Fall Family Session: Ingram Family

It is hard to put into words how incredibly honored I am to not only have the opportunity to capture so many beautiful moments of this precious family's session but to also call them my friends.  I photographed Kallie and Brian when I first started out after they had just gotten engaged and it has been such a pleasure to watch them grow as a family, overcome huge obstacles (while keeping a smile on their face) and become such a massive inspiration to SO many people.  

Kallie, Brian and Arria, thank you so very much for the opportunity to photograph your beautiful family.  The love between you three is so tangible and I am honored that you thought of me when you were looking to document this season in your lives. Muah!

Behind the Lens: My Photographic Journey

One of my most favorite things about meeting new clients is the opportunity to hear their story.  How they met, fell in love, how he proposed, etc.  It helps me not only adequately tell their love story on their wedding day and get a feel for how they interact with each other but well, who doesn’t love a good love story?

Usually after we discuss their story, I will often get asked, “Well, how did you get into photography?” which is when I get to tell one of my own love stories:

For as long as I can remember I have always loved taking pictures however, I was awful at it.  Like seriously, it was bad.  In my head I could see what would make a good photo (composition) but actually getting that idea to come out in film—nope, not happening.  It would either be blurry, too bright or dark or worse yet, both.  So in order to combat that, I resorted to doing what I call “spraying and praying” that is, shoot like mad and chances are at least one of those images will come out semi-decent.   Sadly though, this is not an effective method of capturing your memories for a myriad of reasons.

Fast forward to my early 20’s, Patrick and I were planning our wedding and trying to balance the ever growing budget.  Meanwhile, a well-meaning relative was looking to gain some experience shooting weddings.  I had seen his work, it wasn’t great but he wasn’t charging me a ton either (just the cost of processing the film and prints) and that seemed to fit very nicely into my budget.  After all, I REALLY needed to ride in on a horse drawn carriage {sigh}.  Hindsight folks, it really is 20/20.

The unfortunate part of this part of the story is my wedding photos are awful.  I remember the day we received our images like it was yesterday.  I tore open the package and found six CDs of images and I was so excited to see them.  Together Patrick and I hovered around the computer to review them and it didn’t take long to realize they weren’t exactly what we envisioned…

A few years later, we found out we were expecting our first child and knowing how awful I was at taking pictures AND the painful lesson we learned from our wedding, I immediately expressed to Patrick that we needed to find an experienced photographer to capture our joyous occasion and I am so glad that we did!  From maternity pictures to Lukas’ first birthday we had a professional photo shoot every single month.  Yes, it was probably overkill and our house did look a bit like we had a shrine to Lukas BUT I don’t regret it.  Babies change SO much during those first twelve months and when I look at those images now it makes my heart smile (even if we did spend a small fortune on photos that year).

So when we discovered we were pregnant again in January of 2012, I was determined to:  1) have as many photos of the new child as I did of Lukas, 2) finally do something about my terrible picture taking abilities (or shall I say inabilities).  As luck would have it (although I wouldn’t really call it “luck”), a dear friend of mine who just so happens to be an amazing professional photographer, Joy Neville of Joy Neville Photography, decided to offer a one day, get off auto-mode and get to know your camera class.  It focused on learning all about shooting in manual mode and it truly was life altering.  Now, I won’t say that after taking that class I took great photos but it was that day that I finally understood why the images in my head could never come out the way I wanted them to.  More importantly, I never shot on auto-mode again.

Recently, Facebook started sending a daily notification called “Memories”.  Essentially, every morning you get an alert that shows you what you posted on that day in the past.  Most of these memories are hilarious—particularly the ones from my early FB days where I would post what I was doing as opposed to what I was thinking (silly, I know, but everyone was doing it).  Early this wedding season however, I got the best reminder:

Who knows what bad picture(s) I took that caused me to write that status update.  In all honesty, I do not even remember writing it; but as I read it over and over I could not help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude.  Gratitude to God for allowing my business to grow the way it has in such a short period of time and do what I love with people that I love, gratitude to Joy for being willing to share her knowledge in order to help others and gratitude that I never gave up.

"The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are"                                                                                                                                                                  -Author Unknown

Atlanta Engagement: Mikhaela + Andrey

Andre and Mikhaela met through mutual friends of her family and over time they became great friends who discovered they had a much more "special" relationship.  The problem was, she lived in Boston and he was here in Georgia.  As you may have guessed, after a few years of Andre pursuing and a lot of phone calls, he convinced her to move to Georgia so they could further their relationship and finally have the opportunity to experience a new chapter in their relationship. 

When she first got settled in, she recalls that they spent a great deal of time doing all the "normal" couple things–watching movies, being outdoors, going to the lake, park and beach but one particular night, things changed.  They had been exhausted from the day, and decided to lie down and watch the next episode of "House" on Netflix.  Mikhaela reminiscences that she could tell he was fidgety and nervous but she couldn’t quite figure out what was up.  A few minutes later, he opened up a little white box with a gorgeous, sparkly ring and the rest was history.

Andrey and Mikhaela, thank you so much for the opportunity to photograph such an amazing time in your life and for being willing trust my crazy ideas and possibly get locked in a historic cemetery, lol.  I am absolutely over the moon excited to photograph your wedding this September in Helen, I just know it will be epic.  Much love, Amber

This was one of my absolute favorite parts of the session.  The way he makes Mikhaela laugh so easily is just too cute.

Since it was a bit windy that day in Atlanta, the street between the two high rise buildings was a perfect buffer to provide just enough movement of her dress but not mess up Mikhaela's hair.

Mikhaela and Andre you two couldn't be any more lovely.

After leaving Atlantic Station, we decided to head over to get some city shots.  I absolutely love how these turned out.

Congrats again you two!  See you next month!

Backyard Wedding: Becky + Devin

I love everything about backyard weddings and receptions.  There is just something SO romantic about inviting your closest friends and family to your home and the possibilities for making it completely personal are endless!  Seriously, it is a planner’s dream and Becky and Devin did not disappoint!

I have known Becky for about 16 years now (which would mean that we met when we were 10, right Becky? ;) ) and anyone who knows her, loves her.  I am quite certain of it.  She is the epitome of a southern woman: beautiful (inside and out), thoughtful and kind.  Oh, and she is a planner like me so I consider it destiny that we would become instant friends.  So needless to say when she contacted me last fall about photographing her wedding to her sweetheart, Devin, I was over the moon excited and beyond honored.

Drawing their inspiration from a rustic, backyard BBQ wedding, Becky and Devin wanted a comfortable, laid back atmosphere where it felt like it was a party their guests would throw themselves.  From hay bale couches covered with gorgeous quilts to a fun game of corn hole, guests celebrated with the guests of honor well into the evening.

Becky and Devin, thank you again for the opportunity to witness such a beautiful display of love.  From start to finish, in every detail, you made everyone feel so at home and welcomed.  Your longing gazes, tearful prayers and thoughtful words were full of emotion and I could not have been more happy and grateful to capture your first day as husband and wife (even if that did mean we had to run from a large snake in the pasture, lol).  May God bless your marriage and I look forward to capturing many more “firsts”.  Love you, Amber.

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Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal

Caterer: Shane’s Rib Shack & Lois Peters

Cake: Walmart Bakery 

Variety Works Wedding: Paige + Kevin

I will never forget getting Paige’s inquiry email last June asking about my wedding collections.  Even in our first interaction I could tell how excited she was about her upcoming nuptials to Kevin this May.  She had been referred by a good friend of mine, Lisa Adams (love you girlie), and within nine minutes (yes, I said 9) of me sending her my collections, she had made her choice and was ready to book. :)

Paige often describes both her and Kevin as simple and easy going and I could not agree more.  From the very beginning these two were some of the easiest people to work with—like ever.  No matter what crazy idea I had (including wading in a river during their engagement session), they were down.  Being a “Type A” kind of person myself, their ability to be so carefree reminded me how important it is to just “be” in the moment sometimes and I love that about them.

As easy going as they are, it makes perfect sense that these two actually met for the first time on a blind date.  They were set up by a co-worker of Paige’s and Paige recalls that it was much like an episode of The Bachelor.  They ate at the Melting Pot, went to the Georgia Aquarium and finished the night off at the Sundial restaurant in Atlanta.  How cool is that?

For their wedding, Paige and Kevin opted to draw inspiration from a place they both really love—the woods.  Paige’s favorite color is green and they both have a minimalist taste for décor so they decided to keep it as natural as possible using variations of creams, beige and green throughout their wedding day.  

Paige and Kevin, thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to witness a love that is so pure and kind.  You guys may be shy around those you don’t know very well but you shine with a light so much brighter than you know.  I have to admit, watching big ‘ole Kevin’s eyes fill up with tears as he saw you walk down the aisle took my breath away and left a big lump in my throat.  I pray that you both always love and hold each other as close as you did that day and every day after for the rest of your lives. Much love…Amber

Having her Mimi (Paige’s maternal grandmother) be a part of her wedding was super important to Paige and since she unable to make it, we decided to begin the wedding festivities the day before and do a first look with her grandmother.  It was truly one of the most touching sessions I have ever done.

One of my most favorite parts about shooting at a venue I have shot before is creating new ways to make it look different for each couple but remain true to its own particular style.  Thankfully, the amazing folks at The Variety Works always are willing to lend a helping hand to ensure their clients are 100% happy.

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Keeping with their woodsy theme, Paige requested her florist, Le Petit Jardin, to create a gorgeous cream bouquet with green leaves and berries and wood accents.  They were simply stunning.

Sometimes the best bridal portraits are those that are simple and elegant so I decided to keep with Paige and Kevin's minimalist style and create a timeless portrait by utilizing The Variety Works' antique couches, hardwood floors and a small window.

By far my most favorite part of the ceremony was when Kevin first saw Paige as she walked down the center aisle.  

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It is no secret that I am a sucker for bride and groom portraits.  Not just because they are so beautiful and romantic but because it is usually the first time that the bride and groom has a minute to be by themselves (well, besides the strange girl lurking in the shadows silently stalking them and snapping photos, lol).  It is a perfect combination of romance and unbridled love and I LOVE it!

This wedding party was so much fun!

The new Mr. and Mrs...

Father and daughter dance...

Loved how everyone from young to old was on the dance floor celebrating. :)

The yummy BBQ served at the reception was provided by Cowboy's BBQ and the gorgeous cake was created by Paige's friend, Christy Wyatt.

After cake Paige and Kevin tossed the bouquet and garter and as luck would have it Kati caught it (she and Gary are getting married next Saturday).

Paige and Kevin exited their reception to a beautiful display of bubbles.  There were so many it took a few minutes to clear the air before they jumped into their Jeep.

To see more of Paige and Kevin’s Social Circle wedding photos, like By Design Creations' Facebook page and follow @bdcphotos onTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

As always, many thanks to the creative team for all of your hard work in making Paige and Kevin’s wedding so amazing.

CREATIVE TEAM:

Venue: The Variety Works

Floral, Design and Coordination: Le Petit Jardin

Bridal Boutique: Bride Beautiful of Atlanta

Catering: Cowboy's BBQ

Hair & Makeup: Meghan Stapp of Salon Tru

Photography: By Design Creations

2nd Shooter: Kaye Snyder of Jonathan and Kaye Photography

Heritage Park: Sofie Turns One

As many of you know, I love me some BABIES!  Seriously, I cannot get enough of them.  Which is why any time I get the opportunity to capture one of their milestones I get a bit giddy so when Sofie’s mom, MacKenzie, asked me to do a 1st birthday shoot for her precious Sofie, I was over the moon.  We talked, strategized about the best locations, timing, outfits, themes, etc. and the result (as you soon will see) was absolute perfection. 

MacKenzie and Devin, thank you again for the opportunity to capture such an amazing time in your lives.  It was an honor to finally meet you guys in person and I just love how incredibly real and easy going you all are.  Give sweet Sofie a kiss for me!  Much love…Amber.

MacKenzie wanted a simple, organic look to Sofie’s first birthday shoot so we started with just some simple family portraits at Heritage Park in McDonough, Georgia.  It was such a beautiful day and even though Sofie was a bit tired and hungry she succumbed to my baby charm (aka, terribly annoying noises to grab her attention) and gave the most adorable smiles.

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One of the most amazing parts of getting to know my littlest clients is seeing their relationships and interactions with their parents.  I asked MacKenzie what her favorite memory of Sofie was so far and I just loved her answer, “I cannot say that one memory is my favorite!  I feel that every day making memories and enjoying each moment is my favorite”.  Seriously, how sweet is that?! 

I also asked her what her greatest wish for Sofie was and I was blown away when she replied, “That she would know how much her Heavenly Father loves her as well as how much me and her daddy love her! That she will walk out the destiny God has planned for her and that she will truly know happiness!” 

Typically the second half of a 1st birthday session is filled with a smash cake followed by my personal favorite—an outdoor bath but since Sofie is still a major fan of breast milk and not big on solids just yet (unless you count those awesome puffs) we opted to just skip the whole messy eating thing and go straight to the outdoor bath.  What ensued was just perfection.

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As you can see, she was a little excited about splashing those bubbles so I didn't have the heart to make her get out just yet.  Instead, we decided to do a outdoor bath tour around the park, lol.  BIG thanks to Devin for being such a gentleman and carrying around our wash tub so I could get all of the different locations.  You were such a trooper and I really appreciate it!

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Want to see more of Sofie's adorable 1st birthday session?  Check out the video of her outdoor bath HERE and follow BDC on Facebook, Twitter Instagram and Pinterest.

 

Villa Christina Wedding: Kelsey + Wez

One of my most favorite parts about meeting with my clients before they have booked is the opportunity to hear how they met and how he proposed.  These stories not only give me insight into how I can convey their love in still photography but well, I am a hopeless romantic and I just LOVE love.  After all, who doesn’t love a good love story?!  These stories not only make me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside but I really enjoy getting the opportunity to not just hear their story but to tell others about it as well.

When I met with Kelsey and Wez last fall I knew instantly theirs was a story that I could not wait to tell.  Much like two of my other favorite Young Harris alumni clients, Sam and Kayla Walker, Wez and Kelsey met on the soccer field.  He was there from South Africa to play soccer as the men’s goalkeeper and she was the goalkeeper on the women’s team.  They often joke with each other that their love is in “safe hands” and from watching their interactions with each other, I wholeheartedly agree.

Near to far away, friends, family and loved ones traveled the world to have the opportunity to surround Kelsey and Wez as they said “I Do” at the Villa Christina in Atlanta, Georgia—and what a day it was!

Kelsey and Wez, thank you again for the opportunity to document a love that knows no boundaries.  Watching your day unfold and having the chance to see over and over again how gentle and selfless you are to each other was such an amazing experience and I know everyone there felt the same way.  Your wedding was perfect and I cannot think of a better way to spend your first day as husband and wife.  Congratulations again you two! MUAH… Amber

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Since Kelsey and Wez were having an outdoor spring wedding at Villa Christina’s garden, they knew that they did not want to compete with its natural beauty.  Together with Joan Spinney of Atlanta Cottage Flowers, they created an elegant atmosphere that complimented Villa Christina’s already stunning venue.

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Kelsey wore a breathtaking Stella York gown from Bel Fiore Bridal while Wez donned a stylish suit from H&M.

WEDDING DRESS and SUIT SHOTS

Kelsey’s mom and best friends gathered in the bridal suite laughing, singing, toasting and preparing for the long awaited moment: when she stepped into THE dress.

Of course, I have to do a quick shout out to Kelsey’s makeup artist, Kallie Ingram, for being on standby the whole day to make sure Kelsey’s face was completely flawless.  Have I told you lately how much you rock?!

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Seriously, doesn’t she look AMAZING?!  

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Along with coordinating all the details of Kelsey and Wez’s BIG day, Atlanta Cottage Flowers also designed Kelsey’s lovely bouquet, ceremony and reception arrangements.

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Since Wez and Kelsey decided to save their first look until the wedding we decided to sneak in a few shots of Kelsey and her girls and Wez with his guys before their guests arrived.

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Speaking of their first look, I think all who were there were overwhelmed with emotion the moment they locked eyes.  You know, “that” moment.

Officially Mr. and Mrs. Barnard!!

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And, of course, shared some fun shots with their wedding party…

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The fun continued at the reception where Kelsey and Wez shared their first dance as husband and wife to Craig David’s “Unbelievable”.

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And, they were toasted (and at times roasted) by their family and friends…

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Once again, the amazing team at Villa Christina outdid themselves with the delicious dinner and stunning cake.  I think Kelsey & Wez really enjoyed it!

Then we (I may or may not have been dancing as well) danced the night away while DJ Mickey Nightrain created some of the best wedding mixes I have ever heard.  Seriously, he was amazing!

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To see more of Kelsey and Wez’s Atlanta wedding photos, like By Design Creations' Facebook page and follow @bdcphotos on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

As always, many thanks to the creative team for all of your hard work in making Kelsey & Wez’s dream wedding a reality.

Venue: Villa Christina

Floral, Design and Coordination: Atlanta Cottage Flowers

Makeup: Kallie Ingram

Catering and Cake: Villa Christina

DJ: Mickey Nightrain

Photographer: By Design Creations

2nd Shooter: Meridyth Thomas Photography

2015 Cold Weather Fashion Guide

One of the number one questions I receive from my wonderful clients after they book their session is "What should we wear?"  Normally, I would just send them a link to my current fashion guide but I thought it would be fun to share my new cold weather fashion guide so everyone can benefit.  So without further ado, here is BDC's 2015 Cold Weather Fashion Guide!

Colorful boots and warm parkas are both practical and romantic for a rainy day shoot! There are so many beautiful solid-colored rain boots to choose from these days - pick a hue that you love and build the rest of the outfit around it. Snuggly fur linings and knit materials add detail and interest to your images while keeping you warm and dry.

Colorful boots and warm parkas are both practical and romantic for a rainy day shoot! There are so many beautiful solid-colored rain boots to choose from these days - pick a hue that you love and build the rest of the outfit around it. Snuggly fur linings and knit materials add detail and interest to your images while keeping you warm and dry.

Inspired by the color and simplicity of ballet flats, this look for a couple is classy, understated, and perfect both in indoor and outdoor situations. For the ladies: a wool skirt, powdery leggings, and blush pink flats are comfy and flattering. Casual men’s slacks and a wool sweater are elegant and simple to put together. Layering sweaters over plain tees makes the outfits versatile!

Inspired by the color and simplicity of ballet flats, this look for a couple is classy, understated, and perfect both in indoor and outdoor situations. For the ladies: a wool skirt, powdery leggings, and blush pink flats are comfy and flattering. Casual men’s slacks and a wool sweater are elegant and simple to put together. Layering sweaters over plain tees makes the outfits versatile!

An abundance of texture in this rustic chic duo makes for beautiful and interesting photographs amidst a variety of locations, both indoor and out. Tribal cardigans are the signature of the season - and look absolutely fabulous in front of the lens.

An abundance of texture in this rustic chic duo makes for beautiful and interesting photographs amidst a variety of locations, both indoor and out. Tribal cardigans are the signature of the season - and look absolutely fabulous in front of the lens.

A mid-length mod-inspired dress with leather tall boots is always a fabulous look for ladies in cooler weather. His and Hers knit sweaters will keep you cozy and looking great on camera. And by the way - honey hues and navy blues make a perfect pair!

A mid-length mod-inspired dress with leather tall boots is always a fabulous look for ladies in cooler weather. His and Hers knit sweaters will keep you cozy and looking great on camera. And by the way - honey hues and navy blues make a perfect pair!

Just because the weather’s grey doesn’t mean your outfit has to be! Choosing a single pop color - in this case magenta - and building an outfit of grayscale solids around it make for exciting compositions in photographs. Guys - don’t shy away from color either. Sometimes a surprising hue, such as the mauve pictured here, can be especially flattering and handsome on the gentlemen.

Just because the weather’s grey doesn’t mean your outfit has to be! Choosing a single pop color - in this case magenta - and building an outfit of grayscale solids around it make for exciting compositions in photographs. Guys - don’t shy away from color either. Sometimes a surprising hue, such as the mauve pictured here, can be especially flattering and handsome on the gentlemen.

Smith-Miller Wedding (Old Woolen Mill | Cleveland, TN)

I met Kimberly when she was just a baby; hard to believe it, but it is true.  So when she and Johnny asked me to go on my very first destination wedding to photograph one of the biggest days in their life, I could not have been more honored and thrilled .  Although you cannot tell from the photos, it was a VERY cold and windy day in Cleveland, TN with the high being 32 and the wind getting up to 36 mph.  Despite the sudden change in forecast and chilly temps, as you will see it was an absolutely breathtaking event full of tons of details, family, friends and most of all LOVE.  Congratulations again Mr. and Mrs. Miller, I could not be more happy for you and your new family!!