All portrait sessions include a consultation, styling advice, access to my fun wardrobe, hair & makeup & a reveal session to select your favorite images. Contact me now! https://tuscawillaphotography.goodgallery.com/back-school-landing-page

Personal Branding: Does your headshot represent your business?

This discussion of headshots comes up often with another photographer friend & a business associate. Both comment that people do not have professional headshots on their business cards & LinkedIn pages or they have no image at all.

The photographer of course is focused on the bad images. She says that she sees so many bad headshots representing businesses. People use selfies taken in the car or bathroom, headshots taken in bad lighting, bad hair & makeup.

Link your name with your face

My business friend is frustrated with the fact that so many people don’t even have a headshot to represent their business. Her & I go to a lot of networking events. We swap a lot of business cards with other professionals. Her complaint is that she is not going to remember every face. She often sets up meetings in public places with people. She has no idea what they look like because they don’t have a headshot on their business card.

I agree with both of them. At the most recent networking event, I interacted with 25 new people & swapped business cards. Out of those 25 cards, only 2 have a headshot image. I am not going to remember everyone I meet! Connecting the name with a face is very important. Especially if you are the owner of the business.

A professional headshot is going to link your name with your face

And I’m not just saying this because I am a photographer. Just google the phrase “importance of a good headshot.” The results are endless.


The selfie vs. the professional headshot

Here is an example:

Selfie vs professional headshot
A business woman’s headshot selfie compared to professional headshot

In the age of the selfie, I guess it is better to have some kind of image of yourself as opposed to no image. But which one do you think looks more professional? While this lady is definitely pretty in both, clearly a professional photographer is going to capture a better image with good lighting & no background distractions. You want to represent your business in the best way possible!

And while we are on this subject, BE A PROFESSIONAL! I see bad “professional” headshots too! No duck lips! (Yes, I see people do that!) No silly faces! (Unless you are a clown or represent child themed entertainment) Get your hair & makeup professionally done. And guys, seriously, shave your face! And even if you have facial hair, clean it up! You represent your business. You are the face of it! Give people a good headshot to remember you by.

Headshots with Tuscawilla Photography

To see my headshot portfolio click here:


All of my boutique personal branding sessions are customized to your needs. Sessions include a consultation, styling advice, hair & makeup & 5 digital images. I provide image resizing for social media & websites when requested for no additional cost. 

Tuscawilla Photography is a portrait & headshot photographer based in Micanopy, FL & serving the greater Gainesville, FL area – from Lake City to Ocala, from St. Augustine to Cedar key.

To find out more & book your makeover headshot session with Tuscawilla Photography today, click this link. Let’s talk about how you want to be photographed! https://tuscawillaphotography.com/contact-investment

Flower crowns add creativity to portraits! Tuscawilla Photography includes them in creative portrait sessions for your little girls & teens!

Creative portrait shoots by Gainesville, FL based photographer Aimee VanGelder at Tuscawilla Photography

Flower crowns add creativity to portraits! Nothing says girly like flowers do! Whether it’s a bouquet of flowers or a field of flowers, girls LOVE flowers! And they should, because flowers are symbols of beauty & delicateness. And how much more so should that be reflected in a beautiful makeover portrait photoshoot?

I include flower crowns in my creative portrait sessions with little girls, teens & high school seniors. I find cheap ones in stores like Michael’s & WalMart & even Ebay. There are some beautiful & unique ones on Etsy. And I make some flower crown with fake flowers and a string of fake pearls. I even make them out of feathers! But I want to make some out of real flowers too!

Gainesville, FL photographer creative portraits with flowers crowns
Some creative portraits I have done featuring some of my flower crowns. All images captured in my home studio in Micanopy, FL.

How to make a flower crown

Making flower crowns is not too difficult. A few cheap supplies & some patience is all that’s needed. Stem wire can be found in most craft stores for a few dollars. Florist tape is only a couple dollars & the roll will last a long time. Alternatively, hot glue can be used. Fake flowers abound in the craft stores & online. And real flowers can be found pretty cheap at WalMart & Trader Joe’s. Then it’s just a matter of attaching the flowers to the wire in whatever fashion you wish. They can be big or small & dainty. Here are the 2 that I made with fresh flowers I got for less than $10. The long one can be used as a fascinator, placed along the neck line, shoulder or arm or can be fashioned as a crown.

fresh cut flower crowns that I made eating a mix of green, yellow, orange & peachy colors
Flower crowns made with fresh cut flowers

I can make fresh flower crowns for photoshoots. They can be made ahead of time & stored in the refrigerator for a few days. After the photoshoot I am going to hang them to dry & see how they turn out. I may be able to continue using them as dried flower crowns.

A crown of fresh flowers on a recent creative teen photo shoot

Here is the best part about flower crowns? One size fits all & they can be used over & over!

Book a creative photoshoot with Tuscawilla Photography

Flower crowns add creativity to portraits sessions! Want to give you high school senior a photo session that is extra special? These flower crowns can be part of your teen or high school senior’s creative photoshoot! Just tell me ahead of time if you want fresh flower crowns in your session. What a great gift to give your high school senior! And the beautiful memories will last a lifetime!

All of my boutique portrait sessions are customized to your needs & include a consultation, styling advice, hair & makeup, access to my fun wardrobe, snacks & a reveal session to select your favorite prints. It is so much fun!

To find out more & book your makeover portrait session with Tuscawilla Photography today, click this link. Let’s talk about how you want to be photographed! https://tuscawillaphotography.com/contact-investment

Tuscawilla Photography is a portrait & headshot photographer based in Micanopy, FL & serving the greater Gainesville, FL area – from Lake City to Ocala, from St. Augustine to Cedar key.

Want to Parachute (dress) With Me??

The Parachute Dress Lands in Micanopy, FL

I have seen a lot of dress throwing in portrait photography lately & I LOVE IT! Then I started finding images with repurposed vintage parachutes. AMAZING! I had to get one!


What is a parachute dress??

The parachutes are made from Ripstop Nylon material. This makes them very durable & the lightweight fabric makes them perfect for the dress throwing images! I cut the strings off of them & fashion them on my clients like a skirt or dress.

The Gainesville, FL parachute dress on a high school senior girl
The parachute dress on an evening shoot near Gainesville, FL

I wanted to do something a little different & creative with my parachute dress, so I made a bunch of little tulle pom poms & sewed them on to the parachute. I’m not sure if I will keep it this way. I can always take them off if I change my mind. I have even thought about dyeing the fabric for some dramatic color. Will just have to see where my creative thoughts go in the future. For now, it’s easy to match any color top with a white parachute & I have thought about changing the color of the dress in post production.

And the best part? One size fits all!

Book a parachute dress session!

Want to give you high school senior a photo session that is extra special? This parachute can be part of your teen or high school senior photoshoot! Bring a beautiful top to go with it or pick something from my wardrobe. What a great gift to give your high school senior! And the beautiful memories will last a lifetime!

All of my boutique portrait sessions are customized to your needs & include a consultation, styling advice, hair & makeup, access to my fun wardrobe, snacks & a reveal session to select your favorite prints. It is so much fun!

To find out more & book your makeover portrait session with Tuscawilla Photography today, click this link. Let’s talk about how you want to be photographed! https://tuscawillaphotography.com/contact-investment

image of a high school senior girl in my parachute dress with dress thrown behind her  and the dress encircles her frame looking like a peacock taken in Micanopy, FL
Another beautiful way the parachute dress can be thrown

Tuscawilla Photography is a portrait & headshot photographer based in Micanopy, FL & serving the greater Gainesville, FL area – from Lake City to Ocala, from St. Augustine to Cedar key.

DIY V-flats

An inexpensive alternative to reflectors & backgrounds

I wanted to share a few different types of v-flats & give you some ideas for making your own. I paid about $100 for a reflector/ diffuser/ negative fill kit, which folds up nicely for travel & storage, & I do use it occasionally, but it is only about 4 feet across when open & I have to either have an assistant hold it or set up a stand that holds it. V-flats can be made to be quite large & will stand on their own. And frankly, they are just better at reflecting light in my opinion.

Getting your hands on some v-flats is not easy or cheap. They are difficult to find if you don’t live in a major city like New York or Los Angeles & can be pretty expensive to buy online. Additionally, the shipping is expensive.

Making your own v-flats is an inexpensive alternative & is a pretty quick & easy project.

I made my first v-flat with 2 pieces of polystyrene foam insulation boards from Lowe’s. They are 4 feet wide (8 feet wide if fully open), 8 feet tall & 2 inches thick. So when put together, it is quite sturdy. Each piece is about $20. I peeled the coating off of each side & painted one side of each on with black chalkboard paint. These stand well on their own. I have seen some photos & videos where people create sends for a single board & even put them on wheels with locks so they can be used as a make shift wall for posing.

My first DIY v-flats, pretty thick & sturdy, gaff taped all the edges

The next set I made, I used the same poly boards from Lowe’s, but in a thinner size-about a half inch. The intention was to have them be portable so I cut a few inches off the long side & about 1.5 feet off the short side so they would fit in my van easier. I painted this one grey-green on one side & green-gold on the other. This one is not as sturdy, but it stands fine on its own & it makes a nice background & is very portable.

My 2nd DIY v-flats, green-gold painted side

The next v-flat I made is my favorite. I got foam board/ foam core from Blick Art Supply in Tampa. Each board is about half an inch thick, 4 feet wide & 8 feet tall & very sturdy. These sheets run about $35-45 each. So 2 sheets of white & 2 sheets of black set me back around $165. I did ask for a discount because some edges & corners were slightly damaged. I think they gave me 10%. You don’t ask, you don’t receive, right? Still cheaper than purchasing a v-flat online & having it shipped. Although, transporting these myself was a bit of a trick. I have a mini-van & had to fold down all the 2nd & 3rd row seats & take the head rests off the back of the front row seats. (I don’t recommend doing this!) So, got those home, put them side by side, ran black gaff tape down the long edge of the black ones & white gaff tape down the long edge of the white ones. Quick & easy.

2 4×8 foot foam boards from Blick Art Supply- these are my favorite v-flats because they are thin & sturdy & were the easiest to make.

I keep getting requests to do corporate headshots on location & V-flats are so essential to me, but I don’t want to transport my big v-flats. So my next set was meant to be portable. I bought 4 sheets of black ($8.99 each) & 4 sheets of white ($5.99 each) foam board at Hobby Lobby that measure about 32 inches by 40 inches. They were also 40% off. I gaff taped all 4 pieces together & they make approximately 3 x 6 foot panels folded. Then I can fold again for storage & transport. The tricky part with these is getting them to fold down flat but yet still be sturdy enough to stand on their own. Mine are not folding down completely flat, but it’s enough to get them out of the way & fit in my van easily. I might cut them apart & see if I can get them taped in a way that will fold flatter & yet still stand up on their own when open. I will post an update if I get this accomplished.

v-flats that fold up & fit in your car for traveling to on-location shoots

So in summary, v-flats are one of photographers’ most useful tools, and while they are difficult to source, you can make your own very easily with products that are inexpensive & easy to find locally.

There are some great how to videos on YouTube for making various kinds. Post your questions in the comments & any suggestions you might have regarding v-flats. Check out my video for a little more detail & please subscribe!

video of the different v-flats that I have made

Portrait Photography | Mother-Daughter

Capture the relationship with your mother

Mother. Mom. Mama. Mommy. Mum. Mummy. Matriarch.

There are many words for mother. It is quite interesting to me that children tend to choose their own affectionate title for their mother. My mother called her mother “mama.” I always called my mother “mom.” One of my sons calls me “mom” & the other calls me “mama.” I never instructed them on what to call me. And I call my mother-in-law “mom” too. I would love to hear what you call your mom & what your kids call you! (Put it in a comment below!)

Have you ever had a photoshoot with your mom? Or better yet, have you ever gifted her a photoshoot? These are one of my favorite kinds of photoshoots to do. Especially featuring multiple generations of women. I have been known to talk a mom in to getting in to a few photos with their daughter when the daughter is who I am actually photographing.

A makeover photoshoot with your mom is a perfect gift. And it is even more cherished when daughters & granddaughters join in. I can promise that those photographs will be cherished memories as long as she lives. And when she is gone, you will have beautiful memories of her. You will have so much fun getting your hair & makeup done & playing dress up together!

Gainesville, FL family portrait featuring 3 generations portrait, grand-mother, mother & daughter.
Family generation portrait featuring 3 genreations- grand-mother, mother & daughter, Gainesville, FL
mother daughter portrait
Mother – Daughter portrait, Gainesville, FL
image of mother & 2 daughters in blended mixed race family
Mother with 2 daughters, Gainesville, FL

A mother is a daughter’s first best friend.


All photoshoots at Tuscawilla Photography include styling advice, hair & makeup & access to a fun wardrobe. I offer a discount for additional people. To book a photoshoot for your mom or with your mom please call me! 352-327-8650


Contemporary Glamour Photography | Gainesville Photographer

What is Contemporary Glamour Photography?

You remember the glamour shots of the late 1980’s & early 1990’s right? You know, the overly softened, big hair & poppin’ your leather jacket collar portraits. Most of us probably have them hidden under the bed now. Did you know that glamour style portraits are making a come back – worldwide?! But this time, they have a more refined & timeless look that will flatter every woman. Think of Vanity Fair magazine covers. (Google that!)

My own Glamour Shot (circa 1994) Gainesville, FL
Modern glamour portrait, Gainesville, FL

So what is contemporary glamour photography? Glamour photography focuses on the beauty of the person being photographed. It is not the same as fashion photography, which focuses on the clothes & accessories. It involves hair & makeup, wardrobe, lighting & poses that flatter the subject. It’s about making all women feel beautiful. And you can have that experience right here in Gainesville!

Portraits Create Memories

Why should you book a glamour portrait session with Tuscawilla Photography? To celebrate YOU! Are you graduating from high school? Are you going to have a baby soon? Have you reached a major milestone or had a big change in your life? Do you want to have beautiful memories of your children?Or do you want legacy family portraits done? Do you want to have portraits of or with your pet? Maybe you need updated headshots? There are so many reasons to capture this time of you & your loved ones. And this is the perfect time to be treated like a model & have beautiful magazine style portraits of yourself!

When you book a session with Tuscawilla Photography, you will feel like a model for the day! All of my sessions include styling advice, hair & makeup & access to a fun wardrobe with clothes for all sizes. It is so much fun! I will pose & light you in the most flattering way. I want to take the most beautiful photographs of you that you have ever seen! Come play dress up with me!

The love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Contact me today to book your session & tell me why & how you want to be photographed! https://tuscawillaphotography.com/contact