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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