It was such a joy to meet Kirsten and take her graduation portraits! Her mother and I work together, so naturally I have heard a lot about her over the past couple of years. She is every bit as delightful and charming as her mother made her out to be. A few weeks ago, we took an afternoon to meander around High Point University's campus and snap a few photos to commemorate this special achievement. Congrats Kirsten! I look forward to what the Lord has next for you!
The only thing that makes a sunny day at the beach better is having your love there with you! These two had a beautiful engagement session at Wrightsville Beach, NC. We splashed in the water under the pier and took a small walk across the way to the inlet. I couldn't help but smile the whole time because these two had a blast and all three of us simply enjoyed the salty air and embraced the unrelenting wind. Enjoy these beautiful, warm photos - they definitely make me ready for the summer!
There is a lot of love in this blog post! Again, I meet the most amazing people to work with! This family braved the bitter cold to snag a few pictures for the holidays! I'm delighted to share this family session! You can't help but see how happy this family is to be together for the holidays!
It is such a joy to share this sweet family's photos on the blog today! I work with Brooke and love getting to spend time with her beautiful family. These girls have a ton of personality and are so loved by their momma! To put it in Brooke's words: "I see myself as a MOM first. I am so lucky to have that role in life. The world can like me, hate me, fall apart around me. But as along as I wake up with my kids around me. I’m HAPPY."
There is a lot of love here! Enjoy!
Lake Lynn Trail has very quickly become one of my favorite spots in Raleigh. I go there frequently before or after work to unwind and enjoy the scenery. This family session was so special to me not only because it was at one of my favorite spots, but because I adore this family! We had a blast walking the trail, enjoying the beautiful fall leaves and attempting to get the kiddos to smile for the camera. I love capturing family photos in this stage of life because the candids are hilarious and document real life with toddlers and babies. Enjoy this cozy, fall lake session!
Zac and Meghan are very dear friends to my husband and me! They woke up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday in mid October to meet us at Pilot Mountain. I had big plans for stunning pictures atop the mountain; when we arrived and approached the mountain's summit, the fog grew so thick that we couldn't see more than 5 feet in front of us. Needless to say, we had to adjust our plans, so we made our way down the mountain and eventually, after an iHop pancake break, we ended up at the river section of Pilot Mountain State Park.
I love time with these two because they are flexible and content to just be together, whether that be at the top of a foggy mountain at 7am on a Saturday or wandering along a river at 2 in the afternoon. It was a refreshing time together with lots of laughs and an equal amount of adventure.
Photographing Meghan and Zac is easy because they are perfectly content to just laugh and be silly in front of the camera, allowing me to laugh along with them and snag candids that capture their joy-filled relationship.
I am constantly astonished and in awe of the strong people that I meet through my job. Brooke is one of those brilliant and strong women that I have had the pleasure of getting to know through work, so I was THRILLED when she asked me to take her graduation pictures. It always impresses me when I find out that people are pursuing further education while working full time and mothering children; and she does it all while maintaining a smile and her wits. Brooke is a strong and loving mom and now she is going to be a brilliant and caring CMA on top of that! Way to go Brooke! I am so proud of you!
I'm so excited to share these pictures of our sweet friends, Will and Kate! I was able to photograph them this spring and enjoyed our time together, as I always do!
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One of the things that I admire so much about Joey is his ability to research and plan trips. I love to travel but do not thrive in the whole planning process of vacationing. Raleigh provides us a whole new radius of nearby cities and tourist options! We had seen ads for Alexandria, Virginia years ago when we were visiting Joey's family in NC and thought it would be a fun getaway, so my man made it happen! We stole away last weekend to Alexandria, VA and Washington, DC! Alexandria was so charming! I loved walking the blocks of historical town homes and perusing the water front. To say the town has character is a big understatement. There are plaques everywhere indicating historical locations and events. Not only is it pretty to look at but the food scene is GREAT! I wish we could have stayed longer to try more restaurants. What made this trip so ideal was how affordable it was; we saw most of the town and learned so much about the history simply by walking. All of the walking made the food taste even better!
We were able to visit Washington, DC for part of the the day on Sunday. Joey was beside himself, as this was his first time to DC. You would never have known it was his first visit because he had done so much research beforehand! We started at the Lincoln Memorial and made our way past the World War 2 memorial and Washington monument. We were then able to cut over to the White House! While we only saw a fraction of what DC has to offer, I would say it was a manageable chunk for his first visit! We finished our day by grabbing coffee with our friend Mary Emily and then took the metro back to our car before we headed home. It was a long day, but we certainly enjoyed ourselves and the slightly cooler weather!
Today, Joey and I celebrate two years of marriage! Our wedding day was filled with joy and so many people that we love dearly. Two years feels both short and long at the same time. Lord willing we will have many more years together, making these first two seem like a small season, but in this short season, a lot has happened. We have grown so much. Joey and I often talk about how we've grown in knowing and loving one another. We have truly been doing life together; making hard choices, making fun choices and sometimes having to be still and watch things unfold when we desperately want to be in control of the outcome. If someone would have told me that we would be living in Raleigh, NC, and I would be working as a nurse with Duke, I would have surely given a sassy, disbelieving look. Yet, here we are. The Lord has surely provided. What I rejoice in seeing him provide on a daily basis is a deepening affection for my spouse. I adore him. I often look at him and become emotional thinking about the great gift he is to me. Joey displays unbelievable patience, grace and control on a daily basis. I admire his ability to think before he speaks (something that I am not so strong in...haha), and the thoughtful responses that he gives to people. He makes me better. He is a spouse who gently points out sin. He is a spouse who is equal parts strong and kind. He is a patient teacher and a brilliant man. I'm so glad he's mine.
Joey, it is a delight being yours. Thank you for reminding me of the truth when I'm tempted to rely on anything else. Thank you for sitting with me at Starbucks back in Clemson. Thank you for asking me asking me to coffee at "All In" Coffee Shop and then taking me on our first date. Thank you for asking me to be your wife by Lake Hartwell. Thank you for taking me to be your bride on September 20, 2014 and everyday since. I love you.
A few pictures to reminisce:
Savannah was so kind to take a few anniversary pictures for us while we were in Seattle in August. She is very talented! Thanks Banah :)
I recently blogged about my and Joey's trip to Seattle to spend time with our very dear friends Brock and Savannah! This trip was much anticipated, as we love every moment with these two and couldn't wait to explore their new home. I want to share a few of my photos from the west coast.
The first full day we spent on the west coast, Brock and Sav, took us to the Public Market and showed us all of the iconic sites. We saw the gum wall and the Market, witnessed fish getting tossed, and we caught a glimpse of the space needle and the ferris wheel.
Below: We went to Queen Anne, where we saw this breathtaking view of the city and Mount Rainier in the distance.
Below: University of Washington Library
I love these pictures of Brock and Joey, they are constantly laughing with one another.
Below: Sav teaching Brock how to dance...
Below: The View from Hurricane Ridge
Below: Crescent Lake
Below: Ruby Beach
Joey and I recently had the privilege of traveling to Seattle, Washington to visit two of our very best friends. This trip was such a blessing in so many ways. We were thrilled to visit our friends and get a glimpse of their lives in Seattle. One of the things that I loved the most about our visit was getting to view their marriage up close for a week. We have only seen them once since their wedding a year ago and it was a brief visit. The Lord has grown them together and their marriage is beautiful. I love seeing the tender care that they have for one another and the delight they have when they are together. It is so refreshing and encouraging to be around them. Seattle is such a unique place; it is equal parts wild and urban. I loved seeing towering trees and rugged waters just feet away from tall buildings and busy roadways. It is a truly beautiful place. Brock and Savannah have done such a wonderful job of exploring where they live. When Savannah asked me if we could snap a few photos at a park near where they live, I was delighted to do so!
Love you Brock and Banah, thanks for letting me take these pictures for you!
One of the things I was most excited about sharing with Joey in Grand Marais was all of the outdoor activities! We used to take our whole family camping on Lake Superior and those are some of my most cherished childhood memories! Camping did not work out on this trip, but we did get to canoe in the boundary waters which was just as great! The boundary waters were nothing like I expected. I think I sort of expected it to be like in the movie Pocahontas where she is canoeing down winding, narrow rivers. Nope. They call Minnesota "the land of 10,000 lakes" for a reason. On our trek we canoed across a couple of lakes and had the unique experience of portaging our canoe. Portaging is how you get from one lake to the next. There are portages (ie. trails) built between lakes so one can carry their canoe and belongings to the next lake. It was a really neat experience!
If you know me, you know I REALLY like otters. It was my goal to see one (or two!) on our canoe excursion. We did not get to see any, but we did get to see the Minnesota state bird, the loon. That was pretty cool! Either way, being out on the water with no cell phone reception and a calm breeze was bliss.
Here's a few pictures from our trip. I braved it and brought my big camera but we also brought the go pro just incase!
Grand Marais, MN is easily one of my favorite places to visit in the U.S.A. I have been traveling to Minnesota my whole life to visit extended family. It truly does feel like home away from home. My Aunt, who lives in Grand Marais, lives such an exotic lifestyle compared to what I'm used to. She utilizes solar power; collects rain water in barrels for watering her plants; has a green house; grows all of her own vegetables; hunts; taps maple trees for syrup; brings fresh cranberries to thanksgiving from the cranberry bogs around her house; chops wood during the summer to store up for the long, cold winter; and canoes on a regular basis. This is a stark contrast to plugging in the hose to use city water to water plants during hot summer days, flipping on the AC in May, wandering the grocery store for summer produce because the AC just feels so good, and drinking sweet tea like it's water's closest kin. While some of the things she does are more than possible where I live, it just wasn't the norm for my family growing up. Needless to say, I always enjoy learning from her when I visit and attempting to incorporate a few things when I return home.
All that to say, this beautiful harbor town brings out the outdoor adventurer in me. The crisp air and breeze off of Lake Superior is invigorating and inspiring. One of my favorite things to do on the harbor is skip rocks. If there has been anything that I have been trying to grow in lately, it is not multi-tasking and being in the moment. When skipping rocks, I'm just focusing on how many skips I can get. Nothing else. I'm not pondering emails, work, or even communication. Just the simple task at hand. It is rare to be so undistracted these days, and it was refreshing to relax and to unplug in one of my favorite places for several days.
I took a ton of pictures on our trip, so I want to share them in a few posts so your eyes don't glaze over. This first post is from our first day around the harbor. I hope you enjoy!
Joey and I watch 4 super hero shows every week (Marvel's Agents of Shield, Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow). These shows are action-packed and we love talking about the characters and cliff hangers after each episode; but I must admit my new obsession has a little bit different type of super heroes. Their names are Chip and Joanna Gaines. Every episode they save the day for a family who is willing to take on a fixer upper for a home. I love seeing their intentionality, skill and passion at work. You can tell they love what they do! Not only that, but you can learn a lot about decorating and home care from that show! I was never very interested in home decor or hosting until Joey and I got married. It always troubled me that I struggled so much with hospitality prior to marriage. I wanted to be willing to open my home and create a place of leisure for others to enjoy, but I never quite felt at home until I had my very own space. Now, I take great delight in creating a home for my husband and myself as well as one that can provide a place of rest and refreshment for our guests. I have a lot to learn, but have picked up a few things along the way from friends with a knack for hosting, Pinterest (of course), REAL Simple magazine and the aforementioned show "Fixer Upper".
The spring weather and bright days have made me want to bring out my camera on my days off and snap shots of our home when the light is just right. It has also been great practice for wedding season coming up! Here are a few shots of some of my favorite spaces in our home.
Becky has been a dear friend of mine since my freshman year of college. She has always been someone that I can depend on, whether it is for a good recipe, a workout buddy, or a listening ear. From the very beginning of our friendship, she has been a faithful encourager! Any time after I get to hang out with Becky, and now her sweet family, I leave with a full heart. Grey and Becky, thank you for letting me come and spend a couple of days with your family and for allowing me the privilege of capturing a few photos in this exciting season! James has such a fun personality! It is fun seeing him take on qualities of his parents. He is so blessed to have the two of you! I can not wait to meet baby Lancaster, another sweet family member to love!
Boys will be boys! James was far more interested in running and playing than reading and pausing for pictures! He kept us all laughing the whole time!
This is my personal favorite from the day! Becky taught James how to do a "shelfie" and I must say he nailed it!
Joey took me on a wonderful autumn date this past weekend! We went to visit Saxapahaw, NC. This little town has a fun general store with delicious lunch items and a myriad of treats! I absolutely adore fall with all of its rich colors, delectable pumpkin treats, and dropping temps. It was such a joy to snap photos while we explored!
I have had the wonderful opportunity of second shooting over the past couple of years. It has grown to be a role that I love. Experience through trial and error, as well as some guiding from other photographers has really helped me grow in confidence as I help on wedding days. I plan on posting a short series of posts on the components of being a great supporting photographer, AKA second shooter. This first post is less practical tips and more of an overview of the role of a second shooter. When I first started helping people shoot weddings, I did not know much about photography, especially wedding photography. One of the biggest things I have found is that it is really important to know the proper etiquette of photography.
The second shooter role is a support role: As photographers, we love getting "those" pictures! We see a shot and want to get it and can sometimes forget our role or what's going on around us. I am so guilty of that! On wedding days, I have to constantly remind myself of my role. That role is to make sure that I set up the main photographer with as many opportunities as possible to capture beautiful images. This often means setting my camera down and "zooming out" to the big picture.
What does "zooming out" look like? Things to look for to help the main photographer capture beautiful images:
- Dress fluffing 101 - Always check the bride's dress to make sure it looks picture-ready. This also can include bridesmaids' dresses.
2. The hair, makeup, and bouquet police - What can separate good from great images are the details! Hair gets blown in the wind, tears can cause makeup to run, and bouquets have a funny way of never being level. Keeping an eye on these details is so important because it means that the main photographer doesn't have to worry about them, and they can make a big difference in the quality of an image!
3. Keep an eye on the family - Wedding days can be very emotional days for more than just the bride and the groom. It's a big day for their loved ones also! I really like to be an advocate not only for the bride and groom on wedding days but also for the family. I always try to communicate with the bride and groom to make sure that I am aware of any possible tensions, and to make sure I know their preferences about bridal party placement, family photos and poses. Likewise, I try to keep an eye on the mother of the bride, maid/matron of honor and any other special guests to make sure they are feeling cared for and involved in the day. Sometimes tensions can be dispersed simply by observing family and creating opportunities for involvement.
4. Posing - Every couple thrives differently in photos. Some people are natural with posing themselves, but others need a little guidance. Learning the main photographer's posing style is very helpful, but also watching the couple interact for natural poses can help give ideas. As a second shooter, make it your goal to help the bride and groom, as well as bridal party, with poses. This is a huge time saver for the main photographer, allowing more opportunities for a variety of images!
5. Family pictures - Most likely the photographer you are assisting will have appointed someone in the family to call out family pictures or they will let you know that it is your role. It is very important that on the wedding day, you set down your camera and make sure that you are on top of calling out family members for photos, preparing the next shot for the photographer while the current one is being taken, and making sure that everyone the bride has indicated they want photographed is included. This is a big job, but your ability to effectively move through the list makes the whole experience flow better for the photographer, the bride and groom and their family. This is often an area where family can feel most loved on the wedding day, so it is important that you communicate care about their being included in the photos.
6. Watch the time - Wear a watch! Some photographers may not prefer this, but it is always good to have a time keeper. As you likely know, wedding days run on a schedule and as a photographer, we depend on it to make sure we capture as much as possible. It is great to keep the schedule in your back pocket, so you can periodically give the photographer and bridal party time-checks! Being the time keeper means being persistent and speaking up, but it tends to make the wedding day less stressful!
Being a second shooter is such an honor! The photographer who hired you is trusting you to help support their business! Remember that you are representing them and their business. Not only that, but you are helping capture a very important day in two people's lives.
I hope these reminders have been helpful. I look forward to writing the next blog on practical tips such as packing for the day as well as placing yourself strategically on the wedding day!
I was able to share a very special afternoon in Charleston a few weeks ago with my husband and our friends Jenna and Alex. Jenna has so graciously allowed me to be her second shooter in many weddings. For this particular wedding, we were photographing one of our mutual friends, Lauren Poleynard, in Charleston, SC. It was such an honor to be a part of Lauren and Sudeep's wedding day and I was elated to be able to have my husband with me in the beautiful city of Charleston! On top of it all, Jenna and I were able to swap anniversary photo sessions for one another and our husbands while we were down there. Jenna and I have known each other for almost seven years! She was one of my bible study leaders my freshman year of college and quickly became not only a mentor but a friend. The Lord recently moved us close together again and has allowed me the privilege of helping her with many of her weddings. I can't begin to explain how much she has encouraged me in photography and challenged me to be confident in my work. It has meant so much to have her support and has absolutely made me a better photographer. Thank you for being such a faithful friend Jenna!
While the four of us were wandering around downtown Charleston and Jenna and I were trading off snapping anniversary pictures, I was praising the Lord for the opportunity to get to know Jenna and Alex as a couple! They are truly such a sweet couple that love the Lord in all that they do. As I have contemplated marriage over this first year, I have often reflected on the Lord's good work in pairing two people together. In this brief hour together, I was able to see glimpses of the Christ's love in Alex and Jenna's marriage in the way they interacted and cared for one another. What a joy to be able to see a marriage reflect the Gospel so clearly. Jenna and Alex, thank you for allowing me the privilege of taking your pictures; I hope you enjoy them!
Location: Pendleton Square, Pendleton, SC