Smoky Mountains Elopement

I’m so excited to get to share these images on National Coming Out Day. As a straight cis-female who photographs people in love, I believe it is so important for me to show my support for ALL couples. I never want anyone to come to my website and have to wonder whether I will accept them as clients because of who they love. A few weeks ago, I had the absolute joy and privilege to photograph these two incredible ladies, Rhetta and Hannah at a workshop run by my dear friend and amazing human, Chad Braithwaite of Utah based Faces Photography (and giver of unlimited free hugs). It was a short hike up the mountain at Craggy Gardens in the Smoky Mountains of NC, near Asheville. Wardrobe was put together by the one of a kind Twyla Jones, who I like to call my little sun-loving gypsy fairy (who also has a bad ass husband who makes ahh-mazing food). I told her I was pretty sure she designed the look just for MEEEE because anyone who knows me at all knows how much I love all things lacy and delicate. Evan Stowers was responsible for their gorgeous hair and Hailey Boam worked her magic on makeup (and SO much more!). But let’s talk about Rhetta and Hannah for a moment. This is a real couple, not just some models who were thrown together because they’re pretty. What you see in these images is 100% authentic. They are truly the sweetest, most in love couple I have ever had the honor of photographing. Recently, they moved together from Arizona to NYC to chase their dreams and live their adventure together. They make me want to be 20-something again! Their smiles, laughter, and hearts of pure gold felt contagious, like just being around them made you a little bit of a better, happier person. Thank you so much, you two, for letting us all in, and sharing your love with us. And now, a word about workshops. For the photographers and other creatives reading this – I know there are two thing happening in the industry when it comes to workshops right now: people are either obsessed with them or they are skeptical and jaded about them. There is indeed an overabundance of new workshops being announced almost daily, it seems. Are they worth your money, your time? How do you know you won’t just fork over a bunch of your hard earned money and get next to nothing in return? ASK the attendees. Befriend the organizers, if possible. If they are not accessible and friendly to you, I would be cautious. Because let me tell you, there are some absolutely lovely people out there pouring their hearts and resources into creating something potentially life changing for you. It’s not just about shooting the same thing with 20 other people, or getting editing tips from people who sell presets. It’s about connection and feeding your soul. Sitting behind your computer day in and day out can be a lonely experience. Many of us reach out to social media to make like minded friends who understand our daily struggles and share our passions. But there is nothing like wrapping your arms around those people and feeling their hearts beat against yours, staying up sharing drinks and doing bad interpretive dancing, talking openly about your biggest fears and how to overcome them, and walking away with a heart bursting at the seams. (Plus you get gorgeous photos, learn new things (yes, we can all learn from each other!), and win awesome stuff (Like Loupedeck, Smart Albums, Photo Mechanic, hello!).  Don’t close yourself off because you think people are making huge profits off of suckers. If it’s being done well chances are, there isn’t much profit in it, and the hearts of many of these people are so big that they are giving a lot more than they are receiving most of the time. I know I will be going back to “Rehab” for as long as it happens (check out the video for 2018: COLORADO!), and I am seriously overjoyed that I get to live out a HUGE dream of mine this April – going to England and meeting the legendary Rosie Hardy (my very first photography crush in 2007 – yay Flickr!) and attending her one day workshop, as well as attending SNAP Photography Festival , founded by one of my new favorite humans (and brilliant interpretive dancer) Laura Babb, of the London based Babb Photography. One last thing – this year I started offering one on one mentoring and it has been something I’ve really enjoyed. After our England trip in May, I will be spreading my little baby teaching wings at the Reverie Workshop in Zion National Park, Utah, with Hailey Faria Photography. I’ve known Hailey for over a decade – we have watched each other begin our journeys as photographer and grow as artists. She has a huge passion for portrait photography as art and self expression, and we are going to be talking about some topics that are near and dear to our hearts, getting vulnerable, and creating awesomeness! The main theme I am working on for Reverie is what I have decided to call “The Art of Being Wrong” – it is about as personal as you can get, and is something that has developed over basically a lifetime of being wrong – which sounds awful, but I’m going to explain how it’s actually the best thing ever. Thanks so much for taking the time to read these words and view these images. Soon, my fabulous fiance, Mike and I, will also be announcing a Northern Lights/Elopement hybrid photography adventure to Norway and it’s going to be epic. I’m so excited for 2018 and can’t wait to share everything with you!

smoky mountain wedding

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Samantha & Kelly’s Bed & Breakfast Wedding and Industrial Chic Downtown Bradenton Reception

Samantha and Kelly are a couple clearly in love. The looks on their faces and the tears during their ceremony said it all. You could say they are lucky in love, but I’d also say they are lucky in weather! This summer has been a rainy one here in the Tampa Bay area. And by rainy, I mean weeks on end of all day rain and gloom. Amazingly, Samantha and Kelly were blessed with the one sunny day sandwiched between a bunch of gloomy ones – and they just made it before Hurricane Irma blew into town. The wedding day was incredibly hot, but we were just so thankful to have gorgeous golden light, it hardly mattered! Their ceremony took place at the always beautiful Palmetto Riverside Bed & Breakfast in Palmetto, Florida. I never get tired of  photographing weddings at this perfect venue, a historic restored home which sits right across from the water. The real surprise came when I walked into the space that would serve as the couples’ reception venue. The bride owns a company called Brand Story Experts, which is situated in historic downtown Bradenton. The couple emptied the office and transformed the space into an incredible and unique wedding venue. Exposed brick walls and tall white ceilings gave it an industrial-chic feel. To add to the ambiance, the couple decorated with lots of large string lights, gorgeous greenery, white roses, and elegant black & gold accents. The effect was breathtaking. Swanky Soiree did an flawless job with their coordination, as always! Congratulations, Samantha & Kelly!

 

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Kiersten’s Vintage and Beach Life Inspired Senior Session in Bradenton, FL

There’s something about this Senior Portrait Session that’s really special to me. It’s not just that Kiersten was a dream to photograph, or that she’s a crazy talented Volleyball player who also has brains and beauty. Those things are true. But what was so meaningful to me was to see the relationship between Kiersten and her mom. I could tell right away that they were two peas in a pod, a mother-daughter pair who had managed to tap into the balance between parent and friend, and were gracefully navigating the waters of change as Kiersten prepared to leave the state for college. I saw myself and my own 2017 high school graduate in them, and I knew I needed to photograph them together. Moms are often reluctant to jump in front of the camera with their glammed up teen, feeling like they won’t look good. But I encourage every parent who accompanies their Senior to get in a photo. First, I promise it will look amazing, and second, I promise you will not regret it. In 10 years, it will be something you cherish, and speaking as a mom of a teen I can tell you – you will never be as young as you are now! Your future self will look at the photo and say “wow, I was SO young and beautiful!” We are always so much harder on ourselves in the present moment, and we always kick ourselves for it later. Senior portraits are so much fun, and we aim to make it a memorable experience for all involved. From the planning process, to the shoot itself, to the ordering, we are going to have an amazing time. There are so many gorgeous locations in Sarasota, Bradenton, and the Tampa Bay area. I now offer two types of Senior Sessions – the standard session includes one location and up to 3 outfits. The deluxe session includes two locations, 4 outfits, and professional hair & makeup. Sometimes we can achieve two looks at one location, such as at some of the beaches in Longboat Key, Bradenton, and Lido, because there are wooded areas adjacent to the beach. For those who would like an urban look as well as a beach or green space look, the deluxe session will allow you to do that. I can’t wait to meet all of the amazing Seniors of the Class of 2018 I will get to photograph this year!


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Danielle & David’s Sarasota, Florida Destination Wedding at the Historic Powel Crosley Estate

Danielle and David are one of those couples everyone wants to be friends with, and the love of their family and friends was made clear by the number of out of state guests who attended their incredible destination wedding in Sarasota, Florida. Their wedding, which would best be described as romantic, timeless and classic, took place at the historic Powel Crosley Estate. The Crosley is, hands down, one of the most gorgeous venues in the Tampa Bay area. The mansion boasts a beautiful bridal suite downstairs and a spacious upstairs area for a large group to get ready. The result is a venue that can serve as a one stop shop for the whole day, which is incredibly convenient and a huge time saver. There are so many perfect spots on the grounds to take couple’s portraits, even after shooting many weddings there over the past six years, I am still finding new ways to be creative there. Even better than the awesome location was the fact that the bride and groom were incredibly sweet, fun and talented. One of the highlights of the day was their first dance. I have seen quite a few choreographed dances, and sometimes they appear a bit awkward as couples who may not be experienced dancers struggle to remember the steps. This was not one of those dances. I wish I could have blogged every single photo of the dance because they were all so great. Not only was the choreography seamlessly professional and well done, but the bride and groom were having an absolute blast doing it and were still able to focus on each other the whole time. It was an absolute joy to watch, and left me feeling like this couple is destined for a lifetime of fun and laughter together. Congratulations, David and Danielle!

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Longboat Key Family Beach Session in Sarasota

When I say this was the perfect family session, it is no exaggeration. From start to finish, these kiddos were happy and sweet. And mom suffered a broken toe from stubbing it on driftwood, and yet she was a total trooper. I have the honor of photographing many, many families who are not local to our area. Some are first time vacationers and others come back year after year and I get to watch their children and families grow. I love my out of town clients! One of my biggest goals is to not only create wall worthy portraits, but also to document the connection between family members and the personalities of each individual. I’m so happy that I was able to exceed those goals with this session!

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