Archive for 'Engagement'

March 21, 2017

Have you ever had one of those remote spots that just mean the world to you? And even more so when you’re with the one you love?
Kiawah Island is that spot for Katie & Nick. After hearing their love for Kiawah and talking with Katie on the phone about her desire to have a shoot there we just had to make it happen. Thankfully the stars aligned and we were able to do just that.
Kiawah, part of the chain of barrier islands off the coast of Charleston, SC, has a long and often romantic past ranging from the Kiawah Indian tribes and rumors of buried pirate gold, to the world class vacation resort of today.
Anxious to begin our journey, we first visited the famous Angel Oak Tree (which turns out you need a permit to shoot there, so don’t try it!) They were kind enough to allow us one quick photo which thankfully turned out to be pretty perfect. We then headed further into Kiawah and I quickly realized why this place meant so much to them….gorgeous beaches, marshes, forest and wildlife in an unspoiled natural setting. It was truly paradise!
We ended at a Mingo Point, a Lowcountry favorite which overlooks the marshes of the Kiawah River, which Katie claimed had a gorgeous sunset —  and certainly didn’t disappoint!
This love branches out like an oak tree. Reach for the sky and roots to the sea. ~ Unknown

January 30, 2017
 I knew from the moment I met Heather & Tyler over pastries and coffee that we were essentially perfect for one another! From hearing about their love for the outdoors, Tyler’s romantic proposal story and simply witnessing their devotion and adoration for one another – I had no doubt their engagement session would be a favorite!

We met at Latta Plantation on a beautiful Fall day and simply walked and explored the gorgeous grounds. Their connection and carefree approach to the day resulted in some of my favorite images and makes me so excited for their May wedding at The Arbors in Cleveland, NC.

“You are the source of my joy, the center of my world and the whole of my heart.”


January 26, 2016

Recently, I traveled to the Asheville area for an amazing engagement session with Jen & Frayne. Our day began at the spectacular Looking Glass Falls in the Pisgah National Forest, and ended with the amazing sunset views at Black Balsam Knob near the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Our time together was truly serene. The couple stated early in the day they didn’t take each other “too seriously” and “just enjoy laughing and spending time together.”  Those attributes were clearly apparent in their shoot. They were both completely at ease without a care in the world.
Generally, there’s some hesitation getting starting at most photo shoots, as it’s sometimes an awkward feeling knowing you are being photographed — but, to Jen & Frayne, I was just there  like part of the scenery — fortunate enough to witness the love they share and their carefree devotion to one another . The best way I could describe their love : purely effortless.

Hiking up the over 6,000 feet elevation of Black Balsam Knob, we really weren’t sure what the evening would hold.  The clouds in the distance were clearly storm clouds,  yet the sun was peering through the darkness as well. It was without question the most variety I’ve ever received from the sky in a session and the sunset….oh, the sunset. Well, just see for yourself.

Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. It is lovely to be silly at the right moment. ~ Horace
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August 03, 2015

As a photographer, I often tend to visualize a scene before me based upon its possibilities, rather than what might be seen by the average person.  Oftentimes, it seems my mind’s eye views the world with an optimistic tilt, coupled with a panoramic view that can lend itself to epic proportions.
When you stop and think about it, those same qualities are often the ones found in my couples as they anticipate the vast possibilities of a future life together.

When you combine the two, many times, you have magic . . . . . .

Over six hours of travel brought me to meet Lauren and Andrew at a location like none other. Hailed as ‘The Living Dune,’ Jockey’s Ridge at Nag’s Head is the tallest active sand dune system in the Eastern United States.  As with life itself, the shifting winds here are constantly reshaping the dunes, refining their surfaces, and leaving behind a vast array of true magic that is viewable to all who open their heart and soul.

It is here also, that one can sometimes find a unique treasure known as fulgurite.  A fused quartz, fulgurite is a glass tube which is created by lightning striking sand. Fragile, but sturdy, these objects occur in a flash, but can last for thousands of years.  While the object may look like an ordinary rock, the true beauty is on the inside — the part you can’t often see.

While we didn’t notice any of these unique shapes during our session, I couldn’t help but think how the workings of nature can be so interweaved in relation to our own lives.  As Andrew and Lauren walked up the vast sand dune, her dress blowing in the breeze, their connection and movement were effortless.  Just like the dunes upon which they walked, I knew their magic together would soon become timeless.

Advice from a Sand Dune: Soak up the sunshine, Stay loose, Keep moving, Embrace winds of change, Make positive ripples, Don’t get carried away, Show your true grit. ~ Ilan Shamir

End Notes: I connected with Simone of Jetaime Events in hopes of incorporating a collaborating with a few local vendors to make this session extra special for Lauren and Andrew. We were so fortunate to connect with Nancy Harvey of Holiday House Weddings who created a beautiful tablescape for us on the dunes and also Hairocis Spa & Salon who provided such beautiful hair and makeup.
Andrew and Lauren will be married in April in what I believe will be one of the most beautiful weddings designed and planned by the incredibly talented Ashley Cash of The Graceful Host.
Something tells there’s more magic in store . . .

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April 21, 2015

In life’s travels, many of us will eventually come across an isolated place in nature that speaks to our heart.  We are the lucky ones — to be touched by nature’s glory, as we stand in awe of a vista that surrounds us in beauty and serenity.
Thank you, Savannah and Jaymin, for traveling with me along this memorable journey.  A journey in which the waterfall reminds us to be free in our lives and our love.

I want my life to be a mountain stream that rushes down wild flowered slopes through pine glades into green valleys, I do not want culverts to contain my force or cement to channel my flow, nothing to break my life’s course with roots, stones and sand.  ~ Lowell McMullin

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March 25, 2015

As time passes along, more oftentimes than not, we tend to forget those little romantic moments from our youth.  I can no longer remember the face of the boy who gave me my first Valentine, nor the one who passed me my first love letter in grade school. I’m certain, at the time, these were major events in my life. But as I grew older, the major events from my youth turned into minor ones and ultimately became forgotten.
I’m guessing the main reason for this, is that I found my true love while in college, and everything else seemed to diminish in comparison.

For Katie and Miles, the story is just the opposite. While in the 7th grade at Laurens Academy, Katie looked out the window as the ‘new boy’ from Beaufort, SC, and his parents toured the middle school campus.  Unbeknownst to Katie, Miles, aka the ‘new boy’ spotted her in the window and told his Dad, “I’m going to date that girl.”

The two remained friends throughout middle and high school, and nearly all the memories of their youth include each other.  As friends often do, the two went their separate ways after high school, Miles to Anderson University and Katie to the University of South Carolina. But even with the distance, the two remained close — incidentally, both their families were also avid Gamecock fans.

After graduation, the couple finally began dating. Nearly a lifetime of friendship culminated itself last fall, as the two excitedly planned to attend College Game Day. As they neared The Horseshoe, they could hear the sounds of crowd and the “Mighty Sound of the Southeast” band — excitement was at a peak.  Suddenly, with the sound of Sandstorm in the background, Miles wraps his arms around Katie, whispers “I love you,” and drops to one knee to propose.

Nearly six months later, Katie, Miles and I planned an adventure to Hunting Island State Park . None of us had ever been there and the drive in was seriously enchanting. Unfortunately, our session fell on an extremely chilly and windy day, but you would have never known in the images that sweet Katie had lost all feeling in her toes and was covered in goosebumps nearly the entire time.  But love has a way of diminishing those things you know . . .

I thank my Lord above for placing Miles in my life and allowing me the joy of soaking up every last bit of him and of our lives together, forever — Katie

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February 12, 2015

One of the many highlights of 2014 was attending the “Every Wedding is an Adventure” Workshop hosted by the incredibly talented Ed Peers and Nirav Patel.

I discovered these artists just weeks prior to their workshop and knew that I had to attend this adventure in San Francisco, California. I had never been out west before, as the bulk of our vacation each year is spent abroad. I truly didn’t know what I was missing!

To have the opportunity to learn from such incredible artists was a life and business changing experience. We hiked in the beautiful Mount Tamalpais State Park for Magda & Mark‘s session. As the sun began to set, I just had to stop and take it all in. I was surrounded by complete tranquility and peace.  Just thinking about it as I write this, still brings that same feeling of inspiration.

Special thanks to Magda and Mark from Mark Trela Photography for being awesome models as well as workshop attendees.


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December 31, 2014

So….when you’re in a faraway location, you have no friends or family close by, and you’re about to embark on yet another photo adventure to a place you’ve never seen, sometimes the fastest way to acclimate yourself is with an internet search of the location. In other words, try to blend in with the locals. This session was at Muir Beach, near Mill Valley, CA, and promised to be a dramatically romantic setting.  It also promised to be a little daring, given the ‘Tips’ I found on the website. Just my kind of session!

There I met my couple, Lib and Magnus, who are true Californians in every since of the word — in-love, carefree, adventurous and totally captivating.

Just before our short session, I was staring in wonderment at the scenes before me. They were utterly gorgeous — crashing waves, high cliffs, winds blowing from the coastal waters — it was like a dream world.  I tried to keep in mind the ‘Tips’ I had read on the website:
Tip #1 – “The site is scenic but windy.”
Tip #2 –  “Avoid the Overlook Trail if you’re afraid of heights.”
Tip #3 – “Cliffs along the coast are isolated and very dangerous.”
Tip #4 – “Use caution. There are no lifeguards.”

I gave the ‘Tips’ no more than a fleeting thought as we headed to the water, then scaled the cliffs for the perfect picture.  More than ever, I could feel my surroundings as the beauty captivated my soul.  I was in my element — a destination shoot, a trip into the unknown, and an adventure that keeps me yearning for more.

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” ~ Susan Sontag


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October 22, 2014

Prior to my recent trip to San Francisco, I connected with Ali & Parker. Little did I know they would lead me to one of the most extraordinary places I’d ever seen…

A gorgeous couple, each with an awesome personality, Ali & Parker are down to earth, fun loving, and above all, madly in love with each other.  We discovered a place about 1-1/2 hours from the city which we felt would be perfect for photos — Point Reyes National Seashore.

A quick online search told me this seashore was “A Natural Sanctuary, A Human Haven — From its thunderous ocean breakers crashing against rocky headlands and expansive sand beaches to its open grasslands, brushy hillsides, and forested ridges, Point Reyes offers visitors over 1500 species of plants and animals to discover. Home to several cultures over thousands of years, the Seashore preserves a tapestry of stories and interactions of people.”  Sounds perfect, right?

The drive to Point Reyes reminded me of the curvy mountain roads back home in West Virginia; however, these California roads were accompanied by steep cliffs which dropped straight into the ocean, minus the guardrails.  The drive itself was truly unbelievable. I have done a great deal of traveling in my life, both in and outside the United States, and I honestly must say this area is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen. I was just captivated by it.

During the drive, I was envisioning a beautiful sunset, golden light, and all the beauty of a West Coast photo. When we arrived, with only an hour to shoot, the location was 100% fog covered. Nothing like I’d envisioned. But as Ali & Parker stepped into the mist, the only word that came to my mind was ‘epic.’ It was one of those instances that a mere photo could never do justice.  It was just the most peaceful and tranquil shoot I’ve done, and the experience will always be with me.

Following the shoot, we drove back along the wild and curvy roads to a cozy little pizzeria for dinner and drinks.  We formed a great friendship, and it was like we’d known each other for years.

Without question, two of my favorite things to do in life is travel and photograph people who are madly in love. Both of these ‘favorites’ were obviously met during this trip.  I’ll be blogging about a few more of my West Coast adventures in the weeks ahead  — hopefully they’ll be the start of many more adventures to come.

To travel is to live ~ Hans Christian Anderson

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May 23, 2014

Stephanie and Lauren became best friends during their undergraduate work, and shared their hopes and dreams amid the chaos of classes and schedules. Lauren told Stephanie about her love of travel, hiking, her enthusiasm for the NFL (Go Panthers!), and her enjoyment of tasting craft beer — even her love of scuba diving.

The two remained friends as Stephanie traveled on to graduate school. As best friends often do, Stephanie remained on the lookout for the ‘perfect guy’ for her friend Lauren.

At school, Stephanie met Michael — someone who loves to travel, is a huge fan of Notre Dame football (his alma mater), brews his own craft beer, cooks ethnic food and even scuba dives. Naturally, she immediately began playing matchmaker. Despite Stephanie’s attempts, the timing was never right for Lauren and Michael to meet — that is, until Stephanie’s own wedding! During the hectic chaos of her own wedding, Stephanie made sure cupid’s arrow was perfectly aimed toward her best friend, and as they say, the rest is history.

When I met this couple, they had flown in from San Francisco for their Engagement Session at Davidson College, ending with a beautiful sunset at Lake Davidson. We immediately hit it off! They were so relaxed and happy together, I knew it was going to be a great session. Throughout the session, I learned the couple had nearly traveled the globe during the past two years — scuba diving in Belize and Honduras, camping in the Shenandoah National Park, biking in the Badlands — you name it! To culminate some of their vast interests, they’re even hosting their rehearsal dinner at the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery in Charlotte, NC. I could go on and on about these two — I just wish they were my neighbors! They’re just so full of life, love and completely happy, beautiful people.

Lauren and Michael will exchange vows on June 14th at Little Church on the Lane followed by a reception at the Carmel Country Club.

And just to think — all it took was a little matchmaking by a best friend.

“But I traveled a long way

And it took time…

To find you…but, I did find you…

And he blessed my soul…” ~ I Found You by Alabama Shakes

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Lauren’s hair and makeup done by the incredibly talented Layne Owensby with Blush Beauty and Makeup.