Welcome to our Creative Spotlight, where we’re highlighting the talented creatives who make up the community here at South 40.

This month’s Creative Spotlight focuses on family photographer Amber Kreeger. Born and raised out west in Wyoming, she and her husband, with their large brood, calls the lush landscape of Tennessee home. Having fostered and adopted children—some of which came to her with few memories—she was inspired to take her camera and preserve the memories they made together. Esteemed for her soothing demeanor with kids and families, Amber has a flair for discovering not only the innocence in children, but the whimsy in all of her subjects. We sat down with Amber to discover more about her techniques, how she obtains such idealized nature shots, and how, through photography, she manages to bring out such simplicity in a bustling world.

What inspired you to become a photographer? What keeps you inspired?
I have loved photography as long as I can remember. I studied film in middle school and transitioned to digital as the technology developed over the years. I love capturing images of families together and helping them create memories to share and display in their homes. My passion grew substantially after adopting our foster children; they didn’t come to us with much and so creating and preserving new memories together became a priority for me. To stay current with new trends and continue to grow and learn, I enjoy following other photographers on social media. I have recently had several of my images published in three different magazines. My weekly challenge photography group has inspired me to be creative and try new things.

How did you get into doing photography full-time?
My friend and fellow artist Iris Hu saw the passion and enjoyment I had for photography and was willing to show me how I could turn that into owning my own business. I will forever be grateful to her! I started my business in October 2018 and have enjoyed every minute of it.

What other creatives inspire you?
There are so many creative artists whom I admire. Locally, both Kelly Stickelmaier with Photos by Kelly Lynn and Iris Hu with Light by Iris have been amazing to meet and collaborate with. I have loved following Soul Tree Photography Studio, Danielle Heiden Photography, and In a Glimpse Photography by Megan Nicole on Facebook and Instagram.

What makes central Tennessee–and specifically Franklin–so special?
I was born and raised in Wyoming and spent 13 years in rural Wisconsin. What I love most about central Tennessee is the change from rural to urban within such a short distance. My clients can choose downtown Franklin or Nashville for a small/big city vibe, and we have nearby access to several parks and outdoor areas. Having the option to use South 40 for my clients has been wonderful. There are so many great spots around the property to fill all of my clients’ needs.

What makes children such great subjects?
It’s usually pretty easy to bring out kids’ personalities and get some great images. I guess having eight kids—five still at home—has allowed me a lot of practice over the years! I love getting on their level and finding out what interests them. I usually strive to get a few images of them exploring the area, interacting with other family members, and of course some with smiles.

Tell us the story of your most interesting photo shoot–whether it be funny, something strange happen, or pivotal to your work as a photographer.
While families are the bulk of my sessions, I have also had the opportunity to work with some local music artists in Nashville. I had the amazing opportunity last April to photograph a music video production, capturing behind the scenes moments. Sasha McVeigh is a local country artist who debuted her new single Rock Bottom in July 2019. While filming, we came across a vulture nest full of vulture chicks in a closet of the abandoned cabin! Fun fact: They grunt and hiss—no chirps here! If you look up her video online, you’ll see the closet they were in just behind the drummer. After checking with the property owner, we were able to carefully close the door while filming and open it again when we left. I will definitely never forget that day!

Why do you think South 40 is an ideal place to take photos and do you have any suggestions for other creatives interested in using the South 40 property for photo or video shoots?
South 40 has a wide variety of backdrops and settings, all within a single property, making it extremely convenient to get several different types of shots all in one photo session. Everyone we’ve come across while there has been super friendly and helpful. I highly recommend that other creatives visit the location in person and meet the South 40 team. Whatever your vision is, they can help you create it.

What is your favorite aspect of using South 40 for family photos? Specific Location or the Atmosphere?
I love using the large wheat field area, especially during golden hour. The kids love running through it and it makes a beautiful backdrop for family and individual pictures. My kids and I recently came to check out the creek area. They didn’t want to leave–they had so much fun exploring and playing in the shallow water. I am excited to offer this area to my clients in the future. Every time I come to South 40, I discover a new spot I’d like to utilize–the opportunities are endless!

Any advice for fellow creatives?
Collaborating with other photographers has been one of my favorite ways to learn, share knowledge, and stay creative. Never be afraid to try something new and take pictures every day if you can!

Connect with Amber: