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Beauty-Revived-Contestant-Winners

They are young women about to leave behind their comfort zones for a new adventure. For some of them, the comfort zone was left behind long ago, whether by their own choice or by the cards they were dealt. They have overcome obstacles, served their communities and have set an example of true beauty for others to follow. They are Beauty Revived.

Searching for True Beauty

Every year, I look for someone who exemplifies true beauty to everyone around them. Beauty in suffering. Beauty in service. Beauty in generosity of spirit. Beauty in perseverance. Beauty in kindness.

In world that bombards us with its warped definitions of beauty, I love reminding young women that beauty begins from within. I love showing them how truly beautiful they are, building their confidence in being exactly who God made them to be.

Every single young woman who stands in front of my lens has a story. They have fears, dreams, hurts, insecurities and goals. I enjoy getting to know each one, if only briefly. I want to be a positive light in this crazy world…a light that shines on those dark words that whisper, “You are not enough.” A light that obliterates that dark place with the truth God speaks:

“You are loved.”

Tell Me Their Story

I need your help! Do you know a senior who fits any of the above? Has she been through hard trials but overcome? Does she give her time in service to others? Is she an example to those around her, living a life that reflects inward beauty?

If you know someone like this, please tell me about them! I’d love to bless them with a free senior session, including high resolution digital images with printing rights (valued at $2,000)!

Their story and photos will also be featured in my blog as an inspiration to others.

Click Here to Nominate!

 

 

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The morning dawned, exactly 11 months after I awoke to photograph my oldest niece’s wedding in Delft, The Netherlands. Now, it was her sister Rachelle’s turn. Unbelievably, the forecast was once again miraculously sunny and wonderful. Yes, miraculously. It IS Holland, you know.

Rachelle and Simon’s Delft wedding was absolutely beautiful. It was full of traditional Dutch elements and I can’t wait to walk you through their day!

The day began bright and early at Rachelle’s parents’ home with hair and make up. My sister-in-law, Fiona, did a lovely job decorating the house for the occasion.

Hair & Make Up Artist: Annemiek Wijsman Hair and Make up Artist
Dress: Honeymoon Shop
Wedding Coordinator: Ilse Huigsloot
Cake: Bakker Suikerbuik
DJ: Niels & Martijn

 

I love this beautiful moment when Wim saw his daughter in her dress for the first time…

Once Rachelle was ready, it was time for the family to wait outside for the groom’s arrival. It is tradition for the groom to pick up his bride at her childhood home, bringing her wedding bouquet to her.

Rachelle descended the winding staircase to greet her eager groom below. I love the look on his face. She was absolutely breathtaking…

 

After a quick lunch, we headed to the Stadhuis (Town Hall) where the official ceremony would take place. This building was first built in the 1200’s and renovated in the 1400’s. Yeah. Just a little bit of history. The ceremony is an interesting mix of what we would expect from the Justice of the Peace here when you get your marriage license combined with the more traditional elements.

Below, friends and family gather outside the Stadhuis awaiting Simone and Rachelle’s arrival. It was market day on the town square, so guests mingled along with market shoppers and vendors.

The inside of the Stadhuis is an absolutely gorgeous setting for a wedding ceremony…

 

Both Rachelle and Simon play Korfbal for a local club. Some of the youth from the club greeted them with a balloon tunnel and a song!!

 

The traditional group photo of the Day Guests and Ceremony Guests. Yes, people are invited for various portions of the day. Some people, usually very close friends and family, are invited for the entire day. Others are invited to the ceremony portion and evening festivities. Some are only invited to the evening festivities.

The Omas (Grandmas).

After the ceremony, it was a short walk to ‘t Postkantoor (The Post Office) for the reception.
This wonderful restaurant is housed in what used to be the original post office of Delft.

 

Simon’s family surprised the bride and groom with a book comprised of various photos of the couple from childhood to the present.  (Fun fact: Simon and Rachelle first started dating when they were around 15 years old!)

After the reception, the wedding couple arranged for the Day Guests to take an historical boat tour of Delft while we shot romantic photos downtown. Of course, their first monumental sighting of the day was the Bride and Groom!

 

They met on the Korfbal field, so naturally they wanted a few shots to commemorate this fact.

 

After our photo shoot, we arrived at our last location of the day: Het Rieten Dak in the park, Delftse Hout. This place was beautiful, surrounded by nature and canals.

 

So, while scouting for a good location for family photos, I found this pretty spot. One problem: it was located next to two bike paths. I thought, “No problem. We will work around it.” Hmm. Never expected this out of the way spot to be like a highway during rush hour. I’m not kidding. It was the end of the day and apparently this bike path led to homes I had no idea existed. Even though it was obvious what we were doing, the bikers just didn’t care. They whipped around and past us like we were part of an obstacle course. At one point, a man came at us full speed and almost hit me. Actually, he did. I heard a squeal of brakes and saw his bike inches from me. I stuck out my hand and pushed back as his bike plowed into me.
Thankfully, though my hand was sore, I lived to see another day.
Needless to say, I quickly decided I’d find a new spot for the rest of the photos, away from imminent death by bike.

New spot…. Happy Day.

 

My beautiful nieces….

 

There’s nothing more powerful than receiving your father’s blessing on your wedding day!

 

Time for comfy shoes and dinner!!!

 

Um, these were just the appetizers. Have I told you how much I LOVE Dutch food?

 

My brother-in-law, Wim, gave a beautiful speech.

 

 

Rachelle’s aunt, Ilse, presented the couple with a beautiful gift…a time capsule. In the time capsule were cards friends and family filled out answering questions about the couple and about the future. In ten years time,
Simon and Rachelle will receive the key to open the box and read the cards!

 

Simon’s father also gave a very moving and uplifting speech, after which he presented the couple with their first family Bible.

 

Group photo of the Day Guests!

 

Party Time!!

 

Simon is not a big dancer and they led everyone to believe there would not be a first dance. However, what no one knew is that Simon and Rachelle were taking secret dance lessons and learning choreography for the first dance.
It was an awesome surprise for everyone and they nailed it!!

 

My daughter Victoria caught the bouquet, causing super excitement! I have no idea why…. (ahem).

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Digital is not Tangible

I have a beautiful entryway cabinet by my front door. It is not just decorative. In fact, when opened, one is confronted with multiple photo albums and loose photos. These albums document my pre-married life, mission trips, engagement, marriage, and babies. I should have more albums. But, the digital age came before my third child was born. It was so exciting. No more purchasing film! No more waiting! I had instant photos and I didn’t have to take them anywhere to be developed. My youngest had more photos than my other two for this very reason. However, though she had more, the quality was horrible. The first digital cameras left a lot to be desired. She has a baby album but family albums dwindled to nothing. Everything was on my computer.

When we moved from The Netherlands to the States, I safeguarded all our photos and put them on discs. However, when we bought a new computer here and I went to access my photos, a lot of the discs were corrupted. I lost so much. I thought I was doing such a great job playing it safe but still lost so many memories. Guess what? My albums are still here. My framed photographs are still here. Needless to say, I’m printing again. More and more. Prints last. When we look at old photos, I much prefer grabbing an album or a box of photos and gathering around in the living room to standing around a cold, flickering computer screen.

Sometimes we have to learn the hard way, right? Well, I’ve learned. Digital is not tangible. Yes, we can pass around a screen image but it doesn’t have the life of a print or an album. It’s just another screen image we are assaulted with on a daily basis.

This is why I emphasize the printed product. Digitals are not my baby. Wall Art, prints, albums…those are my babies. I am moved by the timeless, the heirlooms, the romance of the printed photograph. I’ve held old photos in my hands, photographs of grandparents and great-grandparents. I’ve heard the stories those photographs tell. When someone invests in a session with me, I want them to leave with something in their hands. I want to know my product will last way beyond their lifetimes, telling a story to those that come after. I want the photographs to live, not die on a jump drive in a junk drawer or get lost in the cloud.

So, what does that look like? Here’s some ways your photographs can live.

The Art Wall

I love the Art Wall! Every Art Wall is custom designed depending on the photograph. The layers bring added dimension and life to the image.
This 40×30 Art Wall features a photo I took this past summer in a small village in southern France. Oh, take me back!!

Gorgeous Wall Art of photo taken in southern France.

 

The Beautiful Album

I love this album, crafted by hand with archival materials. This classic heirloom features thick, layflat pages printed on photographic paper.
It is guaranteed for life and is my favorite way to preserve photographs from your session.

Front cover of the Beautiful Album showcasing Fine Art Film Sessions. Spread from the Beautiful Album of model in film session. Lovely thick fine art photo paper showcased in the Beautiful Album. View of the Beautiful Album and its thick pages. Stunning spread of fine art film session model in the Beautiful Album.

 

3-D Collage

How fun is this? This is a great, modern way to display multiple photos from your session!
This collage was created with Fine Art Mounts. Canvas is also an option.

3-D Wall Collage is a great way to showcase you portrait images.

 

Fine Art Print Wrap

Maybe you love the look of Canvas Gallery Wraps but you’re not a fan of the canvas texture. If so, this Fine Art Print Wrap is for you.
It is absolutely beautiful!

Fine Art Print Wrap is a beautiful way to display your favorite photographs. Side view of the Fine Art Print Wrap. Close up of the fine art print wrap showcases beautiful texture and detail. Back view of the Fine Art Print Wrap.

As a woman and as a mom to two daughters, I know how important it is to feel “seen”…not forgotten. The world defines “seen” as glossy, airbrushed magazine covers, perfect skin, model status weight (i.e. too skinny), Facebook and Instagram likes, popularity.

One word: perfection.

However, my definition is different.

It’s not the outward appearance or the superficial social media fame. It’s being truly seen. Seen and loved. Seen for who we are at the core of our beings. Seen for our gifts, our dreams, our talents, our fears, our hopes and our insecurities. We want to know we count. We want to feel we have a destiny and a purpose on this earth. We want to know we are heard.

I love this verse in the Bible from Genesis 16: 13, “She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” She was left in the dessert, abandoned and on the brink of death. God saw her. He rescued her and her child. When all had forsaken her, she was still seen by the One.

We are seen. Seen by the One who made us. We are not alone. He has given each of us a unique place in this world.

I believe part of my calling is to help young women realize they are seen; they are worth knowing and have something beautiful to give. It may be a senior about to embark on a new chapter in life or a young teenager struggling with those in between years as the world screams at them from every side and every ping on their phone could either give them a sense of fulfillment or destroy their world. When I meet them, I want to see them. I want them to walk away from their time with me knowing they are valued, beautiful and precious.

Yes, precious.

Too many give themselves away because they don’t believe they are worth it. They give themselves to boys and to the world’s fake embodiment of womanhood. They are the walking wounded, not realizing they are princesses in God’s eyes. He wants to hide them away in the palm of His hand. Seen but hidden.

I hope and pray I will have a part to play in building up these young women God places on my path.

As I typed this blog today, the words to this song enveloped me and I had to stop.

I closed my eyes as the words washed over me and I felt God’s heart for us all. I began typing again, typing as if I was playing an instrument, my fingers stroking the keys as I felt each word pour out of me.

“It’s two in the morning and I’m still awake in my bed
And I can’t shake these lies that keep running around in my head
What if I saw me the way that you see me
What if I believed it was true
What if I traded this shame and self-hatred
For a chance at believing you

That you knit me together in my mother’s womb
And you say that I’ve never been hidden from you
And you say that I’m wonderfully, wonderfully made

And You’re eyes, they have seen me before I was born
And you know all the good things that you made me for
And I’m wonderfully, wonderfully made.”

~Ellie Holcomb from the album Red Sea Road

tween session in downtown Graham, NC Seen in Graham, NC Gorgeous tween portrait in Graham, NC. Teen Session in North Carolina. Best friend session in Graham, NC. Best Friends Photography session in North Carolina. Black and White Tween portrait with window reflection. Beautiful teen session portraits in Graham, NC. Stunning tween pose in downtown doorway in North Carolina. Black and white best friends portrait.

 

Film?

More than a year ago, I decided to purchase a film camera again. Film? What is that? Indeed, there are many now who have never seen a roll of film nor even know what it is. Makes me feel ancient. In fact, during my film model session last weekend, one of my models asked me, “What is the difference between film and regular photos?” For this generation, digital is “regular”. This makes me even more excited to introduce young people to the timelessness and beauty of film!

So, What is the Difference?

When scrolling through my instagram feed, I can immediately pinpoint a film photo over a digital. There is a depth and richness to film that cannot be replicated. Yes, much can be achieved in this digital age, even the look of film. But, it is still a replicate requiring editing to achieve the look film delivers all on its own. Highlights and shadows are better preserved, color is rich and accurate, and the longevity of film will beat out digital any day. Digital files become corrupted over time but film negatives can last hundreds of years!

Beauty of the Wait

There is another advantage to film which may not seem like an advantage at first.

Waiting.

We live in the age of instant everything. We’ve forgotten the art of patience and “the best things come to those who wait”. There is a delicious anticipation when I click the shutter and then have to wait for days to see the end result. Was it as good as I remembered? Did what I capture translate to the film?

It also makes me a more deliberate photographer. Every click of the shutter is money. Every shot counts. It slows me down, makes me think and brings out the artist in me.

When those scans come back, it’s like Christmas day! I’m biting my lip and eagerly awaiting my download to see if the photos turned out well. Nothing beats that.

Is a Fine Art Film Session right for you?

If you’re looking for something truly beautiful, timeless and unique, then I highly recommend a Fine Art Film Session. Your photographs will stand the test of time and will draw the admiration of your friends.  The images below speak for themselves. These are straight out of camera! I have not edited them in any way.

Not only will you receive gorgeous film images, I’m also here to create stunning art work from those images, whether it be framed Fine Art Wall Portraits, a stunning Fine Art Canvas, or a beautiful keepsake album.

My goal with every session I photograph, whether film or digital, is to create art for your home…timeless pieces treasured by you and future generations. If this is important to you as well, please click here to schedule a complimentary consultation.

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