5 states. 3 houses. 2 dogs. 1 fiancé. Those are the big things I think of when I reminisce back on the past four years. Four years ago I, and my parents, packed up everything I owned and moved me along with my ever-faithful doggie-companion Bailee to Tallahassee, where I became a Tallahassee Photographer, instead of an Indiana Photographer. 14 hours away from everything and everyone I knew. And yet, I wasn’t scared. Even after my parents had helped me settle-in and drove away, I didn’t think to myself “did I make the wrong decision?” Instead, I was at peace. There was a calm inside me. My heart and my head both were telling me this was the right direction for my life. I remember the exact moment, the time of day, the place that I realized I needed to move to Florida.

Tallahassee Wedding Photographer

I was at work, as a graphic designer, for the Ball State Daily News Advertising agency. It was my second senior year of college (I double majored in Fine Art Photography and Advertising, completing both majors in exactly five years). The sun was beaming through the windows behind me. It was the time of day we (myself and the other two designers) would close the blinds because otherwise our section turned into a sauna and we couldn’t’ see our monitors through the glare. My boss, Joy (who was the BEST mentor I could’ve ever asked for during my college years), was out for her afternoon break and the grad-student intern was in her seat, proofing tomorrow’s newspaper edition for accuracy. I don’t know what struck me, maybe I was browsing through photos I had taken during my most recent spring break in St. Petersburg, Fla. when I realized I didn’t just want to vacation there. I wanted that to be my backyard. I wanted to take Bailee to the beach every weekend and watch the sunset over the ocean more than just twice a year. I dreaded winter, shoveling out snow, having to wear layers, shivering numb toes from November to April. Literally, dreaded it. Even as I type this, the thought of snow makes my soul sad all over again.

The grad-intern asked me how the job-search was coming. I very distinctly remember the sunlight streaming onto my face as I turned around, standing up to close the blinds, and said “I’ve decided I’m moving to Florida. So I guess I need to start looking there.”

I wish I could say is was all poof, magic and the day after I graduated I moved but that wasn’t the case. God had a few more great things in store for me before Indiana was through with me. I spent that summer unemployed and sad. But I also had a lot of time to think about Poppie Studios – which I started pursuing a few years prior but hadn’t made it into anything more than a Facebook page. So, during my depressed unemployed summer, I built my first website. I started creating content for my Facebook page. I made a logo. Granted, all of those things have since evolved (thank God!) and become a much better representation of who I am and my talents.

I struggled for a full year after graduation, but every job lead me closer to my Florida-dream. Every job helped me hone my skills and develop my own style. Every job lead me to great friendships that have withstood time and distance. And of the things I miss the most, are a few friendships with beautiful people I don’t get to see everyday anymore (except when I creep on their Facebook pages, which kind of counts as friendship – right? Right?!). But eventually, and I kept interviewing for positions in Florida for the next two years, I got a call for a graphic design specialist job in Tallahassee, Fla. My first thought: “where is Tallahassee and how close is the nearest beach?” Turns out, Tallahassee is the capital of Florida and is about 90 minutes from my most favorite beach, St. George Island. After the first call with that company, I knew. I felt it in my heart. This was the one. And three weeks later, on October 5, 2012 – I became a Floridian.

Tallahassee Wedding Photographer

How quickly four years has flown! And how awesome that I’m now a Tallahassee Photographer! The connections I’ve made since moving here have been monumentally important to the growth of my business, and my personal development. I discovered the Tallahassee Professional Photographers Guild, which lead me to Shannon Griffin, who reminded me why I fell in love with and should fall in love with film photography again. Which lead me to Becky + Jesse, who coached me into being brave, taking the leap and focusing on being a film photographer again. I rediscovered my passion for film photography after moving to Tallahassee. Those connections have also lead me to beautiful people I’m now so thankful to call friends. And to a handsome man I’ll soon get to call my Husband. And to an adorable three-legged dog, who annoys Bailee, but gives us lots of laughs. These people (and fur-children) have opened my heart more than I thought was possible. Whether as an employer, coworker, parent, sibling, friend or fiancé – I value the roles you have in my life and how everything combines to lead me down the path that I’m on.

So here’s a toast to Florida! And every state, and stage of life, in between.

Tallahassee Wedding Photographer

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  • Star Hansen - Loved learning a little bit about you and hearing your story. Happy anniversary!! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Anna Osgoodby - What an incredible journey! Congrats on 4 years and your adventures in-between. Isn’t it amazing to look back and look at the way things worked out and how different introductions led you to different things?!ReplyCancel

  • Donna Emley - SO proud of you and what you’ve accomplished! As a fellow Hoosier with that wanderlust and “not lost, just exploring” attitude, I can relate. You were fearless, stepped out, and are definitely blooming where you have planted yourself. Congratulations on your success and all of the wonderful things happening in your personal and professional lives. Love and continued success to you!ReplyCancel

    • poppiestudios - Aww, thank you SO MUCH! That means so very much coming from you! I have always admired you, for your attitude, your work ethic and your generosity both professionally and personally. <3ReplyCancel

Tallahassee Wedding Photographer

It’s a beautiful thing when local creatives get together and, well, create! Our local Rising Tide Society members collaborated for one heck of a gorgeous “Forgotten Coast” themed shoot, with the purpose being to promote community over competition. This concept is becoming more impactful every day, connecting small business owners such as myself with other local creatives across all creative professions. Business owners who are new, established, hiring help or learning the ropes. We’ve formed a bond and help each other grow without the veil of secrecy that, in my experience, has often closed off established professionals from growing businesses in the past.

Tallahassee Wedding Photographer

The point of the shoot was to bring all of us creatives together, in one gorgeous location (Goodwood Museum + Gardens, which obviously I’m partial to since that’s where I’m getting married next November!) and use our collective talents to grow, learn and refine our talents in a judgment-free zone.

YOU GUYS.

Small business does NOT mean small talent. This shoot was A-MAZ-ING. Beautiful. Gorgeous. Inspiring. It was a group effort to gather every we needed in order to bring this vision to life. From the perfect bouquets (At Last Florals), to the stunning tablescape (Terri Smith Details), the swoon-worthy blue dress (Vocelles), the gold and blue-dripped cake (Cake Me With You) and the watercolor invitation suite (not to brag, but that was me). Not to mention all the fellow-photographers and videographer that captured all this beautifulness! It was a living Pinterest board of perfection!

Tallahassee Wedding Photographer

 

And can we get an “Amen!” for our beautiful real-life couple?! John and Elle are two beautiful souls with adorable chemistry and, I mean come on!, he has a man bun (insert all the heart-eyes)! It doesn’t get much easier when photographing a couple – especially when they just have this natural understanding of each other. No posing required. They were just them and it was just lovely.

I can’t say enough great things about the impact that our local Rising Tide Society group has had on me personally. I’ve found some amazing vendors, who became friends instantly because we relate as small-business owners. We’re out there making a a living, doing what we love. And with inspired shoots like this, what’s not to love?

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The next several blog posts will feature some of my favorite vendors in and around Tallahassee that I have had the pleasure of working with. Community over competition is a beautiful thing.

06.01.16 laura titleLate last year I was introduced to Laura, of Laura J Artistry. Her tagline Dramatic Unique Beauty perfectly describes her professional style, and her beautiful personality too! Laura’s talents go far beyond the surface, she not only makes her clients look beautiful, she makes them feel beautiful too. And that’s not something just any hair and makeup artist can do. She loves talking with everyone, something that is very evident if you’ve ever spent time in her studio – which is absolutely adorable and I love that space!

Laura received her bachelor’s in Fashion Merchandising at FSU and her Cosmetology License from Aveda Institute. When she isn’t at the salon you can probably find her at Bird’s for karaoke, relaxing with her two cats (Sushi and Tavi) or watching her talented boyfriend, Roger, play violin in his band.

When it came time to coordinate the details for a stylized shoot I arranged earlier this year, there was only one MUAH artist I wanted to team up with, Laura J Artistry. She perfectly captured the romantic garden feel, using a few of the florals from the bride’s bouquet, tying everything together beautifully. After the shoot, I sat down with Laura and asked her questions I think our clients would want to know…

06.01.16 laura 3What’s one piece of advice you like to give clients?
Relax and enjoy your day. The day will be a blur and you have to take a few moments to be in the moment.

What keeps you passionate about your work?
Each day is different and there is always something new that is changing the way that people want to do their hair, makeup, etc. Also the difference that I make in someone’s day with a new look. The relationships with my clients also brings me a lot of joy and keeps me interested in my work.

How would you describe you/your company’s style?
When I first started looking into this career I worked at a place called “Wabi Sabi” which means beauty imperfect, or everything is beautiful in its own way. That resonated with me and is how I have operated my business. Every person has their own beauty which I help to give confidence to and make shine.

What is one thing you would tell people going into this field or their own business?
Just go for it – be bold and confident, it will definitely be scary but it is worth it.

06.01.16 laura 1What are some things your clients say they love about you?
That I make them feel comfortable and have their best interests in mind. That I am energetic and have a smile for everyone and am very positive. A lot of brides say that I am a calming energy during their big day!

What was your experience with Poppie Studios like?
Excellent! Emily is so nice and her eye is wonderful. She has a genuine personality that shines through.

Thank you so much, Laura! I adore you and am so thankful you were part of my Romantic Garden Wedding.

Keep in touch with Laura, check out her portfolio and book your session with her online:
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  • Angie - How awesome when professional relationships also translate as friendships! Great feature!ReplyCancel

The next several blog posts will feature some of my favorite vendors in and around Tallahassee that I have had the pleasure of working with. Community over competition is a beautiful thing.

Vendor Spotlight Cake Me With YouAwhile back I was introduced to Leanna Brown, sugar artist extraordinaire and owner of Cake Me With You, Tallahassee’s leading wedding cake small business. We met via The Rising Tide Society and I’m so glad we did! I had been slowly planning this stylized shoot for several weeks before I joined RTS and the beautiful women of this group were the missing pieces I’d been looking for. After the shoot, I sat down with the vendors I teamed up and asked them questions I think our clients would want to know…

Leanna is the hand, eye and voice behind Cake Me With You. She is 26 years old, has two lovely daughters, and a dear husband. They live in the small town of Crawfordville, Florida which is right outside of Tallahassee, Florida. Leanna’s passions include baking, decorating, event design, antiquing and eating pasta. She grew up wishing for victorian styled homes, tulle dresses for every occasion and glitter through every season.

Vendor Spotlight Cake Me With YouWhat’s one piece of advice you like to give clients? Your event’s desserts can be everything you dream of with my services around. I give more than 110% to my clients, and it shows. I promise you that I’m not necessarily the cheapest option, but I am worth the pennies I charge. You can see the quality.

Where does your inspiration start from? It comes from art I see, in any form. I believe a lot of it stems from being a creative brain. I am constantly creating. It’s a way of life for me (Amen, sister!). I can get an idea for a cake from a dress, a photograph, even a bouquet… anything really!

How would you describe you and your company’s style? I promise, there is nothing like me in Tallahassee. I am every bit feminine as I am clean and modern. I have been described as whimsical, dreamy, sharp, fluffy (I don’t know what that means but I like it!) and unforgettable. I have only ever dreamed I would have the kind of reputation I do. It is me, perfectly.

Vendor Spotlight Cake Me With YouOutside of work, what are some of your favorite things to do? You know Joanna Gaines? She is my Patronus Charm! I am constantly taking old junk in, and turning it into something unique and beautiful. You should just see my little house! When I’m not baking, I’m turning trash into my customized treasure.

What are some things your clients say they love about you? My clients say that they feel spoiled rotten when they are working with me. I take care of every little thing, with a smile on my face. I have heard that my buttercream is the best thing they’ve ever put in their mouth. One said “I’m a photographer, and have eaten lots of cake. This is the best cake I’ve ever had.”

What was your experience with Poppie Studios like? I love, love Emily’s style. She is like me. We are free spirited and crazy artists. She is just as much bubbly as she is sweet. The minute she met me, she handed off the cake and hugged my neck! That is my kinda girl. Her photos are to die for, but we already knew that…

Aww, how sweet is Leanna? If you want superb cake from an amazing boss-lady, Cake Me With You is you’re only choice in the Tallahassee area. I adore her and her work and if you like me, then you’ll like her too!

Thanks Leanna!

To get in touch and stay up to date with Leanna’s beautiful work, check her out online:

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Next week, my Vendor Spotlight will shine on Laura of Laura J Artistry – who’s excited?!

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Maclay Garden wedding

Gorgeous. Thankful. Excited. Those are the words that keep coming into my mind when I look at photos from this stylized garden wedding. For several months I’ve been dreaming, scheming and coordinating this shoot with several of my favorite local Tallahassee vendors. Piece by piece everything and everyone fell together. After joining the local Rising Tide Society group, I met Stephanie Hayes (of Stephanie Hayes Photography). She took my amazing headshots earlier in the year, during which we got to chatting about my vision for this shoot. She suggested Maclay Gardens – and I’m so glad she did!

Maclay Garden wedding

If you haven’t been to Maclay Gardens yet, you need to go! Oh my goodness, it’s perfect. Truly. It reminds me of my trip to the Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy. Vines covering steps and walls, tall cypress trees pointing heavenward, a beautiful blue reflecting pool, trees dripping with moss and the most spectacular light spilling onto the brick pathways… truly, perfect. One visit and I was convinced there was no better place for this shoot.

Fellow Rising Tide member and friend, Ashley (of Ashley Evans Creative) hand-addressed the wedding invitation set as well as our directional signs. LOVE! Her style of calligraphy flowed so perfectly across the envelopes and really popped on the dark wood signs.

After posting a sneak peek image on my Instagram page of our location, Laura (of Laura J Artistry) commented, offering her services for the shoot! I had gotten in touch with her several months back and was so excited for the opportunity to finally work with her. The bride’s hair and makeup was absolutely gorgeous – perfect for a romantic spring garden wedding.

Maclay Garden wedding tablescape

Another fellow Rising Tider, Leanna Brown (of Cake Me With You) supplied this absolutely stunning two-tier gold brushed cake! She matched the vision so beautifully I could not have been more excited to photograph this piece of edible art. Pass the fork please!

Maclay Garden cake
For even more stunning photos, check out my gallery and Stephanie‘s. I’d say us Lady Bosses really rocked this shoot! Cannot wait to work with each of them again in the future. Special thanks to Stephanie for helping set-up, tear-down and coordinate our beautiful models!

 

Maclay Garden Wedding

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