Permalink to Rae & Daniel | Backlot & Downtown | Hampton, GA

Rae & Daniel | Backlot & Downtown | Hampton, GA

This is literally the very first photo on my card, the photo I took right after I told Rae and Daniel, “Just relax, I’m only testing the light.”  Only five minutes before, in the car, Rae had insisted, “I’m nervous.  I look bad in pictures.”  And to that I say: Shut up, Rae. You’re stunning.

I feel okay telling Rae to shut up, because she’s marrying my friend Daniel, who I’ve known since… well, since forever.  Daniel’s family, not in blood but in spirit.  And I’m beyond excited that the girl he told me about a couple years back, the girl he said was “probably too good” for him, the girl who was “beautiful and smart and nerdy and funny” — that girl said yes to being Daniel’s wife.

So now I’m making engagement pictures for the kid who played guitar at my wedding almost ten (!!!) year ago.  Good lord…  I love you two!

Permalink to Mary & Mark | Bradford House | Flowery Branch, GA

Mary & Mark | Bradford House | Flowery Branch, GA

I knew Mary online only, through mutual friends, when she booked me for her wedding.  This kind of trust is incredibly humbling — and pretty terrifying!  When I finally had the chance to personally meet Mary & Mark in September, I knew we would get along fabulously.  Mark reminded me of my own husband: low key and laid back and kind.  And Mary was all sparkle and light and joy, bursting with energy and overflowing love for Mark.  Celebrating with the two of them just four days before Christmas was the perfect way to end my 2013!

Ceremony & Reception: Bradford House & Gardens
Flowers: The Elegant Urn
Music: Amazing Sounds

I loved these two little ring bearers.  After a few cutesy, smiling shots, I asked them for their best tough guy poses.  This is what I got:

I seriously thought Mary might burst with happiness!

You wouldn’t know it, but it kept raining… on and off… on and off… like some feisty god’s child was playing with a sprinkler.  These ladies were such troopers, planting their heels in the soft ground, brushing rainwater off their gowns, and braving the cold!  Mary, in particular, seemed as comfortable in the elements as if we were on set somewhere!

Mary and her dad…


Mary & Mark’s families:

Joining their guests in the big house…

Back across the bridge from the big house to hit the dance floor!

2013 was the year of messy, mischievous cake-cuttings — and Mary & Mark’s was no exception! I would probably have punched Dan if he’d shoved cake in my face at our wedding, but GAH I love photographing stuff like this!


I always wonder what kids are thinking when they watch adults partaking in crazy wedding rituals…

It’s not a party ’til the groom has tried on the veil…

Two of the aforementioned mutual friends…

…and two more, being tall and in love on the dance floor.

Sparklers to end the night:

This wedding was brought to you by:


Permalink to Small Success, Big Fulfillment

Small Success, Big Fulfillment

Coach Taylor said it best: “Success is not a goal. It’s a by-product.”

He was, of course, paraphrasing Eleanor Roosevelt’s wise words on happiness, but for a small business owner, success and happiness may be one and the same. Personally, I’d call it “fulfillment.”

For me, success is a feeling. I may look at someone else’s nice home, big income, or killer wardrobe and think, “Wow, they’re successful.” But I know that my life could mirror theirs, fancy-for-fancy, and I’d still be scrambling to catch up because I wouldn’t feel fulfilled.

2013 brought me several beautiful moments of success — perhaps not successes by anyone else’s standards, but successes nonetheless, because I knew I was doing exactly what I was meant to be doing. In honor of the new year, these are my top five most fulfilling moments of 2013, the experiences that made me feel truly, irrevocably successful in life, love, and work.

5. I didn’t get a tattoo. Silly, I know.  I entered my 30′s CERTAIN I was finally ready to get my tattoo. But as the past couple of years inched by, I’ve struggled with finding the right artist, choosing exactly where my tattoo would go, and finalizing precisely what it would say or be. One day, in my car, I heard a beautiful NPR piece discussing our tendency to underestimate how much we change as we grow older. According to the study, any given age we tend to believe we’ve finally become who we will be (more or less) for the rest of our lives. But the truth is, we change constantly throughout our lives. Ask a person how different they are from the person they were ten years ago, and regardless of their current age, they will invariable say, “I’m a completely different person now!” Finally accepting that I’m still changing allowed me to just drop the whole tattoo thing — for now. In the meantime, I’ll be pinning them on Pinterest.

4. I fell in love with photographing families. When I finished photo school, the first thing I did was burn the family portrait I’d been required to include in my portfolio — that’s how utterly atrocious it was. (Honestly, I wish I still had it just so I could show you. You would probably vomit.) But this year, as the Christmas cards started rolling in with photos of the beautiful families I’ve photographed throughout the year, I realized: I LOVE to photograph families, and I’m finally, at last, pretty okay at it.  I’m so thankful to the hundreds of families who have allowed me to learn from them over the years.  I never knew I could love wrangling toddlers and exhausted parents — but I do!

3. I outsourced 80% of my editing. This was my 2013 New Year’s resolution, and I’m proud to say I stuck to it. I brought my co-tographer Erin Schopf in to edit for me, and her hard work every week has kept me on track, improved my finished product, and given me more time to do what I love: make pictures!

2. I stayed married. In 2014 I will celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary with my husband. If you’re married, you know that every year you are married is a year that you fought for. Some years are blissfully smooth and easy, and some years are so damn hard you really do wonder how you’ll ever make it. Thankfully, 2013 was one of the smooth years for Dan and me, but we’ve had other years that were incredibly challenging. I am immensely thankful for his unwavering commitment to us as a team, and his constant, active love for me. I’m sure we could survive without one another, but I honestly wouldn’t want to.

1. I followed my gut. I’ve never been scared of confrontation, per se, but I don’t seek it out either. So I’m not sure what I thought would happen when I decided it was a good idea to post, live on the internet, a letter I’d written about something I believed so strongly, it simply couldn’t go unsaid. The chaos that followed felt unravelling at times, but I know so much more now than I did before about myself, my industry, and the world around me. Most importantly, I am convinced ever more deeply in my soul that we are all in this together.  In the aftermath, I spoke with two people whose business prowess, creative agility, and social understanding I have tremendous respect for.  I asked if they had just one piece of advice they would mind sharing with my frazzled, overwhelmed, caught-offguard self.  After a thoughtful moment, they responded in sync, “Follow your gut.”  As life takes me down new paths and I find myself in unfamiliar places again and again, that simple wisdom remains the most valuable.

As I hit restart and begin fresh with a brand new year ahead of me, I reject success as a goal, and instead strive for greater compassion, renewed creativity, and strengthened friendships. This may not result in more money or more things, but I do not doubt the resulting fulfillment. And that?  Right there?  That’s success.  2014 is going to be a year rich with success; it is already a year big on fulfillment.

Happy New Year!

Permalink to JP Is New Here | At Home | Woodstock, GA

JP Is New Here | At Home | Woodstock, GA

JP’s parents put a Wampa rug in his nursery.  I think we already know this kid’s gonna be awesome.

Kim & Joe’s furbaby couldn’t resist trying to sneak into a few photos…

I love it when newborns smile.  I know, I know… they don’t know they’re doing it.  But STILL.  So precious.

Somewhere around this moment, I opened my big mouth and said that JP looked like a cute little Gollum.  I seriously meant it in the best possible way.  ALL newborn babies look like tiny old men, or funny little elves, or hairless orangutans.  It’s what makes babies so fun to look at.  THANK HEAVEN Kim & Joe didn’t immediately kick me out of their home.  (I seriously need to work on my compliments.)

Favorite: Joe’s grown-up hand on JP’s tiny little baby tummy…

A little Christmas in the foreground…

Permalink to Lillian Paige, Day 1

Lillian Paige, Day 1

In the spring, when my brother texted me a picture of a sonogram, I told him, “If you have another son, I’m putting him in a dress and calling him Isabelle.”  I didn’t have to make good on my threat.  My sister-in-law gave birth to a perfect little baby girl two days after Christmas.  This is Lillian Paige.

Holland: What’s that?

Monica: That’s your baby sister.  That’s Lily.

Holland: That Leeloo.  That MINE.

We didn’t tell Corbin that Lily couldn’t see him waving.  He was too happy.  No need to break the spell.


Permalink to Jessica & Daniel | At Home | Pine Lake, GA

Jessica & Daniel | At Home | Pine Lake, GA

I’d like to photograph Jessica & Daniel’s wedding over and over: for its simple joy, for its delicate beauty, for its natural setting, for its relaxed intimacy.  As I’ve said before, I love a big, fancy wedding; but there’s something about a small affair that touches my soul.  Perhaps it’s the lack of distraction.  With no elaborate decor or extensive vendor list, your full attention can rest with the person you are about to marry.

Jessica & Daniel got ready together, in their home.


Friends and family arrived at the house early, and relaxed together before the ceremony.

Outside for a few quiet portraits before the ceremony…

The ketubah signing.

Because they celebrated with such an intimate group of friends and family, all of Jessica and Daniel’s guests were able to sign their ketubah.

A few last-minute tears and words of wisdom from their rabbi before the ceremony.

Everyone walked out of the house and down the road to the lake for Jessica and Daniel to be married.

Jessica & Daniel had their first dance lakeside, under their chuppah, immediately following their ceremony.

Everyone at the wedding:


Jessica, Daniel, and Daniel’s daughter:

Jessica’s sister and her partner, and Daniel’s brother and his wife:

The mothers:

Another favorite:

Everyone gathered at Cafe Lily in Decatur for dinner…

This wedding was brought to you by:


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