Archive for April, 2013

April 29, 2013
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As parents, we greet a new child with joy, love and the anticipation of what the future may hold. We watch as they give us their first smile, take their first step, and look at us through the adoring eyes of childhood. In later years, we’re filled with worry and anxiety as they make their first trip to school, stay overnight with a friend, or venture into the world of boyfriends and dating.
Life is a path we must all travel, but oftentimes it’s especially hard as a parent — when everything inside you is urging you to gather your child even closer, you loosen your grip and watch as they begin to travel the road without you.

As a photographer, we’re often on the outside edges of these events. Rarely do we become involved with a couple we typically see only once or twice in a lifetime. While we are providing a service, scarcely do we catch a true glimpse of the inner workings of a family.

With Brandy and Aaron, it took me, as a photographer, to an entirely new level. With the viewers of my blog and social media, the couple became America’s Southern Sweethearts. To say they captured a wide viewing audience is an understatement, as countless strangers anxiously awaited the couple’s nuptials.

On the day of the ceremony, as I traveled to Mount Pleasant, NC, my mind was processing swirls of images — the couple’s laughter and happiness at their Engagement Session, their love and respect of the historical South; my trip to Yemassee, SC, for the Bridal Session with Brandy’s family and how much I was touched by their devotion to one another; the countless texts, e-mails and visits to make certain everything was perfectly in order. It was no small wonder that I had triple and quadruple checked my cameras and equipment, as it felt I was no longer just a photographer, but an integral part of the family as well.

Firsthand, I knew about the ruby heart pin given to Brandy by her Grandmother (the same one who made the quilt shown in the Engagement Session); I knew Brandy’s sister was so nervous she had butterflies; I knew the ruby ring worn by Brandy was first worn by her Great-Grandmother. I also knew the worn Bible carried by the ring bearer belonged to Aaron’s father, a pastor, who died when Aaron was a baby. There was the significance and pieces of history etched into so many things cherished by this couple.

The Saratoga Springs was the perfect beginning for Brandy and Aaron’s new life together. With the symbolism of the Old South, and a plantation venue similar to the Tara of yesteryear, it combined the best of both worlds. From the horse-drawn carriage to the blooming cherry trees, nothing could have been more perfect for this couple who thrives on romance.

With my closeness to the family, it was bittersweet to watch Brandy’s father struggle to maintain his composure up to the moment he gave his daughter in marriage, then silently and discretely breaking down, alongside Brandy’s mother, whose eyes also were shining with tears.

The cherry blossom is revered with ceremonial receptions and symbolized as an omen of good fortune, an emblem of love and affection, as well as an enduring metaphor for the fleeting nature of mortality.
As the couple stood near the flowering Japanese Cherry trees as husband and wife, it seemed the perfect setting for yet another step on life’s pathway.

Venue: The Saratoga Springs
Videographer: Merigo Films
Cake: La Patisserie – Paola Mendoza
Flowers: Buy the Bunch
Entertainment: BK Entertainment
Wedding Gown: Allure Bridals
Make-up Artist: MakeUp Your Face by Katie
Bridesmaids Dresses / Tuxes: The Wedding Mall
Photo Booth: Apothecary Photobooths

Special thank you to my second shooter Mary from Pink Life Photography for helping me capture the days events!

The Saratogo Springs Wedding

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Saratoga Springs, Mount Pleasant, NC

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Father Daughter Dance

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April 26, 2013
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Being a photographer for engagements and weddings, I’ve often heard the phrase, ” . . . they’re a match made in Heaven.” So many times this appears to be true, but few I’ve known meet the description quite as well as Katie and Jeremy.

Unlike some of the couples I’ve photographed, Katie and Jeremy weren’t high school sweethearts, nor did they grow up in the same hometown. Both were world travelers, headed in separate directions, lead only by an inner urging from God to share His word with the less fortunate. While Katie was devoting her life to helping the orphans, widows and children of South America, Asia and Africa, Jeremy, unbeknownst to Katie, was also doing the same work in Africa and Asia.

Each, being led by the Spirit, had placed their future in God’s hands, praying for a spouse of His choosing, and for His will to be done.

When I heard the story of their meeting and falling in love, it left no doubt that a much Higher Power was writing the script for this couple. It was amazing to hear how much alike they are — both enjoying the outdoors and hiking, having a healthy lifestyle, and helping others. It seemed no small wonder the two were attracted to one other.

As I searched for the perfect location for their photo shoot, I came across a beautiful flowering field. I could mentally picture the couple together in the natural setting, and I felt certain it was a great location for their Engagement Session.

Only after the photos were complete, the session over, and we went our separate ways, did I really look at the flowers in that enormous field — they were like none that I had ever seen. Curious, I began questioning the origin of the fields and beautiful flowers they contained, and found I had chosen a field of canola.

Not familiar with canola other than in a bottle on the grocer’s shelf, a little research left me with what was surely ordained as the next act in the script — this version of canola didn’t even exist until two separate, unrelated plants were joined together and cultivated to make an entirely new plant, one which is labeled as having ‘heart-healthy’ properties. No small wonder.

. . . and the two shall become one.
Ephesians 5:31

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April 23, 2013
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When I first met with Brandy and Aaron for their Engagement Session, one of the things that stayed in my mind, was the couple’s respect of history and their reverence for the hand-sewn quilt handed down through Brandy’s family.
Their connection with the past generations is one all too familiar with true Southerners. As Tim Jacobson wrote in Heritage of the South, “It is a loyalty to a place where habits are strong and memories are long. If those memories could speak, they would tell stories of a region powerfully shaped by its history and determined to pass it on to future generations.”

As I traveled with Brandy’s family to the Beaufort – Yemassee areas of South Carolina for her Bridal Session, I was overwhelmed by the family’s love and ‘togetherness’ as we shared an adventure into the Old South.
One of the sites chosen for her Session was the Old Sheldon Church Ruins, formerly known as the Prince William Parish Church. The church was built in 1751, and at that time was regarded as the finest country church in south, with its neo-classic temple form now making it the oldest such building in America. What better venue could one expect for a family who cherishes the past and incorporates it into the present.
As I was shooting pictures from every angle, I couldn’t help but notice the plaque stating the church had first been burned by British troops during the American Revolution, and burned again during Sherman’s March to the Sea. The building was never restored following the Reconstruction, and the ruins remain today as a gentle reminder of how the present blends with the past.

We ended the Session at Hunting Island State Park, as the gentle waves of the low tide cast the backdrop when the sun disappeared below the horizon. I couldn’t help but think of all the generations of Brandy’s family looking down on her and being filled with pride, watching as a generation of the New South made their own entry into the history books.

Watch for a future blog as the couple travels to Saratoga Springs in Mount Pleasant, NC, for a plantation-style wedding.

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April 17, 2013
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When the temperatures plunge below 45 degrees in Georgia, you’ll find most couples snuggled together in front of the fireplace, dreaming of a day at the beach under the warm rays of Summer.

But when you’re newly engaged, and hopelessly in love, the chilly weather is nothing but a small bump in the road.
As Winter was winding down, the skies were still overcast and the winds were whipping at nearly 20 mph (which equals a ‘feels like’ temperature in the 20’s!), the last place I thought I’d find myself was at the beach.
As the blowing wind brought tears to our eyes, Megan and Chris amazed me, not only with their devotion to each other, but with their fortitude and dedication to a life together.
Chris, a soldier in the military, had written Megan a letter requesting her hand in marriage, and presented her with an engagement ring, handpicked by him, from Diamonds in the Rough. His choice couldn’t have been more appropriate for a couple who sees the extraordinary and seizes it for their own.

As the couple snuggled together with an afghan for warmth, looking out towards the sea…I could totally picture them together in 50 years taking a slow walk to the beach, sitting on the swing, and being joyous in their life together.

“The ocean is like our love
There is no beginning and no end
Timeless and ageless an eternity in its depth”
— Bill Turner

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