Do you want to hear a cool story? In August of 2012, 18 year old me pulled up to Weaver Hall at James Madison. My new home. As someone who resists change with every fiber of their being, I was not loving the idea. Amidst the hovering fear of the unknown, this swarm of unfamiliar faces decked out in yellow shirts and khaki shorts descended upon the car that had my life stowed in the trunk.
Before my parents could even get out of the car, the brand new mini fridge was whisked away to my new room. Each group of freshmen is assigned two First yeaR Orientation Guides aka FROGs. Miss Katie Chapman was assigned to my half of the dorm and I will be forever grateful to the JMU-Gods for that twist of fate.
Katie has this contagious personality that makes you feel seen. When she talks to you, she does so because she is genuinely interested in the person you are and what you’re saying. Katie is someone who cares so much and is one of the most passionate people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.
Fast forward four years and I have somehow conquered undergrad and Katie and I reconnected. She’s dating this wonderful man, Matt, and is living in Harrisonburg. At this time, I’m trying to build my portfolio as much as possible so we set up a photoshoot at a local lake in Harrisonburg, VA. She and Matt have this way about them that is so trusting and pure. My favorite thing about that whole shoot was watching the small moments between shots when they would try to stifle a laugh.
For me, I want my couples to feel that sense of joy and be able to look at their partner in such a way that is felt through photos. Katie and Matt have that. Katie and Matt, here’s to you and here’s to yellow shirts and khaki shorts.
I’ve known Arianna for a couple of years now. We met at a bowling alley during a sorority event our junior year at James Madison. She is one of those people that seems to have it all together and is just as nice as she is gorgeous. Arianna and Gavin have been together since high school and they’re the couple everyone looks at and is in awe of. His love for her is obvious and is enough to make you believe that fairytales do exist.
During the fall of 2015, Arianna reached out to me and asked if I’d be willing to do a photoshoot of her and Gavin so naturally I said yes! This was when I was still toying with the idea of pursuing photography as more than “a friend with a camera.” Both Arianna and Gavin treated me as a professional from the moment they arrived and never questioned my ability or my ideas. We had a good time and the photos were probably the best I had taken up to that point in the beginning stages of my photography career.
Fast forward to the fall of 2016 and Gavin popped the question in their new hometown in North Carolina. During this same time, I had taken an online posing course (thank you, Katelyn James!) and was looking for some models to do a free photoshoot for. I contacted Arianna and asked if she and Gavin would be willing to let me do photograph their engagement photos and this shoot was born.
I travelled to their coastal hometown and we went for a sunset session on the beach. It was wonderful. The golden hues came out at the perfect time and these two seemed even more in love than they were the last time I photographed them. It was such an honor to work with these two and to be able to compare a year’s worth of growth in my work. The respect I received from both Arianna and Gavin as a professional blew me away. I am forever thankful to know both of them and for the pleasure of calling them friends. Thank you for believing in my business and for believing in me. I wish you two the happiest of lives and I cannot wait to see where both of you go in this crazy life we live.