You guys, we made it! 2018 is officially here. It came so quickly and I'm not sure if I was a hundred percent ready for it, but ready of not, we are diving in face first. I feel like as I get older the years seem to fly by so fast and in my attempt to try and slow it down, I'm going to reflect on 2017 in my first post of the new year. I was part of some really amazing memories this past year,  and I feel like it would be wrong not to give some of those wonderful moments their time in the sun. On top of that, it's a new year and I have some big plans  for Chelsea Morgan Photography in 2018. I continue to explore my true intentions of running my business, and find ways to light the passion I found 5 years ago. Slowly, I feel like it has become so much more than just photography and that's why It makes me so excited to see where it continues to go. So cheers to 2018, an adventurous new year, before we get there, here's 2017 and all its glory.

If you recently got engaged, or have another story you would like captured I would love to start a conversation with you! It would be great to have you be part of the CMP family in 2018. Say hello by simply sending me an email at chelsea@chelseamorganphotos. Cannot wait to hear from you!


It is my dream, no my mission, to have more clients like Grace. This high school senior contacted me to take her senior pictures and I was stupidly excited. If I could show you the setup for my senior pictures, the fake backgrounds alone would make you cringe. So the fact that Grace didn't want any of the normal graduation fluff made me so happy! You are so much more than your shiny graduation gown and those fake backgrounds.

Here are couple snapshots from our time together where I got to know Grace, ask her questions about her future, and captured her exactly how she is before she enters her crazy college journey. All the good stuff to remember before a new adventure begins.


Let's talk wedding venues!! The number of wedding venues that exist is crazy. When I was looking for a wedding venue, I had driven myself so crazy, I started searching by county....Yep. I had a map of NC and was googling county by county what venues were there because some wedding websites you would just drown in recommendations. Now my craziness paid off as we found our venue through this search, but it wasn’t the most efficient way to spend my time. So I have made a list of my top 10 venues across the beautiful NC to hopefully jump start your search. Now, these venues picks are based solely due to my preferred aesthetics and are in no particular order. But as a photographer, through experience and research, I know these venues would be great backdrops to your day like I talked about in my previous blog post you can check out here. Hoping this is a helpful starting point becauseI love these places and know you can’t really go wrong with any of them.


Another elegant rustic venue with endless options of places to have your wedding ceremony. Plenty of outdoor space, but it definitely has more of an upscale feel. With a lake, gardens and a blueberry cove It makes things feel so peaceful, especially when it's right outside busy Charlotte.


All Saints Chapel is the best place in Raleigh to get married if you still really want to get married in a church. It has beautiful windows that let in so much light, while keeping a simple aesthetic so the focus can be on the bride and groom. It's the perfect option if you want a ceremony one place and your reception in downtown Raleigh. It is so unexpected, but a lovely place to have a wedding.

emily chidester photography | Andrew & My Wedding

emily chidester photography | Andrew & My Wedding


I LOVE THIS VENUE! If you checked out my post two weeks ago, you will see photos of Andrew and I said I do at this very special place. But besides that, it has everything you need. Snuggled in the mountains town of Sylva, this venue has acres of land that will never disappoint. The lodge where you are allowed to get ready is enough to take your breath away, while the new open air pavilion looks over the mountains is the most stunning view. There so many options at the venue for creating a day that matches your need, it is the perfect place if you want a type of destination wedding.


The Bradford is such an unexpected gem. I have never had a wedding here myself, but I have been a second shooter for a friend and I was not prepared for its simplicity and lovely elegance. The house itself is a blank slate for you to bring your creative ideas into, but it is really accommodating with outdoor options and indoor reception options. The sun sets directly behind the woods of this house, and some magical light makes this place something truly beautiful.


This is a well-known park in Raleigh, North Carolina and surprisingly makes a perfect place for a smaller to medium size wedding. The space you are allowed to use inside again is a blank canvas, but I would encourage users to be outside as much as you can as the natural park setting make the perfect back drop. I shot a wedding here, and the couple had their whole reception outside without a tent. It was kind of a risky move, but it paid off as the sunset lighting made for the most spectacular photos.


Such a cool approach to a beach town wedding. I have passed this before in downtown Wilmington, and it literally looking into an open garden room. Ivy covers the walls, and the hanging light adds an intimate flair. I love the open airiness to this venue, and how you can also explore the beautiful parts of Wilmington on your special day.


This venue has the best industrial feel you could ask for. Huge loft windows and exposed brick leave a very cool retro feel within the space. The light in the space is incredible and if you are looking to escape to some nature, the Haw River is right behind it where you can spend some time taking pictures. Normally this space is music and restaurant venue, but it can quickly be transformed to a very romantic, modern wedding space.


Oh, this place is one of my dream places to shoot. The pictures I see from this venue are nothing but stunning. It looks like it's a little establishment in the middle of a mountain range, just completely surrounded by mountains. There are llamas to entertain your guest, and this venue is well known of taking care of your whole wedding event. Such a perfect getaway for your special day.



I think this is the venue that made me fall in love with mountain weddings. A Christmas tree farm, with the most incredible ceremony view I have ever seen. It is so unique and nothing you would ever find in a city. It has so much charm and really can be as elegant or as rustic as you want it to be. It is perfect place for an intimate wedding and has so many grounds to roam and explore


Ok, you guys, this is a new find, and I would love to shoot a wedding there! Apparently, this venue is a newbie, but it looks like it has amazing potential. What a rare thing to find in the mountains. It seems to have to perfect blend of the rustic modern feel with an awesome view. I don’t have many details past that, but from the looks of it, I am in love!

Again, I hope this helped! So many venues out there, but only a few gems! Strive for the gems! If you find a venue you really love, or one you think I should look into please leave in the comments! I would love to hear what you have to say.



So excited to be doing Fall Mini Sessions this year. Hoping with all my heart this becomes a trend. These types of sessions are the PERFECT thing right before the holiday season, or if you just need to capture a little life update.

What you need to know

  • Date: October 21
  • Time: 20-minute session
  • Photos: 15 hi-res, edited images
  • Delivery: Password protected online gallery
  • Price: $225 (tax included)

You will also receive either two 11 x 14 prints, or one 16 x 20 print of your favorite image from our time together for FREE! These spots will go fast, so reserve your spot today by clicking here. Cannot wait to capture your memories!


Evening writing this blog has me teeming with happiness. Andrew and I are celebrating our first married anniversary in a couple days, and I wanted to relive the day with you with showing some of our FANTASTIC wedding photos taken by the talented Emily Chidester. We were even fortunate enough to be featured on Junebug Wedding's website for our special day. When you get a second, hop over there to check it out. It is such a complete honor to be able to share our day with so many people :) It makes that memory just that sweeter. 

On September 17th, 2016, Andrew and I got married :) We chose a charming venue up in Sylva, North Carolina called the Vineyards of Betty’s Creek where we fell in love with the stunning lodge, and pavilion with a killer view. It was so awesome how our families could stay on the property for the weekend so we could have time together before the festivities. To look back on this day warms my heart. It was everything we had hoped it to be, plus more. These photos are such a wonderful glimpse into such a happy occasion, it was when I promised forever to my best friend. From getting ready to our first look reading our vows out loud, to saying our “I dos” and dancing the night away, it was one hell of a celebration, and the beginning of the best adventure yet. 

Now, of course, the day of was perfect, but the marriage has been so better. It has been hard, messy, and imperfect of course, but it has been filled with more laughter, love, goofiness, and more selflessness than I have ever known before.  Andrew, thank you for loving me, and for choosing me every day. You are my best friend and a wonderful husband. Thanks for doing life with me, and making me laugh. I love you dear friend, and I cannot wait to continue on this adventure -- it has been a wonderful one so far.

Before, during, and after baby!

I will leave you all will fresh happy tears and true sappiness as I watch our wedding video done by Jon Clark Weddings over and over again. Happy September 17th, it will forever be one of my favorite days :)


Engagement sessions like this are my favorite. Casually walking around, watching Wally the Scottie dog just follow behind and get in all sorts of trouble. Sessions like this are never meant to be stiff or stressful, they are actually supposed to be fun. And when a couple tells me “That was really easy” at the end of a session, then I have done my job successfully. Colby, Amy and I had fun chasing the sun and finding ways to make Amy laugh. The light that day was probably the prettiest I have ever seen, and it was just so easy for them to be themselves with each other. I cannot wait till their wedding in September where we get to do this all over again and they officially become husband & wife!


I have been wanting to write something like this ever since I became serious about photography. Now, most people might be thinking, why would I care what my photographer thinks? Isn’t it my day? And yes, 100% yes, it is, but as a photographer, it is always so interesting for me to see possible clients love my work, and then want to get married in a hotel with no windows and musty carpet. I am curious of thought process from that aesthetic to my photographs. Because as a natural light photographer, that is not where I shine. Don’t get me wrong, I do agree that your day should be a decision between you and your future spouse, whatever that might be, but I hope you would think of me as a visual consultant too. Any talented photographer can make any space/venue work, but given the right foundation, they can blow your freakin mind. I want to share with you the 5 things I LOVE in a wedding as a photographer in hopes to help you understand what elements can really help enhance the photos you will receive from your wedding day.



I know this probably sounds like a duh thing to say, but it is 100% true. Andrew and I fell in love with our venue for various reasons, but one big reason was we probably could have done absolutely nothing to it and it would have been just as beautiful. That is HUGE!  When looking at your venue, don’t only look at the space where people will eat dinner, but look at the grounds around it. 80% of pictures of the bride and groom normally don’t take place in the reception hall. So when you are looking at venues and your response is, well we could always just stay inside, then move on to the next one. There is a better one out there. This applies to any style of wedding, or couple, but just know your venue will become the backdrop for all your photos and it is important to think outside the box/building and look at the potential a venue has from all angles.



Now, I feel like this might be the point where people disagree with me the most, but I am a full supporter of one venue weddings. Whenever a wedding is in one area, it not only makes things simpler for everyone involved but trust me when I say you will have more time to enjoy your day. Just think about it. Now, I grew up in the south and understand this might not always be the case, but my biggest advice for you if are having a second location for your ceremony or reception is to plan out a timeline with your photographer. Make sure you talk about it beforehand, build time into your timeline to travel, get settled, and take photos. Set up expectations ahead of time and discuss the possible location of photos opportunity with your photographer so you can both remain on the same page. Overall though my biggest piece of advice is to avoid getting ready some place different than your ceremony and/or reception. Adding a third place usually adds more travel, and most likely won’t fit into the aesthetics of the rest of your day. Keep things like transportation simpler on the day of so it will be more about your spouse and less about complicated transitions.



Lighting will forever be important in my line of work because different types of lighting affect how your photos will look, feel and represent your day. I don’t believe you should know everything about lighting, that should absolutely be your photographer's job, but there are few basic rules you should know, to help you make a wiser decision while choosing your wedding space.

  • Know what time the sun sets on the day you having your wedding. This will be essential in planning your day out.

  • Consult a photographer if you have questions about what time is the best time to have your ceremony based on the season. When the sun sets at 9 PM in the summer, is very different from when it sets at 5 PM in the winter.

  • If you are getting married outside prepare to have a later ceremony time, or have your ceremony space covered with some amount of shade.

  • If you are getting married inside, try to book a venue with large windows. Fun fact: Window light is still considered natural light.

  • Turn off the overhead light where you are getting ready ( once you are ready for pictures). You won’t need it! Trust me.

  • If your venue doesn’t have good lighting ( yellow florescence, spot lights, or anything that make it look like a department store) , make time to go outside and take pictures, or pick a place nearby to capture some memories in the natural light goodness.

  • Cloud coverage can provide excellent even lighting options, so don’t get down if the weather looks a little cloudy.

  • Golden hour is a lovely time for photos, but so is twilight (the time the sun has just gone down).

  • Don’t have a completely dark reception. Even with external flashes, it is really hard for a camera to focus in dark lighting. Dance with the lights slightly on, or have the DJ provide extra lighting for the dance floor.

  • Don’t exit at night with something that does not illuminate you. If there is no external lighting on your venue get creative, but bubbles are never a good idea at night. They just aren’t.



Personal touches on wedding days will always be special! No matter your budget, make your days yours. It will help tell your love story and show your guest and the world more about you as newly weds. This doesn’t mean you have to buy all the flowers or have the fanciest dress, or table layouts that would be in a magazine. Just make sure every decision is intentional and reflects who you guys are as a couple. If that breaks a “tradition”, then it breaks a “tradition”. Be inspired by how things have been done, and change it up a little. This way, your photo album, and memories will be special and unique.


More than anything as a photographer I want to capture every feeling that happens on the wedding day. This is not saying "looking at the camera" pictures are bad, or family pictures are bad, but as an artist, I rather produce photos where you will look back and feel the feels rather than simply staring at posed smiling faces. Kill the shot list the wedding industry has told you to create and start thinking of it in a new way. My best advice is to tell your photographer the people and other traditions that are special to you. Have conversations about the sentimental things and focus on the love, happiness, and gratitude you are feeling on your wedding. Then go spend as much time as you can with your spouse, take advantage of any alone time and know that time will be worth it. Try to get your brain out of the Pinterest world and BE with your best friend. Enjoy every moment with family and friends, talk, laugh, and cry, and don’t feel bad about any of it for a second. Those are the moments you will want to remember 20 years from now. I promise. 

I will give you a personal example from Andrew and my wedding. We agree that after our first look we were going to read our vows to each other. We wanted to do this privately, with just our photographer and videographer because we wanted it to be intimate. I didn’t want to be afraid of stumbling on words in front of a crowd at the altar. I wanted time alone with my best friend, so I could speak from the heart. This was my favorite part of our day by far. We both cried, and said words that became beautiful promises and those pictures/video moments I will cherish forever.

So rather than stalking Pinterest for the poses, think of the essence of the day, and feel the joy and love there! This is literally the best ingredient to a great photo.


I hope these tips were helpful! When planning your wedding, or on the journey to pick a photographer remember all these things so you can capture all the beautiful moments that your special day will hold and memories to hold to for the a lifetime.