Mary Jean and Josh celebrated their wedding day during COVID which meant downsizing and moving a few things around. They decided to have their intimate ceremony with their closest loved ones and leave the reception for 2021! This day was still so special as Mary Jean got ready and took pictures at her parent’s house before the ceremony- I love it when the getting ready location is close to the bride’s heart and spent with her family and bridesmaids. After arriving at the venue, the couple did their sweet first look outside on Broad st. where we also took all the portraits. I loved the Richmond vibe for this day, along with a Christmas-themed wedding… it’s cozy, colorful, warm, and happy! The ceremony was absolutely beautiful and even better that they added a mini cake cutting to it instead of having the reception that day. Although it wasn’t the day they had pictured for a while, it was still so perfect.
Congratulations to the lovely Mr. and Mrs.- see you at the reception in a few months! 🙂
Venue: The Renaissance | Florals: Over The Top Flowers | Makeup and Hair: Richmond Hair Artist and Looks By Lex | Gown: Celebrity Bridal
Most people don’t talk about depression, anxiety, broken hearts, or anger all that often on social media. I know I don’t because it’s not something I want to share through my business brand. My brand is happy, cheerful, colorful, bright, and exciting! I want people to see my brand, my website, and my social media and feel joy. That’s why I don’t normally bring up the other feelings when I’m actually feeling them. On a bad day, I usually don’t post on social media at all! I’m a real human though, I’m not a brand… I just built this brand for my business. I have ALL the feels ALL the time. I’m actually an extra emotional human. I take everything to heart, I take everything personally even when it might have nothing to do with me. I feel sadness, I get mad, I get anxiety, I cry, and I feel every emotion just like you. Just because I’m not sharing these thoughts and feelings with social media, doesn’t mean those feelings aren’t there. That’s important for you to know.
I’ll be honest, I’m not always happy and I’m not always doing what I love. I have to do whatever I need to do to survive and build this business. I’m hustling every day and I love what I do, but it’s not always easy. I’ve been given situations time and time again that challenge me in ways that push me to try harder and to be a better person. I learn something new through every emotion and every obstacle. I have nights where I can’t sleep because of the anxiety. I have days where I want to delete my social media. I have things happen in my life that you might never hear about because I choose to keep that private. I don’t think all my specific problems in life should be announced for the world to see, but I do think it’s okay to let you know I feel all the same things as you. I’ve been hurt, taken advantage of, put down, stressed, annoyed, confused, mad, sad, all of it.
I want you to know that I’m not always a confetti throwing lunatic and I have way more going on in my life than what meets the eye. I do however try to turn all my negative feelings into a positive outlook and that’s what I want to share with my followers. I want to spread joy and light to the world. I choose to share happy thoughts, encouraging words, and a colorful life because maybe that’s what someone else needs at the time.
Just know that you are not alone. Next time you see me holding a glass of champagne toasting to a big announcement and you’re over there crying because life is weird when you’re in your 20’s- just remember that’s not real life and I feel it too. Here’s to living a purposeful life day by day. Here’s to discovering our true selves with an open mind and heart, to the imperfections, adversities, and emotions that shape us. To those suffering in silence. Here’s to the people who don’t show it or share it but feel it and live it every day.
I mean like really hard. I’ve always had a strong work ethic and I’ll always be that way. I forced myself to be this way a long time ago and now it just comes naturally… it’s a part of who I am. I give my all in everything that I do.
There are those people we all know: the ones who easily succeed in school without having to lift a finger or open a book… and then there are the people who have to try extra hard to make it through… that was me.
Elementary school- I literally couldn’t learn the times tables no matter how many times my teacher jammed it in my head. Middle school- I actually couldn’t comprehend a single thing I was learning. High school- tutors on tutors on tutors. Math, science, history… it was all a nightmare. That left me to English/Writing, Music, and Arts… those were the only subjects I felt confident in. Obviously, I succeeded more in the creative field- where I (happily) am today.
Back then I thought I was a failure, and that I would never get a good job because I felt so stupid. Really? Stupid? That wasn’t true by any means, but that’s how the school systems can make you feel when you aren’t learning at the same pace as the majority of students. I, of course, was blessed with the typical loving parents who always told me how smart I was and how amazing I was doing in school, but I knew, truly, that it wasn’t my strongpoint and I struggled with that.
I wasn’t stupid, and I’m not stupid, I just learn differently. There is nothing wrong with that. Knowing this, I had to work extra hard at everything I did. I was so hard on myself, especially when it came to tests. I would bawl when I came home with a bad grade– not because my parents were upset… they were proud of me because they knew I worked hard — it was because I gave it my all, and I still didn’t see my hard work pay off. Yet, the person beside me could miss class for a week and text through every lecture, and still receive a better grade than me.
Taking the SAT was a nightmare. I took them twice and my scores were terrible, both times. Sadly, I didn’t get to experience the excitement of being accepted into the college of my dreams, like all my friends did. I experienced something way different. I was embarrassed, distraught, and felt totally alone. I had to accept the fact that I had to stay at my childhood home during what was supposed to be my freshman year of college and attend a community college instead. It just wasn’t what I pictured. Most people think of community college as a lesser thing, so I did too. I was in a really dark place and on top of that, I was diagnosed with Still’s Disease after being in the hospital for a week. I was on medication that gave me bad reactions and I was going through a healing process with my body.
My friends were all leaving for college, while I was dealing with illness, depression, anger, and, truly, I didn’t even want to leave the house. As it turned out, staying home and going to community college was honestly the best possible experience for me and it was exactly where I needed to be. I learned so much about myself, about my work ethic, and ways to succeed through college. I was determined to succeed and would not stop until I got accepted into a four year university. After two years of working my butt off at the community college, I was denied by the school I had my heart set on, but I was accepted into two colleges- VCU and ECU. I took a chance and chose East Carolina to study Hospitality and Special Events… thank the Lord I did or else I would have never found my great friends and my amazing husband. It all happens for a reason, friends.
I have never worked harder in my life for the Bachelors Degree that I received from ECU in 2014. Even after transferring from a community college, I only graduated one semester behind. I have never been more proud of myself for getting through college. It is SO rewarding to finally receive a degree knowing all of the stress, tears, and struggles that I went through along the way. I somehow found a path through the biggest challenges, but I believe it had a lot to do with the thousands of prayers I sent to God. I proved to myself that I could succeed, and not just succeed, but do it better than I ever thought I could. ECU gave me the biggest blessings at just the right time in my life.
Three years down the road, here I am owning my own business and succeeding more than I ever dreamed I could. I’ve been given the greatest opportunities thus far by working for some of the best people I know. I was given a gracious chance to prove myself and what I had to offer. I have been blessed with incredible experiences in many different areas. I have been inspired, encouraged and taught by amazing women in the creative industry.
This is where I belong. I can feel it and those who know me can see it. I get to use my best skills every day: organizing, planning, creating, coordinating, collaborating, sharing my heart, inspiring others, and working really really hard every day to improve and better myself. I wasn’t meant to remember and talk about history, or understand science, or work with numbers. The schools may not have planned for that, but looking at my life now, I couldn’t have it any other way. All I needed to do was put my best skills and my accelerated work ethic to use and now I truly feel that I can create anything I desire. A lot of people don’t have those skills, and that’s okay because they’re using their strengths to do big things.
I was meant for this field and I will succeed in it.
Here is some advice for anyone who feels they might be a little like me… This is your life, be who you are meant to be. It is your duty to prove your worth- work hard to get where you want to go. Nobody else will do it for you, only you can make it happen. There are so many opportunities out there for you. Some jobs might require a Masters Degree or some employers might look down on community college, but just know this… It only takes one person. It takes ONE person to see the real you, to believe in you, take a chance on you, and trust you. You might get denied a lot and leave you feeling worthless and harsh on yourself, but do NOT give up.
I’m telling you now, there is a place for you and it’s waiting for the right moment. It’s all in your hands. YOU can define your own success, YOU can decide what’s best for you, YOU are in control of your own life… nobody else is. So remember, hard work and dedication will take you anywhere you want to go in life. It’s not about being book smart, it’s about believing you can do anything and making it happen. If you’re trying, you’re improving. If you’re failing, you’re learning. If you’re changing, you’re growing. If you’re seeing all of this and continuing to work hard, you are succeeding. The money isn’t the reward in the end. The rewarding part is whatever is truly important to you.
Keep dreaming and follow your heart.
First step? Write down your weekly and monthly goals. Stop dreaming it, and start living it. I want you to feel empowered and inspired, because I believe in YOU! If I didn’t have my little support community through school, I would have given up and I wouldn’t have the happiness that I have now. If you need that support, that kick in the butt or a cheerleader, you let me know. I’m here to help and I would LOVE to hear from you. It’s time to hear the encouragement you need to get you on the path you deserve for yourself. This is much more than a career, it’s your happiness and the fulfillment of your life. Discover yourself and be exactly who you are meant to be.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa
FINALLY, I can announce the winner of Giveaway #2!!!!
THANK YOU to everyone who joined in the celebration of my Website + Brand Launch for Remy Thompson Photography!!! If you haven’t seen the new website, I would LOVE if you could take a little visit and share some feedback!
You are the winner of the giveaway Sweetheart Session in Richmond, VA!! I am SO excited to meet you! 🙂
If you entered the giveaway and are interested in booking a session or wedding with RTP, visit my website to contact me or to view packages, galleries, and more!
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org! I would love to chat with you!! Subscribe to my website and blog if you’re interested in getting updates about giveaways, promotions, new offers, exciting news, fun photoshoots, and getting to know Remy a little better!
Oh, happy day!!! It’s time to announce the winner of Giveaway #1!!!!
THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone who joined in the celebration of my Website + Brand Launch for Remy Thompson Photography!!! I decided to offer TWO giveaways for this special occasion because I am so humbled and overwhelmed by the love and support you all have given me and this business! The best way I can show my thanks and love back is by giving and giving a little more. See Giveaway #2 at the bottom!
You are the lucky winner of a $20 Amazon gift card! YAY!!! Go treat yourself, girlfriend!
Learn how to enter by visiting today’s Instagram/Facebook post!
Sweetheart Session based in Richmond, VA!
This includes all couples, anniversaries, engagements, and announcements- YAY!
Friday’s blog will announce the final giveaway winner at 10am, along with more fun branding images to celebrate the RTP Launch! Thanks for following, friends!
I read a blog post the other day and it got my thinking. Let’s stop thinking small, and start thinking big. Think outside of your Instagram, outside of your phone, outside of your house, outside of your city, and into the bigger picture. I’m a firm believer in serving others, sacrificing for others and putting your loved ones first. I think that’s an everyday motto, and it’s so important to remember. I also believe that in order to be selfless and giving, you should find your own happiness first. If doing good for others makes you feel unhappy and unappreciated, re-think the situation and think about the bigger picture. Are you unhappy with your lifestyle? Stop thinking you are chained down to your job, your location, your friendships or your relationship. MAKE A CHANGE… like now.
My mom always said, “the only person who can make yourself happy is YOU.” You have to be the one to make the change. Your friends aren’t going to change, your job isn’t going to change, and your life isn’t going to change unless you make it happen. Life is so much more than the tiny space your head lives in, and I too must remind myself of that.
This is what I read in the other blog, and I thought it was beautifully written.
“Leaving opens a new door for change, growth, opportunities and redemption. You always have the choice to leave until you find where you belong and what makes you happy. You’re even allowed to leave the old you behind and reinvent yourself.” -Rania Naim
You are ALLOWED to make a change for yourself, you are allowed to leave where you live or the job you’re in, and you are allowed to REINVENT YOURSELF. I love that. I can relate to all of that. You have every right to make the changes in your lifestyle to be happy, healthy, and feel refreshed. Nobody is holding you back, even if that’s what you’re thinking.
There are a lot of things you don’t know about me… and I think my juicy stories are meant for another day, so let’s talk about something that hugely relates to these issues– FEAR. What are you afraid of? Why aren’t you making the changes you need to make? Like I said before, think of the bigger picture. Get to the root of your fears. Think long and hard about what keeps you from making changes and how you can overcome those fears.
Looking at the smaller picture:
Being trapped in the shower with a mosquito. (that happened yesterday. I worked hard to kill it and it just never happened. I came out alive.)
Sea creatures. Seriously, I am deathly afraid of anything that swims beneath me. That goes for tiny little fish too. I can’t do it.
Public speaking. Oh my gosh, you guys. I pray that my little sister doesn’t have a big wedding so that I don’t have to make a speech in front of all those people (so selfish, I know). College presentations were NOT easy for me.
Now, let’s look at my bigger picture fears:
Failure. I’ve been hard on myself since elementary school memorizing the 50 states and getting tested on it. (I passed, thanks to a song my mom came up with.) Now, it’s bigger than that: I think about failing as a business owner. I think about failing as a mother one day. I could fail at a lot of things in life, and that freaks me out, because it can affect the people around me.
Disappointment. I don’t like the feeling of disappointing others or myself. Even the smallest of disappointments give me the worst feeling deep down. That includes anything from making a less-than-savory dinner for my husband to letting a family member down, to making a friend upset, and so on. I also carry a weird amount of anger/frustration inside me when I am personally disappointed (like when I order food that I am super excited for, but it comes out totally wrong or burnt, hehe).
Embarrassment. Literally, I get so embarrassed about the smallest things. That goes for misspelling words in my social media posts, to tripping in a parking lot, to talking about something personal that might seem dumb.
WHY!? Ask yourself, why? Why am I so afraid of failure, disappointment, and embarrassment? I’d like to think it all goes along with my background, and my story. I learned to overcome a lot of these fears, just by going for it. I might still be afraid of these things, but I have pushed myself to get past it by making bold moves. By leaving, choosing happiness, choosing change, and re-inventing myself. I’ve made a lot of decisions in my life that put my happiness in front of my fears. I made the decision to grow and leave the rest behind. Do you know how hard that can be? Because I totally do!!!
If you’re going through this right now, and actively choosing your happiness before your fears, you should be SO proud of yourself!! If you want to make a change, but don’t know how, that’s okay too!! I have a little advice. Learn to just BE. Be alone with yourself, be alone with God if that’s your thing, be open, be accepting, meditate or pray on it, let go and be. If you fight against your ability to overcome your fears, then you aren’t making room for change. I have always lived by the mantra “whatever happens, is meant to happen… just go with flow.” When you find yourself at peace about an idea and feel that it’s exactly what is meant to happen, then let it happen!
I have always been queen of planning my own path. I’m a planner, I like to think ahead and plan for the future. God seems to disagree with me on that, though. He tends to guide me in the exact opposite direction of my plans most of the time. When I have a plan set in my mind, it seems to fall apart when the time comes, and that’s when disappointment sets in. After a few frustrating disappointments, I learned quickly that whatever God has planned for me is what is best for me and it’s all happening for a real reason. That can be scary, right? That’s when my fear of failure sets in. Because, basically, all I think is, “what am I doing, this wasn’t my plan!” Then I realize, this is God’s plan for me, so how could I be set up for failure? So I learn to roll with it, go for it, and put my all into it! That’s when embarrassment creeps its way in. I feel embarrassed when I’m confused or when others are confused about my decisions. That’s when I think, “why do I care so much about what others think…?”
THIS IS MY LIFE. I trust where God leads me, and I’ve learned that leaving, growing, changing, and being open to new opportunities are all part of the bigger picture in life. This path that God has laid out for me has been challenging and pretty much the exact opposite of what I may have originally planned… but gosh it is SO rewarding. To use something as an example, after a lot of obstacles, reasons for swollen eyes, and lesson after lesson, I was guided on a path that led me to my incredible husband. I could have put up fight after fight to make things go how I had first planned, but I let go and I ended up exactly where I belong by letting go and following the bright pink carpet that God rolled out for me. I will be sharing these life challenges and stories in a blog post to come… look out for it!
Think about your fears, what are they? Think about why you are so afraid, and think about how you can overcome them. What gives you inspiration to follow your dreams?This is YOUR time!! You may not think it’s the right time, but I’ve found that the time is never just right. I have faith in you. We all have faith in you. Do you?
Oh my gosh, you guys, we are throwing it back today! This first session you’re about to see below was one of my first clients! She totally asked me to do her photos out of the blue so, naturally, I was nervous but SO excited. This senior session was at ECU in the Fall of 2015. At the time, I couldn’t believe that I was actually booking some shoots. It’s hard to believe I am now expected to receive at least thirty inquiries every graduation season at ECU, and I am SO thankful!!!
It’s amazing to reflect on how much I’ve improved over the past couple years from looking back at these images. I was shooting with my beginner camera gear and I edited quite differently at the time… Though things have changed, I have always loved this sweet session with Hailey- she was such a joy and just too cute!! After meeting her, I was hooked on the idea of booking new clients and getting to know more and more people through celebrating their accomplishments! This session in particular is so close to my heart just knowing how inexperienced I was at the time, but with some re-touches here and there, it is still a killer shoot! I am fully aware that her cap was backwards, too… good thing I have enough practice to know now! 🙂 I have RE-edited some of my favorites from this session to share what my 2015 beginner-self did while knowing just about nothing, but still taking the chance and going for it!
I am also sharing a few shots of my most recent Fall senior, Taylor! Now you can compare and check out the differences just within a year… Taylor’s shoot was insanely fun with all the props she brought and that gorgeous face! I loved my time with Taylor and getting to hear about how hard she worked to graduate from Nursing school. It is so empowering and inspiring to meet people like Taylor and so many more of my college graduates who are incredibly smart, kind, loving, caring, and determined.
How do I get so lucky with my ECU graduates? I always meet the most amazing people!!! EEE I can’t wait for my Fall 2017 graduates so we can play in the leaves and capture that golden Autumn sunshine!! 🙂
Today we are talking about some of the roles that a second shooter can expect to fill at a wedding. These roles can be customized to the main shooter’s needs and it’s always good to double check with the photographer first. I have learned that it’s best to ask the main shooter what they specifically are looking for in advance so that you can feel comfortable about what you’re doing. Not every photographer is going to want you to shoot every moment but they may not speak up or be too up front with you about it. The best thing you can do is ask them from the beginning, listen to what they want, and assist them whenever it’s needed! Hubbies, just like you would do anything for your wifey at home, that goes for wedding days, too! 🙂
1.ASSISTANCE. As a second shooter, it’s important to remember that you are there to serve your clients AND the photographer! By helping the photographer wherever needed, you are also helping your client by giving them the best possible experience. You are there to help make things go smoothly. For example, you might be asked to have your camera ready at all (or most) times BUT also asked to carry and set up equipment, set up the lighting, hold a reflector, run errands, hold an umbrella, call out names for family formals, get food and water, and the list goes on!
2.A SECOND PERSPECTIVE. It’s always a great idea to shoot from a difference angle and a different lens than what the main photographer is shooting with at the time. That gives a different perspective and a variety of photos to choose from for the wedding album. One example is while the main shooter is photographing the first look with a 50mm, watching the bride, you could be shooting with the 70-200mm watching the groom. Another example while shooting the ceremony: you could be standing in a different area on the opposite side of the venue using a different lens that compliments the main shooter.
3.TIME SAVER. While the main photographer is shooting one subject, you could be shooting something else simultaneously to save time. It’s always best to do this when the main shooter doesn’t need you at the time. For example, when the photographer is with the bridesmaids while getting ready and shooting details, the second shooter could be doing the same thing with the groomsmen.
4.BEHIND THE SCENES. Every photographer loves a good “behind the scenes” action shot. If you get the opportunity to take some fun and exciting shots of the main photographer in action, then go for it! They will appreciate it and you might even get a bonus shoutout on social media! 😉
I hope that helps you guys understand a little more about being a second shooter! Remember, everyone is different and may have other opinions about the roles that come into play, but these are the main points that I find helpful to know! Thanks for following along and learning alongside with us!
I met Brooke and Ben while living and working in Cape Hatteras, NC about four years ago. Brooke was my awesome lady boss at Eli’s family-owned resort. I always loved Brooke. She taught me so much during our time working at Koru Village and we always had a good time! About a year after Brooke and Ben moved away from Hatteras, she contacted me about her idea of eloping. They had a few ideas and weren’t too sure about the location or date, but they did know one thing; they wanted me to photograph their special day and wanted Eli to play the guitar for the ceremony. I just about DIED. I was so excited to hear from Brooke and so honored that she wanted us to be a part of their wedding day!!
After some time and discussion, they decided to land their elopement in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, North Carolina on May 1, 2017. Shortly after making their decision, they also decided against keeping this elopement a secret. They really wanted their closest family with them for the wedding. You might think “that’s not an elopement”, but who said you can’t elope with your immediate family and doggies by your side? I LOVE that Brooke and Ben wanted it this way. It was intimate, calm, laid back, and full of an enormous amount of love for such a small group.
The day began with rain, thunderstorms, cloudy skies, strong winds, and a flooded ceremony location. All plans for the wedding were changed at the last minute. They decided to have the wedding by the creek (that turned to a river) behind the cabins that everyone was staying at. Turns out, the weather was a blessing in disguise. About two hours before wedding time, the sky cleared, the sun was shining, the winds calmed, and it was the perfect temperature. These are the situations us wedding professionals live for! We were all thanking the good Lord and couldn’t be more excited for the ceremony to begin.
Brooke and Ben chose a spot to say “I do” in front of a tall tree by the sparkling creek, the backdrop was a luscious green, and the sun was in the best possible spot. When everyone was ready, the family walked down the grassy aisle, Eli played his guitar, Brooke and her father walked down as Ben’s face lit up. Beautiful sentiments were shared before they kissed passionately for the first time as husband and wife. Then they ALL celebrated with a shot (not the photography kind, either)!
After the ceremony, Eli played a few songs as Brooke and Ben had their first dance under the breezy trees and it was SO romantic. They also paired up for the sweetest father-daughter and mother-son dance. Portraits with Brooke and Ben were so much fun and they kept me laughing the whole time! Eli and I were so thankful to be a part of this AMAZING day. I felt like everything was in slow motion like watching a romantic movie. My heart also melted when Eli played the guitar… 🙂 Their day couldn’t have been more beautiful and you can feel the love shining through every image. Congratulations to these awesome newlyweds- we wish you so many blessings throughout your marriage and future adventures!