Photography Tips :: How To Take Super Sharp Images

Hi there!

Have you ever gotten home from taking photos on your camera, only to realize that many of them are fuzzy, blurry, or simply out of focus? You’re not alone in this issue! Trust me! I’ve had my fair share of frustrations from missed focus or improper settings issues when I first started learning Photography! The key is to learn how to fix those mistakes moving forward!

If you’re having a similar issue, don’t worry! I’m here to help, with just a few simple things you can do to make sure your photos are as sharp as possible!

#1 - Most likely, it’s simply a focus issue.

FEIDEN_022.jpg

You’ll want to look up how to calibrate each of your lenses to your camera. Each lens could be just the tiniest bit off from where you’re telling the camera to focus - which will cause most of your images to be just slightly off on the focus. Sometimes you can’t even tell unless you zoom in.

If you have any any filters on the front of your lens that you don’t need it at the moment, remove it! Sometimes UV or polarizing filters can reduce the sharpness.

Once you’ve done both steps above, switch your camera’s focus mode to a single point. Personally, I always keep my focus mode on the center point. I aim and press my shutter halfway to focus, recompose if needed, then press the shutter the rest of the way to take the photo. It’s easier for you to tell your camera where to focus, rather than it trying to detect what’s in view. For portraits especially, this is how to get eyes in focus and sharp, rather than the nose or cheek.

 

#2 - Steady Your Camera.

visual_877.jpg

It seems simple enough, but worth mentioning! Steady your arms against your body while holding your camera. You’ll also want to support the camera with your left hand under the lens and base. This will ensure you’re not shaking the camera too much inadvertently!

You’ll also want to make sure you’re keeping your finger rested on your shutter button. When you’re ready to take a photo, it’s much easier to squeeze the shutter button gently, rather than resting your finger beside it or hovering over the shutter and “pushing” the button and moving the camera in the process.

 

#3 - Adjust Your Camera Settings.

2018-12-31_0008.jpg

Use a faster shutter speed. Personally, I don’t like to go below 1/160 for portraits, even if they’re sitting still.

Use a sharper aperture. Don’t shoot on the widest aperture available, as the depth of field (i.e. focus) is narrow. Instead, open up the aperture by 2 or more f/stops for a wider depth of field and get more of your subject in focus. When you’re working with a group, try matching the number of people that are in a single line to your aperture! For example, if you’re photographing 2 people, shoot at f/2.0 or 2.8. Four people at f/3.2 or 4.0. Six people at f/5.6 or 6.0, and so on. *Personally, I don’t go above about f/8 even for large groups! I’ve found that for larger groups, I’m far enough away from the group to get them all in focus still. Any more than about 8-10 people, start a second row behind the first, and so on. I also have them stand as close to each other as they can comfortably!

Lower your ISO. The higher your ISO, the more noise or graininess will be in your images. If the ISO is too high, it can make even sharp details look fuzzy.

Of course you won’t need to do all three of these steps at the same time, unless you’re outdoors where there’s plenty of light available. Shooting in Manual will allow you to adjust all three and have the most control over the outcome of your images. Try adjusting one setting at a time and see how it affects your images!

Remember:
Faster Shutter = Less light. / Slower Shutter = More light.
Small Aperture (Higher #) = Less light. / Wide Aperture (Smaller #) = More light.
Lower ISO = Less sensitivity to Light. / Higher ISO = More sensitivity to Light (and more noise)

 
2018-12-30_0085.jpg

Just a note about editing: NO amount of editing can fix an image that isn’t in focus. That’s why learning to take sharper photos in-camera is key.

In my classes and one-on-one mentoring, I teach beginner photographers how to nail the exposure, white balance, focus, composition, etc. correct in-camera, so that you don’t teach yourself to rely on editing to fix issues that can be avoided by learning to shoot correctly. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the page at the top named “Classes" under “For Photographers” to see my next in-person beginner photography class dates.

I hope these tips help you! Please let me know in the comments if you’ve been working on this specifically!


Picking your Wedding Date :: Seven Things No one tells you about setting a wedding date

Planning a wedding really does seem like a thousand little decisions… and picking the date for your wedding is one of the first ones! Seems easy enough, right? But trying to coordinate one date that will work for you, your family, guests, wedding venue, and football schedule (yes, in TN that’s a HUGE factor!) can seem like a huge task.

Here’s a few things to consider that I hope will help you as you select your perfect date.

7 THINGS NO ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT SETTING A WEDDING DATE:


“There’s a huge local event/convention that weekend and all the hotels within 50 miles will be booked.”

MAY_0776.jpg

The right wedding date is more than just a good fit for you and your families. Do a little research on the city’s calendar, look up the local football schedule, and be sure your guests won’t have a difficult time finding accommodations. Most large conventions are planned at least a year in advance! For the Knoxville area, our city has an online calendar of events HERE.

If you’re planning a Fall wedding in Knoxville - remember that the Tennessee Vols bye-week Saturday will be an extremely popular date! Consider having your wedding on a Friday/Sunday if you’re planning your date around a football schedule! I know to some that may sound a bit crazy - but it’s a huge factor for some Vols fans!

“Your wedding day will be the hottest day of the year.”

BROYLES_0212.jpg

Is there a time of year that your wedding location is more predictable? In East Tennessee, it’s a joke to think you can predict our weather! Your early May wedding could be 40 degrees or 80. Who knows? I’ve experienced both, within a single weekend!

If you want a summer date for an outdoor wedding, a morning or early afternoon ceremony is the best way to avoid rain.
June is usually a bit cooler than July and August, and September through early October is still in our “summer” heat. It usually turns cooler around mid- October, and won’t warm up again consistently until mid- to late-April.

If rain scares you, the best bet is to select a venue that has an indoor option you’re comfortable with. Or if you’ve always dreamed of an outdoor wedding - Have umbrellas on-hand, or select a date where there’s less chance of rain. Such as a morning ceremony in July.

Remember there could be good and bad aspects of any date - decide for yourselves what you will compromise on, what you’re comfortable with, or what you absolutely don’t want.

“You can’t get married then! That’s a holiday!”

Check the calendar for national & religious holidays! Do you want to make your wedding vendors and professionals work on Mother’s Day? Probably not. Some religions have restrictions on weddings during certain times of the year. Especially for church weddings, some forbid weddings during Lent or other religious holidays.

If you’re planning a church wedding, be sure to ask if there are any dates that are off-limits. If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, consider the religions of your families and guests attending, or who you’ll have officiate.

“That date booked up months ago.”

HILL_0294.jpg

The average engagement period is about 10-14 months. That means prime summer and fall dates for weddings can book up as far as a year or more in advance. If you are set on a specific venue - have backup dates in mind.

Of course, you can definitely plan your wedding in 6 months, or even 6 weeks! The reality is, if you want a prime reception site or popular wedding photographer, planning in advance helps! If you’re planning a wedding in a short time frame, you just need a little flexibility, as you may have to take even your 3rd or 4th choice for a certain wedding venue and photographer.

“Three-day weekends can be a perfect solution - or a major disaster.”

On the plus side, guests will have more time to travel to and from your wedding. But that can be outweighed by the holiday factor. Guests may have already scheduled a vacation or trip for that weekend far in advance. You may find some guests aren’t able to attend over a holiday weekend.

You also want to consider other events in the area. A major festival/marathon/parade on Memorial Day weekend, for example, may make it difficult to have a wedding that weekend (hotel rooms, traffic, roads blocked, etc).

Another factor: cost of travel. Some out of town guests may try to use frequent flier or rewards miles to book their ticket, and that’s near impossible during a holiday period.

“Your wedding season is the super-bowl of floral prices.”

DesLauriers_0318.jpg

There are two dates that because of demand, floral prices could get as high as 4x the regular cost… Valentine’s and Mother’s Day. Florists are also extremely busy during those times, and you may not get your first pick of florist.

You also want to consider what flowers you’re wanting. If you’re flexible on the types of flowers, your florist will help you pick flowers that are in-season.
Calla Lilies in January, for example, are much more expensive! (I know. I wanted them for my January wedding. I ended up having fake callas put into my fresh flower bouquet! You couldn’t even tell!)

 

“If you get married any other day but Saturday, I’ll give you a discount!”

MAY_0576.jpg

It’s a little known secret of the wedding industry - you can save a ton of money by getting married on any other day but Saturday.

How much? Of course, it all depends on the vendors! Wedding Venues may give a discounted rate or take a percentage off their regular published prices! The same goes for a lot of DJ’s and wedding photographers! (I do!)

Just ask! It doesn’t hurt to ask, and it shouldn’t offend anyone that you’re asking if they have any discount available. Just don’t assume they do! Everyone does business differently, and some professionals may have a little more flexibility than others, even in the same field. For example, I love Monday-Friday weddings. But I know a few other photographers that aren’t as available during the week. So they may not give a discount, because it’s actually harder for them to do a mid-week wedding. It never hurts to ask!

 

I hope these tips have helped you!
Let me know in the comments below what you think, or any other issues you’ve faced choosing your wedding date!

If you’re planning a wedding, be sure to follow me over on Instagram! I post tips every Wednesday at the very least!

If you’re a photographer or just take photos for your family or business, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter! I promise to not bombard your inbox with useless emails! You’ll receive 1-2 emails per month with photography tips, tricks, new techniques to try, and specific ways to improve your photography skills!

Thanks for reading!

Whitestone Country Inn :: Ruby & Charcoal Wedding Styled Shoot :: Knoxville Wedding & Elopement Photographer

Confession: I'm not a writer. I create images that I'm super proud of... but when it comes to writing about it, that's another story... But I think it's safe to say that this shoot really speaks for itself. 

Heather Green, the previous owner of The Bride Link, Colleen with At Last Weddings and myself, all sat down over coffee one morning and dreamed up this concept of a Winter Elopement at Whitestone Inn. 

Elopements are becoming more and more popular, as couples are wanting something in-between a Courthouse and a big Wedding.

Intimate. Captivating. Memorable. 

That's what couples want in their special day! And that's what we captured with this Winter Elopement-Styled Shoot! Maybe it's just the two of you and a minister on the lake, or a handful of your loved ones on a hillside overlooking the mountains... Either way, Whitestone Inn has the perfect setting for your day. 

So enjoy! And feel free to incorporate these details into your own intimate wedding day! Or contact the vendors listed below to create your dream Wedding or Elopement. 

Venue: Whitestone Inn - Kingston, TN

Models: Real couple, Courtney & Lee

Coordinator/Stylist: Colleen with At Last Weddings & Events

Linens & Place Settings: A & A Party Rentals

Dress: Loveliest Bridal

Hair & Makeup: Southern Sirens

Tux: Prestige Tuxedo

Flowers: Humble Bee Flowers & Gifts

Cake: Catie Cakes

Photographer: Emerald + Ivy

After the Wedding :: Name Change Checklist

One of the most confusing things about getting married - was figuring out where and how to change my name after the wedding. So I've researched and compiled a list for you!

If you’d like to download the entire list and refer back to, I’ve included that for you at the bottom of this post!

REILLY_0439.JPG

What to consider:

Don’t put it off. Changing your name takes weeks to begin with, so tackle it all at once to avoid confusion or forgetting something!

Remember to book your honeymoon in your maiden name - and let your fiance know ahead of time. You may be excited to have your married name on your ticket, but most airlines will make you re-purchase a ticket if it’s under a name other than your ID - even if you have your marriage certificate on-hand.

Tell your relatives and friends of your decision on how you plan to change your name. Receiving gifts with the wrong monogrammed initials can be disappointing!

For example, will you keep your middle name and simply change your last name, or will you drop your middle name and keep your maiden name as your middle name? I have always loved that I have the same middle name as my mother, so when it came time to change my name, I knew I wanted to keep that name and just change my last name. Also worth noting, there’s no rule saying you can’t keep both if you want!

How to officially change your name:

Get marriage certificates from your town or county clerk. It’s the number one item you’ll need during this process. Unlike your marriage license (which you receive before your ceremony), your certificate states that you are legally married. Request multiple copies so you can send them simultaneously, as most offices will require a certified copy.

Change your name with the Social Security Administration. Your SSN won’t change - but you’re going to need this card with your married name to change your name elsewhere, so go here first! Gather your marriage certificate, an application for Social Security Card, and proof of citizenship/age/identity (a birth certificate). You can submit your application online or in person, and once your new SS card arrives, it’s official.

Update your passport next. They have the slowest turnaround, so apply as soon as you have your new SS card. Keep in mind there’s an additional fee if your passport is over one year old. You can also do this by mail: find the proper form at travel.state.gov, and mail in the form along with your current ID and a marriage certificate.

To change your Driver’s License, you’ll head to the DMV. You may consider making an appointment to avoid a long wait - and double check your state’s required documents and fees. You’ll want to bring your marriage certificate, proof of identity (SS Card), and vehicle registration. While you’re there, update your voter registration, too!

MAXEY_0739.JPG

Stop by the post office and notify them of the new name associated with your address. If you’re also moving, don’t forget to forward your mail!

And don’t forget… places you need to contact individually: Bank account. IRS (tax returns). Email (some will let you change the name that appears when you send an email, so you don’t have to start over!)… and anywhere else your name is on file: Insurance, gym membership, social media profiles, luggage tags, magazine subscriptions, amazon account, credit cards, etc.

Enjoy the process! It’s not always fun to sit and wait in the DMV or SSA… but you’re married! That’s exciting!


If you’d like to download a PDF copy of this list for easy reference - click below!

I hope this helps make these changes easier for you! If you needed this guide, comment below to let me know it helped!

DesLauriers_0973.jpg

Tips to have a life AND a business

So often I hear other business owners talking about how hard it is maintaining “balance” in owning a business, and not working yourself ragged, just getting from week to week or month to month.
It’s still a learning process. Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t “arrived” when it comes to having it all together all the time… But I have learned (sometimes through hard lessons) how to keep my sanity and a full time career while raising a family.

So here are some things that I hope will help you!

Tip #1 : Let go of the idea of a perfect balance.

It looks different for everyone, so I can’t tell you that you should only work “ … ” number of hours a week, or you should spend however many days as “personal/family” days…

Allow yourself some grace. In a perfect business scenario, you could make 6 figures working 2 hours a week, but that’s not realistic for most. Yes, good things come to those that hustle… but when we talk about “balance” we really mean separating work from the rest of our life, and keeping them separate in terms of a healthy amount of time spent on each, whatever that magic number of work hours is for you a week. Maybe it’s 2. Maybe it’s 30. But “balance” will mean different things for everyone.

Balance may mean handling business calls/emails/work during kiddos’ nap time every day, or after everyone else is at work/school. Maybe it just means discipline in not staying on social media longer than necessary. Set a timer on your phone, to only spend 30 minutes answering emails, then move down your To-Do list. If they don’t get answered the same day - allow yourself that grace. It will be alright!
Maybe you have the ability to mentally turn the “boss” mode OFF, but if you’re passionate about your work and your goals, they often will flow into every aspect of our lives. So finding a “balance” in staying happy and healthy, while continuing to take care of your customers/clients means different things for each business owner.

 

Tip #2 : Learn to say NO.

It seems easy enough, but as a service based business sometimes being a “people-pleaser” comes with the territory.
Having a business is not only just having a passion for what you’re doing (because it’s going to be hard to keep going when it gets tough, if you’re not “all-in” and committed to making it work) - but recognizing the things that do or do not bring you joy - and letting those things go.

For me, it was the type of photography sessions I was taking on. I learned to graciously but unapologetically say “No.” In doing so, I have felt more freedom, balance, and joy from NOT doing those jobs.
and realizing that working until 3am, doing so many sessions I could barely keep up with the editing, and answering client texts during our “family time” didn’t REALLY get me ahead, and really wouldn’t have disappointed anyone if I learned to say NO much sooner in my business.

Be honest with yourself and those around you - respect yourself and your time & resources if that’s the case. Do what makes you happy, leave the rest.

 

Tip #3 : Be proud of where you’re at - and stop comparing yourself to others.

In business and in life. Social Media allows us to put the best part of our lives out for everyone to see - the most photogenic, the best of 20 selfies or family photos… where everything is in place and everyone looks so happy.
So it’s easy to compare yourself to another business - that seems to be busy every week with new clients, or has over 3K followers on instagram, or always has the most beautiful photos to share, or clients that naturally look like they belong in a magazine… Or to compare your life with your friend’s - whose house is always clean, their kids are always well-dressed with their hair combed, and she had time to do her hair and makeup on a Thursday!

So be proud of where YOU are! Focus on what you’ve learned, been given, and what season of your life or business you’re in. You don’t know the struggles they have, or where they’ve been, or what they’ve sacrificed to be where they are in business or the trials they face now (personal or business).

As for your business… Everyone starts somewhere. If you’re reading this - you’re seeking help and TRYING to figure it out. I’m here to help!
You can’t compare your business to another that has different clients, different pricing or style, experience, etc…AND just because they’re successful doesn’t take anything away from your business.
Learn from their hustle, keep at it, and do YOU. Remember: Comparison is the thief of joy.

 

Tip #4 : Unplug.

Something I didn’t always have the discipline to do, until the past several years - was set office hours.
Your week may not look like mine, but at the beginning of every week - I set my “work” hours for that week. I make appointments and meetings for when the boys are in school, or use that time to edit and answer emails, plan my social media posts or plan marketing actions for the week. I also have a wonderful Mother-In-Law that watches the boys for one LONG work day for me!
When it’s time to “clock out” I turn off my computers, push in my office chair, clear off my desk, and leave my phone on the table. My smart watch tells me if I get a call or text I need to answer right away, or I can ignore and keep building a lego T-Rex with the boys.
I’ve also turned off sound notifications for email, facebook, instagram, and twitter. I can check when I want, but don’t feel obligated to answer right away - so I don’t feel the pressure to always be working.

When you start to set boundaries for how people can reach you, they will respect your privacy and your time more! If you answer their text during dinner - they learn that’s okay. It’s not.

 

Tip #5: Self-Care.

I know exactly how hard it is to be a wife, mom, and a full-time business owner. It’s tough! There’s so many people that depend on me, and the “people-pleaser” in me NEEDS to do it all. But it’s also important for you to care for yourself; To take care of your own health and happiness, and do something that recharges your soul.

You can’t expect to be your best for anyone if you’re exhausted and worn thin, mentally and physically.

Eat healthy. Stay active or schedule time to exercise in some form. Get enough sleep. Stay away from unhealthy relationships. (Yes, I said it. Unfortunately, I have learned how to let go of toxic relationships, or people that drain my energy and happiness.) Do something for yourself, with no deadlines or rules.

For me, self-care is taking time each day for a short devotion and prayer time. Occasionally I like to get my nails done. I love being outdoors, and taking a hike with Ben and the boys is as therapeutic to me as a massage (although, I won’t turn one down). It doesn’t always mean pampering yourself, but could be something simple that you enjoy. Whatever recharges you and helps you be your best self. Make the time!

 

I hope this helps you!

Leave me a comment below if you have any other tips, or if any of these have helped you personally!

Wedding Day Items You Didn't Know You Needed

Like any well-prepared bride, you’ve probably made an ultimate check-list, but what could you be missing? In my experience, here’s a few items you probably forgot to include - but could come in handy!

 
2018-11-28_0004.jpg

A STEAMER

This seems obvious - but it’s often forgotten! The Last thing you want are bridesmaids in wrinkled dresses coming down the aisle, and in all your photos! Or a crinkled veil! Not a bad idea to send one with your Groom as well!

 
2018-11-28_0002.jpg

A BEAUTY BAG

Your makeup artist will create a look to last all day, but sometimes touch-ups are inevitable. Have a small bag of powder, lipstick, and oil-blotting papers just in case!

 
MAY_0023.jpg

COMFY SHOES

You may have dreamed of those gorgeous heels, but they may not be the best dancing shoes. Stash a pair of flats in your bag! (They make some that are super compact and will fit in a clutch!) Or consider cute Kate Spade Keds that photograph well too!

 

BRUNCH / LUNCH

Remember to stock up on snacks & drinks to keep everyone from getting “hangry” or passing out! Especially in the summer months, extra water bottles are a must! If it’s too much to remember on your day, ask a friend or bridesmaid to arrange fruit, bagels, muffins, or sandwiches. Or have somewhere cater lunch in for both Bride and Groom.

ENDRESS_0060.jpg
 

CUTE CLOTHES TO GET READY IN

Matching robes are always a favorite for this photographer! They make for some really beautiful getting ready photos, fun group photos, and look classy! But don’t forget to wear cute clothes underneath also! We don’t want the robe slipping open to reveal just undergarments - but you want to make sure you can slip it over your head and not mess up your hair! If you don’t have a robe - a button up or wide-necked top will be perfectly fine.

PHILLIPS_024.jpg
 
WHITESTONE_075.jpg

AN EMERGENCY KIT

Bobby pins, Safety pins, band-aids, Advil, deodorant, a sewing kit, super glue, fashion tape… to name a few I’ve experienced needing on a wedding day! Some of these items I carry with me, as well as a crochet hook, scissors, tampons, breath mints… In the summer I also recommend Sunscreen spray, and for outdoor weddings - Bug Spray.

 

PORTABLE SPEAKER

Whether you want to relax or keep the mood fun while you’re getting ready, music sets the mood! Create a playlist that starts with soothing songs, and gradually gets more energetic and fun! Try out the search feature in Pandora, and search for either Wedding Day Country or Pop!

DesLauriers_0102.jpg
 
2018-11-28_0005.jpg

PRINTED TIMELINES

Your photographer should help you create a schedule for photos to convey to wedding party & family. Knowing the general timing of what’s happening at what time will put everyone at ease and help the day run smoothly! Some of my most organized couples have even put together a Girls/Guys list of duties and where everyone needs to be when, who needs to be setting up what or driving everyone from hotel to venue, etc.
If you’re an Emerald + Ivy couple, at our very first consultation we’ll set a rough timeline to give you times that hair and makeup should be completed, flowers should be delivered, decor finished, dinner served, etc.

 
2018-12-01_0001.jpg

EXTRA UNDERGARMENTS

Trust me, you don’t know what might snap or rip, and if you have extras you won’t fret one bit! Also make sure you have the proper undergarments for your wedding gown! And try them on together before the big day (at your last fitting if you’re having your dress altered) to ensure a good fit, comfort, and long wear! (Not to mention, make sure those sticky cups will hold through sweating if you’re getting married in the warmer months of the year!)

 

COORDINATOR

A wedding planner, venue coordinator, day-of MC, or an organized friend - whatever you decide - will take a lot of pressure off you! They can hold on to your beauty bag or clutch and emergency kit, and make sure things happen as they should behind-the-scenes. It also takes some pressure off of the photographer - to not have you stressed or having to check on decor. Show someone before the big day how you want tables decorated, etc… and let them handle it!

DesLauriers_0564.jpg
 

I hope these tips have been helpful!
Anything I’m missing? Leave me a comment!

Brad + Mary Catherine :: Basilica of St Peter & St Paul :: The Camphouse :: Chattanooga, TN :: East Tennessee Wedding Photographer

After doing an engagement session with Mary Catherine and Brad, I knew the wedding day was going to be a breeze - They're so perfect for one another, so incredibly sweet to each other... I hope as the years go by, your relationship just gets better and better. Always be affectionate; Always be considerate and adoring, just as you are now! 

Here's a few of my favorites (there were SO many!), but if you want to see the entire gallery - the link will be at the bottom! Just ask myself or the Bride and Groom for the password! 

Ceremony was at The Basilica of Sts. Peter & Paul
Reception held at Camphouse
Flowers by Grafe Studio Floral Artists
Bride's Gown from The White Room in Lebanon, TN
Bride & Bridesmaids Hair (and Bridal Prep) at Juliet's Beauty Lounge
Makeup by Katheryn Golden Makeup
Groom & Groomsmen suits from Joseph A. Banks
Bridesmaids gowns from various locations, a few from Adrianna Papell
Bride & Groom and Wedding Party Portraits were done at Phillips Park in Chattanooga

View the full gallery HERE. (Ask the new Mr. & Mrs. for the password or email Emerald + Ivy HERE.)

Michael + Sarah Foust :: Cove Lake State Park Wedding :: East Tennessee Wedding Photographer

Michael and Sarah are one of the funnest, sweetest couples you'll ever meet. They love the Lord, they really care about people, and they love each other so much! It's so obvious in all their images how happy they are together! 

Also... Can all my weddings be at a State Park? Cove Lake State Park is one of the prettiest around, and we had beautiful weather and light the entire day! 

I hope you loved the images! I am absolutely honored to be a part of this day! 

Other Wedding Professionals that brought Michael & Sarah's day together for them:
Venue: Cove Lake State Park
Flowers: Village Florist (Lake City)
Bride & Bridesmaids Dresses: David's Bridal
Groom & Groomsmen suits: Men's Wearhouse
Rings: Fred Meyer Jewelry
Second Photographer: Sara Miller

To see the full gallery from Michael & Sarah's Wedding Day, click HERE. Enjoy! 

Jake + Stephanie Mizell :: Parkside Resort, Pigeon Forge, TN :: East Tennessee Wedding + Elopement Photographer

You know when you can just see how much a couple loves each other, even when you weren't there? I hope you can see it with Jake & Stephanie's wedding day.

My associate photographer Jordan (Jordan Alyssa Photography) captured their beautiful day perfectly. So even though I was shooting another wedding that day - Together, Jordan and I were able to still give the couple the wonderful experience that couples have come to expect from Emerald + Ivy. Through planning and corresponding with me, to Jordan being the photographer there with them on their Big Day, and all the editing and delivery done through Emerald + Ivy, we've loved every moment along the way! 

Their wedding was held at a huge cabin overlooking the mountains, at Parkside Resort. They had so many friends and family drive or fly in from all over to celebrate with them! Stephanie is a Graphic Designer, and designed all the invitations and stationary, signage, and programs for their wedding weekend! She even put together a handy weekend guide for all their guests - with what's happening when and even fun things to do in town! 

If you want to see the full gallery - just scroll through, and the link is at the end!

Photographer: Jordan Alyssa Photography, Associate for Emerald + Ivy
Venue: Parkside Resort - Mountain View Lodge
Decor + Officiant: Amanda Svoboda with Little House on Main
Music: Zachary Freedom
Hair + Makeup: Caitlin Cate with CCArtistry
Dress: Pure Bridal
Catering: Chipotle
Flower Girl's Outfit: Bailey Blossoms

To see the full gallery from Jake and Stephanie's Mountainside Wedding, click the link below!
https://emeraldandivyphoto.pixieset.com/jakeandstephaniemizell/

Basic Invite :: Custom Wedding Invitation Company

When it comes to planning your wedding - the details are truly what will bring your vision together for you. After shooting hundreds of weddings over the past 8 years - I definitely have a few favorite moments of the day... with the time for details shots being one. I love seeing what couples chose to bring their wedding day together, and I always love styling the invitations. Believe it or not, these items will get misplaced over the years, but my job is to capture everything and preserve that detail forever!

So when Basic Invite asked if I wanted to use their creative wedding invitations in a styled shoot - I couldn't wait!

I asked my friend Anna with Rose Moss Designs to help with some loose florals for styling, and I am loving how classic and sophisticated all the white anemones and peonies look (and you already know I love Ivy)! 

The Quarry Venue in Knoxville was the perfect location to match the style of this set. Although we didn't get to shoot at The Quarry for these photos, it was the perfect venue for the style! If you haven't found your wedding venue, definitely go check out this unique and beautiful location! 

As one of the very few companies that is truly custom, they allow you to change any element of the design to over 180 different colors! You can easily change even the individual floral elements, and customize it for your wedding season and wedding colors. And with overy 40 different colors of envelopes, you can make your invitations stand out before they're even opened.

Each of their wedding invitations is part of a set. You can create a custom collection of stationery matching your wedding vision in your marriage invites, corresponding insert cards, matching save-the-date cards, even a wedding website, ceremony programs, reception menu cards and table seating place cards! 

Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows you the ability to order a printed sample of your actual invitation so you can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before you ever have to place your final order.

All of the envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed. Or choose this envelope option above - where everything is easily folded into the envelope itself! 

They also just rolled out a new clear collection, added rose gold to the available foil line, and just introduced foil place cards!

Now you can plan your entire wedding stationery to correspond; From the Save-the-Date cards, invitation suite, wedding website, guest book, programs, place cards and menu cards! 

This company and the options available are truly amazing! I hope you'll go check them out and order a sample of your wedding suite to see it in person! The quality and paper used are top of the line, I know you'll love them too! 

If you go visit their website now, they have a free printable wedding planner available! 
Have fun customizing! 

Peter + Tisha Nelson :: Intimate Wedding at The Lodge At Brother's Cove :: Sevierville, TN

Married on a perfect early spring day, with redbud trees starting to bloom, Peter & Tisha chose a mountainside venue to celebrate their marriage with their closest family and friends.

The views were breathtaking, and the ceremony and sentimental moments scattered throughout their day were absolutely darling. It was truly an honor to be the one to capture all these sweet moments.

Tisha's Mother and Father were able to watch out the window as Tisha & Peter saw each other for the first time on their wedding day!

Instead of the traditional "bouquet toss," Tisha wanted to present her bridal bouquet to her Mother. I'm positive anyone else watching was in tears as well. Such a touching way to honor her Mother! 

Tisha also chose to change into a Reception gown. They even did a second "First Look" with more portraits in the second gown after the ceremony!

Myly, Jana & the ladies over at 3M Creative Consultants helped the couple create their dream wedding from helping with all the planning, setting up for the day, coordinating/directing on the wedding day, and cleaning up afterward - They're truly amazing! 

Click here to see the full Nelson Wedding Day gallery! 

 

Erwin + Anna :: Ramble Creek Vineyard Wedding :: East Tennessee Wedding + Elopement Photographer

When Anna and I first started discussing wedding details, I literally squealed a little at the chance to shoot at Ramble Creek Vineyard. It's a somewhat new venue in Athens, Tennessee... and y'all. They built this place to be a photographer's dream, I'm sure of it. I'm so happy Anna and Erwin asked me to capture their gorgeous wedding! Not just for the perfect venue, but it was an honor to be a part of such a sweet day. 

Their Wedding day was the perfect amount of cloudy... until it wasn't. Ha! So about the time we wanted to do some wedding party portraits, it started pouring... and didn't stop until their sparkler exit! (Perfect timing!) But the inside of the venue is just as gorgeous, so we were able to still get so many photos!

I love that the building's interior wood was all milled from the property! And one of the owners hand-crafts gorgeous pottery, that are displayed (and for purchase) in the bridal party entrance waiting area. It's the coolest room! (and we had a good laugh about how their logo and mine are almost identical!)

Am I allowed to say that this is one of my favorite weddings? Everything just ran smooth, and everyone was so happy. The bridesmaids and groomsmen were all amazing, on time, looking sharp... All the details and flowers were perfect, the venue staff were phenomenal. I can't wait to shoot here again! But for now, let's all drool over these photos. :) 

And if you want to see the full gallery of Anna & Erwin's special day - the link is at the bottom! 

Venue: Ramble Creek Vineyard
Bride's Dress: Belle Saison Bridal in Austin, Texas
Bridesmaids Dresses: David's Bridal
Bride & Bridesmaids' Hair: Wendy Rae Peery for Bangs & Blush in Knoxville, TN
Flowers: Lisa Foster Floral Design in Knoxville, TN
Groom & Groomsmen Tuxes: Men's Wearhouse
Catering: Ramble Creek Catering
Cake & Desserts: Eva at Ramble Creek Cakes
Guest Signing Canvas: Carrazy Cute Canvas on Etsy

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL WEDDING GALLERY

Please keep in mind that although you cannot print the images from the gallery, you may order prints or share online! Just be sure to tag @emeraldandivyphoto on Instagram or "Emerald + Ivy :: Formerly Blush Creative Photography" on Facebook! Thanks so much! 

Greg + Brianna :: Knoxville Wedding Photographer

I first met Brianna about five years ago, shooting her sister's wedding. When she contacted me about availability for her and Greg, I was beyond excited! Brianna has one of the sweetest temperaments ever, always speaking with and exuding grace. Their wedding day was no different. They were on cloud nine the entire day - Despite the rain. Which normally makes couples a little nervous, even though they say it's good luck! Something to do with renewal and cleansing? Makes sense, right? ;) 

Back on topic, enjoy! 

(And if you're planning a wedding for cooler months, you have to see what Brianna's bridesmaids are wearing! Such a great idea, and so cute!) 

Venue: The Barn, Powell, TN
Day of Coordinator: Jessica Missey
Bride's Gown: Loveliest Bridal
Bride's Hair: Elisha Goosie from Enve Salon
Bridesmaids dresses: David's Bridal
Groom & Groomsmen suits: Kohls & JCPenney's
Flowers: Lisa Foster Floral Design
Rings: Fagan Jewelers
Cake: Eve Kiser

Link to full gallery: https://emeraldandivyphoto.pixieset.com/gregandbriannawolfe/

John + Jordan :: The Standard Knoxville :: Knoxville Wedding Photographer

One of the first details I discuss with a couple is about their venue... It's part of my planning process, to make sure we plan enough time to photograph the areas that the couple loved about the venue. We'll talk about what they have planned, what they're excited about, what they envision for their wedding day... Jordan and John loved all the exposed brick, beautiful textures, and that everything was in one building. 

Come January, we were SO grateful for all the variety The Standard has to offer... It was NINE DEGREES outside! 

Jordan and her bridesmaids got ready upstairs, where there was the most beautiful light pouring in the windows...  And even though the room the guys get ready in had NO windows, it still looked really awesome with moody light. Somehow, I think that's just more manly, right? 

Anyway, It was a perfect day - but I was SO grateful they wanted all their photos inside! 

Enjoy! 


(To see more photos from this wedding, click on "Client Access" on the menu at the top of the page!)

Venue: The Standard Knoxville
Bride's Gown, Belt & Veil: White Lace & Promises
Bride's Shoes: Jessica Simpson, from Dillard's
Hair: Gabriel at Salon Visage
Makeup: Rachel Waters, Younique
Bridesmaids' Gowns: David's Bridal
Groom & Groomsmen suits: Men's Wearhouse
Flowers: Sydney Nichols
Cake: Maggie Cakes
Groom's Cake: Churro Cake! From El Sazon
Catering: Brown Bag Catering
Frames at Ceremony: Made by Terry Trost, Bride's Uncle
Guest Book: Basic Invite
Programs: Designed by the Groom, Printed by the Bride! 
 

Emerald & Ivy :: Formerly Blush Creative Photography :: east tennessee Wedding & Elopement Photographer

I think we all are constantly striving to get from "here" to "there" - whatever that means for you. For some that may mean a new house, a promotion, completing a degree or getting married, having children... I love when I realize that I'm in a "here" place that used to be "there."

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness." - Lamentations 3:22-23
 

Currently, I'm sitting in my home-office of our new home (as of this past summer), with two crazy toddlers playing in the next room, and a handsome husband at work. In a prominent place on our living room wall is a canvas of a quote that is an adaptation of the verse above. It's a daily reminder to me - that God has brought us "here." 

I'm also reflecting on the past 8 years in business. Although I still have much to learn and changes to make, I am so very blessed to be in a "here" place. When I started photography, I would shoot anything & everything - for the experience & exposure. I was  dreaming of the day that I would be "there." For me that was to contribute to the household, stay home from the corporate job and raise our family, take care of our home, and do what I love - Weddings & Elopements. Now, as of last year, I'm "Here." 

emerald wedding details

It's also made me realize, that in the past several years I have sort of "grown out" of the business name & branding style that I started with. In the past 3 years really - I cringe a little every time I tell someone my business name, thinking they'll find it cheesy and immature. If you know me, you know I'm not really the kind of person to let people's opinions bother me. But when it comes to branding... It matters how you're seen. Even more important than perception though, is the client's experience. (More on that in a bit.)

So for the past 2 years I've been collecting my thoughts, prayers, dreams, phrases or words that have deep meaning personally, or in symbolism... And I've landed on something I just can't seem to cross off the list. 

version2.jpg
emerald and ivy wedding elopement photography sequoyah hills bride and groom shoot.jpg

For me, the Emerald is more than just a stone. It's a deep sense of knowing who I am, and where I come from. Growing up, my family used to go "Gemstone Grubbing" every weekend during the summer. If you don't know what that is... you're really missing out! You get a big back of dirt and a miner's pan, and have to find the gold/gems. It's rugged and dirty and wonderful. :) We moved around a lot growing up, and as I struggled with each new school to find my place, family was always constant. And my big box of rocks. They're probably worthless stones, but I know those experiences and memories are more valuable than I could have imagined. 

It's a part of my childhood, my story, my birthstone & favorite color, and symbolizes "complex emotion, growth, peace, balance, healing." It's also said that it's the most calming color - which is what I strive to be for my clients, through the planning process and especially on their Wedding Day. I think your photographer should be someone that settles your nerves, and has a calming presence on this sometimes chaotic and whirlwind of a day. I'm also drawn to rich color, contrast, and deep emotion in my images. 

10.jpg

Ivy is always seen to represent growth through even through the toughest environment, as well as deep emotional connection and affection, or eternal love. 

There's SO much I could say about my beliefs on love, eternity, marriage... but I want this part of my business name to represent another term I found in researching the meaning & symbolism of Ivy: Fidelity. Faithfulness. I believe that's one of the core values you should find in marriage. I have been so very blessed with a wonderful and faithful husband. We aren't perfect and we don't always agree on things - I let the dishes pile up and he throws his clothes on the floor. But I truly believe God created us for each other, to complete one another and honor Him in our marriage. I pray for that forever love & faithfulness for every couple I have the honor of working with. 

God's faithfulness has also been very evident in my life, in my business, in my heart. I prayed for this business. I desired to have something that I could do for others, and I couldn't do this without His faithfulness in giving me this talent, a supportive and encouraging husband, helpful and gracious family, and bringing the right clients along. 

If you're still reading, thanks so much for sticking with me! I'm not a writer, by any means! But I wanted to share my heart, in why I've decided to change my business name.  

2018-01-26_0001.jpg

Beginner Digital Photography Class :: Knoxville Photographer :: Learn Your Camera & How to take better Photos

I'm so excited to do these Digital Photography classes! Photography is my passion, and my goal for this class is to help you learn your camera and learn the basics of photography to take better photos!

This class is for you, if:
1.) You're a parent wanting to learn to take better photos of your family
2.) You have a camera that you'd like to learn to use correctly in different situations (and get it off auto!) or
3.) You're new to the Photography industry and want to take your photography to the next level! 

WINTER 2017_065.JPG

If you're like me, I like to know EXACTLY what to expect! So i'll try to give as much detail about the class as i can! We'll cover: 
Introductions
My personal photography style & philosophy :) (briefly! So you understand a little of my approach.)
How to capture moments, not poses - and the difference in a "snapshot" and a "good" image
Also, training your eye to tell "good" from "bad" photography
Camera Settings, what they mean and when to use them
Composition
Perspective
Finding the Light, using the light available, and the difference in quantity and quality of light
Great Photographs at any age (with some tips & tricks to captivate their attention!)
Tips & Tricks I've learned through the years working with different body types
Incorporating props, background and foreground, even a bit on wardrobe.
Working with Siblings/Groups
Workflow (even give some suggestions for great image editing programs that are free)
Q&A - specific questions about the equipment/lenses/flash you may have

There's so much involved with each of these topics, I can't list them all out here. So, come ready to learn! And don't forget to bring your camera and any lenses or equipment you want to ask about! 

BOYS_ WINTER 2017_048.JPG

All the info covered will be provided for you in a nice booklet to refer back to. You'll also be added to the exclusive FaceBook group for class attendees for additional help after the class, if you forget something, or have questions as you practice, or would like critique or how to make an image better. Or just to show off what you've learned! I love seeing before/after examples! 

Also, throughout the course I will give you ideas for how to implement different things, with a couple of "assignments" to start practicing right away! 


The next class is scheduled for January 13, 2018.

This class is roughly 3 hours long, starting at 12:30PM sharp, and packed full of PRACTICAL instruction! This isn't the typical, super-technical college style class...

You'll actually learn HOW to take better photos right away! 

SELECT YOUR CLASS DATE/TIME:

TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT, ENROLL TODAY! 
Only 10 spots available for this class!


Are you looking to purchase a new camera? Here's a great review of some beginner DSLR cameras out there! (Just a note, I'm a HUGE fan of the Canon T6i.) 
https://www.reviews.com/digital-camera/dslr/ 

IMG_0196.jpg

Just so you know, this is not specifically a class for professional photographers, or those wanting tips on creating a photography business. We will touch on post-processing (editing), but will not go in-depth. 
I do, however, offer one-on-one for business or photographer mentoring. Let me know if you're interested in setting up a consultation to determine if this would benefit you and your business!
I'm also working on a class specifically for the more advanced photographers and those interested in learning more about growing their photography as a business. Just let me know if you'd be interested in that workshop, and I'll be sure to let you know when that's planned! The only prerequisite will be that you take this basic course first, so I know you have a good grasp on these topics first. 

Mike & Jenny | March 25, 2017 | The Reserve At Bluebird Hill | Knoxville Wedding Photographer

Venue: The Reserve At Bluebird Hill
Photographer: Blush Creative Photography, Stephanie Kozick
Second Photographer: Cassidy Garcia Photography
Flowers by Echelon Florist
Bride's Gown is a Mori Lee, from Nearly Newlywed
Groom's suit is a Vera Wang from Men's Wearhouse
Bridesmaids' Dresses Vera Wang from David's Bridal
Bride's Hair/Makeup done by her favorite stylist, Nadia Lenko
DJ/Lighting by Corey Ozair of Music in Motion
Officiant Chuck O'Connor of Sensational Ceremonies
Catering from Dead End BBQ
Cake by Cheryl McMillan Cake Design
Ceiling Draping & Lighting by Luma Designs
Hand-lettered signs and Favors made by the bride! 
Guest Favors, potted Succulents from Dixie Lee Nursery & Garden

ISAIAH LEE :: 7 DAYS NEW :: NEWBORN STUDIO SESSION :: KNOXVILLE MATERNITY & NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER

As soon as new parents Heather & Lee brought little man Isaiah in, I couldn't get over how tiny he looked! and all that hair!  

We were able to get a several photos with this sweet new family all together, then Isaiah literally slept for me for the rest of the session! He was absolutely perfect! and I could hold him all day. 

I told Heather, I feel like every time I have a newborn session - I get a tiny bit of "Baby Fever"... then my babies (Hunter and Grant) come home and I'm reminded how crazy my world already is (in the good way, of course!). 



FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS:
Newborn sessions only seem like they're easy... It takes a lot of training, experience, and definitely quite a bit of preparation by the parents (Heather and Lee, you did amazing!) as well as all the right elements coming together at session time to help baby stay settled and sleepy. But they will let you know when they've had enough. :) I have a "Newborn Guide" that I send out to parents a few days in advance of their session date (as soon as baby arrives and we book the shoot). Consider putting something like this together for your clients, or at the very least - letting them know what to expect. It's overwhelming enough to have a brand new baby - whether that's your first baby or your fifth... so giving them a few pointers and tips will give them peace of mind that they're doing the right things. Knowing what to expect can calm nerves and set them at ease for the shoot as well. 

Blue and White striped nightcap & pants outfit from Azure Raine, White fuzzy basket stuffer from Leighton Heritage, all the stretchy knit wraps (Not cheesecloth material, as that can irritate baby's sensitive skin if not the right type of wrap) are from Red Owl Photo Props and Lavender Lou Handmade - All on Etsy!
Baskets and other fabrics are local craft store or department store finds! Always have an eye open for great baskets!

Just make sure the base of any basket/bucket used is sturdy and wide (you can also use weights in the bottom) and there are no rough edges or wiring! Always layer blankets inside to support the baby's back, and leave enough blanket to pad under their head - so they are NEVER resting right on the basket with either their head/neck or ankles/feet. Notice in all my baskets/crates, there's plenty of room between baby and the edges! Don't try to squeeze a baby into a tiny basket! :) 

COLE ISAAC :: 7 DAYS NEW :: NEWBORN STUDIO SESSION :: KNOXVILLE NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER

I couldn't have asked for a sweeter baby! Cole was an absolute dream to photograph, and I was able to do so many poses with him! 

Here's a few of my favorites!

For Photographers:

Teal and Gray striped nightcap from Azure Raine, White fuzzy basket stuffer from Leighton Heritage, Wraps are from Red Owl Photo Props and Lavender Lou Handmade - All on Etsy!
Baskets and other fabrics are department store finds!

*Also, baby's safety is always the most important! No pose or photo is worth hurting those tiny little joints! Always move slowly and carefully, don't make them stretch out in ways they don't want to, and ALWAYS use an assistant or family member to spot the baby in poses like this one: