70's Wedding Inspiration...that's NOT tacky!

About two months ago, over some raw juice from Souper Jenny's Juice Bar, I sat down with Heidi Rew from Parties for Pennies to get to know her better and talk about our businesses. First off, let me just say Heidi is AH-MAZING. I'd read her blog many times before and wondered how she had so many amazing ideas! I mean, if I were her my blog would be a wordier, regurgitated Pinterest page. But she genuinely has idea after idea just bubbling around in her lovely brain. It is invigorating to be around! So after a short (sarcasm), three hour, liquid breakfast, we decided to collaborate on a stylized session. There are a lot of people who have no clue what that is, so allow me to clarify. A stylized session is when a bunch of vendors put their creative minds to work, offer their perspective talents and pull off what is (hopefully) an inspiring, creative result. Heidi and I had no idea the caliber of talent that would come out of the woodwork to put this project together. It was, quite simply, a delight.www.meaganophotography.com www.meaganophotography.com Full disclosure: I left all the creative details/vision/feel of the shoot up to Heidi. And she did not disappoint. She decided on an amazing color scheme of buttercream yellow, mint green, and blush pink. She had the brilliant thought to add disco balls to the bouquets (provided by the incredible Owens Flower Shop) I know, it sounds crazy, but it turned out BEAUTIFUL!) She did a tutorial for the mint green DIY tassels for the napkins that even I can follow! She found an interesting alternative to the normally boring wedding favors. She even came up with a trendy DIY fringed table runner! There are so many more adorable details, be sure to check out her blog to get a close up of all the 70's goodness!

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These pictures would not be half as stunning without the tremendous talents of our makeup artist, Jamecia Bowers and our hair stylist, Meg White. The dress was classic and romantic, kindly donated by Bridals by Lori. And the VENUE. Oh. My. Gosh. Dunaway Gardens has most venues beat. With a stick. I literally have never (and I've shot at a lot of venues) been somewhere that had so MANY different places to shoot. I think I counted like eighteen gardens and seven waterfall/ponds, a lookout, amphitheater...it was seriously like being in Khloris's backyard. I wandered around with one of my best friends Courtney (who awesomely assisted at the shoot) and we both shook our heads wide-eyed wondering aloud, "how did I not know this was here when I planned my wedding!?!"

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Needless to say, this was one of the most successful stylized sessions to date! So without further ado, enjoy the rest of the incredible results of some brilliantly talented people.

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Event Planner/Coordinator: Heidi Rew www.partiesforpennies.com
Photographer: Meagan O Photography www.meaganophotography.com
Location: Dunaway Gardens www.dunawaygardens.com
Flowers: Owens Flower Shop www.owensflowershop.com
Female Model: Victoria Bailey
Male Model: David McKahan
Hair Stylist: Meg White | Meg B White Salon
Make Up Artist: Jamecia Bowers | www.beautybybowers.com
Wedding Dress: Rivini | bridals by lori | www.bridalsbylori.com
Invitations & Other Prints: Heidi Rew | www.PartiesforPennies.com
Special thanks to Towanna Stone & Courtney Drake

2013 A Brand New Year

Ahhhhhhhh. (That was a combination sigh/stretch.) After a BUSY Autumn season, I have really given myself a break. I've seen family and friends, slept in, read new books, taken long baths. It has been a few weeks of desperately needed R&R. The final quarter of 2012 kicked my tail!! That is the wonderful thing about being a wedding photographer-the year is solidly busy from March-December. So I use January & February to re-cooperate, make new goals for my business, go hang out with my accountant, and figure out my marketing strategy for the year. It's awesome that the beginning of the year happens to coincide with the off-season for weddings! I've always been one of those people who loves when things are brand new. I loved the beginning of the school year or semester and getting new notebooks, pens, pencils, etc. I love starting a new book. I love beginning new friendships. I even love the beginning of the day. I am also a list maker. You see where the formula's going here...lover of beginnings + list maker = resolution maniac!

2012 was a beautiful year. I grew more in my business than I thought possible in one year. I grew a lot in my marriage and can honestly say I know how to be a much better friend, lover and supporter now than I did a year ago. Somehow I feel like I transitioned into "grown up" mode more this year than any other. I'm not really sure how that happened-it just did. I can tell that I'm more aware of big life changes that are coming in the next 5 years than I was in 2011. Things like having kids, buying a new house, and putting down roots. Those things used to really threaten what I thought was my independence, but now they are things in life I look forward to. I'm not looking to quicken their arrival by any stretch, but I look forward to the fact that they're coming instead of feeling like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz watching the giant hourglass running out. That's progress my friends.

2013 is going to be a big year. This is the year Matt and I will finish paying off all our debt. Last year we paid off the rest of Matt's car and all student loans-all we have left is a bit on my car. Once that's done, we'll actually be able to take the next steps in our life together-EXCITING! (FYI-We've been following Dave Ramsey's debt free guide to pay off our debt. It's an incredible program that can help anyone get debt free no matter how much debt you have or how much you make. HIGHLY recommend!)

All things considered, here are a few "resolutions" or "places I'd like to see growth for the foreseeable future" I've made for 2013. Both personally and in my business.

Commit and implement a new direction creatively. 2013 is also shaping up to offer some interesting new opportunities in my photography. I am beyond thrilled with all of the different directions it could go. In fact, narrowing the options down and picking one is proving to be the most difficult part. (That's what I'm currently doing now.) I cannot WAIT to get started!

Read more books and draw inspiration from them for my own art. Good books. I'm not talking about my chick-lit (although it has it's place too!) I'm talking about the classics. Works of art in themselves. Unfortunately, in college I thought it would be a waste of space to have hard copies of all the classics so I gave them away. Now I know I really want copies of every classic I can get my hands on. My way around this? Thrift stores. They are chock FULL of every book that ever appeared on an English class syllabus-for mere pennies!

Become a student again. No, I'm not going back to school. But another huge way I grow in my craft is by studying. Not other people's blogs. Not my endless pinterest boards. But art. Art in music. Art in sculptures. Art in paintings and drawings. Art in fashion. Art in nature. I promise I'm not trying to be some nose-in-the-air snob over here.  I've done this before sporadically and it helps me stay fresh and keeps me excited about what I do. I want to dedicate at least 2 hours per week researching, admiring, pontificating and marinating in art.

Be more consistent reading my Bible. It really does changes my ability to love people. To have patience. To show grace. I doesn't matter if I'm reading endless lineage or Jesus' teachings, God uses me more (or I'm more aware of it) when I'm in His Word.

Meditate more. I pray a lot, but meditation is completely different. It helps me learn how to be a spirit with ears, not just a mouth.

Pay more attention to how I treat my body. What I do with it. What I put in my mouth. How much rest it's getting. This isn't a fancy way of saying "lose weight". I just want to be healthier. After quite an indulgent holiday season, I began this year with a 10 day fruit, veggie and water fast. It really helped flush out my system and set my taste buds straight on what eating well means. I've since continued to be mindful that I want to eat real food. Not "food-like products". I've also signed up for Crossfit. Yes, I am nervous. But I'm also excited. Apparently it's going to change my life...I'll keep you posted.

That's it. Those are my hopes/desires/wishes/prayers for 2013. It's funny to think about what the year has in store for my life. However, I'd hate to completely say good-bye to this year without sharing a few of the highlights from my busy, crazy and wonderful holiday season..


2013. Let's do this.

Studio Session with Leahandmark

I loved the second photo shoot! It started a *tad* early, but we needed the extra time as we had more involved
 sets. This time we threw things at the models. Don't worry, they were really good sports about it. We started 
with Bella (who was incredible and has me just about convinced that I should shave my head.) The concept 
was using this shredded paper to make a sort of snow effect. I think the more trying thing about this shoot was
 that it just took longer. Therefore, when it came time for us to shoot, we had three rounds of the other interns
 gathering and tossing the "snow" before we were done. It also put a little more pressure on posing the models 
because we had three chances-that's it. So where as normally I would have had some ideas in mind, but 
played around a bit to find other different poses/interesting lighting, this time I found that I had to plan 
ahead of time exactly which three poses I wanted Bella to do. That's a pretty useful skill to have (and one I 
need to continue to work on.) As a wedding photographer, I find myself constantly racing against the clock. 
Either we are chasing the last sliver of daylight before the reception, trying to include a fussy, but adorable
 ring bearer, or I have a wedding planner glancing at her watch. I need to get better at spontaneous 
planning. I can get a shot in those moments, but how creative and awesome it is is up for grabs.
The other thing I realized was that I spend a lot of time trying to get "perfect lighting" when sometimes, 
when a light misfires, or the model shifts out of her original pose and it affects the lighting, that can be a
 blessing in disguise. I am making it a goal to add to my mental photog arsenal certain cool lighting 
situations that aren't politically correct, but totally rock!
The next thing we did was add in another model with Bella and worked with both of them. That was really 
great, but again, it was like "ready...go! Ok, that's all the time you get..." I will say that I really enjoyed 
hanging out with Kelly, JoSooji, and Sam. It's always interesting to see someone take a different direction 
than you considered. Plus, they're all really cool people!
Next, we worked with India, which was awesome. She did a great job, but we were a little short on time 
so I didn't get a ton of time with her. We had leaves to use as props, but I opted not to use them that way. 
Mostly because I love the smiling-eyes-wide-open shots and I was slightly concerned one of those stems 
would place itself neatly in her eye...which would suck.
As we were putting equipment away, I got to squeeze in a little one-on-one time with Kim. I told her to just
 channel her inner Beyonce...and did she ever!
Thanks for reading! I am really enjoying this entire experience so far and I'm looking forward to the coming months!

Wow...what an incredible idea!

So I was chilling out on Stumbleupon.com (the arch-nemesis of productive time-but so awesome!) and I happened upon this idea that a few individuals had. Apparently, someone started this movement where filmmakers from every country in the world were going to film something on 10-10-2010. What an incredible concept! Kyle Ruddick is currently going through 3,000 hours of film to edit it all together. They do need help with donations, so if you're moved by the trailer (and how could you NOT be) here's the link to give http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/onedayonearth/one-day-on-earth-filmed-in-every-nation-in-one-day?ref=live They are also already planning to do an 11-11-2011 as well. What an amazing concept! To see the world laid out on one specific day and observe all the different things occurring in that time frame. Check out the trailer! It gave me crazy chills! 

Amanda & Greg Sneak Peek!

Here's a quick sneak peek of Amanda and Greg's wedding! They were an amazing couple with the sweetest family and friends! Greg really kept me on my toes! (He tells a lot of jokes with gullible people in mind-like yours truly!) And Amanda is such a sweetheart. Plus, they're both amazing parents to an 18 month old that was so cute, I spent most of the wedding day trying to figure out how to stash him in my camera bag! I really enjoyed spending their wedding day with them and hope you enjoy the previews! You can view their entire preview here http://meaganophotography.com/#/amanda---greg-home/


Michael's Senior Shots

     As many of you know, my little Michael is coming up a senior in high school this year. Makes me feel a bit old, but I am super proud of him and I honestly can't wait to see what the future holds for him. He's a great guy and we had a blast traipsing around Atlanta shooting his portraits. When we first looked over his interests, he said he basically plays on the computer, reads and listens to his iPod. He's also an awesome soccer player and used to watch Thomas the Tank Engine religiously when he was a kid. So we took all of those components and put together something that, I think, is a very true representation of who he is and where he's going. Here are some samples, but you can view the entire slideshow by clicking the link at the end. 

You can view the entire slideshow here! http://meaganophotography.com/#/michael-1/

Little Livia

     Whelp. Life has been quite the whirlwind lately (as you can tell from my over two month hiatus). One of the shoots I've done recently was little Livia Pfeiffer's one year portraits. She is SUCH a cutie with a personality you fall in love with instantly! We shot at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens on a scorching, but beautiful afternoon. Livia was simply precious as she wondered curiously around the gardens. She certainly kept us moving! It was a delight in itself enjoying the day with Mila, Jeff and Mila's mother and I think we got some pretty adorable stuff! Hope you enjoy!

To view the entire slideshow click on this link: http://meaganophotography.com/#/livia/

Running of the Brides

Friday I went down to the Running of the Brides at Filene's Basement to promote my wedding photography. For those of you wondering, the Running of the Brides is an event held once a year by every Filene's in the country. It is crazy. (See video below for proof). They basically get their hands on around 2,000 wedding gowns, all of which are designer gowns, and they sell them for $250, $500 or $750. Thus, if you're lucky enough to get your hands on one, you won't spend over $750 for it. Oh, did I mention that these gowns were originally worth up to $10,000?
Well, last year when I was planning my wedding, I happened to go to this sale. It was a night I'll never forget. We got there at 9:00PM the night before. We made team shirts that said "Team M&M" (for Meagan and Matt) and I had ten people on my team. Between running my best friend to Kroger to satisfy her pregnancy food cravings (Pepper jack cheese, doughnuts, and shrimp-anyone?) and my brother and his roommate's entertaining humor, it was easily one of my favorite memories of the wedding planning experience. Needless to say, we rocked it out and I did find my dress there.
Returning to the event (on my 6 month anniversary, I might add) was nostalgic and wonderful. It was great meeting brides and seeing how enthused they were about planning their special day to ultimately marry their perfect match. Towards the end, I found myself wondering if I would go back and relive if I could. Just to enjoy feeling all that excitement and enthusiasm. Well, as much fun as it was, I really love where I am now. I love that I have someone to sit beside me and judge the contestants on American Idol. I love that I have someone to help me untangle my jewelry. I love being around my best friend all the time. I love being married.
So, brides, be present in these planning moments. Soak up every second of preparation both for the day and for your life together. Enjoy the precious time with moms, best friends, brothers, sisters, and new soon-to-be family. But don't worry when the big day approaches and passes. Marriage is so much better.

A few words of advice...

          So, this is officially the first blog post I've ever written and I'm excited about becoming a part of the blogger community! I tend to be a little long winded, so I feel it's only fair to warn you that my blog posts will be books. You have no pressure from me to finish any of them.
          The most recent of my photography adventures involved an awesome friend of mine named Lydia Phillips. She is taking some classes at the Creative Circus, and they did a project where you had to portray and photograph your alter-ego. Lydia is about as positive, light-hearted and sweet-natured as it gets. Thus, she chose to portray an angst-y goth for the class.  Perfect!
          The shoot was awesome! It was fun, creative, and went over without a hitch. At least, until we began to pack up to head home. Still in the midst of heady excitement from the shoot, we rounded the corner to the main gate only to find a thick chain wrapped around it with an impressive deadlock. Ok. No worries. Surely another gate is open. I mean, it's only 5:45pm. 20 minutes of searching later, no dice.
          Now, for those of you who know me (and my ear-drum bursting scream, which has made appearances at movies like Casper and Harry Potter) you know I am creeping toward a major freak out at this point. But for now, I am still grasping for the "calm, cool, professional photographer" who needs to get her Gothic model home in one piece. I began to drive around the periphery of the cemetery (as it was rather large) to try to see if there was a small curb I could drive over, or fence I could drive through that would leave my car only mildly damaged. Turns out, there was a small "employees only" area where it looked like I could get around the gate. The only problem was, I wasn't sure if there was an actual outlet to a road once I got through.
          Seeing as how my partner in crime looked as if she may have crawled out of one of those graves, I thought it prudent to hop out and run down the hill to check by myself. I had just uttered the words "ok, you wait here, and I'll be right back" when every horror movie I had ever seen flashed through my head. Powered by protection for Lydia (or complete fear-whichever) I sprinted down the hill only to come to an abandoned factory. I'm talking broken glass, antiquated, dusty furniture, the whole creepy deal. Then I noticed a large sign on the back next to a coffin-sized opening. "Deliveries accepted here". Are. You. Serious. Really!? Deliveries...as in bodies, right? I made it back to the car in half the time it took me to get down the hill and made a beeline to the front gates, fully motivated to do some serious property damage to ensure we could get out.
          We finally make it back up to the gate and we pause to do what anyone in this situation does.  We called our moms. I could hear Lydia's mom through her phone checking to make sure she was ok and reassuring her that everything would be fine. When my mom answers, I explain our predicament, to which she says chuckling, "Really? You're stuck in a graveyard? Huh. It's almost dark." Funny. I hadn't noticed that. She told me to call 911 and that they would come let us out. However, playing that scenario out in my mind didn't look good. Policeman arrives. Lydia looks like she's been trying to raise the dead. Huh. Maybe she'd be cool with riding in the trunk.
         I was just about to suggest it when I looked up and saw a rather strange looking man standing right in front of us on the outside of the gate. My heart leaped, he was here to save us...right? I tentatively rolled down my window exclaiming to him how glad I was he was there and how thankful we were that we weren't going to have to spend the night (insert forced laugh here). He didn't say anything. Didn't move. Just stared at us. Lydia and I exchanged glances under our plastic smiles as she tentatively asked "how did you know we were here?" Nothing. Not a peep. Finally, he slowly began to pull the gate open. I started to eek through just as he said "I saw you girls go in, but I never saw you go out." Uh huh, OK! Well, so nice to meet you, but -----and that's about the moment I floored the gas.
         So. Advice. If you want to do a Gothic shoot in a graveyard, go for it! You get awesome stuff. But, maybe find out the hours of operation beforehand. And maybe bring a change of clothes for the model. And maybe bring a blow torch. You know, just in case.

You can see the whole slideshow at http://meaganophotography.com/#/creative/