My Photography Story

 

Every now and again someone asks my photography story. My answer is simple,” It must be in my genes.” My mom always had a camera and knew how happy it made people when she happened to snap a photo and give them that stolen moment in time.

mother and daughter
My mom and I

I started my own photographic  journey when I was in high school. Writing for the school newspaper and taking photos was one of my jobs. Another perk was  meeting the new students… and boy did that work out well for me! I got to interview this new guy who had dark hair, dreamy eyes and a killer smile. Then he spoke. It was like he knew what to say and checked off all my boxes for what “my type” was. He was into snowboarding, played guitar, had been in a band…so pretty much any high school crush material.

School newspaper team Tia and Evie
High School News Paper Team

We became fast friends and soon I was telling him on the bus that I wanted to marry him…. but that is another story….. Anyway, he was very creative and helped me look at the world in new ways and encouraged me to go for my dreams, after breaking my heart at graduation.

young photo of ST Photography Shane and Tia
Shane and Tia in high school
Off I went to college. Got my AA degree and took photography classes thinking that may be my passion. The school had a dark room so I learned how to develop film and play with new techniques.

It was time to move to a university and I just knew I wanted to be a photojournalist! I had checked out this amazing art school in California and thought that has got to be my path…..then that boy came back, you know the cute snowboarding guitar playing one. He told me he loved me and wanted to be together. I just couldn’t resist that guy. I changed my plans to Southern Oregon University which was a few hours away and gave our love a shot. We took turns driving every weekend.

I started school in a new town and took classes on how to write articles and work on my art. It was a great time, but something was missing. Then a friend learned I knew my way around a camera and asked me to shoot their wedding. I said yes! I had been to a few weddings by then, and knew the drill. It was an amazing on the job learning experience, but I had found my thing. I signed up for photography small business classes and got my degree.

By that time the snowboarding guy was finally graduated from high school… Oh,  did I mention he was a few years younger…. That summer I married him at a garden and he became my husband and business partner.

Sixteen years later we are still in love and have went on to travel to incredible places, backpacked with our 2 year old around Hawaii, and move to the other side of the country. We made our home in the Smoky Mountains which has been the perfect backdrop. You never know what you may inherit from your parents, I just know now I am grateful because it has given me this life I love.

 

The Beauty of An Adventure Wedding

bride and groom on top of a mountain looking at a beautiful sunset

Have you ever thought how amazing it would be to have an adventure wedding? Escape the normal and jump into the extraordinary?

 

Bride and Groom Dancing on with mountains in the backdrop
Make your Wedding your Own

Most everyone has been planning their wedding since they were little but what if you are out side the box?

What if your dreams are of nature and excitement. Then you have come to the right place my friend! Eloping is such an amazing way to commit to the one you love in a extraordinary place.  We specialize in making sure your wedding day is far from ordinary. Let’s collaborate together to make your dream a reality!

groom helping bride up a mountain. groom has a backpack with a guitar.
Follow your heart and embrace the adventure

So lets talk about what an “Adventure Wedding” would entail… This is a smaller ceremony with just you, your finance and maybe a few family and friends who don’t mind exploring the wilderness with you. You can choose to bring a pastor or you can file the paperwork at the courthouse and say your vows on the mountain tops. You also don’t have to pay for an expense venue because most of these locations are free or a small fee. It is also eco-friendly!!

Bride walking towards groom who is at a waterfall during their wedding ceremony
Have the perfect wedding day in natural beauty

We can then choose a location that you would like as your back drop. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park  has so many amazing places to have the ceremony or there are a few other places that we love to go. The park requires not only that the photographer has a permit (which we do) but that the couple get a permit for the location as well.

newly wed couple in a tent on a mountain top
Tent camping and Glamping are a great way to spend your honeymoon

Locations can be short hikes or we can go with our friends over at Smoky Mountain Guides on an overnight trip. They offer different options from tent camping to glamping! If you are feeling real adventurous in your wedding dress they have Kayak tours as well. This is a great way of combining your adventure wedding and making your honeymoon under the starts.

Bride and Groom snuggled up together playing guitar on a mountain top getting ready to camp
Be yourself and let loose in nature

Next thing to consider is what to bring. You will want to have a backpack to take with you with all your things. This may include your wedding clothes, if you chose not to wear them for the hike. Also, you may want a bouquet, your vows, shoes to change into, picnic, champagne, guitar, blanket, just married sign, water and snacks.

Once we have the perfect location and your bags are all packed we will make our way to your perfect wedding day spot for your adventure wedding, be in on a mountain top, waterfall, lake or field. There we will set up and let the ceremony begin. This will be your unique time to shine! You can let your creativity fly. Sing, Dance, Paint, or just simply say how much you love one another. Exchange rings, give your vows, and seal it with a kiss.

the bride is smiling at the groom as she walks to him on a mountain top
Say “I do” on a mountain top
Couple kissing with Mountains in the Background
Make your first kiss one to remember

If this sound like your fantasy, I will happily consult with you and help you plan your unique experience.   Let’s go on this adventure together!

bride running in front of the groom on a mountain topgroom holding bridecouple celebrating their wedding by opening a bottle of champagnegirl dancing on the mountain topcouple traveling along the mountains in the sunset

 

Wedding in the Smoky Mountains at the Preserve

High in the mountain top, above the business and the clouds Clayton and Chance sealed their perfect wedding with a kiss. They were surrounded by their family and friends who had been by their side through this young romance.

They met in 2011 at a friends house. Chance’s friend had been pushing her to meet this cute, single guy and so she was excited to get the opportunity. The first night they didn’t even speak! It took months before the two finally decided to talk at their hang out in Schroeder parking lot. This conversation was only 25 words and Clayton had to leave early “to do homework” but  he really just didn’t want her to know he had a curfew. He finally fessed up a couple months after dating. He was nervous that she wouldn’t date him if he had one.

This started their journey to get to know one another and eventually led them to Tennessee where they made their commitment known. They chose to have their wedding at the Chapel at the Preserve in the little white Chapel and Reception at Majestic View Lodge . Even though the rain poured outside, their love outshone the grey.

We wish all the best to this happy couple!

 

 

Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography
Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography

Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST PhotographyChapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography

 

Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography
Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography

Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography

Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography
Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography

Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography

Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography
Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography

Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST PhotographyChapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography

Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography
Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography

Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography Chapel at the Preserve Wears Valley TN with ST Photography

Chapel at the Preserve Smoky Mountain Wedding

If you have ever dreamed of a Mountain top wedding, the Chapel at the Preserve can fulfill that fantasy. Coleen and Kendrick came to the Smoky Mountains to find just that. The quiet atmosphere and spectacular views captured their hearts and they knew it was perfect.

Their beautiful wedding was attended by their family in an intimate ceremony. Coleen was lead down the isle by Kendrick’s children, who were eager  to call her their mom, to the music of violin and harp strings. As the ceremony went on every little detail seemed to be so thought out with loving care, personal to only the two of them. In the center of it all was their love for Jesus.

The first dance was so tender as the two could not take their eyes off of one another. This was followed by a beautifully laid out meal. The family was all smiles as they enjoyed the feast before them. A roaring fire in the back ground was a perfect ambiance. Everything was incredibly gorgeous. 

The couple decided to add to their video and photos with shots from Cades Cove. As the sun set they went through the fields taking in all the natural beauty around them. Their children even joined in the fun, running and playing with their parents. The joy between this family was contagious. They were just beaming with happiness.

From the views from above to the valley below this was truly a perfect Smoky Mountain wedding.

Thank you to all the wonderful vendors that made this day remarkable!

Chelsi Warren

The perfect Mountain Venue– Chapel at the Preserve

Gorgeous Megan Connors Floral and Styling

Lions Creative

Great Smoky Mountain Catering Company

Laurel Strings

Sandy’s Cakes

Sweven Vintage and Rustic Rentals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sampson’s Hollow Wedding

Sampson’s Hollow was the perfect location for Kelsey and Mathew’s October wedding. They had planned on having a destination wedding with their family and friends and as soon as Kelsey saw this beautiful venue, she knew it was the one.

Wedding Photography
Sampson’s Hollow in Walland Tennessee

The beginning of this love story started 2 years earlier when Heather, Kelsey’s cousin, knew these two would be a great match. She started planning for them to meet for 3 months and helped them connect at a hog roast she was hosting. Heather took Kelsey’s hand and brought her to Matthew and told them to “play nice.” It worked! The two hit it off right away talking through the night.

A week later they had their first date at Steak and Shake. Kelsey tried to play hard to get, but Matthew was so funny and charming she couldn’t stay away. She found out that his grandma had asked to “meet his girlfriend” and she realized if Gram thinks she is, she must be his girlfriend.

Everything just clicked from there. They both shared a love of adventure, but could still be happy relaxing at home. He introduced her to eating steak, which she now enjoys along with a dark beer.

Now they found themselves in the middle of the Smoky Mountains, dressed up with their family and friends promising to share this life together. Everything was truly beautiful. The night ended with smiles and dancing, and closed with the couple exiting with sparklers.

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Special thanks to all the incredible people who made this event a day to remember!

Venue- Sampson’s Hollow

Wedding Planner- Lesley Livingston

Hair-Bebe Salon in Maryville

Flowers- ecoflowers.com

Catering, Dj, and Cake all provided by Sampson’s Hollow