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Throwback Thursday: The Early Years

Hello, and welcome to Light Creative’s
Throwback Thursday blog series!

I’ve done a lot of photography over the years, but this is a brand new website and this may be your first time learning about my business! That means iiit’s (drumroll please)… catchup time! Every Thursday this summer (yes, through August!) I’m going to be sharing the work I’ve done over the past couple years. Since we arrived to Raleigh in August 2016, I’ve been doing sessions but haven’t really had a platform to share the photos on other than social media. That means you may have seen a couple photos from sessions here and there, but I want to share more! Now that we have this pretty little website to connect, the time has come. 🙂 

Today, though, we’re throwing it way back! I’ve been doing professional photography since 2013 and dabbled here and there before then. I’m excited to share these photos with you!


I like to refer to this time frame as “the early years” or “the v beginning.” Truthfully, I had a camera in my hands way before these years, but this is when I really picked up on the more artsy photos and had a more legit camera. You can view any photo larger by clicking on it, and you can also scroll through them when the box pops up! If you have questions about any of them, leave a comment on this post!

You can tell that, from the very beginning of having a camera in my hand, I was interested in capturing authentic colors, light playing with shadows, and interesting perspectives. I looked at things very closely, uncovering beauty that is often missed because we don’t pay attention enough.

2011 Sessions

I started doing pretty casual sessions in 2011. If you’re a photographer just starting out, find your people and start with them. I am so thankful for one of my best friends Haley, who chose me to take engagement photos for her & her fiancé Michael. Anyone starting out needs friends like this, willing to let you try your craft and have fun with you without any judgement of the final product. We were all happy with the photos at the time, but honestly I hesitate to share many, because there’s SO much I would do differently now! 

On that note… Disclaimer – these first sets of photos I’m sharing in this post are not representative of my current work! We’re looking at  g r o w t h  and where some of my “photographer’s eye” has stayed the same and changed. Check out more current work in my galleries here, here, & here!

Pro tip: Don’t use someone else’s camera – even if it’s nicer than yours! – if you have no idea how to use it. Seems like common sense, right? Yeah… One of the guys in the next group said I could use his camera if I wanted, but it was a Nikon, I use Canon, and I think the first time I ever held it was at the start of the session. He may have also had it set to manual (meaning you have to choose all your own settings & adjust them throughout the session) and I was using camera presets at that point. Oops… Ya live and ya learn. He did the editing on the photos after the session and brightened them up, so there’s just my own light editing on the one I’m sharing here. There were lots of dark shadows during the session, since the sun was setting and it was already cloudy! Now I know what to do in those lighting situations, and I know enough technicalities about manual photography now to make it work with others’ cameras too if necessary… but I’ll stick to my own just in case. 😉 Also, on the left is a little bonus if you want to see what I looked like 7 years ago! 

2012 sessions
Graduates, Small Groups, Couples, Housemates

Being in college while starting my photography career was awesome, because there were many groups of people wanting to take photos together to capture their college memories!

I literally learned something new about my camera DURING the graduate session with Fiesta (above – her first name is Geraldine, but I call her Fiesta because that was her last name at the time – her maiden name – & it’s awesome). It was one of those settings that is preset when you’re not photographing in complete manual mode, but I found the button on my camera that allowed me to make the background blurrier… I got SO excited and definitely told Fiesta all about it, and she got excited too, haha! What can I say, I was still learning the basics…

Regarding the indoor photos above – Again, low light situation? Making sure everyone’s eyes are open and everyone is visible? I got you now. I know what to look for and pay attention to ALL the things! 

And about the photos in front of the tree here – Oh my, if there was ever a single moment when I learned how important backlighting is, it was when I took the first photo with the sun in their faces, saw how squinty and uncomfortable they were, and then swiveled them around for the second photo with the sun behind them. I try to put the sun behind ALL my clients now, because no one likes having the sun in their eyes! Don’t they look SO much happier in the second photo?! Backlighting also makes for better photos from an aesthetic standpoint too – no harsh shadows & you have that nice, glowy lighting. It’s laughable that these photos were taken within two minutes of each other.

Graduates, Eagle Scouts, Dabbling into the World of Wedding Photography

This is when I believe my professional photographer journey really began. In 2013 I graduated from graduate school, started teaching full-time, and loved any chance I got to do photography on the side.

First pictured above are Jessica & Ben. If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen them around! This is from the first session we did together, their engagement session. I’m only sharing one for now, because next Thursday’s post shows their photos over time from all the sessions we’ve had together so far!

The other photos above are from Mary & Peter’s wedding. This is the first wedding I photographed as the main photographer, and my photographer friend Allison and I teamed up for it, so we were more like co-primary photographers 😉 They had a huge wedding party with 11 bridesmaids and 11 groomsmen, and it was so much fun! (As if you can’t already tell that from the groomsmen photo, haha!) It also DOWNPOURED earlier in the day before their ceremony, so I think there was some divine intervention to stop the rain for us the rest of the day.

This next set of photos (below) are moments I captured while being second photographer for Stephanie Messick Photography. She was so helpful in inviting me in to photograph these weddings with her! If you’re trying to get into the wedding photography business, being a second photographer (the term I prefer over “second shooter”) is a great way to learn about the flow of a wedding day from a photography standpoint. I still love being a second photographer when I can, because I get to be the primary photographer’s go-to gal for the day and still get to know the couple & their loved ones without being the one in charge. 🙂 

We’ve looked back through 2013, which leaves us with 2014 and 2015 to wrap up “the early years!” I’m going to save those for an additional post tomorrow, because those two years were (thankfully) busy & I have lots more weddings & sessions to share from each of them! I know this post has already gotten long, and I thank you for sticking with me this far!

For now, hopefully you can already see how my photography has grown over time. I surely can, and it boosts my confidence looking back & seeing how much I’ve grown! It’s also interesting, because while there are some photos I’m really proud of and probably wouldn’t change much about, I do notice some things I would do differently now in regard to lighting, where the focus is, posing and camera angle, etc. Again, that’s the sign of growth, and I’m proud of it!

Thank you again for perusing these early year wedding & portrait photos with me, and hopefully I’ll see ya back tomorrow

In light & love,

in light & love,