Surprise Proposal (Casey&Carrie)

I was blessed with the opportunity to see two friends get engaged yesterday! Casey reached out to me to capture the moment he proposed to Carrie. We plotted and came up with the perfect plan. Sarah, Carrie’s sister, and I had Carrie believe I wanted to do a fun sister photoshoot. We then had the rest of the family show up later. The choice of location was at Hungry Mother State Park in Marion Va. I got there early to talk to Casey and prepare things. I then ran back to meet Carrie, Sarah, and her mom Kim.

I took a few photos of Carrie and Sarah then we sprinkled in photos with her mom and etc. It was getting close to 7pm which is when I told Casey we would be walking over the bridge towards him. On our way I stopped a few places to snap more photos. I really wanted to make it seem like a normal photoshoot session. Little did she know she was about to get asked a very important question. As we crossed the bridge Casey started playing his guitar and started to sing as we all approached him on the stage. The rest of the family were sitting down enjoying the show.

After Casey finished singing, his dad Garry walked her to meet him on the stage. Casey choked up immediately lol. They both teared up as Casey began his emotional speech. After he finished he dropped down to one knee and popped the important question. Carrie said yes and we all celebrated. Everyone just spent time with each other and there was many laughs and smiles. I took Casey and Carrie to the side for a few photos together then the family went out to celebrate.

I was very blessed to witness this moment in their life. I’m excited to watch them start forever together and seek the Lord.

Megan and Tyler (Engagement Session)

I had so much fun doing Megan and Tyler’s engagement photos. It only made me more excited to do their wedding in October! When Megan messaged me if she could include their puppy Milo, I was nervous but also excited. Milo behaved perfectly! Such a sweet and loving dog. The funny thing is the session started very strangely. I wanted to get some shots in the forest before it got too dark. On the way there I saw a huge group of people and heard loud music. Turns out they were recording a rap video. Never in my life would I have imagined that I would be photo bombed by some rappers lol. The session still went very well and I hope these pictures show you all how amazing Megan and Tyler are!

Location: Sugar Hollow Park Bristol Va

Sarah Robinson (Senior 2019)

One of the best things I love about photography is you end up doing things you never would have imagined. Sometimes that’s taking pictures inside of restaurants, laundromats, or even gyms. When Sarah and I were going over ideas she mentioned that she loved fitness. I decided to reach out to The Wellness Center in Marion, VA. I asked if it was possible for a few minutes before they opened Sunday to take some pictures. I was surprised at how quickly and how politely they replied. Sarah spends many days at the gym so I just knew she would love some photos there!

I really enjoyed the inside of the Wellness Center. It was roomy and there were tons to work with. It was my first time shooting in a gym setting but we killed it. We finished just in time for some manly men to get their weight game on lol. The overall day went really good other than being so hot! We had some clouds pass at the perfect time just when we needed it. The funny thing is I think we laughed more than I took pictures lol. Then again, it’s hard to not laugh at me! We were finishing up our session when Sarah’s mom, Kim, mentioned a river walk area I hadn’t known about. I decided to check it out and get a few more photos for them and I’m really happy I did! It was very close to me all this time and I never knew about it. It was even magical you could say. It was very quiet and peaceful as if it was in a different part of the world. I definitely need to see a wedding done there at some time lol. This was one of the most fun senior sessions I have done so far. I loved meeting all of them and apparently my wife and I are now Kim’s (adopted) children lol! I’m very excited to watch Sarah graduate and hopefully also do some modeling in the future!

Senior Spotlight:

When you see a camera pointed at you, what do you usually do?

Depends on the scenario but i do like to take pictures when I’m dressed for the occasion

If, every time you entered a room, a theme song played to announce you, what would it be?

Friends theme song

You can only eat one thing for the rest of your life. What do you choose?

chicken and waffles

If you could go on a road trip with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

Whitney Houston

What is one thing you could not live without?

My dog

What are some hobbies or interests that you really love?

Gym, makeup(sometimes), hiking

What do you love most about those hobbies or interests?

The physical aspect and the creativity

What’s one thing you want others to know about you?

I may be shy at first but i’m really a big goofball once i get comfortable and loosened up

Who is one role model that has been a great influence in your life?

My mom

What is something they done that really sticks out the most?

Always putting others first

If you could live in any movie, what would it be?

Grease!!!

If you could have a special power what would it be?

Probably to fly

What do you want to accomplish after you get out of school?

Graduate college and go into physical therapy or human resources

One thing about yourself people would never know about you just by looking at you?

I have a huge heart

What advice would you want to give to others who are younger than you?

Never be afraid to be yourself and don’t be afraid to voice your feelings

Eden Reynolds (Senior 2019)

I know I’ve said it a lot but I love when people come to me who have never had any pictures taken. It’s amazing to watch them slowly gain confidence and fall more in love with themselves! This was no exception for Eden. She said she was shy and never had pictures done before so I knew right away she was about to kill it!

It may have been super hot but she still killed it like I knew she would. I have to say that Eden and her mom were superstars. I had them walking through tall grass and in the scorching hot sun all day. I’m surprised they didn’t kill me lol. By the end of the day I was very tempted to jump into the river. All joking aside I had a very fun session. I really enjoyed just talking and hanging out with them as well. I’m very blessed to have gotten the chance to meet them and do pictures for them. I’m excited to watch Eden graduate and go on to do bigger things!

Senior Spotlight:

When you see a camera pointed at you, what do you usually do?

Awkwardly laugh

If, every time you entered a room, a theme song played to announce you, what would it be?

Settle Down- The 1975

You can only eat one thing for the rest of your life. What do you choose?

Tacos

If you could go on a road trip with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

David Bowie

What is one thing you could not live without?

Music

What are some hobbies or interests that you really love?

Music, soccer

What do you love most about those hobbies or interests?

The ability to create & bring people together

What’s one thing you want others to know about you?

I want to make everyone proud

Who is one role model that has been a great influence in your life?

My mom

What is something they done that really sticks out the most?

She’s done everything on her own, raised kids, went through heartbreak, and still juggled a job & being at every school/band/sport event.

If you could live in any movie, what would it be?

The Phantom of the Opera

If you could have a special power what would it be?

Mind reading

What do you want to accomplish after you get out of school?

A masters in psychology, and a lot of traveling

One thing about yourself people would never know about you just by looking at you?

I am an extremely empathetic person

What advice would you want to give to others who are younger than you?

You’re never alone, no matter how isolated you may feel

Katlyn and Justin Wedding (The Barns at Chip Ridge)

I was so excited when I received a message from Katlyn. I was good friends with her fiancé when we were kids. Growing up I remember hanging out with his whole family after church. I think it’s cool how God can bring people back into your life at the perfect time. I was told it would be a normal church wedding but that changed when Katlyn’s dad surprised her by booking the venue Barns at Chip Ridge. I’ve mainly done church weddings so I was super excited to have a chance to take pictures at a beautiful venue. When I first heard the news I rushed to google pictures of the venue and I was blown away. To say I wasn’t nervous would be a lie. However, I knew I was going to do everything I could to make this day special for them and capture some of my best work.

We planned our double date at Cracker Barrel to go over wedding details and to get to know each other. Justin and I quickly picked up where we left off many years ago. It was so awesome to see how he has grown over the years. They told me that they met while they had worked at Wendy’s together. They had no idea that their relationship would turn into what it did. Their relationship started with a bang apparently as Justin almost killed her with his driving lol. They said it was snowing which made the road a little rough. Justin was saying he was surprised she didn’t break up with him when she got home. As I was chowing down on some of my favorite Chicken and Dumplings, my wife asked Katlyn how Justin purposed. She was telling us that she was actually mad at him that day. Apparently there was supposed to be a church revival that day but Justin was telling her he couldn’t make it. She was confused because it was raining but he said he had to help build a fence. Little did she know that it was a setup. When she got there she saw Justin waiting for her and he proposed. There were decorations and signs setup for her. She was completely surprised and was excited to share the moment with her family who was also there. After many more stories and laughs we all finished up and headed back home.

It was finally the wedding day! Boy was it hot! Lol. I arrived at the venue and started taking detail shots. Everyone around was so friendly and helpful the whole day; always offering to help and an overall very inviting atmosphere. It was time for me to do some getting ready shots and man it was hot! Not sure how everyone didn’t pass out from the heat. AC on full blast didn’t even seem to help as it was still very hot. Both of the bridal parties refused to let it take away from the experience though. There were laughs all around and many good stories. Once I finished up with all of the groom’s party photos I was getting ready for all the ladies in their dresses. I quickly found Paul, Katlyn’s dad, and asked if he had seen his daughter yet in her dress. He told me he hadn’t so I got super excited! I got him to stand around the corner and wait so he couldn’t see her come down. I asked him if he thought he would cry when he saw her and he said “Nah, I doubt it.” I got Katlyn closeby then told him to come around the corner. I think we all cried in that moment. I was very excited to capture that moment and probably one of the most beautiful memories I will never forget.

It was ceremony time and everyone was excited to finally see Katlyn and Justin get married. Other than everyone being blinded by the sun it was a perfect wedding. Everyone there could see how much they loved each other and everyone was very joyful for them. We got all of the family formal photos done and everyone headed inside to eat and cool off from the hot sun. After the bride and groom ate they cut the cake and then had their first dance. It was a very sweet and lovely moment that brought back memories of my wedding day. My wife and I only danced in front of 20-30 people and we were nervous. However, Justin and Katlyn danced in front of over a hundred people! I’m not sure how they did it so flawlessly and effortlessly. It was time for Paul and Katlyn to have their father daughter dance so I was ready to go. I knew Paul and myself were about to cry again lol. I captured many good photos and had some time to take a quick video. Very glad I did, it was a powerful statement to capture.

We finished the Bride and Groom portraits shortly before it was time to do a bubble exit. If you don’t know what that is then let me tell you. Its one of the funnest things you can do at a wedding lol. You get people to form two lines and blow bubbles in between the lines at the newlyweds. I got Justin and Katlyn to walk into the bubbles and captured some fun photos and video. It was so much fun and everyone was full of laughter. I got some of my favorite wedding photos so far! It was so fun except maybe for the bubbles coming at my eyes and mouth with a vengence I’ve never seen before lol! In all seriousness everyone done so well. I was so excited that everyone was wanting to blow bubbles and be a part of those shots. I will always remember how friendly and open everyone was there.

I want to thank Justin and Katlyn for allowing me to be there and celebrate their day with them! Every wedding I get to photograph changes how I see things. I realize it’s about moments like that and being with family and loved ones that really matters. Hopefully these photos and video show you all how perfect this wedding was. Excited to watch Justin and Katlyn seek the Lord together. :)

Venue:

The Barns at Chip Ridge

Address:

14235 Branch Street

Abingdon, VA 24210

Website:

www.barnsatchipridge.com

Why you should do an unplugged wedding!

Due to the crazy amount of rain we have been experiencing for the past couple of months, I have been left stuck inside. Being inside for so long stinks but it also gives us time to think on things. One thing I really want to bring up is I feel like more brides should do unplugged weddings. I know you are thinking, “Cody what in the world are you talking about? Do you mean like nothing is plugged into the walls or something?” Not many people have heard of the term “Unplugged Wedding”, so let me tell you what it is and why you should have one. After you read then you can decide for yourself if it’s something that would make your wedding day more special and intimate.

An unplugged wedding basically means your friends and family have their phones & other electronic devices put away or even turned off during the wedding. If you think about it, having your phone out immediately takes you away from what is going on in front of you. Maybe someone sends you a message and as your replying the bride and groom have a cute moment. You just missed a very special moment all because you decided to reply to a message. Or even worse, the bride and groom are having a very intimate moment but your phone goes off and ruins it. These are things that happen very often and is sad to see. I understand we all like to take pictures with our phones but most bride and groom’s hire photographers to capture their wedding and if not they will let you know.

*Photo submitted by claireharrisphoto.com

As long as the bride and groom trust their photographer to get the shots it isn’t worth the risk of missing a special moment or even ruining a moment. Also believe it or not there has been many great wedding photos taken by photographers that have been ruined by someone either taking photos or just messing on their phones. Nothing is more distracting than seeing a bride and groom looking into each other’s eyes but seeing the bridesmaids or groomsmen all on their phones. That image screams this is boring and not personal at all. Feel free to also google wedding photos ruined by cell phones and take a look at those as well. Thankfully I haven’t seen many photos ruined yet by cell phones but I have had a few ruined and its frustrating. Sometimes it’s an easy fix but often it ruins the picture as a whole.

*Photo submitted by Jessica Duenas Photography

*Photo submitted by Jessica Duenas Photography

Is this making you think a little? How about you consider the pros and cons. The more people with phones technically does mean more photos. However, that may mean less professional photos from your photographer who you are paying. If you do not have a photographer booked then by all means have everyone snap pictures. If you did hire one though, then trust them to do their job and allow your guests to sit back and enjoy your special day with you with no distractions or interruptions. Maybe this is too hard to decide. How about a compromise? What if you have an unplugged ceremony but an electronic friendly reception? During receptions there are many things happening at once so it is very common for a photographer to miss the quick moments. Having family and friends taking pictures or videos during the reception could add more memories for you.

Now that you know what an unplugged wedding is, I just ask that you think about it. Don’t let this be an issue that you don’t consider addressing. Take some information and advice but ultimately make your own decisions. There are definitely good and bad that could come from having electronics present during your wedding day. I’m sure you spent a very long time preparing for your special day and spent so much money so don’t let a pesky cell phone ruin your special day. Also a key point is if a friend or family member has a problem being away from their devices then maybe they value their device more than your day. Even so I wouldn’t let that stop you if you do decide to have an unplugged wedding. If you end up having questions or concerns then feel free to just talk to your photographer about it. Ask them if they have had any experiences of a cell phone ruining a photo they took or disrupting a wedding. Regardless I wish for all the brides or grooms reading this to have an amazing wedding day!

Night Shoot on Main Street, Marion Va (Ashlynn)

I’ve been friends with Ashlynn for a few months now. I’ve always enjoyed seeing her inspirational posts so I was excited when I knew I was going to get to work with her. We discussed some themes and we both really fell in love with a “Shine your Light” theme. I’ve always wanted to do a photoshoot with some fairy lights so I knew this would fit the theme perfectly. We had planned our shoot for Saturday evening and just prayed that it wouldn’t rain. We were both highly excited and kept checking the weather all week leading up to the day.

Saturday came and thankfully it cleared up just a few hours before our shoot. It was starting to look like a nice day with a little wind. We met behind Macados on Main Street in Marion Va. As we talked and got to know each other more we realized it had started to get really cold. We were going over ideas and plans while we waited for it to get a little darker and for all the main street lights to come on. After about 30 minutes or so, Iron Street’s lights finally turned on so we could start.

We knew it was going to be a good night after we nailed some amazing pictures right off the start. After a few photos I asked her to wear some glasses that way it could get a reflection of the lights in her glasses. After 45 minutes of shooting we got really cold to the point that we could barely feel our fingers! So we took refuge in a local fudge shop to warm up for 30 minutes. While we were there I got to see the famous town cat, Mr. Pickles. If you live in Marion you have probably seen him. He is a very sweet cat that hangs around Main Street, so if you happen to see him be sure to give him a pet. After chatting with a couple of the employees we decided to go back out into the miserable cold lol.

We took a few more pictures on Iron Street then I mentioned taking some pictures near the stores. I noticed a lot of the stores had Christmas lights and beautiful decorations in the windows. I knew this would be a good background and this would give us good lighting. After a few shots in front of some stores I saw a bench right beside the Lincoln Theater that had very good light plus the shops behind it were also lit up. As we were taking pictures people started to get very curious especially those driving down Main Street. I guess they haven’t seen a lady wrapped in lights getting her picture taken before lol. Three police vehicles pulled up and at first I was worried maybe someone had a complaint but we were making sure to let people by and etc. Turns out they were there to help people cross the street for the Lincoln Theater Christmas show that was about to start.

It was getting a little busy so I decided to go to an alley so we could do some shots with sparklers. Sadly it was just too windy for matches so we couldn’t get them lit. We were a little bummed but knew we had some great shots. We decided to head home until we were stopped by a man on the street. He told us that he had some free tickets because his kids couldn’t make it to the show. I really didn’t want to watch it but he begged us saying if we don’t that he will just have to throw them away. I really hate Christmas music with a passion but I figured why not. I thought to myself, “man…God has a sense of humor lol. We put our stuff back in our cars and went in to watch the Christmas show.

After one long hour of Christmas music it was finally over. In all honesty it wasn’t too bad. I learned a lot about some of the back stories of the songs. I also got to hear some Christian based songs. After this long night of taking photos and watching some music I felt like Ashlynn and I had known each other for years lol. It seemed we really got to share our whole life stories throughout the night. It was so awesome to hear how she found Jesus and how she is spreading the gospel. I’m very excited to see where God takes her. She had told me that she feels He is now leading her back to Boise, Idaho. It’s going to be sad to see her go but I was very blessed to meet her in person before she leaves in February. We really wanted to capture some video of the shoot and create something that sparks change. After you flip through the pictures check out our video. It’s an inspirational video about being yourself and letting Christ’s light shine through you. Ashlynn also writes inspirational blogs. Feel free to check them out here :)

 
 

Sugar Hollow Park Bristol Va (Celeste Sexton)

I have fallen in love with Sugar Hollow Park in Bristol Va. I have always wanted to do a shoot at the Black Forest Trail. I was super excited to meet up with Celeste and her mom for this shoot! The day wasn’t too cold yet so we wanted to enjoy the day before the weather turned cold. It was about a 15 minute walk to our spot but it was so worth the pain lol.

When I found a good spot we took a short rest and then got straight into it. I have to thank my wife who held a reflector for me and for Celeste’s mom who also was very helpful! Without them I couldn’t have created such beautiful pictures. Celeste was so full of energy and ready to knock it out of the park. After I took a bunch of pictures, I got prepared to do some video. Modeling is something Celeste is really into so I wanted to create a short video that showed off her bubbly personality and something that she felt expressed herself. After that we packed everything and prepared for the long walk back.

Right before we got to our vehicles we found a huge pile of leaves. I really wanted some cute photos incorporating the leaves, so we stopped and took a few photos and I shot a clip of her throwing them. Thankfully the ground wasn’t wet either so we got to take many different shots. We had so much fun but sadly it was time to leave. I’m really blessed to have crossed paths with Celeste and her mom. I really love how sweet and caring they are and it’s a blessing to call them friends. Before I post the pictures and video I wanted to ask Celeste some questions and give her a chance to tell more about herself.

What are some hobbies that you really love?

A) "Volleyball and dancing."

What do you love about those hobbies?

A) "It gets things off of my mind and I feel it expresses who I am."

What’s one thing you want others to know about you?


A) "That I put friends before myself."

Who is one role model that has been a great influence in your life?

A) "My Mother. She has made me who I am and has taught me from right and wrong."

What do you want to accomplish after you get out of school?

A) "I’d like to to go to Walter state for two years then do online classes. Not sure what I want to study in college yet."

What’s some advice you want to give to others who are younger than you?

A) "To be yourself and don’t let others change you. Don’t let peer pressure get the best of you. Also, you don’t have to have a girl friend or a boyfriend to be happy. Have fun in school with friends and make the best of it. Don’t let others get to you because when they do that they are usually jealous. If you ever need help it’s best to talk about it with someone and don’t keep it to yourself. Be you and be proud of who you are. If you don’t feel loved just know God always has and always will love you and will be there through every step. He is the only one who will never leave you and will be in your life to help you, if you let Him."