Archive for August, 2009

Last Saturday, Yolanda & Chris held their wedding at the Omni Jacksonville Hotel! It was an absolutely gorgeous day for a wedding. As Yolanda got ready, we opened the curtains and let the beautiful sunshine in and looked at the beautiful view of downtown Jacksonville and the St. John’s river.

Downstairs, about 8 stories below, Chris waited with his groomsmen, anxious to see his lovely bride! The atrium of the Omni was filled with beautiful light and the ceremony opened with dancing and music. It was so beautifully spiritual and joyful, but when Yolanda appeared at the top of the staircase with her father it was almost as if everything stood still. I’m certain, at least, that Yolanda’s heart stood still! I wonder if she could even breathe, seeing her closest friends and family down below and the aisle leading up to her husband-to-be!

The reception was truly a celebration! The speeches were all wonderful, but I think that the Father of the Groom really had everyone’s full attention. He had us all laughing so hard! And sweet, shy Chris shocked us by going after Yolanda’s garter with no hands! I really did not expect that from him but was very impressed with his garter-removing skills! It was such a fun time and I asked Yolanda if it all turned out the way she wanted and, with a very content look and smile on her face, she said “Yes!” I’m so happy it was everything they had hoped for and Matt & I wish them both many, many years of happiness together!

The staff at the Omni was fabulous! The banquet staff was so polite and patient with me even though I was constantly in their way! After the wedding, Matt & I chatted with Amy, the sales manager for weddings and events, and let me tell you she is on top of her game! I don’t know who the Omni stole her from, but they made a great choice when they brought her on board! I know Yolanda had a great experience working with her and so I would recommend them to anyone who is looking for a venue for their wedding and reception!

And now… photos of the new Mr. and Mrs. Harvell!

Can you believe this beautiful lady is 91 years young? I just adored her! Such a doll!

Last night I had such a blast hanging out with other photographers during the Jax Shoot Club in downtown Jacksonville. We are so fortunate to have such a great network of photographers here who are supportive of one another and get along so well!

Thanks so much to Melanie at La Dolce Vita Studio and Kara at Kara Pennington Photography for organizing the shoot club! They not only brought all of us together but also coordinated all the models and everything for the shoot! Have to show love to some other people who supported the shoot:

Makeup and Hair was provided by Faythe Mesic:
Bridal Bouquets were provided by Anything with Plants & Flowers:
Lauren’s Dress and bridal attire was provided by Solutions Bridal of Gainesville:
Her dress was by designer Alvina Valenta (style #9700) and her veil was by Lori London (style #VM95)

And of course…. the models!
Julianne and Greg (engagement couple)
Kelly & Chris (bride and groom)
Lauren (solo bride)

I’ve been seeing some of the shots popping up on Facebook already and it’s amazing to see how everyone has such a different perspective of the same subject! And since there were 3 sets of models we broke up into group so each group’s session with the models was completely different. It’s always fun to get together with everyone (and I’ll get to see most of them again tomorrow at the PUG meeting! Yay!).

Here are my shots from the evening. I shot with available light only even though I had my flash and some other lighting equipment in my car. To be honest, I didn’t want to walk back to the car because I was having too much fun! At the end of the night some of us were still hanging around gabbing away and one of the couples decided to go into the fountain for a Trash The Dress session! It was just an amazing time!

Here are some of my faves:

Can’t wait to see everyone again next month!!

Featured on Truly Engaging

August 20, 2009

In case you missed it, Maria & Peter’s Key West Trash The Dress session was featured on the Truly Engaging blog, a fabulous resource for wedding tips and inspiration! We are so honored to be featured and also excited to share Maria & Peter’s with the Truly Engaging readers!


When I started talking to Britany about her senior photo session, we both had the same idea – it had to be very edgy and urban. Britany has so much style and with her confidence and “attitude” she totally worked the camera. We headed out around downtown Pittsburgh without really having much of a plan for locations. We just drove until we saw stuff that would make an awesome background! Pittsburgh is such a treasure for photo shoots because of its industrial roots. Everything is very old and rustic – the perfect setting for Brit’s shoot!

It’s so hard to believe that these shots are from a high school senior and not a model! Britany is gorgeous but she also just so outgoing and uninhibited that taking photos of her was so easy. It’s easy to see why she has been voted for lead her cheerleading squad as captain for the 2nd year in a row! Go Britany!

This is just quick selection and edit of photos from her session today. I have a few anxious people who really can’t wait to see her photos because this little hottie also happens to be my cousin! What can I say? Good looks run in our family! : )

Congrats, Britany! So proud of you and hope you have a great senior year! I look forward to next time when we can get those cheerleading shots!

I’m currently in Pittsburgh visiting family and friends while Matt is working on a carrier in the Persian Gulf. I have a couple shoots schedule for this week but the main reason I came up here is for the SteelCity Mafia’s 3rd Annual Family Weekend.

I got in late Wednesday night so that I would be here in time for the first game of the pre-season. I didn’t go to the game, but you can bet I was downtown to tailgate with my friends and family:


My mom, brother, and cousin Kaitlyn

My friends Rochelle, Robbie, and new friend Shona

My friends Rochelle, Robbie, and new friend Shona

As we were tailgating, Franco Harris walked by! Just walking down the street like a normal guy past hundreds of Steeler fans. I couldn't believe it!

As we were tailgating, Franco Harris walked by! Just walking down the street like a normal guy past hundreds of Steeler fans. I couldn't believe it!

The highlight of the weekend is the Sit Down, a formal banquet at the gorgeous DiSalvo’s Station restaurant in Latrobe. Every year we are honored to have a featured guest speaker who is a former Steeler player, and this year we had the fortune of having Mike Wagner, safety for the Steelers from 1971-1980. He had some great stories to share and it was such an amazing experience to listen to one of our Steeler legends talk about playing with some of the greatest players in history to his observations of football today. What is always interesting is that even though these guys were such badasses on the field (especially back then when it was really physical and even, as Wagner admits, sometimes dirty) they are always humble and nice as can be in person. Plus they are still so connected to Pittsburgh, just like regular fans. We’re all sitting there in awe of him but I think he was just as much in awe of us as fans and the loyalty we have for the team. He was so surprised to find out that most of us were from all over the country.

Steeler great Mike Wagner

Steeler great Mike Wagner

Every year at the Sit Down, a select group of SCM members are “made” for their contributions and dedication to the organization. They are pinned by the guest speaker and it’s such a nice recognition. Congratulations to the 2009 class of Made members!

After the pinning ceremony we all retreat to the cigar lounge to hang out and celebrate:

Me, Missy, and Cindy

Me, Missy, and Cindy

Barry, Me, and Frank

Barry, Me, and Frank

It was another great year and I’m so eager to see the schedule of SteelCity Mafia events for this year! A lot of the games are going to be too far for me to travel to but hopefully I’ll be able to make it to the home game that they choose and we are definitely planning on going to the game in Miami! It’s still so hard to believe that football season is upon us! Here we go, Steelers, here we go!!

You’ve heard of destination weddings before, but what about a destination Trash The Dress session? Maria & Peter are newlyweds from the Washington DC area. When they planned their trip down to Key West,
Maria decided to surprise Peter with a sexy Trash The Dress session! All I can say is that they brought the hotness for this one! Going through the images it was so hard to choose favorites because they just gave us so much to work with. And they tried to convince us they were shy! I’m certain that Maria has modeled before and she’s just not telling me!

Maria said she remembered my website when she saw some of my photos on the Knot because of our black and white damask with pink branding. Score! I think it’s so cool that our branding stood out! Usually I love putting our logo on the images because it’s like our artist signature, but the ones from this trash the dress session were so gorgeous I almost didn’t want to! The sky, the palm trees, the gorgeous ocean and the sand, plus a super hot couple – there’s not much “empty” space to work with!

Maria & Peter, thanks for such a fun time and we hope that these photos bring back lots of memories of your romantic vacation in paradise!

We met up with Yolanda & Chris this past weekend at Friendship Fountain in downtown Jacksonville for their engagement photos. It was an incredibly hot day and even though we were on the water there was no breeze. But that didn’t matter to Yolanda & Chris! They are so in love that I don’t think they even noticed the heat. They were too busy looking into each other’s eyes and holding hands and reveling in the excitement of their wedding day approaching in less than 3 weeks!! It’s so hard to believe it’s almost here already!

We can’t wait to share the next part of Yolanda & Chris’s story with you! For now, here are a few photos from their engagement session at one of Jacksonville’s most popular parks!

We’ve already shared some of the photos from Dani & Rob’s wedding at the Garden Club of Jacksonville, but now we have more of the story to share with the slideshow! To view the original blog post of Dani & Rob’s wedding, click on the link below:

Dani & Rob’s Wedding at the Garden Club of Jacksonville

The slideshow features even more photos, some video clips of their wedding (including their awesome cake cutting!), and music from William Cushman. I came across William’s blog one evening and heard his song, Morning Has Broken, and really wanted to use it to help tell Dani & Rob’s love story. William was kind enough to allow me to use it, but I encourage everyone to visit his blog and listen to more of his beautiful music!

And now for the rest of Dani & Rob’s story:

“Morning Has Broken” © 2006 William Cushman

It’s 5:30am and we just got home about an hour ago from shooting Maria & Peter’s photo session that I’ve been so secretive about. They haven’t told anyone about the session yet and we’re keeping everyone in suspense until Tuesday when we post lots of goodies from their session on the blog. All I can tell you is that is was HOTNESS! The couple was hot, the location was hot, and the weather was most definitely hot!

I think we can share one pic with you that won’t give it all away. We have a couple of other posts we need to put on the blog so stay tuned for those and make sure to come back Tuesday for more from Maria & Peter’s photo shoot!

Sheba & Nolan are a very creative & unique couple, so for their engagement photos we knew we had to do something different. After finding out that they got to know everything about each other over some bottles of wine on their first date, we knew it had to involve wine. Then Sheba’s sister, Sheena (who was actually the one who found us), chimed in with some ideas that she had and suggested poker since Sheba & Nolan love to play. In fact, Nolan is such a great poker player that he used his winnings to pay for half of Sheba’s ring! Now come on, is that not an awesome story?!!

So we had planned wine and poker and even decided on a nice location, but something just wasn’t clicking with the whole plan. Then at 4am the night before we were scheduled to meet up it hit me… the perfect location! We had to go to St. Augustine! I thought Sheba was going to think I was crazy when I called her and left a message that I wanted to change our plans. They had lots of wedding stuff to do and people to see and I wanted to add an hour of drive time to her schedule? But Sheba, being the creative and spontaneous person she is, was all for it!!

We headed down to St. Augustine and for the first two hours it was just like hanging out with friends. Sheba & Nolan played a few hands of very competitive poker and we all chatted and laughed over wine, beer, and cigars. They were just so relaxed and natural and Matt & I had the best time we’ve ever had at engagement photo session! That’s saying a lot considering we’ve done sessions at the zoo and the fair!

Two hours passed by and we decided to wrap up the poker game to go do some photos around downtown St. Augustine. We did a crazy photo blitz in one hour and found some beautiful locations as we took the “long way” back to Sheba & Nolan’s car. They didn’t need much direction at all and it was hard to choose which photos to post because they just rocked the whole thing! But you don’t need to take our word for it! There’s plenty of photo evidence below!

We really can’t wait for Sheba & Nolan’s wedding at the Jacksonville Garden Club next month! Wow, we can’t believe it’s almost here already! We can’t wait to meet the rest of their friends and family soon!! : )