Saturday, January 7, 2017

Favorite Wedding Photos of 2016

I had so much fun compiling a top 10 list last year that I decided to do it again for 2016!
Since I'm lazy on this snow day, I'll recycle the explanation.

"Most of my top ten are not what you would expect a wedding photographer to pick. They aren't the gorgeous portraits of brides looking like Vogue models with dramatic lighting. Most of them don't showcase any kind of technical prowess. They aren't even photos that you would typically see pinned on every bride's 'I Do' Pinterest board. These are photos of moments that moved me. Moments that made these weddings stand out in my mind and made me proud of myself as a photographer for capturing them. I experience moments like this in each wedding, and when I manage to capture them well, that is when I feel like I've done my job."

These are in no particular order

Kathleen & Michael - Malesus Baptist Church and Aeneas Building

This was the first wedding that I shot after my dad passed away (when will it not feel weird to say/type that?). I gave myself about 1000 pep talks before and during this wedding, and I felt good about my work at the end of the day. Kathleen and Michael are both wonderful, and luckily their wedding was a stress-free, fun celebration of a long relationship. As much as I try not to let my personal life affect my work, I couldn't help being extra sensitive to father/daughter moments during my December weddings (that's not a bad thing of course). It was toward the end of the evening, and I noticed Kathleen dancing with her father across the room. Usually at a certain point, I slow way down on dance photos because I only deliver so many, and they get repetitive. Luckily, I saw these two having the grandest time and got over there to capture it! Their smiles are so genuine, and hopefully this is a moment they'll both remember fondly.

Amy was one of the spunkiest, most charming brides I've ever worked with! I got tons of lovely portraits of her and Andrew, including some with their super adorable dog, but my absolute favorite shot of the day is this cute little fist-bump after their bubbles exit. It just perfectly illustrates why Amy is so great. 

Clare & Gray - Fellowship Bible Church

I don't even know where to start with these two. They exemplify all the best qualities in a couple! They are sentimental, loving, emotive, genuine and just generally wonderful. This was my last wedding of the year, and I couldn't have ended on a higher note. For some reason, this shot of the flower girl and ring bearer (the children of some friends of mine) just stands out to me. This is another wedding where I had tons of beautiful portraits of this incredibly photogenic couple, but this sweet moment trumps those portraits for me. I just love seeing these huge, natural smiles in photographs!

Jacob & Laura - Twin Oaks

These two were SO MUCH FUN! Can't you tell? Laura has amazing style, and her wedding was beautiful in every way. Her dress, her makeup, the decor, the cakes...everything was impeccable. All of those things together make for a pretty awesome photo story, but the standout image of the day is this dancing photo from the very end of the night. There are actually three in a row that I love, but Jacob's face in this one makes me laugh every time I look at it. It's just too funny! You can tell these two have a great time together.

Chelsea & Darren - Crown Winery

Well, here's an odd where the bride and groom aren't even in it! Make sure to check out the whole wedding (their names are a link) to see how beautiful this whole day was. I just loved this shot that I got of these bridesmaids as Chelsea was about to come down the aisle. I don't know what possessed me to turn around and get this, since I am usually concentrating on the groom, but I'm glad I did! This bridal party was one of my favorites of the year. Almost all of them have been friends forever, so they were having a great time all day.

Ruthie & Caleb - Englewood Baptist Church

Ruthie wanted to have a "first look" with her bridesmaids after she got her dress on. I've had several brides do this, and it's always really cute. The pictures are usually not my favorites because it's difficult to get that many faces in, especially if they're spread out. I absolutely loved this shot of Ruthie's bridesmaids all coming in for a group hug though! If you can't tell already, I love photographs with lots of emotion (mostly joy).

Bri & Andrew - Peaceful Oaks Bed & Breakfast

Best. Dance. Shot. Ever. Of mine anyway! I love this picture so much. I wish you could see Bri in that mass of her friends, but that's the only thing I would change. I just love how into it everyone is, and the guy that popped out in front and danced across the frame just made me laugh so hard.

Corey & Ali - Meadow Hill Farm

Picking one image from this day was difficult, but this one sticks out in my mind. Corey & Ali are one of those couples that just makes you feel all warm and mushy inside. So this picture...the ceremony is always a blur to me. Everything happens so fast, and I just want to catch the moments. I am always crouching at the end of the aisle as the bride processes, and I contort around to catch the groom's face then swing back to get the bride. I did all this in a matter of a few seconds, then retreated to the back to shoot the rest. It wasn't until I was going through the images later that I noticed the single tear running down Corey's cheek as he watched his beautiful bride walking down the aisle. The tear plus his grin just melted my heart.

Stephan & Christy - Nelson Barn

This was my second wedding of last year. It was in February, so everything was mostly indoors. After the ceremony wrapped up, the bridal party all processed out the back door at the end of the aisle. There were lots of hugs and congratulations, and I caught this hug between Stephan and his oldest son. Stephan & Christy have four kids between then, and they are all a hoot! They were so sweet with their kids, making sure to pay special attention to each of them throughout the day. This shot is one of my favorites for the relationship that it displays, even though the color is weird and it's grainy.

Kayla & Daniel - The Barn at Snider Farms

Ok this might seem like a weird selection for top 10, but I can explain! Kayla is a good friend of mine. She's been a support for me during several challenging events (triathalon, obstacle races, etc.) and she's just kind of one of the best people I know. I could have picked any of the images I captured from her day, but I love this one so much! Kayla does this little hand under the chin pose all the time in pictures, so it's kind of her signature thing. As I was shooting the bridesmaid group, I figured it would be cute to have them all do that. They all nailed it! Even the littles! This illustrates my love of capturing my couples' personalities in their images. 


I hope guys enjoyed these! I know I practically wrote a book here, but I like to brag on my awesome couples and their weddings. 2016 was truly an amazing year! 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Things to do in 2017

Another year, another list! Let's see how I did in 2016, shall we?

Here are the goals I set in 2016:

  1. Watch 20 books in my "1001 Movies to See Before You Die" book - I know I watched 19. I stopped keeping track, so I may have gotten another one in there. I count this a success since I at least got close. 
  2. Nail down "family formal" lighting - I feel pretty good about this. I've gotten a much better handle on my off-camera flash this year, so family formals have improved! 
  3. Write stuff down - I did this a little bit. I had some struggles this year that I wrote about as a sort of therapy for myself, then when I felt sufficiently recovered, I cut the pages out of my journal and trashed them...ha 
  4. Let feet heal, and run again - Prior to my dad passing away, I had started running again with minimal pain. I was doing pretty well! Hoping to get back to it this week.
  5. Go to church consistently - I had success with this on and off. We did start going to a Life Group though, so that's good! I did better in 2016 than in 2015, but hoping to improve even more in 2017. 
  6. Replace main camera - I tried out the successor of my camera, and while I liked it, I didn't feel the need to spend the money on it. The camera I have is still serving me well!
  7. Put $5000 toward Rhett's school loans - Success! This was difficult to make happen, but I did it. 
  8. Clean out garage - Didn't make even a little progress on this. 
  9. Read a book a month - I surpassed this goal by a lot! 66 books total. It's been a very wordy year.
  10. Get bushes removed in the backyard - Nope. Seriously have to make this happen eventually.
I honestly didn't feel like I did great this year, but looking back, it's not bad. I set manageable goals and did pretty well. Most of the year was ok, but it really hasn't been the most pleasant one. I was in a "valley" as I like to call it, emotionally, for most of the year. I did finally recover from that around early fall. Then my dad passed away on Thanksgiving and I sort of spiraled. I am good at hiding it, but it's been rough. Time is healing, though, and I'm slowing feeling better. 

Ok, so now that I've got that out of the way, let's look at 2017, shall we?

I hung out with my friend Josh last night and we came up with some goals. Feeling good about things so far!

  1. Read 50 books
  2. Clean & Organize garage (for real this time) - this is especially needed now that I have a lot of my dad's things that I'd like to hang onto.
  3. Tithe - I'm not consistent with this, so I want to get in the habit.
  4. Journal weekly - I have a weekly list making journal to help with this! Excited about that. 
  5. Research & choose new album for photography packages - I just want something a little nicer
  6. Run ≥ 5 miles a week
  7. Clean out closet and fix up guestroom - That room needs help!
  8. Go through boxes in the attic
  9. Minimize:
    • Possessions
    • Social Media
    • Junk Food
These all seem very doable! Nothing too crazy, and mostly stuff that is measurable. I am looking forward to this being a good year. Rhett and I will be celebrating 5 years of marriage this year, AND I'll be celebrating my 30th birthday. I can't believe that I'll be 30 this year! I still don't feel like I'm that far removed from college, but I think that birthday will make it sink in. Here's hoping I don't feel too sad about getting older!

Hope you all have a happy and healthy 2017!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Clare & Gray - Laid Back Christmas Wedding in Jackson Tennessee

My last wedding of 2016 was a great one! Clare & Gray got married a week before Christmas at Fellowship Bible Church. They had a laid back evening wedding complete with a coffee bar, and the room was filled with friends and family. I love how much fun these two have together. They are always grinning at each other, and it's seriously adorable. These are some of my favorite photos from their beautiful wedding...

Those are some of the details I got early in the afternoon. Gray worked in the mailroom in college, so I'm assuming that's where the letter cake idea came from. Loved it! Also, the favors are homemade pickles, which I thought was awesome.  My second photographer Sue White took the next few detail shots a little later.

I got there with plenty of time to get some "prep" shots, and even had a chance to just chat with Clare for a bit. I had the privilege of getting to know both her and Gray while they were still students at Union, and it was not only fun to document their day but also to catch up with them a little!

The girls found some toys in a closet and had a little fun!

Clare gave each of her bridesmaids a throw with something embroidered on the corner. Each embroidery design was customized to the girl with something she was interested in, which was such a sweet thought!

The bridesmaid dresses were amazing! While they were getting ready, we ducked into a smaller room for Clare to get her dress on.

I used the big window in that smaller room to get a few quick portraits.

Clare wanted to do a first look with her bridesmaids. It was cute! She also wanted to do one with her dad, so we headed downstairs for that.

Right as she came down the stairs, her mom's phone started ringing with the NCIS theme song, which cracked everyone up. You can tell this family has a lot of laughs together!

Now it was time for Gray to see Clare. I was locked in on Gray ready to get his expression when he turned around, then all the sudden I hear the opening notes to "Forever" by Chris Brown. I'm not exaggerating when I say I had just watched the Jim & Pam wedding on The Office a week before this, so it was fresh on my mind. It was the cutest, funniest, most precious first look ever! Very sentimental, but with a dose of humor.

Gray liked his gift!

We went ahead and took some portraits there on the stage, then we went outside for like 5 minutes to do some out there. It was in the 20s, so we didn't last long!

Sue took these nice portraits of Gray while I was taking some of Clare.

We got back inside in a hurry and warmed up. The flower girl and ring bearer were in there ready for pictures. They are too cute for words!

Sue got all the girls in their Christmas sweaters by the fireplace. So very festive!

These two. I swear! Olivia had that charm on during pictures. She was a perfect little model for me. Now Judah was a little skeptical, but he still did pretty good!

Beautiful florals by Kent Freeman, and the mothers carried their Bibles down the aisle.

Sue got these sweet moments of Clare and her dad before they walked down the aisle.

Some very talented people on that stage! Meg Rushing is not only a talented singer, but she's a photographer as well. She worked on our staff as a student, and she's doing great work lately. Love seeing former students at weddings.

Each of the bridesmaids places a white rose in a vase after walking down the aisle. The roses were a way to honor lost loved ones.

It was such a sweet ceremony with lots of tears and smiles. They also took communion together, which I always love. It was pretty quick, and soon they were walking out as man and wife! After the ceremony, we took a few more family pictures, then went on to the reception.

The reception room was packed to the brim, and I barely made it over to the dance floor to get their dancing pictures...and don't even ask me about the "intro." I was smushed against a wall when they came in. haha! Luckily I squeezed my way through the crowd and got some dancing pictures. It looks deceptively un-crowded in the background.

Her dad had a slideshow going during their dance. I just stood in one spot and sobbed while I watched them. I still get pretty emotional when dads are involved, and probably will for a while.

The cake was the only other "event" during the reception. They mainly just wanted to mingle and enjoy talking to everyone. They had lots of folks to talk to, so I pretty much just followed them around for the next hour getting candid shots. Like I said, it was very laid back!

This was such a great way to end my 2016 season. Clare and Gray are pretty much the perfect clients. They're easy-going, stylish and very clearly head-over-heels for each other. They also both had wonderful families and obviously a ton of lively friends who made the day so much fun. I'm so glad they asked me to shoot this special day for them!

Venue: Fellowship Bible Church
Cakes/Cookies: L&T Cakery
Cookies: A Matter of Taste
Floral: J.Kent Freeman