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


  1. This is FABULOUS (as are you)! I really enjoyed the read and I'm so glad that Brittnee posted the link on Facebook or I fear I may have missed it! It was so much fun to have you participate in this year's Portrait Palooza and it looks like you got some great shots, too! I'm really proud of you for conquering your fears and joining us and I hope this means that we'll see more of you at WPS meetings and events in the future!! Keep up the great work!!! :-)

  2. @Kate: It was great to see you again! I'll definitely try to come to more meetings :D