HANNAH & DAN / DURHAM, NC

10 years together looks good on these two. Currently living in Brooklyn, Hannah & Dan plan on celebrating becoming husband and wife in there hometown, where their relationship started. With some biscuits and sweet tea in their bellies, we woke up early and had the whole West Pointe at the Eno to ourselves, which is a rare sight to see in the summer. We talked, and they caught me up on the past 10 years of being high school sweethearts. When you are in a relationship with someone for that long, you hear some great stories. But I mostly enjoyed seeing how they laughed, talked, and even chose to hold each other close after all this time together. Can’t wait to capture the start to your new adventure in a couple months, Hannah & Dan, it going to be a celebration for the books!

THE CHAMBERLAINS / RALEIGH, NC

Couldn't love this family more. I have watched them grow since Katie & Reid were pregnant with their first. My favorite thing to see in this family is how Reid and Katie play with their children. From the years of sessions together, I rarely have to say a word anymore, I just get to observe, which can only hope to create pure magic.

Katie and Reid's natural instinct to pick up their kids and make them laugh, snuggle them, and just genuinely play with them around seven in the morning is something to witness. It isn't perfect, but it isn't suppose to be. We sometimes have two kids running off in two different directions. But that chase to get them back sometimes naturally develops the perfect amount of laughter and cuddles to capture beautiful moments exactly like the ones below. It captures the essence of what this family is all about, and that is all anyone should ever hope for. 

CHAD & KIMBERLY / RALEIGH, NC

When you have a couple who easily lets down their walls, and shows you the essence of their relationship, you are in photography heaven. It’s my job to help people to find that comfort in front of the camera, but these two cuddled our session away, and my heart melted. He was her protector, she was his encourager, and it was evident Kimberly and Chad fit together effortlessly. This wedding will be one where tears will be shed for sure, by them or me, has yet to be determined but I know the countdown until their September wedding has started and the happy day will be here before you know it.

ADVICE FROM A GROOM / ANDREW

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Hello there everyone, let me quickly introduce myself. My name is Andrew and my beautiful wife Chelsea is really the reason why you are all here. I am a teacher, a proud dog parent, an avid reader, a novice movie critic, a video game player, and overall huge nerd. Chelsea asked me to write a blog post about the wedding planning process from my perspective. At first I thought she was crazy because I still feel like I know nothing about wedding planning. But she assured me that many people are like me, unaware of the majority of wedding traditions and protocols, and might enjoy my viewpoint. Chelsea is in the industry and has been steeped in Southern wedding culture her entire life, while I was pretty clueless. So here goes…

One of the things that annoyed me the most during the planning process was when people would say things like: “well the wedding day is all about the Bride” or “now that you’ve gotten her to say yes, you don’t have to do anything else for the wedding” or “just let the Bride do whatever she wants, it’s more important for her”. All of these types of comments really got under my skin because a) it should be about both of us and b) I want my opinions to be listened to and valued. The big problem is that.I have no idea how colors work. Like no idea what colors match or combine to craft a welcoming “warm” space vs a “cold” space. My big idea for our wedding was to take all of the things I loved, which includes: video games, books, maps, etc. and all of the things Chelsea loved, which includes: pixar, succulents, the color gold and put all of those items in the room. Bam! That would create a space that is both myself and Chelsea and boom we are done. If that statement made you hurt just reading it you understand how Chelsea felt. Chelsea is wonderful at taking the concepts and “feelings” and somehow translating that into a consistent theme, I blame her creative side for that. Both Chelsea and I were approaching this planning process from radically different viewpoints with very different priorities. As you can guess this led to a lot of frustration and quite a few fights. The thing that confused me so much was WHY Chelsea would care so much about *fill in the blank*, or why *fill in the blank* wouldn’t work for our day. It was maddening!

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What eventually helped us make a major breakthrough in our wedding planning process was actually pretty simple. We sat down, and talked about our priorities and took turns explaining why things were important to us. It helped me understand Chelsea’s vision and it gave her the opportunity to explain her rationale for many of the wedding planning choices she was making. It also helped me do the same for my own vision and rationale. This simple act really turned our wedding planning process into a fun thing that I actually looked forward to. Both of us were able to be on the same page and to really understand what aspects of the day really mattered to each of us. Chelsea has taken this idea and created a “Priorities Checklist” that she shares with all of her clients and you can find it here

After doing this together we found that there were really 3 things that I cared about for our big day. 1) Food 2) Drinks and 3) lodging for my family and friends. The first two are pretty obvious but the third needs a little bit of explanation. I moved around a lot growing up and my family is pretty spread out. I also went to college up in Massachusetts so many of my friends, including groomsmen, are also spread out. This meant that I wanted a venue that could be both our ceremony and reception area or that the two were in walking distance that way people didn’t have to be so worried about driving around a new location or worry about parking. When it came to selecting a venue Chelsea really only cared that it would allow us to take beautiful photos. Now that we both knew what we valued in a venue it made the selection process easy and was why the Vineyards at Betty’s Creek was such a great fit! This priorities talk also helped me not only care but actually be useful in aspects in the wedding other than my big three. Because even if I didn’t care a lot about the flowers or the plates, not only did I know Chelsea cared I knew WHY she cared. This was so important for me to be able to give good opinions and to fit into the overall vision for the day.

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Figuring out your own priorities as a person and as a couple is so important and surprisingly hard to do because the entire wedding industry is telling you what is “important” to have on your big day. I would advise you to avoid websites like “The Knot”, pinterest, and major wedding magazines when trying to figure out your priorities. Websites like these typically tell you the “10 things every wedding needs” and other such articles that will make you think that certain things are “essential” for your wedding day. Not only do you have the entire wedding industry trying to tell you what you “must” have but you will most likely have family and friends telling you other things you “must” have. Try to block out a lot of this noise until you can sit with your partner and figure out your own priorities first. This made me a better partner because even though I still didn’t know too much about the way weddings are “supposed” to happen I knew how we wanted our day to happen. After that we could safely go to family, friends, and the internet to find ways to make our vision a reality rather than being dictated by outside forces.

I know I’ve been harping on the priorities talk a lot and this isn’t to say that after our one talk everything about wedding planning was easy. There were still plenty of frustrations and teary eyed planning session; but this discussion put us on the same team with the same goals, and a list we could come back to and tweak as needed.

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Well that’s all for my article, hopefully you enjoyed my perspective on things and thanks for being part of the CMP family. My wife pours her heart and soul into this business and is so thankful for all of you who have supported her and let her be part of your stories. Thank you for all you do to make my wife’s passion a reality!

All photos were taking by Emily Chidester Photography at our wedding in September 17, 2016

JEN & JARED / CHARLESTON, SC

By the time this is posted Jen and Jared will already have a little baby girl! Bah! That is exciting and crazy, I cannot believe she is almost a month old. Andrew and I went down to Charleston for this mini adventure, and had the joy of capture these two right before little Eleanor arrived. Fun facts about Charleston: I've never been there when it's cold, so that was a new, frigid experience for me and I feel slightly guilty about how much I love Spanish moss especially since it's really bad for trees. But anyways, I would go back in a heartbeat. It's the most magical place ever to take photos even when everything is dreary and gray. We explored an old Naval neighborhood together that the city was converting into a park, but we had it pretty much to ourselves. Andrew and I got to ask these two some good questions as they prepared their hearts and their minds for their new baby girl which made for the best photos of them laughing together. I'm so excited for Jen & Jared and their new family member that is about to take them on a wonderful adventure. Little Eleanor you are so very loved, I hope you know that to the fullest extent.

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GETTING TO KNOW ME / CHELSEA

I know there's a huge About Me section on this web page (you should read it, it's pretty great) that you could read and learn everything you would want to know about me, but I figured in the new year, with new people coming to my page I wanted to take some time to tell a little bit more about me. Might be some random facts that you never wanted to know but I'm trying to open up and show you how important it is to have a true relationship with your photographer who you feel 100% comfortable around. If you're a little shy I'll start...

doing poses i make my clients do sometimes...

doing poses i make my clients do sometimes...

REAL LIFE THINGS...

  • I’m not allergic to cilantro, but it tastes like soap to me. Therefore, I hate it.

  • I once won a photo contest for news station and got free Chick-fil-A for a year. Be jealous.

  • My favorite movie of all time will probably be While You Were Sleeping with Sandra Bullock.

  • I absolutely love giving gifts, but when it comes to wrapping presents I suck at it.

  • I have gotten to the age where I want kitchen gadgets more than anything else. The rapid egg boiler is my favorite -- buy it, if you know what's good for you.

  • Andrew and I adopted a three-legged dog named Phoebe less than a year ago

Our first born - Chewie

Our first born - Chewie

  • I played volleyball on a year-round team for a majority of my young life.
  • My mom tells me that she knew I was going to be some sort of artist when I grew up when I was merely in elementary school.

  • I graduated with a degree in graphic design and am very thankful that I did.

  • I've known Andrew since I was 17 years old yet we didn't start dating till I was turning 23.

  • Andrew has opened my eyes to the good board games in the world. I'm not talking about Monopoly or Life, I'm talking about ones that are actually enjoyable to play.

  • I have dreamed of going to New Zealand for so many years I'm really hoping someday I get to go either on vacation or on a work adventure.

  • I won a ribbon in preschool for being the best hugger and I feel like that might still be true to this day.

  • One of my oddest things I love to do is track mail/packages. I had a pair of shoes once that went on a wild ride when I order them online. They finally came to my door gently place on top of a completely demolished box. It’s like they survived their crazy adventure.

NOW, SOME PHOTOGRAPHY RELATED THINGS

  • I think one of my favorite moments to capture in a wedding is right after people walk up the aisle and are alone for the first time after becoming husband and wife. You can't fake that kind of emotion.

  • I think my least favorite part of weddings is the garter and bouquet toss. Those are two traditions I have never really understood.

  • I believe the most important thing for a photographer to bring to a wedding, besides their camera equippment, is Advil and a good pair of shoes.

  • I still absolutely love going to weddings. Even when it's my job to be at weddings most weekends, attending a wedding is still super fun.

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  • My 35mm 1.4 lens is my favorite by far.

  • One of my random passion projects is photographing people's homes. I love decorating and creating a space that reflects the people that live in it so I'm always on the lookout for people who will let me catch them in their unique space.

  • During family sessions, if your kids are old enough, I will let them tackle, tickle, and chase their parents. It's probably my favorite part of family sessions.

  • I still get nervous before sessions and weddings because I want you to have a great time.

  • I really love editing photos. Sure, it can be a lot when you have many weddings in your queue, but I actually got into editing photos before I started taking them professionally.

  • Seeing people print out my photos is probably the biggest compliment I could get. the fact that you would want them displayed in your home means that I have done my job well.

My shirt says "put queso in my faceo" and it's one of my favorite shirts

So there's more information about me than you probably ever wanted to know. I hope you learn some things about what makes me, me. I would love to get to know you so please send me a quick note or comment on one of my Instagram photos so we can start a conversation. I would love to get to know you.

APARTMENT THERAPY FEATURE / RALEIGH, NC

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I know I have talked about this so much already, but I had to post about Stephanie's amazing duplex that I had the honor of capturing last year. If you guys don't already know, Stephanie and I are dear friends and we are pretty much the same person, especially when it comes to home decorating. So I suggested to her to let me capture her home. She agreed and we decided we wanted to get it published somewhere online to show off her amazing decorating skills. We were very fortunate that Apartment Therapy featured it not once but twice, upgrading it to a Full House Tour. You can check out the whole feature here. If you want to know where Stephanie got any of her furniture, make sure you check it out because she had to list out every single piece of furniture for them. *Spoiler alert: Stephanie is a huge Target & Craigslist shopper*.

apartmenttherapy.com

apartmenttherapy.com

I wanted to finally do my own blog post about it because I’m freaking proud of this. It was so much fun getting to work with her and capture the place that she has put so much love into. I'm telling you guys, this is a weird passion project that I started because to me home is where the heart is and Stephanie has made this her home. So make sure you check it out here, on apartmenttherapy.com and also start following Stephanie at @duplexdreaming on Instagram because she's simply fantastic :)

Thanks for sharing your beautiful home with me, Stephanie! 

TIME TOGETHER GIVEAWAY / GIVEAWAY

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The first giveaway of the year! The best way to kick off a new year is to give away things that I'm really excited about and believe in, so here we go. I am giving away time to capture memories. I want to give a photo shoot away to a couple who has lived life through marriage. I think it's such a shame that photography is such a huge ordeal for the day you say “I do” but after that, it becomes less important even though you actually start a marriage and a life together after the wedding dress is put away, the guests have left, and thank you notes have been written. I feel like there needs to be a dedicated time two people can come back together and celebrate their marriage, where it currently is, and reflect on the people they have grown to be together. Wedding days are structured to be very happy days, but marriage is a journey with highs and lows and absolutely everything in between. Marriage is a life together, and it’s continually deciding to choose that person for the rest of ever. I think that's worth documenting.

Let’s take the terrible excuse that you are too busy away and let me give this to you as a gift or a date, so when you're old and gray you will have photos to look through to remember this time with great joy. You said I do, you continue to say I do, and I want to celebrate you as a couple. Skip the fancy anniversary dinner this year, and capture memories that will last a lifetime. 

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 Details for the session:

  • 1-hour session
  • Hi-Resolution, edited photos
  • Online Gallery
  • Free travel in the NC area*

*Any travel outside NC will have to be settled in payment for gas/airfare, food, and hotel.

Rules for session apply below:

  • You have to be past your 1 year wedding anniversary.
  • This session is to focus on you and your partner, so this session will not include pets or children.
  • The session has to take place sometime in 2018, and does not have to be on your actual anniversary.
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All you have to do is fill out this form below and you will be entered to win. The giveaway will end January 25th, and be announced on different social media platforms on January 26. If you win, I will personally email you. Hint, if you sign up for my newsletter and let me know in the entry form, it doubles your chance of winning. You can sign up for my newsletter right here. Good luck, and I cannot wait to capture your memories!

YEAR IN REVIEW / 2017

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!