Believe it or not, this beautiful bombshell is a high school SENIOR this year and her name is Katherine. She and her mom made the trek to Wilmington from the triangle area because they wanted to do something different. What a fun girl's trip! We decided to do Airlie Gardens because of its idyllic gardens and variety of backdrops. With her cheerleading background, Katherine was a natural at striking a pose, whether it be playful or serious. We did all these amazing photos AND an outfit change in less than thirty minutes. The rained started as soon as we got to our cars, it was like kismet.
The garden offer seniors a discount of $50 so hey seniors, if you want to do something this Fall or Spring, Airlie Gardens is the spot! Proof is in this collection of Katherine's beautiful face. Thank you ladies for the most amazing afternoon!
When you're near the coast in the summertime, there tends to be a classic everyday question: "Is it going to rain?" For the Ramsey, Hutter and Hopkins family portraits in Ocean Isle, NC, we made a last-minute call based on the radar and it was worth taking the risk! We had a window of opportunity between storm fronts, which resulted in a passionately purple stormy sky for a backdrop. These sweet families received a variety of photos, each of their own families and a few of each child. Even the six-week old baby! Here's the crazy part, this beach portrait was only a short 'n sweet session (30 minutes) because of the childrens' short attention span and we still managed to capture it all because they were so happy and well-behaved! Thank you to these families for allowing me to capture precious memories by the sea!
The Narron family got up at the crack of dawn during their vacation to prepare for their morning family session in Carolina Beach and it was so worth it!! The wind was light, the sky purple, the sea oats blooming and the kids were so happy. More often than not, kids are happier in the mornings compared to the evenings. Think about it, do you usually have lots of energy after a whole day in the sun and are you really ready to be all cute for photos after swimming and making sandcastles? These beautiful people got the perfect variety of photos— some with their own families, some individuals and some with the whole crowd. Even the sweet grandma got her moment in the spotlight (if you can even call her a grandma because she looks like she's 40 years old). So thankful to this family for reaching out for family photos, because it was a perfect morning celebrating your loved ones!
Look out! Bellamy is a SENIOR! For her short 'n sweet senior portrait session, she wanted to do some with her dog King on a friend's dock in Wrightsville Beach and then venture over to the Surf Club and capture some photos at the beach. I just love all the outfits that she picked out for this session. It is nice to have the variety and you can use the images for different reasons! Like LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook :) Congratulations to this beautiful lady and have a blast ruling the school this year.
Summer isn't over yet guys! We are seeing more and more beautiful families staying on Wrightsville Beach, squeezing out all the good stuff that 2020 has to offer despite a world-wide pandemic. After all, being with our families more is one special thing about quarantine and being at home more right? The Spears and Gunst Families have a family beach cottage in Wrightsville Beach and reunited from all over the United States so they could have some much needed quality time. Hallie and her husband had a baby girl almost seven months ago and this sweet little nugget was the star of the show. Everyone wanted a photo with this little darling, so surely we all took turns with the Gerber Baby model! Such a sweet session by the sea, and I'm grateful to these families for trusting me to document this occasion!
Welcome to the world baby Beau! Born on July 29th, you were just shy of a month old for these photos. Your mom and dad adore you and can't wait to raise you in their gorgeous renovated historic home in downtown Wilmington, NC. You've got a good life coming kid.
Congratulations to Rheanna and Michael!! Thank you for allowing me to capture this sweet milestone for your family.
Well let me preface this whole blog post with one thing first: This sweet and beautiful family fed me homemade rice crispy treats right when I walked in the door, so you can imagine how much fun this shoot was for us. They didn't even know I was pregnant and having a major sweet tooth craving so they hit the nail on the head. But no, their amazing baking skills are not why I love the Spruill family, I've actually known them for years. We actually did a family shoot four years ago so it was so wonderful to see how grown up the daughters were and how each of them have blossomed into their own person despite being so close in age. The ages of the sisters ranged from 17 to 14 if I remember correctly. The youngest two are twins!
We did a fun mixture of groupings throughout this evening beach shoot- starting with a flirt session with Mom & Dad, then we did some photos with just the sisters, then each of them had their little moment of fame before going into full-family photos that even had grandma included. All the generations. It was the most stellar rhythm for this family shoot that took place in front of their Nags Head beach cottage. So thankful to know this family and look forward to many more!
Isabella had an amazing thirty-minute senior grad photo session in front of her family's beach house in Old Nags Head, North Carolina. She embraced her confidence with the perfect blend of humility and beauty. I was so impressed with how she moved throughout the shoot with such grace. When I was a senior, I definitely had the socially-awkward concept locked down to a T. Isabella however, is a young woman that knows how to show off some pearly whites! Congratulations you gorgeous thang!
Ashley and Tripp became a Mr. and Mrs. on a perfect Saturday evening in Hatteras, North Carolina. This beautiful couple was going to have a big wedding but because of Covid-19, they decided to have an intimate ceremony and supper to make things official and have a celebration next year with all their friends and family.
The sunset evening glow welcomed their guests during their ceremony on the deck of Hatteras Landing and before we knew it, Ashley and Tripp had new shiny jewelry and were walking off into the sunset with mile-long smiles on their faces. Between the perfect August weather, picturesque coastal waterfront backdrop, gorgeous floral arbor and sweetest vows, it was such a perfect day. So thankful to this couple and their families for allowing me to be a part of this huge milestone. We cannot wait to do it all over again this time next year!
Ceremony: The deck at Hatteras Landing
Reception: Hatteras Marlin Club (Secondary site)
Catering: Dee Callahan at Hatteras Marlin Club
Cake: Cake Hatteras
Flowers: Sun Flowers Florists
Photography: Visuals by Helen
Ashley and Tripp are getting married this Saturday in Hatteras, North Carolina, which means I'm going to photo bomb you with a collection of this gorgeous couple during their engagement session last October! They were originally going to have a bigger wedding at the Hatteras Marlin Club, but due to Covid-19, they decided to just have an intimate ceremony with family on their original date and then have a big reception same time next year. Ashley is from Hatteras so her gorgeous island hometown is the perfect place for her and Tripp to get married.
For their engagement photos however, Ashley and Tripp wanted to do them in Wilmington, NC and it couldn't have gone more magically! They had a friend with sound side access and at the time of the photo session, it was a low tide which revealed all the oyster beds and lush lime green marsh. Yes— it was this pretty in October! It sure looked like a scene out of the Dawson's Creek show! I enjoyed every minute of getting to know them as a couple and watching Tripp dote on his fiance. They met freshmen year at UNC-Chapel Hill and were smitten ever since. What a perfect afternoon with these lovebirds! See for yourself.
The Steadman family had a beach vacation last week and planned a portrait session about halfway through the week at the south end of Wrightsville Beach. This location is perfect because it provides two different backdrops: The ocean and the sound with beautiful rolling dunes and sea oats in between them. I had never met the Steadmans before but I felt like I had known them forever after the hour was over! What a beautiful, sweet and warm family. Thanks Ericka and Micah for asking me document summer memories with your handsome children 🌊
One of the biggest things I love about my job as a photographer is the people that I get to meet. Shannon and Paddy are no exception. These two sweet souls were introduced to me through a college friend of mine, Mary-Alice, who also happens to second shoot for me occasionally. Mary-Alice's brother is Paddy, who was the groom at this wedding. Shannon and Paddy were originally going to get married on August 5th in Italy. Shannon has many family members in Ireland and abroad so that was a huge influence in their international wedding but due to a worldwide pandemic, they decided to get hitched a little early on the terrace at the beautiful Coral Bay Club in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. I've gotta tell you, this wedding was as perfect as it gets. The weather was divine, the families were so happy, and the moon rise was something out of this world. Congratulations Shannon + Paddy! Despite a pandemic, relocating a wedding to a new country and an impending hurricane named Isaias, you made this love official!
The fantastic team:
Venue: Coral Bay Club
Officiant: Rev Michelle Bullock St. Peter's By the Sea Episcopal Church, Swansboro and her husband live streamed the wedding to vimeo!
Arbor: Crystal Coast Event Rentals
Flowers: Designs by Ernest
Gown: Theia Couture from Sentimentalist in Atlanta, GA
Musician: Bryan Mayer
Cake: Coral Bay Club Pastry Chef Ali Vigneaux
Photography: Visuals by Helen
The best sunset of 2020 happened on Saturday, August 1st at Candace and Darin's wedding, which took place at the Neuse Breeze Wedding venue in Havelock, NC. They may have tied the knot with some gusty winds and purple sky, but it sure made for some beautiful photographs. Every rain drop was worth it for the sunset that followed a few hours later. The summer storm allowed for the rest of the evening to be cool and no bugs were to be found, which is unheard of for an August wedding by the water. Don't take my word for it, check out these sneak peeks.
This phenomenal wedding was put together by this dream team of vendors:
Venue: Neuse Breeze Wedding Venue
Hair: Beauty Bar by Kristine Andrews
Make Up: Maria Magdalena Smith at Ethereal Beauty
Flowers: Neuse Breeze Wedding Venue
Catering: The Flame Catering
DJ: Crystal Coast Musicians
Dress: Coastal Knot
Photography: Visuals by Helen — Helen Powell + Associate Vicky Oliver
This drop dead gorgeous bride JUST got married last night in Havelock, NC at the Neuse Breeze wedding venue so I am just dying to share a collection of her bridal portraits. She is so charismatic, sweet and BEAUTIFUL in front of the camera, you can truly see her humility as well as how in love she is with her now husband. Bridal portraits are such a great way to savor being a bride and to at least be able to wear your gown more than once! It's also a great way to include your mama and sister and favorite sidekick while they drool over you during photos.
Candace's bridal portraits actually got rained out the entire time, but we made it work! The venue was perfect because it has so many covered spaces and honestly, you can't even tell it is raining in most of these photos. Candace was a rock star. For how low maintenance she was about rain, I know she's going to make a wonderful wife. Congrats Candace and Darin! Despite the dang world pandemic, you did it! You guys put each other first. And that's something to celebrate!
Venue: Neuse Breeze Wedding Venue
Hair: Beauty Bar by Kristine Andrews
Make Up: Maria Magdalena Smith at Ethereal Beauty
Dress: Coastal Knot
Photography: Visuals by Helen — Helen Powell
Well... believe it or not, my husband Jess and I are expecting a beach baby around February 2nd, 2021...and it's a girl! We are over the moon, and if we're being honest— we were completely shocked when we found out about the sex yesterday afternoon! We were both convinced Baby Powell was going to be a boy. Mainly because I have been so so blessed with mild pregnancy symptoms so far, but clearly all those midwife tales are a hoax. That doesn't change how excited we are though. Just a shift in perspective thinking about the future. Jess has his hands full with what will soon be 5 girls in our house (2 female dogs, 1 female cat, baby girl and me). HAHA!
When we found out we were pregnant back in May, we knew we wanted to eventually get a genetic test called NxGen, an informed, noninvasive prenatal test that an expecting mom can take as early as 10 weeks to make sure the child is healthy and as should be as far as chromosomes + sub chromosomes go. This particular test also allows the parents to find out the sex of the baby earlier than most find out. The accuracy rate is around 95%. Every doctor's office acts independently when it comes to labs they contract out to do diagnostic work. My sister and sister-in-law in Raleigh had a similar test but it was called something different because the bloodwork went to a different company. Their experience encouraged us to do the same so we could be as informed as possible with our first child.
So a wonderful patient navigator named Jessica at Glen Meade Center for Women's Health at Autumn Hall, made sure I had a printed copy of these results in my hands yesterday morning after a long 6-business-day wait. I took the envelope straight downtown to where Jess works and we opened it together right outside his office on a park bench at 10:30 in the morning. (We obviously couldn't wait till after he got off work that day!) After we found out the news, we texted my friend and occasional associate photographer, Sydney of What Sydney Sees to see if she would be up for a spontaneous drone announcement. She just got her drone license about a month ago so we knew she would be perfect for the job. We knew exactly what we wanted, something that highlighted both our beautiful hometown and our joy for adventure and we made this shoot happen that very evening in less than 30 minutes.
So here we are at 13+ weeks. The baby is the size of a lemon, and we're chuggin' along, eating, sleeping and planning a lot. We are currently in the process of adding onto our home to make more room for our little bundle and for family and friends to be able to come visit while we figure out parenthood. I am excited to share progress photos as we move along in both construction and in baby bump size! This bump isn't very visible right now so that's why we didn't do any up close photos of the belly. I have not gained any weight but have a little pooch that most people would not notice, but definitely rocking some very big cheeseburgers up top that most people would notice if they know my former flat-chested self. Mamas constantly tell me that every pregnancy and every body is different so expecting mamas, I'd love to hear from you and how it is going for you! Thank you to those of you who have reached out saying we're in this together- it is such a reassuring feeling having our corona babies together!
To all the women out there who are trying, Jess and I know how fortunate we are to conceive a healthy child and are so appreciative that God gave us an extra human to love. We are in no way flaunting our blessing, just sharing the news and being transparent as we have nothing to hide. If you are trying, and want to be a parent more than anything, know that it will happen, one way or another. God has a plan. If he has a plan you don't like, please feel free to yell, cry and pray to me. I'm here for you.
To all my couples and clients, I want you to know that this pregnancy should in no way affect you, your wedding or event. The due date timing was perfect in the sense that I should hopefully be ready to rock and roll for wedding season starting mid-April (with lots of help from my amazing associates!) I just kindly ask all my couples and clients who would like an engagement, bridal or portrait session to please schedule your session before January 1st just in case Baby Powell comes early.
We opted for a very short session with Sydney and were very happy with just a handful of these beautiful photos because I'm actually very shy in FRONT of the camera. Especially now more than ever because I'm not able to enjoy some cocktails beforehand! Jess is the exact opposite and is a total sweetheart about photos. I thanked him for doing this photo shoot with me, he simply smiled and said "I knew I signed up for cheesy milestone photos when I married a photographer."
So the countdown begins! 27 weeks to go. Thank you all for your love and support for Baby Powell. It means more to us than you'll ever know.
Candace and Darin are getting married (again) this Saturday and you better believe I'm going to share a collection of their engagement photos from last September in Wilmington. They opted for three different locations: the garden, the beach, and the sound side. Luckily Wilmington provides all three within a 10-minute radius! Candace and Darin are from Red Oak, NC so they made the trek for their engagement photos and man was it worth it! The weather was unbelievable—wait till you see the sunset glow at the end of this post.
Candace and Darin were supposed to have the big wedding on May 2nd at the Neuse Breeze Wedding Venue in Havelock, NC, but due to Covid-19, they decided to still get hitched on their original date and have a celebration later. Well... The celebration is already almost here! We cannot wait to capture more of this beautiful love on Saturday at Neuse Breeze. Photos of their wedding day coming very soon!
The Daniel Family came all the way from Virginia and Texas to reunite in Topsail Beach, NC after a long time apart due to Covid-19 quarantine. What a sweet reunion it was! They have a special familial bond that feels very present in every photo.
My favorite part about this family, admittedly, might be that I know the blonde woman. Lily and I went to high school together but we hadn't seen each other in over ten years! We weren't in the same grade but we competed in indoor track together. I remember her being universally likable, a go-getter and a beast in athletics, and she still is as she is finishing up medical school to be a doctor AND is raising a beautiful daughter with her husband. When she reached out over Instagram a few weeks ago, I was honored she thought of me to capture some of her family's beach memories.
Without further ado, I'm proud to share with you a collection of photos of this gorgeous family who opted for a morning session by the sea!
During the height of covid-19, I was seeing so many wedding cancellations and postponements and my heart would just drop for all these couples that just wanted to get married. I watched my parents, who are restaurant owners on the Outer Banks give away 30,000 meals over the course of a month and saw their altruism and kindness. It made me start thinking about how I could give back to engaged couples everywhere—and that's how this Island Elopement Giveaway was born. After reaching out to a team of vendors in Wilmington, NC who were generously willing to donate their time, talent and enthusiasm, we decided we could pull off a FREE wedding for a lucky couple. We figured it would be good to keep our spirits going during this time of a slow season, to give back and have some fun during it! In the beginning of June, we launched the giveaway, and a total of 87 applicants applied with about 64 actually following the rules like they were supposed to. The biggest kicker was to have the couple follow all the vendors on instagram and to apply online stating some basic info and their original wedding date.
The first two names I draw actually declined the opportunity to get married because of conflicts with timing or with family. They were worried about family being able to fly in during this time of pandemic but, I believe there is always a reason why things work out the way they do because on my third draw, we were blessed to throw Sara + Patrick the wedding of their dreams!
Sara and Patrick got engaged last December and had their wedding planned for the summer of 2020 but then a world-wide pandemic happened and they were unsure what to do. They always knew they wanted to have a small wedding so this elopement was right up their alley. The only witnesses present were their families and Patrick's best friend. They brought along their two fur babies, Sawyer and Finn who were decked out in these adorable blue bowties. Sara and Patrick do not live in Wilmington but Sara's sister and brother-in-law live here so that is why they applied for the giveaway. When they heard the news that they won, they were 100% sure they were ready to get married on Friday, July 10th. We wanted this to be an elopement from the beginning, meaning short and sweet and no big reception because of covid — we wanted to be safe for everyone involved.
I have an associate shooter that I love to use for my southern NC weddings and her name is Sydney. About two weeks ago she got her license to fly a drone so I invited her for this wedding to capture some unique angles! She knocked it out of the park with the aerial drone shots so it really shows you how exclusive this island wedding was on Mason's Inlet. It actually has driven me to add a drone a la carte to my packages for couples that may be interested in having this kind of coverage on their wedding day.
I give 100% credit to my sweet husband for picking out this spot at Mason's Inlet. With the way the tide was, we had a gorgeous backdrop of the inlet and the sea. See below to see for yourself. Congratulations Sara and Patrick!!! You did it!
A sincere thank you to this amazing team:
Epic Excursions — Kristi Balding
& Jess Powell, private boat
Visuals by Helen
AERIAL DRONE PHOTOGRAPHY:
What Sydney Sees —Sydney Rose
ARBOR+ FLORALS +PLANNING:
Do Me A Favor Weddings — Amy McGraw
Weddings with Bill — Bill Simpson
Coastal DJ & Video — George Wainwright
Danielle Forte Makeup Artist — Danielle Forte
SET Blowout Bar — Kate Thompson
SUNSET CELEBRATORY COCKTAILS:
Blue Shark Vodka — Brooke Bloomquist
Paige got married to the man of her dreams, Randall, this past Saturday in Rocky Mount at the Rocky Mount Mills so it gives me great pleasure to share her stunning bridal portraits from a beautiful day in November of 2019. Paige opted to do her bridal session at the Rose Hill Plantation in Nashville, NC and between the historical home, pond, gardens, and glimmering sunset, it was the dreamiest backdrop. Paige makes an absolutely stunning bride, but don't take my word for it— see for yourself in this collection!
Congratulations beautiful lady— you are now a Mrs. Cribb !
Venue: Rose Hill Plantation
Hair + Makeup: Sarah Cribb at the Renaissance Hair Studio
Florals: Brushed by Bec
The Sermons Family welcomed a new girl about 15 months ago, named Cyra and she is just the star of the show! I loved that they wanted to document the fact that they were all together at their family cottage in Nags Head, NC during the times of Covid-19. A rare miracle! They opted for the "Short 'n Sweet" package which was perfect for the little one's short attention span. So thankful to this family for allowing me to get some beautiful memories captured for them.
Wood and Emily have a beautiful little girl named Palmer and they celebrated Father's Day with a little morning mini session at Coquina Beach in Nags Head, North Carolina. It was the perfect snuggle you could ask for with your first born! I've known these parents since we were little kids so it is so inspiring to watch them grow into amazing parents. Thank you to the Beasleys for honoring me the opportunity to document this sweet milestone! Happy 1st Father's Day Wood!
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Our country is slowly opening back up in a safe way. The news networks continue to go on and on about the generosity of our front line heroes throughout these difficult days surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. We also know that behind the scenes, there are also thousands of weddings getting postponed and delayed over and over— thus we wanted to give a silver lining to those lovebirds out there that are ready to tie the knot. Without further adieu, we're beyond excited to be partnering with this incredible team of vendors to give you a fully designed and FREE island elopement wedding to one couple who has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yup, you read that right. You can get married for free! The best part? You can have the built-in adventure by having an exclusive wedding on an island with a few of your loved ones.
Here is what this very generous team is giving away for one couple who has had their dreams put on hold. A fully designed elopement wedding in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina for up to 10 guests plus the couple. After all the craziness, after months of waiting, you can now get married to your love with the ocean at your side, and enjoy the night as you should! All you will be responsible for is your wedding day attire and showing up... everything else— you just let these incredibly talented vendors care of you. We have chosen the date of Friday, July 10, 2020 because we know that these vendors are available and ready to give you the wedding of your dreams.
DATE: Friday, July 10, 2020
(In true elopement fashion, it's a quickie!)
Terms + Conditions:
NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.
Here's the coolest thing about how I know this couple: Meredith and Sam reached out for a wedding inquiry and I noticed Meredith's last name being similar to a close friend of mine and I asked if they were related and guess what? COUSINS! The even crazier part? They live in our neighborhood!!! I love how small the world can be. Fast forward a few months, we decided to do engagement photos on the first pretty day we had in May after a crapload of rain. Their Wrightsville Beach session turned out absolutely perfect. I later found out at the session that this is where Sam had proposed to Meredith! I just love some good ol romance y'all. I am so excited for their Fall wedding. #heavenforbidcovidgoesaway
Love in times of Corona! This beautiful couple decided to go ahead and get hitched and surprised their family on May 15, 2020 at the Mint Museum! Their families thought they were just having a quiet little picnic, but unbeknownst to them, they were about to witness them tie the knot AND have a picnic! They even had it all filmed for their 200 + friends online.
Y'all— THEY. HAD. BAGPIPES. I teared up as soon as I heard them. What an entrance! Thank you Katherine and Tyler for an incredible evening and congratulations!!
My amazing and good lookin’ friends were supposed to get married in front of 200 of their friends and family but instead they eloped yesterday in front of their family at Marker 137 in Wilmington, NC. Covid-19 might be a real pain in their wedding plans, but this virus didn't get in the way of true love! I was extremely honored to capture the vows. I loved that Beth wore her mother’s dress and that Tyler’s brother got ordained on the internet so he was Rev Stew for the day. To top it all off, Buddy got to be the best man. 🐶 Congrats you two!!!! Love you both and can’t wait to celebrate you in July. Thank you for allowing me to capture this intimate elopement!
Even the parents were in a romantic mood after seeing their children tie the knot. Weddings make people so happy—love is a contagious feeling!!