In December of 2015, I decided that getting published or featured in print or online was my next step. That month, I joined Two Bright Lights, a platform created to help photographers and imagery makers readily submit their work to over 400 online and print publications. Two Bright Lights (TBL) makes creating a submission, sending images to publications and the entire featured wedding photography process more comfortable for both the photographer and the editor. I knew that since I was never featured before, I needed that help. And I walked into 2016 with a goal to be featured or published at least ten times that year.
Of course, if you know me, when I decide on a goal, I’m going to meet it. End of story. I’m just a bit stubborn that way! So I finished 2016 with ten more featured wedding photography opportunities than I had planned, for a solid total of 20 (one of which was in print)! I celebrated my achievement and then set my sights higher. I decided I wanted 75 online or print featured wedding photography moments for 2017. You read that right, seventy-five.
Meeting My Goal
And today, I am happy to announce to you that Jessica Hunt Photography has, in fact, been officially published 75 times in 2017!!! I have hustled my booty off to achieve this accomplishment this year, and I cannot even describe to you the feeling I have at this moment. It’s a mix of the following things: excited, humbled, honored, overjoyed, proud, content, and accomplished. I honestly have a hard time putting it into words. It’s a mix of, “Is this real?” and “YAS HUNNY YOU BETTA DO IT!!!!!!”
Now, none of these features would be possible without my amazing clients, and this achievement is theirs to share in too. I could not be reaching this high of a goal without my amazing couples and clients who have hosted incredible and beautiful events for me to photograph. I feel so, so, SO honored to have been the lady behind the camera for these amazing people’s love stories. Earning 75 features this year is just the cherry on top!
With that said, I wanted to show off a few of my favorite features from this year and a little bit about each of these events. I hope you enjoy seeing a few of these published sessions and weddings. And if you’re a JHP couple, this one goes out to you!! I wouldn’t be writing this blog post without YOU, and I’m honored to be showing your love stories off today!
Matt and Amanda’s Engagement Session
Recently, I’ve been working with my couples to make their engagement sessions more personal, more real, and more THEM. The product of that pursuit in action was Amanda and Matt’s Five Points engagement in Columbia, South Carolina.
How did we make the session a bit more real and ‘them,’ you ask? Well, I asked Amanda and Matt, as I do for all of my couples, what they love to do together. We threw around a few ideas like hiking for a session or visiting a brewery. Finally, we decided on an early morning session with a stop for coffee at Drip Coffee in Five Points for the second half of their shoot.
While the couple cuddled up and chatted about life, their dreams, and their plans for the wedding, I was able to photograph that genuine interaction between them. Yes, I gave them a few prompts and set up the shot to get what I wanted, but I love how these images are so natural and so utterly them.
Styled Bridal Session
Every year, thousands of couples all over the world promise each other forever and choose to join their lives together. Some couples might jump a broom or break some glass on their wedding day, others might have a three- or four-day celebration with their entire community involved. Some might slip away to the mountains for a romantic elopement while others prefer to say quick vows and share a kiss in the church where they grew up. There is a multitude of different types of love stories unfolding in front of us on a daily basis. And, so often in the wedding industry, those unique stories are not represented, photographed beautifully, or published to provide more inspiration for other diverse couples.
In print media and inspirational blogs, we see the same type of couple with the same color scheme getting married at the same venue over and over again. Of course, those love stories matter too. But isn’t it about time we started shining some light on the diverse couples and stories we have not yet heard before? It’s it about time for wedding industry to represent diverse ideas, couples of different ethnic backgrounds, and ceremonies with different cultural trends.
If you know me then you know that when I believe in something, I take steps to make it happen. That’s where the inspiration for this styled Indian bridal inspiration session came from: a desire to create beautiful images of a woman of color in her culture’s traditional gown and bridal attire. I was so honored to see this session published by Catalyst Wedding Co. this year, as they are one of my most favorite wedding publications! Catalyst is a progressive wedding publication that aims to feature diversity, and seeing THIS shoot featured by them was the best feeling.
Nate and Kat’s Intimate Wedding Day
Sometimes you come across one of those couples that you just know were meant for each other. Nate and Kat’s intimate South Carolina wedding was the event to showcase a couple like that.
Kat and Nathan have been together for ten years now. Yes, you read that correctly, ten years. They were attached at the hip one month after meeting in 2007 and have been together ever since. It was always a running joke between them and the families about when they would get married, but it wasn’t ever a concern. Remember how I said everyone knew they were meant to be? When you take that into account, ten years doesn’t seem so odd, does it? In fact, I kind of like it. They are sure about each other; they are sure about forever.
Kat and Nate have been each other best friends for so long that it just made sense for them to have a more intimate wedding centered around only them. That meant not having a wedding party and spending 30 minutes with me at sunset for portraits (insert praise hands emojis here). It was perfect.
From the moment I arrived, everything had already come together beautifully. Kat was flawless; Nathan calm and excited. The details captured the spirit of their relationship so well, yet they were also so magazine-worthy. The intimate South Carolina wedding ceremony took place outside of her family’s home. Their wedding reception was full of delicious BBQ, a stunning set of couples portraits, and they ended the night with a fantastic sparkler exit.
An Exclusive Publication Feature
It is one of my favorite weddings I’ve EVER photographed. I knew when editing that everything had fallen into place perfectly and that I had the right shots to submit to an exclusive publication. Exclusive publications are always just a bit more difficult to nail a feature on, and I was overjoyed to see Whimsical Wonderland Weddings scoop up this perfect intimate wedding day!
Brittany and Michelle’s Anniversary Session
Brittany and Michelle got married last December in a private, intimate ceremony with those closest to them. They did not get a chance to celebrate their union with their friends and family on that day, so they planned a stunning night later this year to throw a bigger celebration that celebrated their first anniversary. They reached out to me to have a few portraits taken for their invitation to the event, and I jumped at the opportunity! Brittany and Michelle love easily and sweetly, and we were able to capture all of these portraits in only about 15 minutes! I snapped these pictures outside of Studio Cellar, the venue that they later held their event at this year for friends and family.
Though Brittany, Michelle, and I have since met to photograph their full anniversary session (and I cannot wait to blog those images!), I was so excited that both 2Brides2Be and the Dancing with Her Blog picked up this sweet little mini-session for publication.
The Modern Southern Belle Styled Shoot
‘What does the modern Southern Belle look like?’
When our group of vendors put together this Southern wedding inspiration styled shoot, that is the question we answered. We worked hard to put together the dreamiest Southern garden wedding inspiration featuring gold details. We landed the prettiest Southern Belle of a bride we could have asked for and her handsome groom in a dapper navy tux.
Details of the Shoot
The Eugenia Couture gown from London and Lace was the star of this shoot. It shows the exact definition of the modern Southern Belle. At first glance, you see a typical ballroom gown. But, when the bride starts to walk, you see the contemporary play of a high skirt with shorts beneath the skirt. Our female model, Jessica Brady, rocked Steve Madden heels and looked flawless in EVERY frame. Jessica is also an SC wedding vendor and did her makeup for the shoot. The Black Tux provided the dapper wear for our male model, Brian Gardner.
Paper Dreams & Keepsakes fused together the vision of lace, silk, and sparkle into a gorgeous invitation suite. Leen Machine Calligraphy provided all the calligraphy, including hand-lettered gold foil South Carolina cutouts. Xpressions Floral Design created the lush florals that complimented the bride and sweetheart table perfectly. Charmingly Southern Vintage Rentals provided the dusty blue velvet couch, patterned dinner plates, and gold candlesticks.
Silver Spoon Bake Shop provided three gorgeous cakes. These cakes feature some stunning gold design and blush accents. They incorporated pearls, metallic gold, and shades of pink into the design. Does it get any more Southern than pearls and pink? I don’t think so!
Kayla of Vivid: Cut. Color. Style. was on hand to give our bride a stunning loose braid. Because Southern girls love their long hair but do not have time for it to be in their faces! Southern(er)s are all about helping one another. So, a friend from Molly Fornadel Events Design provided the gold flatware. The gold-rimmed chargers and plates came from Pier 1 Imports. The pink chiffon runner, gold sequin runner, and peach disk sequin tablecloth were used to soften the rustic look of the tables provided by the Corley Mill House.
Southern Wedding Inspiration
This shoot is meant to give every Southern bride the wedding inspiration to make her day classic and modern. I am SO excited that it has been featured a total of 9 times since first submitted in 2016! The featured wedding photography publications that picked up this shoot are Aisle Perfect, Eugenia Couture, Wedding Colors, The Carolinas Magazine, The Wed Clique, Borrowed and Blue, A Princess Inspired, The Wedding Fanatic, and Black Nuptials.
Daniel and Cameron’s Engagement Session
If you know Daniel or Cameron, then you know that their wedding is going to be an incredible day full of love! These two grooms love openly, unafraid to be entirely themselves with each other. I love when couples are like this, naturally, because it makes my job a whole lot easier! Y’all know I love all the kisses, laughs, and tender moments, ha!
Daniel and Cameron are planning for their big day next summer. I’m just ecstatic to share their beautiful portraits from their Columbia SC same-sex engagement session. We explored Main Street and the Nickelodeon theater to start. Then wandered over to the University of South Carolina’s Horseshoe because Cameron is a proud USC graduate. We finished up their engagement portraits on the banks of the Congaree River with the Gervais Street Bridge in the background at sunset. Simply put, this couple is fantastic, their love is beautiful, and I’m obsessed with these images!
Matthew and Heather’s DIY Wedding Day
From the moment Heather and I met, I knew we were the perfect fit as bride and photographer. We sat in a little coffee shop in Columbia. That’s where she told me all about her dreams and plans for her fairytale backyard wedding. I came away from each interaction with Heather knowing that this wedding day was going to be everything she dreamed of and more.
And, sheesh, it certainly WAS the fairytale wedding of her dreams!! Heather poured over every little detail with love. From the ‘Wizard of OZ’ quotes placed throughout her parents’ backyard to the handmade accents, each little detail fit Heather and Matthew perfectly. Her flower girls threw feathers instead of petals, and the couple’s friends and family showered them with paper airplanes as they walked down the aisle as Mr. & Mrs. for the first time. They said their vows in front of a sea of candles and a handmade arbor (by Heather’s father and PawPaw!) made from stained glass windows.
And the party after their vows was one for the record books!! There were chandeliers hanging in the reception tent and a handmade, custom dance floor to host the party. Matthew, a drone and firework enthusiast, put on a grand fireworks show to end the night. All-in-all, Heather and Matthew’s day was just plain flawless. Every little handmade detail complimented their backyard wedding and love perfectly. This day has been featured by POPSUGAR, The Inspired Bride, Ultimate Wedding Digital Guide, Let’s Bee Together, The Wedding Guru, Borrowed and Blue, and Glittery Bride.
Ti Auni and Donte’s Fall Wedding Day
Donte and Ti Auni’s The River Road and Jasmine Houses and Gardens wedding was such a fabulous event! On a brisk November day in Columbia, South Carolina, a little chill in the air and the bursting fall colors throughout the gardens made this day perfect.
Donte and Ti Auni invited only their closest family and friends to their wedding, and I just loved how small and intimate it was. This wedding day was not about anything but the celebration of the couple’s love. Ti Auni’s son served at Donte’s best man, and after the ceremony, the entire family came together for hugs, kisses, and portraits. Their reception was a BLAST (I even got on the dance floor for a song or two!), and they end the night under a shower of sparklers.
I am so excited to see that The Big Fat African Wedding, Chic Brown Bride, Borrowed & Blue, Catalyst Wedding Co., Lily Rose Wed, Black Nuptials, and The Pretty Brown Bride all chose to feature this stunning wedding day!
Rashan and Quanda’s Charlotte, NC Engagement Session
Meet Rashan and Quanda, two successful adults who fell in love and are blending their families. They wanted to make sure to celebrate their engagement in THEIR new city, Charlotte. They had just bought a home in the area before our session together. We had a great time celebrating their love in Midtown Park. I’m so excited to share this session’s features with you. Honestly, it’s one of my favorite engagement sessions to date!
I was SO excited when both Rashan and Quanda showed up dressed to the NINES. Quanda took my advice to heart and got her makeup and hair professionally done. Key Street Beauty did a fantastic job making sure Quanda looked flawless throughout the session. I mean, what else could I ask for other than a sharp suit and a stunning gown? Not much, that’s what!
Featured Wedding Photography
So, there you have it, a few of my most favorite sessions and weddings that have earned features this year! This blog post isn’t featuring ALL 75 features that Jessica Hunt Photography has received in 2017. But if you head over to my Facebook Page, you can find an album with all of them listed!
I am SO excited that I met my goal for featured wedding photography this year! I’m also so happy to be sharing these honors with my amazing clients. I cannot wait to see what 2018 features my images will earn. Most publications haven’t even reviewed my fall 2017 weddings yet!
And I’ll end with this: thank you.
Thank you to each of you who have hired me to document your love stories, who have continuously supported me and my business, and for supporting my dream. Thank you for each Instagram like, Twitter share, and Facebook comment on my featured wedding photography. I am the luckiest photographer in the world to have been YOUR photographer this year.