Archive for February, 2010

Hello from Nassau!

February 25, 2010

Matt and I are currently in Nassau, Bahamas shooting Stacey & Mike’s destination wedding! We just arrived at the Atlantis Resort & Casino and will be heading down to the welcome reception shortly and then everyone is heading out for the bachelor/bachelorette parties!

We’ll post some photos soon… : )

When we met up with Naomie & Laymoun for their engagement photos in Downtown Jacksonville last month, it was about 27 degrees outside. So they were REALLY hoping for some warm weather for their wedding day!

And they got the warm weather they wished for along with beautiful sunny skies! The sunshine matched the beautiful canary yellow decor inside the reception hall. The decor also included elegant touches of black and white damask (and I obviously LOVE damask!). We had so much fun shooting all of the details!

Naomie was a stunning bride! She was already radiant, but she really sparkled with all of the bling in her hair, jewelry, and even her hot little shoes! Gotta love lots of sparkle!

Matt had a lot of fun shooting the guys’ getting ready shots. I think there was tequila involved somewhere in there! The guys always have such a good time. Matt also captured a cute photo of Laymoun’s son, Micah, holding the ring before the ceremony.

This wedding went about as smoothly as possible! It was beautiful and everyone has such a good time dancing to the sounds of Taylor Made Productions. All of the vendors made this wedding spectacular! Alpha & Omega Event Consultants handled all of the details and decor (including the florals). Naomie’s makeup was done by the lovely Paulina Perez, winner of Jacksonville Magazine’s “Best of 2009” award! And that gorgeous cake you see below (you can go ahead and peek if you want) was created by 3 Sisters’ Chocolate. I finally got to meet the famous James, Executive Pastry Chef, after hearing so much about him. I also finally got to try one of his cakes… and I am craving another one. I don’t suppose they could whip up one for my birthday tomorrow??

I prepared more photos than usual for the preview because we just LOVED everything about this wedding! Congratulations again to Naomie & Laymoun and we wish you and your families much happiness!

We have a few groups in Jacksonville that get together and shoot for fun every month. This month, makeup artist Faythe Mesic and her team of stylists and models got together for a hot pinup shoot in a junkyard! Oh yeeeeeeaaaah! Just the idea of it is awesome, but I had no idea just how SWEET it was going to be!

Matt says I rocked this shoot and while I really love the images, I honestly feel like I can’t take much credit for how amazing they are. Faythe and her team had the vision for this shoot. They sought out the location, found the models, and organized it all. The makeup and hairstylists made the models look their most amazing and the models really gave their all posing and working the camera despite the miserable rain and the cold. So when I tell you that my part was easy, I want you to understand just how much everyone else put into this shoot to make it rock!

Thanks so much to talented artists Faythe, Erin, and Sonia for an exceptional job on hair and makeup and to the amazing models, Sarah, Kymbr, Tara, Tiffany, Jamie, Sammi, Elizabeth, and JayBee, for being so great to work with (and bringing the HOTNESS!!). Also, it was great hanging out with photog friends and making some new ones at the shoot!

Model: Sarah DeLucca | Hair: Faythe Mesic | Makeup: Faythe Mesic

Sarah and JayBee

Model: Kymbr | Hair: Faythe Mesic

Model: Elizabeth | Hair: Sonia Garza | Makeup: Faythe Mesic

Model: Tara | Hair: Sonia Garza | Makeup: Erin Foster

Model: Tiffany Ashley | Hair: Sonia Garza | Makeup: Erin Foster

Model: Jamie | Hair: Sonia Garza | Makeup: Sonia Garza

Model: Sammi | Hair: Sonia Garza | Makeup: Sonia Garza

Model: Jamie and JayBee | Hair: Sonia Garza | Makeup: Sonia Garza

Model: Jaybee | Hair: Faythe Mesic | Makeup: Faythe Mesic

I’ll just go ahead and put it out there – I am not a very patient person! But I really wanted to make sure I finished the slideshow before blogginh Holly & Kris’s photo session at Jacksonville Beach last Monday. The photos are fun and colorful and playful, but I really had a hard time choosing which ones to post because these two are soooo cute together! Plus they brought their puppy, Ginger, and she has such a sweet face so how could we narrow it down to just 15 images??

This is really one of my favorite slideshows to date! Even though there were times when they got a little camera shy the moments in between said it all. Being photographed is a lot like allowing yourself to fall in love. It requires you to be somewhat vulnerable and let the photographer see who you are, and you have to decide just how much you are comfortable sharing. But just like love, the more you put into it the greater the reward! ; )

Holly & Kris, thank you for letting us capture the real you! We hope every time you see the slideshow that it makes you smile, epecially during the difficult times when you are apart!

Wild horses, the ruins of a mansion, antique car skeletons, canopies of trees and moss, pristine beaches – there’s nothing about Cumberland Island that isn’t captivating. To add to the island’s mystique, John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette had a very private wedding ceremony on the island. The wedding was photographed by the incomparable Denis Reggie, who spoke at our local PUG meeting last year!

It was the perfect location for Kaci’s Trash The Dress session! Kaci was one of our brides from 2008. She and Dusty had their wedding at Club Continental, and it’s still one of my favorite weddings ever! In fact, I have a 24×36 print on my wall from their wedding that might be replaced only by one of Kaci’s Trash The Dress photos from this weekend!

This shoot took a while to put together. Kaci first started told me about her cowgirl photo shoot idea last fall, but we couldn’t find the time to make it happen before the holidays. But she planted the idea in my head and a few weeks ago I had a random vision of Kaci on a beach with horses in the background, and I emailed her immediately about doing her photo session at Cumberland Island. Finally, after we had to reschedule twice, Kaci’s rockin’ Trash The Dress session took place yesterday!

And it was sooooo worth the wait! It was also worth the exhaustion and complete soreness from a photo shoot that required a commitment of 12 hours to shoot and miles and miles of walking. But we knew all that going in to the shoot, and everyone was committed to making it happen! Kaci brought Aunt Clara along and she helped so much with the shoot. Plus it’s always nice to see Aunt Clara!

Kaci is very natural in front of the camera, so we shot about as many images for this session as we would a wedding! We were just having a lot of fun and there were so many different locations to shoot that we couldn’t help ourselves! There were parts of the island that inspired a kind of fairytale look and other parts where we felt like we were shooting in Arizona. An interesting combination, for sure, but both really matched Kaci’s elegant dress and also her country style! It’s really hard to choose favorites and we even had to narrow it down from those, but here’s a peek at some of the ones that topped the list:

It’s our anniversary!

February 5, 2010

Two years ago today Matt & I were married in Ocho Rios, Jamaica! We spend so much time telling the love stories of other couples, but once a year we get to tell you about our story! : )

Last year, I gave a more detailed account of our wedding day, which you can read about by clicking on the link. This year, I put together a slideshow to show you more of our wedding photos (taken by GwyneMark Photography).

Our wedding day was coordinated by Almarie at Tropical Weddings Jamaica, who did a beautiful job of putting our wedding together! We still laugh at how we chose to get married in February because it had the least amount of rainfall in Jamaica, yet our guests got soaked because the 5 minutes it did rain just happened to be during our ceremony. I included a photo of the downpour in the slideshow since we tell the story so often! ; )

But apparently rain on your wedding day is good luck, and so far it seems to be true! It doesn’t matter that it rained. At the end of the day we were still married and we shared the day with people that we love!

Last year, we started an anniversary tradition where we watch our wedding video and look through our wedding photos while we cook a huge dinner and open a bottle of wine! Actually, we have some yummy almond champagne from California that is just begging to be opened! A couple weeks ago we started talking about how we should celebrate our anniversary. We talked about going back on the same cruise ship or going to Orlando to see a show or going out to dinner, but the most meaningful date nights to us are the ones we spend at home cooking dinner together and watching a movie on the couch.

Happy anniversary, bebe!! <3

Over the weekend, Matt & I had the privilege of capturing some family portraits with our dear friends Lily & Mike and their beautiful kids Zach and Zoey! We don’t do family portraits often (only by special request) but we really enjoyed capturing some sweet moments with them!

Before I share pretty pictures, I want to go way back to 2005. Lily & Mike were the first couple I ever took engagement photos of! Lily was my boss at the time and she knew that I loved taking photos and encouraged me a lot. In fact, I’m pretty certain that if not for Lily’s confidence I would not be doing this as a career today. She and Mike told everyone about me (and now “us” since Matt is shooting also) and that led to other requests for engagement photos, portraits, and weddings. Even though it took me a while to have the confidence to start a business, Lily always saw that potential in me. And so for that reason (and so many others) I love her dearly!

I was really excited to hear Lily say that she is going to get back into photography! She used to be a photographer and photos have always meant so much to her, so I’m so happy that she will once again be sharing her passion and talent with the world! She will be focusing on family photography, so if you are looking for family portraits let me know and I will put you in contact with her!

I know that no one comes to a photography blog to hear me ramble, but I just had to say how awesome Lily is. She has an equally amazing family to match, and Matt & I are sooooooo excited to show you just how stinkin’ cute they all are!

Lily, Mike, Zach, and Zoey – we love you guys! <3

Fast Track Roadshow Workshop

February 3, 2010

I knew I was waiting to post this blog for a reason!

Today is Dane’s birthday!! Instead of singing the traditional “Happy Birthday,” let’s all sing (in our loudest voices): YOU MAKE ME SO VERY HAPPYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

For those of you who don’t know who Dane Sanders is, he is an amazing leader and mentor in the photography community. He literally wrote the book on how to start your photography business the right way with “Fast Track Photographer.” The title is a little misleading. All the knowledge he shares will not necessarily get you on the fast track to a successful photography business, but it will MOST DEFINITELY get you on the RIGHT track! I really wish I had read his book earlier in developing my business because I learned quite a few lessons the hard way, but that’s why I’m so happy to share this book with anyone who is thinking about starting a business (or in need of some serious change in their business). He also has a new book coming out later this spring, so I’m anxiously waiting for that to be released!

The reason why I’m ranting and raving about Dane Sanders (beside it being his birthday) is that he was in town last week to speak to our PUG (local photography group). Matt and I went to the PUG meeting and we were so inspired! He was also teaching a private workshop and I had a lot of reasons why I couldn’t go, but I finally just listened to the voice inside and committed to going. Honestly, I didn’t really know why I was going but I just knew I HAD to go.

And I am so glad I went!

I could tell you how I learned ways to run my business more efficiently, but that’s not really what the workshop was about. A lot of what I learned was deeply personal and it will be a different experience for everyone. Dane really encouraged me to listen to the conversation I was having internally, which is usually discouraged when someone is speaking. But there were some definite “A ha!” moments that I had during the workshop and I would have tuned them out had he not encouraged me to listen. I also developed friendships with some extremely talented and genuine photographers and that is PRICELESS!

I think a certain type of person is drawn to this workshop. I’m not sure how, but I’m pretty fascinated by it. In fact, I spoke on the phone today with a friend (whom I have never met) in Atlanta who saw that I went to his workshop. We’ve emailed each other and had some great conversations over email, but never talked on the phone or in person. She signed up for the workshop in March and so she gave me a call today to chat about it.

We talked for 4 and a half HOURS! Seriously, I don’t think I’ve talked to anyone that long on the phone in the past decade!

As we talked, a lot of the questions that she had I knew she would find the answers to in the workshop. The concept is that members are “For Each Other,” meaning that regardless we are all supportive of one another. At the beginning of the workshop those were just words to me, but by the end I can honestly say that I would do just about anything for the other members of our group. And I can’t wait to meet members from other parts of the country!

Part of the workshop included a photography shootout, which was really fun. At the time I was extremely nervous, though! Each of us had 4 minutes to direct the couple, Amanda & Colton, while the rest of the group got to 2nd shoot. No one could shoot in the same location twice, so it was a challenge! I got to play with my new 85mm, which is now my new favorite lens! I used it the entire time and it still hasn’t left my camera!

I couldn’t decide which photos to post because Amanda & Colton were such great models for us! They’ve known each other since middle school and are so natural together! All the ones of Amanda in the red jacket (except for the last two) were part of the time where I was the lead shooter. Since I knew Amanda was a model I wanted to just let her do her thing, which she did! She rocked the camera while rocked out on his guitar! Be sure to check out his Facebook Fan Page because he’s extremely talented!

Here are my favorites from the shootout:

I really miss everyone from the workshop and I look forward to seeing you again at our monthy meetings!! Fortunately, we are all keeping touch through Facebook, Twitter, and email until we can meet up again! : )

Wedding Wednesday is a weekly feature discussing all things wedding-related! To suggest a topic or question, contact Gwen at

Last week, we discussed what to wear to your engagement photo session, so I thought this week it would make sense to follow up with more information about the engagement session!

When we plan an engagement session with a couple, we begin by sending them a fun little Q&A that helps us get to know more about their personalities. Engagement photos should be a reflection of your relationship, not just a beautiful portrait. We do some of those, too, but we really love to get couples in their element where they will forget that the photos are being taken. Sometimes through the Q&A we discover something really unique about the relationship and it gives us an idea for the photo session!

This is one of my favorite stories! Sheba & Nolan’s first date involved wine and great conversation, so we shot the first part of their engagement session at a wine bar. We also learned that not only do they both love poker (and they are fun to watch because they are both competitive) but Nolan is so good at poker that he bought Sheba’s gorgeous ring with his winnings from a poker tournament! You can see more from their engagement photo session in St. Augustine by clicking the link, but I thought I’d share one of my favorites here:

Sheba & Nolan's St. Augustine Engagement Photos

Sheba & Nolan's St. Augustine Engagement Photos

It’s definitely fun to come up with something unique for your engagement photos! Some of the craziest locations make the best backdrops. If you don’t believe me, check out this shot I took at a Jacksonville shootout:

Jax Shoot Club

Jax Shoot Club

That shot was taken underneath a plain looking overpass, but it ended up being a killer shot. So never underestimate the potential of a location. It’s the different locations that can really be the most interesting!

Another suggestion is to find a location that has really unique decor (like a hotel) but that usually requires permission. Every photographer has a different policy, but our policy is that when we are commissioned for a photo session it is the responsibility of the couple to get all permissions for use of anyone’s property. However, outdoor locations are generally fair game, especially if no one is around to kick you out. Not trying to break the law, but I’m just sayin’… : )

Another way to make your photo session unique is to do a shoot at night! Our favorite is to schedule something around sunset so we can also do a few at night, and a lot of times couples tell us that they didn’t realize they could do photos at night! Uh, heck yeah we can take photos at night! In fact, we have some great ideas that might only work at 3am (okay, let’s not get TOO crazy!).

I also want to throw in there the idea of doing an early morning session. I am not a morning person by any means, but I will absolutely get out of bed and grab a quad espresso coffee in exchange for beautiful light and no people around. Think about how lovely and quiet a 7am session would be! No one to stare or walk in the middle of the shot… definitely worth waking up early for!

Okay, I’m going to share one last image. This is from Christie & Mike’s St. Augustine engagement photo session. Mike wrote a song for Christie, so he brought his guitar to the shoot and sang for her. We ended up in front of the Castillo de San Marcos for what ended up being one of their favorite shots of the session:

Christie & Mike's St. Augustine Engagement Photos

Christie & Mike's St. Augustine Engagement Photos

These are just a few suggestions to help get you thinking about how you can make your engagement session fun and unique! It really doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you have fun with it! : )

Next week, we are going to talk with some featured guests about ways to look and feel your best leading up to the big day!