I’m so excited to share these cuties on the blog! This was my first time stepping onto the U of R campus for a photoshoot, so the location was new to me. These five pretty ladies took me around campus to get some shots all together and also separately. We had so much fun capturing their close friendships and celebrating their graduation that was coming up. I knew it was going to be a good time as soon as I met them! Of course they wanted to include some champagne shots at this particular spot by the water. It ended with a big surprise and a LOT of laughing! We saved the champagne popping for the last part of the shoot just in case they were to get sprayed- thank God we did because WOW, I’ve never experienced a champagne spray quite like this one! During their champagne pictures, I was mistakenly sprayed right in the face and I was pretty much drenched in champagne and sweat- yep, I smelled great… I literally had to wipe down my lens in order to finish those shots and we couldn’t stop laughing! It was hilarious and shocking all at the same time. Out of all the champagne popping pictures I’ve done, this was one thing that hadn’t happened yet. Now I can say I have full experience in the champagne popping department and I’m okay with it! 🙂 Congratulations to these beauties!
I have been wanting to book a VCU graduation session since moving back to Richmond, and it finally happened! I was so excited when Stacy and Shinal reached out to me for their Spring graduation session! Friend shoots are always so much fun, especially when they are bffs and roommates like these two! But my favorite part? The caps. Stacy’s cap read, “in the waves of change, we find our true direction.” Shinal’s cap said, “dream while you’re wide awake”. If these quotes aren’t inspiring, I don’t know what is! I loved that I was able to feel a connection to these quotes in my own way as there is so much meaning behind those words. These two women are going to make a difference in whatever direction they choose in life, and they will empower other women to do the same. It was clear to see that, even in the short 2 hours we had together.
Congratulations to Stacy and Shinal on this major accomplishment and best wishes on your next big journey!!! I know you’re going to do amazing things!
Last year (that’s weird to say), I just couldn’t keep up with the college graduation blog posts! During these Fall sessions, I was secretively in the middle of packing to move to a different state, moving into a new home, traveling to 8 different cities, and having 10 different photoshoots all in the same month! My blogging went a little downhill because I couldn’t juggle it all! I thought it would be appropriate to blog the best of my Fall 2017 college graduates! YAY, I am so excited to finally show off these beauties! PS this might be the longest blog ever because I had the hardest time picking and choosing which images to use because they’re all so prettyyyy!!! Congratulations to these stunning ladies, you are officially a college graduate! XO
This is Lauren, one of my ECU graduates! Obsessed with these glitter shots!
This is Emily, an NC State graduate! This was my first time on this campus and I was loving it!! New locations make me the happiest, especially with this sweet lady!!
This is Allison, a UNC graduate, who brought a few friends along for the fun!
This is Michelle, another ECU graduate celebrating with glitter and champagne!
This is Katie, a sweet UNC graduate! I love that she included her boyfriend and adorable friends!
This is Morgan, another ECU graduate who got a big surprise at the end of her session! Just wait until you see what happens!!!
Just seconds before the big surprise!!!….
I’ve been waiting too long to share this special day on the blog! Morgan and I had this ECU graduation session planned for a long time. Just a few days before I was going to meet her, I got a (secret) phone call from Morgan’s soon-to-be sister-in-law, Jenna. She informed me that Morgan’s boyfriend, Alex, was planning to propose at the end of the graduation session!!! Naturally, I freaked out with excitement and couldn’t wait for the big moment! Jenna and I came up with a solid plan and we were ready for the mission! 🙂
When the session/engagement day arrived, I met up with Morgan just like any other graduation session would start. I was introduced to some family members and Alex, who “just wanted to come along” for the session. Little did she know, they were all there for the big surprise proposal… but, I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story.
This was easily one of the best moments I was asked to be a part of through my business. I mean seriously, I love having a role in major life celebrations, and this was a BIG one. There’s nothing like seeing love explode right in front of your eyes and seeing that moment being shared with the people who love them the most. It was incredible and yes, I literally cried. In front of everyone.
Thank you, Morgan and Alex, for allowing me to be a part of this time of graduating at ECU and getting engaged to the love of your life. This is the most exciting time of your life, and I hope you enjoy every moment of it! CONGRATULATIONS, wishing you all the love and blessings in your future!!
Congratulations to this sweet UNC Fall graduate!! Allison has the warmest heart, a joyful spirit, and I LOVED working with her! This graduation session was full of style, beauty, and fun props! I love when my clients get creative and bring their friends along!
Being a Tri-Sigma sister of mine, Allison showed me exactly what it means to be a sister and a friend. After meeting her at the session for the first time, she invited me to join the sorority for dinner in their home or to at least go over and meet some of the other sisters! Unfortunately, the timing wasn’t the best and I couldn’t make it happen. But, the point is that she was so kind, welcoming, and made me feel so thankful to have a client like her!
Thank you, Allison, for the most amazing review after I delivered your gallery- you are too sweet!!! Wishing you nothing but the best after graduation! You will be so successful if you keep shining your light and spreading the love! XO
This was my first visit to NC State and I LOVED it!!!! Emily was so easy to work with as Eli (my hubby/reflector assistant) and I followed her around to the main spots on campus! It was so beautiful and I had the best time shooting in a different location than normal! This senior showed up with my favorite props- GLITTER & CHAMPAGNE!!! Those turned out to be some of my favorites from this session! Keep scrolling and you’ll find all the action shots towards the bottom, plus the cutest outfit EVER that Emily ended the session with on a dock by the water. Perfect weather, a stunning location, a beautiful and sweet senior, a lot of red (a color I never get to photograph), my favorite props, and SO much fun!!! Loved this graduation session and LOVE my clients!!
Oh my gosh, you guys… Katie ROCKED this UNC session and you are going to love it!!! This was scheduled in perfect timing when flowers were still in bloom and campus wasn’t too crowded! I LOVE that she included all the special people in her life that she met through college- friends, sorority sisters, roommates, and her boyfriend. We hit all the main spots on campus AND her sorority house! This session was full of variety with the different locations, fun props, beautiful colors and light, plenty of pretty faces, and lots of love! Just wait until you see all the group pictures!!! 🙂
I work hard…
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
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!! 🙂
Hailey: Fall 2015
Taylor: Fall 2016