So I just shot a gorgeous wedding a week and a half ago for the lovely Jamie and Jon Buttry and I realized that I never blogged their awesome engagement session! It. Was. Epic. Seriously! They were totally down for a little costuming and creative shooting. We wanted to do a dual session-which you've heard me mention before. Basically it's like two engagement sessions in one. One side represents the brides personality and the other represents the groom's. In this case, the groom was represented by a very "Great Gatsby" type of feel and the bride had more of a "Free People" personality. I LOVE LOVE LOVE dual engagement sessions. Yes, it's more work. Yes, it takes longer. And yes, it may or may not mean that I make my clients run between trains in 90+ heat to get the shot. But they are always worth it. Plus, me being the cheese-ball I am, I love the idea of him stepping into her world and her stepping into his. It always makes for a more dynamic day of shooting with some awesome benefits! Enjoy
There is way WAY too much I could write about this sweet couple. Kisha and Jeff are from Chicago and got married at the Tiger Point Golf Club in Florida. I am personally completely bummed that they don't live in Atlanta, or I'd have a new BFF. I loved being around this couple and their sweet nature's were just as evident in the pictures!!
I realize that there is no possible way to blog all the shoots I did the past three months, so I'm just going to put some of my favorites over the next few days. This is Jessie and Phil. Jessie is a dear, dear friend of mine from back in college. We haven't really been the best at keeping in touch, but when I get to see her it's like no time has passed. She has a heart of gold and she loves people more than anyone I know. She is also the most gifted "match making" person on the face of this planet. Not just love matches, but friend matches as well. If I had a nickel for every time I heard her say "I have to introduce you to..." I'd be able to do photography for free!
Phil is similar to Jessie in a lot of ways, but completely different too. While they are both amazing people people (and dancers...ahem!) not to mention ridiculously good looking, Phil is more structured and laid back. While he has to get up, drink his coffee, spend time in the Bible, Jessie is content to see how she feels. If she'd rather go for a run first, or have some breakfast. Jessie is the messier of the two, and Phil likes everything in it's place. They are an absolutely beautiful partnership. Played out only how God could bring two people-perfectly!
Wow...so I have totally sucked at this blogging thing for the past 3 months. Wow. That's pretty bad. Honestly, it's worse than I thought it was. I don't know why, but I kept thinking "it's only been like 3 weeks since I've blogged." Kind of the way I think about the ages of my siblings- "Morganne? Oh, she's 9...*does math in head*...oh, no wait. She's 13." Anyway. I've been saying/thinking for a while now that I wanted my blogs to be a lot more personal, but I don't think I've truly let them be that way. It's kind of a hard transition because this is my "business" blog. I should be professional. I have to be professional. Don't I? Wait. Nope. I mean...yes and no. Yes, I am a professional-as in I show up on time, email my brides and clients back expediently, shoot every shoot with everything I've got and give my clients the best pictures I am physically able to give them, etc. But I don't want to be "professional" in the sense of beginning my emails to clients with "To whom it may concern". Or wearing suits to client meetings. Ultimately, I don't want to obliterate the relationship aspect of what I do just to keep up some ridiculous appearance of being "professional". The relationship aspect is the whole reason I do what I do. Yes, I love taking pictures and I think I have a talent for it. But mostly, I love people. I love hearing their stories and building a friendship. In fact, by the time I shoot your wedding day, it shouldn't be weird for me to walk into your wedding without my camera and just give you a hug and tell you how gorgeous you look! If that's weird, I totally understand, but you probably don't want me to shoot your wedding. Which is TOTALLY cool!! There are a lot of freaking amazing photographers out there, who will fit your needs much better. I'm just a completely silly, geeky girl who loves relating to people so much that no matter how much I try, I really can't hide it. My apologies for people who feel uncomfortable with this.
So. Onto the personal stuff.
The past three months have been amazing and hard. Exciting and depressing. Full of learning and realizing how much I have to learn. Within the same six weeks, I had three weeks of the least amount of activity of my photography career, followed by three weeks of booking more than I ever have. Praise the Lord! I realize that's the nature of being a photographer. Well, the nature of owning your own business really. But that doesn't make those "dead" periods feel any less scary and never-ending. ( I know, I know-it was only three weeks. But turns out, I'm a bit of a control freak. Who knew?!)
Not only that, but my absolute best friend in the entire world went to become a missionary in Podgorica, Montenegro with her husband and two sweet, sweet children. (All of the pictures I took are of her beautiful family just a week before they left.) She left three weeks ago, so I spent the months before giving her every ounce of my spare time. I knew it would be hard, and that I would miss her like crazy, but I didn't realize it would be this hard. Through her absence God revealed to me how much I haven't built any kind of consistent community in Atlanta. I have some great relationships in Stockbridge (20 minutes south of the city), but no real fellowship in the city. I also realized how horrible that is for my spirit. It causes me to put way too much pressure on my poor husband (who has been incredibly patient and loving throughout this entire transition) and ultimately leaves me feeling incredibly isolated and hopeless. Please understand, I am not saying that God can't meet all my needs, but I wholeheartedly believe that He blesses believers with fellowship as an additional means of communicating His love to His church. It is so true what the Bible says. "We are a body..." (1 Corinthians 12:1-26).
Ultimately, the past three months have been about growth. Growth in my business. Growth in my relationships. Growth in my spiritual walk. But there are parts of growth that are hard. No, let's be honest, parts of growth just flat out suck. No two ways about it. But once the growing pains subside, it really is amazing to recognize the beauty of the pain and the joy in the revelation of a better version of you. So for all of you doing some serious growing right now, get excited! You're just around the corner from being even more awesome.
Whew...I feel like I am crawling to you all to announce that although I had to slay dragons and defeat the evil dark lord to do it, I have a NEW WEBSITE!! HOLLA!!! Check it out! That, needless to say, is why I have been so MIA lately. Lots to post and update you on, but for now I'll leave you with a recent Bridal shoot I did for my dear, sweet friend Kim.
Another thing about Kim is that at this point (2 weeks before her wedding) her grandmother had started to physically go down hill. This really tore Kim up. I mean, her grandmother was the hub of the family! She threw all of the holiday parties, wedding showers, etc. and sadly Kim's wedding was the first wedding she wasn't going to be able to attend. So, we came up with a plan to get Kim in her dress and her grandmother all dressed up and take pictures of them together. Unbeknownst to Kim, I also had one of those images blown up and brought it to the wedding so that she could display it and have a representation of her grandmother with her on her special day.
This beautiful woman went to be with Jesus on May 21, 2012. She graced everyone she knew with her presence and now her spirit is rejoicing with the Lord. These pictures are now priceless. These are the moments when I cherish what I do the most.
Growing up, my absolute FAVORITE thing to do was play dress up. I used to have this floor length, fully sequined, cerulean ball gown that I would wear all. the. time. It's funny, the way I remember it, it was made of actual jewels, not sequins. I would run around outside in it and pretend I was being chased by the evil queen (aka my brother, Matt) and once I was caught I'd wait for my prince charming to come and rescue me. Interestingly enough, I found myself "working" two weeks ago and yet it looked incredibly similar to five year old me play time. I hooked up with Monique and Ashley at the Brock Cassidie Salon in Buckhead. Which is this INCREDIBLY adorable salon! It's decorated with all these vintage touches and they even have these cute silk robes you can slip into to really make the whole experience that much more relaxing! Well, we did a stylized shoot and they totally rocked all the styling from the hair, makeup, and set design! It was SO. COOL. Plus, I had that moment where I stopped, looked around and realized that I was basically playing dress up and that that is my job. Pretty awesome moment for me!!
I had an amazing day "playing" with Monique & Ashley! As well as the beautiful models, Ladee Danger, Candice Dupree & Stacey Culpepper. I'll be teaming up with the Brock Cassidie team again to do more stylized shoots, so if any of you have some way amazing ideas, message them to me and maybe we'll shoot it! Happy Tuesday!
So, Matt and I just got back from having a BLAST in Colorado! This was my first time actually skiing somewhere that wasn't on the East coast. Wow. Different. But WAY fun! I think I had this secret fear that I would end up spending the entire trip on the little bunny slope. You know, the one that pulls you up on that little rope thing. Thank the Lord I took to it pretty quickly and actually skied mostly blues (and even a few blacks! WHOO!)
It was such an amazing, romantic and adventure-filled trip! However, Matt and I did have one interesting moment that will be placed lovingly in my "mental-scrapbook". It was the third day of the vacation and I was really starting to feel confident. Maybe even a little cocky. I mean, this skiing thing was FUN! We had decided to do one last run before lunch, and Matt suggested doing a black to take us toward our condo. Now, it should be mentioned that Matt has been skiing since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. He's good at it. Really good. I didn't even know about ski school, which is where around 20 or so three year-olds are put in skis while an instructor tries to keep them from falling off of the mountain. Me, trusting wife that I am, assumed he would never suggest I try something that he didn't think I could handle. And surely he had a better handle on what I was ready for than I did.
He then tells me that this run (that's a black-remember?) has these things called moguls. No big deal he says, "just ski around them." Sounded easy. Nope. First mogul and I'm on my butt. I struggle to my feet (which is difficult given the 85 degree slope) and try again. I pick up a bit more speed this time, which really adds to the awesomeness when I wipe out. This time I lose both poles and one ski. Matt skis up behind me to help me up and all I can think about is how many more falls it'll take before I reach the bottom and how it's All. His. Fault. Not to mention how embarrassing it is to be experiencing this while these graceful, Olympic skiers are all flying around me. So, like any prideful 3 year old, I snatch my poles from him, get my ski on, grit my teeth and basically have a "temper-tantrum-ski-fit". That's basically a vicious cycle of collecting my skis, struggling up, propelling myself down the hill, then completely wiping out. Each time getting more and more furious, more and more exhausted and letting the four letter words fly at an increasing rate and decibel level. I mean, at one point I actually punched the mountain. Yes. That's right. Punched the mountain.
FINALLY, after probably around 20 minutes (seriously) I got past the moguls and managed to ski down the rest of the mountain. Legs shaking, face burning and giving Matt the all out silent treatment. I mean it was All. His. Fault.
However, on the trek back I started to reflect on my behavior and had that sickening realization. You know the one. The one where you start thinking "I was...wrong." Dang. I HATE being wrong. It wasn't Matt's fault. And not only that, but while he was trying to help me, I had pretty much decided to push him off the mountain. AND not only that, but I had pitched a fit. I mean a full-blown-two-year-old-worthy-temper-tantrum. So during lunch I did what any other prideful person would do. I slid him little glances. Small smiles. And then he did something that reminded me why I am so in love with this man. He let it go. He didn't make me apologize, or chastise me for being a TOTAL brat. He didn't even try to reenact how I looked punching the mountain. He held my hand and we finished lunch. Thank God I married a man who will be my best friend, when it would be so easy to be the scorekeeper instead. I am constantly learning and evolving into a better person through watching his love for me.
Now for the evolution of my husband! See, Matt decided to grow a beard before our trip so that he could get away without wearing a full face mask. I've never really liked beards, but Matt's was downright sexy~! I kind of miss it...But we had a GREAT time shaving it off!
I love this man :-)
What's up blog readers!? Long time, no see! I know, my fault. Forgive me? I'm back and super-crazy-pumped-amped-and-all-around-fired-up about 2012. So much so that I'm ignoring all grammar. Interestingly, this post was originally going to be about procrastination, but I guess I'll do that one later.
So, what has me so pumped? Only that the first few weddings of the year have not only been beautiful and touching, but they have been to people who are unbelievably amazing individually. And then they get married and are even MORE amazing. I don't think I'll ever tire of watching people in love. In the same way I love watching one of those cool leaf tornadoes. I just stand by and watch the miraculous beauty, content to simply be in it's presence.
Jenny and Jorge are two such individuals. It's funny, I actually knew them both separately before they started dating. Jenny is the pastry chef at Pricci (DELISH Italian place my hubby is currently a Sous Chef at). Her spirit is effervescent. She's the kind of person you simply love to be around. She gives great hugs and is the compliment queen. But not in that fake way, she's genuine about everything she says. I always walk away from a conversation with her feeling lighter and happier.
Jorge is a handsome man of seemingly few words when you first meet him. He started working as a server at Pricci, and that' where he met Jenny. I remember the day Matt came over and mentioned that they had started dating. "Who? REALLY! I would've never seen that one coming", was my impulsive response. How wrong I was. Jorge fits Jenny like an intricate puzzle piece. Being around them, I've seen him both encourage her independence and be the arms she can fall into when life just gets too hard. Likewise, Jenny seems to bring out a confidence in Jorge I'd never witnessed before they were together. She is so consistently pouring her love in him that he truly shines with her.
Such a beautiful couple with such an amazing story.
I count myself so privileged to have been a part of their tender wedding day and to think of them as my own sweet friends. Congrats you two! Hope you enjoyed your sneak peek, you can see more HERE!
So last week I had the incredible pleasure of shooting Liz and Mark's wedding down in the Bahamas.I honestly can't say enough about the two of them. Mark has an ease and general calm that surrounds him everywhere he goes and Liz clearly pours her entire heart into every relationship she has. It came as no surprise to me how awesome they were together after spending four days with their families. Awesome people breed awesome people. "Das a positive" is Bahamian slang for "That makes a lot of sense". And these two together...well, make a lot of sense.
After doing Jessica and Kyle's maternity pictures (check out the rest of the slideshow here http://meaganophotography.com/#/esther-slideshow/), it was a PLEASURE to get the opportunity to do newborn pictures of baby Esther. She is a stunning baby with a full head of hair! When I got there, I had the pleasure of meeting Jess's parents. Kyle and Jess were more than willing to oblige my every creative whim and, as always, it's just nice working with friends.
Matt and I have officially been married for one year and while we're waiting on the kids part (5-7 years sounds great to me!) We are really excited about being future parents. Based on how Matt acts around our adorable niece Blair (*cough* wrapped around her little finger *cough*) I'm pretty sure I'll end up being the disciplinarian.
Shoot, even how he acts around our dog, Max! Here is some typical dialogue from the O'Neal household: Me: Alright, Max. Time for bed. Crate time! Matt: Oh, he's alright! Let's just let him cuddle with us for a few more minutes. Fast-forward to around 2:33am, Max has all 69lbs of himself sprawled out on his back, mid-bed, legs splayed. Meanwhile, my 6'2'' hubby has contorted his body in an interesting shape so as not to disturb said dog, leaving his beautiful wife to lay precariously over the edge of the bed. Good thing they're both cute!
I had a shoot on Friday with Lisa and Rob Fortner that I thought turned out AWESOME! I love this family and how they interact. Not to mention, they're pretty :-) One of the cute quirks about Rob and Lisa is that when they were dating, they used to say "love your guts out" to show affection. I think that's awesome, and it's stuck with me. Now, they have two beautiful kids and a family solidly grounded on love with a side of goofball. It was a blast to hang out with them at the park. Enjoy the shots-you can view the entire slideshow here! Now, everyone, go love someone's guts out! :-)
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!
I love finding funky scarves in thrift stores, an endless evening with a nice bottle of wine and inspiring individuals, the smell of Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen, watching for the first signs that Christmas is approaching, learning something new, freshly painted toes, dancing my heart out, performing on stage or on camera, singing Broadway show-tunes, wrapping presents creatively, getting kisses from my puppy, Max, laughing about auto-corrects with my husband, ferrer rocher chocolates, a great cup of coffee, going to indie movies by myself, an early morning run (sometimes), puzzles!, meeting couples who are totally in love and getting to take pictures of them, playing super competitive card games, pushing the elevator button, snuggling, loooonng baths with a great book, a great book, my relationship with Jesus, seeing live theatre, going to fine dining restaurants and pretending to be a "foodie", laughing til I cry over something most would find silly, feeling the sun between my toes, spending time with my amazing, albeit crazy family, and lots LOTS more! If you wanna know, just ask! :-)
So this past weekend, I had the ultimate privilege shooting Jessica and Kyle Beardsley. They are so precious to me! They are expecting their first little one and I can't wait for he (or she) to arrive! These two are going to make the most spectacular parents! Here are some of my faves from the shoot and at the bottom, you can view their complete slideshow. Enjoy!
The entire slideshow: http://meaganophotography.com/#/jessica-kyle-home/