Cutest Cake Smash (sort of) Ever!

Cake smashes never seem to go the way you expect them. On rare occasion the child will actually smash into the cake and make a mess and it’s loads of fun, but in my experience, by the time babies reach one year old, we have already taught them the importance of washing their hands, so it goes against everything they know at this impressionable age.

That being said, I love cake smashes. The fact that most kids don’t just smash the cake and react differently then we expect, shows their beautiful personalities and is oh so precious in photos.

This cake smash is one of my all time favorites, even though the cake didn’t get very smashed. Little Miss Ivy had no idea what to do with her adorable bear cake. She petted it, and poked it, and eventually went in for a hands-free mouthful of yellow bear ear.

That look gets me every time. Ivy is such an adorable little girl, who is very full of expression and I am so glad to know her!

Amy and John’s January Wedding

Amy and John. Wow. If you know these two then you know what true love really looks like. Seeing the way they act with each other reassures me that I found my mate, because they act the way I feel with my husband, and anyone who is in love like that know’s how to recognize it. Ahhh, every moment with these two is amazing. I shot engagement photos for these two and then had the joy of capturing their love at their wedding. They were married January 4th, 2014 at the beautiful Matthews House in Cary, N.C. and held their reception there as well. So, with out anymore delay, here is Mr. and Mrs. Beckling!

These two were so much fun. The guys made sure they had time for their own photos before I started working with the ladies. Gentleman, take this advice and make sure you have some one on one time with the photographer for you and you men, it is well worth it as these photos show. Weddings don’t have to be only about the bride!

But the Ladies were just as hilarious! Amy and all her bridesmaids (there were 10!) were such a fun group and for such a large group they were so close. You could tell that Amy and her ladies really care about each other! Not only were they all beautiful on the outside, they were just as beautiful on the inside too. They share the type of friendship every girl hopes she finds! I came into the suite where Amy was getting ready only to find her mom and sisters in the bathtub. Don’t worry, it’s rated G!

The fun didn’t end there. They had just as much of a good time with their photos as the guys did!

I could not have had more fun at a wedding (other than my own of course!) Everything was beautiful the whole evening through. So enjoy some more photos and Congratulations Amy and John, you two are truly Blessed!

Christy and Tyler!

Its been a busy few weeks, shot a wedding, shot Christy and Tyler’s Engagement session (below) and had my own fabulously crazy wedding! Lots of editing and lots of Joy!

It was such a joy to work with Christy and Tyler, an absolutely adorable couple who are very much in love with each other! The suggested doing the shoot at Lake Johnson in Raleigh because they go there together a lot. It was very sweet and we found a couple nice spots for photos despite the cold day! Luckily the sun was out and kept the chill not so chilly.

When I say these two were cute together! They kept each other and myself laughing the whole time! I am definitely looking forward to shooting their wedding in May! Congrats!

Williford/Smith Wedding

I had the opportunity last month to photograph the wedding of a man I have a lot of respect for. He is an officer in the NC National Guard and was my battalion commander when I was deployed to Iraq in 2009.

At the beginning of the deployment I had a chance to switch from being a driver to being a photojournalist with the public affairs team, my dream come true. Only one thing stood between me and the job of a lifetime, Lt. Col. Williford.

Lt. Col. Williford is a large man, and by large I mean he fills a doorway as he walks through it. He is 9 times out of 10 the tallest, broadest man in the room. Man new Soldiers to the battalion feared him, his booming voice, his demands for things to be done right, and the sheer size of him. But, what most quickly learn is that he puts what is best for others first, he does have a sense of humor, and he respects those below him, not letting his powerful position go to his head. This is why every one respects him, and although it may be tough, enjoys working for him. They respect not just his rank, his position, or his size, but they respect him as a person, a leader who cares. He demanded the best of his troops, but he gave them the best he could as well.

He did grant me permission to transfer to the public affairs team, and it is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me.

His wedding to the beautiful and loving Raine Smith was held at the West Point Military Academy in New York, where now Col. Williford had attended years before. There were lots of beautiful vintage touches, Raine carried a gorgeous bouquet made out of broaches (picture below) and the scenery in the area was amazing. But most noticeable was the love they had for each other. I was honored to be part of this special day celebrating the love they both very much deserve.

To see more photos you can go to our Weddings Gallery Page: Raine and Bernie – West Point Military Academy or check out our facebook page!

Stepping out of your comfort zone, its a good idea!

I went wedding dress shopping yesterday. I am already married, but my husband and I had a secret court-house wedding and didn’t tell anyone we were married until months later. We wanted it to be our own special thing, and it was.

But we still want the wedding to celebrate with our friends and family. And, who doesn’t love a good party!

I photograph weddings, I am surrounded by it all the time, and I knew exactly what I wanted. A tea length dress, A-line shape, probably strapless, no or little lace. When I went to David’s bridal, I flipped through the book and picked all the dresses I canted to try on, not all were tea length. I already decided that if I found the perfect dress and it was long, it could be cut. What I didn’t expect was to stop at dress that was more fitted than any dress I have ever been interested it. but it wasn’t trumpet, it’s a gradual transition from fitted to flared, and it has lace detail, and straps, almost an inch thick. I asked for it to be added to the dresses I planned on trying on, knowing it would look horrible on my, to tight for my shape maybe, and that I would just take it off and continue on. But the little bows/ties going down the back were just so cute, I wanted to try it on anyway.

I tried on the two tea length dresses. Eh. One made me look matronly, and the other just didn’t feel pretty enough. I didn’t feel like a bride.

Next came a long poofy princess type dress. And something unexpected happened.

I looked great! The dress was beautiful. My best friend pointed out a small detail that slowly began to make me not like the dress, but that wasn’t the point. I tried something that I didn’t think would suit me and it did.

Then came the dress that was more fitted, with the cute ties down the back, the pretty lace and my knowledge that it wouldn’t look good on my. But, after being surprised by the last dress i tried it any way. Being a little body conscious and very nervous to step out in this gown that hugged my hips, I put it on, let my attendant Jessica zip me up, and I stepped out of the dressing room.

The looks on my sister-in-law and best friend’s face was more than I expected and when I turned to look in the mirror I was blown away. The dress was gorgeous, I looked beautiful in it, and I felt like a bride. Other people standing near by oohed and ahead at my dress and told me how that dress was made for my shape, and it looked great on me. My friend told me I was glowing.

I tried on two more dresses, one that I knew instantly I didn’t like and another, a Vera Wang, that was amazing, but my friend couldn’t get past the little flowers all over it, and it was a huge dress! I worried a bit about moving around in it. They put a veil on me, and it was amazing, but just to be sure I had to try on the one with the little bows one more time.

When I came out in that dress the second time, veil on my head, I felt dizzy with joy. Some one said I was smiling bigger and a lady near by reminded me that I kept that dress on longer than any of the others.

I made my decision. The dress that was way outside of my comfort zone and nothing like I thought I would ever want.

So my advice to all those brides is: try it anyway. You may not like it, but try it. You never know, once you get in that dress, or taste that sample of cake flavor you thought you wouldn’t like, or see that flower you didn’t think would go in the arrangement your florist suggests, that you will love it. I’m not saying take chances on final decisions, but if a vendor asks: would you like to see what ______ would look like? DO IT! Worst that can happen is you say, yep, don’t like that, what else do you have to lose?

Same goes with your photos. If the photographer suggests a pose, try it, especially if you have the time. You obviously want to get in all the poses you know you want, but try something different you, you may be surprised with the results.

link to photo of dress I bought. DO NOT SHOW THIS TO MY HUSBAND!! lol http://www.davidsbridal.com/Product_Organza-Lace-and-Satin-Sweetheart-Trumpet-Gown-MS251002_Bridal-Gowns-Shop-By-Designer-Melissa-Sweet

Tips for having photos taken: bring a change of clothes!

I know your wedding day this may not be feasible. Reception dresses are all the rage now, but I understand that if you spent a lot much money on your dress so you want to get the most of it! But, family photos? engagement? senior portraits? Event head shots and business photos can benefit from a clothing change. So now the question is: What to wear?

Reason 1: To have FUN!
Parents are used to the clothing change of their children during a session but often leave themselves in the same outfit. When having your family photos taken bring a change of clothes for every one. Not only is this helpful in case some one falls and gets their clothes dirty, it helps you get the most out of your shoot. This way you can have your formal portraits done in your Sunday best, then change into something more comfortable so your personality can show through. Some ideas are changing into pajamas for Christmas card photos, kids AND parents wearing the outfit they would wear during their favorite hobby(think son in his little league uniform, daughter in her dance outfit, daddy in his fishing gear and mommy dressed in her gardening clothes!) Or costumes for Halloween! Whatever you want! It’s your shoot, it should be fun!

Reason 2: You may not like what you were wearing later!
Several times I have had clients say they were glad I suggested they bring a change of clothes because outfit one didn’t turn out so great in photos, but outfit two was perfect. You see yourself differently in the mirror than you do in photos. Also, maybe your location clashes with your outfit! Sometimes you put so much thought into your outfit that you forget if it flatters you, or if the colors will work with the location of your shoot. But the second outfit is usually more natural, more comfortable, and more you! And there are the times when that cute short dress makes it hard to get those fun sitting on the ground shots that you want. So have your cake and eat it too, bring two outfits!

Reason 3: Get the most out of your shoot!
How often do you get photos taken by a professional? I’m guessing not very often, so get the most out of your shoot, bring more clothes, and do a double shoot! I’ve had a bride and groom do couples and family photos in regular clothes the morning before their afternoon wedding(see photos below), a college graduate do senior portraits then business photos for new business cards and website, and I’ve done portraits in clothes outside after a boudoir photo-shoot outside. You are paying for the time to do the shoot, so get the most bang for your buck!

Reason 4: Variety!
A different outfit means more photo options when it comes to sending them to friends and family, hanging them on your wall or choosing the best for your website or business card. Different color clothes may match different decor, and your style might change over the years. I suggest your different outfits to be different colors and for one to be as stylish as you are or want to be and for the other to be classic and simple. Plus, some poses may look better in different outfits.

The bottom line is that your shoot should be about you. Make the most of your shoot, have fun and bring a change of clothes!

Triangle Krav Maga: Level 1 Test at Carolina Beach

On Labor Day weekend I had the opportunity to photograph eight men and women as they fought to go from level one in Krav Maga to level two with Triangle Krav Maga. (www.trianglekravmaga.com) I am happy to report that all eight of them succeeded in completing the intense test of their skills that lasted more than two hours, in the sand, in the middle of the day.

The beach is always thought of as a great place for family portraits and weddings, yet the beach is a great back drop for almost any type of photographs! Kids with all their sports gear would be really dramatic if shot on the beach. the sand can be both romantic and add that grittiness to certain events!

Tips for having photos taken: When not to wear red

I hope to make this a weekly blog so that when you are ready to have pictures taken you are ready! Many of these tips will be useful whether you hire a professional or are snapping photos with friends and family!

A photograph is a moment in time captured forever, so you want to look your best right?

Right now red lipstick is very trendy, as is a dark smokey eye. In color photographs, with the right lighting (reason why it is good to hire a professional for those important photographs) your make up will look amazing. However, are you considering having some of your photographs done in black and white? Many brides, mothers to be and high school seniors want to have some nice black and white photographs for hanging on the wall, they care classic, beautiful and usually match any decor. First, let your photographer know that you would like some shots turned to black and white. Second, don’t wear red lipstick and don’t have your eye make up too dark.

Red turns to black in black and white photographs. If you are fair skinned it will be even more of a contrast. My suggestion is to start with a more natural pink or nude lip color and half way through your shoot put on the red lipstick! In color it can be a dramatic and pleasing look. Let you photographer know what photos or poses you specifically would consider turning to black and white. When you are ready to do those poses you can take off the red lip color. I always suggest bringing your make up along to a photo shoot for touch ups and this is another good reason.

The dark smokey eye is very in right now and in certain instances, even in black and white photographs, can create a dramatic, sexy look. But are you always going for sexy? On your wedding day you want to look beautiful, young and like yourself! In black and white, the dark smokey eye can make you look kind of like a panda, which is neither sexy nor looking like yourself. This is another instance when I would suggest bringing your make up bag along and maybe at the end of your shoot, apply more make up so you can have the smokey eye in some of your shots!

Also, when it comes to make up, put it on and get some on to snap a few shots of you smiling, not smiling, whatever you would want in your session. it will give you an idea of how your make up will look in photographs!

Shelby P.

I had a great shoot on Wednesday with Shelby! She hadn’t had any recent portraits and wanted an update. We took advantage ofthe gorgeous weather right before the storms!

Many forget about having portraits made once they leave school. With social media being what it is today and sights like LinkedIn being so popular or bosses checking Facebook profiles before hiring new employees, don’t you want an nice photo to represent who you are? Plus, and one with a business card with a photo on should get an update every few years, especially if you’ve changed your hair style or had a weight change.

Professional portraits are easy sessions and can be done within a family portrait session!