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Considering a bridal portrait session? I highly recommend them. In fact, my primary wedding photography package includes either a bridal portrait session or engagement photos. Some couples hire me to shoot both additional sessions, and it’s so helpful to spend time together before the wedding day.

Bridal portraits are somewhat popular for brides in the South, and I think they’re a great use of an afternoon for several reasons — no matter where you live. Here’s why:

1. You can do a hair and makeup run-through before your big day. By scheduling a practice run with your stylist and makeup artist, you can ensure your vision of wedding day style comes to fruition. Maybe the sleek updo or boho braidfest you think you want isn’t true to your personality or well-suited for seaside breezes — try it out first! Considering airbrush makeup or false eyelashes? You still want to look like yourself on your wedding day, and that means being comfortable in your skin. If you’ve never had glue painted onto your eyelids to adhere fake lashes or sported a bold red lip instead of tinted lip balm, it’s best to give it a whirl and make sure you can embrace your glam self. The more at ease you are, the more elegant you’ll feel, making for relaxed and beautiful photos — on portrait day and on your wedding day.

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2. You’ll star in some breathtaking photos at a gorgeous venue. Dreamy Charleston backdrops are so plentiful that it’s worth taking an extra hour to make gorgeous portraits in a favorite location. It could be a quiet hour at your wedding venue, but it could just as easily be another location that is meaningful to you such as your family home, or a spot that contrasts where you’ll be on your wedding day. Marrying in a church and heading to a ballroom reception? Outdoor bridal portraits are a great way to get more Lowcountry beauty in your photos without taking up precious time on your wedding day. Stroll streets, a garden, a plantation or amble along a dock at sunset. Can’t figure out how to have your pet participate in your wedding day? Consider having a friend bring your furry friend along for a few sweet portraits instead. Anything goes!

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3. You can spend a leisurely afternoon twirling in your dreamy gown before the wedding. You’ve heard it from friends and read it in mags, but a wedding day can be a blur of preparing, transporting, assembling and all the other compulsory elements that surround the main event of exchanging vows with the one you love. Remember that fist-pumping feeling when you found the perfect wedding dress? (My daughter would say “hashtag The One!”) By scheduling a portrait session, you get to hold on to that a lot longer. After your final fitting, it only makes sense to model your gown, and you may as well do it on the day of your hair and makeup trial. You’ll be relaxed with a friend or your mom along, and it’s a great way to make sure the gown is as comfortable (and hug-friendly and dip-worthy) as you hope. Not sure whether the satin sandals will work better than the rhinestone wedges? Spending a little time doing a full dress rehearsal will ease your mind and even help you identify any final adjustments needed before the wedding day.

Timeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Lowcountry-0044. We’ll have fun! Most every bride who has taken the time to create bridal portraits recommends the experience. We’ll get to know each other a little better, and hopefully you’ll come away with a newfound ability to feel at ease as I follow you around with cameras. And once you see the images, I hope you’ll be confident that you look stunning from every angle. And if you look this beautiful by yourself, think how much you’ll glow next to the man of your dreams!

Elegant-spring-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-005Bridal portraits in Warrenton, Virginia by Carolina Photosmith

5. You’ll get a jump start on enhancing your family’s legacy with some beautiful portraits. Of course Mom wants one, maybe your grandmother does, too. And your almost-hubby would be happy to receive a small framed portrait for his desk. Even if you have no plan embrace the very Southern tradition of displaying a large portrait at your reception, you will enjoy having them, and your grandchildren might someday get a kick out of seeing a few portraits of your youthful elegance. So enjoy some more Pin-worthy loveliness, and call me when the stars align.

Timeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Lowcountry-011Elegant historic Charleston bridal portraits © Carolina PhotosmithTimeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Lowcountry-005Timeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Lowcountry-001Timeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Lowcountry-003Timeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Lowcountry-002Breathtaking bride in golden light on CharlestonTimeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Lowcountry-013Timeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Lowcountry-006Charleston-winter-bridal-portrait in IElegant-spring-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-004Elegant Charleston bridal portrait by Carolina Photosmitherica-twirl-1Timeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Columbia-001Timeless-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-Lowcountry-014Elegant bridal portrait at DeBordieu Club and Atalaya by Carolina PhotosmithRomantic bridal portrait at the elegant gates of Boone Hall Plantation in Mt. Pleasant, SC. © Carolina PhotosmithElegant-spring-bridal-portraits-by-Carolina-Photosmith-Charleston-001

I hope you’ll reach out when it’s time to find your dream gown. I’d love to photograph you in it! And check out my most favorite bridal portrait session at Vanessa’s Virginia home, including a “first look” with her dad. It’s worth a trip through the archives of my little blog.

Check out more of my wedding photography, too: here’s a small wedding gallery and here are some blog posts featuring full weddings. Read some client feedback, too. I look forward to meeting you!

 

 

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Kirstin and Rick’s colorful Lowcountry wedding on Johns Island was featured on The Wedding Row today. I loved the vibrant bouquets with sunflowers and zinnias, and they really popped against the navy bridesmaids’ dresses. Click through and check out this beautiful riverside wedding! The photo below isn’t in the feature, but it’s the one Kirstin ordered on canvas for their home. Nothing like a little sunset joggling board action at a Charleston wedding!

She switched from her navy Kate Spade slingbacks into these multi-colored confetti Keds for dancing.

She switched from her navy Kate Spade slingbacks into these multi-colored confetti Keds for dancing.

I hope you’ll stick around to see more of my wedding photography and portrait photography, and reach out when you’re looking for a laid-back photography who likes to have fun outdoors.

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We recently enjoyed a magnificent Maine weekend escape combining work and play. My husband’s gorgeous co-worker married a great guy, who, along with his brother and dad, spent some months on our home renovation. Lucky for me, I had the pleasure of photographing this ultimately preppy Kennenbunkport wedding. I took a break from editing it on my birthday and sifted through my iPhone snaps to whip up a little recap while it was still fresh in my mind.

My kids were excited to host their Winston-Salem cousins, and my brother and his wife were kind enough to move in for a few days and drive six kids around town. Since my daughter didn’t attend Camp Cheerio this year, I named this zany gathering after another cereal, which now has its own hashtag: #campfrootloop. We flew into Portland, Maine, after a quick connection in Atlanta, scooped our rental car and made the 15-minute trip to downtown as it was approaching dinner time. Months ago, I’d looked for interesting accommodations in Portland and couldn’t really find anything. Some historic hotels seemed a bit run-down, and since I don’t get out much, I was hoping for something beyond the typical chain options. Wedding season started, and when I finally revisited hotels, a new boutique one had just opened in May. The Press Hotel was perfect! Housed in the former newspaper offices of the Press-Herald, it was fresh and funky and perfectly situated a short walk from good eats, cool cocktails and cute shops in Old Port.

 

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Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith011Yummy shampoo, chocolates at bedtime and fluffy robes. Fans of the written word might agree The Press Hotel is fontastic!Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith001

The hotel restaurant was buzzing and looked appealing, but I had my eye on Central Provisions, just a couple of blocks toward the waterfront. What a fantastic meal! We had a short wait, just long enough to check out the downstairs bar and order yummy welcome-to-vacation cocktails. Then we tucked in to our table in the small and bustling upstairs and sampled several amazing small plates, including the most amazing roasted cauliflower ever, delicious gingered beef, asparagus en croute, a little halibut on a lemony aioli and an out-of-this-world key lime tart with a dollop of whipped cream and lime zest. It was all crazy good!Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith002

Locks of love like those in Paris? It’s Portland, Maine, y’all.

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After dinner we needed to walk for a while, but I was sidetracked when I spotted the ferris wheel, which had just been set up for the weekend’s Old Port Festival. Took in a sunset from the whirligig, did a little window shopping and stopped in Sonny’s, which looked groovy and just happened to be rated best in town for its cocktails. The buildings in this area reminded me of Pioneer Square in Seattle. The ice cold cucumber gimlet I had was so good and as herbal tasting as a freshly mowed lawn, but better.Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith006Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith007Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith008

Nothing like a grainy sunset selfie before the Old Port Fest in Portland, Maine.

Although we didn’t have time for ice cream this trip (I’ll be back, Nutella! And Blueberry Basil Sorbet! And Girl Scouts Gone Wild!), we walked down the hill to The Holy Donut the next morning. Never mind there were only two of us, we had to sample a variety, and six fit in the bag so well.Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith009Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith010Window shopping: we didn’t stick around long enough for the gallery to claim my cash, and I managed to escape the coastal kitchen store despite liking everything in it.Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith016Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith012Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith005Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith013

That was all she wrote for Portland, so the valet scooped our car and we hopped in, leftover donuts in hand, and headed 15 minutes north so the hubby could check out L.L. Bean. Ever seen bored men flipping through magazines, waiting not-so-patiently for their wives to finish shopping? This was the opposite. But I watched an albino trout swimming instead. (Of course, there were plenty of solid options for anyone wanting to fill shopping bags, but I didn’t need a thing, except to get out and inhale salty air.) Next stop, Cape Elizabeth.
Maine escape. Quick stop at L.L. Bean in Freeport. © CarolinaPhotosmithPortland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith014
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After taking in the view from the pristine park by the Portland Head Light, our sugar energy had vanished and it was time for a lobster roll. I weighed the options of best taste, best value and best view, and chose the latter, while Pearsall drove us to Two Lights. It was heavenly, just like the view! Finally, on to Kennebunkport to check in to our dreamy splurge, the Cottages at Cabot Cove. Then it was time to amble over to the Kennebunk River Club for the wedding rehearsal.Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith017Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith018After the ceremony run-through, we spun through town, which was bedecked in signs wishing Barbara Bush a happy 90th birthday. Scooped up a bottle of pinot noir at the wine shop and took it back to our cottage to rock on our porch. (Trust me, I will be well-suited for old age, whenever it comes.) Later we ate some dinner at David’s KPT and called it a night. The next morning, our breakfast was delivered and hooked outside our door. A warm baguette, creamy cheese, strawberries and sunshine in a carafe were just what we needed before our little waterfront tour. The communal bikes were all spoken for when we checked, but the tides were perfect for a morning paddle from Cabot Cove into the Kennebunk River. The water is so clear! Blues, greens, and of course, boats were plentiful. From the Secret Service inflatable docked by the Bush’s Fountain, to lots of lobster boats and my fave crackly red vessel, they were well documented by my trusty iPhone, which thankfully didn’t take a dive.Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith019Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith020Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith022Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith021Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith023Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith025Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith024Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith027Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith032Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith026

After kayaking, we walked into town, ate lunch in the sunshine at Arundel Wharf, picked up a coffee mug, ran into some Charleston people and then it was time to gear up for the wedding festivities. Oh, for anyone who follows me on Instagram, you might have seen me label watery posts with #seastheday. I guess this store thinks that’s a clever phrase, too!

Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith028Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith029Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith030Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith031Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith033Portland_Maine_CarolinaPhotosmith034It was a whirlwind weekend full of fun! The wedding was fantastic, the setting was perfect, the band was rocking and the food was phenomenal. And if you’ve never heard of a crafty bride who sews her own striped tablecloths, assembles her own invitations and matches it all from her striped grosgrain to striped gown, well, you’ll just have to see the next bit of Maine I share in a few weeks. Meanwhile, I’m dreaming of fresh, humidity-free air as we head into July. I hope you’ll reach out with the links below if you’re interested in photography or leave a note with your fave spots in Maine. I’ll be going back sooner rather than later.

Okay, one shot from my big girl camera. Perfect coordination, right?! And I love the peek of the seated boy’s legs poking into the edge of the frame.

Nantucket reds and navy bridesmaids at Kennebunk River Club wedding. © Carolina Photosmith

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I’ve been shooting more than blogging these days, but I hope to catch up this summer with sharing fun weddings from St. Simons Island, Georgia, to Kennebunkport, Maine. Meanwhile, you can hop over to see some of Shelley and Andrew’s DeBordieu affair, which was recently featured on The Wedding Row Grand Strand.

It’s always nice to spend a little time in a place that is special to my clients. In addition to hanging out at the bride’s DeBordieu home, a quick stop at the groom’s man cave was an added bonus! Andrew is the third member of a wonderful family whose wedding I’ve had the privilege of photographing. Like his siblings, he has found the perfect mate. Congratulations, y’all!

Something blue at elegant spring DeBordieu Club wedding reception © Carolina PhotosmithFor more DeBordieu beauty from this family, see Shelley & Andrew’s engagement photos, his sister Liz’s DeBordieu wedding, and Liz and Andrew’s reception by the beach club. I hope you’ll reach out using the links below. Happy summer!

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With my fifth wedding of the season coming up Saturday, my queue is chock full of loveliness, so I’m taking a quick break from editing to share some portraits of Natalie. She recently married her Scottish hubby in an Atlanta garden, but I was so glad she and her mom and her multi-talented friend made the trek to Charleston for her Boone Hall bridal portraits. Natalie works at the Atlanta History Center, so it was fitting to photograph her in a breathtaking location full of history. We even wrapped up the session with a few shots downtown near their hotel. Enjoy!

Boone-Hall-bridal-portrait-Carolina-Photosmith-001Boone-Hall-bridal-portrait-Carolina-Photosmith-002Boone-Hall-bridal-portrait-Carolina-Photosmith-004Boone-Hall-bridal-portrait-Carolina-Photosmith-003Boone-Hall-bridal-portrait-Carolina-Photosmith-005Boone-Hall-bridal-portrait-Carolina-Photosmith-006Boone-Hall-bridal-portrait-Carolina-Photosmith-007Boone-Hall-bridal-portrait-Carolina-Photosmith-009Boone-Hall-bridal-portrait-Carolina-Photosmith-008Boone-Hall-bridal-portrait-Carolina-Photosmith-010Historic-Charleston-bridal-portrait-Carolina-PhotosmithBoone-Hall-bridal-portrait-Carolina-Photosmith-011Boone-Hall-bridal-portrait-Carolina-Photosmith-012If you’re swooning or are ready to book your own Boone Hall portrait session, I hope you’ll recommend this post and reach out using the link below. Thanks, y’all!

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