Category Archives: Photography

Aaron.

AaronFavorite

An artist I greatly respect, Jeremy Cowart, regularly works with a singer you might know – Imogen Heap.  If you haven’t heard Imogen’s work, you should go make that happen first.  She’s brilliant.

A lot of the commentary I’ve heard from those that help on Jeremy’s shoots with Imogen are beautiful.  One assistant went so far as to say that observing these two at work was a privilege.  The process seems so easy, he said.
And this is exactly how it felt to work with Aaron.

When he asked me to take some images for him, we had known each other all of three days.  It seemed casual and I decided that if he was really interested, he would bring it up again.  And he did!  Normally, my full shoots are about an hour and a half long.  Usually, it takes the client about thirty minutes to get comfortable  – this is so normal!  It’s part of the reason I act as ridiculous as possible.  We have to loosen you up and laughter is the best way to do that, I’ve found.  (The other part of the reason is that I am simply ridiculous.  Let’s not kid anyone. 🙂 )

He took only about ten minutes and that typical time slot easily stretched into three hours.  The session was easy, as if I was hanging out with a longtime friend. He was willing to do just about anything I asked. Don’t worry, he laughed at my ridiculousness, too.  (Doesn’t everybody??)

The result of such an immediately easy collaboration are images I am quite proud of.  I will, forever and always, encourage folks to work with artists they fit with.  Stand in front of the lens of someone who allows you to be comfortable in your own skin.  Appreciate and accept them for who they are, trust what they will produce for you, and enjoy the company.  When you spend time with someone who makes you comfortable, and they relax around you, the imagery reaches a whole new level.

HUGE thanks to Provision Co. of Charleston for letting us use their space! xoxo

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Birfday.

New York, NY.

New York, NY.

Yep, that’s my arm in one of my favorite places on earth on my favorite New Year’s Eve of. all. time.  That day is a whole ‘nother story and is best done in person for the facial expressions and accents.  Also, it’s not the point of today’s blog.  What’s written on my arm is the point.  I got this tattoo (my only…so far) in my own handwriting because I wanted a daily reminder of what my life was supposed to be about.  Like all of us, sometimes I forget.  And, sometimes, I chase my Momma around the kitchen pointing at my ink to point her back to what it’s supposed to be about.  She laughs, but it works. 🙂

My daily hope is that you won’t see my brokenness or all the ways I am messed up, which are many.  I know you will see these things, but my hope is that you will see that Love is what holds me together.  It is goodness and joy and patience and gentleness and kindness that are woven throughout me and that is not my own doing, no, not at all.  I call the type of love I have received “Love with a capital L” because it is that grand.  And didn’t God say that’s what He was?  So, I capitalize it, like a name, because it is one.

Today’s giveaway is my favorite one yet, all wrapped up in love and tied with a pretty string.  And though I, typically, loathe over-processed and insanely marketed holiday hoopla, I hope you’ll indulge yourself just a bit with me.  For today’s giveaway is, count ’em folks, one-hour sessions – with a couple of catches (that I don’t think are all that big!).  We will be hosting all of the sessions together, on Saturday February 22nd, at one location in Raleigh, NC.  Please keep this in mind when you enter!

This is where you come in.  We want to see who you love and WHY!  Send us a photo of someone you adore and tell us all about what makes them special.  We will choose five of these folks and each will spend an hour with us laughing as much as I can get them to and feeling as special as we can manage.  Husbands, show us your wives who need some gorgeous photos to remind them how beautiful they really are.  Wives, tell us how much you love your husband and let us show him, too!  You can nominate your best friend, your daughter, your co-worker, it is entirely up to you.  You’ve got three ways to tell us all about them and you can start now and cannot be any later than 11:59pm on February 1st:
*Share the photo and story on our Facebook wall: www.facebook.com/AmarisPhoto
*Send us an email with the photo and story here: talktous@amarishames.com
*Send us a real live letter with your photo and story to here:
Amaris Photography
514 Daniels St.
#137
Raleigh NC 27605

Winners will be announced on Thursday, February 13th right here in this space.  Don’t ask us how we are going to pick because, frankly, I have only a small idea.  It will probably require other people because I would want to pick ALL OF YOU.  True story.

Speaking of winners, let’s chat about yesterday, shall we? 🙂  Yesterday’s giveaway was four full sessions at half off 2013 rates.  Sessions must be used during the 2014 calendar year and are limited to within 300 miles of Raleigh, NC unless you’re willing to pay travel expenses.  Because, let’s be real, I l.o.v.e. to travel!  All of these sessions include at least 36 edited images with rights to print for personal use and should be FUN!  With that, Jon Schweitzer, Amanda Millard, Bissy Cook and Clare Sifford, get in touch with us!!

Every day, as I’ve gone to choose winners, I’ve been downright GIDDY to do the random number generator and figure out who got picked.  THANK YOU for spending time with me these past few days and I look forward to reading your stories!  Weddings, we’ve got a special something for you tomorrow, so be on the lookout.

And yes, it’s my birfday today.  So, go share this blog with everyone you love so they can brag on people THEY love and I’m going to have my portrait captured by a great friend.  Let’s get real, there will probably also be bourbon involved today.  Because it’s my birfday and I can do what I want. 🙂

Tons of Love,
amaris

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It’s day 4!

Happy Saturday, y’all!

Being able to stay at my Momma’s through my birthday has been super great (and I don’t just say that because there are cinnamon rolls baking in the next room) (ok, maybe a little bit).  Add it to these five days of giveaways and so far, 2014 is off to a pretty great start. 🙂

Yesterday, for day 3, we gave away 3 one hour teaching sessions for folks who wanted to learn more about photography or take their camera on a date or just ask me a thousand questions.  Included in this is a one year subscription to one of my favorite photography magazines – winner’s choice!  Though I failed to mention (womp wompppp), winners can redeem these hours anytime in 2014.  And three one hour sessions mean three winners – eep!  So, drum roll on the table – Amy Crouch, Lora Schuldt and Lauren McKay – congrats!! Simply email us to get on the schedule: talktous@amarishames.com

Joel.

If you haven’t figured out yet, the number of presents matches the date of the giveaway.  Since today is the 4th, yep, we’ve got four things to giveaway today.  Have you thought about purchasing a session with us this year?  Are you having a baby and want a newborn lifestyle session?  Does your family want photos in the early fall for Christmas cards?  Does your kindergartner want a spring photo?  Well, we are letting four full sessions go at half off our 2013 prices!  Read: Four full sessions at $165 each to be redeemed anytime during 2014, provided the date is available.  As always, our full sessions will include at least 36 edited images with rights to print for personal use and will be hosted in your own online gallery.  *Sessions are limited to within 300 miles of Raleigh, NC unless you are willing to pay for travel.  We will always travel!* For gallery examples, simply click here to see how ours work!

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The fine print, as promised:
*To be entered for the day, simply share the post!  On Instagram and Twitter, be sure to link back to our accounts.  If on Facebook, use the “Share” button.  We’d love to save you a *lot* of notifications.
*Then, comment below!  *You gotta comment or we don’t know who you are*
*You’ll have until 11:59pm EST  today to enter.  On tomorrow’s blog, we’ll announce today’s winner!  We’ll be using a random number generator to pick a winner (because I would want to pick all of you).
*If you win, get in touch with us here: talktous@amarishames.com

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Tomorrow’s giveaway is a doozie and will be all wrapped up in love.  Because it’s my birthday.  And at the end of every day, I hope that Love remains my top priority. 🙂

Get to sharing!  And then, tell us about it!
xoxo
amaris

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Day Three!

I love this.

My hope is that you love this just as much.  Who doesn’t love a giveaway?! 🙂

Yesterday’s prize was two-fold and, if you’re just joining us, we had two mini sessions to gift.  Our mini sessions are up to 1 hour in length with 1 look at 1 location and include at least 12 edited images with rights to print.  Because I just *knew* that I would be terrible at picking, Alison did the random number generator for me.  And our two winners are Mimi Disfraz and Sarah Sugg!  (Did you just dance in your chair a bit?  I sure hope so.)  So, ladies, shoot us an email here: talktous@amarishames.com – we’ll get you started!

Traffic these past couple of days has been absolutely crazy pants and I am straight loving what this is turning into.  Y’all are the BEST. 🙂  Thank you for sharing and loving and believing.  It’s amazing!

At the moment, Alison is reviewing the copy for Sunday’s blog post and it is a straight doozy.  It is my favorite of this whole thing and I always save favorites for last – it’s why we’re holding on to it until my birthday!  I really hope you’ll be around for that one.

For today, we have a minor change.  After a couple of conversations, we learned that it was possible we weren’t seeing all of the shares.  We don’t know if that’s true or not, cross your fingers!  But, to make sure it’s an even playing field, *please comment below after you have shared*.  That way, you’re all in fairly!  Thank you for the patience as we try to make this as fun as possible.

Today’s giveaway is for any of you that really love photography.  If you have a camera you wish you knew how to work better, or want to take better images, or would like to ask a professional photographer 149.6 questions – this is your day!  In 2014, our available products will include teaching hours and I am SO excited to give away THREE 1-hour teaching sessions.  These are in-person only and normally priced at $65/hour.  I’m happy to do this for anyone in a location I will be traveling to this year – and with Raleigh, DC, Charlotte, Nashville, NYC, Prague, Budapest and London on the agenda, we could do this almost wherever!  For each of the 3 winners, we will include a year subscription to one of my three favorite photography magazines for new photographers.  It’s winner’s choice!

Fine print, as promised:
*To be entered for the day, simply share the post!  On Instagram and Twitter, be sure to link back to our accounts.  If on Facebook, use the “Share” button.  We’d love to save you a *lot* of notifications.
*Then, comment below!
*You’ll have until 11:59pm EST  today to enter.  On tomorrow’s blog, we’ll announce the today’s winner!  We’ll be using a random number generator to pick a winner (because I would want to pick all of you).
*If you win, get in touch with us here: talktous@amarishames.com

So, what does one post on a giveaway like today?
Pictures of me & my team at work, duh.
I hope this lets you see that we like to keep it *fun*.  Share away, friends!

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Happy New Birthday – day 2!

Y’all, I am already in love with this process.

I generated a number from yesterday’s entries, went to the spreadsheet to see who that was, and did a little EEP when I saw that it was Amy Phillips Smith!
Why I haven’t done this before is beyond me. 🙂
So, Amy, shoot us an email and we’ll get you all of the details for your full session.  If you’d like a certificate to give away, just let us know!

This whole idea has had two side effects I just didn’t see coming.  First, my Facebook exploded!  The second has been all the kind words written over the past 24 hours.  You all are incredibly generous with your praise and I’m so stinking grateful for such love.  For real.

With that, let’s get to today’s giveaway!  If you shared the link after midnight last night, I saw you!  You’ve been entered for today.  Remember that sharing on Instagram or Twitter gets you an extra entry!  However, you have to link back to our Instagram or Twitter accounts to be counted as we otherwise have no idea you’ve shared.  Additionally, please use the “Share” button on Facebook.  We want to make sure everyone gets entered that wants to and, if you want to make sure, just shoot us a message once you’ve posted!  I hope that works for everyone.

Fine print, as promised:
*To be entered for the day, simply share the post!  On Instagram and Twitter, be sure to link back to our accounts.  If on Facebook, use the “Share” button.  We’d love to save you a *lot* of notifications.
*You’ll have until 11:59pm EST of that day to enter.  On the next day’s blog, we’ll announce the previous day’s winner!  We’ll be using a random number generator to pick a winner (because I would want to pick all of you).
*If you win, get in touch with us here: talktous@amarishames.com

For day 2, we have 2 mini-sessions for the grabbing.  Hey ohhhhh!
Our mini-sessions are up to 1 hour in length with 1 look at 1 location.  They include at least 12 edited images with rights to print for personal use and were priced at $180 during 2013.  These are most successful for families with wee ones, as they’ve got limited attention spans and I can only chase a 2 year old for about an hour before I’m just exhausted. 🙂
*One session to be redeemed between Feb 1 and June 1.  The other between Sept 1 and Dec 1.  Location is limited to within 150 miles of Raleigh, NC unless you’re willing to pay travel expenses.  We will always travel!*

The images here are some of our favorites from mini-sessions this past year.  Incredibly grateful for the clients that brighten our days. 🙂
Share away, y’all!

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Happy New Birthday!

Hi, friends!

It’s officially 2014 and I absolutely love this time of year.  We have all survived the holidays (don’t lie, the stress got to you at least once, too) and it feels like a clean slate with new beginnings.  I am a firm believer that anything and everything is capable of redemption.  A new year is always a new chance to do things better.  With all this newness also comes my second favorite day of the year – my birthday!

On January 5th, I turn another year older.  Yep, I was one of those kids in school whose birthday sometimes fell in the midst of the Christmas break and, quite often, I wasn’t really able to have parties due to where it was on the calendar.  Everyone’s recovering from the Christmas mayhem, still out of town, broke, the list goes on.  When I turned 21, I decided to change things and make each year amazing, somehow.  As I get older, each year is my favorite.  This one is no exception.

For a few great people are coming to eat great Mexican and drink tequila with me and a dear friend is road tripping to hug my neck.  I’m excited!  However, my way of making this year really great is to bring all the goodies to YOU.
Whaaaaaaaaa?
Crazy, right?

We’ve got a lot of newness around here ourselves, and you’ll see some noticeable changes starting January 6th.  We will also be announcing one of my most favorite ideas ever on Monday (and it’s about weddings!).  However, in these first few days of a brand new year, the presents are all yours.

Here’s the fine print (skimmers, pay attention starting now!):
*Each day, just after lunchtime, we’ll post a blog with the days giveaway on all of our social media feeds.  We’ll be using a variety of images representing all the kinds of portraiture we love to capture.  All of the information about that prize will be listed.
*To be entered for that day, simply share the post!  On Instagram and Twitter, be sure to link back to our accounts.  If on Facebook, use the “Share” button.  We’d love to save you a *lot* of notifications.
*You’ll have until 11:59pm EST of that day to enter.  On the next day’s blog, we’ll announce the previous day’s winner!  We’ll be using a random number generator to pick a winner (because I would want to pick all of you).
*If you win, get in touch with us here: talktous@amarishames.com

And don’t worry, we will make sure to post this fine print every day, just in case you want a reminder.  If you’re curious, yes, a twitter share and a Facebook share count as *two* entries!

Still with me?  I hope so. 🙂  Because today is day one!

We decided to start the New Year off right by gifting one full session.  Our full sessions include 2 hours of time & talent, 2 looks, 2 locations.  We use these for individuals, families, and engagements, amongst other things!  Included with the session are at least 36 edited images with rights to print for personal use.
*Session must be redeemed between February 1 and June 1.  Location is limited to within 300 miles of Raleigh, NC unless you’d like to pay travel expenses.  We will always travel!*

The images below are some of my favorite in 2013 from a few of our full sessions.  We have some great clients that aren’t afraid to laugh!

Thanks for all of the support.  It means so so much.  Have a gorgeous New Year’s Day, wherever you are. 🙂
Now, get to sharing!

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Best of 2013

Holy mother, what a year.

There were definitely times that I thought I wouldn’t make it.  You would never know, looking through these images, of all the moments I wanted to throw in all the towels and drive to the ocean with a case of wine in the back seat.  An artist I deeply respect says that when launching new endeavors, you learn who really has your back and who doesn’t.  Jeremy Cowart, you speak so much truth.

Almost one year ago, I decided to make photography the only job.
What a year.
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Cameron Robinson knew he wanted to propose and have a photographer on hand to capture it, as he’s a photographer himself!  Insert me and the most nervous ten minutes of my. entire. life.  My friend Brian joined me at the table in Charlotte, just feet from Cameron and (his now wife!) Joy.  We had some time with them after the proposal and they are two of the most radiant souls walking the earth.  I can think of no other way to spend Valentine’s Day.

Advance 2013
Music has this magical way of resonating through the chambers of my everything.  Even more so, when I am immersed in it.  Some of my most favorite memory clips involve loud voices and drums.  Advance13 was an Acts29 conference hosted in Raleigh for many of their leaders and pastors.  As many of those within the Acts29 network are men, I found myself holding my little metal box in Memorial Auditorium amongst a sea of men singing praise to our Jesus.  There are not many moments that cause me to put the camera down and just soak it in, but this was one of them.  I simply stood and listened in complete awe.  In a society that speaks so much negativity over men, it was moving to be in the midst of this.  I hope to carry this one with me forever.

Printed
My work got published for the first time ever this year and not just once, but twice!  A piece from Prague was put in the NC State Design School’s magazine at the end of the 2012-2013 year.  Simply titled “Egg & Bread” many folks have asked if they might print it for their kitchens or something similar and it is now available as a print!  Then, my *amazing* friend Jen Bonchak & her Slingshot Coffee got featured in Southern Living.  “If anyone can pull something like this out of their ass, it’s you!” <—Might be one of my biggest compliments ever.  My portrait of Jen graced their July issue!

MiFamilia_302
Meet Renee’.  Look familiar?  If you guessed this is my sister, you would be correct!  She’s in this year-end recap because this might be the first time she has ever, in the history of ever, voluntarily graced my camera.  My sister is a takes-no-prisoners type of girl and I love her for it.  With many a bride, I’ve joked that whenever I get married, Renee’ will be the point of contact for the details because she’ll handle it all before I even know there’s a problem.  She’s amazing and also a creative.  We help keep each other sane.  If you haven’t met her, you should make that happen!

Rosalie
Ohhhhh, Rosa.  This pretty girl came home after two years in Uganda only to stay for a year and go right back!  Rosalie has this radiant spirit that infects you and I am so so thankful to call her my friend.  Her emails are like small novels and I save them in my inbox for times when I can grab a snack and settle in for what I know will be a great read.  If your heart has ever been pulled to Africa or missions, in general, click her name and get in touch.  I can’t wait to visit her at her second home.

Hartweg
Chelsea & Dana Hartweg have to be two of the most generous and understanding people walking the planet.  I captured their wedding in fall 2011 and, like most wedding days, things were hectic and crazy.  My skills also weren’t anywhere near where they are now.  So, when all three of us learned we would be in Charleston, SC on the same weekend, I emailed them.  “This will sound crazy, but you want to bring your wedding clothes and get dressed up again?  I’ll bring my camera?”  I could almost audibly hear the “YES!!!” that was the reply.  We grabbed some flowers, they got dressed, and we walked around the beauty that is downtown Charleston ’til our hearts content.  I’ll be offering these sessions going forward in 2014, as couples that do them all think they’re amazing.  The Hartweg’s have been believers in me since the beginning of this ride and I’m so thankful for them, their hearts, and their constant encouragement.

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Beau.
To be honest, we first met online through a series of Skype calls.  Our mutual friend, Ben, was all “Hey you’re both in Europe! You should hang out!”  Beau was in Barcelona and I was in Prague, so the connection was crap and we could only use audio.  The internet in Europe laughs at video connections!  We met in real life when I went to Barcelona for a few days and then intentionally went to New York City for a holiday weekend this spring.  He walked my ass all OVER the place and I am the better for it.  There are people that come along who make your friendship easy and support you, no matter what crazy happens.  This is one of mine.
And I’m so glad he’s here.

Tabitha
If you’ve ever met Tabitha in real life, you would have a hard time realizing that image on the left is her.  But, it is.  We partnered together to tell her story of redemption through a series of portraits and I. love. this. woman.  Her support this year has been incredibly kind and I’m grateful that she’s coming more and more into understanding just how beautiful she is.
“I had never held photographs that made me feel pretty before”, she said.
“But, now I have.”
Blown away.  Absolutely blown away.  I am.

Minnesota
Minnesota.
I had never been before July and, because I’m not entirely mentally stable, I decided to drive.  Yes, from Carolina.  It was great on multiple levels.  I started taking random pit stops with my car when I thought it was pretty out.  What kind of rush am I in anyways?
The world’s happiest baby, Hope, graced my lens for just a few moments as I got to know her parents and her favorite uncle.  That uncle is a man that brought me back to health.  He loves me and supports me and returned me to stable ground in ways I doubt he even knows about.  Minnesota was one of the most refreshing times of my whole year.
You should go.

Brodie
Yep, that’s me in the middle.  That crazy fool on my left is Luke.  And the crazy fool in the glasses?  Justin Brodie.
These two guys bring joy to my life on a level I cannot even explain.  We get together for food and we wind up singing Lady Gaga at the top of our lungs.  People will stare at The Pit because we are laughing so hard there are tears.  More than once, I’ve had to walk away to catch my breath.  And the three of us are all wired the same in that we will do whatever it takes to get things done.  Luke has shown up with a milkshake on a crappy day as many times as he’s helped me move something.  When my train didn’t show once, he told me to get my ass in the car and drove me to Charlotte.
Brodie left us to go serve in Romania, where he still is, and with all things going well, I’ll be leading a team from the states to his non-profit in Romania next July.
Come with!  Must be ok with singing at the top of your lungs and laughing ’til you cry.

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The McClure’s!
God, I love these people.  They are living in Prague with their ah.DOR.able daughter Heidi Marie and kicking so much tail at it!  When I had the chance to capture a wedding in the wine country of Italy, I asked Brian if I could come visit on my way.  Without hesitation, I was invited into their home and picked up at the airport.  They love Love and it shows.  I can’t wait to capture a wedding in Prague next summer with Brian as a second shooter.  It is going to be amazing.

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Welcome to my crazy family.
Right after Europe (no, literally, ONE DAY after I got back from Europe), I was on a plane to Vegas to see my baby brother and his long-time girlfriend tie the knot in Vegas, complete with Elvis!  Two weeks later, they held a reception in downtown Charleston.
We don’t do anything boring in this group.
And I love them.

Parish
“I’m sitting in this class for the state department on some medical training and for, gosh, at least half an hour, Rob taught with a piece of tubing hanging out of his ear – with the other end coming out of his nose!”
Yep, that sounds about right.  Somehow, even with mess like that, he won over the student in that class for the state department and Mandy is here to stay.
And all of us rejoiced!
She’s beautiful and the perfect compliment to him.  I was overjoyed to be asked to capture their January DC wedding.
Yep, they’re getting married next month.  Currently, they’re wandering Central America somewhere.
Haha, I love it!

Doing an end of the year recap forces me to look back at all the incredible opportunities I’ve had.  It certainly hasn’t been an easy road, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Over 150 of you graced the other side of my lens this year.  In October alone, I clicked the shutter button 28 days out of 31.
For a girl that doesn’t advertise, I’m so *so* grateful.  Thank you doesn’t come close to covering it, but is a start.
Thank you.  Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

Have a beautiful holiday!
In so much Love,
Amaris

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Portraits give worth.

Love Wins.  October 2012.

Love Wins. October 2012.

This couple overcame homelessness.  With four kids and against all odds, they pulled themselves out of the quicksand that can be life on the streets with a lot of help from community and quite a bit of hard work.  It is possible and, in the midst of it, they found each other and found love.  On a gorgeous October afternoon, they got married.  Just that week, I was asked to capture it.  “They have no money”, the email said.  “Could you do it?”
YES.

My raving positive opinions of the organization who did the asking aside, I regularly work with people to achieve win-win situations.  Wherein they get wonderful memories and I get to be a part of their story.  So often, it is absolutely beautiful.  Throughout this entire journey, I’ve learned that capturing someone’s portrait is a way to show them how worthy they are.  It’s a reminder of how much beauty they really possess.  There’s a reason I laugh so much during a session – I’ve found it’s the best way to help others relax.  When you’re relaxed, I get a shot to show the world how great you really are.

Like this couple, portraits aren’t always in the budget.  Sometimes, they are so far out of the budget that they’re a dream.  There are quite a few deserving families in highly impoverished situations that would benefit so much from some time with a photographer and a print that reminds them they still possess beauty.

There is an organization that strives to close this gap and they are incredible!  Each December, I hop on a team with other photographers, make-up artists, and stylists worldwide to contribute to Help Portrait.  It is an experience I can’t properly give a voice to.  Through much generosity, folks who might not have ever had their picture captured get a chance to have their portrait done by a professional.  Often, there are hair cuts, food, and sometimes even clothes up for grabs.
And the only hitch is that it must all be free.

As Help Portrait rocks the planet, I’m grateful to be involved.  However, as money for prints is quite limited and the event is only one day each year, the reach is limited.  Prints are, too.

This tiny little project right here is a chance to change that in Carolina.

For a donation of $100, an individual or family will receive a mini-session with one of our photographers and a $20 print credit.  Their images will be hosted in an online gallery where we can access their images for up to two years.  If they lose a print?  We’ll happily replace it.  There are non-profits that have come forward in both Charleston, SC and Raleigh, NC with deserving folks.  I definitely wish we could spend time with each of them, but supplies and prints and gas come at a cost.  Your donation covers just that – costs.  All of the labor will be given out of Love.

We are super excited about launching this and especially at such a special time of the year.

If you can, give.  If you can’t, let us know if you know of a family that could benefit.  Above all else, we hope you show kindness to all this holiday season.

Happy Holidays!
Thanks for being so stinking awesome.

xoxo,
amaris

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Love makes the world go ’round.

It shouldn’t be news to anyone that I love my job.

As I told Brian earlier this week, it is an addictive gig and especially so if you love people.  Fantastic clients are what make the sweet moments that much sweeter & we are so thankful for this path, however long it winds up being.  Watching relationships grow as we walk with them is a joy and I started young.  My wonderful everyone-loves-them parents are married 37 years today!  If you know them, go say congratulations!!

I mean, seriously.  My parents are adorable.

I mean, seriously. My parents are adorable.

Occasionally, incredible opportunities come up that I just can’t turn down.  In less than 48 hours for example, I will board a plane for the Czech Republic and have the privilege of second shooting a wedding for that same Brian mentioned earlier.  I am so so excited. 🙂  Then, just a couple of weeks later, I’ll travel from Milan, Italy to Asti – wine country.  Fabrizio & Alice will pledge their vows and have invited me to be a part and I am equally as excited!

Quite a few of my most favorite people are scattered around the world.  My sister lives in Houston (and we still aren’t sure why – have you driven in Houston traffic??), a favorite resides in Minneapolis, Faith up & moved to England and a girl who makes me laugh harder than almost anyone else calls Washington, DC home.  It’s difficult sometimes, when the people you love the most require an hour train ride, a long plane ride, and a passport to spend time with.  It’s worth it, though.

And so, when I got an email from Rachel announcing her engagement (after I read it on Facebook, of course, because what isn’t on Facebook?), I was totally thrilled!  And when she asked me to photograph her wedding, I promised to do anything I could for her.  Rachel is one of my best friends for well over a decade.  We bonded over our experiences as members of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and while I decided to not return to the organization, she is still with them in Chiang Mai.
Yes, Thailand.

Engagement_EmaRachel108

Photo ©Paul Nunavath

Asia has been her home for quite some time and we have chatted for *hours* on Skype about boys.  It’s one of our most favorite topics!  As women entering our thirties and still not married, there’s a lot of things folks like to tell us to remind us that we aren’t getting any younger.  The boys have evolved and we have, too.  The older we get, it seems, the younger they get.  Anyone else have this problem?  Just us?

But, there were other plans in the works.  Along comes Ema.
Emmanuel.
Tanzanian and tall and outgoing and wanting to become a part of YWAM.  Literally walked right through her door.  He completed a YWAM school at Rachel’s base and went back to be on staff as he felt like he was not done with his talents in Chiang Mai.  Of course, Rachel was there, too.

Photo ©Paul Nunavath

Photo ©Paul Nunavath

And there lies the rub.
As Rachel & Ema are missionaries, a wedding is hardly in their budget much less a wedding photographer.  Much less one from the States!  But, my friend would like her day photographed by her great friend and so I will do what I promised and do anything I can to go capture her big day.

Photo ©Paul Nunavath

Photo ©Paul Nunavath

To this end, all non-wedding sessions booked through October 1st will receive 15% off in an effort to generate extra funds so that I may board a plane to Thailand in December.  Plane tickets to Asia are not cheap, y’all.  If you would like to take part of this promotion, please get in touch with us via email at talktous@amarishames.com and mention Thailand.  Sessions must be used before June 1st, 2014.  If you’d like to donate miles or to the cause directly, simply let us know that, too.

Every girl deserves to have beautiful photos of her big day.  Especially when a lot of the people she loves the most require an hour train ride, a 14 hour plane ride, and a passport to come see it.

Wouldn't you want to get married here? Photo ©Paul Nunavath

Ema & Rachel’s wedding venue
Photo ©Paul Nunavath

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New seasons are like fresh air.

Welcome!

If you’ve been around for one hour or one year, I hope you feel welcome here.  This is something I’ve always wanted to say about my work and my home.  My extrovert personality and hospitality wiring means there’s a good chance we’re going to get along.  I love people.

It was this personality and wiring combination that led me to here, I’d say.  Photography began as an elective at college so I could transfer into NC State University.  Once at State, a professor saw my work and believed in me.  My parents did, too.  And then friends who were willing to stand in front of my lens as I figured out what I was doing.  I was a design minor and anthropology major at State and the business officially “launched” while I was still in school full-time.  A study abroad program in photography in Prague, six months at a job that was a bad fit, and here we are.  So far, the plane has (mostly) flown.  And it has all been a result of a lot of grace and a lot of people believing in me.  It’s not something I take lightly.

If this is your first time here, I hope you find something you love.  Creating art, for any artist, is like taking this little piece of ourselves and putting it out on display for anyone walking by to criticize.  Or praise.  Or ignore.  It can be a difficult place.  But, photography gives worth to people.  It never fails when I walk into a living room or an office or watch someone’s wallet open and I am brought face to face with images I captured.  They’re printed and tangible and alive.  The owner of these loves them and cherishes them and I am always a bit speechless.  It’s incredible to create something that has such an effect on others.

We’ve got a ton of new things for you to discover!  All new galleries that are brighter, cleaner, and easier to navigate.  If you are a previous client, don’t worry, your links and passwords still work. 🙂  This blog has been created specifically for all things business related.  You’ll find us bragging about our clients, other artists, and tips on lots of things.  Later this week, I’ll give you a few ways to take better photos when you’re standing in front of the camera.  I’ve got a couple of my favorite tricks that nearly every client deems crazy at the time – then they see the results.  On the whole, we want this to serve as a place where we can connect with you and share with you!

Part of the new season is an addition of a permanent administrative assistant.  Please welcome Alison Kendrick to the team with all the kindness you normally extend to me.  You’ll see her around a little and, if you email us, you’ll certainly talk to her a lot!  She is an absolute firecracker and I am so so excited she’s here!

Say hi, Alison!

Say hi, Alison!

All things going well, we will be moving into our very own studio space in downtown Cary by the end of the month!  Keep an eye out for the open house party announcements (can we say food trucks?!) so you can come meet Alison and see some other great local artisans.  Unfortunately, I (Amaris) won’t be able to attend, so y’all – please go in my place.

However, the reason I must miss it is kind of incredible.  All things going well, I will be somewhere in Europe as I travel to Milan, Italy to capture this amazing couple’s wedding day.  World, meet Fabrizio & Alice.  Yes, as of this fall, we are an international photography studio.  I cannot wait for these images.

There’s some other amazing things happening this fall, as well, but we’ll save them for another time.  It is a new season and I am trying to take it all in one day at a time.  Thank you for cheerleading!  It means everything in the world.  This plane flies because of your investment and adoration and I am unable to properly put my gratitude into words.

We are so glad you’re here.
Let’s get started, shall we?

xoxo
amaris

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