Category Archives: engagements
Get ready for the most adorable engagement session you’ve ever, ever seen.
Vivian and Juan are getting married next February, way across the Pacific in Quezon City, Philippines (Juan’s home), and in Taipei, Taiwan (Vivian’s home). Sadly, we won’t be photographing their crazy week of celebration across two countries, but we feel fortunate enough to have had a few hours with them, wandering around their beloved Duke University campus where they met and fell in love.
Now, look. I know there are a lot of UNC fans that read this blog. Just keep it to yourselves, aaiight?
Vivian’s first name is Wei, which is pronounced “way” – and a friend of theirs mentioned that their names together make “Juan Wei” … or “One Way”… hence, the silly sign. I love all the work they put into their session! That sign is too much!
After Juan serenaded Vivian under that unreasonably beautiful tree, it started to pour. And pour. We ran under cover, but these two brave souls wandered out into the rain for a romantic – and wet – photo opp.Vivian and Juan recently went through a relationship exercise, where they were asked to use ONE WORD to describe each other. Juan described Vivian with the word “FAITH” and Vivian’s word for Juan is “COURAGE”. I love this so much. The scrabble tiles were an ingenious touch (thank you Vivian!!!)
On to the lab! I’m still not sure that Mike and I were technically allowed to be in there, all uncoordinated and not-sciency-at-all, but there we were… beakers and bunsen burners and bottles and syringes and microscopes and big machines that look like they do really important things and test tubes… it was overwhelming, to say the least. We were so afraid of breaking something!
See, this lab is where Juan and Vivian spend almost all of their time. Right here, doing things with those beakers and jars and the blue thingies, and those syringey looking things. Once they put on their lab coats, they were right at home, and it was magic. Even though I was keenly aware of how I’m not supposed to be in here, I am so SO glad we finished up their session in the lab. These are, hands-down, my favorite images from their session.
Look. Just LOOK at them. If we could photograph this couple every week, we’d jump at the chance. They were fun, easygoing, up for anything, full of personality and ideas, and just so easy to be around. I can’t WAIT to see pictures from their big wedding events next February! And to hopefully meet up with them afterward to congratulate them on becoming Mr. and Mrs.
The only thing Sujan and Hersh told us when we were planning their engagement session was that we had to stop by Britt’s Donuts. They weren’t driving all the way down to Wilmington without a stop on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk for some hot, delicious, flaky, fluffy, mildly sweet disks of heaven. So, we started the day at Fort Fisher, one of my personal favorite spots…
From Fort Fisher, we headed up to Carolina Beach and swung into the Boardwalk shops for some photos and some Britt’s… which, much to the complete disbelief of Hersh and Sujan, we’d never had before that day! They were kind enough to buy us some donuts so we could try them and… seriously… everyone is right about these. They’re joygasmic. If you try them once, you’ll never be satisfied eating Krispy Kreme or Dunkin anymore. They’re just that good. Damn you Hersh and Sujan for introducing us to these heavenly morsels! I’m starving just writing this!
We headed downtown because we always head downtown, and stopped in at the Italian Market for a few cups of coffee and some cute snuggly times
And, right before the sky basically opened up and drowned the city in flash storms, we wrapped it up on the riverwalk and the steps of the Federal Courthouse. This was one of the most enjoyable engagement sessions we’ve shot in years. These two are SO easy to work with, they just melt right into the perfect poses EVERY TIME, they both have this dry, quirky sense of humor, they’re silly and fun and affectionate and I can’t wait for their wedding this October! Did you read that the way I typed it, all out of breath and rising octaves? If not, read it again. That’s how excited I am about these two.
These guys are getting married 364 days after our wedding, in downtown Raleigh. We originally were going to try for a first anniversary getaway, maybe to the mountains or something. Then Beth and Mike happened, and we realized how much more fun it’ll be shooting their wedding than driving to the mountains.
We’ll probably still take that getaway, though. I mean, we’re not shooting ON our anniversary.
We started their engagement session at Wrightsville Beach, but it didn’t feel right for their personalities. So we moved it to downtown Wilmington, where they fit right into the scene and the surroundings and everything just sort of fell into place. If it hadn’t been 238 degrees out that day, it would have been PER.FECT.
We fully, completely, head over heels LOVE these guys. They’re so much fun to hang out with and talk to, they were super easy to photograph, Mike is some kind of sexy romantic model man disguised as an engineer, and they’re extremely low maintenance clients. Like, I couldn’t get Beth to freak out about the wedding if I paid her to try. So, yeah. Overflowing love for these two.
Julie and Jake are getting married this December at the Cobblestones in downtown Raleigh. They have this magical wedding evening planned, with gorgeous lighting and an absolutely picture-perfect charming downtown scene to surround them on their wedding day… I am really looking forward to this one! Also, in my experience, every couple that picks a December wedding date is a cool couple indeed.
We collaborated a lot on picking locations for their engagement session, and finally landed on Dorothea Dix for photos with their two awesome dogs, followed by a few obligatory skyline shots at Boylston Bridge, and then a romp around the downtown district. It worked out perfectly, and we even had enough time for a beer at the end (I love it when that happens)!
I don’t know if his size translates well on your screen… but let me just tell you, Riley (the big white dog in the foreground) is HUUUUGE. Like, surprisingly so. And he’s still a puppy, so for the entire “Jake+Julie+pups” part of the engagement session, he romped and played and rolled around.
So we live in Wilmington. The only glimpse we ever get of our own skyline is when we drive over one of the bridges across the Cape Fear and into Wilmington. I have to admit being a tad bit jealous of Raleigh’s skyline and all the magnificent spots you can see it from.
Julie and Jake, we are SO excited to be working with you! Your engagement session was an absolute blast, and I can only imagine how completely awesome your wedding day will be! Thank you for the post-session drink, and for being so cool throughout your wedding planning! You guys ROCK.
When we started planning Steph and Ian’s engagement session, Steph told us that they were into board games. I was like “Cool! I like board games too!” Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue… all super fun times!
Yeah, they’re not playing Scrabble. I don’t even know what these games are, honestly, but I think I’d need about 20 more IQ points to start grasping them. Mike had a pretty good grasp on the games they brought, but he’s on a totally different level from me. I’m more Pearl Jam. He’s more Pig Destroyer. I’m more True Blood, he’s more “quirky British show that no one’s ever heard of that only lasted one season and can only be found on obscure websites”. See? So it makes total sense that I’d be Scrabble and he’d be Insanely Complicated Game For Smart People.
I’m intrigued by this game. Look at those cards! They’re so pretty! And there’s something happening there, like obstacle building or something. What’s sad is, Ian explained a lot of what was going on while we were shooting, but I only pretended like I was taking it all in. But maybe one day Mike will buy something for us to play that’s beyond my normal board game knowledge and I’ll learn something. And then I can come back and edit this post and not feel so dumb!
We packed up the games and dragged these two around some haunts of downtown… Aubriana’s, the riverwalk, Cape Fear Wine and Beer, and a few stairwells.
I think the best part of hanging out with Steph and Ian was watching their banter and their interactions. They can escape wherever they are and just fall into one another, just like that, and it’s so fun to watch. We get to shoot part II of this engagement session on the Sunday before Labor Day, at the Raleigh Farmer’s Market… and then we get to shoot Steph’s bridal portrait at a riding farm outside Durham, and THEN their wedding happens on October 12th in Elkin! Pretty freaking excited about everything 2013 right now. It’s turning out to be a wonderful year.
So check it out. Jenny and Kevin live in Hawaii. Not like “Oh, we’re gonna try out the beach bum life for a few months”… they LIVE and WORK in Hawaii. For years now.
I’ll say this: having lived in both Hawaii and Wilmington NC, you’d be surprised at how similar the two are. Now, I’m comparing Wilmington to Maui, since that’s the island I grew up on, but I’m assuming the rest of Hawaii acts a lot like Maui anyway. Laid back, more barefoot than not, friendly, relaxed, a little on the uncomfortably hot side half the year, and really pretty. Maui’s a bit prettier than Wilmington, not gonna lie. If Wilmington had an extinct volcanic mountain range fringing the city, it’d be a real toss-up.
I’m a big fan of Mercer’s Pier in Wrightsville Beach. I remember when the pier was wooden, before Hurricanes Bertha and Fran conspired to demolish it. I remember when they started building the new concrete pier, and how the locals were, by and large, really not thrilled with the idea (“This aint California! A wooden pier is the only kinda pier that belongs on our beach!”)… and how when it finally opened, after what seemed like a decade under construction… how strangely foreign, but beautiful it was. The concrete seemed so cold at first; now, it just belongs.
One of the things that I love about Wilmington is that, like that new concrete pier, it doesn’t take long to belong here. I moved here in 1996, and was embraced and accepted almost immediately; today, even though I wasn’t born or raised anywhere near North Carolina, no one even questions my belonging here.
I figure that’s why, even after living in Hawaii for some time and knowing just how freaking ridiculously gorgeous a Hawaiian elopement could’ve been… the belonging thing. You know? You want to get married where you belong. It makes perfect sense. Oh sure, they would have had a phenomenal Hawaiian elopement or small wedding… black sand beaches, volcanic rock, real swaying palm trees, the scent of fresh lilikoi on the breeze, and the velvety indigo waters of the Pacific in the background of every photo. I would’ve killed to shoot that. But I get why they chose Wilmington. This is home. This is the place that welcomes and embraces everyone. There’s something pretty special about that. I’m proud to call this my home, too.
I love that they came home to celebrate this part of their lives. And I love that we got to be part of that.
So check this out. Dhruti and Andrew are getting married in June, in a tiny town near Rocky Mount, NC. They’re having a traditional Indian wedding, but they’re also infusing some Chinese elements as well, in honor of Andrew’s heritage – so there will be an Indian baraat… with a Chinese dragon dance. An Indian ceremony, with a Chinese tea ceremony. Indian AND Chinese food through the entire weekend. Are you kidding me?!?! Yeah, we’ll be there
Mike and I met up with these two at their alma mater, UNC Chapel Hill, to take a tour of their beloved campus, talk about the big (huge!) wedding plans, and, well, get some pretty pictures. We walked EVERYWHERE, from Franklin Street and Top of the Hill, to the Old Well (where we waited… and waited… aaaaand waited for our turn to take pictures), even got to witness a surprise proposal right in front of the Old Well (got pictures of that, too, but we won’t be showing them out of respect for the hired photographer, and the couple – whose names I never caught, but what an awesome proposal it was!). We visited the rose garden, of course had to stop at The Pit, took some gorgeous sun-backed shots in the Quad, and even got the entire football stadium to ourselves. We did try to sneak into the Dean Smith Center at the very end of the shoot, because COME ON HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE? Engagement pictures on the Tarheels Court? But, alas… they were shut down for the day. We tried. Still got some shots in front of it, but it’s not quite the same.
I really do love the UNC Campus… even though most sessions seem to take the same route and use the same landmarks, there’s always something new to see, and the grounds are just gorgeous. And it’s been nice to have more excuses to get back up to Chapel Hill lately, it’s such a cool little town.
Let’s look at pictures now, yeah?
Dhruti brought some props after seeing so many engagement sessions on the wedding blogs that use umbrellas, balloons, furniture, suitcases, etc. I’ll admit, I don’t really know what to do with props. I just… well, I don’t do styled shoots! I guess I just feel that my photography is more honest when we use our environment and our personalities to create images that reflect who and where we are… and I’ve never really thought that a bunch of balloons would add to that statement, right? But I also only have three pairs of shoes, and my musical taste hasn’t advanced since 1994, so I’m certainly not saying I’m right. Anyway, where was I? OH! The props! Since I didn’t know what to do with them, and Dhruti and Andrew didn’t know what to do with them, we all just sort of stood there with these adorable umbrellas… and laughed. And even though they’re not sinister or stylized, I still think these shots are super cute.
And a cute patterned umbrella makes a great portrait background, turns out! Also: how fantastically darling is Dhruti? Right?
I completely love this shot. I think it’s going to have to be added to my permanent favorites collection, up in the header of our website.
We can not WAIT for this wedding. For soooo many reasons – I mean, it will be just plain awesome between the decor and the traditions and the amazing colors and energy and aaaahhhh!!! Plus, this couple is so sweet and easygoing, and completely EASY to shoot… we’re showing what seems like a lot of photos in this post, but truth be told we could have shown three times this many, and you still wouldn’t see every location, every expression, every pose. They’re just FINE in front of the camera, which means that the umpteen hours we will spend with them on their wedding weekend will (should!) just fly right by. You gotta love that!
I first met Lauren when she contacted me about shooting her wedding this July on the Cape Fear River.
Yes, that’s right – they’re getting married on the Cape Fear River in July. The hot kind of July. Mid-summer. River. It may be a bit warm out that day
What I loved most about Lauren when we first talked was how utterly laid back and non-bridezilla she was, and how much faith she put in me and my abilities. She was all, “yeah, your portfolio rocks and I love your work and your personality, so where do I sign?” SO easy, SO not panicked, SO awesome. And even as the time draws nearer and all reports say that this July will be a scorcher of unusual proportions, Lauren remains ultra-cool. ”Yeah, so we’ll just have lots of ice water and fans and stuff. Of course it’ll be hot, it’s July!” She’s so fabulous. You really have to love a bride who’s that grounded, you know?
Since this winter has been crazy warm, we lucked out with a really nice FEBRUARY day in downtown Wilmington for the shoot. We hit all the alleyways, the riverfront, Front Street, and then headed over to Greenfield Lake to catch some beautiful light through the trees close to sunset.
Randy is pretty adorable, and has the best expressions… you can’t help but feel how much he loves Lauren, just looking at that sweet, almost shy smile of his, right? And Lauren is so elegant, with such incredible features – I honestly can not WAIT for their wedding! Yeah, okay, so it’ll be hot. I’ll probably bring a few changes of clothes and a cooler of ice and bug spray. And at some point I know I’ll text my BFF Kim to bitch about how hot it is. But at least I’ll be working with fabulous people who really appreciate what I do… it makes all the difference in the world! Check back in mid-July for a sneak peek from their wedding!!! Eeeeeeeee!!!
(continued from parts one and two)
…part three. We made it, y’all! This is the last post I’m writing about this engagement session. I know, I know, I went a little overboard. Couldn’t help myself , I’m crazy about this shoot and this couple.
So, right… we left Greenfield Lake, and headed down toward Wrightsville Beach. On the way to Mercer’s, we stopped in a gorgeous little neighborhood on the island…
Probably the most idyllic, most perfect neighborhood in all of Wilmington. No offense to Wilmington neighborhoods that aren’t this one.
Then the beach! We went straight to Johnny Mercer’s Pier, because (a) ample parking; (b) cool concrete pier; (c) arcade and hot dogs; (d) umm… maybe there is no (d).
A few shots under and near the pier…
Then up to the arcade! It’s… well, not much of an arcade. In my memory it was much bigger, better lit, and more fun than this. But we still passed the time while hot dogs cooked for us.
When we walked out onto the pier, it was freezing. Probably not “freezing”, but it had to be in the 40′s. (note: it was probably 62 degrees. We’re wimps down here)
Katie brought hats
At the very end of our session, I wanted to grab a few shots of Katie’s ring. Then, on the way back downtown, we saw the most gorgeous sunset… and I had to grab a few shots of it, just to round out our day in pictures.
There you go. Epic E-Shoot 2012, v1.0. Let’s see if I can match or beat this one this year!!! Thanks for sticking with me through all three parts of this. I know it was a lot of work, but wasn’t it fun?
(continued from part one)…So we got to the park at the Battleship North Carolina, and I was instantly reminded of all the reasons I love living in this town. Looking across the river at downtown Wilmington… thinking about all the memories I’ve made, all the photographs I’ve taken, all the couples I’ve watched start the next step of their journeys together, all the romantic dinners with Mike… all those memories, all those years, all contained in those few square blocks, between buildings, in alleyways and churches and restaurants. I’m not big on nostalgia, but sometimes it smacks me in the face and I just have to accept that I’m a softy after all.
So, we spent a little while in the grassy part of the park, but I’d had my eye on the creepy old housey looking thing off to the other side of the entry road… and the marshy tall grasses the creepy housey thing fronted. Marshy tall grass! Creepy housey thing! It’s like Modern Engagement Session 101, right there in front of us! Could I resist?
…No. I could not resist:
The whole “nature” thing got me all inspired, so I suggested that we run over to Greenfield Lake to see what we could find. Note: every single image taken at Greenfield Lake below? I was either standing or kneeling in goose poop. Every. Single. One. I am starting to think there’s no *ground* at Greenfield. It’s just goose poop.
Come on. It’s almost too warm and fuzzy, right?
Continue on to part three…