Posts in Destination Engagement
Parent Photo Albums || Nicole + Chris's Highland Brewing Company Wedding in Asheville, NC

I loved giving people gifts. I love even more getting to make said gifts. From age 5 onward, whenever I could, I handmade all family Christmas gifts, starting as early as June to ensure that everyone’s was completed on time.

So, to be able to incorporate gift giving into my business has been a real pleasure. My favorite product that I started offering last year was a parent album, a smaller version of each couple’s photo album showcasing almost exclusively the images that the couple, the parents and siblings are in. This way, each parent gets their own commemorative album tailored to them, highlighting the moments that they were a part of.

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Ireland Day 1 (and Only): Leave it to the Universe

We didn’t talk much on our walk. The single track trail commands visitors’ silence both because of the treacherous footing and the single-file necessity. This seemed nature’s design as I became much more aware of my surroundings as I simultaneously became lost in my own daydreams. Something about Ireland (and Scotland, too) send my already active imagination into fantasy hyperdrive.

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Photo Album || Keya + Eric's Engagement + Elopement Weekend

My goal was to make the two separate photoshoots blend together into one cohesive story about their lovely weekend, although we only spend about 5 hours total with them. As we ended our engagement shoot (see the full post here) with the most beautiful summer sunset leaving our couple in awe, I decided to set the scene with this opening photo of our Blue Ridge Mountains bathed in color. Photos-wise, from there I moved forward chronologically, ending our first day’s image showing Keya and Eric walking into the distance, alluding to their walk towards their future as husband and wife.

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2019 Goals: Dream Big

After everything I learned last year (read more here), I realized that it’s the “helping others” part that I want to focus on most in the coming year(s). This is the first year that my goals will look quite different than they did in the past; traditionally mine have read something like: “more weddings”, “more family photoshoots”, etc. Not that there was anything wrong with that approach, I did need to augment my bookings for my business to be sustainable. However, its the experiences I’m creating through those photoshoots that I want to focus on most.

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2018 Reflection: The Building Year

I like to use the changing of the calendar year as a start- and end-point to evaluate my metrics and to reevaluate my goals. This is the first time that I ended the year with a very different sense of achievement than I began: I entered hoping to bolster my bookings and set my goals accordingly. But I ended having learned the true “why” behind my drive to do each of these types of photoshoots. In essence, my work has become not just about the end product (typically a storybook photo album) but the entire experience of the session, and by extension an enjoyment of life.

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Keya + Eric's Blue Ridge Parkway Sunset Engagement Session || Asheville, NC

When we finally reached the top of our hike, I had Keya and Eric pause before walking out onto the overlook while I set up my shot, then Emmaleigh led them onto the overlook while they kept their eyes closed. Finally, we had them hold hands and open their eyes. Keya let out an audible gasp as they gazed out over the clear mountain range where the sun was just beginning to set. It was right then that I knew we were really onto something, that this wasn’t just a photoshoot, but the perfect way to spend their last evening before becoming husband and wife.

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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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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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Iceland: Flying by the Seat of Our Pants

I like to think that as long as things don’t go horribly wrong, mishaps can soon turn to funny stories, particularly regarding amusing travel antics. This trip is apparently trying to test that belief.

We started the whole adventure 2 days ago now, driving from Asheville to Baltimore to catch our fight (WOW Air was running a 50% off sale from this airport so we had to take advantage.) Though we left with several hours’ wiggle room, that all came to a screeching halt a few hours in when we hit construction traffic…something like 5 separate times. One hour down, we were undeterred until we hit Baltimore traffic whereupon our last bit of wiggle room quickly slipped away as we sweltered in dead-stopped traffic.

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Meet the Photographer || Betting on Myself

Music has been an essential part of my life for as long as I can remember: I don't start driving without choosing a song, I immediately turn on a playlist when I get home, I live for seeing live shows. There are certain songs and records that define each and every period of my life. For the past 6.5 years - since I left home and set off on the journey towards "adulthood" or whatever this is - Imagine Dragons (the band) has provided me with the majority of these tracks. I could discuss them for days, but the best of them all that literally gave me the defining moment to move forward into a new phase of my life is "Bet My Life" off their sophomore album Smoke and Mirrors

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2018 Goals

Each year, right around Christmas, I evaluate my goals from the ending year and then write out my goals for the coming year. I them let them sit for a few weeks while I evaluate other metrics - making sure that these are the goals that really resonate - and eventually come back to them during the first week of the new year to write this blog post. This year I've been so busy that I'm just now getting to it!

Nonetheless, I'm more than a little excited about this coming year. While each of the past 6 years has brought be a step closer to my ultimate career goals, this coming year is the first one where I feel like I'm really on the right track towards doing exactly what I want to be doing. It took me a while to figure out that exact intersection where my skills, enthusiasm for the work and ability to help people all coincide to create my "calling", but I'm only 24 so it's hard to complain. So, without further ado, here are my intended plans for 2018!

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Katie + Mario's Manassas National Battlefield Park Engagement Session

This past May, I'd planned a trip up to Washington, D.C. with my mom for a girls' weekend of museum-going and visiting family. As we were emailing back-and-forth, my uncle asked if I could bring my camera gear (I don't go anywhere without it so that was a given!) because he and my aunt wanted to do an anniversary shoot. I loved the idea (and still do - we should do that next time I'm in town!) and we had it all planned for the afternoon after mom and I had landed. Little did I know, we were in for a big surprise!

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2017: Love and Lessons

New Year's Eve has always been one of my favorite holidays. Not for the parties or the food (okay, maybe the food) but because it's a collective time of reflection and refocusing. I've always been a very goal-oriented person (which is both a blessing and a curse) so for my business, this gives me a very specific deadline to analyze not only the growth and financial status of my business, but also gauge my passion for the work I've been doing and decide what I want to pursue further. I'll discuss in my next post what my goals are for the year, but as it's still 2017 for a couple hours, I want to look back at the goals I set for myself this time last year and reflect on just how beautiful this year was for me. 

So here, in the same order as I wrote them last year, are my 2017 goals and how well they played out: 

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Anna Beth + Omar's Surprise Proposal

Getting that "Hey, I'm proposing to my girlfriend - could you photograph it?" message is always exhilarating, but even more so when you know the couple, and especially when said proposal is happening in two days! When Omar (my former weight room coach at UNC Asheville) reached out to me saying that he was planning to be in town (as he now lives states away) to propose to Anna Beth and wondered if there was any chance I might be free that Friday afternoon to capture their special moment, I knew that I would do whatever I could to make that schedule happen. And was it ever worth it!

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Meadow + Theo's Granite City Engagement Session

It's not every session that I get to rock hop through a cool new location AND capture the love of a couple of free spirits. Not often do I have the opportunity to shoot from exaggerated angles both high and low. And very rarely do I get to shimmy through rock crevices so narrow I have to hold my cameras in one hand and backpack in the other as I slide through sideways. Yet, I got to do all of these things last month for Meadow and Theo's engagement session!

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Clair + JJ's Arboretum Engagement

I've photographed weddings for colleagues and classmates but never before have I gotten to capture the love story of one of my good friends - until now, that is. When Clair first called me to ask if I would be her wedding photographer (Duh! I would love to!), I don't think I quite realized the enormity of getting to document the wedding experience of someone I know so well. After all, I had been there from the very start of the relationship, had talked with Clair about the two of them on countless runs (for those of you who don't know, Clair and I were teammates on the UNCA cross country and track teams) and had cheered from afar as they moved out west together for school. But as we started the engagement session and I got to witness their love, commitment and pure enjoyment of each other, I knew that this one would be extra special. 

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Washington DC Day 1: A Monumental Adventure

Whereas 2016 was the year of international travel for me, I've spent 2017 exploring cities a little "closer" to home. Initially, I got the idea to spend a weekend in the nation's capital because I wanted to take advantage of Allegiant's new direct flights out of Asheville (the reason for my NYC trip in February) but I also wanted to make it a girls' weekend with my mom. As this [$87 round trip] flight would've landed us at BWI and we'd planned to stay with family in South Riding, VA, we would've had to take a 2.5 hour metro trek from the airport to their home (totally worth it to me!) but in the end we decided to simply fly out of Knoxville and pay more. So, from the outset, the trip was shaping up to be different than I'd originally planned and this was only the first of many surprises!

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