Friday, May 18, 2012

Tanglewood Arboretum, Advance, NC: Dana and Jared

   The day began slightly overcast... a photographer's dream... with just a mildly cool breeze in the air.  At Tanglewood Arboretum, the gardens were blooming with every sort of flower imaginable creating the perfect setting for a beautiful spring wedding... and the adjoining cow pastures were covered in a soft blanket of green sprinkled with lovely yellow wild flowers. 

   While Jared relaxed around the pool with his groomsmen and friends, Dana prepared for the day in her suite surrounded by her bridesmaids and family.  The mood in her room was very calm and relaxed but as the day moved on the anticipation grew and excitement filled the air.  Even the threat of rain could not dampen spirits as the moment drew near.  Dana and Jared reveled in their first private glimpses of each other in a beautiful walled garden and then promised to love each other for the rest of their lives beneath a beautiful arbor surrounded by their friends and family.

It was also a pleasure to work alongside Melissa Kernstine of Hair Razers as Dana prepared for her big day.
    I am so grateful that Dana and Jared allowed me to share their day with them and to have the priviledge to document their love.  I was also thrilled that Dana and Jared agreed to be my first bride and groom to take advantage of a first look before the ceremony, which gave them a few private moments to enjoy being alone together on one of the most memorable days of their lives before the hustle and bustle of the wedding day began.

 Dana and Jared, I hope you had a wonderful, relaxing trip to Miami, and thank you again from the bottom of my heart for sharing your special day with me!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Just loaves and fish?

I'm sure this reflection will not be new for many of you, but it was a new thought for me, so I had to share.  I heard someone from Focus on the Family share this idea during a short inspirational clip on the radio while I was driving to Starbucks tonight to edit wedding photos. 

Back during Jesus three years of ministry before His death, he and the disciples went all over Israel (and sometimes Samaria) teaching the masses.  During one of his messages, Jesus was teaching over 5000 people.  When the disciples came to him and told him he should send the people away to find food, his reply was "you feed them."  After combing the crowd, all the disciples could come up with was 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.  From their perspective... "how in the world could that little snack feed 5000 men and their wives and children?"  The answer... it couldn't.  But Jesus could!  He took that pathetic offering and multiplied it to feed a multitude... literally. 

(Here's where the application comes in.)  God has called us to reach the WORLD for him.  What a huge task!  Then here we come, sinful and powerless, with our pitifully inadequate talents and abilities.  It's so easy to look at ourselves and think... I am just inadequate.  There's no way I can accomplish all that God requires of me.  True.  YOU CAN'T! ...None of us CAN!!  But GOD CAN!!!  He can take our tiny "loaves and fishes" and multiply them into talents and abilities for reaching the world in ways we could never imagine!  He knows who he has called us to reach and what we will need to accomplish this.  Our part is just to offer our loaves and fishes... he will do the rest. 

Thank you, Lord, for using us even when we seem so powerless.  Thank you for taking whatever we can come to the table with and making it just right to do what you have called us to.  Amen!

Here's a little sneak peek of our family adventure a few weekends ago... strawberry picking!  More to come!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Book a FREE engagement session!!!!

Happy Friday!  YAY!!  It's the weekend!  Well.... almost anyway.

Today I'm going to open up and get vulnerable with you all.  I want to tell you about a personal growth challenge I have encountered that could lead to an awesome opportunity for you or someone you know. Deep breath... here goes.

As I have gone through the editing process on my last two weddings, I was excited to see how much my detail and photo-journalistic photography has continued to grow.  I also was thrilled that I was able to come away with some fun creative shots at my last reception thanks to some tips and suggestions that I read on Melissa Jill's photography blog.  (Thanks for sharing, Melissa!)  That leaves the portraits...

While I still have room for improvement in my bridal portraits, I am content with the creativity and selection that I have been able to offer my brides, but it is my bride/groom portraits that always seem to leave me wishing for more.  Thankfully I have some real gems from these last two weddings that I am very proud of, yet while I am shooting I sometimes find myself "stuck" between poses with no idea where to go next.  I can read other photographer's blogs and wedding magazines for inspiration and pre-plan the whole night before, but in the heat of the moment, I still find myself freezing up mentally while transitioning from pose to pose.   Add the pressure of a tight shooting schedule and you could have a recipe for disaster!

I believe the best way to improve my ability to invent creative poses on the fly is to practice, practice practice!  Like mom always said, "practice makes perfect"... or at least hopefully closer than I am to perfect right now.... haha!

Here's where you come in!  I am looking for engaged couples I can shoot to gain more experience without the pressure of the wedding day.  I am offering a *free engagement session ($250 value) to the first 5 couples who book a session with me.  (These couples are NOT required to book their wedding with me to take advantage of this offer. You still qualify even if you have booked your wedding with another photographer!) To sweeten the pot, the first 2 couples to book will also receive a high-res CD of the best 20 images from the session for FREE ($249 value)!!  For more information or to book a session, email me or call (478-342-8783).

I need the practice, and hopefully you or someone you know could use FREE photos!!  (You scratch my back; I'll scratch yours!)  Please pass this post along to everyone you know who is getting married.
And with that, I hope you have a fabulous Friday and a fun restful weekend!

*Free sessions will take place within 30 miles of my home in Duncan, SC.  (I will travel up to 120 miles if the couple pays for my gas from here to the location and back.)

As always, I can't post without including a photo!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sweet moments with my Savior

I love mornings like this morning.  James woke up at 5:11, which meant I had to get up and resettle him back in bed.  It was surprisingly easy today, and by 5:25ish I was back in bed.  But since I really felt pretty wide awake, I thought, why not just get up and get a jump start on the day.  By 6:45, I had showered, dried my hair, fixed a nice breakfast for Jim and myself, packed a lunch for Jim, and seen him off to work.  As I stood waving goodbye, I noticed how delicious the weather was this morning... just the slightest nip in the air, clear blue sky and the birds were singing... and I thought why not spend time with God OUTSIDE this morning?

So I gathered my Bible, journal, pen and sweater, and headed out to my rocking chair on the back porch.  Somehow it seemed easier to stay focused on what I was praying about when all the "to-dos" of the day weren't staring me in the face.  I just sat for a while listening to the birds chirping and watching the wind in the trees and contemplated the complexity of all that God created.  WOW!

We have discovered hundreds or maybe even thousands of species of birds, and yet there are still more that are thus far unknown.  Each one has its own shape, coloration pattern and call.  They have hearts, lungs, brains, etc. like us, and yet, we can't fly.

And consider the trees.  Some grow to be less than 10-15 feet tall like Crape Myrtles (some varieties), while others like the Redwood grow so large that you can make a tunnel in the trunk large enough to drive a car through!!!  With so many complexities and variations, how can one not see the fingerprint of a Divine Creator woven throughout?  (I realize that I risk offending some of my readers, but when I study science in depth and considered how complex our world is, I just can't fathom any other possible answer to what I see.)

After praising God for His glorious creativity that I observed in the birds and trees, I enjoyed singing two of my favorite hymns- Love lifted me and the Old Rugged Cross- and reading a few chapters from 1 Peter.  What a precious time of reflection and teaching from my Savior!  Isn't it beautiful that the God that created our universe in all its complexity is ready and waiting any time that we make time to come together with him?!!  I am so thankful that he does, and I am ashamed that I don't take advantage of the privilege more often!  I hope that all of you will know him personally one day!

Happy Hump day!


And because I hate to blog and not post something, here's a sneak peek from last weekend's wedding.  :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dana C.- Beautiful Bride!

I am so excited to finally share these photos!  I shot this bridal session back in October in Old Winston-Salem, NC, but I couldn't post the photos until after the wedding... which was this past Saturday.  So while I'm editing the wedding photos, here's a little teaser to hold you over.  Dana and Jared, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your special day!  Enjoy your time in Miami!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Baby N. J.... Newborn shots

Meet Renee's sweet baby.  I can't believe he is already 5 months old!  How time flies!  These photos were taken about 2 weeks after the maternity photos from my March 21 post.  This sweet little guy was such a trooper throughout the session.  I have never worked with a more posable, cooperative baby, including my own.  He gave me hope that maybe I will have a future in newborn photography.... at least from time to time.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Little J.G. is 2!

A few weekends ago my husband's mom and sister were up for a visit, and while they were here we went out to Cleveland Park in Spartanburg so I could get some 2 year photos of my little man.  It was the perfect time for the shoot because the cherry blossom trees were in fully bloom as were some of the azaleas.  There were also dandelions and clover all over the ground, which made for some cute shots because my little guy LOVES to pick "bi- ers" (translation flowers) for mommy.

I got a real treat while we were out too because it isn't often that I get to be in front of the camera with him, but Jim's sister offered to get a few shots of the two of us.  They really turned out cute!

Without further a-do... enjoy!

Happy Friday!!!
 (This is his "shewie face"... he doesn't grasp yet that flowers don't smell bad like diapers... haha.  Everything that smells is "shewie" right now.  :)