Mindy and Calvin: A Laid Back Cahaba Brewing Wedding

July 11, 2017  •  1 Comment

So. Mindy & Calvin got married on June 10th at Cahaba Brewery. And can I just cut right to the good stuff? Because this wedding was FULL of it!

  • Despite weeks (WEEKS, I tell you) of torrential downpours, Mindy's day was 100% RAIN FREE! I mean not a drop! Even though I love getting to use my cute clear umbrella when needed, I was glad I didn't have to.
  • The whole day was at a Brewery, so...you guessed it. Big tall glasses o' freshmade brews were available alllll day.
  • Oh! How about all the home-made details that her family put together like PROS? There was creamy white wedding cake, almond flavored. <3 <3 And then the flowers--bouquets, wreaths, and all--from Davis' wholesale that Mindy's mother-in-law artfully designed. Pinks, oranges, purples--the wreaths and bouqets were every color of a sunrise.
  • The brides' & maid's shoes? Converse with brightly colored ribbon-laces, of course.
    And I haven't even mentioned the antique velvet couches, the hilarious groom + groomsman, and the huge warehouse full of historic shining firetrucks that we just so *happened* to get B+G portraits in.

I can't forget to mention the SWEETEST flower girl and ringbearer I think I have ever seen. With brilliant blonde hair and bright blue eyes, they were unbearably cute. (Look for her in the last picture--you won't regret it! ;) )
And now, I'll let the pictures tell the story:




Ok, can I just stop you here? Because this moment was the best ever. We were posing Mindy for some of her bridal portraits--no Calvin, just her perched on the couch--and he was just totally adoring his new bride. He couldn't look away!


cough. ahem. another note here. warning: tear-jerking/heartwarming moment ahead...




Dear Mindy & Calvin: thank you so much for letting me tell your story, because it (and you) was amazing!

Vendors:

Wedding cake: (home made)
Venue - Cahaba Brewing
Dress - David's Bridal
Flowers - Davis wholesale florist
Baby Bites: Pastry Art Bake Shoppe


Cassidy + Sam: a rainy Flagstone Farm wedding

July 03, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

When we arrived at Flagstone Farm to shoot Cassidy & Sam's wedding, I was struck by the sweet beauty of the place. Rolling green hills, an open chapel perched atop one of them. The GORGEOUS cottage with every beautiful detail you can imagine; and the rustic farmhouse feel of the reception hall. Did I mention there's a lake and dock for fishing and winding dirt roads through trees and wildflowers? Sigh.

As the wedding day progressed, threatening clouds loomed and eventually poured down harder than I've ever seen in my life. But Cassidy's charm and sweet demeanor never wavered through the day. When we had to take all the portraits on a covered porch to stay dry, she didn't mind! And when the rain beat down louder and louder during the ceremony, until you could no longer hear the officiant yelling, she just laughed hysterically. Cassidy was just beautiful, inside and out, and her joy and love radiated throughout the day.

I have a hard time narrowing down all the sweet details from her day, but here's just a few: she had signs for each of her girls to hold describing how they know each other; their guestbook was a large frame, and guests signed little flat wooden hearts and dropped them into the top of the frame, plink-style (SO cool!!); and they had a beautiful custom-made ring box with their initials!

Oh, I'm not done yet though. Because THEIR RECEPTION. Guys, it was amazing. I mean like, rocked. the. house. It was kickin'. All the dorky-cool phrases in the world don't measure up. Spirited sing-a-long to Journey's 'Don't Stop Believin'? Check. Tearful dance with the parents? Check. Amazing dance moves from almost every single guest? And sweet + hilarious toast from bridesmaids? Yup. Oh, and how about the most EPIC GARTER TOSS OF ALL TIME. Guys, I'm not gonna lie, it got a little scary. And awesome. Basically, I wish I could party with these people every night. Yeah, you wish you were there, too.

Anyway, here we go:






Congrats to these two, wishing you both the best!


Andrea + Matthew: an Avondale engagement

June 30, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

When Andrea contacted me about shooting her Avondale Villa wedding, I FREAKED OUT. Avondale Villa, you guys! I have been enchanted by that miniature castle atop the hill at Avondale Park for YEARS. Yes, YES! I told her. We met up together with her fiancee Matthew and I was struck by their unique and relaxed love for each other. They're just so...easy. The engagement session plan was as unique as they are: we'd start at Avondale Park and hit some downtown Birmingham highlights; and then end the session in their home including three other members of their family: their cats! I'll admit I was a little nervous about how it was going to play out when I was told that most of the cats "don't like being in pictures" and also "don't always like being around each other"! LOL! As it turns out, the t-shirt-and-jeans relaxed bedroom photos with their cats were my favorites from the day, and can I just say if you're considering doing a nontraditional in-home engagement session...the answer is YES. DO IT.

Okay. Enough of me. Look at the pictures of these gorgeous people!





I can't wait to see what their October wedding day will be like! I'm so excited! <3


Instax Mini Fun!

June 27, 2017  •  Leave a Comment


Would you check out this sweet little pair of pastel pink cameras? and how about that string of perfectly tiny pictures?

These are Fujifilm Instax Minis...and I love them! I've taken this little camera on adventures to the mountains, to the beach, and to the city. It's so awesome to snap a quick pic and immediately hold it in your hands! Printing pictures is taken for granted these days...and these little cuties do all the work for you. And guess what?

Now you can have them at your wedding! I'm offering a new add-on feature for my wedding clients: the instax mini fun pack.

The package will include all-day use of both cameras, and six 10-packs of film.

These cameras are SUCH a fun treat to have at your reception! Save money on the photo booth and set these out for your guests to pass around at the reception! Enjoy sweet (or crazy) candids from your guests' perspective, that they can take home as party favors. Or, set out a scrapbook for them to fill up, for a unique and photo-filled guestbook!

I seriously think there are so many fun ideas you could do with these! Give 'em to the bridal party to catch some extra backstage action. Or run some ribbon through a frame with teeny clothespins and let your guests hang them up at the reception: instant cute decor! What would YOU do?

Contact me to find out how to book wedding day photography with Spark Photography and add on the instax minis! <3

 


a romantic-boho-winter-flower-garden bridal-inspiration shoot

March 28, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

 

A ROMANTIC FLORAL WINTER GARDEN BRIDAL INSPIRATION SHOOT
(and so on)

In December, I did my first styled shoot. I just had a vision of getting a model in a beautiful wedding dress and traipsing through gardens, holding lots of wild flowers, wandering in fields and capturing every minute of it. I found a model (who is GORGEOUS as you can see and totally WORKED IT) and finally scrambled the pieces together. I was afraid that every picture would come out horribly and I promised the model I could only pay her in giant Frappuccinos and if that wasn't going to be worth 8+ hours in uncomfortable clothes whilst possibly getting very odd looks, she should back out now.

And, y'all.

IT. WAS. AMAZING. Please. Just... look, will you? :)

I'm going to try to let the pictures do the talking, (heh) but you know I can't keep this mouth shut for long. So, let me tell you about the process. I knew the Birmingham Botanical Gardens were a must and I also had one other particular image in my head--so we went to Oak Mountain State Park at the end of the day.

I scoured thrift stores and e-bay and eventually found this GORGEOUS J.Crew wedding dress--with tags in perfect condition--for a STEAL.

I then gathered up some accessories--these gold hoop earrings and gold and pink bracelet from Wal-Mart (yup!); a gold bangle that I already had on hand; an embroidered shawl from my own wedding; and several feet of tulle for a homemade chapel-length veil. There was also a pair of shoes that never made an appearance...our day was all barefoot :) in love with these flowers..

The bouquet was made over a couple hours by my self. I gathered up seeded eucalyptus, berzillia brunia, coxcomb, football mums, and a few red carnations wired together to look like peonies. The ribbons were got from a local craft store--I wanted long, wide ribbons to blow in the wind and chose maroon and black to give it a moody and mysterious feel. <3 It was pure coincidence that this girl was getting married ONE WEEK later, so no, I didn't purchase the rose-gold diamond ring for the shoot ;)
wispy twisted & braided up do <3

  This amazing girl walked under those palm leaves about 236 times for me. but doesn't she look like a 1930s hollywood starlet here?

At the end of this post, I'm going to tell you how much I spent on that dress. And you're going to FREAK. OUT

I just love the golden simplicity of the bangle, made by baublebar

I had lots of foliage left over, and I decided to do a flower crown just for the fun of it. I'm SO glad I did! So thankful for many creativity-filled renaissance-faire costume sessions with my mom where I learned how to do these. <3 (And yes, I'm a dork)

an empty nest in a prickly plant... I love these stunning images of her in the wintery branches. It makes me think of something from a Pre-Raphaelite painting. 
The shawl is a beautiful silver beaded piece by Moyna that I wore in my own wedding--I was glad to get more use out of it! I bought 2.5 yards of ivory tulle from Walmart and trimmed the edges and sewed it to a simple comb to make this chapel-length veil. No need to spend $200 from David's bridal, amiright? in a woodsy part of the gardens.

fall leaves scattered the mild December day in the gardens. I was actually surprised by the lack of comments from anyone, but just down the hill to the left, we heard a little boy of 4 or 5 exclaim something as he pointed up at as. He was just staring at her absolutely enchanted--he was definitely in love! <3 Reflecting pool at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Back view of flower crown featuring eucalyptus, brunea, carnations, and faux berries. At the end of our day, we went to Oak Mountain State Park and explored the old stone outcroppings built by the CCC, along the edge of Oak Mountain Lake.

I mentioned earlier how I had a specific vision for Oak Mountain. I'd been inspired by this image from 1930 that I'd seen in a magazine. I cut it out and it's hung on my bedroom wall for ages. I knew I wanted a simple wooden pier jutting into a vast expanse of water, and it was so cool to see that vision realized!
I call this an inspiration shoot, because that's what I want it to be. I want this to be an inspiration to brides: you CAN create an amazing, fine-art and unique look for your wedding, for an amazing price! You just have to be open-minded and creative. Search e-bay and thrift stores for amazing deals; choose lower maintenance hair & makeup ideas that a non-professional (like me!) can pull off. And hit the wholesale places for flowers and details.  Remember that if you give your photographer some creative control, and even set aside a separate day just for bridal portraits, you can get some stunning bridal images in really amazing settings!

By the way, this entire look was created for about $100 or less! This goes out to the photographers, too: if you have an image in your head for a styled shoot, go for it! It CAN be done without breaking the bank. We had an amazing day and I'm so, SO happy that I went for it, despite my fears! I am forever grateful to the tireless and beautiful model Bethany, and to my amazing friend Christina Sloan as Official Floral Consultant, both of whom I could never have done this without. It was exhausting but so worth it.


Vendor and price list:

Venues

Dress
"Taryn" by J.crew (purchased NWT, e-bay, $35.00)

Shawl
Mercury Bloom by Moyna (photographer already owned)

 
Florals
 
Accessories
Gold slim hinge bangle: baublebar (photographer already owned)
Gold chunky bracelet and gold hoop earrings: WalMart. ~$6 for both.
Veil: tulle, comb from WalMart, $6. Handmade.

Florals, Hair & Makeup: Diana Martin
Bethany is wearing eye makeup from TooFaced and Stila and lips by OCC.

 


Natalie and Alan's family + maternity session

February 29, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Natalie and Alan have turned out to be some of my most loyal customers. They're some of the coolest people out there, too, y'all.

At their newborn session (for the baby girl that was still cookin' in these photos), Alan offered me some homemade ginger beer. I wasn't sure what I'd think of it. IT WAS THE BEST THING I'VE EVER TASTED. (Well, pretty close, anyway.)

Their little boy is also a hilarious, adventurous, exploring kinda kid. Which isn't surprising if you know his parents! So needless to say, I love getting to take family portraits of them.

Take a look at this gorgeous family on a lovely spring day at the park in Helena, Alabama:

Loves swinging up in mom and dad's arms!

Those precious big eyes just GET TO me. Look at him!

Also, can I just point out how BEAUTIFUL she is?! Like, it's kind of ridiculous.

Also, Natalie is pretty much a dream client who wanted to combine the maternity session into the family session--and toss her shoes off and jump in the river! She was basically like "I really don't care if my feet get dirty". Coolest pregnant lady ever.

She also works a lot with BWIB and baby-wearing, and this is just one of the amazingly beautiful wraps she has.

 

<3 till next time!


Fall Mini Sessions!

October 02, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Come sign up for fall mini sessions!

This year's session will take place on October 24 and 25th. The first day will be at Helena Amphitheatre park, and the second day will be at Railroad park. Enjoy some fun, relaxed portraits with your family. 20 minutes will get you 20 or more images with a print release mailed to your door on CD, in time for Christmas cards!

The best part is, 100% of the profits go to Grace Klein Community.  They do so much awesome stuff that I find myself having a hard time summarizing what they do when I've told people about the fundraiser. They share all they have.. their "give and take room" is free for anyone who needs, chock-full-o clothes and goods that would rival any thrift store. They feed families with meals, make food boxes for churches, encourage and love on everyone they meet, and raise chickens and have a community garden! And I haven't mentioned partnering with international orphanages, raising money for local friends' needs... and so much more. Your money will go to one of the most resourceful group of people I've ever met, who put every dime to use for the good of others and keep administrative costs to a minimum. The best way to summarize Grace Klein is... well... "awesome".

There are only 3 slots left for minis, so sign up soon. $100 is the suggested donation-- it's just a number I put out there. I hope someone may be led to give more, while others may be able to give less--every donation will be loved and accepted. I hope to see you there!


Around House

August 07, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I've read lots of other blogs where people share wonderfully beautiful photos of their day-to-day life: children running through a flowery backyard; raising chickens; knitting an afghan. My life isn't nearly so colorful or lovely (and my apartment not nearly so nicely-lit) but I thought I'd do my own version and enjoy my new 35mm f/1.4L dream lens. :)

Bread.
There's a wonderful organization in my town called the Grace Klein Community. They are loving, generous, kind-hearted people that would do anything for anyone in the community. I had the opportunity to volunteer with them on Tuesday and help sort food for food donations. They donate food boxes. They have a veritable thrift-store of items they share, or donate, or trade with anyone. They support local churches and grow vegetables and chickens to help feed families. They love on people and even people who don't need or deserve it (like me..). With an overwhelming amount of day-old bread that they couldn't donate, volunteers took loaves home. They also practically forced a homegrown squash and pepper on me that I ate for dinner and were utterly delicious.

{Making bread pudding from stale bread chunks}

corks.
Various wine corks over the year that my husband and I have collected (obviously we're not big wine drinkers :-P) I've never been one for wine-themed decor but it just seems like a fun way to fill my pretty apothecary jar and it tells a story, in a way.

paper.
Cleaning out files.


quilt.
A beautiful old quilt from a dear friend. I love, love old quilts and they're always a perfect backdrop for picnic-style shoots <3


soap.
"Swedish dish cloth". What?? It's a very thin towel-like sponge that dries hard but gets soft and scrubby when wet. And it has an owl on it.

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Lavender soap. I try to be economical and don't usually buy the name-brand soap that's all-natural-organicified grass-fed whatever...but I fell in love with the scent at the airbnb in Minneapolis and decided to splurge.

Pretty colorful wrap that belonged to my mom. <3 it.

 

And that's all for now :)

 


Nev & Andrew: a small turkish-heritage wedding

June 02, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

In November, I got the chance to second-shoot for the awesome Kelsey Freeman Photography! This was a really fun experience, and the wedding was a wonderful and small family affair.

The couple are both teachers at UAB and had their photos taken at Railroad Park, with the ceremony and reception at the Red Cat in Birmingham. We spent a little time at their cute SouthSide home before heading to the park, where Nev's family had made genuine turkish delight and baklava. Are you KIDDING ME?!? It was awesome. They had close friends and family for the pictures, and then headed to the celebrations at the Red Cat (which was an awesome and unique venue choice btw!). They mingled for a bit and then turned to the stage for the impromptu ceremony. It was such a great and simple, laid back way to do a wedding.

Nev and her family had cute guestbook "worksheets" with questions to ask the guests and even a place for them to draw pictures of the couple (WISH I had done this at my wedding!) and home-made turkish evil eye pendants. And, can I just say this is one of the most gorgeous brides I've ever seen? Such a natural beauty. Andrew wore his fathers' and grandfathers' tux, watch, and cuff links - down to the last detail, this wedding included so many mementos and family touches. Enjoy!

 



Hannah & Lane: a couple's shoot

May 19, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Okay, I know you think I have to say that this was "one of my favorite portrait sessions ever," but, no really, this was one of the best portrait sessions ever.

Hannah asked me to take portraits of her and her husband "before he cuts off that gorgeous hair and goes back into the Service." We picked the Botanical Gardens and? Perfecto. Truthfully, I was nervous because I thought the gardens might not give us any creative locations to use since they're so popular; I've actually never done a session there (I regret this now!)
 

But the fact is, they're just utterly gorgeous, and we only used about 1/10 of what was available to us. We got 3-4 awesome spots and banged the whole thing out in 45 minutes. They are the perfect combo of sweet and bubbly and made quick and easy work of it...

The other truth is, I don't really know Lane that well, and I was super nervous.
Like, sick to my stomach nervous! He's a former marine now going into the army, and just has that sort of quiet, rough exterior and I thought for sure he was going to think I was a dork.

Guys, WHY WAS I SO NERVOUS?!? They are PERFECT together and giggly and he smiled and laughed and picked her up and kissed her and I mean are they not just a hawt couple?  I had nothing to worry about. They made this SO EASY.

And do you see this gorgeous girl's fashion sense? I trusted them completely in what they would wear and gave zero pointers. I'm so, so glad she brought this hat!

Oh my gosh...I am in love with these dreamy rose garden portraits...



~sigh~

He has this sort of Chris Hemsworth-cowboy thing going on, and is she not stunningly beautiful?

I love 'em so much. gah.

If you are wanting some portraits done, please, please, PLEASE consider BBG as a location because it's GORGEOUS!


James & Cindy: an intimate country club ceremony

April 27, 2015  •  Leave a Comment


 

I have had the opportunity to know this bride, Cindy, for almost 10 years! I met her son and daughter in 10th grade and became fast friends with her eldest daughter, Amy. We spent many, MANY long hours staying up late, talking and watching movies in her home together. In some ways, I grew up in their home, and yes, I even met my husband at Cindy's house! So, when she offered me the job of photographing her small, intimate wedding, I was so honored. And of course I said YES!
 


First, this beautiful country club. Look at it! Decades of Birmingham history and elegance are wrapped up in these beautiful buildings. Cindy and James wanted this to be a very low-key, small, and intimate ceremony with only close family and friends.
 

 


I've gotta say, I am in love with this very vintage-feel navy dress Cindy picked:

Really, though, aren't they adorable? Cindy picked the elegant navy and pale-yellow theme and a group of about 25 guests were in attendance.

 
This sweet and simple ceremony took place in The Parlour in front of a beautiful fireplace. Then, guests simply walked over to the beautifully-arranged tables to eat an AMAZING dinner (and I know it was amazing because I got to eat it too--YUM!) of spinach salad, lobster bisque, steak and potatoes gratin, with the delicious cake from Dreamcakes for dessert!
 

 

Part-way through dinner, the bride's father spoke about his daughter and their life growing up. Here, a photo is passed around of young Cindy when they lived in Hawaii.
 


an adorable niece in attendance.
The thing about small and intimate ceremonies is that they're just so...right. A small event that is stress-free (and organized by the super professional BCC, too, of course) allows everyone to just relax and enjoy the day. This beautiful ceremony uniting Cindy and James was simply classic, beautiful, and a pleasure to be a part of!

Wedding colors: Navy and yellow
Wedding cake: Dreamcakes Bakery
Bride's dress: Nordstrom Rack
Venue: Birmingham Country Club