Our Favorite Wedding Images of 2014

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I realize that it’s almost March, and that we’re putting out our favorite wedding photos of 2014 a little later than we’d like, but it’s important because it was a big year and this modest collection of photos means a lot to us.

2014 was such a wonderful, stressful, exciting, uprooting, perspective-shifting and energizing year that I don’t even know how to write about it other than to throw down a bunch of adjectives. But, really, that’s just lazy.

We plunged ourselves into the deep December of 2013 when we left our life in Florida and moved to Durham, North Carolina. We went all in, selling our fantastic house, quitting the very good jobs we had each had for more than a decade as photojournalists for the Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers and most difficultly, saying goodbye to all the friends who had become family over the years.

We have big dreams for our new life here and goals to reach to help us get there. It’s been more difficult than we anticipated, and things have moved more slowly than we had imagined, but we’re patient and determined.

We had photographed weddings together while living in Florida. It was something that we did only occasionally, but we knew that we would be welcoming the opportunity to photograph more people on their wedding days when we moved here. Thankfully, we’ve had that opportunity because of some good people who have helped us out.

It might seem strange to include a few paragraphs about how our lives have changed this year along with a gathering of our favorite wedding photos from 2014 … but when we look at those images, we see more than wedding photos. We see the people who are helping us live our lives in the brightest and most vibrant way we know how. We’ve still got lots of growing and learning to do, but just like the couples in these images, we’re starting off down a road we’re committed to following and we’re looking forward … all the time.

There are so many people who helped us with our wedding work in this first year. We would not be near close to where we are without them.

Coco Rosenblatt-Farrell & Noah Rosenblatt Farrell – our dear friends who planted the seed to move to Durham. Noah and I (Alex) have worked on photography projects together, and I had the chance to be the second photographer for a wedding Noah photographed in 2014. Coco and Noah have known Kallyn for more than 25 years, and since this post is about weddings … Noah was the officiant at our wedding.

Ivan Weiss & Stephanie Weiss – our cousins who we are so happy to be around and who continue to inspire us. Ivan is part of Rock Fish Stew, a documentary company working to craft previously unknown stories in a unique way. Right now, Stephanie is doing field work in Mexico while finishing her anthropology doctorate at Duke. They also connected us with their friends Nikki & Brian, whose wedding we will be photographing in 2015. Ivan and Steph were married in Durham in late 2013 and it was shortly after their wedding that we moved here. Their wedding was photographed by the two folks below…

Courtney Potter Cook & Justin Cook – About 75% of the wedding photos seen above in this post were shot while working as second shooters for Justin & Courtney. They are friends and talented photographers who have helped us out tremendously and selflessly shared their knowledge.

Courtney is also part of The Birth Collective, a group of photographers specializing in maternity, birth, and newborn photography.

Justin works as a photographer for INDY Week and as an independent photographer in his “off” time. His great work can be seen here.

Ryan Helsel & Sadie Tillery – Ryan and Sadie are two big cogs in the crew that runs the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Ryan helped us dive into the community by inviting us to volunteer on the photography team for Full Frame even after the volunteer sign-up window had closed. They later asked us to photograph their wedding when they got married in October.

And of course, the love and support of our families is the current that flows beneath it all.

Thank you.

 

 

Indiana, Heather & Jesse | Newborn Photo Session | Durham, NC

141230_DahmComp_01An instant calmness and gentleness comes over you when you meet Heather. She embodies those qualities and has passed them along to her and her husband’s brand new joy, Indiana.

We spent a seamlessly magical morning with them as we converted their bedroom into a studio. Their large window provided some soft light on that cloudy morning in December. We also brought our own LED light to supplement the window light. It provides a constant, quiet light source so not to startle the newborn the way a flashing bulb can, so we were set for a calm morning. And that’s what we got – a dreamy photo session with a couple who is madly in love with their Indi.

Dunn Family|Family Photos|Chapel Hill, NC

141130_DunnFamily_Comp_FINALWith their parents in town following Thanksgiving it was a great time to make some photographs with the Dunn family. We started off in the family’s big bed recreating versions of their routine with everyone, including their dog, piled in! A big bank of windows helped us out in the lighting department and we just let them enjoy their time as we casually photographed.

We followed that up by taking everyone to some wooded trails where we dodged mountain bikers while making photos of the whole family. The relaxing atmosphere and comfortable, sunny morning made for some some great images!

Seed Family|Family Photos|Durham, NC

141116_SeedFamily_Comp_FINALThe backyard photo session with the Seed family was going really well until big brother got a little too excited throwing leaves around little brother. To make a short story shorter…leaves in the mouth don’t taste very good. But, thanks to limited attention spans, things were fine again a minute later and everybody was back to having a good time.

The session lasted a couple of hours and we spent the morning alternating between making posed family group photos and chasing spontaneity. In the end, we came away with a nice group of photos that captured the fun spirit of the young family at this point in their lives.

Kallyn met Christine, the mama of the Seed family, while on the search for someone to help design the new website for Heart In Hands, where people can go to find out about Kallyn’s experience as a doula, see her birth photography and learn about birthing resources in the area. Christine worked with Kallyn and did a fantastic job! She is a talented designer and her business, Detail & Design, helps organizations refine and spread their message.

Candace|Maternity Photo Session|William B. Umstead State Park|Raleigh, N.C.

141108_CandaceMaternity_Comp_01Candace and her daughter, Ellisan, joined us at William B. Umstead State Park, in Raleigh, NC, for a fall maternity photo session in early November.

Umstead Park is a great spot for a photo session. It’s filled with trails and activity, but there are also nice areas where the trees are a little more dense, but not too dense, which made for a little privacy for our maternity photo session with Candace.

But what’s really special about this place is that it’s where Candace came to walk and relax when she was pregnant with Ellisan, her first child.

Candace looked great and we managed to get a few nice photos of her by herself and playing with Ellisan. Special thanks to Candace’s mom, Julianne!

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Jasmine|Maternity Photos|Durham, NC – Eno River State Park

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Oops! We gave bad directions…

We’re kind of new to the area and when we asked Jasmine and her husband, Brandon, to meet us at the Eno River State Park, we didn’t realize that we were at a different entrance than where we told them to go. Lesson learned.

We eventually got everyone to the same place, but really we could have gone anywhere along the Eno and found a great environment for Jasmine and Brandon to play around in. We settled near the entrance off of Umstead Road in Durham and had a wonderful, early evening photo session with flowing water, gnarly roots and wildflowers as the setting in which Jasmine could shine.

Jasmine and Brandon are expecting their first child.

Katie|Maternity Photos|Raleigh, North Carolina

KatieThompsonMaternityComp01Katie and her husband, Jimmy, have been together for nine years, married for three, and are expecting their first child in October. Alex and I joined the two of them on Labor Day (ironically!) to photograph Katie at a private residence near downtown Raleigh.

It was an honor and a lot of fun to be there with them for this very important photo session. I also have the pleasure and privilege of being Katie’s doula for the birth.

Katie is a cardiac nurse at a local hospital. Through her nursing experience helping people die peacefully, she believes that big life transitions deserve respect, reverence and supportive love. So they decided to seek out a doula for encouragement during this important transitional time along with support in labor. I was lucky that Katie and Jimmy reached out to me at Heart in Hands Doula Services to provide them with that support during her birth journey.

Being able to use my decades of experience as a professional photographer to record this moment in her life also has an added benefit for both of us. “It’s great that you can offer these services together, to allow more time to get to know one another,” Katie noted. 

It’s definitely a nice, casual way to become more familiar with each other before the birth.

We photographed Katie in a variety of poses in a number of places around the area. She was radiant, and perseverant, as the afternoon was steamy and a bit buggy. Her exquisite belly was done freehand in henna by the brilliantly-talented Stephanie Hallmark of Sparkle Body Arts.

The result: Pure beauty.