Today I’m sharing photos from a session for an extended family who is very near and dear to my heart. I met Holly through MOPS, and to say knowing her has enriched my life seems like an understatement. She is talented, kind, innovative, and generous. So generous. She comes by it honestly, too: her parents are the same way. When she approached me about a session, I immediately said yes. Together, we decided to try something a little rural – long grass, river views, and close to home.
We had planned on meeting the evening before the 4th, but I was no less than 5 minutes from the location when it started to storm. And I’m not just talking about rain – it was bolts of lightning, cracking thunder, and pouring buckets. I popped open and ran down to the river to see if it looked like it would pass – definitely not!! So, even though Holly had gotten four (FOUR) kids ready and she and her mom had done hair, etc., we rescheduled for early the next morning. Holly is a trooper – it was an early start – like before sunrise early for them to get up and get ready again.
It paid off, though. The light was beautiful, the family looked fantastic, and they all had a big breakfast afterwards. (A breakfast to which her father invited me, and although I’ve shared WONDERFUL meals with this family, I declined this time.)
And now, if you look through these photos, you’ll see that extended family photos don’t have to be chaos. We all have a lot of fun together.
Because Charleston is a city that boasts so many travel awards, it isn’t surprising that people visit here during their summer vacation time. I meet many clients at Rainbow Row, and usually while I’m waiting, I end up helping a tourist (or several) wanting to get a group pic in front of the iconic area. When Tamela contacted me for photos, she knew she wanted to take advantage of all the brightly colored buildings downtown. We agreed sticking around Rainbow Row would be ideal – she wanted her photos to be fun, bright, and funky! Converse & tutus – my kind of session!
In spite of the heat, the session was a blast. We danced, we laughed, they skipped and hugged — and we came out with a bunch of photos that showcased downtown in all of its extraordinary color!! See for yourself.
Earlier this year, I photographed a group of young adults who were students at a nearby military base. It was a fun change of pace from the “typical” families I photograph. Although they were extremely polite, they were constantly laughing and joking and up for some pretty impressive challenges to capture their friendship. If you are, perhaps, wondering what sort of activities qualify as “challenges,” I’ll share a couple of the photos below:
Obviously, not something I photograph on a usual basis. Also, you should be impressed with their pyramid skills. That was not easy and they look a lot happier than they are probably feeling.
Anyway! Not long later, two members of the group – Arriana and Gilbert, contacted me to ask if I would photograph their wedding celebration. They were planning an intimate gathering with families and close friends, and were actually returning to Old Santee Canal Park to celebrate.
They remind me a lot of my husband, Tim and I. We were married when I was 22 — right out of college. He was enlisted in the Marine Corps, and our friends from the military and family from all over the country traveled to spend time with us. Arriana and Gilbert’s wedding was fun and relaxed, and focused on connecting with all the people who mean so much to them.
Arriana is also a stunning bride. I had her stand by some of the windows at the park’s learning center so I could produce a few portraits that I KNOW will become precious family keepsakes. Gilbert looked sharp, too, in his blue suit, forgoing a uniform.
We also made time to walk around the canal and swamp area and get some photos of them together. This is always a favorite for me; I just love creating some stunning portraits of couples together!
And last but not least – a few photos of their reception and friends and family. As you can see, it was the perfect kind of celebration – relaxed and happy!
Have you ever heard of MOPS?
MOPS is an organization for “Mothers of Preschoolers.” It is a support system for neighborhood moms, fostering community and meaningful conversation and a little bit of time alone during years where – let’s face it – you really need it. I was invited when I met a friend of a friend at the library. Her son and my son are days apart in age, and after my first meeting, I knew it was some place I wanted to stay. There is nothing like a community of moms coming together, talking each other through the hard stuff (sleepless nights, behavior issues in children, relationship matter…). You realize, while eating a plate of breakfast (with no tiny hands stealing your food), that you are HARDLY alone in your struggles, and even if you don’t get solutions, you have an empathetic ear. I think Moms groups are so important, particularly in early motherhood, where you can feel so isolated.
I met this Mama at MOPS. She is a military wife, and I have learned that many Military wives search for MOPS groups just so that they can find friends and community quickly, particularly because they move around quite a bit. Sadly, her family is nearing the end of their stay in Charleston. That doesn’t mean they won’t return someday, though! Fun fact: Charleston is where she and her husband had their engagement photos done! Naturally, we revisited some of the old locations now that their family has grown a bit. Downtown nev
er disappoints, and her sweet, funny children were fun to photograph.
Here are just a handful from their session:
When Tia approached me about photographing her wedding, I was really excited. She teaches at my son’s school, and is in general a very kind and warm person. Their wedding, on December 29, 2018, guaranteed an excellent start to the new year for them!
Their ceremony took place at First Baptist Church in Mt. Pleasant, and although there were clouds predicted for the day, they were blessed with sunshine and nice temperatures! You never know what you will get in Charleston in the “winter!”
After a beautiful ceremony where they surprised guests with a slideshow of their lives (paralleled as kids, then together as a couple), they headed to the Charleston Yacht Club for their reception.
A few highlights from the night? A hot chocolate bar on the bottom deck with views of the yachts at sunset. Nathan’s family – his entire extended family – surprised the couple with a fun flash dance. (Super impressed with everyone’s moves, I gotta say.) The bouquet toss required a re-do because the initial toss may have landed in one of the light fixtures! (Not to worry, a retrieval occurred without issue.) And the dancing, well, it was pretty spectacular; there were far more people on the dance floor then sitting at the tables. That is always the mark of a successful reception, in my eyes!
I’m going to post a few photos from the wedding below, but really, you’ll probably get a better idea by watching this slideshow I put together of their big day. It was lovely, and I know that their future together will be, too!