Tag Archives: wedding photography

Real Life Happens

Words are not really something I struggle with.

Okay, occasionally, my vocabulary falls a little short, but I definitely can chat it up with the best of them.  A few friends would probably claim that I can talk to a brick wall (which is so not true – I can talk *at* a brick wall).  However, when events happen like the one outlined here, I have a hard time formulating the proper words on multiple levels.  I’ll try to just stick to a factual Reader’s Digest, so hang in here with me.  It’s worth it! 🙂

Being a photographer of people, especially weddings, is a part of your soul.  It is ingrained in you.  While I’m on a personal mission to attend a wedding as a guest with a good lookin’ man by the end of the year (no, seriously), I’ll probably chat it up with the photographers at the reception, anyways.  Though I don’t get asked to attend or capture all of them, I am acutely aware of what friends are engaged and when their weddings will be happening.  I seriously can’t help it.

And so, when I received a Facebook message at 10:58am on a Sunday from the about-to-be Katie Douros, asking me to call her ASAP, I already knew it was her wedding day.  By grace, I was sitting at my computer, with plans to process images for pretty much the rest of the day.  I called her immediately and a shaky voice answered.  Before she completed the entire sentence of “My photographer got the date wrong”, I was changing out of my yoga clothes and into wedding clothes and scouring the apartment for bobby pins to pull my hair back.  I am so thankful I keep my workhorse camera bag ready to go at all times.
Yes, their hired photographer got the date wrong.  As this person lived five hours away in South Carolina – and the ceremony was in five hours – all of the pre-wedding photos would have no photographer.  Katie was en route to get ready as we chatted on the phone.  I asked her for the address of where she would be and the contact information for the hired photographer, so that we could determine a game plan.

Not thirty minutes after I talked with Katie on the phone, I walked in to the room where her hair was being done.  And seeing me gave her permission to release the stress.  Cue all the tears.  We have a running joke amongst us wedding photographers that we are part photographer, part hair stylist, boutonniere pinners, stylists and therapists.  It takes a special person.  As I bear hugged that beautiful girl, letting her know we had it all under control, I had one of those fleeting moments of “This is why I do this”.

Jon + Katie’s bridal party was absolutely amazing.  Their radiant ladies and hilarious gentlemen helped the day move so smoothly, despite the speed bumps.  I cannot even begin to thank them enough for being such bright lights of support that day!  As I showed up to the groomsmen’s house, Jon looked at one of his groomsmen and asked what I was doing there.  “She’s not our photographer,” he said.  Knowing what had happened, his groomsman smiled and replied “Now she is.”

Through the power of social media, two other beautiful women came running to save the day.  The lovely and talented Lauren Jolly Thomas captured church details and onward while the beautiful Cindy Parkhurst Schepers came barreling up the interstate from the coast and met me for the first look and stayed until the very end.  Jon and Katie now had not just one photographer, but three!  As I had an evening session I simply could not reschedule, I gave everyone a rough play-by-play 20 minutes before ceremony and hugged them.  The original photographer had arrived (after much pleading on my behalf – and by pleading, I mean I’m pretty sure I could have been nicer) and those three ladies stayed for the remainder of the day.

As I strive to say only true and necessary things, let me just say the following.  First, Jon and Katie are incredible.  She really might be the sweetest person I’ve ever met.  Ever.  Despite the crazy and the overcast skies, this girl was BEAMING.  She was silly and dancing and loved every single second.  Going through their images has already been a joy. 🙂

Secondly, events like this are exactly why I operate our weddings like we do.  We are on board from day one working alongside our brides to answer their schedule questions, share our wedding vendor knowledge and work on their photography lists.  When things happen (and they always do) we already know the schedule and the plan and can step alongside to make the day the best it can possibly be.  We have served as wedding coordinators (when one didn’t show), flower delivery folks, bourbon suppliers, dress steamers, chauffeurs when taxis never came and the list goes on.  While we certainly understand budgetary concerns, if photos are important to you, look for someone who operates in a similar fashion.  No matter what your overall budget, your photographer should be communicative, knowledgable and a strong partner.

Wedding days are important.  They carry weight.  Images are so special.
I was so glad I was in town to be a part of the team to capture this one.

Jon and Katie Douros, congratufreakinglations!!!
We are so thrilled to have spent the day with you.

Tons o’ Love,
Your Dream Team

Queen Bee Note:
As the schedule speed bump threw the day off quite a bit, time was short (and it was pretty frigid) for bride and groom portraits.   So, on a really sunny Sunday a month later, they got back in their clothes and spent the day with five of us photographers – including me, Cindy and Lauren!  Some of the images below are from that day.  We just couldn’t narrow their blog post down to the one day.  🙂




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Martin + Barbora – Brno, Czech Republic

After living in Prague for a few months in 2012, I had become friends with a family – the McClure’s.  Brian & Ali are some of the BEST people you’ll ever meet and I’d say that even if they weren’t incredibly generous.  When I knew that I would be traveling to the continent for a wedding in Asti, Italy earlier this year, I knew I wanted to go back to Prague.  Go in a warmer month, hug the neck of Adad, and see the McClure’s!  Brian offered to pick me up from the airport and as soon as I walked into their apartment, Ali was offering me food and tea.

Previously, when I told them the weekend I wanted to visit, Brian laughed.  “I’m photographing a wedding that weekend – want to help?!”
Um, YES.

Within hours of landing in Prague, my jet-lagged self and the McClure’s were off to Brno to capture the day of Martin + Barbora.  I learned a whole pile of things that are unique to European weddings & almost felt like a new photographer in a lot of ways.  And when I walked into the house to spend time with the bride as she got ready, I remembered one of the things I loved the most about the Czech Republic.  See, many from the States don’t understand the personalities of those living in eastern Europe – if you’ve been, you know that we Americans are quite loud and sometimes obnoxious comparatively.  Only after spending time with people of the region do you realize that most are actually really really lovely.  This rang true the rest of the day.  At the end, I was pretty exhausted (I hadn’t worked a 14 hour wedding day in a while!).  But, given the circumstances all over again I would do it all over again.

On my way back to America, I returned to Prague for just one day en route from Italy.  We took some pictures with the McClure family and then I did a few portraits of the single staff working with them from Louisiana State University.  (They probably all just fist pumped.)  It was absolutely refreshing to be in Prague on a warmer day with people who laugh as hard as I do.  Starbucks certainly didn’t hurt.

Děkuji, Praha!
It was SO great to spend some time with you. 🙂

xoxo & objetí!

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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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