Wylde Acres Engagement Photos
Wylde Acres Engagement Photos

So many times I’m asked what makes a good photo? What should we wear? Where should we shoot?  These are all great questions and yes, fun clothes, and beautiful light all make for better photos.  The reality though, is my favorite sessions, my favorite couples, my favorite images, usually happen when people are comfortable around each other.

Lindsay & Chris are like baller pros at this. Check it out.

Chris is such a sweetheart, he knew Lindsey wanted pictures with some firewood so he chopped all this and set it up for us earlier that day.

See, here he is with the axe.  He is such a man.

(PS. If you are looking for a killer location that will make your photos magic, this session took place at Wylde Acres, just outside of Longview.)

I loved this little moment because it was super easy for me to see them doing this exact same thing when they are 55 years old.  These two are old souls.

I really think what I loved most about their session was how much Chris valued Lindsey’s voice and opinion.  I loved how they took turns telling stories about their journey and how they both view each other as indispensable moving forward in life.

I can’t wait for this wedding next year.

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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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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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Movie Lovers
Movie Lovers

When it came time to decide where to do their engagement photos, Rachael & Briley knew the perfect spot.  The spot where their story started, and they have shared so many moments along the way.  Let’s go to the movie theater!

Their first movie together was a friend outing to see one of the 82 Twilight movies that were made.  They were not a couple at the time, but it’s fitting that their story began watching two people also on their journey towards eternal love.

Fast forward a couple years (and hopefully improved taste in movies), Briley started to take notice of Rachael.  She worked at UT Tyler gym and he was working out “2-3 times per day”. (That’s what she said.)  I’m thinking part of him wanted to get swole and the other part of him wanted to get noticed; he figured the getting swole would help the getting noticed.  That’s what us dudes call a win-win.

A few months ago, they went back to their theater to see another movie.  They arrived a bit late and it was already dark and they ended up sitting on the front row. Because they had not had a chance to eat, Rachael began stuffing her face with popcorn. Commercials were pre-rolling and when the commercials ended, a video came on telling their story together and ending with “will you marry me?”

Then the lights came up and the theater started cheering and when Rachael turned to look, she saw that Briley had invited their friends and family to be there.  They all went out to eat and Rachael never got to finish her popcorn.  The end.

These two both have such a tender spirit and personality to them.  I LOVED Rachael’s big giant laughs.

Rachael said she is so attracted to how committed Briley is to his faith.  She “loves that he is a leader and knows that will give them a strong foundation in our marriage.”

Briley said that at first he thought that Rachael was just like a “super-basic, white girl”.

Full stop.  He said that.  Swoon.


Once he got to know her, he realized she is “goofy as all get out” and she has been surprising him ever since.

“Body and soul, I am marvelously made!” I think Briley would agree.

Thank you guys for spending your morning with me.  Can’t wait for your super-basic, white girl wedding.

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When Someone Sees You
When Someone Sees You

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One of the best parts of my job is getting to see how all types of couples interact.  Getting to meet and hang with two people who have recently discovered their person in life is pretty great.  Alex & Rob are the absolute best.  The thing that stood out to me right away was how they looked at each other.  They are connected. Constant smiling and laughter.

Seriously.  Look at how they look at each other in these photos.

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Alex & Rob met a few years ago at New Mexico State. (Go Aggies!)  Right away Rob liked her but the timing was off.

(That’s code for Alex had a boyfriend.)

Eventually she broke up with the boyfriend.  Then she found ANOTHER boyfriend.  Eventually she broke up with him too and then she started dating Rob.  The end. :)

After college Alex moved to Texas and her and Rob managed to keep their relationship going even though they were in different states.  I asked Alex when she knew it was serious and she told me “I knew it was a big deal when I was willing to spend my minutes and data on him.”  Pure Gold.  I love that their relationship is measured in gigabytes. (Shout out to Verizon!)

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Rob told me that what he loved most about Alex is how great and easy their conversations were.  She is super easy to talk to. “It also helps that she’s gorgeous.”

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So much joy.  I love this photo.

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When I asked Alex what attracted her to Rob she had this to say:

“Rob was the first relationship I was in that encouraged me to have my own space and my own life.  I had always heard ‘They will love you for who you are.’ but never understood it till I met Rob.”

How beautiful is that?

Runaway Bride is one of my wife’s and I’s favorite movies.  She must have watched it 2,573 times in college and so many parts of it mirror our story.  One of my favorite lines is when Richard Gere is talking to his ex wife Rita Wilson about why they broke up and he asks: “Did I just… not see you.”

It is so simple and yet so powerful.  We all have a desire to be seen and to be known.  The thing that makes a relationship work and last is when couples are constantly looking to “see” each other and give each other the freedom to grown and become the full person they were meant to be.

Rob treated Alex this way and it filled her with life.  By encouraging her to be herself, she grew as a person and in turn was more drawn and attracted to him.   (Smart play on Rob’s part.)

Now they look at each other like this.  That’s pretty great.
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When they are not looking into each others eyes with 100% pure love, they like to make awkward faces at each other.

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And because of course why not champagne?
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Thank you guys for a great morning and I can’t wait for your New Mexico wedding.

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