Ashlie + Josh: Lake Eden Events, Black Mountain, NC: 9/20/14
As a wedding photographer, and a newly wed myself, there is nothing more exciting than having the opportunity to capture two close friend’s big day!
For the past year I have been patiently awaiting Ashlie and Josh’s wedding-especially because I have had the pleasure of watching their relationship grow and blossom over the past few years. I first met Josh through one of his closest friends, Pierce, when he was living in North Asheville and Ashlie, in Charlotte. I had recently moved to Asheville from Austin and as luck would have it, I was in need of an investment broker and Josh just happened to be established with Edward Jones. We hit it off immediately.
Because of the long distance, Ashlie and Josh took turns driving to see each other on the weekends. He spoke frequently about how much he wanted her to move to Asheville and it was obvious how much he cared about her. After a year, I finally had the chance to meet Ashlie at their engagement shoot. I knew right away why Josh cared about her so much- she was kind, warm-hearted and down-to-earth. Not to mention, beautiful!
We met at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville about an hour before sunset. (That magical hour that we photographers hold so dear!) We chatted for a while on the back patio- a stunning view of the mountains as our backdrop. Before we knew it, hours had passed and we were still shooting! They are both carefree and open-minded- a photographer’s dream couple!
This past Saturday, I arrived at the Lake Eden Events Center in Black Mountain, NC around 2:30. I wasn’t due to start shooting until 3:30, but the photographer in me wanted to get in as many moments as possible. It was my first wedding at Lake Eden, and when I arrived the day before for a walk-through of the venue, I was blown away! Between the tree-lined lakes, rolling green hills and panoramic mountain views, it couldn’t have been more serene. The weather was unbelievably perfect- blue skies and 75 degrees!
I met up with Ashlie and the bridal party first. There was a joyful presence in their cabin- Ashlie was in curlers, eyes resting, as her friend and stylist, Darren Gillian, began applying her makeup. (He did an outstanding job!) Everyone was welcoming and made me feel a part of the group. I stayed with them until 3:30, made sure I had captured the essentials- getting ready, the dress and jewelry, and Ashlie putting on her gorgeous gown. I texted Josh to let him know I was on my way up to the Hilltop and arrived to find five of the most handsome men! They were sharp and classy in linen suits. I favored the touch of turquoise as it was also my wedding color. We headed out to the hillside for candid group shots. I almost didn’t recognize Pierce- it was the first time I had seen him without a beard!
“Hey Abi, it’s me, Pierce!” We both laughed at the striking confusion a little facial hair can cause.
The wedding party was scheduled to convene outside of the bridal cabin at 4:00pm so I jumped in the car and headed back down the hill. The girls looked amazing and Ashlie was breathtaking! After meeting the flower girl, Josh’s niece, I immediately fell in love.
I was wearing a dress with hip cowgirl boots and she looked down at them, then up at me and said, “Why are you wearing those shoes?” Her mother and I had a deep belly laugh and I said, “Well, so I can do this,” and I improvised a short heel-to- toe dance for her. She really enjoyed that!
Then it was show time! It was 4:30, and because I was shooting solo, I moved purposely and quickly throughout the 16-minute outdoor ceremony. The violinist, Reanna Myers Franklin, was captivating and the ceremony was perfect! Sweet Bouquets Florist created stunning hanging jars of bright flowers that accented the end of each aisle. As Josh and Ashlie began their vows, her dog (who was sitting with the other guests), started barking at me as I snuck down the middle of the two rows! Everyone got a chuckle out of that and I telepathically sent it requests to not bark! Then out of nowhere, a larger dog came trotting up the aisle towards her dog and me. I had to get a shot of that!
After the family and bridal party shots, a golf cart arrived to take the three of us to the lake front for bride and groom pictures. We were greeted by weeping willows and perfect reflections of the mountains off the lake. (A photographer’s dream)! We then took the short walk up to the Barns for the reception and a few more shots. They were announced and greeted by family and friends and a million bubbles.
It was a great reception- live music by local artists, Walrus, love abound and a packed barn! Johnnie’s Catering did a phenomenal job on dinner and I met multiple generations from both sides of the family whom were all so welcoming and kind. I felt like a part of the family!
I know it may be cliché to have a “favorite wedding,”,but this one is way up there!
Professional considerations for wedding photographers:
1) Second shooters are mandatory! Think different angles, lenses, perspectives, personalities and the ability to be in multiple locations at once.
2) Always do a walk-through of the venue the day before, preferably at the rehearsal. If possible, do so with the couple and place them in various lighting scenarios to gauge available light. This will help you prepare lighting equipment. Ask yourself: Should there be more professional lighting provided in the reception area by the venue/planner? If the reception ceilings are higher than 15-20 feet, bouncing the flash will not be an option.
3) Scout possible backdrops and shaded areas for the bride-and-groom portraits. Have your camera and get a metering with them in the frame. Be prepared for a shift in cloud coverage and rain.
4) Make sure you have the day’s timeline of events days or even a week prior to the wedding. Have the important times set as reminders in your calendar and carry a hard copy. (First dance, mother-son/ father-daughter dance, cake-cutting, etc.)
5) Technology-free ceremony and guests’ camera flash: When I consult with my clients, I encourage and over-encourage them to consider asking the guests to refrain from use of cell phone and/or cameras during the ceremony. Firstly, the guests are truly able to be present in the moment and in the celebration. Secondly, there is nothing worse than getting ready to press the shutter button for “the kiss” or the first dance only to have Uncle Joe stand up and fire away with his point and shoot. If the flash is not coming from my team, or me, it will ruin my ability to do what my clients are paying me to do: capture beautiful and meaningful moments. I cannot do this successfully with interrupted, external light sources.
6) Network with the vendors. Consider offering them digital copies that will highlight their area of expertise. Professional and detailed shots, such as the cake, bride’s hair and makeup, DJ or band and decorations can be valuable marketing tools for vendors. It can promote word-of-mouth referrals as well.
7) Know when and where you will do the bridal, group, groom, and family portraits. Don’t be afraid to jump in the car and drive the couple a few minutes away from the distractions of family and guests. The more relaxed and comfortable they are, the more natural the photographs.
8) Properly expose and get to know your histogram. Consider a hand-held light meter. Whatever you do, do not, I repeat, do not, blow out the dress! Turn on highlights notification.
9) Dress professionally and get there at least an hour before you begin shooting.
10) Have fun!
Abi Fields Photography(non-registered)
Ashlie, it was my pleasure!!
Abi, this is so dear to me! You did such a great job. Thank you !!
These are GREAT!!!!!! Abi did an awesome job at capturing the moment :-)
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