2016 in Review

2016... Wow, where have you gone?  It's as if you just began, but here we are now already saying goodbye.  What a year it's been.  You brought so much!  I must say you brought countless blessings in every way, but you sure did bring some crazy times as well.  There were moments of struggles and frustration, but you have given us so much joy too and through it ALL, you have made us who we are now.  Even though there were trying times, this has been our most successful year professionally and personally yet!  Our kids have grown and so have we.  2016, we have accomplished a lot together and we are stoked about 2017 and all the great changes it will bring.  Thank you for all that you have taught us.  We will always remember you...Now that we have made a tribute to 2016, we now must thank you, our clients.  2016 would not have happened without you and we are so grateful!  We have said it time after time, but we can't express to you how honored we are that you trust us with your family's most precious moments of life.  It doesn't just end with photos... we have become friends with many of you and that is priceless and what makes our job so special.  You have encouraged us, supported us, and continuously cheered us on, so thank you, thank you, thank you...This year, we have shot 35 weddings and 41 portraits.  Wow!  As a tribute, on this blog, we are listing every wedding that we have shot this year.  Each will have a link to the couple's complete blog as well as ONE photo that stuck out to us from each wedding and the reason why.  It was the most difficult thing to just choose one, but we did it!  We are so proud of all the moments that have been captured... moments that can now be treasured forever for these families and for their generations to come.  So, here we go....

The perfect sunset timing, the perfect expression of the bride as she gazes out into the horizon while her groom sacrifices his warmth for her.... to protect her and comfort her.  It's as if he's saying, "you're safe with me... don't you worry about a thing.".

This photo reminds me that perspective changes everything... We are very used to the way we see things on a daily basis, but if you choose to see it in another perspective and in a different angle, you'll see things that you've never seen before and discover a new world.

Ok, so something that doesn't happen on a wedding day happened on this couple's wedding day. :)  It was St. Patrick's Day weekend, and we had no idea that the road that the couple was getting ready at was having a parade!  They blocked the whole road off of course, and as soon as I saw what was going on, I couldn't help but see our couple in the middle of that parade.  So, I told the couple my idea and what made it even better was that they were so willing to go out there.  WOW!  We were a little nervous, but more excited and ran out there as if we were part of the parade and took some shots.  The crowd literally ROARED like crazy football fans... For a moment, I even thought that the ground rumbled.  That's how loud it was!  Some folks came out to take a pic with the bride and groom, and the above pic was one of them!  The best part?  When the groom whispered to me, "Craig, this is the best day of my life!"  This wedding right here goes down as the most memorable wedding in 2016...

Oh my goodness... it was so hard trying to pic one photo from this couple's gallery... But, we chose this because the love it expresses between Sheryle and David, but it also shows off Sheryle's stunning wedding gown.  This gown was picked out by the bride's grandmother... isn't that so special?  And, didn't her grandmother do a great job or what?  Sheryle's dress goes down as our fav gown of the year... It's classy, timeless and trendy and stunning at the same time and it was the most perfect fit for this beautiful bride... Grandma's know best!

I totally remember this moment when we were actually going somewhere else to take another pic, but as I was passing by this window, I saw the sun coming in and we had to make some changes in our plan!  We stopped and took this photo and it became my fav photo of the day.  Looking at this pic always reminds me that changes are ok.... things don't have to go exactly according to plan and in fact, when life throws a curve ball at you, it can be a great thing!

Um yes... the MOST fun wedding party award goes to this group of folks.  I mean, the picture just speaks for itself, doesn't it?  The joy is overflowing... You know, you can't do this life alone even if you're married. Life takes a team, a community, a village, amazing friends... And I'm so happy for Sara and Mukhtar that they have that!  I can't even imagine their lives becoming lonely or even boring... these friends are just a phone call away (or should I say a text away? hehe).

This bride's name is Iris and guess what?  We found an Iris during their portrait time!  Here's her groom putting one on her, and it was the sweetest thing to see... I mean, what a coincidence, right?  Hm... for me, it was a sign that this day was just meant to be... This couple goes down as the most fun couple of the year, so click their blog link to see why!

And the best groom award goes to...... drum roll please... Roee!  Do you see all the details in this picture?  Yes... that man planned it all.  Amazing, right?  I wish you guys were to see everything!  We all said how he should become a wedding planner!  Like for real...!  But, he is already an amazing cello player for the Atlanta symphony.  You guys... he is one multi-talented individual with a wife who is the most caring and dedicated teacher.  She works so hard to make her students' lives better each day and for that, I am very grateful.  We have three kids of our own and to see amazing teachers like her assures us that our kids are in good hands.  Kelli and Roee, you guys are so precious to us!  We can't wait to hang out with you both again...

This wedding goes down as the most windy wedding... like ever... Do you see how the maid of honor had to hold the bride's veil?  Had to choose three pics to "show" you guys the wind... :)  But, do you also see their bright smiles?  This wedding reminds me that no matter what life brings you, your response to it is your choice.  And, I love that this couple chose to make the crazy wind into a wonderful memory and smile and laugh about it.  Taylor and Dustin, you guys were troopers!

I love this photo because what light is doing in it... Kellum Valley Farm is up in the North Georgia mountains and can you imagine what this place would like at night without these beautiful lights?  I love light... it allows you to see things and it's key to photography.  With light, everything is exposed and there are no secrets.  Because of light, we are able to see the beauty of this place even in darkness.  I believe in Jesus Christ, and as He is the light of this world, I hope to be a reflection of that...

This wedding was two days long and I could have probably chosen 100 pictures from this wedding and it wouldn't have been enough.  But, I chose this because at the end of this day, we went to their hotel to take more shots, but the hotel did not allow us to use my professional gear.  What a bummer... But, I had my iPhone.  ;)  Here's one of our iphonography pics... This shot taught me that sometimes, you just have to do your best with what you got and that photography isn't about what gear you have.

Picture perfect, right?  But, if you only knew what was going on behind the scenes... As I was walking with the bride and groom to the shore, they were laughing their heads off!  When I turned to them to see what was going on, they said, "CRAIG!  YOUR PANTS!!!!  YOU HAVE THE BIGGEST HOLE IN THE BACK OF YOUR PANTS!!!"  I was beyond mortified... You guys, it wasn't just a little hole... my pants ripped so much that my entire butt (covered in underwear, thank God) was showing.  My ENTIRE butt.... I know, I must have been in the "zone" because I had no idea when that rip even happened and how I didn\'t even feel it.  I mean, could I not feel the "breeze"??  OMG... But, the sun was setting and I had to get this shot.  The show went on and here's one of the pics from the sun set shot... I'm lucky that this happened at this wedding... since it was a destination wedding, I had a change of clothes in my luggage, so I got to change.  For a local wedding, I never have change of clothes, but I do now. :)

Ok, I had to bend the rule a little here.  :) There was no way I could just chosen one picture from this wedding... I had to show you guys my fav first look expression of 2016.  Have you ever seen more joy?  More happiness?  This moment was just priceless... This couple was such a delight to work with... Meeting Renita and Ken made me become a better individual.  I love their outlook and view on life... I love how they love one another.  When you're with them, their laughter and love are contagious.  What an honor it was to capture their wedding day.  Thank you for choosing us, Renita and Ken, and your encouraging words mean so much to us!

Isn't it so cool that you can tell who someone is just by their silhouette?  When I see this pic of Jennifer and Craig (by the way... awesome name, man!), I think of peace.  Really, isn't it so peaceful?  Like every couple, every sunset is unique... If you ask my wife, she will let you know how much I talk about sunsets.  Anytime I drive and it's that time of the evening, I can't help, but just stare it... I can't ever get sick of sunsets!

Chloe's eyes says it all here... Sometimes, you don't have to say anything.  You can just look at someone you love and they know what you mean.  As she looks at her groom, she is telling him, "I trust you... with my heart, with everything.  For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, I will live this life with you and love you unconditionally."  You don't even have to see Jordan's expression here.  We can all imagine how he's looking at her.  This is why I love weddings...

Believe... that's a strong word.  Something that we know we have to do, but it's hard to at times, don't you agree?  You always hear, "believe in yourself...".  Sometimes, we don't know quite what that means.  I know I struggled with this especially when even the closest to me didn't believe in me.  But, I had to dig deep and know that my Father in Heaven did... and through that, I'm here now and I believe in myself and my entire family.  If I had to pick one image from 2016 that has the most meaning for me, it would be this one... So, as you enter 2017 tomorrow, learn to know what it means to believe in yourself.  It will be the best thing you've ever done.

This picture of Lindsay looks like an angel to me, and I'm sure Brandon would agree.  As a man, our wives can be like angels in our lives; our greatest helpers.  I know I greatly appreciate my wife and all that she does for me especially when she supports my craziest ideas.  Even if it may fail, she does all she can to make those ideas come true.  With Lindsay and Brandon's deep faith in the Lord, I know without a doubt that they will lead a purpose driven life that will please Him and bless others along the way.

Do you see that little creature at the bottom?  Oh my goodness... how cute right?  She was even featured on Huffington Post!  This couple absolutely adored this little one and this captured moment expresses it so perfectly!  She was so cute in her tutu!  Kat and Kevin were such a pleasure to work with and Kat goes down as the most photogenic bride of 2016 for us.  Her features and her stunning red hair really captured our eyes... her beauty was absolutely timeless!

I remember this very moment at Olivia and Julio's wedding reception.  Their song was playing and although all eyes were on them, they didn't care.  They knew to cherish their first dance.  You will only get one of these in your life... I love how they sang to their song and just knew to enjoy it.  In this photo, it's cool how everything and everyone around them are dimmed, but the spotlight is on them...

Cassandra and Ryan!  I remember this couple as having the most fun and the sweetest family... I love how tight their family were and their kindness really made me enjoy their wedding so much!  I love this pic because they do so much for the city of Atlanta in various ways and I love that the Atlanta skyline is beautifully portrayed in the background.  They run the venue that they got married in.  So, if you need a venue, check the Gathering Spot out!  I guarantee you that you'll get an amazing experience just like the way I did!

I could write a book with this couple, so I'll save that for next time since you guys need to celebrate the New Year!  I could have chosen the most creative photo from Hailey and Shawn's wedding gallery, but this emotion from Shawn as they exited their ceremony as husband and wife is my favorite captured emotion of 2016.  It means so much more to me because I've gotten to know them as friends this past year, and my wife and I adore and love them so much.  They both have gone through a lot!  I love their enthusiasm and passion for life in itself and especially standing on the Word of God no matter how crazy things around them may get.  They are faithful... patient.. strong... forgiving... and yes, loving... Thumbs up indeed, Shawn!  We are so proud of you guys and we celebrate your marriage and can't wait to see what this new year hold for you!  It's going to be an incredible year for you guys!

When I see this picture, I feel like Susan and Patrick are saying, "With you holding my hand, anything is possible..."  And it's true.  When you are married, you become a team with your spouse and you really can accomplish what you set your minds to.  Your strength is the other's weakness and vice versa and you literally become complete as husband and wife.  Alone, we are weak, but together, we are strong.  Marriage is powerful, and I cherish the fact that I get to be there for the beginning of so many people's marriages.  And, the stars in the picture... oh my gosh!

This picture is not just romantic, but as believers, I see God's light shining upon this couple and their union.  His love covers them through this glow... Wow!  What a stunning picture!  Ruth feels so loved by Braden's sweet kiss and she is feeling so complete.  With this couple, I felt like I was shooting James Bond's wedding.  :)  I knew to make Braden happy because I surely didn't want to get a punch from that man.  :)  In all seriousness, this couple's wedding was truly magical... Ruth and Braden, we are so happy for you and you guys are one gorgeous couple!

This wedding goes down as the most fun wedding of the year... I appreciate the guys who were willing to take this shot for the bride and groom.  My wife is standing behind them holding the flash while squatting down so that she won't be in the pic.  LOL  Seriously, one day, we will show you what all goes on to make a shot possible and I think many of you will really enjoy it!  Helen was the happiest bride I've ever seen!  Her smile never left her face the entire day... Josh was the most caring groom ever too.  He made sure that everyone was well taken care of and I truly appreciated that.

FREEEEEEEEDOM!  I don't know about you, but I remember my wedding day, and I really felt like I had freedom.  That I had everything... there was not a care or worry in my mind.  It was the most joyous day of my life... Just like the way Kanani looks like she's about to fly, I felt that way as well.  Kanani and Lewis, we hope that you always live in freedom and fly with your dreams...

First looks... it's still a new tradition for many, but as a photographer, I sure do love it.  It creates a special time for just the bride and groom.  Weddings are of course great, but sometimes, if you think about it, bride and groom never get time alone on their most special day.  But with first looks, you can!  There's no distraction from anyone around, so they're able to express all that they're feeling as they meet as bride and from for the first time.  It's very intimate, and I just love how Lauren is holding Patrick here.  So much emotion... They're so in love and it shows.  As a wedding photographer, photos like these really fulfills me.

Oh, Jessica and Jamie!!!!  Jessica was pregnant with their first child... She was about 7.5 months here.  As a man, I know what Jamie was feeling here.  Words can't describe it.  When the one you love is bearing your child, it's an amazing thing.  It's really a miracle... At this time, I know they just couldn't wait to see their son.  They were wondering what he would look like, what sounds he would make, how big he would be... those wonders are precious.  Well, I know they don't have to wonder any longer, because their son was born recently, and I know they are proud parents!  We saw his pictures online, and what a handsome little man he is!  Jessica and Jamie, we are so happy for you guys!  You guys are such dedicated, amazing parents!

When I see this picture of Jewel and Eric, the word, "balance", comes to mind.  Balance is key to so many things especially in marriage.  Sometimes, it takes a lot of work to balance things out, but together, you can do it.  This couple is loved by the Lord so much... what I admire about them is that they love the Lord back in so many ways.  Their story is so unique and inspiring... they're a couple that knows how to make an impact, and I know that the Lord is very pleased with them.  Can't wait to witness what 2017 holds for Jewel and Eric!

The most emotional groom award goes to Alandis.  Yes, he made me cry.... well, he made everyone cry, and that was a good thing.  Here's their first look moment where he couldn't even look at his bride straight in the face... She was so lovely and he knew it.  He couldn't believe that he was getting married to the love of his life... that this was really happening.  It was so overwhelming and I'm sure he felt like all this was just a dream.  But no, it wasn't!  It was real... he was really getting married.  Wow!  Sometimes, I really can't believe this is my job.  :)

Um.. doesn't this picture look like a fairytale to you?  It sure does to me!  The whole entire day was like a fairytale to me!  I just LOVED Stephanie's blush dress.  This couple was the most laid back couple EVER!  They were so easy going and did everything we asked to make all the shots happen.  Make sure to click their link because their photos are seriously like from a fairytale movie.  :)

The kindest couple award goes to this couple right here!  Winnie and Andrew!  Yup... Andrew cared if I ate or not.  I don't about other wedding photographers, but I'm starved by the end of the night and that meant a lot!  And Winnie... I mean, just look at these pictures... She defines happiness!  Her smile can't get any brighter.  Right?  And the way she feels in these pictures was the way I felt working with them.  It was nothing but joyful!  So for that, thank you, Andrew and Winnie!

I love that Olyvia and Jay did this on their wedding day... We wrote a two part blog recently about putting boundaries on your marriage.  (Click here for Part 1 and Part 2) In this world where everyone has an opinion about everything, you have to really protect your marriage and your family.  You have to know what you believe and stand by it.  You get your wedding day only once and it's sometimes heart breaking when I see couples spend their most special day so hectic.  I love that Olyvia and Jay stopped and had time to breathe and enjoy one another's company alone.

The most classy couple award goes to Megan and Philip.  Look at that dress... look at that couch... look at that bride and groom... I mean, need I say more?  Class act is what this couple is!  It was my first time shooting at the Estate, and Megan and Philip really chose the perfect venue for them and their style.  I hope to shoot here more because it was such a gorgeous venue... I was bummed when I didn't get to shoot Prince William and Princes Kate's wedding a few years ago, but this wedding made up for it because it definitely felt royal.

One of the things we do is send our couples a few sneak peeks right after their wedding.  Sara's reaction was so awesome.  Talk about making someone feel good!  We just recently gave their finished images, and she had the best words to say.  I honestly was not feeling all that well emotionally that evening, and she just pumped me up!  My wife read her email to me and we were almost in tears. Sara and David, did you know you did that to us?  Words are so powerful, aren't they?  They can literally give life to someone... thank you so much for doing that for us, guys!  And.... thank you for having SNOW on your wedding day!  You guys are incredible!


Ginny + David's wedding just happened last night... It was pretty cold, but when I saw this area all lit up, I had to take a shot for Ginny and David.  Ginny was a trooper!  She had a jacket on and right before I was about to take a picture, my wife grabbed the jacket from her.  :)  Wow!  This wedding was a photographer's dream... it was as if only angels were allowed to this wedding.  We are not just saying it either!  What a way to end the year!  That pumped us up so much for next year!  Ginny and David, you guys "lit" us up just like this pic.  :)  Thank you for everything...

That's a wrap!  Well, hope you guys enjoyed a little flashback of our year.  Again, we are so grateful for you!  It's mind boggling to me when our clients say, "thank you" to us.  We thank YOU... you are the reason behind our business... you are why we do what we do.  Without you, we would have no purpose!  We live to create more things for you... Thank you for allowing us to serve you... Thank you for making our business dream come true.  We are truly grateful.  As we enter a new year, we wish you all the best year yet!  We will be bringing fresh and new ideas in 2017  to make your lives even more memorable so hope you\'re excited as much as we are! We always hope and pray that your marriage will continue to grow and that your love for one another becomes deeper every year.  We love you all... We hope to be a part of your family's next significant event.  Happy New Year!