2017 Love Letter to my Family | Richmond Virginia Wedding Photographer

Y'all are wild - just wild.  Which just so happens to be something that I can get wild about.  We've had so much fun this past year and it's difficult to image how we could make things crazier, more fun, and more ridiculous (at times) than we have this year after adding Moose, the shaggy sheepdog, to our family and as you boys keep growing.  You often eat more than adults do - you questions us more than I imagined you would by this age - and you challenge my brain to keep up with a lot of stuff, including home school that we took on for the 2017-2018 school year.

Next year, we add another boy, just like the two of you.  You will teach him all these little crude boy jokes that you roll around in fits of giggles over.  You'll fight over which one of you gets to fetch me wipes and diapers this summer.  I couldn't be happier to be your boy mom - to soon have three sons - and keep this adventure with you going.  I love you all to pieces.

Best of 2017 | Richmond Virginia Wedding Photographer

I've had my best of 2017 photos chosen for weeks now, but couldn't find the words to do justice to the amazing privilege I've been given to serve every couple - every family - this year.  I had far more than my share of heartwarming adventures and you all have let me share in yours.  Still, as 2018 is already underway, I find myself reaching to describe what it's all meant to me.  The words may never come, but know that my heart is full and 2018 will only fill it further.

Thank you to all of you amazing people that let me share a bit of your adventure. 

2018 Goals | Richmond Virginia lntimate Wedding Photographer

Here we are again - December.

I always imagine the proper time to reflect on the year to be the first month of the new year - when each day of the year has been exhausted.  However, because I love to plan ahead and get a jump on things (like 2018 in this case) and because the holidays are quickly approaching, I am taking a good chunk of December to reflect and plan before the overwhelming task of adding up all the pennies and cents and doing taxes.

Before talking about my plans for next year, we have to look back at the one we are currently to observe both my successes and my failures.  I feel obligated to say how challenging and fun 2017 has been.  I had goals personally and professionally, as I always do and some things were accomplished much better than others.

2017 Goals

Live healthy // This was a goal for 2016 and 2017 and I will be completely honest that although I did eat healthier, I have yet to figure out how to balance my time in a way that allows me to be more active.  I would love to hear how other ladies with children, husbands, pets and their own business find the time and mental discipline to focus on physical fitness.  I'm sure it's as simple as making it a priority, but there really are only so many hours in the day.  I would love to find a way to check off this goal and continue checking it off.

Camp more and go to Spain //  We didn't camp more, but we did take more opportunities to get away and be together.  In the Spring, we escaped for a week to the mountains of North Carolina.  We took the kids, took the dogs, and stayed in a wonderful private cabin - in the evenings sitting around a fire making s'mores and the days deep in the trees and high in the clouds.  Chris went to Australia while at the same time I went to Scotland solo.  I had a wedding to photograph in New Orleans in October and although I was not planning on it, our flexible circumstances this year allowed me to bring Chris and the children.  Before moving to Hampton Roads, we lived in southern Mississippi for two years and it was so nice to get back, visit our favorite restaurants, and walks the streets we haven't seen since that time.

Be in more photos //  I did this.  My wonderful friend, Val, came to our house one afternoon in the Spring.  We ate take-out, played with the dogs outside, and cuddled on the sofa together.  And when we went to the cabin in North Carolina, I handed my camera to Chris enough to keep myself in our tangible memories.

Organize the house and finish projects //  I got to work on this early in 2017, painting the dining room and the entry way.  There was a 5 gallon bucket of paint sitting by our front door for all of 2016 and I have managed to use most of it.  There are some projects still open, like our third floor which always gets delayed by other things going on, but we've opened new projects as well.  We've made an effort to rid ourselves of the clutter that so easily happens when you inhabit a space.  Adding children and animals makes it worse.  I leave the mail in the mailbox for a couple days sometimes just so that I don't have to go through the process of throwing most of it out.

Explore medium format film //  My Pentax was my main camera when I went to Scotland.  It was scary to rely on a format that I couldn't see right after taking a photo.  It was expensive - but it was worth it.  I do wonder a bit what the photos would look like if I had taken all of them with digital, but I'm sure they wouldn't have been nearly as magical.  There's something about the way that film captures light and shadow and I'm so glad to have stacks and stacks of prints from my trip.

Budget //  I was so optimistic about our budget for 2017.  We did a wonderful job for approximately six months and then the budget upkeep began to trail off.  We made some changes in our family - particularly related to our children's education - and the expenses and time related to that have been a challenge.

Serve more // In the Spring, I announced a project very dear to my heart.  That project will have its own post, but for the moment, I'll mark this off as completed for 2017.

There were a number of goals that I didn't publicly talk about.  They weren't the main focus and I wasn't quite sure what the purpose was of them.  I feel like it's awkward to talk about my profit goals as well, so there's that.  But of course, as in any business, there are goal markers to hit - in terms of both quality and quantity of work, including growth and education.  It will be forever my unspoken goal to provide every client, every couple, my best work that is better than the last work that I produced.  Your commitment to one another, your love, your story that I'm privileged to be witness to deserves it.

So that leaves us outlining goals for next year. 

2018 Goals

Have a baby //  I haven't officially announced this anywhere - even on Facebook.  If you're one of my Spring wedding clients, you aren't surprised by this news, but not many people other than close family and friends have been told.  Chris and I are both extremely excited to be welcoming our third son into the world in late May of next year and crossing all of our fingers and toes for an uneventful pregnancy.  I'll be taking a good chuck of time off from the beginning of May until the middle/end of August and I'm looking forward to having the summer with all of my many boys in the house.

Own less stuff //  In the Spring, we will be celebrating 5 years spent in our home.  We purchased the house and moved in with the intention of moving someday since that's what military families, like ourselves, usually do.  We assumed that we would spend 2-3 years at most here and be selling the house at that time.  To get rid of furniture that didn't fit, to go through all the boxes that had been moved from our previous duty station - it all takes a lot of time.  We've sorted through things over the last few years, but there's quite a bit more to do and every year the holidays come, birthdays come, and we somehow acquire more stuff.  This year, we are going to make a large effort to downsize and only keep the things that fit in our home.  I won't tell you that in the end we will be minimalists, but I know how much a clean simple space lifts my spirits and inspires me to love my home all the more.

Learn to surf //  There are mornings when my husband gets up before the sun comes up and watches the sunrise over the wave tops while he sits on his long board.  Those mornings, he comes home smelling like sea salt with the biggest smile on his face.  I can see how much the ocean changes him on those days and every time he comes home like this, I wish more and more for that same feeling in myself.

Give myself room + space + time //  Keeping in mind that we'll soon have three children, I have to remind myself all the more to give myself grace while growing our little one, bringing him into the world, and the months after.  I certainly try my best to do and be all the things that my family might need, but this year, I need to remember how much is going on and remember the things that keep me happy and healthy, both physically and emotionally.

My list isn't quite so long this year.  I have other goals - other dreams - other trips we want to take - but at the moment, keeping simplicity in mind, these stick out as the most important ones.  Family time is always important, as is the growth and success of my business.  I will still keep loving and learning - embracing all of you and your families as if you were my own.

I'd love to know what your hopes and dreams are for 2018!  If you feel like sharing below, please do, or if you'd like to keep them more private - shoot me an email.  I'd love to hear from you!

Win a Free Engagement Session! - Virginia Wedding Photographer

Engagement Session Giveaway

Last year I had the most amazing giveaway to celebrate launching under the name Of Fate and Chaos.  I gave away quite the prize and the couple who won turned out to be one of my favorites from the whole year.  As I keep looking at the work that I do, and the amount that I give back of my heart, in the spirit of the holiday season, I want to plan ahead and give even more this coming year.  So for this holiday season I'm giving away a totally FREE Engagement Sessions.

To enter** :
Follow @fateandchaos on Instagram
And fill out the form below:

Your name *
Your name
Fiance's Name *
Fiance's Name
Wedding Date *
Wedding Date

** Entry accepted until January 2nd at noon.  Winner will be announced on IG on January 3rd at noon.  An email will also be sent to the winner by January 3rd after announced.  Engagement session will include 90min-2hrs of shooting, 50-60 digital files delivered through an online gallery download, with printing rights.  All winners must agree to sign model release.  Engagement Session location must be local to Southeastern VA.  Locations farther than 60 miles outside of the Hampton Roads area will incur travel fees.  If entering and intending to have Engagement Session outside of the 60 mile radius, a travel fee invoice will be sent to the Couple and must be paid before Engagement Session. 

Michelle + Gavin | Jackson Square | New Orleans, LA | Richmond Virginia Wedding Photographer

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Michelle and Gavin have family and friends all over the states and all over the world.  In October, they brought the people they love most to New Orleans for their crazy fun destination wedding.  They said their vows in Jackson Square in the heart of the French Quarter, in front of the iconic fountain and cathedral.  At one point during the ceremony one could hear three different bands playing just outside of the square.

Some of my favorite parts of Michelle and Gavin's day:

  • The moment that Michelle's dad saw her in her wedding dress.  The smile that spread across his face was something I won't be forgetting for quite some time.  It's such a wonderful thing, to see your little girl grow up into a woman.
  • The necklace that Michelle wore belonged to Gavin's grandmother.  I'm sure she would be so happy knowing how much it meant for Michelle to wear such a treasured heirloom from her new family.
  • Gavin's (and now Michelle's) nephew is quite the singer.  During the ceremony, it was his voice that led Michelle down the aisle.
  • Hands down, my ultimate favorite moment during the day was the parade from Jackson Square to the reception location.  If you've never before experienced a New Orleans parade - I highly recommend it.  To watch Michelle and Gavin and every one of their guests dancing down the street together all smiles and laughter is not a moment I expected to find tears in my eyes.  So much love and joy filled the dark street as onlookers took videos and photos with their phones.  It was one of those moments that you just wanted to stop, watch, and hold on to just a little bit of their overwhelming happiness.

Thank you to Angelina who was second shooting that day.

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Planning/Coordination: Quincy Groff @ Design My Day Events
Getting Ready Venue:  French Market Inn
Ceremony Venue: Jackson Square
Entertainment: New Orleans Classical and Jazz/Kinfolk Brass Band
Reception Venue/Catering: Napoleon House/Pigeon Catering
Florist: Pistil and Stamen
Dress: BHLDN
Make-up: Flawless Bride
Ring(s): European Jewelers

Erin + Cameron in B&W | Woman's Club of Portsmouth | Portsmouth, VA | Hampton Roads Creative Wedding Photographer

There's something so timeless, so nostalgic, about black and white photos.  Of course, I always deliver color images to my clients, but in my heart, I must always have my favorites.  It just so happens that a large majority of my favorites from Erin and Cameron's wedding at the beautiful Woman's Club of Portsmouth were black and white.  So - my first ever totally B&W blog post.

A huge thanks to the Woman's Club of Portsmouth and DJ Erik for making the day run so smoothly.  For a full list of vendors, scroll all the way to the end.

Vendors -
Venue: Woman's Club of Portsmouth
Dress: Miss Ruby Bridal Boutique
Ring: Kay Jewelers/Wilson Antique Jewelery on Etsy
Catering: Southside Virginia Catering
MC/DJ: DJ Erik