Hortopanu Family: Welcome Deklan!

This beautiful family can now be considered regulars around here! Last time you saw them, I posted Jenna's maternity pictures. And now I am so happy to announce the arrival of their new little man: Deklan Hortopanu. I had never photographed a baby this fresh before, and he was just the perfect little model. Older brother, Ryker, was so happy to have him around, and Mom and Dad were just glowing! This in-home newborn announcement shoot was so fun to capture, and I am so excited to share them with you. 

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Deklan was not super thrilled here, but big brother's excitement just makes this picture one that I know they'll look back on and laugh someday!

Deklan was not super thrilled here, but big brother's excitement just makes this picture one that I know they'll look back on and laugh someday!

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Tanner: Newborn Shoot.

When I took the Brandt family's pregnancy announcement a few months ago, I was already so looking forward to taking their baby boy's photos. This past week, I had the pleasure of meeting Tanner Brandt and doing his newborn photos! Like all newborns, it takes them a bit to calm down enough to get the "ideal" newborn pictures, but once he was ready....he was ready! He posed for me perfectly and his sweet baby features were so fun to capture. And his shirt says it all- he was born awesome. 

John + Ronda: Wedding Day.

How I ended up taking pictures of John and Ronda's day was kind of a friend of a friend type situation- or I guess you could say mother of a friend situation! When Ronda reached out to me and told me she was getting married, I was nervous because I still hadn't done my first wedding but had one lined up. I accepted- wanting to capture their special day and expand my portfolio even more. Neither expectation disappointed! Their day was so sweet as they were surrounded by their closest family and friends. Everyone came together so well, and the day went so smoothly! John and Ronda, it was such a pleasure to share the day with you and see you two become man and wife. I wish you many happy years ahead as beautiful and perfect as your wedding day. 

Jesse + Lera: Wedding Day

Jesse and Lera's relationship has been one that I have watched with anticipation over the years. I remember talking to Lera years ago as she started to fall for Jesse, and just knew along with her that one day he'd make her Mrs. Qualls. I was so excited when they started dating, and even more excited when they got engaged! So when Lera asked me to do their wedding (first wedding mind you!), I was so nervous but also honored to view their wedding day behind the lens. The day couldn't have been more perfect- bright and beautiful. It was so sweet to watch their day unfold- from Lera stepping into the dress, to the first look and seeing Jesse's face light up, Lera's "I'm about to get married" grin that stretched ear to ear, to the first kiss, and all the way to the sendoff. Mr. and Mrs. Qualls, thank you for letting me capture your special day- I hope these pictures do it justice. 

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Jenna: Maternity Shoot

It's always fun for a photographer to shoot several different stages in a family's life. And so I was not only thrilled when Jenna told me she was pregnant a few months back, but also so happy when asked to do her maternity photos. And although this photoshoot did not go *at all* as planned (meaning....it was done in ten minutes!), of course I could count on Jenna to look perfect in them all. Jenna, thank you for letting me share this part of your family's journey. I can't wait to meet Hortopanu #4 this summer! 

Luke + Deb: Engagement Shoot

It's one of the best things in the world to see friends fall in love and get engaged. Luke and Deb are one of those couples that their happiness makes you happy! I'm so looking forward to seeing them tie the knot in a few months. Now take a look at the beautiful love they share that I was able to capture 🖤

 

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Garrett + Sarah: Engagement Shoot

Garrett and Sarah are probably one of the most animated couples that I've met! They were so fun to hang out with and their interaction was nothing short of adorable. Like I've said before, couples in love are my favorite to shoot, and they were no exception! 

James Howard + Mary Beth: Proposal.

Between the exploits of her soon- to-be fiancee and mom, Mary Beth didn't stand a chance in knowing she was about to be proposed to last Friday! What started as a mock fashion photoshoot turned into the best day of her life. James Howard and Mary Beth, I am so excited for you guys! You were such a sweet, genuine couple to work with. Every time I capture a proposal, the pure joy and love on their faces is nothing short of amazing. I am eagerly watching your journey together and can't wait until you get to say "I do!".

Charlotte: Part II

Hey Friends!  

I'm here with part two of our trip to Charlotte. Our second day involved a lot of driving and foodie indulgence. It was so refreshing to walk around a new city and explore a little bit. We visited the coolest indoor market which had great coffee and the *best* garlic knots you've ever tasted. We were in foodie heaven. Lucas found an old piano, so of course, he had to serenade everyone passing through (he's my little John Mayer wannabe). The trip home involved a spontaneous stop at a little shack (literally) on the side of the road that had the most amazing peach ice cream. I made it last the rest of the way home. 

 

Happy FriYAY!  

-Valerie  

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Charlotte: Part I

Yesterday started Lucas' winter break from school. We have only two and a half months before he graduates, so we thought a little getaway was overdue. We had bought tickets to see Us the Duo in Charlotte a while back, so that's where we headed. I have followed their music for quite a while so thinking about seeing them live was so surreal! The road trip down was pretty uneventful, if you don't take into consideration the beyond nerve-racking traffic! 

We arrived at the Fillmore where the concert was held. The concert began with an opening by Hailey Knox. At only seventeen years old, she is full of promising talent. She's going to go far! And finally, Michael and Carissa Alvarado graced the stage. We were so blessed to have bumped into familiar faces who let us in on their VIP spots, so even though my DSLR had been held outside, I was able to snag some sweet photos! The performance itself wasn't quite a performance- it was an exchanging of passions for music and intimate interaction with the audience. The husband and wife duo  are beyond talented. I've never heard a harmony as beautiful as theirs. We hope to see them again someday. 

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( Stay tuned for Part II )