Monday, September 30, 2013

LOVES Monday Edition:Girls, PJ's and lots of dirty Laundry

I was at a girls night the other night.  It was filled with amazing snacks and of course wine!  My favorite thing that I took away from the evening was getting to know the ladies and hearing the stories from some of the other women who own their own businesses.  It was great to know I wasn't alone in my PJ days.  You all know what I am talking about.  When you get up in the morning and start work without a thought of changing out of your flannel pants and comfy top... or maybe those who rock PJ's all day are the few.  If so "the few" are quite comfortable... though I'll be it ridiculous looking.  Which brings me to this weeks LOVES

Wearing PJ's all day
Letting the laundry sit there for an extra day
The smell of clean laundry when you finally get around to doing it
Eating Peanut butter straight out of the jar
Hula Hoping 
Breathing in a cool fall breeze
Unpacking my boots and packing up my summer tanks
Clouds, anyone else try and make pictures and shapes out of them?

What do you love this week?  Yes, I'm calling you to even love things on a Monday! :D

Live. Love. Loud. 

Friday, September 27, 2013


Amazing location, three fantastic models (four technically but I didn't get the chance to work with her so I can't state her "fantasm" but I bet she was pretty awesome too), two make-up artists, amazing jewelry, four unique bouquets and lots of photographers.  

Oh, you are wondering why I listed those things above and here I thought you were in my brain already!  Well all that leads up to "Portrait Palooza" this amazing event put up by WPS: Wedding Photographic Society.  

 When this opportunity presented itself I wasn't so sure.  I was intimidated.  Most of the other photographers have a large focus on off camera flash.  That is not my forte and not my preference.  I was afraid of being looked down and judged.  Chris told me no matter what they said I needed to go.  I needed to get over my fear.  

No shocker he was right.  Don't you just hate that?  Well, lets be serial I don't really hate it, cause I get to get past a fear but I mean it just burns a bit :D

But before I knew he was right I slowly walked up the stairs and pushed the door open.  I could hear voices echoing through the halls.  My camera in hand, bag around my shoulder and my phone tightly clasped in my hand (Chris on the other end via G-chat).

I pushed myself to walk into the kitchen and put on a smile and pretend I didn't care... and slowly it became a reality.  I paid less attention to the people looking at me as I shot and focused on what it was I needed to do: be me!

The Oaks at Salem is a photographic dream.  There are so many looks to choose from, whether your wedding is rustic chic or modern glam! 

This is Britnee.  She hails from the northern state of Pennsylvania.  Came down for college and fell in love... with both the state and a great man!  She is a sales rep and loves life here in Raleigh.  She is amazingly sweet... she dealt with me and all my fumbling!

How elegant is she!  I mean really.  If I put on a white dress and hold some flowers I look like I should be joining Phoebe and Monica in their crazy bouquet toss! (I might have watched Friends too much... nah, no such thing.) Anyone else notice the only way to lessen the sting of the end of friends is to watch the first episode again?

I mean COME'ON!

From the moment I saw this boat I wanted to take every picture ever on it... I decided that probably wasn't the best idea but can you blame a girl?  Thankfully Britnee is a big fan of boats and all things nautical too, so she was a great sport about climbing in what I dubbed "The Big Bouy" (tehee).  I desperately wanted to pull a "Lady of Shallot" but I figured I might tempt the boat to spring a leak and leave her stranded under a bridge... but even still she might end up getting saved by Gilbert Blytheby, so not all bad :D

Though I have gone to meetings with the WPS before I haven't really gotten to know people.  Everyone seemed nice enough but it was like coming to lunch late and everyone had their tables and here I was pigeon toed, tray in hand, looking from one end of the room to the other looking for a seat that looked inviting.  Finding a corner with my notebook pulled out, pen in hand I was eager to take information in... 

This is Laura  Saying she is just fabulous is like saying there is second rate dessert... it just doesn't make sense (in case that wasn't clear enough)... all dessert is made straight from God as a gift to me (no, you don't get any cause I don't share)!

She is a fabulous professional model, born and raised here in the NC.  She had a dream and because of a stupid amount of determination and gumption she has made it!  She travels often but loves coming home to see her family and high school sweetheart (it was adorably beautiful to watch her as she spoke of him).

Psst... Secret: I have never had the chance to work with a professional model before but if they are all like Laura I would skip at the chance but then again I love good people... no matter who they are! 

I love this shot of Laura... though I only just met her this is so her!  She can snap her "Smize" on (yes I did just pull an ANTM reference: HOLLA!) in an instant and then go back to being playful.

This is Courtney.  She is a dental hygienist by day, rogue goddess by night!  Her soft features and turned up nose made me swoon.  I felt like all my imaginings from reading Jane Austen's work came true in this "tall drink of water"!

Poor Courtney, she got me last.  I was so frazzled and then stunned by her beautifully novelish (pretty sure that's a word... APPROVED.) features that I don't think I was very great at communicating.

 I'm telling you everywhere you look at The Oaks is just beautiful!  April, the owner and operator, originally bought the house for herself while she was working as a photographer.  After refinishing the house so completely and picturesquely she opened it up as a wedding venue and has transitioned her focus to making sure each one of her brides has a perfect day!

In the end I was able to catch up with a photographer I already knew, met a few other photographers but all the better I think I might have gotten a friendship or two.  The amazing vendors were great to talk to and hear what brought them there for the day.  

Here are a few behind the scenes shots: 

This is Joe.  He is from England and so of course I want to follow him around just to have him read menus, street signs... basically so anything mundane would sound amazing!

The Watered Garden Florist did an amazing job!

The four models chillin' out for the last moments of the day.

This is Chris.  He is amazing and so easy going! I got the opportunity to work with him a few weeks ago on a great wedding and it was a blast to watch how him and see his style!

This is Kate.  I got the joy to meet her a while back at a little test workshop done by Jim Coleman about off camera lighting.  She is fantastic and it has been great to see her blow up!

A big thanks to everyone who contributed! 

Jewlery: Kelli from Stella and Dot
Professional Model: Laura Colgan

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Awe-lfing results: Confessions of a Photo-a-holic (FAILS edition)

My most recent trip to seen my "Tatem" family included some golf or as I said before some "Awe-lfing" so I figured it was only fair that I share some photos.  

Our trip started off like most of our trips: The sun had long set, everyone is sleeping yet we are awake.  The clock as already spun over to the next morning as we load the car and start our trip.  Empty dark roads the whole way is Chris' preference and he is never disappointed.  We talk of the day passed and what is planned for the weekend.  By the time we arrive it is only hours before Chris' father will awake, because he gets up when no man should: my rule is if the sun isn't up then I don't want to be!  We make our way silently to our room and slumber for a few hours before we awake and join the day.

This trip was no different, only the next morning we went golfing!  Or mainly I went on a really slow but beautiful drive.  It was perfect out.  You know those days of cliche beauty of the days of fall... yea, it was one of those.  I pretended to take score... (why are there four lines for each hole?  I thought you wanted to score less not more???)

My putting is more like my ball is greeting the whole green.  "Oh I saw that side already can we make a cruse by to the other please?"  To which I haven't the heart to say no.

Please notice that I am indeed on the other side of the cart path... 

Chris and his father looked like pros as they walked to each tee box.  I assured myself that was what is important, for it helped me feel more accomplished as I missed the ball...again.  They would shout, "Great practice swing!"  My cheeks would flame for a moment before I would give in to laughter and try again. 

My "Awe-lfing" was fun though I'll be it a disgrace to the game but it got me thinking.  How often do we stop ourselves from doing something in fear of failure.

Maybe I am alone in this but I all so often keep myself from starting something or trying something in front of people.  Mainly it is with environments to which I am completely unaccustomed.  Like the first time you go to school, or when you are invited to a party where you know maybe one person, or to a photography networking party.  I like to scope it out first.  Get the lay of the land.  I like to practice (yes, in networking environments this may mean that I come up with mock conversation topics) I call it being prepared but how often is it an excuse?  I don't want to forgo who I am but at the same time I want to keep a balance: I don't want to hindering myself.  Who cares if I look a fool?  Apparently me.  But I am deciding to side with my younger self and not give a whoot!  Yea, I said it "Whoot"!

So here's to being more silly= read this "more me"... cause let's be serial they are one and the same!

Live. Love. Loud. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Equipment: My hero: 50mm 1.4

Were my story of photography a love story my 50mm 1.4 would be my hero.  This was my first prime lens an though I love the others none quite meet up with my pure devotion to my "Nifty-fifty".  I use this lens all throughout the day. It is present in the getting ready, ceremony, portraits and reception!  

For those of you who are like me you don't have any clue what the difference is between one lens to the next.  When I first started I would walk into camera shops and the sales staff would start speaking in what I am pretty sure is a different language.  My eyes would get wide and my smile wider (hoping that if I smiled enough no one would catch on) as I nodded my way through all that I didn't understand.

My 50mm gives  a closer look then your eye.  So I can get an intimate feel while not having to get to close yet being close enough you don't feel alone.  The 1.4 I mentioned has to do with the opening size of the shutter: ie how much light the camera lets in and how much you can focus on.  For example the image on my lens was shot at a 1.8.  This allows me to keep the beautiful subject, you,  in complete clarity while bluing out the foreground and background to give your photos a completely natural but dynamic feel!

My look on photography is that it is a way to capture the real you, the beautiful you.  To let you relax and shine how truly beautiful you are and my 50mm allows me to do that in any environment because of its ability to let in large amounts or small amounts of light... plus you never forget your first love even when we are talking about lenses!

Live. Love. Loud.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Campbell Lodge: Brandi and Stephen: Raleigh, NC

Still on the stairs, I could hear the laughter.  There was no need to make sure I had the right apartment number, there was no mistaking the seven bridesmaids and bride having a great time just on the other side.  The rest of the day was no different.  Brandi and Stephen have filled their life with love and as a result with people.  Everyone at their wedding was there to celebrate and rejoice over this amazing couple.

It is no shock that such a loving and extroverted couple would have 14 people in their bridal party.  Each with a unique connection and with loads of love connecting together.  

"I feel like I know you!" were Brandi's first words to me as I entered the room.  A smile spread wide over my face as I replied, "I Facebook stalked you too!"

Brandi couldn't get enough time with her girls.  Each bridesmaid Ooo'd and Awww'd over every step as Brandi got ready.

Brandi and Stephen have a common love in Baseball and it seemed only fitting that it too should be a part of their big day: so it was determined to have a baseball wedding.  No details overlooked down to every member of the bridal party wore cleats during the wedding!  (The shoes photographed above are Brandi's reception shoes... though if they had been my size I may have just stolen them :D) 

I don't think there were more than five minutes without someone's laughter filling the air!

I'm pretty sure the cutest thing I have ever seen were Brandi and Stephen's Baseball vows followed by their exchanging of jerseys!

Much to no one's surprise Brandi's amazing talent and attention for detail lead to a beautifully classically elegant baseball wedding with endless details to keep you looking... and of course delicious Cracker Jacks!

Their love, much like their joy, was beautifully contagious.

Brandi you are breathtaking!

From the first moment of the day to the last there was laughter in the air and joy in everyone's hearts!

Thank you Brandi and Stephen for allowing me the honor to be with you and capture your wedding day!  It is a day I will treasure for always.

Wedding location: Spring Forest Road Park
Bride's hair: Lather Salon
Decor at wedding and reception: DIY 
Bride's Dress: David's Bridal
Groom's and Groomsmen clothes: Macy's
Invitations and Programs: Fresh Paper
Make Up: Mary Kay 
DJ: Family Friend 
Earrings: Borrowed from Bride's Grandmother
Reception Shoes: Coach
Photography: Rachel Abi

Live. Love. Loud.