Posts in Portraits
Maya's Old Town Alexandria, VA Portrait Session

The excellent thing about candid portraiture, particularly that which seeks to capture each subject simply as they are, is that it doesn’t require experienced models. In fact, for me, one of the greatest pleasures of running a photography business has been getting to create someone’s first ever portrait session, to give someone the gift of confidence through looking at photos of themselves that capture their essence in a beautiful way.

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Engagement Photo Album || Tara + Q's Zillicoah Beer Company + Beaver Lake Engagement Session

They loved so many of the photos that rather than try to narrow it down further, we decided to include near-duplicates (or at least photos in very similar poses/moments) which made for an interesting design challenge combining quite a few photos into one spread. I love the cinematic quality to their album because of this - as if each photo sequence is its own storyboard for a scene in their romantic flick.

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Photo Album || Dee + Sam's Botanical Gardens Anniversary Session

The 5th anniversary gift is typically wood, so we spent Dee and Sam’s anniversary accordingly - hanging out in the woods! Dee and Sam had already planned a weekend getaway to Asheville. So, to help celebrate their beautiful milestone, Dee’s sister arranged a couple’s photoshoot with me so that they could commemorate their weekend. As we were in the middle of June, we chose the Botanical Gardens of Asheville as our backdrop to make use of the bounty of greenery highlighted by a brilliant sunny evening.

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Phoenix, Arizona: Friends All Around the World

I spent the majority of my second day in Arizona hanging out with amazing women. That’s really my biggest takeaway from this trip - just how many incredible women there are out there and how lucky I am to be building my own community of them all across the country. Particularly as all of these women are themselves traveling around the world, creating our own global tribe.

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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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Our Family Photo Album 2018

I’ve been printing my photos since I first got into photography 15 years ago. In fact, I decided I’d pursue the art further when I won a local photo contest in 6th grade - I’d entered a print of a butterfly. Photographs and collections of photographs have been a part of my life for a decade and a half, and have been the focus of my business from the very beginning. So, to be able to curate my work into our own family heirloom was pretty special.

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Cannon Beach Roadtrip: Making Friends as I Go

I talk about that a lot - not having a plan. That’s become rather important to me this year. I mean, obviously it’s useful to have some sort of game plan for a lot of things (I know several routes I’d like to explore in my business next, for example), but the key is to not get hung up on one objective, not fixate on one goal. So, when I organized the trip, all I said was that I wanted to go to the coast and I wanted to take photos, and that if we added in a winery visit I would not complain.

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Our Family Photoshoot: Celebrating the Confluence of Old and New

As quite a few of our old film photos were snapshots taken as we went about our daily lives, I spent my first evening back home just sneaking around the house trying to take ninja candids. It wasn’t until yesterday as I was planning my social media for the week that I came across an old 35mm project I did in college, doing this exact same thing. I’d shot several rolls of black and white images around my parents’ and grandparents’ houses with the goal to capture each family members’ personality through environmental portraiture. In essence, I wanted to capture them doing their mundane daily tasks, going about their routines in the places they spent their most time, working off of the assumption that through time and repetition they’d created spaces which conveyed their characteristics through decorative choices, lighting preferences and clutter (or lack thereof.) I have always been fascinated with people’s chosen environments, which is why my style of portraiture often uses whatever local architecture or nature is there in order to frame my subjects. But it wasn’t until looking through that school project, and subsequently reflecting on this summer’s family shoot, that I finally understood the importance of environment: it’s often just as telling of someone’s identity and personality. And, in a project dedicated to conveying my family’s story, showing true character was paramount.

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Times Square Portrait Session || Milena

Milena was immediately very bubbly - not shy in front of the camera and with no reservations of me shooting mere inches from her face. She exuded a pleasant happiness fed by our constant laughter while swapping traveling stories. Additionally, as I first saw in the in-between moments, she also had a serious side, a desire to explore the vastness of the world. And at 24, like me (at the time), she seemed to recognize the numerous possibilities open to her. Which is why I spent a good bit of time photographing with the prism (and often using it to overlay the colorful lights on her portraits) - to capture her likeness while still alluding to the stories yet untold, the path(s) not yet even visible.

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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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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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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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Asheville Family Portraits || Hazel's Newborn Session

Somehow, this sweet girl turns 1 this month which means I'm doing a little throwback to our photoshoot from last year. I don't frequently do newborn sessions, but after this one, I've totally fallen in love with the genre! 

As with all of my shoots, I prefer to take the "lifestyle" approach to newborn photoshoots as it's not only easier on both child and parents, but better captures what life is really like during these precious first couple weeks. After all, to me, the joy in and importance of having infant photos made is having the ability to look back years later when they're older and remember exactly what life was like as new parents. 

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Oak Ridge, Tennessee || Robyn's Senior Portraits

Back in April, I had the opportunity to photograph for Robyn, a senior captain on the Oak Ridge High School cross country team and also my brother's girlfriend. For her graduation photos, we wanted to get a wide range of image that captured both her personality and her accomplishments, as well as the beauty of Oak Ridge, so we ended up bouncing to three different locations that evening! 

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London Destination Photoshoot || Erin's Travel Portrait Session

The most challenging aspect of documenting a vacation isn't watching for the moments or framing the scene, it is (by far) working with the available light even at 2pm on a bright and sunny day. However, this is precisely why I enjoy this type of session! Working in countless less-than-ideal lighting conditions in my wedding work has instilled in me a deep appreciation for harsh lighting, particularly in making use of natural spotlights to dramatically highlight my subjects' face and little else. Although, occasionally, a bright backlight leaving the face in shadow is equally as pleasing to me, at least when my subject is running through a field of wildflowers. 

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NYC Day 2: New Friends

I'd planned to get up around sunrise to run (and then go back to sleep!) but either my alarm didn't go off or I turned it off in my sleep - neither option would surprise me - so I woke up around 11 instead and quickly got ready for my photoshoots. After I'd posted my images from yesterday's shoot with Denise in the GLT NYC group, several people messaged me interested in photos, so while my only plan for the day had been meeting with one of my college classmates for lunch, I ended up adding three shoots to the mix! 

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