Cause right after that happened, my cousin used her smooth-talkin persuasion on me to where I just COULDN'T say no to shooting her wedding - or otherwise, as she told me - we probably just won't have a photographer.
And just like that, it was done. I suddenly became a wedding photographer overnight.
Friends, I present to you: Lisa & Derek!
The fortunate thing about Lisa (and this being my first reeaaaal wedding) is that she is super casual, very laid back, and not a psycho Type-A personality like her cousin. (Phew.) As proof, check out her wedding shoes. Easy. Love her.
We then set out to do some portraits of just the bride and groom. I wanted to do them near an underpass for *magic light* and we were losing time so I was sort of in a rush, and oh - that Psycho Type A girl? She was raging, full force. When Lisa forgot her bouquet, I made Tony sprint to bring it to us. And as we were hiking to the location, a few drunk bums along the way (gotta love the charm of Covington!) shouted out their - ahem - ADMIRATION of Lisa in her gown. I ignored them until we started shooting and suddenly one of them was RIGHT UP IN LISA'S GRILL mumbling about WANTING TO TAKE THE DRESS OFF HER and reaching out his hands IN PLACES WHERE THEY SHOULDN'T BE.
And that's when I went postal, screamed at him to BACK OFF, looked at Tony and directed him: HANDLE THIS.
But thank God for the little blitzed bum. Because look what happened.
The musicians for the night - Ann & Brian Coleman. They were AWESOME!
Lisa and Derek did something really unique that I have never seen done before... they had all their guests write messages to them on chalkboards during the reception. Such a fun(ny) surprise for the bride and groom afterwards!
How did you meet and what were your initial thoughts about each other?
Derek: I went to her friend's house where she was house sitting and wondered how I had never met her if she was one of Moriah's good friends!?
Lisa: Moriah brought him and a bunch of his friends to Nicole's house when I was housesitting. I thought he was hilarious.
When/how did you know that person was The One?
Derek: After she had put up with me and my friends for so long.
Lisa: When I saw his truck. :)
Name one quirky or unknown thing you love about your spouse.
Derek: Well, there is not much "unknown" about Lisa. She is very outspoken with her opinions and she will let you know if she doesn't like something - so I'd have to say that.
Lisa: Hmmm... he's a pretty open book, but I'd have to say I think it's quite quirky that he has to have his underwear match his entire outfit.
Derek: Don't stress out about the wedding; just enjoy the day as much as you can.
Lisa: Don't plan a party at your house the night before the wedding.
Funniest memory from your wedding day?
Derek: Have to be my best man's speech, still makes me laugh thinking about it.
Lisa: Best man's speech or attack of the bum. :)
What is your biggest dream for the life ahead of you as a married couple?
Derek: To stay happy together, and be great parents to Dylan.
Lisa: That we’ll always be able to laugh at/with eachother, never take life too seriously, and have a strong and healthy family.
Best wishes to you guys!
You made my first wedding photography experience fantastic. Love ya both!
I go into so many photo sessions with GRAND images in my head... I mean, awesome ideas that I just know I can pull off. It merely depends on the perfect lighting, the right time of day, and uber-cooperative subjects who have had naps and are well-fed. This isn't hard to come by at ALL.
I mean, how else do you think I can capture something like THIS?!
So... my moody, subdued, black & white, all-about-emotion-and-expression vision with Carter and his cousin, Gavin? Well... yeah. The images in my head looked a bit different than this.
Take two. Plan B. Head to my favorite bench in historic Covington and capture each of their personalites to a tee. This, my friends, we did accomplish.
Carter - apprehensive, observant and hesitant. Gavin - eager, interested and gregarious. See for yourself.
And really, let's get to the important stuff... there's no denying that this little guy is a cutie...
Now back to my vision.
Carter, hold Gavin's hand and walk toward Aunt Carla!
Carter, sit next to Gavin and smile!
Someday I will learn that toddlers are not too keen on direction. And that your session might be cut short when the fearless one-year old decides to launch himself off a concrete step and bust his cheek open. In the meantime, I'll keep creating the vision in my head. :)
Today marks six months since the world stopped spinning and suddenly came to a halt for them.
I know that many of the days in between then and now have been a blur, a mess of emotion, a crown of thorns, an all-around struggle. How do you lose your best friend, your lifelong partner, your go-to person - in an instant? And then how do you parent three boys, all by yourself, all of a sudden?
These are rhetorical questions. Because I can't begin to know the answers. Somehow, she's doing it when she thought she couldn't. She's making it. They all are.
I took their pictures a few weeks back, at Arlington Memorial where Gary was laid to rest. Kim said she wanted to remember how tall the boys were this summer. And she wanted new photos to decorate their walls.
When she saw the pictures she made this remark to me: I don't look very happy in many of those, do I? The statement struck me and got me thinking, because I doubt anyone would fault her if she were to be lacking in the Happy Department right now. But it also made me realize something else. Not Very Happy isn't always bad.
I think sometimes you need documentation of Not Very Happy because it helps you realize how far you've come. As I pondered her statement, I started thinking about the future. About being six years out from this instead of six months. About days when all three of them will head off on a school bus and she'll be standing back in front of her classroom. About watching her boys start high school, get driver's licenses, go to Prom, tour college campuses. I doubt she'll miss Gary any less, but I do think she'll be in a different place. A place where she can look back at these photos and appreciate them for where she was in this moment, and recognize everything she has conquered since.
There are good things to come in this future of theirs.
Lots of hugs and prayers to my courageous and beautiful cousin, Kim.
I really think we should all become more European here in the states and go on "holiday" four or five times a year.
Wouldn't that be fabulous?
This is the only decent picture I have to share right now because my Canon 5D and the Florida humidity don't get along so well. So my lens was fogged up for the better part of our hour-long photo session. That left my friend Amy to take all the pics. I sort of didn't know what to do with myself!
The day after this, we threw a little surprise shindig for Dan the Man because he's turning forty. The scary part about this is I remember when my dad turned forty and I thought forty-year-olds were, like, super old. Now they are my peers, my companions. And they are not very old at all... so what this means is that I was wrong about forty. Forty is not even the new thirty. I declare it the new twenty-two. Which would make me all of just seventeen!
And please note that this new math dictates when I see buff, tan college boys walking down the beach and I turn to Amy and say check out the hottie, I have NOT just branded myself a cougar. See, you want to live in my world now, don't you?!
Happy Birthday Dan!
And salsa and chips run a close second to birthday cake.
Who knew these things have been around since we were kids? (Okay, granted that was only seventeen years ago.) I paid top dollar for mine (at the factory store, no less!) but with the coupons you can probably get them on the cheap at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Sucker kept my ice from melting for close to an hour and a half in the 90-degree heat!
Be back soon with more Drew and Allison pictures!
Before I begin this post, let me start out with the disclaimer that I do not shoot weddings. :) It's a whole different ballgame than regular photo sessions in terms of lighting, equipment, time and (dare I say this) expertise. There are so many moments you have to make sure to capture, and the tricky part is that in most of those instances, there's no do-overs. I have the utmost respect and awe for those who specialize in wedding photography as it's not for the faint of heart!
That being said, when Allison asked if I'd be the "unofficial" photographer for her rehearsal dinner, I couldn't resist... then when I learned her photographer wouldn't be arriving until late in the afternoon on game day, I found myself eating my "I don't do weddings" spiel and suggested that I do some of the "morning prep" photos as well. You have to have photos of you getting into your dress, Al! And hanging out with all your bridesmaids! And getting your makeup done! Al's always up for anything, so I didn't really have much convincing to do. (And who's a bride to turn down photos when she's looking absolutely stunning?!?)
So I bit the bullet and gave this a shot. It turned out to be super fun and yes, a little stressful. You always want things to be perfect for your clients - but I suddenly realized, you want them to be uber-perfect for your best friends. :) You know how amazing they are as people and you want to make sure you're letting that show through in all the photos. Allison looked totally GORGE so it wasn't very hard to make that happen.
I love this. She looks radiant!!
I have been in many weddings and helped my girlfriends get dressed... it's a magical, giddy part of the day, when the bling and the white and the smiles all come together for the big reveal. But there was something different about being behind the camera this time, standing back from the action, and watching everything unfold from afar. I got really choked up here. I was flustered, my eyepiece was fogging up with tears, I was fumbling around for my camera settings... then her dad came in and she looked at him with a big grin and said "Do you like it?"
And his response, with misty eyes, was I like YOU.
SO. DARN. CUTE.
I wish I had some of Drew, but the camera and I left to get ready for the shindig before the bridal party hooked up with the guys. So here's one of her nephew Everett instead. Could be a tie for which guy's the cutest! :)
I had so much fun shooting this Girly Prep that I might have to reconsider my no-weddings rule! For now, I am off to Florida for vacation so the rest of the wedding photos will have to wait until I return. I have tons more to share! Here is one more of the bride and groom during the toast so you can see just how much fun was had at this reception! Congratulations Allison & Drew!
Does it mean you've gone too long without posting when you try to log in to your blog and you can't remember the password?! Been traveling lots lately and am off on another week-long trip to the San Francisco Bay area, but thought I would share some photos from a few weeks back at Easter before I head out. I am debating whether to take my camera with me on this trip as it will be 99% work and that one carry-on (you know, besides the purse) is already weighed down with the laptop. BUT... we may get to venture to Napa for a brief little snippet of time and how GORG would those pics be? We'll see... :)
Here is the Beanster on the hunt for some eggs. He was so kind once he found them; he attempted to "share" with the fake lawn animals in my parents' backyard (yes, that is a gorilla. Don't ask.)
Carter is so detail-oriented (I don't know where he gets it from?!)... funny story: a few weeks ago Mandy and I were at Outback with him and the wait was forever, so as we sat waiting for our buzzer to go off, we busied Carter with a container of peas for a snack. He eats them one at a time, very neatly. At one point he accidentally dropped one on the ground and immediately wanted to hop off the bench to pick it up. We had to keep telling him "no, dirty - leave it there." I could tell he was fixated on it. So the minute our buzzer went off and we all stood up, he tried to hightail it over to where the pea had rolled - he was gonna get that pea, DARN IT!
So I think there is an equal obsession with ants. Maybe all things small that reside on the ground?? Oh, and notice he is WAVING to it before he stomps it dead.
"Life is always better when you share it with someone, Carla." I remember my Aunt Mary telling me this with a grin a few Christmases ago when the annual banter began about why I was boyfriend-less for yet another holiday, and I casually brushed aside the notion of needing a significant other in my life. The truth of the matter is, I just think it's HARD to find someone who really gets you and can appreciate you for all you are, good and bad. Someone who loves you in spite of any flaws. Someone you never get tired of being around. Someone who makes your days brighter, your laughs louder, your joy sweeter. There are a few couples I know who I really think embody this notion, but honestly, I think it's sort of a rare thing.
My cousin Kim and her husband Gary are one of those rare couples who I think have this. Which is why it is with such a heavy heart that I write this post.
Three weeks ago, Gary laid down on the couch on a Saturday morning, and never woke up again. He was perfectly healthy by all accounts. He played golf that week and roughhoused with his boys as the weather finally warmed up. He bought tickets for Opening Day and talked about their beach vacation this summer - he had a full life ahead of him, filled with many plans. As of today, we still have no idea what claimed his life at the young - way too young - age of 35.
I have been so struck by this tragedy in the last few weeks. I find myself thinking of Kim and her three boys day in and day out, praying for comfort for all of them. There are times where I get so down about it, mad almost - because it is so unfair and senseless. We all want answers and the reality is, we may never get any.
But I keep going back to Aunt Mary - Kim's mom - and the comment she made to me several years ago. Life is better when you share it. Never have I seen this more true than with Kim and Gary. A few weeks ago, Gary gave Kim a pineapple for Valentine's Day... because he thought it was more practical than flowers. "You can eat it." She posted a picture of her "Valentine's surprise" on Facebook and had many of us in tears laughing, including herself. I remember thinking how sweet it was that Kim could appreciate his quirky humor and they could both laugh about it together. A few weeks later, for her birthday, Gary surprised her with flowers - in a carved out pineapple as a vase. You know what? I think her laugh was louder and her days were brighter and her joy was sweeter a because of things like The Pineapple. And in the midst of all our grief in a time of such great loss, I think about how lucky Kim is to have those memories instead of a hum-drum fog that so many other couples might have to look back on.
I surely didn't want to have to learn it this way, but I gained such an important lesson in love and life these past few weeks. Thanks to Kim and Gary for showing us how it should be... sweet like pineapples. :)
If you've followed my blog for a while, you probably remember my friend Julie and her husband Bill - the midwest version of Brangelina. (Just kidding, J!) Well, they are good looking! And they love on kids from around the world.
They've done this three times now, but every time is different. I still get teary eyed at the airport; probably more so now because I get to watch all the siblings get excited and fight over who gets to hold her first.
Now they have another new sister. Introducing Suzanne...
Isn't she beautiful?! Such an innocent, pure little face! She is so sweet - always smiling and loving on you, touching your face and peering up at you with lots of curiosity!
Julie now has a blog talking about life since bringing Suzanne home from China. When I read it I feel all kinds of emotion - awe for what she and Bill have done, grateful for how well Suzanne rounds out their family, yet a little sad about all the kids left behind in the orphanages in China. So many of them will never get the chance for a life Suzanne now has...
Check out Jul's blog at SuzMakes6!