When my waitress grew up

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As photographers we meet our clients just about anywhere. You never know who needs photos. I met Jen when she was just a young 17 year old waitress. My husband and I would go to weekly trivia at a restaurant just minutes from our Woodstock home. She got to know our meal preferences and names. We got to know the latest on her life, boyfriends and what not. She had a fun sense of humor and a quick wit. We loved her and her sassy attitude.

Then she grew up. Not sure when… because it all happened so fast. I do remember we stalked her as a waitress and followed her to another restaurant just for good service. All that waitressing paid off and soon she became a nurse, and an awesome one at that.

Next thing I knew it I was taking her engagement photos. Her and Ben in the back of my convertible with the wind blowing through her hair and my camera clicking. That same day we took photos in the middle of the most beautiful red poppy flower field, which is now a parking lot.  We all knew it was meant to be. She was so happy and he was too.

When I went full time as a photographer, she was one of the first people to book me for a wedding. Gorgeous event in Hilton Head, SC. A destination wedding I’ll never forget. She even had a little gift bag for me at the hotel, which overlooked the ocean. Her dog, Karma, was in the ceremony and the reception was epic. Jen and her dad did a Michael Jackson dance, with sunglasses on, and they were in sync for most of the daddy/daughter dance.

Then along came the happy couple’s first born. I was able to document this special moment at the hospital. It still gives me goosebumps. It was just hours after her birth that I took those photos. Later, our first year photoshoot came along and Karma was able to be in some of those photos too. That photoshoot seemed so natural as they chilled out on a blanket together just laughing together as a family.

And now the family has grown once more. Their first born son arrived and he’s just as precious as the first. He’s so little and sweet that just looking at him makes you melt. The location fit in perfect on the morning we shot because Jen and Ben are all about the outdoors. Shoes off and on the dock of a lake seemed to be the winning spot for everyone.

It’s not commonplace for every family to hire me for every major event. I’d love for that to happen, but people move and life changes. However, this is probably one of the most rewarding things in my life to watch, as a photographer, because I’ve seen Jen and Ben make a great life together. When I see them it’s almost like a mini-reunion. We pick up where we left off and we are all comfortable around one another.

Sometimes as a digital photographer we tend to be behind the computer more than behind the lens. When I see images like this it makes all those hours worth it. This family will have forever memories passed down to the next generation, and to be a small part of that, for me personally…it has made my heart feel warm and fuzzy inside.

And to think it all started with a young waitress who brought me boneless wings. Thanks Jen & Ben for being great clients and friends.

-Monica

 

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Mini-session of Alex

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My godson, Alex, is the cutest kid. We took him to a park for this mini-session. Of course he was immediately drawn to the nature around him. That smile just melts me. Look at those teeth. He’s such a blessing to his parents, Joe and Tish. Those blue eyes just melt my heart too. Recently Tish and I took him to the mall and I put him in this little bean bag chair. He laughed and laughed with delight. They bought him the chair and now he carries it around the house. Ok, it’s true that I’m biased…but, come on…he is CUTE, right?  For more info on Monica Helsby photography go to my website for more information on sessions! I’d love to do more mini-sessions this fall. Thanks.

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NYC couple says “I do” at Little Gardens

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This may have been one of the first New York City couples I’ve photographed as the bride and groom in a wedding. Karen and Linden are originally from a country I know little about in South America. They speak fondly of it. Most of their family resides here in Georgia so they flew in from NYC to not only take their engagement photographs with me, but to get married at Little Gardens  in Lawrenceville, GA.

Right away I knew they were a good fit. I photographed their engagement pictures at Peidmont Park in downtown Atlanta and anyone could plainly see the love in their eyes for one another. They laughed and snuggled as they looked at one another, which made for perfect images they were able to show off on their wedding day. Hint: good pro prints do matter! Their guests walked in and saw many beautiful framed prints of them around the venue.

As the big day approached I went to view the inside of the venue and was able to wander the gardens. The landscaping was phenomenal with water cascading down rocks behind the ceremony area and lush greenery around the waterfall and gardens. Lights and archways adorned the back and side areas. The high columns in the front of the venue gives it a feel of being in the Gone with the Wind movie . Immediately I knew the venue would be perfect for the couple and group photos that day. These gardens were picture perfect.

The inside of Little Gardens has plenty of natural light and areas for the bridal parties to get ready. The reception area was set up with class. Linens on table, gorgeous flowers, and perfect intimate lighting made their celebration complete.

Karen and Linden said “I do” sealed by a kiss this summer and I was proud to be their photographer. You can view their photos and see the vibrant flowers, genuine smiles, and true love throughout the images. The entire group was easy to work with and extremely kind to both my husband and I. Even with the temperatures being rather warm we never heard a complaint from even one person. The wedding staff at Little Gardens was easy to work with and swift with addressing any needs. This day was perfect and I’ve got the photos to prove it.

If you or someone you know is getting married, please pass along information about Monica Helsby Photography to them. You can reach me at monica@helsby.us and don’t forget our complete portfolio of many brides can be viewed at MonicaHelsby.Com  We love to capture happily ever afters.

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My Website visit today!

 

The future looks bright with Tiffy!

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This story is about a girl named Tiffy who inherited a heart of gold. Her smile lights up a room. Old people admire her. Her mother loves her. This photographer adored her.

One of her favorite people in the world was her grandfather, Paul McCoy, who use to sit on his porch and wave to everyone passing by his front porch in Cherokee County. See his photo below. No doubt she picked up his friendly personality.

She lives with this smile shining upon everyone she meets. And one day she will spread that love to children, as she’d like to be a teacher.

This Cherokee county senior is definitely as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. There is no doubt she will go far in whatever she chooses to do after her senior year with such a positive attitude and love of life.

Sometimes I meet a senior that really inspires me. This would be one of them. I have a feeling many students will one day benefit too. These are the type of teens who change the world.

The photo above was not edited in any way. It’s as if the heavens opened up as she spun around. Moments like that are definitely worth capturing. Glad I had the opportunity.

Good luck Tiffy! You deserve so much happiness in life.

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St. Ives Country Club family shoot

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I took off my shoes at the client’s door. My client, a gorgeous mom of two, was showing me into the home. This wasn’t my first time meeting this family. In fact, last time I had photographed them, to my delight, the images were so comfortable looking that I gushed in delight while editing. The mom, dad, and sons were sitting on the couch barefooted…and it had a certain feel…like I had peeked in on their daily life. We did venture outside on that same day, but it was a bit rainy and the youngest son was still very little and was more interested in trying to run from us. Picture me rolling around and singing children’s songs to get his attention.

This time was different because two years had passed. Now the boys seemed to be able to take direction very easily and were more patient. The grandparents, and an aunt and uncle with their baby girl, had joined our photo crew. This shoot was so easy, despite some humidity that day, because they have peacefulness about them and they were eager to make it a successful shoot. They stood right in front of their beautiful home with morning sunlight streaming in. At one point some neighbors walked by waving and making complimentary remarks about how great they all looked. I agreed.

Once inside we went back to that most comfortable couch once again. The mother and I had discussed how neat it would be to do the photos in the same place in the house. You could place the past photos next to the new ones easily to show how much the kids had grown over the years. Her goal would be a shoot every two years to keep things current. Again, the pictures did not disappoint. My favorite moment was when I gave them an opportunity to be completely silly and the boys dropped to the floor with their arms and legs out. All the laughs were genuine.

By the way, upon entering and leaving the neighborhood each year my mouth drops with every house I drive by. The neighborhood is the prestigious St. Ives Country Club in Johns Creek. After meeting this family and doing a wedding there last year I am always eager to go back and admire the golf course and homes inside those gates.

As usual, I’m already looking forward to the next time I can see this family and capture some more great moments for them. Always a treat to be with them.

Monica

Skyler Denton – 1 of a kind

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Excuse me, did you say Waffle House in a Wizard costume? That was probably the first thing I asked Skyler when we were discussing his senior shoot. I’ll have to admit this isn’t the first time I’ve been asked to do some really unique things for shoots. To date I’ve photographed seniors on tractors, underwater, and with a domesticated pig. Yep, I’d say my life at work is pretty different each day. Why a wizard costume you ask? Just because it is different and funny. Hint: I think he also loves the food. When I called the restaurant I’m pretty sure the manager thought I was insane. But, he gave us permission and when we got there he knew almost every waitress by name.

He also used some big word in a text or email that I had to embarrassingly look up. Obviously, this student must make good grades I thought. Geesh, these kids keep getting smarter ever year. I need to take a brush up course soon.

Skyler’s sense of humor is very similar to my oldest brother. He’s quick-witted, daringly different, and super adventurous. My brother once did a race wearing a gorilla costume. By the end of the shoot I was convinced that they were more alike than I first thought. When I get a senior client willing to climb trees and play his banjo on command, and stand in the dark forest for a dramatic shot, then I smile. These kind of shoots really bring out my creativity. My brain starts to shoot out ideas like big sparks from one of those large candle fireworks.

We shot till sunset and even then got some cool silhouette images. Some of my favorite photos are the ones with his banjo because I’ve always enjoyed bluegrass. One year my husband and I went to the Telluride Bluegrass festival and it was an experience of a lifetime. When Skyler started playing his banjo my mind went back to that summer in Colorado. Fresh air, sunshine, and good music…

Skyler is one of a kind. He marches to the beat of his own drum, well, replace that with a banjo and you’ve pretty much got it! Thanks to his mom for entertaining his ideas and letting him be the unique teen he is. If you want to meet this cool guy you can probably guess where he will be quite often…yep, Waffle House.

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Faith Roland’s Senior Photoshoot

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WOW, when did she grow up? Faith was just an early teen when I first started photographing her family almost 4 or 5 years ago. She’s always been beautiful and sweet. That part hasn’t changed. What has changed is she grew up and will be heading to college next year. When we first met she was being homeschooled and now she attends the local high school. She is now a varsity cheerleader and has probably been more dedicated to cheer related activities than many. Her mother spent many years taking her to competitive cheer practices in Marietta. Years were spent sacrificing free time to encourage Faith in her cheer passion. She is determined. It is with a happy heart that I was able to photograph this special time in her life.

We planned this shoot wisely. What we didn’t expect was a rainstorm, wind, and a double rainbow after taking cover in her Jeep for an hour. Notice the rainbow in the top right photo. It was an adventure and I wouldn’t expect anything else with this family.

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