Before Mother's Day this year, I had the pleasure of meeting with two super adorable Columbia moms to photograph them with their little ones.
I always enjoy mommy and me sessions. They are so fun to shoot and I just love letting the kids be themselves. Sometimes that's how you get the best pictures!
This year was fabulous! Columbia had been unseasonably warm a few days prior, so I was fearful that we would be sweating to death that morning. Thankfully, it had cooled down just enough to be tolerable and my full-on sweat was downgraded to a glisten (thank jesus :)) As always, the Horseshoe was gorgeous, and our only distraction was the flurry of college seniors celebrating their big accomplishment (graduation) with their own photoshoots.
In the end, we were able to avoid the cap-and-gown photobombs and capture some great shots.
First up, Allison and her baby boy, Harrison. Harrison was a complete doll! He was so fascinated with the ground, we had to pull out all the tricks to get him to look up!
We succeeded, and Allison walked away with some adorable images to share with her husband and family.
Here are a few.
Next up was Megan. I've actually photographed Megan and her sweet family a couple of times. They are all just beautiful and I've enjoyed watching her little Ellison grow! She's such a little lady!
A special bonus -- her husband joined us and we were able to snap a few family pictures, too!
Here are a few from our session.
Mommy + me sessions aren't just for Mother's Day. They are a great way to capture a moment in time and can help document exactly how your babies were at that exact date.
Also, if you're looking for a thoughtful and fun gift to give parents or grandparents, mommy + me sessions make for great images to frame. And what parent or grandparent doesn't want a beautiful picture of their family to share with all their friends?
Any who, I hope all mothers and moms-to-be had the best day. Until next year!
Newly engaged? Super excited about planning your dream wedding? Stressed about ALL the things?
I. have. been. there.
It's such an exciting time to be engaged. But it's also incredibly overwhelming. There are so many things to think about! What if you forget something???
Take a breath. No, really. Take one.
In the end, all that matters is that you and your partner are madly in love, happily married and ready to start this new chapter of your lives. Isn't that the point of getting married after all?
We make such a fuss over the littlest of things, but in 5, 10, 50+ years, the only part of that day that will matter is that you love one another.
But, look, I understand the need to have everything, "perfect." Like I said, I've been there. I was OBSESSED with perfection. And there's nothing wrong with making sure your big day is all you've ever dreamed, but I recommend prioritizing to make sure you don't lose your mind. Prioritize cost of each wedding item and importance to both you and your partner.
For me, my one thing that I was not willing to skimp on was photography. Having this time in my life memorialized in photos was number one on my list, and I was willing to pay for good ones.
Photography might not be number one on your list, and you might not be willing to pay a premium, but I suggest at least making professional photography one of your top 3 "must haves."
And if you are on the fence about whether or not you should spend the extra money (if it's not included in your wedding package) on professional engagement photos, here's my reasons for why you should.
Make It a Trial Run
In the fall of 2015, I was honored to take engagement photos of a co-worker and her fiancé. We had so much fun! They brought their adorable dog, Grace, and were just smitten with each other the entire session.
In April of the following year, they were married at one of the most incredible places in Charleston, SC. The ceremony was just gorgeous and the reception was rockin'.
A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting with the aforementioned fiancé (now husband), and he proceeded to tell me how thankful he was to have their engagement session prior to their wedding day photo session.
In fact, he said, "Taking the engagement pictures was awkward, but it really prepared me for my wedding day pictures."
After he left, I thought about that. He was right! Engagement shoots are like mini trial runs for your big day!
Most people feel uncomfortable in front of a camera. Being the sole subject of an image can really put the pressure on. Add on the "act like you're about the kiss" and the "whisper something funny in her ear" requests from us photographers, and engagement shoots can sometimes make people feel incredibly uneasy!
But that's the time for that to happen -- during your engagement photos. Although you should shoot to have just as much fun at your engagement session as your wedding session, think of your engagement photos are the pre-wedding photos, without all the fuss.
Use that time to get comfortable being the center of attention. Because on your big day, you don't want to feel awkward when the photographer gives you a command. You want to feel relaxed and natural. Relaxed, natural and candid shots make for some of the most incredible images to look back on.
Like this one from my wedding. My husband and I had just walked away from the ceremony and were giddy as school girls :). (photo cred: Landon Jacobs)
So, think about it like that. Don't think of and engagement session as just another cost. Think of it as an essential part of getting the best photos of your big day.
Take Some "Y'all" Time
In all the hustle and bustle of wedding planning, you can really start to lose the reason you said "yes" to the proposal in the first place. When you're mind is full of colors, flowers, dress styles, tie patterns, caterers, wine choices, etc. you almost start creating another world where only you and this event exists; which can sometimes leave your partner feeling...isolated or alone.
A engagement photo shoot can help. Just one hour can help you push back from all the planning, refocus on your partner and hopefully put things into perspective. A wedding is important, but the details that make it beautiful won't lay the path for your entire lives.
So think about scheduling a little "y'all" time. Heck, make a day date of it! Wake up, get ready together, dress in something that makes you feel great, have your shoot, go on a lunch date, then spend the rest of the afternoon focusing on one another.
Leave the planning for the next day. I promise, one day won't make or break whatever decisions you have waiting for you in your planner.
It's Not a Must
Taking engagement photos is not a must by any means, and if it's not in your budget, then it's not in your budget. But consider my reasons above and remember, you'll never get this time of your life back once it's gone. Why not document it? You'll be happy you did.
april 26th was my husband's birthday (fox is his middle name for those who don't know), and when we celebrate birthdays, we usually choose a new or favorite local restaurant. after all, it was at a restaurant where we first met...on a blind date...so it only seems fitting that we celebrate all of life's milestones with food :).
our usual go-tos are terra and motor supply company (both EXCELLENT), but this year we decided to try a newer to the local scene restaurant, tallulah.
the dinner was actually a wine pairing dinner, and since we both love wine, we decided to try something new! we were already familiar with the distributor, aleph wines, and the sommelier, Jean Pierre Chambas, from a previous wine event in lake city, sc, so we made reservations.
the room and table was beautifully decorated. all five, stemmed glasses were perfectly arranged, ready to be filled with some of the most delicious wines aleph has to offer.
we were greeted with a group of smiling faces and a sweet sparking wine cocktail that was mixed with purple basil simple syrup and lemon juice, and topped with a sweet basil leaf.
this birthday dinner was a little different for us because it was a group dinner. if you aren't familiar with group-style dinners, get to be. not only are they a lot of fun, but you meet some really great people.
amongst the night's guests were a french couple, the owners of local quail farm, manchester farms, one of aleph's representatives, and a lady named bubbles. Well, there was actually bubbles and her friend, but i can't remember the other's name. bubbles was enough to keep us intrigued :),
the menu was more of a tapas style (sadly i didn't get a picture of it) with dishes ranging from scallops and oysters to lamb and ravioli. each perfectly paired with wines from all over the world that complimented the flavors best.
group dinners can be a little awkward at first, but when there is alcohol involved, it doesn't take long before you're chatting like old friends. with group dinners, the table topics are always varied and interesting, you never leave less educated than when you sat down, and sometimes you even meet new friends!
even if the meal itself isn't fabulous, usually the company is.
the other thing about this dinner was that it had a preset menu.
preset menus can also be interesting. because you have to be willing to "roll with the punches" when it comes to what they put in front of you. of course, if you are highly allergic to something, it's best to ask the waiter for a substitute or better yet, to skip that dish all together. but the best thing i've found about preset menus is that you learn to like something different each time. or sometimes you just try something you've not tried before. either way, it's a fantastic opportunity to expand your pallet and learn how different, or not so different, flavors marry together. the fox and i have gotten a lot of cooking inspiration from dinners like these.
the meal ended with a coffee liqueur paired with a savory dessert, and our bellies full.
all in all, the dinner was a good choice. like i said, it wasn't our typical birthday celebration choice, but we were pleased with the result.
if you get a chance, check out tallula. Or if you aren't in the columbia area, find a local restaurant that does preset menu dinners and try one one. If it turns out the food is horrible, you can always grab some fast food on the way home :).