Danin and Tracey, East Beach, Ocean Springs, MS

When Danin asked me if I would trade photo sessions with he and his wife Tracey, I wanted to throw up.   I think I even told him that.  The nerves that surrounded the idea of shooting a photographer whom I completely respect and whose work I am often enamored by just.. well... made me want to vomit.  It isn't the first time a photographer has asked me to shoot them, but I do believe it is the first time that I have agreed and actually did it.  

Shooting on new territory is often intimidating, I even feel like I get stagnant because I choose to shoot at the same places, at the same times, in the same soft light.  I shy away from change or what's new because its not comfortable and I don't KNOW i will kill it.  With Danin, I had complete faith/trust in the locale because he knows what he is doing, and so I didn't necessarily feel intimidated by it, and when I arrived, I was actually inspired by all things new. And if the 30 minutes or so that I was there taking in the sights and sounds wasn't enough inspiration, this guy and his beautiful wife show up and are just perfect.  PERFECT. 

Danin brought a playlist (i'm going to bug him for it and insert it in this blog) and Tracey brought her infectious, genuine smile and honest personality and the weather, well-it all just set me on fire. I heard their story, their pet names for one another, their jokes, that Danin was once in a rap duo, saw his dance moves, fulfilled his heel-click dreams, watched Tracey love on dead fish, wander into the Gulf without fear during a lightening storm and so much more.  They joke about how they can't be serious, but there is one thing they are serious about, and that is their love for each other.  I can't manipulate people to look at one another the way that they do, or react in perfect, genuine ways to the banter between us all. I can try my hardest to capture their love, which I did and I only hope that they are as happy with their photos as I am of the ones Danin shot for me.  Thank you both for trusting me with your story. Here are some of my favorites.

Rachel and Taylor Lorio's Wedding, New Orleans, Louisiana

When girls in the South plan a "winter wedding", we just mean that we don't want it to be humid. Our winter has a majority of 50 degree nights.  As much as we think we would enjoy the white winter that snow could bring us, we could really never stand it, or prepare for it.  Still, we plan our January events and hope for cooler temps.  Well, Rachel and Taylor had the lowest temps of the year!  There were bridges icing over, road closures, and it was below freezing in The Big Easy and yet the show went off without a hitch! 

We began with classic New Orleans elegance at Hotel Monteleone, where the inability to utilize the rooftop, double booked ballroom and PACKED lobby sent us to the Riverview Room (it was sort of a don't ask permission and just see if we have to ask for forgiveness moment) where we had out short but sweet first look and the night began! Check out some of my favorites in the gallery below.  I LOVED the classic style she and Taylor shared with their attire and the pops of deep red in her bouquet as well as lip stain. ((SWOON))

We were swept away to St Theresa of Avila Catholic Church and it was love at first sight for me.  Upon entering, I was taken in with the combination of architectural beauty, old New Orleans charm, and that warm, fuzzy feeling I get when when I know that I am about to witness something special.  Rachel is known for her great personal style and I wasn't surprised to see that she did just enough to an already stunning church with greenery (eucalyptus, too- my personal fav) and candles to set a romantic mood. 

I have always shared how much I enjoy shooting small, intimate weddings.  And this wedding only reminded me of that and why.  There was so much love to be shared, so many tender moments, so many caring looks in their direction or at one another, you could tell that every single person there was there because they supported Rachel and Taylor (and Thomas).  And if there has ever been photographic evidence that a "first look " doesn't kill the aisle moment, its here, in this gallery, with that grin Rachel flashes Taylor while walking arm in arm with her father.

Another small wedding perk?  Kicking everyone out of the shots and far enough away for a "just the two of us" mini session to occur.  It really only takes ten minutes. Make. it. happen.  I don't care if you are using someone other than me, make it happen.  You guys NEED that time to connect and enjoy and relive the vows you just took, to giggle and laugh and be giddy, and to breathe..all before you'll be off again to a whirlwind reception. Love isn't something these two lack.  It was evident in their happy son (that he comes from a happy home) but I just had to get them to show it off a little for me ;)

If you're in New Orleans, on the coldest night of the decade, there is one place to go:  The Bevolo Gas and Lighting Museum.  Seriously, just tuck that information away, because the lanterns pump OUT some heat.  And so do King James and the Special Men (look them up, NOW and go see them on Monday's at the Saturn Bar).  I am not going to blab about every detail of this reception and let the photos do the talking but just note that the groom is a talented chef and did ALL of their food and the entire thing was a DIY labor of... you guessed it.. LOVE. CHEERS to you both, Rachel and Taylor.  Your balloon said it all! 

Piper and some time tested toddler photography advice.

Planning for photos of a toddler can only go so far.  You can plan their outfits, make arrangements for a location, set up a backdrop of sorts, schedule around their nap, snack, seemingly “best" time of day and then what?  All you are left with is the hope that their sock seams won’t bother them, or their skirt won’t be “too tight” or that they’ll actually wear their shoes.  If you have a two year old, or have had a two year old, you know that it is a roll of the dice as to if they stay on schedule or if they melt down because you don’t want the banana they’re offering you.  A backdrop or set?  ha! I literally set them up and have zero expectation to actually use it, just more hope that for a brief moment we could POSSIBLY heard he/she in the basic direction of it.  Toddlers are fast, determined and on their own mission that has ZERO regard for the expectations of their parents on picture day. And guess what?  That is ok.  In fact, it’s better than ok. Why try to put them into a boring “look at Miss Heather and say cheese” box when you can just let them be two and let ME do my job and capture all of their wild, wonderful ways!

Parents- don’t be obsessed with eye contact.  This is an age where energy and personality are what you want to capture.  I will follow the movement and maybe I will get a shot, but it won’t be when you expect it, and rarely does demanding it help.  I promise you that your frustration will subside with lowered expectations. And happy/funloving/in-the-moment mom and dad = the true-to-life, full of personality shots of your child.  You love these shots.  You cherish these shots.  You hire me for THESE shots. And we are a team in making them happen.

Paula and Sidney have been clients for a couple of years now.  We took it back to where we shot their maternity photos for some spur-of-the-moment fun with their (now two year old) daughter, Piper and the results were pure magic!  I know that Sidney was worn out from playing a “silly daddy” game of chase so that her energy was directed back and forth in front of the camera and Paula was so great about directing her attention to little details so that I could catch a few of her brief moments of stillness.  We shot with an overcast sunset-ish sky and it gave the area beneath the tree and all around this super soft glow.   A few of my favorites are featured in this blog and below.  As always, any questions about my settings/strategies behind the session are welcome, we are in this together. 

Francie and Kerby and a promise to myself

Of course I am sitting down to write my January “new year, new me” blog post on the 19th of January.  I try so hard to adult and run a business and mother three busy children in an organized manner and well.. lets just say that it is a good thing I am talented because my amateur juggling skills (aka life management) would surely have buried me if I weren’t.  

As much as I want to begin the year with the wedding I shot last week, I cannot let 2017 begin without shedding some light on where 2016 ended and THAT was with stacks on stacks on stacks of gorgeous weddings surrounding a very busy holiday season.  I am going to dedicate myself to posting some of these and my work more regularly this year. Boom. There it is. 

You guys remember Francie and Kerby, right? How could you not?  Well, they were married on a Sunday at one of my favorite venues (The Chimney's).  When planning for this wedding, Francie didn’t take into account that daylight savings would occur and their start time would ultimately mean DARK.  This didn’t stop them, or me from capturing some stellar ceremony shots thanks to my favorite lens (50 1.2) and some creative lighting giving me just enough to capture Kerby’s tears and Francie’s infectious smile.  We had an impromptu first look, and I must say I am so thankful for her nerves and those first few moments we shared alone. 

The outpouring of love and fellowship at this union was huge, y’all. I could post 50 images and still not feel like I did it justice. I hope you enjoy a few of my favorites of the joining of these two families and all of the style that surrounded it.

And as always, a huge thank you to the couple for trusting me,  for sharing their families with me (especially the Grandmothers of both the bride and the groom who were two of the most loving women I have ever met) and for their kind words and gracious hearts. 

Krissy and Michael, Downtown Ocean Springs Engagement Session

(Read this in your best Don Lafontaine voice) And then the clouds break away and down from the Heavens comes this bad ass bride who decides to book me (of ALL the photographers on this Coast) and I am beyond humbled by it and grateful, and NERVOUS. (Lose the voice) Yes, nervous, ya'll... I still get butterflies before I shoot and it's been a decade. Krissy, however, is as cool as she looks.  She is so easy to work with and converse with, and she understands my random brainstorming/all over the place textathons, even has her own ideas and thoughts and they don't have me rolling my eyes into the back of my head or throwing my phone. I may have been nervous, but it all subsided when I met Michael and saw the two of them and we starting having a little fun.  I laughed A LOT on their session and was thrilled with their laid back vibe and how that came across in the photos.  We lucked out with a gorgeous December day in Ocean Springs and I have so many freaking favorites but wanted to post a few.  We didn't have a record store, like we originally had hoped, but we had something even better- true love. Its evident that these two are meant for each other and I am the lucky bitch who gets to capture that. What up, world, I sure do appreciate this gift! 


Boho Zoie, Celebrates One, downtown Bay St. Louis

Zoie is the most charming little wildflower and her parents exude all that I know will keep her passionate spirit safe.  Families like this one are so rare and so priceless and yet they continually find their way to me.  The trust Zach and Kerri have in my ability and direction is evident in how little they tried to micromanage the session.  I don't think I ever heard them tell Zoie to smile and say cheese.  She was obviously born free, and they seem to know that letting her run free means they'll never lose her.  It's refreshing to see this, and their love was beyond charming. 

Conceptually, we wanted to ditch the typical smash cake or tutu and do something a little more OG.  I, of course, wanted to take Zoie to the streets of Compton, but, since THAT was out of the question, we settled on the streets of Bay St Louis, where we shot their maternity session.  The fall weather here in South Mississippi is hit or miss, but they lucked out with a beautiful evening. After making a short block, the birthday girl decided she was ready to choose a little tucked away corner and play with some of the fun things I had for her and well, the rest is the beautifully documented history below.  

Thank you, Zach and Kerri.  I am beyond grateful for the time that I get to spend with the both of you and your little darling.  I hope that these photos are cherished for all of the years to come. 

Francie and Kerby, Gulfport, Mississippi Engagement Session

Francie had me at first e-mail, when she introduced herself and her fiance', Kerby.  I don't think I have ever booked a more adorable pair of names.  And that is really all couples are, in the beginning, a duo of letters, formed by their mothers, to represent some sort of soul I have to try to capture love between.  Well, I have not been inspired to post a blog about a couple in a very long time, until now.  This picture perfect pair lived up to every ounce of anticipation their names gave me. 

I discount engagement sessions so that people are more inclined to meet with me, work together, laugh and talk and just feel one another out.  I want to be a good fit for a couple just as much as I want the business, if not more.  I realize that I have an eclectic personality of thug life mom swag that not all people will understand.  The only way I know how to shoot is out of love and it's hard for me to do my best when I don't feel like I mesh well with someone, or I feel like they don't trust me and it makes it difficult. I don't like difficult.  (Obviously, being that I chose the career that leads me to working the fewest amount of hours in a day) Shooting these two was so above and beyond enjoyable for me, I could have done it every day for a week.  Yes, just a week, let's be real. 

I am grateful for every single client that I have.  I learn a little more about myself with each personality that I come across and that is a powerful part of this business that I am in.  Francie and Kerby cast wind into the sails of my purpose, and people like them don't come around often.  They resonate love and laughter and are so genuine in every tiny whisper or when laughing out loud.  I cannot say enough about how great it has been to get to know them, or how much I am looking forward to their upcoming wedding.  I hope that these photos do their love justice and as always, thank you both for trusting me to capture you during this exciting time.