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tia & corey. day after session.

When brides call me for Day After sessions, I get pumped. Any reason to put on that dress is awesome, but getting to photograph the couple in the most rustic location? I’m losing sleep.

Needless to say, I was so looking forward to their session, and then I hear some awesome news that only amps up my anticipation. My longtime friend and design extraordinaire, Shane Langford, was crafting a headpiece for Ms. Tia to rock during the shoot. Did you say headpiece?!?! Ugh* In a Rachel Zoe sorta way, ” I die” for that stuff. Wanna see an engagement session with this accessory I love so much? Check out Sara’s flower one here.

When I met these two for the shoot, Tia climbed out of her car (slowly of course, have you seen the bottom of this thing?) and shot me an excited face while her Rico Suavé new groom, Corey, helped her make her way over. I kind of squealed.

I don’t squeal often, mind you. It takes serious girly overload for me to let one of these out, and Tia’s rockin’ getup just had me insta- pumped for the shoot ahead. Corey looked dapper, as well. They were a sight for sore eyes, most definitely.

I’m honestly so excited to share this session that I’m just ready to hop to it.

Tia & Corey: CONGRATULATIONS! You two were so adorable during your session, and I am so excited for what’s ahead for you both. You tickled me to pieces, and thanks for dealing with the “thing in the bush” with me. That was scary, but we got the shot! ; )

.paz.

jessie

amy bray - May 10, 2012 - 11:55 pm

These are amazing,as usual! Tia is one of my favorite people and it thrills me to see her looking so happy.She always looks beautiful but you found a way to capture her true beauty. Thank you for sharing!

Rachel & Wes {Franklin, TN} 4.21.12

They welcomed us with huge smiles as we pulled into the gravel driveway of their engagement session location.

I’m usually a solo shooter when it comes to e-sessions, but I needed an extra set of hands so BD tagged along on this Sunday afternoon to help.

I think BD’s ears were sitting in my lap by the time we got there, though. I might as well just talked them right off his head with how excited I was about this shoot.

Vintage, vintage, vintage. Rachel & Wes were both big about involving this theme in their engagement photos. Floating in photo heaven? I was.

I had met with Rachel, Wes, and Lauren in Nashville a few months before, so we had already created a great friendship. Lauren is Rachel’s cousin, but she is also co-owner of Lark Events with Krista Cook. Wedding planner AND family member?!?! Yes, talk an awesome combo.

The three of us chatted over coffee, and we discussed the plans for the engagement. I mentioned bringing BD along. Their smiles beamed and were followed with a Yes! Definitely! We’d love to meet him.

They were as open as they seemed in their first impressions when we introduced ourselves upon arriving to the coffee shop. I felt like we clicked, and that always makes me so happy.

Wes was all about meeting a fellow player of the strings, so I knew BD and him would get along just fine.  Little did I know, they would get along so well. Rachel and I laugh about their insta-bromace. They were two peas in a pod, and the five us (Lauren came along, too!) had an absolute blast setting up and shooting their session. These two added just another reason to my list of why engagements rock.

I felt like I got to know Rachel and Wes so well during their photo op. They were playful and complimented each other in such a way that you couldn’t help but wanna give them both this giant bear hug for being so cute. Wes’ outgoing excitement balanced out Rachel’s sweet subtlety.

She grinned while she watched Wes tell a story to us, obviously her love shining through her simple smile. She looked at him in such a content way, like she’d found it and she knew just how lucky she was. He finished what he was saying, and  looked back at her in the same way.

I sighed. My heart is just way to big for this occupation. Couples get to me.

I turned and gave BD a big hug when they went inside to change into their second outfit. I was glad he was there, and even more happy about him being at the wedding. We were going to have fun, and I could not wait!

Driving to CJ’s Off the Square in Franklin, TN,  we chatted about our excitement. Over the months since their engagement session, Rachel and Wes had become great homies of ours. We loved them immediately, and felt like we were going to the wedding of friends if anything.

I told him all about the venue, as if I already hadn’t told him a million times before. I elaborated with animated hand movements.

Babe, he reminded me. I love you and I love your stories…. but, you gotta watch the road.

I laughed. I was more excited than I thought. This was gonna rock.

Sure enough, when we pulled up to CJ’s my heart jumped out of my chest, over the partially rolled down window, across the street, up the stairs, into the house, and slammed the door behind it.

Seriously.

I loved this place immediately. I had stalked online a little before I came. You can never be too prepared.

I knew the vintage aesthetic inside was insane.

I knew I would be overwhelmed with the awesomeness of it all.

I never knew I would fall in love with a place so quickly before walking in, though.

It was the historic feel of the outside with the promise of eye candy inside that had my heart rushing before my body could follow.

I sat in the car for a few minutes and took a deep breath.

This is the kind of venue I see on wedding blogs and dream about shooting in.

Nervous, I mumbled as I stared at my hands in my lap, my seat belt still buckled.  I saw BD turn to me out of the corner of my eye.

You’re always nervous, he laughed sweetly. (think he’s kidding? read my last post and you’ll see).  You know you’ll do great. Give me a hug.

We turned awkwardly in our bucket seats and wrapped our arms around one another. We just sat there with twisted backs and the gearshift stabbing us in the sides.

This is good for us, I whispered in his ear. I saw on “The Today Show” that hugging your significant other for at least 30 seconds instantly enhances your mood and relieves stress.”

He chuckled but kept on hugging me.

I sighed and let that anxious feeling roll of my back.

I think we broke the world’s record for the longest hug.

We gathered our things and headed indoors. After getting everything prepped, we toured this amazing place together. It was more beautiful than I had anticipated. The wood floors and antique knick-knacks created such a mood about the place. I fell for its appeal and could see why Rachel had as well.

The bridal party arrived shortly thereafter and we went to work.  It was our first wedding together, and it couldn’t be going better.

I overheard the guys laughing with BD while I photographed details. I smiled.

I began photographing the ladies while Rachel got ready to put on her gown. She stood in the middle of a teal room with her veil attached. She held her hands in a relaxed way in front of her and smiled at me. Her petite figure in her little spandex workout pants and a jacket paired with her galmorized hair and makeup made for a cute combo. I commented on it and told her she looked adorable.

You should just wear that, I laughed.

She giggled, looked in the mirror and said,  I know, right??

She dressed and prepared for her first look. These are some of my favorites.

They are always so sweet, and it’s such an intimate moment to get to photograph. I think it may be one of my very favorite parts of the whole wedding day.

Wes stood waiting with he little paper sign. It had Today! written across the center with adorable little clip art wedding bells beneath. His smile covered his face as he explained why he had printed it. On the days leading up to the wedding, he had given Rachel notes with countdown days on them, most assuredly it was amping up her excitement.

He looked at the sign, I thought she would like it,  he said with a shrug.

He stared down at the sign obviously thinking about the lady he would soon wed. I think it’s adorable! I exclaimed, slightly frightening him in his reflective thoughts. He face shot up and he glowed a bit. Nodding at me, appreciating the approval.

Yes, I said to myself. Go, Wes. I love when grooms go the extra mile to add that emotional and romantic passion to their wedding day. It makes for such beautiful photos and it add such a personal characteristic, as well.  Note just to Mr. Suitt himself: Brownie Point! Cha-ching!

You ready? I asked him. Let’s do this. I’mmmmmmm exciiiiiiiiiiiiiited! I sang as I bopped up the stairs to get Rachel.

I looked down at BD as I topped the first flight. Oh buddy, I thought. You don’t know what you’re in for, B. Deezy. I was so excited for him to get to see one of these with me. He had never seen one before. The thing about first looks is that it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, these things will get ya- like cupid’s arrow sorta thing. You just realize how special it is and what you’re watching is something these two people will never forget. Love it!

I hurried back down to photograph Rachel as she descended the stairs. She looked so happy that I thought she might just go floating up in the air.

As Wes turned, her face lit up. As beautiful and as bright as a room filled with candlesticks, her love for him and her excitement for the moment took my breath away.  It was silent.

Wordless. Unspoken.

I photographed them in their moment, and watched as Wes guided her down the stairs and into the open foyer where she could twirl and laugh as she showed him her dress– just as she always dreamed she would as a little girl.

He let her have her moment. She looked so beautiful in it, and he wrapped his arms around her with the softness of a lover and whispered to her as they stood in their own world without distraction.

I captured it, and glanced over at BD as he watched, camera lowered, face still, eyebrows perched up a bit- like the momentous meaning of it finally sunk in. It’s like knowing something is important than seeing that important something happen. See what I mean? I loved him a little more in that moment because he got a glimspe of why I love my job so so much… of why I love my couples even more.

The rest of their day was just as whimsical, and the evening something out of a movie- everyone dancing and having a blast.

A day too wonderful for words, but a perfect fit for lots of photos.

Rachel & Wes- You guys are so much fun, and I can’t wait to hang out with you both more this summer! June will be here before you know it, and BD and I are ready for a little QT with you two. Hope you love all your pictures, and congratulations on your new lives together! What a wonderful journey you have ahead and what amazing memories you will make.

 

Destiny - May 5, 2012 - 2:29 am

Rachel and Wes, your day looks like it was absolutely beautiful!! Jess, you did a fantastic job capturing their special moments, as always!! Congratulations to all!

Jessie - May 9, 2012 - 9:18 pm

Thanks Destiny! So great to hear from you, girl!

sara & taylor. engagement session.

She had me from “head wreath.”

I was so excited about this session, and not just because I was getting to photograph a pretty floral crown, but because I was getting to meet a couple of new folks AND wade around in the creek at that. Fo shizzle.

I was a little nervous.

I always get nervous about things. No ulcers quite yet from stomach stress, but you might as well just call me Queen Worry Wart. I think my personality is predisposed to biting fingernails and a tapping foot.

It’s genes, I tell you! Genes!

But no seriously- I get so nervous before sessions. My mom tells me that it’s a good thing. That it keeps me on my game. That it makes me constantly challenge myself.

She says if I didn’t get worried, she would be worried.

It keeps you on your toes! She exclaimed to me on the way over to this shoot, A little worry never hurt anyone, dear. You’ll do great today!

I just don’t understand why I still get a stomach tied in knots. Shouldn’t I be over this by now?? I whined into the phone. I don’t like feeling uneasy and it showed.

 Nope. You’re an artist, she said soothingly into the receiver. You’re always going to challenge yourself to create something new for everyone. You put the pressure on yourself to make this the best engagement yet, and that kind of pressure can make you worry.  It just means you’re still shooting like the first day you picked up your camera.

I sat there. I let it sink it. She was right. (Mom: Go ahead and print this post out. You can even highlight that sentence and put it on the fridge!!)

She really was right, though.

I guess I could sit here and tell you all I wasn’t worried in the least. I could exude such confidence and assurance as any professional should…. right? Hmm.. I guess I could do that. Act like someone I’m not or just pretend that I’m always on point with my f-stop and shutter speed. I guess I could do that.

Or maybe I should? With people out there reading, it does seem quite easy to swing that way, to comment on how I shoot and for how long. But then.. well, then I’d lose something.

I’d lose me, and you all know how these blog posts are in avoidance of just that. These posts are my fighting stand, with my fists in the air, and a big ole toothy grin: I’m baring it all.

And the best part? I’m totally okay with that because in world filled with lots of deceit, it simply is just so refreshing to sit down and read a bit of truth.

Are you with me?

It rang in my head the last comment my mom made on the phone… about shooting like that first time I picked up my camera. I really do, though. Not technically of course, I have been able to teach myself a lot since first receiving one on my 21st birthday. But as in fervor… as in gumption… as in a  “holy heck I had an idea!!!!!!” kinda way.

I shoot like I’ve never wanted anything more in my life.

I think it’s easy to forget when you start doing things as a career, why you started in the first place. There are down days, rough days, and days that make you just wanna throw in the towel. This is pretty standard I feel for anyone.

And then there are days when some greater good opens up the curtains and shows you in the brightest way, why you came to where you are. It’s the best feeling in the world, really. Some kind of amazing reassurance that you made the right decision.

Shooting like I did when I first started is always that ah-hah moment for me. As photographers, we spend a lot of time staring at our computers. They become our best friends and should rightly deserve a name. We work so much in post-process, that the shooting part actually becomes quite minimal in the work week.

When I step back and think about it, of course I would worry. I’ve looked forward to this shoot for days, weeks even. This is my chance to get out there and take things to a new level. To work on my skill and my accuracy. To make myself a better photographer while capturing the couple in the best way I know how.

I felt content in my worry and stress.

I realized it wasn’t a bad thing, nor was it something to ignore. It was kind of a good thing if anything at all. I loved it actually.

Whoa. Talk about a revelation. I know, right?

So when I showed up for Sara & Taylor’s shoot. I was in a rare form: so happily nervous that my little heart just fluttered as I popped out of my car and introduced myself to them both.

They smiled warmly back and me, and for the first time in a long long time I felt like relaxed. It wasn’t because I shrugged the nervous feeling off, but it was because I embraced it and realized that it would help me if I let it. It could be the best driving force I had come across yet, and I think this Eureka! moment showed all over my face.

I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start this shoot. Things were just going so peachy.

Sara & Taylor are as laid back as they come, bare feet and ankle-deep in the creek, they laughed together and tip-toed around the anything but smooth creek bottom. We laughed as we endured the pain of the jagged rocks, and balanced ourselves with arms outstretched as we navigated to different parts of the water.

If you haven’t checked out the post where I chatted about engagement sessions and why they rock, you totally should.

This one was just another testament to that. We had a blast on this afternoon. I am an earthy, go-lay-in-a-field-somewhere kinda gal. So when couples get out in the thick of nature with me, it makes me want to give them one big giant photo hug.

We talked about music, about festivals, about shows in Nashville. We chatted about their plans for married life and about the wedding itself.

We bonded over Bonnaroo. Yes, it does bring people together.

It was the best kind of afternoon to celebrate a couple in love, and to make a new friendship as well.

Loved these two and their contagious happiness for life and each other.

It’s picture time!! Oh yeah. So stoked.

 

Sara Fuson - May 2, 2012 - 11:11 pm

Oh. My. Gosh. Jessie. These are AMAZING. I teared up several times from being so completely happy with them!! Taylor totally agrees even though i think he withheld his tears ;)I can’t express in this comment box how thankful and grateful we are for you. You were such a wedding (and a life) blessing :) Thanks again.

amy bray - May 2, 2012 - 11:59 pm

OMG,these are simply amazing!! I love looking at your work.

Jessie - May 3, 2012 - 1:59 pm

Thank you so much Amy!

Jessie - May 3, 2012 - 1:59 pm

You are the sweetest! I had a blast with you two. : ) What an awesome day!

aunt bobbie - May 6, 2012 - 3:11 pm

i am blown away! sara, you are sooo beautiful! i can’t believe how awesome you both look. these are really fantastic pictures. can’t wait to see what Jessie does at the wedding. love you soo much……

[…] Taylor’s wedding day. After shooting their engagement session, (you can check out that out  here) I could not wait for June. It was a long wait but so worth […]

[…] Taylor’s wedding day. After shooting their engagement session, (you can check out that out  here) I could not wait for June. It was a long wait but so worth […]

Liz + Derick {St. Simon’s Island, GA} 3.31.12

These two.. these Liz & Derick characters (picture me so playfully shaking my finger at them both).. they had it out for my heartstrings on their day.

They were going to pluck em like the Rocky Mountain String Band, and boy had I wished I would have doubled up on the emotional armor the morning of their wedding.

I don’t know when I began getting so involved with my couples and their lives. They were always great friends- yes, most definitely, without question. Some brought me into their own homes, and I met their families on days other than their weddings. Some often invited that boy toy of mine and me to double dates. I. AM. LUCKY. to have such awesome clients around.

I think the biggest emotional connections I have found with clients have resulted from photographing their engagement sessions.

Liz & Derick’s engagement session was one of those great ones. We laughed, and I learned about their love: about their first encounter as unwilling concession stand volunteers, about their last-minute decision to grab a bite to eat together that sealed their fate, and about Derick’s heated car seats that doubled as brownie points for Liz.

(I must admit fellas,  heated car seats for a lady in winter is like the new dozen roses at the doorstep. I’d much rather have a cozy tush than a bundle of red buds any day. TMI??? Good.)

I learned about things they didn’t say. I soaked in the way they interacted and the love that got them to where they were at that moment.

I see all kinds of love every day… young love. fun love. sensual love. old soul love. playful love. laughing love. serious love…It makes me realize how big this world is and how many types of it exist- how no one’s is the same and how everyone’s is incomparable…about how our relationships are all as unique as we are.

In an awesome Bill & Ted sorta way, let’s hop on that crazy time machine and fast forward to their wedding day.

Off the coast of Georgia, St. Simon’s Island is a picturesque community. With pastel oceanside houses, people on bikes pedal on with friendly waves that make me appreciate my surroundings. Its beaches are beautiful. Its ocean begging you to take a dip. Its salty air reminds you of why you went there in the first place.

Its calming aura pulling some crazy osmosis and making even the most high-strung person a holder of a fruity drink topped with an umbrella.

It makes you breathe. (Btw- Thank you Liz & Derick. I needed this so much!)

Beth and I arrived at their rented beach house, a four story sky blue house on stilts, and reminded each other to pick jaws up off the floor every time we rounded another staircase.

I’m a small town girl… gawking at  seaside life like a 5 year old who just got her first glance of Sleeping Beauty at Disney World. I couldn’t stop wanting to hug every beautiful display of wall art and stare at every unique piece of furniture. Similar to seeing a cartoon celebrity, I was speechless. My childhood excitement fluttered. I was in a photo dream world with nautical blue-striped curtains and floor-to-ceiling windows that sang to me like sirens from the sea.

Ever seen What Dreams May Come? The beginning with Robin Williams’ watercolor world? I was there. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. True love at its finest in Hollywood.

Liz was sitting on a cream-colored, beautifully crafted ceramic stool of sorts. Her toes prettily painted as she laughed and commented on how she now realized how movie stars felt, her southern charm seeping through her in the most endearing way. Her weeklong extravagant stay was a gift she treasured, not letting the excitement or potential stress distract her. She remained humble.. a country girl just living in a dream world.

She soaked in her own watercolored world of sorts.

I photographed her details… her shoes, her rings, her amazing dress draped in lace- every inch a piece of fabric art.

The family moseyed around the house. Florida and Tennessee natives, they played in the fun of this seaside euphoria with us-  a beautiful playground for the intimate number of people that comprised her wedding party and family. Even though our bodies were covered in camera equipment, Beth and I felt as relaxed as the ladies lounging on the living room couches below and the fathers looking out the window reflecting on their lives and their children.

As Derick dressed in the downstairs room, he buttoned his shirt and tied his tie. The look on his face mirroring that lady’s only a few floors above. While he dressed, Liz’s sister, Kat, delivered a small box with a note. I photographed him reading. I studied his face as his voice flowed over every word like it was the most precious she had ever written to him, and it was.

He opened the box to find a small token of Liz’s affection. With an inscription on the back forever sealing their fate,  it was a testament that was just as strong as the bond they would soon be forming.

We awed at this moment and watched it sink in. He placed his gift on the table, and reached for a box which he handed over to Kat with the greatest of care.

It was large in size: a square card catalog housing four drawers. It’s rusty appearance and beauty in perfect reflection of Liz’s love for vintage ( that’s my girl!).

Before the present arrived, I hurried upstairs to see Liz & her grandmother seated in front the window holding hands and talking. Liz led her over to the wedding dress and showed her the heart that had been sewn into the bottom of her dress, the shape snipped out of  a bright crimson handkerchief  belonging to her late grandfather.

I watched as her grandmother saw this for the first time. I watched as her grandmother remember her husband of 60 plus years, and saw her granddaughter begin on that same journey.

*click. A latch in that armor unlatched. I teared up.

Words can not explain this moment more, and I won’t begin to do so. It’s beauty best displayed for its unspoken meaning.

Liz’s present was delivered, and she too read her letter aloud in the same way Derick had read his own. She opened each drawer to find another treasure waiting for her, and her tears were punctuated by bursts of laughter at his comedic undertones.

She dressed with the help of the ladies in her family, and she began the hustle and bustle that would lead her to the altar. While surrounded she stopped, like a still image in the  fast-paced moving world of a wedding day, looked back at me and said “I’m so glad you’re here.” Then she let out the sweetest smile and stared at me for a moment longer before being hurried off to begin her day.

My little sentimental heart skipped a beat, and I can’t even begin to tell you why. I guess it was feeling the importance of being involved in such a beautiful day, of a love that was being celebrated by such a small group of people.

We ventured to the ceremony location, storms rolled in but everyone seemed the least bit worried- the momentous occasion too important to be bothered by a little drizzle. We found a window of time when the storms broke, and they wed under a gazebo while it rained slightly around them. Their family and friends were seated closely around in as intimate a way as the whole day symbolized.

After the wedding, the clouds parted in the most jaw-dropping kind of way. The sun came out, and if you were to look at their wedding photos- it seems as though their wedding lasted over the span of a few days than just hours.

We laughed as we walked out to beach on Jekyll Island. Beth and I couldn’t believe our luck. Perfect weather .

Our location was comprised of large driftwood and sky that could make Ansel’s eyes water. Storm clouds created the most beautiful mixed light, and the day seemed quite storybook.

Their fairy tale ended at the same place it began, the dream house with an intimate dinner- the perfect ending to a watercolor kind of day.

I wanted to share this story on my blog in as much detail as possible. In truth, it is on the lengthier side of most the wedding stories I write. I wanted to show my compassion and special appreciation for both Liz, Derick, and their families for bringing both Beth and I to this destination wedding.

Like I mentioned before, we are both just some small town girls and getting an opportunity to photograph a destination beach wedding has been such a huge gift for us both. We appreciate their time in helping us plan our travels, and we are truly thankful for their trust in us for documenting their day.

I wish my words could better describe my true gratitude to the both of them for believing in me and my work, but as I can imagine it would fall short.. I wanted to tell their story in full and in the best way I knew how. With all my heart, thank you both so much for letting me into your lives. I wish you both the best, and may your lives together be filled will all that special old soul love that I’ve been so lucky to see you share.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Limestone Films - April 30, 2012 - 1:41 am

Captured so well! Great job gal!

[…] Holloway Photography for a killer time working alongside her. If you haven’t seen them, check out the images…they are *stunning*! Also, a big thanks goes out to the gals from Homespun Parties + […]

Jessie - May 3, 2012 - 2:00 pm

Thank you so much! You guys are great!

featured by {Lucy Dylan Weddings}

Aw, shucks!

I just love it when bridal blogs decide to feature a session of mine. Lucy Dylan Weddings has featured the beautiful Mrs. Autumn Curtis. We romped around in Manchester, TN following her wedding day and caught some awesome rustic shots of this little lady having fun in her gown again. Wanna see the full post click here.

If you’d like to see the full feature at Lucy Dylan Weddings, click on the photo below. Be sure and share them the love.. they are a great blog to peruse if you’ve got some spare time on your hands.. sending love their way!

 

 

.jessie.