Sabrina Fields Photography » Photographer of New Beginnings

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Make Your Wedding Your Own

Let’s face it, wedding planning is a job.  Why else would there be a profession of wedding planners out there??  I LOVED picking out a wedding dress.  I LOVED our pre-marital counseling.  I LOVED planning our honeymoon.  I LOVED coming up with an idea for our reception, but let’s just say that I’m VERY thankful for my amazing friends who took those ideas and ran with them for the reception.  Otherwise, the reception would have been in a very boring airplane hangar.

As I was trying on wedding dresses and trying not to fall over in shock and excitement for actually getting to try them on, ideas were swarming in my head.  As I put on my dress and then tried it on again to make sure this was THE ONE, the lady assisting me put a birdcage veil on my head and it started to hit me… slowly, like a snowfall… We love to travel.  I (now we) love Paris.  I love Europe.  The dress along with the birdcage veil made me look vintage.  And that’s when it came.  With the help of my dear friend Lindsay, who is my marketing idea queen, Vintage European became the theme of our wedding!!  Yes, this all happened the day after we got engaged, but I was so excited and so relieved!!  If I had an idea, a theme, then the whole process wasn’t so overwhelming!  I could do this!!

So, I started scouring the internet for a globe logo that we could put everywhere.  I was looking at browns and ivories and trying to decide on an accent color.  Vintage suitcases and antique models of the Eiffel Tower started invading my dreams.  And before I knew it, I was overwhelmed.

Enter amazing friends.  You know the ones… they help you stay calm when you start to get too anxious.  They help you rein in your ideas that have started to get a little too extravagant.  They flat out pick out your flowers for you because it’s just easier that way :-)  And Pinterest?  Oh my… I love Pinterest, I do!  But, it can be a bottomless pit of good ideas that an engagement of four months just doesn’t have time for.  And trust me, I tried to make time.  But, I think I was a little too ambitious.  Just a few days before the wedding I had to admit to myself that some of these things, some of the details I was wanting to have weren’t going to happen because I just didn’t have time.  And you know what?  It was totally fine!  It was totally and completely fine.

It took me until after the wedding to realize how detail crazy I had gotten.  I’d been on too many wedding blogs and had spent too much time scouring Pinterest all for the sake of having beautiful spreads in our wedding album.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with details at a wedding.  I LOVE THEM!  Obviously :-)  And I love photographing them at weddings!  But, I just wasn’t realistic in thinking through what it would take to get those details at the wedding.  I was working at church, I was running a photography business, I was planning a wedding, and preparing for our marriage.  There just wasn’t time for a plethora of details.  But, there’s a bit of a stubborn streak inside of me that wanted to make it happen.  I wanted the wedding and reception to flow, I wanted people to arrive and have no doubt what the theme was, I wanted it to reflect us and who we were as a couple.  But, I think I let that last part get overshadowed a little :-)

Ok Sabrina, what’s your point?  My point is, make your wedding about YOU.  The two of you are the reason you’re having the wedding in the first place, so let it reflect who you guys are as a couple!  And, something that I’m sure my friends told me plenty of times but I only realized after the fact… it’s ok to go simple.  It’s ok to not have flowers at every table at the reception.  It’s ok if you don’t have details flowing over every table.  And it’s also ok, if you have the time and resources and a team of bridesmaids, to have details covering every inch of your venue!!  Regardless of what ends up happening… it’s going to be gorgeous.  Why?  Because it’s your wedding and you’re getting to marry your best friend.

One detail that was super easy for us to do was to have old fashioned Cherry Coke to toast with.
There was no way we could NOT have Cherry Coke at the wedding!
(Thanks to Kim for the awesome detail shots!)

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

 

Elisha - July 18, 2012 - 10:33 am

Ever so helpful advice my dear :)

Marianne + David | Greenville Wedding Photographer

Have you ever met someone who seems to brighten the room just by walking into it?  They’re someone who has a smile and a hug for everyone and no matter how horrible, no good, and rotten your day has been, they can walk up to you, give you a smile and a hug and your day is all of a sudden, 100% better.  Marianne is one of those people.  She is so genuine and caring that I feel like she never meets a stranger.

David and Marianne met several years ago when they were in the same community group at church. The other ladies asked her at one point what she thought about David and she replied that she hardly knew him!  But, when they both left one evening, around the same time, to go to the same party… well, it was just a “coincidence”.  Time went by and they did get to know each other, and they fell in love in the process.  But these two were falling in love for the second time because their first love is Christ, which is so evident in all that they say and do.  Some of their relationship was spent on opposite sides of the world as David served in Moldova with the Peace Corp and Marianne served in Bogota, Colombia in South America as a teacher.  Their foundation was based not only on friendship but mainly their faith.

Being a part of these two becoming husband and wife was such an incredible honor.  Surrounded by so much love from so many family and friends, there weren’t many dry eyes as Marianne and David promised to love and support and serve each other as they love and serve the Lord… this time though, they’ll always be serving together.

Marianne and David, I hope your honeymoon in Mexico was amazing!  Thank you for allowing me to capture your day… enjoy some of my favorites!

This has been my most favorite dress to photograph yet.  If it looks familiar, it’s because it’s just like my own!

Marianne, the detail on your ring is GORgeous!

I love it when a couple decides to do a First Look.

Not only did we have so much time for portraits, but they were able to spend so much of their wedding day together!

It was blazing hot.  But these two were incredible!  And totally up for anything.

Marianne!  Girl… you are SO stunning!

Downtown Greenville is one of my favorite places.  And since these two were getting married downtown, they wanted to capture downtown.
And who doesn’t love seeing a bride walking down Main Street??

You remember how I said Marianne and David were troopers with the heat?  Well, this wedding party also deserves an award.  They were amazing!

I just love love love this picture.  Marianne and David’s smiles speak volumes of how much they adore each other.

Cover model material.  All of you.  See you guys?  I wasn’t lying!

I LOVED these dresses!!

And the flowers that were on each dress?  They make my heart skip a beat.

I think they were both holding back tears as Marianne walked down the aisle.

I will never tire of photographing this church.

These next three images are so great!

And they’re MARRIED!!

When I talked to Marianne’s sister, Amy, just a couple of days before the wedding, they were all at the Dutch Barn in Greer, SC decorating for the reception.
She said I would love it and that it was a photographer’s dream… well, she was SO right!

And they did such an incredible job with all of the details!!

A summer in Marianne’s state of South Carolina calls for strawberry jam…

And with David being from Michigan, there was some cherry jam to represent his state!

How incredible is this?!?  The “Merriment” consisted of cornhole to play and hay bales to sit on.  So much fun!

Remember how amazing I said Marianne and David were?
Not only did they ventured outside around sunset for MORE portraits, but they climbed through weeds and briars to get them!

 

You guys are amazing.  Thank you for trusting me and some of my crazy ideas!

Barbara H. Rhodes - August 10, 2012 - 5:09 am

So stunning… so beautiful… so perfect… is all I can say while pressing the button down!!

Fabulous Friday | A Little Bit of Everything

It’s Friday and it’s been raining since Thursday evening, I think.  And it’s supposed to rain most of the weekend.  But for once, I for one am ok with that!  Our summer wedding season ended last Saturday (that post coming next week!), and this weekend… well, we have absolutely NOTHING on the calendar!  That has been SO rare lately!  We love our life and our jobs and our friends and our church and soccer and working out, but sometimes it’s just a lot.  And well, something else we love is to just curl up on the couch with a good movie.  Or eight.  :-)  That’s right!  This weekend we decided to have a Harry Potter marathon!  I’d love to say that we’re going all out with pumpkin juice and butterbeer and treacle tart, and chocolate frogs, and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, but well, we just don’t have the time to make all of that.  Plus, we might be sick by the end of it!  I did request one thing if we were going to do this marathon… that we schedule some time at the gym on Saturday afternoon.  I haven’t been all week and well, I’m starting to feel it.  I just need to move (says the girl who is about to watch 20 hours of Harry Potter)!

Anyway, I thought I’d just list some reasons that this Friday is so Fabulous.  There are several and I couldn’t narrow it down to just one (or even two).  And who doesn’t love a good list??

  • Having a weekend with nothing on the calendar
  • My mom for bringing all of her Harry Potter movies down for us to borrow
  • Getting in and out of the DMV in less than 30 minutes this morning!
  • Debbie at Redeemed Furniture is bringing my “redeemed” desk over this afternoon.
    I’ve been working off of a bookshelf since Christmas and it’s just not the most ergonomic thing ever.
  • We purchased the Nikon D800 yesterday!
  • I was able to use the new camera at a newborn session this morning :-)
  • Shooting full frame might be my new favorite thing
  • I love handwritten notes and I’ve gotten a couple this week from some of THE sweetest girls
  • Finally, I met this little guy (below) last week and he’ll make his full appearance on the blog next week.  Isn’t he ADORABLE?!?!?

Elisha - July 13, 2012 - 2:20 pm

Yay! for your new camera…and new Redeemed Furniture desk! Sounds like a good friday :)

Alistair - July 14, 2012 - 8:16 am

What did you shoot before the D800? Obviously DX something.

Kristen + Brad | Song Hill Reserve Wedding Photographer

We were twisting and turning up a mountain and missed the first entrance to Song Hill Reserve, but we easily found the second and then slowly found our way up another twisty road to the bridal cabin.  We had never been up to this spot before, but when Kristen’s sister, Beth, had posted a picture the night before, my mouth fell to the floor.  And when we arrived at the top of this mountain, my mouth fell to the floor again.  It’s. just. gorgeous.  After the downpour the night before, we had all be praying for no rain last Friday.  All of us wanted a beautiful day for the wedding.  And even though there were a few clouds floating by, not a drop of rain fell on anyone that day.  It was perfect.

When we got into the cabin to start capturing their wedding day, the entire wedding party was inside and hanging out – in their respective parts of the cabin :-)  The atmosphere was so relaxed and you would have had better luck growing wings than wiping the smiles off of Kristen and Brad’s faces.  Beth did Kristen’s makeup while the guys played cards.  Kristen put on her dress and immediately asked if it was time to see Brad!  When I asked her for three minutes to get Brad outside and situated, she asked for it to be 30 seconds.  She was ready!  And once you see the two of them, you’ll understand… they are so in love and head over heels for one another… which made our job of photographing their day that much more fun!  Their day was full of family, lots of friends, and even more laughter and hugs.  They vowed to love each other and to serve each other.  He vowed to provide for her and to protect her.  She vowed to support him and to help him.  They prayed for Christ to remain the center of their marriage and then were pronounced as husband and wife!

They celebrated just down the mountain in a tucked away spot, eating and dancing the night away.  Thank you guys for allowing us to be a part of your day.  We had so much fun with you and watching you as you stepped into this next adventure!  I hope you’re having fun on your mystery honeymoon!  Brad, I’m so impressed you were able to keep it from her all this time!  Can’t wait to hear about it!

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Her engagement ring is from Brad’s side of the family and the diamonds in her wedding band are from a ring her grandmother gave her.  I love the sentiment!

Song Hill Reserve Wedding photos

Would you look at that view…

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Kristen!  Your eyes are gorgeous!

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I LOVE this picture of her.  Love it.

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They decided to do a First Look, for which I was so excited for.

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You don’t get these kind of moments when you walk down the aisle!

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L.O.V.E.

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Kristen!  Oh my heavens.  You are just beautiful!

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Canvas!

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Girl, you are so fierce.  And super stunning.

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And these girls?  Well, they are amazing.  And were so much fun!

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Confession… I’ve been anti-pink for the past 20 years.  But I realized not too long ago that I actually love it.
Do you see the COLOR in this picture??  It’s just to die for.

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And the flowers?  Gorgeous.  James Kean-Grossman in Greer did an incredible job.

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I’d never seen this for a guest book before… they had two of them!  I love the idea!

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If you’re wondering whether the moment of walking down the aisle will be lost because of seeing each
other before the ceremony, the tear falling down Brad’s face should reassure you.

Song Hill Reserve Wedding photos

Would you look at that view??

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Kristen’s dad walked her down the aisle, gave her away…

Song Hill Reserve Wedding photos

…and then performed the ceremony.

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This might be one of my new favorite venues.

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Sometimes it’s easy to get tongue tied when saying your vows.

Song Hill Reserve Wedding photos

And the best thing to do is to laugh about it!

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MARRIED!!

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After most of the guests had made their way down to the reception, we went back out for some more portraits.

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These two were up for anything and were just fine being together as I snapped away.

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Ben snuck away the moment the ceremony ended to get some shots of the reception before everyone started arriving.

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Mary’s Kitchen Catering and Lisa of Marvelous Pies did a FANTASTIC job with dinner and dessert!

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I’m a little jealous of these detail shots that Ben got :-)

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Bea-u-ti-ful.

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Some toasts and dancing were a big part of the evening!

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Congratulations again, Kristen and Brad!!

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Anna - July 12, 2012 - 4:54 pm

SO AWESOME!!! Beautiful scenery, Beautiful Bride, Handsome Groom and FABULOUS MOMENTS! Congratulations Kristen and Brad!

Sharon - July 12, 2012 - 4:57 pm

beautiful pictures….

Karen - July 12, 2012 - 5:34 pm

Beautiful pics of a stunning bride and handsome groom! Great job, Sabrina (and Ben)! God’s backdroop helped too! :)

Kelly - July 12, 2012 - 6:17 pm

Beautiful pictures and venue! Great job!!

Melissa - July 12, 2012 - 10:18 pm

What a perfect wedding and reception…great pics to capture it!

Carol / Grooms Mom - July 13, 2012 - 8:36 am

I could not be happier for the both of them. What a beautiful wedding and overall happiness for the whole group of friends and relatives. Congratulations Brad and Kristen. Can’t wait to see you. Mom

Arica - July 13, 2012 - 11:38 pm

Okay, could they be any more beautiful together? And what a perfect place to get married! You captured beautiful moments!

Sussette - July 14, 2012 - 8:16 am

Such a beautiful, blessed, and Holy day. I am so happy for both Kristen and Brad. As I told Kristen, this was the most beautiful Holy wedding I have been to since my own almost 18 years ago. May the Lord, God bless them abundantly.

ps I have a special love for the picture of the empty reception; if you look closely, my daughter and I are sitting on the bench to the right and my two sons are at the other end of the pond checking for frogs and toads. We had taken the first limo-bus ride to the reception and it was a breathtaking view. Everything was so beautiful.

The Bradley's - July 14, 2012 - 6:40 pm

Beautiful Bride, Handsome Groom and a great location! Sorry we couldn’t be there in person, but our prayers and thoughts were. Wish you all the best! Blessings

Linda Hoffman - July 15, 2012 - 10:05 pm

Beautiful….much happiness. God bless you both. Luv U bunches

Wade Taylor - July 15, 2012 - 11:59 pm

Absolutely gorgeous wedding among God’s amazing creation. Congrats Kristen and Brad!

Don’t Give Up

It’s been almost four years.  I took a chance, I held my breath, and I jumped.  My trusty Nikon N50 film camera hadn’t been touched in ages and with digital images all over Facebook and people wanting to actually pay me to take pictures, I needed my own digital SLR.  But when I went to Best Buy, laid my hands on the golden box with a brand new Nikon D90 in it, I had this odd feeling.  When I walked out of the store with the golden box in hand, a sinking feeling was taking over my stomach where butterflies should have been.  What had I just done??  That was no small chunk of change!  Not to mention that I put it on my credit card (and even though I had more than half ready to pay on it… I won’t be doing that again!).  In fact, when I came home, I sat down in my floor, turned on the Clemson game (it was October and we were playing an away game) and sat there to cheer on my Tigers.  It wasn’t until half time that I got up the courage to open the box.

What in the world was wrong with me?  I texted a couple of friends that I had just purchased my own digital SLR.  My friends were excited, but I wasn’t there yet.   It was the newest Nikon on the market – just under the professional grade cameras – and I was ready to go and pursue this photography thing.  But I had no idea what I was doing.  No clue at all.  All I knew was that I’d been taking pictures since elementary school (some of them embarrassingly “abstract”) and I wanted the images I was seeing in my head to come out on the back of the camera.

I had no idea what I was doing.  Have I mentioned that yet?  All I knew was that I liked taking pictures and the more pictures I took, the more I wanted to take!  I carried my camera with me on every work trip I took, and documented things like a pro.  Well, not really, but I was trying!  I started to scour the internet for what aperture meant and how shutter speed affected an image.  I remember deciding to give the manual setting a try…. oh my.  All I was getting were totally white, blown out images.  So, I went back to my comfortable P setting where all I had to worry about was the ISO.  Two minutes in and I gave up.  Four blown out images that I didn’t know what to do with and I was done.  But sadly, I didn’t think anything about it.

In the summer of 2008, a friend of mine took a chance on me and asked me to help her shoot a couple of weddings.  I was excited but a little nervous… I’d never done this before!  And I wasn’t sure if my images would stack up to what she needed and what she was looking for.  But, I was kind of surprised that it was fun.  And then I shot with her again.  And the following summer, another local photographer (who ended up being a good friend) asked me to shoot with her.  I couldn’t believe it!  The girl who never wanted to shoot weddings was helping with several and slowly falling in love with capturing the love stories of couples.

In the fall of 2009, I signed up for my first workshop.  It just so happens that it was taking place in the south of France :-)  My amazing grandparents were going to send me on this trip of a lifetime for my 30th birthday and not only was I going to be spending a week in Provence, but I was going to be with a National Geographic photographer for that week.  WHAT?!?!?!  Some days I still can’t believe I took that trip.  But, that trip, that experience, that leap into “what in the world am I doing” completely changed how I approached photography.  I finally started to figure out what aperture really was.  I started to learn how to work my camera to get the images I wanted instead of it controlling me and getting frustrated that it wasn’t giving me what I was looking for.  I learned how to see things differently… I learned to look for moments instead of just snapping a picture and moving on.  I learned it was ok to wait for those moments!  I learned it was ok to engage people and ask if I could take their photo (I still struggle with this when traveling!  It’s so outside of my comfort zone!).  I learned the importance of surrounding myself with others who had the same passion that I did.

This isn’t an industry where it’s safe to go at it alone.  In fact, I’m a huge proponent of surrounding yourself with community, so why would photography be any different?  Just because I think I know what I’m doing doesn’t mean I could keep figuring things out on my own.  Yes, the Internet is a huge resource.  But, it’s not the same as being with a group of people who have the same desire and drive to improve on and continue learning their craft.  I don’t ever want to stop going to workshops.  I don’t ever want to stop connecting with other photographers.  I don’t ever want to stop asking questions of those who have been doing this longer than I have.  I don’t ever want to feel like “I’ve arrived” and that I know all there is to know about photography.  Because that will never happen.  And to think “I’ve arrived” is only setting myself up for failure.  When I stop wanting to learn is when I stop growing.  And with the way this industry seems to be changing every couple of years, if I stop growing, I’m going to be left in the dust!

Even in just the past four years, photography has changed a lot.  Weddings have changed a lot.  Cameras have changed.  People are able to afford nice DSLRs and learn photography!  It’s wonderful that it’s so accessible!  One of the reasons I didn’t ever go farther with it when I was younger was because it was all so expensive.  So, my little N50 and I stayed the course together for a good 8 years or so.  But that’s not the case anymore.  There are so many good affordable cameras and so many good workshops out there!  I wish they’d been available when I was starting in high school, but all I knew about was my photography class in high school (which ended up being more of a yearbook layout class than anything else – but even in there I learned some things!).

So what am I saying?   First, don’t give up.  Just because you don’t understand how to shoot in manual mode doesn’t mean you can’t learn.  Second, find people that you can connect with.  Some of the people that I’ve met through photography are some of my favorite people in the world!  And I don’t know that I would have met them otherwise.  Third, never stop asking questions or learning.  And then, once you’ve gained some knowledge and put it into practice, give back to someone else who has just bought their first DSLR :-)

This journey isn’t easy.  And there have been many times that I’ve wanted to hang it all up and just find a normal career.  But, when I think of doing anything else, my heart sinks.  I never really believed people when they said to find something you love so that when you work, it doesn’t feel like work.  Well, this skeptic is here to tell you that it’s true.  No, not all of it is fun, but that’s just part of running a small business.  But, all of it is totally and completely worth it. When I show up on a wedding day and the bride gives me a hug, when I show her images during the day and she squeals with excitement, when I’m able to capture a sunset or document a trip in a way that makes me want to go back each time I see the pictures… all of that reminds me that it’s worth it.

Sarah DAttoma - July 11, 2012 - 9:11 am

Loved this article… thanks for being transparent and sharing your heart. We’ve ALL been there and are still on this journey. Although it can be discouraging at times (LOTS OF TIMES), it helps to look back and see how far you’ve come!

Lauren Mathues - July 11, 2012 - 10:01 am

Sabrina,

Thank you so much for this reminder. Your article is universally applicable, and I’m so thankful I read it today. You helped remind me that I am walking in the right direction — it’s not photography, but surrounding myself with my community and continuing to try is JUST what I needed today.

Thanks for sharing your heart!

I’m really glad that Ben found you.