There's not a much clearer picture of God's faithfulness and favor in my life than scrolling through this post. On January 1, 2017, I was hardly what you would consider a photographer, but over this year, God has taught me a really cool lesson. He has really good plans for me and all that He requires is that I am faithful with what He puts in front of me. Sometimes I step back and wonder how this all happened... and the answer is simple- God's goodness and graciousness towards me. He's blessed my eyes to see, my hands to work, and planted my feet in the right places. So I realize that this blog post breaks every blogging rule because it's long, but I really made this for me. To serve as a reminder of all that God has done. But for anyone else who looks and reads through it, I hope you laugh, smile, and above all, see His faithfulness etched in every moment. #thanksGod and here's to the sweetest year yet.
JANUARY // WINTER BREAK + FBCR DNOW
Anytime someone invites my entire family anywhere, you know they're real, because we're a handful and there's a lot of us. The Dorsett family is the R E A L E S T because they invited us to their house in Colorado to spend New Years and ski with them. We had the best time and I decided to sacrifice my hands a couple times to take these photos.
To the right- my dear friend and godmom, Kathy. I love her a whole lot.
Shooting DNOW for my church was actually pretty hard. I learned a big difference between God and I that weekend. He is everywhere and I am not. This frustrated the heck out of me because these teenagers were experiencing God all over the metroplex at the same time but I could only be in one place at a time. Like George Washington sings in my favorite musical, "I can not be everywhere at once people. I'm in dire need of assistance". T R U E. So that weekend, I learned how to pray for this little photography thing I was doing. Each time I would get in my car to drive to the next place, I would ask God to guide my direction, my eyes, and hands to be at the right place at the right time. I didn't wanna miss Him.
FEBRUARY // BECCA & DAN
I am STILL confused why Becca and Dan trusted me to do this. But real glad they did. Corinne came with me as I stumbled through trying to pose them and figure out how to get them to do the whole PDA thing without feeling awkward. They didn't seem to mind... It was actually so fun and I learned that loving + believing in the people in front of your camera makes a big difference. Big fan of these people.
MARCH // WASHINGTON D.C.
Seeing and photographing the cherry blossoms in D.C. is on my life list... And God knows that. I truly believe that God cares about even the smallest desires of our hearts. So God caused them bloom just long enough for me to take a picture the day we got there before they all shriveled up because it was freezing. I think God is awfully fond of us and loves to delight us in the smallest of ways if we're willing see them!
APRIL // AGGIE RING DAY
I also included a couple pictures from the Fall ring day as well. But for real- happiest day in all the land. Some people (me) truly wait their entire life for this moment. And ya know, it's just a little piece of gold. But to me, it holds significance of family history, hard work, and is a reminder to me of my time in college and all that God has done. He's gone before and behind me and is always with me. These are sweet moments of celebration.
MAY // SHELBY & ERIK + MEMORIAL DAY
After Shelby and Erik got engaged (IN THE RANGERS DUGOUT!!), she called me about doing their engagement pictures, which I was P U M P E D out of my mind for. I've known Shelby since we were little girls, so getting to spend time with her and Erik to hear more of their story and see them interact was really special. The best part of it all was that all three of us woke up the morning after with H U N D R E D S of chiggers. L O L. We're bonded for life #worthit. And from now on, I will always use bug spray.
Which brings me to T H I S ... Shelby and Erik made me realize that adults get a real kick out of the prom pose, so I just make them all do it now. There's always giggles and awkward smiles. My fav.
Memorial Day on the lake with our favorite neighbors who were gracious enough to invite A L L of us, including Emily who had just moved in (!!!). We tubed in the rain, talked about the best sports games of all time and dream jobs, ate real good snacks, and played Empire. Let the good times roll.
JUNE // KIDS CAMP + JESS & JORDAN WEDDING + FAMILY SHOOTS
This photo doesn't do this moment an ounce of justice... Before we left for camp, the forecast showed nothing but rain.... which might concern some people. But not Ivy, because God promised her that water meant growth. She held fast to the promise that God was going to speak to us that week. The last night of camp we talked about how when we really look, our eyes are opened to see things that ONLY God could do and it helps us to trust Him more. So our kids head back to put on their animal costumes for the "After Dark in the Ark" theme night as the rain stopped and the sky cleared... and then this. God sent a DOUBLE RAINBOW. I'll never forget looking through my lenses watching Ivy jump up and down yelling "THIS IS GOD'S PROMISE TO ME" with tears in her eyes. Man oh man. I could dance in the light of God's promises and wonder at His faithfulness for all my life.
Here we go. My first wedding. This experience absolutely deserves to be documented, considering it was one of the more stressful and hilarious experiences of my life. Starting with the fact that I truly had no idea what I was doing and ending with Salmonella + E Coli AT THE SAME TIME, it was pretty unforgettable. I ate a lot of french fries, spent a lot of time with some pretty crazy and cool high schoolers, and did my best to not fall on my face. There was also a point during the wedding that I truly thought I had lost all my photos.... just tryna be #transparent. Does this make me a destination wedding photographer...? haha hopefully
Best part of the wedding. Jess I N S I S T E D that Aly Jo sing "Put Your Records On" with a karaoke track for everyone at the reception. HAHA she did it, but definitely against her will.
Jessica's little sister, Lauren, has the biggest heart and is TRULY the most fun. I love this moment, standing between her sister's best friends, and she just couldn't hold it together as Jess walked down the aisle with her dad. I love this girl and her heart.
One of the sweetest things about growing up and working at First Baptist Richardson is watching families grow that you've known your whole life, and getting to know new ones. I was so excited when Kandace talked to me about taking their photos in Dallas... AND that she had access to a pretty cool rooftop spot with a skyline view. #thanksGod and #thanksKandace. Harper + Asher are the cutest kids alive and our time was full of laughter and sweet moments. Later that weekend, I got to spend time with the Kilpatrick family- Ben, Katie, and their T W I N B O Y S. Ben & Katie were my camp counselors as a 5th grader, and now I often get to serve alongside them and call them friends. I always leave my time with them wiping a couple tears from laughter and challenged to consider others in ways I haven't before.
This is what taking pictures of 1 year old twins is A C T U A L L Y like. hahaha
JULY // PINE COVE SHORES
Not sure how on earth I scored this gig, but somehow I ended up at "the best high school camp in all the land" on the Media Team as a photographer. They basically paid me (a little bit) to wake up everyday, take pictures, and hang out with high schoolers. It was the dream.
I really believe that God brought me back to camp to show me His heart for the passion He had graciously instilled in me. So this summer at the Shores, I learned my why. We take photos to R E M E M B E R. To remember what God has done. To capture the goodness and sorrow and victory and joy in this life. There's a story in 1 Samuel 7 where God intervenes for His people and does something really amazing, so their leader, Samuel, takes a stone and names it E B E N E Z E R, so that whenever the people saw it, they would be reminded of what God did. That's why we take pictures. To stir people's affections for each other and for their Creator. To capture the moments that people can look back on and say "Look what you did, God. I remember."
One of my favorite moments of every week. P E P T A L K + M O S H P I T + P R A Y E R.
This was taken on the 4th of July when I had just been informed that I would be taking firework pictures. *cue google search "how to take firework picture"* After some research and quite a bit of luck, this one was my favorite.
AUGUST // LAKE TAHOE + JESSICA & ALEX WEDDING + SAN FRAN
L A K E T A H O E . What a dream. This was the chillest vacation my family has ever taken.
Mom thought it would be a S W E E T idea to take a family bike around this pretty lake. After checking out the map, she said it would 7 miles total, which means that we totally got this. It was actually an uphill 7 miles there, A N D 7 miles back. Aly Jo cried a couple times but 14 miles later, we made it. Austen and I found this sweet spot on our way back.
Jessica and Alex's wedding had to be the best gig ever. My friend, Gavin, hired me as his second shooter, which basically meant I got to have all the fun and privilege that comes with shooting a wedding, without any of the pressure. Our good friend Chase Giles was the videographer, so the three of us got to spend the entire day together. We seriously had the best time and I'm so grateful I got to learn from them throughout the day. They even spun me around the dance floor- I was a lucky girl!
The D R E A M T E A M for sure. Also, I look really tan in this picture. I never get to say that.
San Fran with my best gals. Highlights including getting our hands on an Audi for a day, driving to Napa for a wine tasting, jamming to "It Girl" (sorry Kat), going to the brunch district (yes, this exists!), and the best fish 'n' chips ever. I also recently noticed that we wear all grey, white, black, and denim. My friends make D A N G good models too. Lucky me.
The other day, someone asked me what my favorite part about creation was, and I thought back to this moment. There's something about walking through a forest of Redwoods that puts you in your place. Standing at over 250 feet tall, you begin to look up and are reminded of how small you are. And you know what... I've discovered that I like feeling small. Because for a moment, the world is lifted off your shoulders and you can take a deep breath. There was a sweet quietness about this place... a sense of P E A C E. Watching my best friends eyes fill with awe and wonder as they experience Muir Woods was one of the greatest gifts.
SEPTEMBER // RICKY & BAILEY + ANTHRO INSTA
Alright, I am a S U C K E R for this. One of Ricky's friends called and asked if I could photograph their proposal, and I willingly agreed to curse myself to being forever alone by walking under the century tree alone for two people that I didn't even know. hahaha Luckily, it was super #worthit because Ricky and Bailey are the freaking G O A T and now I get to shoot their wedding this upcoming May, which is going to be the absolute best. I mean look at them.
During Blair's senior session, she jokingly told me that I should tag Anthropologie if I post any of the pictures because that's where she got her dress... so I did and somehow ended up in their instagram story!? haha The actual significance of all of this was like seven new followers (#megahuge)... but who cares because Anthro tagged me in their freaking instagram story and it made me feel kinda legit for a minute!!
OCTOBER // AGGIE FOOTBALL + COLE & KRISTEN + GRANT & CARRINGTON
Raising a glass (of $5.00 hot chocolate I had to walk across the entire stadium for) to another pretty average season of Aggie Football. Gig em forever baby.
My best friend's brother got engaged and my camera broke by the end of all the shenanigans. #sensormirrorprobz
My friend Courtney got a call from Grant, asking if she could photograph him proposing to her friend, Carrington, at this beautiful spot in Wimberley called Old Baldy. Being new to this and wanting it to be perfect for her friend, she asked me to come along to shoot it with her and spend the weekend together! Grant dropped us a pin at the bottom of what seemed like an eternity of stairs. So we arrived early and started our trek up this freaking mountain... WHEN WE HEAR A CAR DOOR SHUT. Thinking it HAD to be them, we begin to S P R I N T up these stairs. I'm gonna say we had at least 200 to go. So we get to the top and I literally can not breathe. Oh, and we realized it wasn't them when we had to shamefully emerge from the bushes as strangers approached the top of the climb. That was pretty awkward. Grant proposed to Carrington at the time he said he would and I think we all caught our breath. AND I get to shoot their wedding in March!! Am I a lucky gal or what!?
NOVEMBER // SONGFEST + FAMILY SHOOTS
To be completely honest, I wanna do Songfest SO bad. But I can't. So this is the next best thing.
The Johnson family holds a special place in my heart. Randy was my youth pastor growing up at FBCR, and now his daughter, Casey, is my advisor at Texas A&M and has single-handedly walked me through the last 4 years of college. This family is marked by L A U G H T E R. It just seems never-ending when you're around them. It's contagious and you can't help but sense the J O Y of the Lord.
Pretty awesome that I got to take the Hill family's pictures, because Amanda is my B O S S L A D Y starting January 2nd. #internlife. She has really believed in me and been a great mentor during this season of navigating what in the world I'm doing with my life. Super grateful for her and her sweet fam!
DECEMBER // RACHEL & MASON + SARA & HOLDEN + BRIDALS + BAPTISMS
This had to be the most insane day of my entire life. Buckle up. Let's start with the fact that my best friends got engaged. Rachel and Mason are the kind of people you're already planning on taking vacations with and sending your kids to for a week during the summer. When my sister recently had her wisdom teeth taken out, she described them through her tears as "so cute and country". Agreed, Aly Jo. So I spent the whole day with Mason leading up to this moment, trying to be the most reasonable and calm person possible. You can't tell because Machel is so dang cute, but it was also a lovely 25 degrees. I've learned that you've gotta wear gloves or you're just simply going to die. So Mason proposes and Rachel is the happiest girl in the world, so we start driving back to College Station to their engagement party... AND IT STARTS SNOWING. Like ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? Ok, so of course we've gotta take pictures in the snow. Also, I of course have to study for my exam that's the next morning.
And then I got the next phone call. Everyone's left the party and I'm lowkey S T R E S S E D tryna study in my room, and Holden calls me. At this point, he's planning on proposing to Sara on Saturday, but said if I was available, he wanted to propose "right now". I actually debated this because I'm overly responsible by nature and have a hard time saying yes to fun and spontaneous things... BUT I SAID YES. Thank goodness because this is about as dreamy as good ol' College Station is E V E R gonna get. Shoutout to Holden and Sara for being the biggest power couple I've met and also for what seemed like the entire Corps of Cadets showing up to your proposal. #nice
My first time shooting bridals. Thanks for trusting me, Shelbs.
Alright, this may be one of the coolest things I get to do. My church in College Station, Declaration, has "Celebration Sunday" every once in a while, which means that people get up in front of everyone to share their story of redemption and be baptized. It's extremely powerful and is always woven with tears, joy, and victory. These are moments that I can't believe I get to capture through my lens. Praise God for these stories and that I get to play a small part in capturing them!
2017 // SENIORS
OK, did I have the all star line up or what? I love looking at these faces and knowing that there's so much more to each of them than you can see. God is so specific in creating each of us and it's so much fun to see His character and glory revealed uniquely in each person that stands in front of my lens. These people are passionate, kind, genuine, courageous, encouraging, driven, and so many other things I would take way too much space to write. I've grown as a person and as a photographer which each person below, and I think that's really evident (or at least the photographer part lol). I can't wait to see what 2018 has in store, because I never would've expected what you see below when I was dreaming of what 2017 could hold for me. Also, major shout out to Alex for being my only dude in this group...
Here's a couple pictures that I made some of you take with me. Maybe someday I'll wear something besides denim, gray, and black... maybe not.
And finally, I have to give a shoutout to my right hand lady- Aly Jo. She always tags along to carry outfits, entertain moms, or just to support me. I think my biggest flaw as a photographer is that I'm not funny, which really stinks, because people look so awesome and real when they laugh!! But lucky for me, that's one of Aly Jo's many gifts- making people laugh!! She's talented, creative, and a whole lotta fun and I'm excited to see her step into a new role, second shooting for me this spring!
Also this is hilarious.