My cheeks hurt from smiling so much during photo edits from Sarah and Nate's engagement session. These two are head over heels in love with each other and it shows in every photograph from our time together on the beach at Wrightsville Beach, NC. They are getting married in Oak City but decided to take advantage of the complimentary Wilmington engagement session and man was it worth it. The sunset alone was worth a million bucks and that sun kissed them almost as much as they kissed each other. So thankful and honored to photographing their wedding day next June! The countdown is on! 207 days!!
Casey, the young dad you see to the left and I have been doing a few photo sessions together because of his and his partners' new mortgage company in Wilmington, so he was sweet to think of me when he wanted to arrange a photo session for his future in-laws who were staying at an adorable cottage in Wrightsville Beach, NC. Casey and his fiance, Jamie have two boys and they were in matching overalls so of course I was swooning over that cuteness. Jamie's sister also had her daughter Ava with all the personality wearing cat ears headband and I just loved that she wore what made her happy. These are the times you want to remember when our babies are young! We started out with photos on the beach and we quickly realized what a distraction the water was for those adventure-loving boys so we decided to take the golf cart back across the street to their charming beach cottage for a few more photos. Honestly, I loved both locations and it made for such fun variety. Thankful to the Wagners for putting up with this bossy lady for an hour!
Shameless small business shout out: If you are are looking to buy a home in eastern NC, be sure to check out Coastline Capital Mortgage for your financing needs!! Casey and his partners are such genius gems and will take good care of you. Sure wish my husband and I knew them when we bought our house!
My husband and I met this sweet family through our church at St. James in downtown Wilmington so it was the most delightful morning to receive an email from Leslie inquiring about family portraits. Thankful how our paths we chose led to knowing each other. David and Leslie have the most beautiful children that embraced the garden atmosphere at Harbor Way Gardens in Wrightsville Beach and they had the most fun play date despite the frigid temps! We loved using the picturesque garden shed, umbrella and even the playground for a few shots! Trick is to follow the childrens' lead and that's where the smiles are!
See that beautiful blonde up there? That's Mary-Alice. She and I go way back. We were byline photographers together at the Daily Tar Heel newspaper while we were in college at UNC-Chapel Hill. We kept in touch throughout the years as we kept seeing each other at various parties, but then last year she helped me with some weddings as a second shooter so we really got reacquainted. I also photographed her brother's Atlantic Beach wedding last summer during a full moon so imagine my honor when she and her fiance Will reached out about photographing their wedding next year. I just adore them as a couple and have loved watching their journey from dating years to getting their first puppy together to their engagement.
Their engagement session took place on Wrightsville Beach at the Carolina Yacht Club and to call it perfection would be an understatement. The sun basked them in glorious light in every photo. Even when it was a little too bright at the beginning of the session, they wore their stylish sunglasses for a few with their dog Addie and it just makes my heart sing. Check out their curated collection of sunset engagement photos. I promise it'll be worth it! Congratulations Mary-Alice and Will! Cannot wait to photo your Atlantic Beach wedding next March.
Just a heads up. Your heart will melt into a puddle when you see this family session from a couple weeks ago. The Burgess Family welcomed another little girl this past spring and wanted to get a holiday card photo and Man... We. Could.Not. Ask. For. Better. Light. Smiles. Cuddles. Or Sweetness. Love it all so much. Thankful to Mehegan and Justin and their family for sharing this gorgeous October afternoon with me at a private property on the water in Wilmington, NC.
Ps. Happy seven years of marriage to you two!
We received the sweetest baby announcement in the mail yesterday so it called for a blog post of Landon's newborn session at his very first home in Wilmington, NC. Born on September 15th, Landon was three weeks old at the time of his newborn session so his mama and dadda had the hang of things by then and were so relaxed throughout this quick session. This meant of course their son was so chill and cozy and not to mention— downright handsome! So honored that I was able to meet this sweet pumpkin in his third week of life! Congratulations to this GORGEOUS family.
This is an extra special blog post because it's about my one and only first cousin, Powell. He is marrying the woman of his dreams, Janet, one week from today and I figured it's time to serenade them with all the love and photos that we took last Thanksgiving at our family farm in Colerain, NC. We took these photos in less than fifteen minutes and honestly every single one is dynamite. Can't you just feel their love? They've been together for a little over seven years so Janet has been a part of our family for a long time already but we can't wait to make it official and see them have their #hacklereverafter. We love you guys!!!
Becoming a mom I realized even more so, how quickly children's demeanor can change. They can be happy and bouncy one minute and the next minute they can be like take-me-to-bed-NOW. With the unpredictability of parenting, I decided to permanently add Short 'n Sweet family sessions this year. They are thirty minute sessions at one location and so far they have been a hit with families bearing small children! The Phelps family is no exception. The kids had SO MUCH fun adventuring all around the South End of Wrightsville Beach but you can tell they were crashing toward the very end. *Cue the eye rubbing* But as soon as the kids thought as I was leaving, they actually opened up a little more and starting hugging each other and playing with each other more so I was able to get some last shots that were oh-so-sweet. (Kids sometimes don't cuddle voluntarily just FYI haha!!) Mom and Dad have done an amazing job raising their son and daughter if their attention span was held by a complete stranger for thirty minutes!! What a perfect sunset session by the sea. Thank y'all for trusting me to capture this sweet family milestone.
Well, I am at a loss for words. If you know me, words are never an absent part of my life. I'm at a loss for words because well, look at Gabrielle and Whit. They are absolutely stunning, joyful, loving and carefree with each other and every photo shows it. I just sighed and aww'd the whole time I edited their engagement session that happened last month in Wrightsville Beach, NC. They decided to take advantage of the complimentary local session that I offer all my booked wedding couples. I usually offer the free cuddle session because...
A. It helps me get to know them better before the wedding.
B. Get them some practice in front of the camera and get their preferred pose vibes, aka do we like to make out in front the photographer or nah?
C. Give them an excuse to flirt with their fiance and have fun doing it. Helps engagement feel official and it's a warm up to the wedding day.
So I actually knew this couple a little bit as Gabrielle was a bridesmaid in a wedding we photo'd last year during Covid. She brought Whit as her date so I saw them shagging and doting on each other on the dance floor at that wedding and I just knew they were going to be engaged soon. She's also from my husband's hometown. So honestly, we just love each other already but I still learned more about their relationship during our beach hang out. They've been together a hot minute. Like 8 hot minutes. If minutes were years. They persevered through high school, college, job searching, house purchasing, a pandemic, engagement during a pandemic and well, nothing phases them. We even had a parking blip at the beginning of the engagement session. *Shout out to their super sweet friends for dropping them off at the session because Wrightsville Beach summer parking sucks.* But the total lack of parking thing did not even phase them either. They just poured all kinds of love into this perfect evening. Being married is full of adventures and weird unexpected blips like this one right? But it's also a whole lifetime of fun. We can't wait to photograph this duo next Spring.
Ah.... guess I wasn't at a loss for words after all. Thanks for reading my monologue. You can now proceed forward to this epic collection of Gabrielle and Whit's sunset portraits by the sea. Didn't even put one black and white photo in this post because the color and light was just too beautiful.
Have an amazing Labor Day weekend my friends!
Okay. Look at the photo of this beautiful lady below and tell me if you believe me when I say that gorgeous lady is a wife, grandmother, mother or stepmother of all these children. YES, honest to goodness, that is the deliriously happy truth that is Becky. She and I used to work together over graphic design projects until her recent retirement. She realized that for a couple hours only, that her entire family would be under one roof and that I lived in the same town of her vacation destination so she called me up to make sure this rare moment was captured...even if it was at 3 o'clock in the afternoon on a hot August day. It. Was. Worth. It. All the babies. All the snuggles. All the sweat. It made it that much more gratifying to capture the sweetest family at Figure Eight island in Wilmington, NC. So grateful to the Mitchener and Moore families for making my photographer and mama heart swoon.
I'm officially a mom because I LOVE family portrait sessions more than ever. Whenever I do portrait sessions involving young children, I am constantly invigorated and eager to figure out new ways to engage children with their parents. With all the distractions from nature, it can be quite the feat!
This Rumiantcev family trekked all the way from Seattle to visit the mama's younger sister who is a Wilmington native. The sister gifted this family a photo session in Wrightsville Beach because they couldn't get photos last year due the pandemic. Levy, the little one, hadn't been to the beach much yet so naturally, she was not letting her feet touching that strange gritty stuff. WAY too new and bizarre.
We used a few tricks: The mama's sister was the familiar voice for this sweet girl so aunty was behind the camera saying hi, jumping up and down and making everyone laugh. Then eventually we also used the classic bait trick. We stood her on the firm sand and had the parents step back and convince her to walk toward them. She did it! By hours end, Levy was comfortable with the new nautical scene! I felt so accomplished to witness these small steps toward mama and dada. *Heart swells with happiness*
So grateful to meet the amazing Rumiantcev family that shared the sea sky with me. They have the most beautiful blonde headed, blue eyed daughter that rocked the most precious curly-headed pigtails. Don't just take my word for it, check our their sunset session below.
Here's evidence of the sweet and proud sister loving on her niece throughout the session.
Kayla + Vann | Maternity Portraits | Baby Bump | Family Portraits | Greenfield Lake | Wilmington, NC
Kayla and Vann are extra special to me as I've known them since capturing their incredible 2017 home wedding (and that was back when that wasn't even a covid-19 trend yet)! They were so thoughtful and got me a custom wooden box with my logo on it and I've never forgotten about it. Thoughtful gifts like that are etched in memory!
Fast forward four years and now they are now expecting a little girl next month whose name will be Collins. How beautiful is that name? They wanted to make a babymoon out of their maternity session and ventured to Wilmington for the weekend. That Sunday evening we had our mini session at Greenfield Lake near historic downtown Wilmington, NC. Honestly, it was all kind of comedic because I had a family photoshoot before theirs and my car battery died at the first client's driveway so I had to leave my car at their house and uber to Kayla and Vann's session (my husband was with our sleeping baby so he couldn't get me as quickly as I needed). So we started the session 40 minutes late and by then the mosquitos were in FULL force, but didn't stop us from having the most wonderful evening by the cypress moss trees that blanketed the grassy lawns showing off their vibrant greens. Kayla and I just laughed about our mutual itchfest and massive bumps in the days that followed the session. So thankful to have captured this special milestone of theirs and extra grateful that they were so patient and understanding about the last minute mishaps. With how laid back they were about all of the craziness, it goes to show you how amazing they will be as parents.
If you check out all of their photos all the way through this blog post, you will be rewarded with a couple of photos from their wedding day in 2017 and I'm telling you Kayla and Vann just get better with age!!! They are blessed with those good genes😂 It is INSANE how well parenthood already suits them and I just cannot wait to meet Collins one day. Love to you guys! Congratulations again Kayla and Vann. Praying for the smoothest delivery for mama and babe.
Haven't aged a bit right?!!!
Okay, I'll admit. It's been a hot minute since I've seen the sunrise and it was no doubt a special start to the day because I got to meet the Quimby family in North Topsail Beach. Even though I'm a Wilmington, NC based photographer, I love to travel and meet new people outside the city limits. Their daughter was soaking in one of her first trips to the beach and was even hesitant to touch her toes in the strange gritty white stuff but by the end, we were all about the sandy snuggles. Thank you to this gorgeous family for the perfect Summer morning.
Summer of 2021 has been epic. Time to capture those sweet memories and get some portraits done at the beach on the last day of summer!
The End of Summer Short 'n Sweet Portraits by the Sea features a 15 minute portrait session at the South End of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. It is the perfect opportunity to get those family photos, headshots, glam shots done with no pains and aches! Everything is set up for you and you only have to show up and be a trooper for 15 minutes. Use the images for keepsakes, to update those outdated frames in your home, birthday gifts for the in-laws, upcoming holiday cards, holiday ornaments, prints or albums. Not that you need a reason to get photos done anyway.
We are now booking —End of Summer Beach Portraits— for Tuesday, September 21, 2021 in Wrightsville Beach. Click here to book your preferred time slot! Look forward to getting salty and sweet with you wonderful people.
When you get to do family, headshot and romance vibes all in the same sunset, it makes for a perfect evening for a photographer! The Cleghorns wanted updated photos of them after a few years of marriage and a few headshots for their professional lives. You better believe I snapped a little flirting during the middle of it all. My wedding photography mindset always trickles in, but I don't think anyone's every been mad to be kissed for a hot minute.
Thank you to Liz and Josh for thinking of me for your short 'n sweet session! (For those of you wondering, I do those short ones in Wilmington!)
Do you know that famous saying "A lot can happen in a year?" Well that phrase has never rang more true in the year of a worldwide pandemic. Sara and Patrick were the winners of the Covid-Wedding giveaway last Summer where they were awarded a free wedding of their dreams right here in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. The only stipulations for the giveaway was that you had to be an engaged couple whose plans had been curved by the pandemic. Several amazing Wilmington wedding vendors donated their time and spirit so these two could get married by the sea and it was one gorgeous and intimate island wedding.
Fast forward a year, and here I am documenting another milestone: Family photos with their first-born son! Wilder is seven months old and is wayyy too cute for me. I enjoyed seeing a mixture of both his parents in his already booming personality. See below for a photo of this ladies man in the making! HAH. Thank you to the Jacksons for sharing a sunrise with me.
The Holmes Family | Beach Portraits | Family Portraits| Shell Island Resort | Wrightsville Beach, NC
The Holmes Family decided to do a little beach get-away from their home in the city and rented an AirBnB condo at Shell Island Resort, located at the very North end of Wrightsville Beach. Sarah and Tom loved it so much I think they told me they extended their stay! What a compliment to our tiny but beautiful beach town. I so enjoyed this sunset beach session with them. Their 2-year old daughter was a delight to capture along with her little sister inside her mom's belly! I told Sarah she must get some maternity photos because she was looking like a model in her flowy white dress, sun-kissed skin and long luscious locks. Tom kept things so fun by constantly playing with his daughter which made for some sweet candids. What a gorgeous family. Thank you three for sharing this perfect summer evening with me!
June 12th was a magical day for Rachel and Pembroke's gorgeous coastal wedding. Thankful that the summer rain subsided just in time for their 5pm ceremony so we could get some golden hour shots that highlighted both the beauty of the sweetest couple and the beauty of their romantic venue on a family friend's private property in Wilmington, NC. Rachel and Pembroke met while in college at Chapel Hill and were actually supposed to get married this weekend last year, but because of Covid-19 pandemic, they opted to postpone a year so they could have all their loved ones there. It was WORTH. THE. WAIT! They also opted for a short 'n sweet ceremony that was orchestrated by their dear friend so it made the wedding that much more personalized. Rachel looked EXQUISITE in her gown and honestly, she was the most laid back bride of 2021. She was barefoot the entire night, which goes to tell you that she's too cool for anyone... except Pembroke of course.
So incredibly thankful to you two for including Sydney and I in the most special day of your life. Here's a gallery of sneak peeks that highlights a few random moments of the day... including some MAGICAL drone shots from Sydney. She whipped out her drone at the last minute when it stopped raining and it really made for some incredible scenic shots. It really is a game changer when you can have two perspectives. Pssst....Engaged couples, if you hire us, you can get drone footage of your wedding too!
More photos to come after wedding edits are complete— in the meantime, hope these sneak peeks will tide you over. Sending love to the Nash's.
Venue: The Stallings Home
Coordinator: Annie Schiffmacher of A.Maker Events
Officiant: Scout Thomas
Florals: Thurston at Coastal Succulent
DJ: Drew Walker, Acclaim DJ
Catering: Middle Of Island
Alcohol: Total Wine
Dessert: Ashley Pedzwater of Pink Baking Co
Hair and Makeup: Kelly at Wisp Salon
Rentals: L & L Rentals
Photography: Visuals By Helen and Aerials by What Sydney Sees
This sweet little birthday party for Jean took place on a gorgeous cottage porch in Wrightsville Beach, NC so all these photos were taken in a 10x10 space. It was all they wanted with all the new babies and small children so after you see this little collection of images, it will tell you that you don't need a lot for some sweet family photos!
After becoming a mom, I feel like it’s a thing that mamas rarely get their photo taken with their children so this was the sweetest Mother’s Day gift for Lynn and her three beautiful kids ♥️ Thank y’all for getting up at the crack of dawn for this fun sunrise beach session in Wrightsville Beach, NC!
Carson was an absolute dream to photograph right here on my old stomping grounds of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We started out her graduate session at the infamous Old Well with two of her closest friends before making the trek across campus and landing at the Bell Tower. During the last 10 minutes of her session, dark storm clouds were looming so we snapped some quick "LinkedIn" headshots before darting across the quad to my car and getting drenched in the process. Most fun jog in the rain I've had in a while!!
So proud of Carson for graduating with honors and getting an impressive internship at a Raleigh law firm RIGHT OUT OF SCHOOL. That is the hardest thing to do as a senior in college in this competitive job market and she accomplished it! Congratulations to this gorgeous and smart Tar Heel!
There’s a gorgeous new venue in town and it was PERFECT for Pauline and Ian’s waterfront wedding dreams. Because of covid restrictions, this was not actually their original game plan but man I think it ended up being a blessing in disguise. They just got home from their honeymoon and after I saw how smitten these two were on their wedding day, I can totally see sweet Ian bragging all week long “Hey I’d like to introduce you to my (gorgeous) new wife Pauline...” Thank you two for sharing your day with Sydney and me! ♥️ #sneakpeeks
The amazing crew:
Venue: Live Oak Estates
Coordinator & Florals: Do Me A Favor Weddings @domeafavorweddingsandevents
Rentals: Party Suppliers and Rentals @partysuppliersandrentals
And White Birch Rentals @whitebirchrentals
Catering: Middle Of Island Catering @moicatering
Cake & Cupcakes: One Belle Bakery @onebellebakery
Ceremony music: The Wedding Violinist @theweddingviolinist
Preacher: Pat Rayburn
Transportation: Azalea Limousine @azalealimousine
Hair and Makeup: Alice Lawson Salon @alicelawsonsalon
Power: High Performance Lighting @highperformancelightingnc
Lighting: Event Excellence Light and Sound @eventexcellencelightsandsound
Bars: Flying Cloud Bars @flyingcloudbars
Restrooms: Rent-A-John @rentajohn
Band: Irresistible Groove
Late night snacks: Chick Fil A @chickfila
Hotel Arrangements: Blockade Runner Beach Resort, Wrightsville Beach, NC @blockaderunnerbeachresort
Photography: Visuals By Helen @visuals_by_helen and associate What Sydney Sees @whatsydneysees
The SWEETEST first look that took place in the front lawn of Live Oak Estates. The oak trees provided so much privacy from the arriving guests so they were able to have a moment to themselves before all the wedding craze.
Meg and Tyler were supposed to get married on New Years Eve last year but because of the Covid-19 pandemic, they decided to postpone to Halloween weekend this year. But there's a plot twist! They were too in love that they couldn't wait any longer so these sweethearts decided to elope this past Easter weekend with their immediate family. They will still celebrate in October with all their friends so I have the honor of photographing them twice this year!
Between the beautiful backdrop at Centenary United Methodist Church in the historic downtown area of Winston Salem, North Carolina, the gorgeous blue skies, alluring florals by Green Bee Floral Designs, and a classy dinner reception at Forsyth Country Club, it was the recipe for the perfect day. I didn't even get to meet Meg and Tyler until their wedding day but that didn't mean a thing because it felt like we'd known each other forever after our day together. These two are absolutely stunning together... the camera just loves them. But don't take my word for it, see for yourself with this gallery of sneak peeks! Thank you both for sharing this sacred milestone with me!
The extraordinary crew of vendors:
Ceremony Venue: Centenary United Methodist Church
Officiant: Rev Bret Cogan
Name Cards: Calligraphy by Carole
Programs: Goslen Printing
Hair and Makeup: Danielle Usher and Melisa Londono
Gown + Suit Designers: Sassi Holford and Norman Stockton
Gown store: Ladies of Lineage
Veil: Monique Lhuiller Alexia's Bridal
Stylist: (Helped find Meg the gown) Whitley Adkins of The Queen City Style
Jewelry: Family rings with help of Ron Clein
Centerpiece + Bouquet Florals: Green Bee Floral Designs
Reception Venue: Forsyth Country Club
Acoustic Band: Drew Holgate
Rentals: Party Reflections
Music With Friends is one of my favorite ongoing clients in Charlotte, NC for two reasons: The women that run the club are incredible and the club itself is an amazing concept. A private music club so you can watch legendary artists several times a year in an intimate concert setting with an endless supply of food and drinks? YES PLEASE! I met the leadership of this club a few years back when Jess and I lived in Charlotte for a hot minute and kept the relationship despite our move to Wilmington since the majority of work can be done over computer and phone anyhow. MWF wanted to update their marketing materials since gaining a new executive director and man this project was a creative dream! The concert photos by Donna Bise are really what sell it in my opinion so I just glammed it up with blending the natural stage color throughout the design. The bits of casual cursive font gave it an exclusive vibe without it looking too fancy for the potential member looking into joining the club. So thankful to be a part of this team that provides extraordinary experiences!
The front and back of this bookmark insert show all the artists that the club has had over the 15 years they've operated. The backside has contact info for potential members. The smaller insert will hopefully provide potential members a way to fold and put in their pocket if they mean to reach out. A fun business card essentially. Dual marketing right there!
For logo projects, I try to listen to what my client is looking for and for Candy + Corks shop owner, she was looking for something whimsical and fun but also professional that would work well for a sign in front of her waterfront shop on the boardwalk in Duck, North Carolina. In the first draft, I like to offer sentiments of what they asked for and also offer a different vision of what they asked for in case they like something different than they had imagined in their head, hence the simpler, fancier ones in round one of logos. In the first draft PDF pitch to her, I also incorporated some photoshopped signs in front of her shop and some of her current merchandise with some logos I created so she could better visualize her future re-brand.
After a few days of thinking, she ended up loving parts of the first logo but wanted some different shapes, fonts incorporated. So Round 2 of logo designs went in a more specific direction:
And just like that, she said her eyes instantly drew to the 2nd logo in round two so we were blessed with a quick turnaround for this shop owner's rebrand! Can't wait to see how the sign turns out. Thankful for such a wonderful client that gave me the wings to experiment with my creativity!