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Now that this beauty is honeymooning with Casey, I can share some of my faves from her fun afternoon of bridal portraits! I met Elizabeth and her mom at Jonny’s Cosmetics, where she had just stepped into her Martina Liana lace gown. We hopped around the historic district for a bit, while tourists waved excitedly, congratulating her (even though her wedding day was still a few weeks away). Later, we headed back to Beresford Hall to make more elegant Charleston bridal portraits on her family’s home turf. What a special and memorable afternoon!

Elizabeth found her dreamy lace dress at the Gown Boutique of Charleston. Hope you enjoy these images as much as we enjoyed making them. And follow my Facebook page to see some sneak peeks of their wedding day and reception at the Gadsden House. Thanks, y’all!

Elegant Charleston bridal portraits historic venue © Carolina Photosmielegant charleston bridal portraits by Carolina PhotosmithElegant bridal portrait historic Charleston © Carolina PhotosmiElegant bridal portrait historic Charleston © Carolina PhotosmiElegant bridal portrait historic Charleston © Carolina PhotosmiBreathtaking bridal portrait in lace gown by Dock Street TheaterCharleston bridal portrait at White Point Gardens Charleston HarCharleston bridal portrait at White Point Gardens Charleston HarCharleston bridal portrait at White Point Gardens Charleston HarBreathtaking bridal portrait in lace gown by Dock Street Theaterelegant Charleston bridal portrait dock street theater Carolina PhotosmithElegant jasmine-scented bridal portrait historic Charleston © CElegant bridal portraits at Beresford Hall near Daniel Island ©Elegant bridal portraits at Beresford Hall near Daniel Island ©Long haired bride in lace gown for backlit portait sunflare © elegant Charleston bridal portraits by Carolina Photosmith Barefoot bride lace gown swing Charleston live oak hydrangeas ©Afternoon sun casts spotlight in this elegant Charleston bridalElegant bride battles bugs for sunset portrait Beresford CreekElegant bride battles bugs for sunset portrait Beresford CreekMom and daughter pause on Beresford Creek after gorgeous bridal

Lizzie’s Dream Team

Wedding Dress | Martina Liana at Gown Boutique of Charleston
Makeup | Jonny Sherwood
Hair | Jade and Lisa at Salon Bellezza
Nails | Kellie at Salon Bellezza

Bridal portraits are such a great way to soak up this special time (and spend some extra hours twirling in what is likely your most expensive dress). Learn more about why I love them, and please share my name with friends who need a wedding photographer. Thanks!

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It’s been way too long. The cooing baby is now playing lacrosse, the three-hour preschool days have stretched into 8-hour school days (before homework), and your snaggletoothed cutie is making college visits. Book that family photo session, ditch the white shirts and let me make fun, beautiful photos that will not be trapped on a smartphone!

It’s your session, so wear what pleases you and makes you feel most at ease (excluding threadbare T-shirts or gear with prominent logos). Your comfort level will show in your clothing choices, which is one more reason the all-white idea just makes families more self-conscious instead of more relaxed. I get it – most people have white shirts, so it’s easy to tell everyone to pull one out and be done with it. In addition, since whites are bleachable, they are usually more uniform than all navy or all black, since both of those colors fade differently and have tinges of green that are noticeable in a group shot.

But let’s not strive to be uniform. Ditch white shirts! And let’s be real – what works on the toddler would look silly on you and ridiculous on grandma, so be you! Nobody does it better. In fact, since you’re going to be photographed, be an even better, more jubilant you!

After a quick scan of some sessions, I dug up some inspiration for various color schemes. I’ll refrain from additional rules if you follow my primary one: Ditch the White Shirts. Seriously. Unless you’re coming straight from Diner en Blanc or are emulating the Modern Family cast years ago, do not sport white shirts. Following are some tips for making that happen:

How to Ditch White Shirts

  1. Start with a print. It may be a Matilda Jane sundress for on the 3-year-old, or it could be a colorful maxi dress that you picked out after you called me. Roll with it!
  2. Identify three hues in the print that the other family members can wear. Prints are great because they are festive and because they help you start with a color scheme that someone else put together. Try to avoid having three hues that are decidedly masculine or feminine, and if you can mix warm and cool shades, go for it! This adds dimension and personality to your photos, lessening your workload. (Kidding!)
  3. Communicate color scheme to the rest of the clan. Gunning for a family reunion shot? Snap a pic of your inspiration print and text this info to everyone involved in your session. “Hey guys!  I’d love it if we could wear coral/aqua/yellow for the beach photos, and I’ve attached a pic of Dad’s hilarious Hawaiian shirt to show you the colors.”
  4. Throw in some neutrals to make it easy. “But I don’t have coral shorts!” he says. Not a biggie. Wear khaki, white, or denim shorts/skirts/pants/jeans. “Can I wear my aqua/white checked button-down? And she has a yellow/white polka dot skirt?” Sure, throw in another pattern or two. Like in home decor, it’s best if the size of the prints vary and don’t compete.
  5. Kick it up a notch. Add a zippy necklace, cute headband, a colorful belt, groovy earrings, a gauzy scarf, a cardigan, etc. Collars (just not too much; mind the breezes!), an architectural neckline, a breezy ruffle, these are all good.
  6. More pro tips: Sleeveless isn’t the best choice for most people. Something that skims the body makes people look smaller than blousy/poofy things that mask all shape. I can’t control the wind, so think about securing long hair if we’re shooting at the beach or on arctic tundra. Finally, bonus points are awarded for considering your clothing in The Group Photo as well as smaller subsets like mom/kids, all adults, grandchildren and elders, all the men, etc. The fewer the people, the more obvious your clothing will be. Choose wisely!

Whew! I already have another blog post in mind after sharing that last idea, but before I trip over myself, I’ll share some timeless photos of happy families. I first met Katie as a glamorous bride, and I just booked her clan for another beach session this summer. Love to watch families grow!

Colorful family beach portraits. Contrast against your backgrounColorful, relaxed Charleston family photography. © Carolina PhotosmithColorful Hampton Park family portraits with twinfants. © CaroliColorful Hampton Park family portraits with twinfants. © CaroliColorful family portraits. Relaxed, fun, vibrant! © Carolina PhColorful family portraits. Relaxed, fun, vibrant! © Carolina PhColorful family portraits. Relaxed, fun, vibrant! © Carolina PhColorful family portraits. Relaxed, fun, vibrant! © Carolina PhBrothers. Ugh. Twin ones? She rolls with it!Colorful family portraits with Carolina Photosmith. Relaxed, fun, vibrant! © Carolina PhColorful family portraits. Relaxed, fun, vibrant! © Carolina PhColorful family portraits. Relaxed, fun, vibrant! © Carolina PhColorful family portraits. Relaxed, fun, vibrant! © Carolina PhColorful family portraits. Relaxed, fun, vibrant! © Carolina PhColorful family portraits. Relaxed, fun, vibrant! © Carolina PhColorful family portraits. Relaxed, fun, vibrant! © Carolina PhColorful family portraits. Relaxed, fun, vibrant! © Carolina PhLove how Kylee found a seamstress on Etsy who used the same fabrics in all three girls’ outfits, but each is unique. A bit of planning can make for an awesome collage of photos on your wall!Colorful family portraits. Relaxed, fun, vibrant! © Carolina PhColorful family portraits. Relaxed, fun, vibrant! © Carolina PhColorful family portraits. Relaxed, fun, vibrant! © Carolina PhI first photographed Rebecca and Dave on their wedding day. Then came Ila Gray in a Moses basket, Ramsey being a toddler, and next time there will be five!Colorful family portraits. Relaxed, fun, vibrant! © Carolina PhColorful family portraits. Relaxed, fun, vibrant! © Carolina PhColorful family portraits. Relaxed, fun, vibrant! © Carolina PhSisters who dance like pink and black architecture. Charleston family photography by © Carolina Photosmith

These light dresses would fade away at the beach, but they pop against the pink wall. Consider your backdrop and wear color that will contrast with your setting.

Are you a fan of prints? Me too! Just like in your home decor, you can mix them for photos. Eric and Sarah look great on the foggy beach since his small blue checks meld with the bold paint strokes on her feminine top. And instead of sporting khaki or white up top, their jeans and pants just blend away.

Fun and foggy Folly Beach engagement session © Carolina Photosmith

Embrace color for best photos © Carolina Photosmith

Chilly sessions call for layers. Ellie sported this jaunty purple coat over her chocolate dress. MK was possibly humming “Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins while pondering the duckies below.Charleston portrait gallery features colorful, unscripted moments

Ditch the white shirts and play for best family photos. CarolinaPhotosmith.comColorful family portraits. Relaxed, fun, vibrant! © Carolina PhColorful, vibrant, unscripted family photography at Boone Hall Plantation. © Carolina PhotosmithEmbrace color for outdoor portraits. Head shots of sales reps byEmbrace color for outdoor portraits. Head shots of sales reps byColorful family beach portraits. Contrast against your backgrounColorful family beach portraits. Contrast against your backgrounColorful family beach portraits. Contrast against your backgrounColorful family photos in historic Charleston. © Carolina PhotoColorful family photos in historic Charleston. © Carolina PhotoDitch the white shirts for best family photos. © Carolina PhotosmithColorful family beach portraits. Contrast against your backgrounColorful family beach portraits. Contrast against your backgrounColorful family beach portraits. Contrast against your backgrounColorful Hampton Park family portraits with twinfants. © Caroli

Historic Charleston Engagement. Photography © Carolina PhotosmithEmbrace color for outdoor portraits. Head shots of sales reps byDitch the white shirts! Dozen cousins in birth order, color-code

Yes, I had to wrap with my tots (in yellow!) and their cousins at Ormond Beach. Grandchildren in birth order, color-coded siblings.

Did you catch some flashes of white up above?

Sure you did! You don’t have to banish it completely. Littles are cute in white sundresses, and white linen may be the best backdrop for your ROYGBIV necklace. Just use it sparingly and purposefully, and strive to inject color and pattern. You’ll be so glad when you ditch the white shirts!

Contact Jen to book your session. Oh, and follow me on Pinterest for What to Wear boards for both families and couples. Thanks, y’all!

 

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Time for a gracious dose of springtime wedded bliss with this Kiawah Island Sanctuary wedding! Ashley and Greg live in Charlotte, NC, but chose to have a destination wedding in the Lowcountry. There are several stunning venues for a Kiawah wedding, and they chose The Sanctuary Hotel. It was a perfect day for a wedding on the grand lawn, and the tented reception was dreamy. Ashley planned lots of charming details herself. One of my favorites is her custom monogram (A and G combined), which graced the invitations, menu, cake and more. She had Something Blue aplenty: bridesmaids gowns, guys’ ties, place card ribbons and her wedding date embroidered into her gown. So charming!

The spring rains were nicely timed — one shower cleared out just before the ceremony, and the steady rain came during dinner but wrapped up before the smores, cornhole and sparklers. The couple honeymooned in Turks and Caicos. Ashley, thanks so much for choosing me to document your elegant day!

Elegant Kiawah Island Sanctuary wedding Carolina PhotosmithElegant Kiawah Island Sanctuary wedding Carolina PhotosmithElegant Kiawah Island Sanctuary wedding Carolina PhotosmithKiawah Island Sanctuary wedding blue khaki grand lawn seaside ceKiawah Island Sanctuary wedding groomsmen barKiawah Island Sanctuary wedding blue khaki grand lawn seaside ceElegant Kiawah Island Sanctuary wedding Carolina PhotosmithElegant Kiawah Island Sanctuary wedding Carolina PhotosmithElegant Kiawah Island Sanctuary wedding Carolina PhotosmithKiawah Island Sanctuary wedding blue khaki grand lawn seaside ceKiawah Island Sanctuary wedding blue khaki grand lawn seaside ce
Kiawah Island Sanctuary wedding blue khaki grand lawn seaside ceKiawah Island Sanctuary wedding blue khaki grand lawn seaside ceKiawah Island Sanctuary wedding blue khaki grand lawn seaside ceKiawah Island Sanctuary wedding blue khaki grand lawn seaside ceKiawah Island Sanctuary wedding blue khaki grand lawn seaside ceKiawah Island Sanctuary wedding blue khaki grand lawn seaside ceElegant Kiawah Island Sanctuary wedding Carolina PhotosmithElegant Kiawah Island Sanctuary wedding Carolina PhotosmithElegant Kiawah Island Sanctuary wedding Carolina PhotosmithElegant Kiawah Island Sanctuary wedding Carolina PhotosmithOceanside Kiawah Island wedding reception clear tent Carolina PhOceanside Kiawah Island wedding reception clear tent Carolina PhOceanside Kiawah Island wedding reception clear tent Carolina PhOceanside Kiawah Island wedding reception clear tent Carolina PhOceanside Kiawah Island wedding reception clear tent Carolina PhOceanside Kiawah Island wedding reception clear tent Carolina PhOceanside Kiawah Island wedding reception clear tent Carolina PhOceanside Kiawah Island wedding reception clear tent Carolina Ph

What a fantastic day for a Kiawah Island wedding at the Sanctuary Hotel! Thanks to this dream team of wedding vendors for making Ashley and Greg’s day such a pleasure to photograph:
Martina Liana gown from J Majors Bridal in Charlotte, Jenny Yoo at Bella Bridesmaid Charlotte,
Tiger Lily FloristWilliams DuoDJ Lee EdwardsInvitations Only in Winston-Salem, with groom’s attire from Joseph Bank.

Please reach out when you’re searching for a wedding photographer. I’d love to help!

 

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  • Mercedes - Hahah, ring pops! They’re such fun people. I love that they took the time to play.ReplyCancel

Spring wedding Seabrook Island Carolina PhotosmithHappy anniversary to Susan and Matt, whose Seabrook Island wedding started with a breezy oceanside ceremony on a perfect spring afternoon. Seabrook makes it easy to get ready nearby and hop over to the ceremony site with an easy commute on golf carts or maybe a bike, you’re not wearing a wedding gown!

Florals by SYG Designs floated between the guests and the ocean, and Susan’s bridesmaids wore a stunning sangria color that popped against the lush maritime forest and the Atlantic. A gorgeous sapphire ring, a pair of adorable flower girls, delicious food and a beautiful sunset made the day more memorable. Later in the evening, the photo booth was in full swing and the dance floor was packed until the newlyweds rushed off to their golf cart under a canopy of sparklers. Well done, y’all! Here’s to plenty more years of happiness. Thanks for choosing me to document this day for your families. What a perfect destination wedding!

Spring wedding Seabrook Island Carolina PhotosmithSpring wedding Seabrook Island Carolina PhotosmithSpring wedding Seabrook Island Carolina PhotosmithSpring wedding Seabrook Island Carolina PhotosmithSpring wedding Seabrook Island Carolina PhotosmithSpring wedding Seabrook Island Carolina PhotosmithSpring wedding Seabrook Island Carolina PhotosmithSeabrook Island Club wedding receptionSpring wedding Seabrook Island Carolina PhotosmithSpring wedding Seabrook Island Carolina PhotosmithOceanside wedding Seabrook Island near Charleston copyright Caroseabrook island groomsmen khaki suits
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If you enjoyed this coastal affair, I hope you’ll recommend this post. Please reach out if you’re planning a Seabrook Island wedding. Here’s more, an island engagement session, from this breathtaking retreat near Charleston. I can photograph your family session here, too!

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  • Alex - what sweet, sweet photos! I’m loving the shot of the bride looking at her dad right as they walk down the aisle! <3ReplyCancel

    • Jen - Thank you! Beautiful day with lots of sweet moments 🙂ReplyCancel

I can’t believe it’s been a year since this festive Atlanta garden wedding! Happy anniversary to Natalie and Aidan! You two have awesome families (not to mention sweet Booth the Lab), and ever since your daffodil-icious day, I’m convinced more wedding receptions should warm up the dance floor with Scottish country dancing. Best icebreaker ever!Fun spring garden wedding in Atlanta at Marietta Garden CenterI loved all the fun people who celebrated this day with the couple. They met while Natalie was studying abroad, but a mere ocean couldn’t keep these two apart. Fascinators and tartans have me mad for plaid and jaunty toppers. Marietta Garden Center is such a charming venue, too! Thanks so much for choosing me to document your wonderful wedding day, Heath clan. Go Blue Hose! So glad you’re #finallyflynned 🙂
Fun spring garden wedding in Atlanta at Marietta Garden CenterFun spring garden wedding in Atlanta at Marietta Garden CenterFun spring garden wedding in Atlanta at Marietta Garden Center

Daffodils and tartans at this Atlanta garden wedding

Skyping with Scotland

Daffodils and tartans at this Atlanta garden wedding

Beautiful details. Mother of the bride.

Scotland comes to town for this Marietta Garden Center wedding b

Setting the spring trend for lace-up flats.

Proud parents recess after the Scottish groom wed his Southern b

The couple’s lovely parents!

Both the bride and her mom attended Presbyterian College. Mom

Presbyterian College friends.

Newlyweds at this Atlanta garden wedding are welcomed to the rec

Such a sweet first dance moment!

Southern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at Marietta

Love this bride soaking up her bride-ness.

Southern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at Marietta

The newlyweds work the room.

Daffodils and tartans at this Atlanta garden weddingDaffodils and tartans at this Atlanta garden weddingDaffodils and tartans at this Atlanta garden weddingDaffodils and tartans at this Atlanta garden wedding
Scotland comes to town for this Marietta Garden Center wedding bDaffodils and tartans at this Atlanta garden weddingDaffodils and tartans at this Atlanta garden weddingDaffodils and tartans at this Atlanta garden weddingScotland comes to town for this Marietta Garden Center wedding bMen in kilts and a beautiful bride at this spring garden weddingMen in kilts and a beautiful bride at this spring garden weddingMen in kilts and a beautiful bride at this spring garden weddingMen in kilts and a beautiful bride at this spring garden weddingMen in kilts and a beautiful bride at this spring garden weddingProud parents recess after the Scottish groom wed his Southern bBoth the bride and her mom attended Presbyterian College. MomKilted groomsmen and daffodils at Marietta Garden Center weddingKilted groomsmen and daffodils at Marietta Garden Center weddingNewlyweds at this Atlanta garden wedding are welcomed to the recSouthern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at MariettaSouthern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at MariettaSouthern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at MariettaSouthern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at MariettaSouthern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at Marietta
Southern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at MariettaSouthern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at MariettaSouthern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at MariettaSouthern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at MariettaSouthern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at MariettaSouthern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at MariettaSouthern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at MariettaSouthern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at MariettaSouthern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at MariettaSouthern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at MariettaSouthern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at MariettaSouthern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at MariettaSouthern bride marries Scotsman in charming wedding at MariettaNewlyweds last laugh dance floor marietta garden center garden w<h2>Vendor Team</h2>
Venue | Marietta Garden Center
Natalie’s Gown | Bravura Bridal
Natalie’s Hair | Tiffany Selleck
Natalie’s Makeup | Best Honorable Maiden Ever, Sarah Beth Palmer
Food and Drink | Carriage House Catering
Wedding Cakes | McEntyre’s Bakery
DJ | Spectrum Entertainment
Second Shooter | Collins Kilgore (reach out to my cousin if you’re near Columbus, Georgia!)

Feel free to share the love if you enjoyed this joyous Atlanta garden wedding! If you’re looking for an Atlanta photographer, I can help if I’m not booked around Charleston. No travel fees or mileage are charged since I can see my family when I’m in the capital city.

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  • Mercedes - This couple is adorable! The group shots are so fun. So much character in these images. I love it.ReplyCancel

  • Deborah (Figgie) - Aww, what a fun looking crowd!! I can imagine this was a blast to be a part of!!ReplyCancel

  • Jasmine - This looks like a crazy amount of fun, and I adore Scottish cèilidh dancing!ReplyCancel