Emily Warren | Old Salem Bridal Portraits

Photos by Brittany Butterworth Photography

When chatting with the bride, Emily, about the location for her bridal portrait session, she mentioned how much she loved Old Salem historic district in Winston Salem, North Carolina.  I inquired about her love for this place and she stated it was where she and Taylor had their engagement photos done. She really loved the look of the old houses and buildings, the original brick walkways, and what the history represented.  So naturally, this is where we chose to shoot her bridal portraits. And boy am I glad she did! The images of Emily in her beautifully fitted wedding dress from David’s Bridal are stunning!

We spent our time together at a few of my favorite photo spots at Old Salem incorporating what Emily loved about this location.  We began in an open field to get a greener background and a little more of nature before moving to the brick buildings.  Emily brought along her grandmother’s blush pink Victorian chair to use during her session.  It was the perfect addition to the overall look.  She said this chair had been in their family for some time and her grandmother had planned to reupholster it.  Hopefully, she changes her mind since the light rose pink is a trending color right now.

Old Salem is declared a National Historic Landmark where it depicts the Moravian settlement in North Carolina during the 18th and 19th centuries.  Many of the buildings are original and have only been restored over the years by homeowners.  There’s such rich history in this small part of Winston Salem and we have the Moravians from 1766 to thank for that.

Our photo session took us to a few different, but fun places throughout Old Salem combining brick walkways and steps, white columns, and picket fences.  Emily laughed and danced throughout her photo session, completely comfortable in front of the camera.  She had her sister and mother there for assistance; they made Emily giggle with silly faces and reminding her of funny moments they had shared together in their childhood.  Emily’s bubbly personality shone through in the images!

Now that the wedding is behind us, it is so nice to share these gorgeous final images of Emily!

Location: Old Salem Museum and Gardens

Dress:  David’s Bridal

Hair & Makeup: Hair by Kristin Nicks

 

Erin Flynn | Pilot Mountain Maternity Photo Session

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pregnant mother cream maternity dress pilot mountain posing ledge

Pilot Mountain has always represented a peaceful place for me.  High atop the mountain at an elevation of 2400 feet, its quiet and calm surroundings make for a beautiful photo session setting.  It was only right to suggest this location for Erin’s maternity photo session!  Erin and Patrick Flynn, once residents of Winston Salem, North Carolina agreed to photograph here without having visited Pilot Mountain in a few years. They drove from their home in Charlotte on a Friday afternoon, did their photo session, and drove back home afterward.  I call that dedication and trust in me, as a photographer. Whew!

We have been planning this date for some months now so that it fell right when Erin was 34 weeks pregnant.  As we drove toward Pilot Mountain, I could see the clouds were starting to accumulate, hiding the bright sun behind them.  I felt a bit discouraged since I had hoped to capture a beautiful sunset and the golden glow on this Momma-to-be. However, after checking the weather forecast on multiple outlets, there was only a 20% chance of rain in the area, so I felt confident it would move around us.

Patrick and Erin are having a little girl! She is due to arrive towards the end of September.  They’ve chosen a name, but have decided to announce it publicly once she is born.  Their lives have been busy with getting ready for their little girl’s arrival. They’ve enjoyed celebrating with friends and family at a plethora of baby showers.  Their favorite gift so far is a crib that they have put into the woodland animal themed nursery.  These parents can hardly wait for all the sweet baby cuddles they’ll enjoy when she’s here soon enough!

Erin is a fellow photographer friend of mine whom just began her own photography business, Erin Flynn Photography in Charlotte, North Carolina. Check her out if you’re in the area!  We’ve become fast friends as we connect over our joint passion for photography — chatting weekly about business, sharing beautiful images, and learning this whole photography thing together!

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We began Erin’s session in the beautiful field of yellow wildflowers.  She dawned a gorgeous ivory lace maternity dress, which she looked so elegant in.  It was the perfect setting for the beginning of their session.  Erin and Patrick brought their sweet dog Sammy, a Shih Tzu, along with them.  Sammy stole the show! He sat beside them perfectly posed during the entire session.  I truly believe he thought it was his own personal doggie photo session — just for him!  Sammy has been their only fur child since he was a puppy, 6 years ago.  He even has his own Instagram, follow Sammy on his adventures especially as he becomes a new big brother, at @Sammy_the_shih_tzu!

Next, we moved to the most gorgeous spot on the mountaintop! We could see for miles and miles, the faint horizon in the distance. Those original storm clouds were building up along the horizon.  The air temperatures had dropped and the wind had picked up a bit.  I’ve been atop this location many times and have never seen it like this.  A storm was certainly brewing despite the original weather forecasts.  The wind whipped and twirled around us, not really blowing in one single direction.  Erin faced it all with a huge smile and made the most of the less than desirable circumstances.  At least it was not raining! We joked that hopefully, this was not a premonition that baby girl would come into the world like a whirlwind.  The moodiness of the sky and air gave the photo session a mystical, mysterious feel. There was a certain electric rawness in the air.  We captured some amazing images with the dark clouds and sun peaking out in the distance!

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Both Patrick and Erin killed it! We had a blast weathering the elements during their photo session and luckily it did not begin to rain until the very end of the photo session. We grabbed the necessary shots, packed things up, and let Mother Nature do her thing. Afterwards, on the way home, Erin messaged me, “It was well worth the long drive to capture this time in our lives at such a beautiful location!”

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Location: Pilot Mountain, North Carolina

Maternity Dress: ohm_maternity

Candice & Nick | Engagement Photo Session

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Photos by Brittany Butterworth Photography

I met Candice and Nick at Candice’s parent’s horse farm in their small hometown of Red Oak, North Carolina.  It was a warm, humid, summer evening very typical for North Carolina.  The sun was setting slowly and the Eastern no-see-ums were buzzing around.  I was greeted by the lovely couple and their two energetic, tail-wagging, yellow labradors — Annie and Bailey.

Photos by Brittany Butterworth Photography

Candice, a paramedic, and Nick, a firefighter, met at work and have known one another for 10 years.  They maintained a work friendship until one day in March 2016, they started talking a little bit more.  Soon Nick asked her to dinner.  Candice was smitten as soon as she saw him step out of his truck and walk onto her porch.  She saw him in a whole new light and things were never the same!

Photos by Brittany Butterworth Photography

Photos by Brittany Butterworth Photography

In December of 2017, Candice and Nick were preparing for a weekend trip to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina when Nick called Candice into the living room.  He was down on one knee with both of their dogs beside him – ring in hand! Nick asked her to be his wife and make their little family complete.  So simple and perfect! Candice mentioned she was glad he did it before their trip because he would’ve been occupied with nerves the entire time.  They were able to enjoy their trip as a newly engaged couple!

Their love for each other was evident during their engagement photo session.  They picked on each other, shared inside jokes, laughed incessantly, and couldn’t help but hold hands for most of the time.  Even when they weren’t meaning to, it seemed as if their movements were a choreographed dance; they were so in-sync.

Photos by Brittany Butterworth Photography

Candice and Nick gave me complete creative control for their engagement photos, with one exception.  She requested a couple of photos with the other two men in her life, ET and Splash; her two 31-year-old horses, who have been around since her childhood.

Photos by Brittany Butterworth PhotographyET and Splash have been Candice’s heart horses for what seems forever, watching her grow and navigate through life to this wonderful next chapter of marrying her soulmate.  They were quite important to include in the photos since they did love her first!

Photos by Brittany Butterworth Photography

We ended the session at sunset with their two pups! Annie and Bailey were so excited to be a part of the engagement photos; they could barely sit still.  Just imagine two yellow labs running around, so happy, so full of excitement! We all got a good giggle out of watching the chaos ensue. Candice chasing Annie, Annie following Bailey’s lead, and Nick trying to get Bailey to stand still for just 5 short seconds.

Eventually, they calmed down and rested beside their beloved owners for us to capture “the shot.”  Bailey belonged to Nick and Annie to Candice long before their relationship began. Now they are fast friends, inseparable, and so happy to have found each other, much like their parents!

Photos by Brittany Butterworth Photography

The wedding date is set for October 2018 at the same family horse farm in Red Oak.  Candice and Nick are looking forward to marriage and they can’t wait to share this special time with their loved ones!

 

 

Just a dusting of snow…

Children sledding in the snow

The weather forecasters knew it was a difficult snowstorm to accurately predict, they said it themselves.  A giant snow storm swept from Maine all the way down to Texas, moving briskly from West to East dumping snow, ice, and sleet in every place it touched – while maintaining below freezing temperatures. The conditions in North Carolina were ripe for a good snowfall.  

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But what had been originally forecasted for only a dusting of snow during the morning hours of Wednesday, turned into 7 inches of fresh powder across 16 hours.  Our area officially closed down for 2 days.  As many people know, it takes only less than an inch of snow in this Southern state to shut everything down.

My fiancé and I decided to venture out in our 4-wheel drive Volvo during the height of the snowfall, to enjoy the snowy sights of Downtown Winston-Salem and to take a couple of snow photos.  

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We ventured to Innovation Quarter, Long Branch Trail bridge, Liberty Street, the Artivity Park, and to the West End and Ardmore neighborhoods and Miller Park.  

Snow in the Artivity park

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The photos we captured were magical!  The many layers of falling snowflakes provided depth to each image, transforming them into wintery pieces of art.  

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Downtown was mostly deserted except for a few cars, city buses, and people walking down the street.

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Snow days are my favorite.  The quiet falling snow creates so much peace.  It is a gentle reminder to slow down and relax during our bustling lives.  A time to enjoy a hot cup of chocolate and watch the snowflakes accumulate outside.  I always appreciate these delicate snow storms that bring calm for just a little while.

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Soon enough the sun does come out again, shining brightly on the reflective snow and the morning rays settle their golden cast on everything it can reach.  The warmth begins to melt the layers of powder and just like that, the peaceful snow day is soon just a memory.

Locations:

ARTivity on the Green Park

The Tap West End

Long Branch Trail

Miller Park

Bailey Power Plant

Katie & Euphoria … A Dream Horse

Katie & Euphoria
Euphoria PA (Masquerade PA X Donatella)

Katie donning a beautiful, silhouette dress matching her long black hair, slowly led her crystal white mare toward the location of the photo shoot.  Having photographed Katie before, I knew we were in for a creative, artsy equine photo session!  Let the fun begin; “time to capture their unique personalities together” was my initial thought.  This pair took to the camera almost instantly!  Their newly formed bond shone through immediately.  Euphoria looked to her new owner for a little extra confidence, while Katie kept her new horse calm and focused.

Katie and Euphoria have only been in a partnership for three short months, since Katie stumbled upon this beauty on an impromptu trip to Sandspur Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona while on a business trip to Dallas, Texas.  She decided to extend her trip into a short vacation, where she was first introduced to Euphoria. It was love at first sight, according to Katie.  She rode a couple of other horses, but knew Euphoria was the one for her!  Katie couldn’t look away from her big, expressive eyes, which seemed to draw her gaze and interest even more.

Katie and Euphoria

Euphoria PA (Masquerade PA X Donatella) is a 7 year old Purebred Arabian mare who arrived at Cedarbrook Arabians the beginning of the Summer.  They have enjoyed taking lessons, hacking around, and just learning more about one another.  Euphoria’s personality just keeps getting bigger and brighter the more she opens up to Katie.  Her ears prick forward when you enter her stall, especially when she knows there might be peppermints involved — her favorite treat.

Equine Photo Session with Katie and Euphoria

When asked what Katie’s favorite characteristic is about Euphoria, she had a difficult time choosing just one.  After much thought, she did settle on one important quality; Katie loves how sweet she is.  Euphoria knows no stranger and seems to have an affection for each person she meets.  The mare has not encountered a person she hasn’t liked.

Katie mentioned one time she had a really terrible day, so she decided to go to the barn late that evening and spend some time with her favorite horse.  She sat down in the corner of her stall when Euphoria came right over to her, gently resting her head on Katie’s, and falling asleep. At that point, Katie felt peace and so connected to her.  A really special moment she will never forget.

The duo just competed in Euphoria’s first ever horse show and their first together at the Rocky Mount Charity Open Show in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.  They had stellar rides and won a few ribbons; a cherry on top of their awesome performance.  This show was the first of many!  In April 2018, they plan to compete in Raleigh, North Carolina at the JB Hunt Horse Complex at their first A-Rated Arabian horse show. After qualifying there, the pair is hoping to make their way to the Region 12 Arabian Horse Championships in Perry, Georgia.  The ultimate goal is to compete and win at Nationals.

After spending a lot of time together with this duo, I know the future is bright for them as they continue to strengthen their bond. Their loyalty, trust, and friendship are already strong.  Good luck to Katie & Euphoria as they pursue their dreams!

Equine Photo Session with Katie and Euphoria

Missy & Brian | Family & Maternity Session

The Walsh Family

Photo Sessions in Wilmington, North CarolinaIt was a beautiful day for a two-in-one maternity and family session with Missy and Brian Walsh, and their 3-year-old daughter, Kate. Not only were we able to capture pictures of the family of three, we also had a little quiet time to photograph the expecting parents alone.

The Walsh Family Photo Session in Wilmington, North Carolina
Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

What started out as a windy session on Wrightsville Beach with a shy little girl, turned into something special when we moved to a much quieter place at the New Hanover Arboretum. In her “Princess Dress”, as Kate referred to it, she began to open up and steal the show with her adorable personality. With a little provoking of “say cheese”, Kate would strike a pose and smile big for the camera showing us all how it is done. It was easy to see how much she adores her parents in the way that she hugged their necks, held their fingers and looked up at them with admiration throughout their photo session.

Missy and Brian met and started dating over 12 years ago. This upcoming November will mark their 9th wedding anniversary! Missy is an accomplished horse trainer in Wilmington, North Carolina.  We actually met showing horses together on the Arabian horse show circuit – a passion near and dear to my heart.  She manages a barn and a riding lesson program at the beautiful Cedarbrook Arabians.

A New Addition

The Walsh’s are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their baby boy Michael, due soon on November 9th. They are most excited about a new addition to their family dynamic and watching their love grow with this bundle of joy. Missy said they’re most looking forward to seeing who the little guy resembles, either her or Brian. Will he have crazy hair like Kate did when she was born? They cannot wait to meet him soon enough and find out the answers to the mysteries they have been wondering about for the last 8 months!

Kate is already planning her big sister duties. She’s promised to hold him a lot, give him his bottles, teach him everything she knows, and love him with all her heart!

Of course, the family is not complete without their fur dog child Jack Russell, Lucy (not pictured). Missy said she’s their protector, loyal companion, travel buddy, horse show mascot, and best friend to Kate. I have a feeling Lucy will also be a “big sister” and protector of baby Michael when he arrives.

The best part about this session was capturing the love and personalities of Missy, Brian, and Kate. It was obvious how much they adore one another through their expressions in each photograph. Michael will be a warm addition to their growing family. He is already loved by so many!

Photo Sessions in Wilmington, North Carolina

Sarah’s Maternity Session

Sarah & Blake | Maternity Session

 

Sarah and Blake’s maternity session was a particularly special shoot. Sarah and I have been childhood friends since we were the age of three and have managed to maintain a healthy, supportive friendship for the last 25 years — especially through all of life’s events, changes, and  many moves. It was an honor to photograph Sarah’s maternity session and capture their excitement.

Sarah and Blake reside in Franklin, Virginia, where Blake operates his own turf farm, and Sarah is busy working as an occupational therapist for the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. They have been happily married for 3 years, but have been together for a total of 6! Both Sarah and Blake are enjoying focusing on the arrival of their newborn and embracing the changes that they are going through together.

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It’s A Boy!

Baby Walker Thomas Phillips is due October 8th and the parents-to-be are quite excited. While he will be their first baby, the couple considers Walker’s fur sibling, Brutus, to be just as special and loved. Brutus still isn’t quite sure what to think about all of the new differences in his life, between moving into a new home and the set up of a nursery — which they have decorated in a neutral theme, except for a pop of bright colors dotted throughout.

Sarah says she is most excited about getting to see what her newborn will look like and who he will resemble the most. One of the things she has ultimately enjoyed about her pregnancy is feeling him move and says it is such a surreal feeling, one that she is certain she will miss once he’s here!

The soon-to-be parents have been given advice from their loved ones about their successes and blunders in parenthood, and have been showered with an abundance of love and support from their friends and family. All of these, in turn, have helped them prepare for this next chapter in their lives of parenthood. I am ecstatic to celebrate in life’s newest changes for them and cannot wait to welcome Baby Walker into the world.

Maggie & Chas ⎸A Walk to Remember.

Maggie & Chas' engagement session at River Road Farms in Franklin, Virginia

Maggie and Chas’s engagement session, located at the beautiful River Road Farm in Franklin, Virginia was full of laughter, dancing and chit chat about their upcoming wedding. It was a cool morning in August that we spent roaming the hay fields, pastures, and farm lands looking for the picture perfect spots.

The couple picked an ideal location to showcase their interests. Both Maggie and Chas love to be outdoors — whether that means they’re hiking, walking their dog, or taking trips to places they’ve never been before. On Saturdays during college football season, you can bet that Chas will be rooting for Tennessee while Maggie is pulling for her VT Hokies! They may be sipping on their favorite homemade limon/watermelon mojitos, especially if the two teams decide to play each other again. And on Sundays, you can find them at their favorite breakfast spot, the Roanoker, before going to church.

In fact, it was during one of these beloved activities that “the proposal” happened. As Maggie describes it, “it was a normal morning”, consisting of blueberry waffles and sausage for breakfast. They walked their dog, Coal, like normal, stopping briefly at a bridge over the river that ran between two parks. Maggie had turned her back for a second taking in the view and when she turned around, she discovered Chas down on one knee professing his love for her. Most of what Chas said was a blur, Maggie recalls, but of course she said “Yes!” and they laughed and cried joyfully. This is one walk they’ll remember for years to come.

Maggie will make a gorgeous bride for their summertime wedding in June of next year. I look forward to photographing their special day and know it will be magical, if these pictures are any inkling of what’s to come.

Made it to the One Year mark!

Hooray! It has been One Year!

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365 days since I stepped out from under the corporate world of stability, routine, and complacency. 365 days since I stepped into the life of unknowns, 100% commission, and building a business of my own focused on the craft of photography. While also focusing on the freedoms and rewards that come with owning, operating, and managing my very own, one (wo)man business. I’ve enjoyed making my own decisions, flexible schedule, and deciding how I want to run my business while providing an exceptional service and product to my wonderful, loyal clients. I could easily write down all the goals I have met along the way, and all of my personal accomplishments in the last year, but that’s not how I measure my business’ success. I can only measure it with the many lessons I have learned. The uncomfortable, hard-fought, hours-long lessons that have taught me to be a better photographer, a better entrepreneur, and an even better businesswoman.

I have failed at some things. I have been rejected. I have been so defeated, I’ve wanted to call it quits. I have been in situations where I’ve had no idea how to handle them. It’s been tough being the sole operator. I am the good guy, the bad guy, and everything in between. There’s no asking my boss for permission or to handle issues. There’s no referring to a seasoned coworker for their guidance. There’s just me working with what knowledge I have attained throughout my time in the corporate world, through attaining my bachelor’s degree, and through my certification in health coaching. All in all, I have relied on myself for the answers, making decisions based off of my morals, my gut feelings, and my knowledge base. I’ve learned how to wear many hats, juggle the daily tasks, and continue to be creative and open-minded in my photography.

The biggest reward has been delivering images to my clients from their sessions, events, and weddings days, the special moments I had the honor to capture with my camera. I receive the most enjoyment when I see my clients’ faces when first viewing their images.  Knowing I have documented a specific moment in time that they will never repeat, but can always cherish because of the images is immeasurable. It makes the long hours and difficult times so worth it.

Somehow along the way, I have luckily built a tribe of wonderful people to have on my side when I am faced with difficult moments or need the extra encouragement. These people have offered their unwavering support, professional advice, and empowerment to make the right decisions. They have taught me how to sell my brand, how to photograph in unfavorable circumstances, how to build my online presence, and so much more. They have also celebrated my wins knowing how hard I worked to get that W.  They have also mourned some of my losses, reminding me to get back on my feet to try again.  Without my tribe of people, I wouldn’t be as knowledgable, as confident, as empowered to continue this journey to continue my passion.

Running a business isn’t for the faint of heart and sometimes I have wondered if I am strong enough to do it. I have questioned myself if this is really what I am meant to do, but I have this internal curiosity, much like a cat. A curiosity to see what is around the next corner, what lesson I can learn from the next inquiry, what will come from the next photography opportunity.  I’ve learned I can’t give up because I owe it to myself to keep trying.  Because if I don’t try, then I won’t learn or grow.  If I don’t grow, I will just be mediocre.  If I don’t try to be better than I was the day before, the photo session before, the client before, then I am only guaranteeing myself not to succeed. So success and growth is what I will continue to chase with my curious mind.

I’ve learned to face adversity with open arms, inviting in what I don’t know and tackling what I can. My first year in business has been nothing shy of successful, full of old and new clients, exciting photography opportunities, and new endeavors and paths to entertain.  My business has pushed me, challenged me, and forced me to be uncomfortable and to be better. The growth that has happened in those uncomfortable moments is immeasurable. I welcome Year 2 and gladly look forward to the new lessons I will learn, and the amazing clients I will have the opportunity to work with, giving them images of the special moments in time that they will be able to enjoy and cherish for a lifetime.

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Photo 72 & 73 – The Fan

There is something to be said about a home.

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It is a location where we create a space of peace and comfort; a place that most effectively represents our own selves. It is a collection of chachkas, momentos, hand-me-downs, handcrafted furniture, well-loved pieces, and endless memories.

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People choose to showcase their most prized possessions, whether it be a collection of fine wine or a intricate hand-painted vase picked up on a recent trip. The value of these items is found in their personal definition of a prized possession. It could be a library of classic books, a collage of family snapshots, a restored 1950’s vintage hutch, or an assortment of snow globes from around the world. Their home says everything about what is important to them. People are proud to provide a visual look down memory lane into what they’ve found stylish, what they love, what gives them comfort. Walk into an acquaintance’s home, take a second to look around, what is it they are passionate about? It will be easier to tell than you think.

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Photos 72 and 73 of the #365PhotoChallenge represent the years of time and hard work to make this adorable condo in The Fan Gallery into a comfortable, inviting home.