Teach For America

Liz and Dale // Haw River Ballroom Wedding, Saxapahaw, NC

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Liz and Dale were married on May 5th, 2018 at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, NC.

I’ve known these two since 2011 when we did Teach For America together. Even though I’ve known them for the whole time they’ve been together, I didn’t truly know the extent of their love story until their wedding day.

Seeing them interact throughout the day, hearing their vows, and the stories Vichi and Jay shared while they officiated the ceremony, I was touched by the sheer amount of love and respect they have for one another.

I’m so honored they asked me to document their wedding and allowed me to spend the day with their families and all of the friends that became like family to us during TFA.

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Part of the Chinese tradition is for the bridesmaids to require the groom to perform different tasks to gain entrance to the house. Dale had to do some pushups, dance moves, and answer questions about Liz. He eventually Venmo-ed each bridesmaid $88.88 as a bribe so he could come in!

At the beginning of their day, Liz and Dale held a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. From information Liz’s sister Sarah put together: “The tea ceremony is one of the most significant events to celebrate the occasion. It includes formal introductions of the bride and groom and shoes respect to their elders for all the years of love and care.”

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“Tea is served to elder honorees with two hands. Each honoree receives separate tea from the bride and groom.”

Elders present the bride and groom with jewelry and red envelopes (called “lai see” in Hong Kong and “hong bao” in other areas of China) containing monetary gifts, usually in amounts like $88 or with $0.88 added.

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After the tea ceremony, Liz started to get ready for the American ceremony.

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Liz and Dale chose to do a first look, since they’d already seen each other that morning, which made for a smooth and relaxed day in terms of getting all the photos they wanted!

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A rare instance in which I get out from behind the camera! It was so fun to be here with so many TFA alum. I think we had from a 1997 corps member to a 2018 CM!

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Rocky Mount, NC Maternity: Colby and Bryan

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My favorite couple is having a baby! Colby told me she was pregnant by texting me and saying she’d need some maternity pictures done. I startled the person driving the car I was in when I screamed in happiness! I’ve loved documenting Colby and Bryan’s life together from their engagement to their wedding, and now the imminent arrival of their first child (who is sure to be gorgeous and photogenic just like they are).

We did this shoot at Battle Park in Rocky Mount, NC, but I loved that the fall foliage made it look like we could have been anywhere. The bridge was may favorite feature, and I will definitely be looking to shoot there again next time I visit.

I can’t wait to meet their little guy and love on him (and take his portraits of course), but until then, enjoy Colby and Bryan’s maternity photos!

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Jessica and Zack: Fort Fisher, NC engagement sneak peek

Jessica and Zack made a special day trip from Wake Forest for their engagement session. I had just shot at Fort Fisher a few weeks before and was so inspired by the location, so I was excited when they chose that spot, too. It’s fun shooting at the same location and trying to get different shots and angles than before. I am obsessed with this session and cannot wait to share more, but enjoy these two teasers for now!

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Sneak Peek :: Winston-Salem, NC Wedding – Ann Howell and Kevin

I’m having so much fun editing this wedding! I can’t wait to share more photos with you later in the week, but for now, here’s a sneak peek of Ann Howell and Kevin’s wedding reception at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts in Winston-Salem.

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Meadow Brook Hall Wedding, Rochester, MI: Colby and Bryan

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On July 19th, I had the absolute pleasure of photographing the wedding of my good friends Colby and Bryan. I met Colby while working with Teach For America in Eastern North Carolina, when she became my Manager, Teacher Leadership Development. I am really lucky to have had an MTLD who became a friend, and especially grateful that she and Bryan chose me to document such an important time in their lives: their engagement, wedding, and hopefully babies and other milestones in the future!

I traveled to Michigan a few days before their Friday wedding and got to spend some quality time with Colby’s family and some of the bridesmaids and groomsmen (which made the wedding even more fun having gotten to know everyone!). I was hoping to escape Boston’s heat wave, but it was just as hot all week in Michigan, and we were watching the forecasts closely hoping the chance of thunderstorms for Friday would go down. The outdoor ceremony was postponed during a brief shower, but in a wedding miracle, we got all the photos done outside! The Meadow Brook grounds are so beautiful, it would have been a shame to be limited to indoor shots. The bride and groom looked stunning, and their families and the bridal party made for a really fun celebration. Thank you all for being so welcoming! I’m so glad to have been a part of such a special day!

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Love when brides have unique shoes!

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Annnnd here’s a bonus shot of the groomsmen giving me their best “blue steel”

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Stunning!!

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Bryan’s expression as he sees Colby for the first time is so sweet!

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First stolen moment as husband and wife

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The bridal party certainly had some fun entering the tent!

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Thank you again to Colby and Bryan and their families! I had so much fun in Michigan with all of you!

Vendors that helped make this such a beautiful day:

Venue: Meadow Brook Hall, Rochester, MI

Dress: Elizabeth’s Bridal Manor

Hair: Glitz Salon

Makeup: Bella Blush

Flowers: Bill Hamilton Designs

Ceremony Music: Ryan James (cousin of the groom)

DJ: Mike Staff Productions


Historic Halifax Engagement: Beth and Scott

A couple weeks ago I shot Beth and Scott’s engagement session in Historic Halifax, NC. Halifax is another area that you can tell must have been awesome back when it was flourishing, but is now all but abandoned, except for a couple businesses.

Beth is a fellow Teach For America Corps Member, and was actually one of the first people I met in TFA, since we were roommates at Induction. So it was nice to be able to kind of come full circle and do her engagement shoot at the end of our 2-year commitment. Here are  a few of my favorite shots!

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Kyle and Mackenzie: Outer Banks Engagement

Kyle is a friend of mine who is also a TFA teacher in ENC. When I found out he got engaged around Christmas, my first thought was “I HOPE he asks me to do his engagement pictures!” And sure enough, he called me a few weeks later, and I was thrilled! Not only because Kyle is both handsome and hilarious and I was sure he and his new fiance would be fun to photograph, but also because he said they wanted to shoot on the Outer Banks! I had only been to Kill Devil Hills for a teacher conference last year, and it rained the whole weekend so we didn’t get to see much. So, having lived in NC for a year and a half and never having explored the beauty of the Outer Banks, I was so excited to take some photos there!

A couple weekends ago we did just that. North Carolina has been unseasonably cold this year, and it was even colder by the ocean. While I was bundled up in a sweatshirt and Northface with my hood up, Kyle and Mackenzie braved the cold in their outfits like absolute pros! It was all worth it though, because they couldn’t have picked a more beautiful location. I felt like I was taking promo shots for a new Nicholas Sparks movie. This is the kind of North Carolina I moved here for!!

Anyway, here are some of my favorite shots! (And after a full day of shooting, it was very hard to choose!)

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Did I forget to mention how awesome Mackenzie is? I was so happy I got to meet her!

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They were just workin’ it in front of this lighthouse!

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I just love how adoringly Kyle looks at Mackenzie in this shot below!

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Nicholas Sparks, if you need inspiration for your next book, I’ll just leave this righttttt here.

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Thank you, iPhone 4s for your panorama feature.

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Thanks for a great day, Mackenzie and Kyle! I had so much fun with both of you!


Sneak Peek: Kyle and Mackenzie

It’s days like yesterday that completely reaffirm my passion for photography, and my knowledge that I definitely don’t want to be a teacher much longer. While I should have been lesson planning and/or grading, I couldn’t help look through yesterday’s shoot and share just a couple of shots with you. Thank you Kyle and Mackenzie for such a great day on the Outer Banks yesterday! So many more of my favorites to come later!

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California 2012

In June, I went to California to visit my best friend from last summer’s TFA Institute. It was my first time ever traveling west of Arkansas, so first time on the West Coast and seeing/stepping in the Pacific Ocean! (It was also my first time being on a plane for more than an hour and a half – this trip was 5 hours – and yet surprisingly I didn’t have a panic attack at the airport before boarding like I usually do haha.) The scenery was absolutely beautiful there. We drove about 4-5 hours down Highway 1 from San Jose to San Luis Obispo, with breathtaking views of the Pacific the whole way. San Luis Obispo was what I always imagined would be the quintessential coastal California town with cute little shops in the downtown, beaches, organic food, and great outdoor activities. I think I’ll always be an East Coast girl at heart, but I’d definitely love to go back and see more of the West Coast!

I wasn’t focusing so much on stills during this trip, because for the first time I was focusing on video (low-tech with the iPhone). I took short video clips documenting whatever we were doing and recently finished making it into a short, 3 1/2 min movie. I’m not going to post it here, but check it out on my Facebook if we’re friends. Most of the photos here were taken with the iPhone too, some Instagram.

Emily owns a horse named Scribbles. I’m riding him in the Instagram photo below!

Driving down Highway 1.

First time in the Pacific Ocean!

Sweet potato waffles…SO GOOD

Playing around on the sand dunes in SLO

The California version of sledding. Just as hard to walk back up a hill of sand as it is snow!

Gorgeous view from the top of the sand dunes

Path to the beach. Still can’t get over that it was the Pacific, not Atlantic haha

Hiking Bishop’s Peak!

Yummy cafe after hiking…I couldn’t help myself and got waffles again 🙂

Like I said, I was more focused on video than stills this trip, so check my facebook to see my first trip to Cali in video form!


Weldon Engagement: Evan and Kalie

On my drive to and from work each day, I see fields and old broken down buildings and train tracks and think “I would love to shoot photos there…or there…or THERE!” So when Evan asked if I would shoot his engagement portraits, I knew I wanted to take him and his fiance, Kalie, to downtown historic Weldon. I met Evan this past summer at Teach For America Induction. He teaches 5th grade at another elementary school in my county. In one of the first conversations I had with him, I remember him telling me and a group of other girls about wanting to propose to Kalie over Christmas, and all the girls just swooning over how he talked about his future fiance. And propose over Christmas he did! Which leads us to this e-session.