Tell us about your background – where you grew up? I grew up in Franklin, Tennessee (right outside of Nashville). My family has always been close and I have amazing memories of my dad singing and dancing around the house, my mom throwing candlelit, elegant-but-rowdy dinner parties, and spending summers at the beach doing a whole lot of nothing together. My sister is secretly a comedian that can make me spit-out-my-drink laugh every time, and my grandma (who lived right down the road) is a sassy chatterbox who is smart as a whip and has lived all over the world.
What brought you to Charleston? Both my maternal grandparents are from teeny towns in South Carolina. My grandpa spent his teenage summers in Charleston and when he got Alzheimer’s in his seventies, Charleston was one of the few things he remembered vividly and wanted to talk about all the time. He described it as this magical, romantic, enchanting place — and when I visited for the first time in middle school, I found out he was right! The quaintness of the peninsula, the walkability, the food, the Battery, the flowers — I fell in love with all of it! I applied to the College of Charleston and didn’t seriously consider any other schools.
How did you become a photographer? I’ve always loved observing and documenting, but once I moved away from my family I became obsessed with sharing every bit of my new life with them — and wanting to do Charleston’s beauty justice! I also was pretty bored in school and needed an outlet that excited me. That evolved into taking more and more photos and having a camera in my hand at all times. I graduated with a degree in English, went to Europe for a little while, and then took a job unrelated to photography because I never considered it a viable career option for me. I kept shooting more and more and one day decided to take the leap into doing it full time. Knock on wood… it’s working out!
How has your creative process evolved? In the beginning I would get so nervous before every shoot or wedding — I totally felt like a fraud that was undeserving of these jobs. I didn’t give myself any credit! The more comfortable I became, the better I became — realizing I could be myself with clients, that I could be honest if something’s not working, that there’s an extent to which I can manipulate factors to ensure a pretty photo is made. Practice and experience have given me the confidence that I’ll (usually) be able to capture what I want to capture, and that makes going into shoots less nerve-wracking and more fun.
With weddings, being less nervous also allows me to stand back, observe and capture real moments as they happen, instead of having to style or pose the couples to avoid them feeling any awkwardness. A little awkwardness is a good thing! I guess I’m more comfortable letting the day play out organically and trusting that I’ll capture it.
What do you love about what you do? Getting to preserve moments for people — moments that they might not even get to fully appreciate at the time, but can look back on fondly and savor forever. Weddings are such an important moment in someone’s life, and to be thrown into that day so intimately with the bride and groom, and hopefully capture the magic of it for them to remember forever, is so special!
What’s an average day for you? When we’re not traveling I love to lay low at home — cooking and walking are two of my favorite things. I look forward to the simple things; early mornings with coffee, evening wine in the backyard, “sibling dinners” with our two sisters, exercising, seeing friends…
What do you do outside of work? Since my work is pretty intertwined with my life, I’d say the same things: spend time with family and friends, cook, walk, and travel as much as possible!
Who are your influences? My parents! I could not trust their judgement (or adore them) more. They are the greatest. My husband is one of the most enthusiastic people I’ve ever met and his passion is contagious. He’s also crazy talented but doesn’t take himself too seriously. I love that.
I’m obsessed with dozens of photographers and spend a lot of time looking at magazines, blogs, and of course Instagram.
In general I think it’s a really exciting time for young entrepreneurs and I’m endlessly inspired by women like Elizabeth Suzann and Emily Weiss.
What are your favorite places to travel? I love exploring new places, but France and Greece are the two places I DREAM about and will revisit any time I get the chance!
What’s in store for the future? For now I’m enjoying weddings and I love our life in Charleston. Travel photography is my first love and finding ways to incorporate more of that into work would be incredible. Some days I see Charleston as our home forever and other days we’re listing off pros and cons of other cities. I’ve never been big on five year plans, I’m open to a lot of different options.
What is an ideal Summer Friday? In the Outer Banks with family, a long morning beach walk, a lazy day reading under the house (where the best cross-breeze is), a short golden hour paddle boarding excursion, sunset rosé on the dock, and a fresh veggie dinner around our big table, followed by a competitive game of cards… or just more sitting around. Bliss!
1.) Describe Summer Fridays in two words.
2.) What is your ultimate beach day?
3.) What do you drink on Friday?
4.) What are you doing next Friday?