How To Prepare Your Heart for Your Engagement Session (And Some Practical Tips Too!)

How To Prepare Your Heart for Your Engagement Session (And Some Practical Tips Too!)

I don't want stress to steal your fun when you are planning your engagement session! So I've written a little blog post about how to prepare your heart (and your sweetheart) to help you both truly enjoy celebrating your love story!

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Caryn Amaris Photography is LIVE!

Caryn Amaris Photography is LIVE!

I have some exciting news, y'all - our photography business has gone live with a new name and a new look as of TODAY! We have been You Call the Shots Photography since 2009, and it's been a wonderful journey for us under that name! So let me take a quick moment and tell you about our new name, why I chose it, and what HASN'T changed. 

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Madeline + Thomas' Romantic Springtime Engagement Session in Natchez

Madeline + Thomas' Romantic Springtime Engagement Session in Natchez

I loved how Madeline and Thomas made a romantic getaway of their engagement session! They spent the weekend at Monmouth Inn, and we began their session in the garden of this beautiful antebellum home. The new green of spring and the first blush of the redbuds were just beginning to color the woods. It was truly a perfect day.

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Katy-Whitten + Brandon's Beautiful Winter Engagement Session

Katy-Whitten + Brandon's Beautiful Winter Engagement Session

They were separated by distance and the call of life, old dreams, dashed hopes, and new dreams, but they never forgot each other. She became a writer, a poet, a momma. He became a geologist and a traveller. But in spite of everything, these two found each other again.

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Tori + Justin's Sweet Fall Engagement Session At Home on the Farm: Mississippi Wedding Photography

You know what I loved about this sweet engagement session? Well, besides Duke the adorable boxer, a.k.a. the"Wigglebutt"... And besides Tori and Justin's fun, laid-back, perfectly lovable personalities.... AND besides the AMAZING and PRECIOUS way that Justin proposed to Tori (we'll get to that in a minute!) I LOVED that this couple of cutie pie lovebirds decided to begin their e-session at their future home, which they were in the process of remodeling. Not only that, their future home has been in Justin's family for generations, AND this sweet little newlywed home sits in a corner of Justin's family's farm, which has - you guessed it -been in his family for years upon years. As we rode up and down the gravel roads and explored the fields and woods around McCondy, Mississippi, Justin had a story for almost every bridge, tree, and old homesite! Since I grew up on a gravel road and love to hear a good family story, I delighted in every moment of this session!IMG_6607Y'all, almost a year ago to the day, Justin surprised his beautiful sweetheart by proposing to her RIGHT HERE. How romantic is this, to write your proposal on the wall of the house you hope to share with the woman of your dreams? (He did a good job on that ring, too!)IMG_9584IMG_9823IMG_9682Mr. Duke is a very important member of the family, and just like his mom and dad, he loves to ride in the Polaris. He's very handsome and sweet and funny and very well-loved, and this photographer could have played with him all day!IMG_6500IMG_6544IMG_6568IMG_6595McCondy, Mississippi is FULL of amazing old barns, bridges, trees, and roads - Jonathan and I loved exploring with these two! IMG_6700IMG_6647IMG_6638Just as the sun was setting in the clear autumn sky, we stopped to spend a few moments near Justin's favorite tree.IMG_6735IMG_6762IMG_9880IMG_6866Justin and Tori finished up their lovely session with a few quiet, just-after-sunset photos. Jonathan and I loved every minute we were blessed to spend with them. It always makes a session extra special when the location is so deeply meaningful, and it made me fall in love with our wide open Mississippi farm country and wild old woods all over again! I can't wait to watch these precious hearts say "I do" at Southwind in Shannon, MS in three short days! Happy Wedding Week, Tori and Justin!

Lane & Wesley said "I Do:" A Lovely Delta Wedding on a Rainy Day: Mississippi Wedding Photography

You never know what March weather in Mississippi will be like. We've had so many weeks of sunny spring weather and BAM! just in time for Lane and Wesley's wedding day, winter came roaring back! But you know what? It really didn't matter, because this precious wedding took place in one of the more beautiful church sanctuaries we've ever seen, and their reception was at the wonderful, historic Heathman Plantation Commissary. Even better, Lane and Wesley were surrounded by the love of their friends and family, so all the cold rain in the world couldn't put a damper on their day! Here's a little peek at some of our favorite moments and images of their lovely day.IMG_4001Inside the quiet sanctuary of Indianola First Baptist Church, the stained glass windows glowed softly with light. Outside, raindrops spangled the roses.IMG_4077IMG_1629IMG_4027IMG_1616As the storm clouds gathered outside, Lane and her sweet maids spent the morning safe, happy, and warm being pampered at Merle Norman.IMG_1651IMG_1701IMG_4080IMG_1715These next two photos are dear to my heart because they're REAL, y'all. To be a bridesmaid is a high calling, and on the wedding day, you're a very busy person! You're an emotional support system, you keep track of the groom so he doesn't accidentally get a peek at his bride, you carry stuff, you pack stuff, you find short, you help carry your sweet friend to the altar.  I loved how Lane's bridesmaids surrounded her with support and love.IMG_4173IMG_4199-2And her little flower girls made sure she got plenty of hugs!IMG_4210-2Lane had a PRECIOUS First Look with her sweet daddy. Oh my goodness, there were happy tears everywhere! IMG_1835IMG_4251IMG_4257Meanwhile, the handsome groom was upstairs helping his groomsmen figure out their ties. Wesley's best man (who just happened to be his daddy) helped them get it all sorted out.IMG_1776IMG_1757Lane and Wesley had a very sweet moment together before the ceremony. I loved this idea! What a fun and special way to have a moment together without seeing each other!IMG_4440IMG_1936IMG_4433IMG_4439-3And then it was time to say "I do!" Here are a few precious moments from their ceremony.IMG_4607IMG_1987IMG_2020One of the little ring bearers wasn't sure about the acting required for this picture, but when he saw how much fun his friends were having, he came around!IMG_2065And now, I present the happy Mr. and Mrs. Weeks! Wesley couldn't take his eyes off his beautiful bride, and can you blame him?IMG_2163IMG_2204If you saw Lane and Wesley's engagement story (you can check it out here) you'll recognize their reception venue! They celebrated with their friends and family at the historic Heathman Plantation Commissary. Every inch was decorated beautifully... I wish I had enough room in this blog post to show you every single corner! (Check out the top right hand window in this next photo... Jonathan caught me at work!)IMG_2294IMG_2438It was SUCH a fun night! That beautiful old building was filled with music and laughter and so, so much love. And when you're in the Delta, you have BARBECUE for your reception meal! Oh my goodness, it was soooo good! IMG_2256Y'all, I have so many more precious moments I want to share! I am really trying to keep this post short and sweet, because I am definitely guilty of oversharing!  When it comes to a beautiful wedding, I always have a hard time limiting myself to just a few photos. I'll end with these sweet moments from Lane and Wesley's First Dance...IMG_4824IMG_4815IMG_4839 This photographer cried, y'all. Lane and Wesley's wedding hashtag, #beenwaitingforweeks, perfectly described the joy these two shared as they danced the night away. I'm so thankful that Jonathan and I were able to be a part of this day! Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Weeks!

Vendor Love

Day-Of Wedding Coordinator: Debbie Esplin, Wedding Days Exclusively

Lane's Bridal Gown: Alfred Angelo

Bridesmaids' Gowns: Azazie

Groom and Groomsmen's Attire: Abraham's, Cleveland, MS (662) 843-4541

Reception Venue: Heathman Plantation Commissary

Reception Catering: Leslie Roark Scott, The Barbecue Princess, of Ubon's Restaurant, Yazoo City, MS  601-906-4844

Bridal Hair Artist: Kelsey Pate, 662-207-4037

Bridal Party Hair & Makeup: Merle Norman of Indianola, MS 304 Highway 82 E Indianola, MS 38778 (662) 452-5115

Cake Artist: Kristi Smith, 662-207-7040

Floral Artist: Felecia Love, 662-347-1207

A Sweet Delta Engagement at Heathman Plantation: Mississippi Wedding Photography

Oh, y'all. I am SO EXCITED for this weekend! We're kicking off our 2017 wedding season with precious Lane and Wesley's celebration in Indianola, Mississippi. I can't wait to witness their beautiful Delta wedding day! So to get the festivities off to a good start, here's a peek at their amazing engagement session on a gorgeous fall day at historic Heathman Plantation Commissary. (This place is so cool, Joanna Gaines would want to live here, I promise.)IMG_0028IMG_7513IMG_0045The Heathman Plantation Commissary has high tin ceilings, big big windows, vintage hardware... in short, everything you need to take adorable photos! I am so excited that we are going to get to see this place all decked out for Lane and Wesley's reception Saturday.IMG_7552IMG_7481Lane and Wesley brought their sweet fur babies. I think they perfectly represent the dynamic of the firstborn, middle child, and baby of the family! Guess who's the baby?  IMG_7440IMG_7616IMG_0140IMG_7574IMG_7693IMG_7655After spending some wonderful time at the Heathman Commissary, we wandered around the local fields and farms, and found some wonderful old silos.  This one was PERFECT. I'm telling you, Joanna Gaines would just DIE.IMG_0218IMG_0286IMG_7696IMG_7735Y'all, we were in the DELTA. So we just HAD to find a big old field for these sweeties, and we didn't have to look far! As the sun set and storm clouds rolled in, we had just enough time for some fun and dramatic evening light portraits. And Wesley got to finally put his hat on! IMG_7776IMG_7777So in just THREE SHORT DAYS we'll get to see these two Delta sweethearts say "I do!" I am so excited, and I can't wait to share the images from their beautiful day. Congratulations, and happy Wedding Week, Lane and Wesley!

Jenny + Randy: A Summer Engagement Session at the Noxubee Refuge: Mississippi Wedding Photography

I love sharing our photos on this blog for so many reasons...  I'm all about celebrating the beautiful engagement and wedding seasons of our clients... I delight to honor courage, love, faith, and commitment...  Plus, when the Mississippi skies are cold, gloomy, and gray, I love to look back and remember GREEN. So on this chilly, windy January afternoon, let's soak in these lovely moments from Jenny and Randy's engagement session at the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge near Starkville last July.img_0522img_3541If you haven't had a chance to visit the Noxubee Refuge yet, it's beautiful any time of the year, but in the warm months it's a quiet, lush retreat for anyone who loves the outdoors. It was a lovely backdrop for Jenny & Randy's bright, creative, and gentle personalities. We've gotten to know this sweet couple over the past few years at our home church, Vibrant, in Columbus. Jenny and Randy serve & lead there so faithfully, in so many ways - they offer up their skills, creativity, and friendship on a daily basis. It always brings us a special kind of joy when the sweethearts we are photographing are our friends & brothers & sisters in Christ as well!img_0592img_3518img_0622This Monday afternoon was one of those it-might-rain-but-then-again-it-might-not July afternoons, full of misty, soft light. We had this little stretch of highway all to ourselves.  Jenny was such a good sport about letting us try to photograph her jumping! I loved how these turned out! img_3592img_3591img_3569img_3637Jenny and Randy had the sweetest first date - they went kite flying! I was so excited that they wanted to commemorate that day by flying a kite in their engagement session. img_3621img_3628img_3615However...sometimes props just won't behave! Our kite wouldn't fly at ALL! When that happens, you just have to roll with it... Jenny and Randy are both film buffs, so they knew EXACTLY what to do when I asked them to show how sad they were about their kite!img_0713img_3507As thunder began to rumble in the distance, we explored other beautiful spots at the Refuge. I LOVED the sweet lace-backed dress Jenny wore for these pictures. img_3689img_0752img_3655img_3658img_0787img_3702Only a few short weeks after we visited the Refuge, Jenny and Randy said "I do" in a beautiful ceremony in Los Angeles. Jonathan and I are VERY glad that they are back in Mississippi, bringing fun, creativity, and love to all their friends and family in Columbus! Jenny and Randy, it's been a blessing to get to know you as friends, and we're excited to see what new adventures God has in store for you as Mr. and Mrs. May!

Kandace + Tre's Cozy Mississippi State University Engagement Session: Starkville, MS Engagement Photography

Can I tell you something? When I first met Kandace and Tré, I thought to myself, "Oh my goodness, these two are going to have the most ADORABLE babies one day!" :) These two sweethearts are not only complete cutie pies, they're so sweet and in love, they are quite literally wrapped up in one another. They had to be, since it was FREEZING the day of their early spring engagement session! Kandace and Tré have been patiently waiting to say "I do" for two years while they both worked on earning degrees & completing their internships. Jonathan and I mope dissolve have withdrawals don't like it if we are apart from each other for two days, so when they told me that after their engagement, they had be separated by their studies for two years, this photographer's heart was deeply touched.   But guess what?? This Saturday, their waiting is OVER! These patient, hardworking sweethearts are saying "I do" at the Hewlett Barn and Stables in Starkville, and we can't wait to witness their joy!img_4034img_2114Don't let the bright sunshine fool you - it was a very, VERY cold, windy day on the campus of MSU when we took these precious photos! These two were real troopers! The weather made for lots of snuggly photos. <3img_4084img_2136img_4129img_2194img_4159img_2166img_2315Tré is so much in love with this beautiful girl. He's a complete romantic. You should read what he wrote on their wedding website at The Knot. No, really, go read it. Every woman deserves a man who loves her like this: Kandace and Tre's Love Storyimg_2276These two have the BEST laughter and the most beautiful smiles!img_2328img_2333img_4199img_4201img_4234Kandace and Tré, it has been a blessing and privilege for us as we have gotten to know the two of you and work together this year. We can't wait to watch the beginning of your life together as Mr. and Mrs. Smith! The waiting will be at an end, and a beautiful new beginning is in store for you this Saturday!

Kandace & Tré's Engagement Session Locations:

Mississippi State University and MSU Research Park, Starkville, MS

Samantha & Kanaan Said "I Do:"An Intimate Rainy Day Wedding at Plymouth Bluff: Columbus, MS Wedding Photography

  "I'm gonna love you like nobody's loved you, come rain or come shine... High as a mountain and deep as a river, come rain or come shine... I guess when you met me it was just one of those things, But don't ever bet me, cause I'm gonna be true if you let me... You're gonna love me like nobody's loved me, come rain or come shine... Happy together, unhappy together, and won't it be fine? Days may be cloudy or sunny, We're in or we're out of the money, But I'm with you always, I'm with you rain or shine..."    Come Rain or Come Shine, Billie Holliday

September weather in Mississippi is tricky. When you wake up in the morning, it feels cool and crisp, like a lovely fall day... by noon, it's 100 degrees Fahrenheit...and by 5 pm, it's thundering and lightning! It's just hard to plan an outdoor wedding for this time of year!  Samantha and Kanaan's plans for an evening ceremony by the pond Saturday were washed away by the rain showers that moved in that afternoon. However, Sam's sweet family immediately put Plan B into action, and the ceremony was moved into the rustic wood-paneled walls of the Auditorium. So while the atmosphere outside may have been damp and humid, the atmosphere inside Plymouth Bluff Center was full of love, cheerfulness, and tender concern. Because of their love for one another and their families' love for them, Sam & Kanaan's wedding day had EVERY. SINGLE. THING. it needed to be lovely... and here's a sneak peek to prove it. <3img_3587img_6361img_3595img_3731img_3619img_3633Oh my goodness, these precious ruffles on the neckline of Sam's dress just KILLED me.img_3601img_6452img_6498img_6431And just look at this gorgeous bride. I MEAN. HELLO.img_3704img_6591And of course Samantha had a lovely petal posse to back her up! Two sweet sisters and a best friend, who could ask for more?img_6610And speaking of petals, just take a look at her gorgeous bridal bouquet!img_3945And here's her handsome groom, Mr. Kanaan Ford. The guys had their own share of challenges on the wedding morning, besides the rain... I believe I heard something about someone losing their keys?? I often think that wedding days are just a microcosm of life - we make our plans, we hope for the best, but you know what? In the end, we learn to thankfully receive what we are given from God's hand, and we learn to see the joy and beauty even in the messy, didn't-go-as-planned moments of life. And Sam & Kanaan did just that, on their beautiful, rainy wedding day.img_3791img_3744img_3762img_3773Just look at these handsome gents! I LOVED the little ring bearers' suspenders, boots, and bow ties! img_6727Soon it was time to gather in the little wood-paneled auditorium of the Plymouth Bluff Center. Friends and family found their places, and beautiful music filled the room.dscf6438img_3818The beautiful bride came in on her daddy's arm, and her smile was all the sunshine Kanaan needed to see.img_6842img_3829But he shed a few "raindrops" of his own. <3img_6849img_6884They may not have been surrounded by the early fall woods or by the warm light of a September afternoon, but Sam and Kanaan had something much, much better. They were surrounded, covered, and protected by the perfect beauty of the love of God, and they were wrapped in the warm love of their family and friends. img_6906-2img_6909And guess what?? It stopped raining long enough for us to step outside and take these beautiful bride and groom portraits! img_3918img_3888img_3926And then it was time to celebrate with music, a delicious dinner, and CAKE. img_7116img_7161img_7163The way these two looked at each other when they were having their First Dance.... no words.img_7191img_4018img_7235

After celebrating with their loved ones, Sam and Kanaan dashed away through the rain to begin their new life as Mr. and Mrs. Ford! No, these are not special laser sparklers - the rain and some lens fog combined to give a spectacular lighting effect as the bride and groom made their getaway!  I thought it was very cool that the weather gave these two some special effects for their exit!

Sam and Kanaan, it's been such a blessing for us to be part of your journey to your wedding day.  Life is full of sunny days and rainy days, but now you two are shelter for one another!

♥ Wedding Team Love ♥

Venue: Plymouth Bluff Environment Center

Bride's Gown Boutique: David's Bridal, Tupelo MS

Hair Artist: Erin Morgan, sister of the Bride

Floral Designer & Cake Artist: Monti King,  Flowers by the Bunch

Reception Catering: Brian Michaels Catering

The Bride & Groom also wish to extend special thanks to Rebekah and Rachel Stoll for providing the beautiful ceremony music, and to and Carole and Kathryn Pearson for all their help coordinating and decorating.