Archive for November, 2013

November 26, 2013
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I have many, many things for which I am thankful, and I feel truly blessed for my family and friends. In observance of Thanksgiving, I would like to highlight my appreciation and admiration for an amazing and Godly couple who have made such an impact on so many lives.
I have known Kim and Brad for three years, as they are our Sunday School leaders at First Baptist Church. Wanting to do something special for this couple, to show my love and appreciation, it was in my heart to do to a photo shoot for them. Thankfully, they were receptive to the idea, and jokingly mentioned I needed more “old” people in my portfolio.

Married 33 years, Kim and Brad have been the couple I’ve turned to, day or night, knowing they’d always lend a listening ear and provide encouraging thoughts and prayer. Regardless of life’s calamities, they would provide me with a calming atmosphere, spiritual guidance, and a faith-filled way to approach my dilemma.
When I think of my own marriage 33 years down the road, I can’t help but want it to be like theirs. The happiness, laughter and love they share is undeniably apparent not only in the images I shot, but in their day-to-day life.

When asked the secret to their happy marriage, they both agree that putting God and their faith first is the most important. As Kim explained, “It has been our foundation, strength, and lifeline.”
Next on the list is putting each other first. “It gives me so much joy to see Brad’s happiness,” she further stated.
And last, but not least, is laughter and fun. “We laugh, play and pray together,” said Kim. “And knowing that God brought us together, we do our best to honor Him in our marriage.”

I can’t think of a better recipe for a happy marriage —  especially, when I can see it at work, day after day.  I believe that God puts people in our life to help us grow in love and faith, and I’m ever so thankful He placed Kim and Brad into mine.

Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

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November 25, 2013
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There’s nothing quite as challenging as shooting photos of another photographer.  Although the same preparation goes into nearly every session, there’s an added mental aspect that can be quite daunting at times.  It’s nearly that same feeling you get when you have to speak before an audience of your peers, when public speaking has never been your forte.
Within minutes after arriving at our destination of Carrigan Farms in Mooresville, NC, everything just fell completely into place the moment I started shooting. When you can visually witness the love a couple has for one another, there’s seldom room for another thought in your mind, except for trying to capture that love to the best of your ability.

Anna and Michael were married November 12, 2012, with a simple, romantic ceremony in the Dominican Republic. For their anniversary, they decided to re-affirm their marriage with photos in their original wedding attire.  What followed was a display of their love that has been going strong for over a year, and appears to getting stronger with each day.  True love at its best.

A part of me will always be you
and a part of you will always be me.
no matter what happens ,that much is certain
our souls are one until life closes the curtain.
~ Silke Wettergren

 

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Venue: Carrigan Farms

Bouquet: Springvine Designs

Hair and Makeup: Katie – Makeup Your Face

Special thank you to my assistant, Lauren.

November 19, 2013
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When growing up, most young girls read plenty of romance novels and watch enough movies to have their idea of the Perfect Prince Charming engraved in their minds. Unfortunately, real life is often not what the books portray……..their Prince often prefers Sunday afternoon football games to walk in the park, moonlit dinners consist of going through the drive-thru after dark, and dancing is totally out of the question.

When Brooke began telling me about her future husband, Richie, I decided that for some girls, the Perfect Prince Charming can be a reality.
Their first date was at the Clemson FCA Autumn Shag, where the couple danced the night away (ok, so he dances, that’s one…)

One of Richie’s favorite spots is the Chattanooga Belle Farm in Long Creek, SC, where it’s a longstanding tradition of his family to visit for dinners and outings. It was also his choice for an afternoon adventure with Brooke, as they hiked Long Creek to view the sunset. Amazingly enough, the Farm was hosting a wedding at the time, so the couple ‘crashed’ the wedding just to view the romantic scene before them. As a romantic at heart, Brooke was thinking, “this would be a perfect spot for a wedding,” but it was actually Richie who voiced those words. (ok, he likes romantic walks and sunsets, that’s two…)
As a gesture of their commitment, the couple decided to ‘lock their love’ on the Lake Murray Bridge . Love locking has long been a tradition in Paris, as lovers etch their names into padlock, attach it to the bridge, and throw the key into the water as a symbol of their undying love. Read more about that and see photos here. After their lock was attached, Richie told Brooke to close her eyes and throw in the key. When she opened her eyes, he told her “I love you, and I want to be with you forever,” and dropped to one knee and proposed. (ok, so he’s committed, that’s three!!!)

“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” – Tom Bodett

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November 15, 2013
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A few months ago, one of my past weddings was featured in Carolina Bride. Needless to say, I was excited and felt very fortunate to have been chosen for this honor.
Not long after that edition was published, I received an email from Courtney, who had seen my article in the magazine and wanted to book me for her wedding! Talk about being on Cloud Nine!

When Courtney and I finally met (over pancakes!), the first thing I noticed was how down-to-earth and pleasant she was. We quickly became friends via our e-mails and texts, as I learned more about her and her future husband, Hurd.
The couple had actually met in Virginia, and Courtney described him as a “real life Paul Bunyan with overalls and burly beard” whose Southern manners absolutely melted her heart.
The couple continued to keep in touch via social media in a long-distance relationship for nearly two years until they decided they no longer wanted to be apart from one another. Courtney then moved to Tennessee, where Hurd was working, and the rest is history.

For their Engagement Session, Courtney had the desire of being photographed in a cotton field, which, despite our location in the South, was no easy task. After nearly exhausting all potential leads, we finally located a modern-day cotton farm that was totally amazing. White bolls of cotton as far as the eye could see — it was like nothing I’d ever seen.

As I picked up a piece of cotton that had fallen to the ground, I immediately noticed that despite its softness, it was also very durable and strong — much like the relationship of Courtney and Hurd.  And like this couple, a tiny cotton seed can survive even when blown across the continent and finally come to rest, on its own patch of ground, creating a new and beautiful life as is grows to its full potential.

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Hair and Makeup by Lindsey Regan Thorne of Be Pretty.

Special thank you to my wonderful intern and assistant, Sarah.

November 12, 2013
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When I meet prospective clients for an Engagement Session, we try to match their personalities and hobbies with a photo setting that would reflect their interests.  With Gini and David, perhaps we went a little overboard — in more ways than one!

Both outdoor enthusiasts, Gini and David enjoy Geocaching, fishing, hiking, and a multitude of other out-of-doors experiences. What better place to shoot their session than Crowders Mountain State Park. I had it all pictured in my head — the couple’s silhouette on the mountaintop, another image of them on the lake in a canoe with sun glinting off the water — but what happened in the actual session was a bit different than what we had planned.

We decided to start the evening with a little canoeing. Gini had canoed with her father since she was a child, so she knew the ropes. She seated herself near the back of the canoe and we gave it a little push off the landing so David could climb aboard. David, clearly a little uneasy and unsure of the situation, steps into the boat and it begins to rock and sway. With Gini’s calming voice and encouragement, David finds a seat and begins to relax. At that point, I said, “Ok. Ready? I’m giving you a push.”  The rest was like a slow motion film . . . the canoe tipped to the left, and by instinct, David puts out his leg (into the water) to steady the boat. Meanwhile, Gini’s seat at the stern was in deep water. Thankfully, Gini was calm under pressure, and using her long-ago-learned canoe skills, kept the boat from completely flipping.
Both finally balanced and ready, with David’s leg back into the canoe, I was shooting pictures like crazy. I think this was my first session with one of my subjects wearing clothes that were completely drenched below the knee on one side. The shoot went off without further incident, but I’m certain David’s death grip on the canoe left permanent indentations!
After the canoe photos, it was time to climb the mountain. David’s pant leg was starting to dry, and it looked like it was going to be a perfect sunset…

The mountaintop was nearly a one mile climb, which I’d done previously with my son, Alec, and our dog, Baxter.  I didn’t count on how difficult it would be for me to climb the same mountain without the dog pulling me, or with the added weight of all my camera gear. About halfway to the summit, we stopped for quick rest. At this point, I’m re-thinking the whole session and visualizing both David and Gini wondering just what they’d gotten themselves into!
Our rest was short lived because we were losing sunlight. It was nearly a mad dash to the top where we witnessed a glorious sunset, with all the peace and tranquility that nature has to offer. We shot photos until darkness enclosed us, and hiked off the mountain by flashlight.

The couple seemed to take the evening’s events all in stride. With both being teachers, I expect they deal with plenty of surprises and improvisation in life. As we approached our cars, David and Gini were still having fun, still enjoying each other’s company.  You could clearly see the love they shared, and after our evening’s adventure, it was even more evident.
About Gini, David said, “I love that she has an overall beauty that is unmatched by any woman on the planet. It’s obvious that she’s beautiful on the outside. What people don’t know, but quickly find, is that she has a love for all creatures. When that love is transferred to me, it makes everything about my life better. She was the missing star in my constellation.”
I can’t think of anything that surpasses those words of endearment, and feel so fortunate this couple shared a moment of their life with me.

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A very special thank you to Sarah for assisting on this crazy adventure!

November 08, 2013
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Growing up in a rural area, one of the biggest events of the year was when the annual carnival came to town.  I remember how exciting it was, counting down the days.  In fact, nearly everyone at school was excited. Not necessarily because of the rides or the cotton candy — it was because of the perfect opportunity to walk hand-in-hand with that special boy away from the watchful eyes of our parents.
We girls would meet our boyfriends there, and watch with adoring eyes as they tossed coins, threw balls and blasted water balloons all to win us a stuffed animal that we could carry around and make the other girls jealous.  It was nearly a surreal atmosphere — almost like being a princess for the night.

Since I’ve been shooting engagement sessions, I admit I’ve never wandered too far from my comfort zone.  When I met with Leah and Kyle, we all agreed to step beyond the boundaries of our comfort zone.  An engagement session at the South Carolina State Fair? Why not!

I was truly excited to be going to the Fair. It’s much larger than the old carnival back home, but the atmosphere was still there — the spontaneity, the laughter, the fun, and of course, the romance.  As Leah, Kyle and I walked through the fairgrounds, I was slightly behind them. I was caught up in the moment as they were holding hands, gazing into each other’s eyes, and it was like a deja vu experience watching their happiness and excitement.
We began with the funnel cake, one of my favorite ‘fair foods,’ then proceeded to the Sky Glider which carries you high above the crowd and encircles the fairgrounds.  I must admit I was a little nervous (ok, I admit it, I was terrified), as I was riding solo directly in front of them, sitting backwards in my seat trying to capture pictures.  Definitely far away from my comfort zone  — but the opportunity for great shots was amazing!

Onto the giant slides, where I anxiously waited at the bottom while Leah and Kyle came careening down – a mixture of excitement and terror on their faces. It was great watching them have such a wonderful time together.  And when Leah had the opportunity to walk through the fairgrounds holding her own stuffed animal prize, I couldn’t help but see the envious faces of the other girls at the fair. Not only did Leah have the ‘I ♥ U’ cuddly toy, she was in the arms of a man who had pledged her his undying love. Said Kyle, “Leah always thinks of others before herself, which makes her one of the most caring people I’ve ever met. I just happen to be lucky enough to be the one who gets to spend the rest of my life around her.”

A special thanks to the South Carolina State Fair. Your staff was so kind and gracious, and went out of their way to accommodate us.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. — Neale Donald Walsch

 

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