Friday, November 27, 2015

Charming Charleston

I couldn't believe I had never been to South Carolina before this trip. It's only 8 hours to Charleston from where I am, yet I had never gone. I spent a whole week in this charming city and while Megan was at the conference I mentioned in my last post, I had a whole lot of time to myself. We were staying about half an hour from the city center and on the conference days, Megan put together a Bible study, which we started at 6:30AM. So we got up at the crack of dawn both days to do that and after Bible study, I was on my own from 7AM-11PM. You think that sounds fun until you're actually alone. Haha! Megan was kind enough to give me her car so I was able to go places but let's just say I'd much rather travel with someone. If I'm alone, I just end up having conversations with strangers and wandering through sketchy neighborhoods trying to get to buildings that look like castles. If you follow me on Snapchat, you are well aware of this. Haha!!

Most of these iPhone photos were taken on the two days I was wandering around because I ran out of things to do after seven hours. I spent a whole lot of time at a cute and delicious coffeeshop called Black Tap Coffee. Definitely ranks as one of my top two favorites ever, and I've been to a LOT of coffeeshops. So I started each morning getting coffee, working, and meeting new people while I was there but then ended up strolling King Street, the waterfront, and the Battery. The next day I headed to Edisto Island and Folley Beach, which was a lot of fun because I got to drive back roads and see outside of downtown CHS. South Carolina really is way more beautiful than I imagined and I loved having a laid back week to explore. Here are a few images from the trip. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and enjoys the weekend! :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Megan | Charleston, South Carolina + Destination Portrait Photographer

I'm so lucky to have just spent a wonderful week in the town of Charleston, South Carolina. I had heard about Charleston for years because I had a friend who went to the College of Charleston but it wasn't until I joined the wedding photography industry that I learned why it was such a great place. It is full of rich history and the most beautifully colored and textured homes I've ever seen. 

Megan was attending the Creative at Heart Conference and although I didn't sign up, Megan invited me to go along because she knows how much I love to travel. We did SO much while we were there but during the two days she was at the conference, I had those full days to explore and do whatever I wanted. Those photos will be coming soon in a later post but first I get to share with you the photoshoot I had with Megan! It's become a tradition for me to photograph Megan and Megan to photograph me everywhere we go. Megan has become such a great travel buddy and it's so nice because we are both photographers and we get new photos in such beautiful locations every place we visit. I feel like I say this every time I go somewhere but Charleston is one of my favorite spots I've been this year and I actually do mean that. I'm so glad I have Megan's gorgeous face to start off this blog post! Enjoy the Spanish moss, old oak trees, and awesome row houses.

Monday, November 23, 2015


I was listening to a sermon by Matt Chandler this morning about hope and I got inspired to write something that's been on my heart a while. I made a note in my phone yesterday to blog specifically about contentment and how we can learn to stop hoping for more than what we have currently been given. Matt Chandler's sermon was all about HOPE and tied perfectly into that. He was speaking about how hope is what drives our entire lives. We get through our days in hopes of being recognized, in hopes of getting a better job, in hopes of finding our true love, in hopes of becoming so-and-so's friend, in hopes of making more money, in hopes of losing weight, etc. etc. Without hope, we really have no reason to live. But hoping in things that will never deliver -- which is everything of this world -- will lead you into anxiety and restlessness. I know for myself that a lot of times hope and control go hand in hand. I hope in something and try to figure out how I can control the outcome to get what I want. But guess what? Control is an illusion. It's something that will completely ruin you and suck the joy out of life. 

I remember last year all too well, constantly wishing I was shooting like a photographer I admired, editing like a photographer I admired, trying to be a photographer I admired. It wasn't even one particular person -- I was just ALWAYS wanting to be someone else. I was living my whole life forgetting who I was and desiring things that were not only unachievable but were a waste of my time. I chose to lose who I was in an attempt to be someone else -- someone I can never be, someone I was NOT CREATED TO BE. I would see an image and immediately critique my own work and I was left feeling defeated, tired, and insecure. But I have good news. I began praying that God would reveal my sin to me and help me to LET GO. I was tired of constantly wishing for more. It wasn't fun and it made every experience something to achieve rather than something to enjoy.

In the photography industry, we are surrounded by people who are better than us. There will always be someone better and because social media is such a huge part of our business, we see the lives of others online and it becomes a trap to compare your entire life to someone else's "highlight reel," as I've heard it called before. But this is NOT a way to live. This is unhealthy and if you struggle with it, you're not alone but you're also not meant to continue living in it. This year I've talked to countless people who have explained to me that they want to be friends with a certain group of people, that they want their work to look like a certain person's, that they want to have a certain number of followers, and the list goes on. I GET IT. I do. But I am so passionate about helping people understand how to live out the quote below. Life is not meant to be a constant comparison. Stop focusing on what others are doing and focus on what you are doing. Stop letting your success and selfishness drive EVERY decision you make. 

"When we focus on being significant in the lives of people right in front of us, rather than trying to be successful to the world around us, then God will do mighty things through us." -Stephanie Holden

When I learned that it's the little things and the kind gestures that help people to see Christ, not the success of my business, everything changed. When I started telling myself that in 50 years, THIS (whatever I'm putting a false hope into) will fade and won't matter, my outlook on life changed and I can honestly say, I have stopped putting my hope into the material things of this world. Granted, I still struggle, but wishing for more is draining and I hate it. I'm not saying it's bad to work hard, pursue dreams, or hope to live a happy, healthy life, but set realistic expectations and when you go to achieve something, don't let the things of this world derail you from living in contentment. So with that, I have a few things that I think will help you get out of this dark valley of always wishing for more and hoping in what's not eternal.

1. Ask yourself what or who you are hoping in. Is there someone you desire to be or something you want to achieve? Ask yourself why and then determine if that's healthy or not.

2. Figure out what is sucking the joy out of your life. Social media, your job, your friends?? Figure out how you can fix that. In my case, social media was sucking the joy out of me -- specifically Facebook -- so I unfollowed a lot of pages for my sanity and I don't look at my newsfeed as much. 

3. If you believe in Jesus, pray for peace and for God to reveal your sin. When you know what's causing the discontentment, it's easier to spot it when it creeps in and shut it down.

4. Don't be afraid of failure and remember that your failure is only bad if you choose not to learn from it or you allow it to control you. On the other hand, also know that someone else's success is not your failure.

5. Understand that this is just a season and you have the choice to make a change. Life's not perfect and work was never meant to fulfill us so I'm not telling you to quit your job right now, give up, or lose sight of joy because you dread waking up in the morning, but remember that this season will come to an end.

I hope this was encouraging and please feel free to message me, leave a comment, or ask to FaceTime or Skype. I seriously know what it's like to feel alone in this and to feel like you'll never get out of it but I know it's possible and I know there's SO much more to life. :) Have a good week!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Amanda + Jeremy | Pippin Hill Farm: Charlottesville, Virginia Wedding Photographer

Pippin Hill weddings are always good days. But what made this day more special than my normal second shooting experience was that I spent two days in NYC a few months before the wedding with Sera Petras helping her shoot Amanda and Jeremy's engagement session! I walked into the day feeling like I already knew Amanda and Jeremy which I loved! It's been a whole year since this wedding and this post has been sitting in my drafts for months. I thought it was about time to share! 

Second shot with Sera Petras.