Tough Guy / Tougher Girl
Tough Guy / Tougher Girl

When this is the 3rd photo you take, you know you are in for an easy day on the job.

Jessi & Seth could not have been more chill and easy to work with. We started shooting at Crossfit Citadel, their old gym location. This is where Seth’s friend first pointed out Jessi to him, and he asked her out on a smoothie date. She said that she doubted it would be an option because she likes to get up there and start her work out at 4:30.

The next day Seth was there at 4:30. :)

Also Seth is an anesthesiologist. So if the meds don’t work, he can always knock you out with one of his massive biceps.

Hey, look. Furry kids.

Seth told me his favorite thing about Jessi is how she “lives very large”. I LOVE that saying. It’s so true. And I noticed it in the little time we hung out together. Her heart is big and you can tell that in the way she talks about her kindergarten students; that she fully commits to everything she does.

When they started dating, Jessi had been planning on moving to Austin. But the longer they dated, the more difficult that move became. She told me that one day when she was at his apartment listening to him play the guitar, because of course he plays the guitar and sings like an angel. Anyway, she started crying at the thought of moving away, and that’s when she realized she never wanted to leave him.

These days, they don’t go to the gym as often, but workout from home instead. Doing serious workout things like jumping rope.

and handstands… (Kinda)

Jessi said the thing that attracted her to Seth was how persistent and committed he is to things. He knew at a young age he wanted to be in the medical field. Once he sets his mind on something, he sticks with it. (Remember that 4:30 work out?)

True story. While we were shooting, Seth saw a spider and was a bit “worried”. This is when I found out that Seth is not a fan of spiders and will sometimes (ALWAYS) call Jessi in to deal with some (EVERY) spider situation that arises. (Who’s the tough guy now?)


I noticed that Seth seems like a neat and tidy kinda guy. And Jessi was very eager to talk about how super OCD he is. “Apparently there is a right way to fold tiny washcloths,” she says.

“I’ve had to let go of a lot of things, and I’m learning to relax a bit,” Seth was eager to chime in.

In that little moment, they voiced what marriage is all about.

Marriage is learning and trying to do things a bit more like your spouse would like them done. While at the same time, your partner is learning and trying to let go of always having things done a certain way. It’s a constant give and take; where you both work to serve each other and find that balance in the middle.

I love that Jessi is willing to learn how to fold tiny wash cloths for Seth.
I love that Seth is willing to let go of how he wants his wash cloths folded.

But most of all, I love that Seth and his pecs and traps and biceps are scared of spiders. And Jessi, the kindergarten teacher, is the one who will protect him for the rest of his life.

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15
15

I get paid to take wedding photos. The wedding day is where it’s at. Your dress, the cake, flowers, flowers everywhere. All of it points to that day. And I get it. Weddings are important. Your wedding day is a big deal. But can I be honest for a minute? My favorite weddings, my favorite couples, are the ones that understand that the wedding day is the beginning of the journey, not the destination.

Today my Bride and I have been married 15 years. We knew we didn’t have a fat clue what marriage was about when we got married, but man, looking back on it now. We really did NOT have a fat clue was marriage is about. :) For us, so much of staying married has been about navigating the changing seasons of life. So take a little trip with me if you will… and let’s see what the past 15 years has thrown at us. (To all you newlyweds out there, this could be you by the year 2032.)

2002: Finally. After 4 years of begging and trickery and shenanigans, I tricked Danielle in to marrying me.


2003: This moment perfectly captures what this year was about.
So many things:
1. We have a kid. (What up, Joseph?)
2. That is our $10 dollar Christmas tree that he pulled down on himself. (We could not afford the $25 one. We still own that tree.)
3. VCR!!

2004: This is when we officially became a family.  When we were photographed on a beach in khakis and white.

2005: Another kid. True story.  I was FURIOUS that Sara would not look at the camera.  I ended up photoshopping her face to make the picture good.  Ever since then, this has been our favorite photo from that day.

2006: Snake Attack Day.  We bonded as a family and it was the beginning of so many inside jokes that continue to this day.

2007: Well it’s been 2 years, so here comes another baby. (Hi, Luke.)

2008: This is when the things started to get easier for us. (How could more kids make life easier?)  Well it started with Danielle and I both learning to trust each other more and lean into each other’s strengths.  Little by little, we had been figuring out how to parent and be married and run a business.  These are the days of costumes and laughter and kids putting their shoes on the wrong feet.

2009: Introducing Eli (Left) Like clockwork. (Hello, vasectomy.)

2010: We finally started to travel a bit and see the states.  Our trip out to Atlanta was one of our favorite vacations ever.  Little by little we were building a family history and it was pretty great.

2011: When you have a house full of humans, life is not always tidy and full of vacations.  Sometimes it’s just day after day after day of endless people, talking and needing and crying and watching tv, while the couch cushions come off. With changes of clothes on the floor, and promotional wedding products leaning against the wall. (You really should go check out Angela & Spencer’s wedding.)

2012: 10 years. (Just getting started.)

2013: Our favorite thing about having a pile of kids is they have friends and that leads to more kids.  Having 10-13 kids over on any given day is not uncommon, and those days fill our hearts.  They are exhausting and draining. But even now as some of those kids are driving and working and “growing up”, we already miss the lightsaber battles and nerf gun fights, the water balloon contests, and messy games that we’ve had over the years.


2014: Enough is enough. Our house was a great starter house, but we needed more space. (1,500 sq ft. fills up fast.) Time to pack up and move. So we did. We packed it all up and put our house on the market and started looking. We found all kinds of houses. Big houses with pools. Bigger houses with creeks. Medium houses with upstairs and downstairs. Houses with a bedroom for each kid. The possibilities were endless. And through it all we learned something. We didn’t need a bigger house. We liked only having 10 years left on our note. We moved back into our house and have never looked back. (Best decision we have ever made, and I’ll gladly talk your ear off about it if you are interested.)

2015: We were chosen as Family of the Day at the Magic Kingdom.  Mickey asked up to help him open the park. (I may hold this day in higher regard than our wedding day.)

2016: My favorite part of our kids is watching them grow up.  Seeing their personalities evolve and their opinions form.  We have loved getting to show them how beautiful and sad and messy and hopeful the world is at times.  Trips to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, stories of refugees on YouTube, art galleries in Washington D.C.  Stretching their little minds has been the best part of parenting.

2017: Through all that chaos and life that you’ve just seen, think about this… Danielle has been homeschooling our kids.  Year after year after year after year after year after year with NO END IN SIGHT.  Seriously.  She’s got another TEN years to go before she is finished.  (And that’s assuming the 2009 procedure worked.)  Just like I’ve loved seeing my kids grow and stretch, my most favorite thing of all has been seeing my Bride grow and stretch over the years.

Weight, that sounds bad. Oh no… I mean… Anyway, you get the idea.

There is no way in the world back in 2002 I could have known who she was going to be today.

She gives when I think there is nothing in her left to give.
She teaches in a way that makes them curious to learn more.
She dreams big and pulls us all along for the ride.
She loves with a full heart that knows no limits.

I’m honored that she calls me her’s.
I’m amazed that she still chooses me.
I can’t imagine a better partner for this journey of marriage that we are on together.

Till death do us part.

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Anna Caroline & Scott
Anna Caroline & Scott

I’ve been looking forward to Anna Caroline & Scott’s wedding since the day I did their engagement session.  These two have such a grasp on the things that you should value in a marriage and in relationships, that I could not wait to see their families that raised them.

Of course Lake Tyler Petroleum Club was looking on point. (As it always does.)

If you like pretty wedding things, this next section is for you.

Anna Caroline gettin’ all dolled up.

Sisters are the best.

I loved how Anna Caroline was always welcoming and bringing people into her moments.  Her friends were just as happy as she was that day because she is a person who shares in their joy on their days.  So perfect.

Pre-game snack.

This is how I found the guys.

World renowned and award-winning photographer, Matthew Hogan, attended this wedding as a guest.  He also arrived like UNCOMFORTABLY early, so I demanded the “we are the first guest to arrive at your wedding” photo.

My favorite is getting photos of mothers and their daughters on a wedding day.  I love taking a photo that I know will be in a frame for the next 25 years. (No pressure Kim.)

Sometimes you gotta let the ring bearer dictate what the photo is going to look like.

I mean seriously… come on.

Nope, not an alternate set of bridesmaids… These would be Scott’s sisters.  Because OF COURSE HE HAS FIVE SISTER!!!!!!

Human wall protecting bride from view of guests.

 

The madness right after a ceremony is always so much fun.

Yep, I saw it, and photographed it. #nephew

Like I said, sisters are the best.

Guess who was giving out posing suggestions again.

This would be a great time to say La Tee Da Flowers always brings their A-game.

I think a couple who just got married, eating a meal totally alone together, may just be my favorite thing in the whole wide world.

#manbunforthewin

Her father almost fell tripping on her dress.  Anna Caroline’s face says it all.

Scott’s father looking on while he danced with his mother was pretty swell.

CMB DJs kept the party going all night long. If you are getting married and need music.  You need them.

Hey look, it’s that photographer on the left side of the photo. Totally aware of where he is in the frame.  He is a pro.

Of course the Mug Machine was there.  Here are some of my favorites.

Thank you two for letting me into your lives the past few months.  You were so kind and generous, and it was an honor to capture your day.

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Kally and Kishan Step Into Marriage
Kally and Kishan Step Into Marriage

You may not be ready for this post.  It’s like a billion photos long.  (Now is a great time to stop and get a snack before we get started.)

OK, I warned you.

First off, I walk in and see Von Criswell upgrading Kally’s face.  I adore Von and she always knocks it out of the park.  The day is off to a great start. (Every bride should book Von.)

Kally’s father was in perfect father-of-the-bride mode all day.  Sit around and wait to be asked to do something.

Kally was a STUNNING bride.

Wait, I think this was the photo I was meaning to post.  Ignore that last one.

Kally was a STUNNING bride.

Kally giving her parents handkerchiefs when they saw her for the first time was a well thought out plan.

It’s like Stone Oak Ranch and La Tee Da Flowers were made for each other.

This little man was a rock star all day.

Like I said, La Tee Da was on FIRE. (I guess Kally liked her bouquet.)

First Look time.  (I guess Kishan liked his bride.)

Little man going for the nose pick during portraits while his dad rushes in to deny.

Why yes, they do both belong in a magazine. I’m glad you noticed that.

Ceremony time.

From the moment I started their engagement session last September, I noticed that Kishan constantly looks at Kally with a sense of awe and respect; this really came through on their wedding day.

Kishan & Kally decided to have both a Hindu & American wedding ceremony.

Little man looking at me like, “They told me I just had to walk the rings down.  Why are you still photographing me, bro?”


They then preformed the Saptapadi (Sanskrit for seven steps/feet) where they made these commitments.

1. Let us provide for our household, stay in good health and carry out our duties and responsibilities to each other, our families and our tradition.
2. Let us develop our mental and spiritual powers.
3. Let us increase our wealth and comfort by righteous and proper means.
4. Let us acquire knowledge, happiness and harmony by mutual love, respect and trust.
5. Let us be blessed with contended family of strong, virtuous and heroic children.
6. Let us be blessed with long lives.
7. Let us remain true companions, committed only to each other.

Of course they planted a tree with soil from their own homes.

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of the moment right after a couple becomes one.

I also think photographing a married couple with their grandparents is such a HUGE moment in every wedding.

This may be my favorite moment from the day.

I mean, if you HAVE to have a first dance, you might as well make it a good one.

This dance with her father was EVERYTHING.  Him crying, her crying, Kishan holding her mom while they both watched.

Back to the nose.

Speaking of nose.

Kally has a GIANT laugh that fills the room.  I’m glad I caught a few of them on camera.

This is my new best friend, North.  He and his wife own Northmark Films out of Dallas.  Even though he looks confused and caught off guard in this photo, he really is pretty great at his job.  Well, I say that, but I actually think he is sub-par at best.  His wife Olivia however is a BALLER and she does AMAZING work.  You should absolutely have them film your wedding. (Or at the very least have Olivia come out.)

The evening was pretty chill.

My favorite thing about Kally was how inclusive she was on her day.  Constantly noticing and making time for everyone around her:  grandparents, nieces, college friends, high school friends. Kally is so full of life, and she made sure that everyone who honored them by coming, felt a bit of that joy and thankfulness.

You can’t plan moments like these.  They just happen organically.  And they are wonderful.

That time at your wedding reception when you are really getting into the dancing.  Like really, really getting into it.  And you look over and realize your mom is watching.  And everyone kinda laughs at the awkward moment, and then your mom shouts out,
“SHE LEARNED ALL THOSE MOVES FROM ME!”

Every single wedding should end with you and all your friends singing “Don’t Stop Believing.”

Then you should have one last dance alone.

Then you should leave with sparklers and get dipped on your way out.

Back to this photo…

Every now and then while shooting, you KNOW you’ve got a golden photo.  This was one of those moments.
I loved everything about this moment.

I love that they are relaxed with a drink in hand.
I love that Kishan is being a gentleman and holding the 58lb bouquet.
I love that you can see the henna on Kally’s ankle as her dress is hiked up.
I love the laughter they are sharing.
I love the cowboy boots Kishan is sporting.

But most of all, I love that they are on a path together. Already taking steps together.

Just 30 minutes prior, they made a commitment, a vow. The last part of that vow was to “remain true companions, committed only to each other.”

This is how you stay true companions.
This is how you stay committed only to each other.

By doing the journey together.  Side by side.

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Anna Caroline, Scott, and Wally
Anna Caroline, Scott, and Wally

Anna Caroline & Scott met while in college.  He was a working at Pine Cove (Crash & Burn) and a mutual friend made sure they both went on a spring break trip together.  Soon after that, they started dating while they were finishing up school. They spent so much time studying in coffee shops that the Strada Cafe seemed like the perfect place to start their session. (Shout out to Strada for being super nice and accommodating and letting us shoot there.)

Scott said the thing he likes most about Anna Caroline is how laid back and chill she is.  How she just goes with the flow and is so transparent.  I saw that right away and I loved seeing the two of them interact. My Bride also possesses these traits, and trust me, they are great traits to have in someone you plan to share your life with.

I always try to get a photo of my couples just walking and chilling.  Getting a nice clean background can sometimes be a problem.  At first glance that red car is ruining the photo.  That shows how little you know.  The red car is actually MAKING the photo better.

Meet Wally.

Wally is the car Scott has had the past few years.  They have been through a lot together.

One time Scott hit a deer.  When he went back to check on it, it had gone back into the woods.  Totally to run back to it’s family to live a long and happy life.  (Definitely not to die cold and alone.)

One time one of the hubcaps fell off.  So Scott pulled the other three off because he wanted Wally to look symmetrical.

They have gone on trips, adventures and best of all, Wally is how Scott would go from Fayetteville to Little Rock every weekend to visit Anna Caroline. (3 hours one way.)

Yes, the windows still go up and down.  (Although the buttons sometimes fall down into the door.)


I think it took both of them by surprise when I insisted that we feature Wally in their photos. But to me, he is central to who they are.  He is a part of their story.  I loved working him into the session.


You know what else Anna Caroline likes besides Scott?  PLANTS!
Breedlove Nursery & Landscape was super generous for allowing us to crash their place.

These two fit together so perfectly.  I think it’s Scott’s magical hair.  I wanted to run my fingers through it, but I felt that might be inappropriate.  Maybe I’ll work up the nerve to ask about it on their wedding day.  (Totally normal right?)

Anna Caroline told me her favorite thing about Scott is how thoughtful and considerate he is.  How he is always thinking of others and looking for a way to meet their needs.  This jumped out at me right away as every time we were going somewhere, he would rush around to open the door for her.  He kept checking on me to see if I needed help with any of my camera gear and had enough room in the back of Wally.  (Riding in Wally was a joy and may have been the highlight of my day.)

Seriously though, this girl is nuts about flowers and such.  I can’t wait to see what La Tee Da Flowers does for her day.

I can’t tell you how much I loved hanging out with you two.  I loved your personalities and sense of humor.  I love that Scott drives a car that looks like it should be on fire, and I love that you, Anna Caroline, are ok with it. I love it because you two already seem to value the things that are worth valuing.  People.  Relationships. Community. Experiences.

What’s funny to me is that you two spent time thinking and planning what to wear and where we would go take photos, but didn’t once even consider Wally as part of the day.  Instantly I knew though that he would MAKE the session.  Because in 2067 when you have been married for half a decade and have piles of grandkids running around your house hunting eggs on Easter, one of them may ask about your story and how you fell in love.  I don’t know all the details you’ll tell ,and all the stories that you’ll remember, but I bet you’ll talk about how generous Scott was even as a young man. And I know Scott will tell of your gentle spirit and how attracted he was to it.

And I wonder if just maybe, you’ll pull down a picture off your shelf where the two of you are sitting in front of a beat up red car. And you’ll talk about how Scott drove for hours every weekend in a car that didn’t look like it could go 10 minutes, just to win your heart.

And right then in that moment, your kids will smile because they’ve heard the tales for years. And your grandkids’ eyes will be filled with wonder at how magical your story is and how a little car named Wally played a big part in it.

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