Joann + Markus-Alan

August 23, 2016

Joann & Markus-Alan. I love them.

Sometimes I have a hard time describing my couples and I wish that everyone could’ve been in the room the night I described them to Dave (my partner and best friend). Time travel isn’t currently available in the App Store, so I will try my best to get the gist across.

Joann and Markus-Alan have deep and beautiful souls, and it’s the first thing you see when you meet them. Their lives are only strengthened by the road they’ve traveled together and their eyes still hold the spark of love at first sight. They’ve built a family together, and not just of those related by blood. They have a way of bringing you in with open arms, because that’s just who they are. They welcomed me and Dave in the same way. I just have to say this too. Hank (The Little Grip) has a serious crush on their youngest daughter, and I mean, can you blame him? I am generally a pretty happy person, but my cheeks HURT after their wedding day! There was so much laughter, joy, love and celebration. Those are standard sentiments for a wedding, but I’m telling you, I’m taking this one with me forever. I kind of want them to get married again so I can go back and celebrate with them all over again!

I hope you see why this couple is so special to me when you view some of the highlights from their amazing day. It’s real, guys. It’s just so very real.

<3 Sam + Dave

Many thanks to the vendors who made their wedding day perfect as planned:

Photo: Jaime D’Orio Photography

Video: Pear & Thorn

Venue: Harmony Golf Preserve

Florist: BlossomHouse Florist

DJ: Jon Green

Cake: Sip N’ Dip Donuts

Officiant: Bishop Kotal

Music: You Found Me First by Jake Etheridge / This is Love by Jake Etheridge featuring Marie Hines 

Licensed by The Musicbed

The Little Grip Turns One!

August 17, 2016

in 2015 I shot three weddings with a growing baby bump. I found by the 6 month mark I was having trouble snaking through dancing crowds without bumping into people with my large belly. I still laugh about that. My friends and family all joked that I was getting him into the family business at an awfully early age and we began referring to him as “The Little Grip”

Side note: A Grip is someone who helps in video and film production–typically sometime who holds lighting, unfolds stands, moves things around, etc.

IMG_2121

The Little Grip only a few weeks old

Our Little Grip (Henry) has been the light of our world. He’s just a generally happy little boy. He makes working on the weekends a tougher job than I ever thought it could be.

So, today is his birthday, and every new day I see him grow and change and I fall more and more in love with him every moment. There’s no describing the emotions I feel as I remember where we were one year ago on this day. The doctor laid our sweet Henry Marshall on my chest and the world as Dave and I knew it was forever changed. We knew love, but nothing like the love he brought into our hearts when he came into our lives.

Thank you, Little Grip, for choosing us as your parents. We love you more than we could ever have dreamed was possible.

HMP_12M_blog_002HMP_12M_blog_001 HMP_12M_blog_004HMP_12M_blog_005 HMP_12M_blog_006

As a little added birthday surprise, we are honoring our little boy with a special promo for our clients! If you book a portrait session (couples, babies, family, etc) TODAY, we will take $50 off your portrait session! WooHoo!

Baby Jack – A 3 Month Session

August 14, 2016

Baby Jack is three months old and I got to take some time with him to document this stage of his life. Think about how little three months means to an adult, then imagine what it must be like for a baby. Three months may as well be thirty years for these little souls! And so much happens for them in those three months! Like little Jack, here, they roll over, start making the sweetest gestures and sounds, they can usually sit up decently well too! It’s amazing to me, and it’s one of the many reasons I love getting to do stage of life sessions with parents as equally keen on preserving memories of these incredible milestones!

I think by now it’s probably clear that I LOVE babies. I mean, I have one, right? Well, he’s about to not be a baby for much longer and I can’t put into words what kinds of emotions that lays on my heart. What I feel a lot of, though, is guilt. What a weird feeling, but it’s true. Why? Because of something a lot of my clients ask me:

Are you always doing photo shoots with your son?? You must have so many amazing photos of your baby, being a photographer and all!

And I usually reply with the whole The-Cobbler’s-kids-are-barefoot story. It’s sad. I haven’t had a photographer come to document his life stages, and I’ve only pulled my nice camera out a handful of times since his birth. I certainly don’t go to the lengths for a photo that I do for my clients. But, what I do have is nearly 100 GB of video and photos on my phone. But, oh, the quality is seriously not even close to the same as I can get when I’m working.

This is why I think it’s great when parents come to me for Life Stage photo sessions. This year is going to go by so quickly. I mean, we’re already planning Jack’s 6 Month pics! It’s all about the mysteries ahead for me. What’s he going to be doing next time I come over to take his photos?? Will I become a recognizable friend to this little guy one day? I sure hope so–because he stole my heart in this last session.

Just see for yourself <3

JG_3M_blog_007JG_3M_blog_001

JG_3M_blog_006 JG_3M_blog_002 JG_3M_blog_008JG_3M_blog_003 JG_3M_blog_004 JG_3M_blog_009JG_3M_blog_005

Jaclyn + Brett

August 2, 2016

The week leading up to Jaclyn and Brett’s wedding, the weatherman called for a rainy Saturday. We all waited on the edge of our chairs, biting our fingernails, nervously staring out the window the night before the big day. It seemed an absolute certainty that their outdoor wedding at the beautiful Ponte Vedra Club and Inn would be pushed indoors. Well, Saturday came and though there was NO rain in sight, the sun was so blistering hot everyone decided to move the ceremony inside after all. Did that get our beautiful couple down? Not in the least! In fact, these two were so incredibly “go with the flow”, I don’t think they were at all disappointed in the scene change!

What I realized during my time with Brett & Jaclyn is that there’s no where in the world these two will ever be unhappy when the other is near at hand. Their eyes shine bright with the other’s love and that’s the most blessed scene of all. I smiled with them, even though their happiness was like a secret inside joke, I couldn’t help but feel happy around them.

We are honored to share our favorite moments of Jackie and Brett’s Ponte Vedra wedding.

Special thanks to the following vendors who made their day so special:
– Photographer: Emily Harris Photography
– Ceremony/Reception: Ponte Vedra Inn and Club, Jacksonville, FL
– Wedding planner/coordinator: Christina Kopecki
– Hair & Makeup: Studio Bride
– Bridal Gown Boutique: Vera Wang
– Event Designer/planner: Kelly Farrell
– Flowers: Anything with Plants
– Video: Pear & Thorn Productions / Chuck Peebles second shooting
– Band: The Rivertown Band
– Cake: Classic Cakes
– Lighting: Mark Grandin

Baby Stella – A Newborn Portrait Session

July 12, 2016

When I first met Emily and Amir, Emily was about ready to pop with their next baby already 40 weeks along.  Their two little boys Lucas and Brayden showed very little sign of the slightest pity to her position. Their stomping feet ringing throughout the house made me smile to myself. They truly are the epitome of the saying “Frogs and snails and puppy dog tails, that’s what little boys are made of”. I pictured my little Henry running full throttle like that one day. Not a twinge of dread, I promise!

Not only did they ask that I take photos of their sweet baby after her birth–they wanted me there for the delivery, too! I can’t tell you how excited I was. I had never been present for a labor and delivery outside of my own, and nothing in the world could be a more beautiful story than the beginning of a life.

So we waited–two whole weeks! But the result was nothing short of Amazing.

And here she is! Emily and Amir’s beautiful baby girl–Stella <3

Oh, and added bonus? They are big Chicago sports fans like Dave and me! GO BLACKHAWKS!

SR_NB_blog_001 SR_NB_blog_002 SR_NB_blog_003 SR_NB_blog_004 SR_NB_blog_005 SR_NB_blog_006 SR_NB_blog_007 SR_NB_blog_008 SR_NB_blog_009 SR_NB_blog_010

 

Lauren + Brandon

June 25, 2016

Lauren & Brandon have it all: supportive family, hilariously awesome friends, impeccable style and grace, great taste in wine, a fierce love of dogs (theirs especially–Fish!) and the strongest love and relationship. Basically a recipe for a wonderful marriage!

Everything about their wedding day made me smile–even the rain. It was a soft, romantic rain that kissed their day with good luck in their marriage together.

Enjoy this beautiful video scattered with moments of joy, tears, laughter and dance!

Special thanks to the following vendors:
Reception: Oak Harbor Club
Ceremony Venue: 1st Methodist Church
Floral & Event Design: Laras Theme Floral Design
Photo: Sara Blackwell Photography

“I Do” by Holley Maher Licensed by Music Bed

Melissa + Brandon

May 18, 2016

It was written in stone. It was in the stars.

Words of the band Fleming and John pass through my mind when I reflect on Melissa and Brandon.

I consider myself fortunate that I have the privilege of witnessing marriages for a living, but for all the weddings I attend, this one is always going to be at the front of my mind. And knowing them leaves so much more to my memory than just their wedding day. Just their wedding day. Sounds so flippant, doesn’t it? I’m tearing up thinking about the gravity of the love between these two. It radiates in a way I really just can’t describe.

During the ceremony, Deacon Dave recounted a memory of his time with Melissa and Brandon. He’d asked Melissa why she wanted to marry Brandon and she said, “He makes me better.” It should be no surprise that Brandon’s answer was the same when asked why he wanted to marry Melissa. There was a collective sigh from the wedding guests at that point, including me.

Weddings are beautiful for so many reasons: love, laughter, joy, sheer happiness to name a few. But Melissa and Brandon’s wedding was more, so so so much more than what I get to see each time I film a wedding. I saw two souls rejoined on a path they started many lifetimes ago.

Dave and I are so grateful for our time with these two and I know we’ll always be better for knowing them.

Many thanks to the vendors who made their wedding day perfect as planned:

Photo: Vitalic Photo

Video: Pear & Thorn

Venue: Vero Beach Country Club

Florist: Lara’s Theme

DJ: Traxx Entertainment

Hair: White Orchid Salon

Cake: Classy Cupcakes

Signage: Terry Barrett

Music: Now and Always by Brooke Annibale licensed by The Musicbed

Denise & Sundance – A Portrait Session

May 5, 2016

DAS_blog_0112

Mother’s Day was this past Sunday, and it’s been a long tradition of mine to honor my late mother by doing something “horsey” to feel close to her again. We are of horse blood and no amount of protest from my father could keep me from having horses in my life somehow. So, what better way to celebrate Mother’s Day my way than to work on an awesome Mother-Horse photos?!

That leads me into this awesome portrait session with my friends Denise and Sunday.

Denise’s daughter wanted to surprise her mother with a portrait session for her birthday, but her birthday gift turned into a Mother’s Day present too! I had such a blast hanging out with Denise and her sweet paint horse Sundance. These two have a beautiful bond and it didn’t take long to notice that Sundance knew he was having his picture taken. You may notice a few of his own “poses” thrown into the mix of my favorites. Sometimes he would just flash a glance that seemed to say, “Yeah, I know we look good,” or “This is my good side”. It’s not easy to be the center of attention for an hour or so, but Sundance helped Denise fall right into the groove of things.

On Mother’s Day, Denise’s family unveiled the photos from her session and surprised her with some prints too! I hope my son is so thoughtful one day when he’s older. Hint Hint. 🙂

<3 Sam

DAS_blog_006

DAS_blog_001DAS_blog_010DAS_blog_003DAS_blog_007DAS_blog_002DAS_blog_009 DAS_blog_004DAS_blog_008DAS_blog_011

Shalee & Mat – An Engagement Session

May 3, 2016

MSE_blog_004

From my first photo session with Shalee a couple Christmases ago, she made it clear that I would be documenting all the major family events in the future–and boy has it been fun!! I’ve watched her sweet daughter grow into a lovely young lady from behind the lens of my camera and now I get to see Shalee and the love of her life get married in 2017! But Shalee and Mat’s story is so much deeper than the typical dating to marriage to family love story.

When we had our engagement session, Mat had only just been released from the hospital after having two heart valves replaced. You read that right. Mat survived congestive heart failure and major heart surgery. His strength is incredible and inspiring. But what’s more inspiring is how this event brought him and Shalee closer together. I followed Shalee’s updates on Facebook and with every post there was optimism, prayer, encouragement and unbending love. This is the kind of event that tests the strongest of marriages and they were faced with it far to soon.

It didn’t take Mat long to pop the question once he returned home. There is so much to be thankful for each day, and that’s no secret for these two. Every hour and breath is precious and they are a living example of how important love is.

So, for obvious reasons, you can see why this couple is so special to me, making their engagement session really powerful as well. Every touch, giggle, kiss, and soft embrace was deep, loving and lasting. They aren’t taking anything for granted and that really got to me.

I can’t wait to see them say their “I do’s” though I know they already have in their own way. Congrats, Mat and Shalee!!

<3 Sam

MSE_blog_009MSE_blog_001MSE_blog_007MSE_blog_003 MSE_blog_006MSE_blog_002MSE_blog_008

Finding Focus – A Family Portrait Session

April 29, 2016

KCSD_blog_005

I don’t really know how to begin with this one without getting all spiritual and existential on y’all. I’m just gonna pull up this chaise lounge, dim the lights and close my eyes and talk. You go ahead and get out a steno pad and pen. I’ll wait.

Okay, cool, let’s start from the beginning. Well, I guess I’ll have to start with how it ended. After wrapping up this amazing little family portrait session with Kristin, Chris and (the most adorable one-year-old on this planet) Sofia, (pictured below) I promptly called Dave, my best half, and proceeded to tell him that this was by far the best photo session I’ve ever done.

Side bar: that’s not meant to make my other lovely families feel less than, it’s meant to say something else–a confession of sorts.

So here goes: I fell out of love with photography after leaving New York. Having lived in a city where photographers were many and talent was nothing short of great in all aspects, I let the intimidation factor get to me and I found very little to love about the thing that I used to live for, nor did I see much value in my probably-not-unique perspective.

I rarely take on photo gigs since dedicating my career to video, but I will on occasion agree to a photo session for friends, family, or new clients that I feel an instant connection with. When this particular family contacted me, I was happy they reached out to me, but photo jobs feel a little daunting to me even still. Not daunting in that I don’t want to do it; daunting in a way that makes me question my talent and compare myself to my photo colleagues and friends. So many things go through my head: “Should I give them ____’s name? They are way better at baby portraits than me.” or “I’m not as good as _____.” or “What if they hate them and never come back??” I really could go on and on.

Now this brings me to a question another professional posed of me recently. She asked what do I like about my work. I found that question extremely uncomfortable and hard to answer. I know it’s a problem, and I’m working on it. At the time I said something to the affect of, “It’s okay, I think.” Obviously, soooo not good enough. After this shoot I reevaluated that question and how I would answer it today.

My work is an outward and tangible representation of the colors and feelings that make me who I am: Bold, contrasty, soft and gentle, moving, sharp and graceful–beautiful. Whatever anyone else could say about the technical aspects of my work really doesn’t matter to me right now as I reflect on the images posted below. They aren’t a reflection of my skill or trade, they are a reflection of me, and I’ve never been prouder saying that.

More so, these images are a perfectly captured moment in a time of great joy between three souls that love each other deeply. What an amazing gift I can give to someone I hardly know… I got to be a guest in their life for an hour, faced with the challenge of creating a picture that represents this moment in their lives. It feels powerful because it is. I’m so thankful that I got the opportunity to peek into such a delightful little family’s life. It was just an hour, but it will always mean more to me than I can say.

And can we please take a moment to appreciate the sheer perfection of the bubble that pops right in front of Sofia’s precious gleeful face?! To me, it just doesn’t get better than that!

Happy Friday <3

Sam

KCSD_blog_006KCSD_blog_001KCSD_blog_010KCSD_blog_003KCSD_blog_009 KCSD_blog_004KCSD_blog_012KCSD_blog_002KCSD_blog_013