Andrew + Kaitlin//Perfectly in love

blog-3 I just LOVE this couple.  I love that they shared their story with me on when they first met, their first date, their first serious dating conversation, and their engagement.  Kaitlin asked Andrew to describe their relationship and what he hoped their engagement pictures might show, and she shared with me what he said. Warning: this might be one of the sweetest things.  After realizing that was kind of a loaded question, he said, "Here's what I would hope to capture in the pictures: how well we complement each other and how much in love we are with one another.  We have times where we are goofy, awkward, etc. but overall I think we are just perfectly in love."  Perfectly in love.  Good answer Andrew, good answer.

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Kaitlin and Andrew met through mutual friends and would pass by each other after class on East Campus.  After a few times smiling and saying hi, Kaitlin realized this was going to be a strategic time to make sure she looked her best and didn't miss that critical time of day.  They would pass by each other but Andrew was often with friends so it was a quick hello until one day Andrew broke free from his men to stop and have a longer conversation with Kaitlin.  Andrew eventually asked her out on a date, and they went to Transmetropolitan downtown for dinner.  So we made sure to get some pictures of them in front of Transmet to signify one of the important places in their love story.  And if you want to see a priceless picture of Andrew proposing to Kaitlin, check out the front cover of UGA's e-magazine for recent graduates here.  That's them in front of the fountain on Herty field!



They went on multiple dates and started becoming a lot closer.  They would meet each other in this little courtyard near Warnell (school for forest resources at UGA) and listen to the bluegrass band that played during lunchtime .  Kaitlin and Andrew both love to be outside- it was so funny to hear Kaitlin say that when it rains they go to the aquarium and Academy sports but then they don't know what to do after that.  While I was talking to Kaitlin about something Andrew went off and picked a flower and put it behind Kaitlin's ear, and they hugged a real genuine hug.  I quickly realized that they were one of the cutest couples I've ever photographed.


And as if they weren't great enough I was joking around about an exit sign showing through the doors in this next picture and then they both gave me this great pose! Out of no where but my camera was ready for it.  Reason #300 I love this couple.


Our last stop on tour de Athens engagement pictures was the street where they crossed paths serendipitously each week.  Obviously if you didn't know that you'd look at this picture and wonder why I took it.  But something occurred to me in taking these pictures- pictures are meant to tell a story and capture a stage in their relationship to look back on for years to come.  On our anniversary husband and I sit down with our wedding album and other albums from our past and look through all the pictures.  We forget little things, fun memories, places that were significant to us.  We forget so easily and yet pictures do something in helping us remember a really good story we have found ourselves in, even if some chapters have been more difficult than the first.  So my goal in taking these pictures of Kaitlin and Andrew is to give them something to look back on and remember how they met, what is was like to see each other on the street and the excitement of the possibility of love.  How ordinary places become somewhat sacred to us because of their significance.  I think in marriage we have to remind ourselves of our own story over and over so that we don't forget how good it is.  Thank you guys for being in love and showing it- I hope you work hard to stay perfectly in love and have pictures taken of you 50 years from now that still show it.  Maybe I could take them for you:)

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Brad + Sallie//Engagement Session Advice


Brad and Sallie have been dating since 9th grade, and Sallie had a crush on Brad from way back in the days of middle school. These two have been the cutest couple for a long time and I felt so honored to take their engagement pictures.  Sallie and I talked about the type of engagement pictures she wanted, and her words were so perfect.  She said, "We pretty much laugh all the time when we're together and we're always goofing around having fun, so I'd love to capture that..." She wanted the pictures to be a reflection of how they really are best friends.  I loved reading this and completely agree that engagement pictures are less about the location, less about props and more about the couple and capturing their genuine relationship.  So here's some engagement session advice: take the pressure off to be super trendy or use lots of Pinterest ideas and think more about what you want to capture about the two of you as a couple.  If you are not the laughing and gregarious type, think about what you do love about your relationship.  It might be the sincerity and genuine all out adoration the two of you have for each other that you hope can be photographed.  Whatever is true to you both as couple is really what an engagement session is about.  Communicate with your photographer the kind of people you are, what you love to do together, and give him or her an idea of what it is that you hope is reflected in the images that are created.

We took pictures throughout downtown Athens because they are both from here and have grown up in some ways even together in this town.  But even then it was less about the building or special restaurants and more about them as a couple.

We walked over to North Campus (they are both UGA students!) mostly just to have some pretty trees and green grass, and it turned out well because it was the perfect place to run around in hopes of not freezing and getting some good laughs. I loved seeing how comfortable and fun their relationship is, and it's just a reminder to me of how glad I am to be married to my best friend <quick little husband shout out in case he reads this:>.

Last few thoughts- I'm so glad to post these not because they look like the next big trend on Pinterest (no offense Pinterest- I am so grateful for all your good ideas!) but because as a photographer I feel like my biggest gift to give a couple is some sort of visual reminder of good things in their lives.  I look at pictures my friends have taken of my family and they are so good for my soul because they remind me that God has given me 2 beautiful little boys to love even when they wear me out.  What's most precious to me in a picture is a genuine smile or laugh or interaction that once caught on camera is something I can hold on to and enjoy for years to come, and even become a more grateful person through.  Thanks Sallie and Brad for reminding me of what I really value in photography and for letting me in on the good thing you guys have had going for 7 years now- so glad you are getting married!!!!

ps- I had to include this shot below of Brad tipping Sallie over just because it's funny:) they are just really fun people.

Chris + Chelsea//Italian Countryside Engagement

Okay, so maybe this session wasn't photographed in the Italian countryside, but you might think so from some of the pictures!! Chris and Chelsea told me they wanted to get their engagement pictures done at Chelsea's grandparents' "farm" and I was excited to photograph them in a personal location.  But little did I know that this "farm" was anything but a quaint little property.  Instead it is acres upon acres of beautiful land, houses that different family members own, a huge lake with their own SWAN boat,  and an Italian style home and gardens where Chelsea's grandparents live.  I didn't know what a swan boat was, and then I turned around and saw it near the dock and realized it is exactly as it sounds, a boat that is a huge swan.  And this isn't just any swan boat, but a swan boat designed for Michael Jackson in the early 1990s.  It was owned by him until later sold at an auction and purchased by Chelsea's grandparents.  Who knew!?! I was in awe of all the different beautiful backdrops and was excited for the opportunity to photograph this lovely and loving couple.  I met Chris when he was in high school and I was his history teacher (I was a very young teacher:).  He has always been such a kind and genuine person just like his siblings that I've gotten to know, and more recently I've gotten to know him in a different role since he started his home renovation business, CW Renovations.  His company has done some great work for us, most notably my NEW office at our house! If you're in need of some renovation help I definitely recommend him.  It was no surprise that Chris found Chelsea who is just as genuine and kind.  I told husband when I got home from the engagement session how much I liked Chelsea- she is one of those people you feel comfortable with instantly and you can just tell what a good friend should would be.  They are a super happy couple, which of course if my favorite to photograph:) Thanks Deans and Chelsea for letting me in on your happiness- I'm so encouraged that God brings special people together!  and I had to get a few shots of their respective "children"- these dogs will soon be siblings come November! Dogs are such a good preparation for children...