Posts tagged asheville
August 3, 2019 Magical Garden Wedding at Haiku I Do || Asheville, NC

Fal and Richard had quite the week leading up to their wedding: medical boards on Tuesday, moving on Wednesday and driving to Asheville on Thursday. So, come Saturday, it seemed almost surreal that they’d been able to pull everything off. As they were sitting on the floral sofa under the twinkle lights taking their couple’s photos, in the middle of gazing lovingly at each other Richard suddenly gasped and threw up his hands, “We really did it!”

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June 22, 2019 Fairytale Garden Wedding at Homewood || Asheville, NC

Not often do I get to say this, but I actually knew the groom before the bride did! Q and I both came to Asheville in 2011 as student athletes, and since my freshman roommates were all on the women’s soccer team, I befriended many on the men’s side as well. I photographed both Q’s soccer matches and his graduation photos, so when I got a text from an unknown number while I was working in NYC saying “Hey! Are you free June 22, 2019? Tara and I would love for you to shoot our wedding.” I was understandably thrilled! Well, first I had to figure out whose number it was, then I was thrilled.

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May 18, 2019 Mountainview Wedding at the Crest Center || Asheville, NC

Wedding days are often a great metaphor for life: you can plan for months or years to have that “perfect day,” but no matter how foolproof your strategy, things will never happen quite that way in real time. The beauty of wedding photography is that when things go off course (and timelines go out the window!) we’re there to document families, friends and our fantastic wedding industry colleagues working together to help make each couple’s day, as Emmaleigh says, “perfectly imperfect.”

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Amber + Chris's Elopement at the St. Jude's Chapel of Hope in Asheville, NC

Susan Marlan of Beloved Ceremony officiated the simple ceremony, and because this was a “true elopement” I also got to serve as a witness. Just after the bride and groom exchanged rings, and just before their first kiss, Chris leaned forward and rested his forehead against Amber’s, where they simply stood breathing each other in for a few moments. It’s these moments, the quiet and intimate scenes, that impact me the most - both as a photographer capturing the emotions before me and a human who feels everything deeply.

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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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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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Boho Chic Styled Elopement at Ridgeview Venue || Asheville, NC

One of the reasons I love participating in styled shoots is getting to see the amazing creativity that comes out of vendors directly working together to create a concept. For instance, not only did Emmaleigh help me to style the provided attire for detail shots, but she even brought in her own crystals and antiques to add character and depth to the photos!

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Sultry Black and Gold Styled Wedding || Asheville Social Hall

Melissa of Cakes by Gray reached out to me to photograph a new cake flavor for her - grapefruit and black pepper (it was delicious!) - as we decided that instead of simply sticking with the original in-studio photos that we’d first planned, we would also put together a little styled shoot. Why not, right? To coordinate with the sensual flavors, Melissa created this stunning black pastry masterpiece accented with gold and thus we had our theme. Design inspiration can come from anywhere, even the wedding cake. To round out our design team, Melissa brought in vendors all local to Asheville to help us create this moody styled elopement in the brand new Asheville Social Hall Space.

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Wedding Photo Album || Nicole + Chris's Highland Brewing Company Wedding

By far, my favorite part of creating Nicole and Chris’s heirloom album was interweaving each line of their vows throughout the book. Design-wise, adding text to a photo album presents its own challenges; namely, how to make it readable without distracting from the photos. I shoot each wedding with the album in mind, using compositional elements like leading lines or shallow depth of field to create negative space perfect for overlaying words. Typically, if I’m adding just a few verses or quotations in an album, I can choose which already-designed (by me, in a different program) pages to pair the text with based on the blurb’s shaping. With Nicole and Chris’s I needed to keep their vows in the order they wrote them, and somehow as I was creating the photo layouts for each page, the text seemingly just fit right in perfectly. A reflection of how easily Nicole and Chris work together as well, I think.

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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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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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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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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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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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