Tag Archives: Love


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.
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,

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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?”

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.


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Good to see you, America.

A few thousand images are currently finding their way to my non-mobile backup & I am sitting here in the new studio space on my fifth official day.  There are two other meetings going on, I had a salted caramel mocha this morning from our in-house coffee shop and a new Mucha calendar officially graces the wall.

It is so nice to be back in America.

If you follow us on social media, you’ve seen some of the amazing folks I got to spend time with while abroad.   Asti, Italy is gorgeous.   Prague was, too.  Vegas isn’t my cup of tea, but I am so so glad I got to be present for my baby brother’s wedding day!  I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunities I had while on the go.  And breakfast with my family is never a boring time.  We laughed so hard.

The past five weeks of wandering have been good.  Really hard, too, on quite a lot of levels.  But, as I told Alison earlier today, take mistakes and be better for them.
I’ll let the pictures in the gallery below tell the rest of the story.

Now home, there are a lot of absolutely wonderful things on deck for the next month!  Two beautiful & really close friends are marrying their loves and we have been invited to capture both weddings – which I cannot even tell you how excited I am.  Engagements in the mountains of Virginia (yeah, Juliette & Dave!), quite a few families to spend time with, and two big events.  The first is a Professional Headshot Night at Sitti in downtown Raleigh.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit one of my favorite non-profits on this whole big earth, CORRAL, and who doesn’t love a beer on someone else’s tab?  (Hint: That’s my tab.  Just for the record.)

We wrap up all that is beautiful in October with a visit from one of my favorite people and my very first gallery show!  Approximately 25 of my images will grace the walls of City Gallery in downtown Raleigh and I would really love to see you.  Plus, you’d get to meet the favorite in town. 😉
Come visit.

In Light & Laughter,

A few favorites from the wandering:

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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.


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.
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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