You know the saying, "a team is only as strong as the weakest player?"
(I'm paraphrasing here because... sports.)
Well, a newborn session is only as quick as the newborn allows. They run the show, set the pace, and choose when the ideal time to pee on their Dad is.
And this little beauty, Emerson Rose Wanzer, did all three flawlessly.
Emerson holds a special place in my heart, as I had the honor of photographing her Mom and Dad's wedding in 2016. Shooting Maxine and Anthony's wedding in Massachusetts was one of my highlights that year. It was jam-packed of sentimental and silly moments.
Thank you, Maxine and Anthony, for welcoming me into your home to capture this incredible new chapter in your story.
A special shout-out to Annabelle, Maxine and Anthony's fur baby, who did everything she could to steal the show.
As the lyrics to The National's I Need My Girl filled the car, everyone in my Subaru knew they were experiencing a true moment. You know the kind I'm talking about. One of those brief pauses in life that gets safely tucked into your memory for as long as you're present enough to experience it.
The day Antje Zwink and Ben Chenoweth got married was full of those kind of moments. The couple decided to have a small, intimate wedding at the Franklin County Municipal Court this past Monday after Ben's new job didn't recognize the couple's domestic partnership. Or as they put it,
"We snuck off to the courthouse yesterday. Best $25 we ever spent!"
Judge Jody Thomas married the couple, who also turned out to be a former client of Antje's! (She's one of the creative geniuses behind decorative painting company, Bellalusions.)
After the final "I Do's", we jumped in the car and stoppe...
My heartbeat quickens when a couple closes in on their last few steps toward their first look. I've had to wipe away a few tears from my camera screen when heartfelt letters were exchanged. Full disclosure, I'm a sucker for love.
And 2018 was another year that reminded me how lucky I am to do what I do. Here's a look back at a few of my favorite moments that left me drying tears, bent over laughing, and cheesing from ear-to-ear.
O N E
I'll never forget this couple's first look. After photographing Danny "icing" his groomsmen and Caitlin lacing up her sneakers, it was time for them to see their soulmate. After Caitlin walked up behind her husband and tapped him on the shoulder, Danny turned around and broke down. (See a play-by-play here.) It instantly filled my arm with goosebumps and became one of my favorite moments of the year.
Brands are like the clothes we wear. They tell you so much about the person wearing them -- who they are, what their story is, and what they care about. When they accurately reflect the experience they provide their customers, they make you feel some sort of way. And if they're not done well, they make you feel like that time you saw your teacher at the grocery store when you were a kid -- awkward, surprised, and disjointed.
Anyways, my brand started to be very distant from the experience I work so hard to give my clients. I want them to walk away feeling energized. I want them to feel the passion I have in my heart for what I do. I want them to radiate confidence in themselves and in their decision to work with me. And simply put, my brand wasn't conveying it.
So after five years, it was time for a refresh. I worked with Catherine Groya, a graphic design...
On June 24th 2017, Danny Grimsely asked his then girlfriend, Caitlin Murphy, to be his wife. Danny came up with the idea for me to act like I was photographing his adorable little niece and sister, but then at the end of the shoot, he would surprise Caitlin with a ring.
He got down on one knee.
Took her hand.
Asked her to marry him.
And said, "yes."
On April 22nd, 2017, everyone celebrated our world. On that day, I celebrated mine, too. Mine has a little more sass than yours may have and she sure as hell has enough light within her to light up the solar system. I celebrated Earth Day by marrying my great love, Taylor Kiehl.
Surrounded by the smell of coffee and the love of our family and close friends, I married my love in the living room of our home. There were flowers all around, sunshine filled the room and the sweet sounds of my little niece provided the perfect background noise to our vows. My sister officiated and our mothers told sweet stories of their hopes for us. It was quaint, intimate, organic and all that is "us."
Here's an open letter to my wife. May it bring a little extra love to your day and perhaps inspire you to hold your loved one's hand a little tighter. What can I say... I'm a sappy, heart-eyes-emoji newlywed...
"Once my nerves calmed and I had my wits about me, I wrote her a love letter and left it on her pillow for when she went to bed. (I was already asleep). This may be her favorite part. It followed my tradition of writing her love notes anytime she leaves town or I want to tell her something (like "I love you" for the first time) that I struggle to say in person."
Emma: You've been hacked. By your wife. Mwahahaha.
Friends, family and strangers: Today is Emma's birthday and I want to share a few things with you to celebrate the wonderful human we have all come to love.
Everyone knows the common saying "you must learn to love yourself before you can love another." But through my own personal journey, I can say that this does not always ring true. What you must do is surround yourself with people who will take the time to encourage, teach, inspire emphasize why you are worth being loved.
My wife Emma Parker is that person for not only me but many others.
It is a common thing for us to be out and about and for Emma to see someone who she knows. What is amazing about it is that all these people come from every facet of her life. Whether they be from work, school, her childhood, volunteer efforts or just someone she started that one co...
Towards the end of April, I decided that I needed to venture into the forest with 150 photographers from all over the world. There are times when owning your own business can really exhaust a gal. From answering a constant influx of emails and editing lots of photos while snapping lots of new ones, keeping up with my one-woman show can be daunting. When the to-do list seems to be growing longer than I'm comfortable with, it's time for a fresh perspective.
Enter the Forest + Falls workshop located in Spencer, TN. Over the course of four days, I roughed it in the wilderness with little cell service, drank coffee next to a campfire with familiar strangers and, most importantly, got back to my creative roots.
Along the journey there were several "ah-ha" moments that struck me while being in the middle of nowhere with many (did I say many?) talented photographe...
As social media influencers become the new A-listers, it's important we all do as our momma told us ("you have one mouth and two ears for a reason") and listen. Over the past several months, I have had the honor of photographing Bev Adams for her 7k+ fans on her social media accounts. Sometimes I have people give me some serious side eyes when I tell them I photograph for social media influencers. I can tell you how vital it is to have a cohesive social media voice and imagery all day long but instead, I thought you'd like to hear it straight from the beauty with brains behind the blog.
When looking for a photographer, what are a couple of tips/tricks that stick out most to you?
The biggest thing I have learned when looking for a photographer is being able to find someone who has a good eye for fash...
Since 2012, I have been a mentor to three kids, Tonzaih, Tyson, and Tirena.
You might have seen their pictures on social media or caught one of our hilarious snap stories (@eparker.photo1).
Taylor and I spend almost all of our free time hanging out with them. Every Wednesday we pick them up and bring them to our home where we make dinner together, review homework and other school assignments and share countless laughs. We never let them leave without a new memory and a packed lunch for the following day (complete with a pick-me-up note, of course). They even participated in our wedding recently. Tyson held our vows, Tirena held my ring and Tonzaih held Taylor's ring.
Over the past four years, they have taught us kindness, forgiveness, resilience and patience. And when I got the news from Melisa with Franklin Children Services about winning their 33rd Annual Volunteer Awar...
That spark during an engagement or wedding session where you know the two in front of the lens will make incredible parents.
And you could spot it from a mile away with these two.
I have known Dale and Chris for about three years now. I photographed their engagement photos for Outlook Magazine then captured their love yet again at their wedding. (Adorable pictures can be found here.)
You can expect the joy I felt when Dale and Chris reached out to me and told me they are on the journey to growing their family. Creating a beautiful family within a heterosexual couple is already hard enough. Put two dads in the picture and things can get preeeetty complicated.
Dale and Chris are in the midst of trying to navigate through the complex (and pricey) baby process. I received an email from them back in March asking if I would be willing to donate a pho...