Haute Couture Gowns at Elite Pour La Vie in Alpharetta Ga

I recently had the pleasure of meeting an astounding business woman in Alpharetta name Rawan.  While searching for the perfect gown to take to Iceland I ended up contacting Berta directly as I had my eye on one of their new beauties.  They were kind enough to point me in the direction of a new store just 20 minutes from my home and I was so excited to hear about it!  After making an appointment to meet with their shop owner to discuss the possibilities of photographing one of their gowns I was blessed to gain a friend in Rawan.  Her strength and hussle is inspiring!  Not only does she run this beautiful store but she's also a mother to three beautiful children.  Elite Pour La Vie is most definitely the best place in Atlanta to find the perfect couture wedding gown for your big day.  With their array of designers, you are sure to find the perfect dress to impress everyone as you walk down the aisle.  They carry Berta, Marchesa, Zuhair Murad, Baracci, and more!  These designers have dressed countless celebrities for red carpet events and Elite Pour La Vie even carries some of those incredible designs.  Even if you aren't getting married, they carry dresses perfect for your next black tie event, prom, or night on the town.  Be sure to make an appointment soon as they are appointment only and book up fast!  You don't want to miss out on an opportunity to meet Rawan and be dazzled by the dresses in her incredible store. 

Dress:  Marchesa from Elite Pour La Vie | Model: Chloe M. Hall | Hair & Makeup: Jennifer C Nieman | Floral Design: Lindsay Coletta | Vow Book: Wedding Story Writer | Venue: The Greenhouse

Driving the Ring Road in Winter | Iceland Travel Photography

For the past 8 years I've done my fair share of traveling.  From Europe to Asia I've taken trains, planes, and cars in search of a new adventure.  Traveling is something that has become a part of my soul.  It enriches my life and makes me a better person each and every time I do it.  If there was some way I could get paid to travel the world for the rest of my life, it would be the greatest life ever lived.  All that being said, and after all the amazing things I've seen so far, nothing could have prepared me for the way that Iceland stole my heart.

With its unforgiving, rugged landscapes and intense weather I was a bit nervous to go there in the winter.  Most of the pictures I'd seen of this place feature luscious green valleys and fields of purple flowers as far as the eye could see.  Incredible to say the least, but I wanted to see the Northern lights so summer was out of the question.  After reading what felt like 100 blogs on Iceland in winter, 50 packing lists, and watching a dozen youtube vblogs I felt confident that winter was the choice for me.  I am sooooooo thankful that I did.  It was everything and more than my imagination could have dreamed up.

From the moment I stepped off the plane in Reykjavik I was blown away by the kindness of the people and the fresh supply of pressed juices that were available!  I remember thinking as I drove away from the airport at 5 a.m. that first day and watched the sun rise over the Mars like landscape that I had entered a world unlike any I'd seen before. The city of Reykjavik is sea of grey and white Scandinavian homes with pops of red, yellow, and blue throughout.  A quiet town, I found myself feeling very relaxed as I checked into my tiny airbnb.  You can walk almost anywhere in town and as I started to explore I came across dozens of the cutest coffee shops, organic grocery stores, and of course the famous Icelandic hot dog stands within blocks of my place.  This tiny city is worth a good day, but the beauty that lies beyond it's limits is what I enjoyed the most.  Renting a car was the best thing I could have done. 

My first drive in Iceland occurred the morning I arrived as it was so early in the morning I couldn't check in until late afternoon.  I pasted through the mars like terrain around the airport and into what seriously looked like my Nebraska roots.  Flat and barren, I could see miles and miles around with not a tree in site.  As the drive continued I started to wonder if I'd flown all the way to Iceland just to see landscape I could see at home!  I was considering turning around when I saw the first set of mountains around the bend, glittering with dozens of tiny waterfalls.  My heart was instantly filled with excitement and everything I saw after that first mountain ridge was nothing less than brilliant.  I had spent so much time and energy looking at pictures and videos of Iceland that seeing it for myself brought tears to my eyes.   Literally.. I was crying in the car listening to Icelandic news radio because before my eyes I was witnessing something I'd dreamt of for years. I stopped at every waterfall along the 1 and pulled off onto an over pass that allowed me to hike up to a view of the famous black sand beach of Vik.  I'm told I got a very rare day that first morning as the sun rarely ever shines in Vik.  I didn't even take my camera out because I assumed I'd have plenty more opportunities to take photos and I wanted to take it all in. The sun was bright and lit up the beach below making the contrast of white foaming water on the black sand pop like nothing I'd ever seen.  I didn't even need the winter coat I'd packed and I sat on the edge of the cliff for over an hour just watching the tide come in and the birds fly circles around their cliff side nests below my feet.  It was only 9 a.m. and already I was smitten. Around lunch I found my way to a hot dog stand where I tasted my very first Icelandic hot dog. Not being a hot dog fan myself, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I had heard this was the thing to do in Iceland and I wasn't going to miss out.  I ordered one dog wrapped in bacon on a bun grilled to perfection, covered in onions and some sauce I thought was mayo, but didn't taste like anything I recognized.  A little afraid I took a bite and it was everything I wanted in that moment.  Delicious and cheap and the perfect introduction to Icelandic cuisine.  I may or may not have eaten 10 more before departing the island.  I drove for 13 hours that day and it didn't feel like nearly enough.  When I got back to the room that night I couldn't sleep because the images of what Id witnessed were still with me. 

Over the next few days I picked up several friends from the airport.  Some new, some old, all so very talented.  I am so thankful to have gotten to share these experiences with them.  I was lucky enough to book several client sessions around Vik and spent a lot of those first days driving around to meet with them in random locations in the south.  We saw the Reynisfjara black sand beach, Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, and the Solheimajokull Glacier.  A highlight of our time in the South was a dazzling display of the Northern Lights that put on a show for us the night we finished our biggest photoshoot.  Not knowing what to expect of the Northern Lights, I had low expectations, but this display took my breath away and we were told it was the strongest show they'd seen in Iceland for some time.  God truly gave us a reward for all the hard work we'd accomplished that day.  Sitting in the back seat of our rental with our model, the ever so sweet Erika, I couldn't take my eyes off the sky, tears streaming down my cheeks yet again.  Streaks of white lights danced to it's own beat in the sky above us surrounded by stars.  It disappeared as quickly as it came but it will be forever burned into my memory.  I can still see it and feel the emotions I felt at that moment when I close my eyes.  It was one of the most profound travel moments I've ever experienced.

After three days of finishing up client shoots, we set out up the east coast of Iceland for the first time.  Although the morning didn't start out the best (note to self, don't drive down gravel roads in Iceland if you don't want to pop a tire), we made it to our first official stop of the road trip.  The Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon.  I think we all were blown away by this place as it was unlike anything any of us had ever seen.  Never in my life did I think I'd be standing at the foot of a lake filled with icebergs floating out to sea.  The very lagoon the iceberg believed to have sunk the Titanic came from.  It was a site like non other we witnessed on the trip, and by far my favorite.  We stopped in Hofn and I had the most incredible pasta dish with Icelandic Lobster at Kaffi Hornid.  If you're ever in Hofn, you HAVE to stop here to eat.  It's seriously incredible and the staff is very kind.  From Hofn we drove along the rugged coast, through snowy mountain fjords, and up the scariest snow covered road I've ever been on.  There was a moment I think the whole car thought we might slide down the mountain to our deaths.  Luckily that didn't happen and that evening we arrived in Akureyri.  The charming capitol of the North is full of great food, nightlife, and shopping. Another highlight was found nearby at the Myvatn Natural Bath.  Definitely skip the Blue Lagoon and come here.  It's half the price and we got drink bracelets which were so worth the extra money.  For three solid hours we bathed in the geothermal pool and watched the sunset of the volcano Askja. 

The next part of our journey was very snowy so we couldn't see much, but it led us to the magic that is the snaefellsnes peninsula.  I thought we'd seen all the beauty we could possibly see already but I was wrong because this little peninsula was by far the most scenic place yet.  Our first day there we explored the famous black church and spend a good amount of time making friends with the sea lions that were playing on the rocks in a nearby lagoon.  I spend an afternoon alone traveling the whole way around stopping at every side road I could find.  I climbed to the brim of a snow covered volcano, sat on the ledge of a tall cliff over looking a black sand beach, and witnessed the most violent ocean waves I've ever seen crash on the rocky shore just steps in front of me as big white puffy snowflakes fell quietly to the ground.  I don't even have words for that drive, and the pictures don't come even close to doing it justice.  I will thank God everyday for allowing me to be in that place at that exact moment in time because it left me speechless.  Those days are the best parts of a trip.  The ones you know you will never be able to recreate because they only happened that way once in a lifetime.  That night we all met up in the town of Stykkisholmur which if you didn't know is where Walter Mitty stops to sing Kareoke and drink beer from a glass boot.  That bar doesn't actually exist, but it is a nice bookstore.  Down by the harbor there is a restaurant you have to try.  Please order the fish burger... just trust me.  You won't regret it.  Best meal of the trip by far, and the end of an amazing journey.   Iceland stole my heart and changed me in ways no where else has.  It left a fire inside me.  While I was ready to be home, I am already planning my next trip to this land as I know there is still so much I didn't get to explore.  I'm not sure one person could every really explore all of it the way it was intended to be explored.  I can't thank it enough for giving me all the gifts that it did, but I will take them with me everywhere I go. 

Luxury Spring Engagement Session at Yonah Mountain Vinyards Georgia

Styling your engagement session is a very important part of your wedding design process!  Finding the right team to make your vision a reality is very important, and Lauren really knocked hers out of the park.  Together, she and I designed this springy fine art engagement session with all the special touches that will tie this shoot in with her upcoming wedding at Yonah Mountain Vineyards.  From her flowy blue dress from ASOS.com to her gorgeous Mrs. Box and save the dates from Written Word Calligraphy, it all came together perfectly.  When planning your engagement session make sure and consider your details!  They will make your session stand out and you can reuse them on the big day! 

Elegant Woodland Wedding At Foxhall Stables in Atlanta Georgia

It doesn't get any better than photographing a woodland themed wedding at the gorgeous Foxhall Stables in Atlanta, Ga.  My favorite part of being a fine art wedding photographer is capturing each and every detail of a couples wedding day like it's a work of art.  I arrived early to Sarah & John Morgan's big day because I was worried the rain might prevent me from styling the details the way I wanted to.  Luckily it only poured for a short time and we were able to design the perfect wedding day timeline for these two!  Foxhall Stables is an amazing venue just south of downtown Atlanta and anytime we get to shoot there is a pleasure.  With the amazing light in every room, we were able to shoot film during the duration of the day, and Sarah & John Morgan's love shined through every frameJoin us in Switzerland this August for an incredible vow renewal with these two incredible people.  I'm so excited to see them again and make more images like these together. 

Anniversary Session in Vik, Iceland | Tulle & Grace

1 year ago I had the pleasure of photographing an amazing couples wedding at a beautiful farm in Georgia.  I met Kristen at a Panera Bread and we connected instantly.  Her kind heart was evident and her desire for beautiful wedding photos excited me as it's not often you meet your ideal client and connect in this way.  

When planning my trip to Iceland I was also in the planning stages of an Anniversary session for sweet Kristen.  Never in a million years did I think this girl would travel across an ocean for such a short period of time, just to be photographed in Iceland's incredible landscape.  I am so thankful that she did.  Nothing gets my heart more excited than finding a couple that is willing to hike around in the cold and windy wilderness, that is Iceland, in wedding attire to be photographed on film.  If I could specialize in something for the rest of my life, adventure wedding photography would be it.  This day in particular was very cold and a little wet, but we persevered!  We even made friends with some Icelandic horses!  Thank you Kristen & Tyler for not only trusting me with your wedding photography but also with your friendship.  I'm so glad we got to spend this day together creating beautiful anniversary photos for you in this amazing country.  

 

Enchanting Floral Design at The Swan House in Atlanta Georgia

There is nothing we love more than meeting new film photographers and sharing our love of film with them!  I am so grateful for the wonderful attendees that came to our gathering at Swan House.  Your images are so stunning and I'm so proud of you!  Anytime you plan a workshop or an event for other people all you want is for everything to turn out beautifully and for everyone to be happy!  There are so many factors in getting the equation right, and boy did this day give us a run for our money!  After being up all night long the night before with my sweet friend at the ER, we somehow were still able to create something lovely for our attendees and I am soo very proud of them and all of these images they took.  Congratulations to all of you!

Images by our attendees: Taylor Sellers Photography, Hannah Forsberg, Holly Von Laken, 4 Corners Photography, Morning Light, Lauren Liddel, Rachel Brewer, Kate Lamb, and Alexis June Weddings. 

Hair & Makeup:  Jennifer Nieman | Floral Design: Lindsay Collette | Rentals: Crush Vintage Rentals | Vow Books: Wedding Story Writer | Dress: The Sentimentalist | Ribbon: Silk & Willow | Food Styling: Sun in my Belly | Venue: Swan House | Invitations: Rachel Brewer | Images by: Taylor Sellers, Hannah Forsberg, Holly Von Laken, 4 Corners Photography, Morning Light, Lauren Liddel, Rachel Brewer, Kate Lamb, and Alexis June.