Aren't these two the cutest??? And gorgeous! My heavens. This is the second time I've had the pleasure of photographing these two -- and now they're married! We met in the wee hours of the morning, while the moon was still high, and enjoyed a lovely Madison sunrise amid drifting fog and lush wildflowers. And we had such fun! I asked my awkward, silly questions while this duo just enjoyed each other's company. Ah..... so happy for them!
I met Jan when she phoned me last Fall to schedule a session with her daughter. Jan lost her husband, Phil, to cancer just a year earlier, and she and her daughter needed a bonding experience to help ease the grief of losing this important man. Having lost my own dad a few years back, I completely understood. I I gave these two ladies my best and produced for them some beautiful portraiture that they both love.
A few months later, Jan told me about her best friend, Matt, a good man who had helped Phil during his illness, had stood by when Phil was laid to rest, and then supported Jan through the horrific grief that followed. Jan hashed through and Matt was there for her every step of the way. Before they knew it, they'd fallen in love. Jan let me know that Matt had proposed to her, and she wanted to know if I would travel with her to Florida to photograph their elopement.
I said "YES!"
For months I kept their wedding a secret from everyone (including mutual friends) before traveling to Cape San Blas, Florida (with my family in tow, under the guise of "it's just summer vacation"). I have never in my life been so touched by a couple saying their vows to each other. The emotions were so raw and wonderful and overwhelming, the exquisite pain of Jan's and Matt's shared past, sublimely mixed with the overwhelming joy of hope and promise and renewal and life. They (with their sweet girl, Ruby) stood on that beach, hearts laid bare, creating a new covenant before God, their words mingling with sand and tears, and salty air... and it was perfection.
I am continually humbled to be asked to bear witness to such a miraculous thing as two lives being joined in marriage. That I get to forever capture and protect these precious moments, turning them into tangible memories, never to be forgotten .... that in itself is a rare, rare gift, to be treasured.
Thank you so much, Jan and Matt, for allowing me to be your wedding photographer. From my frail human heart to your beating warrior hearts, I speak blessings upon you both and pray for your many happy years together.
My family, like so many families this summer, recently headed to the beach, to Cape San Blas, a heavenly peninsula in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It was a time of merciless sun and breathtaking sunsets, salty air, coconut-scented sunscreen mingled with sweet sweat, sand clinging to damp skin, wind-dried hair, half-consumed water bottles strewn about, wet towels draped over every available surface, and gluttonous quantities of fried clams, seafood chowder, fresh shrimp, and tartar sauce drenched fish.
Life is better by the sea.
While there, in the throws of vacation ecstasy, we spun out cotton-candy dream-plans to make the ocean our permanent, year-round, lifelong destination. We'd buy a two-bedroom cottage with an ocean view, purchase infinite numbers of shorts and tank tops, and have a weekly bonfire on the beach. To pay the bills, my husband would get his ordination license and together, he and I would do weddings and elopements for visiting couples: he would perform the ceremonies, and I would photograph them. (My friend Jan, who was also at the beach with us, volunteered for the job of wedding coordinator).
Life is better by the sea
We miss it already, that semi-limbo, almost surreal monotone that one drifts through when one's seemingly endless days are filled with the delicious monotony of early morning swim-float sessions, casual sandwich-and-potato-chip lunches, afternoon naps, and sunset seashell hunting, sand and sea foam pooling between bare toes and eddying around ankles. Life now, having been away from the ocean for right at a week, is taking on again that hard bite of reality, of laundry and chores and "day jobs".
Oh the harsh, harsh reality of day jobs!
Life is better by the sea.
All that lingers are fading tan lines, worn flip-flips, and peeling, sand-scoured feet. And photographs. And Memories. And smiles of reminiscence.
"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea." - Isak Dinesen
Want to see even more from our trip to the beach? Head on over to my Instagram where you'll find every wonderful thing fully documented in pure photographic glory -- including photos of that amazing food we overindulged in (not to be missed): Lauren Bee on Instagram.
I've said it before, and I'll say again: I have the best clients (my "people", as I prefer to call them because they're really like family). When someone gives the Lauren Bee website a good looking over, and then contacts me for a family portrait session, we get to know each other really well, fairly quickly -- and sometimes (okay, I admit almost every single time) within just a few sentences or e-mails bounced back and forth, we're laughing and making jokes and being generally hilarious together (because my people are just that awesome, I'm telling you).
Janet is totally one of those clients. She's my people. She's quirky and funny and smart -- and upon meeting her for the first time, I realized, also beautiful. Know what else she is? An amazing mom. I'm a big "heart on sleeve" kind of gal, so I won't beat around the bush: watching Janet with her boys deeply touched me; we're talking right to the heart and turning on the waterworks just a smidge. Her sons adore her! And it's no surprise why. She's so laid back and so .... cool.
("Cool" is still a hip word, right? Right?)
Basically, Janet is the mom every kid wants. I am not even kidding.
Our lifestyle photography session started out at the most perfect "golden hour" time, where the summer trees were all lit up with dappled fire. I snapped a few shots of Janet, one or two with her boys, a few of her boys being silly together .... but dang it gets hot in July in Alabama. So we headed on over to Plamore Lanes in Huntsville -- where I was afforded a rare glimpse of a family done right, a la bowling balls and ketchup-drenched fries that are, apparently, the best fries in the world
I couldn't be more thrilled to now count Janet and her fellas as some of Lauren Bee's own. Welcome to the family, y'all!
Meet Beautiful Kayla, a young woman from Henagar Alabama with a big heart, mile-high aspirations, and infectious laughter; a woman who refuses to let the bumps in life get the best of her and who is determined to embrace the sunshine in her soul -- and heavens, so much sunshine!
It was important to Kayla that she properly celebrate her most recent accomplishment: graduating with a degree in early childhood education, from The University of Alabama. And so, senior portraits were in order. We embraced the natural, early morning light of Madison Alabama, traipsed through the dewy grass, and captured a whole slew of crazy-beautiful. Ms. Kayla, I'm telling you, she's a fully-realized, gorgeous breath of fresh air, full of promise and hope and all good and grand things. I couldn't be more thrilled to have been her senior photographer.
And keep an eye out for more! In addition to her senior photos, she booked an extra special bonus: one of my Conceptual Fine Art prints. I have already been working on her one-of-a-kind piece, enjoying the process so thoroughly -- it's full of magic and hope and mystery and beauty. I can't wait to unveil to Kayla her finished, signed print -- and then show it to the world!