I'm not even sure what to say about this shoot. It started as just a small labor of love, wanting to do an inspirational shoot in my hometown last summer. I found this gorgeous model, Maria, who has now become a good friend, and teamed up with a few other local artists to pull this together. I am so obsessed with how all the images turned out, it was hard to narrow down which ones to share!
Not only did the full editorial appear on The White Wren back in May, but one of the images (the last one in this post) was a finalist for the Belle Lumiere Image of the Year awards AND Maria's twisted up hair style was featured on Cosmo one day. Say whaaat?!
Photography & styling: Chelsea Q. White // MUAH: Love Notes by June // Dress: Truvelle // Flowers: Flower Kiosk // Invitation suite: August & Ocseola // Ring: Model's own // Film processing: The FIND Lab // Featured on: The White Wren, Belle Lumiere, Cosmopolitan
Engagement sessions seem to be the first thing people want to cut from their wedding photography budget. They wonder what on earth they’ll do with all those photos of them when the true photo-sharing event is on the horizon: their wedding. Or they have a a friend with a nice camera and think they'll just have them snap a few photos.
I absolutely LOVE engagement sessions with my brides so I thought I would share why and how doing an engagement session can actually help you have better wedding photos (it’s true!)
First, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page about what is an engagement session:
Plain and simple, an engagement session is a photo shoot with you and your fiance in non-wedding clothes. A lot of couples choose to do their photos in a location that is representative of who they are. Go to the lake a lot? Let’s shoot at White Rock! Like to go for long walks? How about Arbor Hills Nature Preserve? Prefer a sleek city setting? How about downtown near the Dallas Museum of Art.
Here’s why I love engagement sessions (and you will, too!):
1. You can use the photos for your save-the-date and/or decor at your wedding reception.
I love when couples display a few framed images on their gift table or use their images in their guest book. And trust me, guests LOVE to look at your engagement photos.
2. It’s a relationship-builder with your photographer.
Whenever I talk to brides, I tell them I notice a huge difference in the quality of the relationship and images of a couple who I’ve done an engagement session with versus a couple I might’ve only met in person once for an hour at a coffee shop. By the wedding, you’ve been in front of the camera and know how much guidance/direction you need from me. You know what angles/poses you like and we can recreate them on your wedding day. We also know what didn’t work for you and avoid those. We also have time to talk to each other and learn about each other.
3. It’s a great time to do a hair and makeup trial before the wedding - especially if you’re not doing a bridal session before the wedding (can I get a haaaaay from all my Southern girls?!)
4. It's a really sweet season to document and celebrate.
Being engaged is something that only happens once and the season often flies by. It’s a short time between dating and marriage, that deserves to be documented and commemorated. The engagement photos I did with my wedding photographer are still some of my favorite of us.
So I'd love to know: What do you think about engagement sessions? Do you want to do one?
We all know there is a wealth (er, overabundance) of wedding-planning information out there for brides on sites like The Knot, Style Me Pretty, Wedding Wire, Martha Stewart, Brides … the list goes on and on. If you’ve been a bride for more than five minutes, you know how overwhelming it can be to sift through all the information about how to find the perfect vendors to fit the vision for your big day.
This next statement is going to sound biased but I don’t mean it to: Your wedding photographer is perhaps one of the most important vendors you will hire for your wedding. Think about: You spend more time with your photographer than you do with your husband on your wedding day (crazy, right?!) and your photos are the only thing you take with you after the cake is eaten, the flowers have wilted, and your gown has been cleaned and preserved. Your wedding photos are forever.
I’ve heard horror stories of brides who have hired less-than-professional photographers and completely regretted it years later. I don’t want you to be one of them! So in addition to loving your photographer’s work and trusting their business acumen, here are a few things I wish brides would ask photographers to get a better idea of who they’re hiring:
I've found that while the questions you should ask your photographer lists on Pinterest and The Knot can be helpful, usually the average bride doesn't understand the difference between Canon and Nikon, or off-camera flash vs. natural light. But I'd love to hear from you! What else do you want to know about your wedding photographer?
Back in the spring, I had the extreme honor of doing an editorial shoot with BenBella, a publishing company based in Dallas. I love food and food styling, cooking (of course!), and eating plant-based so this project was right up my alley.
I thought it'd be a fun way to kick off the weekend by sharing a few of my favorite foodie photos and maybe inspire some new recipes.
Jen is one of those brides who I knew from our early emails that we would hit it off. She was upbeat, kind, and ready to share she and Ben's story with me! One of the reasons I do what I do is to tell the story of the beginning of marriages and Jen seemed to get that right away.
We did their engagement session at Harry Moss Park in Dallas in the morning and oh my, was it beautiful. It was nice to get out before the heat of the day and enjoy the beautiful light. With all the rain we've had recently, however, some of the paths were *a little* muddy. These two were such troopers, especially Jen who clomped through the dirty in heels. (I apologized profusely, believe me!)
Without further ado, here's the future Mr. & Mrs. Warnick!
I have a crazy goal this year.
I'm going to read 50 books.
Let me explain.
This is not a New Years resolution. I didn't write this on my 2017 goals on December 31 and then carefully plan out which books I was going to read and how I was going to conquer it all. The idea to read 50 books just kind of happened.
I'm an avid reader anyway but most years I read between 12-17 books (which I know is still really good and a lot for most people!) In January, I had surgery that put me out of commission for almost a month. I had planned to binge on Netflix most of the time but when it came to it, I felt even worse watching TV all day and I had a huge stack of books some friends brought over to me. So, I started to read instead.
I flew through books in a matter of days. In the month of February, I read seven books. And these weren't shorties, either. At least three of them were 450+ pages. OK, they were easy reads but they were long. But still, I figured I'd slow down once I got back on my feet and back to working.
Then I stumbled upon this article. And it totally resonated with me. OF COURSE I could read 50 books. If I gave up one evening of TV (or just read while Travis watches Mavs games), it would make this feasible. If I read while I ate lunch instead of scrolling through Instagram, I could make this happen.
When I looked at how many books I had already read this year (somewhere in the mid-20s) and it was only April, I knew I could do it.
I've since slowed on my reading (I'm at 3-4 books a month, not seven) but with a lot of summer travel coming up, I thought it'd be fun to share the books on my list and keep track of my progress (I'm currently on book 29).
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (Recommended by Dave Ramsey)
Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist (I read this every July; I don't know why but it's the perfect summer book and a good reminder to stay grounded in the slug of everyday life)
At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider (Her story is amazing!)
Make It Happen by Lara Casey (The guru behind Powersheets)
Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin (Another Dave Ramsey recommendation; I started this a few days ago and it's awesome)
The Nix by Nathan Hill (reading this for book club)
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (Heard about this one on Shauna Niequist's new podcast)
The ONE Thing by Gary Keller (Been wanting to read this one for awhile!)
When Breathe Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (everyone just raves about this one!)
What's on your summer reading list? What should I add for the fall?
Courtney and Andy were some of the most laid-back and easy-to-talk-to clients I've had so far this year. Their late April wedding took place at the DEC on Dragon in the Dallas Design District against sweeping views of the Dallas skyline. These two planned a heck of a party and it was so clear how well-loved they are by all who attended. I loved how they kept most of the details modern (like those gorgeous Gatsby-esque bridesmaids dresses and the sharp groomsmen's tuxes) but had a few softer elements like the pale pink floral palette and Courtney's BREATHTAKING blush Essence of Australia gown. It was a complete showstopper!
They kept everything so real and down-to-earth, it was a breath of fresh air. Don't even get me started on how much I loved Courtney's choice of shoes!
Congrats, Mr. and Mrs. Sholl! I'm so honored to have been such a big part of your story.
Photography: Chelsea Q. White // Venue: DEC on Dragon // Courtney's dress: Essence of Australia // Bridal stop: Bridal Boutique of Lewisville // Groom & groomsmen tuxes: Culwell & Son // MUAH: La Bichette // DJ/Entertainment: Le Force // Film processing: The FIND Lab
The temperatures are rising, skin is browning (or burning!), and vacations planned in the long cold months of winter are finally on the horizon! Summer is such a glorious time, is it not? What is it about summer that makes us want to live life a little slower and shrug off all the "have to do's" for "I wanna do's." I'm not sure but I'm certainly not complaining about it!
As is the tradition, my summer playlist is here, just in time for the official first day of the season. This is definitely one of my favorites I've made in a long time and I really hope I haven't over-listened already! (Am I the only one guilty of playing songs on repeat until I can't stand it anymore?!)
Some of my favorite tracks this time around include: "Love Hangover" by Sam James; "You Broke Up With Me" by Walker Hayes; "Tied" by Strangers You Know; and "Second One to Know" by Chris Stapleton (side note: I'm obviously having a Chris Stapleton moment. I'm trying to convince Travis we need to get tickets for his show this summer. If you're going, LET ME KNOW!)
Get the playlist here and get ready for a dang good summer.
I remember planning my wedding in the spring/summertime and being so frustrated that all the blogs were showing spring/summer weddings. How on earth was I supposed to find inspiration for a winter wedding?!
Thankfully, I managed but I do wish the wedding inspiration world operated a bit more like the fashion industry. Alas, here is my meager attempt to rectify the situation (I know, one blog post ain't gonna change the world).
This shoot was a collaboration with my local film photographer friends and some of our favorite Dallas-area wedding vendors. The past few wedding seasons have seen a lot of pastels and neutrals but I absolutely loved this fresh take on saturated, vibrant colors. I hope you find it as inspiring as I do!
Photography: Chelsea Q. White // Planning: Chic and Pretty Events & Kate Pease Photography // Venue: Nasher Sculpture Center // Cake: Sweet Somethings by Ashleigh // Dress shop: a&be bridal shop // Dress designer: Sarah Seven // Furniture: Beautiful Event Rentals & Bella Acento // Paper suite & calligraphy: Letter Love Studio // MUAH: Amanda Carrette // Ring: Shapiro Diamonds // Model agency: Wallflower Management // Film processing: The FIND Lab // Featured on: Wedding Sparrow
Before I got married, people would often talk about how easy it was to become like roommates with your spouse rather than partners, passing each other like ships in the night. On an intellectual level, I believed them but since I wasn't married yet, I had no idea how easy it was to fall into that trap.
When two young busy people join their lives, it can be really easy to keep your separate schedules because you'll just see your husband/wife when you get home, right? Or you're both exhausted from a long day of work so you plop on the couch and eat your dinners while mindlessly binging on the newest Netflix series. Don't get me wrong: loving the same shows has been such a fun thing in our marriage but we have to be careful not to get to caught up in it.
I'm not even sure how we started this (pretty sure it was Travis's idea) but when we get home from work, we try to sit on the couch for as little or as much time as we need to touch base and process events that happened throughout the day. We do talk throughout the day but it's usually short, utilitarian conversations ("Can you stop and get bread?" "Did you pay the electric bill?") Sitting on the couch gives us the opportunity to take a deep breath and re-acquaint with each other.
Is it a huge time commitment? Nope. Does it take a lot of effort? Sometimes. There are so many things constantly pulling for our attention but we make an effort to shut out the noise, even if it's just for five minutes, to reconnect.
Now that I work from home, it's even more important for me to draw the boundary line of when I close the door on the home office and transition out of worker bee mode. Our daily "couch time" is a lot like my relationship with coffee -- I don't necessarily feel a zillion times better each and every time (though sometimes I do!) but if I go without it too long, I feel the withdrawal.
Do you and your spouse have daily touch points? I'd love to challenge you to try some couch time! It doesn't have to be anything monumental. Just a brief period of time with no phones and focusing on each other. Let me know how it goes!
I'm Chelsea - a photographer, writer, adventurer, traveler, wife, Christ follower and mama to the most adorable rescue pup. I'm passionate about telling authentic stories with meaning and purpose and spreading joy through photographs. Grab a cup of coffee and stay awhile.