Washington DC: Finding Independence

Now, perhaps driving 7.5 hours somewhere by yourself doesn’t sound like an exciting adventure. And, truth be told, there wasn’t much exciting about that part - or any of the 20 something hours I spent driving this weekend between the road trip, the tours and the photoshoots. But that was exactly the point. To be able to get in my little car and drive off to another state where I know only a handful of people, to schedule networking meetings and photoshoots with strangers, to photograph for another business (i.e. to profit while traveling) and to do all of this on my own. This is what the new me looks like. I’ve been reaching for this person for a very long time (my social media presence often projected this “dream person”) and after enjoying every second of my solo journey this weekend, I think I’ve finally found her.

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Wiseman's View Surprise Proposal || Julie + Trevor

We ended our photoshoot in signature fashion, adding another layer to this couple’s experience to even better remember their sweet weekend. To create this ring photo, Julie and Trevor collected leaves they thought were beautiful. Then, being a wildlife biologist, Trevor pulled out his field journal so they could press the leaves and keep them. Julie has reportedly dried and kept every flower Trevor has given her, so this was a fitting way to memorialize his proposal. I love getting to be a part of any surprise, but especially one so thoughtful as this!

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Biltmore Estate Surprise Proposal || Kelsey + Kyle

Though golden hour is gorgeous, I just as much love shooting in that harsh late morning light, using natural spotlights to highlight my subjects’ emotions while pushing everything else into the background. This is, perhaps, hard to do when the background is a majestic mansion or an incredible mountain range, but Kelsey and Kyle’s elation still stole the show. As they were all smiles and laughter, I wanted to show off their playfulness, so they spent several breathless minutes laughing from the hilarity of chasing each other through a field and giving piggy-back rides.

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Dry Falls Waterfall Elopement || Brianna + Nick

The first, and one of my favorite couple’s photos to date, is the backlit series from directly under the falls. I got wet, the bride and groom got wet, my camera got wet, but it was totally worth it. Initially, we had an umbrella to keep their hair safe from the now pouring rain, but the umbrella was all but forgotten as they kissed, sharing a romantic moment under the waterfall completely to themselves (hooray for telephotos!)

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87th Annual City of Asheville Open Tennis Tournament 2018

The biggest thing I noticed throughout this entire tournament was how much fun everyone was having. Laura Loftis, the facilities manager at Ashton Park, made a similar comment to me after looking through the slideshow I put together to run each day in the clubhouse; in seemingly every photo, everyone was smiling - even the competing participants. As a lifelong athlete myself, taking photos of smiling competitors truly enjoying the spirit of the game was quite a pleasure.

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Film Photography || Asheville Prints for Sale

The main difference when looking at my travel collections versus these Asheville photos is that I’ve been by far more experimental here (which should come as no surprise, I’ve had much more time and no “I might not be back, better get the safe shot” to hold me back.) There’s a mix of everything I’m interested in: street photos, portraits, self portraits, architecture, classic black and white imagery, experimental color effects films, double exposures, and even a bit of social commentary sprinkled in.

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Grand Central Station & New York Public Library Portrait Session || Denise

For these portrait sessions in the city, I wanted to focus on a few things: the vibrant colors, the historical architecture (perfect for framing our photos) and the constant sense of movement. Denise’s gorgeous blue shirt certainly brought the color, so when I saw slew of taxis in front of Grand Central waiting to pick up their passengers, I knew we had to make use of the contrasting color. For these images especially, because of the symbolism of the ever-moving cars, I wanted Denise to simply be still, to be the calm amidst the craziness. I wanted this juxtaposition to also illustrate Denise’s strength, as a traveling mother of two and as a woman in general.

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Magical October 20, 2018 Wedding at Mountain Magnolia Inn || Alicia + Dave

October in the mountains at a Victorian inn built in the 1800s: this wedding was already a recipe for magic. But when Emmaleigh and I arrived at Mountain Magnolia Inn to begin capturing Alicia and Dave’s day, we didn’t realize just how much magic we were in store for.

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North Carolina Arboretum Engagement Session || Alicia + Dave

If the great thing about being a photographer is capturing people’s connections, the second best thing is exploring how each connections fosters another one! Such was the case with Alicia and Dave, a lovely couple from Little Rock, Arkansas. They decided last year to host their intimate 2018 wedding in Hot Springs, NC and while searching for vendors learned that Vortex Doughnuts caters weddings! While paying for their treats, they told the cashier about their wedding plans and he (Alex) gave them my business card, directing them to my website to check out my photos. Lo and behold, a few simple steps brought two people from hundreds of miles away into my life, and so much the better for it!

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Downtown Asheville Engagement Session || Brianna + Nick

As they’d just come in from out of town and were preparing for their elopement the next day, we wanted to keep their engagement session low-key. What more perfect way to do so while showing off what attracted them to Asheville, than photographing at a downtown brewery? After a couple beers and lots of clinking glasses, we took the short walk up to Aloft to finish their session with rooftop portraits. On the way, we got even more Asheville flair than we bargained for as the LaZoom nun “shot us!” (with a water gun.)

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Travel Prints || New York City Film Photography

There is no "capturing" New York City. Just when you think you've photographed each juxtaposing facet - wealthy and destitute, historic and modern, stoic and vivacious - you realize you've only documented the city from one lens, one perspective, and it would take years to delve into each borough with each of its own microcosms of cultures. So, on my 2 trips to NYC earlier this year (where I stayed mostly in Brooklyn and Manhattan), I didn't set out to try to capture the heart of the city. Instead, I wanted to document my own experience of it. This meant not going out of my way for a photo, rather clicking the shutter just whenever I saw something I personally found interesting.

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Arlyn + Alex's Crest Center Wedding in Asheville, NC || July 15, 2018

If rain on your wedding day is lucky, and a butterfly flying over your is equally felicitous, then Arlyn and Alex's marriage will surely be blessed! They made their vows backed by a view of our beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, as all of their family and friends came to wish them well. More than that, their loved ones participated in the ceremony. Both the bride's and groom's parents walked their respective children down the aisle, then the couple's godparents carried down each of the traditional El Salvadorian wedding items to present during the ceremony. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful outpouring of love for Arlyn and Alex. Thank you to everyone who helped make it such a special day!

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Asheville Engagement Session || Arlyn + Alex's Arboretum Engagement

We met for their shoot on a beautiful evening in June, the Arboretum was vibrantly alive with greenery. I knew they had planned a casual outfit and a dressier option, but when I saw Arlyn dressed in the most perfectly twirlable blue dress, the color standing out perfectly against the foliage, I knew we were going to make some magic! As you can see, we made use of that twirl. These two are fabulous dancers with incredible chemistry, let me tell you. 

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Black Mountain Wedding || Alexis and James's October Wedding at The Settings

The first: family. James presented Alexis's parents with a wooden duck at the beginning of their wedding ceremony, a Korean custom symbolizing the importance of their commitment as mandarin ducks mate for life. I love that they integrated this tradition into their ceremony, as an homage to his heritage and a way to make their otherwise non-traditional ceremony their own. Their families also played a huge part in bringing together all the unique elements of their big day. Not only did Alexis's parents in partnership with James create all of the beautiful bottle art (hooray for recycling!) but Alexis's mom even sewed her dress! Not to mention, Alexis's niece made all of the delicious owl cupcakes, which were quite a hoot. As much as the wedding was about Alexis and James committing their lives to each other, it was also a display of the couple's wholehearted love for their families and vice versa. 

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Asheville Branding Session || Just Bloom Together || Asheville Wedding Coach and Stylist

The objective of her branding photos was threefold: to show the active and nature-loving lifestyle that's as much a part of Emmaleigh as her fiery red hair, to show her styling expertise and enthusiasm for conveying each client's personality through their clothing and accessories, and to show the virtual assistant side of her business where she focuses on helping other businesses grow. 

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Film Photography || Complex Simplicity & Simple Complexity

Rarely, if ever, do I share a whole roll of film. Typically, I share just a few shots here and there on Instagram with my favorites from each location making it into a blog post. But this roll was special. For one, it was the first roll of color film that I've ever developed myself! Though the chemicals arrived several weeks ago, I've put off using them because I was nervous I'd ruin the roll, this being my first time using the slightly-more-complicated color chemicals. As it turns out, all that worry was for naught. Using the Cinestill development kit, there were actually fewer steps than developing black and white film. And while the directions indicated it was imperative to have the water at a precise hot temperature, as I've gone by feel for black and white for years, I'm fairly certain I'll still be able to do the same as the film turned out perfectly. 

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Travel Prints || Portland Film Photos

Interestingly enough, while I've spent the most time out of any destination in Portland, Oregon I've shot the least amount of film there. This is probably because I'm always there to do portrait sessions, which I still shoot in digital. Nonetheless, each day as I'm walking to my meetings or shoots, I always have my Vivitar locked and loaded. Along the way, I've created some images I'm quite happy with, a very basic beginning in capturing the flavor of the city. 

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London Portrait Session || Meadow + Theo's Couples Portraits in the English Countryside

Next to eating anything and everything, my favorite thing to do while abroad is photograph with fun people, especially if beautiful fields of flowers are involved! When Erin and I were planning our trip to London, I ran through my list of people I knew there and, as it happened, one of my former couples, Meadow and Theo, were now living in Leicester! We were originally supposed to meet and ride up with them to the Peak District, but since Erin and I managed to get on the train going in the wrong direction, we didn't have quite the amount of time we'd originally planned. I'm already scheming to go up there next time, though!

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